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12-09-2009, 10:48 AM   #16
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I've spent quite a bit of time searching for the answers to these questions because I didn't want to 'bother' anyone. But boy, am I glad I asked!
Invaluable info and opinions.
Thanks guys.

12-09-2009, 11:08 AM   #17
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You're right guys, I think I'm more looking at the 33mm lense.
Recommendations as to which I should be looking at?
12-09-2009, 11:42 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winnie Quote
You're right guys, I think I'm more looking at the 33mm lense.
Recommendations as to which I should be looking at?
That's a problem. Pentax discontinued the best "fast normal" choice, the Pentax FA 35mm f2. They are still available, but at high prices. It really is a great lens, maybe almost worth current prices. I've tried other 35mm f2 lenses, which are never cheap, and I think the FA is the only one worth having. Pentax has two new alternatives, the DA 35mm f2.8 macro and the FA 31mm f1.8. Both are highly rated by owners but somewhat (DA) or extremely (FA) expensive.

The best cheap option is a 28mm f2.8, not a huge maximum aperture but OK as long as the lens is good wide open. Here the used lens market has many good choices at all price levels. I like the Pentax-A 28mm f2.8 a lot, and you can get it for around $100. It is a good all-around performer. There are several Vivitar models that are as good or better than the Pentax-A. Look for ones with the A position on the aperture ring, serial numbers starting with 22 or 28, or the words "Close Focusing" in the name. Prices vary considerably depending on the exact model.
12-09-2009, 01:04 PM   #19
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I use an M28/2.8 for most of the things people used to use a fast 50 for. For the reasons I mentioned, I'd agree with Dave that you should probably get the A28/2.8 instead.

The other lens I use a lot is the DA40/2.8, which costs about the same as the FA50. While it isn't as fast, the focal length is a lot more useful in my opinion.

It's true f/2.8 isn't particularly fast by many standards. On the other hand, much of the talke of the need for f/2 or f/1.4 comes from the days when ISO 400 was the fastest film you'd ever consider using. Today, you can get results from ISO 1600 on digital that are as good or better. So aside from the extreme shallow DOF effects, most of what one used to do on film with a 50/1.4 can be done just as well on digital with a 28/2.8. Toss in a cheap fast 50 as well for the shots where you really want to play with shallow DOF.


Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 12-10-2009 at 11:05 AM.
12-09-2009, 06:39 PM   #20
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As Marc suggests, you could use a fast fifty and a more "normal" length like a 28mm, and cover both contingencies.

Marc is really good at and a proponent of manually focusing - I enjoy manually focusing, use it alot, but even with a split prism/microprism focusing screen I never really got fast at MF - at least not when DOF is critical like at 50mm f/1.4... You can get really good results from AF as well, but as Marc suggests you need to learn in detail how the AF system works (for instance, learning where the focus points really are and how big an area they really cover, since they don't always correspond to where they are depicted)... I've enjoyed MF lenses, but I slowly came to realize that I really like to be able to AF for rapidly changing environments, and eventually ended up with all AF gear...

I'd take a look at the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 - it gets some bad reviews, but deadwolfbones sure seems to be getting good results out of his copy (here, and here and I know I've seen him post about it before in some other threads.)
12-10-2009, 11:16 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by heliphoto Quote
Marc is really good at and a proponent of manually focusing - I enjoy manually focusing, use it alot, but even with a split prism/microprism focusing screen I never really got fast at MF - at least not when DOF is critical like at 50mm f/1.4.
I'm not fast at focusing at very large apertures like that, either - largely because I don't have a fancy focus screen, and the stock screen lies about DOF and shows too much in focus at apertures beyond f/2.8. It's possible to learn to adjust, but manual focus at apertures larger than f/2.8 with the stock focus screen is never going to as fast as manual focus at f/2.8 or smaller.

Between that and the fact that DOF can become unusably small for many "normal" purposes (eg, capturing candids) at apertures larger than f/2.8, that's why I'm perfectly comfortable with f/2.8 primes for general use. I've got a 50/1.7 that I pull out on rare occasions - when I specifically wish to play with extremely shallow DOF, or if I need faster shutter speeds than I can get pushing at f/2.8 when pushing ISO as high as I can stand. But for most of my photography, f/2.8 is really as large an aperture as I need. So that's a big part of why I can get away with MF and not feel very limited.

