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Questions about lenses.

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Ok, so I have been making do with a 28-80mm lens a few weeks now and am doing pretty good with it (thank god for auto-focus). I am looking at upgrading and getting a telephoto zoom lens that goes up to 300mm with a macro setting or there abouts. The thing is I have to keep the price down and it must have a auto-focus on it. I know there is a wide range in prices on Ebay and such. I am asumming that is due to the quality of lens. Are there brands to stay away from and brands to try and get? My camera is the Pentax .ist dl slr body. This would be mainly for taking pictures of wildlife (standing still) and stuff like that. Thanks for the input guys.

 

Jim

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One of the biggest price differences in lenses is speed. Low aperture (fast) lenses cost more than the slower lenses. Durability is another cost factor.

Not sure of any brands to stay away from. Most lens manufacturers have different lines of lenses and the quality can vary quite a bit in each line.

Look at a few reviews when you get closer to picking a lens and see if what you are looking at can take a few dings. After that just go as fast as you can afford if you are looking to photograph wildlife.

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jim, i'm not real familiar with pentax equipment as i'm a canon nut myself. the one thing i can say about canon and nikon, and it probably goes for everything else, there isn't an end all be all lens. i'm currently shooting a canon 20d and i carry a 17mm-55mm L series and a 70mm-200mm L series. both lenses retail for about $1200 each, but are worth every penny. the quality of the glass is really one of the most important things to look at. most manufacturers supply fall-off graphs where you can compare the light statistics on the lenses.

 

my next purchase will be a straight telephoto and not a zoom. i'll probably go to the 500mm L series once i win the lottery or rob a bank :) but in all seriousness if you're going to be doing a lot of wildlife photography, you may want to consider a straight instead of a zoom.

 

just my $0.02.

 

... k

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A agree with buying as fast a lens as you can afford, you will never complain about the extra light...alas, it comes at a price.

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Jim,

 

I have to agree with the previous posts about getting as fast a lens as you can afford and that there isn't an end-all-be-all lens. Guess it's how you use what you have that counts.

 

The lens that I have attached to the EOS 3 all the time is an older Tamron 28-200mm 72mm opening. It's a good versitile lens. The speed, range, and size of the 200mm make it a good one to have on the camera at all times. The other lenses I have in the bag and use heavily are the Tamron 70-300 Macro 58mm opening and the Canon 70-210mm Macro 58mm opening. The longer Macro lenses are handy for when you want a close up shot of some critter but don't want to get in too close or disturb them. I also have a Canon 28-80mm Macro and a Canon 35-80mm Macro lens but I don't use them all that much unless I want to some in close shots using the Macro. Granted, all of the above are not telephoto lenses but they do a good job for me and they're what I could afford to buy at the time.

 

Other than the Canon lenses, I've found that Tamron gives me good service and I can highly recommend Sigma. Those are two good lens makers you can trust. When it comes to foul weather though, the electronic stuff stays home and the older, tougher, manual focus gear comes out and gets the usage.

 

One other thing you can think about is getting a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter. Yes, you will loose some speed and you'll have to allow for less light, but they can help you get more out of a lens. I know Graham has one and he loves it.

 

Don't forget your tri-pod!

 

Ernie

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First of all thank you all for your responses. I really appreciate the input. How do I find out what the speed of a lense is? I have heard of Tamron and Sigma and they look like that are good lenses. And I'm asumming if the lense says Pentax it would be a good lense also. I am hoping something like a 200mm or 300mm will work for what I am wanting to do. Also looking at keeping the price around the $200 mark. I don't know maybe I am being cheap (or ill informed) but that is the amount that I will have available around the end of June.

 

Thanks

Jim

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Jim,

 

You could try keeping an eye out at local camera stores for used lenses. They may not be the latest and greatest but they'll be quite usable. Another place to watch is the local pawn shops. You'd be surprised at what you can find. If you do buy from a pawn shop though, take your camera in to make sure the lens works okay and be prepared to take the lens in to get it checked over and cleaned. You can save a lot of money sometimes using those two resources. I know I have found decent EF lenses for less than $200.

