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02-18-2015, 04:38 PM - 1 Like   #16
Des
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I agree with everyone else about K-30/K-50. K-500 is also basically the same camera, but with a few features dropped off (weather-sealing, focus point indicator, level indicator, etc). It's another option if you find one at a bargain price.

Think about what lens(es) you want too. The lens matters as much as the camera.

The 18-55 and 50-200 kit lenses are just so-so quality. If your budget can run to a better lens it will really help.

When starting out, most people find a wide-range zoom convenient. I would suggest looking for a Pentax DA 18-135 as a start (they are generally cheaper when bought as a bundle with the camera body than if you buy one separately). It produces much better quality images than the kit lenses, is compact, light weight and weather resistant (if you have a weather-sealed camera you can use it in the rain). After a while, you could add other lenses later to suit your preferences (e.g. an ultrawide angle lens, a macro for extreme close-ups or a long telephoto lens for birds/wildlife, a compact prime lens for portraits or landscape etc).

02-18-2015, 04:40 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
I agree with everyone else about K-30/K-50. K-500 is also basically the same camera, but with a few features dropped off (weather-sealing, focus point indicator, level indicator, etc). It's another option if you find one at a bargain price.

Think about what lens(es) you want too. The lens matters as much as the camera.

The 18-55 and 50-200 kit lenses are just so-so quality. If your budget can run to a better lens it will really help.

When starting out, most people find a wide-range zoom convenient. I would suggest looking for a Pentax DA 18-135 as a start (they are generally cheaper when bought as a bundle with the camera body than if you buy one separately). It produces much better quality images than the kit lenses, is compact, light weight and weather resistant (if you have a weather-sealed camera you can use it in the rain). After a while, you could add other lenses later to suit your preferences (e.g. an ultrawide angle lens, a macro for extreme close-ups or a long telephoto lens for birds/wildlife, a compact prime lens for portraits or landscape etc).
Good advice. I got my K50 with the 18-135 and love that lens. I have a ton of glass to choose from but that lens is a really nice option to have.
02-18-2015, 05:03 PM   #18
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A K-50 would be wonderful to learn on.
02-18-2015, 07:11 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Good advice. I got my K50 with the 18-135 and love that lens. I have a ton of glass to choose from but that lens is a really nice option to have.
I'd also agree with this -- a wide focal range is super helpful in starting out. I started with an 18-200mm and that lens actually showed me where I shoot (both ends of the spectrum but rarely inside of it) which helped me better gauge future lens purchases. Also helpful if going to an event where changing lenses isn't quite possible (poor weather or just on the move) to have that wide range. Downsides, of course, are in the barrel distortion, softness, and other issues that occur in these type of lenses.

As it has been largely documented, the 18-135 WR specifically has some issues after around 70mm and beyond. But it is still pretty nice and stopped down is very sharp at shorter focal lengths. At least on my copy. Would be a GREAT starter lens if you can warrant the extra cost over the kit 18-55 imo.

02-18-2015, 08:35 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
I'd also agree with this -- a wide focal range is super helpful in starting out. I started with an 18-200mm and that lens actually showed me where I shoot (both ends of the spectrum but rarely inside of it) which helped me better gauge future lens purchases. Also helpful if going to an event where changing lenses isn't quite possible (poor weather or just on the move) to have that wide range. Downsides, of course, are in the barrel distortion, softness, and other issues that occur in these type of lenses.

As it has been largely documented, the 18-135 WR specifically has some issues after around 70mm and beyond. But it is still pretty nice and stopped down is very sharp at shorter focal lengths. At least on my copy. Would be a GREAT starter lens if you can warrant the extra cost over the kit 18-55 imo.
I started out with the 18-55 and a barely used 70-300. But I very soon got the DA 70/2.4 and a 70-200/2.8 that actually was my starting combo. Quite a weird but nice one eh?
02-18-2015, 10:58 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
I started with an 18-200mm and that lens actually showed me where I shoot (both ends of the spectrum but rarely inside of it) which helped me better gauge future lens purchases.
Just the same for me too, except mine was a different superzoom, a Tamron 18-250. (Another really good option, BTW. The reason I suggested the 18-135 instead is that the image quality is a little better, it's more compact and it is weather-resistant. But the Tamron gives a lot more reach, which is handy for birds/wildlife/candid photos, etc, and would be a bit cheaper on the second-hand market.) I ended up complementing it with an ultrawide for the wide end and a tele for the long end. For other people their main usage might be somewhere in the 50-150 range for portraits, or 90-110 for flowers/insects, or 18-35 for landscapes, or 28-50 for street and general shooting. It's hard to know what your preferences are until you try a few things.

QuoteOriginally posted by First Poster Quote
Any advice would be appreciated, thanks.
I should have said above: join this forum. It's a great resource. A mine of information, and often very entertaining too. It's a good culture. Discussions get heated sometimes but trolling is frowned upon. And - as you can see from this thread - beginners can get very generous assistance from many experienced photographers.

Have a look around the forum and see thousands of wonderful photos (you can never want for inspiration), how-to articles, buying advice, all manner of things. The marketplace here is a good place to buy gear too.

