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01-22-2010, 07:35 PM   #16
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Being frugal also means having to decide how far you're willing to drive to check out some gear you saw on craigslist. Gas isn't free, you know??

My last purchase was an hour and a half round trip. I bought the lens, but wished that it was closer.

01-22-2010, 11:02 PM   #17
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Just don't buy stuff

I don't know how many times I've bought equipment that I seldom use. When I shot film I had just about every lens I could get for my Olympus. I also had 2 bodies and a pocket 35mm for backup. It was all lost in a fire. After the initial shock I actually found that freeing.

When I bought my K20D a year ago, I promised myself that I would get one lens, albeit a versatile one, the 18-150mm, and use it for a year before getting another. I've borrowed other lenses and got such a good deal on a 100mm macro that I couldn't pass it up, but I feel that I've come pretty close to my initial intention. I've lusted after the Sigma Bigma and the Pentax 12-24mm lenses. I've resisted buying them. I've wanted several primes, but I've resisted. This year I get one new lens. This is not a matter of cost. I can afford it. It's a matter of being mindful and truly learning the equipment I already own.

And you know, I've enjoyed the freedom from carrying a heavy bag full of equipment. I've taken the time to really learn my camera and lens. I can grab my camera and maybe a tripod and a remote shutter release and just shoot. And my photography has improved more in the last year than in the previous decade or three. I think about the light, the shot, the subject and not what lens I need. I don't miss shots switching lenses.

One more point. I quit reading photo mags, at least American ones. They're more about selling stuff than teaching. The Brits generally have more substance in relation to sales, signal to noise I call it, though they're still mostly about selling stuff.

If you want to save money, don't read reviews of the latest and greatest. Go out and shoot with what you have. Instead of buying a new lens, push what you have to its absolute limits. Learn new techniques, try new styles. You may be able to work around the perceived lack. If you just can't get the photo without new kit, then think about it for 6 months. Then, if you still feel limited, shop, read reviews and all that. But so often that lust to buy is transitory. If we all applied the 6 month rule (or whatever time is reasonable to you), we'd all own a loss less stuff.

michael mckee
My Port Townsend – A City in Photographs – 365
01-22-2010, 11:21 PM   #18
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I've just been outside playing with cheap macro extension tubes I got off Ebay. I'm using a K20D & an A50/F2. I just reached for that lens because it was on my desk in front of me, instead of the M50/F1.7 I usually use for deliberate photography. Since I moved the A50/F2 off the "A" setting (the macro tubes have no electrical contacts), it's acting the same as a "M" lens. The main problems have been the wind, learning how close I need to get and getting the right lighting.

Fancier gear would have made little difference. That's fairly frugal photography. It's more about experimentation and learning, then equipment.

Dan.
01-25-2010, 11:38 AM   #19
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@GerryL: I just installed Photo Utility 4.11 and realized the power of PP. Now if I can get a cheap PP software.... Hopefully my computer can run it decently.

01-25-2010, 11:53 AM   #20
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As for cheap PP, I like GIMP, the price is right for what I need: FREE.

Maybe it is the accountant in me, however, I find I record the INFO for each shot I like, mm, f, etc and I see trends. I also record the, this would have been good had I had a ... info too.

An example is my 50mm f2. Not a fast lens by most standards, but it is fast enough for what I do. I know I don't need anything longer than my kit 50-300m, because most of my fav shots are under 100mm.
01-25-2010, 03:58 PM   #21
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I have to agree with Brit

One of the worse things anyone can do with ANY hobby in this day and age is hanging around equipment forums. Doesn't matter what the hobby is. Easy internet shopping access doesn't help matters much. There is no reading about a lens in a magazine, getting in the car, going to the store, and buying the lens. Never mind that in my area, with Pentax, that is completely impossible these days. It's read about it on the web, instant access to the best price and pushing the buy button.

I'm glad to say that I own all 3 FA limiteds. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't NEED a single one of them and they are my least used lenses . (no, none of them are for sale). For me, it's the thrill of the bargain chase. One thing I reserved myself to is not to pay the going full price for anything. Bing (MS LIVE) cashback helped increase the collection of glass in 2008 considerably. That up to $200 rebate on each lens was a hard thing to pass up on lenses I would Like to haveso I took advantage of it. Both the 31mm and 77mm limiteds landed on my doorstep for less than $500 each end cost. I doubt I would have bought the lenses at full price. The 43 was purchased a year earlier when Pentax was offering straight $100 rebates on them (didn't have to buy something else).

Probably better than half the photos I take are product shots. Half of the remainder are family portraits and snapshots. The rest are junk or pictures of my dog (he actually runs away when I pick up the camera). These are all things my Panasonic FZ20 was more than capable of doing. I just like having the SLR type cameras and lots of choices of how to use them.

That said, the Pentaxians I'm most Envious of are the ones who do the most with the least. I've always said that a good photographer can take a picture through a glass coke bottle and make it look good.

If I were to start all over, with a frugal mindset, I would have a single body (not 4), and a hand full of Manual focus primes. When I first chose Pentax the biggest attraction for me was the K mount and backward compatibility. Add to it the (then) price of the lenses and this was Ideal for me. Since then however, prices have become ridiculous. Can someone explain to me why the Super Takumar 50mm f1.4 is now going for $100? These were basically givaway lenses on spotmatics a few years ago.

01-25-2010, 04:04 PM   #22
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I think frugal versus cheap in this context means this:

Buying a DA 55-300 instead of the 60-250 is frugal. Buying the FA-J 75-300 is cheap.

