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08-12-2010, 10:10 AM   #1
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2 or 3 lenses for newbie

Hi,
I am new to photography besides just point and shoot picture taking. I've decided to get a dslr, and learn about photography, because I'm tired of blurry pictures.

My uses for the camera would be many concerts, both outdoor festivals and indoor. Also nature photography, my pets and for our vacations.

I've been lurking around here and reading lots of posts about cameras, lenses, and photography. This is a great forum.

I've settled on the camera, I'm waiting for the K5 because I like the possibility of low light capability of the kx but the weather resisitance and build quality of the k7. If the k5 doesn't blend these qualities, I'll get the k7.

I would like to get the just the body along with a great zoom lens, (maybe 18-250 or 55-300) for the concerts, and nature, and one or two prime lenses for walking around. I'm willing to spend up to about 1K for the lenses, but really don't know enough to make a smart decision, or if there are good deals on cheaper quality lenses so I can save some bucks.

I'm a musician, and tend to buy quality gear and stick with it, and really learn how to use it. That's kind of the same mentality I have in regards to the photo equipment. I would like to get something of quality and really learn how to use it, without being able to blame the equipment for the crappy picture.

Sorry for the long first post, I wanted to be as specific as possible. Thanks in advance!

08-12-2010, 10:27 AM   #2
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The DA18-250 is a great all around lens but with the budget you have I would go a different route.

The DA 55-300 is good for concerts and general wildlife

For nature I would go with either a 28 or 35mm prime (DA12-24 if you want a zoom).

And for vacation/general purpose DA 17-70

That will put you probably a little bit over the 1k but that is just my opinion.
08-12-2010, 10:57 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kens Quote
Hi,
I am new to photography besides just point and shoot picture taking. I've decided to get a dslr, and learn about photography, because I'm tired of blurry pictures.

My uses for the camera would be many concerts, both outdoor festivals and indoor. Also nature photography, my pets and for our vacations.

I've been lurking around here and reading lots of posts about cameras, lenses, and photography. This is a great forum.

I've settled on the camera, I'm waiting for the K5 because I like the possibility of low light capability of the kx but the weather resisitance and build quality of the k7. If the k5 doesn't blend these qualities, I'll get the k7.

I would like to get the just the body along with a great zoom lens, (maybe 18-250 or 55-300) for the concerts, and nature, and one or two prime lenses for walking around. I'm willing to spend up to about 1K for the lenses, but really don't know enough to make a smart decision, or if there are good deals on cheaper quality lenses so I can save some bucks.

I'm a musician, and tend to buy quality gear and stick with it, and really learn how to use it. That's kind of the same mentality I have in regards to the photo equipment. I would like to get something of quality and really learn how to use it, without being able to blame the equipment for the crappy picture.

Sorry for the long first post, I wanted to be as specific as possible. Thanks in advance!
In your case you have several optional routes to approach this.

1) If you go for the K-7 or K-5, the glass the fits the quality are the DA* zooms.
It is not cheap, but glass lasts much longer than electronics....
I have DA* zoom lenses and the 18-250mm and the 55-300mm as well.
There is such a clear difference is sharpness, mostly at the long end.
Also the DA* are (again at the long end) much faster, suitable for low light.
I'd say it is worth the investment.

2) The second option is to go for primes.
The 15, 21, 31, 35, 55, 70, 77, 100, 200 or 300 options.
You'll end up with more lenses and need for lens changes, but it is by far the best option quality wise.
Also these primes are fast....

3) Look on E-bay and second hand shops.
There is a very large amount of old high quality (mostly manual) lenses on the market.
It takes more knowledge and effort to take a photo, but is the best price / quality option you have.

Of course you can mix these approaches (that's what I did).

- Bert
08-12-2010, 11:11 AM   #4
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I suggest the following lenses (check the review section of PF first), and I don't think others would disagree:

Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 for UWA (cheaper than the Pentax 12-24)
Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (or Sigma 18-50 f2.8 EX DC Macro) for walk around
Pentax 55-300 for tele

All that for less than $1K used. I suggest you check out the marketplace of PF regularly.

Peter


Last edited by Doanh; 08-12-2010 at 11:13 AM. Reason: edit
08-12-2010, 12:31 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Doanh Quote
I suggest the following lenses (check the review section of PF first), and I don't think others would disagree:

Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 for UWA (cheaper than the Pentax 12-24)
Tamron 17-50 f2.8 (or Sigma 18-50 f2.8 EX DC Macro) for walk around
Pentax 55-300 for tele

All that for less than $1K used. I suggest you check out the marketplace of PF regularly.

Peter
I'd say, save some more and longer and get the DA*50-150mm with it...
08-12-2010, 03:01 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kens Quote
I would like to get the just the body along with a great zoom lens, (maybe 18-250 or 55-300) for the concerts
The 18-250 is not a "great" lens - it's decent, but not really any better than the 18-55 WR the camera will presumably be sold with, and certainly not as good as the 55-300. None of these lenses are "fast" enough (fast in the sense of large maximum aperture - google "exposure aperture shutter seed iso" or visit the local library for more info if you're not familiar with this) for concerts except during the day or on extremely brightly lit stages.

