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12-06-2010, 09:38 AM   #1
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Which Camera for Weird & Cheap Photography?

Was writing this to hope some of you experts could help me! I've previously bought a Sony dSLR camera a few years ago, f and whilst a fantastic camera, I had a few problems. The image stabilisation only worked with certain Sony lenses and the lenses themselves were expensive in the UK. I promptly sold it.f

I love toy cameras--have loads of them--and I want to get into dSLRs for their versitility and creative opportunities.

The 4/3 system appeals to me because you mount a widerange of weird and wonderful lenses (CCTV lenses and Cannon FD mounts), and also live preview on a articulated screen. The only problem is that sensor is small and image stabilisation doesn't work for manual lenses (with a few qualified exceptions).
fd
What I like about the Pentax cameras are:

1) Sensor stabililisation, even with manual lenses
2) AF focus confirmation through the viewfinder when using manual lenses
3) Good value (second hand cameras and lenses at least)

My question is, should I go with Pentax? Does it meet my specifications? Or are there other cameras I'm overlooking.

The other thing, I'm looking at the K100D, K10D, K200D and K20D. I'm looking to buy the cheapest of these. I've been on eBay but I'm somewhat reluctant to buy through there. Do you have any other suggestions as to where I should look to buy?

Thanks, Jez.

12-06-2010, 10:00 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I will give you the best observations I can regarding the pentax line up.

I can't comment on meeting your specifications because you have not really given any, BUT, as I own an *sitD, K10D and K7D, I think I am qualified to offer comments on what pentax can and cannot do.

First of all, you should not limit your search to the K series of bodies. Although the *istD and subsequent bodies are the first genertation and lack shake reduction, the *istD and Ds offer TTL flash metering which can work very effictively with old lenses and flashes, later bodies can't.

The *istD is also the best metering camera, now only paralleled by the K5, for metering with legacy lenses. the K10D and K20D expecially are terrible.

see the attached thread for *istD, K10D, K20D, K7D and K5D metering comparison with legacy lenses.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/124627-k-5-met...-m-lenses.html

I use the K10D and *istD with third party split image focusing screens, on the K10D helped metering also and these are really necessary for satisfication in manual focus.

I don't have any experience with the entry level bodies (i.e. single wheel cameras)

The *istD is very small andl light, the K10/20 are the largest, adn the K2 is in the middle. The Entry level bodies are somewhat smaller than the K7, and *istD.

I trust this helps
12-06-2010, 10:29 AM   #3
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Lowell really covered the bases (I have the same kit with the only difference being a *istds vs d)
One thing i will point out you talk about the "widerange of weird and wonderful lenses (CCTV lenses and Cannon FD mounts), and also live preview on a articulated screen"
I can say that aside from the m42 mounts in FSU brands and others as well as K mounts the same you will be limited compared to m4/3 on what will adapt (and retain infinity focus) this is pretty much true of all apsC and FF DSLR. so if you want to use that old contax rangefinder lens on a pentax you likely won't be (and certainly won't have infinity focus with any rangefinder or enlarger lens, though the m39 stuff can be adapted and used to some effect)
Whether this will change when Pentax introduces their EVIL remains to be seen
12-06-2010, 10:46 AM   #4
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Thank you both for your insight and help. Just a quick question, when using a manual focus lens--say, 50mm or 85mm--do you notice much difference in terms of image stabilisation in the resulting images from the *istD and K-range cameras you own? And even if so, is this difference insignificant when compared to the differencing in metering Lowell described?

