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01-30-2012, 12:00 PM   #1
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Additions to the kit: New lens or a tripod

Hi,
A few context setters in no particular order:
  • I am new to photography, Recently bought a k5 and 18-55 WR (also bought two bags, one rocket blower, one hood cap, one 16GB Sandisk Extreme card)
  • Have about $300 (stretchable till $500) photography budget
  • Very keen to learn, ready to invest time, effort. Likely will be a photography hobbyist for long. So ready to wait to build on the gear collection. Been reading a lot of books.
  • In California currently
  • 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.
  • Want to buy NEW for the moment, Will be OK with used after a while.
  • Fairly good with gadgets, love to meddle, play and learn.


I have been eyeing the additions below, but want to buy only one at the moment given the budget:
  • Pentax DA 55-300
  • Manfrotto 055xPROB + 498 RC2 + Pentax F remote
  • DA 40 Ltd


01-30-2012, 12:09 PM   #2
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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...
01-30-2012, 12:11 PM   #3
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A tripod and remote can get you some very lovely landscape/night/sky shots that you normally can't pull off.
-Reasons to get: into landscapes, object photography, low-light photography, self photography (remote + tripod > timer + tripod), something to beat up wolves with

The DA55-300 will give you pretty amazing range that your kit lens cannot.
-Reasons to get: want a lens that'll do portraits, let's you zoom in to animals and birds outside, and let's you take pictures of your kid in sports games (well, as a baby, maybe not so much)

DA 40 ltd will be a lovely portrait/walkaround prime
-Reasons to get: indoor shooting, that F2.8 is better than your kit lens, nice flat lens (light on the load), very good reviews.

Maybe consider the DA 35 F2.4 vs the DA 40 for a fast indoor prime?
01-30-2012, 12:36 PM   #4
REM
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I would go with a wait and save plan as a first choice, tripod as a second. Tripods are always good. They help at all focal lengths, and are great for working with long exposures,and experimenting/learning about your equipment and photography in general. Don't skimp on a flimsy cheap tripod. Manfrotto is a good, popular brand, but I am unfamiliar with it, so I will let someone else chime on which models would be good or fit your budget.

Regarding lenses, I would shoot, shoot, shoot as much with the kit lens and then go back and see what focal lengths you shoot with the most. Maybe if you are always around 18, you might want to save up for a wide angle as your next lens. Most travel photos are done with wide angle lenses. Always at 55, then you could consider the 55-300mm or other telephotos. If you're always shooting your wife and baby, then you might want to save up for a portrait lens or find a used DA70, FA77, or many manual fast 50's.

My first lens on my first dslr was the DA40: great iq, compact, fast autofocusing. But I didn't really know what subjects I liked to shoot at the time, so it was rather difficult only having one lens for awhile. I then got the 21mm, and later the kit lens. I should have gotten the kit lens first, and really shot the heck with it to get an idea of what I NEEDED first, and what my next step would be. I eventually got almost all the DA ltds, kit lens, plus a 55-300mm, because I now know what things I like to shoot with each of those lenses (ex 55-300: daytime outdoor sports/little league,zoo pics; DA70: portraits, etc).

01-30-2012, 12:39 PM   #5
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A tripod opens a few options that has already been pointed out ! So I would third that one.
Lens wise...... You cant beat good glass ! Dont buy until you can afford the best ! I would opt for the 16-50 F2.8 or 17-70 F4 and when you can afford... the 50-135 F2.8
Once you have the glass you have it ! that 35mm F2.4 that has been mentioned may just be a different kettle of fish though.
The build quality is a bit low, but its as cheap as chips, but take note...... Its a top class performer in every way, and beats the pants off almost anything out there at any price. The only glass Ive seen that tops it, is the 31mm f1.8, which is both superb and very expensive.
01-30-2012, 01:00 PM   #6
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I have 2 brand new looking tripods. They are the least used part of my kit. That's not because of my subject matter, but more to do with my photographic style. As it is on your list of to buy, you may find you want to use it a lot. If you like to spend a lot of time composing a photo then you are more likely to use it.

Most of us on this forum are addicted to lenses as you will quickly find out. I don't have the 50-300, but it is a good place to start and will be a great buddy for the next 3 years or so before you want to upgrade. the 40mm you will keep and pass onto your grand children.
01-30-2012, 01:10 PM   #7
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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...
Bonjour,

Agreed for the tripod and the DA 35mm AL ... this is a great lens (I have it) and check out the reviews of it in this forum. Allez et A+, J Frog
01-30-2012, 01:27 PM   #8
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Do you have an external flash? I think a GOOD flash with tilt and swivel is very important. Then a good tripod and more lenses....

