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Old May 27, 2005, 11:04 AM   #1
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I'm going to buy the Pentax IstDS and I'm thinking that it might be best to just buy the camera body without the standard "package" lense. This way I could buy one or two quality lenses that might give me all of the versatility that I need. I'm thinking of the newly designed lenses for digital SLR's only such as the new Tamron wide angle SPA F 11-18mm F/4.5-5.6 DI II LDE Aspherical (IF) (whatever all that means) and the new Tamron zoom AF 18-200 mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di II LD Aspherical (IF). I also noticed that Pentax is releasing the new 50-200 digital SLR lense as well. It appears that the Pentax lense won't have quite the range of the Tamron zoom mentioned above, but it is certainly attractive from a weight and size perspective. Anyway, does anyone have advice or opinions for me before I go spend a bunch of money? I'd sure appreciate any help I can get. Does anyone have a better idea than what I've mentioned above, such as other new digital SLR lenses that I might not be aware of? Oh by the way, I assume that the new Tamron lenses will be mountable and useable on the Pentax IstDS??? As you can see, I'm pretty ameteurish at all of this.

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Old May 27, 2005, 11:39 AM   #2
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When shopping for lenses, one thing to consider is the type of photos you'll want, and the conditions you'll be taking them in.

In lower light conditions, a brighter lens can be preferrable (one that maintains a constant aperture throughout the focal range). Something like a70-200mm f/2.8is a popular choice fornight sports in a well lit stadium (which isn't lit well at all from a camera's perspective). For other low light conditions at closer ranges, something like a 28-75mm f/2.8 may be a good choice. For existing light photos without a flash indoors, many users go to even brighter primes (for example, a 50mm f/1.4).

A brighter lens helps the camera see better for autofocus purposes, and also allows faster shutter speeds.

In better light, it's not as much of a concern. But, in poor light, some of the lenses you're considering may not be as useful (stopping down to a maximum available aperture of f/6.3 at full zoom). A lens like this would be virtually unusable for some purposes.

In addition to not being as bright, lower quality lenses tend to need stopping down the aperture more for best results (most lenses are softer at either extreme of their aperture range).

Of course, a brighter lens is larger, heavier and more expensive. So, you have to take these things into consideration, also.

As a general rule, lenses that try to encompass more range in a single lens are not going to produce images that look as nice as those with more conservative design approaches. So, I'd personally avoid lenses like an 18-200mm, unless I had some pretty darn good test results showing it would be useful at the focal lengths and apertures I would normally use one at.

That's one of the reasons Prime (non-zoom) lenses are popular for many purposes (they're sharper, since they are not tryng to change focal lengths, and they are available with larger apertures).

In addition to getting user opinions of lenses you consider, I'd make sure to try them out in a store. There are many physical design differences between lenses.

You may even want to consider starting out with something pretty basic until you get a better understanding of what your needs are, and how lens selection impacts them.

There are many considerations when making a lens choice, and not all of them are obvious from reading specifications. You want to look at color, contrast, flare, vignetting, edge softness, zoom design,ability to easily change between MF and AF, Macro capability, ergonomics, filter size/type, etc.

Hopefully, some Pentax owners will chime in and give you their thoughts on choices that you may want to consider.
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Old May 27, 2005, 12:05 PM   #3
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JimC wrote:
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When shopping for lenses, one thing to consider is the type of photos you'll want, and the conditions you'll be taking them in.

In lower light conditions, a brighter lens can be preferrable (one that maintains a constant aperture throughout the focal range). Something like a70-200mm f/2.8is a popular choice fornight sports in a well lit stadium (which isn't lit well at all from a camera's perspective). For other low light conditions at closer ranges, something like a 28-75mm f/2.8 may be a good choice. For existing light photos without a flash indoors, many users go to even brighter primes (for example, a 50mm f/1.4).

A brighter lens helps the camera see better for autofocus purposes, and also allows faster shutter speeds.

In better light, it's not as much of a concern. But, in poor light, some of the lenses you're considering may not be as useful (stopping down to a maximum available aperture of f/6.3 at full zoom). A lens like this would be virtually unusable for some purposes.

In addition to not being as bright, lower quality lenses tend to need stopping down the aperture more for best results (most lenses are softer at either extreme of their aperture range).

Of course, a brighter lens is larger, heavier and more expensive. So, you have to take these things into consideration, also.

As a general rule, lenses that try to encompass more range in a single lens are not going to produce images that look as nice as those with more conservative design approaches. So, I'd personally avoid lenses like an 18-200mm, unless I had some pretty darn good test results showing it would be useful at the focal lengths and apertures I would normally use one at.

That's one of the reasons Prime (non-zoom) lenses are popular for many purposes (they're sharper, since they are not tryng to change focal lengths, and they are available with larger apertures).

