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Old Dec 17, 2009, 6:27 AM   #11
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Dansamy - hope you enjoy your new K-X, and looking forward to seeing some of your great photos posted here!

If you don't mind used lenses, you can find some great bargains at KEH.com, including a number of lenses in the 70-300 range.

I use the Tamron 18-250 as my general use, outdoor lens, and have been pleased with the quality of most photos...
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Old Dec 17, 2009, 11:12 AM   #12
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I wasn't as happy with the DA 50-200 as I am with the DA 55-300 - I really like this lens with the added reach and the fact that it's so light-weight. While it's more expensive than the 50-200, it's well worth the extra cost in my opinion (my copy of the 50-200 wasn't very sharp and is now broken. It wasn't worth repairing so I replaced it with the 55-300).

If you are the all or nothing type of zoom shooter, then you won't miss the 50-70 range all that much. I'm finding out that I miss the 24-50 range more than I do the 50-70 range (while I still have my original kit lens, I only use it for shooting IR with the K100. I'd really like the DA*16-50 some day - I did buy one but the first copy was defective and the second copy was damaged in shipment. I ran out of time as I had a rebate that had to be mailed in, so I skipped that lens).

A second lens does depend on what you like to shoot pictures of. For travel/holiday the 18-55 and 55-300 make an excellent light-weight combination, but they aren't all that fast. People who shoot mostly wide angle and indoors would rather have something like the 10-17 fish-eye or the 12-24 wide angle lens. But telephoto lenses fit my shooting style much more (and macro) so I opted for going long before I went wider than the kit lens. Believe me, there's LOTS of lenses out there that are worth buying - one always needs to prioritize their wants and needs first.

And while I've never bought anything from KEH, they have a great reputation. The only thing about buying used lenses is that you need to know what you are buying and what capability the lens has (a lens will maintain whatever capability it had when it was made - auto exposure lenses will continue to be auto exposure as will auto focus lenses). There's nothing wrong with using manual lenses on the K-x (I do it occasionally, it can be fun), but don't expect an M or K lens to suddenly become auto focus/auto exposure. And manually focusing a lens isn't difficult, but it does take some practice.
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Old Dec 17, 2009, 12:09 PM   #13
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congratulations on your purchase, the k-x is a fine kit and the white one is a sharp looking camera.
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Old Dec 17, 2009, 3:08 PM   #14
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Hi dansamy,

Congrats on your stormtrooper Kx!!!!!

Some pretty good advice offered so far, but let me make a few additional comments.

The DA 50-200 is a really good lens, despite Harriet's negative experience, which seems to be pretty rare with this lens. It's more typically sharp throughout the range and it's very compact and light. It's got a very short 3.6' minimum focusing distance, and it's very "pocketable", as is the DA18-55 kit lens, so you can get away without carrying a bag if you like or need to go minimalist, yet cover a pretty good tele range. You can add a 1.4x TC to extend your FL range to 280mm without much problem (except maybe finding a reasonably priced TC)

mole's suggestion of the DA 18-250 is also a good one. It would overlap your kit lens in FL range, but gives you a one lens solution -- with less potential lens changing. One caveat to this lens is that its internal focusing design causes the Field of View at longer focal lengths to widen at shorter focusing distances -- in effect, when shooting close, the long end becomes more like 160-170 mm. This really doesn't effect the way this lens shoots (which is very good), but has been a disappointment to some. I recently got one of these, and it's been spending a lot of time on the cameras though I haven't been shooting much (too busy trying to get used to the change in weather).

Harriet's solution of the DA55-300 is also a good one, if you tend to be more of a telephoto shooter. I find that most people fall into one of two camps -- those that normally see details within the scene and want to magnify them, and those who see vistas, and want to capture as much of the scene as possible. The former tend to prefer tele FLs -- longer than the "normal" 30-40mm. The latter prefer wide -- shorter than 30mm. I tend to fall into the tele camp, so the more reach the better. The DA 55-300 would cover this nicely with very good optics.

I would tend to not recommend that you blow off the 50-70mm FL range. From a perspective standpoint, this is probably the most useful "portrait" range, and traditionally has given the most pleasing proportions for people shooting. Shorter tends to overemphasize facial features and longer tends to flatten them too much. If you don't mind buying another lens sometime in the future for this purpose alone, then the inexpensive 70-300s like the Tamron and the Sigma APO Macro can be good longer alternatives. The Tamron 28-75 f2.8 XR Di is my best shorter FL "people" lens, and the DA*50-135 f2.8 is about the best possible alternative for longer distance candid work.

With the Kx's low light AF and high ISO performance, the good quality "consumer class" lenses become much more versatile because you can use these "slower" (higher max aperture value) lenses indoors without a flash much more easily. It used to be that photographers who wanted to shoot indoors without flash needed to look for the "Pro" class constant f2.8 or "enthusiast" class constant f4 zooms -- or go with f2.8 or faster primes. The very good IQ properties, along with the improved AF sensitivity and speed of the Kx at ISO from 800-3200 makes these fast, big, and expensive lenses much less necessary (but they're still nice to have. . .)

Have fun with your new white Kx!!!! . . . and post some pics -- we haven't seen enough from that camera in this forum.

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Old Dec 17, 2009, 3:59 PM   #15
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I want a white one!!

As for lenses, I use old F and FA glass for most of my images. Annette has the DA 18-55mm and the DA 50-200mm (ours appears to be a good example) and although she doesn't like changing lenses, the different uses she puts them to makes lens swapping a very infrequent event. Snostorm mentions the FL "sweet spot" around 50mm, I have three lenses that cover that range, an FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6 (a crappy kit lens from the film era that actually works acceptably well on digital. I wouldn't pay more than $30 for one of these even if it was new) I use this lens in extreme environments since it is no big deal if it get damaged. My second is an excellent FA 28-70mm f4, all of the positive hype of this lens is true. My third is what I call mt work lens since I use it for almost all of my portrait work, a Sigma 24-135mm f2.8-4.5, I was lucky enough to get one that cooperates with my camera's electronics. This Sigma is a heavyweight lens with terrible lens creep but excellent image quality.

As an amateur actor I often photograph our stage productions, for that I use the old A70-210mm f4. The manual focus works well for these events and the straight f4 aperture means I can use manual exposure to set it once and not change it while I shoot. I got this lens from a member here after he cleaned out some fungus, it looks like junk but it is super sharp (I will get a nicer looking one if I ever find it, but the image quality cannot be better).

My everyday bag holds a DL with an FA 50mm and the DA 10-17mm fisheye (but my tastes change and next week I may just carry the DL with the cheapo FA 28-80 just because it is lightweight and colour coordinated (chrome finish, see the picture).

No-one can tell what focal lengths will appeal to you, and photographic tastes can change so good luck deciding.
Attached Images
Riverview, NB, Canada
Current equipment
Pentax *istDS, K3:
FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-P5, OM-D E-M1(X2): 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Old Dec 20, 2009, 5:03 PM   #16
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I put some pictures up in my other thread asking about camera models. http://forums.steves-digicams.com/1029928-post39.html

These were all taken with my A720IS, which I haven't a clue how to use in anything other than "Auto". As you can see, they are heinously bad. I want to learn. My kids are getting older and more involved in things, and I want real pictures of their activities. Not what I am currently producing. So, as you can see, I need tons of help! Is there a "Dummies" or "Idiots" book? Classes? Any suggestions? I know the camera is simply a tool and a better one doesn't automatically equal better pictures.
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