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05-31-2013, 11:19 PM   #1
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Decisions decisions

I am waiting for some money to arrive and then I might finally be able to get myself the K-30 I've been drooling over for the past week or so. The problem is which option (in terms of lenses) do I go for bearing in mind I do have a fair bit of gear from my Pentax 35mm film SLR days. Do I go with the body and the 18-55mm, or the 50-200mm, or the 55-300mm, or the 18-135mm or possibly with a pair of lenses of some sort? There are so many 'kits' out there it gets confusing.

I have the following gear to throw into the equation too:

1 x SMC Pentax-A 50mm prime with a K mount (the lens that came with my K1000 body)
1 x Makinon 28mm prime with a M42 mount (bought many years ago for my Spotmatic II)
1 x Praktica 80-200mm zoom with a M42 mount (bought many years ago for my Spotmatic II)
1 x Teleplus 2x converter with a M42 mount (bought many years ago for my Spotmatic II)
3 x extension tubes with a M42 mount (bought many years ago for my Spotmatic II)
1 x M42-K mount adapter (bought to use the M42 gear on my K1000 body)

See my dilemma?

Now I do understand that there are limitations in using the M42 gear on a modern K mount DSLR and I can use them in manual focus mode as that is how I always used them anyway but I am not sure if they will also work in auto-aperture mode as all the lenses have the 'A' setting on them or if I will have to manually stop them down.

I am guessing (but could be wrong) that the K mount 50mm prime should be OK but I may have to go full manual on the M42 gear.

My aim primarily is just to use the M42 stuff when absolutely necessary and try and get by at first with whatever lens (or lenses) I get with the body plus the K mount 50mm prime.

Does my reasoning seem sound to you folks or have I dropped the ball somewhere? I must admit I'm very rusty as I haven't used a SLR in many years and since the arrival of digital DSLRs the playing field has changed considerably. To be honest I feel a bit like a duck on a pond, above the water I'm calm and collected but my brain is mimicking the duck's feet and going at 90 miles an hour!

06-01-2013, 12:36 AM   #2
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You are correct about your current lenses, the `A` lens will work just as a modern lense except for manual focus. The M42 lenses will be all manual.

Without knowing what you will shoot it is hard to suggest a lense kit but I feel the 18-135mm is a good all purpose lense.
06-01-2013, 12:42 AM   #3
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If buying as a kit with a lens, I'd say the 18-135 will be the most flexible, plus is WR. It is a great range, and is a better quality lens than the 18-55 or 50-200. I'm looking at getting a new body soon, and tempted to get one with it too, as I'm all prime at the moment and sometimes a flexible zoom would come in handy, especially WR for walkabout trips.
06-01-2013, 02:29 AM   #4
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+2 for the 18-135 mm. Best bang for the buck, good IQ and WR. You should have at least one lens that preserves that camera's weather resistance for the occasions you may need it. None of your old lenses will do that.

06-01-2013, 03:53 AM   #5
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I'd suggest DA18-55WR if you're on tight budget. It's the most affordable WR combo so far and the lens is known to be a solid performer.
06-01-2013, 04:18 AM   #6
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Another option could be to buy a body only, and to try your existing lenses first.
I bought the DA18-55WR with my K5-II, but that was based on my personal preferences for a shorter focal length.
06-01-2013, 07:36 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies folks, looks like the 18-135mm is a very popular lens.

As to my photographic style I've been rather eclectic in the past and would shoot whatever caught my eye but I do tend to lean more towards landscapes, animals/pets, still life (especially flowers), child portraits/candids (family and friends only), abstracts and a little macro work.

I have my eye on what looks like a very good deal at the moment which comes with the body plus DA 18-55mm AL WR, it also has a $100 instant rebate, a $75 company gift card and a black Class on Demand card. The instant rebate and gift card would go a long way towards buying more gear like an extra battery (or the AA holder), memory card, new camera bag or an additional lens. I am on a very fixed income so I really have to watch every penny when it comes to 'luxuries' like a new camera.

Larry
06-01-2013, 08:09 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tako Kichi Quote
Thanks for the replies folks... I am on a very fixed income so I really have to watch every penny when it comes to 'luxuries' like a new camera.
Given your financial situation, as you describe it, may I suggest that you ditch the DSLR idea and get a Pentax Q (or Q10), instead. If you do your 'due diligence' on the Q, I bet you'll discover that buying in to it as a system sacrifices very little, it's convenient and a delight to use, the 'cool factor' is huge, results can be stunningly good, plus, it will not break the bank.

...my 2 cents (US) & Cheers... M

06-01-2013, 09:03 AM   #9
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As much as I love my Q's I think you will get more out of the DSLR body based on your SLR experience and inventory of lenses.

If you are not opposed to used gear and want to save some cash, look for a used K-x kit on our marketplace. It is a great little cam with a wonderful sensor.