Buying a 35/f2.4 Ltd instead of the 31/f1.8 Ltd is frugal. Trying to make do with
the 18-55 kit is cheap. (the kit lens, as far as kit lenses go is excellent, it does many things pretty well, but it doesn't do anything extremely well.)

Buying a Lowe Pro bag instead of a Billingham is frugal. Using the plastic bag you brought your last Walmart purchase home in is cheap.
01-25-2010, 05:10 PM   #23
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Being new to the digital aspect of the hobby I have found the lens rating posts here very helpful. It is also true that these forums tend to get me focused on all the goodies I don't have. But if you can tame your lba there is a wealth of information here.
My approach was to be patient, research and buy used. Many in this hobby have to have the latest and greatest and this means their used stuff is not even broken in let alone broken down! Perhaps I have been lucky but I have purchased my camera body and 3 lenses for less than half the street price. The camera body(K200D) was less than 7 months old (1000 clicks and came with a transferable 5 year warranty). All were in mint condition take great photos and are not the limiting factor in the quality of my photos(I am!). I am not sure if I qualify as frugal because I am sure it is possible to get the required gear much more cheaply if you are willing to go to garage sales, craigs list and the like. I got everything off of the web.

01-25-2010, 08:24 PM   #24
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learning about a lens thoroughly

@Dosdan & @Mysticcowboy:

How do you learn your lenses thoroughly? I totally agree with fewer lens I get less distracted. Changing lens is a waste of time and opportunity. I'm into primes right now, playing with a beaten SMC-M 50mm f1.4 that I got it for very cheap. I found fixed lengths is easier to handle, less variable to worry about. What's the usual curiculla for getting to know your lenses ? How do you uncover the creativity room of a lens?
01-25-2010, 08:34 PM   #25
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It's pretty easy; you stick it on your camera and go shoot with it.

You can also explore what makes a lens special. It's not just the focal length / perspective, but if you have a fast lens you can play with shooting at/near wide open, if you have a lens with really short minimum focusing distance you can play with pseudo macro, etc... and you can play with ideas like trying to turn a 35mm prime into a "birding" lens (I've managed bird in flight shots nearly filling the frame with 15mm on a FF body, you just have to get creative), or a 200mm into a "landscape" lens etc... just try to push yourself and your gear to go past the generally agreed upon limitations.
01-25-2010, 09:55 PM   #26
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I always tell my friends who are in their early phase of discoverying photography to just stick with what they have (usually kit lens) and only invest more if they feel limited by the kit .
01-26-2010, 03:44 PM   #27
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Fortune is completely relative and I would not begrudge anyone who has spent twice as much on their camera as I have on my entire camera system even if they are just starting using a dSLR. After all, there are others who spend even less than I do and are likely better photographers than me

Keep a perspective of how important photography is to you compared to other things in life...if you have the luxury of discretionary funds sitting around, or if you really feel like getting this lens, or that camera, just think about what that same money can do for you elsewhere like travelling, or a fine dining experience. It's really a matter of priorities. And recognize that priorities change over time.

One way to approach equipment purchases is to see if you can consolidate functions with fewer purchases keeping in mind that doing so would likely involve compromises. An example is one zoom vs multiple primes.

We may all agree in the definition of frugal, but in the end, and in practice, it really comes down to an individual's priorities and situation.
01-26-2010, 05:32 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by taurus9 Quote
...<SNIP>...
Keep a perspective of how important photography is to you compared to other things in life...if you have the luxury of discretionary funds sitting around, or if you really feel like getting this lens, or that camera, just think about what that same money can do for you elsewhere like travelling, or a fine dining experience. It's really a matter of priorities. And recognize that priorities change over time.

One way to approach equipment purchases is to see if you can consolidate functions with fewer purchases keeping in mind that doing so would likely involve compromises. An example is one zoom vs multiple primes.

We may all agree in the definition of frugal, but in the end, and in practice, it really comes down to an individual's priorities and situation.
When I bought my K10D, it was thanks to my father's estate, and I splurged and bought all three DA lenses in my signature with some of the money. I was using the MZ-S, 24-90, 70-210, 100 macro, 400, and 1.4X converter. I was finding the 24mm an increasingly annoying wide limit. I had plenty of length, even on film.

Galaxy camera, Ottawa, Canada were advertising a K10D + grip + DA 12-24 kit for a reasonable price. I could have simply added that combo to my rig, and been quite happy with it for years, but I had the extra $2,000 or so to gift myself and added the 16-50 and 50-135. My daughter is very happy with my purchase of the 50-135, because she now has the 70-210 to use on her K200D. If I need a bit longer than 135, I have the option of using the 1.4X for a 70-190 f/4 or the 1.7X AF I bought recently for an 85-230 f/4.8. Life is good.
01-26-2010, 05:40 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Parallax Quote
I think frugal versus cheap in this context means this:

Buying a DA 55-300 instead of the 60-250 is frugal. Buying the FA-J 75-300 is cheap.

Buying a 35/f2.4 Ltd instead of the 31/f1.8 Ltd is frugal. Trying to make do with
the 18-55 kit is cheap. (the kit lens, as far as kit lenses go is excellent, it does many things pretty well, but it doesn't do anything extremely well.)

Buying a Lowe Pro bag instead of a Billingham is frugal. Using the plastic bag you brought your last Walmart purchase home in is cheap.
But if I stop down my kit lens enough... /s
01-26-2010, 10:26 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
But if I stop down my kit lens enough... /s
You get a black fuzzy picture, I don't get it?
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