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09-14-2010, 08:22 AM   #1
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Building a complete set

Hi There,

Not really a question, just for your information, but advice is of course always welcome.

Collection so far:
- Canon SLR gear - To be sold / re-used
- Panasonic DMC-LX3 - To keep besides DSLR

- Tripod (from my SLR gear)

Camera
- Pentax K-x (including 18-55 mm kit lens) - 400 Euro (NEW)
- Rechargable batteries - 15 Euro (NEW)

Manual focus lenses
- Pentax ? 50 mm F2 - Free (from my parents)
- Pentax M 28 mm F2.8 - 30 Euro (used)
- Pentax M 135 mm F3.5 - 30 Euro (used)
- Pangor Auto Macro Converter 50mm - 0 Euro (included for free with above 2 lenses)
- Pentax M 200 mm F4 - 30 Euro (used)
- Brand-TBC (m42) 500 mm F8 - 10 Euro (used)
- Pentax A 50 mm F1.4 - 150 Euro (used - bought in Japan)
- Pentax A 28-80 mm F3.5-4.5 - 30 Euro (used - bought in Japan)

Auto focus lenses
- Tamron 10-24 mm F3.5-4.5 Di II - 267.50 Euro (used)
- Pentax DA L 15-55 mm kit lens (NEW, included with K-x camera)
- SMC Pentax DA 18-55 mm F3.5-5.6 AL II - 35 Euro (used)
- SMC Pentax DA 50-200 mm F4.0-5.6 ED - 50 Euro (used)

On the "to buy" list:
- IR Filter (720 nm), ND Filter(s), Polarizer (diameter to be confirmed, if needed including limitted step up rings)
- Pentax 35 mm F2.4 - Pricing TBC
- Sigma 530 Super (Flash) - ~200 Euro
- M42 to Pentax converter ring to support 500 mm F8 lens

On the wish list:
- Wireless remote control
- Longer & Faster "fashion" portrait prime, not decided on focal length yet...
- Fast tele zoom for "candid" portraits, probably Sigma 50-150 mm F2.8
- Real fishy Fish Eye lens
- Pentax A extension tubes
- Ring to attach lenses backward
- Dedicated macro lens
- Pentax K-5

Best regards,

Joep

PS: Unfortunately pricings are excluding shipping...


Last edited by JoepLX3; 10-09-2010 at 11:51 AM. Reason: Bought K-x and Tamron UWA Zoom
09-14-2010, 09:32 AM   #2
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Forget the Sigma flash. In my experience Sigma flashes are trouble makers. If you don't want to spend extra money on the real thing (AF360/AF540), please at least consider Metz.
09-14-2010, 10:49 AM   #3
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I have to put in a good word for the Sigma flash. I have the 500 Super (my understanding the 530 is identical controls, just more power) and it just works. Its good and cheap. I don't think the Metz makes sense (except the 58 which is the best flash for Pentax).

I had to get Sigma to update the firmware when I first got mine (it was on sale after sitting on the store shelf for years), but they were quick and efficient.
09-14-2010, 11:07 AM   #4
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But it's called a complete kit, not a complete set. A complete set would include an M 20/4, one of the M 35s, an M40 pancake, an M85/2 and an M 100/4 macro. Happy hunting! :-)

09-14-2010, 02:06 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by omega leader Quote
I have to put in a good word for the Sigma flash. I have the 500 Super (my understanding the 530 is identical controls, just more power) and it just works. Its good and cheap. I don't think the Metz makes sense (except the 58 which is the best flash for Pentax).

I had to get Sigma to update the firmware when I first got mine (it was on sale after sitting on the store shelf for years), but they were quick and efficient.
Many Sigmas (Incluging my 500ST) have problem to sync on 1/180 when used wirelessly. They are also inaccurate, leading to accusations of P-TTL being inaccurate.
09-14-2010, 03:10 PM   #6
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How to build a kit

I have posted this many many times, but will do so again

My opinion of a kit for digital (ASP-C format) is that you need to cover from 10/12mm at the short end to 200mm at the long end, with a path to 400mm if you are into wild life.

