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01-06-2011, 06:09 PM   #1
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Wall About lens advice

I am headed to a college campus tomorrow for work and thought it might be a good time to practice with my K-X. I will mostly be taking outdoor shots of architecture and was wondering what lens and settings might be best. I have the kit 18-55, a SMC-M 50mm 1.4, and a 50mm SMC-M 1.7. I was thinking one of the 50mm might be nice if I set it at about f8 or so? Any advice or experience in shooting this type of pic would be great. Thanks.

01-06-2011, 06:33 PM   #2
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You'll have to be quite a distance from the buildings to use one of the 50s. Not only that, you don't need the large aperture for daylight and architecture.

The kit 18-55 at about 24mm and F8 is both sharp and relatively free of distortion. Keep your ISO as low as possible and be mindful of the direction and amount of light. Also pay close attention to keep the camera level, any tilt will be very obvious, what with the right angles and all.

Not sure whether you have snow cover where you are, but bump the exposure up a bit if you do.
01-06-2011, 07:22 PM   #3
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You may find 24mm too narrow or you'll need to stand quite far back to get the whole architecture in the frame, but it is the kit lens's strength around there. Shooting at 18mm will have some barrel distortion, but it's possible to correct this - try some shots at 18mm at f/8 also and see what you think compared to around 24mm.
01-06-2011, 08:37 PM   #4
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You already received some good advice. In summary:
- the 50 mm prime is not wide enough but for some architectural details and for low light shots;
- a wide angle (eg 18 mm) will be very useful but your 18-55 mm lens (like any zoom lens) may be affected by lens distortion;
- if you need to correct for lens distortion, an excellent software is PTLens (PTLens), well respected among Pentaxians.

Hope that the comment will help.

01-08-2011, 12:19 AM   #5
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OH NOHS!! YA GOTTA BUY SOME WIDE GLASS IMMEDIATELY!! 10-20 OR 10-24 OR 12-24 AT LEAST!! and yada yada yada...

Whew, at least THAT is out of the way now. Yeah, shoot with your 18-55 at 20-24-28 mm (f/8-11) for school'scapes; use a 50 in dimness and for details at the far end of the 18-55's reach; use PTLens (which is incorporated into PaintShopPro9+) to straighten out bent lines; adjust exposure for snow, and take spot readings off subjects in high-contrast situations, and bracket bracket bracket. Find odd angles for shooting: low, high, bent, etc. Have fun!
01-08-2011, 01:07 AM   #6
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Take and use all three lenses.

Shoot the same thing multiple times with each lens. Change up you distance to the subjuct, your angle, your composition. Change the aperture. Change the point of focus. Get a feel for each lens.

Then review your shots, and think about what you did. Have a good look at how each lens renders the shot. Have a look at the character of the colour, the shapness, the contrast and the out of focus areas of each lens.

That is the only way I know to "learn a lens"
01-08-2011, 01:23 AM   #7
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As you zoom wider, be especially mindful of perspective distortion -- watch not just the way you're framing shots, but the angle at which you're holding the camera -- sometimes you may want to use the perspective distortion to emphasize features, but if you're careless, stuff can look off-kilter.
01-08-2011, 02:39 PM   #8
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Campus (mine at least..) is a great place to get really good candid shots...

I've got great shots of friends 'stressing out' in the library... Not knowing I was there... which end up as facebook profile pictures.... (yeah.. ok.. not that cool) LOL


Last edited by DaveHolmes; 01-08-2011 at 02:40 PM. Reason: missed something...
01-09-2011, 08:58 AM   #9
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Here are a couple that I took at night that I kinda liked. Just a kit lens, no flash, 1/60 shutter, 1600 ISO. I really like how the sky had a red tint in the one shot. This is the Hall of Languages at Syracuse University.
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01-09-2011, 09:10 AM   #10
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Very nice!!!
01-09-2011, 09:47 AM   #11
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Agree, very nicely done. They are a touch soft since you were shooting at F4, but given the challenging light they turned out very well.
01-09-2011, 09:55 AM   #12
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Would they become sharper by increasing the f number (smaller aperture?)
01-09-2011, 10:57 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by robdrobd Quote
Would they become sharper by increasing the f number (smaller aperture?)
The kit lens will be a bit sharper, have a bit more contrast, and a bit less distortion if you stop it down.

'Stops' of exposure double (or halve) the amount of light reaching the sensor.

In the case of the aperture, stops are 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11. This makes a bit more sense when you consider what it means. F/2 means the diameter of the opening is the focal length divided by 2. So for a 50mm lens, 25mm.

The kit lens at 24mm and F/4 is 'wide open' - that is as wide as the lens opening can get. 'Stopping down' by one step would be F/5.6. Two steps would be F/8.

In shot one, you were already at 1/15 second, so F/5.6 would have put you at 1/6th, which is pretty slow to handhold at 24mm, but probably doable.

If you take your M 50, take both lens caps off, and while looking thru it, rotate the aperture ring thru the various stops. You will see the aperture blades move and shrink the lens opening. Your kit lens does the same thing at the direction of the camera, it doesn't have the aperture ring for demonstration purposes.
01-09-2011, 11:54 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by robdrobd Quote
Would they become sharper by increasing the f number (smaller aperture?)
Nothing to do with DOF:

Every lens is at its sharpest at a certain F stop, and they differ. Generally, it's two to three stops down.

This is why the advantage of faster lenses isn't necessarily at their widest/fastest aperture, but at their SHARPEST aperture.

And the faster lens gives you a faster sharpest aperture.
01-09-2011, 01:32 PM   #15
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f/8 is the sharpest aperture of most lenses, as a rule of thumb.
Faster lenses have near peak IQ at more aperture settings than the kit lens, and so are more reliable to get excellent results in more settings.
Nevertheless, if you're happy shooting at f/8, then you should be reasonably pleased with the kit lens.
Nice dramatic result in #2 robdrobd.
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