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10-23-2008, 05:16 PM   #1
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Looking to become a Pentaxian...

My first "real" camera was a Pentax k1000, which I still have. I'm sure that's a common enough story here. However, it wasn't long before I moved over to my Olympus OM-2, which served me wonderfully for years, along with some great zuiko glass. When it came time to get a digital SLR, I ended up going with the Olympus E-330, which was the only one I could afford at the time (prices were down to about $400) and since then I've added a couple lenses and had a great time and felt that my gear was pretty sufficient to my needs.

But now the old camera's getting old and worn out, and in 8 months I'm leaving to spend a year (at least) just travelling around the world, and photography is bound to be a big part of that for me. So I've been thinking about what I need in a camera:

1) I could really use better high ISO performance. I love the E-330's output at ISO 100, but I hesitate to go above that. A usable 800 is really all I want, but higher isn't something I'd shy away from.

2) Better AF speed. That covers pretty much all cameras newer than the E-330, so no big deal.

3)A tougher body. The E-330 is tough as nails compared to the rebels, d40s, and A-200s I've handled, but I'm constantly in situations where it gets banged around, muddied, splashed, rained on, and generally beaten up. At least weather sealing would be nice.

4) A better viewfinder. I find the tiny E-330 finder perfectly usable, but I would much prefer something larger and brighter.

5)More resolution and DR. More DR includes most APS-C cameras, but the vertical resolution increase from 7.5mp 4/3 to 10mp APS-C really isn't very compelling. So I'd prefer something more than 10mp.

So I was thrilled to see that the K20D is now available for less than $900. Which should now be doable for me. So that's set.

What I'm really struggling over is lenses. My most used lens is the Sigma 30mm f1.4, which is equivalent to 60mm on FF. So I figure the closest for me from pentax would be the 50mm f1.4, which looks like a really nice lens to me.

Past that, I never use my normal zoom unless I need wide-angle and I usually wish I could get even wider, and I use my tele quite a bit. That being the 70-300, which is FF 140-600. I don't need something quite that long, and I'm used to slow, but I really appreciate the macro capabilities. So if I can get a tele-zoom with macro, that'd be great.

I don't mind buying off-brand lenses like sigma or tamron.

So I'm looking for a wide or ultra-wide zoom and a tele-zoom, hopefully with macro, and I'm looking for cheap. I'm on a budget and the K20D is going to take a large chunk out of that. Selling my Oly gear and film stuff should cover some of it, but anything under $300 is especially attractive.

So any suggestions on a couple of lenses to cover that? Also places to add to my list of potential places to visit and photograph are welcome.

My favorite photo that I've taken with a pentax:


10-23-2008, 07:09 PM   #2
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First of all--welcome!
Secondly, nice pic!

On the lenses, you might want to take a look at the lens section to get some ideas. I'll give you somewhere to start, though...
Wide-UltraWide Zoom: Depending on how wide you want to go, you have several options:
UW: DA12-24/4 is an excellent lens, but pricy (in the neighborhood of $700, depending on where you get it). Also, a lot of people around here like the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 and it's somewhat cheaper than the 12-24 ($569 at Adorama).
Wide: DA16-50/2.8 weathersealed (a good copy), but expensive, and Tamron 17-50/2.8 (around $450 or a little less) are both good choices, but I have to give the nod to the DA16-45, which can be had used for under $300--if you want new, then Adorama has the best deal at $309.95, shipped.

Telezoom: without a doubt, the best reasonably-priced, lightweight choice is the DA55-300, which can be had for $350 or less, depending on where you get it. For tele, I love this lens.

Primes: for the price (around $200), the FA50/1.4 can't be beat in terms of value. I haven't actually used one, but I want one.

Again, check the lens forum, as people are generous in posting examples of pics taken with various lenses, as well as in giving advice.

When you get ready to buy lenses, check out the Marketplace to get some really good deals. Since we're such a close-knit community, buying a lens from one of us is usually a safer bet then buying on Fleabay.

HTH,
Heather
10-23-2008, 07:39 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. When I say "wide" I guess I mean wider than 28mm equiv. Buying a wide-normal zoom would be a waste for me, as I would really mostly use the wide end. I just noticed the 10-17, which seems to be quite inexpensive, and I've always like fisheyes... hmm...

I'll definitely take a look at that 55-300. I've also noticed the Tamron 70-300, which seems to also offer macro, and is cheaper. I'd assume it's probably similar to my current 70-300 (as in good but not great), but how's the IQ in forum user's experience? Especially with the K20D?

Thanks for the advice!

Last edited by er1kksen; 10-23-2008 at 07:57 PM.
10-23-2008, 10:32 PM   #4
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Depending on how anal you wanna get, ISO 800 on my K100D's pretty damn excellent. I use it regularly on gig shoots.

(People get really paranoid about noise. ISO 800 on the K100D's no worse than ISO 800 print film.)

10-24-2008, 03:09 AM   #5
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Thanks, I had figured something like that based on the samples I've seen. I figure with 14mp even higher ISOs than that should clean up just fine.

Oh, and I hated ISO 800 print film. Certain 400 speed pro films, however were quite nice, almost matching the slower film I used when I could.
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