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07-20-2013, 06:41 AM   #1
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Looking for Accessories Advice

Hey all,

Been getting to grips with my new K-30 and lenses over the last couple of months and have been getting quite into it. I have been wondering what accessories people would recommend a DSLR owner having in their camera bag for when I go a walkabout/day-trip? Or is there anything else that nobody should be without?

At the moment I have a K-30 with the lenses listed in my signature and a top loader camera bag for when I am out and about. There is also a second larger camera bag for storing my current equipment when I am not using it.

I have been looking at various things and have been wondering if they are worth having so any advice is much appreciated:
  • Filters (UV, CPL, etc.) - Any good makes/types of filters that people would recommend? I am also unsure as to the merits of a UV filter?
  • Cleaning Equipment (Lenspen, Rocket Air Blower etc.) - Again, good brands or will anything do? I saw a Giottos GTAA1900 in my local camera shop for a tenner?
  • Monopod/Tripod - Any recommendations for someone on a budget (say up to 50/US$80)?

If it helps for the tripod/monopod, I am still trying all types of photography (in particular, landscape, macro and action) so would be looking for good, all rounder equipment that would ideally be light and fairly portable as I go a fair number of hiking trips where carrying weight is a major consideration for me.

Apologies for the horde of questions there but any advice would be much appreciated!

Cheers!

07-20-2013, 07:58 AM   #2
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1. UV Filter is useless. I was in the "put one on to protect the lens" camp for 20 some years, and have been in the "don't bother it's a waste of money" camp for another 30. All my lenses are just fine.

2. CPL for wide angle lenses can be very useful for more than just darkening blue skies. It can remove reflections from non metallic surfaces and deepen the colours on such things as autumn trees after a rain. They are not useful for ultra wide lenses due to vignetting and varying colours across the sky, a natural effect of the angle of the sun to the subject.

3. I use a Giottos Rocket blower, and have recently successfully cleaned my sensor with a kit I purchased on line. I also have lens tissue and cleaning fluid that I occasionally use on the front element when it gets something really bad on there. Make sure that only the stain is on there before rubbing to avoid scraping a piece of grit over the surface. I haven't use the lens pen, but it is intriguing in that it does not wipe the front surface. Maybe one of these days.

4. I have combination monopod/walking sticks and augment one of them with a Manfrotto monopod head that I also use on the largest sized Gorilla pod. The Gorilla pod is hung to whatever bag I am using.

My tripod is an old aluminum Manfrotto 055B (black) with a Manfrotto 0168 head ball head which has a panning lock as well as the ball lock. I bought it new in 1982 or thereabouts when I got my second hand M 400/5.6, replacing a Slik tripod with a head that had three handles. I don't miss the handles. I replaced the (hexagonal) quick attachment plate this year because the cork grip surface was worn down to the metal surround. I paid $25 shipped.

One of the best tests for a tripod is to lean on it, extended, and try to wiggle it. If it moves, try another one. A used good tripod is worth ten cheap ones.

Last, but not least, never apologize for asking questions on Pentax Forums. That's what these forums are for, and 99.999% of us just give our polite opinions on things. We often disagree with each other, but any of us who get nasty get booted off the forums.

You have no idea how many questions were answered by these good folks as I tried to learn to use my digital DSLR. I bought my first Pentax SLR in 1961, and a bunch of good folks helped me learn it back then.

Enjoy your camera and have fun.
07-20-2013, 08:21 AM   #3
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More Stuff? Do I need MORE stuff?

Hello Killieman, Welcome to the Forum!
I believe Canada_Rockies covered it pretty well, I also was in the 'UV filter on every lens' crowd from my film-shooting days, but have since recovered. Thanks to one inexpensive but absolutely essential accessory; A lens hood. Yep, the humble, $5.00 rubber or metal or plastic hood, in whatever filter size your lens(es) need, and you're good to go. Whenever the lens is out of your bag, the hood should be on.
The Giottos brand Rocket blower seems the best, I'd recommend that as 'essential', as well as a lens pen, especially if you're out trekking and don't have access to lens-cleaning fluid and tissues. The lens pen is the best thing I've found for 'spots' that won't come off with the blower, you don't want to try rubbing it away, it could be (likely is) dirt and will scratch the lens element.
My favorite filter brand is Marumi, another good brand is B + W. Don't skimp on polarizers (CPL), you only need a few and they are essential.
After you find a monopod you like and fits your budget (mine is a Bogen/Manfrotto) look for a good-quality ballhead, with smooth action and a very firm holding grip when tightened.
If you're going to try time exposures, you'll need a tripod and ND filters, maybe another thread when you get to that point?
Good luck, post some photos!
Ron
07-20-2013, 08:30 AM   #4
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The Giottos rocket blowers are great. I have the full size 'rocket' with fins at home, and my bag has the much smaller version that does not have fins. You can pull the red nozzle off and insert it backwards to save space. Two other tips, always pre-flush the existing air in your blower before using it on equipment; and I add additional filtration by adding a couple layers of tissue from a coffee machine filter to the air intake (I use a twist-tie to secure the paper over the intake). I also have both a lenspen and the old-fashioned Kodak lens paper and fluid - but RARELY use either one.

