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12-18-2008, 08:42 AM   #1
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Guidance with an Entry-Level setup

hello photographers of pentax forums

im a new member to both the forum and the art/hobby of photography. im still in the process of learning all the terminology (aperture,iso) and i have been very keen of buying a dslr.

ive been researching the past few days and it seems the K200D seems to fit my requirements and my budget, im thinking of purchasing it very soon as im going on a trip to the bush.

being a person who tries to research everything before diving in, i came here to ask for a few suggestions on what lenses i should buy.

id like a general lens, something i can carry anywhere (specially for the upcoming trip) would the k200d kit lens suit that role?

most of all i would like to move into portraiture, and low light/night photography, but im not sure what lens i should get for that, i think a 50mm f/1.4 suits?
i really like the photos from this persons stream 50mm F/1.4 USM - a set on Flickr i want to try reproduce something along those lines

so to sum up my questions
- should i buy the k200d with the KIT lens, or, buy a body then get some other 'general' lens

- are these lenses of the same image quality? one is ~$100 and the other is ~$350
SMC/S-M-C/Super Takumar 50mm F1.4
Pentax smc P-FA 50mm F1.4


-what lens should i buy for night/portrait photography (i dont mind MF and second hand)

also are any of these combos here worth considering? ===> Pentax Digital SLR Cameras - Buy CHEAP dSLR
(the prices here are quite respective to the current prices around my area)


my budget is around 1000AUD maybe 1200AUD if the lens is worth the stretch

thanks for your time and suggestions
hope i can contribute more later on


Last edited by 80rpm; 12-18-2008 at 11:44 AM.
12-18-2008, 09:07 AM   #2
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Welcome 80rpm to the world of photography. If you are just starting out, I would recommend getting the kit lens that comes with the K200D. It is capable of very good pictures and is much better in terms of build quality compared to the kit lenses of other brands. It is lightweight which is good for travel and the focal length range is good for general purpose shooting. I would say that there really is nothing wrong with the kit lens at all except for the fact that it has a small maximum aperture (f/3.5-5.6) which means it is not very good for shooting in low light situations. However, since you are considering the 50 f/1.4, you may be alright.

The 50 f/1.4 is a highly recommended lens which has great value for the price. The super takumar is also a very highly regarded lens (see the Takumar club thread for pictures) I find that the super takumar is of better build quality and is slightly sharper. The trade off is that you will need an M42 mount adapter to use it on your camera and you will have to manually focus and meter. I would suggest going with the FA 50 f/1.4 unless youre feeling really ambitious.

Best of luck and enjoy shooting!
12-18-2008, 09:13 AM   #3
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Don't buy the kit lens if you get a better then 50 USD difference on the body. Heck, I can sell you my kit 18-55 for $50US, but you can grab it online quite cheap in your neck of the woods.

The FA 50 1.4 is a must own lens. It is great in low light, and is a fantastic portrait lens. It is 200 USD new, but you can find it for around 170 used. I have no idea what that is in AUS.

If you can...see if you can get a good price on a kit with the 16-45 lens. It is a much better starter lens and you may not need more then that. ever since I upgraded from my kit to the 16-45, I have been very happy, however there are Sigma and Tamaron lenses that are similar for less money. One favorite here is the Sigma 17-70, and 18-50.

The Takumar is a manual lens, the FA will work with all the neat electronic features. Both have outstanding quality and the both let you manually select the aperture if you wish. The Takumar is like the grandfather of the FA lens.

Check out the marketplace, there are people from AUS selling stuff and if you dont mind the wait shipping internationally will outweigh those taxes. US post is not very expensive.
12-18-2008, 09:41 AM   #4
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Slightly off topic. But on topic! That chap's Flickr stream with his Canon and his 50/1.4 USM lens have a certain colour to them. Any idea what he has done in post processing to get that nice warm used look?

