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08-19-2014, 05:47 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Do I need new and expensive lens?

Hope this is the proper place for this, As you can see in my signature, I have three cheap (maybe I should say Inexpensive)lens. I will attach a few pics.
I've been thinking of getting a Sigma or Tamron 17-50 or a Sigma 17-70. A few days ago. I saw a capture by imatginarium of "The making of bridge" The Pentax forum member used a K110D and a DA 18-55/3.5-5.6AL and I am wondering if I need the lens I mentioned.
A few months ago, I printed some 4x6 from images taken with my 18-55, 28-200. Tak Bayonet 135/2.5 and a Rokinon 28/2.8. The prints were great, at least to my old eyes. PS . Rokinon and Tak sold although the buyer has not paid yet for the Tak..
I would appreciate your thoughts. Be as brutal as you want to be about the attachments. I'm the first to admit that I have a ways to go with my photography. I did no PP just a bit of cropping here and there.

Attached Images
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PENTAX K20D  Photo 
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PENTAX K20D  Photo 
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PENTAX K20D  Photo 
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PENTAX K20D  Photo 
08-19-2014, 05:56 PM   #2
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If you like taking flower shots, I would recommend a dedicated 1:1 macro lens that can do double duty. The cheapest option here is the Sigma 50mm 2.8 1:1 macro:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002P19QW/ref=twister_B0064I7GC2

You can get a good deal on it on ebay or craigslist.

This is one of my three favourite lenses. It is optically brilliant, it is built to last a lifetime (unlike the Tamron 17-50), and it can assume so many different roles. It is also full frame compatible and hence future proof. Check out my review of this on this forum.
08-19-2014, 05:59 PM   #3
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And if you don't want to spend $350+ look for the manual focus version.

It can usually be found for less than $150.

Sigma 50mm F2.8 Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/130-lens-sample-photo-archive/214554-sigm...2-8-macro.html
08-19-2014, 06:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
And if you don't want to spend $350+ look for the manual focus version.

It can usually be found for less than $150.

Sigma 50mm F2.8 Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/130-lens-sample-photo-archive/214554-sigm...2-8-macro.html
A guy was selling the manual version for 50 Euros where I live. The used price on the new version is reasonable enough, if you are willing to look. I got mine in mint condition for 200 USD.

08-19-2014, 06:31 PM   #5
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Do you "need" a better lens - from what you have said - no.

Would your photography benefit from a better lens is a different question altogether and depends on you. Some people can continue forever to improve the shots they take with just a kit lens while many others need something different to stretch them or given them more control.
While I can't afford expensive glass at the moment, I have found that a "new" lens encourages me to get out and take more photos because I'm trying out the lens and learning its strengths and weaknesses. Some lenses can also extend your photography capability. For example a macro lens for close up, or a fast lens for shallow depth of field or low light photography.
08-19-2014, 06:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by DominicVII Quote
A guy was selling the manual version for 50 Euros where I live. The used price on the new version is reasonable enough, if you are willing to look. I got mine in mint condition for 200 USD.
I paid $100 plus shipping in January 2010. It's really a very nice lens and unlike the Pentax A 50/2.8 it is a 1:1.
08-19-2014, 06:35 PM   #7
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A fixed focal length lens will always perform better than a zoom lens. Even though zoom lenses are better than they used to be, they are still a compromise throughout the focal range.

Like the others have mentioned, get a fixed focal length lens (or two or three! ). Then if you find the subject falls in between one of the focal lengths either move in or move out, zoom with your feet.

And the older, manual lenses are excellent choices. They can usually be had for cheap, and provided they have been cared for and do not have fungus will give very good results.
08-19-2014, 06:49 PM   #8
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If you don't have a particular pressing need (that you can point to and say I cannot do this w/o a new lens, and I want to), then you don't need new lens(es).

The 50mmf/1.7 is an excellent lens for macro--if you decide you need to get closer just add a 2x teleconverter (Vivitar macro 2x is good), auto tubes, or even a supplementary close up lens (maybe a 3x to take you closer to about 0.2 magnification). My suggestion is the 2x teleconverter--is easy to use, gives you more distance from the subject, and is fine in close ups.

08-19-2014, 06:51 PM   #9
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Thanks Dom and Boris, I shot the flowers as the were handy..my yard. I shoot a little of everything. Just wanted to show off the A50, Tammy 28-200 and DA 18-55 and see what others think about my question. Will I see improvements. I realize that technique plays a big part but from reading lots of posting here and elsewhere, the equipment is important too. Maybe I should rent and see for myself. BTW. these 3 lens cost less than $100.00.
08-19-2014, 07:50 PM   #10
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I think the technique and post process is way more important than the equipment. And I suggest you first work on them, and improve there, then when you concluded that you need some feature(fast aperture/AF/MF/close focus/whatever) that your current kit can't do, go and find the lens.

I've printed several of my photos from cheap (less than $100) lenses up to 12 by 18 inches, and they were fine.

