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12-18-2009, 09:43 AM   #1
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first post / first (of many) Questions

I have recently purchased my first ever camera, the Pentax K-x. It came with the 18-55mm lens, and am enjoying the camera so far, and slowly learning how to take decent photos. I am looking into purchasing a new lens (to start my collection) and am wondering if anyone has some advice. The pictures I will most likely take are of ships (from a ship), of people (within 10ft radius) and landscape photos. I was thinking a 50mm f1.4 / 1.7 (not sure what one), 50-200mm lens (zooming to see ships) and am wondering if anyone has used the lensbaby muse to use for tilt shift photography? It seems like a relatively cheap alternative to paying $$$ for a tilt shift lens. (I enjoy the effects and pictures from fish eye lenses and tilt shift lenses, and can see myself buying them in the future)
My priority for lens is that they are cheap (I am new and not a pro), and are easy to use
That does not mean I would get a lens that is easy to use, is cheap, and takes horrible shots. ( I would have bought a Point and Shoot cam then)
Thanks

12-18-2009, 10:16 AM   #2
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First off, let me just say the kit lens on your new camera is a very good lens to get started with. It is of higher quality than many kit lenses on other models. As for future choices, take a look at the shots you have been taking. Do you tend to take more on the wide end of the scale, or more at the long end of the scale? What has frustrated you about your current lens? Not long enough, or not wide enough? Your thoughts on the 50mm lead me to think perhaps you are looking for something faster to shoot with without using a flash. Both the 1.4 and the 1.7 are excellent lenses. Either will serve you well. I purchased the 18-250 to have a great walk around lens that I don't have to change out very often and I have been very happy with the image quality. I also have the Sigma 70-300 that gives me the reach I needed. I think my next lens purchase will be a wide angle zoom and I will have quelled the LBA beast fo a while.
12-18-2009, 10:47 AM   #3
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For the people within 10 feet, a 50mm lens would work well. You have a lot of options here, since this used to be a standard focal length on film. The Pentax-FA 50mm f1.4 is available new, autofocus, and works well with the camera. Prices for this lens have gone up recently so it's not quite the value it was. You can get cheaper used options, like the Pentax-F 50mm f1.7, with the same functionality with the camera.

With the recent price hike on the FA 50mm f1.4, the Pentax-DA 40mm f2.8 looks like a decent alternative. Some people like this focal length better. You can set your current lens to 40 or 50mm and get some idea of how people photos will look with either. The DA 40mm f2.8 is very small and has a couple of newer features than the FA 50mm f1.4.

Lensbaby-type accessories are going to be mostly manual on your camera, so you'll need some familiarity with how that works. You might also consider getting a popular Russian-made fisheye lens, the Zenitar-K 16mm f2.8. It is also a completely manual lens. There is a lot of information on these lenses in the Lens Review section.

For the ship photos, my question would be how much does each ship move? Your ship movement will be canceled somewhat by SR, but if the other ship is moving a lot, getting a good photo at 200mm will be tough. The less light you have, the harder it will be.

One of my few photos from a boat:
12-18-2009, 12:56 PM   #4
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I will definitely have to play with the focal range of my lens over xmas. I have no problem using manual focus (sometimes it works better), but I am new, and manual focal range would be different (to understand where to put it in all situations, instead of using aperture priority mode.) The ship I would be sailing on, would be around 150m long, (492ft). So the ship wont move too much, and in any rough seas would not be taking any detailed pictures.

12-18-2009, 03:19 PM   #5
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I assume you mean manual exposure, as opposed to "manual focal range". It's actually quite simple on Pentax cameras: set aperture with aperture ring, hit Green button every once in a while to get camera to stop down momentarily and choose a shutter speed for you (only necessary when the light changes). See the sticky thread in this forum on using manual lenses for more info.
12-18-2009, 04:05 PM   #6
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If this is your first ever camera I wouldn't be in a great rush to buy new lenses. There's so much to learn about the art and skill of photography and getting to know all the controls and options of your camera. As clmonk points out, you already have a more than adequate lens with quite a reasonable range. If I were starting out I'd spend a year or two exploring the limits of what just that lens can do before launching into others. You'll learn so much and will be in a better position to evaluate your next step.
Enjoy the process and take your time.
12-19-2009, 01:10 AM   #7
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A tag line from Dame Edna??
12-19-2009, 07:00 AM   #8
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You don't indicate the need for a 50mm; from a view point, you will not gain anything as that focal length is already included in the standard kit-lens (18-55mm).
If I understand your 'ship story' correctly, you want to be able to get subjects in the distance larger on the photo; why don't you opt for the 55-300mm instead of the 50-200mm?
The landscape photos I would take with the 18-55mm for now till you actually know what its limitations for landscape are.

