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12-27-2009, 04:26 PM   #1
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Purchasing Dilemma! Accessories or a Lens?

I saved up my money for months and months to buy a K7. When I finally got it last month, there was a great sense of satisfaction. I've never been happier with a big-ticket purchase. (yes, this is a VERY big-ticket purchase for me)

My next plan was to save up money for accessories and lenses. First on my list was a D-BG4 battery grip, a carrying bag, a good tripod and some UV and CP filters for the 18-55 kit lens that came with the K7. Once those basics were in place, I was gonna start saving for a longer zoom lens. My experience with the kit lens so far has shown me that I want something that reaches a little farther, so I was planning on saving up for the DA* 50-135mm. I figured all this would take the better part of next year.

However, thanks to an unexpected and fortunate sale on eBay, I suddenly find myself with enough money to go straight for the zoom lens!!!

Which brings me to my dilemma...

I understand the importance of having all the basic accessories for my K7. The battery grip and carrying bag are especially important because I LOVE to go on long mountain bike treks and take hundreds of pictures. The weather-sealing of the Pentax battery grip is important to me because I've been using this camera in some nasty weather already, so I don't want to go "cheap China" there. And since my biking takes me on some treacherous trails sometimes, I want a really good backpack to carry all my gear safely.

On the other hand, that DA* 50-135mm zoom lens has me drooling like my basset hounds. It's the ideal focal length for the types of pictures I want to take, and it produces some of the best images I've ever seen. After being resigned to using the kit lens for the next 9+ months, the thought of having my dream lens right away is almost too much to resist, even if it means putting off basic accessories.

I wish I had more valuable crap to sell on eBay Then I wouldn't have to make this decision at all. But somehow I doubt my old Canon S3 IS would fetch more than a few dozen bucks

I'd love to hear from other people who've had this type of dilemma before. What finally helped you make a decision?

12-27-2009, 06:16 PM   #2
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Wrong dilemma

Sorry but you have the wrong dilemma

It should be obvious that an excellent lens like the DA* 50-135mm F2.8 gives
you way more possibilities than the battery-grip and filters. Granted a bag is
essential but you can go real cheap until you can afford the perfect one. The
grip does not give much, do you expect to shoot more than 500 pics without
the time to change batteries?

The real dilemma I would have in your place would be between extended the
zoom range (with the 50-135mm for example) and replacing the poor 18-55mm
which is crippling your K-7. I know it compares well to other kit lenses but still,
put a DA* 16-50mm F2.8 instead and image quality is a world apart. There is
also the DA 17-70mm F4 which is quite good. I tried the 18-55mm as a backup
to my 16-50mm and I quickly realized I would delete every image that it captured.

- Itai
Neoluminance | Fine Art Photography
12-27-2009, 08:19 PM   #3
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Yeah, you want to improve your lensage, first. The price of the grip is also more likely to start coming down than that of lenses, so a little patience there would pay off. It's a lovely grip, and I'd be anxious for one, myself, but you wanna put some good glass on there first.
12-27-2009, 10:06 PM   #4
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Itai's quite right.
Your K-7's significantly limited by the kit lens.
You should start with obtaining quality lenses with the focal range you need to start getting the results you're after.
The grip can wait. The tripod's a good idea.
If 50-135 suits your focal range for shooting, there is no rival, the DA* 50-135 is the best way to go.

12-28-2009, 12:38 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Itai Quote
Sorry but you have the wrong dilemma

It should be obvious that an excellent lens like the DA* 50-135mm F2.8 gives
you way more possibilities than the battery-grip and filters. Granted a bag is
essential but you can go real cheap until you can afford the perfect one. The
grip does not give much, do you expect to shoot more than 500 pics without
the time to change batteries?
I suppose carrying a spare battery with me would solve that issue anyways (and would cost less than a grip). My main reasons for wanting the battery grip are the ability to use AA batteries when I forget to charge the camera's battery, which is bound to happen more than once, and the improvement in handling the camera. I have largish hands.

QuoteOriginally posted by Itai Quote
The real dilemma I would have in your place would be between extended the
zoom range (with the 50-135mm for example) and replacing the poor 18-55mm
which is crippling your K-7. I know it compares well to other kit lenses but still,
put a DA* 16-50mm F2.8 instead and image quality is a world apart. There is
also the DA 17-70mm F4 which is quite good. I tried the 18-55mm as a backup
to my 16-50mm and I quickly realized I would delete every image that it captured.
See that just makes me want the 50-135mm even more I was planning to replace the 18-55mm with the DA* 16-50mm eventually, but I think I'd get more use out of the 50-135mm focal range right now.

