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Old Oct 11, 2007, 6:04 AM   #1
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I've just bought my very first SLR camera (K100D) which came with the 18-55mm lens kit... I'm keen to experiment with different lenses,without spending loads of cash initially.What are thebasic lenses Ishould buy to get me started and to getthe most out of my camera?
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Old Oct 11, 2007, 7:13 AM   #2
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Depends on your budget and what sort of photo's you want to take!

I have the kit lens, and a Sigma 70-300 APO DG Macro lens which serve me for general photo use as you have a nice(ish) range with only a small gap in the middle. The Sigma lens is a good zoom lens, and also a good macro lens, so is nice and versatile.

I have a few old manual Pentax lenses (you can pick them up cheap on eBay) and a converted M42 lens which are good for portraits, so you can get a decent setup for little outlay, and then you can move onto better lenses when you find what you shoot the most.
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Old Oct 11, 2007, 9:10 AM   #3
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Anything in photography is a compromise. And generally, you get what you pay for - a lower cost means that you have to give up something. Generally (there are exceptions) a new lens that is cheap won't take as good pictures as one that is more expensive. So the compromise forsome who areon a budget is to do without some of the modern conveniences and buy an older lens that might have great glass, but is perhaps manual focus (or manual focus, manual exposure). However, that's not for everyone - do you want to focus manually? Others might decide to give up some image quality for the convenience of auto focus and auto exposure.

The first thing before anyone can make suggestions is to know what you want to use your camera for. What limitations do you find with the kit lens? By the way, I have lots of other lenses, but still use the kit lens quite often. Do you want to do macro? Are you interested in birds and wildlife? How about architecture? Is your interest in indoors and museums? Street scenes, portraits? Sports? While you can get some reasonable all-around type lenses, they may or may not do what you really like to do very well (the kit lens does pretty good as a close-up lens, but its certainly no macro). A dedicated macro lens might work for landscapes, but is probably a bit too sharp for most portraits. And so it goes.

Give us some more information, and we'll give you some ideas.
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Old Oct 11, 2007, 9:26 AM   #4
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Thanks for replying! I'm doing an online photography course at the moment to learn the basics, so for now I'm really just looking for as wide a spectrum as possible, so that I can experiment and find out where my interests lie before forking out for the more expensive lenses. I'd quite like to get a decent lens for portrait photography, but as I said before, really just looking for as much variety as possible in the most economical way for now!
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Old Oct 11, 2007, 9:42 AM   #5
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I personally love Pentax for the fact that it lets you experiment with all kinds of focal lengths with older lenses, yet with full light metering, and without spending a fortune.

I'd recommend you look for some older fast primes, you'll get a lot of fun from them.
50mm is a must for me, and I like the portrait focal lengths 85mm to 135mm a lot too.
There are some good tele's out there too, but be more careful with those, a lot of lemons out there.

If you find KA-mount lenses, they'll even be fully compatible with all the program modes.
The only thing you'd have to miss is AF, but you'll be thankful when a year from now, you can focus spot on manually!

Besides, look at the new Zeiss lenses, they're not AF either, yet considered top of the line glass.

Here's an explaination about the different types of lenses you can use on your DSLR: http://pentaxdigital.tdn9.be/?page_id=4

I wrote it all on that page, so it wouldn't be necessary to retype it all every time someone asks...I hope that link doesn't qualify as advertising...

Tom
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Old Oct 11, 2007, 9:44 AM   #6
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My first lens was the Pentax DA 18-55 kit lens that came with my camera. That lasted about two weeks before I bought my second lens. Second lens was a Tamron 70-300 LD 1:2 macro telephoto lens. Three months later my third purchase as a Pentax FA 50 f/1.4.

I'd say most beginers go with a telephoto lens as their second lens, either the Tamron 70-300 or the Sigma 70-300 APO. Both are excellent choices. The Tamron runs typicaly less than the Sigma APO, but both are great lenses. Some might suggest the DA 50-200 but I prefer the extra reach to 300mm with the other lenses. As we learn more about photography I think most people like to experiment with a fast 50mm. Either a M, A, F, or FA series lens either in f/1.4 or f/1.7.

Oh and after my FA 50mm f/1.4, lens buying addiction set in and it went all down hill from there. Good luck to you in your photography course.
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Old Oct 11, 2007, 11:23 AM   #7
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I'd agree with the rest - look at either the DA 50-200, or the Tamron or Sigma 70-300 APO. I'm not a fan of the DA 50-200 only because mine has someproblem that I can't figure out, but others have posted wonderful shots with theirs, and it has the added advantage of being lightweight and easy to use, and not everyone will want the extra reach of the 70-300. And some will miss the 55-70 range (Ioriginally was using an 80-200lens with the kit and got frustrated because I kept wanting something in-between 55 and 80). If you go with the Sigma, it seems that the extra cost of the APO version (they make two different lenses) is money well spent. If you can, definitely get that one or the Tamron, which also has a good reputation.

If you wouldn't mind a manual focusing lens, I'd recommend any of the 50mm 1.7 lenses - they are sharp.The M version of the lens ispretty inexpensive (it was the kit lens for many years so readily available - mine was bought new in 1980) and excellent quality. I would choose it over the M 50mm 1.4 (I happen to have both and the 1.4 is too soft for my taste wide open - the 1.7 is sharp throughout it's aperture range). From what I've read, Pentax changed the 1.4 lens when they did either the A or the F version, and it's sharper than the earlier ones. I haven't checked prices recently, but several months ago they were running around $50at keh. The FA 50mm 1.4 is considered an outstanding lens, and isn't that expensive for what you are getting. But you might find that you really don't need it so at this point, buying the M version for so little (and knowing that you can always re-sell it for around the same price) is a way of getting your feet wet with fast prime lenses without selling your right arm, wife, kids, etc. It will also help you decide whether you are willing to deal with manual focus/manual exposure lenses.
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Old Oct 11, 2007, 5:27 PM   #8
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that's a pretty good write up tom! awesome job.


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Old Oct 12, 2007, 1:36 AM   #9
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I do agree with everything that has been said so far - excellent advice. As you have heard already, buy where your interests lie. What do you take pictures of, and that will lead you to where your next lens is.

I do have to say the kit lens is excellent - do not discount the lens at all. I did a comparison of the kit against the 16-45 and the 10-17 at the wide end. Take a look at
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=94

This weekend I'll probably get around to doing the same lenses (minus the 10-17) at the 50mm end. In spite of the comparison, I do really like the 16-45 but the kit lens is so good for the price, I would keep it and build around it, depending on your desires.

The second lens I picked up was the 50-200, and a while back picked up the 75-300 because I wanted the extra reach. I just posted a comparison between the two at
http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=94

The 50-200 did very well. I am disappointed in the 75-300, and will try looking for something in the 100 to 400 range. So far, the comparisons have shown that the kit and the 50-200 are very good pair, and that is probably where most of your shots will be. Of course they are not really low light lens either, so a flash or you can mortgage your first born for one of the new f2.8 lens that mtngal tells us that they are great.

30+ years ago, I only had the 55mm on my Spotmatic, so that is what I used. I had a complete Nikon set the Navy gave me, however I always need to have it loaded with high speed b&w film for ship shots (so I could not really play around with all the telephoto lens real well), so now I tend to shy away from 50mm and go to the extremes - especially the wide angle.

Like everyone has said - evil bay, however there is also www.keh.com too.

Good luck and good hunting....
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Old Oct 12, 2007, 1:42 AM   #10
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A very good article indeed Tom. I bookmarked it so I can send some folks there for the explanation. This will save me untold amounts of time.

Dawg

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