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01-03-2014, 10:00 PM   #1
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Planning on a Pentax

Hi. I am planning to purchase a Pentax and am now in the research stage of this process. I am not new to photography, in that I have owned many cameras, pre-digital era, with a variety of lenses, and have developed pictures in dark rooms, and hung them to dry. Ahh the olden days... but that was long ago and things have changed, and I have been ready to embrace the digital age for years now. Only, my pocket book kept me in the dark ages. I have never owned a DSLR. I have used a point and shoot. But, we all know that is like driving a scooter in loo of a Cadillac. The point is, I am ready to purchase a DSLR and although I am a technical novice, I am not new to the practice of taking pictures. My creativity has been hampered by lack of proper tools, but now I am ready to invest in a Pentax DSLR.

I am trying to decide between the k-3 and the k-50. Leaning towards the k-3.

What I don't know much about is lenses.

Both camera kits offer the 18-135mm, 18-55mm and/or 50-200mm lenses in their bundles.

Any advice? I like nature photography, landscape, low and natural light, and macro. I have a special love of macro.

Thank you, nice to meet you, and I look forward to some input.

01-03-2014, 10:04 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by EdithCosmos Quote
Hi. I am planning to purchase a Pentax and am now in the research stage of this process. I am not new to photography, in that I have owned many cameras, pre-digital era, with a variety of lenses, and have developed pictures in dark rooms, and hung them to dry. Ahh the olden days... but that was long ago and things have changed, and I have been ready to embrace the digital age for years now. Only, my pocket book kept me in the dark ages. I have never owned a DSLR. I have used a point and shoot. But, we all know that is like driving a scooter in loo of a Cadillac. The point is, I am ready to purchase a DSLR and although I am a technical novice, I am not new to the practice of taking pictures. My creativity has been hampered by lack of proper tools, but now I am ready to invest in a Pentax DSLR.

I am trying to decide between the k-3 and the k-50. Leaning towards the k-3.

What I don't know much about is lenses.

Both camera kits offer the 18-135mm, 18-55mm and/or 50-200mm lenses in their bundles.

Any advice? I like nature photography, landscape, low and natural light, and macro. I have a special love of macro.

Thank you, nice to meet you, and I look forward to some input.
The K-3 is a high-end camera while the K-50 is an upper entry-level/mid-range body. They both take great pictures but there are some differences in their feature sets & overall performance, so I recommend that you refer to our review of each camera for details.

Pentax K-3 Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
Pentax K-50 Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

If you're an experienced photographer, you'll probably be better off getting the body only and adding some primes/premium lenses to your kit instead of the kit zooms. The K-3 currently comes with the DA 50mm for free at B&H, so I wouldn't pass that up!

Pentax K-3 DSLR Camera Body 15530 B&H Photo Video

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01-03-2014, 10:25 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by EdithCosmos Quote

What I don't know much about is lenses.

Both camera kits offer the 18-135mm, 18-55mm and/or 50-200mm lenses in their bundles.

Any advice? I like nature photography, landscape, low and natural light, and macro. I have a special love of macro.

Thank you, nice to meet you, and I look forward to some input.
None of those lenses are particularly great at the things you list. Unless you want a 50 prime, I would get the 18-55 while you learn the camera and then buy lenses accordingly.
01-03-2014, 11:36 PM   #4
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Thank you for responding. I am thinking the k-3 will be better for me in the long run, as it will allow me more room to grow. I think you are right in that I should buy lenses suited to my purposes. I will check that link out Adam. Thank you for the great tip. And SpecialK, I was leaning towards getting the 18-55 to get started, althought, the k-3 is offered most commonly with the 18-135. I was wondering if there was a reason for that. But essentially a 50 prime is the lens you both suggest for my style of photography, so I will look into getting that lens either alone or in addition to the 18-55. Your input has really helped me. I can hardly wait to lay my hands on a new camera.

