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09-15-2011, 08:48 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Lenses for *ist DS

Hello all! I am new to DSLR photography. I just bought a *ist DS from a co-worker for $300. It came with an 80-200 lens and a 28-80 (plus filters for both). I've read reviews and learned that these are really poor quality lenses. All I know is that the photos I've taken so far with them have been blurry. I don't know if this is because of the lens quality, the fact that I'm not holding the camera steady, or I just don't know what I'm doing. Probably all three! I'm looking for a good everyday lens that's not expensive....say under $200. I enjoy taking photos of architecture, nature (with some macro for both of those), my cat...stuff like that. So some zoom would be nice. Any suggestions?

I've signed up for a six-week digital photography class that hopefully will teach me about ISO, f-stops, using lenses and the like. I've always used point-and-shoot cameras so this is new territory.

Thanks for your advice.

09-15-2011, 09:26 AM   #2
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Wait until after you've done the course. Unless damaged, no Pentax lens should produce blurry images; it's probably technique.

Besides which, once you get into photography more (and at the end of the course) you'll want specific lenses for certain types of photography. You don't buy a lens just on price - you buy for a purpose.

Welcome, and enjoy your camera
09-15-2011, 09:40 AM   #3
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Your issue could be related to slow shutter speed. If you post an example or two, it would help focus (pun intended) the discussion

Here are a couple of free on-line camera simulators that will help you visualize the relationship between ISO - Aperture - Shutter Speed.

The SimCam: Film and Digital Camera Simulator -

Aperture, shutter and ISO value | SLR Camera Simulator

This one even has a couple of camera modes, aperture priority (Av) and shutter priority (Tv)

SLR Camera Simulator | Simulates a digital SLR camera

09-15-2011, 10:14 AM   #4
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You should get the manual, downloadable at the Pentax web site. The firmware might need updating but you can put that off. With the camera off, hold down the menu button, then turn on the power. The rear display should say the firmware version number. The latest is version 2.02.

Even a lens with bad reviews should take non-blurry photos under some conditions. So my first suggestion is to try the 28-80 lens outdoors in daylight, in Auto Pict mode, and see if you get reasonable results. If you want to be adventurous, set the mode dial to Av and turn the e-dial until it says f8.0, where every lens should be OK. The camera will suggest a shutter speed. There's a guideline formula for that speed, 1/flx1.5. It means with that lens, you want the shutter speed to be something like 1/42 sec. at the widest end (zoomed out) and 1/120 sec. at the longest end (zoomed in). The camera will show 1/45 and 1/125 instead, not different enough to matter. If it suggests speeds slower than that (say 1/15 to 1/60), the camera has to be held very still, or the shot will be blurry. Holding the camera is a skill that comes with practice and natural ability.

The camera was usually sold with the DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens. There are 4 versions now but this was the original one. You should be able to find this for $50 or less. The lenses you have are the right size for film cameras, and on this camera, they don't have any wide-angle range. If you're in a room of people and want a group shot, that's where the wide-angle lens helps out. Or getting a buiding in one shot when you're close to it. It's a very cheap way to cover that wide angle range. That's my first suggestion. Find one that's sold with a lens hood and caps.

The longer lens you have sounds like one of those Pentax 80-200mm f4.7-5.6 zooms, sold as A, F and FA series. The reviews are right. They are good for seeing if 200mm is good enough for you or you want more. Everyone wants more, but remember the formula above. At 300mm, you want to be extremely steady or have a shutter speed of 1/500. That means you need a lot of light because the shutter isn't opened very long. So more zoom comes with a penalty. You can find the Pentax DA-L 55-300mm f4-5.8 zoom for less than $200. A version without the L is more expensive with some extra features, probably over your budget. You can also replace the range of your current lens with a DA 50-200mm f4-5.6, which should be a better performer everywhere. I would look for the standard version of this. There's a cheaper L version in the marketplace for $70 I think.

There are other lenses you can get for $200 or less, but I'd take the course first. You'll be able to understand why certain lenses are useful then. Right now, it's more important to figure out the camera.


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