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10-03-2011, 12:38 PM   #1
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Newbie with a new camera :)

Hi all! I am new to this forum as well as the world of Pentax...
I received a Pentax K-X 18-55 as a wedding gift and will use it to take everyday pictures/portraits of people (as I can tell I am way far away from my dream of actually getting paid to take pictures with it).

Just a few questions so far...
I cant seem to find any real photo software specifically for Pentax. Any suggestions? Looking for something to edit, organize, print from.

I've already lost my lens cover. Where can I find a replacement?

Which lens is best for a close up picture?

Sorry my questions are so basic and my terminology is that of a 1st grader. Like I said, I am new in this world of experts.

Thanks for your help!

10-03-2011, 01:14 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by KrysFL Quote
Hi all! I am new to this forum as well as the world of Pentax...
I received a Pentax K-X 18-55 as a wedding gift and will use it to take everyday pictures/portraits of people (as I can tell I am way far away from my dream of actually getting paid to take pictures with it).

Just a few questions so far...
I cant seem to find any real photo software specifically for Pentax. Any suggestions? Looking for something to edit, organize, print from.

I've already lost my lens cover. Where can I find a replacement?

Which lens is best for a close up picture?

Sorry my questions are so basic and my terminology is that of a 1st grader. Like I said, I am new in this world of experts.

Thanks for your help!
Hi - welcome to DSLR world! As usual, you will probably find all the awnsers to your questions by asking Google However, I'll give you my 'version' first.

1) Commercial: Lightroom, Aperture (MAC) , Photoshop, etc...
Open source: I know there are many but don't remeber their names as I don't use any

2) Pentax online website and eBay

3) "best" is very relative, you might want to look at the review section to have an idea
10-03-2011, 01:28 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by KrysFL Quote
Hi all! I am new to this forum as well as the world of Pentax...
Welcome to both!

QuoteQuote:
I received a Pentax K-X 18-55 as a wedding gift and will use it to take everyday pictures/portraits of people
Now there's a useful wedding gift! The 18-55 lens (AKA the "kit lens") is a very good lens. For portraits you'll probably want to zoom in, even when you're close enough to the subject that you could use a shorter focal length. That's because a wide angle field of view can give an unflattering and odd perspective for a portrait.

QuoteQuote:
I cant seem to find any real photo software specifically for Pentax. Any suggestions? Looking for something to edit, organize, print from.
As far as I'm concerned there's no need to look for Pentax-specific software for this. iPhoto is fine on the Mac. Photoshop Elements is an often-recommended lower-cost, general-purpose image organizer and editor.

QuoteQuote:
I've already lost my lens cover. Where can I find a replacement?
Pentax 52mm Snap-On Lens Cap 31522 B&H Photo Video or just about any other 52mm cap.

QuoteQuote:
Which lens is best for a close up picture?
How close do you mean? For a close-up portrait (i.e. face or head-and-shoulders shot) the Pentax FA 77 limited is an outstanding lens, but quite costly.

Or do you mean really close up, for magnified views of small objects? That's macro photography.
10-03-2011, 01:29 PM   #4
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1. GIMP is free but not exactly easy. Picasa and other webware are free but I don't know them. Many printers and scanners come with a bundled copy of PhotoShop Elements (PSE) or other simplified editors. I've been using various versions of PaintShopPro (PSP) for about 15 years; both PSP and other commercial warez usually have 30-day free trial demo versions.

2. Look for a 52mm lens cap on eBay. Any spring-loaded cap will do. Or spend more $$$ for an Official Pentax 52mm cap from the PentaxImaging site. Whatever.

3. Your DA18-55 will focus as close as 25cm / 10in, maybe a tad closer. Not close enough? A Raynox DCR-250 closeup adapter (about US$60 on eBay) lets you focus to half that distance, with magnification of almost 0.5x (half-size) at 55mm.

10-03-2011, 02:08 PM   #5
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Hiya Krys, welcome aboard.

For software, I can't recommend Lightroom highly enough. It save me SO much time thanks to the ability to "sync" corrections across a whole afternoon's shooting with about 3 clicks of the mouse. I also notice that it is on sale for a buck-fifty today only at B&H Photo Photoshop Lightroom 3 Software for Mac & Windows
I have Photoshop CS4, but hardly use it anymore; Lightroom does it all.

Lens caps can be found anywhere. On ebay of course you can find genuine Pentax caps to show off your brand loyalty, but also your local brick-and-mortar camera shop should have generic caps that will do the job just as well. You just want to make sure you have the right diameter, in the case of the DA 18-55 AL II it's a 52mm cap.

Here's a tip: when I go out shooting, I always wear a shirt with a front pocket. When I take my lens cap off, that's where it goes, and I haven't lost one yet. It's also handy for storing your hotshoe cap and remote.

Now for a "close up" lens, there are two kinds that you may be describing. One is a macro lens, these lenses focus at very close distances and are used for taking detailed photos of small things like flowers and insects. Any lens designated "macro" will work, they generally come in ~50mm and ~105mm focal lengths, and are usually prime lenses (i.e. not zooms), so they're very sharp.

