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The TPU Darkroom - Digital SLR and Photography Club

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Well it seems this forum lacks whacky Pentax cuckoos
Everyone that I know of that started in the film days, started with a Pentax K1000. My 1st dSLR was a Pentax before I made the switch to Nikon. I am considering getting a Pentax, just because.
Ektachrome
Some years ago I went to an estate sale and picked up a box of 35mm film in unknown condition. When I say "box"..there were 400+ rolls of film that had been stored, poorly, in a damp and un-climate-controlled basement. I quickly became a fan of shooting with expired film for the radical uncertainty of what you would get. Among the many rolls in the box were 3 Kodachromes....wish I could have been able to get those developed.

The following two shots were taken with my Nikon F5 with a 50mm lens, the settings are long gone to memory, but neither are adjusted, they are as shot. The "beauty" of working with unknown condition film. (two different rolls, IIRC, the 2nd shot was from an Indian-branded Fujicolour ISO 400 roll)
Beautiful.jpg

Expired1.jpg
 
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I never thought I'd join the club, but here I am, with a Samsung GX10 that a colleague of mine sold to me for 20 quid. I never wanted a DSLR, but for that price, I couldn't say no. :ohwell:

I am a complete noob in photography, but now that I own a camera, I might as well start learning. For now, I need some lenses (the camera came with none), and maybe a tripod.

Questions:
What lenses would be good for general photography?
What lenses would be good for space / sky photography?
What specifications should I look out for when buying lenses, and what do they mean?
What is the best place to order DSLR parts in the UK?
Is there a youtube channel or other resource dedicated to educating beginners like myself?
 
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Samsung GX10
Welcome, I had one, nice camera, uses Pentax "K" mount lenses, of which there are millions around.
You'll want a 50mm f/1.8 lens, aka the "nifty fifty" because it's very versatile.
What lenses would be good for space / sky photography?
That area of shooting can be very tricky (and expensive) to do right, involving software, motorized tracking, shot stacking and a host of many other tricks. There is (and this is my opinion only) a neat 500mm f/8 "reflex" lens, that is excellent at shooting moon shots, but it's pretty naff otherwise.
What specifications should I look out for when buying lenses, and what do they mean?
In the example of the 50mm f/1.8 I posted above, the 50mm denotes focal length of the lens, 50mm, though on the body you have, which is a "crop" sensor, meaning it's about 75% size compared to a 35mm film image, the 50mm translates to 75mm because the sensor is smaller. No matter, 75mm is still fine for portrait work, candid shots, etc.
The 1.8 is the Aperture, how much light is let in to the lens, based on how the internal blades work. It's considered a "fast" lens, because of the small aperture number and you can use that 1.8 to shoot in lower light and isolate the subject from the background. (I'm trying not to get too complex here for you, so I"m speaking in crude generalities, in case someone wishes to complain I"m not being accurate here)
The smaller the F number (the aperture) the more expensive the lens, so a variable focal length lens of say 70-200mm f/2.8 is waaaaay more expensive than something like a 70-200mm f/4-5.6, because constant aperture lenses are hard to make, so if you are on a budget, bear this in mind. Personally, the f/4-5.6 is acceptable, depending on what you are going to use it for.

Any of the K mount lenses, K, KAF (K-AutoFocus) will work, with the class "K" mount lenses being manual focus only, so bear that in mind.
A brief intro on how to understand lens nomenclature and what to look for:
Is there a youtube channel
There are millions, I like this guy:

Feel free to continue to post questions, this is how you learn, happy shooting
 
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Well expired film is kinda fun for negatives, not so much for slides. With slides you can get same ill color shift effects with missed exposure and not taking into account the limited dynamic range that nobody really does as each film has their own limits. But I tend to do my own scans, I am fed up with Noritsu over sharpening and missing white balance and it overblown highlights. The charm of slides, you can look at the positives with your bare eyes and compare with the scans and then tell wtf is this you paid for... and the damn dust as bonus xD.

I have 3D printed an adapter. Basically a tube where I have put a metal 67 to 77 ring adapter and at the end a bracket holding the film. So basically I screw that thing on my camera lens. There are no possible shifts, light bleeds, I can have it in any position and the process is fast. From the back I can use any good CRI light source, although I can even use natural sunlight, that tops everything you can match the real light you had in your shot. Using my Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO, it obliterates any official scanners, then just do your preferred post processing, usually just cropping out the holes, I leave them in shot, to put the marker for white balance. Nikon has also some products, but those are rather wonky and unfished ideas, I took it further to make a tailored adapter for specific macro lens.

