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03-17-2019, 02:07 PM   #1
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Decisions, decisions... finally got some $$$ to spend.

I am getting a new job and will have a bit of money to spend on my hobbies... so I need help deciding what to do.

The type of photography I love to do is landscape,astro, and macro. I love taking pictures of the natural world so I could see myself getting into wildlife as well. I also enjoy just general photography (city, portraits, etc) but when I go out I am usually headed to a park or the wilderness.

On the other hand, I have a family and two small kids. My daughter (5) is starting soccer this spring and I am wondering if I would be better off switching systems to make it easier to take photos of my kids. That said, that is only one use case and most the family pictures I take are with my phone, and my wife would be better suited to be the family photographer since she is a stay at home mom and could catch a lot more candid moments, etc.

I got a chance to use a Sony A6300 and loved it. It was very impressive. If I were to switch systems, I would probably go Sony and get the A6500 for the in body image stabilization. I would have to sell all my gear (list below) and then pickup what I could in Sony gear with the proceeds.

The other option is doubling down on Pentax and getting the D-FA 100mm Macro that I have been drooling over for YEARS... since back when it was an $800 lens haha. Next on my list would be a wide angle or maybe the 77 limited... and I would upgrade to the K3ii successor when it comes out (5 years from now ;-) ?).

I am not very experienced as a photographer and I know some people here probably have Sony so I wanted to get any advice you have to offer.

The gear I have:

K-50
Sunpack PZ42X flash
AF-200fg flash
DA 50mm f1.8
DA 35mm f2.4
DA L 18-55mm WR
DA L 50-200mm WR
M 28mm f2.8
M 50mm f1.7
Kalimar Auto Zoom 35-135mm Macro (1:4 Magnification) (Found this manual focus lens at a pawn shop, and it's a gem!)
Quantaray AF LD 70-300mm f4-5.6 Macro (1:2 Magnification)
Sigma 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 II Macro
Pentax shoulder bag

I am guessing the value I could get from my gear to be $500-$600, which would not even cover the cost of an A6500, so I would have a very limited Sony system at best - at least until I can expand it - and it would be a long time before I could afford the macro lens in the Sony lineup. This is probably the reason I chose Pentax in the first place... undeniable value for the money.

Part of my calculation is probably just anxiety about Pentax not keeping up with the times... and I really like Sony's ability to instantly send photos to you phone for sharing, etc. But... I wonder how much I would even use that. I mean, I like to take pictures up in the mountains where there is no service anyway. I guess I don't want to double down on a system that might go out of business in 10 years as the DSLR slowly dies???

I would love everyone else's take on this. What other factors should I consider, and what would you do based off your experience with Pentax/Sony? Thanks.


Last edited by Zephos; 03-17-2019 at 02:14 PM.
03-17-2019, 02:21 PM   #2
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I would say get the dfa 100 macro or maybe upgrade to the k70.

I had the 100 and it produced great images. It was slow and noisy to focus but for macro if you manual focus that’s not a problem.
03-17-2019, 02:43 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zephos Quote
This is probably the reason I chose Pentax in the first place... undeniable value for the money.
That's right. Best price - performance ratio in the camera business. I'm quite sure.

QuoteOriginally posted by Zephos Quote
and I really like Sony's ability to instantly send photos to you phone for sharing
Even if there's internet connection, would you really share your photos instantly without any RAW post-processing?

QuoteOriginally posted by Zephos Quote
as the DSLR slowly dies
Who said that? There are some physical laws in optics and that's exactly the reason why DSLR will survive (while some people might fall off, considering phone camera as sufficient for their photography level, no doubts).

QuoteOriginally posted by Zephos Quote
I got a chance to use a Sony A6300 and loved it. It was very impressive.
What else (except the mentioned image stabilization) did you like? I played with some of these Sony mirrorless some weeks ago at the local Sony shop and my impression was not good at all. There's also a dedicated group on flickr. To be honest, I didn't find there many photos I'd consider amazing.
03-17-2019, 02:48 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zephos Quote
My daughter (5) is starting soccer this spring and I am wondering if I would be better off switching systems to make it easier to take photos of my kids.
My K-70 with a 30-year-old screwdrive autofocus lens (F* 300/4.5) has no problem keeping up with college soccer (see attached photo) and it's going to be a long time before your kids are moving as fast as that. Modern Pentax lenses with built-in motors should probably work even better.

Would a Sony system work better for fast action? Probably, but at a premium cost. I get great action shots with my Pentax system; for me, it's good enough.

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03-17-2019, 02:53 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by richfam Quote
My K-70 with a 30-year-old screwdrive autofocus lens (F* 300/4.5) has no problem keeping up with college soccer (see attached photo) and it's going to be a long time before your kids are moving as fast as that. Modern Pentax lenses with built-in motors should probably work even better.