12-18-2008, 10:30 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by abraham_love Quote
Slightly off topic. But on topic! That chap's Flickr stream with his Canon and his 50/1.4 USM lens have a certain colour to them. Any idea what he has done in post processing to get that nice warm used look?
I don't see warm colours in those photos. I see way too much blue, which I would call a cool tone. I'm not very fond of the image quality in that set. Very digital looking output from that camera and lens.
12-18-2008, 10:39 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by 80rpm Quote
id like a general lens, something i can carry anywhere (specially for the upcoming trip) would the k200d kit lens suit that role?
Yes; that's what it's designed to be - a general purpose carry anywhere lens that can cover a lot of needs. Most obvious limitation is that 55mm isn't particular long, so most people end up supplementing it with a telephoto zoom at some point (DA50-200, DA55-300, or Tamron/Sigma 70-300 lenses being popular choices). But unless you are primarily into wildlife or other specialized types of shooting that mostly involve telephoto, you'll do most of your shooting in the 18-55 range.

The fact that 55mm seems a bit limiting at the long end is one reason why I couldn't see myself using the 16-45 instead. I don't care if it's got better IQ - the kit lens is already quite good, especially stopped down to f/8 or so as will normally be the case outdoors (and indoors, you probably want that FA50, or another "fast" prime). If I were considering an alternative to the kit lens, it would be a 17-70 (Pentax or Sigma) or even the 18-250.

QuoteQuote:
most of all i would like to move into portraiture, and low light/night photography, but im not sure what lens i should get for that, i think a 50mm f/1.4 suits?
It does. It's a little on the long side for "candid" use indoors (although often just what you want), and a little on the short side for more formal portraits (although, again sometimes just what you want), and as such, makes a great compromise focal length if you're going to have just one. Ultimately, you may find yourself replacing it with something a little wider for candids and something a bit longer for portraits. With that in mind, if you think you can handle MF, then you might indeed consider going cheap on the 50mm lens by getting an old manual focus one.

QuoteQuote:
- are these lenses of the same image quality? one is ~$100 and the other is ~$350
SMC/S-M-C/Super Takumar 50mm F1.4
Pentax smc P-FA 50mm F1.4
I'm not sure where in the world you live, but in the US, the second one listed - commonly referred to as the FA50/1.4 - should only cost about half what you list (ie, it's a little under $200 most places).

I personally have no experience with the Takumar lenses, but assuming that is an M42 screwmount lens, I am wary of using them because of the adapter they require and the difference in metering procedure compared to the K-mount lenses (K, M, A, F, FA, DFA, and DA series). I'm quite sure I'm missing out on some excellent Takumars, but I think the standard choice if you're looking for cheaper manual alternatives to the FA50/1.4 would be the "M" or "A" series lenses. I use the A50/1.7 and am quite happy with it, and it's well under $100. The "M" version is even cheaper, but "M" lenses also have metering quirks you might not be prepared to deal with right away; might as well start with "A" lenses where possible. These work more or less just like modern lenses except for not having auto focus.
12-18-2008, 10:39 AM   #7
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My .02...

Buy the body with the kit lens and learn to use that setup. The kit lens from Pentax are better then most, if not all other kit lenses available and is as good starting point. Until you get a grasp of this new hobby and learn your way around the camera and discovering its limits and limitations, no matter which other lens you choose, you still have to start with the basics. The next logical choice I would suggest is the FA 50/1.4 later.

As for night photography, just use the lens(es) you have and a sturdy tripod.

Jason
12-18-2008, 10:42 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
I don't see warm colours in those photos. I see way too much blue, which I would call a cool tone. I'm not very fond of the image quality in that set. Very digital looking output from that camera and lens.
While I don't disagree the images look kind of cold, that might well be due to the PP used, not the camera or lens. I could easily imagine his monitor being uncalibrated and having a warm color cast that made his processing of those images look better to him than they do to you or me.

