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06-13-2014, 05:54 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
But only get a macro in the 90-105 range to shoot macro. A 100mm prime is only half as useful as a 50mm or 35mm macro as a general lens.
I'm not sure I agree. Well, I agree that a wider prime is extremely useful, but a 100mm prime does serve its purpose as a fast, short and compact tele.

06-14-2014, 02:59 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by noelpolar Quote
You'll get plenty of advice here...... but I'll not do that. i'll just let you know what happened to me....your wrote a lot...... so I will to!

2009-2012 K200d, sigma 18-250 and sigma 10-20...... similar experience to you

2013 K5II - good step up for me... not happy with lens IQ... got Tamron 17-50/2.8. then Sigma 70-200/2.8. Sold 18-250 kept Sigma 10-20. Then a Tamron 90/2.8 Macro.
- these new zooms/lenses provided significant increas in image IQ, low light performance. Sigma 70-200 particularly (current version) showed me how good a zoom can be...spent about $2,800 on kit. Sold K200d for $250. Droped my K5II on holiday in China..... wish I'd kept the 200D as a spare second body!

2014 Really got to understand the benefits of good glass. Bought a prime or two. Really enjoyed using them. Bought DA21 then 40...oh what the hell.... bought a 15.... sold the Sigma 10-20... was to large to have with me most of the time .... use 15 now. Gee gota try a FA limited.... bought 77.... wow.... bought 31.... dont need/use Tamron 17-50 now ....sold it..... Dont use Tamron 90..... I tend to use close focus.... not macro.....sold it...... oh well might as well try the final FA limited..... bought a FA 43......... gee saw a F*300/4.5..... love at first sight..... bought that......anyway.... about $5k spent.....also found that after using/handling the FA and DA limiteds....not easy to settle for big plastic lenses unless they fill a specific need/requirement.

Oh yeah.... found out how special the K200D CMOS sensor was/is...... wish I had it to try these lenses on it!

Anyway....I now have the gear to take really nice photos. Occasionally it even happens! Rarely is it mainly the camera contributing to this (K5II over K200D)..... mostly it's the glass or something I've managed to do....high ISO camera capability, shooting raw now etc helps of course. Also a few more years learning on my part.

Ok...I'm feeling complete now....bye!
Lol why is it I have visions of me on fast forward reading this
06-14-2014, 04:16 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I'm not sure I agree. Well, I agree that a wider prime is extremely useful, but a 100mm prime does serve its purpose as a fast, short and compact tele.
You prompted me to use it today as a general purpose tele! Got some good shots (and enjoyed being able to use it in the rain), but kept wanting to swap it out for either wider or longer FLs. I just find 100mm too long for a lot of landscapes and non-macro nature shots and too short for birds and wildlife. That's just me, but I suspect it's not an unusual preference.
06-14-2014, 12:56 PM   #19
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@cxdoo - I had a read through the K100D onwards article, it was an interesting read, pretty much reiterating most of what is being said here.

After reading through and compiling all this advice from various sources, this is where I'm at now.

Camera:
I'm pretty sold on the K3 right now. At first I wasn't really sure on this point as the K-5iis was looking so competitive, not just on price but on IQ. However, the big selling points that I can see make the K-3 the likely winner are better AF capabilities, better AWB, lower high ISO noise (but only after PP), 50% higher pixel density - better for cropping / enlargements. One additional massive selling point that is currently only available for K-3 due to it's FLU card compatibility is the ability to use live view and control camera on your tablet or smart phone. I was jealous of the Canon's flexible LCD, but with
this function the K-3 has even greater flexibility AND weather resistance thrown into the bargain. Until they update the K5 firmwhere to use the Eyefi cards do the same thing only the K3 has this. Lastly - paying for one better camera benefits all your lenses.

Cons that I can see for the K-3 over the K-5 are slightly less D-range, suffers more from higher ISO noise without PP, larger files and of course PRICE.