Or if you mean "close up" shots of people, a portrait lens is what you want. These come in a wide variety of lengths, and may be zooms or primes. I use the DA* 50-135mm f2.8 for most of my portrait work, it's a sweet lens, but kind of pricey if you're not used to professional lens prices. Basically you want one with a wide maximum aperture, f2.8 or or wider, to give you the ability to throw the background out of focus and emphasize your subject. Since you have the 18-55 already, I would look for something in the 70 ~ 100mm range, maybe an inexpensive prime. If it's not designated "macro" you can always get what's known as an "up close" filter that will allow it to focus at closer distances, that way you can kill two birds with one stone.
10-03-2011, 02:17 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum and to digital photography. I have a few pointers I would like to share.
1. Read the manual cover to cover and tab parts that you think you may need to reference.
2. I use Photo Shop Elements and got it very cheaply bundled with other items. You may need a book to learn to use the program.
3. You can find generic lens caps at some big box stores and Best Buy. If you have a local camera store you may want to check it out for this item.
4. If possible, take a basic class in photography. That is the most helpful thing I did.
5. If you want to shoot very close up you will need additional equipment, either a macro lens, a macro closeup adapter, or extension tubes.
6. One more suggestion, shoot every day if you can. You will improve with practice and learn all of the functions of your camera.

Good luck and have fun with it!!
10-03-2011, 02:23 PM   #7
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If you have a Mac you already have iPhoto installed. If you need something more try Aperture for 30 days.

Apple - Aperture - Download a 30-day trial of Aperture 3

If you have Window$ you can try out Faststone or use Google's iPhoto copy Picasa.

FastStone Image Viewer - Powerful and Intuitive Photo Viewer, Editor and Batch Converter

Picasa 3: Free download from Google
10-03-2011, 04:04 PM   #8
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WOW you guys rock! Thank you so much for the warm welcome and all the good info!

Good news... I found my lens cover (in my carry on)! Love maxfield photo's idea of the pocket shirt - definitely going to start doing this.

As far as the program, I did download a free trial of Lightroom. Going to test that out and go from there. May also look into PhotoShop as Aperture is out (I have a Windows based computer system).

For the close-ups... I would love one for portraits (even though it seems my camera is full with macros of flowers)... I am going to research all the lense suggestions every one gave.

I do have a couple more questions please (if you dont mind)...
I've noticed online that there are off-brand lenses that are considerably cheaper than the name-brand Pentax ones. I am assuming its kind of like sunglasses.. my Keanon and Costas are far greater quality than the ones you buy at Target.
Has anyone ever used a lense brand other than Pentax? If so, how did it compare? What brands, etc.

Also, I have a UV filter on my camera already but read about other filters such as polarizer, one for flourescent light, etc. Any experience with these? Should I add them all to my collection?

Thanks again everyone for all the awesome info! Its very much appreciated!!

10-03-2011, 04:06 PM   #9
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Great suggestions! Will do! Thanks!
10-03-2011, 05:04 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by KrysFL Quote
As far as the program, I did download a free trial of Lightroom. Going to test that out and go from there. May also look into PhotoShop as Aperture is out (I have a Windows based computer system).
Just note that Photoshop and Photoshop Elements are really completely different beasts. The latter is a more general purpose organizer and basic image editor; Photoshop proper is for heavy-duty image editing.

QuoteQuote:
I've noticed online that there are off-brand lenses that are considerably cheaper than the name-brand Pentax ones. I am assuming its kind of like sunglasses.. my Keanon and Costas are far greater quality than the ones you buy at Target.
Has anyone ever used a lense brand other than Pentax? If so, how did it compare? What brands, etc.
Oh my. Welcome to LBA, lens buying addiction. Not only do you have the choice between Pentax and other brands (some of which have cheaper offerings, but some of which are just as expensive if not more so), but there is also the full range of older (no longer in production) lenses for the Pentax lens mount, AKA the "K mount". In addition to the Pentax and third-party lens reviews here, another good site is photozone.de. If you are willing to forego some modern conveniences (autofocus and perhaps aperture control from the camera) there are some great older (used) lenses that cost a lot less than current lenses with similar optical performance. However, these take a little more effort to use.

QuoteQuote:
Also, I have a UV filter on my camera already but read about other filters such as polarizer, one for flourescent light, etc. Any experience with these? Should I add them all to my collection?
This is a real can of worms. The question of whether or not to use UV filters is one of those highly-charged Internet perennials; do a little search and you'll find no end of debate on the topic. Polarizing filters are uniquely useful for bright sunny conditions, especially getting a pleasing blue sky and controlling glare. In this digital era the most versatile way to deal with the effects of artificial light is to shoot in RAW (or RAW + JPEG) so that you have full control over white balance during post processing (PP). So, if you're planning to take shots that include sunny skies and/or water, consider adding a polarizing filter (a circular polarizer, or CPL, is what is usually recommended for DSLRs). Other filters are more special-purpose.
10-03-2011, 06:34 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by KrysFL Quote
For the close-ups... I would love one for portraits (even though it seems my camera is full with macros of flowers)... I am going to research all the lense suggestions every one gave.
The Raynox that I suggested is for closeups of flowers, bugs, coins, eyes, small stuff like that, not people. Well, people's eyeballs and fingernails maybe, but nothing much larger. We usually talk about fairly fast lenses in the 30-100mm range as 'portrait' lenses.

