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05-01-2011, 10:48 AM   #1
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Noob looking for friendly, and hopefully helpful, advice

Hello! Since this is my first post on this forum, i'll introduce myself quickly before starting the noobish questions which i hope you're not tired of answering. I'm a 31 year old guy from Norway with very little photographic experience so far. Thats it for introductions for now; over to the important stuff:

I am looking to buy a camera. A DSLR-camera. There are several reasons for this, but let's start with the beginning...

Almost two years ago, i bought a beautiful dog, a Rhodesian Ridgeback, and the breeder urged me to take lots of pictures, so she could have a few and follow the dogs development, but also for my own sake, so i could look back on, and document, the different stages from pup to adult and beyond. Great idea, only problem was, i didn't have a camera. So i started to look for one. I looked at lots, actually, on the net, because the closest thing to a photoshop where i live is a trial-version of CS5 on my friends laptop. Anyway, i looked at DSLR's, and figured they were too advanced for me and since i'm probably going to be useless anyway, i'll buy a compact camera, which i did, and it performed okay, i thought. Well, outside, at least, with good light. I fiddled with most of the settings and menus and took loads of pictures, and i was sort of satisfied, until the day my girlfriend bought a Canon 550d. I borrowed it and pressed here and there and read some of the instruction manual, and lo and behold, i got a few pics which weren't bad at all! They were in fact so much better that i thought it easily justified the price compared to my old compact camera, which i can't find the charger for anymore(i think it's because i want to force myself to buy a new camera). So i've found out that taking pictures is a lot of fun; it's challenging, exciting, and it opens up a new dimension to hunting, which i do a lot of, mainly on grouse and fish, and it keeps me active outside. It is also very good for documenting all sorts of happenings; what went wrong, what went good, what worked, what didn't and so on.

In addition, i am going to start writing articles which i am going to sell to newspapers and (outdoor)magazines; i know that for the small-time local newspaper-work, supplying pictures with articles are highly appreciated, and they don't need to be world-class quality either.For the magazines, i don't really know, as i haven't been too much in touch with them yet. So, the problem is, i want to buy a DSLR-camera, but which one?

I don't know why i landed on Pentax - but i believe it has to do with many models being weather resistant, and people describe them as 'rugged' and 'durable', which are important to me. I also like running around with stuff which is a bit 'special' in the way that not everyone else has got one, and in addition, i really like the possibility of buying old lenses cheap. People buy a lot of new stuff these days, and i like being able to re-use things that other people are discarding just because it is old or out of fashion. And hunting yard-sales and flea-markets and auctions on the net is exciting too! But let me make a little list of what i am looking for in a camera:

- Weather resistance. I am outside in all sorts of weather, mostly bad,this is Norway afterall, and if the camera can't take being outside in heavy rain or a little blizzard, it's not going to be used. I am going to shoot all sorts of animals, bugs, ice, snow, northern lights, bonfires, fish(lots of fish) close-ups of fish, fishing equipment and other equipment you use outside on trips, such as tents, sleeping bags, fire-starters, snowshoes etc. Inside, it must be able to handle a little beer,wine or other acloholic content people may find suitable for throwing around at concerts.

- Inside, i will be shooting concerts or other cultural happenings, some portraits, food, tables with food, tables with wineglasses and cutlery, flowerarrangements, bugs and fishing flies, some of which are tiny.

- Versatility and tweaking-possibilities. I like to fiddle, and i like to learn by fiddling. I like to be able to decide what's going on, and i like to be able to decide what's going on while it's going on; fiddling on the fly, so to speak.

I have, for some reason, found out that the K-5 would be good for me. In Norway i can get that with the 18-55 f/3,5 and the 50-200 f/4 WR for about 2000$. By comparison, the K-7 with the same kit is around 1800$, while the K-r with the same kit is a little over 1100$. I am planning to wait it out a little while, because i think all of these cameras will become a little cheaper in a few months, but i won't expect wonders.

So, my question is as follows: Is it silly and stupid for a noob like me to save and scrape for a pro K-5 and learn the hard way, or is it a good idea? Or would it be better to save and scrape a lot less, and go for the K-r, learn how to take decent pics with it, and buy a K-5 when i have 'outgrown' the K-r? What would you have done?

