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02-02-2014, 04:23 PM   #1
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New K-5, first DSLR

Howdy! I've always wanted a good camera, and a couple of weeks ago someone was selling an old Nikon for $300 because they wanted to upgrade, and I thought it migh tbe a good idea just to get something to play around with.

Then I figured it would be better to buy a camera that will last a long time and that I will want to keep. So after a bunch of research on this borad and elsewhere I decided on a K-5, the 18-135 WR kit, and the 50mm DA prime. I found a AF-200 used on Amazon for $44 and convinced myself I need to get a grip, and if everything else was WP that it should be also. So I had this buying fest and everything works great and I'm kind of lost in this great camera with a bunch of options and I've just been playing around trying to learn how to use it.

I do have a couple of questions -
  • do I really need to update the firmware?
  • What is the best Macro lens for shooting the crystal matrix defects in illuminated quartz crystals? My 18-135 does a reasonable job, but can not get quite close enough or as much detail as I would like.
There's been great stuff on the board, and I appreciate all the advice I've gotten so far. Thank y'all.

Oh yeah, I'm in Texas.

02-02-2014, 04:34 PM   #2
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Welcome!

Yes. You really do need to update the firmware.
02-02-2014, 04:52 PM   #3
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Welcome to both the forum and to Pentax, enjoy them both.
02-02-2014, 04:53 PM   #4
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Thanks dansamy, but why?

Are there good reasons?

I've read all the release notes and figured I can live without the updates.

02-02-2014, 05:23 PM   #5
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Because your camera is more computer than camera. Firmware updates increase functionality & improve stability.

One of the k-5 firmware updates improved the overall AF. It can't make it as good as a camera with the new AF engine, but it made it a lot more reliable.

Improving stability, which is a function of almost every firmware update, reduces incidences of random freezes, abrupt power downs due to battery errors. It makes your buttons, dials & switches more likely to behave the way they're meant to. Especially soft buttons that change depending on your prior choice. That's a function of the coding. If you choose A, the camera display gives you the list associated with it. To do that, a programmer had to write some code to tell the camera what the if,then parameters are.

Firmware makes your camera more reliable & more likely to function the way it is intended, the way you expect it. A random error sucks if it happens when you're trying to take pictures of something important to you.

Last edited by dansamy; 02-02-2014 at 05:34 PM.
02-02-2014, 05:54 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Doing it now.

I HATE updating system software in my cell phones because they almost ALWAYS perform worse after updating.

I understand the camera is an isolated system.

Updating the firmware tonight. Fresh battery and formatted card ready. THANKS dansamy!
02-02-2014, 06:01 PM   #7
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No problem.

If you use Android, you can usually find custom ROMs that are much better than OEM.

If you're in Apple's ecosystem, well...
02-02-2014, 06:13 PM   #8
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Got a Galaxy Note II, had it rooted, but when Sprint releases an update, it is a bit of a nuisance to unroot, update, reroot.

Is there a custom ROM you recommend? I've poked around on XDA-developers in the past - but never want to take a whole weekend to read it all.

Maybe you know a better site?

My firmware is updated. Fast and easy. Thanks again.

02-02-2014, 06:19 PM   #9
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Welcome!

Hello Gemvision, welcome to the Forum!
Here's a yes to the firmware also, it seems to 'perk up' the camera and helps keep ahead of early reported problems. All cameras can use updates, especially one that's been around as long as the K-5.
Regarding the macro question, I'd say most good 1:1, standard (around 100mm, short tele length) major-brand macros will do the job just fine.
You could go for reversing a manual 50mm, extension tubes or diopter lenses (image-enlarging filters) but overall I like the portability, sharpness, ease-of-use and versatility of a standard macro lens. Plus, it's a handy short, fast tele for candids and portraits.
Three (new) macros available in K-mount, that are well regarded;
Sigma 70mm f/2.8, $500 new, $350 used.
Tamron 90mm f/2.8, $500 new, $350-$400 used.
Pentax D FA* 100mm f/2.8 W/R, $800 new, $500-$600 used
Of course, any (used) legacy macro in K-mount will work also, and opens up literally dozens of choices for the smart buyer. Since many macro shots end up having the focus tweaked manually anyway, a $100-$150 older M/F lens is perfectly fine, although you may miss the A/F capability when using the lens as a telephoto. A couple of helpful options to look for; Focus limiter and quick shift, both make macro shooting much easier, and are worth paying a bit more for.
If you're looking at A/F lenses (used or new), try to 'test' or research the manual-focusing action. Is it smooth, gritty, tight, wobbly, accurate, sloppy?.
For older manual focus (only) lenses, a better viewfinder screen will help greatly, and is a worthwhile upgrade to the body.
A sturdy tripod, good ballhead and remote shutter release will all be needed soon!
Good luck!
Ron

