Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Building Your Lens Kit For Digital Action
With the autumn migrations and rutting season approaching fast, now is the time to put together a set of lenses to help you capture all the action
All Pentax lenses can be used on Pentax D-SLRs, including older, discontinued but still excellent supertelephotos. Among Pentax’s current lenses, the best wildlife units are the DA* 300mm ƒ/4 ED (IF) SDM and DA* 60-250mm ƒ/4 ED (IF) SDM. Since all Pentax D-SLRs have APS-C-format sensors with a 1.5x magnification factor, these frame like 450mm and 90-375mm lenses on a 35mm SLR, respectively. They also feature Pentax’s smooth, quiet SDM focusing motors (compatible only with newer Pentax D-SLRs; earlier cameras will use the focusing motor in the camera body). A rumored DA* 400mm ƒ/4 SDM should be a terrific wildlife lens. Lower-priced options for wildlife include the DA 18-250mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 ED AL(IF) and DA 55-300mm ƒ/4-5.8 ED zooms.
The smaller wildlife lenses can be handheld, but the larger ones are best used on a tripod. Because these lenses weigh much more than camera bodies, the lens rather than the camera body attaches to the tripod head (via a rotating mount).
The Pro-Optic 500mm ƒ/6.3 mirror lens provides a lot of focal length in an inexpensive ($159.95), compact package. It’s the fastest mirror lens we know of (most 500mm mirrors are ƒ/8s) and is available for virtually all 35mm and digital SLRs. It’s manual only (focus via a ring on the lens, adjust shutter speed to control exposure, no electronic connections to the camera), but it’s 500mm for under $200.
Samsung’s D-SLRs were developed in conjunction with Pentax and use Pentax-mount lenses, so the same wildlife lenses mentioned in the Pentax section should be terrific on Samsung cameras. Samsung’s own longest lens is the D-Xenon 50-200mm ƒ/4-5.6 ED zoom, which frames like a 75-300mm zoom on a 35mm camera.
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