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Old Feb 1, 2010, 3:29 PM   #1
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Default lenses, tripod & external flash

Hi,
These camera-gear decisions are getting harder and harder. I thought choosing the right body will be the hardest decision, but it doesn’t seem like that. I have somehow narrowed my choice to two cameras (Pentax k7 or Nikon D90) which seem to be the lighters (that is for me a big +). Now I am getting to lenses. Which lens would be the best to start with? (My primar interest are wildlife, landscape, tourism photography). Since I am leaning towards Pentax camera I have been looking at Pentaxs lenses. I was looking at basically two combinations: 1)Tamron AF 18-250 zoom in combination with Prime lens – if this even makes sense (Sigma Lens 28 mm f/1,8 EX DG Macro or Sigma Lens 30 mm f/1,4 – what is the difference between these two lenses – why is one Macro and one not?); and 2) Pentax Lens 18-55 mm f/3,5-5,6 WR DA and Pentax Lens 55-300mm f/4-5.8 DA ED (I think this one could be very because I like to shot wildlife)? What combination is the best? Does anyone have other suggestions that might be better? And how do you know what lens in a good one?
Eventually I will need flash unit as well (family/friends gathering). But this is not my primer focus, I don’t think I need really expensive one (a basic one, will probably get the job done).
And I have been checking out tripods as well. I had no idea that choosing “a simple thing” as tripod can be that hard . There are hundreds of types of tripods and than there are also heads (and I have no idea what is the difference between those). I definitely need a tripod which is as light as possible (I was looking at Benro Carbon Fibre tripods, those aren’t so expensive) and maybe up to $500 (including head). Any suggestions which one to choose?
Thanks for help.
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Old Feb 1, 2010, 5:07 PM   #2
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Hello Liza,

If weight is an issue for you and you are leaning toward a pentax. You may want to consider the pentax K-x. It is lighter then the K-7, and they have put a new auto focus system on it that seem faster then the one on the K-7. Body

I would not go with one lens with so much range, they are a compromise and you have more distortion then a 2 lens set up covering the same ranges. The tamron is a good superzoom lens if you are willing to live with the compermise of distortion.

With the lenses, the pentax da lenses are very good. I would go with the 18-55 and 55-300. They are both excellent lenses, and will fill the role of general photography quite well. The the Macro vs the non macro. Sigma design the 28mm to be able to do close in focus for small item like flowers and insect to get all the little detail. If macro is something you are interested in I would go with the 28mm over the 30mm. It gives you a bit wider angle and the macro ability. The 30mm 1.4 is a very fast focus lens with a HSM high, speed motor. It is not design for macro work.

Tripods.
You do not need to spend a fortune on one. 90 dollars will get you a good slik pro series, vanguard or a cullmann magnasit 519. If you want something more fancy cf tripods are lighter. Benro are very nice, but I rather spend the money on lenses over a tripod that I do not use all the time. I like tripods at can be a grounder as well.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 2:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by liza1880 View Post
These camera-gear decisions are getting harder and harder...
You said it!!! I've been looking at four cameras, two of them are cameras you mentioned, Nikon D90 and Pentax K-7. The more I read, look, check, etc, I am drawn to stick Pentax, whether it be the K-7 or K-x, though I keep looking at what Canon has to offer. Something I keep hearing about the Pentax is that it gives slightly underexposed pictures... I am hoping some Pentax users might be able to address this issue.

Best wishes in whatever you purchase, but Pentax seems to be a very, very wise choice.

All the best.

Ned Brockwell
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 2:34 PM   #4
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Liza,

How important is the wildlife photography to you? What wildlife do you plan on photographing? You will quickly find that when photographing wildlife, you can never have enough reach. If you like to shoot birds other than standard gulls, ducks etc you are very likely to find 300mm lenses are frustratingly short. Which is why it's important to understand up front how important the wildlife portion of your shooting will be and what you'll be shooting.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 2:34 PM   #5
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I am using both a canon 500D and the pentax K-x. And they are both excellent cameras. The K-x has a better AF system then the K-7. It can track close to the canon, but still behind it in low light af tracking.

The sensor performs a bit better then the canon at 12800iso. Just by the fact that it is a bit bigger.

If you were looking to save on weight and a some money the K-x is an excellent choice.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 2:39 PM   #6
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Liza,

How important is the wildlife photography to you? What wildlife do you plan on photographing? You will quickly find that when photographing wildlife, you can never have enough reach. If you like to shoot birds other than standard gulls, ducks etc you are very likely to find 300mm lenses are frustratingly short. Which is why it's important to understand up front how important the wildlife portion of your shooting will be and what you'll be shooting.
if you are going to really be interested in wildlife photography you are going to have to be looking into a big lens. like 400-500mm. one of the most economical choices of good quality is sigma's 50-500 (Bigma), for around 1000$. just so you are aware of the approximate minimum for wildlife shooting.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 2:44 PM   #7
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On the tripod front - it's important to know how you intend to use the tripod. That helps you determine what features are important. For example - what lode bearing capacity the tripod will need to have, how many sections the legs have (more sections pack up smaller but are less stable), material (lighter materials cost more but the weight reduction is appreciated for long hikes) - vertical column placement is nice for macro capability. Then of course it's important to determine the type of head that makes sense - 3 way, pan/tilt, ball-head. All have their pros/cons. And for wildlife you start getting into wimberley type mounts that give you more flexibility while stabilizing long heavy glass.

If all you're doing is simple set-ups in home with camera and kit lens you have a lot of inexpensive options. But at the other end of the spectrum if you envision yourself using 400-500mm lenses out in the field then you need to invest in more durable legs/head to support the weight and minimize movement due to wind. Talk to anyone with field experience with tripods and you'll quickly learn that buying cheap up front usually costs you more because you need to replace it. You don't need to spend $2000 (although you could) but for anything with telephoto gear I would look at $200 price point as an entry level setup.
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Old Feb 2, 2010, 6:55 PM   #8
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I am using both a canon 500D and the pentax K-x. And they are both excellent cameras. The K-x has a better AF system then the K-7. It can track close to the canon, but still behind it in low light af tracking.
shoturtle, I am sure you have probably done this... but being that you have both cameras... have you gone out and shot pictures of the same subject using BOTH cameras? If so, is there any real difference? Notably, have you found the Pentax to be underexposed as some reviews have commented??? Pentax K-x certainly would be a savings.

Thanks and all the best.

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