Last edited by rbefly; 02-02-2014 at 06:24 PM.
02-02-2014, 06:22 PM   #10
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Nope. I use XDA or sometimes Phandroid. I usually take my time & read about several ROMs before choosing one. I have left my HTC One X on the stock ROM. I really like it. If you don't like Samsung's TouchWiz, perhaps try a ROM that puts an HTC Sense style UI on it. MotoBlur sucks though. I've rooted & ROMed every Motorola Android I've had.
02-02-2014, 06:28 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
Hello Gemvision, welcome to the Forum!
Here's a yes to the firmware also, it seems to 'perk up' the camera and helps keep ahead of early reported problems. All cameras can use updates, especially one that's been around as long as the K-5.
Regarding the macro question, I'd say most good 1:1, standard (around 100mm, short tele length) major-brand macros will do the job just fine.
You could go for reversing a manual 50mm, extension tubes or diopter lenses (image-enlarging filters) but overall I like the portability, sharpness, ease-of-use and versatility of a standard macro lens. Plus, it's a handy short, fast tele for candids and portraits.
Three (new) macros available in K-mount, that are well regarded;
Sigma 70mm f/2.8, $500 new, $350 used.
Tamron 90mm f/2.8, $500 new, $350-$400 used.
Pentax D FA* 100mm f/2.8 W/R, $800 new, $500-$600 used
Of course, any (used) legacy macro in K-mount will work also, and opens up literally dozens of choices for the smart buyer. Since many macro shots end up having the focus tweaked manually anyway, a $100-$150 older M/F lens is perfectly fine, although you may miss the A/F capability when using the lens as a telephoto. A couple of helpful options to look for; Focus limiter and quick shift, both make macro shooting much easier, and are worth paying a bit more for.
If you're looking at A/F lenses (used or new), try to 'test' or research the manual-focusing action. Is it smooth, gritty, tight, wobbly, accurate, sloppy?.
For older manual focus (only) lenses, a better viewfinder screen will help greatly, and is a worthwhile upgrade to the body.
A sturdy tripod, good ballhead and remote shutter release will all be needed soon!
Good luck!
Ron
Thanks for the advice, rebfly!

I had a serviceable tripod and got a wireless shutter release for under $10 on amazon. It works fine for what I'm trying to do, but the tripod is not as smooth as I would like it.

Lenses seem to be a whole universe of data I have yet to begin to understand. I know nothing about reversing lenses or the tubes, etc. I did look around here for a forum here on macro photography but did not find one yet...
02-02-2014, 06:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gemvision Quote
Thanks dansamy, but why?

Are there good reasons?

I've read all the release notes and figured I can live without the updates.
It is easy to update. For Macro, you should not go wrong for choosingTamron 90mm f/2.8 or Pentax D FA* 100mm f/2.8 WR
02-02-2014, 06:32 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dansamy Quote
Nope. I use XDA or sometimes Phandroid. I usually take my time & read about several ROMs before choosing one. I have left my HTC One X on the stock ROM. I really like it. If you don't like Samsung's TouchWiz, perhaps try a ROM that puts an HTC Sense style UI on it. MotoBlur sucks though. I've rooted & ROMed every Motorola Android I've had.
I had a HTC One for a week after I thought I had bricked my Note II. I really disliked the HTC sense software, it took the intuitive Android interface and moved everything to somewhere else!!! I was elated to figure out how to finally reset the GN2 so I could use it again and return the One to Sprint.
02-02-2014, 06:38 PM   #14
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Lol! Different strokes. Different folks!
02-02-2014, 07:22 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gemvision Quote
I did look around here for a forum here on macro photography but did not find one yet...
The Forum is laid out for different kinds of gear and users, but not by 'type' of photography, like sports, wildlife, street, macro, landscape, etc. So, you'll find macro discussions under 'SLR Lenses', ' Photographic Technique' and many other sub-forums. If you search 'Macro' here, you'll get a million hits.
It's easier and faster to go to 'Photo Sharing And Galleries' and click on either 'Post Your Photos' or "Photo Critique', each forum entry is designated by photo (subject) type.
Then, just look through the 'Macro' shots, see what catches your eye. Note the lens, camera and settings, usually provided on top or on the EXIF. This will give you a good idea of the quality and performance you can expect from several popular lenses. When you decide on a short list, go up to the header and click on 'Lenses' for the Lens Reviews. Prices, many user reviews, ratings, sometimes sample photos.
Also, under 'Pentax Lenses And Accessories', a sub-forum called 'Lens Sample Photo Archive'. Once you've got a couple likely prospects, enter them here and see many more photos taken with that lens, from different users.
More homework for you!
Ron
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