Good luck with the decision
WimS

12-19-2009, 08:14 AM   #9
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Morning Duch and welcome to the Forums.

I think you will like and hopefully enjoy your KX. As others have written, the kit lens is really much better than what other brands offer. To complement the kit lens, I would recommend the DA 55-300. It might be a bit more than what you want to spend at about $340. It really is the perfect complement to the standard kit. It is a good built and performs extremely well. Another option is the FA J 75-300. It is a plastic lens (body and lenses) and you can pick these up used for about $100.

I have both lenses. Several years ago I picked up the FA J because I wanted something out to 300mm. About 18 months ago, I picked up the DA because its a better lens, and I have just been sitting on the FA J wondering what to do with it. Another lens worth considering is the FA 80-320. It is suppose to be better than the FA J, and you can find it from time to time.

Since you indicated that one of your interests are in ships, I think that 300mm is the area that would be appropriate. 200mm can be a bit short, although I have good images from about 45mm to 300mm on ships at sea. Also, it really matters in your situation. Harbor or in a bay, you have confines and the ships tend to be a bit closer. Obviously in open water - at sea, they tend to be farther away, unless you are maneuvering in close quarters.

Here are a couple of images, using the FA J 75-300. The first one is at 300mm, f8, ISO 256 @ 1/750 sec, hand held from my K100 which is a 6MP camera. The second is 75mm, f11, ISO 200 @ 1/350 sec. The third one is 130mm, f9.5, iso 200 at 1/500 sec.

I will say that having more lenses causes you to change lenses more. In an sea environment, you have the salt spray and the diesel exhaust that will get in/on your sensor and lenses dirty quicker (when changing your lenses). So that is also something to take in to consideration. That is why I like zooms more than primes in this environment.

... hope that helps!
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Last edited by interested_observer; 12-19-2009 at 02:33 PM.
12-20-2009, 03:59 PM   #10
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interested_observer, those are some nice photos. At sea, I would most likely only be using a tele-zoom lens. The reason for the 50mm prime, as when taking pictures with the 18-55, I am always at the 55mm rage to take pictures. I would like the low f to shorten the depth of field, and take photos of people, without the background. I would never change lenses in the open at sea (with my luck would drop them). If there was any lens changes it would be in my cabin.
12-20-2009, 05:20 PM   #11
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This tamron 70-300 lens would be a good start, at only $150
Amazon.com: Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras: Camera & Photo

Then, the 40mm would be a good third, but will run you $300 used.
Pentax DA 40mm F2.8 Limited "Pancake" Lens K20 K7 MINT - eBay (item 190359414655 end time Dec-26-09 15:25:18 PST)

The upgrade to these lenses would be a:
Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 - $799
Pentax 50mm f/1.4 - $499.

You mentioned that you wanted a smaller depth of field. There's a number of ways to accomplish this besides a "low f number." (a large aperture does help though!)
A lot of things go into "bokeh." Including focal length, subject distance and background distance.

For any lens, you want a long focal length, close to the subject, and you want the subject far away from the background. This should give you the results you're looking for.
12-20-2009, 08:20 PM   #12
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From the few pictures I have taken so far (around 600), I know there is more to every picture than one distinct setting. But for interior photography (what I am used to), there is not a great distance you can have between your subject and the background. Most pictures I would take with the 50mm f1.7 (or 1.4) would be indoors, or fairly close outdoors, and mostly taking pictures of family and friends/ Besides that, landscapes from far away, and ships, which a tele-zoom would come in handy.
12-20-2009, 08:31 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
A tag line from Dame Edna??
Long experience, Possum, long experience...
12-21-2009, 09:53 AM   #14
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I also see the "Sigma 16mm f/2.8 Filtermatic Fisheye" review is pretty good, but cannot find it anywhere for sale. Is this lens discontinued?
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