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Old Jan 4, 2006, 2:13 AM   #1
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Hello to all.

Sorry if this is a long post.

I have a Konica Minolta Xg that I took on a trip to San Francisco/Eureka California last summer. While there, I got bitten by the photography bug. Mostly because I really liked taking pictures, but after looking at them I wanted to take more control of what got on film.
So after a long time reading on the internet and still wondering what ISO, f-stop, and aperture mean (still have to look them up), I went with a Maxxum 5D with the kit lens. One, because the X series of cameras performed so well ( I have an Xg (3mp) and a X60 (5mp)).
I also liked having the AS in the camera. The final consternation I had was the 8 mp vs 6 mp. With the ps cameras you get caught up in the bigger is better But I broke with that this time.

So much for the introduction. Now, the background for the questions. I would like to get into what can basically be classified as three types of picture taking. Macro, wildlife, and landscapes. As a fourth possiblity, airshows.

I thought if I posted some of my favorite images from my California trip, it would define what I like to snap pictures of.

Colorful House

http://images.kodakgallery.com/photo...7109_0_ALB.jpg

Rose

http://images.kodakgallery.com/photo...7109_0_ALB.jpg


Honeybee

http://images.kodakgallery.com/photo...7109_0_ALB.jpg

A touch of color. In the middle of all the trees and ferns of the redwood forest, this was the only thing in sight with any color.


http://images.kodakgallery.com/photo...7109_0_ALB.jpg

Bird in the sunset

http://images.kodakgallery.com/photo...7109_0_ALB.jpg

Cathedral. I took this shot almost laying on the ground because under the tree next to the cathedral, you can see a spire of the golden gate. A local walked by and asked my why I was on the ground, then got down there with me and exclaimed "You're right!! I've lived here all my life and never noticed that."

http://images.kodakgallery.com/photo...7109_0_ALB.jpg

The redwood sentinel. Lone tree watching the seashore, wish it had been sunshine instead of rain.

http://images.kodakgallery.com/photo...7109_0_ALB.jpg

Here is what I have purchased so far...

http://www.onecall.com/ProductDetail...e&id=29859 Note this comes with a 75-300 lens. (got it for 159.99 then noticed they upped the price the next day, hopefully that means their mistake got me a good deal)


1 Konica Minolta DSLR Gadget Bag Accessory Kit with 2 year extended warranty $159.97
1 Konica Minolta NP400 Lithium Ion Battery for Dimage A1 and A2 $44.95
1 Bogen 682 Pro Monopod with Legs $92.95
1 Hewlett Packard 8.5x11 (50 pack) Premium Plus High Gloss Photo Paper $34.00
1 Konica Minolta RC-1000S Remote Cord $36.95
1 Bogen 3422 Ball Head with Lens Support $45.00
1 Delkin Devices DDCFFLS21GB 1GB CompactFlash Memory Card $69.77
1 Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D 6 Megapixel Digital SLR kit with 18-70mm Lens $649.23

What I am wanting to do is have above average ( but not professional grade ) lenses to accomplish this. Am thinking of buying 2-3 more lenses.Now for the questions, and please don't refer me to dpreview and MDF, MDI charts or whatever they are for I don't understand all the numbers. I would prefer responses that, based on the pics above, would allow me to take similar photos of much better quality.

Here is the short list I am considering/what my newbie brain says I would use them for and am hoping that you all can help me narrow it down. They are all KM lenses.

100-300 f4.5-5.6 APO (D) Wildlife. Already have a 75-300 so do I really need this?
AF DT 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 (D). Wildlife. Not sure I really want this as it overlaps the 18-70 and the 75-300.
AF 100-400 f4.5-5.6. Wildlife. Think I might like having the extra flexibility of the 300-400 range.
AF 11-18 DT. Landscapes. Would give me continual coverage from 11-70mm focal length.
AF 17-35 D f2.8-4. Landscapes overlaps the kit lens, but people talk of it highly. Not sure it should be on my first round of purchases
AF 20 f2.8. Landscapes/Prime lens. Not sure it would be on first round of purchases, but people talk highly of prime lenses so thought it might be a nice addition.
AF28-75mm D f2.8 another lens that overlaps my kit lens, but is spoken of highly.
AF50mm f2.8 Macro. Well for macro shooting, like the flowers and the honeybee shots.