QuoteOriginally posted by Itai Quote
Those are some great shots of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Montreal. I used to work at the old port and walked by there everyday on my lunch, but I've never seen it in that way before.
12-28-2009, 12:41 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
Yeah, you want to improve your lensage, first. The price of the grip is also more likely to start coming down than that of lenses, so a little patience there would pay off. It's a lovely grip, and I'd be anxious for one, myself, but you wanna put some good glass on there first.
QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Itai's quite right.
Your K-7's significantly limited by the kit lens.
You should start with obtaining quality lenses with the focal range you need to start getting the results you're after.
The grip can wait. The tripod's a good idea.
If 50-135 suits your focal range for shooting, there is no rival, the DA* 50-135 is the best way to go.
Funny, here I was expecting everyone to say "Get the basics first! Then worry about lenses." It's amusing how quickly this turned into a discussion of which lens I should get, rather than whether I should get a lens or not.

The drooling continues...
12-28-2009, 03:14 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by GoremanX Quote
Funny, here I was expecting everyone to say "Get the basics first! Then worry about lenses." It's amusing how quickly this turned into a discussion of which lens I should get, rather than whether I should get a lens or not.

The drooling continues...
This is Pentax. The lens *is* the basics.
12-28-2009, 04:34 PM   #8
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Well I'm convinced. Now I just need to convince my wife that a DA* 50-135mm is the best thing to spend this money on It would help if it didn't cost $799. I keep checking eBay for deals, but the best I can find is $750. I like the idea of having a full manufacturer's warranty for just $49 more.

12-28-2009, 09:00 PM   #9
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Yay! I talked my wife into it! Looks like I'll be getting a DA* 50-135 within the next couple weeks.
12-29-2009, 09:01 AM   #10
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Frank,

I found this grip in dealextreme:
DealExtreme: $54.77 External Battery Grip for Pentax K7 DSLR

while I browsing for camera stuff.
12-29-2009, 12:10 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
Frank,

I found this grip in dealextreme:
DealExtreme: $54.77 External Battery Grip for Pentax K7 DSLR

while I browsing for camera stuff.
That's actually a Chinese replica of the Pentax one. It's nearly identical to the genuine one in almost every way... except weather sealing. And that's actually really important to me, especially right now with all the nasty weather I've been taking pictures in. Inclement weather doesn't stop me from going biking.
12-29-2009, 04:58 PM   #12
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Lens!

I would say get the 50-135, and maybe see if you can get a used one off of the marketplace. You might have money left over for a used grip too.

As far as bags, tripod, and other accessories go, it's easier to save up 100 bucks than it is to save up 700-800. You can get those along the way, and are affordable for others to get you as birthday, anniversary, or Christmas presents =)

When I think of my favorite accessories, the ones where I think "why did I wait so long to get this!" are the battery grip, and an Optech neck strap ($20).

Another thing about bags... you get one, then you need a bigger one, you get another lens, and your bag is too small again.

I hope this helps, let the LBA begin =)
12-29-2009, 06:06 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by alfdog Quote
I would say get the 50-135, and maybe see if you can get a used one off of the marketplace. You might have money left over for a used grip too.

As far as bags, tripod, and other accessories go, it's easier to save up 100 bucks than it is to save up 700-800. You can get those along the way, and are affordable for others to get you as birthday, anniversary, or Christmas presents =)

When I think of my favorite accessories, the ones where I think "why did I wait so long to get this!" are the battery grip, and an Optech neck strap ($20).

Another thing about bags... you get one, then you need a bigger one, you get another lens, and your bag is too small again.

I hope this helps, let the LBA begin =)
Those are all very good points! However the bag I had in mind is plenty big enough to accommodate all the future lenses I hope to get, as well as my bike gear.

I did find a used 50-135mm at a decent price, which saves me a good $100 that can go towards the rest of the stuff I need. My only concern is the SDM failure so many people have been suffering from. It's almost worth the extra $100 to have a latest version of the lens and a full 1 year warranty.

It's odd you should mention LBA I've already been daydreaming about what lens collection I want to accumulate.
12-29-2009, 07:56 PM   #14
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SDM

If you're worried about SDM, a new one isn't a bad idea. At least with getting things off of the marketplace, you get a little history on the lens and the owner.
I do think the reports on SDM failure seem a bit misrepresented, because the one's with a problem are more likely to speak up vs those that have working copies. I'm not trying to belittle those with problems, I know I'd be pissed if my lens wasn't working.
12-29-2009, 08:16 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by alfdog Quote
If you're worried about SDM, a new one isn't a bad idea. At least with getting things off of the marketplace, you get a little history on the lens and the owner.
I do think the reports on SDM failure seem a bit misrepresented, because the one's with a problem are more likely to speak up vs those that have working copies. I'm not trying to belittle those with problems, I know I'd be pissed if my lens wasn't working.
The used one I'm considering has had an SDM failure in the past. It was repaired by Pentax and was given a new 1 year warranty which expires in May 2010. Problem is, I don't know what Pentax did to repair it. Did they replace the SDM assembly altogether, or just do a typical quick-fix? Of those people who've complained about an SDM failure on this forum, many of them have had repeated failures even after repair.

It's really unfortunate that I'm second-guessing myself on my choice of lens just because of SDM. I wish Pentax would pay attention to this, I'm a prime example of a typical consumer they might lose a sale to. I wouldn't even be second-guessing myself if I could use screw-drive focusing as a backup.
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