You can cut the 200 down to 135/150 perhaps if tele work is really not that interesting, or if you don't see a need to go to 200 and want to save weight.

As much of this as possible should be F2.8. or better.

My approach is to cover this with a combination of zooms and primes.

My kit is, therefore a mixed bag.

I have a Zoom Lens Kit
sigma APO 10-20 F4-5.6 EX DC,
SMC-FAJ18-35 F4-5.6,
tamron 28-75F2.8 and
sigma APO 70-200F2.8EX plus sigma 1.4x and 2x TCs.

That builds the basic kit. then, I have a set of primes (or two)

I have a K mount kit
Pro Optic 8mm F3,5 fisheye
vivitar 24mmF2
Kiron 28mm F2 K mount, and Sigma 28mmF2,8 KA Mount)
SMC pentax 50mmF1.4
Vivitar 85mm F1.4
SMC -M 100mm F4 Macro
SMC Pentax 105mmF2.8
SMC Pentax 135mmF2.5
SMC Pentax 300mmF4
Vivirar MC 400F5.6


I also have an M42 mount kit
Tamron adaptall 2 24mm F2.5
vivitar 28mm F2.5
SMC Takumar 35mmF2
SMC-Macro Takumar 50mm F4
Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8 element version 1)
58mm F2.0 Helios M44-2
85MM F1.8 Super tak
105mm F2.8 Vernon Edonar Preset
135mm F2.8 Tele Lentar Preset
135mm F3.5 SMC Takumar
200mm F3.5 Takumar Preset

I use either the M42 kit or the K mount as I want.

I still have some holes in the two kits, such as lacking 35mm and 200 mm in the K mount, but I want exceptional lenses for those spots. Until then, the 200mm spot is filled by a vivitar series 1 70-210 F3.5 (version 1)

I use the AF zooms when I travel, or have a lot of photos to shoot at events etc. The manual focus kits are for play, low light, special shots, or when I know I just want one fast compact lens.

I had the K mount kit because I started with pentax back in 1980 and many of these lenses I picked up prior to going AF with the PZ-1 in 1991. I still have all 3 film bodies, plus every digital SLR I have purchased (*istD, K10D and K7D). Virtually everything can be mixed and matched between all my cameras.

I got captured into M42 when I got the 35mm and after playing a little, and then finding the 28mm and a few others for $10-20 each thought about making a complete kit. What cemented the idea was finding the 85mmF1.9.

But the point is, I have a real system, with lots of options.

You have only just begun

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 09-14-2010 at 03:18 PM.
09-14-2010, 04:20 PM   #7
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It might seem trite but a remote for the K? camera you haven't decided on would be nice. The aftermarket model I got for $5 works fine with my K-x.
09-14-2010, 06:31 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by elho_cid Quote
Many Sigmas (Incluging my 500ST) have problem to sync on 1/180 when used wirelessly. They are also inaccurate, leading to accusations of P-TTL being inaccurate.
MANY, including the one I am not looking at, but you have which is actually not designed to be used wirelessly at all...

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I have posted this many many times, but will do so again
...
But the point is, I have a real system, with lots of options.

You have only just begun
You win, happy?
- I might still have more "space" to continue enjoy building a set
- Why don't you have / try out a Flash / Tripod?

QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
It might seem trite but a remote for the K? camera you haven't decided on would be nice. The aftermarket model I got for $5 works fine with my K-x.
Good point, I had one with my Canon (with cord) which I actually hardly used, because I typically didn't utilize my tripod either way. Work around is of course the selftimer, but not for > 30 s exposures...
- I will add to wish list, not very high on the priority list, but on the other side the price is low and it might push me into creative directions

09-14-2010, 06:58 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JoepLX3 Quote
MANY, including the one I am not looking at, but you have which is actually not designed to be used wirelessly at all...


