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Old Jun 25, 2010, 6:18 PM   #11
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Mack, just a quick note on Macro lenses. For a "true" Macro lens, you need a dedicated prime Macro lens. By that I mean a set focal length such as a 90 or 100mm lens that is made precisely for macro work. Don't be fooled by manufactures that use the word Macro on there zoom lenses. All that means is they will focus at a closer range than most zoom lenses will. They don't offer the magnification or the image quality of a good macro lens if you want to get really detailed images. It would take me all night to discuss all the ins and outs of macro photography but, if you go back and look at some of the threads from the past few months even, you can pick up quite a bit of info to help you make good decisions before making an investment in any gear. I don't want to exclude anyone but, a few of the guys (besides me) that are into macro work here are:
in no particular order...
rhermans
Robar
Frogfish
Tachikoma
Snowstorm
Penolta
mntgal
and I'm sure lots of others but, can't recall right now... old age I guess.
One good exception to the rule regarding zoom macro's is the older
Tamron
Adaptallmount SP 28-80mm f:3.5-4.2 They were made in the 80's
they are heavy and built like a tank but, have a very nice IQ over the whole zoom range.
you can see a couple examples in my "paper wasp" post from yesterday.
Have fun!

Edit... looks like Scott posted some good info while I was busy posting mine.
You will find several guys here that are better at macro than I am and really know there stuff. So you'll probably get a lot of good replies from them also.
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Last edited by Goldwinger; Jun 25, 2010 at 6:25 PM.
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 7:16 PM   #12
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All I have to say right now is wow...I'm in and will shoot and read as much as possible.

I'll post back here if I have questions....

Thanks for all of your support and direction.

Edit: one last thing... My buddy said I should think about getting some filters, or protective adapters for the front if these lenses.

What is your take on that

Last edited by mackloon; Jun 25, 2010 at 7:33 PM.
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 9:29 PM   #13
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There is a school of thought that filters of any sort impact on IQ and shoudl be removed prior to shooting however IMO if you buy very good quality filters (B&W, Hoya, I use some Kenko which are very good quality for the money) maintain and keep the filter clean then any impact is entirely negligible.

The most important use for a UV filter is that it PROTECTS your lenses ! So much cheaper to replace a scratched filter than buy a new lens Some macro lenses have deeply recessed objectives that won't require a filter. I think probably everyone on here has bought filters for their lenses.

Last edited by Frogfish; Jun 26, 2010 at 2:29 AM.
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 10:22 PM   #14
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Hi Mack,

Although I don't use filters, I do use hoods religiously. Since the DA-L lenses don't come supplied with hoods, quality multi-coated protective filters are a viable option. Filters can add flare and cut contrast, but the multi-coated ones would have minimal effect on IQ.

I would at least consider buying the hoods though as they increase contrast and protect against flare and damage to the front element by keeping it farther away from anything that might touch it, and OEM hoods should be available for these lenses (you can get the part #s off the Pentax Imaging site as the hood part #s are usually listed in the "in the box" section for the standard DA models. Current Pentax lenses have a harder front coating than older lenses. It's formulated to be more resistant to scratches, liquid, and fingerprints. Even with older lenses with more fragile coatings, I've never scratched or damaged a front element of a lens. I don't baby my lenses, but I don't abuse them either.

I'd compare the cost of the hoods against the cost of quality filters, then decide which you are more comfortable with (getting both might be the best of both worlds as a hood might cut down on the possibility of some filter induced flare). You could also get much less expensive screw in filters, but you'd have to match hood length and design (the petal shape on the 18-55 reduces the chance of corner vignetting (darkening) from the hood blocking some wanted light at the widest FLs). OEM hoods attach via a bayonet fitting that only takes maybe 1/8 turn, while screw-in hoods -- well -- screw in. OEM hoods can be mounted in reverse position for more compact storage, screw-in filters might not be able to do this, but the rubber ones can be folded back easily.

One thing I've found is that if I have confidence in my gear, I shoot better -- and this includes not having to worry about if my gear is safe from damage. . .

This is a hard call IMO. I'd make the call in favor of hoods as they can only improve IQ, while the wrong filter or light at the wrong angle can detract from IQ but never improve it -- but filters have demonstrably protected front elements from disastrous damage (like flying rocks at a motocross race), where a hood might not have had any effect. . . but this hasn't been a controversy for over 50 years for no reason. . .

Sorry for another long post, but I'm trying to be objective. . .

Scott
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 10:31 PM   #15
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Scott, you mentioned the adapter extension tubes for this model...I just want to make sure I am looking at the right thing.

I think that a set of these will help improve focus distance with my 18/55.

As for these filters... I want to keep the lenses protected, can someone link me exactly what you would say is the best bang for the buck, or cheapest that doesn't totally suck balls.

I think if I get the 2 items above I should be good to go through the end of 2010.

Then in 2011 I may have to mount up with some new gear.
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Old Jun 25, 2010, 11:57 PM   #16
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I'm a little late jumping in on this thread, but just wanted to say "hi, welcome!" My first thought as I started to read your post asking about where to go for additional information was to recommend one of Bryan Peterson's books. But then as I kept reading I figured that you already knew most of what he talks about. But I'll mention them anyway - all three of his books that I've read have some interesting exercises. One of his books recommends taking a series of pictures at the same focal length, starting sort-of far away from a subject and then taking another one a couple of paces closer and so on, keeping the aperture the same. Then do the same thing kneeling down. While it sound rather basic, I was surprised to see how much different things looked like when on my knees, also how perspective changes so much as you move closer. I mean, I knew intellectually but not visually.

