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11-27-2013, 01:58 AM   #1
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I made a mistake - i touched the K-3 - now i need advice

Hello Everyone,

first up, im new to the realm of DSLR. I went to the local Foto Store and asked for advice which product to choose. My budget is about 2.000 .
So i got the usual introductions into Nikon and Canon. Then came a Pentax User and told me to take a closer look at the Pentax line up. I was really thankfull, because i thought the original employee smelled the quick buck and wasnt really into my needs as a new costumer.
Then i got my hands on the K-3 and i have to say it feels right and comfy in my hands. I had a feeling of solid quality. i really loved the feel.

Now here is my dilemma.
Im new at DSLRs. I used some from friends at some points, but never got my own.
I want to have a good sturdy weather proof camera for my journeys. I want to take fotos in two different environments. First landscape and nature when im travelling and secondly pictures at the museum (i work at the museum) when we have events.
I would prefer to buy one good body now and put my money into better lenses in the years to come. I am not very much into "beginners gear" for all my activities. (i would tend to give all the bad results to the "bad quality beginners gear", i try top avoid this excuse by buying good gear from the get go) Thats why tend to buy the new K-3 instead of a cheaper model. It feels great and what i read about it seems to be very impressive.

Now i need your advice, because i only used the tools my friends gave me in the past and never questioned their recommendations.
What would you advice me to buy to get a good start. Here in Germany we have four offers at the moment.

1299,00 body only
1349,00 with 18-55mm kit lens
1549,00 with 18-55mm kit lens and 50-200mm
1649,00 with 18-135mm kit lens

I think to have a weatherproof kit it is good to have one of the WR kit lenses. Im unsure if the 300,00 that i have to invest to get the 18-135mm cannot be spent more wisely on other lenses.

I would very much appreciate any word of advice.

Thank you alot.

Arne

11-27-2013, 02:58 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Get the DA*50-135 if you can - you will really like the results from it. Perhaps it will even be at a good price in a couple of days - especially in the US, and maybe in Europe too.

You're right to go with good quality, but invest your money in the lenses. They make more difference in the Image Quality, and they don't depreciate very much.


The ideal setup for you would be a K-30 or K-50 with a DA*50-135 and a DA*16-50 (my preference), or a Tamron 17-50/2.8 or similar-range lens (like the DA17-70/4). If you really don't like the feel or operation of the K-30/50 as much, then look for a good price on a K-5 II or IIs. But the pictures from the K-30 or K-50 will be very similar in quality to the more expensive cameras.


Plan on replacing your body in a year or two (even if you get the K-3); Don't plan on replacing your lenses (unless you move to a Full Frame body someday). For the type of shooting you're doing, I think Pentax is usually the best brand, as well as the best value. And the setup I mentioned is, I believe, the best Image Quality you can possibly get (from any brand) for around 2.000 Euros.



Oh, I almost forgot! Let your eyes be the judge on the image quality from various lenses. I suggest looking these places:

http://pentaxphotogallery.com/photos/gallery/query?camera=&lens=4068#/grid

http://www.pbase.com/cameras/pentax/smc_da_16-50_28_ed_al_if_sdm

http://www.pixel-peeper.com/lenses/?lens=1047

Last edited by DSims; 11-27-2013 at 03:20 AM.
11-27-2013, 03:18 AM - 3 Likes   #3
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See Pentax/Ricoh, this is EXACTLY what happens when you put your stuff in an accessible means other than just pictures on the internet. That tactile and emotional response is what really sells

I think the K-3 will be a great solution for you. Another option would be the K-5 II/IIs. They are a tab bit smaller, are just are robust and durable (K-3 might have the edge, but the K-5 series is already one of the most well built cameras around).

You want a camera that focuses extremely well in low light, and the K-5 II/IIs and the K-3 will surely deliver here. Better than the Canikon competition because of their super, super low light focusing capabilities. Seriously in damn near darkness and mixed lighting, which museums love

I would recommend the kit + 18-135. For travel and just having a camera in your bag, the 18-135 is a superb lens, especially if you have a good amount of daylight. Then I would recommend the DA 50 f/1.8, which you can get REALLY cheap if you combine it with a camera purchase. That lens would work very well for portraits and general low light shooting. Normally I'd say get a flash, but museums hate them, so I would recommend against one (unless it wouldn't be an issue). Instead, try a wide lens, something like a 10-20/10-24. They can be found relatively cheap on the second hand market (under $350) if you look, and will really allow you to capture the inside of some rooms (great also for travel). Another lens to look for is a macro lens, especially if they assign you to do some last minute cataloguing of some artifacts and they need good detail. As you can see, it starts to add up But that's the beauty of having an ILC (Interchangeable Lens Camera) - you can change the lens to adapt to any situation you face.

