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01-31-2012, 12:19 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by harish Quote
Question:
My initial thoughts are that I might not want to have Focal Length overlaps till I learn more. <18mm or >55mm sound like better options as and when I start looking for a new lens. Is this line of thought OK for now?
That depends on your needs. The DA55-300 was my second lens and it barely gets used. So determine your needs first.

Which applies more?
Do you often feel that you have to do a few steps back to get the photo that you want? Get something wider.
Do you often feel that you want to 'pull things' closer? Get something longer.
Do you often want more control of DOF? Get something faster.
Do you often shoot in low light and not happy with results? Get something faster or a decent flash.

01-31-2012, 01:35 AM   #17
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I now have a zillion lenses. I didn't used to. I started with the K20D (my first dSLR, after many many years of shooting other stuff) with just three lenses: DA10-17 fisheye zoom, the lens that drove me to Pentax; DA18-250 superzoom, my basic lens; and FA50/1.4, my gotta-get-the-shot lens. I arrived at these because, when upgrading from an advanced P&S, I asked myself: WHAT DO I WANT TO DO THAT I CAN'T DO WITH WHAT I HAVE NOW? The answers were ultrawide, ultralong, and ultrafast.

I had an advantage over total n00bs because I've shot various systems and formats over the decades, so I had some idea what to look for. But I think the same approach can work for anyone. Get zoom(s) that cover a wide range, and a fast lens for critical situations. My most minimal kit now is the above plus the Tamron 10-24 and a Raynox DCR-250 close-up optic. The FA50/1.4 is my only AF prime; the other ~200 primes are manual focus, and some good cheap ones. And only a dozen AF zooms.

I saw what I was shooting, at what focal lengths, and asked myself that WHAT DO I WANNA DO? question, and found some fast MF (manual focus) primes at critical focal lengths: 24-28-35-58-85mm f/2. Then I started buying enlarger lense to put on extension, and old slow lenses with unique rendoring, and many other cheap cheap lenses. Each has its own distinct flavor.

What should you buy next? That depends on your proclivities and budget. I strongly recommend the DA18-250 (or its Tamron twin) plus FA50/1.5 pairing as a start. Then the Tamron 10-24 (which I favor over the Sigma 10-20s and DA12-24). Going from there... it depends. Maybe a fisheye. Maybe a 90-105mm macro. Maybe a long mirror. To just shoot family activities, the cheap old F35-70 is hard to beat. If you find yourself shooting the DA18-55 at the wide end a lot an want something sharper, the Tamron 17-50/2.8 or DA21Ltd are great. There are many options. All you need is money.

Last edited by RioRico; 01-31-2012 at 01:51 AM.
01-31-2012, 04:57 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by harish Quote
Cannot really answer what I like to shoot most, experimenting with everything. Will be taking a lot of pics indoors of Mrs and Baby. Travel a lot.
This is why I suggested 35mm and 50mm.... I think the 55-300mm will spend most of its time in the bag whereas these 2 will be used...
01-31-2012, 05:15 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by harish Quote
Manfrotto 055xPROB + 498 RC2 + Pentax F remote
I have this combo. This acquisition expanded my possibilities more than any lens I bought. Well, I didn't buy the Pentax F remote. You can get IR remotes for Pentax for like 2 $ on ebay.

01-31-2012, 05:16 AM   #20
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Today about 70%+ of my family photos are K-5 w/a DA 35 AL

QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
This is why I suggested 35mm and 50mm.... I think the 55-300mm will spend most of its time in the bag whereas these 2 will be used...
I would have to agree here again ... my K-5+DA 35 f2.4 shoots my three girls regularly (both indoors and outdoors) where as my K-r sports the DA 55-300 almost permanently ...

Why? Well, my wife took posession of the K-r/300 combo in order to shoot the birds of our garden, etc. No kids, just lil' birdies ...

Still would recommend a tripod and a good fixed lens ... and then an entry or meduim level flash to shoot the family in better indoor/low light conditions.

Good luck ... Bon courage, J

Last edited by Jean Poitiers; 01-31-2012 at 06:26 AM.
01-31-2012, 08:53 AM - 1 Like   #21
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I agree with the others that a good tripod is the best way to improve your photography. All the photography books will tell you so. It is sound advice and beyond dispute.

This being said I have to add a tripod will only improve your images if you are willing to carry the damn thing around. I'm just not willing to make the effort and you might not be either. I do a fair bit of wildlife work and it is just too slow and awkward for my taste. How then to get improved stability without the effort a tripod demands? I've found a good monopod does the trick for me. It is much lighter, less awkward and easier to carry around. With image stabilization built into my Pentax cameras (K10, K5) I think it is good enough for me.

