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09-08-2013, 08:04 AM   #1
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Upgrade from K-r or expand/upgrade glass???

I have owned my Pentax K-r for just over 18 months now (picked it up new at the bargain price of 320 as it was being discontinued) and truth be told its been brilliant. However recently i can't help but cast lustful glances at the K-30, K-50 and K-5ii and had almost decided to make the upgrade when my other half made the comment "you already have a good camera, why go buy another one?". As much as i don't like to admit it she had a point and this has led me here. Do i upgrade the K-r or do I upgrade/expand my range lenses?????????

I'm aware to answer this a bit more information is required so have included what i've got, what i use it for, hope to use it for and thoughts on which path to take

Current Kit:
Whilst i have a few lenses I only really use 3 of them and these come with me everywhere, they are:
Pentax DAL18-55mm stock lens
Pentax-M 1:1.7 50mm
SMC Pentax FA J 75-300mm
*note: Because this seems to cover me for nearly any situation and fit in the small carry bag i have I've avoided LBA but does go against one of the main reasons for choosing the K-r in the first place - well priced but good quality old glass.

How I use it and what for:
I still consider myself an amateur photographer - I tend to leave it in Av mode but will happily flip it into M mode if the camera can't quite get things the way i want. I'm ashamed to say i do put it in Auto as well if i am having a lazy day. I tend to use it for city shooting whilst on holiday or day trips, landscape views, wildlife and scenery as well as pictures of the family/pets - pretty much what any amateur photographer would use it for. It also does get treated a bit worse than your average DSLR; dogs, parrots and even horses have had their noses/mouths/beaks all over it fairly regularly and it is known to have stints out in the rain (Kudos on Pentax's build quality that its lasted so long without issue and looks to do so in the future).

Future Use:
Much the same as its current use, except maybe pushing more on the wildlife/animal side (horses and birds in particular). Would like to experiment with macro shots as well.

New Lens/New Camera ideas/thoughts:
The K-30/K50 route would give me all the obvious advantages of upgrading to this camera (better sensor, improved AF, Weather proofing etc). My worry is in real word use will i see *that* much of a difference?
Ifi were to buy new lenses i imagine i would look to replace the current 18-55mm with something of a bit more quality and versatility that would cross over with the 75-300mm (Pentax 18-135mm WR perhaps?) and maybe one other good prime lens. Not really sure the way to go for macros - maybe some extension tubes on the Pentax-M 1:1.7 50mm or a new lens entirely. My worry with this would be I end up using my current lenses and relegate the newer/more expensive lenses to "the box", or conversely end up with LBA and end up buying a small army of lenses i dont really use (albeit having good fun in the process).

Conclusion
HELP! Given the above do you guys think i am better off sticking with the K-r and getting some more/better lenses to really make the most of the camera or pass on the K-r to my father (who's looking for a good beginners SLR) and get a new K-30/K-50 and get the most out of the current lenses i already have? Opinions and lens suggestions welcomed

09-08-2013, 08:27 AM   #2
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If he is looking for a camera to get into the DSLR market then pass it along to him and get a new one with the 18-135, otherwise I would say new lenses.
09-08-2013, 08:31 AM   #3
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It seems you are happy with the K-r, so why change. If you are upgrading to K-50 or K5-II you definitively run the risk of LBA; it always starts small. My advise would be to focus on improving results instead of on gear.
09-08-2013, 08:33 AM   #4
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Upgrading your lenses. DA 55-300 replacing 75-300. Used DA 16-45 replacing 18-55.

09-08-2013, 10:47 AM   #5
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Thanks for the quick replies. Looks like the lens route seems more popular and after taking a step back and assessing the situation logically is almost certainly going to be the way i go. I was thinking of upgrading the 18-55mm first as its the one which gets the most use. Any suggestions on a worthy successor? lumbangorat_16 suggested the DA 16-45 and reading around the forum the DA 18-135mm has been mentioned as well. Anyone have any experience with these or could recommend any other lens to replace the 18-55mm stock lens?

After the stock lens i was thinking of a macro lens (or at least test experimenting with some extension tubes), predominantly for insects. Ideas for this welcome as well. As for getting a DA 55-300 to replace the FA J 75-300mm I wont be doing that yet. I am aware it is far from the most highly rated lens on the lens review section of this forum but it has satisfied me from day 1 and over the last few months have really managed to get some good images from it.

