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11-04-2015, 07:20 PM   #1
Cody_Fox23
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Help me Kit up!

Hi there pentaxians. I wish to join your ranks! I have saved up about $1k, but I'm not sure exactly what kit loadout would be optimal for what I want/need. I am going between K3 and K3ii, but I don't even know if THAT is right for me. So if you could loan me your wisdom and provide me with a loadout you think would be good for my purposes costing ~$1k please let me know!

Purpose:
I need to take some action shots. The school I work at has been wanting to get pictures of the athletics programs' at games. However no one can seem to get a good picture with point and clicks. Also I really want to be able to maybe get some shots of lightning during the summer months.

I want to take macro shots too. Close up details of things have always fascinated me.

I really enjoy landscapes too, but I don't know if this requires special kitting.

I'm sorry if this sounds like I'm asking for too much, but any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you again everyone.

11-04-2015, 08:40 PM   #2
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Hi there. The K3 is fantastic. I love mine. However, I think you can get what you need done with a K-5ii or K-50. That would certainly save you some money to invest in lenses. As far as glass goes, if you find good deals on used lenses at KEH or adorama I would highly recommend the following:

Sigma 17-50mm 2.8. Great standard zoom. Super sharp, and the flexible range is pretty handy.

Pentax 55-300mm would help you fill out for range, plus it's got a great reputation for a kit zoom.

Finally, for the macro work, the 35mm limited macro is a razor blade.
11-04-2015, 10:59 PM   #3
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What games, what distance from the action will you be? With macro - bugs or flowers? How far away do you want to be and what size do you want the images to be?
Do you like zooms or fixed focal length lenses? Do you have any objection to manual focus - particularly for macro?
11-05-2015, 05:25 AM   #4
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Considerations:

1) Both are going out the door for dirt cheap right now, relatively speaking, depending on where you buy them, and there's actually not that much in it.
2) The K3-ii lacks an inbuilt flash. If what you want to do requires low-light work indoors, you're going to have to buy one separately. And if you're taking shots for other people and not just for yourself, make it a good one. That's pushing your limit already.
3) The K3-ii's bonus features above the K3 include astrotracer/GPS and pixel shift, both of which really require a tripod. If much of your work is going to be freehand, these are features that aren't going to see much use. Pixel shift requires a stationary target and lightning probably isn't going to be co-operative in that regard, but it would be fantastic for landscapes with a relatively wide lens.
4) If the sports you're shooting are outdoors in bright light, the 55-300 is probably good (the long end is slow and needs a fair bit of light to keep shutter speeds high and noise low). Otherwise you're looking at something significantly more expensive, and there goes your $1000 limit.
5) Uncle Vanya has asked some very pertinent questions that you need to answer if we're to help you.
6) I do not think there is any one lens that would do all of this really well; more saving will be required down the road. The range of focal lengths you want or need can be had with an 18-55mm and 55-300mm lens, both WR if you want (and much cheaper with the older 55-300 if you can do without it), or perhaps with an 18-270 (or 18-300 if it ever comes out in K mount), but image quality and speed (i.e. fast lens like f/2.8 for sports) are quite another matter. You might have to save up a little more for that.
7) I'm not sure you're going to get the entirety of what you need for $1000 if you get one of the K-3's, at least new, but you never know what Black Friday is going to serve up, and some quite nice deals can be had on used gear in the Marketplace here (the benefit of which is that it's generally being sold by fellow photographers, who know what they're about and have generally taken good care of it).

11-05-2015, 12:10 PM   #5
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wow, thanks so much for the prompt feedback already. To clarify as per UncleVanya: Soccer, Field Hockey, Basketball, and Wrestling right from the sidelines. Flowers, trees and other botanicals. I'm near Philly and want to take it to the Philadelphia Flower Show and Longwood Gardens. I don't have a preference for zoom or fixed. I do not mind manual focus. I am sorry, but I don't quite get what you mean by image size. I thought that was decided by the sensor in the camera body >.<
11-05-2015, 01:02 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cody_Fox23 Quote
I am sorry, but I don't quite get what you mean by image size.
Do you merely want pictures that people can look at on Facebook, or do you want to make HUGE poster-size prints? If you're showing them online, do you need them to be clickable to take you to a hi-res version that fills a large monitor or TV screen, or do you just want basic Facebook album-type size? That sort of thing.

