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09-04-2014, 07:55 PM   #1
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Please help me decide on my first DSLR camera.

Probably far too many posts like this. Sorry. I hope this area of the forums is appropriate.

I am moving from 35mm film to DSLR.

Even with a 35mm film SLR background, I am a beginner/novice. Photo classes in high school (hello 1983), and using my budget Minolta X-370 make me feel pretty confident in moving to a DSLR. I understand the relationship basics of shutter speed, aperture and ISO. My lens knowledge is limited. My B/w darkroom days are decades behind me. My first SLR experience was with the K-1000. I loved it. I plan on some typical point and shoot, but really want to use a DSLR more for serious shots at some point. I enjoy outdoor photography, and have experimented with macro.

I realize that most of today's DSLR choices are probably pretty great, but I am a cautious buyer. There is just so much to wade through. For a while I was fooled by looking at specs, and thinking high megapixels were important. I have lots to learn about modern equipment. Like some, my budget is limited. So far I have been considering Pentax, but have seen a few web articles and videos praising the Nikon D3200.

As far as I can tell, the Pentax K-50 and the Nikon D3200 are in a similar price range here in Canada (for my area at least). I am unimpressed with Canon, but honestly attribute that to just a feeling, instead of research. I have been sitting on the fence for weeks. I realize that as I am posting in the Pentax forum, there may be some bias.

Side to side comparisons of the K-50 and the D3200 aren't really helping me, as some of the technical stuff is new to me at this point.

  • I have read that the K-50 has superior image quality and excellent low light capabilities compare to the D3200. Is that accurate?
  • I have read mixed opinions about the megapixel differences. I don't plan on giant blowups, and extreme cropping. Is there a difference I might notice?
  • While movies are cool, the camera will be mostly for pics. I was under the impression that the K-50 was a bit behind the Nikon in this area. True?

I appreciate any help on this, and thank in advance, anyone willing to educate me on all this.
P.S. I prefer the battery packs over AA batteries, just in case someone suggests the K-500.

09-04-2014, 08:00 PM   #2
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Take a look at the K5 IIs.
09-04-2014, 08:03 PM   #3
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What kind of photography?
09-04-2014, 08:14 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Honestly ANY of the currently produced DSLRs will produce images practically indistinguishable from each other with out detailed study. For general photography don't bother with the specs and which is better at this or that. It's all marketing BS anyway. Remember, many of them are using the same sensors, no matter what name goes on the camera.

Best suggestion: Decide what your budget is and then go someplace you can touch and feel. Pick up a Nikon and Canon. Try a Sony, and try a Pentax. Whichever camera feels the best in YOUR hands is the best one for YOU. I've tried Canon, did not like it, actually had a D600 in my shopping cart at Costco and put it back. It just did not feel right. For me the k-5 and k-3 just fit. My fingers all reach the buttons just right and I can carry and use it all day and it still feels comfortable.

Trust me it is FAR more important to have a tool that feels right than one that feels awful but gets an extra FPS, or megapixel, or focuses 1/2 a second faster.

And save out some money for good lenses, those are more important than the camera anyway.

09-04-2014, 08:26 PM   #5
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I was in your boat not that long ago. I read book after book about camera stuff and (slowly) researched for 2 years before I bought anything. (Part of that was saving part of that was 'other commitments')

That said, if I were you I would look at your lens choices first. Do you like primes or zooms? There is a whole 'art' to either one. See what is available in the way of lenses and THEN start looking at camera bodies. Learn about lenses first. Camera bodies come and go, but lenses (good ones) last a long, long time.
09-04-2014, 09:05 PM   #6
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Consider what you will use the camera for, Do you need WR? Will you carry your camera with you (on while bushwalking), will you use only the kit lens.

Next I would follow up from jatrax. Go to a brick-and-mortar shop and try the cameras in your hands. The feel for the camera is extremely important: do you handle well the camera? is it too heavy? Is it too small or too big?

IMHO the strength of Pentax camera bodies is the combination of WR, sturdy/solid body and small body size and light weight, in a reasonably cheap price. These points were the ones that brought me to Pentax ahead of Canon and Nikon. I shoot outdoor often and I value very highly a WR body with a small and lightweight body.

