Mmm... 2 new things

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Buschmaster, Sep 5, 2006.

  1. Buschmaster macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #1
    I have decided two things. I'll take them on in the order they make sense in...

    Firstly, I have decided that I will be choosing Pentax to start my collection. I like their lineup of lenses and digital cameras the best. I was going to get a Pentax *ist DL, or maybe a K110 or even K100 depending on where I'm at when I get there. They use the KAF mount.

    My second decision was that I was going to get a film SLR and build up my lens set and such. It has to be auto focus and it has to work with lenses of the three DSLRs I listed. That's doable, right?

    This is about 85%, and if I wait for a while, I'll get a DSLR, but... I feel like it'd be a good way to get a couple good lenses under my belt and learn about SLRs with autofocus. If you think this is stupid, just let me know.:D

    Edit: Also, links to specfic places and products would be really helpful! Can't hurt to look everywhere!
     
  2. balofagus macrumors regular

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    #2
    Welcome to the Pentax group! If you do choose the film SLR one first, all of your lenses will be compatible with the digital bodies (it's all K-Mounts for Pentax).

    Now I don't know much about the film SLR's but I've done my research on the dSLR's. If you do wish to go with the *ist series I would recomend the *istDS over the DL. The DS has a better viewfinder system and better features. My ultimate recomendation would be the K100D.

    The new K series has an improved JPEG processor and many other features that are an improvement over the *ist series. The K100D's integrated Shake Reduction technology is worth the extra $100 over the K110D because Pentax does not produce any lenses with Image Stabilisation and even a little can go a long way.

    Might I recomend checking out this website. It is a forum devoted to Pentax users that I have asked a multitude of questions on. I'm sure they can give you some assistance on Pentax's film SLR's.

    EDIT
    Decided I'd give you some of the links I found useful in my research:
    http://www.pentaxslr.com/: List the dSLR bodies plus the lenses they have developed for their digital bodies.
    http://www.bdimitrov.de/kmp/: Compilation of Pentax's older K-Mount lenses (and some other stuff). These are all compatible with the new dSLR's with some restrictions however (such as Manual Focus onlyn sometimes)
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #3
    Firstly, I think you're going to learn a lot more about the photographic process, what goes on with film, etc, if you buy an SLR. That's fantastic, and I wish I had the nerve to buy a film SLR and learn about everything. :)

    But on the other hand, I don't think there's much to learn about photography other than through practice and looking at other people's work, listening to their advice, etc. So if you're looking to buy a film SLR as a learner's camera, I don't think you need one. A digital SLR can be used as a learner's camera as well, and since the results are instant, I think you'll experiment more with a digital SLR. :)
     
  4. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #4
    I have a digital P&S that I've done a lot with. I also have a Canon A-1. Which is manual focus. I know I'd take a million more pictures with a DSLR, but I think it'd be better to learn autofocus and get more lenses with a cheaper product.
     
  5. balofagus macrumors regular

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    #5
    Just a little confused, sorry. But why do you need to learn auto focus? It consists of depressing the shutter release halfway and letting the camera do the rest... very simple and not much to learn I'd think.

    Sorry if I'm missing something here, lol :p
     
  6. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #6
    Well, I just feel like I'd learn more of the other stuff if I didn't have to concentrate on focusing.
     
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #7
    I know. I don't get it either. :confused:


    I think learning on film will make you better at composition, and learning to be selective at what you take a photo of, because film is expensive. Compound that cost with what you'll probably spend on a digital, and it'll be higher than necessary.

    Pentax lenses on an older body will not be more advantageous than a Pentax with a newer digital body other than what I just said about composition, and understanding how film works.

    And as much as I've learned about photography, I've only been learning since January. I was a blank slate in 2005. I knew nothing, and now I seem to know a lot, and it really surprises me. At least I can have a conversation with photographers and know what they're talking about. Only weak point is Photoshop and photo editing using features in there. I can do certain things, but I'm no magician with that.
     
  8. milozauckerman macrumors 6502

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    #8
    for all your used camera needs: www.keh.com. Their below-average grades are better than 90% of what you'll get on Ebay, good prices, solid people to deal with.

    The best Pentax film body, from what I recall, was the MZ-S. A fine camera, should run you a little over $450 used. Looking it up, I kind of wish I had the money to buy one myself right now.
    It never hurts to have another camera, right?
     
  9. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #9
    Each camera has its own set of AF algorithms and quirks. Its always good to learn all the AF options and get a feel for it first.
     
  10. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #10
    Actually, focusing is critical in my humble opinion :D.

    It is tough to take an effective photograph if you don't know how to get focus the way you want it- the right focus point, the right depth of field (which depends partly on focus distance), and so on.

    Then again, you do better with focusing as well if you know the rest of the system, so in a way you do have to set priorities :p
     
  11. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #11
    Well, yes. But I'm so used to manual focus that autofocus would seem like cake. Am I right?
     
  12. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    Not necessarily. You have to watch out for where it is focussing and if it actually is focussing correctly. dSLRs don't have split screens, so you can't always be absolutely sure of correct focus (the AF may lock onto something else than what you think it's doing).
     