So get the 18-250 is want a convenient lens for non-demanding situations, the 18-55 WR or another standard zoom plus 55-300 if you want a *better* lens for telephoto use, but either way, you'll want something else fast for concerts. Depending on the nature of the venues and how you like to shoot, probably anywhere from 50mm to 200mm would be what you'd need for concerts, but you want a max aperture of f/2.8 or better if at all possible. My *most used* concert lens is an old manual focus M135/3.5 (f/3.5 is "close enough" to f/2.8 for most purposes) that runs about $60, followed by the DA70/2.4 (around $450). But my *favorite* is probably the M100/2.8 (around $125). If I didn't mind the price, size, and weight, I'd get a DA*50-135 and call it a day.
08-12-2010, 03:32 PM   #7
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IMHO you would be better served with fast primes for your concert work.
08-13-2010, 05:52 AM   #8
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HOORAY! ANOTHER FLORIDIAN!

Make sure you subscribe to the Florida group here, okay? I'm trying to get it going:

Once you do, it will appear as a new Forum on the bottom of the main Forums window.

08-13-2010, 06:35 AM   #9
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There is a lot to be said for just getting nice stuff straight out. The risk with that approach, though, is that you may spend extra money on a lens you do not need. For concerts, it depends both how far away you will be (especially outdoors), and how much light there will be (especially indoors). The DA 55-300 zoom will enable you to take picture sitting pretty far away, outdoors, but there better be enough light. Indoors you may have trouble with it being too "slow", not gathering enough light. Still, that is a great lens for the price. If in the future there is a WR or weather sealed version, that would be a lens a lot of people will buy and likely never sell.

The DA* 50-135mm zoom is top notch, from what I have heard, but might not get you close enough outdoors. It is "faster", so will do much better inside.

If you are interested in a prime for walking around and nature shots, one of the macro lenses may be a good choice: DA 35mm, FA 50mm or 100mm, D-FA 50mm or 100mm. The D-FA 100mm now comes in a weather sealed version that is quite higly regarded, but is farily pricey. This might serve you in indoor concerts as well.


My recs? Well, I use the accumulate a lot of cheap gear and slowly winnow until I find what I like most approach, so my experience with top end stuff is very limited. But if I were you, I would start with:

K-7 (5?)
DA 18-55mm WR (a nice walkabout lens in itself, and cheapest weather sealed you will find.) $100-150 with the camera?
DA 55-300mm - $300-350
Macro prime, either DA 35 for a "normal perspective" or D-FA WR 100mm for a longer telephoto you might be able to use at indoor concerts. $450 or $650 respectively. (more or less) If you went the 35mm route, you could also pick up the Pentax-M 135mm f/3.5 prime Marc mentioned for indoor concert use.


If a weather sealed version of the DA 55-300 comes out, I would sub that in. You could also probably find the "L" version, which loses some features but should be sigificantly cheaper.


There are, of course, a million other ways to do it. Good luck! Nick
08-13-2010, 06:50 AM   #10
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I have the DA 55-300 and it's a great lens for vacation and for the occasional telephoto shot. it's sharp enough for most people.

Now I am surprised that no one has suggested the DA 35 macro and the FA 77 ltd combo. The DA 35 is sharp and decently fast enough with f2.8 now the FA 77 has a little less reach than a 100 2.8, but it's f1.8 and of course it comes with special pixie dust effect.

The kit will run you a little over $1k, but the images will make you happy. The DA 35 will cover your dedicated macro lens and a normal focal length. The FA 77 covers medium telephoto duty and portraits.

if money is of a great concern, then the DA 35 can be paired with the excellent DA 70 with f2.4 and that is also an excellent option. pixie dust effect is just a little less, but excellent lens.

Just my two cents. :-)
08-13-2010, 07:08 AM   #11
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I have the 16-50, 50-135 and 55-300... all of which I would recommend, 55-300 needs stopped down to get the best out of it so you really need good light.

If it were me... get the K5/K7 with 18-55WR, add a 50-135.... when you save up the pennies you can either decide to get something longer (60-250 or 55-300) or replace the kit with 16-50.

Primes are another route, really comes down to your preference in speed/size over flexibility.

good luck.
08-13-2010, 11:38 AM   #12
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A very good indoor lens for concerts and similiar events is the Sigma 50-150mm lens. There is a new model available but the price has gone up a lot. I borrowed the lens and used it to shot a concert in a day care center recently and was happy with the pictures (sorry I am not in the habit of posting pictures online, especially of people). I am basically a prime lens user, I do not own any zoom lens. After my good experience with the Sigma zoom, I may buy one down the road. Right now, I am waiting for the 100mm macro lens WR to arrive next week.

As for prime lenses, the 40mm Ltd pencake lens should the first one on your "to buy" list. The Kx + 40mm lens combo is an excellent walkabout kit: Light weight and compact. Shooting with non-zoomed lenses is very different, one has to move around to find the "shots", but after shooting with prime, you have to decide if that's the way you want to go or a mix of both tyepes of lenses. If you like shooting with prime, the 70mm Ltd is great for portraits, the 15mm Ltd for wide angle and the 21mm Ltd for indoors, especially smaller quarters.

My primary interests: temples and landscapes.
08-17-2010, 05:47 PM   #13
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Original Poster
Thanks for all the responses, I've read them all over a few times while still checking out other similar posts on the forum. I really appreciate the advice. Marc, I've googled what you've suggested, and I've read all I can, trying to take it all in.
My kodak p&s says 32-96 (equiv), and if that's the same as the dslr lenses, I will probably need around 200-250mm for some of our outdoor shows to get me close enough for some shots.
Any suggestions for a good, fast 200-250mm prime, at a reasonable price (around $300 or less used or new), or will a good 50-135mm (da*50-135) with cropping get me where I need to be better than my kodak p&s lens. Or maybe another alternative to get me some more reach than the da*50-135 with close to the same quality.
Thanks again!

Last edited by kens; 08-17-2010 at 07:12 PM.
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