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Old Dec 17, 2010, 2:50 PM   #11
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That's a tough question. Either way you'll end up with a good lens.

The Tamron has a front diameter of 67 mm. It weighs 15.3 oz, almost a pound. Cost today at b&H is $414 after a mail-in rebate. So it's big and heavy. It's a zoom so it would replace the light-weight, small kit lens. Are you willing to carry the extra weight outdoors, whenever you know you will want a zoom? On the other hand, as a zoom, you'd only have the one lens, you wouldn't be juggling two lenses depending on the situation.

35mm DA f2.4. Front element is 49mm, weight is 4.4 oz., price (today at B&H) $219.95. That's much cheaper, smaller and lighter than the Tamron. But you lose the zoom so you'd be switching back and forth between the 35 prime and the kit lens as the situation dictates (whether you want to use a zoom or are happy with the prime).

There's advantages and disadvantages both ways. Getting the DA 35 would save you both weight and money as you already own the kit lens. On the other hand, the Tamron is a high-quality lens and would give you better pictures outside than the kit lens will - a more versatile option.

There's no right answer to this - my own personal choice would be to get the DA 35 and keep the kit lens. In my own case, I'm still thinking about a kit lens replacement but it's obviously not something very high on my list of priorities since I haven't done anything about it yet. But then, I enjoy shooting prime lenses and don't mind changing lenses often. On the other hand, the Tamron is lighter than several of my other lenses, so the extra weight wouldn't stop me from grabbing my camera, no matter what, like it would for some people. If the extra size and weight will stop you from taking the camera then why bother buying it? The best lens in the world won't take a brilliant picture if it's in the closet because you hate using it.

Bottom line is to decide which solution would work best for you, personally. Look at what you would be comfortable using, what you are comfortable spending and what image quality gain you will get. Good luck with your decision.
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 3:10 PM   #12
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Wow, I am surprised by the weight of that Tamron, I did not realize. Perhaps a prime lens is the better option. I will probably contemplate this for the next week or so using this thread as a forum for my thoughts and I appreciate any and all advice and criticism.

What are my options in primes? I am worried about the 35mm (53mm EQ) of that suggested prime to be too long for indoors. Is 2.4f enough speed for low, low light or am I best to go faster as biggest suggested at 1.7? Are there any wider options that will keep my bag light, pockets full ($ that is) that as fast if not faster than the 2.4f mentioned?
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 5:29 PM   #13
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Hi Mackloon,

I'll agree with John G that a good P-TTL bounce flash would be a good alternative. I'm personally not comfortable with most of the lower tier manufacturers, so I'd look at the Pentax AF 360 FGZ, the Sigma 530 ST, and the Metz 48 from the lower end of the top tier of quality flash guns.

Personally, I own the Pentax 360 FGZ, but it lacks a swivel head which many feel is a necessary option. For your purpose, it really wouldn't be much of a liability, but YMMV, and you might decide to get more creative with flash in the future, where the swivel head might come into play. The nice thing about the 360 FGZ is that it includes virtually all of the advanced features that a flash can offer, and is fully compatible with all of the flash features built into the Kx.

A good starting point to learn about P-TTL flashes is Matt's site

http://pttl.mattdm.org/

This is a very confusing aspect of photography, but if you get the hang of it, it can expand your indoor shooting possibilities tremendously.

Scott
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Old Dec 17, 2010, 10:19 PM   #14
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Thanks for the flash links...

So of the 3 you posted which is the best in your opinion?

Last edited by mackloon; Dec 18, 2010 at 6:34 AM.
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Old Dec 18, 2010, 7:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackloon View Post
Thanks for the flash links...

So of the 3 you posted which is the best in your opinion?
I'd say that the Metz is probably the best.

It has a tilt/swivel head which can be useful. It has all the advanced features to play with, and a bit more power than the Pentax 360. It's firmware can be updated through a USB port. It's likely that in future models, Pentax might improve their flash protocols, so it's important with a 3rd party flash to have the ability to update the flash unit's firmware if this occurs. This is important for both usability and resale value.

The Sigma has a tilt/swivel head, is very powerful, but lacks a lot of advanced features. The firmware can be updated, but it takes a chip replacement from the factory. This has been done for free (you pay the shipping) in the past, but I've heard of them charging a fee if the unit is too far out of warranty.It has the advantage of being considerably less expensive, but some might end up missing the advanced features once they become more comfortable using an advanced flash gun. This ends up being the case with some people, but others just want the flash for basic use and never go any further.

Bottom line is that there are some compromises with each -- you have to decide what you're willing to give up in possible future use.

