Tagged: Pentax 18 – 55 mm WR lens

Strasburg, PA Railroad

The Strasburg Railroad goes through the Amish country side taking passengers 4.5 miles and then back.  The car we were in had just been refurbished costing $0.25M dollars.  You can see the ceiling lights and the reversing seat backs.  After we went 4.5 miles we flipped the seat back and rode back facing in the direction of travel.  On the way back we stopped for a picnic along with many Amish and Mennonite families.

Indoor Comparison Between K-50 and X-E1 and Kit Lenses

I knew what the answer would be, but I decided to show you the actual difference between my Fujifilm X-E1 and the Pentax K-50 when used indoors with their 18 – 55 mm kit lenses at a focal length of 55 mm.  Both images were taken in “P” mode and processed the same from raw files in LR5 except for luminance noise reduction.

The X-E1 chose ISO 1250, f/4, and 1/30 sec.; picture follows.


The K-50 chose ISO 6400, f/5.6, 1/100 sec.; picture follows.


I used luminance noise reduction to calm down the noise in the Pentax image and this smoothed out some of the details.  Both pictures were crop-zoomed to show you the images in close to 100% in width.  Now you can see the advantages of the X-E1 camera and lens in lower light when details are important and why I will be using it rather than the Pentax system in lower light situations where noise and details are critical.

You will have to decide for yourself whether this advantage of the Fuijifilm system is worth twice the cost of the Pentax system.  Also don’t forget that the Pentax system is weather resistant and is a little easier to hold with its’ hand-grip.

Inside Out

These pictures were taken from inside the Community Center early one morning when it was snowing outside.  I was continuing my exercising of the Pentax K-50 and 18 – 55 mm lens under different conditions.  So far I have used the “P” (program) mode for all of my pictures to learn how well the camera handles different situations.  So far I like the program curve results and feel that I can rely on it to get good quick results.

PS … we currently have lots of ice this morning (Wed.)  Too dangerous to go out, but I will try for some pictures from the house.

Warmed up Today

As normal, you can click on any picture and view in gallery mode to see them larger.

I managed to get out and make some test images with my K-50 today.  The first early morning picture was taken with the 18 – 55 mm lens at the 18 mm end.  If you look closely you can see some variations across the image but I’m satisfied so far with the lens given its’ low cost.

The other pictures were all made with the 50 – 200 mm lens at the 200 mm end and then crop-zoomed from the original 4928 x 3264 size to 2020 x 1010 size.  I wanted to see what I could do with the lens for making wildlife images.  So far, I am also satisfied with this lens, but it will take some more images under different lighting, focal lengths, etc. before I decide it is good enough.

Lenses all in a Row


A few posts back I mentioned that all pictures should mean something.  I’m sure that the above picture doesn’t mean much to you without an explanation … but it means something to me.  It rained all day yesterday off and on and is forecast to rain until Thursday, so I have been using my time to continue my thoughts about cameras and lenses.  Yesterday I probably took two dozen pictures of those and other rain drops and bubbles using many different lenses on my K-5.  The above was taken with the Pentax 18 – 55mm WR kit lens at the 18mm focal length.  I don’t use that lens much since I haven’t been pleased with it; but since it is my only weather resistant lens (WR), I thought I would check it out under different conditions.  What I figured out is that it is a fair lens at the 18mm focal length up close, is OK for intermediate distances at 35mm, and is worse at 55mm at all distances.  But that’s not what I was really thinking about.  I have been thinking about using my prime lenses a lot more and I was comparing them to each other as well as the kit lens.

I’m seriously thinking about just using Pentax DSLR cameras.  I started out thinking that I would replace my Sony NEX-6 with the Fuji X100s and that led me back to wondering why, since I have the K-5 and quite a few lenses for it.  The X100s is smaller, lighter, more discreet, and a lot more expensive … but maybe I don’t really need it as long as I use my prime lenses on the K-5.  In addition, since I like to leave the 55 – 300mm lens on the K-5 so that it is ready to go quickly, I’m also thinking about getting a Pentax K-30 primarily for use with primes and to back-up my K-5 rather than the Fuji X100s.  The K-30, even though it is less expensive, has a better live view function and better video capability than my K-5 and I’m thinking I might need those capabilities more in the future.

If you have read my blog for a long time you will remember that I have had problems with the weight of the K-5.  At this time I’m not having as much of a problem with the weight especially when I use prime lenses.  I contribute this situation to the excellent ergonomics of the grip.  The X100s doesn’t have a grip, weighs less, is a lot smaller, and has a fixed equivalent 35mm lens.  With a Pentax DSLR I have different focal length options with different prime lenses but a much larger system.  I have decided to try using the prime lenses for a while, especially around people and inside buildings, and then come back and revisit my situation.  In the past I had used an X100 or various micro 4/3 cameras when photographing inside buildings around people and haven’t really used the K-5 that much inside other that at home.  The few times I have used it up close to people they have reacted badly … but maybe they will get accustomed to it.

