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06-08-2014, 11:42 PM   #1
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New and in need of advice (please) :)

Hiya! As prompted by the site I thought Iíd better introduce myself!
My name is Penny, and Iím based in SE QLD (although originally from South Australia) I specialise in equine photography as well as a love for anything country.
Iíve been pegging away at photography for a few years, but am self taught and slowly learning more as I do lack quite a bit on technical knowledge, I currently use a Pentax K-x and the 2 lenses it came with although my ďkitĒ is a little worse for wear now as itís spent a few years getting lugged around stations, horse events and general outback antics I think itís coped remarkably well but some of that rough lifestyle is starting to show so I have decided to upgrade which is what has led me here.
I would really like to get this right Ė I donít actually like upgrading lol, and itís taken a while to save up so Iím feeling a bit chicken-hearted about it all lol!!!
For body I am in 2 minds wether I ought to go for a K-50 or K-3, Iím a little concerned that a K-3 may be wasted on me given my current lack of experience and rather demanding conditions but I do crave something that I could really go ahead with and not outgrow too soon.
For lenses Ė now, this is where I get very lost! I have half an idea of what I need but get utterly and hopelessly lost in the lingo, I have a 50-200mm but would love to get something with more reach, particularly as I like to photograph moving horses and getting close isnít always possible when they are doing their thing!
The next on my wish list is a macro lens Ė Iíve been doing what I can with an 18-55 lens but would really like to have a crack at getting closer, a good starter lens/ dummy proof lens would be handy Ė recommendations?
Also, best place to get them from, I bought my first Pentax in-store but Iím well away from any Pentax sellers so will have to go online this time!

I look forward to learning what I can here
Cheers and Thanks,
Penny

06-09-2014, 02:06 AM   #2
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The K50 has the brilliant K5 sensor and is weather sealed. It has had rave reviews. It's a big step up from the Kx. You can't go wrong. Instead of a macro lens you could get a set of macro filters and save your money for a longer tele. The new weather sealed DA 55-300 might be just the thing.
06-09-2014, 02:11 AM   #3
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Penny

For camera body, the K-50 or the K-30 are likely the best option. The K-50 is basically identical to the K-30 but newer, hence the K-30 is often found at a better price. Among the Australian online stores, I can recommend digidirect.com.au and camerawarehouse.com.au. (Both are genuine Pentax retailers and I have no vested interest. I bought my K-3 and K-01 from digidirect.com.au when on special.)

For a lens with more reach, the DA 55-300mm is an obvious choice:
Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 Review - Introduction - Pentax Camera Forums
Very good value IMHO.

If you need a faster lens, there are the 70-200mm f2.8:
Fast Sports Zoom Lenses for Pentax - 70-200mm Sigma & Tamron - Pentax Camera Forums
and you could even even the DA*60-250mm:
Pentax DA* 60-250mm F4 Review - Introduction - Pentax Camera Forums.

Macro lens: I was initially interested by a macro-lend and I got the Tamron 90mm: very good value for money. But ... I found that I use rarely the macro capability. Food for thoughts.

Lastly beware that there are several Pentaxians in SE Qld and there is a SE Qld group at PF.

In summary: K-30 + DA55-300mm is possibly your best option.

Hope that the suggestion may help.
06-09-2014, 02:45 AM   #4
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Welcome!

Hi Penny, welcome to the Forum!
The K-50 has to be one of the best-kept secrets in DSLR land, as was the K-30 before it. For an entry-level price, you get most of the top features and a metal, WR body that matches specs with cameras costing hundreds more. To borrow an old expression, it's a 'steal'.
I believe it will serve you well for years and would make a capable back-up if you upgrade later.
For macro advice, check out our new dedicated forum. There's threads for 'rigs', flash setups, lens recommendations and more.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/177-macro-photography/
Personally I like older prime macro lenses, but some new ones are impressive, too. In addition to the current Pentax DA's, the Tamron 90mm and Sigma 70mm macros are very popular here, I think they're both around $500 USD, new. If you keep an eye on the Marketplace, they come up occasionally, used.
The DA 55-300 is probably the best option for a medium-tele zoom, without going into the high-price, fast glass arena. It sounds ideal for your purposes.
JMO, good luck!
Ron

06-09-2014, 03:35 AM   #5
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I would also recommend you use a padded camera bag. That will protect it from most of the worst when being lugged about. Save it from sliding about and getting scratched etc. Get one big enough to hold your whole working kit at one time but not too big.


