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06-10-2011, 10:36 PM   #1
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What did you buy first and why?

As I've started bombarding myself with all the lingo and possibly starting up an window shopping LBA, I was wondering what other people bought when they first had their SLR/DSLR. For me and another Pentax I've met recently, after buying the two kit lenses (and of course with a bag, blower, SD card etc), we moved on to a fast 50 and then a 28mm prime, and now I'm considering replacing the kit lenses. In between, I've acquired a polarizing filter and am looking towards a flash now.

I was wondering what some of the more experienced Pentax owners decided on buying when first extending their collection of not just lenses, but also accessories. Of course, it would be helpful for beginners like to to know what others have done, and why, in order to have a little comparison and insight into possible futures in photography.

Thanks!

EDIT: My apologies if there is a similar thread, but through the search function I wasn't able to find something 100% like this.


Last edited by bakamera; 06-10-2011 at 10:37 PM. Reason: Adding a footnote
06-10-2011, 11:13 PM   #2
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started with k-x due to kickass sensor in a relatively cheap body. honestly, it was the best thing my small budget could afford when i started. Soon after, i bought a 50mm f/2 SMC-M lens and pretty much shot with that thing all the time.

fast forward a few months later and i have all the gear in my signature as well as flashes, lightstands, modifiers, and random accessories =)

doesnt help that the university photoclub internal motto is "Buy More Stuff" =)
06-11-2011, 12:32 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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To some extent what order you buy things in depends on what you want to take pictures of.

- If you want pictures of big things, you buy a wide angle lens.
- If you want pictures of small things, you but a macro lens (or tubes, a reversing ring, bellows or an add on magnifying lens) and maybe some form of lighting and a tripod.
- If you want pictures of far away things, you buy a telephoto lens and maybe a tripod and some quick release plates that suit it.
- If you want to take pictures of things in the dark you buy a fast lens, a flash and/or a tripod.
- If you want to take pictures of yourself you buy a tripod and possibly a remote.
- If you want to take pictures in the IR spectrum you buy an IR filter or a converted camera.
- If you don't like changing lenses or really need flexibility, you buy a superzoom.
- If you want to play with lighting, you buy some combination of a flash or flashes, studio strobes, light modifiers, remote triggers, light stands and various other accessories.
... and so on.

I recently picked up a D-FA 50mm macro from a guy who used it as his only lens for 6 years. For his shooting style and subjects, it was all that he needed.

Shooting in low light was important to me so I picked up some fast lenses, several flashes and a tripod fairly quickly. I also wanted to shoot sports and events from a distance, so that led to a fast telephoto zoom. Most of my other acquisitions have been to to make sure that I have the right equipment to shoot in a wide range of situations because there isn't any one style of photography I focus on.

It is possible to plan out a lens and equipment roadmap that will allow you to share filters, batteries and other accessories between equipment if that is important to you.
06-11-2011, 12:33 AM   #4
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Many Pentaxians will tell you to think before to buy. You MUST plan your lens roadmap. Off course LBA always strikes but a carefully planned LBA path will give you what you need.

In my case, I did not bother with the kit lenses. My first lens was the all-around DA18-250mm that I quickly complemented within a fortnight with a fast prime (Voigtlender Nokton58mm f1.4). This lasted for 6 months and these two lenses were my best investment. They helped me to set the path for the next series of LBA. With the DA18-250mm. i gained a solid understanding for the focal length range that I want to use. With the Nokton 58mm f1.4, I learned about the superb IQ of quality prime lenses and about the potential manual focusing lenses.

Today I have 1 zoom (DA 18-250mm) and 6 primes (58 mm, 90 mm, 31 mm, 300mm, 85 mm, 125mm in chronological order). The list includes 3 MF and 3 AF lenses, wth 3 fast primes (2*f1.4 & 1*f1.8) and 2 relatively fast lenses (f2.5 & f2.8). Among the primes, one stands out IMHO: the FA31mm f1.8. The IQ is outstanding. The focal length is not too wide, not too narrow, and the lens is fast. This is the perfect prime when I travel with one prime only.

Hope that the comments might be of interest...


Last edited by hcc; 06-11-2011 at 01:01 AM.
06-11-2011, 02:56 AM   #5
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+1 for what steinback said.

My Experience-
I just recently went through this same situation at the start of the year. I bought a K-7 with sigma kit lenses. This is a list of things I purchased in order:
-Tripod (do yourself a favor and get a decent one first up crappy tripods will drive you nuts)
-FA 77 f/1.8 (This is my favourite lens as it has a bit of reach over the 50's, is excellent in low light, and crazy rendering of OOF area and colours)
-Sigma 70-200 EX DG HSM II MACRO so that I could shoot sports with fast AF and f/2.8 and Good IQ
-Metz 58AF2 flash.. I needed a flash to use at sports and social events that I shoot as its quite regularly very dark. I have also since found myself using it during some bright sunny days as fill flash.
-only just got a 50 very recently but probably because It was in A1 condition and $20 (Auto Chinon F/1.9) and I'm starting to think I should have put a 50mm higher on this list because I am really loving it.