Lenses:
Ultra Wide Angle
Pentax 10-17, or the Pentax 12-24 / Sigma 10-20 - This is a hard choice and will depend on price and FOV choice. The 10-17 has a minimum FOV of 100, making it comparable at 17mm to the other two rectilinear lenses at 10. Getting this lens would essentially leave me with a 50% magnification difference between my next closest lens @17mm. Then there's the distortion factor of the fisheye (apparently not so great at 17) - but at least you get to have that creative choice, as well as having 180 degree capability, and with the K-3 extra 50% MPs, a FOV reduction via cropping won't be so bad.

- My choice will probably be the 12-24 if I can find an affordable one, then either the 10-17 or the 10-20 depending on what I can find and how I feel at the time :)

Multi Situational
Sigma 17-70
- Hopefully I'll have the WR 18-135 if I manage to get the second hand K-3 I've got my eye on, in which case I can delay this lens for a bit if need be so I can afford better quality primes.

Primes
This area I'm the most unsure of. What's the difference between DAs and FA's apart from FA's being compatible with FF? A few members seem to be recommending primarily FA's over DA's. Is this just a personal recommendation for the lenses they own, or do FA's have better IQ or something? I also thought the DA lenses were generaly shorter and/or lighter.

I'd love to fill it up with limited lenses, but some of them brutally expensive, others not so much - 21mm and 40mm for example.

Are limiteds really that much better than non-limiteds? Some people seem to almost place them in a category of their own, and it gives me the impression that say nothing less than say a Sigma ART series lens is as good. Like, how does the DA-50 1.8, which scored really well compare, with the DA*55 or FA-43 Ltd?

Are the star(*) lenses as good as the limited as well as being water proofed?


Last edited by Daniel Darko; 06-14-2014 at 01:45 PM.
06-14-2014, 04:46 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
@cxdoo - I had a read through the K100D onwards article, it was an interesting read, pretty much reiterating most of what is being said here.

After reading through and compiling all this advice from various sources, this is where I'm at now.

Camera:
I'm pretty sold on the K3 right now. At first I wasn't really sure on this point as the K-5iis was looking so competitive, not just on price but on IQ. However, the big selling points that I can see make the K-3 the likely winner are better AF capabilities, better AWB, lower high ISO noise (but only after PP), 50% higher pixel density - better for cropping / enlargements. One additional massive selling point that is currently only available for K-3 due to it's FLU card compatibility is the ability to use live view and control camera on your tablet or smart phone. I was jealous of the Canon's flexible LCD, but with
this function the K-3 has even greater flexibility AND weather resistance thrown into the bargain. Until they update the K5 firmwhere to use the Eyefi cards do the same thing only the K3 has this. Lastly - paying for one better camera benefits all your lenses.

Cons that I can see for the K-3 over the K-5 are slightly less D-range, suffers more from higher ISO noise without PP, larger files and of course PRICE.

Lenses:
Ultra Wide Angle
Pentax 10-17, or the Pentax 12-24 / Sigma 10-20 - This is a hard choice and will depend on price and FOV choice. The 10-17 has a minimum FOV of 100, making it comparable at 17mm to the other two rectilinear lenses at 10. Getting this lens would essentially leave me with a 50% magnification difference between my next closest lens @17mm. Then there's the distortion factor of the fisheye (apparently not so great at 17) - but at least you get to have that creative choice, as well as having 180 degree capability, and with the K-3 extra 50% MPs, a FOV reduction via cropping won't be so bad.

- My choice will probably be the 12-24 if I can find an affordable one, then either the 10-17 or the 10-20 depending on what I can find and how I feel at the time

Multi Situational
Sigma 17-70
- Hopefully I'll have the WR 18-135 if I manage to get the second hand K-3 I've got my eye on, in which case I can delay this lens for a bit if need be so I can afford better quality primes.

Primes
This area I'm the most unsure of. What's the difference between DAs and FA's apart from FA's being compatible with FF? A few members seem to be recommending primarily FA's over DA's. Is this just a personal recommendation for the lenses they own, or do FA's have better IQ or something? I also thought the DA lenses were generaly shorter and/or lighter.