Thanks in advance,

best regards,


05-01-2011, 01:02 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Well, my first comment would be that the Kr is not weather-resistant, which you said is important to you. Your only choices in recent bodies would be the K7 and the K5. Personally, if you can swing it, I think you should go for the K5. It really is that much better than the K7 and will spoil you with its capabilities. You'll be thinking all DSLRs can do what it can, which is definitely not the case.

I would advise you to perhaps alter your lens choices, though. At the very least, you may want to get the 18-55 kit and the 55-300. This tele-zoom is considerably better than the 50-200 at a reasonable increase in price. Use those for a while and see what focal lengths you seem to shoot at the most, then you will have an idea of what lens choices to need to make from there. The 55-300 is good enough, in fact, that you may keep it for some time. It has many fans here. Another possibility is the 18-135, though it would cost more than the 2 lenses above combined. I would urge you to try some of Pentax's wonderful small primes at some point, as they are a big benefit of the Pentax system, but I would start with the zooms until you know what primes might be most useful to you.

Most importantly, though, don't get too bogged down in gear choices. The number one thing is to have fun and let the gear decisions reveal themselves to you in time.
05-01-2011, 01:18 PM   #3
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with the low light capabilities of the K5 and those two lenses you will be able to do most of what you have listed.
For the product shots you could do a DIY photo box:
Strobist: How To: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio

Welcome and have fun.
05-01-2011, 01:21 PM   #4
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Welcome, I can not give you advice on the K7or K5, I have a K-X , K20D, istD and my favorite is the k-x I bought it online with the 18-55 and 50-200 for around $600. Great starter camera. I believe is you go Pentax you will be happy with any of the choices. Good Luck and have fun.

05-01-2011, 02:22 PM   #5
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I think you should save yourself from all the "what if" later on and just buy the K-5 and best lenses. Then you can focus on taking pictures and not blaming all the screw ups on the tools. I'm speaking from my own experience
05-01-2011, 02:31 PM   #6
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I would suggest K-7 and some extra lenses. There are some great sharp and cheap manual lenses out there.
05-01-2011, 04:21 PM   #7
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As per previous suggestions, the best your budget will allow for will save having to upgrade more often later (and thus save you money ).

The K-5 is a fine tool that will keep for a long time. Having said that, even the K-7 is very good, though does not have the high sensitivity abilities the K-5 does - if you envisage shooting in low-light conditions, then consider just going straight to the K-5.

Lenses - you can always add more to your collection later, but for starters the DA 18-55 WR and 50-200 WR are both weather sealed yet priced cheaply. Their image quality will not be fantastic, but do the basics (f/8 and be there) very well. If you want more reach, the DA 55-300 does even better than the 50-200, but is not weather sealed.

Enjoy the vocation!
05-01-2011, 05:01 PM   #8
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- Weather resistance. - K10D, K200D, K20D, K7 or K5 are weather resistant (that doesn't not mean proof).

- Inside, - Kx Kr, K5 for high ISO, with the K5 being the best.

The K10 and K200D are going to be very difficult to find and they will be several years old. The K20 and K7 have essentially the same sensor, and will be limited in terms of their high ISO for indoor shooting with out a flash. The Kx and Kr are great for high ISO but not weather resistant.

The bottom line is that the K5 has both the high ISO (for inside and low light conditions) and the weather resistance you are seeking. However to have a fully weather resistant system the lenses need to be WR also.

If you are essentially going to sell your photographic services, then probably I would suggest the K5 since you will have a higher rate of keepers and overall better low light images (both inside and outside).

05-01-2011, 07:34 PM   #9
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If your criteria are weather sealed and low light for indoor (without a flash), the answer is obvious to me. K5. Forgive me, I know you're new here but the most silly thing to me is worrying that it will be too much camera. At the end of the day they all offer something. It's just that growing into a camera and then upgrading seems a bit of a waste to me. All of the cameras have auto modes if you wish to use them but the flagships do not have Scene modes (night, portrait, etc). That will be the learning curve for you and once you master the three variables of exposure, there won't be any camera you cannot use effectively. Now, if Price is more of a concern, that's an entirely different matter.

Welcome aboard.