Would a Sony system work better for fast action? Probably, but at a premium cost. I get great action shots with my Pentax system; for me, it's good enough.
Thanks. That is a great shot. I guess my main concern was the AF. Does the K-70 have better AF than the K-50?

---------- Post added 03-17-19 at 03:55 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
Even if there's internet connection, would you really share your photos instantly without any RAW post-processing?
No, I would not.

---------- Post added 03-17-19 at 03:58 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by zzeitg Quote
What else (except the mentioned image stabilization) did you like? I played with some of these Sony mirrorless some weeks ago at the local Sony shop and my impression was not good at all. There's also a dedicated group on flickr. To be honest, I didn't find there many photos I'd consider amazing.
I think I was mainly impressed by how fast the digital view finder was... the lag was almost nonexistant, which removes the biggest downside to mirror-less and leaves all of the up side (lighter, more compact, silent shutter without shutter shake, etc).
03-17-2019, 03:01 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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If the ultimate goal is making memorable photographs, buying a plane ticket to somewhere spectacular might be the best investment.

Otherwise, something wider than 18mm would be really helpful for your landscape needs. The DA 15/4.0 Limited would be my suggestion.
03-17-2019, 03:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by richfam Quote
My K-70 with a 30-year-old screwdrive autofocus lens (F* 300/4.5) has no problem keeping up with college soccer (see attached photo)… and it's going to be a long time before your kids are moving as fast as that. Modern Pentax lenses with built-in motors should probably work even better.

Would a Sony system work better for fast action? Probably, but at a premium cost. I get great action shots with my Pentax system; for me, it's good enough.
300mm lens. That's a good example.

We have DA*300 f/4 which you can buy for USD 1,097,-.

Try to get similar lens from Sony...

Sony A-mount 300mm f/2.8 - USD 7,498,-
Sony E-mount 400mm f/2.8 - USD 11,998,- (300mm not existing..?)

f/4 is not f/2.8, that's clear. But so much money for 1 f/stop of light...?
03-17-2019, 03:13 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sandy Hancock Quote
If the ultimate goal is making memorable photographs, buying a plane ticket to somewhere spectacular might be the best investment.

That is a great point, and exactly why my photography budget is less than it otherwise could be. I plan on lots of camping/ backpacking/ family outings this year, for sure.

03-17-2019, 03:15 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I know this feeling. The value of hindsight is overshadowed by the ability to make us feel stupid.

Worst case Pentax is doomed. In ths meantime you make images that you like with gear you like. If your $ value is what you think then what you risk is modest.

Here is Sony's dirty little secret... The less expensive kit lenses are pretty bad. So unless you want to shoot adapted manual focus lenses Sony can be very expensive.

Frankly if I were to change systems I'd look at a past advanced body and a couple of good quality lenses. I would try to afford these without selling my existing gear. Then only after prooving the grass was greener would I jump ship.
03-17-2019, 03:34 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I know this feeling. The value of hindsight is overshadowed by the ability to make us feel stupid.

Worst case Pentax is doomed. In ths meantime you make images that you like with gear you like. If your $ value is what you think then what you risk is modest.

Here is Sony's dirty little secret... The less expensive kit lenses are pretty bad. So unless you want to shoot adapted manual focus lenses Sony can be very expensive.

Frankly if I were to change systems I'd look at a past advanced body and a couple of good quality lenses. I would try to afford these without selling my existing gear. Then only after prooving the grass was greener would I jump ship.
That is a great piece of advice. Thank you.
03-17-2019, 03:35 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zephos Quote
Part of my calculation is probably just anxiety about Pentax not keeping up with the times... and I really like Sony's ability to instantly send photos to you phone for sharing, etc. But... I wonder how much I would even use that. I mean, I like to take pictures up in the mountains where there is no service anyway. I guess I don't want to double down on a system that might go out of business in 10 years as the DSLR slowly dies???
Let's deal first with that anxiety

Pentax "not keeping up with the times" is a statement many of us would challenge, but I guess I understand where you're coming from. My question would be, what is it that Pentax equipment doesn't or can't do that you really, really need, or think you might really need? Or is it just that you've heard tempting things about other gear and you're drawn in by the cool whizz-bang features? If it's the latter, there's nothing wrong with that... But you should understand that few - if any - of these latest features are likely to improve your photography much, and if they do, it's almost certainly going to be a far lesser improvement than you could achieve with learning, practice and experience. There are folks in these forums shooting older cameras (in some cases, much older) than yours and getting truly outstanding results in the very areas of interest you mention. And if the brand should die (which I seriously doubt), there will for many years be a ready market of people willing to buy your Pentax gear, because they don't want to give theirs up and would rather buy used than not at all (I've seen this happen with Minolta AF / Sony A-mount gear).

