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Old Feb 14, 2009, 3:43 PM   #31
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The Tamrac 603 is $99.95, so that's out of my price range. However, the following are, and their internal dimensions would seem to fit my needs and be shoulder or sling bag:

Adventure Messenger 4 (shoulder bag)--$49.95; 11" w x 4" d x 9" h

or

Tamrac 5767 (Velocity 7x) (sling bag)--$59.95; 11.5"w x 5.5 d x 12" h

So I'll decide on either of those. Thanks for the additional input, mtngal.
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Old Feb 15, 2009, 10:15 PM   #32
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The K20 and K200 manuals are available here...

http://camera.manualsonline.com/manu...ax/k20d_1.html
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Old Feb 17, 2009, 11:48 AM   #33
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Some time last year i bought a Tamrac velocity 7 bag. I liked it a lot. So did my wife. She liked it so much, in fact, that it has become her camera bag. She carries her K200D with 55-300 attached, the kit lens, the Tamron 90mm macro lens, and a flash in that bag. Plus, of course, batteries, extra memory cards, etc. Getting all that gear into a medium size bag is not easy, and she sometimes has to pile things on top of each other, which can make quick retreival a bit tricky. That said, we both feel it's very comfortable, and it's very easy to slide the bag forward to get something without taking it off. I certainly recommend that bag, but as you've already heard, camera bag preference is a very personal thing, and the fact that one person likes a certain bag does not mean that everyone will.
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Old Feb 19, 2009, 9:29 AM   #34
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I am also considering purchasing the Pentax K200D & am wanting to know what lenses I need. It comes with a 18-55. I would also eventually get the 55-300.

I am interested in doing some macro or close-up photography as well esp. of flowers. It would be nice to have a small lenses that wouldn't be as cumbersome as the 55-300 to cart around for macro or close up work but I don't know if macro lenses are much smaller & if they would be extremely expensive.

Or should I just use the 55-300 for macro? Is there a difference between macro & close-up?
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Old Feb 19, 2009, 10:21 AM   #35
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I'm not an expert on macro and close up photography, so I hope others will chime in as well. There is a difference between macro and close-up photography, although the two term are often used interchangeably. I think the difference is as follows:

Macro photography refers to the size of the image on the camear's sensor relative to the actual size of the subject. If a bug that's 1 centimeter in length creates an image on the sensor that's 1 cm long, the macro lens that was used has a ratio of 1:1. If a 1 cm bug creates an image on the sensor that's 1/2 cm, the lens has a ratio of 2:1, etc.

Close-focusing lenses have the ability to focus up close, but the size of the image vs. actual size of the subject isn't a consideration.

I hopeI got that right, and if not, i hope someone will correct me.

My wife does quite a bit of macro photography, and she ishappy with the TamronSP 90mm f/2.8 Di macro lens on her K200D. It is not a small lens, however. Off the top of my head, I'd say it's bigger and heavier than the Pentax 55-300 lens. To the best of my knowledge the 55-300 is neither a macro nor a close-focusing lens. I hope this helps.
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Old Feb 19, 2009, 10:53 PM   #36
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Macro is a fun topic, but it gets frustrating.

Mtnman gave you some of the basics about macro lenses, his only mistake was to reverse the ratio for his example of a 1 cm subject casting a 1/2 cm image on the sensor - it should be 1:2.

Some additional information: There's really no standard for manufacturers to use the term "macro" when they label zoom lenses - in the past there were lenses designated as macro that were only capable of doing 1:4.

The DA 55-300 isn't designated as a macro lens, but according to the specs listed on B&H, it's capable of doing 1:3.5. The Tamron 70-300 macro lens is capable of 1:2, much better but still not as good as a true prime macro that does 1:1.

Here are a couple of examples that I took at lunch today, using the K20. They aren't great, I was having more than usual amount of trouble with camera shake today.

To set the stage, here's a picture taken with the DA 55-300 of my subject, taken at 77mm focal length. It's a lovely flowering cherry getting close to full bloom:



This is straight out of the camera, the resizing has been done by zenfolio (the website I use for photo hosting). If you want to see the full sized file, completely untouched, at http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/v3/p547369903.jpg

Now here is as close as I could get with the DA 55-300. The minimum focusing distance is 4 1/2 feet. I used f7.1, which is too large for close-ups, the DOF is way too small. The only part that's sharply in focus is a bit of the petals.



The untouched full sized version is at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/v4/p734258059.jpg if you are interested.

I also took a couple of pictures with my macro lens, a Vivitar Series One 105mm macro lens. The closer you get to your subject, the smaller the dof gets, so you have to use smaller and smaller apertures. In this case, I used f18 to try to get as much as possible in focus, then added the on-board flash (I didn't have my external flash unit with me unfortunately) to add some extra light. Otherwise, I couldn't hold the camera steady enough to get a clear picture (SR helps, but it can't work miracles and I couldn't hand-hold 1/100 sec shot while shooting upwards with the 105mm lens today - normally I can do it without problems). I adjusted the exposure on this one a bit in Lightroom (it was a bit underexposed), but it is otherwise the jpg straight out of the camera.



Full sized version of the picture is at http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/v3/p888659127-4.jpg

This image also brings up another topic - the on-board flash. Notice the bottom of the shot is dark - that's because the lens is pretty long when set to do 1:1 pictures (which this one is). It interferes with the flash and throws a shadow (hint - if you are going to do lots of macro, an external flash is a VERY good idea, and I didn't have mine today).