For the deals you can get on new K-30 bodies these days though it would be well worth it if you could afford to get the K-30.
06-01-2013, 09:18 AM   #10
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I use M 42 lenses all the time, a Vivitar 200mm M42 is on my K 30 right now, my most common lens. I think once you get accustomed to the DSLR itself, you probably won't have much trouble using the M42 stuff, especially since you're already familiar with it from film days. I have a couple of sets of extension tubes I use with a Lentar 135mm M42, and also some extension tubes for the K mounts, with I use with a couple of 50mm Pentax lenses. Any time I decide to go shoot some macro it's always hard to decide which set up to bring...

I think the 18-135 would be a good choice too, I wanted to go that route but didn't quite have enough money when I ordered the K 30 so I went for the regular 18-55, since I got it actually cheaper than a body only. Body only was my main choice, I didn't need another kit lens...I was about $50 short of the 18-135 kit I think. Then someone put the 18-55 kit on sale, less than the body only I was looking at..I jumped on it.I plan on selling the unused 18-55, but I have to find it first, it's packed away somewhere in my extremely full shed...

I would say go for a body only, the lens line up you have now will do pretty well. For landscapes and floweers, the 50mm and 28mm will work well, I actually prefer my 50mm for landscapes. (that may change if I ever get back to the Grand Canyon) the 50 will also work fairly well for kids and portraits, although some people prefer something in the 70-100mm range. What is missing is something in the 135 range, so the 18-135 may be a good idea.

If it were me, I'd get a body only and keep an eye on some of the online auctions for a good 135mm. I think I paid $22 for my 135mm Lentar M42. I missed a K mount 135mm for about the same price by a few minutes. (time zone thing) Deals are out there...

Here's an idea too. you won't believe it until you try it but this does definitely work. Never give a store a $1 bill. Keep those, put them in a coffee can and don't even count it for 2 months. You'll be amazed how much money you can save up and actually never miss those $1 bills. First time I tried it after 2 1/2 or 3 months I had $125. It works really well, and even if you don't think you can save any money, or can't afford to squirrel away those ones, you'll really never miss them. I tried saving change for years...6 months and I might have 30-40 bucks. Saving up ones just works. I'd almost bet in 2 months time you'll be able to get a good lens. Meanwhile, use what you have. My sister decided she would try it, called me a little under 2 months later and told me she had just put $85 in her savings account. It works.

I also agree with crewl1, hold out for DSLR, and the K-x is a great camera. I was extremely pleased with mine.
06-01-2013, 10:36 AM   #11
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I would suggest a WR lens above all ... the 18-135 if you can swing it, otherwise the 18-55 is fine to start out with ... mine works quite well.

One observation is that you will need an adapter to use your M42 gear on the K-mount. Best bet is an original Pentax adapter IMHO ... J
06-01-2013, 10:37 AM   #12
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Edit : sorry, missed that you already have an adapter ... good luck, J
06-03-2013, 11:57 AM   #13
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In addition to the decisions above I've come to the conclusion that I may also need a new camera bag for the new camera. I recently pulled out the two (fairly large) bags I used in the past for my film SLR gear to check them out. One bag held the body/lenses/main flash and frequently used Cokin filters etc., the other bag held boxes of rarely used Cokin filters (I have an almost complete set of Cokin filters acquired in the early 80's), back up flash, manuals and various sundry pieces of camera equipment. Unfortunately both bags have suffered the ravages of time. They were stored in a large cardboard box in the back of a closet for many years and the main bag (leather-look vinyl) is starting to disintegrate where the vinyl is turning to powder and crumbling away from the backing cloth in places. The filter bag is leather and appears to have a white 'bloom' all over it which could possibly be a mold or mildew contamination of some sort. Thankfully the insides of both bags were perfect and the contents undamaged but both bags are now destined for the local land-fill!

I've always used shoulder bags in the past or carried cameras in a general purpose backpack/rucksack if I've been hiking. The array of choices with current bags is mind boggling especially with the arrival of the dedicated camera backpacks and I really like some of the backpack designs. On the other hand, now I'm disabled with a life-altering illness, I don't/can't do any hiking nor do I have the strength to carry a large backpack full of heavy camera gear. I'm coming to the conclusion that all my drooling over the backpacks is just wishful thinking on my part and what I really need is a bag to hold the K-30 with a selection of lenses, a few boxes of my favourite Cokin filters, battery/charger/SD cards, manual and cleaning kit. The rest of the stuff can be stored at home and added to or removed from the bag as required.

