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02-20-2013, 05:32 PM   #1
John Roberts
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Shopping for a DSLR

I've had an Olympus digital camera for eight years and am looking to move into the DSLR world. Three cameras have caught my eye due to their affordability (for my budget) and feature set: the Pentax K-30, the Nikon D5100 and the Canon Rebel T3.

I will be using the camera for work assignments at a small weekly newspaper where I am a writer first and photographer second. By no means am I an accomplished photographer, so I usually shoot in "Auto" mode and let the camera do all the thinking for me.

I cover the gamut from car wrecks, to group shots, to live action (from the sideline) at nighttime football and basketball games. I need a camera that performs equally well in all of these environments.

Since this is a Pentax forum, the response might be predictable, but we'll see.

1) Which camera is best for me?
2) Since I often have need for a wide angle lens and, for sports, a zoom lens, which TWO lenses do you recommend for me?

Thanks, from a first-time DSLR shopper.

02-20-2013, 05:41 PM   #2
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I may surprise you. Any of them. I only have experience with Pentax.

We can't answer 2 until you settle 1.

For low light, none of the kit lenses from any of them.
02-20-2013, 05:44 PM   #3
John Roberts
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Thanks, Colbyt, but I guess I want someone to help me make up my mind about which camera is best for my needs based on the information that I provided.

If I go with the Pentax, is a K-30 package with two lenses -- 18-55mm and 55-300mm -- for about $900 a good value for my needs to take occasional wide-angle pics, general news pics and fast-action football game pics?

Thanks!
02-20-2013, 05:45 PM   #4
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Any one of the cameras you name are excellent choices. Only one, however, has in-body image stabilization -- Pentax K-30. The cost of IS in the lens drives the cost of the lens up. That single factor put me onto the K-30 when deciding on a camera. Add to this the Tav mode, and it's a no-brainer. I'll abstain from recommending lenses as I mainly shoot wildlife and that's not what you're asking about.

02-20-2013, 05:47 PM   #5
John Roberts
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I failed to mention that the two-lens kit for the K-30 does not feature WR lenses. Is that an important consideration?

Would it be harmful to either the lens or the camera to use a non-WR lens on the K-30 in the rain?

I told you I'm not much of a photographer. :-)
02-20-2013, 05:53 PM   #6
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Thanks, gjtoth. I'm not familiar with the Tav mode.
02-20-2013, 05:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Roberts Quote
Thanks, gjtoth. I'm not familiar with the Tav mode.
It's kind of "Auto" on steroids.
02-20-2013, 08:24 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
Would it be harmful to either the lens or the camera to use a non-WR lens on the K-30 in the rain?
Yes, to both, as water could get in through the lens mount. If it's raining, be sure to have a WR lens on you.

What you could do is go for the 18-55mm WR kit, and then get the 55-300mm lens second hand (or new) separately:
Pentax K-30 Digital Camera with DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR 15601

The K-30 would be an excellent choice for a first DSLR, and I'm sure it would satisfy your needs. Take a look at this review, which compares it to Canon and Nikon offerings. Each manufacturer is better at different things, so it really depends on what you need!

Canon T4i vs Nikon D5100 vs Pentax K-30 - Introduction - PentaxForums.com


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02-20-2013, 08:28 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
I failed to mention that the two-lens kit for the K-30 does not feature WR lenses. Is that an important consideration? Would it be harmful to either the lens or the camera to use a non-WR lens on the K-30 in the rain?
Without the WR lens the camera is not WR . Water can get in. At the moment I do not have a WR lens. I am careful when out in inclement weather, tho I am saving up for an 18-135 WR. I have the pentax K-30. My daughter-in law received a T3i for Christmas I handled the Cannon, But thought it felt plasticy and like a toy. I tried the Nikon in a store. for me It was heavy . I prefer the weight and ergonomics of the K-30
Adam beat me to your answer

Last edited by patrick9; 02-20-2013 at 08:29 PM. Reason: Took to long to type
02-20-2013, 08:52 PM   #10
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I'd say Nikon as it may be a more-recognizable and "better" name brand...to your employer. No doubt they have a couple decent lenses.

