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Old Jun 27, 2011, 4:52 AM   #1
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Default Ok, found my camera, but what about lenses? **Warning** Long babbling question(s)

Don't know what to do I have decided on the Nikon D7000 as an upgrade. But I don't know what to do about lenses. I have a $2,500 budget.

I shoot primarily on a pair of legs with varied focal ranges and usually not in the best lighting conditions. I want a prime lens preferably 35mm but because of price I may have to go with 50mm because the good quality Nikor 35mm is too expensive when added with the other lenses. I also want a wide and telephoto lens. I would prefer to add those together so I'm not changing lenses as much (this would be my primary and I would like to reach out to 300mm w/out a teleconverter). The Nikon 28-300mm is WAY to expensive when added with the other lenses. And lastly a macro lens and again I would prefer to have a lens like those stated above to have the macro function but Nikon doesn't have it.
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Old Jun 27, 2011, 8:42 AM   #2
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I am going to take a guess here, but it appears that you are going to the D7000 since it is cheaper than the K5? It also looks like you may be paying out what you save on the body on the glass.

If that is the case you may want to consider the K5 and upgrade your glass... K5 - $1400; DAL 35/2 $220; DA 12-24 $700; DA 55-300 - $229; that totals to $2549
These Pentax glass suggestions are extremely good. The 12-24 is excellent, and its going to be difficult to match it for the price in Nikon glass - you could go to Tokina though. The 35 is the new lens that is also extraordinarily good, for a reasonable price. The 55-300 is again an extremely good consumer telephoto zoom. To get better you are going to have to go to something like a * 300/f4 prime - and a used one might be somewhat easier on the checkbook.

You could bring the total down a bit by going with the Sigma 10-20 - $479
and you could sell your current lenses to recoup a couple of hundred.

Nikon isn't an instant picnic either.

.... just a thought...

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Old Jun 27, 2011, 9:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trihame View Post
... I want a prime lens preferably 35mm but because of price I may have to go with 50mm because the good quality Nikor 35mm is too expensive when added with the other lenses. ...
Actually, the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 G is pretty good and isn't expensive at all.

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Originally Posted by Trihame View Post
... I also want a wide and telephoto lens. I would prefer to add those together so I'm not changing lenses as much (this would be my primary and I would like to reach out to 300mm w/out a teleconverter). The Nikon 28-300mm is WAY to expensive when added with the other lenses. And lastly a macro lens and again I would prefer to have a lens like those stated above to have the macro function but Nikon doesn't have it.
If you're looking for a single lens to do everything, there's no such thing, and the ones that come close don't do anything very well. (Even the $950 Nikon 28-300 falls into that category.) Putting a superzoom lens on a D7000 would be a waste. The advantage of a dSLR is that you can use lenses that are specifically designed for what you want to do. If you want one lens to do everything, you would probably be better off with a P&S.
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Old Jun 27, 2011, 9:04 AM   #4
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What do you mean by " an instant picnic"?

I want to go with nikon or canon because of the larger availability of accessories. Pentax just doesn't have the product line weather by pentax or 3rd parties.

I agree with you about your choices of lenses though. Originally I was going to invest the money in pentax and I had chosen some of those lenses but I always ended up being limited in their product line especially when I Was looking at stuff like shutter remote, battery extenders, and other stuff I wanted that wasn't even compatible with pentax cameras or their raw file type. I will keep the k-x for a back up camera or pass it down to my daughter when she is old enough.

Oh and btw, thank you so much for looking that stuff up for me!
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Old Jun 27, 2011, 9:16 PM   #5
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Hi, Trihame - What I meant by "an instant picnic" was that just because you were looking at Nikon or Canon, there isn't an instant solution always available for every problem, want or need. Photography is or can be a frustrating series of exercises in compromise.

I will be the first one to admit that both Nikon and Canon have a much larger selection of just about everything. Pentax does have a limited selection available - of everything. Lenses, flashes, tilt/shift, teleconverters, etc. - especially for focal lengths above 300mm. However, I did not see a real specific game stopper requirement of yours identified, where it appeared that with Pentax it was a hard and fast end of the line. I might have miss-interpreted your post in some aspect.

One exercise that I have found useful is essentially a body count. Count up all the Pentax lenses. Then do the same for N and C, however do a sub-count on the non stabilized vs stabilized lenses. Since Pentax has in-body stabilization, you are essentially comparing apples to apples. The N, C and P lens counts for stabilization become pretty close. Now obviously, that is a overly simplistic if you need a tilt/shift (or some other specialty) and Pentax has exactly 0 currently and the one that is available used is only shift - no tilt. Another area is auto-focus, with dependence on old glass, there is not always an AF lens for that special need.

