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03-05-2016, 10:55 AM   #1
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Wanted K50, now thinking KS2

Hi Folks,

I had a K50 until about a year ago. I enjoyed it and am not sure exactly why I sold it??

Anyway, I want another Pentax and was all set to get another K50, mainly because I liked the camera and it's so inexpensive. Gosh, $500 for a two lens kit seems to be a steal. I liked the 50-200WR when I used it before. But, as things go, I started checking out other Pentax cameras and am impressed with the KS2. It's within my budget and seems to be a more versatile camera.

I haven't decided yet between the K50 and the KS2 so would appreciate any comments on the two cameras. My guess is that some of you have owned both or at least studied both. I'll be using the camera in the National Parks on big game and around the house on birds and critters. Much of the parks photography will be early morning low light stuff.

Thanks for any input on either camera!

Jack

03-05-2016, 03:11 PM   #2
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The K-S2 is definitely a great camera.
If you don't currently have any lenses a K-S2 or K-50 with an 18-135 is a killer setup!
Maybe you might want to look at the K-3 if you can stretch your budget a little and want a big step up.
03-05-2016, 03:55 PM   #3
Des
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Here is a comparison of the specs: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forumthes/pentax-cameras-compared/?c1=Pentax+K-50&c2=Pentax+K-S2

For your uses the 20mp sensor (same as in the K-S1) and no AA filter would be an advantage:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/184-pentax-k-s1-k-s2/283229-comparison-be...k-50-k-s1.html @THoog's summary: "My conclusion was ... that the K-S1 has more detail in good light. In poor light, it has more noise, but it's of the luminance variety, and fairly easy to clean up without loss of detail."
Pentax K-S1 Review - Image Quality | PentaxForums.com Reviews - "Compared to 16-megapixel Pentax K-50, the K-S1 is a considerable upgrade in terms of image quality. Thanks to a higher resolution and lack of a low-pass filter images will be sharper and details will be clearer, giving you more room to crop when needed."

Articulating LCD screen would also be an advantage in many situations too - for example close-up shots taken near the ground.

I like the feel of my K30, but if I needed to replace it now (without getting another K-3) I'd pay the (relatively modest) premium for the K-S2 over the K-50.

As for the two-lens kit deal, personally I don't think it is very attractive. An 18-250 or 18-270 superzoom would give better IQ, with the added convenience of a single lens (albeit without WR). For general walkaround and WR, the DA 18-135 is a good option; it is often sold as a package with the K-S2. With a bias to wildlife, you should be looking at the 55-300 rather than 50-200; it's much better as well as having significantly more reach. Get a second-hand one if a new one would blow the budget.

If the K-S2 + DA 18-135 + DA 55-300 would be too expensive for you, compromise on the body rather than the lenses. Get the K-50 + DA 18-135 + 55-300 rather than the two kit lenses.

Last edited by Des; 03-05-2016 at 04:01 PM.
03-05-2016, 04:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info, Des!

Hi Des,

I was hoping for a response like you posted! I'm really interested in your suggestions on lenses if you happen to see this post.

I used the Sigma 18-250mm almost exclusively when I had my K50. I liked it very much and had considered it as an option this time. However, if there is a 300mm that is a little better at the long end, that would be preferable. I have a post on the lens forum but haven't gotten any hits on it yet. I'm guessing the Pentax folks know which lenses have the edge between the several Pentax offerings and Tamron, Sigma, etc.

I like your idea of the 18-135mm. I'm not on a particular budget. I don't like to change lenses very much and will likely have only two.

Thanks, Des!

Jack

03-05-2016, 06:47 PM - 1 Like   #5
Des
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Jack,
I used a Tamron 18-250 as my only lens for the first 6 years after getting my first DSLR (K100D Super). After 20+ years of swapping between two zooms on my previous film SLR, the versatility was invaluable. No doubt you had the same experience with the Sigma 18-250. All the comparisons I have seen between superzooms and kit lenses (which generally have similarly slow maximum apertures) put the superzooms ahead of the kit lenses for image quality. And of course the superzooms offer more reach than the kit lenses.

So it seems to me that the only downsides of preferring a superzoom to the two kit lenses are:
1. The superzoom will be bigger and heavier than either of the kit lenses individually (although probably less than the two combined)
2. The kit lenses are now WR.
3. The kit lens might have QuickShift?
4. The kit lenses would support in-camera correction of jpgs for distortion, CA, vignetting etc. Third-party branded superzooms won't.
5. The superzooms are more expensive.

But for wildlife I found that I wanted more reach than I could get with the 18-250. I had a Sigma 170-500 for a while, and now I have a Pentax DA-L 55-300 and a Sigma 400mm f5.6 Tele Macro. These are much better for birds and other wildlife than the 18-250.