I'd love to fill it up with limited lenses, but some of them brutally expensive, others not so much - 21mm and 40mm for example.

Are limiteds really that much better than non-limiteds? Some people seem to almost place them in a category of their own, and it gives me the impression that say nothing less than say a Sigma ART series lens is as good. Like, how does the DA-50 1.8, which scored really well compare, with the DA*55 or FA-43 Ltd?

Are the star(*) lenses as good as the limited as well as being water proofed?
Second hand FA43s go for about $450 in Australia....great way to try a FA limited. Cant lose as you can always sell it with little loss.
06-16-2014, 06:12 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
This area I'm the most unsure of. What's the difference between DAs and FA's apart from FA's being compatible with FF?
Aside from discussing the merits and flaws of each particular model, the DAs have quick-shift (manual focus override at any time, if you will). They also lack an aperture ring, which would only be useful on an older film body or if you use your lens reversed for macro (fun but not particularly common).

Some DAs do work on full frame, but not all. All FAs do work on FF.

DAs qlso have more modern coatings, especially if you get the new HD limiteds. That's not to say the FAs are bad, not in any way.

Apart from that they are all good.

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
A few members seem to be recommending primarily FA's over DA's.
The FA limiteds (31, 43, 77) have a cult following. I'd say the best way to describe them is that they have "personnality". They're are EXCELLENT, sharp, bright, with beautiful contrast and saturation. They are beautifully crafted. People love them.

The DA limiteds are also excellent. They are more compact (extremely small in fact), just as well made, smaller (slower) maximum aperture, faster to focus (arguably), with more even performances across the frame (sharper in the corners, for instance). They show less optical flaws such as aberrations (some will say that this is part of the FA's personnality). They are more "predictable". People also love them.

Which is better? None really, they are different. The FAs are more expensive however.

If you look at the regular FAs and DAs, they probably compare well. The DAs (35 and 50) are all plastic, lighter, less sturdy maybe but not cheap. The DA*55 is a different lens, probably the sould of an FA limited in the body of a weather-sealed DA.

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
do FA's have better IQ or something?
No, as I said, just different. It's a case by case study.

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
Are limiteds really that much better than non-limiteds? Some people seem to almost place them in a category of their own, and it gives me the impression that say nothing less than say a Sigma ART series lens is as good.
Yes the limiteds are in a world of their own. For many reason:

1-they are beautifully crafted metal lenses, a joy to handle and use. Gems.

2-they are compact, especially the DA, while offering top optical performances.

3-they are sharp, very much so, but that's only part of the story.

4-their rendering of colours, contrasts, etc, is what sets them apart. The images they produce have a pop, a richness to them, that is hard to measure but that can easily be spotted when looking at pictures. And that's probably the best way to forge your opinion. Scour FlikR or the forums here to see examples.

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
Like, how does the DA-50 1.8, which scored really well compare, with the DA*55 or FA-43 Ltd?
It's very good, but not as well-made, not as sharp, not as contrasted as the others.
06-17-2014, 04:50 AM   #22
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I didn't win the K3 I was after on ebay

Thanks for the in depth comparisons bdery.

I have been thinking about for primes:
Pentax DA 50mm 1.8 - later to upgrade to DA*55 when I can afford. This decision is pretty final. I don't see how I can turn down an f/1.8 lens for $145 with with excellent reviews to save money.
Samyang 35mm 1.4 - it's either this or the Sigma 30mm 1.4. Sure, it's a monster lens, but I have read sooooo many good things about it.
DA 35mm 1.4 - if I can't afford the Samyang.
a 21mm or 24mm prime later when I can afford it. The Ltd 21mm pancake looks nice, as does the Samyang 24mm. Once again the Samyang is a monster but hey, @ 1.4 for a longer focal length it's gonna be. Not as good for walking around town with, but much better for astro's.