I will now be trundling along to the lens review part of the forum to read up on those lenses, but please keep your suggestions coming
09-08-2013, 11:14 AM   #6
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Sigma 17-70 contemporary is a good bet. See in-depth review here:
Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary - Introduction - PentaxForums.com


QuoteOriginally posted by hawaza Quote
Thanks for the quick replies. Looks like the lens route seems more popular and after taking a step back and assessing the situation logically is almost certainly going to be the way i go. I was thinking of upgrading the 18-55mm first as its the one which gets the most use. Any suggestions on a worthy successor? lumbangorat_16 suggested the DA 16-45 and reading around the forum the DA 18-135mm has been mentioned as well. Anyone have any experience with these or could recommend any other lens to replace the 18-55mm stock lens?

After the stock lens i was thinking of a macro lens (or at least test experimenting with some extension tubes), predominantly for insects. Ideas for this welcome as well. As for getting a DA 55-300 to replace the FA J 75-300mm I wont be doing that yet. I am aware it is far from the most highly rated lens on the lens review section of this forum but it has satisfied me from day 1 and over the last few months have really managed to get some good images from it.

I will now be trundling along to the lens review part of the forum to read up on those lenses, but please keep your suggestions coming
09-08-2013, 11:25 AM   #7
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The way you are currently using your K-r I would say just stick with it. Unless you feel there are features you are missing which are holding back your photography I think you would see more results from getting a nice lens.

I have been thinking of upgrading my K-r but decided that I would see more benefit from getting a couple of new lenses and waiting maybe one or two generations to get something new. You could get the Pentax 100mm F2.8 macro or the Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro which would both be around the price of a K-30.

I think popular kit lens upgrades are the Tamron 17-50 F2.8, 16-50 DA* (very expensive), 18-135 seems to have good reviews etc, there are also the Pentax 17-70mm F4 and Sigma 17-70 and 17-50.

It depends what FL's you tend to use the most. You could perhaps get a prime at the FL you use the most. Use Exposure Plot to plot the most commonly used FL's.
09-08-2013, 12:50 PM   #8
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If you can swimg it and like going long the Sigma 150-500 is awesome. I can definitely recommend the 18-135, especially if outdoors a lot, and that will give you a good wr lens for a future body upgrade. The Tamron 17-50 is a big upgrade over the kit lens, and is good indoors with its constant f/2.8.

09-08-2013, 01:07 PM   #9
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If you want macro for insects, look for a used manual macro lens at about 100mm, or more if you can find. Gives you some working distance. Anyway, no point with AF for macro.

Replacement for the kit lens... Good suggestions above; one of the 17-70ies, 17-50ies, or the 16-45 are all good. The 18-135 too, but mostly for the WR, which isn't that much of a point with the K-r.

All just my opinion anyway. Always easy to spend other people's money
09-08-2013, 01:50 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by hawaza Quote
Thanks for the quick replies. Looks like the lens route seems more popular and after taking a step back and assessing the situation logically is almost certainly going to be the way i go. I was thinking of upgrading the 18-55mm first as its the one which gets the most use. Any suggestions on a worthy successor? lumbangorat_16 suggested the DA 16-45 and reading around the forum the DA 18-135mm has been mentioned as well. Anyone have any experience with these or could recommend any other lens to replace the 18-55mm stock lens?

After the stock lens i was thinking of a macro lens (or at least test experimenting with some extension tubes), predominantly for insects. Ideas for this welcome as well. As for getting a DA 55-300 to replace the FA J 75-300mm I wont be doing that yet. I am aware it is far from the most highly rated lens on the lens review section of this forum but it has satisfied me from day 1 and over the last few months have really managed to get some good images from it.

I will now be trundling along to the lens review part of the forum to read up on those lenses, but please keep your suggestions coming
The lens route tends to be more popular since the lenses just move from body to body. That works quite well until, you come across something that your current body does not do well for you. Then that is the time to transition bodies. With lenses, there are usually fewer items to cause problems, and they last much longer.

The 16-45 is better than the kit lens, however it is larger, and does not have the focal length range. I have one and I like it very much. Its also wider by 2mm, which really does not sound like much. You need to look at the Angle of View. The kit is 67 degrees wide (@18mm, while the 16-45 is 74 degrees wide (at 16mm). So, that 2mm translates into 7 degrees. Now, that is only valuable if you are looking for something wider in the wide angle area. With the 16-45 being discontinued, you can find them now in the $200 range, which helps.