05-01-2011, 08:32 PM   #10
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Based on what you're looking for sir, saving up for a K-5 will be best, I think. If you intend to use a camera more for commercial work, it would fit almost all your needs. Also if you're going to need those prime features of the K-5 like weather-sealing, immediately, then all the more, instead of getting a K-r and then upgrading.

And welcome to PentaxForums ^_^
05-02-2011, 01:00 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by morpho Quote
Weather resistance. I am outside in all sorts of weather, mostly bad,this is Norway afterall
In that case ignore the following...

QuoteOriginally posted by DogLover Quote
At the very least, you may want to get the 18-55 kit and the 55-300. This tele-zoom is considerably better than the 50-200 at a reasonable increase in price.
I have the WR 50-200 and its a perfectly usable lens that has managed to get a bad rep...

K7 or K5 will see you well (K5 in lower light obviously but if you shoot RAW the quality for for a local newspaper will be acceptable...

If you get the K7 you may have some cash left over to put towards a DA*55mm 1.4 which is also weather sealed...
05-02-2011, 06:54 AM   #12
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Thanks for all replies!

I thought the K-r was weather resistant because one of the norwegian netshops advertised it as weather resistant, but as it isn't, it's out of the picture. Seeing as the price difference between the K-7 and the K-5 is under 200 bucks with the 2 lenses, and partly based upon comments from you guys, both in this threads and others, it seems the K-5 would be a good, and perhaps the best, option. I'll continue reading this and other forums, learning more theory, and save some more before buying, but i think i will go for the K-5 with the 2 lenses. Thanks again!

05-02-2011, 08:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
In that case ignore the following...

I have the WR 50-200 and its a perfectly usable lens that has managed to get a bad rep..., what a recommendation. I agree that I forgot that 55-300 is not WR, but that was kind of a jerky way to point it out. Other than that, though, the 55-300 is considerably better than the 50-200, I've had both.
05-02-2011, 09:12 AM   #14
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Here's my experience:
I use cameras outdoors a lot. I had an older Sony P&S P50 which takes amazing pictures for the type and age of camera. It freezes up in the winter, I have a series of pictures showing this progress, which is interesting but inconvenient. I have an Olympus 850SW which is truly rugged and easy to take anywhere but is only mediocre in picture quality.

I bought a used K10 two years ago and have been completely satisfied with it with the following exceptions: low-light and autofocus. I've taken it to the parks with the dogs in single-digit F weather and it's done fine. I bought the K-5 a few weeks ago and must say the low-light ability is outstanding - the pictures at ISO 9000 look better than those using a flash in many cases. Of course I need to learn how to use the flash more effectively, but have learned I don't really need to.

You're going to get a lot of very usable pictures with the kit lens because cropping will yield pictures suitable for newspaper and magazine-sized images. You don't need to print posters, after all. This is a very powerful tool to remember - and exploit.

I have never used the K-7 but if the K-5 is only marginally more expensive, I'd go for that. You'll have a big learning curve if you've never used DSLRs, but it's extremely powerful. I mostly shoot in Av mode, trying to learn the 'sweet spots' for my lenses.
05-02-2011, 11:03 AM   #15
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DogLover: The 55-300mm lens doesn't come as a kit with the body in any shops i can find in Norway. I could of course buy the body + that lens, but let me make a list of what stuff cost here

K-5 body: 1848$
K-5+18-55mm WR kit: 1951$
K-5+18-55mm + 55-200mm WR kit: 2026$
K-5+18-55mm WR kit + 55-300mm: 2505$
K-5+18-135mm WR kit: 2413$

K-7 body: 1436$
K-7+18-55mm WR kit: 1622$
K-7+18-55mm + 55-200mm WR kit: 1890$
K-7+18-55mm WR kit+55-300mm: 2175$

Note that the dollar is very weak against the norwegian krone these days. For me, the point here is that the difference between the K-5 and K-7 with two WR lenses is just 136$. If i decide to spend that much on a camerasystem, 136$ is not going to make much of a difference. But, K-5+18-55+55-300 is almost 500$ more, which does make a difference, and K-7+18-55mm WR kit+55-300mm is more expensive than a K-5 with two WR lenses. Perhaps i am focusing too much on the WR-thing, i don't know It just seems to me that the K-5 + the two WR lenses is going to be the best deal as things are now. I'm actually going to check the prices for that kit at B&H, and see how much they want for it.

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