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11-27-2013, 06:08 AM   #1
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Should I buy the K30 over other DSLRs?

Hi all!

I've been browsing these forums for a while as I scope out my next purchase and there's been so much helpful info, so, thanks.

I wanted to ask something more specific though. I'm looking to buy an entry level dslr for my gf for Christmas, and throughout my research I've heard a lot of great things about the K-30. Basically I'm tossing up between the K-30 and something like the D5200. So my questions are:

- I've read that the kit lens that comes with the K30 isn't the best, some reviews have said that it can be pretty grainy at high iso, and is SUPER loud when's it's auto-focusing. Is that true? Or, are all lenses loud on the K-30?
- This camera will mostly be used to take holiday stills and little - if any - video. The type of photos I like are super sharp subject and out of focus BG - soft focus? (sorry for my ignorance). Would I get the best results with the K30, or would the 5200, or one of the Canon equivalents, be a better choice?
- Anything else I should know/be thinking about?

Thanks!

11-27-2013, 06:47 AM   #2
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You may have heard many bad things about the kit lens, but I hope they weren't said by people who use Canon or Nikon kit lenses. That would just be wrong.

The type of image you want, out of focus background (bokeh) generally requires a faster lens, a smaller number than ƒ 2.8. And that smooth background is expensive. The more corrected the lens, the more elements it has, and the smoother the background is. Typically for a highly corrected lens you'd be paying $1000 or more, just for a lens, although Sigma makes a number of fast prime lenses that are less expensive than that, but none under $500. The Pentax 31 ltd (at over $1000) would be an excellent choice. But I've never heard of anyone buying one for their girlfriend.

Personally in your situation, I'd probably go with the K-30 with the kit and DA 50 1.8 for use when you really want an out of focus background. At ƒ2 it should give you what you want.

Last edited by normhead; 11-27-2013 at 06:58 AM.
11-27-2013, 06:49 AM   #3
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Focus speed and noise will depend on the lens you're using. If you get a K-30 kit with the 18-135WR lens you won't hear any focus noise at all. THe noise comes from the screw drive, and any camera will have that if it's using a screw-driven lens. The 18-135 is a motor driven lens and completely silent.

The K30 shares the same sensor as the K-5 right? Get your settings right and you'll be able to use higher ISOs. I think teh 5200 has an even older sensor and is not as good at higher ISO but I may be right.

The photos you're looking for will have a nice bokeh - the out of focus background. That's mostly managed by having a shallow depth of field, which is lens-driven. You want to shoot with a low aperture. A lens like the DA 35mm f2.4 will give you a good shot at this. The kit lens can too, if you know what you're doing (which is the case with anything). Pentax's 18-55WR kit lens is rated pretty high compared with other manufacturers' kit lenses, btw.

I don't think anyone will talk you out of the K30, and with a WR lens you can take it anywhere with confidence.
11-27-2013, 06:55 AM   #4
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thanks so much for your replies! So the kit lens is comparable to kit lenses on equivalent canikons? I used to use a Canon 550D with the kit lens and tbh I was pretty happy with those pics for recreational purposes..

Also: one thing I have read is that the K30 flash for indoor/low light stuff is awful - is that true?

11-27-2013, 07:03 AM   #5
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If you're going to use the onboard flash a lot look for the Gary Fong Puffer flash diffuser. Pretty much all onboard flashes will burn any close subject - on any camera...

A hotshoe-mounted flash is much better, since you can bounce it off the ceiling or use a diffuser. Watch any professional photographer, they'll always bounce or diffuse their flash. You can even make a diffuser box for a flash, which helps a lot. Flash use is another art form all of its own, and I won't pretend to be highly skilled. I like LED panels for close work, since you're just adding to ambient light.

I don't think the entry or mid-level Cannikon onboard flashes will be much better, there's only so much you can do with the tiny pop-up.

And yes, the lens review sites rate the Pentax 18-55 higher. The new version, that is - the older version isn't as good. But I think you would benefit from the 18-135, look for kits with that lens if you can find them. It's really very nice, it focuses silently and very quickly.
11-27-2013, 07:26 AM   #6
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THanks again.

