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05-04-2021, 06:53 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Which Lens for what? (50mm vs 16-85mm vs 55-300mm

I have the following 3 Lenses:
1. 50mm Prime (1.8 SMC DA) with UV Filter (Amazon Basics) and CPL available
2. Pentax 18-85mm (1:3.5-5.6 HD DA ED DC WR) with UV Filter (Polaroid)
3. SMC Pentax DA 55-300mm with UV Filter (B&W )

I have put UV filters on each of them, and only have a Polarizer (available) for the 50mm

I have been trying to figure out with so many opinions out there on what to use each lens for, I'm wondering if I'm missing something.

I'm not a new photographer, but I have had a good camera capable of taking better pictures than me previously to owning this K-x I got from a Ranger buddy, Kent, now with removable lenses, filters, etc., I feel like I'm starting all over again.

I like a Filter to protect the lens from dust, dirt, grime, oil, fingerprints, etc. I used to run a Skylight Filter on each of the lenses, but I have learned better than that and I recently came up against an issue with taking shots in crowds of an event having too long of a shutter opening and blurry images because it was taking too long to take the shot with the wide angle lens (admittedly not the lens to use anyway, but I just got the 50mm in today and started playing with it) and I have a bunch of ruined shots because of varying light levels at that venue.

So I'm thinking:

50mm good for general use, good with people and crowds, no ability to quickly change to zoom though

16-85mm good all-around, and one I used to use all the time, I spend a lot of time outdoors and this seems like the most versatile, and it obviously crosses into the 50mm territory and changes the frame some, of course.

My telephoto 55-300 I don't use all that much but I'm looking forward to playing with it at some distance, but it seems like I may need to upgrade that someday for truly good outdoor photography well away from wildlife that I would like to capture shots of in the future.

It seems like I have some crossover with the 3 lenses, but what particular niches should I use each lens for, or do I have it, or is this so basic of a question that I just need to go take a photography course properly and go have some real fun (which I think I want to do anyway).

Thank you all for your time

05-04-2021, 07:35 PM - 5 Likes   #2
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Hi

Kx is a Crop / APSC camera format.

Your 50mm prime will be your "portrait" lens - for isolating subject, blurring back ground, and ensuring "fast enough" shutter speeds that your subjects movement doesn't show.


Your 16-85 is a great walk around, be a tourist, shoot birthday parties etc.


Your DA 55-300 is for chasing kids at the ball park, or taking pics of wild life at the zoo.


All good focal length, a good kit with no need to go buy more.
05-04-2021, 08:01 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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This is an awesome and perfect outline of usage, thank you!

QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
Hi

Kx is a Crop / APSC camera format.

Your 50mm prime will be your "portrait" lens - for isolating subject, blurring back ground, and ensuring "fast enough" shutter speeds that your subjects movement doesn't show.


Your 16-85 is a great walk around, be a tourist, shoot birthday parties etc.


Your DA 55-300 is for chasing kids at the ball park, or taking pics of wild life at the zoo.


All good focal length, a good kit with no need to go buy more.
05-04-2021, 08:30 PM   #4
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Lens no. 2 is I believe 16-85, not 18-85.

05-04-2021, 08:47 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by AdkMtnGuy Quote
This is an awesome and perfect outline of usage, thank you!
The most important thing: shoot daily!

Join in one of the Single In / Daily in groups and shoot and share a photo a day. You will gain so much more enjoyment from your acquisition.
05-04-2021, 09:07 PM   #6
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Iíll expand on @matt and hood exceptionally clear reply - hopefully without muddying the water.

50mm as Matt said when uses right itís a good portrait/short telephoto. It is also your only ďfastĒ lens (meaning it can work in lower light and maintain a higher shutter speed at the same iso rating by opening up more than the other lenses. So in addition to blurred background portraits you can also use it indoors and at events where lighting may be poor. The angle of view will make it feel a bit telephoto and framing may be tight but you can use that creatively to pick out specific elements of the scene.

The 16-85 is a remarkable lens. It offers a great deal of versatility. You can shoot wide angle landscapes, shots with context and multiple subjects, portraits, and short telephoto shots.

The 55-300 is a sleeper. It is slow to focus and yet sharp and offers great close range pseudo macro shooting. Iíve even managed one or two birds in flight but thatís difficult and feeder birds are a lot easier!
05-04-2021, 09:42 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The 55-300 is a sleeper. It is slow to focus and yet sharp and offers great close range pseudo macro shooting.
The 55-300 (SMC or HD; not talking about PLM) is an under-rated lens. I really like the way it renders for long portraits and small groups, and have also had great success with birds. It's a must for a Pentax APS-C kit (or the PLM).
05-05-2021, 12:14 AM - 3 Likes   #8
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My tuppence worth
Get a polarizer for the 18-85mm (or whatever it actually is). A relatively wide-range "standard" zoom like this will give far more options on a day-to-day basis than limiting yourself to only having a polarizer for the 50mm.
Always use a lens hood. If you don't have one for any of the lenses, invest! It doesn't have to be a fancy "flower-petal" bayonet-fit hood, though they are very convenient to fit and dismount … a basic folding rubber screw-in hood will be as good for most occasions.
With a modicum of care (and a lens hood fitted), using a "protection" filter is simply introducing another opportunity to reduce image quality, either from distortion or reflections, unless you really are in an area where a high UV exists and is affecting your pictures.
Experiment with ISO settings. Find the highest setting where you are happy with the quality and don't be afraid to use it. From your remarks I get the feeling you're limiting yourself to a couple of slower speeds.
Keep Shake Reduction activated unless there's a good reason to switch it off, on a tripod for instance.
Push your limits. Take a lot of pictures then try to analyse why any one "didn't work" … wrong shutter speed, wrong aperture, wrong ISO? Once you've figured out what you or your camera/lens "can't" take, try to devise a way of doing it … even if it means upping the ISO and putting up with a bit of noise. It's surprising what the brain will accept if the subject matter is good! A "noisy" colour picture will often convert into a very acceptable "gritty/grainy" b&w picture
Good luck


Last edited by kypfer; 05-05-2021 at 12:27 AM.
05-05-2021, 02:18 AM   #9
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It is all about footwork, is not it?

