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04-28-2011, 07:10 PM   #1
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Starting again

Helllo,

Last summer I started getting in to photography all though I underwent some personal things and am just getting back into things. I have a pentax km with the kit lens and just ordered a tamron 18-200 as I wanted an all in one lens. I also have aperture. I will be taking photos of landscapes, cars, and cities (I am going to San Francisco this summer). I have a couple of questions though:

What are the best sites to for a beginner to learn?

In terms of lenses, should I get a cheap prime or just stick with what I have?

Is there anything else I should get that I can get on a budget? (ie. tripod, other lenses, etc.)

How long should I wait before upgrading to a kx or kr?

Thank you for the help and any other tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

04-28-2011, 07:43 PM   #2
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My inclination would be that there would be no need to upgrade the camera unless high-ISO is important to you. And if you bought the 18-200 because you wanted an all-in-one lens, there's not much point in buying more lenses. If I'd had a kit lens I'd have probably gone with a 50-200 or 55-300 or 70-300 or something, but I understand not wanting to change lenses. For landscapes, cars, and cities, you might not have any use for a "cheap prime", unless you're doing something unusual.

Paul
04-28-2011, 07:47 PM   #3
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For learning specific things about your camera, here is pretty good. A lot of other places will assume that you have a Canon or a Nikon, so their camera specific advice is "what's a K-m?"

In theory, you should only buy a lens when you have a need for its specific properties. Just starting out, that's kind of tricky to do. I just bought a lot of stuff and tried it out, sold off stuff I didn't like, and used the stuff I liked. More discipline is cheaper.

I think a tripod is great for controlled experiments and long exposures. I recently caved in to advice I found here and bought an inexpensive Dolica, I think this one: "Dolica AX620B100 62-Inch Proline Tripod and Ball Head." I like to have hoods for all my lenses, a remote shutter release, and polarizer filters. All these are nice to acquire eventually but you don't have to buy them immediately. I think Photoshop Elements is probably worth the price if you don't already have software to organize and edit, but there are free solutions you can try.

I waited almost 5 years between camera upgrades. Each model newer than yours will tempt you with something. But if you hold out for a long time, you get a lot of upgrades, not just three or four. At very least, you should be able to say that one feature of your K-m is holding you back and not allowing you to take the kind of photo you want.
04-28-2011, 08:17 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
In theory, you should only buy a lens when you have a need for its specific properties
I agree... Absolubtly... However... I think you'll quickly find you want/need a faster lens for lower light applications... I'd suggest at least looking at a Pentax-FA 50mm f1.4 or a Pentax-DA 35mm f2.4 (which is much cheaper than the 50 but still faster than your Tamron 18-200)... They're both lenses that would be very useful to me :-(

QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I think a tripod is great for controlled experiments and long exposures
I absolubtly agree... In fact I'd go as far as to say that... If you don't have a tripod then there's a part of your camera missing...

QuoteOriginally posted by Chriswirth930 Quote
What are the best sites to for a beginner to learn?
This website right here has been and still is invaluable to me...
There are lots of blogs and web-tutorials on line...
This is one I found pretty useful by Robert Vasquez
YouTube - FontanaKnowledge's Channel
its the first of a series explaining the basic fundamentals of exposure...

Hope its a help
Dave

04-28-2011, 08:27 PM   #5
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Missed this...

QuoteOriginally posted by Chriswirth930 Quote
How long should I wait before upgrading to a kx or kr?
The K-m is a very capable camera and with practice you will obtain some really good shots from it...
When you do decide to upgrade it won't be to a K-x/K-r it'll be to whatever Pentax's flagship dslr is at that time...
Probably a K-O or K3 or K5million (in limegreen+pink camo design...) or something...
04-28-2011, 09:28 PM   #6
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What are the best sites to for a beginner to learn? - When there is a topic I need information on, just google it and start there. There are quite a lot of sites that provide very specific information, then there are the general sites.

In terms of lenses, should I get a cheap prime or just stick with what I have? - With your all in one - stick to that, then look at the images that you have taken in terms of their focal length. That will tell you what you are interested in and help point to the lenses that would hold you interest.