But, you are right in that you don't won't to buy cheap just to realize you will upgrade later. In the long run, it's more expensive that way, and if you have the means to, then it is more cost effective to just start out with the best you can afford. Knowing that, I would go with the K-3 or the K-5 II/IIs (the only difference is II has an AA filter and the IIs does not, the later provides greater inherent sharpness but at the increased risk of moire artifacts....the K-3 negates this issue by offering in-camera AA filter simulators at multiple strengths, a first for the entire photographic industry)...it will be more camera than you know what to do with for a very, very long time

I would go in further depth with this post, but I think this will at least give you some ideas for now. I agree the K-50 would also be an excellent route, especially if you plan to upgrade to the K-3 in 12-18 months....it will be much cheaper. But where in Germany are you? I live in Franconia and would love to meet up if you'd like....I have a good bit of gear you can test drive too

-Heie
11-27-2013, 03:24 AM - 1 Like   #4
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For taking pictures in the museum you will probably need a fast/bright lens. You could choose the DA*16-50 for this or a prime (Festbrennweite).
The 16-50 would also be a good start for landscape photography. If shooting nature includes animals you will need a larger focal length (300mm upwards).

Things that should not be ignored: Shooting your pictures in RAW format for easy corrections and enhanchments afterwards. I like to process and order my photos in Lightroom. You will need something similar to get the best out of your pictures. A flash can be really useful, especially indoors with low light (museum).

However a good zoom lens and a postprocessing software should be enough for the start.

11-27-2013, 03:43 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
That lens would work very well for portraits and general low light shooting. Normally I'd say get a flash, but museums hate them, so I would recommend against one (unless it wouldn't be an issue). Instead, try a wide lens, something like a 10-20/10-24. They can be found relatively cheap on the second hand market (under $350) if you look, and will really allow you to capture the inside of some rooms (great also for travel). Another lens to look for is a macro lens, especially if they assign you to do some last minute cataloguing of some artifacts and they need good detail.
Good ideas from Heie, although if you do go with a wide angle, I think you'd prefer the more expensive Sigma 8-16, just like he did! (I also chose the Sigma 8-16 over the other ones he mentioned). On the other hand, you can get a good quality macro lens for under $150, such as the Cosina 100/3.5 macro sold under various brands. But just covering the ~16-135mm range is usually good enough to start.

I'm sure he can give you more great advice, especially if you can meet up with him - I'm teasing him a bit, but he really knows his stuff.

Last edited by DSims; 11-27-2013 at 03:49 AM.
11-27-2013, 04:02 AM - 3 Likes   #6
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Get the kit with the 18-135. It is a perfect starting lens and features the bread and butter zoom range for most photographers. Then, look at the DA 50 f1.8 or DA 35 f2.4 as an add on prime (I would probably go with the 50, but that's me) for lower light situations. Both are pretty cheap lenses and offer good image quality. The shoot for a while and see where you are at. There is not point in buying a bunch of expensive lenses to start off with. You need to know if you want wide angle or telephoto or somewhere in the middle, but as I say, that will come with shooting.
11-27-2013, 04:12 AM - 1 Like   #7
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I also want to endorse Heie's recommendations. I think the 18-135 kit is a great start because your first needs are covered by a single weather resistant lens - this is great especially for outdoors. I am waiting for my K-3 + 18-135 to arrive within the next few weeks (the retailer ran out of stock...). I decided for the lens because I wanted something weather resistant for canoeing trips which can be quite at times - especially in German weather (I am from Berlin). I definitely own optically better glass for my current K20D but nothing even comparable with respect to practicality. For museum shots you will definitely need fast and wide glass. My own choice for this purpose is the Sigma 18-35 1.8 constant aperture zoom which will be available for K-mount around March next year hopefully. Another option might be a prime like the Pentax 15 or 21. They are much lighter than the Sigma 18-35, and while a prime is somewhat limiting with respect to field of view (fov) it can be of special fun to shoot with a single focal length. I'd recommend to start with the kit and discover what kind of shooting and focal range suits you best. When you know go for the glass. Best wishes for your first steps into this new territory. And don't hesitate to contact me if you should live in the Berlin region.
11-27-2013, 04:27 AM - 1 Like   #8
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Hello Arne Bo,

I suggest you to start touch camera Pentax K-50 and lens Pentax HD PENTAX-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 ED Limited DC WR.

11-27-2013, 04:33 AM   #9
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Original Poster
Thank you all for all the very fast responses.
Youre a very helpful community. Ill have do go back to the shop just to try the lower price models, but i fear that i wont be able to convince myself to buy a cheaper body.
After that i have to check all the lens recommendations you gave me. Thanks again.

