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11-15-2010, 12:06 AM   #1
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Of K20D's, kit lenses, weather, and bags.

First of all, hello! I started a thread on another forum that I frequent, asking about used DSLR's, and was recommended to give Pentax some serious consideration. I did, and now a refurbished K20D will be deposited onto my stoop come Tuesday, hopefully. I was also informed that this was the place to be if you have a Pentax.

Now I understand that the lens this camera ships with is not of the WR variety, but I anticipate that I'll be using this camera outdoors in the coming months, and it will probably be snowing at some point. How worried should I be about this? These won't be long excursions into the wilderness, more of just stepping outside while on campus, since I'm a student journalist.

I'm thinking that snow shouldn't be as terrible for a weather resistant lens as rain is, but if I'm wrong I'd love to know. I've read about people getting by.

Also I'm going to Microcenter tomorrow, to pick up one or two sdhc cards. I was checking online, and I found this.

Micro Center - LowePro Passport Sling Digital SLR Camera Bag Black LP36140-0EU

Does anyone have any experience with this bag? Does it seem like a good idea? Will it make me appear as a woman?


Last edited by Natheo; 11-15-2010 at 12:25 AM.
11-15-2010, 12:26 AM - 1 Like   #2
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If I were you, I'd go ahead and pick up a WR 18-55mm, as it's cheap and will let you not worry about your camera in the snow. The regular DA 18-55mm II can suffer from damage in bad weather.

Snow is deceptive- I've found that it melts just about as soon as it lands on your lens, which isn't a good thing. Last year, I was out shooting in light snow with the K-7 and the DA* 50-135mm, and came back 30 minutes later with pretty much a soaking wet camera It was quite surprising.

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11-15-2010, 12:47 AM   #3
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I was worried about that, but expecting it. I guess my next question would be about the 50-200mm WR.

I feel like if I bought a WR 18-55 the one I'd have would collect dust until I sold it, unless there's a reason to use the AL II over the WR in some instance.

So there's a nice 50-200 WR in the marketplace I was considering buying, which seems like it would serve the purposes of being weather resistant and giving me a little more reach that would probably be most helpful outdoors anyways.

Would I find myself wishing for a WR 18-55 if I purchased that WR50-200?
11-15-2010, 12:49 AM   #4
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Jump on that Woot deal too, I presume? I'm expecting mine on Tuesday as well. No idea what to do about fully sealing the kit though... it's pretty much either the 18-55 wr or the DA* 16-50, which is a significant investment. If you shoot for the paper though, it may be worth it in the long run.

And the bag looks fine... I carry a messenger bag with another photo bag in it. It gets kinda bulky, but it works.

11-15-2010, 12:54 AM   #5
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I absolutely jumped on that woot deal. I was looking at used DSLR's previously, seeing body only K20D's hovering in the 500 dollar range.

I guess that's what I'm really trying to figure out here. I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself since I don't even have a DSLR yet, but I'm trying to figure out what's going to work best photojournal...istically. I guess.
11-15-2010, 01:27 AM   #6
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Personally, I use a rubber band around the lens, next to the mount, to keep water from entering the body. This isn't a great method, but has been fairly effective. In doing so, I'm treating the lens as disposable. Whether or not that works for you, I can't say. But I think that lenses can take a great deal of abuse before failing, moreso than digital cameras can. Which is to say: I don't think that snow + ordinary lens will substantially increase the possibility of camera failure, even though it may ruin the lens.

A larger concern is with condensation. Being out in the cold--and I spent a few winters in Indiana, so perhaps we're talking about the same thing--and then bringing the camera indoors, condensation will occur. I would just take the camera out of the bag and put it on a shelf, so that there'd be enough airflow to dry it out; I would avoid changing lenses in the first hour or so of bringing the camera back inside. (I was a bit more cavalier about taking the memory card out, as those electronics are far less sensitive than the sensor itself.)

The bag, I have no idea about. But, personally, a woman with a good camera gets my attention--you know, in a "I might enjoy having a conversation with her" kinda way--which may well outweigh any aesthetic issues due to photographic accouterments. If it is comfortable and fits your needs, go for it. Personally, I use any of the (non-photography) bags I have with a little extra attention to padding. The K20d is a very durable camera.