Is there anything else I should get that I can get on a budget? (ie. tripod, other lenses, etc.) - I started out with a $10 special. Did not use it the first year, a bit in the second, more in the third, quite a bit from there out, until it broke. Then I wound up spending a small fortune on a nice one with a great head. I knew what I wanted and what I would use.

How long should I wait before upgrading to a kx or kr? - For me it was about 4 years between the K100 and K20. Then I felt guilty. I have bypassed the K7 and K5 up till now. I may get a K5 when its replacement is announced, since I can use the high DR for the evening landscapes that I take.

04-28-2011, 09:38 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the quick replies. Sorry to bug you all...but a couple more questions:

How much would a Pentax-DA 35mm f2.4 be if its a good deal?

Is there an ok tripod I can get for under $50?

Did I make a mistake by ordering the Tamron 18-200? I know the lens quality wont be as good although I didn't want to worry about changing my lens on vacation. Will it still give me quality shots?

Thanks again
04-28-2011, 10:54 PM - 1 Like   #8
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About upgrading your gear:
Only upgrade when you run into the limitations of the equipment.

DA35/2.4
DA35/2.4 goes for about US$200 (current at adorama US$219). So cheaper than that is a good deal; even at that price I think it's a deal. I don't own the lenses but pictures that I saw here are quite impressive.

18-200
And second thoughts regarding a purchase (18-200) are never good. You sound like somebody for who the pictures are more a memory (I might be wrong), in which case the quality is not the most important thing. But at the end of the day you are the one that needs to judge if the quality is good enough or not. I would simply try it out and see if I can live with the quality. Before I ventured into dSLR, I went on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday with an Olympus SP500UZ (10x P&S). I'm happy with the photos that it gave me; however the quality compared to the K10D with kit lens is absolutely poor.

For the usage that you mention in the first post, I personally don't see a need for a superzoom; I would happily do that trip with the 18-55 or (preferably) an 17-70. I'm aware that there might be a few shots that I can't do, but so what? Plenty of other shots for memories.

04-29-2011, 12:10 AM   #9
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Think about learning more about photography first before you think of upgrading your current gear.
You can start reading here:
Learning basic photographic techniques - PentaxForums.com
"Understanding Exposure" by Peterson and taking pics with my Kit Lens - PentaxForums.com
Exposure: Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO - PentaxForums.com
Learning from the Pros - Photography tutorials
04-29-2011, 04:59 PM   #10
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Awesome ^^. Thanks for the sites. And yeah, I think I am going to try out the tamron 18-200 for a while as it should be the most convenient in the beginning. After I get better I will look into getting more expensive lenses.
04-29-2011, 05:21 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chriswirth930 Quote
How much would a Pentax-DA 35mm f2.4 be if its a good deal?
The DA35 F2.4 is currently at B&H for $199. It's highly rated for the price.

I also particularly like this blog. It has a lot of good information about digital photography and a great set of posts for beginners.

Enjoy.
04-29-2011, 05:23 PM   #12
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You mention that you want to do landscapes and in most cases that leads to night time or sunset. Therefore I would definitely look into a solid tripod before a new lens. At night time you mig need to use slow shutter speeds in which a tripod would help. A fast lens in my opinion generally only helps for cases where low light and lots of movement. In cases of low lit an no movement you can usually get by with a tripod instead.
04-29-2011, 09:48 PM   #13
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Is there any ok tripod I can get for around $50 that is recommended?
04-29-2011, 11:10 PM   #14
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Ehhhhh unlikely......

Tripods and Ball Heads by Thom Hogan

Pretty much the go to article in reference to tripod selection.
04-30-2011, 03:35 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Chriswirth930 Quote
Is there any ok tripod I can get for around $50 that is recommended?
Unlikely to get a good one for that price (new)... Might be able to pick up something 2nd hand though...
If $50 is your limit then $50 is your limit... Stability is what you're looking for... Any exposure longer than a 1/30 of a second and your going to struggle to stay sharp without one...
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