Hoods in nearly every instance are far better protection for your lens' front element than UV filters. Plus hoods improve image quality and UV filters degrade it. It has been a long time since I mounted a UV filter. Your sensor already has both UV and IR filtration built-in by the way. More doesn't make it better. About the only effects that cannot be easily duplicated in software require either a CPL or ND (neutral density) filter. Don't waster your money on anything else.

I have several tripods - it is my monopod that by far gets more use, especially when traveling and when shooting or videographing action. Out of your list of subjects, macro is about the only consistent reason for a tripod. I also carry a roll of double-sided, self-sticking Velcro tape. If I truly need tripod type stability in the field, I use the Velcro to lash my monopod to things like small trees, fence or light posts, benches or chairs. A decently built monopod can double as walking stick. My one big suggestion is to have compatible quick release systems on all your gear. The Arca-Swiss style seems to have the widest acceptance, but I have found the Sima quick release to be just as sturdy and durable in actual use and inexpensive enough that I can justify having one on each of my support devices and the plate on each camera.

For the K-30, you should also search and read the threads about using LiOn batteries versus AA batteries.

07-20-2013, 08:40 AM   #5
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Lenspen, Giottos Rocket-Air, lens hoods, wireless remote & a cord for moving the flash from the top of the camera (I like the option of moving the light source when using the flash). The first four items are musts for me, the last is a "nice to have".

Last edited by OrangeKx; 07-20-2013 at 08:40 AM. Reason: text edit
07-20-2013, 08:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by OrangeKx Quote
Lenspen, Giottos Rocket-Air, lens hoods, wireless remote & a cord for moving the flash from the top of the camera (I like the option of moving the light source when using the flash). The first four items are musts for me, the last is a "nice to have".
Yep, I forgot to mention the lens hoods. Oops. I have hoods for all the lenses I own (even a third party one for the DA-L 55-300. Never put the lenses on without one. Besides keeping the sun off the lens and cutting down flare, the metal ones do great when some klutz's elbow hits the front. He'll only do it once, particularly with the really painful Pentax petal hoods with the nice sharp edges.
07-21-2013, 08:49 AM   #7
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Thanks for all the advice there guys! Very informative!

I have a couple of questions now:
  • Regarding CPL Filters, I have had a look online and at my local camera shop and found myself overwhelmed by the options available. For reference, most of my lenses are 52mm diameter with the Telephoto being 58mm. The 49mm diameter Pentax-M 50mm Prime came with a Hoya CPL so I am ignoring it for the time being. There are various brands at a wide range of prices so I was wondering how these stack up in terms of effect on IQ and value for money:

    In the both diameter category: Polaroid is the cheapest at around 12, while Hoya and Hama both clock in at around 21. The Hoya Pro1 range I can find at 35 with the B+W MRC filter coming in at 70.

    What would people recommend from those options? I would be really stretching my budget to go beyond the Pro1 at those prices.


  • When looking at Lenspens they have the Lenspen Original and a Hama Alternative for the same price. Does anyone have any experience with either of these brands?

Thanks again for all your help!
07-21-2013, 10:37 AM   #8
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The only advice I can give you on CPL Filters is to not go cheap. The high price filters will be thinner - less chance of vignetting - of higher quality glass - less flare and aberrations - and more even across the field of view - no random density problems.

If you can stretch and get the B+W that would probably be your best choice. Check the accessories review forum here at Pentax Forums for ratings of some CPL filters.

07-21-2013, 10:55 AM   #9
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The Best One?

Hi Killieman,
Out of the choices you've named, I'd recommend the B + W, no question. Remember, this in a one-time investment in better, higher quality optical accessories for every lens it fits. The pleasure of owning the right piece of gear will last long after the sting of a higher price is gone.
FWIW, the 52mm Marumi is about $55.00 USD, slightly higher than the B + W, if I'm using the online converter correctly.
I've used the genuine Lenspen and also tried a cheaper version, thrown in with another purchase from Hong Kong. The off-brand one didn't clean as well and the sponge-like tip fell off after a few uses. I'm not familiar with the brand you mentioned, but overall, same answer as the CPL's. Go for a good quality name, all else being equal.
JMO
Ron
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