12-18-2008, 11:30 AM   #9
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a big thanks for the insight, really appreciated. i admit i was going to just dive in witht the body and kit lens, with some reluctance, but you guys basically sold it to me. from what ive read here, ill have to learn a lot more about the various other lenses, and photography in general.
12-18-2008, 11:38 AM   #10
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Dont worry, if its something that you are passionate about, it will come quickly.
12-18-2008, 12:23 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
While I don't disagree the images look kind of cold, that might well be due to the PP used, not the camera or lens. I could easily imagine his monitor being uncalibrated and having a warm color cast that made his processing of those images look better to him than they do to you or me.
I agree the post-processing or possibly the in-camera jpeg settings are causing the blue cast. When I said I didn't like the output of the camera, I wasn't actually talking about the colour. There's a kind of buzziness in the images that looks very digital to me. Maybe that's a post-processing issue too, but I suspect it's the camera.
12-18-2008, 03:56 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by 80rpm Quote
hello photographers of pentax forums
ive been researching the past few days and it seems the K200D seems to fit my requirements and my budget, im thinking of purchasing it very soon as im going on a trip to the bush.
Depending on what your shooting, the kit lens will be fine as others have suggested. It gives a reasonable wide angle for the wide brown land
and moderate telephoto for taking pics of the kids messing up the campsite.

QuoteOriginally posted by 80rpm Quote
being a person who tries to research everything before diving in, i came here to ask for a few suggestions on what lenses i should buy.

id like a general lens, something i can carry anywhere (specially for the upcoming trip) would the k200d kit lens suit that role?
Thats the difference between Pentax users and others from what I've seen so far. Pentax users research their equipment before jumping in.

The kit lens (genuine Pentax one BTW - no the Sigma thats out there) is solid, has good IQ and is easy to carry around. I carry my K200D with kit lens one handed a lot when I'm just fiddling. Its up to my eye and ready in seconds.

QuoteOriginally posted by 80rpm Quote
so to sum up my questions
- should i buy the k200d with the KIT lens, or, buy a body then get some other 'general' lens
The kit price is very good compared to the body only price at present. Of course thats all set to change......

QuoteOriginally posted by 80rpm Quote
-what lens should i buy for night/portrait photography (i dont mind MF and second hand)
Something with a large aperture - eg f1.4 - is best for night shots. The more light you can gather in, the better.

Good luck and enjoy your trip!
12-18-2008, 04:29 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by 80rpm Quote
hello photographers of pentax forums

im a new member to both the forum and the art/hobby of photography. im still in the process of learning all the terminology (aperture,iso) and i have been very keen of buying a dslr.

ive been researching the past few days and it seems the K200D seems to fit my requirements and my budget, im thinking of purchasing it very soon as im going on a trip to the bush.

being a person who tries to research everything before diving in, i came here to ask for a few suggestions on what lenses i should buy.

id like a general lens, something i can carry anywhere (specially for the upcoming trip) would the k200d kit lens suit that role?

most of all i would like to move into portraiture, and low light/night photography, but im not sure what lens i should get for that, i think a 50mm f/1.4 suits?
i really like the photos from this persons stream 50mm F/1.4 USM - a set on Flickr i want to try reproduce something along those lines

so to sum up my questions
- should i buy the k200d with the KIT lens, or, buy a body then get some other 'general' lens

- are these lenses of the same image quality? one is ~$100 and the other is ~$350
SMC/S-M-C/Super Takumar 50mm F1.4
Pentax smc P-FA 50mm F1.4


-what lens should i buy for night/portrait photography (i dont mind MF and second hand)

also are any of these combos here worth considering? ===> Pentax Digital SLR Cameras - Buy CHEAP dSLR
(the prices here are quite respective to the current prices around my area)


my budget is around 1000AUD maybe 1200AUD if the lens is worth the stretch

thanks for your time and suggestions
hope i can contribute more later on
You mention going bush. Many forum members may not understand what that means in Australia.

To me it means hot, dry & dusty conditions. I would encourage you to look very seriously at either the DA* 16-50 or the DA* 50-135 as your main lens (both weather sealed)....or stretch the budget and get both.
One of the big traps in this game is that you can drop a lot of little amounts on lens' and end up with an average kit that has cost you more than if you bit the bullett initially.

Cheers.
12-18-2008, 10:18 PM   #14
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yeah, but you just tripled, maybe quad-ripled his budget!!
12-18-2008, 11:31 PM   #15
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Clarification:
I am assuming his reference to a budget is for the lens purchase....so at worst I'm doubling it if he buys both. But he will soon spend that anyway, LBA being what it is....
Cheers.
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