You win, happy?
- I might still have more "space" to continue enjoy building a set
- Why don't you have / try out a Flash / Tripod?
I have just didn't mention

2 tripods both with monfretto 468 ball heads plus 2 monopods

3 flashes, Sunpak autozoom 3000, pentax AF500FTZ and AF540FGZ

The point is this was built over 30 years. Everything is a little different and can be used differently, not just cameras but lenses too
QuoteQuote:


Good point, I had one with my Canon (with cord) which I actually hardly used, because I typically didn't utilize my tripod either way. Work around is of course the selftimer, but not for > 30 s exposures...
- I will add to wish list, not very high on the priority list, but on the other side the price is low and it might push me into creative directions
09-14-2010, 07:41 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by elho_cid Quote
Many Sigmas (Incluging my 500ST) have problem to sync on 1/180 when used wirelessly. They are also inaccurate, leading to accusations of P-TTL being inaccurate.
That has not been my experience after two years with a Sigma 530 Super. The problems I had early on were due to my inexperience. It's very reliable now, on and off the camera. The Pentax flash system does have exposure problems when there's a reflection behind the target, it doesn't matter if you're using a Pentax or Sigma flash.
09-14-2010, 07:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JoepLX3 Quote
Not really a question, just for your information, but advice is of course always welcome.

Collection so far:
Looks like a pretty capable kit, should be fun. I'd recommend a cheap flash stand and umbrella. It's great for getting the flash off the camera.

QuoteOriginally posted by JoepLX3 Quote
On the wish list:
- Longer & Faster "fashion" portrait prime, not decided on focal length yet...
- Fast tele zoom for "candid" portraits, probably Sigma 50-150 mm F2.8
- Ultra-wide zoom
- Dedicated macro lens
A 90 to 105mm macro lens can double as a long portrait lens. I use a 10-17mm fisheye as my ultra wide. It's almost rectilinear at 17mm, with coverage about equal to a 12mm lens. It does 1:2 closeups. And then there's that whole crazy fisheye thing. Worth a look.

09-14-2010, 09:11 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Looks like a pretty capable kit, should be fun. I'd recommend a cheap flash stand and umbrella. It's great for getting the flash off the camera.

A 90 to 105mm macro lens can double as a long portrait lens. I use a 10-17mm fisheye as my ultra wide. It's almost rectilinear at 17mm, with coverage about equal to a 12mm lens. It does 1:2 closeups. And then there's that whole crazy fisheye thing. Worth a look.
Thanks for feedback
- A cheap umbrella icw cheap flash stand and potentially even also additional power cord flash would indeed be something worth looking out for in the future, but let me first see how this hobby is going to develop... (but my daughters will for sure feel special)
- Also good remark on the marco lens also covering portrait applications, but my feeling tells me portrait will be the priority and for macro I might also go for a cheaper used manual focus lens solution (and I already have the 50 macro auto converter set to start with and/or also can get some extension tubes as well as using a lens attached reversed to the camera).
- Personally I am not a fisheye fan, the fact your lens is "almost normal" at 17 mm doesn't convince me either, because the kit lens will do 18 mm even more normal... Therefore I am pretty convinced to go for a non-fisheye ultra wide zoom and if "needed" add the fisheye effect during PP. But I might change my opinion, especially if I run into one rather cheap...
09-14-2010, 09:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
That has not been my experience after two years with a Sigma 530 Super. The problems I had early on were due to my inexperience. It's very reliable now, on and off the camera. The Pentax flash system does have exposure problems when there's a reflection behind the target, it doesn't matter if you're using a Pentax or Sigma flash.
FYI: The Standard-version he is talking about doesn't even support wireless according the specification, so I can "understand" his complains...

-> I will go for Sigma 530 Super
09-14-2010, 09:19 PM   #14
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I have read several threads about building a kit, but was well on my way when I found them. Since I like landscapes / cityscapes, panoramas - built the following...

