Saturday, November 21, 2009


Well I have unexpectantly won an Ebay auction for a Tair-11a. I'm really looking forward to playing with this lens. Will post some shots as soon as I a hold of it.

UPDATE: A review of my first day's use of this lens is - Tair-11A 135mm f2.8

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Choosing a Tripod

In choosing a tripod I had to limit myself to something around $200. In this range there are few options which are of a large size. I looked into the Velbon range, but I was a bit concerned about the build quality. Teds Camera had a special going on the Slik 500 DX Pro at the time. It's actually huge, stable and perfect, and of course much cheaper than the similar sized Manfrotto 055 series.

When purchasing a tripod, remember its probably worth splashing out a bit, because this is something that can last forever! A good stable tripod will always be useful. The Velbon range was a bit cheaper, but not as stable. The Manfrottos were much more expensive, and smaller and lighter. The 055 is about the same in stability (in my opinion) but I found the Slik to be more stable than the popular Manfrotto 190 series when comparing in the store.

Last lens purchases

My final purchase was from a local forum which has a photography section. A member had upgraded his telephoto lens to something a bit faster and had his slower Pentax FA 100-300mm f4.7-5.8. I was looking to buy an AF telephoto lens at the time, so I checked its rating on the PentaxForums lens review section, and snapped it up.

This leaves my current line up as follows - Pentax DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL II, Pentax F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5, Pentax FA 100-300mm f4.7-5.8, Pentax M 28mm f2.8, Mir-1 37mm f2.8, Pentax M 50mm f1.7, Helios 44-2 58mm f2.0, Hanimar Auto S 135mm f2.8.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Gear!

After buying DSLR I went a bit Ebay crazy for old P/K and M42 lenses. It turns out this is not the best idea if you dont really know what you are buying, which i did not. I ended up with a few cheap lenses, many of which had some sort of mechanical issue.

I realised I was wasting money. I did some more searching around and discovered This site provides some good insight into which lenses are worthwhile, and the trading section provides a good place to acquire all sorts of Pentax gear. The general consensus is that SMC (super multi coated) Pentax lenses are the pick for build quality, colour and contrast.

I went back to Ebay, and kept a good lookout for some decent SMC Pentax lenses. I managed to get hold of a Pentax SMC -M- 28mm f2.8 lens for a reasonable price. It is quite well used but it is lovely and sharp, and a great focal length on a digital APS-C sensor. Added to this were the two lenses I had borrowed from Dad's old K1000 kit. A Pentax SMC -M- 50mm f2.0, and Tokina 100-300mm which has some hazing in the rear elements, and the one good lens from my previous Ebay purchases, a Hanimar 135mm f2.8 M42 which seems to be quite good.

Later I got hold of a Pentax SMC -F- 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 on Ebay for a cheap bid. This is a well regarded older Pentax AF lens, it is quite small, sharp and cheap. Then I went looking for a better 50mm. I found a Pentax SMC -M- 50mm f1.7 (the sharpest of the Pentax 50mm's) after putting in a low bid. Soon after I was able to upgrade that to a Pentax SMC -A- 50mm f1.7 (has camera controlled aperture) for about the same price as the -M- cost me. I sold the -M- soon after.

Missing from my lens range was a telephoto lens. I bought a Tokina RMC 70-210 f3.5 manual focus lens from PentaxForums for a reasonable price. It seemed like a good cheap manual focus alternative while I waited to be able to afford something better. I took some very nice shots with this lens.