 

Lens speed is determined by its maximum aperture. The larger the maximum aperture, the faster the lens is considered. For example, an f/2.8 lens is faster than an f/5.6 lens because the corresponding shutter speed required at f/2.8 will be two stops faster than at f/5.6. Faster lenses are normally more expensive and heavy and be aware that you may not use the largest aperture setting very frequently since the depth-of-field will be so small. There is no direct advantage to using an f/16 aperture on an f/2.8 lens as compared to using an f/16 aperture on an f/5.6 lens. Since a lens opens up to its maximum aperture when not in use, the viewfinder display on a fast lens will be brighter. This makes composing and focusing a subject a bit easier.

 

Hope this helps.

 

Ernie

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Hi Ernie, so just trying to keep it as simple as possible. The lower the f/? is the faster the lens is. Correct? I will be making the rounds at the camera shops this weekend seeing what they have and seeing if maybe they have a layway plan also.

 

Thanks

Jim

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You got it right Jim.

 

Just keep in mind that you'll be using a wide open aperture rarely. I use a wide open aperture only if I'm cramming a shot where a very narrow depth of field is desired. Most of my lenses are f/4.0 and do the job quite nicely. Prime lenses can go a lot lower for f/stop but I rarely a use prime lens.

 

Finding a camera store that has a layaway plan or that will let you pay on account before you pick up a lens is the way to go if you can find one. I'm very lucky and have a store that allows me to make pre-payments so that allows me to buy the equipment I want instead of what I can find. Am buying a Lensbaby with the macro, telephoto and wide angle kits that way. It's nice not having to pay interest on a credit card or store charge account .

 

Ernie

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Jim,

 

I picked up a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO Macro lens for my girlfriend a while back and it is a fantastic zoom/macro lens for the money and comes in at right around $200. It takes photos better than several other comparable lenses that I've tried that are 2-3x the price. It's not professional quality of course, but it is also not $1500 and for the price there is no better lens out there in its class. My girlfriend and I have been very, very pleased with it.

 

Here is the version for the Pentax:

http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-70-300mm-Telep...9490&sr=8-1

 

If you decide to go that route, be sure to get the DG APO Macro version. There is a DG Macro and an APO Macro and neither are as good as the DG APO Macro.

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Hi, Jim...

 

To determine how "fast" a lens is, check to see its maximum aperture. A fast telephoto or zoom will have a maximum aperture in the f/2.8 to f/4 range. Slower teles and zooms will be in the f/5.6 range.

 

Beware that some manufacturers offer "variable aperture" lenses. That means, depending upon how far the lens is zoomed in, that the minimum aperture could be as large as f/2.8 or as small as f/4 or even f/6.3. Some variable-aperture zooms are quite good, and they're much less expensive than fixed-aperture models. Most professional photograpers prefer fixed-aperture zooms because they can be counted on to produce quality images even in relatively low-light conditions.

 

Good luck finding a lens that suits your needs!

 

John

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I dont know Pentax being a Canon shooter but look into some Sigma and Tamron lenses. Both make lenses in the focal range your wanting that are affordable. There a lens out there for pretty much everyones needs and budgets.

 

Macro:

Most lenses that say "Macro" arent really macro lenses. They just enable you to focus closer and given their focal length can achieve near macro results. I think in most cases they are 1:3 rather than 1:1.

 

Fast Glass:

Make no mistake, nothing can replace fast glass. Even the "consumer" grade fast lenses tend to be expensive. I have an 85 f1.8. I love it but its a specialty lens thats great for indoor sports ( fast shutter speeds in terrible light) and portrait shots for their thin DoF and subsequent blurring of the BG.

 

Do you need one?

IMO its nice to have in the bag because it offers some things that jsut arent otherwise doable but by no means are they a "requirement". You should be able to find a 70-200 or 300 Sigma f4.0 or so that meets your needs.

 

J

 

 

 

 

 

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