You need all the apparel then. Pentax cap, shirt (I shoot Pentax), geeky glasses, and walking around with at least 2 of them around your neck. And some yellow Kodak bomber jacket. Sheesh what a strapping lad it would be.

Yeah that's a purple green Fuji, you can tell it from afar. I refrain it using on white Caucasian people and architecture shots, it was not designed for those, skin tones look awkward. Kodak was, especially Portra, but I don't like that film either, it is indeed boring for the price then I shoot same dirt cheap Kodak Gold. Just start playing it with over or underexposure. Like I use Ilford Delta 3200@1600 ISO... though some old guys say that the film is native ISO1000 from the start, I tend to agree with that.

Questions:
What lenses would be good for general photography?
What lenses would be good for space / sky photography?
What specifications should I look out for when buying lenses, and what do they mean?
What is the best place to order DSLR parts in the UK?
Is there a youtube channel or other resource dedicated to educating beginners like myself?

1. 50mm F1.4-F2.8 is your start, just as most did.
2. Low coma level. If you get to that point, you first need to get your basics right. There are plenty of them, but you get fed up of it fast by just using the 500 rule. Investing into a active skywatcher mount then is the next step... and then just get a telescope.
3. There are a lot of them, but seldom any are good. One of the rare people I look on youtube is Christopher Frost, a humble British lad, no bullshit reviews. Look few reviews, you will start to grasp the main keypoints and stats for each glass. Unlike other youtubers, he doesn't turn the channel into a circus and make some video thumbnails where he looks like a stupid idiot with down syndrome.
4. Fleabay should be still your option or some local camera store, but those are often overly expensive. Now with Brexit you can't order anything from EU, as Germans had some good deals, but the Tax will spoilt it now.
5. I would not use youtube as a source for basic learning, often those who does those videos are only for clickbaits and doesn't understand much either themselves. Look for written materials.
 
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You need all the apparel then.
Heh, as it stands, I have too many camera systems.
My Nikon D3x is my main studio camera, with all the associated lenses.
For my toy action figure work, I use an Olympus OM-D E-M5 mark I micro 4/3rd camera (it's a terrible camera for anything other than static controlled lighting work)
I have an ancient Canon.....something Digital Rebel XT I think for a knockaround camera
So adding a Pentax body, as much as I'd like to have for nostalgia value, isn't really needed.

Never-mind my Yashica TLRs (or that monster vied camera) that mostly gather dust because getting film developed around here is a right royal pain.
 
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Heh, as it stands, I have too many camera systems.
My Nikon D3x is my main studio camera, with all the associated lenses.
For my toy action figure work, I use an Olympus OM-D E-M5 mark I micro 4/3rd camera (it's a terrible camera for anything other than static controlled lighting work)
I have an ancient Canon.....something Digital Rebel XT I think for a knockaround camera
So adding a Pentax body, as much as I'd like to have for nostalgia value, isn't really needed.

Never-mind my Yashica TLRs (or that monster vied camera) that mostly gather dust because getting film developed around here is a right royal pain.

I don't envy you... you should sell your unused gear for someone that would use it. It seems you have a platform switch to Z mount in few years... my condolences to your wallet.
 
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It seems you have a platform switch to Z mount in few years
Probably unnecessary. for the work I do, where I can control the lighting, the D3x is more than sufficient, and should it fail, I can move up to a D4, then D5, then D6. I have a long time with shutter cameras still :)
my condolences to your wallet.
Hahahaha, it's all good, not like I"m spending my money on anything else (my house is paid off, and I don't *really* need to go back to driving old Maseratis again, I put one mechanics's kid through college, no need to send another)
 

the54thvoid

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I could pretend I was in Africa but this was at Twycross Zoo.

400mm 1/500sec ISO100 f5.6
6B9A2431.jpg


Weather has been awful and the sky has been grey up North all thru 2022. Zoo pics on a funeral 'trip' are all I've got.
 

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I could pretend I was in Africa but this was at Twycross Zoo.

400mm 1/500sec ISO100 f5.6
View attachment 236449

Weather has been awful and the sky has been grey up North all thru 2022. Zoo pics on a funeral 'trip' are all I've got.
It really has been gloomy. We had a nice day yesterday, a whole whopping ~50°F (~10°C). I was driving along and spotted some birds enjoying the open water on the mostly frozen Merrimack river. I wish my telephoto zoom could get to ƒ5.6, but I'm not going to complain too loudly for a lens under 1k USD. Plus, with enough light, anything is possible. I would have tried to have gotten closer, but I didn't feel like getting poked by bushes then falling into the half frozen river.

