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06-16-2015, 03:20 PM   #31
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Either pair you mentioned will be great, but both would require a slight compromise. I'd say look on eBay for a used K-3 and 18-135 (either together or seperate). The K-3 used prices are dropping nicely in anticipation of full frame and with the release of the K-3 II. You could even find yourself paying less than either of the kits you mentioned if you're patient.

The K-50 will be plenty of camera and will probably suit you fine, but the K-3 has a quieter shutter, as well as dual card slots, faster frame rate, better auto white balance, and higher resolution which helps fight noise in post processing at high ISO. (as well as other things you can find in reviews)

Without even mentioning differences in image quality, the 18-135 has near silent focusing while the 18-55 has a screw drive and makes a decent bit of noise. This is a HUGE negative in my opinion. I don't want everyone looking at me, especially if I take it to a school concert or wedding! Also, if you don't plan on buying any more lenses in the near future you'll appreciate the added range of the 18-135, especially if you take pictures of birds or kids playing sports or at school concerts. I find it serves great as a single lens solution in all situations except low light, where your A-50 and A-28 will do quite well.

If you are firm about buying one of the kits you mentioned new and avoiding used I would say to go for the K-50 + 18-135 since the silent focus is that important to me. You can always pick up a K-3 later when the prices drop even more. No matter which kit you buy, you can still keep your eye out for used lenses on eBay and you'd be surprised what you can find. I bought a Sigma 70-300 with auto focus for $39 USD (~25 GBP) and there is currently a Pro-Master 28-200 with auto focus for $47 USD (~30 GBP). The Pentax Forums lens reviews are VERY useful for shopping used lenses on eBay.

06-16-2015, 03:54 PM   #32
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I absolutely love my K3 and it takes great pics even with the kit lenses.

Although I am not an experienced photographer and have been (and am still) on a really steep learning curve with the K3, I know I can grow into it and it will provide me with many years of learning pleasure.

The external controls are wonderful, and not having a wide range of scene modes means I have had to actually learn stuff! Perhaps this has meant that I did not get instant gratification but at the times when I have desperately wanted "that shot", I have been able to engage auto or semi-auto modes and get good results.

I suspect that had I bought a lower model, I always would have hankered after the K3 and ended up upgrading sooner rather than later anyway. Now I focus on saving for and reading about better lenses and how to get more out of the camera, which is fun in itself.

If you like learning, go for the K3!
06-16-2015, 07:52 PM   #33
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I started with a K-50 + the 18/55 and 50/200 combo, and a DA 35. That total was about $1100, back in February of 2013. Didn't use the two kit lenses much, mainly used the 35mm. Started working the 18-55 in (was blessed with a sharp copy) because it had pretty good close focus. That close-focus combo quickly led me into macro land, and I used the 35 + Tamron 90mm combo pretty exclusively. Being a gear guy in any hobby I've ever been involved in, I started craving the higher-end K-3. I also borrowed my buddy's K-5, and I found that I loved the weight and added battery life of the grip. Once the price drop hit, I picked up the K-3 this past March. I use it primarily with a Sigma 17-50, and a pile of macro lenses (mainly the Pentax 100 WR).

I'll say that both cameras are great. Sure, the K-3 is better in the build quality department, has the quiet shutter, the ability to use a grip, and the 24MP, but the K-50 is just fine, plenty fast, and makes fantastic pictures. I was convinced that I would make even better pictures with the K-3 (classic gear hound syndrome that applies in a big way with PC gaming and all of the money spent on high-end mice/keyboards/headsets)), and it turned out my pictures were better -- but not because the camera was better. I'm getting better as a photographer, and before I sold off my K-50, I took it for one more run at a local nursery. K-50 + my trusty Sigma 50mm EX DG Macro. I came out of that nursery with some of the best pictures I've ever taken. The only thing I really missed was the better balance between the grip/Tamron 90 (I switched to the Sigma a few minutes in). Same lenses used on both cameras, and same great results. I thought the ability to crop deeper would be huge, but frankly speaking, my technique has improved, so my macro flowers are sharper to begin with, so the 16MP is plenty.

Truth be told, if I could do it all over again, I would have found a deal on a K-5iis, and spent the extra money towards another lens or something. I would have had the build quality, the grip, way better battery life, and a great camera to make nice images. K-3 is great, but my shooting doesn't utilize the improved AF capability (I use spot focus), and I'm always looking to use the lowest ISO possible, so I don't get that high ISO performance advantage either.

