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02-17-2011, 02:44 PM   #1
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stale question of which dslr ?

Hi all! (hope I posted this in the right place )
I’ve been a Canon user for quite a while but thinking about trying a Pentax. I've owned a p&s for over 10 yrs and before that I had a Canon T-50 35mm camera. I love and miss the quality of an SLR! I worked at a photo lab for years in the 90’s and even shot a few weddings. So, I am somewhat familiar with photography, although I really do not desire to dig too deep into it. I’m basically looking for a great camera to take pictures of my active kids and maybe mess around with some family portraits. But I will definitely “play” with the camera to see where it takes me.

I’m considering the Pentax K-x or K-r. I’m also really thinking about the Nikon D3100 or Canon T1i as well. The budget is under $1,000 but preferably under $800. Which one would you guys recommend for what I need? I’d love a fast camera for indoor shooting, good with moving kids. I prefer a high resolution LCD screen. This is a concern for me on the K-x and the Nikon. Looking for great image quality…which I know Canon offers….how is it with the Pentax cameras? Everything else I’m flexible.

Also, if I do go with Pentax….any recommendations on a good budget prime lens? Something fast and sharp and reasonably priced. I miss my 50mm F1.8 on my Canon! I didn’t realize what great pictures it took until it broke and I replaced it with a sorry zoom.

Thanks in advance!

02-17-2011, 03:07 PM   #2
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The K-r is probably the right camera for you- it's got the megapixel LCD, which is far superior to that of the K-x.

Your other option is the K-7 - used it can be gotten for around $600. While your low-light performance will be a little bit worse, it delivers a superior, weather-sealed body with many added external controls.

Pentax Cameras | Pentax K-7 vs. Pentax K-r - Pentax DSLR Comparison - PentaxForums.com

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02-17-2011, 04:54 PM   #3
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Like Adam, I would highly recommend the K-r...
02-17-2011, 05:14 PM   #4
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As well as a K-r, I'd recommend a DA 35mm f2.4 prime lens which you should be able to squeeze into you budget. Then when you can scrape up $200 buy a Metz 50 AF-1 flash as it will greatly improve your indoor photos.

02-17-2011, 06:02 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sweetwillow Quote
Looking for great image quality…which I know Canon offers….how is it with the Pentax cameras?
Thanks in advance!
Certainly as good if not better than the Canon T1i that you're thinking about
With a budget of $800-1000, i would consider the Canon T2i or the Pentax K-R instead of the T1i you mentioned. Each camera is capable of great image quality. You can look through Flickr's camera finder HERE and see the type of images out there.

It would boil down to personal preference and what's most important to you. Pentax does not currently offer a cheap 50mm like Nikon or Canon's 50 f/1.8, but there's a lot of old glass floating out there on the used market. The cool thing about Pentax is how each camera has in-body stabilization and the ability to mount legacy glass from decades ago. This equates to having stabilized old manual lenses for any focal length, which gives you a stop or 2 leeway when shooting. As far as I know, I don't think either Canon or Nikon offer stabilization in their 50mm primes or below. I think Nikon starts to offer stabilized lenses beginning with their 85mm prime and Canon at their 100mm.

I also agree a K-R plus the newish DA 35mm f/2.4 would do well, especially if you're used to 50mm on a film SLR.
02-18-2011, 08:24 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your great recommendations and insight!

I see there is also a SMCP FA 50mm f1.4 lens - although not cheap - but how does it compare with the recommended 35mm f2.4? Seems to be only $100 difference thru amazon.
02-18-2011, 11:02 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by sweetwillow Quote
Thank you all for your great recommendations and insight!

I see there is also a SMCP FA 50mm f1.4 lens - although not cheap - but how does it compare with the recommended 35mm f2.4? Seems to be only $100 difference thru amazon.
The 50 is a little long for smaller rooms on an APS-C dSLR. Buy the lens for speed and narrow DOF if that is what you need otherwise, the 35 would give you more what you were use to with your Canon. That is, in terms of the types of photos you can take. There are literally 1000s of fast 50s out there on the used market if you decide you need one. If you can stand manual focus, you can buy 3 or 4 (or more) nice primes for the cost of the FA50.