400mm, 1/800s, ISO 200, ƒ8
IMG_3126.JPG
 
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Welcome, I had one, nice camera, uses Pentax "K" mount lenses, of which there are millions around.
You'll want a 50mm f/1.8 lens, aka the "nifty fifty" because it's very versatile.

That area of shooting can be very tricky (and expensive) to do right, involving software, motorized tracking, shot stacking and a host of many other tricks. There is (and this is my opinion only) a neat 500mm f/8 "reflex" lens, that is excellent at shooting moon shots, but it's pretty naff otherwise.

In the example of the 50mm f/1.8 I posted above, the 50mm denotes focal length of the lens, 50mm, though on the body you have, which is a "crop" sensor, meaning it's about 75% size compared to a 35mm film image, the 50mm translates to 75mm because the sensor is smaller. No matter, 75mm is still fine for portrait work, candid shots, etc.
The 1.8 is the Aperture, how much light is let in to the lens, based on how the internal blades work. It's considered a "fast" lens, because of the small aperture number and you can use that 1.8 to shoot in lower light and isolate the subject from the background. (I'm trying not to get too complex here for you, so I"m speaking in crude generalities, in case someone wishes to complain I"m not being accurate here)
The smaller the F number (the aperture) the more expensive the lens, so a variable focal length lens of say 70-200mm f/2.8 is waaaaay more expensive than something like a 70-200mm f/4-5.6, because constant aperture lenses are hard to make, so if you are on a budget, bear this in mind. Personally, the f/4-5.6 is acceptable, depending on what you are going to use it for.

Any of the K mount lenses, K, KAF (K-AutoFocus) will work, with the class "K" mount lenses being manual focus only, so bear that in mind.
A brief intro on how to understand lens nomenclature and what to look for:

There are millions, I like this guy:

Feel free to continue to post questions, this is how you learn, happy shooting
1. 50mm F1.4-F2.8 is your start, just as most did.
2. Low coma level. If you get to that point, you first need to get your basics right. There are plenty of them, but you get fed up of it fast by just using the 500 rule. Investing into a active skywatcher mount then is the next step... and then just get a telescope.
3. There are a lot of them, but seldom any are good. One of the rare people I look on youtube is Christopher Frost, a humble British lad, no bullshit reviews. Look few reviews, you will start to grasp the main keypoints and stats for each glass. Unlike other youtubers, he doesn't turn the channel into a circus and make some video thumbnails where he looks like a stupid idiot with down syndrome.
4. Fleabay should be still your option or some local camera store, but those are often overly expensive. Now with Brexit you can't order anything from EU, as Germans had some good deals, but the Tax will spoilt it now.
5. I would not use youtube as a source for basic learning, often those who does those videos are only for clickbaits and doesn't understand much either themselves. Look for written materials.
Thank you both for the help. It is really appreciated! :respect:

I started browsing Ebay for lenses, and it's true: there really is a million of them out there, and to my biggest surprise, they're not even expensive. I quickly bought this and this. Hopefully, these will set me up for a good start, but I'll keep browsing. :)

Also, I've just realised that the camera doesn't work with the 64 GB SDXC card that I bought for it. Apparently, SDHC is the highest standard it accepts. :( They're pretty rare nowadays, but I managed to order a 32 GB one for £4. It's due to arrive with the lenses sometime this week.
 
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Thank you both for the help. It is really appreciated! :respect:

I started browsing Ebay for lenses, and it's true: there really is a million of them out there, and to my biggest surprise, they're not even expensive. I quickly bought this and this. Hopefully, these will set me up for a good start, but I'll keep browsing. :)

Also, I've just realised that the camera doesn't work with the 64 GB SDXC card that I bought for it. Apparently, SDHC is the highest standard it accepts. :( They're pretty rare nowadays, but I managed to order a 32 GB one for £4. It's due to arrive with the lenses sometime this week.
You are most welcome :)

If your eyes can handle working with Manual Focus lenses, there are some real gems out there for dirt cheap.
Don't get too caught up in glass (slang term for lenses) buying, your skills need time to improve to get the most out of what you have already. While I have the full range from 10mm to 500mm (10-17, 10-24, 24-70, 50, 70-200, 300, 500) I get the most use out of my 90mm macro lens, and my 50mm standard lens.
 
