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06-24-2012, 07:49 AM   #1
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Thinking about a Pentax...

Hi, my name is Mat Draper.

I've been using various Lumix cameras for many years, but I'd like to step up image quality and learn a little more about cameras and photography. I have a 'significant' birthday coming up, so I'm thinking about treating myself to some decent hardware. As far as I can tell, a DSLR is still generally a better bet than micro four-thirds etc. for absolute image quality. And it looks to me as though Pentax provide good price/performance (and some extra toys like HDR).

I'd like to start with a couple of lenses - I'm guessing an 'everyday' zoom for countryside wanderings, and a decent prime for portraits and family gatherings etc. I'm a DSLR beginner - so I don't want to spend ages setting up before a shot, but equally I'd like the choice to tweak and learn as I go along.

So I'm currently thinking:

Pentax K-5 body
Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD IF
Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM

Any comments or suggestions welcome!
Many thanks,

06-24-2012, 09:34 AM   #2
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For the very beginning of your journey I'd stay with name brand Pentax lenses. Sigma quality can be spotty and I'd rather not see you get mired into quality issues so early in your Pentax camera experience. Better to have two quality lenses to learn with than have 3 lesser quality lenses that introduce their own unique challenges into your learning curve. Now I am autistic so when I learn I want as few complications as possible. Not all people are like me so you might be able to handle additional complications caused by off brand lenses. Nice thing is with the AF \ Auto Focus and other automated settings of the K5 it is really hard to take a truly rotten picture. As you gain skill using the K5 your pictures will only get better. As a beginner I'd suggest you shoot in RAW format and buy Adobe Lightroom 4 if you want to bring out photographic information hidden in your photos. Adobe Elements 10 is great if you want some basic photo editing options along with bringing out hidden photographic richness.

I brought the following

Pentax DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED Lens (For Telephoto)

Pentax FA 50mm F/1.4 Lens (For Macro Shots)

PENTAX 2187 DA 50-200MM F/4-5.6 AL Weather Resistant Lens (For Everyday Basic Photography, Portraits and the like!)

Hope I helped!
06-24-2012, 10:02 AM   #3
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Thanks Werewolf,

I'm not too fussy about brands - I've heard great things about the Tamron zoom (compared to the more expensive Pentax equivalent) - but maybe I'll look again at a Pentax prime (maybe 40 or 50 mm) instead of the Sigma..

Many thanks,
06-24-2012, 11:02 AM   #4
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Hello from another newbie and wannabe-pentaxian. First, I'd like to say that I know what you're saying, I was at that point a few years ago (going from "serious p&s" to DSLR). But, I need to point and stress one bit that I've learned first-hand. Micro43 is *not* a toy, nor a "lesser" camera than a DSLR of similar price range. It is just physically smaller. Even if you compare absolute image quality and leave everything else alone (which, in itself, isn't that good comparison), I dare anyone to bring their entry-level DSLRs (Rebels, D3xxx Nikons, etc.) Anything within the $500-$600 price range (as a kit). I'll grab my Lumix G3 with the kit 14-42mm and we'll have a comparison.

I've never been that much amazed by this little miracle than I was the day I received this G3. It is an AMAZING thing.

And after you've compared image quality, think about the fact that my kit 14-42mm lens weights about as much as Canon's lens hood. And the whole kit, lens and battery included, weights about half of Rebel T4i body + battery. When you're on the move, that isn't a fact to dismiss lightly.

My advice - do NOT dismiss micro43 "just because" or because someone said. It is really a remarkable system and can compare seriously with "the big boys" within their price range. (You can't compare a GF or a Pen-PL to a 5DmIII, but then again you can get about 10x cameras for the price, so it wouldn't be a fair comparison to begin with.)

That said, I'm still here, thinking about selling my G3 and "crossing over" to Pentax-land. But NOT for IQ. I fell in love with legacy lenses and the combination of in-body stabilizer and focus peaking on the K-30 weights rather heavily. Add to that the K-30's (and kit's) weather resistance and local weather and there's a kit that is hard to beat.

When you haven't invested one bit and are starting from ground up, think REALLY hard (unless you have money to burn) what you want from the system. From what I've read. Pentax isn't really the worst choice you could make (imo one of the better ones really), but if you come from P&S the complexity and sheer weight/bulk of a full-blown DSLR system might be more than you realize.

And as said a gazillion times before by a large number of people: It isn't much of a good camera if it isn't WITH you. No matter how good in paper or in reality the camera is, it doesn't matter one bit if you always leave it at home. (This is what happened to me with my Sigma and pointed my towards m43. And I wasn't disappointed.)

06-24-2012, 11:02 AM   #5
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The K-5 is simply great. I replaced my Pentax 18-50 with a Tamron 17-50 and never looked back! However, my particular Tammy does have a slight focal plane issue, wide open. And you can't re-adjust the focus in auto mode like you can with a Pentax zoom. Overall, a fantastic lens, though. Probably hard to beat that Sigma as well, but to enjoy the size of the K-5, you might want to consider a compact DA Ltd lens- you would not be disappointed!
06-24-2012, 11:08 AM   #6
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I wouldn't overlook the DA 35/2.4 either. No one knows anything about the DA 50/1.8 that is coming out next month but it is about half the price of the Sigma 1.4.
06-24-2012, 11:40 AM   #7
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AnttiV, some very good points there, thanks.. I'll take another long look at the mirrorless systems. I also think I need to visit a camera store and handle some of this stuff..


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