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11-19-2010, 09:36 AM   #1
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Essential lenses (Just starting out purchasing glass)

Hello all,

I'm new here and new somewhat new to DSLR's in general.

I'd like folks to weigh in on what they think some essential lenses to own are for general purpose photography. I'm not sure what I want to specialize in yet.
This is assuming you can only own two or three.

Any thoughts?


Thanks!
Matt.

11-19-2010, 09:44 AM   #2
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i'm new too, so others will probably disagree:

QuoteQuote:
I'm not sure what I want to specialize in yet.
That being the case:
50mm f1.4 - i love this lens and I'd guess a good majority does too. I have the 1.7 as well and it's just as good, but since i have the 1.4 it's a bit neglected.
50-300mm DA WR - gives you a huge range so you don't have to switch lenses that often, I have the 50-200 da ed. Hard not to recommend a zoom with a large range for a started. I would have picked this one up if I hadnt picked up the 50-200; i picked up the 50-200 purely because it was included with a 24mm prime.
18-55 da - solid kit lens allowing you to shoot indoors in tight spots.
11-19-2010, 09:46 AM   #3
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It's probably best to start with a couple kit lenses. Something like a 18-55/50-200 combo would be a cheap, easy set-up. If you have a little extra cash, you could either swap the 50-200 for a 55-300 or look into getting a prime like the DA 35mm f2.4 or the FA 50mm f1.4.

With a set-up like that, you'd be able to cover a good range of subjects and with time you'd develop a sense of where your priorities lie and you can then invest accordingly.

Good luck!
11-19-2010, 09:53 AM   #4
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Do you see yourself shooting people or places more? Do you want to shoot wildlife?

the 55-300 would be good for situations such as: animals on nature walks, far away people (we are talking pretty far away!) the zoo, outdoor events, etc.

The 50 1.4 is a good suggestion as it is fairly flexible.

My thought is to skip on the kit lens unless you want WR. The 16-45 is a good upgrade from the kit lens that you won't outgrow as quickly.

Another option is the 17-70 lens, which is more expensive but will have you pretty covered. You have a moderate wide for landscapes, normal lengths for natural shots, and a mild telephoto for mild-tele / portrait work. You could pair the 17-70 with the 50 1.4, and you would be able to shoot in a all sorts of situations that do not require major telephoto. The 1.4 aperture on the 50 will let you shoot in low light and give you access to nice depth-of-field effects for portraiture and subject isolation.

If you are on a tight budget and don't mind working in M mode - consider the K55 1.8 instead of the 50mm 1.4. It's only 50 bucks and is really a nice lens. The difference between 1.8 and 1.4 is not a major consideration for most situations.

11-19-2010, 10:06 AM   #5
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the two kits plus exposure plot.

Hi mrozema and welcome to the forums. Since you seem to be fairly new, I'd stick with the 18-55 kit lens and either the 55-200 or the 55-300, with a ++ for the 55-300 as it is a better lens. Go out and have a ball. In the meantime download a little program called "exposure plot". Found here. What this little baby does is takes all your photographs and organizes them. One of the ways you can organize is by focal length. Once you get a decent body of shots together, using exposure plot you can get a very good idea of where you like to shoot. Then you can go out and do some shopping based on what you really like.

NaCl(if you know where you are going it's a lot easier to get there)H2O
11-19-2010, 10:07 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
My thought is to skip on the kit lens unless you want WR. The 16-45 is a good upgrade from the kit lens that you won't outgrow as quickly.
I agree. IF you can afford the 16-45, get it instead of the kit lens.

I also agree with getting a fast 50 (or 55). That way you can figure out whether you prefer primes or zooms and build your kit accordingly.
11-19-2010, 11:50 AM   #7
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Just a comment: to me the natural place to start in trying primes would be either a macro, a 28mm manual-focus lens, or the new 35/2.4. None of these will be as fast as a "fast 50", but to me "very thin depth of field" work is becoming a special interest like macro, and in a way the normal FOV primes like 28, 30, and 35 are a less esoteric introduction to prime shooting.
11-19-2010, 12:14 PM   #8
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Definitely the new DA35/2.4 for starters. Great all-purpose focal length, reasonably fast (quite enough to "play" with depth of field), and not expensive at all.

If you don't already have the 18-55 kit lens, another alternative is the Sigma 17-70. The focal range it covers is great, it focuses really close, and is not too expensive.

If you already have the kit lens, keep it. It is decent enough for what it is.

Think of investing in a hot-shoe flash as well (eg. Sigma EF530 DG SUPER).

