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11-18-2013, 10:30 AM   #1
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New to Pentax and a question about jumping in

This marks my long-overdue graduation from a Sony a-100 (my library of Minolta lenses made that an easy choice in 2006). That's a great camera for bright daylight but otherwise it's a menace. The WR that Pentax offers is what really caught my attentions. I'm struggling at this point to understand what Pentax model is the best place for me to start, given current priorities:
  • portraits (candid and formal)
  • sporting events (but never shooting further away than sideline)
  • occasional candid movies.Nothing more than smartphone quality wanted.
I'm at hobby-level only, so no one is buying my work and I've no concerns about producing at pro-level. But as with any investment, I'd like to invest in quality with room to learn and improve. Thoughts so far:
  • The K-3 is very nice, but likely better to buy an older body and hold some cash in reserve for a better starter lens or a second lens.
  • The K-01 is a bargain, and lens investments will stand up, but that's an awfully small body to hold an 18-135, and the absence of a viewfinder plus the weight unbalance could spoil a lot of shots.
So right now I'm thinking k30/k50, with one or two WR lenses. But I am very, very open to alternatives -- which is why I'm asking the experts here, of course. Thanks very much, Colin

11-18-2013, 10:38 AM   #2
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Based on your needs, K-30/K-50 paired with the DA* 55mm (or DA 50mm F1.8 if you don't want to spend the extra cash) would be ideal for portraits, while the Sigma 70-200mm lens with it is great for sports. I wouldn't consider the K-01 as it's autofocus isn't the best for moving objects, plus, it's discontinued so you would have to buy used.

There was a $499 deal on the K-50 body last week, but unfortunately it looks like you missed it There might be some other deals over black friday perhaps.

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11-18-2013, 11:12 AM   #3
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Bonjour from France and welcome to PF ... enjoy the forum and hope to see a Pentax image or two soon ... Salut, J
11-18-2013, 11:28 AM   #4
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New Gear?

Hello Colin, Welcome to the Forum!
I'll second Adam's suggestion, the K-30/K50 likely would be the best all-around value for what you've described. I took a quick look at Amazon and they're both about $600 new, each had several listings near that price.
I'll also second (wait, is there an echo here?) the DA 50mm f/1.8 as a portrait lens. I've had mine for several months now and have been happy with the overall quality and sharpness of this lens. It has very pleasing background blur (Bokeh) for portraits, especially if used at f/4.0 and wider.
A good short-tele zoom like 50-135mm, 70-200mm, 80-200mm etc, would be great for sports.You might also consider a monopod, most of these lenses are heavy and awkward to hand-hold for long periods.
And a flash! There's a site called 'The Strobist' that will really help with this sometimes-confusing aspect of photography, especially the part about making the shot look like you didn't use a flash! Check it out.
Well, have I helped you spend enough money yet? No?
The kit 18-55mm is a decent wide zoom, but sooner or later you'll want to upgrade. An f/2.8 short zoom (17-50mm, 17-70mm, etc) from Pentax, Sigma or Tamron would be good choices.
Broke yet? Good, my work is done.
LOL!
Ron

11-18-2013, 12:40 PM   #5
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Practical and funny. This is going to work out. Will start with whatever 30/50 has the better price and the 50mm to learn the camera, then add a zoom and a flash in that order. Thanks for the referral on the how-to for flashes; I've been awful at that and often resort to too much ambient light as a make-do. Thanks.
11-18-2013, 12:53 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Bonjour again tucco,

Looks like you got some good advice and the DA 50/1.8 is up towards the top of my wish list (plus, Ron's always spot on in my books ) ... also, just FYI, there's another PF member with the name "tuco" ... just in case, so that you know ... Salut, J
11-18-2013, 01:23 PM   #7
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Lots of good advice already given, got to this thread late on, so I'll just welcome you to the forum.
11-18-2013, 01:27 PM   #8
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My husband has had the K-30 for nearly a year and is quite happy with it. Although he originally got the K-30 with the 18-55 mm kit lens, he preferred a more versatile (all-in-one) zoom range so he got the Sigma 18-250 and tends to use that as his walk-around lens now. I've got the K-3 and purchased it with the 18-135 kit lens, which I like. If it's possible to get the K-30 with the 18-135 lens as a part of a kit, I'd recommend it. It's well-reviewed for a kit lens, it's a manageable size and I find the zoom range quite versatile. We both also like having the 50 mm 1.8 lens for low light shooting and portraits.

03-04-2014, 11:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
My husband has had the K-30 for nearly a year and is quite happy with it. Although he originally got the K-30 with the 18-55 mm kit lens, he preferred a more versatile (all-in-one) zoom range so he got the Sigma 18-250 and tends to use that as his walk-around lens now. I've got the K-3 and purchased it with the 18-135 kit lens, which I like. If it's possible to get the K-30 with the 18-135 lens as a part of a kit, I'd recommend it. It's well-reviewed for a kit lens, it's a manageable size and I find the zoom range quite versatile. We both also like having the 50 mm 1.8 lens for low light shooting and portraits.
Admittedly as someone VERY new to this setting (both to the forums as of 10 minutes ago, and to owning a Pentax K30 as of 3 days ago), I am wondering: why is the 18-135 the preferable option? I got the 18-55 weather resistant myself (as an avid hiker and camper, in all 4 seasons rain or snow or shine), and am looking to figure out the next lens I ought to keep my eyes open to pick up.

... besides some kind of telescope mount, as I am also deeply fascinated by astrophotography.

Financial solvency and stability is overrated, right?
03-04-2014, 11:27 AM   #10
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Optically, it's a bit better than the 18-55. It's also more versatile since it covers a wider zoom range.
03-04-2014, 01:47 PM   #11
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The 18-135 is also motorized, and really seems to track focus pretty well - plus it's very quick. The zoom range of course is longer, more reach.

If you don't have a longer zoom the 55-300 is probably a better purchase though, it's the most affordable long zoom for the quality.
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