12-06-2010, 11:05 AM   #5
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The SR has allowed me to get sharper results than i would otherwise in low light slow speed scenarios with the *istds (which i rarely use now even though it meters better with my MF lenses)
The metering you learn pretty quick what the differnces are with your lenses and can just alter the exposure slightly (usually we're talking 1/3-1/5 stop plus or minus depending on lens/body combo)
The SR on the other hand has allowed me to take hand held shots with my 200mm f4 at 1/30 of a second to good result (about 3 stops) and I have shot with some lenses as low as 1/6 sec, so it is a very desirable feature for me (carrying/using a tripod isn't always possible)

I'm not sure how well the Kr and Kx work with the manual lenses as they offer a price advantage over a k& or K5 and better light capabilities than the K7 and still have SR but no Weather Resistance (a good K7 BTW can be had used at Very good price now so you may pay less than a Kr I did)
12-06-2010, 11:12 AM   #6
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I think the *ISD suggestion is a great one.

Buy a screwmount adaptor for the best selection of cheap primes. One of the first you should track down is the SMC 55mm 1.8. It is wonderful even wide open, and can give pictures some great ambiance due to the depth of field and bokeh rendering.

Another would be the 28mm 3.5, for a normal FOV. If you added one more (a 135mm) you would have very flexible set up and none of these lenses would cost you very much. Old lenses have a lot of character (colour casts, etc.) which can add to the "wierd" aspect of photography.

Finally, I would look into buying this: Industar-50 50mm F3.5 Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

for the toy camera look,

and this: Zenitar 16mm f2.8 Fisheye Lens Reviews - Pentax Third-Party Lens Review Database

for wide angles on the cheap.

See if you can find other 10 dollar or less lenses, and start messing with them. Grease one around the edges for that 1920's portrait look, e.g.
12-06-2010, 11:23 AM   #7
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+1 for paperbags lens reccomendations but be aware the M42 lenses have climbed in price a lot lately thanks to m4/3 and canon users
the russian ones can still be found for reasonable prices (though the Zenitar mentioned rarely can, it's been overpriced for a while now)
M and K series k mounts from Pentax seem to be the best value now ( the M usually costing less)
I use the jupiter and Industar lenses on my Rangfinder and if you have a good copy they are great, If not they are cheap take the opportunity to learn lens repair there are tons of sites telling you how to take them apart and CLA them
12-06-2010, 12:44 PM   #8
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Pixnix

with respect to shake reduction, the answer is yes it does make a hell of a difference.

I have posted this before, hand holding a 500mm lens at 1/40th using my K7D, and you can see all the details in the birds feathers.


or for a 100% crop



There is no way I could do that with my *istD, but, I had to shoot at ISO 1600 to get even that shot, as opposed to using TTL flash which I would have done on my *istD.

Here is TTL flash and my *istD and 300F4 plus 1.7x AF TC



the chickadee is about a 90% crop of the frame. (I was that close)

In short, Both shake reduction and TTK flash have their uses, thats why I use both. But the *istD is a capable performer, you just need to get used to it's now somewhat slow processing and small LCD.

12-06-2010, 12:54 PM   #9
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I love my *ist DS, but if you aren't going to use TTL flash, going with the K100D gets you SR, faster operation, better JPEGs and bigger screen. The downside is only a slight viewfinder penalty (you'd never notice) and fewer focus points. I think there are a lot more K100Ds made so it's easier to find. The sensor is the same, which is good for IR use, either with a filter or modified.
12-06-2010, 01:15 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I love my *ist DS, but if you aren't going to use TTL flash, going with the K100D gets you SR, faster operation, better JPEGs and bigger screen. The downside is only a slight viewfinder penalty (you'd never notice) and fewer focus points. I think there are a lot more K100Ds made so it's easier to find. The sensor is the same, which is good for IR use, either with a filter or modified.
wholly agree, the *istD and DS are really for flash photography, otherwise, go for the K100 or K100S.
The point of my post was to show what you can do with the *istD and the right glass.

there are a lot of K100's out there.
12-06-2010, 01:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pixnix Quote
...
1) Sensor stabililisation, even with manual lenses
2) AF focus confirmation through the viewfinder when using manual lenses
3) Good value (second hand cameras and lenses at least)
...
1) This works to a 2-3 stop advantage.
2) Works, you get a in focus symbol in the viewfinder and a beep.
3) I would generally agree.

