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01-26-2014, 09:12 AM   #1
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Midwest Photographer and Future Pentax Owner

Hello from the Windy City!

Just a quick note to introduce myself to what I think will be my lifeline over the next several months and possibly years. Before the day ends I'll be purchasing my first Pentax camera; finally saying goodbye to my iPhone 5 photography hobby and hello to taking this hobby down a more professional road. I chose Pentax after several hours of research, mainly because my gut told me to go with this brand, but also because I want to support the "underdog" (or so I've read is the case in comparisons between Pentax, Canon, and Nikon). I don't think I'll be disappointed.

My goal with the new camera is to take high-quality photos of anything from food and drink to buildings and landscapes (think wineries, golf courses, breweries, restaurants, etc). I will not be using this camera in a studio of any sort, but will be out in the wide open world, finally combining my eye for opportunities and a quality camera to produce insanely beautiful photos. Taking photos of people will be very minimal and I'd like something that will last me awhile.

I'm currently trying to decide between the K-50 and the K-3, after doing research and finally narrowing down to these two. Part of me thinks the K-3 isn't necessary for the level of photography I'll be starting at. However, if spending the extra $600-ish is worth it, I would be willing to consider K-3. Another concern of mine is the lens; is the stock lens okay or should I consider buying the body and lens separately? From what I've read, I can always upgrade my lens down the road as my photo skills improve.

Would love and appreciate any advice. I'm so eager to join the Pentax family and be a regular in this forum; I think I'll need all the guidance I can get after purchasing my first camera. Here's to taking my photography hobby to the next level!

Thanks all.
-kp

01-26-2014, 10:39 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, it's always difficult to decide what's best, budget does however play a big part.
01-26-2014, 11:01 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by kerrowdown Quote
Welcome to the forum, it's always difficult to decide what's best, budget does however play a big part.
Completely agree! Budget is a huge factor; I've set my limit at $1k, which makes me lean more toward the K-50. This would allow me to purchase accessories while staying in my budget.

Another concern of mine...is a warranty worth the extra $60? I'm purchasing my K-50 from Amazon (free 2-day shipping with prime) and they have two warranty options: 4-year and 3-year. Not sure if it's worth it!

Also, I think I've decided to go with a package. The K-50 I'm looking at comes with two lenses: 18-55mm and 50-200mm. After doing a quick search I read that it's best to have the two separate lenses. Can someone please explain the difference and advise if getting the two lenses is a good idea?

Thanks again!
kp
01-26-2014, 12:12 PM   #4
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In my experience, I am very happy with the kit 50-200, but pretty disappointed with the 18-55. This is much more conjecture than fact, but I would guess that these lenses go through less QC than the higher-end models. Some people have said that their 18-55's are great. If I had to do it over again, I would probably buy the body, and then spend some money on good lenses.

The great thing about Pentax is the backward-compatibility. For ~$50 or less you can get a really good 50mm prime that would probably be perfect for food photography.

If you do go with the kit lenses. I would really put them through their paces early, while they are still under warranty.

01-26-2014, 12:16 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kphillippo Quote
Also, I think I've decided to go with a package. The K-50 I'm looking at comes with two lenses: 18-55mm and 50-200mm. After doing a quick search I read that it's best to have the two separate lenses. Can someone please explain the difference and advise if getting the two lenses is a good idea
Not sure what you mean explain the difference? These are kit lenses 18-55 and 50-200. The 18-55 is a good start up lens, wide angle 18mm to short tele 55 mm, reasonably sharp and so close focus ability, food etc and good walk around lens. The 50-200 not highly regarded but, check the reviews on the Lens Database forum, very handy and hundreds of lenses to read upon.

Myself would go for the 18-55 and later move up to better lenses when your skills and knowledge base increase. Hope this helps and have fun.

Poster above must have bad copy of 18-55 which by all accounts does happen, when i got the 18-55 was on the K-01 was after the 40mm XS but was out of stock so settled for the 18-55 and was very surprised how good my copy was.