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You are most welcome :)

If your eyes can handle working with Manual Focus lenses, there are some real gems out there for dirt cheap.
Don't get too caught up in glass (slang term for lenses) buying, your skills need time to improve to get the most out of what you have already. While I have the full range from 10mm to 500mm (10-17, 10-24, 24-70, 50, 70-200, 300, 500) I get the most use out of my 90mm macro lens, and my 50mm standard lens.
I think I'll settle with these two for now. Hopefully, they'll be good for figuring out how things work and where to go next. :)

One more thing: the camera can shoot RAW pictures. Do you think it's worth doing so and converting them to JPEG on the computer, or is the camera's built-in compression good enough?
 

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I think I'll settle with these two for now. Hopefully, they'll be good for figuring out how things work and where to go next. :)

One more thing: the camera can shoot RAW pictures. Do you think it's worth doing so and converting them to JPEG on the computer, or is the camera's built-in compression good enough?

You can shoot both. The SD card will (should) save one of each. It's up to you if you think you want to tinker with the RAW file.

It's good to remember that each camera manufacturer uses in-built algorithms to render the jpeg. Using post-processing is an extension of that but unless your aim is 'fantasy' effects, it's more authentic to keep pics as close to natural as possible. But that still might mean you sharpen it or maybe alter the saturation if you feel the camera didn't see what your eye did (which is a thing).
 
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I think I'll settle with these two for now. Hopefully, they'll be good for figuring out how things work and where to go next. :)

One more thing: the camera can shoot RAW pictures. Do you think it's worth doing so and converting them to JPEG on the computer, or is the camera's built-in compression good enough?
Your Samsung is actually rebranded Pentax K10D. Use JPEG "Best" setting if you want to get JPEGs only and RAW (with .DNG file type) + JPEG if you want to give editing a try (it's a camera from 2006 after all so processing might be better in modern software).
On the lens side remember that you have 1.5 crop factor since you have an APS-C sensor.
 
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the camera can shoot RAW pictures. Do you think it's worth doing so and converting them to JPEG on the computer, or is the camera's built-in compression good enough?
I always shoot in RAW as it gives me more colour channel (red, blue, green colour channels are stored as separate values) flexibility should I need to adjust things in "post" (lightoom, photoshop, etc)
I strive to always get the shot right in the camera, so I never need to do any modification, BUT, I have worked with old digital cameras that don't always capture the proper colours (as @the54thvoid mentioned) so working in RAW gives me the ability to correct that. There is less flexibility in jpeg for such issues.

As you start your journey on learning, go with jpg as you learn the camera, once you have mastered the basics, then you can be concerned with post work and RAW.
 
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Your Samsung is actually rebranded Pentax K10D. Use JPEG "Best" setting if you want to get JPEGs only and RAW (with .DNG file type) + JPEG if you want to give editing a try (it's a camera from 2006 after all so processing might be better in modern software).
I always shoot in RAW as it gives me more colour channel (red, blue, green colour channels are stored as separate values) flexibility should I need to adjust things in "post" (lightoom, photoshop, etc)
I strive to always get the shot right in the camera, so I never need to do any modification, BUT, I have worked with old digital cameras that don't always capture the proper colours (as @the54thvoid mentioned) so working in RAW gives me the ability to correct that. There is less flexibility in jpeg for such issues.

As you start your journey on learning, go with jpg as you learn the camera, once you have mastered the basics, then you can be concerned with post work and RAW.
Thanks again. :) I guess I'll go with RAW+ for now, as it allegedly saves a JPEG copy as well (I'll need to test that).

On the lens side remember that you have 1.5 crop factor since you have an APS-C sensor.
I had to look up what that means, but at least I learned something (again). :D With two totally different lenses (a 35-80 f5.6 and an 80-200 f4) arriving soon, I'll be up for some testing.
 
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I had to look up what that means, but at least I learned something (again).
Yes, this is where a 50mm lens a is 50mm on a "full frame" sensor (typically only seen on professional or "pro-sumer" bodies) but 75mm (50mm x 1.5 crap factor) on lower lines, the bonus here is you will have a longer reach for subject, which can be a plus, depending on what you wish to shoot.

Suggestion for you (and this is only a suggestion, feel free to completely ignore this)

Photography is all about capturing light, so start with static objects, such as fruit, under different types, and directions, of light. Indoor light, outdoor morning, noon and afternoon light (and note the colours each light bring) artificial light and so forth.