BTW, If I were you, based on the current kit, I'd buy a fast fifty! you can find the M/A50/1.7 for about less than $100 or the DA50/1.8 for a little more if you want AF. Or just go for a macro lens in this range as others suggested.
08-19-2014, 08:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by royden Quote
Thanks Dom and Boris, I shot the flowers as the were handy..my yard. I shoot a little of everything. Just wanted to show off the A50, Tammy 28-200 and DA 18-55 and see what others think about my question. Will I see improvements. I realize that technique plays a big part but from reading lots of posting here and elsewhere, the equipment is important too. Maybe I should rent and see for myself. BTW. these 3 lens cost less than $100.00.

Get this book for 4 dollars including shipping. This is the only photography book you will ever need to buy; trust me: I have wasted my money on too money photography books that are fit for the bonfire only. This book contains all that you ever need to know about photography technique - and much, much, much more besides. Everything is illustrated, and best of all: almost all of the hundreds of photos in this book are shot with Pentax cameras and lenses. Take note of the exposure data for the different photos, do as this guy does, and you will shoot like a pro in no time:

Amazon.com: Buying Choices: The New Manual of Photography

Buy "Like New" or "Very Good" condition only.
08-19-2014, 09:10 PM   #12
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Your attached images look soft... all of them.

As mentioned a gazillion times by others, a true macro would be a nice start for flower photography... Typically avoid zoom lenses that say 'macro' on them -- you want a flat field prime. (basically, if it is a prime lens that says MACRO you are probably in good territory).

I would still buy one with autofocus available. For in-close macro work you likely won't use the AF (since rocking the camera back and forth will get you in focus -- it is that small of a difference).. But the Macro lens can be backed away from your subject and used like a traditional lens too (a very sharp one I might add).

beyond that, look at the plastic DA primes -- the 35mm f/2.4 and the 50mm f/1.8 -- especially stopped down to around f/8 they are magnificently sharp... but not macro lenses...

other option I think mentioned would be one of the old M or A series primes and some extension tubes. But you may not like the rendering of the M/A series primes (I loathe the bokeh they produce -- I have both the M 28mm f/2.8 and 50 f/1.7 and the bokeh on each is very busy -- blah).
08-19-2014, 09:33 PM - 1 Like   #13
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No lens will replace an understanding of the craft.

I know the impact made by the color of a new azalea or crepe myrtle blossoms but we see very differently from the camera. Which is why, while my wife shops at the Farmers Market, I spend most of my time looking for compositions that work and very little of it making photographs. It's free form fun, never been hired by a vegetable.

All photographs, to some degree, are Concept, Capture, Edit and Presentation. The idea that you point the camera, push the shutter and are done is very limiting. First and most important: What is the point of the image? That will help you decide what follows:
  • Why are you including the objects in the photo? Can the main subject (figure) even be seen against the back ground (ground)?
  • High, Medium or Low key? What is the mood? Airy and light hearted, dark and dramatic or matter of fact?
  • Is the exposure correct for your intent? Why have you chosen your aperture, shutter speed and ISO? Is hand held okay or does this need a tripod or man made light?
  • Are the light properties ( Intensity, Direction, Color and Quality ( Soft or Hard) what you want? Do you need to modify by choosing a different time or man made means?
  • How should you frame (crop) to convey the idea of the image? What should be excluded (non journalism decision)?
  • Color or B&W?
  • Is the focus acceptable?
You get the idea. Invest your time in learning exposure, understanding light qualities and lighting ratios and design elements and principles. Bryan Peterson Understanding Exposure is a good place to start. The other books mentioned may be just the ticket, I just don't know them. Use the gear you have until you understand why you need something else

The attached photos are from two weeks ago. Just walking about, State Farmers Market Raleigh. Bought some azaleas this year, looked just like yours.

Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 12-03-2014 at 09:19 PM.
08-20-2014, 04:44 AM   #14
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DA 18-55 AL = Kit Lens ....
For the price , this is a great lens , I had 3 of them , the DA 18-55 AL (2) is probably the one you want , and its not an expensive lens ...
If you can find a Sigma DC 17-70 F2.8 or latter model lens , they work rather well ...
Or you can go for the higher grade pentax lenses ...

Now bear in mind , zoom is always a compromise , prime lenses will usually be sharper ...
Problem with having a bunch of Prime lenses is $$ , hence zoom to cover more ground .
So buying a better grade of zoom ,

Other option is to start collecting older manual focus lenses , especially A series lenses ( Which are going up in price ) ( Prime )

To start , you want a DA 18-55 AL in your collection . * After that ...


Yeah , Practice and more practice ...
To start learning you need to understand aperture , start with aperture ....
A great way to start is with a subject ( Flower ) , camera on a tripod , and chose AV mode ( aperture priority )
As your on a tripod , shutter speed wont be critical , neither will ISO ..

Start at F2.8 and keep going till your shutter speed drops to 1/40 or so ...
Check out your work and see what aperture worked ..

Check out youtube for some tutorials on aperture ...

Last edited by old4570; 08-20-2014 at 04:53 AM.
08-20-2014, 04:47 AM   #15
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I second what Brooke Meyer wrote.
Learn the craft, then determine what lenses you need to accomplish your task.
Read books, join clubs, take classes, get your stuff out there for constructive critique.
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