I have serious doubts as to whether I will make this work unless I give up always having a camera with me (other than the LX7).  I don’t mind using a DSLR camera when I’m deliberately out to take pictures but I haven’t wanted to carry it just in case I see something.  A while back when I had the X100 I would carry it under my jacket.  Will I carry a DSLR instead?  Just to frame the image for you as to how unusual it is to see a DSLR around here … I have never seen anyone else using a DSLR to photograph anything, at any time or place since I moved to Hanover a year and a half ago.  Hmmm, maybe I should just buy an iPhone or iPad mini if I want to blend in.

Working through the Fog … Prime vs. Zoom Lenses

121225-073000_Plum Creek

I used my 55 – 300mm Pentax zoom lens set at 107.5mm, f/5.6, ISO = 400, and 1/200 sec. to take the above picture.  This was a clear case where I needed the zoom’s focal length to reach across the pond.  The conditions were also such that I didn’t want to be changing lenses while out in the field.  Conditions like this, along with the potential of seeing wildlife, have made this lens one of my favorites except for when it isn’t.

There are many situations when the 55 – 300mm f/4-5.8 zoom is not my preferred lens.  These are when I find it too heavy to carry long distances, when I desire greater image quality such as sharpness, when I desire a faster lens, and when I’m working among people who don’t like to be “shot with a cannon.”  For those times, I prefer to use a prime lens.  I will occasionally use my 18 – 55mm zoom lens, but not often.  I don’t like the quality of the images as well as those taken with a prime lens so I generally only use the 18 – 55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens during inclement weather since it is weather resistant as is my K-5 camera.

But, the decision process of which lens to use is sometimes foggy since I can’t see into the future.  My preference when going out to take pictures is to decide which lens I’ll need before I go and then put it on the camera and not take any other lenses.  I usually manage with my decision, but not always.  I have three prime lenses for the Pentax K-5 … the 21mm f/3.2 (on order), the 35mm f/2.4, and the 50mm f/1.8, which give me effective focal lengths of 31.5, 52.5, & 75mm.  A big difference between Pentax and Nikon or Canon is that Pentax decided to produce small light-weight primes rather than fast primes; therefore, the Pentax primes are lighter and create a more discreet camera-lens combination than its competitors.  I love the smaller, lighter size of the system when using primes, but I still have to decide which one to use.  I try to error on a slightly wider focal length than I think I’ll need since I can then crop-zoom to get the composition desired.

I’m going to change my setup in order to decrease the chances of having the wrong lens with me.  If I know that the odds are high that I might need different lenses, I’m going to start taking a camera bag with an extra lens or two in it.  I have mostly avoided this in the past since I didn’t want to carry any more weight than necessary.  Since my circumstances have changed … my back is doing better and the weight isn’t as much of a problem, and I’m not out in the field for long periods of time any more … I am going to take a bag and multiple lenses.  But, this also means that I need to get familiar with changing lenses while out in the field.  I’ll let you know how it works for me and tell you a little about my bag setup as well as different strap arrangements at some later date.  My desire is to work the kinks out and have my techniques perfected before spring so that I can concentrate on taking pictures.

BTW … if you aren’t using prime lenses, try them.  I really prefer the image quality, the lower weight, and greater ease of carrying a more discreet system.  I’m looking forward to my new 21mm prime lens and will use my primes more than my zooms if I take less wildlife pictures.

Today’s Walk

I have been mostly staying inside ever since Sandy hit.  We didn’t have any adverse effects other than lots of rain and wind; but, it has been quite dreary, breezy, and cool with little opportunity for taking pictures ever since she blew through.  Today the sun finally broke through.  Since I needed to walk down to the pharmacy, I took my camera while I made a quick trip.  To the east the sky was very cloudy, but it was blue with some clouds to the west with a temperature of 48 degrees Fahrenheit and a light breeze.

There is nothing special about these pictures … just another collection of what I saw on my short walk.  I tend to get a little down if I don’t take at least a few pictures, so I try to take some as often as I can.  I like the challenge to find something different to photograph, but this is a little hard to do in the winter so you might have to be patient with my photo therapy sessions.  I’m trying to come up with some different subjects to photograph but I haven’t had much success yet.

BTW, Sandy deposited 37 inches of snow at Blackwater Falls State Park in WV where the previous pictures were taken.  I’m glad she waited until after I left.

Plum Creek Floods

On 18 Sept. 2012 we had some hard rains and Plum Creek spread beyond its banks.  No harm was done since we have no buildings in the flood plain … just walking paths and the dog park.  Three hours after these pictures were taken the creek was back in its banks.

I went out when the rains started to let up and used my Pentax K-5 (it’s rain resistant) to take these pictures since it was still raining lightly.  You can see the rain splashing upon the water.  To best view the gallery below, click on the first picture and then click on the right or left arrows to cycle through all the pictures.  After viewing the pictures you can click on your escape key and it will bring you back to this page.

Safety Day

Yesterday was Safety Day at Homewood at Plum Creek.  It was to remind folks that they are to come to a full stop at the stop signs and that they are to not drive over 15 mph on campus.  Residents got free ice cream and were given lollipops at 5 intersections where they were thanked for stopping and obeying the speed limit.