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Old Jul 30, 2006, 3:28 PM   #1
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Hello,

I have been lurking these boards for a month now as I researched a Dslr. I pretty well have it narrowed down to an *ist DL or one of the new K100s, so hopefully this is the right place to ask. Not looking for camera advice, what I am confused about is the lenses.

To quickly describe where we are at now, we are using an older Panasonic FZ1 ultrazoom. Love the zoom and it seems to take great pictures unless those pictures happen to be indoors in dim light. Our other camera is a Kodak 6mp with the Schnieder lens which does fine for what it is intended for. Neither one of us has ever used an SLR of any type. I was initially researching a new ultra-zoom but some posts here started me looking at a Dslr.

My wife scrapbooks and wants a camera that will take great portraits and candid shots in a variety of conditions. We also take quite a few landscape shots when we vacation. Finally, I find the macro shots I have seen posted here amazing and would like to give that a try. That sums up where we are moving from and where we are trying to go.

I guess my question is how to determine if a lens is "good enough." or at least, good enough for us. I know a $250 lens must be much better than a $50 lens. I can see that the f stop number seems to be a large determining factor. I also have seen kit lenses and inexpensive lenses described in disparging terms.

Would these lenses only be considered poor against other better SLR lenses and actually compare favorably against a point and shoot lens or are they just utter garbage by any standard? If I need $1500 worth of lenses to equal a good ultrazoom an SLR is probably not for me. As a specific example, would this Pentax brand lens: 100-300 F4.5-5.6 SMC F (58) WITH CAPS 35MM SLR AUTO FOCUS ZOOM TELEPHOTO LENS be an improvement over the lens in my old FZ1?

I am sorry this is so long, I am just trying to get a handle on how a less expensive lens might measure up to what I am already using. I know this is not an cheap hobby and the highest quality will cost serious money. Thank you for any input, and thank you for the many educational posts I have already devoured.

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Old Jul 30, 2006, 3:50 PM   #2
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Non-

Please take a look over at the KM/Sony SLR folder. There has been a thread there about the Tamron 28-300mm XR lens that was just brought back again today (07/30), it also has a number of sample photos in that thread as well, and several good links.

That same Tamron 28-300mm XR lens is available in a Pentax mount and for a lens priced at LESS than $150 in the USA, it is a consumer grade lens bargain. Yes, you can spend a ton of money on lenses but for somebody just getting started with a DSLR it is a fully automatic lens that gives you 42-450mm lens reach (in 35mm terms) which comes quite close to equalling the lens on the FZ-1.

Here is a sample taken with my KM 5D and the Tamron 28-300mm lens before I had received that same lens for my Pentax DS.

MT/Sarah
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Old Jul 30, 2006, 4:11 PM   #3
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shame on you sarah!!! posting that K/M crap over here..LOL

non,
biggest difference here is the actual size of the sensor. you can get about 6 of the fz1's sensors on the DLs sensor. think about it.
as far as lenes go, just because they are old and cheap does not mean they aren't fine pieces of glass. the pentax kit lens is probably the best kit lens coming with any brand dslr. yes, aperture does have a big part in price. the faster the lens, the bigger the glass.. as a starter i'd suggest getting the DL w/kit 18-55mm and the 50-200mm. this is a great range for you to learn the dslr. you can down the road worry about more lenses. so you like macros.. very addicting hobby here. this is taken with the kit lens 18-55mm.. it's not as close as you can get.

this one is also the kit lens.


recently i pick up an older 1:1 macro lens. it's 22 years old, looks brand new, cost me 140usd delivered and it will stand up to ANY BRAND macro lens costing 500usd.
get the kit i mentioned above and don't worry about anything else until you learn the cam and the lenses you have..after that, oh my, worry a lot about LBA.

roy
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Old Jul 30, 2006, 4:28 PM   #4
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Ok, I'll try to tell you what I know. I'm fairly new to DSLR's too, but thanks to this forum and google I've learned a lot

Now, first thing: A lens like on the panasonic is utopia in SLR terms.
Constant 2.8 aperture (= very good!)
420mm tele range (= that's a lot)
Leica glass (Leica is worldwide known as one of the best lens producers)

Now, that doesnt mean a DSLR is useless if you got a superzoom camera. On the contrary, it's a whole different world

Usually you can find decent lenses on ebay for under or just over 100$.

More professional gear is going to cost you a little more.

With Pentax you have the advantage that you can use very old lenses, very easily. The only difference is that you won't have AF on older lenses.

What you need to look at when buying a lens:

- Max aperture: This is the smallest number on the lens ring. Usually writen as: f3.5-5.6 or something like that. (for zoom lenses) (this example means that the max aperture will be 3.5 at wide angle and 5.6 at tele end of the lens)
The smaller that number, the wider your diaphragm can be, and the sharper you pics will be (in theory)
The best zoom lenses have a constant aperture troughout the range. It'll be noted as f2.8 or some other number

- Manufacturer: Although there are some exceptions, avoid weird & unknown manyfacturers. Try to stick with Pentax, Sigma, Tokina, Tamron, Cosina. Those are the best known and won't disappoint you.