When I went digital, I sat down and tried to look at everything - plus I had a pretty good idea of what my interests were - wide angle and landscapes - in an ambient low light environment. So lack of over 300mm was not a limiting factor. However with the in body stabilization I had an advantage since P "stabilized" wide angle lenses while C and N did not offer them. And there was the need for "mechanical support", that I have spent a small fortune on - regardless of camera vendor....

Also, I had to work around various items that the body did not support or features that I wanted but could not combine (K100) until I progressed to the K20. This will occur regardless of the body make you have - even the top of the line pro full frame, there will be something that will limit what you want to do, and you will just have to find another way or process to accomplish your intended results.

That is a pretty long winded description of "an instant picnic".

In terms of the other items that you just listed - shutter remote, battery extenders, etc. All the camera makes essentially have a range of models from low to high capabilities, with features either missing or artificially limited. Look closely at Nikon's D3000, D5000 and D7000 lines. There are capabilities not there or limited in the lower models that the D7000 has.

Same thing with Pentax, however its just two tiers - the KR (or KX) and the K5. The Kr/Kx are limited to IR shutter remotes (basic and limiting), but in the K5/K7 etc, you have the wired connection that provides a wide range of wired remotes and involemeters (same connection as a Canon), that provide all the necessary capabilities. Same with body grips or battery extenders - not one available for the entry models, but offered for the K5/k7 etc.

Now, to be fair and fully honest - I have the K20, and Pentax has removed the tethering capability from the K7/k5 - there is now a third party open source that fills most of the needs. Also, dark frame subtraction (DFS) was finally added into the k5 (and not the K7). So, I too have gripes but I am not willing to switch - since I can usually find a way to work around the short comings - not that I am happy about it. I would really like a K5 for the lower sensor noise, ISO 80 and larger dynamic range along with DFS, but not willing to give up tethering, and a relatively small body. So, I lag behind at least a generation or two (maybe 3) in camera bodies.

I like the better body ergonomics, and only Canon and Pentax (and the u43) can accommodate old Zeiss glass (Contax) (sensor registration distance), and I have picked up a couple of these older lenses (converted the mounts) that (manually) match the FA 31 and 77 Limited lenses for 1/3 the price (but giving up auto focus - but I am at infinity most of the time anyway - so its a wash).

I would love to have a tilt shift wide angle lens. Pentax has a 28mm shift only K lens (circa 1960). I finally found one (at a price I could tolerate), but its not wide enough (and I knew that but I wanted to try it anyway). I also found a different way to use it so as to simulate a 4x5 sensor image (stitching but not the traditional way one would expect). So rather than correct optically (with the lens), I will just resort to moving the pixels around mathematically (post processing software utilities).

So, yes I agree that Pentax does have shortcomings based on an individual's desired results. However, there are always going to be limiting factors, be it technology or budgetary in whatever camera "system" you select.

I have slowly over the last 5 years acquired the glass I "need/want" where I could acquire at an affordable price, so I work around the other limitations.

Over the last 40 years as a systems engineer, I have found that the grass is usually not any greener - just slightly different grass, on the other side of the fence.

Overall, for what I desire to accomplish - any of the brands will have limitations - its just a case of selecting a set of limitations and going with them - understand them and work around them. This is the case for probably I would say 80% of the photographers. Just about any of the brands will work equally well. The others - have somewhat specific needs that are better suited by the specific differences and capabilities of the various brands.


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Old Jun 27, 2011, 11:15 PM   #6
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Pentax is a good brand and the stabilization that is offered is a huge plus. I like Pentax enough that I refuse to give up the camera I have now and I realize that if I upgraded the k-x (it is the lowest end of the DSLRs) then I would be able to do/use more however I feel that everyone makes for Canon and Nikon. Im not saying that I won't be limited in Nikon in some way or another either. I just feel that where Pentax has one, C and N have 3 and then some by 3rd parties. For instance, I want a shutter release, Pentax has a couple of wireless remotes and a wired one. Nikon has a few of both but the kicker for me is that their wired remote has a digital screen that allows more control. Weather or not it functions properly (a friend of mine said it was hard to work with) becomes irrelevant because at least the have it or there is a much higher possibility there there is someone out there who has one (3rd party) that works with Nikon than there is Pentax. Most non brand stuff does not support Pentax even when it is meant to be universal. Take the eye-fi cards for example. You cant wirelessly tether to an iPad using Pentax RAW so I have to set the camera to take a Raw and a jpeg with every shot. I don't like having to do that...