At the museum it is usually forbidden to use any flash within the exhibitions. So a lens with good low light qualities would be nice. For big events we have professional photographers, but im often in a situation during a smaller, more intimate, event where i have a wonderful moment for a good picture, but no photographer and only my smartphone at hand.

I plan to buy lightroom to learn working with raw. I saw a few youtube clips about lightroom and it seemed to be very easy to use for general post production with lots of possibilities you have to take time learn for even deeper PP. And it is affordable. I think i will need a tool to work with pictures i took under low light conditions at the museum.

@Heie: I live in Hamburg. Would be nice to meet you, but it will be very difficult the next few weeks with all the events before christmas.

After getting my Pentax (only an unbelievable Cyber Monday Deal at Amazon could make a difference) i will share my first steps with you. If you are willing to look at Rookie Level images.
11-27-2013, 05:02 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Hey, welcome! I think if you are new to DSLRs the K-3 might be overwhelming. Maybe it would be better to start with a K-30 or K-50. Or even a K-5IIs. Then you can spend more money on the lens(es), which can be the more important factor - a bad lens on a good camera makes the whole thing pointless

A lot of users here love their 18-135mm as the general WR zoom that allows almost all types of photography. Its not the most amazing lens Pentax makes, but it is very versatile and its a good go-to WR and travel lens. After some time with the 18-135mm you will know what focal lengths you want most, and then you can look at prime lenses, limited lenses, * lenses, which will give you better image quality. Lenses like DA* 55mm, DFA 100mm macro, DA 15mm, DA* 50-135mm, etc.

But on the other hand, I know how it is when you touch a camera and it just feels.. right. In that case, it might be worth to stretch the budget Its what gives you another connection to photography. Instead of just having the camera as a tool that you are battling with, it becomes a partner. Just keep in mind that the K-3 has all the top notch features, produces big files, and needs a good lens to reach its potentials.
11-27-2013, 05:15 AM - 1 Like   #11
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The K-3 is an amazing piece of hardware, but the thing that makes Pentax's unique in the DSLR marketplace (and what drew me to them) was that 'lower' models still have most of the important features that an advanced camera does (unlike the big 2, mostly). So don't be afraid to get a K-50 and a really nice lens instead. Just MHO anyway =)
11-27-2013, 05:20 AM   #12
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2000euros is a great budget!

I'd go with the k3 and the 18-55WR + DA70ltd.
that is a great starter kit :-)

or 18-135WR combined with DA35 2.4

Ofcourse, if video is not crucial, the k5ii is an option as well... but you never know what you'll be doing next...

Last edited by grispie; 11-27-2013 at 06:14 AM. Reason: update
11-27-2013, 06:15 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
See Pentax/Ricoh, this is EXACTLY what happens when you put your stuff in an accessible means other than just pictures on the internet. That tactile and emotional response is what really sells
I couldn't agree with you more on this. It's one thing to compare stats online and try to decide which camera to buy, but it's completely different to actually hold one in your hands. I think Pentax has a competitive edge in the tactile response area and they ought to exploit it. I also want to echo what others are saying about investing in lenses rather than the camera body. Lenses endure...bodies do not. Or rather, not as well. Something that I think is being overlooked here is that the OP said he wanted this camera partially to be able to cover events at the museum. I'm assuming he means exhibition openings and such. That means people and people wear clothing. And sometimes it's clothing that can drive the moire nuts on certain cameras. For that reason alone, I think I'd take the K5IIs out of consideration. It would be great for the landscape uses, but maybe not so hot when shooting crowds of people.
11-27-2013, 06:18 AM - 1 Like   #14
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Spend more money on lenses rather than the camera.

Camera: Get the K5 or K5ii or iis instead and use the savings to get better lenses.
Lens: for travel-18-135
Lens: for museums-you need a lens that will shoot well in low light and wide; get the Tamron 17-50 if you need a zoom [its sharper than the pentax 16-50 but noisier] or if you prefer prime lenses there are at least three 35mm lenses by pentax that are fast. If you have money left over, the Pentax 50-135 is outstanding as a telephoto lens and its relatively small.
11-27-2013, 06:31 AM - 1 Like   #15
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Everyone has their say.. we are so good at spending other people's money.

My advice would be K-5 IIs, 18-135 for outdoors , and Tamron 17-50 for your indoor work. If you want a longer lens later go for a Sigma or Tamron 70-200 2.8, or DA*60250. I'm not sure what you shoot in the museum, but if you want macro get a Tamron 90 macro. Great for close up detail. Those are all lenses that will give you great results on a budget. (If you don't include the DA*60-250, definitely not a budget lens.)

My choice for outdoors is DA 18-135 WR and DA*60-250 ƒ4 WR. A lot more range than the 16-50 and 50-135, for the most part better IQ and probably cheaper. Indoors I prefer the Tamron 17-50 to the DA* 16-50, and it's less than half the price.
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