In addition to getting user opinions of lenses you consider, I'd make sure to try them out in a store. There are many physical design differences between lenses.

You may even want to consider starting out with something pretty basic until you get a better understanding of what your needs are, and how lens selection impacts them.

There are many considerations when making a lens choice, and not all of them are obvious from reading specifications. You want to look at color, contrast, flare, vignetting, edge softness, zoom design,ability to easily change between MF and AF, Macro capability, ergonomics, filter size/type, etc.

Hopefully, some Pentax owners will chime in and give you their thoughts on choices that you may want to consider.
Thanks JimC: I wish I knew 1/10th of what you knew about this stuff.

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Old May 27, 2005, 12:28 PM   #4
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Nagootie wrote:
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Thanks JimC: I wish I knew 1/10th of what you knew about this stuff.
Trust me, I don't know a lot about lenses (especially the newer offerings). The last lens I bought was an oldNikkor 85mm f/2 MF (purchased recently in used condition). I am keeping an eye outfor some of the newer "made for digital" lenses though, as I've been considering a DSLR for my wife (she still shoots with a Nikon 35mm SLR). ;-) So, I'm trying to come up to speed on what's available now -- slowly but surely.

But, I won't need anything too elaborate for her limited needs (she'd be perfectly happy with a "slower" lens having a 35mm equivalent focal range of around 35-70mm for how she uses a camera). Of course, given the 1.5x Crop Factor (a.k.a., Focal Length Multiplier) the entry level DSLR models have, I'll need to go with something starting out much wider to duplicate it.

I'm still debating on what camera toget her (and the Pentax is now under consideration). I probably won't stick to Nikon unless they change their policies on encryption (Nikon decided to encrypt their White Balance information in .nef files for some models, which didn't go over real well with me).

You'll find many forum members here that do know a lot about lenses, though.

So, if you give them an idea of your shooting needs/conditions and budget, they can probably help to steer you in the right direction.


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Old May 27, 2005, 3:18 PM   #5
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jim's right . what are you planning on using the lens for, what kind of photography are you shooting now? how much experience do you have? i for one can tell you that the kit lens with the DS is WELL worth the $100 you'll pay. if you are starting from scratch get it, get some experience with it and then after accustoming yourself w/it you'll find out what it is lacking for the the type of shots you want to get.
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Old May 27, 2005, 3:41 PM   #6
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Robar:

Thanks for your advice. You're probably right. I want to take mostly scenic outdoor shots for now and grow into a better photographer but always plan on staying an ameteur. My question to one of the other members who suggested what you just did is: Do you think it is worth paying extra for one of the new breed of lenses specifically designed for digital SLR's with the same specs as the standard kit lens? It appears that it might be worth the money because the quality of shots might be better. Any opinions in this regard would be appreciated.

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Old May 27, 2005, 9:05 PM   #7
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Hello all. I'm in the same boat as Nagootie here and while we're in this subject, I just want to ask what are the differences/advantages between choosing the older MF lenses and the newer FA lenses. I was canvassing the prices of lenses here and I noticed that the FA 28-105mm costs almost $200 more than the manual 28-105mm. I can the understand the advantages and need for speed -especially if your a photojournalist. But what about for many who are just hobbyists like me?:?

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Old May 28, 2005, 2:38 AM   #8
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the kit lens is a lens specifically designed for the digital format. what else can i say.

i've numerous mf lenses aging 18-27 years old, they work fine and i have a choise of what i want to use.

let me say again, the question you are asking leads me to believe you have little experience. get the kit lens, get accustomed to it and in a few months you'll know what it is lacking for the shots you really want. who knows,--all you may need is a quality 2x converter..
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Old May 28, 2005, 2:50 AM   #9
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Nols wrote:
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Hello all. I'm in the same boat as Nagootie here and while we're in this subject, I just want to ask what are the differences/advantages between choosing the older MF lenses and the newer FA lenses. I was canvassing the prices of lenses here and I noticed that the FA 28-105mm costs almost $200 more than the manual 28-105mm. I can the understand the advantages and need for speed -especially if your a photojournalist. But what about for many who are just hobbyists like me?:?

Nols
htere is no difference in speed if you know how to focus manually. actually manual in a lot of instances is faster. i remember when an autofocus cam did not exsist. nobody complained about how long it took to focus because it was just something you had to do, you got good at it. this is something that really pi$$ed me off when people complain about hte shutter lag time. He!!,, using a manual focus cam, no one ever complained because they never took in the fact that they were doing the focusing themselves and it wasn't considered lag time god, people [email protected]!!!!!! they had their own lag time but never noticed.. oh well: time for bed, i always have lag time before i sleep.
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Old May 28, 2005, 3:21 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advice Robar. You're absolutely right about my level of experience (very little).
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