I admit two things though, you defiantly know more than I do about whats out there. You lost me on all those different mounts. I have only been shooting with DSLRs for two years as a hobby and haven't really learned everything out there or who offers the best deal, even though that seems to be the most opinionated part in the world of photography. Anyway the second thing is that I may be looking at this as "the grass is greener on the other side". I don't know for sure (100%) that Nikon is a "better" brand. I know however, that I haven't invested a whole lot of money in Pentax and considering the product lines and popularity (which is what drives 3rd party companies), Nikon beats Pentax hands down and maybe its better to get out now if I'm going to do this then to invest in Pentax and be stuck for a very long time. I don't want to invest in another camera body for a while after this one. I want to start acquiring real lenses so my plan is to buy the best camera body I can afford and a set of lenses that will allow me to do everything that I am currently interested in. Then forget about camera bodies and focus on the next best lens.

For the most part I don't need to reach out to 300mm but there are times that I do and I think a telephoto lens is important. The problem comes in is that I am limited on budget, I don't want to be changing lenses all the time, and I want my cake and I want to eat it now, lol.
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Old Jun 27, 2011, 11:34 PM   #7
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I agree with you TCav, I don't think that there is a lens out there that can do everything. I do know that I want a prime, wide, telephoto, and macro. I do know that it is possible to combine wide, telephoto and macro together or prime and macro as well. I don't really care what configuration. What I do care about is price and quality in these four different areas. I don't expect extreme professional results (talking about lenses not the body) out of this first set of lenses however I want to get the most bang for my buck. Unfortunate though, it doesn't look like I will be able to afford to get the full set of lenses along with the d7000 unless I invested in crap and I don't want to do that either. I guess now what I want is to figure out what is the best lens or combination of lenses I should look at to accompany the new d7000 when I get it, and that falls in my $2,500 budget. If I have to go with one or maybe two lenses then thats what I guess I will have to do.
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Old Jun 28, 2011, 12:42 AM   #8
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Ok just realized something. I was talking about the shutter releases earlier but as I was just looking on the Nikon site it doesn't appear that the MC-36 multi-function remote cord is compatible with the D7000 so I apologize for my ignorance in referencing that as a product for the camera.

I also did some reading which has led me to consider these lenses and accessories. Please note that I've just recently started exploring Nikon lenses much less F-mounts. Anyway here is what I got so far:

Nikon 35mm f1.8
Tokina 100mm f2.8 Macro
Nikon 70-300mm f4.5
Nikon 15-105mm f3.5-5.6
Nikon SB-400 flash
Vanguard Alta Pro 283CT Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs

I realize that this will take me over my budget by around $730 with a grand total of $3,230 but the Macro and the 300mm lens are not the biggest priorities as far as im concerned so that will lower the price by $989 bringing me to $2,241 and I can save later to get the two additional lenses. And the flash is just to upgrade from the cameras pre-existing flash which will be primarily meant for indoors.

What do you guys think?
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Old Jun 28, 2011, 9:42 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trihame View Post
... You cant wirelessly tether to an iPad using Pentax RAW so I have to set the camera to take a Raw and a jpeg with every shot. I don't like having to do that...

The problem comes in is that I am limited on budget, I don't want to be changing lenses all the time, and I want my cake and I want to eat it now, lol.
Pentax supports 2 Raw formats .PEF and .DNG. .DNG is a universal Raw format. Try setting your KX to the DNG Raw format and see how that works.

Also, Tokina has 2 excellent wide angle lenses that are very highly regarded. The 12-24/f4 and 11-16/f2.8. The f2.8 is a copy of the f4. They run in the $500 range for the Nikon and Canon mounts. I have read that Nikon is a tad bit better by a very small margin, however at twice the price. Optically the same lens as the Pentax 12-24 (Tokina and Pentax co-designed a series of lenses). You will never be able to tell the difference unless you only shoot test patterns or brick walls. They each shoot like a bag full of primes. For landscapes and anything shot on a tripod, the f4 with its wider range is probably more useable. The 11-16 has excellent image quality, though you pay for it with a smaller focal length range. I have the 12-24 (Pentax version) and it is excellent - extremely sharp, one of my favorite lenses.

Carbon Fiber tripods are much stiffer than metal, and thus transmit vibrations more efficiently (just the opposite of what you desire). At the lower end, you get much more in an aluminum tripod than CF and the weight difference is actually small. The best tripod for damping vibrations is one made of wood. I would suggest checking Craigslist for what may be available in your area - as its pretty difficult to ding a tripod. Folks tend to acquire them and then they never get used.

I do not use flashes (OK, maybe once a year). Nikon's flash system is much better than Pentax's I have read, with a broader selection.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trihame View Post
... I do know that I want a prime, wide, telephoto, and macro. I do know that it is possible to combine wide, telephoto and macro together or prime and macro as well. I don't really care what configuration. What I do care about is price and quality in these four different areas.
Just acquiring a prime for the sake of having a prime is useless. Primes are focal length specific, and usually acquired with a general type of use in mind. Fast aperture, extreme image quality, thin depth of field, or various combinations, etc. You can have a prime at 15mm or 30, or 50, or 85, or 100, or 135, 200 or 300, ..... or just about any focal length in between. Each tends to have its own set of applications that it excels at. You will have very close focusing at 15 (due to optics), but it will not be macro. Macro lenses also come in a wide range of focal lengths.