Last edited by gmans; 01-26-2014 at 12:23 PM.
01-26-2014, 01:27 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by millsware Quote
In my experience, I am very happy with the kit 50-200, but pretty disappointed with the 18-55. This is much more conjecture than fact, but I would guess that these lenses go through less QC than the higher-end models. Some people have said that their 18-55's are great. If I had to do it over again, I would probably buy the body, and then spend some money on good lenses.

The great thing about Pentax is the backward-compatibility. For ~$50 or less you can get a really good 50mm prime that would probably be perfect for food photography.

If you do go with the kit lenses. I would really put them through their paces early, while they are still under warranty.
Thanks for the advice! Sounds like 50mm is great for food photography, close-up shots, etc.
01-26-2014, 01:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by gmans Quote
Not sure what you mean explain the difference? These are kit lenses 18-55 and 50-200. The 18-55 is a good start up lens, wide angle 18mm to short tele 55 mm, reasonably sharp and so close focus ability, food etc and good walk around lens. The 50-200 not highly regarded but, check the reviews on the Lens Database forum, very handy and hundreds of lenses to read upon.

Myself would go for the 18-55 and later move up to better lenses when your skills and knowledge base increase. Hope this helps and have fun.

Poster above must have bad copy of 18-55 which by all accounts does happen, when i got the 18-55 was on the K-01 was after the 40mm XS but was out of stock so settled for the 18-55 and was very surprised how good my copy was.
Thanks for the direction! I should have worded it differently. Instead of explaining the difference, I was hoping to get a better idea of what each lens is best suited for. Per the last poster, 18-55mm is great for food/close-ups/etc. Based on your advice and some more research, I think I'll do the 18-55mm. Will this lens perform well for landscape shots as well? If so, sounds like I don't need the 50-200 right away.

Thanks again!
01-26-2014, 02:48 PM   #8
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Yes the 18-55 can do landscapes, would recommend a hood for it, got mine from ebay $4.00.

See landscape 18-55 and the K-01. Cropped to pano and some PP colour, contrast boosted.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/26-mini-challenges-games-photo-stories/40...ml#post2659966

01-26-2014, 03:43 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by gmans Quote
Yes the 18-55 can do landscapes, would recommend a hood for it, got mine from ebay $4.00.

See landscape 18-55 and the K-01. Cropped to pano and some PP colour, contrast boosted.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/26-mini-challenges-games-photo-stories/40...ml#post2659966
Great! This is extremely helpful. I wasn't familiar with the hood, but it sounds like I'll be adding it to my shopping basket.
Thanks!
01-26-2014, 04:01 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kphillippo Quote
I'm currently trying to decide between the K-50 and the K-3, after doing research and finally narrowing down to these two. Part of me thinks the K-3 isn't necessary for the level of photography I'll be starting at. However, if spending the extra $600-ish is worth it, I would be willing to consider K-3. Another concern of mine is the lens; is the stock lens okay or should I consider buying the body and lens separately? From what I've read, I can always upgrade my lens down the road as my photo skills improve.
I recommend buying the best camera body you think is reasonably priced. While the K-3 will many features you don't yet understand, when you are ready to use them, they will be there. It is a camera you can grow into. It is not inherently harder to use than the K-50, just with more advanced stuff that you can ignore for a while. The K-50, however, is a camera that you can advance beyond if you really start getting into things. If your plan is to keep it in full auto mode forever, then you won't see a difference. But if you want to experiment with things like high ISO, difficult low-light shots, etc., then the K-3 will provide you with the equipment to do those things.

The key to selecting a camera is not the level of photography you are at. It is the level of photography you aspire to reach.