Finally. shooting people/portraits other than an occasional shot of locals does not interest me. What other uses would I find for flash? do i need an external flash for any of the above examples?


Thanks,

Shawn


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Old Jan 4, 2006, 8:15 AM   #2
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imo:

try to find a used minolta 35-70 f4 macro (NOT the f3.5-4.5 version)

this lens is razor sharp and excellent for 1:2 macro

this lens will cover the equiv of 50-100mm (good 'walk around' choice)



the 17-35 'D' will cover equiv 25-50mm for landscapes



wildlife is more difficult,

for general use 300mm is ok, but for serious birding you will need a 600mm f4 ($$$$$)

perhaps you could find a used 80-200 f2.8 APO ($750) to start with



TAKE YOUR TIME WITH LENSES - DO NOT RUSH - THE GLASS WILL BE YOURS FOREVER
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Old Jan 4, 2006, 2:05 PM   #3
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Here is a link to a public slideshow of the pics I talked about in my original post. I understand the links I put in the post are not working.



http://www.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=...&y=-fbrxll

scoyne
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Old Jan 4, 2006, 3:03 PM   #4
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Your slideshow is not viewable, unless you are willing to register and log in. That's probably OK for family members.

But, you may want to consider a web host without those types of restrictions when sharing your images online with others.

I'd suggest taking a look at http://www.pbase.com

As for lenses, I'd suggest staying with what you've already bought for now, until you have a better understanding of your needs.

Lens quality is subjective, and your requirements can vary based on the use for the images, as well as desired print/viewing sizes.

When buying lenses, any choice is going to be a compromise (build quality, size, weight, cost, ergonomics, lens brightness, focal range, Autofocus Speed, flare resistance, etc.).

For example, you may *want* the quality and speed of a Minolta 70-200mm f/2.8 SSM G AF lens, and may even be able to afford one. But, at the same time, you may not want to lug it around, and may not really need a lens that bright for the shooting conditions you'll encounter.

Each user is going to have different preferences in a lens, even down to the direction a focus or zoom ring turns (not to mention focus design, filter size, etc.).

You've got a lot of lenses on your list with overlapping focal ranges, and some of them are really not anything to "write home about".

Unless the money is "burning a hole in your pocket", I'd recommend taking some time getting to know the lenses you've already purchased first. Decide what you like or don't like about them (and not only from an image quality perspective).

Then, shop around for lenses that meet the areas your existing lenses are lacking, keeping size, weight, cost, convenience, etc. in mind.

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Old Jan 4, 2006, 3:29 PM   #5
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bernabeu wrote:
Quote:
try to find a used minolta 35-70 f4 macro (NOT the f3.5-4.5 version)
Out of couriosity, have you tried a 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 on the 7D?

You can find them for pratically nothing (ditto for the 35-70mm f/4), and the 35-70 f/3.5-4.5 is a newer lens design compared to the 35-70mm f/4.

Yep, I know the focus distance isn't as close.

But, this lens (the f/3.5-4.5 version) got my curiousity up, since I saw some photos taken with it on a 7D (someone posted some on another forum yesterday).

They were very sharp, with great color and contrast.

Then, I looked at the MTF charts at http://www.photodo.com/nav/prodindex.html

It tests nicely, and it looks like virtually all of the fall off occurs *outside* of the image area that the 7D or 5D sensor woiuld be looking at (the center portion occupied by the sensor looks pretty good).

So, it would test even better if they had a newer MTF or similar spec out, designed to look at only about 12 or 13mm from center.