Too many good lenses to choose from it makes me cry.
06-17-2014, 05:15 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
a 21mm or 24mm prime later when I can afford it. The Ltd 21mm pancake looks nice, as does the Samyang 24mm. Once again the Samyang is a monster but hey, @ 1.4 for a longer focal length it's gonna be. Not as good for walking around town with, but much better for astro's.
Just to be sure, you are aware that the Samyang are manual focus? It's not bad per se, but for some that's a deal breaker.

At around 21mm, having a really fast lens is less of a necessity. Sure, more light is always better, but it's often not needed. Your DOF will be quite large anyway, and it's easy to handhold wide lenses at slower shutter speeds.

06-17-2014, 06:14 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Just to be sure, you are aware that the Samyang are manual focus? It's not bad per se, but for some that's a deal breaker.

At around 21mm, having a really fast lens is less of a necessity. Sure, more light is always better, but it's often not needed. Your DOF will be quite large anyway, and it's easy to handhold wide lenses at slower shutter speeds.
yeah I'm aware it's MF. it's a big downside to reactionary shots.

My requirements for DOF are pretty much meh at 21mm asfaik. It's mostly about light absorbtion for low light astro shots I'm concerned about. I am not schooled in these things, but I thought your f/stop is a direct function of your focal length divided by your aperture diameter. I used to think "wider lens = more light in" but doesn't f-stop generate a kind of equivolence between focal lengths. ie f1.4@50mm let in the same amount of light as f1.4@21mm?

I'll probably always be part minded on any real decision until I actually buy some stuff and have a chance to evaluate it :/

---------- Post added 06-17-14 at 11:20 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
ie f1.4@50mm let in the same amount of light as f1.4@21mm? :/
on second thoughts I don't think that is right. Light let in would be a function of the area, which would be a function of aperture squared, wouldn't it?

on third thoughts, if you had a 100mm aperture stuffed down a 30 metre tube, it would let in almost no light, so light let in must be a function of both. But a functon of f/a^2 or f/a?

Last edited by Daniel Darko; 06-17-2014 at 06:25 AM.
06-17-2014, 10:32 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
I thought your f/stop is a direct function of your focal length divided by your aperture diameter
Yes it is.

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
I used to think "wider lens = more light in" but doesn't f-stop generate a kind of equivolence between focal lengths. ie f1.4@50mm let in the same amount of light as f1.4@21mm?
You are correct. I wasn't clear enough. I meant that, in general, it's not as crucial to let more light in with wider lenses than with longer lenses. In a good part because camera shake will have less impact, in part because DOF control is minimal in any case.

However, if you want more light for strophotogrpahy, things are very different, and faster can indeed be useful.

Two caveats :

1-if you plan on using the lens with a telescope aparatus, then the telescope will be your limiting factor, and using say an f8 telescope with a lens set at f1.4 will decrease the contrast. In many case it's better to use an occulary or to mount the camera directly.

2-if you want to photograph night skies, too wide an aperture can make it difficult to achieve good focus. That's because it's hard to set the lens EXACTLY at infinity, and too narrow a DOF will cripple your image.

With a modern camera like the K-3, it's possible to take beautiful night pictures with a lens set at f4.5, 30 seconds, ISO 800 (in this case the DA21)

06-17-2014, 11:51 AM   #26
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That's a beautiful picture. I checked out your website where (surprise surprise) there were many more beautiful pictures and the star trail version of the above picture. Is that lake somewhere local?

I was planning on just using the camera on a tripod and getting the O-GPS one day, not getting into any deep field astropics.

QuoteQuote:
if you want to photograph night skies, too wide an aperture can make it difficult to achieve good focus. That's because it's hard to set the lens EXACTLY at infinity
I'll have to take your word for it as I've my K200D doesn't understand the meaning of autofocus once the sun sets :/ I was hoping with the K3 and it's ability to see in the dark I would be able to find hyperfocal more easily.