The above is based on my own experience with the k-x only, but reading the forum has led me to believe that the other bodies are in fact quite similar (*ist doesn't seem to have stabilization though).

With the manual (K-mount or M42) lenses the auto metering modes are not available, but the camera light meter can still be used to set exposure time in M-mode while aperture is set on the lens (see: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-lens-articles/110657-how-use-manua...7-k-x-etc.html). Also Av mode works with M42 lenses, again the aperture is set on the lens. For some reason metering is not as accurate as with modern lenses; in M-mode one should consider the shutter time resulting from metering as a starting point, M42s in Av may require exposure compensation.
12-07-2010, 07:43 PM   #12
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I can't talk about older (or newer) Pentax dSLRs -- my K20D is my first-ever Pentax.

I *can* talk about weird & cheap photography from a lens standpoint. Many Nikon F, Olympus OM and Contax-Yashica C/Y mount lenses are easily adapted to Pentax, and I just posted (on the lens forum) a piece about simply adapting Exakta lenses to PK mounts. Lenses with a shorter register (flange focal distance) than Pentax won't achieve infinity focus without major surgery. These include cine, Leica, Canon FD, Minolta, Miranda, Konica, Petri, lotsa good stuff.

But there's an easy, cheap entry into weird optics -- bellows+tubes. I tend to stuff almost any optical material into a bellows to see what happens. And I get old medium-format lenses from trashed folders or boxes, or from Polaroids; and enlarger and projector and process lenses too. I've just determined that a TDC VIVID Anastigmat 127/1.8 projector lens has the thinnest DOF of all my 150+ lenses -- and it cost me a whole US$1.25. It's now mounted in a Pentax body cap that cost about as much as the lens. Its DOF is as thin at a 50/0.7 would be if that existed.

Many projector, process, and Polaroid lenses have no apertures, so you're always shooting wide-open. That can get exciting. Enlarger and bellows-macro lenses *do* have apertures and being flatfield are edge-to-edge sharp, sometimes brutally so. My favorite weird lens is a fixed-focus Schneider Betavaron 50-125 enlarger zoom, US$70 marked down from $3500. I put it on 30mm of tubes and use it for general photography, 'focusing' by zooming and moving about. To use it is to dance around a subject. And yes, it is brutally sharp.

I am seriously considering an m4/3 or NEX camera. I would like to use cine and CCTV and other short-register lenses. (I already sold my old Canon and Leica glass, and the Minolta lenses will go as soon as they're worth selling.) But first I must sell more stuff. Bother.
12-08-2010, 02:33 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I have posted this before, hand holding a 500mm lens at 1/40th
That is impressive.
12-08-2010, 03:57 PM   #14
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To chime in, the only thing about the whole micro-four thirds thing with regards to using all kinds of legacy lenses is that the 2x crop factor really limits the utility of most of them unless you want a narrow field of view, and in a lot of ways, those bodies rather aren't much of a fit for the purposes for which you'd want a *really* narrow FOV, and of course you need all kinds of adapters for each type, and those both aren't cheap and tend to cancel out the smallness advantage of the bodies.

So it's less of a muchness than that is cracked up to be, (In contemplating that, it's kind of like, 'Well, there's my treasured Canon FD glass, but as interesting as a 2x cropped 50/1.2 is, even piped through an EVF, my 35/2 would be not much of a short portrait, for all the weight, etc, etc) ... but there are potential funky things to do.

It's probably not much of a practical/economy option, though, especially compared to what you can do with a simple M42 adapter and the like on Pentax (or old Canon FD bodies) anyway. Different equation, though, depending on what you may already have for lenses and what you want to do with them.

Or if you wanted/had what there is in micro 4/3rds cameras/glass *anyway,* then the adaptability is potentially fun you could have from there. I guess I just don't see it as something to wrap your whole kit around from a start, though.
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