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12-24-2010, 05:27 PM   #1
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What's the point of a 1:1.7 50mm lens? (AKA I'm a noob)

Very new to photography. I've always wanted a nice camera and now that I'm working I went in with my parents and bought a K-x. My dad has an old ME with the 1:1.7 50mm lens. Is there any advantage to that vs the normal 18-55 lens that comes with teh K-x?

12-24-2010, 05:35 PM   #2
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Advantages:
+ Better image quality
+ Larger max. aperture (f/1.7) which can be used to achieve a more shallow depth of field and also allows hand held photography in less light.

Disadvantages:
- Not a zoom - you're stuck with the 50mm focal length
- Being an M lens it can only practically be used in Manual exposure mode om a DSLR (on your Dad's ME it can be used in auto exposure mode (Av))
- Manual focus (no auto focus)
12-24-2010, 05:42 PM   #3
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So its a decent lens? Be nice to throw in another lens with the kit 18-55 and 55-200. Are the ymostly used for portraits?
12-24-2010, 06:24 PM   #4
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50mm f/1.7 is nice, lens kit is shit... ok maybe not that bad but eventually you'll buy something faster.

the post above you sum it up, what you have on your hand is a full manual lens, you can only shoot in manual mode or AV mode wide open (which does make things a little easier on you).

the so call portrait range is around 105mm (not really but it's an old wifes tale). 50mm in 1.5 crop factor is around 75mm (which is close to 105)... and that's why people like it, further more, it's widely common and the cheapest lens to get a large aperture, if you check out any company's lens lineup you'll notice as you move away from 50mm in either direction, it gets real expensive for fast lens.

AKA, a 50mm f/1.7 costs 50 bucks
a 28mm f/2.8 costs 120
a 100mm f/4 costs a wooping 180

to get that f/1.7 the costs multiply for other FL, so stick with 50mm.

12-24-2010, 06:43 PM   #5
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I'm guessing you're young and have good eyesight. If yes (like me), you'll enjoy the feel of the old manual focus lenses, and unlike our elder brothers/sisters, it wont hurt your eye. with enough practice you can manually focus fairly quickly (or use other techniques such as panning, focus trapping etc) to get the money shots.

Your dad's old lens is a gem. It's tack sharp and faster than the kit zoom lens by 3 1/2 stops.

Also, pick up some used manual focus 24mm, 35mm and maybe the 100mm f/4 macro. They're all available for very little on ebay, and the optics are plenty sharp.
12-24-2010, 06:45 PM   #6
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you could also check out our very own pentaxforums market place for great deals on used manual focus equipment.
12-24-2010, 07:13 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by hal_a Quote
you could also check out our very own pentaxforums market place for great deals on used manual focus equipment.
this market place is ONE place I won't check for great deals haha, there are deals but not great deals.

1) everyone on here knows the prices too well, you're hitting very close to market value on all items.
2) too many hunters in a small market, anything even slightly cheaper than market value get hunt down like an animal.

Would I suggest ebay? yeah, but you'll need to know how to search AND have pretty decent knowledge to do anything on ebay and alot of time too.

KEH, Adorama are 2 places that sell used stuff at a decent price without too much hassel, some of the stuff I saw on KEH is cheaper than ebay/here where people are fighting over (aka a 50mm f/1.7 alpha amount is 72 in excellent condition on keh, people on ebay are fighting to bid 80+ dollars... wtf lol).
12-24-2010, 07:28 PM   #8
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He also has a vivitar 80-200mm. Is that better than the 55-200 kit lens? I've been thinking about selling the kit lens and just using that.

Thanks for all the help.

12-24-2010, 07:38 PM   #9
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Keep the kit lens until you know what you like to shoot. A 80-200mm is no substitute for something that does 18-50mm. These are totally different focal lengths. The kit lens is perfectly capable for a slow zoom.

May I suggest you use your 50/1.7 for a couple months and forget the zooms. Maybe make it a New Year's resolution. Using just one prime for an extended period will help your photography immensely. You will get to know that lens intimately and how to get the most out of it.

Then, when you open up your scope to include multiple lenses (and zooms) you will still benefit from the lessons learned from the single prime. Trust me on this.
12-24-2010, 08:37 PM   #10
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What about the 80-200 vivitar vs the 50-200 kit lens?




QuoteOriginally posted by hal_a Quote
I'm guessing you're young and have good eyesight. If yes (like me), you'll enjoy the feel of the old manual focus lenses, and unlike our elder brothers/sisters, it wont hurt your eye. with enough practice you can manually focus fairly quickly (or use other techniques such as panning, focus trapping etc) to get the money shots.

Your dad's old lens is a gem. It's tack sharp and faster than the kit zoom lens by 3 1/2 stops.

Also, pick up some used manual focus 24mm, 35mm and maybe the 100mm f/4 macro. They're all available for very little on ebay, and the optics are plenty sharp.

How much is very little?

Last edited by mojoe_24; 12-24-2010 at 09:29 PM.
12-24-2010, 11:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mojoe_24 Quote
What about the 80-200 vivitar vs the 50-200 kit lens?
Since this came off an ME it is almost surely another manual lens. The 50 - 200 is not regarded as highly as the other kit telephoto the 55 - 300 but it is not a bad lens especially to start with. If the Vivitar is this one then it appears to have a constant f4 aperture where the DA 50 -200 is f4 - f5.6 over the range of the zoom. One of the great resources here is the lens database here. Check through it to compare various lenses.
12-24-2010, 11:37 PM   #12
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i would stick with the kit lens if I was the OP. full manual shooting is no fun for a new user (trust me, on this one), 70% of DSLR user shoots in AV mode, the OP might not even have that option if he has a pentax-m... so I would suggest sticking with the kit lens, do semi manual mode, get the hang of it before doing full manual. AF from the kit lens helps cut down shooting time.
12-25-2010, 12:00 AM   #13
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I tried a manual focus Sigma 70-210 lens. When I managed to get the focus right it was a great lens - but I found the focusing screen on an auto-focus DSLR doesn't lend itself to manual focusing.

My old ME Super had a split image which made it dead easy so long as there was some contrast. I've got more than enough manual focus shots from my K7 that are out of focus.

I felt I had a choice of getting a replacement focusing screen or getting an auto focus lens, I got the 55-300 DA - the version with the metal mount and lens hood. It was 20 more than the version with the plastic mount and no lens hood, so a bit of a no-brainer. The focusing screen would be 100 or maybe more for a KatzEye in the UK, plus getting it fitted (I don't want to poke around inside my camera) and I found the lens (new) at a very good price.
12-25-2010, 12:37 AM   #14
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I just checked keh.com

24mm 3.5 is available for 149

28mm 2.8 is available for 119

100mm 4 macro is availble for 133.

Typically ebay prices are a little lower, but keh and bhphoto test their used equipment, so I know more or less what I'm getting.

Go to ebay and search for these items. look also at completed auctions to see how much people have paid for these items. There are so many people on ebay that most items sell for their fair price. Sometimes an item will pass by at a lower price, but that isn't common.
12-25-2010, 12:41 AM   #15
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also, i should add that most photographic equipment are better than the photographers that tote them around - and this has been so for many many years. So, to save an extra twenty dollars you can also look at off branded lenses. check out old vivitars, tamrons, tokinas and sigmas in those focal lengths
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