Nice pics. I especially liked the one with the butterfly wings in motion... and the pic of the French street in the snow... and the pic of....
06-18-2014, 05:31 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
That's a beautiful picture. I checked out your website where (surprise surprise) there were many more beautiful pictures
Thank you. Very much.

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
and the star trail version of the above picture. Is that lake somewhere local?
Half an hour from Quebec city, we have a summer house there.

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
I was planning on just using the camera on a tripod and getting the O-GPS one day, not getting into any deep field astropics.
With the O-GPs it's even easier to use a smaller aperture.

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
I'll have to take your word for it as I've my K200D doesn't understand the meaning of autofocus once the sun sets :/ I was hoping with the K3 and it's ability to see in the dark I would be able to find hyperfocal more easily.
Well, even the K-3 will not focus on a single star What I do for landscape/sky shots is focus on a distant light source, for instance the spots on the other side of the lake. So a smaller aperture does help.

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
Nice pics. I especially liked the one with the butterfly wings in motion... and the pic of the French street in the snow... and the pic of....
The butterfly was a lucky shot And the French street is actually Quebec city, but it does get called the most european city in North America
06-18-2014, 06:09 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Well, even the K-3 will not focus on a single star What I do for landscape/sky shots is focus on a distant light source, for instance the spots on the other side of the lake. So a smaller aperture does help.
I have a camera aid on my phone that calculates hyperfocal distances for focal lengths and f/stops. Last time I tried to do some Astroscaping I just stepped out a little more than the calculated distance (to be on the safe side) and then put a torch down and focused on that. Will this not give me my focus to infinity? As you are studied in this field I'm rather interested in your response.

Well, I'm so bored of my own thread by now and trying to rationalise a million different purchase combinations, but I feel I owe it to whoever has contributed to give you all an update on my final decision. After so much inner turmoil I've realised one important thing:

I'm never going to know exactly what lens to buy straight up because I don't have the experience to know what I like yet.

So on that note, I'm going to play it safe, and go with some solid but cheapies. 50mm DA 1.8 and 35mm DA 2.4 - I can get these both for about $260 total if I buy my camera from B&H or about $350 if I buy my camera from ebay or elsewhere without the bundle discounts.

Pentax 10-17mm .. Think I'm going to love this lens, and it's around $460 regardless where I buy it from. It was either that or the 12-24 which is around $600+ but I don't know which one I would prefer, so I'll probably grab the cheaper one as I intend to pick up the 21mm LTD at some stage.

And that's pretty much what I'll do, I reckon. If I get all this through B&H it works out:
K-3
Grip + Extra Battery
Flu card
50mm DA 1.8
35mm DA 2.4
10-17mm
$2000 inc shipping. I don't think I can complain about that. And I'm unlikely to get much better but I'll watch ebay for a little and see what I can turn up.

Thanks to all who lent so much advice. Sorry I couldn't listen to you all ;) but I'm sure your words will help when it comes time to consider my next move.
06-18-2014, 10:03 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
I have a camera aid on my phone that calculates hyperfocal distances for focal lengths and f/stops. Last time I tried to do some Astroscaping I just stepped out a little more than the calculated distance (to be on the safe side) and then put a torch down and focused on that. Will this not give me my focus to infinity? As you are studied in this field I'm rather interested in your response.
Yes it should work. In theory In practice, focusing in the dark is still tricky for a camera and focus could still be off. That's why I'm not comfortable doing that myself, It could catch a reflection, the focus point might not be on your light source, etc. It's trickier if you're not behind the camera but in front holding the torch.

QuoteOriginally posted by Daniel Darko Quote
So on that note, I'm going to play it safe, and go with some solid but cheapies. 50mm DA 1.8 and 35mm DA 2.4 - I can get these both for about $260 total if I buy my camera from B&H or about $350 if I buy my camera from ebay or elsewhere without the bundle discounts.
Fair enough. Yuo won't loose much if ou ever feel the need to resell them. And they will serve you well for a long time.
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