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01-26-2009, 12:20 PM   #16
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

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QuoteOriginally posted by Sitting Bull Quote
I find that the lenses are a little difficult for me to understand. I don't quite understand the #'s on the lens and how that all l translates to the type of pictures I will get.
Example would be a standard 18-55 mm and a 16-45 mm. What differences will I see in the picture.? Lots to learn but extremely interesting. I literally no nothing about photography.
Visit a library or bookstore. There's way more to learn than you can expect to get answers to here. But to answer your question: the numbers above are the *focal length* of the lens. A low number takes a wide angle picture, and higher numbers are like looking through binoculars - they appear to magnify things. A lens listed as 18-55 is a "zoom" lens, meaning it can take pictures that are wide angle (18mm) or somewhat telephoto (55mm) or anywhere in between. Somewhere around the middle of that range is what most people consider "normal", meaning the picture comes out looking about the way the scene appeared in real life.

While 18mm is pretty wide, and 16mm is even wider, 55mm isn't a very long focal length at all (and 45mm is even less so) - it's like looking through the cheapest pair of binoculars you have ever seen. If you're looking to take pictures of wildlife or other distant objects, you will need longer. That's why most people also get telephoto lenses, like the 50-200, or the 55-300 - or use an 18-250 instead of two separate lenses.

P&S cameras also have these markings. But the numbers aren't comparable between cameras, unfortunately, in terms of getting a sense for how wide or how telephoto they are. What you'd want is to find information about your P&S camera that gives the focal length as "35mm equivalent". For Pentax DSLR cameras, you can get the "35mm equivalent" focal length by multiplying by 1.5. So the 18-55 is 28-80 or so in "35mm equivalent" terms.

01-26-2009, 02:35 PM   #17
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I think you're underestimating how close you'll have to be with a 55mm lens. Even the 18-250mm lens (a great walk around lens - I love it) is fairly short.

Check out this tool on the Tamron website. It give a virtual depiction of the differences between focal lengths from 11mm (very wide) to 500mm (very long). It should help you when you're looking for lenses.

As for your kit right now, since you want wild life, I'd consider buying the the K200D with the 18-55 and the 55-300 lenses. 300mm is getting fairly long and should allow you to take some decent shots, at least until you spring for the Bigma.

Focal length comparison tool, Tamron USA
01-26-2009, 03:29 PM   #18
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I wanted to chime in with a little in the field and in the livingroom experience.

I have spent many years shooting wildlife. I have done this with a variety of equipment, both manual and automatic focusing zooms, SLR's and DSLR's, huge/heavy cameras and some lightweight P&S jobs.

Sound, although an issue, is but one part of the equation. Movement is the real killer, IMHO, regarding wildlife photography. I have taken literally thousands of photos of wildlife from the ground level on up. Out of all my experiences, I have felt that the sound of focusing, winding, etc. all seem to point out your presence but the movement you took to get there is far and away more likely to spook wildlife.

From the livingroom side of things... I have loved my Magic Lantern K200D book. If you can't buy one off the Internet, try to get one at your local library. It is excellent.

01-26-2009, 04:16 PM   #19
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The photos I have seen from the DA* 300mm convince me that this is the lens to get if you're serious about wildlife. It's not expensive for what you are getting -- compare to other makes and remember you get image stabilisation for free. (Though since you'll be using a tripod this isn't as big a deal.)

In the meantime the DA55-300mm, which I do own, is a wonder for the price. Get this with the K20D as a starter set if you want versatility or if the DA* is too rich for you.

With the larger sensor on the K20D you can crop out 60% of the background and still have an image with 6MP resolution. Unless my math is wrong, that's like having a 480mm lens.


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