But you should be able to shoot good people pictures with your 18-55mm kit lens. Shoot with it. Shoot a LOT. Practice practice practice. Digital photography is free, no film nor processing to buy, so just SHOOT! Get comfortable with it; find out what it can do. Worry later about buying more lenses. Save your money for now. We will have MANY suggestions on how you should spend it later.

QuoteQuote:
I've noticed online that there are off-brand lenses that are considerably cheaper than the name-brand Pentax ones. I am assuming its kind of like sunglasses.. my Keanon and Costas are far greater quality than the ones you buy at Target.
Has anyone ever used a lense brand other than Pentax? If so, how did it compare? What brands, etc.
Many fine lenses from many makers work just fine on Pentax dSLRs. I currently have ~220 lenses (and I've sold another ~110 to help pay for the keepers). What?!? Ok, I buy and sell lenses on eBay. Gotta sell something before I can buy something more. Of the ~220, exactly 30 are by Asahi/Pentax; the rest are from other lensmakers -- some are superb, many were cheap, most are old manual-focus prime (non-zoom) lenses.

Pentax does not now make a full line of lenses. Those looking for good glass for many applications MUST buy 3rd-party lenses. The most prominent makers are Samyang (sold under various names), Sigma, and Tamron. Other recent makers of Pentax-able lenses include Carl Zeiss, Voigtlander, and Tokina. With older used lenses, the good brands are myriad: Vivitar, Meyer, Petri, Ricoh, Yashica, Chinon, Sears, Soligor, Isco, and on and on. EVERY lansmaker and EVERY brand has some crappy lenses, Asahi Pentax included. Even a few Asahi Takumars aren't great, or so I have read. But many of the available lenses are quite good. See the lens review databases for all the gory details.

QuoteQuote:
Also, I have a UV filter on my camera already but read about other filters such as polarizer, one for flourescent light, etc. Any experience with these? Should I add them all to my collection?
Darn, now I will HAVE to write that article about stuff to put in front of a lens. No, you don't need filters to start with. Get used to the camera and lens. Read the discussions here. Maybe I'll try to write that article tomorrow when the house is quiet. Anyway, more important stuff for the camera might include: lens-cleaning pen; sensor-cleaning kit; tripod; flash; remote; extra batteries and SDHC card(s); and the book, UNDERSTANDING EXPOSURE.

Earlier I said, practice practice practice. Along with that is: study study study. Get to a public library and read everything about photography, new and old. It's fascinating stuff, and makes the camera more meaningful and useful and comfortable.

Hope this helps.
10-03-2011, 06:44 PM   #12
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Welcome
Is your head spinning yet? There has been a lot of very useful info passed on to you. Mikemock is right . The more you shoot the more you will learn about your camera and the better you will become. Most important is have fun. Enjoy
10-03-2011, 06:54 PM   #13
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There are some holes in the Pentax lens lineup, so I think most of us own a few third-party lenses. For me it's the Sigma 8-16mm. I wanted something ultrawide to make up for the lack of a full frame digital offering by Pentax, and it's the widest rectilinear lens available for the K mount. (read up on APS-C vs. Full Frame crop factor) It's a great lens, very sharp, very fun, and maybe just a wee bit pricey.

You've got good high ISO performance on the K-x, so fast glass (i.e. wide aperture (i.e. expensive)lenses) isn't as critical for fast action, though you may still want that feature to give you shallow depth of field for portraits.

I do prefer weather sealing when I can get it, so that means genuine Pentax, but the way I see it, if there's something you want that they don't offer, or if you just can't afford the name brand, get what will work for you. It's very easy to correct for chromatic aberration (CA) and vignetting if you shoot in RAW (especially in Lightroom), so do your homework on lenses, but don't let that be a deterrent.

Hope that wasn't too much jargon.

Last edited by maxfield_photo; 10-04-2011 at 07:19 AM.
10-04-2011, 04:19 AM   #14
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Wow! So much useful information-thank you all so much!! I think I am definitely going to start filling my bag with the essentials RioRico mentioned and slow down a little bit. Sounds like there is so much more for me to learn and you all are right... I need to PRACTICE and really learn my camera before I get way ahead of myself. You guys are so awesome! Thanks again! I am sure i will have PLENTY of questions in the future so it's nice to know there are so many helpful experts out there. :-)

Other than the Understanding Exposure book and all the wonderful information on this forum, any other good books or sites I should check out?

Thanks again!
10-04-2011, 04:48 AM   #15
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Now that you have downloaded Lightroom, I thoroughly recommend that you go to this Adobe site and watch the lightroom tutorials

Getting Started with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 - LR - Create Stunning Images | Adobe TV

Lightroom is a great program and will cover about 90% of your editing needs.

Peter
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