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01-26-2011, 06:53 PM   #1
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Lenses for nature photography

I'm completely new to DSLR photography, but I'm very eager to learn and put the time in to make it worth it to buy good equipment.

I just purchased the K-5 and decided to get it with the kit lens (DA 18-55 F3.5-5.6 WR) because it was so cheap and the reviews on here are pretty good.

Despite earning a modest income, I was recently given $6500 and am willing to spend up to $4000 to get started. I already spent $1500 on the K-5+kit, so I have about $2500 left to spend on a bag, tripod, memory cards, filters, and 1-3 additional lenses.

My question: What other lenses should I buy if I'm most interested in nature and landscape photography. I'm sure I'll do some wildlife, but it's not my primary concern-- the same goes for macro.

Right now I'm considering the DA 50-135 mm F/2.8 and the prime DA 300 F/4.0. They're both pretty expensive, so I definitely want to get some opinions first. IMPORTANT: I'm fairly concerned with weather sealing-- I plan to spend a lot of time camping in the woods and I'm sure I'll end up getting a little rain/snow on the lenses from time to time.

Thanks for your help!




01-26-2011, 07:14 PM   #2
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What you have mentioned is in your budget and have good reputations

If you are looking to get some bargains you might look at some legacy lenses

One option would be an SMC -A 300 F4 and the af 1.7 x teleconverter. This gives you an affordable 500 mm F7

See this link https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/1204442-post10.htmlShot with a K300f4 and the 1.7X af tc
01-26-2011, 07:21 PM   #3
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"Nature" is kind of broad, but my inclination would be that if you aren't familiar with at least film photography (so you'd know what digital-equivalent lenses you'd find most useful), there's not much point in investing a large amount in something like a 300/4, which is definitely a niche lens. Nothing you've talked about suggests you need fast lenses, and as for quality, at f8-16, which is where you might be pretty often, you aren't going to see the same differences as at wider apertures.

So since you have the 18-55, you might start with a generic longer zoom (50-200 if you want wr, or 55-300 for more range), and then the wide angle zoom of your choice (you won't find wr there, but you'd still want that range.) That's 3 lenses total. If you decide you want something else later, you can get back more than half of your fairly modest initial outlay, and future purchases will be more targeted to what you determine your actual needs/wants are. Remember you'll need to leave some money for the other accessories you'll need. You forgot to mention a tripod, but you'll want a good-quality substantial tripod.

Paul
01-26-2011, 07:38 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips guys. I think you're right that I should hold off on the 300/4 until I know that I really like to shoot at that range. I'll definitely check out some legacy lenses-- thanks for the photo link.

I did mention a tripod, but you're right-- I need to budget enough for a good one. Recommendations? (I'll be hiking a lot and I'm 6'1")-- I'd prefer to buy just one to start with.

Bill

01-26-2011, 07:56 PM   #5
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I'm 6'5" and my carry-around 'pod is a Velbron #347.

As mentioned, 'nature' is rather a broad term. Landscapes? Look at collections of landscape photos -- the vast majority are shot in a focal length range equivalent to your 18-55. Animals? Some let you get close, others require a fast 300-400-500mm lens. Itsy-bitsy plants and critters? Go macro! Macro photographers are the happiest photographers. (I read that online so it must be true.) Skies, stars, deserts, underwater? Different situations call for different tools.

Yes, the 18-55 and 50-200 or 55-300 are a good pair, except that I don't like changing lenses at 50mm, so I prefer a DA18-250 -- no longer made, but not hard to find. I do lots of shooting between 35-70mm; changing at 50mm is a pain for me. My first kit included no kit lens: DA10-17 fisheye zoom, DA18-250 superzoom, FA50/1.4 for low light and special occasions. Then a Raynox DCR-250 for macro capability. Then a couple hundred more lenses... but that's another story.

My advice: Start with basics. Figure out what you want to shoot and what will let you shoot it, what you want to do that you can't do with what you have. Let Lens-Buying Addiction sweep you up later. You're doomed.

Last edited by RioRico; 01-27-2011 at 01:40 AM.
01-26-2011, 08:08 PM   #6
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DA 18-135 DC WR and DA 55-300 covers most things ! Just bought the first of those, and already had the second, so now have DA 18-250 up for sale soon
01-26-2011, 08:37 PM   #7
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You should consider DA 55-300, it's worth every penny. Beside reading the reviews, you can also check the results out at each lens' photo group on Flick. Like, this link is for the group of DA 55-300: Flickriver: Most interesting photos from Pentax DA 55-300 mm pool
01-26-2011, 08:40 PM   #8
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Thanks guys! I'm glad you're knocking some sense into me. I just ordered the DA 55-300 because you're right, I don't know what/how I'll want to shoot yet, so no sense blowing $1000 on any one lens yet. So now I've got the kit 18-55 and the 55-300 to start out with. I do think I might run into your issue, Rico, changing lenses a lot at 55. Hopefully one will dominate as my walk-around. I'll definitely try out macro after I get the hang of the basics and then think about a lens. Thanks too for the tripod recommendation