02-19-2011, 11:30 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sweetwillow Quote
Thank you all for your great recommendations and insight!

I see there is also a SMCP FA 50mm f1.4 lens - although not cheap - but how does it compare with the recommended 35mm f2.4? Seems to be only $100 difference thru amazon.
The FA 50 is obviously faster, however it's not very sharp below f-2 so there's less of an advantage than you would first guess. It's probably very, very slightly sharper, though the 35 is a nice sharp lens. Both produce good color and contrast. The new 35 is all plastic, so is very light. The 35 focuses faster in all light and will get a focus in dim light where the 50 struggles.

The 35 will give you a 53mm equivalent view, which is a bit handier as an all round lens than the 50 which gives a 75mm equivalent.

I've been using my 50 lately because of a weird M setting problem with my camera that requires the aperture ring for manual exposures, but before that the 35 pretty much lived on my camera. With most forum participants the question isn't which one to buy but which to buy first.

02-20-2011, 02:44 AM   #9
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K-r plus 35/2.4 = top results for not too big a price tag.

You'll learn a lot with that combination also. Later on, when you want more zoom reach for your kid shots you might consider the 55-300 which is probably the best value telezoom you can get.
02-20-2011, 08:32 PM   #10
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I may just have to pull the trigger and get a Pentax for the simple fact that this forum is so friendly and informative! Thanks again for all of your replies!

So lastly, how does the 35 f2.4 compare to say a 35mm f1.8? I'm assuming it would do better in low light. ?? Maybe this is not so. (I see Nikon has one for the D3100 and D5000)

I'm just about sold on the Pentax - go ahead and push me over the edge please.
02-20-2011, 08:40 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by sweetwillow Quote
I'm just about sold on the Pentax - go ahead and push me over the edge please.
C'mon, dare to be different!!
02-20-2011, 08:46 PM   #12
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The Nikon 35mm f1.8 is an excellent value lens. At 1.8 vs 2.4 it has 0.8 stops advantage. It's meant to be sharp, however it has poor bokeh wide open and a fairly high degree of barrel distortion (according to photozone.de). For such a cheap lens though this is very acceptable performance.

The DA 35mm f2.4 is in the processes of being tested by that same web site, however it is closely related to the FA 35mm f2 which tested very well, with seemingly better bokeh and distortion, but worse purple fringing (a coatings problem which maybe solved in the DA version? who knows).

One thing that strikes me about Nikon gear is the shear bulk of it, the lenses are huge compared to Pentax ones, I guess that's a function of in lens motors and VR. On the other hand there sure are a lot of lenses available in shop to look at and try out, more so than Pentax.

I don't think you can go wrong with either system. I prefer Pentax for its in body stabilisation, and its compact primes with beautiful build quality (the limited series).
02-21-2011, 03:19 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by sweetwillow Quote
I may just have to pull the trigger and get a Pentax for the simple fact that this forum is so friendly and informative! Thanks again for all of your replies!

So lastly, how does the 35 f2.4 compare to say a 35mm f1.8? I'm assuming it would do better in low light. ?? Maybe this is not so. (I see Nikon has one for the D3100 and D5000)

I'm just about sold on the Pentax - go ahead and push me over the edge please.
From what I understand, translated from what I've read here, Nikon cripples their lower end cameras when it comes to using the full range of lenses. I don't know where the 3100 and 5000 fall in that range though.

With Pentax, if you can mount it up, you can use it. Regardless of the camera, Period.

02-22-2011, 04:09 PM   #14
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Yes, Nikon removes the screw drive on their lower end bodies. So you would have no autofocus from lenses like the cheap 50mm 1.8 or any of the "D" lenses on a D3100 or D5000. Any of the "G" series will have AF, but they are expensive with the exception of the 35mm 1.8G. As for weight, the primes aren't too heavy, but boy, the high end zooms (14-24, 24-70, 20-700) will hurt your neck if you carry them around for a day. For size and weight in an APS-C body, it's hard to beat Pentax, especially paired to any of the limited pancakes.
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