The 50mm is a very capable lens and it is the lens I grew up with, so to speak. It works well with a lot of (far away) scenes and portraits in low and good light . The 16-85 is a terrific lens only seldom used by me. It is nice to walk around with it and very useful because the nice focal range. Almost ultra wide so you can get close to a subject and also useful if you can not get close enough. In both situations you can experience that you are close by the subject and have the feeling you can touch it. That is why it is the perfect lens when you go for a walk, although it may be a bit on the heavy side. The 55-300 is a lens I only take with me if I have special subject in mind that I want to take a picture of and I know that I can not get close enough with the 50 or 16-85. The 50mm is a lens that needs a lot of footwork to get your composition right. The 16-85 omits the footwork and it can get the composition more precise (depending on the subject and the distance to it). The 55-300 omits the footwork as well, but when the footwork meets a barrier you can use the long focal length to overcome this.
05-05-2021, 02:59 AM   #10
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I agree with the others, but I'll clarify by suggesting a Circular Polarizer for the 16-85mm. Being able to choose to allow or cut reflections, on glass or water, along with general glare reduction is great for a lens like this. Most of my "walk-around" lenses in this range have one unless I am shooting at night, and reallyt, with high-ISO performance of Pentax, I leave the CPL on even then, cutting reflections is just as important at night, IMO.

The best advice is shoot daily. You could consider joining the Singe In or Daily In groups, which encourage one to take and post images every day, no matter how good they are. The purpose is to provide a reason to shoot every day, and with the Single In, every day with the same lens and camera combo for one month. You could be come very familiar with a combo in 30 days.

In Wyoming, in spring time, you should have no end of great scenes to take in. Go to Little America and photograph penguins!
05-05-2021, 05:43 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
The most important thing: shoot daily!. . . .
and have fun with your photography

I agree you have a good kit

_______


QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
. . . Kx is a Crop / APSC camera format. . . .
these articles explain the [ dreaded words warning ] " the equivilent field of view " when using your ASP-C sensor camera -

QuoteQuote:
The Crop Factor Explained: An Animation
Understanding a very confusing concept
By PF Staff in Tutorial Videos on Jan 19, 2015

Read more at: The Crop Factor Explained: An Animation - Tutorial Videos | PentaxForums.com

QuoteQuote:
_____________________

The Crop Factor Unmasked
Field of View vs Focal Length on various formats
By PF Staff in Articles and Tips on Jul 23, 2014

Read more at: The Crop Factor Unmasked - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com

Last edited by aslyfox; 05-05-2021 at 05:53 AM.
05-05-2021, 06:24 AM   #12
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I will second the recommendation to ditch the uv filters. However Test with and without and decide for yourself. The 55-300 on the long end is a good test. You may see loss of detail using the filter at 300mm.
05-05-2021, 06:30 AM   #13
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this chart might be of interest to the OP:

QuoteQuote:
Pentax K-mount Lens Compatibility Chart
Copyright 2006-2020 Mosphotos.com. All rights reserved.

Pentax bayonet lenses labeled "SMC Pentax" are referred to as "K" lenses in the table below. Other Pentax bayonet lenses have the lens designation as a part of their name as in "SMC Pentax-FA".
Note that "star" lenses work like their "non-star" counterparts unless they are singled out in the table below. So for compatibility of a DA* lens which is not singled out, look under DA lenses, etc.
Exceptions:
FA and F "soft" lenses behave like M lenses in terms of metering. . . .

The Pentax K-mount Camera Lens Compatibility Chart
05-05-2021, 06:49 AM   #14
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This is actually a nice kit.

16-85 should be your outdoor lens, and should be mounted by default on your camera.
50 is your low-light lens, portrait lens, and light lens.
55-300 is your telephoto.

Get rid of the UV filters. You will just make IQ worse because of flare.

About the 55-300, it is a fine lens, also slow to focus (PLM version would be much better but is not compatible with your camera). But it is a gem ; you don't use it much because you have other lenses. So, I suggest you spend several days with the 55-300 only, mounted on your camera. Naturally it can only works outdoor, but you will learn how to use it and appreciate such a lens by being forced to use it. This is how I did to appreciate my own telephoto lens (a Tamron 70-300, a bit like the 55-300 but of lower quality).
05-05-2021, 06:53 AM   #15
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if you don't own it, you might consider this ebook

QuoteQuote:
Legacy eBooks: K-7, K-x, K20D, K100D
Lifetime download access to Yvon Bourque's comprehensive guidebooks (PDF) for the older K-7, K-x, K20D, and K100D. 4 eBooks in a single bundle. Download here after purchasing
Amount: US$9.99
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/donations/
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