11-19-2010, 03:05 PM   #9
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Matt, Roll with your 18-55 kit lens for awhile (if you got one) until you figure out what you cannot do with it. If you're completely new to this and haven't even purchased a camera yet, the DA16-45 is a good suggestion for a starting point. As for the DA50-200, again, decent but, in my experience, 200mm is never long enough. While that lens is compact and easy to manage, you may find yourself wanting to go the 300mm of the 55-300.

Recommendations like these are easier to make if we know what you are working with (and to some extent, your experience level).



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11-19-2010, 03:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrozema Quote
Hello all,

I'm new here and new somewhat new to DSLR's in general.

I'd like folks to weigh in on what they think some essential lenses to own are for general purpose photography. I'm not sure what I want to specialize in yet.
This is assuming you can only own two or three.

Any thoughts?


Thanks!
Matt.
Essential lenses? Everything pentax ever made!

Seriously, however, if you are looking for a general "kit" to put together, I ran a poll a couple of weeks ago as to what forum members thought a lens kit should cover. you may wish to look at it.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/120286-lens-kit-design-poll.html

In addition, my own concept is pretty simple, as a start, you can consider getting 3-4 zooms to cover the range of 10-12 mm at the wide end, through 200mm at the long end, with some idea as to how to get to 300/400mm if you want to go for sports or wildlife.

My own recomendation is that this should be from perhaps somewhere around 20mm through 135/200mm at F2.8 but that only got about 1/2 the voters in the poll, and higher ISO capability is making that less important or some.

You can then branch into faster primes, and specialty lenses like macros and fisheyes, but those basic 3-4 zooms are a good starting point.

One of the zooms should In My Opinion, also be capable of limited close focus (1:3 macro) for use when a macro lens is not around.

Depending on the quality of what you get, you will keep the basic kit for a long time.

FOr me the F2.8 issue is a function of how to reach 300-400mm. I have a 70-200F2.8 zoom (sigma) with Sigma 1.4x and 2X TCs. If you get a 100-300 or 130-400 zoom, you will not have the range below 200 at F2.8 but you may not care, or you have something else for the shorter lengths.

There are lots of ways to do this. look around, look at photos posted, ask questions and visit stores to try if at all possible
11-19-2010, 05:33 PM   #11
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If you look at Lowell's poll, you'll see that the most popular wide end of the range voters recommended was 11-16, and many more people chose 17-24 than 10 or less. From this I thiink we can conclude that 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18mm are each popular with some voters as the wide end of the necessary range.

At the long end, 136-200 was the answer in the middle of the distribution. But this question was polarized, and the most popular answer was over 200 . . .

A bare majority said f2.8 was important, and only a slightly larger group chose zooms over primes. I can't imagine any other photo community (except Lexica) would be as evenly split on that issue.

The 2010-2011 version of my kit choses primes, 15-135, with f2.8 from 24-135 and the Pentax AF TC to give 200mm coverage (at f4.5). My macro is also less than 2.8. With the TC, I have AF right from 15-200 though the AF f2.8 range is only 24-85.

This is just to say that there are many ways to build a kit: prime vs. zoom, short vs. Long, fast vs. slow, big vs. small. And there is no right or wrong way . . .

Last edited by Impartial; 11-19-2010 at 05:52 PM.
11-19-2010, 07:12 PM   #12
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Just one point About my poll

It was flawed. I should have made a range 10-12 because the poll failed to separate those who would shoot a 12-24 vs a 16-50

You could split that one group any way you want to skew the results
11-19-2010, 07:17 PM   #13
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If you start from scratch, I recommend a single 18-135mm and start shooting. Use it well before buying more. The problem with 2 zooms kit is that most people didn't realise how much hassle it was to switch lenses in the field, not to mention 2 more things to carry (extra lens & bag). With a single 18-135, you can just hang the camera on your shoulder and that's it.
11-19-2010, 08:10 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Just one point About my poll

It was flawed. I should have made a range 10-12 because the poll failed to separate those who would shoot a 12-24 vs a 16-50

You could split that one group any way you want to skew the results
Quite true. 10-12 is quite a different perspective from 14-16, from where I stand.
11-19-2010, 08:27 PM   #15
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I have the choice of several dozen lenses, but the ones I seem to use the most at the moment are the 35 Ltd, the 15 Ltd and the 70 LTD.
This is not a cheap kit, and some would find it limiting, I don't.
Good glass is more and more important with the higher res sensors we are getting now.
I wish there was a 50mmLTD, even if it had to be on the slow side. A 50mm f/2 ltd could potentially be as small as the A50/1.7.
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