I've been trawling the net and have narrowed down the choices somewhat and would prefer something from a 'known' supplier rather than a no-name, cheap copy, brand as once bought it will have to last for a few years. Here are a few of my likes for shoulder bags:

Ape Case Pro 1400
Ape Case Pro DSLR Camera Case, Large ACPRO1400

Dolica GS-350
Dolica Large Professional Camera Shoulder Case, Black GS-350

Tamrac 5608
Tamrac 560804 Pro 8 Large Professional Camera Bag, Navy 560804

The Tamrac is starting to get into the 'expensive for me' range as I am on a fixed budget for this project but some of the smaller backpacks could actually be viable options (especially as they are cheaper than the Tamrac) plus a smaller backpack might actually be easier to carry given my physical limitations.

Kata D-3N1-30
Kata KTD3N130 D-3N1-30, 3 in 1 Sling Backpack for D/SLR KT D-3N1-30

Vivitar Sling DKS-25
Vivitar Camera Sling Backpack Large - Black VIV-DKS-25

Note: I used Adorama as an example as they happened to carry all of my choices.

I have checked out multiple review sites and the bag review forum here. I guess what I am asking is do you think the above choices will be suitable for the K-30 plus a few bits and pieces and can anyone help to narrow down the choices a bit.

Of course I am always open to more suggestions too.
06-03-2013, 12:06 PM   #14
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I think they (B&H) and maybe others still have a great deal on the K-30 with the 18-135 WR. At less than $1,000 for the package, I could not pass it up.
That is a great price for an all weather set up.
BTW....I bought an Ape bag....

Last edited by mdodrill; 06-03-2013 at 12:07 PM. Reason: update
06-03-2013, 12:17 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tako Kichi Quote
In addition to the decisions above I've come to the conclusion that I may also need a new camera bag for the new camera. I recently pulled out the two (fairly large) bags I used in the past for my film SLR gear to check them out. One bag held the body/lenses/main flash and frequently used Cokin filters etc., the other bag held boxes of rarely used Cokin filters (I have an almost complete set of Cokin filters acquired in the early 80's), back up flash, manuals and various sundry pieces of camera equipment. Unfortunately both bags have suffered the ravages of time. They were stored in a large cardboard box in the back of a closet for many years and the main bag (leather-look vinyl) is starting to disintegrate where the vinyl is turning to powder and crumbling away from the backing cloth in places. The filter bag is leather and appears to have a white 'bloom' all over it which could possibly be a mold or mildew contamination of some sort. Thankfully the insides of both bags were perfect and the contents undamaged but both bags are now destined for the local land-fill!

I've always used shoulder bags in the past or carried cameras in a general purpose backpack/rucksack if I've been hiking. The array of choices with current bags is mind boggling especially with the arrival of the dedicated camera backpacks and I really like some of the backpack designs. On the other hand, now I'm disabled with a life-altering illness, I don't/can't do any hiking nor do I have the strength to carry a large backpack full of heavy camera gear. I'm coming to the conclusion that all my drooling over the backpacks is just wishful thinking on my part and what I really need is a bag to hold the K-30 with a selection of lenses, a few boxes of my favourite Cokin filters, battery/charger/SD cards, manual and cleaning kit. The rest of the stuff can be stored at home and added to or removed from the bag as required.

I've been trawling the net and have narrowed down the choices somewhat and would prefer something from a 'known' supplier rather than a no-name, cheap copy, brand as once bought it will have to last for a few years. Here are a few of my likes for shoulder bags:

Ape Case Pro 1400
Ape Case Pro DSLR Camera Case, Large ACPRO1400

Dolica GS-350
Dolica Large Professional Camera Shoulder Case, Black GS-350

Tamrac 5608
Tamrac 560804 Pro 8 Large Professional Camera Bag, Navy 560804

The Tamrac is starting to get into the 'expensive for me' range as I am on a fixed budget for this project but some of the smaller backpacks could actually be viable options (especially as they are cheaper than the Tamrac) plus a smaller backpack might actually be easier to carry given my physical limitations.

Kata D-3N1-30
Kata KTD3N130 D-3N1-30, 3 in 1 Sling Backpack for D/SLR KT D-3N1-30

Vivitar Sling DKS-25
Vivitar Camera Sling Backpack Large - Black VIV-DKS-25

Note: I used Adorama as an example as they happened to carry all of my choices.

I have checked out multiple review sites and the bag review forum here. I guess what I am asking is do you think the above choices will be suitable for the K-30 plus a few bits and pieces and can anyone help to narrow down the choices a bit.

Of course I am always open to more suggestions too.
The only one I know is the Ape Case Pro 1400, and it is a marvel. I have my K-30 with 18-135 mounted, K-01 w/40mm mounted, 55-300, 16-45, 10-17, 50 1.4, and Tamron 90mm Macro all inside, plus 360 Flash, chargers, batteries, memory cards, filters and all.--I can pick up ALL my gear at once! And has tripod lashings too. I think i would not get far carrying it all--prefer a sling bag for that--but it is great for short distances or in the car. When I was looking, the Ape was by far the least expensive big bag I could find as well.
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