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01-19-2010, 09:08 PM   #16
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Hi Candace -

I've had my first SLR - a K-7 for about 2 weeks now, along with the 18-55mm and the 50-200mm lenses.

I ordered a camera bag, extra battery & cleaning kit. Now I'm shopping for a 50mm A 1.4-2.0 lens on Ebay and the Pentax marketplace to take pictures indoors of the family. But it seems like every other new Pentax owner in the world is doing the same thing. I'm not finding too many $20-50 lenses like I've been reading about - it seems like the prices are closer to $70-100 for 50mm A1.7 lens. Let me know if you find a good deal on 2 of them!

01-19-2010, 09:40 PM   #17
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Camera bag would be my first; if your kit lens did not come with a lens hood, get that as well. If the photo in your post is anything to go on, a tripod needs to be added to the mix as well and probably a cable release or infrared remote control. Maybe an UV filter to protect the front element of the lens (but that is controversial; I did add them).

That covers the initial must haves in my opinion. Next use the kit-lens a while for the purposes that you have mentioned in the opening post.

I'm quite sure that it will do for your outdoor family photos except probably in lower light. For that a faster lens will be the solution and as one usually has enough space to move around a fast prime (fixed focal length) can possibly do. Check the exif data of your photos to see which focal length you mostly use in those photos and base your choice on that.

For wildlife, as indicated by others, you will need a telelens.

Indoors is a different story altogether. A faster lens can be useful but it can only help so much in low light. If the kitlens suites the needs from a focal length perspective, I would add a good flash in the mix.

You need to set the priorities. I was in the same situation about a year ago. Having previous film SLR experience, I knew that I would miss the tele very much and that the onboard flash had its limitations; after consideration, I bought the tele first. I saved up for a flash and was able to buy it in the beginning of this year. The christmas bonus allowed me to buy a fast prime as well.

and bought that after about a month.
01-19-2010, 10:18 PM   #18
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Good evening and welcome to the Forums....

I particularly like Jewelltrail's response. There is a lot of truth to it. I would add, practice in order to develop skill and technique. A lot of times, thinking a situation through will provide an alternative solution to the usual remedy of having to buy additional equipment (for example stitching multiple images together as opposed to a wide angle lens). The K20 has all the capabilities you will probably ever need and then some. Its just understanding how to apply them to obtain the desired result.

You have plenty of time to practice breaking the checkbook with all the items you may feel you need, want or desire. Just take your time and apply some common sense and most of the answers will become evident.

A bag of some type to carry and protect the equipment you currently have - I used an old backpack that I had in the closet.

Older Pentax lenses are great values, especially when on a budget.

Look in your area for a camera shop that carries used equipment for a tripod. Also, call around to some pawn shops to see if they have any tripods or filters, etc.

I've had my K20 for almost a year and still need to pick up a second battery (I need to get around to do that).

Yes, I have a number of SD cards, but all bought on sale and of various brands - but all Class 6 and 4GB.

Take pictures with what you currently have, and that will help you determine where your needs are and what you may wish to acquire next.

... but most importantly - have fun and take pictures!
01-21-2010, 04:11 AM   #19
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I have had my K20D for about 9 months now so was recently in the same position.

1) You will need a SD card to store the images on... get yourself a 4/8 gig class 6 card (ideally 8 gig). with an 8 gig card on a K20D you can get off around 400 shots in RAW.

2) You will need something confortable and practical to carry the camera around in... maybe you already have a bag which can be used for this purpose... if not get a smaller bag such as a holster to hold your camera + lens)

3) Until you practice you will not really get a feel for what lenses you may need... best to spend time with the kit lens first.... I would recommend picking up a 2nd hand manual focus "fast 50"... I got hold of a K50 1.4... this will help you make the trade-off between zoom flexibility and prime quality when you start thinking about next lens.... the fast 50 will also be your friend for low light shots.

from there... I would just use what you have and see what limitations you find... If you find you dont have storage space... get more SD cards, battery running out... get a 2nd battery, you find you miss "zoom"... get a longer lens, you need a stable surface to take your images on... get a decent tripod etc...

its possible that you find multiple limitations... at which point you need to prioritize, check your budget and see how to close the gaps.

good luck

01-21-2010, 06:05 AM   #20
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You mentioned interior shots. Therefore you need a lens faster than f:2.8 right away, otherwise, good quality interior shots will simply not be available to you without flash.