and finally there is all the little nick nacks i've picked up for creating a mini studio on a (very) tight budget. things like wireless flash triggers, umbrellas, white back drops (A1 size white paper and a couple of clamps) extension tubes
06-11-2011, 03:44 AM   #6
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There are a lot of options out there that won't cost more than a couple of bucks. Used lenses on this site that retain their value reasonably well, can be tested in the field in your actual circumstances and sold again if they don't meet your needs or make a down- payment on what you want. (Read need vs. LBA). Tripod. Necessary, c/w remote cable. Unless you got written up in a pretty good will, you won't start with the fastest lenses on the market so a steady platform will even things out. A couple of good zooms, say 16-45 & 70-250. A quality flash that will bounce - you'll need it no matter what you decide. Stops action indoors/outdoors and compensates for a less speedy lens. Shoot for a few months and find out for yourself what focal lengths you use the most. Then succumb to LBA and buy every Ltd. prime you can get your hands on :-)
06-11-2011, 05:16 AM   #7
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When I got back into photography and got my first DSLR (a K10d) in 2008, it came with the kit lens and a cheap Tamron 75-200. Unfortunately I really didn't know what I was doing that first year and made a number of dumb purchases. However, I do recall that my first step into LBA hell was the DA 10-17 fisheye lens. It, more than many other lenses I have obtained, gave me a window into what I could do with creative photography. I still love the darned thing. What came after that...well that's another story.
06-11-2011, 05:30 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by hcc Quote
a carefully planned LBA path...
How can any addiction have a 'carefully planned path'?

06-11-2011, 06:06 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by cats_five Quote
How can any addiction have a 'carefully planned path'?
+1 !!!

The other thing I'd comment on is that, generally speaking, you won't get decisions based on experience with a question like "what did you buy first?" Experience generally comes AFTER purchase #XX or even XXX.
In my case however, my first lens purchase after getting my DS was a second hand Tamron 90mm macro from KEH, and 7 years down the road it would still be my first purchase. Unfortunately I can't say the same for most of my early purchases. A cheap and flimsy tripod, some unfortunate consumer zooms, "protective" filters, several camera bags and a bunch of other "stuff" has either been re-sold, given away, or now sits in the back of the closet.
As far a new purchases are concerned, lenses are pretty much done, I'm still lusting after the FA 31mm ltd and I'd like to replace my K 300mm F/4 with the new DA* 300. But other than those two lenses and possibly a 150 or longer true macro, I have no real needs or wants in the lens department. I still have the major hots for a K-5, and I am attempting to save for it, unfortunately life seems to keep intruding, but I will get there sooner or later.
If I was going to do it all over again, knowing what I know now, purchase #2 would have been a quality sturdy tripod, #3 a Metz 58 or pentax 540 flash, and I would have gotten the above mentioned FA31mm ltd instead of the K20D.
One of the nice things about quality pentax lenses tho is that they appreciate in value. So if you don't like the lens, hold onto it for a year and then sell it for a profit.

NaCl(unfortunately the same cannot be said for bodies)H2O
06-11-2011, 07:31 AM   #10
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One of my first purchases after the K-x kit with 18-55 & 55-300 was a monopod for use at my son's soccer games. Good buy. I also got a Rocket Blower for around $10 and am VERY happy I did. My first new lenses were gifts from my sister and BiL - M28/2.8, M50/2, and M135/3.5. My first lens purchase was a SuperTak 55/1.8. My first AF lens purchase was a FA50/1.4. I'm finding that I like the Manual focus lenses for static shots and the AF for real-life shooting.

The best purchases for my photography other than stuff that attaches directly to the camera has been my 3.0 USB Card for my computer (makes transferring lots of RAW photos a snap) and Lightroom 3.
06-11-2011, 07:46 AM   #11
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I had some stuff from having an SLR and I got a 75-200MM Tamron when I got my *ist so I didn't need to go out and grab too much by way of lenses and so forth. A friend gave me the M42 adapter so technically I guess that was the first thing. Later I got a few more cheap manual lenses on Goodwill and CL for a song. (Some were cheap, some were actually free.) I pretty much lived with that status quo until the *ist quit on me except towards the end I got a Tamrac 515 bag and a couple of those lens holders to add to it. ($44 Tamrac bag gotten for $17, and the lens cases were about 1/3 of the normal price too. I love Amazon, lol.)

When I got my K-x I got a couple of good Tamrac straps ($7.65 per for straps that usually cost $21 per.) and a kit lens. I made a light tent. That's it so far though I eventually want to get a 300MM AF zoom, probably upgrade my Tamron or if I can swing it get the 55-300 Pentax. I need a basic studio light kit too, some decent reflectors to replace my home produced ones which aren't working very well. Otherwise I'm petty well set.


Last edited by magkelly; 06-11-2011 at 10:53 AM.
06-11-2011, 08:39 AM   #12
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Some very good advice above. Yes, think hard about what you want. But remember that good judgement is a result of experience, and experience comes from making bad judgements.

