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06-25-2011, 12:49 PM   #1
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Just Bought K r, What Next?

I have absolutely no photography background, but do have video background (so I understand some of the terminology, etc.)

I just bought a K r that came with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. I've had about a day to fiddle with the camera and am already impressed with the quality of pictures that it takes. Natural light pictures are amazing, while indoor or artificial lighting pictures leave much to be desired.

I can already feel myself getting addicted to the camera and accessories, but only really want to get the basic essentials. I'm wondering what those are.

Here's what I've got: 1) K r; 2) Lense (mentioned above); 3) Camera bag; and 4) a desire to learn that rivals most.

Should I look into filters, other lenses, or anything else my beginner's state can't think of?

I plan on mainly using the camera for family outings, but I also coach tennis and plan on using the camera for that as well. I am interested in getting a lens that goes up to 300 mm (I think I need it?)

Thanks. Any help is greatly appreciated.

06-25-2011, 01:01 PM   #2
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That was how I felt when I got my first DSLR. I wanted everything from a new flash, new lenses, a filter, a diffuser, a bag, a hood, etc. In reality, I bought no additional accessories for my K-x, not even a flash or a bag. Since you are just beginning, i suggest getting familiar with your camera first. Read the manual and learn about exposure. After a few shots, you may feel that you need a bit more reach or you need a faster lens. That is when you start looking at new lenses.Don't be afraid to use high ISO! I got my K-x at night and immediately started playing with it. I shot pictures and never went above iso 3200. Boy did that create blurry pictures. As for accessories, I say just get a bag for your K-r.
06-25-2011, 01:06 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jellyfish26 Quote
That was how I felt when I got my first DSLR. I wanted everything from a new flash, new lenses, a filter, a diffuser, a bag, a hood, etc. In reality, I bought no additional accessories for my K-x, not even a flash or a bag. Since you are just beginning, i suggest getting familiar with your camera first. Read the manual and learn about exposure. After a few shots, you may feel that you need a bit more reach or you need a faster lens. That is when you start looking at new lenses.Don't be afraid to use high ISO! I got my K-x at night and immediately started playing with it. I shot pictures and never went above iso 3200. Boy did that create blurry pictures. As for accessories, I say just get a bag for your K-r.
Thanks for the advice. That's what everyone around me keeps telling me as well, and I know everyone is right.

The only thing that I'm pretty sure I will be needing is a lens with more zoom. Like I had mentioned earlier, I coach tennis and plan on using it for that. I took my new camera to some tennis courts yesterday and took some pictures. The people look so far away. If I want to get better shots for that, I know I'll need something better.

The only problem is I have no idea what to buy.
06-25-2011, 01:08 PM   #4
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Welcome aboard! I can recommend that you get a AA Battery adapter, a Rocket Blower to clean dust from the interior, a Nikon Lens Brush, and a hood (the kit lenses don't come with them). An extra fast SD card like a SanDisk Extreme III is optional but I think you'll appreciate it. You should then be set until you decide what you want to do, what sort of photos you want to take, and learn the camera.

The AA Adapter can be found for around $10 on eBay. Lets you use Eneloops or other AAs instead of the proprietary battery.

The Rocket Blower is also around $10 and is an essential in any kit IMHO for when, and you will, get dust on the sensor. Its gotten it off mine several times without any hassles.

As I recall the hood for the 18-55 is a 52mm. You can get a Pentax knock-off that fits the bayonet mount on your lens for ~$10-15 on eBay as well. Hoods are under-appreciated by many but study and side-by-side comparison after comparison shows better pictures with the hood in place in most instances.

The Nikon Lens brush is often imitated but they are just not as good IMHO. Another ~$10 purchase. Cleans dust from the lens, takes finger prints off with the other end, etc.

Whatever you do, don't go looking for cheap older Pentax lenses that will work on your brand new dSLR (because there are lots of us already doing that!!)

Enjoy.


Last edited by Docrwm; 06-25-2011 at 01:13 PM.
06-25-2011, 01:15 PM   #5
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Thanks. I will start looking for those.
06-25-2011, 01:15 PM   #6
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Any suggestions on a lens that can zoom to 300 mm (I hope I wrote that correctly.)
06-25-2011, 01:44 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
Any suggestions on a lens that can zoom to 300 mm (I hope I wrote that correctly.)
Yup, you wrote correctly! The DA55-300 f/4-5.8 is popular, highly regarded, and not too expensive. Many people buy the Kr with a two-lens kit of the DA18-55 and the DA55-300. I personally don't like that combination; I shoot a lot in the 30-70mm range, and swapping lenses at 55mm is a pain, so I prefer my DA18-250 (no longer in production, alas). But many here like that two-lens kit. It is the simplest way to cover that focal range.

My story: I've shot for many decades, but got my first dSLR (and first Pentax) just 3 years ago, supplementing an advanced but aging P&S. I asked myself, "What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have?" and the answers were ultra-wide and -long and -fast. So my first kit was the K20D, AF360 flash, DA10-17 fisheye zoom, DA18-250 walkaround superzoom, and FA50/1.4 for speed. 200+ lenses later, those are still my basic kit.

Stay tuned, and I'll regurgitate my rant on lenses: Coverage vs Character. For now, just practice practice practice. Shooting digital is free. See what your lens(es) and camera will and won't do. Oh yeah, accessories: You can never have enough batteries nor SD cards. Lens hood, battery charger, lens pen, mini-tripod, these are the basics. No 'protective' lens filters unless you're shooting in mucky environments. And read everything on this forum. Have fun!

