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10-06-2010, 09:35 PM   #1
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About to buy my first DSLR (K-7), some lens advice please?

Hi all, I am new to the forum so a little background. I took three years of photography in high school and really enjoyed it and got very into it, working a lot with film and some DSLR, but haven't done much serious work since coming up to WA from CA for college. My main passion is fly fishing though. I have been using my compact optio W30 for quite some time now as my fishing camera. I recently got some photos published in a fly fishing magazine for the first time taken with this camera, but realized that I won't be a candidate for cover shots without a serious camera capable of RAW images. So I am committing to a DSLR and very excited about taking my photography to a new level. I started a serious search and after looking at nikons and canons, settled on the pentax K-7 for a lot of reasons, the main ones being it's compact size and the weather proofing, as those are key for a fishing/travel camera, while not losing quality and being what I've read is a great value.

So my questions:

I understand that the price was reduced significantly since the birth of the K-5....is this a prime time to buy a K-7? Is there a likelihood of a serious price drop any time soon or will the price just go down very slowly from here out, making now as good a time as any to commit (versus, say, in two months)?

Any words of wisdom about buying a used K-7 vs a new one vs a "refurbished"? Is the price reduction for a used one worth the risk of buying it used? I was thinking amazon would give as good a deal as anybody and I get free shipping since I have an account....any issues with amazon or somewhere where I could get a better deal?

For lenses, I am working on a budget so need to strike a compromise of having a decent setup while not breaking the bank with a bunch of lenses that cost as much as the camera each. I am only open to weather resistant lenses. So should I just start with the kit lens? Is it decent? Or should I just buy the body and then get a lens separately for a better deal? For a fishing camera, what kind of lens arsenal will I eventually want for versatility but compactness and efficiency for traveling? A wide-angle, fish-eye, and the kit lens? Do I need a separate lens for micro work? Any specific lens recommendations? This is an area I am a bit over my head in obviously.

For filters, I will definitely need a polarized filter, but won't want that of course in low-light....how many filters do I need...more than two? Any specific recommendations? Again my entire system needs to be weather proof.

Also I will need a tripod that will be light and easy for travel and carrying around fishing all day. A key factor is that most of the fly fishing I do is in saltwater, so I need to be able to stick it in the sand at the beach and have some waves wash against it and not have it rust up at any point (assuming I give it a quick freshwater rinse at the end of the day).....any recommendations for something that might fit my needs?

Lastly, are there any affordable underwater housings for the K-7? This isn't a huge deal to me because I can always use my optio for underwater shots.

Also is the Magic Lantern book worth the money for someone like myself who has most of the learning curve ahead of me?

Thank you in advance for any advice offered, this novice GREATLY appreciates it! Cheers -Loren Elliott


Last edited by Loren E; 10-06-2010 at 11:49 PM.
10-06-2010, 11:17 PM   #2
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Hi Loren,

I suspect the K-7 prices will only gradually change, it is still a very capable camera. But that is only my thoughts, who really knows.

I have never had a problem with Amazon. You might also check the marketplace here on the forums. eBay is another source but has its own risks.

The kit lens has a very good reputation and is quite adequate although a little slow. Be aware the 18-55 "kit" lens comes in several versions, and not all are WR. The DA L version which often comes with the camera (at least with my k-x) is not WR and does not come with a hood.

If I was trying to get magazine cover shots of fishing I would think seriously about the DA*16-50mm f/2.8 rather than the kit lens. Not cheap at all but faster, WR, and better IQ.

I would think that for fishing pictures I would want to have in addition to the lens of choice a good quality polarizer and a good lens hood.

If I was taking pictures in salt water I think a carbon fiber tripod might be worth the expense. Light weight and less metal parts to corrode.

Just my thoughts for what they are worth. Others will have different suggestions I'm sure.
10-07-2010, 04:08 AM   #3
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As far as I know, the kit lens (18-55) that comes with the K7 is the WR version (just verify when you buy).

Your optio has a 6.3mm-18.9mm lens; according to the manual that is 38mm-114mm full frame equivalent. If you want the same 'spec' with your K7, you have to divide the latter values by 1.5 for a camera with a APSc sensor (all Pentax cameras) and you're looking for a lens with a focal range from 25mm to 75mm.

You have used your optio; check the EXIF in the photos and find out which focal length (full frame equivalent value) you use most. Also consider if you often wished that you could get something closer (you need more tele, e.g. 100mm FF equivalent) or that you often had to do a step back to get the full subject in the photo (in which case you need a wider lens, e.g. 18mm FF equivalent).

Also consider that changing lenses in your environment might not be a favourite past time (salt water, sand).