Main Kit
  • K20D - My main body. It works very well for me.
  • DA 10-17 FE - Excellent for really large objects, especially items with natural curves. Great for objects that are large and very close. Complements the 12-24. Field of view 180-100 degrees.
  • DA 12-24 - Not as wide as the Sigmas, but the distortion is controlled much better. Very sharp and field of view complements the 10-17. One of my favorite lenses. FoV 100-60 degrees
  • DA 16-45 - Yes, it has substantial overlap with the 12-24, but gets me up to almost 50. I like it. The bottom end is sharper than the 12-24's top end. So it complements the 12-24.
  • FA 31 Ltd - Unexpected acquisition. Long story, going after a DA*21 but this came instead, since they advertised its serial number and picture. Due to its smaller field of view, is sharper with better resolution. I really like it for stitched portrait panoramas. It gives a totally different look to images than the 12-24 with the longer focal length. Use it with the NN3 pano head.
  • DA 55-300 - This picks up everything else, in terms of FL. Very good, I like it a lot, and have done some stitching at 100mm that have come out great.
Backup Kit - Carry everywhere kit in the pickup
  • K100D - My carry everywhere body in the pickup.
  • DA 18-55 - The kit lens. For some reason I have an extremely good copy and like it a lot for times where space is at a premium.
  • DA 50-200 - The other Kit lens. Again, a very good copy came my way.
Support
  • Benro A-168M - Light travel tripod that I can't live without. It packs perfectly in my luggage.
  • Acratech GP Ball head - Light ballhead that I can't live without. Just the right size in my luggage.
  • Kirk K20 L Bracket - Lives on my K20 and also fits on my K100
  • Nodal Ninja 3 - For multi row stitching. Going to put on a arca swiss plate so that AS is the common mechanical interface.
  • Manfrotto 3001 - Found it used - great price. Heavier tripod that I put the NN3 on
  • Manfrotto 486RC2 ball head - Found it used - great price. For the NN3
  • 2 wired shutter releases - drop dead simple - they just work
  • IR shutter release - so small that I have lost it several times
  • A50/1.7 - Very good - very cheap $20 acquisition. Could not pass it up. Great for star trails and very low ambient light.
  • K28/3.2 Shift - Architecture, and panoramas. I really did not need it, but I wanted to experiment with it. Found a couple of off nominal ways to use it, like it and am enjoying it.
  • Tokina 2x TC - The price was right, and I wanted to experiment with the 55-300 at the 300 end. Works well for me.
  • Note - I picked up the second tripod because as I was shooting one camera, I wanted to use the second on a tripod usually in a multi row stitched capacity, and since the truck was right there, and I usually do not have to carry it, a second used beater was in order (at the right price and condition).
Shelf
  • Spotmatic IIa - What got me started in 1970
  • M42 SMC 55/1.8 - Still going strong, and why I went Pentax with digital
I guess you can say I have a hole from 45 to 55, but it really has never bothered me. The A50 covers it perfectly, and its no slouch.

Overall, its basic wide angle, f4, screwdrive landscape. Reasonable low tech lenses - no SDM, works very well, best quality I could find and afford. I am almost completely arca swiss mounting plates, and that works perfectly for me. CPL an ND filters for the 12-24 and 31.

Now if someone would have told me that I would have acquired all of this when I started out, I would have called them absolutely stark raving crazy. I have more lenses than what I absolutely need. My LBA phase is over. I am just shooting pictures and trying to play with light, while having some fun and enjoying it.


Last edited by interested_observer; 09-14-2010 at 09:39 PM.
09-14-2010, 09:56 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
  • DA 12-24 - Not as wide as the Sigmas, but the distortion is controlled much better. Very sharp and field of view complements the 10-17. One of my favorite lenses. FoV 100-60 degrees
  • FA 31 Ltd - Unexpected acquisition. Long story, going after a DA*21 but this came instead, since they advertised its serial number and picture. Due to its smaller field of view, is sharper with better resolution. I really like it for stitched portrait panoramas. It gives a totally different look to images than the 12-24 with the longer focal length. Use it with the NN3 pano head.
Thanks for your overview, can you post (or PM) a link to some of your stitched portrait panorames with 31 Ltd (compared to 12-24)? That sounds very interesting to me.
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