So, with regards to acquiring a prime and macro, first you need to ask why, and what will I apply it to, your reasoning. etc. That will identify the prime - focal length and aperture. No need to buy a f1.2 for $2000 when a f1.7 will do for $100 or so.

Essentially what you are probably looking for is continuous coverage from say 10 or 12mm to 300mm. This would be augmented by primes/macro lenses for specific purposes. So in the Pentax lens family for instance, I have solved this problem (since I like wide angle, and landscape) with:
  • DA 10-17 fish eye
  • DA 12-24 f4
  • DA 16-45 f4
  • DA 55-300
  • CZ 28 f2.8
  • FA 31 f1.8 Limited
  • A 50 f1.7
  • CZ 85 f2.8
  • K 28mm f3.5 shift
I also have, that I will be letting go - because I really no longer need or use them.... (and the shift lens will probably go to due to lack of use - too narrow).
  • DA 18-55 kit
  • DA 50-200 kit
I covered 10/12 to 300mm with very good quality zooms due to cost. Then filled in with primes where my particular interests resides. The 10-17 covers a 180 to 100 degree field of view, while the 12-24 covers a 100 to 60 degree field of view, so they complement each other very well. The FA 31 and CZ 28 are essentially redundant, but the price on the CZ was great and I wanted to see how a Zeiss lens shot. The Zeiss lenses are 20 years old, manual and have such high image quality, color and sharpness. Just like the 31 but their character is different. I like them both. The CZ 85 is for isolated panoramas within larger panoramas (shot at 12, 18, ...) along with extraordinarily sharp and high image quality in mild telephoto. As the IQ for the 12-24 drops off, the 16-45 picks up, so they complement each other as a pair. My interests are high IQ and coloration in the wider angles in ambient low light environments - late afternoon/evening and nights. So I have constructed a set of lenses, that optimize that desire - within my budget constraints. Also, rather than purchasing current Zeiss glass at $1,200 to $2,000 per lens (or even Pentax FA Limited), I have gone to 20 year old Contax Carl Zeiss glass, that I have found at around $300 per lens and changed mounts from C/Y to K. Manual focusing here does not matter since I am at infinity (or backed off a tad using hyperfocal). Also, I did not purchase all of this at one time - I have been on the lens a year plan....

hope that helps...

Last edited by interested_observer; Jun 28, 2011 at 10:18 AM.
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Old Jun 29, 2011, 1:28 AM   #10
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Thank you for your input.

I can't say that I just like landscape or that I just like nature or macro or anything else for that matter. What I like is out of the ordinary like optical illusions, adding motion, or creating an image that makes you feel like your looking into a dream or another world. A lot of this is done with post processing and they don't have too many lenses out there for this. Lensbabys can help a lot. I kinda wish I had one but I think I would rather cover the basic lenses first though.

I want a prime lens because they are better for low light and the better image quality is a plus as well. For some things I can just zoom with my feet.

I want a wide lens to be able to take more in and a telephoto to get closer to my subjects that I either can't get close to or can't get to quick enough. I feel that I can take care of my wide needs as well as medium telephoto needs with one lens. I don't need super wide focal lengths below 18mm but I would like to ultimately reach 300mm w/out majorly sacrificing in image quality or using a teleconverter but I don't really care if that requires one or two lenses although I would prefer one but who wouldn't?

I think it would be fun to get a macro lens because then I could take close up pictures of small objects such as bugs and flower buds or even grass with the sky above making it look like the grass is as tall as trees. My problem with macro is that I don't have any real experience with it and I don't know the difference between a 100mm macro shot or a 35mm macro shot. I would assume I guess that it would just mean that the subject appears bigger. I don't know...

I don't really use a flash but I have been in situations especially indoors that needed more light (the built in flash was ok but could have been better) and I couldn't really sacrifice in shutter speed and I didn't want a shallow depth of field. This flash will allow me to light up the room w/out a hefty price tag and I have heard a lot of good things about it despite how basic it is.

For the tripod I did notice that the weight difference between carbon fiber and aluminum wasn't really that big of a difference but I did not consider how stiff the CF really was. Thank you I may reconsider.

So I think I am just going to go with the D7000 with the 18-105mm kit lens, the 35mm prim, and the SB-400 flash whenever I have saved enough. Im thinking February of next year but we will see. I will go ahead and buy the tripod for my K-x for the time being.

I also think that I will start a new thread with a more straight forward question before I do because I don't think people really want to read all of this to catch up.
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