With that little story out of the way, I would say that if a grip is important to you, and the better AF ability, then the price is definitely good enough to go for the K-3. If that stuff isn't important to you -- then pick up a K-50 at one of the giveaway prices being offered, and spend the rest on good glass. Forget the 18-55, and all of the budget AF meaning, don't be tempted by the Tamron 28-300's of the world) stuff. Get a fast 17-50 if you shoot short, or spend a little more on the 18-135 if you think you'll need the WR + longer range. You will make images that will only get better as you get to know the camera.

Last edited by esrandall; 06-16-2015 at 08:31 PM.
06-17-2015, 02:12 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by esrandall Quote
I started with a K-50 + the 18/55 and 50/200 combo, and a DA 35. That total was about $1100, back in February of 2013. Didn't use the two kit lenses much, mainly used the 35mm. Started working the 18-55 in (was blessed with a sharp copy) because it had pretty good close focus. That close-focus combo quickly led me into macro land, and I used the 35 + Tamron 90mm combo pretty exclusively. Being a gear guy in any hobby I've ever been involved in, I started craving the higher-end K-3. I also borrowed my buddy's K-5, and I found that I loved the weight and added battery life of the grip. Once the price drop hit, I picked up the K-3 this past March. I use it primarily with a Sigma 17-50, and a pile of macro lenses (mainly the Pentax 100 WR).

I'll say that both cameras are great. Sure, the K-3 is better in the build quality department, has the quiet shutter, the ability to use a grip, and the 24MP, but the K-50 is just fine, plenty fast, and makes fantastic pictures. I was convinced that I would make even better pictures with the K-3 (classic gear hound syndrome that applies in a big way with PC gaming and all of the money spent on high-end mice/keyboards/headsets)), and it turned out my pictures were better -- but not because the camera was better. I'm getting better as a photographer, and before I sold off my K-50, I took it for one more run at a local nursery. K-50 + my trusty Sigma 50mm EX DG Macro. I came out of that nursery with some of the best pictures I've ever taken. The only thing I really missed was the better balance between the grip/Tamron 90 (I switched to the Sigma a few minutes in). Same lenses used on both cameras, and same great results. I thought the ability to crop deeper would be huge, but frankly speaking, my technique has improved, so my macro flowers are sharper to begin with, so the 16MP is plenty.

Truth be told, if I could do it all over again, I would have found a deal on a K-5iis, and spent the extra money towards another lens or something. I would have had the build quality, the grip, way better battery life, and a great camera to make nice images. K-3 is great, but my shooting doesn't utilize the improved AF capability (I use spot focus), and I'm always looking to use the lowest ISO possible, so I don't get that high ISO performance advantage either.

With that little story out of the way, I would say that if a grip is important to you, and the better AF ability, then the price is definitely good enough to go for the K-3. If that stuff isn't important to you -- then pick up a K-50 at one of the giveaway prices being offered, and spend the rest on good glass. Forget the 18-55, and all of the budget AF meaning, don't be tempted by the Tamron 28-300's of the world) stuff. Get a fast 17-50 if you shoot short, or spend a little more on the 18-135 if you think you'll need the WR + longer range. You will make images that will only get better as you get to know the camera.
Hi Esrandall, many thanks for your thoughtful post: as luck would have it I am about to go off and collect a new K5iis - all for the price of 349! Yes, you read that correctly!

I'm going to pick up a DA 35mm as well, plus I have my Pentax-A 28mm and Pentax-M 500mm too. I will, when money permits, get a wide angle - 21 or 15mm, as well as a zoom - initially I think I will get the 50-200 WR because it is NOT the rubbish lens people might think it is - I've seen enough to know it has limitations, but I will work within them. looking forward to posting some pics in the near future.

Thanks to all who spent time contributing to this thread - I know it will help out people in the same circumstances as I was.

