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06-27-2018, 10:47 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by BillyCooper Quote
Hi all, and as this is only my second post to the forum, I'll state right up that I'm an old film camera enthusiast, who just got back into the photographic world by way of the K1mii mated with a D-FA 28-105 wr. So I am having to re-learn pretty much everything, because I dropped out in the late 90's, and even then, my capabilities were pretty basic.

Anyway, on to my point. So as a primer to get back into the great new digital age i which we find ourselves, I picked up a copy of Bryan Peterson's classic "Understanding Exposure", (great book, btw) and what has stuck me is this:

I have been shopping for lens, and I notice in allot, and i mean allot of descriptions of the lens I'm shopping, and in allot of this forum's wonderful lens database user reviews, it seems that the many folk kind of put allot of emphasis on the lens base F stop, and then speak in terms of it's capabilities from there, in what I may be totally misunderstanding, but I see terms being used like "I have to stop it down from there" in what seems like, to me, a light that paints that as being a less than good thing? To compound my confusion, after about 50-60 pages of reading into Mr. Peterson's book, he just comes right out an states that the idea of wide opens lens is kind of a misnomer, and that any good photographer knows that using small apertures is actually a good thing...I think he even comes right out and infers, get used to shooting (as an exercise) at f/22 (in fact he actually says the idea we should be shooting primarily as large as possible is a dated presumption).

So I realize fully that all things are relative, especially in terms of all the variables involved (obviously, "millions") but if I had not picked up Mr. Peterson's book, I can tell you right now that I would be chasing lens, and making purchases based on the presumption that a lens with a big ol aperture, and it's ability to capture great photos wide open, would have been a main consideration in making that purchase. So should I be putting so much weight on whether or not a lens has bigger aperture capabilities, or?

Any perspectives on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all, and I am really looking forward to becoming a full fledged Pentax user, and learning much from this generous group.

My Best,

BillyCoop
Welcome to the forum, and I think you'll agree, you're getting some excellent info here to supplement that in your book, or modify it. Your D-FA 28-105mm is not a "fast" wide-aperture lens, just average in aperture range. However, it has been shown to be an excellent performer, even fine wide open. Another upside is that its size and weight are far lower and more manageable than carrying an f/2.8 zoom lens would be. And, as photoptimist said, the higher ISO excellent performance of the K-1 allows an f/4 setting to get you what it takes f/2.8 to get on a lesser camera. That said, if your photography requires the fastest shutter speed you can get, or the lowest depth-of-field, etc. that only a high-quality faster lens can provide, then there is no substitute. This is why many of us have both lens types. We take what we need for the job we are doing.

Having a wealth of info is great, but getting out and taking photos will gain you much in advancement. And, unlike film, with digital you can shoot away and experiment without extra cost!

---------- Post added 06-27-18 at 10:59 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by rjbrett Quote
I have a similar story, having dallied with film cameras back in the 80s & 90s, and then making do with a couple of point and shoot cameras (Pentax and Ricoh as it happens) until buying a used K5 a little over a year ago. While I started out with every intention of buying only new and well rated lenses I've become happily distracted with older lenses. This has been fairly economical, and without the expense and time involved in having film developed and prints made, allowed me to learn much faster than I did with film. As a garden variety amateur, and relative newcomer to digital I think it's good to be able to match the qualities of a lens across all apertures to the pictures you take, and can tell you how I've found the open aperture qualities of the lenses I've bought useful to date.

I think there will always be a certain cachet with having the biggest, or in this case, fastest or sharpest, model of anything, but the general characteristics of many lenses wide open do have their uses, and having good performance at wider apertures does also have it's advantages, however it's defined. I have so far been mostly photographing flowers and insects around the garden, and also views around the township where I live, with the odd street shot, landscape and architecture, and cat portrait thrown in. The ability to use a narrower depth of field wide open to selectively focus on things close up has been great, but more recently I've also found that the ability to give adequate detail and sharpness wide open while retaining some softness is also useful. This is generally recognised in portraiture, but I'm also finding it good for getting a soft feel to the petals of flowers that a sharper rendering won't. In the last month or so I've also found a processing feature that subtly removes fine detail, and I've found this useful once or twice in simplifying a picture so the basic elements that attracted me to that shot are more accessible and easily apprehended to those viewing it. Looking at pictures online I also wonder if some people get carried away with the "Gee whiz!" aspect of the selective, or partial, focus they can achieve with faster lenses at the minimum focus distance, and have found that lenses considered too soft to use wide open actually give sharper images (and better depth of field) if I step back a bit (obvious when you think about it, but.... took me a while ). Of course it's also good to be able to take photos indoors or in low light situations, overcast or pre- or post-dawn, without using a flash or pumping up the ISO and noise. It's also good to be able to get a sharp and detailed photo of a landscape or tree or building, or for a professional a product maybe, when stopped down. If you intend on doing this in low light or very selectively then a lens that is sharp wide open would make sense. Otherwise some softness wide open may also have it's uses.

Another point worth considering when looking at these faster lenses is how usable the wide open aperture will be with such a narrow depth of field, and how this balances with the style and subject of the photograph. I'm finding that I can reasonably use f1.7 and f2 (with the Pentax magnifying eyepiece and an aftermarket focusing screen) and so far these apertures are fitting the narrowest, so to speak, of my requirements. Looking at pics online I don't know if I could use f1.4 or f1.2, or if I need to or if it would be worth the trouble trying. Some people say it is, some say it isn't. Probably looking at the pics (there are several f1.2 threads on the forums here, at least Pentax & Cosina if I remember rightly) will give you some idea of how this will suit you. Some folk also say these lenses are sharper, but for my purposes I think it'd be splitting hairs to argue the point.