Re that lens - is this the one you mean?
11-27-2013, 07:28 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by watchingskyfallatm Quote
I've read that the kit lens that comes with the K30 isn't the best, some reviews have said that it can be pretty grainy at high iso, and is SUPER loud when's it's auto-focusing. Is that true? Or, are all lenses loud on the K-30?
- This camera will mostly be used to take holiday stills and little - if any - video. The type of photos I like are super sharp subject and out of focus BG - soft focus? (sorry for my ignorance). Would I get the best results with the K30, or would the 5200, or one of the Canon equivalents, be a better choice?
- Anything else I should know/be thinking about?
Hello watchingskyfallatm, Welcome to the forum!
First off, I don't own a K-30, so I can't say for sure whether it's more or less loud than a Nikon or Canon, while focusing. Pentax and most Nikons use a focusing system called 'screw-drive' which is generally noiser than the Canon system, called USM. Screw drive has the focusing motor in the body, while USM has the focusing motor in the lens.
On to the subject of the optical performance of the 'kit' lens for the K-30. Generally, the 18-55mm kit zoom from Pentax is considered as good, if not better, than the kit lens from either Nikon or Canon. There have been 3 versions of the DA 18-55mm Pentax, and the newest one, the DA18-55mm WR, has all the latest improvements, including weather-resistance. IMO, this is the best one to buy. But, bear in mind, all 'kit' lenses are made as a beginner or entry-level market product. They will get you so far, but no farther. Put another way, they do everything fairly well, but nothing great. For true (optical) greatness, better lenses are needed. This is true of all camera brands.
The lens, generally speaking, does not determine digital grain (called 'noise'), the body, or more specifically the sensor, does. All photos taken at high ISO's (regardless of the lens used) will exhibit noise and loss of contrast, detail and/or color rendition. How 'good or bad' that noise appears (before post processing, 'PP') depends on how the manuafacturer adjusts the sensor, as well as the specific sensor used. Pentax is considered one of the better high-ISO performers, and the sensor used in the K-30 is a good example. So, overall, I'd say the K-30 will perform as well, if not better at high-ISO than other brands, regardless (again) of the lens used.
The qualities of the out-of-focus (OOF) areas (often called 'Bokeh') in a photograph are an area that IS primarily determined by the lens and aperture setting, not the camera body. Some lenses are highly prized for their rendering of Bokeh, with knicknames like 'Bokeh Monster', 'Bokeh King' and 'Bokina'. Lenses that have a wide maximum aperture (called 'fast' lenses) like f/2.0 or f/2.8 generally yield soft, smooth OOF rendering, while lenses that are 'slow' (smaller maximum apertures like f/4.0 or f/5.6) usually have less appealing Bokeh. Also more aperture blades (7, 8 or 9 instead of the usual 5 or 6) and curved aperture blades instead of the less-expensive squared-off design, provide better Bokeh. Typically, a kit lens has fewer aperture blades, square edges and a slow maximum aperture. So, bad Bokeh. Other factors to consider regarding 'good/bad' Bokeh are distance from the main in-focus area to the background, lighting quality and direction, aperture setting. The actual camera body and/or sensor has little effect to no effect on Bokeh.
Virtually all major brands have entry, mid-range and upper-level bodies and kit lenses that will serve your needs. It boils down to ease of use, ergonomics, lens selection and overall quality and 'feel'. IMO, Pentax quality is equal to any of the other brands. Perhaps not 'better', but certainly not worse.
Hope this helps!
Ron
11-27-2013, 07:36 AM   #8
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Damn Ron, that's super helpful - thanks so much..!

11-27-2013, 07:39 AM   #9
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I still don't get how people thing that the screw drive lenses are "super loud". Sure you can hear them, but unless you are super close to something you don't want to wake up (like a honey badger), it really is no big deal.

As for the newer 18-55 which is the base kit lens for the K-30, it is a pretty good kit lens. Nothing wrong at all with the pics it gives.

As for Nikon and Canon, they do not have built in image stabilization. With Pentax, every lens can use the in body image stabilization.
11-27-2013, 07:43 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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Considering you are talking about this for your girlfriend and with the use you have described are you sure she is ready for a DSLR? You might consider starting her off with a decent point and shoot with controls for her to learn on.

I have absolutely no complaint with my K-50's flash in low light for my purposes so far or any other thing you have mentioned.

I would like to mention from my many years of camera use, in the realm of non professional grade dslr cameras there is no perfect camera for everyone. With that said you have to take the benefits of each brands difference and weigh what it is you want based on your affordability, uses and needs. Then over look what reviews say about it's deficiency's. I moved over from using Olympus, their performance in low light stunk but the glass is probably the best out there and they had a decent amount of old glass that could be adapted, so it was tough to leave that behind. I use/used pentax film cameras for years and that is what brought me to Pentax Dslr's,

why?

