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12-17-2009, 04:31 PM   #1
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Well, first let me introduce myself: Im Duane and Ive been shooting for 25+ years. I live in Northern Maine, USA and shoot every day, usually a couple hundred pics anyway. Landscape, macro and portraits are my favorite. I also like oversaturated HDR stuff.

So anyway.....I just picked up a K2000 with the kit smc 18-55 dal. Im not impressed with the lens at all. Bokeh is almost non existent unless certain conditions are present (which they rarely are). I know its a kit lens and I wasnt expecting the world, but Im not happy with it at all and dont find it useful for what I shoot. What would be a good portrait/macro lens that gives great bokeh without breaking my wallet?

Also, Id like to try shooting some star trails over the holiday: Anyone have any advice for using this set up for long exposures? Im wondering how long my batteries will last if I set it on bulb mode and let it run forever. Also, in a very dark area, what would be a good setting, i.e., f-stop, length of exposure, etc. Thanks in advance, Duane

Last edited by Duane; 12-17-2009 at 04:34 PM. Reason: added more
12-17-2009, 04:46 PM   #2
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You expected the kit lens to create beautiful bokeh easily?

Well, the speed and the range works against the kit lens, but it isn't hard to set up a situation where you can have bokeh on the kit lens once you take into account depth of field and perspective distortion.

Keep in mind, most kit lenses are pretty much the same in terms of speed and range, so the bokeh ability is pretty much the same. But with its sharpness and IQ it should be pretty great at landscape, hdr, and pseudo-macros.

Anyways, if you don't mind manual lenses (you shouuld be used to this if you've shot for 25+ years), you can get a GREAT portrait lens for <$50, Pentax-M 50/1.7 (sharper than the 1.4 variants). AF version is ~$200 (F/FA). And you can easily turn it into a great macro lens with extension tubes ~$10 - but may need to suppliment it with a good flash to get deeper DoF and more less bokeh.

Last edited by Eruditass; 12-17-2009 at 04:56 PM.
12-17-2009, 04:48 PM   #3
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The FA50 ƒ1.4 is about the cheapest way to get good bokeh.

Strike that. The cheapest good bokeh will be from an SMC Takumar 50 ƒ1.4. You'll have to manually focus.

Welcome to pf.
12-17-2009, 05:12 PM   #4
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I appreciate the quick and helpful responses.

Dont get me wrong, I wasnt expecting the kit lens to be give great bokeh, but youd think one could get better results with bokeh and portraits with this lens. Maybe it will be better for my landscapes. I picked it up because I got the kit super cheap and wanted a travel set-up as a do-all without carrying a big dslr, multiple lens, battery grip, filters, etc., (you get the idea).

Anyway, again, I appreciate the quick responses. Keep um' coming if youve got um. Im sure Ill become a regular here. Duane

12-18-2009, 11:52 AM   #5
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What focal lenght and aperture where you shooting, and what other lens of the same focal length (or "effective" focal length if you wish to account for the "crop factor") set your expectations of what bokeh should look like at that particular aperture?
12-20-2009, 05:05 PM   #6
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Of course one can do better especially for portraits, but with most lenses, you can set up a situation to make it work. Took these today with the DA L 18-55mm:

12-20-2009, 05:28 PM   #7
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The kit lens will do reasonably well.
It's the conditions you shot in that will determine the effect.
A well-lit subject close to the camera with a well-separated background shot with the kit lens at f/8 will be quite well-rendered with significant bokeh to appreciate.
Of course, these ideal conditions are not found all that often, and hence a faster lens gives greater creative latitude.

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