01-30-2012, 01:38 PM - 1 Like   #9
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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...
Sorry, forgot to mention that the SMC A 50mm f1.7 is a great option, too, if you want to manual focus ... a super lens that I picked up at KEH (check their site) ... not expensive at all considering the quality it renders. IMHO, it's good to have a fixed focal length lens because it makes you move and think more about your composition, etc. Have fun and experiment ... A LOT!

Last edited by Jean Poitiers; 01-30-2012 at 02:44 PM.
01-30-2012, 03:28 PM   #10
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This is an amazing forum! Thank you, all.
I am going to go ahead and get the tripod now, below points reinforced my gut feeling.

"Tripods are always good. They help at all focal lengths, and are great for working with long exposures,and experimenting/learning about your equipment and photography in general."
"A tripod and remote can get you some very lovely landscape/night/sky shots that you normally can't pull off.
-Reasons to get: into landscapes, object photography, low-light photography, self photography (remote + tripod > timer + tripod), something to beat up wolves with"
"If you like to spend a lot of time composing a photo then you are more likely to use it. " This is what I want to do as I believe this is the only way I will learn both the camera and the composition.


Will experiment a lot, learn what I lean towards (telephoto or wide), learn how far I can go with the kit lens indoors, and will also learn how much my family can tolerate my new found obsession with photography. These will then determine the next addition to my kit.

A few points:
ismaelg: I am still very new to photography and will wade these waters a little more before I consider flashes. Thanks a lot.
Manual Lens: Again, will dabble with the Auto lenses in Manual mode before buying a Manual only Lens

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?

Thanks again.
01-30-2012, 03:29 PM   #11
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A good tripod will improve your photography more than any lens will. It is really the first accessory a person should buy.
01-30-2012, 05:12 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
A good tripod will improve your photography more than any lens will. It is really the first accessory a person should buy.
+1

A tripod is not as sexy as a new lens, but it can make the cheapest, slowest lens perform like a pro lens, 95% of the time.
01-30-2012, 08:11 PM   #13
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Wait to develop you own informed opinion before spending hundreds of dollars. When I bought my new DSLR, I made a vow to myself to not buy another lens for a year, taking the time to thoroughly learn my camera and find out what I spent my time shooting. I did get a decent tripod and have used it often. My year didn't last. I found that I wanted to do closeup flower shots, so I got a FA 100 macro. That got me through the year.

I've since replaced my kit lens with a faster and sharper one. I have a total of 5 other lenses, bought over 4 years. That includes the macro. The next one will be a Sigma 9-16mm zoom. I'm going to tour cathedrals and churches in Europe and want the extra wide lens for that. What I don't have is a shelf full of vanity glass that I seldom use. I've only bought lenses for specific needs, as I've run up against the limits of what I already own. Asking for recommendations for lenses before you know what you'll want to photograph is like saying I just got a new kitchen. What kind of food should I stock?
01-30-2012, 09:44 PM   #14
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Get the tripod first. If you want to save a few $ consider the 496RC2 head or the pan-and-tilt 804RC2.

Then get the 55-300. That way you will have continues coverage from 18mm to 300mm. Use them for a while and afterwords run an analysis on your photos using ExposurePlot. The software will tell which focal lengths you were using and how often.

That will give you a clear indication what to get next. If you find yourself shooting a lot around 18mm then you probably need a wider angle lens. If you fall in love with bird photography and you shoot a lot at 300mm you may need a longer one. If many of your shutter speeds are low (you shoot at dark environments) a faster lens will help you.
01-30-2012, 10:43 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by demp10 Quote
...... run an analysis on your photos using ExposurePlot. The software will tell which focal lengths you were using and how often.
...... If many of your shutter speeds are low (you shoot at dark environments) a faster lens will help you.
This is very useful demp10. I do plan to understand what and how and how much I shoot and make that the basis for what I want to buy next. If treated well and with respect, this hobby/interest can be very rewarding. Even more rewarding is to find people who go out of their way to guide a newbie! (sticking to 498RC2)

QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
. Asking for recommendations for lenses before you know what you'll want to photograph is like saying I just got a new kitchen. What kind of food should I stock?
yes sir, that is right. will figure out what i like to "cook" and "eat" before asking about the tools! appreciate the advice.
PS: These are awesome - http://myporttownsend.com/port-townsend-life/favorite-photos-street-photography/
The emotive powers of a static pic are amazing.
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