IOW, I'm thinking that for 20 or 30 bucks, pick one up as a small and lightweight walkaround (even though it doesn't start out that wide). :-)

Have you tried one? If so, how does it compare to the 35-70mm f/4? I can't find MTF charts for the f/4 version. I've seen images from both, but not from the same camera owner, and not with comments on how they compare in similar conditions.

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Old Jan 4, 2006, 3:49 PM   #6
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JimC,

My wife Sharon and I already had a 35-70 f4 when we were using film maxxums.

This lens is sharp as a tack full frame !

The comments I made re: the f3.5-4.5 may only apply to full frame, the sweet spots may be comparable. But, should KM market a 'full frame' dSLR I would prefer the f4.

(remember, i spotted 1.5" back focus after shooting 'soft' for 11 months)

John

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Old Jan 4, 2006, 4:04 PM   #7
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I have the 30-70 3.5-4.5 and it is a very sharp lens. It's real small and makes a nice little setup if 35mm is not too long for what you're doing. I got it with a Minolta 3xi and a cherry 70-210 F4 for $105 off ebay. I see them at KEH all the time for cheap.:arrow:
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Old Jan 4, 2006, 4:29 PM   #8
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bernabeu:

Thanks for the comments. The 35-70mm f/4 sounds nice (and I've seen some good photos from it). I am wondering about it handles flare (more specifically, loss of contrast in harsh lighting when used on a DSLR), since the photos I've seen from it were in fairly tame lighting conditions. Since the 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 was introduced later, I was wondering if it may have better coatings.

nooner:

Yep, I was looking at at a 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 on their web site yesterday for around 20 bucks if memory serves. I think they had several at various (but all cheap) price levels. LOL

I should probably buy a 24-50mm f/4.

That would give me a lens close to what I consider to be a standard "walk around" zoom on a 35mm camera (it would be close to a typical 35-70mm lens after the 1.5x multiplier for angle of view differences).

Something that's sharp, small and light would make a good addition for me, since I may not always want to lug around more than one lens (or a larger/heavier zoom), or be quite as restricted by focal range using a prime. With a 35mm camera, more often than not, I'll keep a small and light 35-70mm on one as a walk around.

But, darn it... I waited too long on some of these lenses, and the prices are rising (not that they're expensive or anything, but the little 24-50's have doubled or tripled in price).

So, I should have bought one when you could get them for around 30 or 40 bucks in excellent condition (before the 5D started shipping). LOL

The 35-70mm (both versions) are still pretty cheap (probably because nobody wants a walk around lens starting out that long on a DSLR).

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Old Jan 5, 2006, 12:57 PM   #9
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JimC wrote:
Quote:
Your slideshow is not viewable, unless you are willing to register and log in. That's probably OK for family members.


Jim,

I am taking your advice and looking for another gallery site. You are able to see my slideshow without registering by clicking on the slideshow picture, but the way Kodak sets up the website it makes it appear you have to log in.

You are right though about another thing too. I have had the camera out of the box for two days and have two lenses. I am starting to realize I have a lot to learn and trying to pick between 5 lenses would probably just add frustration.

I have found a local photo club that meets next week and am hoping to attend. I have a feeling that will certainly begin help me at least start crawling along with my new camera.

Shawn
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Old Jan 5, 2006, 1:12 PM   #10
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Greedyfly wrote:

Aaah.. That works. I didn't even try to click on the photo after seeing "Sign in to View photos and save them to your account" (which was under a "View Photos" label on the screen). :-)

It is a bit misleading.

You may just want to tell people that they don't need to sign in, and that all they need to do is click on the photo to see the slideshow. That way, they won't make the same mistake that I did.


Quote:
... trying to pick between 5 lenses would probably just add frustration.
That's what I was thinking, since you just bought the camera with two lenses covering 17-300mm, which works out to about 27-450mm after the 1.5x multiplier for angle of view. ;-)

I'd use it for a while and see what like and dislike about your existing lenses (size, weight, optical quality, brightness, AF speed, focal range, etc.) before rushing out and spending money on more that you may or may not need (or even like).

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