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Monday, 17 December 2007

Photographic journey #6 - Lenses

I currently have a few lenses for my Pentax K10D, some are pretty shitty, some O.K and some I really like, but all my lenses are not expensive Limiteds or anything over $250 for that matter, but for me and my level of expertise coupled with a frugal wife, they'll have to do.

What I want to do is spend a day out shooting with a different lens to really see what they're made of and what I can produce with some fairly cheap lenses. My mission here is to understand the lenses I don't use that often before I write them off. The following statements are my experiences with them so far.

Pentax DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6
Good walk around lens but lacking distance, 18mm is a decent wide angle and the 55mm is O.K for portraits, although not the sharpest at either end. In low light, the lens is too slow for for a good exposure and the AF function searches like a carrier Pigeon without a destination. I find that colour and contrast are a little flat but nothing that can't be fixed in post. I have a 2x Tele Converter which I may attach to this lens and use it as a makeshift macro, maybe giving the lens a new life.

Current usage - Rarely
Project - My friend works at a lab which houses many different insects, I'll beg him to let me go and take some macro shots of his creepies.

Pentax FA 70-200mm f4-5.6
Not the wisest purchase I've made but I'm sure it has a purpose in life. From my limited experience with this lens, it seems that it's only going to perform when full lighting is available, anything less and this lens will fail you like the English Cricket team. It has the power zoom function which I hate, it sounds like a pimped car with hydrolics so I tend to disable it, unless I want to impress a girl. The few times I used this lens was in Osaka when I bought it and I realized it was a pretty shit street lens as I had to stand back about 15 meters to get a decent shot of my brother staring at J Girls.

Current usage - Rarely
Project - Sit on my balcony and shoot anything that dares fly past, it will also let me experiment with high shutter speeds, something that I haven't really toyed with yet.

Astron 35-70mm f3.5/4
This was a pass me down along with the 2x tele converter from my old dad, he used to take macro shots of his orchids and from what I remember it did the job. I don't know where he bought this from but it's pretty hard to find info on Astron lenses, all I know that it was made in Japan. It has a nice zoom range, especially for portraits and may do fine as a basic walk around too. I really can't comment too much on it as I've yet to really use it outside. One thing I do remember (and the main reason that I don't use it) is it's AF is really noisy and searches a long time to find a focus point.

Current usage - None
Project - Put it on the damn camera for once and take some pictures!

SMC Takumar 28mm f3.5
I don't really shoot at 28mm that often so when I do, I just use my FA 28-105 3.2/4. For some reason I don't ever feel the need to shoot that wide as I like to get in close and personal. This 28mm has really nice colour and contrast and looks nice when converted to B&W.

Current usage
- Sometimes
Project - Hit the streets of Kyoto during the Winter holidays and test it out.

Super Takumar 135 f3.5
I don't tend to shoot my zoom shot as I said before, I like to get in close to my subjects hence the reason I don't use the 135 too often. On the occasion I have used it, I was taking photos of bridges in the distance but unfortunately it was dusk so I wasn't using the lens to it's full potential.

Current Usage - Sometimes
Project - Go to Tomonoura (a small fishing village near Fukuyama) or to Onomichi City and take some photos from the mountains as well as the local flora.

Lensbaby 2.0
This lens is just fun to use and when you feel in a photographic rut, thats why every now and then I use my Lensbaby and force myself to see the world differently. The problem is, I don't take this lens seriously and I should, therefore I swear on baby jesus that I'll use this lens with the respect it deserves.

Current Usage - Occasionally
Project - Portraits baby, portraits. I'm in Kyoto for a few days and the wife is dressing up as a Maiko for a few hours, should hopefully get some nice shots with the Lensbaby.

So, hopefully after the holidays I'll have a few test results, nothing technical, no numbers, just words and photos.