Some more information about all things Pentax is: http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/ . He has specifications for Pentax lenses, along with a history of the lens mount.

Unfortunately, its not as easy to find good used lenses at reasonable prices. Pentax cameras have become more popular, and quite a few other camera users have discovered good old Pentax glass - can't tell you how often I see people selling Canon cameras and have one or two Pentax lenses listed also.

As far as filters go, I don't use a UV filter for protection unless I'm in a situation that needs it (like watching dune buggy racing in the middle of the desert). I've never tried taking pictures during a sand-storm and probably wouldn't try even with a UV filter though. I use a B+W circular polarizer often, and an R72 filter with a K100 once in a while (not very useful with the K7 though), but that's about the limit of my filters.

There's all sorts of ways of doing macro - some more successful than others. You can also mix and match, too - I have an extension tube (that started out in life as a very poor quality TC, so bad its more useful with the glass removed) that I'll use occasionally with my macro lens that's capable of 1:1.

You might keep an eye out for a used Phoenix 100 mm macro lens (also sold under several other names). They were not expensive when new because they are made out of light-weight plastic and had a matched adaptor (i.e., dioper filter) for 1:1 capability. The optics were very good, far better than you would expect from such a cheap lens. They've been discontinued so they aren't sold very often, but as long as you don't pay that much, it's a good buy. There are lots of good macro lenses out there - just about any of the ones that's in the 90-105 mm range give satisfactory results.
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Old Jun 26, 2010, 12:06 AM   #17
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Hi Mack,

I don't have any extension tubes, so I'm really no help there, but I have gleaned that "A" type extension tubes that would allow you to control the aperture from the camera are pretty hard to find, and with DA lenses that don't have aperture rings, I'd assume that you'd need "A" type tubes.

What I can recommend is the Raynox DCR 150 achromatic add on lens. I have the DCR 250 which is a higher magnification, but less useful, IMO. The lens comes with a handy adapter that's spring loaded and just snaps on any lens that has between a 52 and 67mm filter ring (your DA 18-55 is 52mm, and the DA 55-300 is 58mm). It's $43.95 with free shipping from Adorama, and the same price, but with a shipping charge from B&H (these are the two most trusted online camera dealers in the US). The magnification increases as you increase the FL, so you'd get the most from the 55-300 at the long end. The major downsides are very thin Depth of Field and pretty tight working distance, but this is a handy way to get into true macro magnifications. It's very convenient to carry and very lightweight -- looks a little wierd, but I've found the bugs don't really care. . .

http://www.adorama.com/IRXDCR150.html

As far as filters go, I've used CameraFilters.com, and had good experiences with them. Their prices are good, and they have an extensive inventory, so they ship quickly. They feature free shipping for orders over $23 which the two filters that you need would meet easily. I'd suggest the Hoya HSM class filters, just a step down from the SMC class, and only slightly lower light transmittance %, so I'd say they offer the most performance for the buck. The SMC and SMC Pro 1 are better but more pricey. As stated before, you'd need a 52mm and a 58mm. The HMC class Hoyas are probably about the minimum quality that I'd actually consider, and I'd likely go at least one step up, but that's me. . .

http://www.camerafilters.com/pages/uv.aspx

Many shooters would recommend only the best, and IMO this would probably be B&W. They generally start at about twice the price of the Hoya HMC, but a lot of pros swear by them. If you go to the Adorama site, you can search for B + W to see what they have to offer if you're curious.

Scott

Last edited by snostorm; Jun 26, 2010 at 12:09 AM.
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Old Jun 26, 2010, 2:41 AM   #18
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Mac - check out this list for a surprise on filter quality (I doubt it matters they were all 72mm - the quality should the same for all sizes) :

http://www.lenstip.com/113.4-article...d_summary.html
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Old Jun 26, 2010, 3:53 AM   #19
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All great info guys and gals...I have a great deal of reading and reviewing to do.

I have a quick question regarding portability and gear. Of course, when you add more gear to the mix your bag gets heavier and expands in size. I have been used to travelling light through the years with usually a mini dv recorder, point and shoot, canon g9/pro1 etc...which is small when compared to a dslr + batteries, filters, lenses, etc. Granted I had filters and adapters for the g9, but that is on a smaller scale. This brings me to my point... I currently have the lowepro compudaypack that I use to tote all of my toys... plus computer. More or less it is a place to put all of my crap. The thing is, it is not the most versatile bag and requires some fancy manuvering, or to take the bag off to get at the main gear.

I was wondering what you guys use, or could recommend. I would prefer a backpack or sling of some sorts, and it would need to be large enough to transport the kx, kit lenses, maybe a macro lens, some filters and other crap, in addition to a point and shoot cam in a pouch.

I noticed that there is a 3 pocket pentax sling bag, and several from lowepro. So Im either looking for a replacement for the compudaypack that would be a little less bulky and would provide better access to gear. Now I'm not against just using my current bag, but just wanted to know what is recommended and out there, or what you guys use. The backpack for me is key due to needing both hands from time to time with 2 little ones.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks to everyone...any other thoughts or recommendations are always welcome, and I will post back when I'm cross-eyed.

-mackloon

Last edited by mackloon; Jun 26, 2010 at 4:40 AM.
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Old Jun 26, 2010, 7:11 AM   #20
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Mack - Don't have much to add to all the very helpful comments from others - just want to welcome you to Pentax and to the forums!
To answer your packing question, I use an old and worn small camel daypack which comfortably holds camera, two extra lenses, CP filter, small tripod, extra betteries... and one more essential tool - plastic bags to wrap everything up if it rains!
Also, just in case you don't know about them, a good source for used pentax lenses - check out KEH.com
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