As far as dedicated macro lenses go, there's generally two common focal lengths used - something around 50mm and something around 100mm (there are macro lenses that have been made that are both longer and shorter than these, but these are quite common). The 50mm macro lenses are popular with people doing coins and macros in a studio - you have a greater depth of field with them. The 100mm macro lenses are popular with those that take pictures of things that sting or are flighty, because you can stand back a bit and still get 1:1. Tamron makes the 90mm mentioned above, Pentax makes a 100mm, Sigma makes a 105mm. All of them are excellent lenses, all cost around $500. I think the Tamron may be a hair bit better than the other two, just judging from pictures posted, but I've only tried the Pentax. There are others out there (like my Viv), this isn't a comprehensive lens list.

You don't have to have a dedicated macro lenses to do macro. You can also use extension tubes and dioper filters/add-on lenses. Both these have advantages and disadvantages, and the big thing to remember is that they can't increase the quality of the lens you are adding them to.

An extension tube is essentially an empty tube that has lens mounts on each end. It moves the lens away from the camera, allowing it to focus closer than it normally would, but it also means you lose infinity focus (you have to remove the tube to focus on something in the distance). If you use an extension tube with a soft lens, you will have a soft image, and probably one with camera shake since an extension tube cuts down on the amount of light that gets to the sensor. Many people will pick up an older 50mm 1.7 or 1.4 lens to use with an extension tube, since they are very sharp. Extension tubes are inexpensive.

Dioper filters and add-on macro lenses add pieces of glass to the front of the lens that allows it to focus closer than it normally would (and you also lose infinity). The advantage is that you don't lose light, like you do with an extension tube. The bad thing is they add elements to the system, and you get what you pay for - a cheap dioper is going to add distortion. Expensive ones work well with good lenses, but cost almost as much as a dedicated macro lens. Both extension tubes and add-on filters have to be removed to focus on distant objects, which increases the fiddling you have to do.

If you aren't sure whether you want to do macro or will be happy with close-up, then getting the Tamron 70-300 might be a good compromise lens (you get some macro capability and a telephoto zoom at the same time). Or get the Pentax FA50mm 1.4 (or a used A or M 50mm 1.7, which are manual focus and cheaper) which would give you a fast lens for low-light and add a set of extension tubes or an add-on filter.

One last thing - your depth of field is so small, auto focus can work against you. My first macro lens was AF and after a couple of attempts, I switched to manual focus. My Viv is manual focus.

While I've played around with macro (I love it), I'm no expert and I'm sure others can offer additional information.
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Old Feb 20, 2009, 1:13 PM   #37
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I realize this thread is getting long, but I keep posting in hopes that the documentation will serve to assist those willing to use the search function and find all this helpful advice for the same kind of purchase.

By the way: I got my camera body + kit lens +other lenses and camera bag yesterday and after reading the "one manual for all lenses" manuals," I did want to ask about lens/camera storage.

Is there really a need to remove the lenses from the camera bag designed to hold them + the camera so long as you keep it in an area of your house (like a normal room) that gets normal ventilation yet is out of direct sunlight? Should one keep the dry gel packs (that absorb moisture) that came with the lenses and put them in the camera bag in the compartments with the lenses? Or is it absolutely necessary to REMOVE the lenses and store them outside of the camera bag when one isn't using the camera? The manual says that should be done to prevent mildew of the lens(es)...but excuse me if I seem dense, but it would seem so long as the camera bag holding the camera and lenses is in a normally ventilated part of the house and out of the sunlight (hence in a cooler spot) that it should not cause problems for the lenses being in the camera bag. I've got everything in the camera bag right now and it's obviously really convenient in case I decide to go out the door and snap some shots. :?
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Old Feb 20, 2009, 2:29 PM   #38
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What part of Texas do you live in? I lived in Killleen/Copperas Cove area for 5 years when I was shooting film and my lenses (for the most part) lived in the camera case with one or two of the dry gel packs. The other one lived in it's own case because I never used it. None of them developed fungus (a very deadly disease for lenses) but then, that area of Texas isn't all that humid.

Where I'm living now it's really dry so I don't worry about fungus andall of my commonly used lenses live in my camera bag, the others live either where I last left them or in a cupboard. I leave one particular lens mounted on the camerawhen I'm not shooting because otherwisethings won't fit in my bag. I haven't had a problemyet with the lens mount. I would have been a lot more careful with my lenses if I had lived around Houston. Hopefully Roy will chime in with what he does in Dallas.
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Old Feb 20, 2009, 2:46 PM   #39
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I'm in Central Texas, in a little town that's ~ 57 miles from Killeen and 75 east of Austin, so the relative humidity isn't that bad. I mean I do live in a house and it's climate controlled like most houses, plus I keep anything that's temperature-sensitive away from direct sunlight anyway. I'll throw in those gel silica packs into the camera bag for good measure, though. Funny thing is that I have tons of cd/dvd media that's stored properly (unburned) and I've yet to pick up a piece that went bad--I've not even used gel silica packs to help them out. I was really floored by the mildew (fungus) info in the manual, since in my experience that only tended to happen in places without any kind of air conditioning, like a computer guy from Singapore that only had ceiling fans in his house and it was incredibly humid (so he had to invest a lot in gel packs to keep in the vicinity of his media to lower the humidity, to keep them from going bad). I was thinking that the only way the fungus would be an issue is if I did something boneheaded like leaving the bag in direct sunlight or stored it inside a bathroom where there was little air circulation + tons of moisture. :?

Yeah, I'd sure love to leave that DA 55-300 mm mounted on that camera and in the bag. Turns out that Adventure Messenger 4 is plenty space for the main compartment and still has a LOT of room left over in the 2 pockets beside the main one. :-)
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