Semi-beginner with Q's on Landscape equipment

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by New Hampshire, Jan 16, 2007.

  1. New Hampshire

    New Hampshire TPF Noob!

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    Hello everyone,

    Im new to the forum, but not exactly new to photography. I say "Sem-Beginner" because I took photogrpahy classes in school about 10 years ago, and have only mildly participated in general photography. But a chance run in with a hiking friend who is a "pro" Landscape photographer has put the bug in me to get serious. I already have some good equipment to use, but Im sure I need more. So thats why I am looking to you folks. Currently I have:

    A Pentax K1000 35mm SLR (she is all manual, not very fancy, but sturdy as heck and has already produced some decent photos.)

    35-80mm Zoom lens

    Tri-pod (not sure of make, nor is it fancy, but it is sturdy enough for the camera and adjusts pretty tall)

    And I recently picked up a 12" remote release and some 100 ISO Fuji film (I have started reading a bit on this subject and without realising it I was using anywheres from 400 to 800 ISO film and wondering why my pics were coming out so grainy :shock: .)

    Im already looking into getting a new 24mm lens to add to the arsenal, as well as a polarizing filter. Are there any other tings you folks could suggest to add that would be usefull? On a hiking site I visit with a photography section a lot of people are mentioning Graduated Neutral Density filters a lot as being very usefull. But the price range of these things is very scary, some as far as $220!!! Whats the big difference between the $220 model and the more "budget minded" filters at around $20? Can one still make use of the less expensive filters?

    I'm sure I'll have more questions later, but this should do for right now.

    Thank you,

    Brian
     
  2. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Hello there, welcome to TPF!

    First of all, I'll start off by asking, are you sure you need more? It's very easy to see other folks using the latest expensive equipment or toting bags full of enormous lenses and think you need to do the same in order to be serious about photography. This is of course not true. The equipment you currently have is entirely capable of producing good results, as you've indicated. Of course just because you don't need more doesn't mean you won't want more... I know I always want more :D

    It's good to see someone else still using film too. You might also want to try colour slide film or black and white film in addition to the colour print film you're using.

    As you noted you have a good camera, and the best thing you could buy is probably another lens. 24mm is an excellent wide-angle choice, it's one of my favourite focal lengths. 28mm lenses are more common though; 28mm lenses for the Pentax K lens mount can be found constantly on Ebay or in the used section of camera stores. But if you can find a good 24mm for a good price that would probably be better.

    A polarising filter is always a good thing to have. You can go for linear polarisers or circular polarisers, depending on which is more useful.
    As for graduated density filters, people may say they're useful, but it's best to read up on what they do and ask if you're likely to need one. You don't want to spend all that money on something you don't end up using. Personally I've never really felt the need to use them with colour print film; more so with slide film and digital.

    The price difference between filters of the same type is likely due to the filter size (for example a 77mm circular polariser will be more expensive than a 52mm circular polariser by the same company) but also quality. Mass-produced plastic filters will not cost much, while filters carefully made with good quality glass and good coating will cost a lot. It's better to have a decent quality filter, because a bad filter can seriously degrade the quality of the image. But you probably don't need to buy the most expensive filters either. Hoya or Hama filters should be pretty good for the money.
     
  3. New Hampshire

    New Hampshire TPF Noob!

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    I see. This actually makes a little sense because the people I metion using the GND filters are all mostly (if not all) using Dgital SLR's.

    I have found a few sites that are selling the brand "Phoenix" 24mm lenses for about $75. I think I might pick one of these up, though Ill do some e-bay searching and some more Googling.

    As for film.....I have a pretty basic digital camera I carry for hiking, but thats really just for point-and-shoot "keepsake" type photography. I have always loved film, its what I was taught with back in my Jr. High photography classes (Not even sure they HAD digital cameras back then :lol: ) and I'm not likely to give up on it any time soon! The "Pro" photographer friend I mentioned also told me "....35mm is great, I have an old Pentax I use as my 'go-to' workhorse." He does a lot of Medium format work too, as well as his monsterous digital SLRs, but still finds a place for his 35mm!

    Thanks for the welcome, and thanks VERY MUCH for the help!

    Brian
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Space age coatings and size are the main reasons for increased cost. I think you would find that you'll get plenty decent results with a cheaper Tiffen or Hoya ND filter. Ask your friend what strength they recommend. I'd say a #8 (3 stops), but they might have a different recommendation.

    Make sure you have lens hoods. They definately improve lens performance.

    It sounds like you have (or are acquiring) what you need. You don't want to have to carry too much stuff; it'll wear you out.
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    I used to use graduated filters when I shot film...I don't use them now that I shoot digital...although they could still be useful.

    I suggest looking at something like the Cokin system. You start with a holder and a mounting ring that will match your lens threads. Then you buy square filters that go into the holder. The advantage of this over a round filter...is that you can slide the filter up and down in the frame...so that you can match up the light/dark parts of the filter to the horizon (or whatever) in your composition. I have a small handful of Cokin filters and I got them all at a used camera shop for a pretty good price. You could probably find a good deal some some used ones as well.

    As mentioned, they are more useful for slide film, which has a narrow latitude...but they can still help quite a bit with print film.
     

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