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07-25-2016, 10:25 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Introduction and help needed with Pentax system

Hello everyone,

I am a photography enthusiast from India. My passion for photography started seeing my dad and uncles with their range finders / Yashikas and Minoltas etc decades ago.

Aside from using a point and shoot film camera early on I seriously started photography in the digital era. My first camera was a Canon PowerShot A95 which I bought after considerable research. In addition to the usual Auto mode it had P, Av, Tv and M modes. Even with the obvious limitations I learnt the basics of photography quite fast and thoroughly enjoyed taking pictures with it. The articulating screen was a big plus. The first 2 years of my daughter’s life were captured by this camera and a Panasonic video recorder.

Along the way I also bought John Hedgecoe’s “the new manual of Photography”. A phenomenal book! Saddened to read on these forums that John has passed on.

Feeling the need for more control I then started looking out for DSLRs. I read up reviews on the internet and was especially influenced by a gentleman whose website now comes up in the first search page for anything Nikon / Canon. I bought a D40 with 18-55 kit lens – how I wish I had bought a D90 instead! And how I wish I had never seen that website either… it influenced my decisions on the lenses as well… bought a 35mm F1.8 (which was a good decision) and 55-200mm F4-5.6. The latter does a lot of focus hunting and is sometimes very frustrating to use. Also bought Canon S90 which I have not used much… handling is not in the same league as A95 though it does offer more controls.

The biggest issue with D40 (aside from the 6MP resolution!) is the Dynamic Range. It is painfully narrow. Even though I learnt to work with it, with time my frustration grew and after my last trip to the mountains, I decided to buy a better camera. I naturally started looking out within the Nikon lineup. Seriously considered D500 and then started weighing the pros and cons against D7200… and one of the reviews had a link to Pentax (K3II I believe). Totally on a whim and thanks to my good fortune I followed that link…

What a breath of fresh air… In the last few weeks I have studied all I could find on Pentax and the philosophy of Pentax photography – especially on these forums (which by the way have one of the most knowledgeable AND friendly folks I have seen on ANY photography / non-photography forum) – and hardly any “fanboys”!

It is now that I realize that what I really ~dislike about D40 is not it’s technical limitations, but it’s bland persona. I was never “called” to pick it up and take pictures. Consequently, I have enjoyed it much less than the my earlier and even more basic A95. Sure I have taken some good pictures with it, but the joy was just not there. A couple of days ago at a party I got to see / handle Nikon D3x00 and D5x00… more of the same on the ergonomics / handling front.

So here I am now looking to enter the Pentax universe… perhaps 10 years late… but then again more capable of appreciating a system designed for photographers.

Thank you if you have read my rather long introduction so far… I do have some questions where I can use some practical advice.

Briefly, what sort of a photographer am I: love the act of taking photographs, the moment itself, composing, selecting the right aperture (D40’s ISO was not generous), the mood etc. Never used any digital tools… except the occasional white balance adjustment. Lots of family pictures. Naturalist and birder. From here on I expect to spend more time on the photographs that I have actually taken, learn digital tools and also print my pictures.

  1. Given my affinity for bird photography, I’d start with Pentax’s APSC cameras. Leaning towards K3II but then the big question… what if the successor is launched in a few month’s time? Being in India I need to rely on someone coming from US to bring the equipment. Perhaps wait till Photokina 2016?
  2. If K3II, then what is a good flash to buy: a. for simple carry along use, b. to trigger other flashes in a more elaborate setup.
  3. Lenses… it was after reading up on pentaxforums that I realized how by using a zoom to only aid in composing a shot I had slowly forgotten to consider the effect on DOF due to the changed FL and how the changed FL will now decrease the max aperture (in my lenses). For the last few days I have been photographing by taping my 18-55mm at 31mm position and then interchanging with the 35mm F1.8 prime. There is so much to learn and enjoy. Now for the questions on lenses:
    1. I am inclined on having a (fast) prime kit to begin with. I am not a pixel peeper and think of sharpness as just one attribute of a good photograph. However after having gone through many reviews and many more comments, I admit that I am quite befuddled :-). Need help / clarity. My preference:
      1. One normal prime (inclining more towards 31mm as I find 35mm a little to tight… but then again is the question of Assembled in Vietnam and the price…),
      2. One medium telephoto 50 / 55mm
      3. ~77mm
      4. 200mm or 300mm
    2. Given that so far I have shot mostly with zooms, should I buy at least one zoom – if for nothing else then at least to take along on family outings? Which one?
    3. Would love to have weather sealing but so far I have never really shot in the rain or anything… don’t want to get myself wet So not sure how much of the WR feature I will really exploit. Comments?
    4. Bird photographers: how do you differentiate between shooting with a telephoto zoom vs a telephoto prime. Is it enough to have a good fast telephoto prime along with TC 1.4x or are there occasions where the zoom is missed? Not too hung up on Pentax’s lagging-the-competition AF-C. Birds In Flight is not a top priority.
    5. Would love to start taking my camera with me on my weekend sojourns in the city… the bazaar etc. Just hope to get used to the substantial increase in weight between my current setup and the new one!
Thanks for reading my long and elaborate first post. Looking forward to your comments and help.