By the way, if photojournalism has your interest, be sure to read about Takumar lenses. They take a bit more effort, but are rewarding for it and their quality can't be beat on a student budget.
11-15-2010, 09:22 AM   #7
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The weathersealing on the body does make it a whole lot easier to protect the camera, at least. When I was coming up there was no such thing as a weathersealed lens, for any purposes of mine, anyway. The one thing I found about the kit lens in snow is that it's plastic, and especially since it wasn't terribly cold, (We don't get a huge lot of snow down here) the surface of the lens body didn't get chilled and the snow therefore kept melting immediately, and that was enough to make one nervous. There's always the old poke lens-through plastic bag and rubber band it to lens hood technique, of course. You just have to show some due caution. Often just flipping the end of your scarf over the camera and lens will do it. (I've got a pretty big scarf that actually started life as a sarong or something, that I can actually just pull up over my head, camera, and all, which is fairly handy with snow, and also cause my eyes don't get along with very bright snowy days. (Which was a real issue back up north when I was using my little compact camera with electronic viewfinder a lot more. If I ever dashed outside to photograph something, I'd often just pull my wrap up over my head like an old focusing hood. )

I'm curious about the coming 18-135 WR: that looks like a great one to have weather-sealed, if the image quality's good, and with that range, you might not have to worry about changing lenses at all.

As for the bag, I peeked. I'm not sure if you're wanting to avoid 'looking like a woman' or the opposite, but I think the way that's supposed to be carried, you're OK, either way.
11-15-2010, 04:11 PM   #8
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I got the woot deal too!!!
can't wait for tomorrow!

a few thoughts from somebody that bought a k100d 2 years ago after not shooting much since he was a high school yearbook photog in 1985:


seriously, the kit lens is fine, use that, see what you think, or do NOT open it, sell it on here, and buy the WR version if the weather sealing is that important to you.

You will find that kit lens 18-55 useful in many situations, because it covers the range you need to many sorts of photos.

BUT, avoid the temptation to go crazy buying lenses right now--unless you got lots of bank or you're spending student loan cash.

I bought a few lenses I really didn't need when I first started out.

The kit lens is nice cuz it is useful and nice because it is not a really expensive piece of glass. When I go somewhere "sketchy," i use that lens, since I am not out 800$ if something happens to it. I find myself using it a lot when I need a minimal kit that does not involve any tele work.

If I had extra money, I would buy the 16-45 f4 in its place, but the kit lens alII really works just fine.


The sling bags are fine, the cheapo pentax one has worked well for me for @ 2 years but it is having some broken zipper issues, broken zipper ties, etc. Like the above member, I often but the smaller sling bag into a larger messenger bag for travel, carrying on my bike, etc. It doesn't scream "steal my expensive digital camera" as much as the open naked camera bag.

the pentax bag can also be found very cheap at amazon and elsewhere.

When I get extra cash, I will probably buy one of the lowe pro sling bags with the weather cover and the slightly larger size--2-300 model that can hold a longer lens in the main camera space.

3. Journalism

if this includes sports then I think you will want a tele lens pretty quick. I think you need 200-300 mm for this. Those are more expensive, maybe look for an a series if you can manual focus, or spend the real money for the DA 55-300. I got an A-series 70-210 for 90$ but it isn't quite long enough for baseball, or bike racing, etc.

4. manual lenses

a big advantage of pentax are all the old lenses you can use. However, I think that stuff below A-series begins to become more of a pain than is worth it for action shots and such. I pretty much try to buy A-series lenses since they work with most of the camera features except focus.

If you decide to get manual focus lenses, then I would definitely check out one of the focusing screens like those available on ebay--the chinese ones are cheap and work.

Do yourself a favor though, get a magic lantern guide, read it, and take lots of photos before you spend gobs of cash.

You will save yourself some $$$ and regret that way...

Just my 2 cents, I am sure others have different views.


11-16-2010, 09:44 AM   #9
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I have been looking at the lowepro Passport also. I will be chaperoning 8th graders on a field trip to Washington DC in March and need a bag, and I was thinking that it would work for me. If you do get this bag please post your opinions of it.

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