I have a K3. The extra resolution makes quite severe cropping practical. I never had a camera with the K30/50 resolution so cannot comment on that. My previous body was 6.1MP.
06-09-2014, 03:55 AM   #6
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G'day mate and welcome to the forum
06-09-2014, 04:01 AM   #7
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Good Morning Penny and Welcome to the Forum!!!!

As the others have observed and suggested, the K30 or K50 should be perfect for you. With the way Pentax includes features in their entry level camera bodies, these are definitely not entry level (other than price). Also, the only difference between the two is an update to the body styling, so choose the one with the better price.

I really don't do macro, so I can't help there, but one additional suggestion on the 55-300 lens. Since your out and about in the country, Pentax makes 3 versions of the lens. The standard version, the L version and the new WR version. I might be inclined to look at the WR (Weather Resistant) version, for the dust and rain protection (thus both the body and lens would be sealed), as it might save you from having to have the sensor cleaned as often. If that is not a concern, then perhaps looking for an L version, might be another option. Its a bit le$$ than the standard version, as it has a plastic lens mount, and no hood. I would not be concerned with the plastic mount since they rarely break and if it does, its easily replaced. Also, if something happens the mount breaks first, reducing the internal damage. Optics wise, they are all identical. Its also has much better image quality than you current 50-200.

06-09-2014, 05:26 AM   #8
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Hi All, Thanks so much for your advise and welcome!

Yep, padded bags are essential! I laugh now when I think about it, but when I got my K-x I couldn't afford a bag (couldn't afford the camera either for that matter lol) so just did the best I could and used to wrap the camera in a knitted beanie and keep the lenses in stubby holders lol! I did eventually get more suitable housing for it lol, and no, I'll not be keeping my new kit in beanies and stubby holders lol!! My lifestyle is far more settled now than it was too, so the next camera will not be getting nearly such a beating!
This has helped with my decision a lot, while I'm still a bit indecisive as I have posed this question to some pentax loving friends on facebook and I have had, between there and here, roughtly 50/50 for K-50 or K-3 so the vote is tied thus far lol....
The main thing that concerns me about a k-30 or k-50 is that I am a little worried about outgrowing it in a year or two, while the price is very attractive, I'd hate to find that I'd stopped short of the mark in a year or so, having said that, I STILL use my first camera, a Pentax P30 (?) from the 80's (goodness I love film!) I'd love to get that kind of feeling in a DSLR....

As for lenses, I have a really clear Idea of what I'm after now, thanks! I had half and idea of what I liked and it seems at least I was on the right track there

06-09-2014, 08:35 AM   #9
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What kind of macro do you want to do? Insects often get startled if you try to get too close, so the 90mm+ lenses are a good choice, but they take some practice. The 50mm lenses like the FA50mm macro if you can find a used copy are a good all-around lens you can do a lot with.

I have two, an FA100mm f2.8 macro and a Sigma 28mm f1.8 macro, for different uses. Both are great at what they do.

If the camera has two wheels and TAv mode you won't outgrow it.
06-09-2014, 08:39 AM   #10
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Morning Penny,

Let me approach this from two different paths. First from the point of view of lenses, then from bodies.
  • Lenses - Take two bodies, high end and low end, also two lenses, high end and low end. Putting low end glass on a high end body, produces so so results. Putting high end glass on a low end body, produces excellent results. Lenses - especially quality lenses, contribute much more to an image that what a body does. So, if you are going to scrimp a bit - don't scrimp on the glass.
  • Bodies - What is the difference between a K3 and a K30/K50? Several items -
    • the sensor, more resolution (24MP vs 16MP). That said, the K30 and K50 have the same sensor as the K5/K5II/K5IIs - Pentax's prior top of the line body. This sensor is really magic. 16MP is really a wonderful balance of capabilities, low noise, and great dynamic range. Its low light capability is excellent.
    • sealing - There is no real difference in weather resistance - all the bodies are sealed.
    • user controls - the only real difference between the K3 and K30/K50 is the top LCD panel and folks are divided on how useful it is. All the bodies have both a front and rear thumb wheel. Yes, the K3 has some additional control buttons for video, etc.
    • functionality - the K3 and K30/K50 all have focus peaking and live view. Focus peaking was not included in the K5/K5II/K5IIs.
    • body build - Yes there is a difference. The K3 has a metal forged body, while the K30/k50 has a plastic body reinforced with a stainless steel inner skeleton. This may make a difference to you. The build of the K30/K50 is superior to your Kx, but not to the extent of the K3.
I have had my K5 for almost 3 years now and feel absolutely no desire or need to upgrade. The cameras are all loaded with more functionality and capability than what 90% of folks will ever need or even consider using. The K30/K50 is a very large step up from your current Kx. They have the vast majority of the features you will ever use, even considering the K3. Considering the difference in cost, you will be paying more than double the cost, for additional features that you will probably not use - ever. The additional resolution (the 24MP) will always be there for you.