See how each light changes the look of the subject (a green apple will look entirely different under noon lighting outdoors, than sunset light)
This "homework" will help you see the effects of lighting on your subject matter and help you to determine which lighting is most favourable for your subject. It will also show you the effects of lighting on shutter speed, and how you will have to change that, or the ISO, to get a proper exposure of your subject.
 
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Yes, this is where a 50mm lens a is 50mm on a "full frame" sensor (typically only seen on professional or "pro-sumer" bodies) but 75mm (50mm x 1.5 crap factor) on lower lines, the bonus here is you will have a longer reach for subject, which can be a plus, depending on what you wish to shoot.

Suggestion for you (and this is only a suggestion, feel free to completely ignore this)

Photography is all about capturing light, so start with static objects, such as fruit, under different types, and directions, of light. Indoor light, outdoor morning, noon and afternoon light (and note the colours each light bring) artificial light and so forth.

See how each light changes the look of the subject (a green apple will look entirely different under noon lighting outdoors, than sunset light)
This "homework" will help you see the effects of lighting on your subject matter and help you to determine which lighting is most favourable for your subject. It will also show you the effects of lighting on shutter speed, and how you will have to change that, or the ISO, to get a proper exposure of your subject.
I'll definitely do that. :toast: Talking about stuff and seeing things with my own eyes are entirely different, you're right about that.
 
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Talking about stuff and seeing things with my own eyes are entirely different, you're right about that.
Last suggestion, and I'll leave you to your studies (sorry, I tend to prattle on about photography for far too long)
with a 50mm lens, you cannot typically hold the cameras steady (that's hand hold, not on a tripod) for longer than the inverse of the focal length for shutter speed, and still get a sharp pic.

In other words, 1/50sec for the shutter (inverse of the 50mm lens) any slower than that, 1/40, 1/20, 1/2 for example, you will introduce blur from your body's natural motions or simply breathing/heartbeat.

This is a challenge on a 200mm lens (1/200sec) even worse for a 500mm lens (1/500sec)
So long lenses, and low light pretty much demand a tripod. You are not there yet (tripods can be cumbersome to carry about) but something to be aware of if your images seem blurry, check your shutter speed, if need be, crank up the ISO (butof course, be aware of the introduction of noise, as discussed in that video I linked)
You can easily test this out yourself in the course of your static shots of fruit.

Cheers!
 

stinger608

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You have some amazing suggestions @NoiseBox :respect: :respect: :respect:

Even people with experience can learn from your advice and suggestions. :toast:
 

Aquinus

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Last suggestion, and I'll leave you to your studies (sorry, I tend to prattle on about photography for far too long)
with a 50mm lens, you cannot typically hold the cameras steady (that's hand hold, not on a tripod) for longer than the inverse of the focal length for shutter speed, and still get a sharp pic.

In other words, 1/50sec for the shutter (inverse of the 50mm lens) any slower than that, 1/40, 1/20, 1/2 for example, you will introduce blur from your body's natural motions or simply breathing/heartbeat.

This is a challenge on a 200mm lens (1/200sec) even worse for a 500mm lens (1/500sec)
So long lenses, and low light pretty much demand a tripod. You are not there yet (tripods can be cumbersome to carry about) but something to be aware of if your images seem blurry, check your shutter speed, if need be, crank up the ISO (butof course, be aware of the introduction of noise, as discussed in that video I linked)
You can easily test this out yourself in the course of your static shots of fruit.

Cheers!
I will say that having an in-lens stabilizer definitely helps. I definitely miss it on my 50mm pancake lens, but sometimes it's really nice to have a really wide aperture like ƒ1.8. However, I feel like my 100-400mm really needs it since the brightest I can get at 400mm is ƒ8.
 
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Image stabilization is amazing, as I've shot 105mm @1/2s shots and still be sharp and in focus, whilst there's no way I could do anything close to that without it.
 
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Speaking of old cameras....
D1x Camille.jpg


This was taken, in December, with my new (to me, that is) Nikon D1x, a dSLR released in 1999. Making it (probably) the oldest dSLR still in use in this club.
Shot with my Tamron 90mm Macro @ f/11, 1/3sec shutter speed, a tripod (naturally) and IIRC AWB. I normally shoot with a custom white balance via Kelvin degrees, but (again) IIRC the D1x doesn't offer that option.

Lighting provided by Ulanzi RGB cubes
 
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