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06-01-2016, 08:08 PM   #1
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Need advice on rebuilding my collection of photo gear

Greetings all. Long time lurker here, looking for some insight into (re)building a camera and lens package.

Here is the long version. Got started into somewhat more advanced photography with a K1000 and 3 lenses in 2008. Enjoyed this experiment a bunch, so purchased a lightly used *ist DL with kit lens the next year. LBA ensues, and I end up with a collection of M, A and FA lenses, but nothing very high end. In 2015, I purchased a KS-1 with kit lens to get improved AF and low light capabilities, was just getting used to this camera before it developed a intermittent glitch that I was planning on having serviced or replaced.

May 3, 2016: the crap hits the fan, wildfires force evacuation of Fort McMurray AB and my house and all my camera gear is destroyed. Now I am left with a decision in how to rebuild. Not entirely sure if I want to stay with Pentax, as I like to shoot my young kids at sports and appropriate lenses are expensive to buy for Pentax and impossible to rent. Also very uncertain about what level of gear to get (or save up to get). This time around, I would rather acquire the right equipment in the first place, but I am unsure for instance if a K-3 would be overkill vs say a KS-2.

Really just looking for some opinions to help kick start the decision making process as I am spinning my wheels right now.

Thank you in advance,
Mark

06-01-2016, 09:12 PM   #2
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K-s2, a 17-50, a 55-300 and some primes like 35 2.4 or 50 1.8 or both...
06-01-2016, 09:19 PM   #3
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If you are way into video, there are better choices than Pentax (probably Canon). If you a sports photographer, and plan on shelling out the big bucks for the right equipment, Nikon may be your brand. For a photographer with a working class budget, Pentax will usually offer more all around than the others as far as I'm concerned, but all brands sell nice gear at reasonable price points. If you don't know what brand you want, and why you want it, then it probably doesn't matter which you get; you will get substanitally equal results for a given amount of money.

I do love my KS-2. I chose it over the K-3 primarily for the flippy screen, since I like low-POV perspectives with some frequency. It really shoots superbly. I chose Pentax over the other brands because they seem to have better ISO noise at a given price point, and they have WR kits, great legacy glass with image stabilization and focus confirmation. I also like Pentax's intuitive interface. I have hated every Canon or Nikon I picked up. Stupid Nikon I borrowed once wouldn't stop popping up the flash when I didn't want it and ruining all my shots. I'm sure there's a setting, but it wasn't obvious to me, and I like my camera menus to just work.

As far as sports, get the Tamron 70-200. It's a noisy screw drive, and you'll miss focus sometimes, but it has wickedly sharp images, and I think as long as you plan your focus, you should be able to nail a lot of keepers. Since it's huge, get a Black Rapid strap and strap the LENS to your Black Rapid. Bump up ISO more than you need to and use F4 to stop the action.

My dogs, moving fast and being wild is about as "sports" as my family gets:





Last edited by Kozlok; 06-01-2016 at 09:29 PM.
06-01-2016, 10:06 PM   #4
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Budget?
That will make a huge difference to our recommendations.

Off the cuff - KS-2 is marvelous by all accounts - it gives you flippy screen plus wifi which is something the K-3 lacks. The ISO noise is better but the raw depth is 12 vs. 14 which is a bummer. My big beef however is the lack of a PTTL mastering flash built in. If you do off camera PTTL flash this means buying a second PTTL flash to mount on the camera. Sigh. I think it also has more limited interval features compared to the K-3 and it lacks the dual SD cards which are nice to have. No grip but not a feature I love.

Lenses - 17-50 f/2.8 Sigma/Tamron and a 70-200 f/2.8 of either brand would probably work well for kids and sports.
The new DFA 70-200 would also work but wow - what an expensive lens by comparison. Probably not worth it at this point to you.
The 60-250 f/4 Pentax is faster focusing than the 50-135 in my opinion but still no speed demon.

06-02-2016, 02:02 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by umdunnmk Quote

May 3, 2016: the crap hits the fan, wildfires force evacuation of Fort McMurray.
Mark
We have seen pictures of the fires here in the UK. They were really frightening especially with virtually no warning for many to evacuate. It must be really tough for you and your family and presumably also your neighbours. I hope things are beginnining to stablise for you all and you are able to rebuild your lives sooner rather than later. Please keep in touch and let us know how thing s progress.

It is probably the last thing on your mind, and rightly so, but when you do get a hold of a camera, any camera, why not start a photographic project on the rebuilding progress, when time, if any permits? Do not forget the small details such as document recovery and replacements for family nick nacks, garden tools, pots and pans and so on, as well as the larger ones of the new house and and how your family (and friends) are coping.

Cheers and Good Luck

LoneWolf
06-02-2016, 05:41 AM   #6
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Our hearts go out to you. Will insurance help at all? They aren't calling it an act of God situation and backing out I hope.
06-02-2016, 07:37 AM   #7
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The K-S2 is very solid and well-sorted, and is a bargain. Pentax lenses also are attractively priced nowadays.

IMHO Pentax have been on a roll lately, under the umbrella of Ricoh. It's a good time to be a Pentaxian. Plus, we also have the best community forums. So. . . Unless you have some specific issue that another brand can resolve (i.e. lenses?) or would just like to try something of different nature (mirrorless?), I'd humbly suggest sticking with Pentax.
06-02-2016, 08:34 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LoneWolf Quote
We have seen pictures of the fires here in the UK. They were really frightening especially with virtually no warning for many to evacuate. It must be really tough for you and your family and presumably also your neighbours. I hope things are beginnining to stablise for you all and you are able to rebuild your lives sooner rather than later. Please keep in touch and let us know how thing s progress.

It is probably the last thing on your mind, and rightly so, but when you do get a hold of a camera, any camera, why not start a photographic project on the rebuilding progress, when time, if any permits? Do not forget the small details such as document recovery and replacements for family nick nacks, garden tools, pots and pans and so on, as well as the larger ones of the new house and and how your family (and friends) are coping.

Cheers and Good Luck

LoneWolf
What a great idea!

06-03-2016, 08:57 AM   #9
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Original Poster
Thanks to all for the great suggestions and the emotional support.

A bit more info as follows:

Insurance - we are insured and will be receiving a lump sum to replace contents (I believe), but most of this will be earmarked for more necessary items than photo equipment, so I need to balance off my spending here with my other hobbies, which leads me to...

Budget - I am a little bit flexible here, but probably don't want to spend more than 1000-1200 right now. I don't mind deferring the purchase of one or more lenses as long as the initial package let's me shoot the majority of want I want right away.

Stills vs Video - Really only concerned about stills. While I do use the video function occasionally (more on a point and shoot), it is more to document an event vs caring about the quality.

RAW vs jpg - Only a jpg shooter right now, and have been happy with the results, so amazing RAW files aren't really an issue for me.

Sports - A proper sports lens may be out of reach at the moment, so are there any cheaper telezooms that can handle the occasional sports duty (again, just my kids here, nothing to serious)

Regarding the idea of a photo project, I like that as well. I will be heading back to Fort Mac for the first time tomorrow and will be able to see first hand the destruction which I know is severe.

Thanks again,
Mark
06-03-2016, 04:27 PM   #10
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55-300 is a great cheap telezoom with great IQ.
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