Is a monopod as good as a tripod? No - but it is a lot better than an unused tripod sitting in the closet at home.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 01-31-2012 at 11:04 AM.
01-31-2012, 11:28 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
I have to add a tripod will only improve your images if you are willing to carry the damn thing around. I just not willing to make the effort and you might not be either. How then to get improved stability without the effort a tripod demands? I've found a good monopod does the trick for me.
Yes, that's the trick. It was much easier before I got the K20D. I could easily fit my Sony DSC-V1, its wired remote, a kit of filters & adapters & IR light, and a Velbron MAXi 347E tripod into my sling Ameribag, along with a Sony Vaio 10" mini-notebook, ICOM IC-R2 commo receiver, and various other walkabout necessities.

No longer, alas. The AF360 flash and a few select lenses fit in, once the Vaio is gone; the big Opteka TR74 tripod doesn't. And alas, monopods don't substitute. I've used my Trek telescoping hiking pole as a monopod for almost 30 years now. I've used a short-line stabilizer about half as long -- fasten a bolt to one end of a line and a big washer to the other end; screw the bolt into the camera's tripod socket and stomp on the washer, pulling the line tight. These tricks don't help 30-second shots.

NOTE: I have those specific tripods because I'm tall and so are they. Shorter 'pods are only good for waist-lever viewfinder cameras. Where's my digital Rolleicord?

Yes, a sturdy 'pod is a great tool. One just needs to devise a workable | graceful way to schlep it around. That's easy for 'scapes and field macro work, tricky with street photography, about impossible with some inside situations (museums etc). Just something to consider, eh?

Last edited by RioRico; 02-01-2012 at 10:31 PM.
01-31-2012, 12:43 PM   #23
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Given a DSLR and kit lens, this would be my hit list, in order of priority:

1. Long telephoto lens for more range
2. Wide aperture normal lens for low light
3. External flash, with tilt and bounce and wireless capability for off-camera use
4. Tripod
5. Specialty lenses (macro, fisheye, superwide, fast tele, portrait etc)
6. ND and CPL filters

I agree with Tom G, a tripod is clunky to carry and limits composition, which means it mostly lives in the closet. Sometimes it's indispensible, but those times are not that frequent for me. Landscape shooting often has enough light that a tripod is redundant. I use a tripod mostly for still lifes, it's no help at all if your subject moves. It can be limiting in composition. Sometimes the most interesting shots are from odd vantage points or angle. Every photographer should have a tripod, but I don't think it should be a priority for someone starting out with modern equipment.


Last edited by audiobomber; 04-09-2012 at 03:44 AM.
02-01-2012, 04:38 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
Stretch it to $500... Buy a tripod and a DA35mm 2.4 and if you can either a Pentax-A50-1.7 or pentax-F50-1.7...
I agree - Tripod is a must for so many types of photography. Having that 35 f/2.4 is good, but for available light images of the baby the 50 f/1.7 (The 50 f/1.4 is much better) would be my lens choice between the two.
02-01-2012, 06:23 PM   #25
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QuoteQuote:
Tripod is a must for so many types of photography.
Luckily, not mine. I'd go with a lens :-)
02-02-2012, 09:20 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by harish Quote
Question: My initial thoughts are that I might not want to have Focal Length overlaps till I learn more. <18mm or >55mm sound like better options as and when I start looking for a new lens. Is this line of thought OK for now?
That's a good line of thought. I bought the K-r with the 18-55 and 55-300 lenses. Having used each of them, I was able to run the program ExposurePlot and see which focal lengths I use the most. Based on that data, I could then pick which lenses to move on to from there.
02-02-2012, 09:24 AM   #27
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And I'm of mixed thoughts on a tripod. I usually like to walk around and take pictures, so a tripod isn't usually necessary or wanted. But, when I'm trying to do portrait photos with my girlfriend and I, a tripod is a definite must. Reiterating what everyone else has already stated, it just depends on your preferences. If you're doing portrait work, especially with yourself in the picture, a tripod (and remote) will be very helpful. I don't own a remote yet, so I'm forced to set the camera, put the 12s timer on, then run back to my spot!
02-02-2012, 09:53 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
... I don't own a remote yet, so I'm forced to set the camera, put the 12s timer on, then run back to my spot!
I am in the same situation, but 12 seconds is sometimes too long with my small children. A remote is on my acquisition list ... for quicker candid snaps and hopefully multiple sequenced shots as well.

Last edited by Jean Poitiers; 02-03-2012 at 07:21 AM.
02-03-2012, 07:00 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by jbuck92 Quote
And I'm of mixed thoughts on a tripod. I usually like to walk around and take pictures, so a tripod isn't usually necessary or wanted
Pictures of a river, stream or anything that you just want to 'slow-down'?

Cloud movement in land/city-scape shots?

Painting with light?

If you don't wan't to be limited to 1/20 shutterspeeds or faster (or as a photographer) then a Tripod is essential. I'd personally go as far as to say that if you don't have some form of Tripod then there's a part of your camera missing...

That said... I love a nice fast lens me...
02-03-2012, 09:00 AM   #30
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Well where I live there isn't much chance for any stream or river shots. I have used a tripod for those reasons but generally only bring one when I know I'll be near a location that I could make use of it.
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