For starters, the kit lens will serve you well, but as you get better and figure out the limitations of the kit lens and what you want to accomplish, then purchasing new lenses will make sense. You can, of course, begin with better lenses, but unless you really know what you want to do from the beginning, it's unlikely you'll get the right one. Lenses have strong resale value so it's not like throwing money away when you do purchase the wrong lens, but the kit lens costs the least and functions satisfactorily. It will let you learn what lenses do well and poorly and teach you how to select your perfect lens.
01-26-2014, 04:11 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
I recommend buying the best camera body you think is reasonably priced. While the K-3 will many features you don't yet understand, when you are ready to use them, they will be there. It is a camera you can grow into. It is not inherently harder to use than the K-50, just with more advanced stuff that you can ignore for a while. The K-50, however, is a camera that you can advance beyond if you really start getting into things. If your plan is to keep it in full auto mode forever, then you won't see a difference. But if you want to experiment with things like high ISO, difficult low-light shots, etc., then the K-3 will provide you with the equipment to do those things.

The key to selecting a camera is not the level of photography you are at. It is the level of photography you aspire to reach.

For starters, the kit lens will serve you well, but as you get better and figure out the limitations of the kit lens and what you want to accomplish, then purchasing new lenses will make sense. You can, of course, begin with better lenses, but unless you really know what you want to do from the beginning, it's unlikely you'll get the right one. Lenses have strong resale value so it's not like throwing money away when you do purchase the wrong lens, but the kit lens costs the least and functions satisfactorily. It will let you learn what lenses do well and poorly and teach you how to select your perfect lens.
This is great advice; thank you! Although I would consider myself an amatuer right now, I have high hopes of getting better quickly. It sounds like equipment is something that needs to grow with you. This makes me feel more confident starting at the basic level and letting my path determine the best suited equipment for me and my photography business! Thanks again for your help.
01-27-2014, 07:30 AM   #12
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Welcome aboard from a fellow Chicagolander.

The K50 and K3 are pretty different, the latter being more "technical" minded. The K50 may be more suited for an entry level, but I think the more technical controls are simple enough to use. You may consider a K5II as well, it's far less expensive than the K3 and a very powerful unit.

There are tools like TAv mode which allow you to control the two most important parameters very easily with two wheels, this is what I use 90% of the time. You'll get the hang of it.

The 18-55 is not bad, the 18-135 WR is better if you can swing the price. Then look for lenses are you find there are things you can't do or things you want to do better. Don't try to do everything at once, you'll get bogged down or buy things you don't really need. There are always manual lenses for sale on Craigslist which will help you learn a lot, too.

I really am impressed with the 18-135, the motorized focus is silent and seems to hunt less than the 55-300. It's a pleasure to use.
01-27-2014, 07:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
Welcome aboard from a fellow Chicagolander.

The K50 and K3 are pretty different, the latter being more "technical" minded. The K50 may be more suited for an entry level, but I think the more technical controls are simple enough to use. You may consider a K5II as well, it's far less expensive than the K3 and a very powerful unit.

There are tools like TAv mode which allow you to control the two most important parameters very easily with two wheels, this is what I use 90% of the time. You'll get the hang of it.

The 18-55 is not bad, the 18-135 WR is better if you can swing the price. Then look for lenses are you find there are things you can't do or things you want to do better. Don't try to do everything at once, you'll get bogged down or buy things you don't really need. There are always manual lenses for sale on Craigslist which will help you learn a lot, too.

I really am impressed with the 18-135, the motorized focus is silent and seems to hunt less than the 55-300. It's a pleasure to use.
Hope you're enjoying this arctic weather fellow Chicagoan! I appreciate your input. I hadn't really thought about the K5II, and actually went ahead and purchased the K-50 with an 18-55mm lens. I think this will be a great starting point for me, until I find more direction with my photography. One thing I'm curious about is the aperture measurement of my lens, which is 3.5 - 5.6. Although I'm not completely familiar with the this measurement, I'm hoping this will be alright. I was reading a lot about taking photos in manual mode and this is a question that came up in my mind.

Thanks again and stay warm!
01-27-2014, 08:18 AM   #14
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Have a look at my Flickr stream - cold weather is fun time for us and the dogs!

You'll enjoy the camera - but do get a lens hood, it makes a big difference and protects the lens.
01-27-2014, 08:18 AM   #15
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Maybe we need to make a Chicago club here somewhere!
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