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03-14-2011, 04:57 PM   #1
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Which body, which lense(s)?

I have been researching for over a month and now it is time to purchase. The research I think has confused me so I am looking for some advice.
I am going to get a Pentax DSLR soon, in a week or so, but want to be sure I do this right. I want to be able to shoot in low light without a flash if possible. My son plays guitar and sings with another guy and they have been playing bar/pubs at least once a month. I want to shoot up close, people posing and also standing back for candid shots.
I will also be shooting birds, blue birds mainly, in my back yard probably 20-30 yards away. I can get closer if I sit there and wait for them to come in.
We will be going to Nashville next month so it will get a lot of use there.
So do I need a K5 for indoors low light and outside evenings or can I get one of the other bodies with a couple good lenses.
This being my first purchase I need to try and cover my interests as best I can within my budget.
The lenses I am thinking would be the 50-135 f2.8 and kit lense if I get a K5. This would be my limit budget wise if I get the K5. The 50-135 long enough for the birds? If however I can get a less expensive body that willwork in low light I can maybe get better lenses.
I guess mainly I am not sure what is the best for low light? Will one of the other bodies work well in low light. Does the lense have more to do with low light? Told you I was confused.
One thing I know for sure is I don't want to get the wrong body now and a year from now get what i should have first time around.
When I was younger, much younger, I had a couple mamiya/sekor 35mm film so I am somewhat familiar how SLRs work. I am sure I will learn DSLR with time, at least I don't think I will be overwhelmed if I don't go with a beginners body.

03-14-2011, 05:02 PM   #2
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Had a look at the Kr twin kit?
I have the Kx and use it for lowlight stuff freqently...
03-14-2011, 05:14 PM   #3
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For shooting up close, in low light, I'd suggest a DA35 f2.4, FA35 f2, or a FA31 f1.8. The latter 2 options are best (budget allowing) due to speed. A tamron 17-50 f2.8 is also a good option but f2.8 may not be fast enough. I just used a FA31 at a wedding reception on the weekend and I was getting ISO6400, 1/50, f1.8. That's how dark it was, even a f2.8 lens would have been too slow.

For little birds 30 yards away you need 300mm at least. Either a 55-300 to be used in good light, or a DA*300 if budget allows. You might even need the Pentax 1.7x AF TC as well.
03-14-2011, 05:16 PM   #4
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K-x is one of the beasts in low lights. From professional and owner reviews I've read, K-r and K-5 are low light beasts as well. Depending in your budget, a K-r with 18-55mm/55-300mm kit lenses will be good start. Of course, if it's within your budget get the K-5. I have a K-x but would eventually upgrade to K-5 because of it's weather sealing.

03-14-2011, 05:16 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
A tamron 17-50 f2.8 is also a good option but f2.8 may not be fast enough.
I have this lens and use it often in lowlight... She's a belter! :-)
03-14-2011, 05:36 PM   #6
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I'd go with K57XR. The K-r with the two kit lenses will get you up and running for a reasonable outlay and the lenses are good enough and cover enough focal length that they'll give you excellent results in the areas you're interested in. The body will do low light work as good as anything around and I believe has enough features to satisfy your interests for a long time. Eventually you'll probably want to upgrade your lenses but the Pentax kit lenses are such that you won't need to do that for quite a while. In the meantime you'll be getting well-acquainted with the (very different) world of digital photography. Frankly I wouldn't leap into a K5 straight away. I've recently upgraded from a K100DS to a K7 and it's been like jumping from a Mini to a Ferrari. I'd never recommend a new driver start off with a Ferrari! The K5 is, by all accounts, an outstanding camera, but if the K7 is anything to go by, the sheer mass of choices available before you take shot can be quite intimidating (and I've been taking photos for over 60 years).
Whatever choice you make you can be sure you're going to absolutely love digital photography. Enjoy and post us some pics when you're ready.
03-14-2011, 08:27 PM   #7
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For a first Pentax camera, I'd recommend a zoom before stepping into primes. I use the Tamron all the time in low light. Then you have a good general purpose lens. The new Sigma is supposed to be good, too and there's always the Pentax DA*16-50, all at f2.8. After you take a number of pictures, you can always go back and look at the EXIF data and see what focal length you use most and look for the appropriate prime.

ISO 1600 1/200 sec F2.8

You should be able to easily push the Kr a stop or two higher ISO than my K20D with similar results.
03-15-2011, 11:28 AM   #8
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Thanks everyone. The Kr with the 2 kit lenses sounds like the way to go. After your comments I went back again looked through reviews on the Kr and those lenses and it makes sense to go with that. I am still interested in getting the 50-135 f2.8. My thinking is it would be good for the shots of my sons gigs in low light pubs/bars. I would like take picture being close but also standing further back for candid shots. Will this lense work for that or am I wishful thinking.

03-15-2011, 12:21 PM   #9
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Coming from film, it's going to take you awhile to realize that ISO 800 isn't ISO 800 any
more, especially with the K-r, so the need for the fastest lenses for speed's sake alone is lessened.

Your APS-C sensor at 800 behaves somewhat cleaner than Tri-X 400 pushed a stop.

03-15-2011, 03:58 PM   #10
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50-135 is a nice walkaround lens and would work well in the pub/club situation. You won't find 135 anywhere near long enough for bird photography, though. That's where the 55-300 will be better and, of course, it incorporates the (close enough to)50 -135 range. It's quite a light lens and as Ira has pointed out you won't be as restricted with the 4-5.6 lens speed as in the old film days. A K-r will easily shoot at ISO 800 and much higher, with very clean results.
That said, the 50-135 has had very good write-ups and with what you'll save getting the K-r over a K5 you might be able to afford both and kickstart your LBA!

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