I guess you are wondering about the new Sigma 18-300 as a possible compromise? Remains to be seen how it compares with the 55-300 at the long end: www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/314783-sigma-18-300-review.html
Only a couple of user reviews so far: Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 DC Macro HSM (Contemporary) Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

I'd say from my experience with the 18-250 that the 55-300 is likely to give much better results at the long end for two reasons:
1. The slower maximum aperture of the 18-300 (f6.3 v f5.8) limits its use to when the light is quite good. AF can be marginal at f6.3 in mediocre light. Also if the light is not great you would need to lower the shutter speed and/or raise ISO to what might be unacceptable levels. To make matters worse, these wide-ranging zooms usually need to be stopped down for greater sharpness. Take the aperture to f8 and the low-light issues are increased.
2. The 18-300 is an internal focus lens, but the 55-300 is not. The 18-300 will only provide 300mm-level magnification (if at all) when focused to infinity (this is called focus breathing - see numerous threads about this). If your subject is say 5-10 metres away (say 15-30') the real magnification will be equivalent to much less than 300mm. With the 55-300, 300 means 300. Even at 250mm, the 55-300 will give much more magnification (ie narrower field of view) than the Tamron 18-250 at 250mm except with far distant subjects.

I have now finished up back with a two-zoom setup for wide-long that I left behind with my film SLR. I now have the DA 18-135 and DA-L 55-300. Each provides a significant step up in image quality from the superzoom. Each lens is about a stop faster than the superzoom.

I just love the quiet AF, WR and QS of the 18-135, it is compact and light weight, and the IQ is very good for what it is (particularly at the wide-normal end). And of course its a very versatile range (equivalent to the whole coverage of the 28-85 and 70-210 zooms I had on my film camera).

The DA 16-85 and Sigma 17-70 C are also worth careful consideration as alternatives to the 18-135. Some people find the extra 1-2mm on the wide end more useful than the shorter telephoto range.

The next step up from there in wide-normal zooms is going to one of the f2.8 zooms like the Tamron 17-50 or the Pentax DA*16-50.

My version of the 55-300 is the poverty pack one (plastic mount, no supplied lens hood, no QS, not WR); it's amazingly cheap, but if you can afford the current HD WR version (it was going for around $US260 recently) it would be a better option.

The next step up from the 55-300 is the DA*60-250 f4 or one of the 300mm primes (either can be paired with a teleconverter for more reach), or (for more reach) the Sigma 50-500 (Bigma) or 150-500, or the Pentax DFA 150-450. All much heavier and much more expensive. But if you really want long, or you shoot in low light, they will give you significantly more than the 55-300.

I like shooting nature shots mostly. If all my gear were stolen and I got a decent insurance payout, I think I would get the DA 16-85 and either the DA*60-250, DA*300 or F/FA*300 f4.5 and DA WR teleconverter (plus 12-24, 31, 43, 77 and 100). I could certainly live with just a 300 prime + TC for the long end - they aren't too heavy, the IQ is stellar, and I find I mostly use the 55-300 at 300 anyway.

You will probably have responses on this topic in your other thread by now! Good luck.

Last edited by Des; 03-06-2016 at 05:10 PM.
03-05-2016, 11:04 PM   #6
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I had a K-30 and upgraded to the KS2. There were two really big upgrades for me: The flippy screen and the lower-light focus points. The first is useful for low or high angle shots. I shoot out of the sunroof of my car, and at flowers on the ground. I love the flippy screen.

The low-light focusing on the KS2 is Amazing. It can focus almost anywhere!

The higher resolution is nice, but not a big change.

One downside of the KS2 is it can not use the built in flash as an optical controller for an external flash. Not a big deal, really, as using the built in as a master was always kind of a mess for me anyway.
03-06-2016, 06:59 AM   #7
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Great suggestions,...Thanks!

Hi Everyone,

Now I remember how much I liked this forum from my previous K50 days. Good members always willing to help.

Lots of lens suggestions to chew over, especially informative comments from Des. My present thinking is to get the 18-135mm WR for sure, probably add the 55-300mm WR. Not sure yet and will do some more thinking on that.

The KS2 is getting the nod, mainly for size and the LCD screen.

Thanks to all of you!

Jack
03-06-2016, 02:47 PM   #8
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You probably would have been happy with either camera but you made a good choice with the K2s IMO. I went through the same decision process a few weeks ago and also went with the K2s. I'm very impressed with it - that 20MP sensor is a beauty and you also get all the other features of a newer body.

Regarding glass, I picked a couple of old manual 50mm primes and the IQ is tremendous with the K2s. They are cheap and work very well with the focus peaking on the K2s.

