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03-11-2009, 02:49 PM   #1
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Need some buying advice.

Hi, I'm new!

I'm looking to upgrade to a DSLR from my bridge camera. I've been extremely happy with the results from my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50s, but I think I'd like to upgrade to something with more flexibility and greater capability.

I had never considered Pentax until it was recommended to me on another site and I've done some reading and it seems like a very good choice.

I do a lot of portraiture - I have three small children and I work on other people's children for fun (not profit). I also do general shooting on outings and whatnot.

I've been looking at the K20D reviews and had to hold the drool back in my mouth. I am totally new to the idea of lenses as a separate piece of equipment, though. So here's my question.....I see I can get the K20D body and 18-55mm lens for around $800 which seems pretty amazing.

What additional lens(es) would you recommend for portrait work with children/babies?

What basic "all purpose" lens would you recommend or will the kit lens be sufficient to start out with?

03-11-2009, 03:15 PM   #2
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I would say to start with the kit lens and see how well it covers the types of pictures you want to take. (This is from my extensive camera experience - of 3 months of casual use, lol).

Just remember, lens buying can be addictive (AND very expensive).

P.S. Search the forums. I know this question has been asked before.

Last edited by chalion; 03-11-2009 at 03:17 PM. Reason: added time served in camera ownership
03-11-2009, 03:21 PM   #3
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The kit lens is designed for all-purposeness and does pretty well. I would not look for a direct replacement right away. You get quite a bit more wide angle with this lens than the Panasonic.

You will probably find the FA 50mm f1.4 lens very useful for portraits. With your bridge camera, it is very difficult to control depth of field to make your subject pop out from the background. With this lens, it is easy. Here is an example of the effect:



Of course with kids, you can't just say "Cookie?" and get that look.

Duplicating the 420mm equivalent reach of the Panasonic will cost you a bit. One option is the DA 55-300mm, not quite there but not $1000 either.
03-11-2009, 03:24 PM   #4
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If there is one lens to get to produce the best and most economical portrait results, it would have to be the FA 50 f/1.4 - hands down. You can get one of these new for <$200, and there are some on this forum's marketplace being sold for less.

Don't worry about getting any other lenses for a while - this one will suffice for creative portrait shots. I'm not so sure the kit lens will cut it, though, especially if you'll be shooting without flash.

03-11-2009, 03:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stella Quote

What additional lens(es) would you recommend for portrait work with children/babies?

What basic "all purpose" lens would you recommend or will the kit lens be sufficient to start out with?
Portraits- the FA50 is a pretty good low-light/portrait lens. I also have an older 135mm that is a bit too long for indoors.

The kit should do you fine. Some other options are the 17-70's (either Pentax or Sigma), 24-135's (Sigma or Tamron) or even the 18-250's (Pentax or Tamron).

If you used a p&s, check what focal lengths (in 35mm equivalents) you took the most photos. This will give you a pretty good starting point if you decide on something other than the kit lens.

Hope this helps
03-12-2009, 08:00 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stella Quote
Hi, I'm new!

I'm looking to upgrade to a DSLR from my bridge camera. I've been extremely happy with the results from my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50s, but I think I'd like to upgrade to something with more flexibility and greater capability.

I had never considered Pentax until it was recommended to me on another site and I've done some reading and it seems like a very good choice.

I do a lot of portraiture - I have three small children and I work on other people's children for fun (not profit). I also do general shooting on outings and whatnot.

I've been looking at the K20D reviews and had to hold the drool back in my mouth. I am totally new to the idea of lenses as a separate piece of equipment, though. So here's my question.....I see I can get the K20D body and 18-55mm lens for around $800 which seems pretty amazing.

What additional lens(es) would you recommend for portrait work with children/babies?

What basic "all purpose" lens would you recommend or will the kit lens be sufficient to start out with?
First thing you'll need a portrait lens FA50 or DA*55. Second lens depends on what you'll bet taking pics of...
03-12-2009, 08:09 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Duplicating the 420mm equivalent reach of the Panasonic will cost you a bit. One option is the DA 55-300mm, not quite there but not $1000 either.
The DA 55-300 would have a 84-459 mm 35mm equivalent FOV, so it would be longer than the Panasonic. Just sayin'.
03-12-2009, 09:55 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Erik Quote
The DA 55-300 would have a 84-459 mm 35mm equivalent FOV, so it would be longer than the Panasonic. Just sayin'.
Hey, you are right, thanks for the correction.

Just to set even more of the record straight, my example photo was taken with the Cosina 55mm f1.2, only because it was the example I had online.