BTW @Kozlok is on the money about the value of reading up. To his suggestion I would add any of the Michael Freeman books (e.g. The Photographer's Eye, 101 top tips for digital photography, etc).
02-18-2015, 11:28 PM   #22
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Also put yourself in situations where you need to learn and perform but with a pretty low risk if you mess something up. I stumbled into a hockey rink and suddenly became the team photographer, before I even really knew about the settings. Within two weeks (two games) after becoming the official one I got most of the basics down.
02-19-2015, 07:12 AM   #23
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If you think you're going to dig in and learn the settings, I'd suggest going for a K5 series used. You'll lose scene settings, but once you learn the basic camera settings you won't need them. You'll gain some functions and features like the top LCD. You'll lose some like focus peaking, which is convenient for manual focus lenses.

Both the K30/50 series and flagship series (K5 etc) will give you plenty of room to grow.

02-19-2015, 07:19 AM - 1 Like   #24
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Lots of useful advice posted, so I won't offer much here except to note that such advice is general, and may not apply to your specific needs. Just "getting started in photography" could mean you've never taken a picture, could mean you had an old P&S that you used once in a while but not for "real" photography, or maybe even that you are young and haven't "done" photography yet, except maybe with an iPod or cell phone. If you have specific subjects you want to shoot, all or none of the aforementioned suggestions could be best for you. We don't even know your budget. So, in general, here's what I'd recommend based on budget:

1. Under $100 to $200 - Canon 20D or Pentax K20D. Both of these elderly cameras are real workhorses. Image quality is superb. Try for one with a low shutter count, under 20K if you can. They are out there.

2. $201 to $500 - Pentax K5 IIs or Nikon D7000 are much more recent vintage and can often be bought new or refurbished. You won't outgrow either one soon.

3. $501 to $1000 - Pentax K-3 or Canon 70D - these are the latest and greatest models in their price class. Canon has a touch screen, built in wi-fi, K-3 has 24mp resolution.

4. Over $1000 - Buy one of each aforementioned bodies and send me the ones you reject.
02-21-2015, 07:31 AM   #25
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These prices are body only... of course you'll need a lens too.

K-30 can be had for around $250 if you hunt.. and, in buying over an ancient K20D, you'll have more modern features, more resolution, and better ISO performance. Not sure one can find a K5 IIs for 201 dollars. I think 350 is around the going price atm. But, owning a K5II and having owned a K-30, I'd say the K-30 is the better camera for learning. That said, the K-5II feels a whole lot better in the hands once you get past the learning stages imo.

I'd still get the K-30 if you can get it cheaply and, if you enjoy SLR photography after a year or two, upgrade to a K-3 for cheap (in a couple years they will be cheap). Bigger upgrade there.
02-21-2015, 12:20 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wolfeye Quote
Just "getting started in photography" could mean you've never taken a picture, could mean you had an old P&S that you used once in a while but not for "real" photography, or maybe even that you are young and haven't "done" photography yet, except maybe with an iPod or cell phone....We don't even know your budget.
^This...
@OP - You've got some great advices here from knowledgeable Pentaxians but it would be helpful if you could give us a bit more information -current photography/equipment knowledge, budget, ultimate goals, etc. - that way responses would be tailored to your specific needs. So far you've gotten a vote for a K5, K5II, K30, K50, K500, K10D, K20D and a couple of CaNikon selections - all good options.
02-26-2015, 01:09 PM - 1 Like   #27
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lol... have to love the strong opinions here. and yes, keep in mind that we don't really know your budget or exactly what you think you want to use it for.
My $0.02 - I bought a used K20D to "get back into real photography" because it met my budget constraints... Having said that I upgraded to a K-5 within a year because I wanted better low light performance, better sensor etc. and saw some drawbacks to my initial purchase (which my daughter is enjoying immensely now).
But.... in the meantime the price on a K-5 had dropped substantially, so I think I actually got both cameras for the same price that buying the K-5 would have cost me initially.
So if you're not really sure how in to it you're going to be, I'd definately go with an entry model (K50) because upgrading is not that hard to do later and the real expense is in the lenses not the bodies - which transfer over.
02-26-2015, 03:27 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by mholford Quote
So if you're not really sure how in to it you're going to be, I'd definately go with an entry model (K50) because upgrading is not that hard to do later and the real expense is in the lenses not the bodies - which transfer over.
This is my strategy right now also. I picked up a K50 last year, and lenses this year. Sometime later this year I hope to grab a K3 unless I am talked into KS2 - I think the K3 however because my dad needs help on his K50 frequently and my having the same camera helps him. He is more likely to use the extra resolution of the K3 to crop shots than any of the features the KS2 has. However the price for two bodies will drive things...
02-26-2015, 03:56 PM   #29
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A Pentax K-5, K-30, or K-50 are all relatively modern and very good at their usual used prices. If you want to stretch your budget a bit more, you can't beat a K-3 without spending a lot more money.

What's your budget range?

What's driving your interest in photography? I'm just wondering whether you're likely to try for a while then move on to a different hobby. If you have a habit of starting and dropping hobbies, spend toward the lower end of your budget.
07-21-2015, 07:03 PM   #30
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My first DSLR was the 10yr old ist DS that I bought used for $120. Shortly after I bought a used Sears 50 1.7 lens for $20 and I haven't been the same since. In regards to bang for your buck, I don't think it gets any better. When I nail the manual focus that 6.1mp CCD still takes shots that rival today's equipment.
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