  13. balofagus macrumors regular

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    #13
    Well, I think I understand now. And to make sure you're camera is auto focusing on is pretty simple with the K100D (not sure about other systems, could be completely common on every camera for all I know but I thought it was nifty :p); just put the subject in the center, press and hold the "OK" button and the autofocus will only use the center focus point. It also beeps and flashes red when it's finished (you can turn the beep off if you want)
     
  14. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #14
    On Nikons, you can either select the focus point and use one point or use a group.
     
  15. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #15

    Ha! HA! That's what I thought too.

    I guess I should put a roll through my old Pentax K-1000 to see if it still works. When I went AF (around 10 years ago), I kept my K around in the expectations of trying IR film one of these days. Its still waiting for me.

    Anyway,

    The good news for AF is that it is usually faster to focus on something, which is a really good thing when you don't have the time to do the focusing. It also can help you mentally free up to think more about other aspects of the photo-taking process, like composition and lighting angles.

    The bad news for AF is that the more important the shot is to you, the less time you have, the more likely the AF is to decide to be evil and pick something else to focus on.

    In basic terms, for fairly static compositions that weren't hard to manually focus, going to an AF camera is IMO merely convenient...it speeds up shooting. Where AF comes into its own is with motion (you or the subject), particularly things like birds. In general, the performance of the various 'servo' type modes is typically best when there's the best signal:noise ratio, which usually means reducing the noise distractions with minimal background noise or clutter (ie, blue sky), as this helps the system recognize what the desired subject (signal) is.

    But there's a lot of sometimes subtle quirks with AF where you'll end up cursing it pretty quickly.

    One example is that its only a 2-position button, which I describe as:

    1 - Oh great camera, please try to focus on the object of my desire
    2 - Oh great camera, please take a picture, if it pleases you.

    For a long time after I got my first AF camera, I groused that I really wanted a 3-position button, which I described as follows:

    1 - Oh great camera, please try to focus on the object of my desire
    2 - Oh great camera, please take a picture, if it pleases you.

    3 - Oh you #%*#$'ing piece of #$%, I don't care what YOU think is best for me, take the picture NOW!

    Yes, my car has a manual transmission, too :)

    What I had run into are examples of the limitations of AF.

    An early example was trying to photograph my nieces on the Dumbo ride at DisneyWorld: standing next to the ride and as they spinned past, the camera's AF would get confused by the nature of the motion as well as the other Dumbos around it, and simply went gaaahhh!.

    I've not tried it, but I suspect that a Merry-go-Round might have enough clutter & crossing objects to cause the same problem. In general, what I've found is that "servo" modes for anticipatory focus on moving objects works best on fairly straightforward and predictable motion objects: too much irregularity and the AF gets overwhelmed. Welcome back to manual override mode :)

    What I would suggest as a fast-forward on the learning cycle is to sort out how to use the camera's multi-point focusing 'matrix', to manually select out just one point for you to use. Which one you choose isn't important, as you can generally "aim, half-push (focus), recompose, click" from any of them. The main point is that this allows you to more easily use the AF to get a photo of a little critter hidden in the back of a tree without the camera focusing on a couple of twigs and leaves on your side of the bush, etc.


    -hh
     
  16. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #16
    Sooooo, manual focus SLR + autofocus dSLR is better and will be worth the wait?
     
  17. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Pretty much all dSLR's can use manual focus...
     
  18. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #18
    Correct. And so would any film SLR I'd buy. However, what I'm saying is, that what i'm reading is making me think I'd be better off just waiting a bit of extra time and getting a digital SLR a bit earlier because I won't have to worry about concentrating on things other than focusing and everything... As well as the fact that I'll be better able to learn by taking a billion pictures and seeing instant non-printed results with digital.
     
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #19
    Am I the only one who doesn't understand your concern? :confused:


    If you want to learn about film and processing, and being more selective when taking photos, then get the film SLR. Otherwise, I don't see the benefit if you're just going to get a digital SLR later on anyway.

    You're concerned about autofocus? Why? Just select the point of focus in your viewfinder and let the camera do the work. If you want to manually focus, you still have that choice. I don't know why you think practicing on a film SLR will let you concentrate on things other than focusing. You'll have the same issues with either camera, except that you don't need to change film using a DSLR, so in a way, the DSLR is actually less bothersome and you can concentrate strictly on your photography.

    Or I have just completely misunderstood you. :confused:
     
  20. beavo451 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    You cannot focus on just one thing. Photography is taken as a whole. If you have just in focus pictures, they won't look good. If you just have compositional pictures, they won't look good. If you just have good post processing, the pictures won't look good. Your skill in photography rises as all elements improve. You cannot just concentrate one any singular aspect.
     
  21. Buschmaster thread starter macrumors 65816

    Buschmaster

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    #21
    Because right now I have a film manual focus SLR, I always have to get it into focus. I'm letting it set everything else automatically 9 times out of 10. Sometimes I take out of focus pictures on purpose, and for that, manual focus is good. The only reason to getting a film SLR and waiting would be price. I can afford a film SLR far before I can afford a dSLR. And right now I do have a 35mm Canon A-1. But that's entirely manual focus. And I think it would be good to have something with the current Pentax mount and a autofocus.
     
  22. Silentwave macrumors 68000

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    #22
    I have to second this.

    One of my favorite photos i've ever taken is not just a bit out of focus. It is completely out of focus, intentionally.

    With digital you also need to start thinking outside the box. That same picture started out bland dark green and white, mostly. less than 120 seconds from image loaded to beginning of save, and I ended up with a pleasing result.
     

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