The new Pentax 18-135 lens (see Camera Lens - Official PENTAX Imaging Web Site) might be the ideal candidate but I have not seen prices yet and no test reviews. The standard kit lens will do if you normally don't use the tele side of your Optio.

Eventually you will find limitations and that will be the time to think about other lenses (not wide enough, not 'fast' enough, not long enough).

Note: a fisheye is a very specialised lens that serves a specific effect.
10-07-2010, 09:19 AM   #4
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I own a K-7 and yes, the 18-55mm that's included SHOULD be the WR version. As far as pricing with the onset of the K-5, you should see some drop, but probably nothing too substantial. The K20d didn't drop too much in price when the K-7 was released. Your best bet would probably be to look for used copies. I've been seeing several cameras (K-x, K-7) with less than 1000 actuations being sold by those wanting to upgrade to the latest and greatest. Meaning if you're willing to grab one used, you can find some nice discounts.

10-07-2010, 10:56 AM   #5
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Hi Loren. Thanks for joining us. I do not have much to offer you about the latest and greatest Pentax has to offer...as I am still on my first DSLR the k100.

But I am glad to hear that you are going with Pentax over one of the other two giants.

I will offer you this. I too am a fly fisherman. Take a moment to check out The Itinerant Angler website. The guy who runs that show is a fairly well published fly fishing writer and photographer. There are message forums there related to fly fishing and one is given wholly over to Photography. Lots of really good contributors over there. Join the forum and you will be the third Pentaxian hanging around there! We are definately in the minority and can use someone submitting sweet Pentax photos to convince the masses. (my stuff is aweful and does nothing to help the Pentax case)

Can't speak to its ability in the salt but I carry and AquaKnot waterproof backpack with my k100 body, 2 lenses and a Manfrotto tripod. It is lightweight and very packable in my opinion. It does not have a serious head like so manyh profession tripods but it does everything I need it to.
10-07-2010, 12:28 PM   #6
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The Pentax 18-55 is possibly the best kit lens on the market and will give you a very good general range for most snapshots. It works well in a boat as well. You mentioned macro, and my suggestion would be the DA 35mm macro Limited. It not only is a great macros lens, but is great at close and medium range objects at 35mm.
10-07-2010, 03:04 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
For a fishing camera, what kind of lens arsenal will I eventually want for versatility but compactness and efficiency for traveling? A wide-angle, fish-eye, and the kit lens? Do I need a separate lens for micro work?
I would not bother with a fish eye...if you are on a budget and want to keep things compact, buying a "special effect" lens makes little sense to me.

How far away are you going to be from the fly-fishers? You might want to consider the DA* 50-135 if you will not be on the same boat as the fishers, and plan on shooting on a lot of overcast days.

It's an expensive lens, but would likely be the only one you would need for a long while.
10-07-2010, 08:36 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Loren E Quote
Hi all, I am new to the forum so a little background. I took three years of photography in high school and really enjoyed it and got very into it, working a lot with film and some DSLR, but haven't done much serious work since coming up to WA from CA for college. My main passion is fly fishing though. I have been using my compact optio W30 for quite some time now as my fishing camera. I recently got some photos published in a fly fishing magazine for the first time taken with this camera, but realized that I won't be a candidate for cover shots without a serious camera capable of RAW images. So I am committing to a DSLR and very excited about taking my photography to a new level. I started a serious search and after looking at nikons and canons, settled on the pentax K-7 for a lot of reasons, the main ones being it's compact size and the weather proofing, as those are key for a fishing/travel camera, while not losing quality and being what I've read is a great value.

So my questions:
Good Choice!

QuoteQuote:
I understand that the price was reduced significantly since the birth of the K-5....is this a prime time to buy a K-7? Is there a likelihood of a serious price drop any time soon or will the price just go down very slowly from here out, making now as good a time as any to commit (versus, say, in two months)?
Prices for new may drop some in the next couple months but I wouldn't expect it to be significant (enough to finance another lens).

QuoteQuote:
Any words of wisdom about buying a used K-7 vs a new one vs a "refurbished"? Is the price reduction for a used one worth the risk of buying it used? I was thinking amazon would give as good a deal as anybody and I get free shipping since I have an account....any issues with amazon or somewhere where I could get a better deal?
Buying a used camera, though not the worse idea in history, you take what you get. If you want to go that way, I would look for a reputable person to buy one from. Be aware that Manufacturer warranties are go to the original owner and are Not transferable in most cases. Third party warranties (Mack, Square Trade, etc) may be transferable and I believe that in some cases you can purchase a warranty for used equipment. Most of the time buying used is not a problem. Just don't pay a New price for one. What I mean by that is if New is only $100 more, Buy the New.

