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Old May 29, 2011, 8:35 PM   #1
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Default some questions from a new Pentax owner

A few months ago, I took the plunge into the world of dslr's with the purchase of a Pentax k-x with the 18-55 and 55-300 mm lenses. So far, I have been very happy with this camera. I also have an old manual lense that my dad gave me...it's an smc Pentax-M 1:2 50mm lense. While I do like this lense, I'd love some tips on how to best use it. When I get it right, I love the look of the shots taken with this lense. It's very difficult to get anything good of my kids, however. They move too fast for me to focus properly. Does anyone have any tricks? Or is it really just trial and error?

Another question...we're taking a family vacation to NYC and upstate NY in a few weeks. When we're walking around the city, I would prefer to only use one lense on my camera. Trying to decide between the 18-55mm and 55-300mm. Any thoughts?

Amy
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Old May 29, 2011, 9:34 PM   #2
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With your 50mm lens don’t step down too much. Pre-focus on a spot you kids are likely to run thru and try using “focus trap some times called catch in focus”.

As to what lens it depends on if you are going for things farther away like people down the street or people close and wider things like whole streets/buildings. From my walks around NY I would go for the 16-55mm but put the faster 50mm in you pocket.

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Old May 29, 2011, 10:19 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum Minnesota!

I agree with Daz. His suggestions on how best to use your manual focus 50mm lens are on the mark.

Personally, if I could only take one of your two lenses on a day trip to NYC, I would take the 18-55. That would be well suited for photographing street scenes. However, I would also be sorely tempted to follow Daz's guidance and put the longer lens in my pocket, as if you wanted to take a shot of something a long way off, you'd need the longer lens.
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Old May 29, 2011, 11:26 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum!

Manual lenses are great for taking your time with, thinking about photography and what you are doing, what you want to say in your picture. They aren't really great for fast moving kids, unless you can pre-focus like Daz suggests. Those old 50mm lenses are really sharp when stopped down a bit.

The only thing I find with them on a digital camera is that they are a bit long - I end to treat mine more like a short telephoto lens. While others find them indispensable, I find I rarely use mine anymore. I'll use something wider or a lot longer most of the time.

As far as New York - it really depends on how you see the world and what you want to picture. As Daz said, the 16-55 will give you buildings and atmospheric scenes, and that's how many view the world. Others will prefer looking at details, and would rather use the 55-300. They'll use that to separate individuals from their surroundings, or to capture details on buildings. I haven't been in New York in years, but remember feeling somewhat claustrophobic with all the very tall buildings. Things felt close together, so I'd probably shoot mostly with the 18-55. But I would definitely take the telephoto along, just in case. Luckily, both lenses are relatively small and light-weight.
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Old May 30, 2011, 4:07 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnesota View Post
A few months ago, I took the plunge into the world of dslr's with the purchase of a Pentax k-x with the 18-55 and 55-300 mm lenses. So far, I have been very happy with this camera. I also have an old manual lense that my dad gave me...it's an smc Pentax-M 1:2 50mm lense. While I do like this lense, I'd love some tips on how to best use it. When I get it right, I love the look of the shots taken with this lense. It's very difficult to get anything good of my kids, however. They move too fast for me to focus properly. Does anyone have any tricks? Or is it really just trial and error?
Amy
Hi Amy, and welcome to the board,

Answering your first question, you'll find this link useful for info on shooting manual lenses ....

http://www.robertsdonovan.com/?p=1181

second question ... I'd tend to go for the 18 - 55 in a city environment.
... Jack
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Old May 30, 2011, 3:51 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the helpful info. Jack, thanks for that link...it was great! Playing with the manual lens is fun, but until I get pretty good at it, I think I'll stick with my 2 AF lenses when "shooting" my kids. That always sounds weird to say, doesn't it?! At some point, I'd like to add another autofocus lens to my collection, but I'll need to figure out what would be the best one for me, since they are crazy expensive.

Amy
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Old May 30, 2011, 5:00 PM   #7
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Hi Amy ... and Welcome !

With your MF lense I'd try using it when the children are tired out after they have finished playing or run themselves to a virtual standstill. You will know where they go and what they do and it's those 'quiet' moments where a lovely old 50/2 will score, especially wide open (at 2 or 2.8) to separate them from the background. Mealtimes, bedtime, playing in the house, having their hair washed ... and so on, can all capture precious moments in a unique fashion when shot wide open.

I'd definitely take all 3 lenses to NY !
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Old May 30, 2011, 6:10 PM   #8
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Wanting another lens? Do I hear the beginning symptoms of LBA (lens buying addiction) starting to make itself known? Pentax owners are especially prone to the condition. My budget doesn't support my case of it (sigh!). Before buying another lens, figure out what you want to do that you can't do with your current lenses. There's no right answer to this, it varies by what areas of photography you are exploring.
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Old May 30, 2011, 7:00 PM   #9
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Amy - Welcome to the forums! Can't add much to all the great advice already offered. Will agree that manual focus is always easier when you have time to take the time and focus carefully. On the other hand, those old "nifty fifties" have some very nice qualities, and make excellent portrait lenses. Just stop down a bit, and take lots of photos - nice thing about digital, you can take a bunch of pictures without worrying about paying for film, developing, etc.

Can't give any advice for your NYC trip - my photo tastes (and opportunities) are much more rural. Would guess that the 55-300 might be a bit long for capturing urban scenes, but maybe just right to photograph some of the details.

Will look forward to seeing some of your great photos posted here sometime soon!
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Old May 30, 2011, 9:35 PM   #10
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I'm thinking the 18-55 will do the trick for most of my time walking around the city in New York. I'll probably carry around the 55-300, too...especially when we go see the Statue of Liberty. Anyway, we'll only be in the city for a couple days, then we're heading to upstate New York and the Lake Placid area.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful advice and for welcoming me to the forum. I'll definitely post some photos in the future, but I have to admit it's a little intimidating after seeing some of the beautiful shots the rest of you have posted! Also, I haven't gotten into any post-processing yet. I don't even own photoshop. That's something I'll get into, but for now, I'm really just trying to take tons of pictures. I figure I can always go back and edit some of my favorites. Besides, editing is just one more thing I'll need to take the time to learn, and time is something that is always in short supply!
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