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11-13-2011, 02:03 AM   #1
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Thinking About Joining the Pentax Club

I'm not yet a Pentax owner, but I may be soon. I have been shooting with a Panasonic LX3 for the past few years. I love this little camera, and think it is one of the best point and shoot cameras on the market. It takes nice pictures, has full manual controls, captures in RAW+JPEG, and has excellent wide angle capabilities with a 24-60 35mm equivalent lens. But sometimes, I want more zoom. Also, would like better bokeh than I can get from a small sensor camera. And I really miss having a viewfinder - like the one I had on my old SLR back in the film era days.

So, I've been thinking about upgrading to a DSLR. After doing some research I am strongly leaning toward the Pentax K5. Portability is really important as I do a lot of picture taking on long hikes, and on travels where I walk all day long. The Pentax is lighter than the comparable cameras from Canon (7D) and Nikon (D7000). While some of the entry level DSLRs are lighter still, they seem much less substantial and I want a better quality camera. Also, in keeping with my desire for light and portable, the lightweight prime lens that Pentax offers is leading me in this direction. Before buying the K5, I'm trying to decide which lenses to get as a starter set. I read an article that talked about the "Three Lenses Every Photographer Should Own." Needless to say there's a lot of disagreement over what those three lenses should be. But, I'm thinking three would be a good start - although I'm having trouble limiting myself to three and may get four lenses. I like to take landscape pictures on my hikes, and have used the 24mm length on my LX3 more than any other length. So I'm thinking the Pentax SMC DA 15mm F4 Limited would be a good choice. Second, I like to take closeups of flowers and bugs - so I'm thinking about the Pentax SMC DA 35mm F2-8 Limited macro. I also think that this could be a nice walk around 50 mm equivalent normal lens. However, I'm still debating whether to get this lens or a faster 35mm or 50mm lens instead. I'm also considering the Pentax SMC DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 WR. I like the idea of have weather resistant standard zoom lens to go with a weather resistant camera and I also like that this lens is lighter than the other normal zooms that Pentax offers. This would make three lenses - but, I still don't have the longer telephoto length that I sometimes miss with my LX3. So, I'm thinking about either the Pentax DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 WR or the Pentax 55-300mm F4-5.8. The 50-200 is weather resistant and lighter - but has less reach than the 55-300mm. If I were to get only three lenses, I might wait on the 35mm Limited since I need the other three lenses to get a full range of focal lengths. But would I miss the macro capability?

I've been thinking about this over the past month or two. My thinking is getting clearer, but I'm still not quite ready to pull the trigger. In the meantime, I still have my LX3.

11-13-2011, 04:24 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.

Pentax don't have any lenses longer than 300mm in their current line up. Longer lenses are available from Sigma and you might like to look at the 150-500mm and 50-500mm lenses in their current range.

There are also longer Pentax lenses available from the older lens ranges including their original M42 screw mount range. These are usable with limitations on a modern DSLR with a simple M42 - K mount adapter.
11-13-2011, 08:35 AM   #3
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I don't have experience with most of the lenses you list, but I can tell you the 15 ltd has a fanatical following around here. Note that its built-in hood may entail some restrictions on what filters you can use with it. I have the non-WR version of the 18-55, and find it a very good all-rounder. I'm less happy with my (also non-WR) 50-200; my copy is not very sharp. YMMV, but I wouldn't be satisfied with the 18-55 for flowers and bugs. The 35 ltd is highly regarded; I expect the working distance at max magnification is rather close for bug shots.

Whatever your decision, happy shooting.
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