I've purchased refurbished cameras in the past, no problems. My only potential issue with them would be again, warranty.

QuoteQuote:
For lenses, I am working on a budget so need to strike a compromise of having a decent setup while not breaking the bank with a bunch of lenses that cost as much as the camera each. I am only open to weather resistant lenses. So should I just start with the kit lens? Is it decent? Or should I just buy the body and then get a lens separately for a better deal? For a fishing camera, what kind of lens arsenal will I eventually want for versatility but compactness and efficiency for traveling? A wide-angle, fish-eye, and the kit lens? Do I need a separate lens for micro work? Any specific lens recommendations? This is an area I am a bit over my head in obviously.
This is the gotcha gotcha. WR lenses are more expensive and always will be. No getting around it. The 18-55 lens that comes with the K7 Kit is WR and for the change it costs, is a decent lens. I don't know if it'll get you that cover shot. It may, I just don't know your abilities. There is a 50-200 WR available that may suit you. Pentax has just introduced an 18-135(?) WR but I read that the opening price for that lens will be $800 (subject to verification). Pentax has a WR 100mm Macro lens (DFA100 f2.8 WR) that is simply divine if you want to get into macro but don't expect to get one for less than $600. Then of course, the DA* lenses (16-50, 55, 50-135, 200, 300) are all weather proof but again, $650 and up. You may want to get extended warranties with these as well.

Then there is the cheapo option. Buy whatever lenses you can afford and put a rain coat on the camera. I've never tried one but I see pros use them quite often. Certainly worth considering.

QuoteQuote:
For filters, I will definitely need a polarized filter, but won't want that of course in low-light....how many filters do I need...more than two? Any specific recommendations? Again my entire system needs to be weather proof.
I'm not a fan of filters for the simple reason I think it silly to spend an extra bunch of money to degrade the quality of the lens. Specialty filters like Polarizers and ND filters being the exception. If you're playing near salt water though a good protection or UV filter may be worth the investment (Hoya Pro1 Digital). Honestly though, with the kit lens (18-55) I wouldn't bother. You can probably replace the lens for a little more than the cost of the filter and it will not add to making any lens weather proof.

QuoteQuote:
Also I will need a tripod that will be light and easy for travel and carrying around fishing all day. A key factor is that most of the fly fishing I do is in saltwater, so I need to be able to stick it in the sand at the beach and have some waves wash against it and not have it rust up at any point (assuming I give it a quick freshwater rinse at the end of the day).....any recommendations for something that might fit my needs?
Quite a personal decision here. I use a Manfrotto (Bogen) 358B with a ball head. The entire outfit cost me close to $500. There are less expensive and stronger options but I use that one because of the ease of setup. It also collapses into a nice compact relatively lightweight package. Don't know about the salt water and rinsing it off though, never had the need to test that.

QuoteQuote:
Also is the Magic Lantern book worth the money for someone like myself who has most of the learning curve ahead of me?
I would say yes to this one. There probably isn't a lot of New information in them that cannot be found in the manual but it is an easier read. If you have questions about how to use your camera, your best source of information is this (or other) forums. There is combined several hundred years of experience here with the K7 (and other models). We've actually put our cameras through the paces and know the quirks of the camera.

QuoteQuote:
Thank you in advance for any advice offered, this novice GREATLY appreciates it! Cheers -Loren Elliott
Best of luck to you on your new venture..

Oh, Welcome to the Club!!



10-08-2010, 05:44 PM   #9
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Great information all! Thank you so much for helping to shorten my learning curve!
10-08-2010, 07:13 PM   #10
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On the last new body cycle, the K7 - I bought my K20 about a week or two prior to the announcement of the specs. The price was just too good. Subsequently it dropped - new body not used - about another $25 ~ 3%. So, based on that, I would say that now is a good time - however, YMMV....

If you do get a new K7, spring for the extended warranty for about $30 for a total of 3 years.

I was able to recently find a used tripod - an older Manfrotto (Bogen) 3001 pro with a 486RC2 head for a bit less than $100 as a second tripod. I do not like the head but its serviceable and the price was right. Check Craigslist - it took me about a month of looking to find what I was looking for.

hope that helps....

10-08-2010, 09:21 PM   #11
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Hi Loren,

You might want to check the Amazon Warehouse Deals for the K7 or other Pentax stuffs.

Pentax | Warehouse Deals

As with tripod, a month ago I got this tripod also at Amazon for $82 . So you may keep an eye to it to see if the deal comes back .

Amazon.com: Induro Carbonflex 8x Tripod CX-113: Camera & Photo
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