Time to rethink the KIT LENS idea?

Started May 30, 2014 | Discussions thread
JeffAHayes Senior Member • Posts: 1,968
Re: Flash is a simple option to account for aperture

brecklundin wrote:

Rod McD wrote:


I think it's difficult to be too prescriptive...... Pentax has :

the 16-45/4, 16-50/2.8, 18-55/3.5-5.6, 18-55WR/3.5-5.6, 17-70/4, 18-135/3.5-5.6, and the 18-250/3.5-6.3. And the 20-40/2.8-4 Ltd. (I'm not sure if every one of these is still current.)

I guess choice is good and these offer a lot. There's something for everyone whether you like it long, or fast or are happy with f5.6 or slower. (I never did personally get the point of the Limited zoom. If it had been a 16-40mm with stellar IQ, it might have been different but that's just me.)

Somebody mentioned the Fuji kit zoom in an earlier post in this thread. That's an 18-55/2.8-4 and because it's for a mirror-less system it's smaller and lighter than similar DSLR lenses. It's an excellent lens, probably the best 18-55 in the business, but it's in a much higher price bracket than the Pentax 18-55's. It's around $700, but sells for $400 if you buy it with a new Fuji body. It's been their only kit lens for two years, but they've recently chosen to offer a 16-55/2.8WR and an 18-135/3.5-5.6WR as well. Soon to be available. So it looks like they're diversifying their 'kit' lens products too.

Why focus on and worry about whether a Zoom is constant aperture or not? It used to matter back in the pre-TTL flash days, because you had to recalculate your aperture for flash photography if you zoomed a variable aperture zoom. So, the "pro" lenses all became constant aperture lenses. In these days of flash automation, I can't really see why it matters. I'm open to either type as long as their other characteristics meet my needs.

As you know lighting is complicated. In almost every situation flash, when it can influence a shot, can totally alter a scene. TTL/PTTL/whatever is no panacea to lighting a subject "in the wild" so-to-speak. It's why aperture, shutter speed and ISO matter much more than light from a flash, especially a single or even just the on-board flash. Fill lighting can help open shadows somewhat. To properly light most scenes it can take a LOT of lights with a ton of fine tuning to get a shot that a 2-4 stop faster lens would allow in seconds rather than 10's or minutes or longer.

I use flash but rarely in uncontrolled situations. In a studio of controlled scene they are great tools but never can they really make up for the lens aperture unless you are planing on a lot of post.

I've used the pop-up flash on my K-3 even at a reasonable distance (15-20 feet, or so), and even at such a distance at something like F5.6-F8 when shooting outdoors and getting dark or uneven shadows during the daytime and it sometimes is JUST "what the doctor ordered," surprisingly. There was a time when I'd use a powerful external flash like that, but after I had so many disappointing results with TTL with my Metz on the K-5 -- especially with bounce -- I got out of the habit of using external very often, and I've found that in many situations, unless I'm really pushing things, it's amazing how much difference that little pop-up flash can make.


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 JeffAHayes's gear list:JeffAHayes's gear list
Pentax WG-3 Pentax K-5 Pentax K-30 Pentax K-3 Pentax smc DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM +8 more
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