06-17-2015, 05:07 AM   #35
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Wow -- awesome, Jeff. Great camera that you'll really enjoy. The 50-200 is an interesting lens, and I think there's a lot of sample variation. My kit DA L was only okay, so I let it go (or maybe I was still too new as a photographer to get the best out of it...lol). I picked up a DA version a few months back, and got some great shots with it, but ended up selling it to fund something else. At the very least, it's really easy to handle, and will do you well on sunny days. There are many used 50-200's in the forum right now -- I would take a strong look at one of those, if that's the path you want to go down.
06-17-2015, 05:52 AM - 1 Like   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by esrandall Quote
Wow -- awesome, Jeff. Great camera that you'll really enjoy. The 50-200 is an interesting lens, and I think there's a lot of sample variation. My kit DA L was only okay, so I let it go (or maybe I was still too new as a photographer to get the best out of it...lol). I picked up a DA version a few months back, and got some great shots with it, but ended up selling it to fund something else. At the very least, it's really easy to handle, and will do you well on sunny days. There are many used 50-200's in the forum right now -- I would take a strong look at one of those, if that's the path you want to go down.
thanks - just arrived back from Reading - picked up my new K5iis and the 35 mm DA I mentioned. Won't get a chance to try it out til the weekend - end of term reports to write! Will put some picks up when I can.

Still can't believe the price! It was end of line stock - they didn't even have a product code but they had the camera and that's what counts!
06-17-2015, 06:24 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by fredralphfred Quote
I have to disagree -- I just bought the K50 with 18-135 deal, and it's awesome! I came from a K200D. I figured the 18-135 would be a keeper (it's received poor "technical" reviews, but everyone who's mentioned it has really liked it) and I'll be ready for a new camera body in a couple of years (as opposed to seven) since Pentax has had a habit of deeply discounting discontinued bodies in the past. And not just for the alliteration.

If I figure it right, I got the K50 for about $250 and the 18-135 for about $400. Good deals all around in my book. If you don't need 24MP, the noise performance is about the same in low light and the AF isn't better enough for sports on the K3, but either is miles ahead of the K200D. I know Adam said the K3 will "last you for a very long while ." I respect his opinion tremendously -- he knows far more about photography and has a lot more experience than I do. However, I view this as a philosophical difference. I think of modern camera bodies as essentially disposable. Improvements come so fast, and now even Pentax is sluggish to update older bodies to accommodate changes. (For instance, if I ever purchase the 150-450, it won't work fully with either body I have now.) I think the wiser way is to determine if the body will do what you want NOW and buy cheap.

If build quality is important to you, the K50 will be a disappointment. I believe the K50 is reasonably well built, but it feels like a toy next to the K200D despite the fact the two bodies occupied the same relative places in Pentax's lineup at their respective times. But the K50 does have a lot of nice new features, a few that the K3 doesn't have that were important to me (AA batteries, anyone?), and a tremendous improvement in operation over K200D (esp. autofocus and operating speed).

There are a few odd nitpicks I have about the K50 (again, only having used the K200D in the past), and the 18-135 has a couple of odd things going on compared to my other lenses, but in my opinion none of them are show-stoppers. I thought about posting about it in the K50 forum, but it's an older body/lens combo, so I figured no one else cared.

I've had it out shooting a couple of times and with the 18-135 it is a lot of fun! With the improved AF speed, it makes some things possible that were really difficult on the K200D.

Whatever way you go, I hope you enjoy it.
I understand what you are saying... however, there is one more point that makes the k-3 and 18-135 combo more attractive. The DA 18-135 is a very good lens on its own as there are many happy owners (nice contrasty, light, WR etc.), but it becomes a great lens when it is mounted on the k-3 because of the overall improved features in the k-3. I have the k-5 and k-5IIs, but this lens really shines with the k-3.
06-19-2015, 09:10 AM   #38
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I think all cameras are capable of producing bad picture and it's from this view point that decision are made easier. As mentioned earlier, the philosophy or personal usage becomes an important factor. What kit you already have and want to keep or exchange/upgrade from. I have an ageing GX10 and recently bought a Russian mirror that wouldn't fit due to flash/prism overhang. An excuse for upgrade. The choice started with K5 and it's this model that brought my attention to AA filter and lack of in the K5iis. It didn't seem like moments had passed before the K3 was in my sights. Which meant price. Pentax is my brand, so other makes didn't factor except Fujifilms X T1. I do want control, easy at hand, to take full blame for my bad shots. Old school dials. Anyway, the X T1 will make a nice poster on my wall but not purchase. Price still came in to my decision, so a little web research came up with the K S2. I could get that with 18-135mm as a do it all camera. Long story short, I have a great do it all camera in my Panasonic FZ50, leaving a clear (for me) choice in the K3. So I bought it.

Body only and compared to the GX10, it's slightly smaller and lighter and fits my 3M-5A, as it hasn't got a big overhang. Love it. Just need to use it now.

But any camera from Pentax Ricoh has to be the right camera in the end as the choice of lenses is vast.

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