If it rains, use a camera condom, or towel as Canon people do :-)

02-20-2013, 09:26 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Roberts Quote
.... I cover the gamut from car wrecks, to group shots, to live action (from the sideline) at nighttime football and basketball games. I need a camera that performs equally well in all of these environments.
I really have only shot with Pentax, and normally stationary objects (landscapes, cityscapes, etc.). All of the cameras will do well for most things. There are some differences. Nikon and Canon tend to do better at sports, as their auto focus systems lock faster. Pentax's auto focus locks more accurately - i.e., a bit slower. In fast moving situations - that can be a difference. Also, when tracking a moving subject from frame to frame - Nikon and Canon also tends to do better. For sports, Pentax lenses tend to be around f4. Shooting nighttime football or indoor basketball in a poorly lit gym, you will probably need at least a f2.8 lens. In this way, you can capture the maximum amount of light at a relatively fast shutter speed (freezing the subject's motion), rather than getting a blur. The Pentax SR - or in body stabilization will help.

Nikon and Canon lenses, especially the ones used for sports - the faster f2.8 lenses are not cheap, and are also fairly large in size. You can get similar lenses for Pentax, like the Tamron 70-200 f2.8, but they run at $750 (just for the lens).

For your budget overall, the Nikon and Canon models (including the lenses) are going to be similar to Pentax - although in my opinion the Pentax kit lenses (WR) with be a bit better, especially for all around applications. You will not be able to touch a weather resistant camera/lens set in Nikon or Canon for your budget.

There are plenty of examples of folks shooting sports here, and doing well, but it does take practice.

So, that is a quick overview....

02-21-2013, 05:52 AM   #12
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Either will deliver great pictures when used properly. I'm not a fan of Canon's build quality (for the Rebels, that is) and I feel Nikon glass quickly becomes expensive. That's just me.

QuoteOriginally posted by gjtoth Quote
Any one of the cameras you name are excellent choices. Only one, however, has in-body image stabilization -- Pentax K-30. The cost of IS in the lens drives the cost of the lens up. That single factor put me onto the K-30 when deciding on a camera. Add to this the Tav mode, and it's a no-brainer. I'll abstain from recommending lenses as I mainly shoot wildlife and that's not what you're asking about.
In-body stabilization is what swayed me too. It's an invaluable bonus.

QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
I failed to mention that the two-lens kit for the K-30 does not feature WR lenses. Is that an important consideration?
If you like being outdoors, it is. I'm often hiking, snowshoeing, going to the beach, etc, and I love that I can take my camera and never worry about water, sand, dust.

QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
Would it be harmful to either the lens or the camera to use a non-WR lens on the K-30 in the rain?
There is a definite risk when using non-WR equipment under rain. It will not absolutely fail, but it's an expensive chance to take.
02-21-2013, 07:32 AM   #13
John Roberts
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Thanks to all for posting comments.
02-21-2013, 09:44 AM   #14
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I, too, was considering the cameras you mentioned. What led me to purchasing the k-30, was the feature vs price, as well as the limitations of the canon and nikon. I crossed the T3i off my list once i actually held it. It felt cheap. Also, it wasn't fast enough for sport shooting (FPS). The D5100 is a very impressive camera, however, it is limited to the vr fx lenses. If you plan on sticking with the kit lenses, then the D5100 is a good choice. But the kit lenses wont offer the best low light ability, which means you will have to buy a much more expensive lens with VR for low light. I also, didn't like the way the Nikon felt, but everyone's hands are different. The K-30 has great low light even with the kit lens, but above 3200, you will need a NR program. The advantage of Canon and Nikon are lens availability and being able to rent a lens. Advantage of Pentax is better value for the money, user friendly design, ease of use. I only have 4 lenses, but they are all I need for my uses. The D7000 is the only Nikon I would consider on par with the K-30, but I dislike the size and feel of it- too bulky and cumbersome.
02-21-2013, 08:41 PM   #15
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I'm not sure the T3 is a fair comparison to the 5100 and K-30... I think the T3i or really the more expensive T4i are better candidates.
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