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07-09-2010, 09:30 AM   #1
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New to DSLR Help Please!?

I am interested in moving to a DSLR from the many point-n-shoots I have owned in the past. My father-in-law has offered to sell me his old Pentax equipment. The thing is, the equipment was designed for a Pentax ME Super 35mm and I am concerned with compatibility and ease of use. The lenses are a 135mm, a 200mm, a doubler, a wide angle and a flash. My question is: is it worth it to purchase a Pentax brand DSLR in order to use the older lenses? From my understanding, there are some issues with using older 35mm lenses on new DSLRs due to the size of the optic sensor vs film. Also, lenses that are that old I doubt have auto-focus. I am very new to DSLR and I just need some direction on a good way to start my venture into DSLR photography. I don't want to start off with a bad combination of equipment especially when I am just learning. Money is also a concern so the answer I am looking for is not "just go buy a Nikon D3X with all the lenses and you'll be good." My "starting" budget is around $700 total and I am open to used/refurbished equipment. Thanks!

07-09-2010, 09:44 AM   #2
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i think you should try the pentax k-x with two kit lenses. that would give you most bang for the buck and as you learn more about photography, you will get to use the lenses your in-laws gave you.
07-09-2010, 09:57 AM   #3
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Pentax is worth getting even if you don't have existing lenses. The lenses you have are certainly usable, but they are special purpose lenses - you'll still want to buy the zoom(s) that come with the camera for ordinary use.

The difference in format size between film and digital (the so-called "crop factor") doens't create "issues" in using film lenses. It just means they work differently than they did on film. if you arne't already used to how they work on film, you'll never notice the difference. It's like me saying that the camera weighs six times as much on earth as it does on the moon. If you've never been the moon and aren't already accustomed to ho much the camera weighs on the moon, that's just not a relevant concern.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 07-11-2010 at 11:23 AM.
07-09-2010, 10:14 AM   #4
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I agree with the others - you won't lose anything by getting a Pentax with kit len(es). Pentax DSLRs are among the best bang-for-buck in the camera world, in my view. Once you're getting the hang of your camera, you can start using your old lenses.

The old lenses will work fine - as Mark says, the "crop factor" only really is meaningful if you're accustomed to film SLRs. You won't have auto-focus, and depending on the lens, you have to do things slightly differently to meter and set exposure, but once you're familiar with using the camera with newer lenses, it's an easy skill to pick up. You might want to check the lens database and see if you have some gems there!

The flash might be problematic - old flashes can fry the electronics in newer cameras, you'd need to do a little research on that. You may find you don't need a flash anyway.

Good luck deciding, and have fun with whatever you choose!

07-11-2010, 02:58 AM   #5
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I use lenses older than those as my everyday lenses, and the ability to do so was the main reason for choosing Pentax. So what's wrong with manual focus?
07-11-2010, 05:30 AM   #6
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Hi Cameran,

A couple of years ago I made that switch based upon an old ME Super with a couple of lenses, flash etc my father left me.
A couple of points you must be aware of:
- A DSLR is capable of making *much* better photos than a point-and-shoot, but it requires some more understanding of photography, cameras; shutterspeed, diafragma and ISO.
- There are scene modes and an auto mode on the K-x if you want.
- DSLR's in general deliver less "sharp" pictures in default settings straight out of the camera.
- Due to the larger sensor, the required optics (lenses etc) are much bigger, expensive and have less zoom range.
- Fast lenses (small f numbers) can take in a lot of light, but wide open have a shallow depth of field. Hence require proper focus when used open.
- Old ME Super lenses are manual focus only. You need to change a menu setting in order to use them on new Pentax DSLR's
- On the K-7 (I don't know the K-x) you can replace the focus screen for a split focus like in the ME Super if you like that. Does not cost much.
- Older "doublers" lack the AF function/electric connections, AF lenses used with such a Teleconverter (TC), will need manual focus operation.

The K-x is a VERY powerfull DSLR for its price, it has more than excellent image quality.
I'd buy it combined with the kit lens and the 55-330mm zoom, that combination price is hard to beat and the 55-300mm is very good for the price you'll pay.

Hope this helps.

- Bert
07-11-2010, 09:42 AM   #7
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Guys, he didn't even say those lenses were Pentax. They could be lousy 3rd party.

07-12-2010, 06:06 AM   #8
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Thank you!

Thank you all for your help. I'm think I'll get the K-x kit and hopefully learn enough about photography to get some use out of the older lenses. Someone asked if the older lenses are Pentax brand and I don't know the answer. My father in-law lives several states away and I won't get the lenses for another couple months when we go to visit. I just wanted to take a dslr on this next trip and wanted to be prepared.
07-12-2010, 07:55 AM   #9
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As for size of digital optic sensor versus film, the bottom line is, don't worry about it. If it fit on an old Pentax camera, it will fit on the K-x. Probably won't have auto-focus and all that snazzy stuff, but the kit lens(es) for the K-x will and that will be plenty sufficient for learning.

Probably ought to hold off on committing to purchasing FIL's old equipment until you 1) are fairly well acquainted with your K-x, and 2) can test the stuff out first.

Like others have said, Pentax has great bang-for-the-buck. If I were starting out on DSLRs, I'd be thrilled to be getting a K-x. As my situation is right now, I just spent some good cash on another lens and don't think my wife would like me getting a K-x for no completely justifiable reason
07-12-2010, 11:40 AM   #10
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Good one marc

That is what got me on the pentax band wagon that old glass is superb.
07-13-2010, 01:57 AM   #11
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But Ira there is some good 3rd party glass out there
07-13-2010, 05:39 PM   #12
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Cameran, the only thing you should be wary about the old lenses if it has a Ricoh Pin (if not Pentax brand lenses).
It would mount without difficulty with the film SLR and actually would mount also without difficulty to the K-x but might get stuck because of the Ricoh pin.
The flash might have issues too if it is not a Pentax brand.
From what I have read is that all flashes made by Pentax won't fry the new DSLRs, don't even mount the flash on the K-x if it is another brand flash as it might have too high a voltage trigger that might fry your K-x's circuits.
Another thing with the flash is it will not be dedicated since it is for film cameras.
You should be aware of this and you would be only able to use that on "manual" settings.
Do a search of "trigger voltage" so you will know about the danger of mixing old flash with new DSLR's.

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