The 18-135 is good for a couple of items. If you are tired of changing lenses, and want to go to a single lens, this would be the one. Its not quite as good across its entire focal length range, since its range is so large. The lens designers usually need to take some liberties with these super lenses, in order to accommodate the wider focal length. A good rule of thumb is 2x for wide angle lenses, 4x for normal and longer lenses. There are some exceptions, such as Sigma - who has done an exceptional job with their 50-500. The 18-135 is also a sealed lens, but that makes little sense on a non sealed body - so its the focal length range that would interest you.

The 75-300 is a nice lens for the price. If you are happy with it, that is all that matters. The 55-300 is a better lens, but it would also be an acquisition. If you are happy and don't feel the need, then don't.

09-08-2013, 05:06 PM   #11
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As you can see, we think the K-r is a good camera. Only you can decide if it is time to upgrade your body.

That said, I made the jump from K-r to K-30 and it was a great move for me. Two features sold me: the front wheel to allow me to adjust both shutter and aperture at will without having to swap out the function on the rear wheel, and the RAW/Fx button so I could move my DOF check off the green button so the green button could be used for something else. I'm not complaining about the WR either.
09-08-2013, 05:55 PM   #12
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Lenses, hands down! You'd get a much better increase in IQ with a K-r + quality glass combo compared to K-30/K-50 + kit lens. You also lose less money that way . Lenses generally retain its value over time, compared to bodies. I'm sure there's even a few lenses out there worth more now than they were a few years ago. If you must upgrade to a K-30/K-50, at least wait till end of the year or when they release newer bodies, and those K-30s and K-50s will be going on clearance galore (not to mention much cheaper on the used market as well).

As far as lens suggestions, can't personally suggest a replacement for your 18-55 since I still haven't upgraded mine (I got the F 35-70, but it covers a different FL). Definitely go for the 55-300. As far as primes, if you're liking the results you're getting with the M 50 1.7, you can try and look for the F or FA 50 1.7. These are just as good, if not better, especially when it comes to flare control. And they're AF, so perfect for your "lazy days", or for fast moving subjects (kids, sports, etc). If you wanna try out macro, keep your eye out for the M 50 4 or Sigma 50 2.8 (manual). It's a good, less expensive start into that world. Both are manual focus, but that's the best way to do macro anyway...

Good new is, any of the above will cost you less than a new body. Bad news is, it WILL open you up to the world of LBA...BUT if you're worried about relegating lenses to the box, don't. Just sell those unused lenses instead, to either a) recoup whatever costs you had with the new lenses or b) save up for that new body later on. That's the FUN part of LBA.
09-09-2013, 01:47 AM   #13
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You don't say whether or not you shoot in RAW.You should do and then an alternative way to improve your pictures is to process them using software like Lightroom or Capture One.It is amazing how much detail can be recovered from the highlights and shadows and images can be significantly sharpened etc without the need to spend on new glass.There are free trials of most PP software packages so it is worth spending time experimenting with which suits your needs.
09-09-2013, 02:52 AM   #14
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Another View?

Hello hawaza,
Some good advice so far, I just want to add a different perspective on your questions;
As I understand it, you want to upgrade the overall quality of your photos, right?
Well. a specific lens for a certain type of shooting would do that, a macro lens for example, or a good prime for landscapes, or a better telephoto, etc.
A newer body with better sensor, more features, WR, would show an improvement, even with your existing lenses, moreso with newer, better lenses.
But there's only one purchase that improves ALL your photos, regardless of lens, body, type of scene, weather, camera settings. One item that makes average photos better, good photos into great ones.
A quality post-processing program. That's it.
For about the cost of a used lens,everything is improved, not in increments, but vastly. You will see a giant step towards realizing the image as you saw it (or, as you wished to see it!) when you clicked the shutter.
I recommend LightRoom, but there are others as well.
You'll never look back or regret the purchase. Shooting in RAW or RAW+ and LR for post-processing will make you a better photographer.
JMO,
Ron
09-09-2013, 03:47 AM   #15
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Depending on what focal range you tend to use most then the Tamron 28-75 is a good option as a kit replacement walk around. That's my most used lens on my K-r. I found I tended to use my 18-55 zoomed in and often wanted a bit more, but rarely used it zoomed out. Therefore 28-75 is ideal. I then got the cheap but very good Samyang 14mm for when I specifically want something wide. Stick in the cheap A 50 1.4 or DA 35 2.4 and you have some nice small primes.

Also 55-300 is great as others have mentioned. However there is also a Tamron equivalent that has better macros and is cheaper so again depends what you're after from a general lens, versus getting dedicated macro.
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