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10-21-2012, 03:16 PM   #1
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Best bargain's in Pentax ...

Hi, thinking once again of Pentax ... the K30 is very tempting. I recently had to sell my Olympus OM-D, which I absolutely loved, and am now getting back where I can replace it and am seriously considering the K30 instead.

With Olympus, there are some legendary lenses for the m43 system ... the Panasonic 20 1.7, the Olympus 45 1.8 (both $300 used) and the incredibly cheap, but fabulous, Panasonic 14 2.5 ($160).

Any such legendary performers in the Pentax camp? Don't care if it is zoom or fixed, just wondering what the best bang for the buck is out there.

If I go the K30 route, I may just go with the cheap WR kit lenses (the 18-55 and 50-200) to start (I can get this setup for less than an OM-D body).



10-21-2012, 03:58 PM   #2
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any reason on selling the OM-D? just curious since I have both K-30 and OM-D.
10-21-2012, 04:19 PM   #3
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I would suggest the 18-135 kit for wr, and a 35mm f/2.4 which gets consistently high marks. The 55-300 is ideal if telephoto is not a huge priority, compact talented and decently sharp though not an ideal lo-light lens.
10-21-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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It sounds like OP had financial issues which has caused him to already sell the OM-D.

The main reasons for buying Pentax are, IMO:
* Limited line of prime lenses.
* Water resistance.
* Integrated SR system.
* Excellent viewfinders (for APS-C)
* Small bodies (for dSLRs)
* Good compatibility with legacy lenses.

Good lenses for the money:
* DA15 ltd (~400 used)
* DA 35 f2.4 (<200 used/new)
* DA 55-300 (usually considered worth the extra over the 50-200, sadly not water resistant)

Check out the database for opinions:
Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

The used market for Pentax glass can be pretty good price-wise, but isn't as widely available as Canon/Nikon.

The major difference compared to the OM-D is going to be body size and viewfinder and sensor size. I'd think hard about what I wanted in a body.

10-21-2012, 04:45 PM   #5
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Some lenses that come to mind, especially on the used market:
40mm Ltd. (and the 40mm XS, which I personally recommend).
21mm Ltd.
35mm Ltd. Macro

If you don't mind using old manual lenses, then the 100 M/4 is a bargain.
10-21-2012, 05:45 PM   #6

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A used K-r, K-x, or K200D will save you even more money, and are all quite good. But now that the prices have come down on the K-30 it certainly is an attractive option, and a fine camera regardless of price.

DA35/2.4 is really good and bargain priced (<$200).

I know Olympus and Panasonic have some really fine glass, so I wouldn't specifically dissuade you from that system, having not used it myself (but having seen images from some of the lenses). But you will find that Pentax has much to offer in their lens lineup, including a tremendous selection of quality used lenses. Other top lenses include:

DA15 Ltd
DA21 Ltd
FA43/1.9 Ltd
F or FA50/2.8 macro - possibly Pentax' sharpest lens (used only)
FA77/1.8 Ltd (a little more expensive than the others, but outstanding)
DFA100/2.8 WR macro

Most are <$500 used, some are slightly over it, but all are exceptional.
10-21-2012, 05:49 PM   #7
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Ditto on the manual lenses. If you can focus a lens (and the stock K-30 screen works well for me) you can get some seriously good glass for not much money. The SMC-A lenses even couple to the meter. I got a SMC-A 50mm f1.7 for $10! Even Ken Rockwell likes that lens! I have the 15mm Limited as well- a very compact lens/camera combination.
10-21-2012, 06:53 PM   #8
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I'm attracted to the K30 due to size, image quality and price. I also really like weather sealing and it is an important feature.

I love the size of the m43 system and have been a long time Olympus user, but have been attracted to the K7, 5 or 30 for a while. I debated long and hard about a K5 before I decided on the OM-D originally.

Used OM-D prices start just above 800, a new K30 is less money with equal or better image quality. My one concern, if I can call it that, is overall system size. While the camera bodies are not much different in size, I don't know much about what the lenses are like.

If the kit WR lenses are close or equal optically to the Olympus 12-50, 14-42 and/or Panasonic 45-200/Olympus 40-150 I'd be happy.

One of the positives of the Pentax system is legacy lenses that either AF or work natively without adapters.

Thanks again.

10-21-2012, 09:40 PM   #9
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Compare camera dimensions side by side

The size from the front isn't much different, but it's a lot thicker and heavier.

I would guess the kit zooms would be comparable between systems. Pentax usually scores quite well on the haptics of the kit lenses, and optically, I'd expect that they are comparable.
10-21-2012, 10:27 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffryscott Quote
My one concern, if I can call it that, is overall system size.
You'll be hard-pressed to beat a K30 & 18-135WR combo for size, usefulness, IQ and WR. Add to that later some Limited or small FA primes, e.g. 15/35/50/70 and the Pentax DSLR system really becomes unique in size, quality and IQ.

I have a K5 + 18-135WR + DA15,FA35,FA50/1.7,DA70 combo that all fits in a Lowepro Nova 170 bag that travels easily with me everywhere -- small enough (9.5W X 7.1D X 9.6H in./ 24.2 X 18 X 24.5 cm) to comfortably sit at my feet in economy.

If you don't want to spend the $s on the 18-135, the 18-55WR is very usable and renders typical Pentax colours. I don't have any experience of the 50-200, but the 55-300 (DA or DA-L), while not WR is a very, very capable lens. I own both the 18-55WR and DA 55-300.

QuoteOriginally posted by jeffryscott Quote
just wondering what the best bang for the buck is out there
So: new lenses: I would have no hesitation recommending as "best bang for the buck" the 18-55WR and DA-L 55-300 (or the optically identical DA 55-300 if you want focus quickshift and don't mind spending more). As a first prime you can't go wrong with the budget DA 35/2.4.

As for older lenses, once you start down the Pentax road, you have the whole world of older autofocus and manual focus K-mount and M42 bargains to discover among the 24 million lenses Pentax has made since the 1950s.

Last edited by Gray; 10-21-2012 at 11:14 PM.
10-21-2012, 11:13 PM   #11
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The Pentax 18-135 has been mentioned a couple of times but it surely it is not a stellar lens. It isn't a bargain either; perhaps reasonable value as part of a kit.

Used 50/1.4 or 50/1.7 are excellent and great value for money as manual focus versions. Sadly the FA 50/1.4 which had been available for $199 new some years ago, has become pretty expensive.

You can find great glass on the used market for very reasonable money, such as the K 135/2.5 or K 55/1.8.

There are some non-Pentax lenses available in K-mount which are cheap but excellent, such as the Samyang 85/1.4, Sigma 70/2.8 EX Macro, Tamron 28-75/2.8 or Tamron 17-50/2.8 (non-exclusive list).
10-21-2012, 11:31 PM   #12

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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffryscott Quote
just wondering what the best bang for the buck is out there.
As some other posters have mentioned,
manual legacy lenses may give you the best bang for the buck,
if you are able to work with them.

I like the K24/2.8 and M100/2.8 myself.
Together they'd cost about $400.
Plenty of cheap fifties around.

If you're getting "kit" zooms,
the 55-300 may be better than the 50-200.
10-22-2012, 06:54 AM   #13
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The K28/3.5, K35/3.5 and the K55/1.8 are great lenses at a reasonable price.

10-22-2012, 09:03 AM   #14
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My best bang:buck ratio is the rikenon-p 28/2.8, very talented for $35. Sharp, small, focus to 11", it keeps the da21 lust at bay
10-22-2012, 09:31 AM   #15
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Any F-series lens is good, maybe except the 35-80. They are all bargains.


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