My mantra is, ASK YOURSELF: What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have? Before I bought my first dSLR, the answers were: wide, long, fast. Nobody else had an affordable great fisheye 3 years ago, so the DA10-17 drove me to Pentax. My first kit had no kit lens: K20D, DA10-17, DA18-250, FA50/1.4, AF360. Then a Raynox DCR-250. And 300+ lenses later (110 sold, 210 kept), that's still my basic kit, although I now use the Tamron 10-24 more than the DA10-17.

The next step was to get faster lenses at critical focal lengths. MFL's were/are affordable; AFL's, not so much. This led me to 16/2.8, 24/2, 28/2, 50/1.2, 55/1.4, 85/2, 100-105/2.8's, 135/2.5, 200/3.5, etc. Those faster lenses get the most use now. But along the way came intermediates: 24/2.8, 28/2.8's, 35-37/2.8's, 50-55-58/1.7-2's, 135/2.8's, etc. And slower lenses with 'character': 21/3.8, 35-40/4.5's, 100/4.5's, 180/5.5, 200/5.6, others.

Then came the bellows and tubes, and sticking enlarger lenses (EL's) and projector and copy and xray and MF/LF lenses onto extension for both macro and general photography. And next will come a Sony NEX with the ability to use zillions of cheap fast cine lenses. LBA doom, that's what it is!

I didn't follow a roadmap. First I knew what I wanted to do, and I got the necessary tools. Then I found I could get zillions of great (and some not-so-great) old manual lenses real cheap, and I started a lens lineup, and then of course I had to fill the holes in that lineup. Alas, there's always another hole... But my total investment has been less than the cost of a beat-up used car or a decent Navaho rug. (And I had an inheritance to jump-start my LBA!) So it's no financial burden.

But it boils down to: Decide what you want to do, and what tools will help you do that. Wide, long, fast, close; idiosyncratic, invisible; flexible, specialized; etc. They're all out there, and some are amazingly inexpensive.
06-11-2011, 09:40 AM   #13
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I had a Pentax film camera, a P3n, for a long time. In 2005, I dropped it and broke the Sigma 35-70mm zoom. My camera research was "Hey, Pentax makes a DSLR now." Then my wife bought it for me.

I already had a Pentax-A 50mm f1.7 and a Takumar-A 70-200mm f4 zoom, so I was ahead already. My first purchase was about 6 months later, again with no real research. It was a Tamron 28-300mm f3.5-6.3 superzoom. Probably should have researched that one, but it was OK for travel. Second purchase was better, a Sigma Superwide II 24mm f2.8 manual focus prime.

The advice to decide what photos you want to take, then purchase lenses for those photos, sounds really great. But I think it's also difficult to follow perfectly, because you often want to take many different types of photos, have a limited budget and no experience to use to buy. So allow yourself some room to make mistakes along the way.
06-11-2011, 10:54 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I had a Pentax film camera, a P3n, for a long time. In 2005, I dropped it and broke the Sigma 35-70mm zoom. My camera research was "Hey, Pentax makes a DSLR now." Then my wife bought it for me.

I already had a Pentax-A 50mm f1.7 and a Takumar-A 70-200mm f4 zoom, so I was ahead already. My first purchase was about 6 months later, again with no real research. It was a Tamron 28-300mm f3.5-6.3 superzoom. Probably should have researched that one, but it was OK for travel. Second purchase was better, a Sigma Superwide II 24mm f2.8 manual focus prime.

The advice to decide what photos you want to take, then purchase lenses for those photos, sounds really great. But I think it's also difficult to follow perfectly, because you often want to take many different types of photos, have a limited budget and no experience to use to buy. So allow yourself some room to make mistakes along the way.
I think that's great advice and would add that lower cost manual lenses are a good way to learn how to see at a specific length for a lot less. Then, if you decide you need AF, you can plunk down a lot more for a modern lens. Also, and this applies to my recent DA35/2.4, you can do an analysis of the focal lengths of your photos from your kit lenses and decide what you shoot the most. I was shooting around 35mm with the 18-55, hence the recent purchase.
06-11-2011, 11:33 AM   #15
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First i got myself a fine tripod...that opens up a good deal of photo fields, including self and night, and it lets you use all your lenses around f 8 wich improves image IQ a great deal. Then i bought a manual macro and a 50-200 because i was what i could afford and opened up other photo fields for me to probe around and decide what i really liked...
After that i bought an improvement, a workhorse for most of my work, and i've pulled now 3 payed gigs with my 28-75 f2,8 tammy...wich have payed my wireless triggers, my 8-16 siggy , and i hope the next one will pay a pair of flashes to complement the studio equipment (wich is insanely heavy) as a portable studio and more light sources.

Not knowing your particular interests makes it more difficult to recomend a particular lens...i think it's a good idea to get yourself a workhorse, a lens better that your kit one that will handle most of the work and then get some lighting equipment (if you are into lighting of course).
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