01-03-2014, 11:46 PM   #5
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The only thing that I can't quite settle in my mind is this question. Is it better to get the mid range body, k-50 and have more money for prime lenses that suit my specific needs, or get the high end body, k-3 and have less money to invest in lenses? Will the k-50 perform well enough with the right lenses? Or would I be limiting myself by not getting the higher end body?
01-04-2014, 11:28 AM   #6
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Have read the reviews and just when I think I know what to do, I read another forum and review and confuse myself. The k-3 might be too much camera for me. I am more of a beginner in that I have never owned a DSLR but I have been taking pictures all my life and am aspiring to be better. I don't want to limit myself at the same time I don't want to overwhelm myself with a high end camera that I can't utilize fully. My budget it tight. I can't buy all the lenses at this time,that would allow the k-3 to be used to it's maximum potential. So, that leaves me with the k-50. But, then I read about the k-30. It rates higher for performance and seems to be the darling of the Pentax reviews. Help please? K-50 or K-30? In a quandary. Would love guidance from an experienced Pentaxian. Thank you.
01-04-2014, 01:05 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I have both the 18-55mm and 50-200mm DAL kit lenses. They are both fine lens -- not the top of the line by any means but Pentax kit lenses aren't junk and you can do a lot with them. Today, I might choose the 18-135 instead -- the 18-55 is on my camera more than any other lens (of my meager selection) and if it had more range I think I'd like it even better.

Anyway, I would not hesitate to start with a kit lens and see what it is missing for you before starting a lens collection.

Oh... and were you a Pentax film shooter? If so, you can use all your old K mount lenses if you still have them.
01-04-2014, 02:19 PM - 1 Like   #8
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When I got my first ILC (a Sony NEX), I got frustrated fairly quickly with using an 18-55 as a walkaround lens (supplemented by the 55-210). I often felt as though I wanted to shoot a particular scene with a wider angle and a longer telephoto and with only one camera body, switching took a few crucial minutes.

That's the main reason I get the 18-135 lens when I got my K-3. I also got the 55-300 WR lens because I'm interested in wildlife photography. I like having the overlapping zooms. I do tend to shoot a lot in the 60-120mm focal length range, and sometimes I combine that with more wide-angle images and sometimes with more telephoto perspectives. My husband and I also have several primes between us (such as the f4 15mm, the f1.8 50mm, the f1.8 77mm).

I'd encourage you to consider the 18-135 lens because it does produce quite good quality images for a kit lens and it is flexible. You could also look at buying a macro extension tube (I like Kenko), which would give you a useful range for doing some macro in good light in combination with the kit lens.

Beyond that, you could look at getting the affordable 50mm f1.8 for low light situations and portraits. And check out the highly rated Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens. It's less expensive than the Pentax 100mm macro (with the same max aperture). Aside from being useful for your macro work, it also works nicely as a low light lens (especially for portraits). If your budget is tight after getting the K-3, think about getting the Tamron as your macro / low light lens and then get a wider angle prime for landscapes.

01-04-2014, 02:21 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Edith.. I was in the same quandary between the k30 & k50 at first. I did a lot of research as far as one being better than the other there isn't much difference. Performance wise it would be debatable if there was any from a user standpoint.. I went with the K50 two lens kit because the price dropped to where there was only $50.00 difference at the time of my purchase. To me it made more sense to go with the newer model for that difference. I went with the two lens kit simply to have more lenses and the cost difference from the 18-135mm kit. I would have liked the 18-135 but went the cheaper route but I don't regret the decision. You can't go wrong with getting the 18-135mm

If you have used old slr film camera lenses there are a lot of older lenses that work well with Pentax Dslr's. If you don't mind manually focusing, use of those can give you access to some great glass. It's one way to build a collection for use if one doesn't have the $$$ to spend at first for more expensive digital glass especially if you like macro. Plus I have a lot of fun using them, You can find some decently priced Pentax F & FA auto focusing lenses. There is a wealth of reviews for all types of glass here to help guide one in their search.

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 01-04-2014 at 02:48 PM.
01-04-2014, 03:54 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I think I will go with the k-50. Thank you for all the great advice. I am glad to hear that several of you are happy with the kit lenses as that is how I will most likely begin. I no longer have my old cameras and lenses. I recently took them to National Camera Exchange to see if they would work with dSLR and was told no. They recycled them.


