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04-07-2012, 11:33 AM   #1
jay wes

Newbie Transitioning into Photography

Hello all,

I have been using this forum immensely to research Pentax related things (lenses, cameras, etc.) and read up about other newbies and possible problems. I am new to the Pentax (and dslr) family having recently received the K-r this past Christmas from my wife as a gift.

Here's a little back story on me: I have been into photography for a good amount of time utilizing P&S for years but never really being satisfied with control of the images. My last P&S was a Nikon P80 mega-zoom. I utilized it to the fullest but still desired interchangeable lenses. I originally was looking into the Sony NEX 3 line but felt it wasn't a true dslr and would only serve to frustrate me further. Now that I have the K-r, I am very happy that I went this route.

I am trained as an architect (I am in the process of testing for my license) so photography has been a big part of my profession. I traveled/studied abroad to China while in college. The two moths I was there I captured a great deal of things but I wish I had a better camera than I did. Many of the images I captured, were pretty mediocre. In addition to architectural photos, throughout my studies I had to constantly photography my models and architecture school studies. Graphic design also had a great importance, so I have been using Photoshop, Illustrator& ImageReady to edit different things for years. Now a days in my daily work, I have to use dslr cameras to inspect buildings and document there conditions for repair. All of this only further inspired me to get my own and dive in.

As a hobby, things got serious when I got a two page spread published in a national performance car magazine. It was coverage of a big auto event inwhich I had attended (Published in Jan. 12'). I was and still am excited and happy for my work getting in there; like 25 photos! Mind you I used my Nikon P80. Now having partnered with the editor of the mag and director of events, I have another up and coming automotive event which I am covering, I decided I should really prepare and get even better coverage this time around so upgraded gear was a must. This will be an all day event outdoor with cars, vendors and track events.

The gear I have:
K-r with kit lens (18-55mm)
F 35-70mm (off eBay)
F 70-210mm (off eBay)
Manfrotto Tripod
2 Extra LI-ion batteries & car charger
AA k-r adapter
Camera bag
Circular Polarizing & UV filters & hoods
Lens cleaning kit
SD cards & case
Comfortable neck/shoulder strap

I've been reading the "Understanding Exposure" book and it has helped me immensely with understanding the functionality of dslr cameras and light. I am debating on getting a used body as a backup, specifically a K10D for the weather sealing just in case there's rain in the forecast for this event (and in the future). Is a K10D worth it? Any other weather sealed pentax dslrs (other than k-5)? Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

-jay wes

04-07-2012, 12:33 PM   #2
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The K200D is weather sealed and one heck of a camera.
You might want to take a look at the PF camera reviews. Digital SLRs - Pentax Digital Cameras - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications
Good luck.
04-07-2012, 02:11 PM   #3
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Hello Jay, Welcome to the Pentax Forum!
Well, it seems like you've got a good starter kit for your assignment, but looking ahead, you will soon be wanting faster lenses. An 80-200mm f/2.8 is pretty much standard for outdoor sports, the extra stop or two will allow a faster shutter speed without raising the ISO too much. But that's in the future!
For now, with any outdoor assignment, I'd suggest a rain cover, one of the camera-specific panchos go for $20.00 or so on eBay.
I would recommend the K10D without reservation as a backup body. Mine has served me well in all kinds of weather and shooting conditions. Since you have mostly AF lenses, you may not need the add-on focusing screen, but for manual focusing it's indispensible.
A handy tool for tripod or monopod shooting is a remote (cable) shutter release, the K10D has a socket in the PC cable compartment. I'm not sure if the K-R has one also. Anyway, the remote allows you to stabilize the camera, lens, focusing and zooming functions without keeping one finger on the shutter at all times. It's amazing how much easier and faster you can follow the action this way!
Good Luck!
04-07-2012, 02:25 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. You have a good head start with your current setup in beginning your photographic journey and have done some good research. The K10D is a solid performer, and will reliably give you good results between ISO 100-800. Beyond that, it's difficult to get a clean shot. And given the lower lighting available in bad weather I'd suggest you might need a little more low light capability. But then, your only other options are the K20D, K-7 (if you want video) or K-5. On a budget, the K200D (if you can find one) is a very good choice, given the above caveat.

All the best in your journey.

04-07-2012, 04:37 PM   #5
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For a semi-pro camera with weather sealing, ruggedness, and decent mid-ISO (up to 2000) performance, I recommend the K20D. Its predecessor the K10D is also fine but really only at lower ISO, like 400 or less.

For lower-light or action shooting, faster f/2.8 zooms are good, like the Tamron 17-50 or 28-70 or 70-200. For architecture, you'll probably want a wider lens. For various reasons, I chose the Tamron 10-24 over the Pentax DA12-24 or a Sigma 10-20.

Before I recommend any fast primes, I'll suggest that you shoot what you have, note what focal lengths you use the most and wish you had faster glass. Maybe your shooting won't need fast primes. That will save some money!
04-07-2012, 06:13 PM   #6
jay wes

Thanks guys! Got some good advice here. I am still doing massive amounts of research on lenses and the such. A "fast" lens would be nice ::smirks:: (looking through eBay as we speak. We shall see..)