Now, as to what (I think) you should do:

If you're staying with Pentax...

With respect to you and other K-50 users, personally I'd consider upgrading from your K-50 to one of the later models not at risk from the aperture block failure, as a long-term reliability measure. Or, at least keep enough money to one side to have the camera repaired or replaced at a later date. If I were in your shoes, I'd sell or part-exchnage the K-50 now while it's still in perfect working order and buy either a new K-70 or KP (depending on your budget), or a lightly used and well-looked-after K-5II, K-5IIs, K-3 or K-3II. Whilst there are never any guarantees with used gear, the K-5 and K-3 series are about as bullet-proof as you'll get in the APS-C DSLR world.

Next, glass...
  • DA 50mm f1.8
  • DA 35mm f2.4
  • DA L 18-55mm WR
  • DA L 50-200mm WR
  • M 28mm f2.8
  • M 50mm f1.7
  • Kalimar Auto Zoom 35-135mm Macro (1:4 Magnification) (Found this manual focus lens at a pawn shop, and it's a gem!)
  • Quantaray AF LD 70-300mm f4-5.6 Macro (1:2 Magnification)
  • Sigma 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 II Macro

Your DA50/1.8 and DA35/2.4 are worth keeping because they're genuinely decent and wouldn't fetch a great deal if you sold them. I guess what I'm saying is, they're optically much better than the money you'd get for them, and they're great general purpose lenses.

The DA L 18-55 WR and 50-200 WR are, in my view, most useful for the weather resistance alone. If that's really important to you, hang on to them. Otherwise, I'd let those go, as IMHO they're really limited unless you stop them down quite a bit. Even then, there are much better lenses.

The M lenses you have - 28/2.8 and 50/1.7 - are great if you're happy with manual focusing, though arguably, the 50/1.7 is redundant if you keep the DA50/1.8. I guess I'd hang on to these, but if you're going to sell them, the 50/1.7 would be your priority.

The Kalimar wouldn't fetch much in the used market, so if you like it, keep it

The Quantary and Sigma again wouldn't fetch much, so up to you if they're worth selling. If you like them, keep them. If not, sell them for what you can get.

But...

If there's a limitation in your current kit, it's lenses. I'd seriously look at getting some really decent glass, either new or used.

Might I suggest the Sigma 17-50 f/2.8, which will give a wide range of focal lengths with a constant and relatively fast f/2.8 aperture, and optical performance that's way beyond anything you currently own.

Then, I'd look at either the HD screw-drive or PLM versions of the 55-300 for the short-to-long tele side of things. There's nothing else in this price range that comes close. I have the HD screw-drive version, and although my much-more-expensive DA*60-250 is a faster and better lens, in many situations the HD 55-300 is almost as capable. Plus, it's compact and light-weight.

Finally, since macro is of interest to you, I'd consider either Pentax's own DFA100/2.8 Macro WR, or the Tamron 90/2.8. Both are excellent lenses. The Pentax lens is more expensive and (if you go for the later version) weather resistant. The Tamron doesn't have weather resistance, but it has a focus limiter (which is helpful) and is generally cheaper, especially used.

After all that...

If you should decide to switch to Sony and buy the A6500, I'm sure you'd like it a great deal. But - you must still concentrate on getting the best glass you can afford. However good a camera may be, the glass will almost always be much more important. Buying an A6500 then skimping on lenses would be a huge mistake, compared to sticking with Pentax (even your existing K-50) and investing in two or three really good lenses
03-17-2019, 03:55 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
Buying an A6500 then skimping on lenses would be a huge mistake, compared to sticking with Pentax (even your existing K-50) and investing in two or three really good lenses
I am beginning to realize this. Thank you for your great suggestions!
03-17-2019, 04:02 PM   #13
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As for wifi features I find I'm less apt to use them for sharing and more for live control but even this is infrequent.

Remember that macro is an area where af is less important. A simple manual focus 100mm macro is cheap, leaving money for a DA 15 or 21 and 70. Or the excellent 17-50 mentioned.
03-17-2019, 04:29 PM   #14
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A great used lens to consider would be the DA* 50-135. I picked one up a few years ago for pictures of my daughter, and other kids at HS band competitions.
I use it on a K-5, and have converted it to screw drive. The focal range isn't bad, sometimes I would like to be around 200mm, but copping with this lens' IQ isn't a big issue.

I also use it for Indoor winter percussion competitions, and f2.8 comes in handy with some of the bad lighting in HS gyms.
03-17-2019, 04:34 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zephos Quote
I am beginning to realize this. Thank you for your great suggestions!
You're most welcome It's a common theme for folks to spend bucks on the camera and less on lenses, but the opposite is usually a better approach. If you can afford to spend freely on both, better still... but the lenses are what makes the combo, mostly. That and practice
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