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12-29-2009, 02:15 PM   #1
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Switch lenses often or let some shots go by?

I'm not new to digital photography, but I am new to Pentax and to dSLR photography. I'm changing lenses all the time. A quick stroll through town (1 mile, half an hour or so) will see me take 20 pictures, and my EXIF data show me changing lenses four or five times.

I'm slowing down my non-shutterbug travel companions when I stop change lenses that often, I'm increasing the chances of dropping something expensive, and I'm slowly introducing dust into my system and (very slowly) wearing down my lens mounts. Plus it's just a pain. It's wintertime, too, which adds another layer (literally) of difficulty.

But, more than those concerns, I think my whole approach might be wrong. I'm taking pictures the way some people play golf: "Hmm. For this shot, I think I'll use my 5-iron... for this shot, I think I'll use my kit lens..."

Another thread on this forum touched on the "how often is too often" subject with camera lenses:
QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I usually have around three lenses with me (the specific lenses depend on the situation). If I'm out shooting for an hour, I might change lenses half a dozen times. It's no big deal.
There's no single answer to the question, but I think I'm changing lenses too often. If I leave the house with just one lens, though, then it's a sure bet I'll see something that particular lens can't handle very well. I dislike missing the shot, but I also dislike spoiling an outing by fumbling with lenses, filters, and tubes.

How does one find the right balance?

12-29-2009, 02:26 PM   #2
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I don't think my particular gear bag matters, since I mean to be asking a general photography question, but usually I take:

Pentax manual-focus 50mm f/2 "A" (sometimes with a "dumb" macro extension tube)
Pentax DA 18-55mm kit lens (polarizing filter, graduated ND filter)
Pentax DA 10-17mm fisheye

Pentax K100D Super.

On paper (on pixels?) it might look like they line up pretty well: 10-17...18-55...50. But in actual practice there is no overlap in their capabilities.
12-29-2009, 02:43 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by PocketPixels Quote
How does one find the right balance?
Can't help you here. We're not allowed to discuss religions and politics on this forums

Just a suggestion: invest or make yourself a few double lens mount caps. They help in lens changing: linky

Or DIY version.
12-29-2009, 02:52 PM   #4
Damn Brit

I think you need a second camera.
Or you have OCD and it has nothing to do with the picture, just your need to change lenses. In which case, you need a couch to lie on and a shrink to talk it over with.

12-29-2009, 03:16 PM   #5
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If the shots you'd miss are important to you, then Gary's suggestion is paramount. Bodies are cheap nowadays
12-29-2009, 04:20 PM   #6
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Hey, a fellow Bostonian.

My suggestion: If you're changing lenses a lot, you're probably waiting till you are presented with a scene and outguessing yourself.

A second body isn't the worst idea ever if you like to get that very-wide lens involved, in my book, but usually the first thing I do when I close up the bag to go out, is take a quiet moment and feel my intuitions and moods about 'What lens do I want to work today.'

It's usually right. Cause it's my own head. When that feeling changes, you also tend to get advance warning about it.

Swapping lenses frenetically in the field may mean you are substituting the lens change for just being aware of what you're seeing around you and wanting to 'try it on in the finder.'

I suggest, leave the kit zoom at home sometime (Not cause it's a kit zoom, but just in this case to simplify the thought process) Do your best to change lenses *before* you see the shot, you probably know what you're thinking before you know you're thinking it.
12-29-2009, 04:36 PM   #7
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I can understand the temptation to change lenses for every other shot. I control it by being too lazy to change a lot. Another way to control it is to just mount one lens and leave the others behind. At first, you'll see the shots you're missing but after a while you'll start seeing with the FL you have--and see things you would probably overlook while changing lenses.

12-29-2009, 07:13 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the advice.

I used to tote around a rangefinder and an EVF (12x zoom), and I'd switch off. I'm trying to get away from the two-camera approach, though. My kit lens can do most of what the rangefinder could do, and my EVF is really too heavy for me to tote along with my Pentax. (I do love my EVF, though, and will probably hold onto it until Pentax comes out with an affordable K-mount 36-420 constant f/2.8 )

It's the fisheye that messes me up. I love this lens. It's the best lens in the world for... for the 1% sliver of photographic scenes that benefit from 180 of perspective. But the fisheye treatment tends to be the wrong choice for the other 99% of the shots out there. I really wish it were somehow a "straight" wide-angle at the 17mm end, but I realize that's a very tall order, optically.

QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
At first, you'll see the shots you're missing but after a while you'll start seeing with the FL you have--and see things you would probably overlook while changing lenses.
I think that is wisdom, and I will try.
12-29-2009, 07:19 PM   #9
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Depends on what you are photographing. For my personal situation I like to chase after birds and other critters and take photos of vegitation and scenery. I mount my telephoto for walking then switch to my smaller lens for the non critters.

My reasoning is the animals will run away if I am too slow/taking time to swap lenses, but if the scenery is running away I have a problem bigger then lens choice.
12-29-2009, 07:30 PM   #10
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I shoot with primes, primarily, and I find myself changing lenses often, but I'm able to do it within about 15 seconds. I decided long ago that I wasn't going to miss a shot just because I didn't want to change lenses, so I don't let the dust spot worries bother me too much. I do have another body, but I'd rather bring along more lenses than another body (unless the body is an IR-modified camera).