03-12-2009, 11:10 AM   #9
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Dave, yes, I know what you mean about the shallow DOF - I can't seem to achieve that from what I have now and end up doing a Gaussian blur in the background to make up for it, which isn't as effective or authentic (though, not bad in a pinch).

Thanks to everyone for the input...I'll definitely go with the FA 50mm f1.4 lens in addition to the kit lens.
03-12-2009, 02:10 PM   #10
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You might also consider the DA 40 f/2.8 Limited, which has been suggested to me (I don't own it) for this same purpose. You can find it for just a little more $$ than the FA 50 (about $225-$275) It's a tad wider than the FA 50, so it can be a bit more versatile, and is widely considered to have superior IQ. The f/2.8 is still fast enough to give a narrow DOF and excellent bokeh while remaining good for low light usage. Although the FA 50 is faster, the f/1.4-2.0 can yield too narrow of DOF for their portraiture tastes (and can be too difficult to focus with standard focusing screens).

I agree with the advice above to review your current photos for the focal length that you ues currently, just remember to calculate the 35mm equivalent if your software doesn't show that to you automatically.
03-12-2009, 06:16 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by indytax Quote
Although the FA 50 is faster, the f/1.4-2.0 can yield too narrow of DOF for their portraiture tastes (and can be too difficult to focus with standard focusing screens).
Not necessarily.
The FA 50/1.4 may be soft wide open, but I have found use for shooting portraits wide open, and I think they're adequately sharp enough and enough DOF (from the distance I was shooting from) to get the creative effect I wanted, without PP sharpening:





03-13-2009, 06:40 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stella Quote
Hi, I'm new!

I'm looking to upgrade to a DSLR from my bridge camera. I've been extremely happy with the results from my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50s, but I think I'd like to upgrade to something with more flexibility and greater capability.

I had never considered Pentax until it was recommended to me on another site and I've done some reading and it seems like a very good choice.

I do a lot of portraiture - I have three small children and I work on other people's children for fun (not profit). I also do general shooting on outings and whatnot.

I've been looking at the K20D reviews and had to hold the drool back in my mouth. I am totally new to the idea of lenses as a separate piece of equipment, though. So here's my question.....I see I can get the K20D body and 18-55mm lens for around $800 which seems pretty amazing.

What additional lens(es) would you recommend for portrait work with children/babies?

What basic "all purpose" lens would you recommend or will the kit lens be sufficient to start out with?
A lens can be flexible in two ways: by having a large aperture range and/or some focal length range. The kit lens gives you the second, but not the first. A relatively inexpensive, yet very good fixed focal lens, like FA 50 f/1.4 gives you the first, but not the second.

There really isn't an "all purpose" lens. Hmm... Maybe, if you want to spend as little as possible, but be relatively "satisfied" for a long time, consider some kind of combination of K20D + DA 40 f/2.8 + DA 16-45 f/4.... I purchased DA 40 f/2.8 for my wife recently and it's easy to like--it's fast focusing and sharp. Jeeze, I don't know. In the end, you'll never be satisfied and will end up going through a dozen lenses, with some on their way from an ebay seller...

To limit your lens buying, at least consider avoiding variable aperture zooms. I had two given to me as gifts and they were fun, but in the end you feel like the person who purchased them for you was conned in some way.

You can also consider buying a set of the pretty manual focus SMC-A primes from the eighties, if you don't mind manual focusing (K20D will signal you if you're in focus, but you'll do the turning).

Last edited by asdf; 03-13-2009 at 06:45 AM.
03-13-2009, 06:52 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stella Quote
Dave, yes, I know what you mean about the shallow DOF - I can't seem to achieve that from what I have now and end up doing a Gaussian blur in the background to make up for it, which isn't as effective or authentic (though, not bad in a pinch).

Thanks to everyone for the input...I'll definitely go with the FA 50mm f1.4 lens in addition to the kit lens.
I'm very happy with the SMC-F 50/1.7 lens which might be less costly if that makes a difference to you.

In any event, a fast 50 should be added to your kit, even if it is manual. However, with moving children, auto-focus will be helpful.

Iowa Dave (too many Daves in this world perhaps?)
03-16-2009, 08:20 PM   #14
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Good question. I just upgraded this week from the FZ-30 to the K20D. Although i am more of an outdoor shooter i did want one decent indoor lens for social and after many hours of pixel peeping, decided the kit lens didn't cut it and was not as sharp as the Leica that we are used to. I compromised with a smaller zoom and a used, DA 16-45 f/4. If you can go to a camera store with your FZ50 and compare pics side by side with the Pentax lens (i have done this) you will see what i mean. Good luck crossing the bridge to both of us!

Last edited by imtheguy; 03-16-2009 at 08:27 PM.
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