03-08-2016, 04:00 PM   #9
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I have been going through the same thought process. I am going to be ordering my wife K-S2 as soon as my PayPal money clears. This will be my wife's camera and a backup for our budding photography biz.
04-11-2016, 06:10 AM   #10
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With the same options, I bought a K-S2 and a hand strap

QuoteOriginally posted by Setter Dog Quote
I haven't decided yet between the K50 and the KS2 so would appreciate any comments on the two cameras. My guess is that some of you have owned both or at least studied both. I'll be using the camera in the National Parks on big game and around the house on birds and critters. Much of the parks photography will be early morning low light stuff.
If the body itself is the only criterion, I just faced this choice and ended up with the K-S2.

I just replaced the K-30 that I dropped and broke. I traveled 100 miles to have a hands-on with the K-50 and the K-S2, because I wanted to see whether the K-S2's lesser grip and smaller body would present issues for my large-ish hands and my butterfingers. Purchase of the hand strap seemed a wise safeguard given my recent unpleasant experience!
04-12-2016, 09:33 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SnapperDaddy Quote
Purchase of the hand strap seemed a wise safeguard given my recent unpleasant experience!
It turns out that the Pentax 85101 DSLR Leather Hand Strap is made for the Pentax DSLR that does not have the articulating rear display of the K-S2.

When installed on the K-S2, the hand strap makes it impossible to swing the display away from the camera body or into it; the plate into which one screws the camera has a lip that extends into the path taken by the display.

If I have to choose between the K-S2 and the hand strap, I am afraid that the K-S2 stays. Its articulating rear screen is too useful. My first 20 minutes exploring the K-S2 already shows me that I can configure the camera to not turn on the rear display every time I power up. To do this, all I need to do is to leave the display snug against the camera with the display pointing into the body, protected by its back.

My K-30's habit of turning on the rear screen every time I powered up the camera was wasteful, to save power I had to push buttons to turn off the display.

Last edited by SnapperDaddy; 04-12-2016 at 11:00 PM.
05-06-2016, 10:00 PM   #12
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FWIW, I have a K-50, but I'm getting a K-S2 for the screen. I find myself taking shots at weird camera positions and heights too often for the health of my back and neck. It's also surprising how the comfort helps you concentrate (from experience with a Lumix FZ200). I expect the grip size to be a problem. I already find the K-50 a bit small. My favorite camera size-wise is a K10D, which is much bigger than newer ones.
05-10-2016, 04:34 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by eyeball Quote
FWIW, I have a K-50, but I'm getting a K-S2 for the screen. I find myself taking shots at weird camera positions and heights too often for the health of my back and neck. It's also surprising how the comfort helps you concentrate (from experience with a Lumix FZ200). I expect the grip size to be a problem. I already find the K-50 a bit small. My favorite camera size-wise is a K10D, which is much bigger than newer ones.
The KS-2 came yesterday and I played with it a little bit, so I'll pass on my first impressions. It's almost a clone of the K-50, with an added articulated screen, and a 20 MP sensor upgraded from the K-50's 16 MP. Handling-wise, the cameras are practically the same size, the narrower width of the KS-2 being due mostly to its square rather than rounded edges. You can actually argue that the grip on the KS-2 is slightly larger in terms of finger wrap than the K-50; they're both a little small, but not horribly so. Buttons are placed in nearly the same places, those on the KS-2 being a little closer to accommodate the bit of extra room taken up by the flip-out screen. The KS-2 also has a wi-fi button that doubles as a shutter release for selfies, has a few more jpeg processing options, and has a specialized movie position on the power switch. You'll have to decide whether the differences are worth the ~$300 vs ~$500 going prices. For me, the articulated screen was the one and only compelling feature. I hope to put a Rokinon T/S lens on the KS-2 and see how that works out, but even if I find something worthwhile, I won't be reporting on it for a few days, and it will be in another thread.
07-06-2016, 04:26 AM   #14
ase
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I resume this thread because I have a question....I am in the process of buying a (barely) used K50 with 18-55 WR lens (kit) for about 300€ (330$). Point is, next week I am in the US and actually I could get a brand new KS2 for 531$ (480$) from B&H. Now I am torn...big save on K50 or stretch my budget and go for a new KS2. Still I have to check if Warranty is international, though. That might be an hurdle.
Thoughts?
07-06-2016, 06:19 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ase Quote
I resume this thread because I have a question....I am in the process of buying a (barely) used K50 with 18-55 WR lens (kit) for about 300 (330$). Point is, next week I am in the US and actually I could get a brand new KS2 for 531$ (480$) from B&H. Now I am torn...big save on K50 or stretch my budget and go for a new KS2. Still I have to check if Warranty is international, though. That might be an hurdle.
Thoughts?
My wife has a K-S2 and it is a wonderful camera! For $480.00 I would say it is definitely worth getting it over the K-50.
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