Nowadays I value even more the backward compatibility of Pentax lenses: there are a very large choice of older high quality lenses available for Pentax. And there are some fabulous (pricy) prime lenses which are the envy of Canon and Nikon users: e.g., the FA31mm Ltd and FA77mm Ltd, the DA limited pancakes lenses...

I hope that the comments may help you.
09-04-2014, 09:32 PM   #7
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Outside of WR, most of the bodies have very similar capabilities. Knowing that, its all about what feels good to you, because if it doesnt feel good, then it will end up collecting dust. If you know somebody that shoots, see if they will loan you their camera, the manual, and a lens or two. If you dont know somebody, consider renting one for a week. Inexpensive way to see if you like something, before you take the plunge.
09-04-2014, 09:50 PM   #8
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One big advantage of Pentax bodies is backwards compatibility with lenses from the mid 70s, and even earlier with an adapter. Any auto aperture Pentax lens will be auto aperture on a K50, and any autofocus lens (other than that one weird battery powered one) will be autofocus. I would not only check out the K50, but you might score a cheap K5iis too. Also, I would recommend one bundled with the 18-135 WR if you can afford it. That lens is a great walk around lens and weather sealed just like the body is.

09-04-2014, 10:24 PM   #9
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Schick, as others have said you might want to give us more of an idea what interests you in photography, size considerations, weatherization, and anticipated budget (including lenses). Are you likely to try manual focus lenses - coming from the X-370 it would be quite natural. Those fine, older manual focus lenses argue for Pentax in general, and particular models with focus peaking and good live view (including the K50) are a bit better than others in this regard.
09-04-2014, 10:26 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Schick Quote
I realize that most of today's DSLR choices are probably pretty great
They are, Schick.

It's a great time to buy.

Whatever brand you go with - and you should consider all the mirrorless options, too - will have great choices for various budgets.

IMHO, choose whichever one has the lens collection you want to buy into, and then get a body to match.

Last edited by clackers; 09-04-2014 at 11:07 PM.
09-04-2014, 10:37 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
Take a look at the K5 IIs.
Beyond my budget. At least $300 more than the range I am looking at. darn.
09-04-2014, 10:39 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
What kind of photography?
Outdoors mostly. Nature. Limited landscape pics. Hoping to get into more macro. Of course general photos to practice and keep the family happy.
09-04-2014, 11:05 PM   #13
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All great information, but you also need to consider a couple of things.

1: how many rolls of film do you normally shoot in the year and how much does it cost you for the film and developing. Remember this expense goes away when you use a digital. If you use 100 roles of 36 exposure film a year or more. It might cost you $1200-$1500 a year for film. That money can be put into your camera system.

2: You said you're using a Minolta film camera, how many lenses to you have and will they work on the new Sony/Minolta cameras. If they will work on the new Sony camera, you have a starting point for your lens collection.

Not trying to steer you away from Pentax, but it is an option.

As others have said, put your hands on each of the Camera brands, and see what you like. Get something that you are comfortable with. That is one of the most important parts of the camera system. If the camera is hard for you to get used to, you will not enjoy using it.

Stay safe and have fun.

09-04-2014, 11:38 PM   #14

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All has been said, i guess.

Next to how a body feels, look at the available affordable lenses for it and how they suit you, also in 3rd party.
IMO pentax has lenses for all budgets and needs, maybe with the exception of advanced tele shooting..

And I want to add, you have shot & liked the K1000. I absolutely like to out with my dslr and my collection of M primes. It really gives me that same sensation of experiment. Recently added the pentax M100 f4 macro. Not really 1/1 but a steal for what it costs..

good luck in making a choice :-)
09-04-2014, 11:59 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Schick Quote
Outdoors mostly. Nature. Limited landscape pics. Hoping to get into more macro. Of course general photos to practice and keep the family happy.
Then take the K-50 and see if you can squeze in the plastic fantastic 50mm/f1.8 or 35mm/f2.4 with it.

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