- Avoid lenses for Ricoh cameras! They have the same K-mount as pentax cameras, yet there are some bugs. Some Ricoh lenses have a pin that will get the lens stuck on your camera. Also some lenses havea too deep cutout and won't fit on a digital.

- Last but not least: do some research. Just google the lens and see what has been posted about it. Visit the manufacturers website, and don0t be afraid to ask about it on this forum

Hope this helped, welcome to the forums!

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Old Jul 30, 2006, 4:51 PM   #5
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Nice sample photos with the kit lens, Roy-

They are impressive, as are all of your posted photos.

MT/Sarah
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Old Jul 30, 2006, 5:19 PM   #6
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hi,

just my two cents,

earlier this year i got the ist dl with the 18-55 kit lens and spent another $104 for a used sigma 70-300 macro and am so far more than pleased with these modest lenses. once i learned the camera my images definitely improved over my fuji s602.

ditto on what roy said about sensor size.

just a thought, to do macro on a budget consider gettinga lens that has an aperture ring so you can use it withcheaper extension tubes. i think the 50-200 is ringless like the 18-55 (please correct me somebody if i've got that wrong).

all the best, eric
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Old Jul 30, 2006, 6:07 PM   #7
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eric-

You are correct! The 50-200mm lens, just like the 18-55mm kit lens does not have an aperture ring.

MT/Sarah
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Old Jul 30, 2006, 7:39 PM   #8
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Thank you very much, everyone that responded. This was exactly what I was hoping to find out. Thanks especially Sarah and Rob for the pictures. If that is the view from the cheap-seats I don't know if we will ever upgrade! That dragon fly and wasp macro was amazing. I must be learning something because a week ago I did not know what "depth of field" was and now I can recognize how the narrow (shallow? I forget the term) DOF makes the insects just leap out from the picture. Thank you all also for the welcome.

TDN, when you said if I used older lenses I would not have AF (automatic focus right?) did you mean that the automatic focus on older film cameras will not work with the digitals or were you saying that it was possible to use older manual focus lenses on the digital? Using manual focus lenses had been something I had wondered about, it seems like it might help a novice learn more.

And Eric, macro on a budget is a definate goal now. I am not sure on yet on how to use extension tubes and aperture rings but if I can't google up the answer I know now where there are some friendly people to ask.

One more question if ya'll can bear with me. When I read reviews that say the antishake of a K100 improves things by two or more f stops (not the exact wording but that was the idea) what does this mean? Obviously the glass in the lens does not get better. Does the anti-shake just make the picture look like it was taken with a lower f-stop or does it allow you to use a lower f-stop than you would have been able to use without it? I know it works because the Panasonic has it and I could take clear pictures at maximum zoom, I am not clear on what the reviewers are saying.

Thank you all very much,

NonEntity


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Old Jul 30, 2006, 7:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
TDN, when you said if I used older lenses I would not have AF (automatic focus right?) did you mean that the automatic focus on older film cameras will not work with the digitals or were you saying that it was possible to use older manual focus lenses on the digital? Using manual focus lenses had been something I had wondered about, it seems like it might help a novice learn more
Yes, I meant use manual lenses on the DSLR. Pentax is very backwards compatible, but only one way. This means that older lenses will work on newer cameras, but newer lenses will not work on older cameras, which is logical.

You won't regret trying out a manual focus lens. Especially the "one touch" models are quite fun to use. Focus & zoom with 1 ring.
I use a Tokina SZ-X I picked up on ebay for about 50$. There are tons of lenses like that out there. (this is mine:
http://www.thkphoto.com/products/tokina/mfl-05.html )
Remember to do some research and ask on this forum before you buy though.

Quote:
And Eric, macro on a budget is a definate goal now. I am not sure on yet on how to use extension tubes and aperture rings but if I can't google up the answer I know now where there are some friendly people to ask.
Macro extension tubes are mounted between the camera and the lens. They'll allow you to focus on a closer subject with the same lens.

I'm looking for a set myself currently, check the other thread for that.


Quote:
When I read reviews that say the antishake of a K100 improves things by two or more f stops (not the exact wording but that was the idea) what does this mean?
It means what you said. If you use a lower f-stop (= higher number on the aperture ring) you let less light into the camera. Less light means slower shutter speed. So basicly what the shake reduction does is let you take a shot at 1/30 that you should have taken at 1/60 without it, as an example.
It's definitly a nice feature to have, especially if you (like me) shoot at concerts from time to time, where there is a serious lack of light. (yet thanks to the pentax im able to shoot at 3200 ISO with reasonable noise )

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Old Jul 30, 2006, 9:13 PM   #10
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non-

I will have a K100D in hand by the end of next week (hopefully)so I will be able to give you some antishake photo samples then.

Here is another Tamron 28-300mm XR photo sample at the max zoom (300mm) that was hand held.

MT/Sarah
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