For the sports, you have to have an idea of what the lighting is going to be like. If you don't have a DSLR yet, borrow someone else's (of any brand) if you can and take some shots during practice sessions, to give you a feel for the sorts of focal lengths, apertures and shutter speeds you're going to need (and thus what lenses you should consider). Flowers and trees are stationary targets, and unless the wind is blowing things around you may be able to make up for poor light with longer exposures from a tripod (if they let you use one; if not, you're back to the question of flash again). Depending on where you are, you may be able to rent a camera and lenses to do this.

Macro is its own topic yet again, and it all depends on how close you need to (or can) get. My macro lens of choice is the DA 35mm, because I am often see-sawing between a wide-angle shot of something and then very close detail with the very next shot, but this may be too wide for what you want to do; 100mm is better for things that sting or bite, and for particular parts of flowers, but then you have to stand way, way back to get the big things in and that isn't always possible depending on where you're shooting. The 50mm may be the best compromise, but I can't tell you for sure because I don't own it: I went straight from the 100 (fantastic lens, but too-narrow field of view for my work) to the 35mm and was so happy with what that offered that I stopped right there. However, the 35 Macro is pricey, and that plus a K-3 will take you over $1k easy - IMO it's only to be recommended if cost is no object or if your workflow requires it.
11-05-2015, 06:48 PM   #7
mee
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Sports DSLR photography can be a bit expensive.. you need long focal lengths and fast aperture. That is a combination for expensive.

Unless you plan on practicing A LOT, I doubt you really want to try to shoot fast action sports with a manual focus lens. Yes, it can be done, but it requires mucho practice.

Honestly, I'm not sure Pentax would be my first choice for action sports. Nikon and Canon both have more advanced Autofocus systems.
But it is do-able I suppose. a K-3 with a 60-250mm f/4 should be pretty stout. But that lens alone costs around 1k brand new.


hmmm.. maybe a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens ? It is fast.. and does 1:3.1 macro mode ..which isn't true macro but still pretty decent.

You'll also need a standard zoom too.. Sigma or Tamron 17-50 f/2.8

both a 17-50mm and a 70-200mm combined will be at or just over you 1k mark.. and you still haven't bought a camera body yet! The K-3 is another 600-650 dollars... well if you buy brand new.

But the downside to any of these non-Pentax lenses is I'm not sure how well they are in rain or the like.. and the Pentax lenses with the WR DA* or AW acronyms, you know they have weather sealing of some sort... which is a plus if you're out on a soccer field and it begins to rain since the K-50 and K-3 are weather resistant (with a weather sealed lens).

But with the fast weather sealed Pentax lenses come costs.. your desires in photography are pretty much the most expensive types!

I think I'd check the Pentax marketplace or reputable second hand sellers to shave some cost.. 1k isn't going to buy you much at retail prices for what you want to do... and not just with Pentax.. but with any brand.

my 2 cents at least.
11-05-2015, 11:09 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cody_Fox23 Quote
wow, thanks so much for the prompt feedback already. To clarify as per UncleVanya: Soccer, Field Hockey, Basketball, and Wrestling right from the sidelines. Flowers, trees and other botanicals. I'm near Philly and want to take it to the Philadelphia Flower Show and Longwood Gardens. I don't have a preference for zoom or fixed. I do not mind manual focus. I am sorry, but I don't quite get what you mean by image size. I thought that was decided by the sensor in the camera body >.<
K50 vs K3 May be required for cost reasons. A deal on a K50 may be half the K3 cost and give adequate results.

The 60-250 is a great soccer lens per a couple of friends - but it is expensive. Maybe you could get one and K50 if the 60-250 was used. But you might be able to get by with the da 55-300 outside and an older manual focus macro (search the marketplace for macro), and maybe a reasonably fast prime to cover the indoor sports. If you go this route you might still be able to get the K3 and crop more which lets you use faster but shorter lenses.

Image size was what another poster explained, how big you want to view them.

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