The good news here is that with practice, you can improve both your AF and MF skills, as they are sometimes more related than one might think. Not sure I can put into words exactly how this is so. But it comes down to an awareness of DOF, of what types of subjects are easier to focus on than others, and of how a camera or your eyes can be fooled into thinking a picture is in focus that isn't.
12-10-2009, 11:31 AM   #22
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Yeah I hear you on shallow DOF Marc, but it can be fun to use too. On my new Canon, I can get maybe 20% keepers wide open on the 100/2 and the 50/1.4 in non posed situations using AF.C (well A.I Servo) - my son doesn't ever stop moving 'cept when he's asleep, and my wife hates to have here photo taken most of the time . Here's an example with the 100mm f/2 USM wide open. There were slight oof errors on the shot before and after this (I still kept them though - great expressions), but it's digital, I just keep trying and throw out the bad ones.

Marc - seriously man you would love a split screen!!! Focusing Screen... It's self Xmas gift time man... Do it!
12-10-2009, 05:32 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by heliphoto Quote
Here's an example with the 100mm f/2 USM wide open.
Nice - when you nail focus with shallow DOF, there's nothing else like it!

QuoteQuote:
Marc - seriously man you would love a split screen!!!
I don't know, I can't I loved it on my first camera that had one. The cluttered look through the viewfinder always bothered me, and I was happy to rid of it with the next camera I used after that. I recognize this puts me in a minority.

Anyhow, If someday I start to find MF becoming too difficult, sure I might change my mind and reluctantly go back, but for now, I'm content.

12-10-2009, 09:20 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by heliphoto Quote
Marc - seriously man you would love a split screen!!! Focusing Screen... It's self Xmas gift time man... Do it!
How hard are those to install? Say, if I bought one for my K-x when they came out with them.
12-10-2009, 09:37 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by noahpurdy Quote
How hard are those to install? Say, if I bought one for my K-x when they came out with them.
It's pretty darned easy - here's a video showing how to do it on a K10D from a former(?) moderator here (he might still be a mod, but you don't see him around much...) I have no idea if the K-X will be the same...
12-11-2009, 11:17 AM   #26
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The K10D was designed to have a user-replaceable focus screen, the K-x is not. It's still possible (at least with other models that are not designed to be user replaceable), but from what I understand, trickier.
12-12-2009, 02:28 AM   #27
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This here DA 38mm 2.8 macro PentaxWebstore smc Pentax DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited is a bit out of my range, but begs the question: It can be used as a normal lense completely, right? Are there any drawbacks to a lens that has a short minimum focus?

And while researching this week, I think I'm going to be looking for a FA 35mm 2.0 for my all around stuff (Thinking Christmas party) And I will get an M50 1.7 (?) or even larger for fun and tinkering.

Just so you know how new I am at this, in my weekly experiments I just realized that:
a) My 15/35 kit lense has a larger aperature when wide.
b) Wide angle can not, I repeat, NOT do portraits.

Here's a current shot I'm proud of: My dog Bailey.
12-12-2009, 10:16 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winnie Quote
This here DA 38mm 2.8 macro PentaxWebstore smc Pentax DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited is a bit out of my range, but begs the question: It can be used as a normal lense completely, right? Are there any drawbacks to a lens that has a short minimum focus?
Not really. Since the focus range is greater, autofocus can be a little slower - the lens has to turn more. The maximum aperture isn't that big a drawback either, because this lens is still very good wide open. I haven't used it, but with my FA35, only a few times has it been absolutely necessary to use f2.0.

QuoteQuote:
Just so you know how new I am at this, in my weekly experiments I just realized that:
a) My 18/3.5 kit lense has a larger aperature when wide.
b) Wide angle can not, I repeat, NOT do portraits.
The kit lens can do the wide angle role for a long time, especially when you look at the cost of replacing it.

I have seen really good portraits done with a wide angle lens, but I can't duplicate them. If you try to do the classic portrait poses, faces start to look funny. The wide angle is good for a "portrait in context", like a person doing a job. You make a connection between the person and their surroundings. My attempts have failed because I'm not entirely comfortable getting close, and my framing is not precise.

I really like the Bailey photo, great colors and light.
12-13-2009, 08:31 AM   #29
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Does the K2000 have the "Green Button". or an equivalent? Dumb as it sounds, none of my buttons are green. ...but looking at that "Green Button" thread makes me want one.
12-13-2009, 08:38 AM   #30
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I don't know that there are buttons to all the various things the Green button does, but relelavant to this thread, the "+/-" button is the one that lets you meter a manual lens - by momentarily stopping down and setting an appropriate shutter speed for you in M mode.
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