A 50mm lens has proven just fine for me, but I tend to fill my frames with the subject; you might differ in that. In fact, I often use 75mm or 85mm inside the home (even at the dinner table). I have a good 28mm lens that I've never used inside.

Using older manual focus lenses is not bad at all; the camera detects when focus is achieved & will inform you with a beep & light, or it will go the next step and take the picture. It is really a semi-automatic focus system - the only operational difference is that your wrist becomes the auto-focus motor.

In order of ease-of-use the Pentax lens types to look for are:

o F, FA, DA - these are fully automatic (including autofocus & autoflash)

o A - automatic aperture, automatic flash, semi-auto focus.

o K or M - aperture semi-automatic: you press a separate button to get correct exposure before taking the shot, semi-auto focus.

o Takumar - (screw mount - requires a $15-30 adapter), manual aperture - you turn down the aperture before shooting. semi-auto focus.

The difference in usability between the top and bottom of the list is quite small in practice (not at all in line with the cost - a factor of 4 or 5 from the top of the list to the bottom.) Lenses at the bottom of the list will take photos pretty much indistinguishable from lenses at the top of the list.

I think F:1.7 is fast enough - any faster & it is hard to get a head-shot face in focus.

Dave in Iowa

PS trying to decide which exactly lens is like trying to choose wallpaper - the differences are small so the agony factor is high. JUST DO IT...after all, it is only can optimize later...meanwhile you are missing good photos!

Last edited by newarts; 01-21-2010 at 06:29 AM.
01-21-2010, 07:28 AM   #21
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Just to further Dave's point, you will most likely need something faster than 2.8 for interior shots.

Rather than going out and spending lots of money on a 2.8 zoom it is definately worth getting a 2nd hand old manual fast 50.... with this you will clearly see the tradeoff of operating at 1.4, 1.7, 2.0 and be better able to judge your future needs.

I did this and later purchased the 16-50 2.8 and 50-135 2.8, although still go back to the K50 1.4 when light is very low.

Dont disregard these older manual lenses... I get funny looks when pulling out the K50, cranking up the iso and shooting in the dark... everyone asks how its possible to shoot without the flash.... a very useful...and inexpensive purchase... Also as Dave mentioned... is more semi-auto as you still get focus confirmation... just with a hand driven focus.
01-21-2010, 05:36 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by paulelescoces Quote
it is definately worth getting a 2nd hand old manual fast 50
I don't live in a large place so I find 50mm pretty tight for my use. For this reason I don't recommend lenses without the person having an idea of what works and doesn't work in their environment

I personally would recommend using the pop up flash and a diffuser like Soldbear's film can, a ping pong ball, or a cheap puffer with the kit lens the OP already owns, to see what focal lengths are used indoor before investing in lenses.

Thank you

01-21-2010, 05:39 PM   #23
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I have the K 20 for couple years now and two batterys is sufficant in most situations. The battery will last all day at an air show and still be ready for a couple more days of shooting also. I also have 2 4g cards 2 2g cards that I usually take with me on a shoot. So on a day trip my wardrobe would be K20 with 2 batterys , 2 memory cards BIGMA on camera and wide angle zoom in bag. Need a Bag large enough to carry a second camera as a back up, I use a K10 myself because the batteries interchange. So Camera, Lense, Bag=Large or larger because soon it will not be big enough. battery's Memory card, Lense cleaning clouth,
Personally unless your photo's dictate the need for flash then that would go way down on my list. Same with a tripod and when you do buy a tripod then definatly buy a good one. jim

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