Learning to use these open apertures in a way I never did when I used film has certainly helped me achieve what I originally set out to do - document what I was seeing in the garden every day - but I am also now beginning to broaden my ambit, and actively look for photo opportunities elsewhere that need more detail, and there's more learning that comes with that. While I may eventually need sharper optics and better coatings, I'll also be happier having another look at the kit lens (18-55) again when I do try autofocus again. I guess what I'll be trying to do is find a balance between the speed and other lens qualities for everyday use, and know which lens will best do the job for more specific purposes.

And then there's always so much more to learn, and I'd be sorry if I ever got to the point where I stopped learning....
I highly recommend that instead of considering the DA 18-55mm kit lens, go the extra effort and obtain the DA 18-135mm WR. Far better build, WR construction, far better zoom range, much better handling, and far better quiet, fast, accurate AF, not to mention better image capability. It would be a perfect zoom lens in line with your statements regarding what you look for in your images. From about 18-70mm its overall image quality is very good to excellent, and its aperture can keep to f/3.5-4.5, while beyond 70mm, the edge of frame performance softens some, while the central area remains very sharp, and is excellent throughout its zoom range and apertures.


Last edited by mikesbike; 06-27-2018 at 11:04 AM.
06-27-2018, 11:25 AM - 1 Like   #17
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Two 'Rules' that kinda still hold true.....

f8 and be there.

Sunny 16 ( although it should be adjusted for your region, Deep South translates to Sunny 11 )
06-27-2018, 12:26 PM - 1 Like   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by thazooo Quote
Two 'Rules' that kinda still hold true.....

f8 and be there.

Sunny 16 ( although it should be adjusted for your region, Deep South translates to Sunny 11 )
This concept originated way back when cameras did not yet have built-in meters for light reading. And most camera owners did not have an outboard light meter to use. It was a setting to get good results under static circumstances just to get a good picture of a well-lit daylight scene, and go from there. Print film also has a very wide range of exposure latitude.

But time has passed, and photographic equipment has advanced tremendously. Now one has the capability to meter for higher shutter speeds to stop action, slow shutter speeds to show movement, wider apertures to blur background to varying degrees, and such adjustments can be made near-instantly on the fly. Especially with Pentax. Modern camera also have very advanced metering systems. So these days one has far more capability to address the circumstances being faced, and the goals of the shoot.
06-27-2018, 01:38 PM - 2 Likes   #19
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Just Thanks...

WOW.

What an Awesome and generous set of responses. I'd like to thank each and every one of you for replying. I am honestly blow straight away by the depth of knowledge being shared here.

It's pretty plain to see that you guys are passionate and committed about what you're doing here, and I've belonged to quite a few technical forums through the years (with other passions), but you guys are something else.

I guess the only way i can pay it back is to pay it forward, learn, mature in this, and then contrib myself. Also, aside from the book (Understanding Exposure), there is allot to absorb here, and so I will take all of your advice and implement/experiment.

And mostly because of the gorgeous content I'm seeing posted here, and elsewhere, and to a much lessor degree, some of the "lucky" early successes I'm having (one or two out of 50-60...HAH) and I give all the credit to the hardware at this point, because as one famous artist once said "it's easy to be good when you don't know what you're doing, not some much once you understand what you're actually doing" . So on my journey, at least at this time, I "should" be heading into the world of close focus flowers, macro work, photos of things that rust, like old tractors/fenders on that 48 willy in your back yard, and anything industrial looking (probably wide angle perspectives) landscape for sure.

So there it is, and why I'm here, so again, thanks to ALL, and if anyone wants to chime in from here, please do so, because I'm ALL EARS

My very best to all of you,

BillyCoop


Last edited by BillyCooper; 07-04-2018 at 09:31 AM.
06-27-2018, 01:46 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
This concept originated way back when cameras did not yet have built-in meters for light reading. And most camera owners did not have an outboard light meter to use. It was a setting to get good results under static circumstances just to get a good picture of a well-lit daylight scene, and go from there. Print film also has a very wide range of exposure latitude.

But time has passed, and photographic equipment has advanced tremendously. Now one has the capability to meter for higher shutter speeds to stop action, slow shutter speeds to show movement, wider apertures to blur background to varying degrees, and such adjustments can be made near-instantly on the fly. Especially with Pentax. Modern camera also have very advanced metering systems. So these days one has far more capability to address the circumstances being faced, and the goals of the shoot.
And yet it still holds true today. It's a nice medium Aperture that gives enough DOF to account for any mis-focusing. Works well in Street, Landscape, Documentary, Wildlife, and if you plan ahead, Action. I'm sure the action shooters have their own set of rules for a quick shot without much adjusting.
06-30-2018, 10:08 AM - 1 Like   #21
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In an unused or seldom used extra entryway of my home there are two commercial steel shelving units. On those units there are cardboard and plastic boxes and ‘totes’. These are full of photographic books. Most purport to teach something of the subject: “photography”. In the span of forty plus years I have read or reread all of those books. I counted some 400 volumes a few months back.

Recently I acquired a new camera. I though for a moment about which book to read again. I reactivated my presence here at PF. I’ve spent the morning reading these forums, but sadly I’m only going to ‘take away’ again as I have nothing new or more pertinent to add. Except maybe my thanks for all forum participants and their contribution.

So, I’m out of here and off to study the sun! I hope all of you find time to do the same!
06-30-2018, 10:55 AM   #22
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The kit you have is capable of giving stunning results, I should take lots of pics to find out what your preferences are, before getting more lenses. You may want to go wider, or longer or buy a large aperture prime for use in limited lighting. The aperture of the lens actually matters less now with the super wide range of ISO values available in modern cameras, during the film days, you would probably not have ranged beyond 400 ASA top film speed, now, ten times that is usable in your camera and more. By the way, ISO values are exactly the same as the old ASA ones.
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