I doubt that you will outgrow a K30/k50 with respect to features and/or capabilities. There may be some nice to haves, but they are probably not critical. The build may make a difference to you. However, given that the Kx has survived - then the K30/50 will easily survive too.

All of that said - its your decision....

06-09-2014, 08:44 AM   #11
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As a further piece of experience, I use that top LCD panel all the time. It's great to quickly see your settings and adjust - plus, they're readily visible in bright sun.
If it were me, I'd pick up a K5IIs if you want to do serious macro work. It doesn't have focus peaking but removing the AA filter should increase resolution.
06-09-2014, 09:16 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kurrawinya Quote
Hi All, Thanks so much for your advise and welcome!

Yep, padded bags are essential! I laugh now when I think about it, but when I got my K-x I couldn't afford a bag (couldn't afford the camera either for that matter lol) so just did the best I could and used to wrap the camera in a knitted beanie and keep the lenses in stubby holders lol! I did eventually get more suitable housing for it lol, and no, I'll not be keeping my new kit in beanies and stubby holders lol!! My lifestyle is far more settled now than it was too, so the next camera will not be getting nearly such a beating!
This has helped with my decision a lot, while I'm still a bit indecisive as I have posed this question to some pentax loving friends on facebook and I have had, between there and here, roughtly 50/50 for K-50 or K-3 so the vote is tied thus far lol....
The main thing that concerns me about a k-30 or k-50 is that I am a little worried about outgrowing it in a year or two, while the price is very attractive, I'd hate to find that I'd stopped short of the mark in a year or so, having said that, I STILL use my first camera, a Pentax P30 (?) from the 80's (goodness I love film!) I'd love to get that kind of feeling in a DSLR....

As for lenses, I have a really clear Idea of what I'm after now, thanks! I had half and idea of what I liked and it seems at least I was on the right track there
I don't think you need to worry about outgrowing a K-50, it's light years advanced from your K-x. That said if I could afford the K-3 I would get it because it's a little newer model, but the K-50 is the best bang for the buck out there in any DSLR. And I'll join the crowd in recommending the DA 55-300WR, I would not recommend the DAL 55-300 because it lacks quick shift, and with the slow auto focus that can really help you speed it up, because horses are not still life, they move. I had a DFA 100 WR macro and really liked it, but sold it since I just did not do enough macro. I would like to get a macro again, but I'll take a manual focus if I can get a good price on one. Of course you can take nice close ups with a 55-300, the minmum focus distance is about four feet.
06-09-2014, 12:17 PM   #13
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+1 on the K-30/K-50. I went from a KX to a K-30, and find that I really love it. The two control wheels really add a lot for me personally in terms of fun and control.

Get the kit with the 18-135. It's a great "one lens" WR solution, and a nice step up from the 18-55. About the same macro capabilities as the 18-55, but they are at 135mm instead of 55, which makes getting butterflies and bees and such just a bit easier. This lens also keeps dust out of your camera. If you want real macro, the Tamron 90mm looks to be the best cost/benefit, but I'm in love with the rendering of the Sigma 70mm macro. A bit of advice, buy your macro lens used here on the forum. If it doesn't suit you, sell it here for about what you paid for it. If you buy used lenses, it's halfway between spending money and putting it into a zero-interest savings account, since you can get most of your money back.

As far as long lenses, the 55-300 is absolutely your best bet in terms of IQ on a budget.

Here's a bee with the 18-135, about 30% crop on this. The higher resolution sensor on the K-30/K-50 is more forgiving for severe crops than the KX.

06-09-2014, 02:07 PM   #14
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Welcome, you had loads of great advice already, mine... just go for it all and enjoy.
06-09-2014, 03:36 PM   #15
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Morning Penny welcome to the PF, as you can see lots of friendly people around here and an abundance of info.
The only limitation is the size of ones wallet.
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