01-26-2011, 08:42 PM   #9
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I guess we all have opinions :-)

I would get a used 12-24 that is very nearly prime IQ and an exceptionally useful range. They go for about $600 used and can be found in the forum marketplace from time to time. I'm not selling mine...
01-26-2011, 08:51 PM   #10
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If nature = landscape; then the DA 12-24 f/4 (with your kit 18-55) is the only lens you *need*. Add a 55-300 though and this gives you very wide range. I wouldn't buy any others yet, that kit will keep you busy. Add primes only when you are very familiar with your zooms (it's limitations and which focal lengths you prefer).
01-26-2011, 09:07 PM   #11
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As I suggested earlier I think you will want wider than 18mm. I started with the 16-45 vs. the 18-55, and even that's a very meaningful difference. Now I have the 10-20 sigma and it or similar would be a good compliment to the 18-55.

You may have less need for it with the dynamic range of a k5, but for my older cameras I find a split-nd filter is often essential to avoid blowing out skies in landscapes. A polarizer is also useful, particularly for eliminating reflections on foliage.

I don't have a macro but I have a two-element Nikon close up attachment that works well with at least the 50-200 and 100-300mm. Not as good as a macro I'm sure, but I'm happy with the results.

Paul
01-26-2011, 09:17 PM   #12
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Hey Paul,
Thanks for reiterating the need for a wider-angle lens. I put the DA 12-24 f/4 on my short list. I'll definitely get a split-nd filter and a polarizer-- thanks for the tips!
01-26-2011, 09:40 PM   #13
hcc
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You already received some solid advice. Let me share another perspective.

It all depends upon your definition of 'nature'. Do you mean landscape, wildlife, birds, outdoor ....?

I shoot primarily outdoor and my main lenses are DA18-250mm, FA31mm and Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4.

The DA18-250mm is the most versatile. Excellent focal length range. It valows me to shoot where I cannot go. A great all around lens. Like any all-around zoom lens, it has some shortcomings but the lens is highly regarded by Pentaxians and non-Pentax users incl. professionals.

The FA31mm is a superb lens. Not cheap but beautiful results. I love to use it for outdoor landscapes. It has very little distortion and nice colours. A great lens.

The Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 is my low-light lens. It is MF, has superb IQ and great bokeh. It is a beauty for dusk and dawn situations, and gives also great results in foggy/smoky situations. This lens is a real-surprise for it oustanding IQ.

I can certainly recommend strongly all three lenses. The DA18-250mm is my workhorse. The FA31mm is my 'etalon' and the Nokton 58mm is the 'surprise'.

Food for thoughts....
01-26-2011, 10:48 PM   #14
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Don't forget to get you a good flash .
01-27-2011, 04:50 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by marsh323 Quote
I'm completely new to DSLR photography, but I'm very eager to learn and put the time in to make it worth it to buy good equipment.

I just purchased the K-5 and decided to get it with the kit lens (DA 18-55 F3.5-5.6 WR) because it was so cheap and the reviews on here are pretty good.

Despite earning a modest income, I was recently given $6500 and am willing to spend up to $4000 to get started. I already spent $1500 on the K-5+kit, so I have about $2500 left to spend on a bag, tripod, memory cards, filters, and 1-3 additional lenses.

My question: What other lenses should I buy if I'm most interested in nature and landscape photography. I'm sure I'll do some wildlife, but it's not my primary concern-- the same goes for macro.

Right now I'm considering the DA 50-135 mm F/2.8 and the prime DA 300 F/4.0. They're both pretty expensive, so I definitely want to get some opinions first. IMPORTANT: I'm fairly concerned with weather sealing-- I plan to spend a lot of time camping in the woods and I'm sure I'll end up getting a little rain/snow on the lenses from time to time.

Thanks for your help!

you shouldda post it on here before running out and buy the k-5 with kit lens lol.

I mean the k-5 is a given, but the kit lens i'm not so sure.

4000 can go a long way, i got almost everything i wanted for 1000 (but then i got a shitty body + some what shitty lens).

not sure if pentax makes any "pro" zoom, like the 70-200 f/2.8, if not you'll have to stick it to sigma or tamron, that's a good 600 right there.

some wide zoom, like the 10-20 sigma (400)

a hyperzoom, get the 18-250 (400)

a macro (100mm or 105, take your pick) (300)

some prime....

memory card, you're better off doing mulitple 8GB for 16GB rather than going bulk on 32 or 64, 8GB goes for 15 bucks a pop for class 10.

bag can be have for about 20-30 (cheap ones but stylish), the expensive ones can be a few hundred.

tripod, same thing, cheap ones are 30, expensive ones area few hundred, not sure what you need.

you'll want some flash

basically grab all the junk that you can... 4000 is alot of money, no need to be conservative.
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