Scott
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Old Dec 18, 2010, 8:55 AM   #16
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As far as form factor and weight are concerned, which do you see as being the smallest or least clunky?

Like I mentioned earlier in this thread, I have the vivitar 383, that I picked up for ultra cheap on a mislisted eBay auction. I thought it would work out well enough for my needs but I am not satisfied with the results.

I would like a flash that I can slap on my Kx and aim it on the bounce position and fire away out of the box and end up with good results. Once I am more comfortable with the unit I would like to tinker.

As for the wireless triggers on sone of these units, how does that work?
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Old Dec 18, 2010, 7:33 PM   #17
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Just wanted to add two things, (my .02 ;-) )

If you want quality on a budget go for an older prime. The super takamur 50mm 1.4 is an amazing lens. The pentax smc 50 1.4 is too but not as sharp as tak. I also enjoy the super tak 55 1.8. I bought each of those for under 50 a piece at the right times on ebay. CZ 28mm 2.8 and 50 1.8 (I have the pentacolar) are even better for low light and indoors as they have astounding bokeh. The Yashinon 1.7 is more flawed but can hang in the competition. These are my favorite low light lenses to use but there are many others. Its fun to take ur budget and just patiently wait and buy on ebay. I could probably double up on every one of my ebay purchases for all the lens Ive owned. Buy when you notice a time where there is a lot of different sellers with the same item also try to find a time when the item is ending at weird times of day or strange time zones. If six items are ending in auction in three hours, most likely after person 1-4 get theirs, by the last two left that day, the bidding competition is slim to sometimes none. I think if you buy smart, you will notice nearly any lens can be in your budget.

Last edited by NMRecording; Dec 18, 2010 at 7:35 PM.
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Old Dec 18, 2010, 8:26 PM   #18
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Thanks for the insight...and the pointers.

Are any of the lenses mentioned AF or all manual?
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Old Dec 19, 2010, 4:18 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackloon View Post
As far as form factor and weight are concerned, which do you see as being the smallest or least clunky?

Like I mentioned earlier in this thread, I have the vivitar 383, that I picked up for ultra cheap on a mislisted eBay auction. I thought it would work out well enough for my needs but I am not satisfied with the results.

I would like a flash that I can slap on my Kx and aim it on the bounce position and fire away out of the box and end up with good results. Once I am more comfortable with the unit I would like to tinker.

As for the wireless triggers on sone of these units, how does that work?
Hi mackloon,

I'm not a great source for detailed information about any but the Pentax flashes -- so keep that in mind.

I know the Pentax can, and I believe the Metz can be fired in wireless TTL mode using the popup flash as the master or controller. The Sigma, which has apparently been replaced with the 610 DG ST doesn't seem to be able to. IIRC, it can be used as a remote wireless TTL but needs to be triggered by another Sigma flash, but I can be wrong here.

Wireless remote TTL is an incredibly useful technique IMO. It enables you to set up the flash on a stand on a table or shelf and roam around a room with just the camera with its popup flash and shoot with additional light bouncing off the ceiling, for example.

Scott
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Old Dec 19, 2010, 10:51 AM   #20
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I use my larger 540 flash wirelessly most of the time by using the on-board flash as the controller. That way I don't have to have the heavy flash on top of the camera.

While some of the old Takumar lenses have awesome image quality, they are usually M42 screw-mounts and require an adaptor and are completely manual. Unless you want to think about a lot more things, I'd stay with the K-mount lenses. Then the camera has the ability to stop down the lens, when set up that way.

For K-mount lenses, there's a naming structure that will tell you what capability it has:

K or M - (i.e., a lens that's referred to as M 50mm f1.7 or SMC M 50mm f1.7) - manual focus and manual exposure (you set the aperture on the lens and the camera will stop it down when you take the picure).

A - manual focus and auto exposure where the focus is still manual but the camera can set the aperture.

F and FA - auto focus/auto exposure. They were designed for film cameras and while there's different capabilities between the two with certain film cameras, they work the same way with digital cameras.

DA - auto focus/auto exposure. These lenses were designed for digital cameras so are usually smaller than their full frame equivalents. The coatings on the glass have been optimized for digital sensors.

I have several manual focus lenses. While it does take practice to get the focus right, the camera beeps at you when it thinks things are in focus. If you want to get a cheap fast 50 lens, I'd recommend getting the M 50mm f1.7 over the f1.4 version. I have both and find the 1.7 sharper wide open than the 1.4, though both lenses are the same when stopped down to f2.0. The 1.7 is a bit smaller and usually cheaper.
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