07-25-2016, 11:53 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum. Will attempt some of your questions see the numbers.

1. The K3ii now is very good price and is a bargain. If you wait for the next upgrade model you could be waiting along time and the K3ii would easily fill your needs. FPS and Auto focus many examples of BIflight photos on the forum.

2. See this review would be good starting point for flash thanks and credit to the author Class A. Cactus RF60 Review - Introduction | Reviews

3.1 The fast prime is your choice/preference Auto focus or manual focus if you don't mind manual focus there are many old Pentax lenses 50mm down to 24mm. My most used at the moment it the SMC K50mm 1.4 and I also have the 1.1.2 as well but its too precious to use as walk around ATM. Both are great lenses one is way cheaper then the other though.

3.2 The SMC Pentax-DA 16-45mm F4 Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database is what I use for Wide angle would very nice little zoom and can be found very cheap 2nd hand. there would not be much in IQ to the more expensive latter zooms and this is a good starting point for Zoom and wide angle from 20mm to 35mm.

3.3 The 18-135 is my WR lens and also have the 18-55 WR used the 18-135 on very few occasions in wet weather on holidays and sheltered the lens with jacket and umbrella to keep the rain off the front optic other these occasions I would not go out of my way to get wet myself.

3.4 There are many great birder photographers here, i have the FA 300mm f4.5 and is my most favored lens IQ wise very sharp also have the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database and it is very fast Auto focus on my K3 in the blink of a eye literally could not comment on the new Pentax 70-200 but I hear its very fast as well.

3.5 My walk around camera is mostly the K-O1 with the 16-45 and is mostly compact had the 40mm hd pentax lens for it but it took a fall and the barrel of the lens is out pf alignment, with K3 camera would be ok as well with the light zoom 16-45 but the k-01 is much lighter.
07-25-2016, 07:48 PM   #3
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Thanks for your detailed answers @gmans. Especially on the Sigma 2.8 telephoto zoom and your shoutout to K-01. What a great concept... K mount rules! On K3II: since my friend will be coming to India only in Nov / Dec timeframe I feel I should hold on at least till Photokina :-)

Looking forward to a few more comments / suggestions from Pentaxians.
07-25-2016, 10:17 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by AmaZing Quote
Would love to have weather sealing but so far I have never really shot in the rain or anything… don’t want to get myself wet So not sure how much of the WR feature I will really exploit. Comments?

Hi AmaZing. Welcome to the Pentax forums. Your detailed introduction has given us lots to work with. @gmans post is an excellent start. I would like to touch on the WR feature on Pentax equipment. Many people think that it is all about shooting in the rain. That is only one way that the WR is used. If out on boats, near waterfalls, at the beach etc, where water spray is possible, are all situations where the WR is very useful. Good luck with your future purchases. Good to have you here too.

07-26-2016, 01:51 AM   #5
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Welcome, great intro, enjoy everything that you find here to be of interest to you.
07-26-2016, 06:14 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Thanks @pjv. You are right about the wider usage of WR. I had not considered these cases. I guess this will also help against any fine dust entering the lens after years of usage.

Thanks for the welcome @Kerrowdown.

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