#1. What other camera for $500.00 to $800 can you go out in the pouring rain or snow and comfortably shoot without having some type of bulky rain cover over your equipment?
#2. The low light performance is so close to the others in it's price range, there isn't anything a little post processing wont cure.
#3. Name one other camera mfg. that can take and use any lens that has ever been made for it's Slr/Dslr's.(that was a biggie for me) There is a ton of great Pentax and other bayonet P/k, M42 mount lenses out there that can easily be used proficiently with great results at a lower cost.
#4. I just plain ole don't see myself becoming a Canikonite. (PS I used to use a Nikon F years ago but take a Pentax with the right film and developing it takes just as good a picture)

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 11-27-2013 at 07:52 AM.
11-27-2013, 07:57 AM   #11
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@cyclone3d - Thanks for the input - do you know if this kit or this one have the new lens? TER-OR mentioned the WR lens as being the new kit lens, but neither of these seem to have that?

@Oldbayrunner - thanks so much. Yeah, she definitely wants a dslr, she's got a basic P&S atm and wants to upgrade. Thanks for all your advice, v helpful.
11-27-2013, 08:40 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by watchingskyfallatm Quote
@cyclone3d - Thanks for the input - do you know if this kit or this one have the new lens? TER-OR mentioned the WR lens as being the new kit lens, but neither of these seem to have that?

@Oldbayrunner - thanks so much. Yeah, she definitely wants a dslr, she's got a basic P&S atm and wants to upgrade. Thanks for all your advice, v helpful.
That's not a good deal....Right now if you hurry you can get the K-50 with the newest DAL 18-55mm wr lens kit for $583.00 on Amazon

Amazon.com: Pentax K-50 16MP Digital SLR Camera Kit with DA L 18-55mm WR f3.5-5.6 Lens (Black): PENTAX: Electronics

or wait until Friday to see what Adorama or B&H have on sale for Black Friday.

PS... the 2nd link shows a Sigma Lens.
11-27-2013, 08:41 AM   #13
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Hi watchingskyfallatm,

I think the kit lens can produce some good images. Like every lens, it has its strengths and weaknesses. Learn what they are and you will do well. Get a hood too. That will help improve contrast since the whole front element won't light up due to errant sidelight. A lot of sharpness and color can easily be squeezed out of the sensor with the right post processing. I shoot in RAW/DNG and create my own JPGs for distribution in Apple Aperture.

That said, I sold my kit lenses and moved over to older full frame FA lenses. Their color rendition is slightly better than the kit lenses and they are much cheaper for a wider zoom range. Soft corners get cropped out by the APS sized sensor. My #1 lens now is a FA 28-105mm f/3.2 and my #2 lens is quickly turning out to be the FA 28-200mm f/3.8. Stop them down to f/8 - f/11 and the images are plenty sharp. I paid $100 or less for each of them. Compared to modern/new DA lenses this is an absolute bargain! If you are OK with manual lenses then check out some of the older high quality SMC-A lenses like the 50mm f/1.4. If you want "sharp" then primes like that are the way to go. No if's, and's, or's, or but's.

Are the lenses loud? No, not really. You can manually turn the lens's focus ring and it will barely make a sound. The majority of the roar is the motor in the camera. It's not as loud as you think. You hear it as a loud because your face is right up to the body. People from afar won't hear it the same way. Now, if you're in church or at a wedding where it may be dead quiet then any faint sound is perceived as ridiculously loud.
11-27-2013, 09:06 AM   #14
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If it's the 18-55 kit lens, there's nothing wrong with it. I've had two and they were both quite decent. Got these with the 18-55 (The older version) on a K100D:






If you want super-shallow depth of field & nice bokeh, the easiest ways to get it is with a Pentax "fast fifty". Either an auto focus 50mm 1.7 for $250 on the used market, or a manual focus Pentax-A 50mm / 1.7 lens for around $50 used. Either will give you the pretty much the same image quality.

The K-30 is a great camera. It should serve your GF very well.

Good luck & happy holidays,
Bob :-)
11-27-2013, 09:09 AM   #15
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Try not to get the 18-55, but if you do, make sure it is the 18-55 WR. But be aware that you will want to replace it, maybe soon. But if you get the 18-135 you will be using it for many years before replacing it - it's a much better lens than the 18-55. At 135 the corners are a bit softer, this may count as artificial bokeh for portraits and flower closeups!

If that means you have to get the k30 rather than the k50 no problem, the k30 is an excellent camera. Don't be tempted to save money by getting the k500, its not water resistant.
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