So, I am starting from scratch. For the past several years I have used a Kodak Easy Share that I got as a Christmas present and since I had no money to upgrade it has been my only digital camera ever since. Trying to make that little thing do what it can't has really gotten frustrating. Getting a DSLR is a dream come true for me and long overdo. I had grown up practicing on my garage sale film cameras and lenses but it became unfeasible. Who can afford to buy and develop film anymore? Might as well put that money into a DSLR, right? So, they sat in storage while I monkeyed around with the Kodak until I had saved the money for a real camera. I am sure many of you can relate. I am thrilled that decent a decent dslr is finally more affordable. Thanks Pentax!


I have been researching what kind of camera I would buy for years and watched as the market and technology shifted and changed. Now that I am ready to own one, I was overwhelmed by all the options. But when I started looking at the Pentax lines, I fell in love. I am very attracted to the k-50 and feel like it will be a great choice for me to learn on and allow me to expand myself creatively. I look forward to posting some shots in February, and getting more feed back on lenses as I go along. This is a great resource. Thanks so much for the advice all of you and easing my mind regarding the kit lenses to get started. Thanks frogoutofwater for giving me some great info on lenses that suit macro and low light as well as general use lenses.
01-04-2014, 04:56 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Well enjoy and there is plenty of help here to be found... You can always if you get the gear fever and rummage through B&H, Adorama Used or Keh Camera for lenses. Hint, one thing about KEH look in the 35mm section under Pentax auto focus lenses. Then there's always Feabay, you have to watch it there though.
01-04-2014, 08:28 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by EdithCosmos Quote
Have read the reviews and just when I think I know what to do, I read another forum and review and confuse myself. The k-3 might be too much camera for me. I am more of a beginner in that I have never owned a DSLR but I have been taking pictures all my life and am aspiring to be better. I don't want to limit myself at the same time I don't want to overwhelm myself with a high end camera that I can't utilize fully. My budget it tight. I can't buy all the lenses at this time,that would allow the k-3 to be used to it's maximum potential. So, that leaves me with the k-50. But, then I read about the k-30. It rates higher for performance and seems to be the darling of the Pentax reviews. Help please? K-50 or K-30? In a quandary. Would love guidance from an experienced Pentaxian. Thank you.
Exactly my thoughts when I jumped in to the DSLR world a little while ago; I purchased a used Nikon D50, right price range easy enough to learn on. Then of course I 'discovered' Pentax in the form of a steal of a deal K100DS. It's in the same class as the D50 but...better. I love them both but....I'm fairly certain had I waited a few months I probably would have bought 'more' camera and been just as happy.

In short, learning the camera isn't all that hard. For me, the K-50/30 control setup would be a dealbreaker; I prefer the setup of the K-3/k-5. On the other hand, the money you save on the K-30 could be spent on awesome lenses.....Or, you could be regretting that awesome camera a few months down the road when it becomes old hat and you discover the whiz-bang features of that other camera you didn't think you needed...BTDT.
01-05-2014, 03:53 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Welcome to the forum.

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If you're an experienced photographer, you'll probably be better off getting the body only and adding some primes/premium lenses
+1 on that, this way you get what you want, not what someone else thinks you want.

QuoteOriginally posted by EdithCosmos Quote
Leaning towards the k-3
I would go that way too, if I were you.

QuoteOriginally posted by EdithCosmos Quote
developed pictures in dark rooms
Now you develop in light rooms with the likes of Photoshop and no messy chemicals.
01-05-2014, 08:13 AM   #14
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kerrowdown,

Thank you for your straightforward and clear advice. I have been to Scotland twice BTW. One of the most beautiful places in the world. Would love to wander around those hills with a k-3. I will check out your gallery.

-Edith
01-05-2014, 10:03 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by EdithCosmos Quote
I have been to Scotland twice BTW. One of the most beautiful places in the world. Would love to wander around those hills with a k-3. I will check out your gallery.
I totally agree! I have no money to travel right now but I'd be back in Scotland in a heartbeat if I did.
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