FWIW, I went out to a lonely highway along the west coast of Florida yesterday, and at one stop (Hagen's Cove, I believe it was called), I stayed for about an hour. I'm fairly certain I changed lenses at least 10 times - maybe even 15. To be fair, this was an absolutely idyllic spot that inspired shots from all angles, so maybe this was an anomaly, but at any rate, I'm glad I did it
12-29-2009, 09:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by PocketPixels Quote
... and (very slowly) wearing down my lens mounts...
Based on my experience, don't worry about that. I change lenses way more than I need to. My camera doesn't have a huge shutter count for its age, only 16,000. The mount does have a bit of brass showing but it should definitely outlast the camera.
12-30-2009, 12:20 AM   #12
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Frequent lens changes is something I was into and I got so sick of it, I went and bought myself an 18-250mm.

Now what I do is this: If I want to take photographs but have NO idea what I'm going to shoot, I'll have the 18-250 mounted. If I am able to make a decision before going out, then I have the lens appropriate to the situation. (All that said, I only have 3 lenses, one of which was a kit lens, and the other a tamron 70-300... so I'm not exactly in the same league as you guys)...

So... if I want to shoot landscape, its the kit 18-55 which does a nicer job than the 18-250.. and if I'm hunting birds, its the 70-300 which, surprisingly, does a better job than the 18-250. If I'm just indecisive, I go with the 18-250 until I work it out.

Jeez. Does any of that make sense? (oh yeah, I'm going to get a K-x to use alongside the K200D, and some more lenses, just to make it even more difficult for myself)
12-30-2009, 01:46 AM   #13
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I suggest as a matter of exercise to do the following.

* Before you go out plan in your mind's eye what kind of pictures you'd like to take. Not just any picture, but pictures of certain aspect, be it technical or aestetical. Say, you decide that you want to go for wide scenes of people walking along your favorite boulevard.

* For the purpose of your plan decide what kind of lens you would want to use. Say, in the above example it would be moderate wide.

* Mount the lens, go out and enjoy yourself. But do not change lenses. In fact, don't take with you any other lens, just the one you mounted on the camera.

* And finally, here comes the trick. Consider abandonding the plan you previsioned and just enjoy shooting with what you have at hand.
12-31-2009, 10:06 AM - 1 Like   #14
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First, I think Keitha's post contained some very good implied advice: make sure you're not taking longer than necessary on lens changes. That means having you bag (or even vest!) set up so you're not spending a lot of time hunting, and get the change itself done in a few seconds. I don't even stop walking half the time.

As for "missed shots", I think this is the biggest myth in photography. I've got news for people: we've all missed shots. Not just a few. Not even just a few hundred or a few thousand. We've all missed *billions* of shots, assuming we don't walk around with a movie camera every waking moment. And send out robots to shoot for us while we're asleep; maybe a few clones so we can shoot in multiple places at once while awake. Most missed shots are missed simply because we weren't there, or didn't have our camera with us. Getting all worked up about the handful we missed solely because the wrong lens was mounted seems silly. Especially when the lens most people turn to in order to "fix" this "problem" - a superzoom like an 18-250 - ends up causing us to miss even more shots in low light because it just isn't fast enough. Not to mention it's a lot bigger than a prime and might tend to cause one to not have the camera with you in some cases where you might have with, say, the DA40.

So anyhow, first step: accept you are going to miss shots *no matter what*. Thn get over it and start enjoying the shot you *do* take. So something happens while I have a wide angle lens mounted and I miss the shot of the deer walking by. Fine; while someone else is shooting that, I'm noticing something I can shoot with my wide angle that they are too occupied with the deer to notice. And so on. We're all come back with about the same number of shots; they're just going to be *different* shots.

I'm slowing down my non-shutterbug travel companions when I stop change lenses that often
Well, if that's a big concern, that becomes the time to either not change lensess, use a zoom, not bother shooting at all, buy your friends cameras too, or find new travel companions :-)

I'm increasing the chances of dropping something expensive, and I'm slowly introducing dust into my system and (very slowly) wearing down my lens mounts.
Yeah, and every time you cross the street, you risk being hit by a bus. Again, get over it.

Plus it's just a pain.
Well, if you don't enjoy that aspect of photography, then tht's ll you need to know right there. We're in this to have fun, aren't we? If changing lenses interferes, then don't. Most likely, that means soemthing like a superzoom outdoors, a 16-50/2.8 indoors.

I also dislike spoiling an outing by fumbling with lenses, filters, and tubes.
Filters and tubes? How did they get involved? Get rid of those and life becomes easier.
12-31-2009, 11:32 AM   #15
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I love my fisheye also so I understand the lens swap problems it can cause. I bring it with me everywhere for those shots that only the fisheye will do. It would be nice to have a second body but it's a little over my budget. One solution would be to get walkaround lens with a bigger range such as the Sigma 17-70 and that has a macro/close-up capability. I usually carry a similar kit as yours with a long zoom (70-300) thrown in as well. The lens changing thing kind of goes with the territory but with some advance planning, you can keep it to a minimum. As for missing shots because you have the wrong lens mounted, that's going to happen too.

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