-jay wes
04-08-2012, 02:39 AM   #7
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My vote goes to K-20D (I used to have a K-10D also)
04-08-2012, 11:53 AM   #8

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I want to add some remarks to the suggestions by the other posters.
  1. Production of the K-20D and K-200D started when the K-10D stopped. So a K-10D will averagely be 18 months older.
  2. Pros and many Prosumers with high ambitions may have more often chosen the K-20D rather than the K-200D, so I would expect the average number of actuations twice as high, for the K-10D even higher.
  3. The K-200D is not developed from the K-100D, but a (only slightly) stripped down K-10D, but newer. In fact, the only real difference is the penta mirror instead of the penta prism, but the loss of brightness in the viewfinder is small. Some may find the use of AAs a disadvantage, to me it seems an advantage.
  4. The K-200D had a short life cycle, and Pentax never offered a follower. I think the main reason for this was the fact, that only a year after its introduction the new bodies of the competition had 12/14 MP and life view, so Pentax had to drop the price to a level where they probably didn't earn any money (in Germany, it ended at less than €400!). For its price, this camera was much too good.
In any case, I suggest to get information about the number of actuations. Even with a K-10D, there may be offers of bodies which are nearly unused.

Last edited by RKKS08; 04-08-2012 at 01:27 PM.
04-09-2012, 08:41 AM   #9
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Hi Jay and welcome to the forums. Like many others I'd recommend either the K200D or the K20-D over the K10-D. I found my K-20D much improved over my K10-D. I've never owned a K200D but I've heard nothing but good about them. A note on sources of used equipment. I tend to stay away from eek bay, I've had bad experiences there. However I can highly recommend KEH KEH, the Adorama used dept adorama or especially the photographers market place here right here!. Both KEH and Adorama have slightly higher prices sometimes, but both are also conservative in their ratings (an e- rating would be equivalent to "spotless! as new condition!" rating on e-bay. In addition both Adorama and KEH offer excellent "no questions asked" returns KEH is two weeks and Adorama's is 10 days (IIRC on the Adorama, it's been a while since I returned anything there) That gives you decent time if what you've gotten isn't to your liking.
I'd also echo whoever it was that suggested an ultra wide angle zoom. I have the Pentax DA 12-24 and love it the others are very good too.

NaCl(hope that helps)H2O
04-09-2012, 04:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jay wes Quote
Thanks guys! Got some good advice here. I am still doing massive amounts of research on lenses and the such. A "fast" lens would be nice ::smirks:: (looking through eBay as we speak. We shall see..)

-jay wes

The Sigma 50mm F/1.4 is supposed to be even better than the Canon L version and it is not to much $$$. The Pentax 31mm F/1.8 gets rave reviews also.

You can check out the lens reviews here on this forum for some opinions. It looks like it has reviews of every lens people can buy for a Pentax camera.

Last edited by traderdrew; 04-09-2012 at 04:34 PM.
04-09-2012, 08:13 PM   #11
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K7 for weather sealing :P But I guess that will be your main camera then, and the K-r as a back-up
04-09-2012, 08:21 PM   #12
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For a car show (assuming its outdoors in a big field or something), you might want to invest in some ND filters. Nothing is more frustrating then showing up somewhere only to have the day be so bright you're stuck playing around way above f/8 because things are just that bright out.
04-11-2012, 09:40 AM   #13
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Thanks everyone for the input. Though the K-7 (and of course the K-5) are excellent performers, these are out of my budget at the moment. The K20d is just out of my budget too at ~$550+. K-5, K-7 or K20d would make my K-r the back up for sure, as these are much better haha.
Based on the forum recommendations and my research, I'm aiming for a K200d 1st and K10d 2nd if I can't get the first.

RKKS08 Thanks for the break down. I will most definitely look at the actuations before purchase.

NaClH2O I have been on eBay for some time and go about my purchases very carefully. I have not had any issues. The two lenses I purchased are superb and work well. I am on adorama, bandh and keh often also checking for new things.

traderdrew Though I'd rather have pentax brand lenses, I will look into your suggestions.

Sagitta I have UV and PL-CIR filters. ND may be a good back up just in case it is very bright on the event day. Is it recommended to use multiple filters (ei: PL-CIR & ND)? Or will ND alone suffice?

As I finish writing this post, I am debating if it's worth while to make the jump to the K20d and utilze the k-r as the backup. (plus I just took a look at the FS section on here and there are some good deals.) You guys got me perplexed now. I will continue my research and try and save up more but I still am unsure. And yes I signed up here!

-jay wes
04-11-2012, 10:36 AM   #14
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+1 for the ND filter. That will help you a lot if you want more control over your DOF/shutter speed on a bright sunny day.

QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Before I recommend any fast primes, I'll suggest that you shoot what you have, note what focal lengths you use the most and wish you had faster glass. Maybe your shooting won't need fast primes. That will save some money!
Agreed (:

Also just saying, and please don't get me wrong here. The k20d is an awesome camera which is much less $ than the k7 and people who used them loved them and won't even bother going up to the k7, but think about this, for a hundred more what you're going to pay for your k20d, you'll get some more extra stuff, a newer body and maybe less shutter accusations. Also if ever you get your k-7 some focusing screens or a grip and you decided that you need more(camera features) and that you needed to upgrade to the k5, you can use those focusing screen and grip for your k5.

Anyways, good luck (:
04-13-2012, 09:26 PM   #15
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Keep looking around for used K20's or K7's. I think there is at least 1 K7 in the Buy/Sell under $500, and I know I see K20s in there all the time for the low 400's.

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