Last edited by RioRico; 06-25-2011 at 01:54 PM.
06-25-2011, 01:47 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
Any suggestions on a lens that can zoom to 300 mm (I hope I wrote that correctly.)
There are lots of choices out there from the Humble DAL 55-300mm "kit lens" to the DA*300. You can get the DAL 55-300mm for around $250+ slightly used on a pretty regular basis. The Lens review section here is an amazing resource that the Admin and Mods just keep improving. Any of the K Mount lenses will fit your K-r without an adapter. The M42 lenses will work but with an adapter.

There are also some zooms from Tamron and Sigma that people like a lot. I have the DAL 55-300mm that came with my 18-55mm. Its a really good kit lens and a great bargain in my opinion. The difference between the "kit lenses" that are "DAL" and the equivalent "DA" lenses is that the DALs come without hood, have no ability to quickly shift from Autofocus to Manual focus, and have plastic mounts. Optically the DAL and DA equivalents are the same from what I read.

The reviews for the 55-300mm can be found -
DA review: Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA Series Zooms - Pentax Lens Reviews & Comprehensive Database

DAL Review: Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA L Series Zooms - Pentax Lens Reviews & Comprehensive Database

06-25-2011, 01:48 PM   #9
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My son has the Sigma 70~300 APO, pretty nice and inexpensive, around $230-....


...
06-25-2011, 01:51 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
Any suggestions on a lens that can zoom to 300 mm (I hope I wrote that correctly.)
Most of the lenses will have similar specs, or a price near or above $1000. The expensive stuff is great but I wouldn't buy that immediately, even if you happen to have the cash.

Sigma and Tamron have a couple of 28-300mm zooms, a couple of 70-300mm zooms and I believe a couple of older lenses that are 75-300mm, still sold new. Prices for any of these are below $200. You might see Promaster, Quantaray or some other brand, very likely a Sigma or Tamron underneath. I would rule out the 28-300mm lenses right away. They sound like a good idea but they try to do too much, and are worst at 300mm. The remaining lenses are OK, still not amazing at 300mm.

Pentax has a lens built to be better than these cheaper Sigma or Tamrons, the DA 55-300mm. It's intended to be sharper at the 300mm end and nearly everyone agrees that they did it. It costs more than the Sigmaron offerings and you might think it's missing a Macro mode. That macro spec is not as useful as it sounds. The Pentax lens has a cheaper version sold as a kit with new cameras, harder to get otherwise. You might look into returning your K-r and getting the two-lens kit instead.

All the affordable options are f5.6-f6.3 at the 300mm end. That will limit you somewhat to brighter conditions. Tennis in the afternoon, OK, but tennis under lights is going to be a problem.

Last edited by Just1MoreDave; 06-25-2011 at 04:18 PM.
06-25-2011, 02:05 PM   #11
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Here are a few pics from the zoo earlier this year, taken with the Sigma 70~300 APO:

(cropped a little to show closer detail)





06-26-2011, 09:28 AM   #12
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The Sigma and Tamron 70-300mm cost below $200 and if you want the Pentax IQ equivalent for the DA 55-300mm, then just get the DA L version 55-300mm. It would cost from $200 to below $200 too: Pentax-DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED Reviews - DA L Series Zooms - Pentax Lens Reviews & Comprehensive Database
As mentioned by a previous post, the only difference of this with the DA version is the plastic mount, it doesn't come with a hood, does not have the clutch-focus but the all important IQ of the DA 55-300mm is there which is the most important factor.
If you want something cheaper but still made by Pentax then you can go for the FA J 75-300mm: Pentax-FA J 75-300mm F4.5-5.8 AL Reviews - FA J Series Zooms - Pentax Lens Reviews & Comprehensive Database
The FA J was made for 35mm Pentax SLR's but still works for the DSLR's. The advantage of this one is if you have a Pentax AF SLR or plan on using film again, you can still use this lens for that but you can't use your DA lenses for film since it would vignette on an SLR.
Another option would be the FA 80-320mm. This has a much longer reach and also for full frame 35mm SLR's but would work on the DSLR too.
Here's a review from our own forums: Pentax-FA 80-320mm F4.5-5.6 Reviews - FA Series Zooms - Pentax Lens Reviews & Comprehensive Database
Another option would be to get a TC or teleconverter. Get the 1.5X or 1.7X.

Last edited by GerryL; 06-26-2011 at 09:59 AM.
06-26-2011, 03:35 PM   #13
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Getting back the the OP's first post - not being satisfied with indoor shots on his new KR (assuming he's shooting jpeg) --- I know the AWB (auto white balance) is iffy on older Pentax dslr's, not sure how much better it is on current models. I suggest manually setting the white balance on the camera for indoor/artificial lighting shots. Set to Tungsten or Fluorescent depending on what type lighting, or set to Flash if using the flash (obviously). I know this makes a huge difference on the older models.
06-27-2011, 10:37 AM   #14
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Wow. Thanks to all of you for your responses. Definitely a lot of great information regarding the lenses, I guess I have a lot of research and thinking to do.

Yeah, I've been messing with the indoor shots and haven't really been able to find a way to take decent shots indoors. I've gotten better, but I know I've still got a long ways to go. I will try to mess white balance. Hopefully that helps.
06-27-2011, 10:37 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by joe.penn Quote
Here are a few pics from the zoo earlier this year, taken with the Sigma 70~300 APO:

(cropped a little to show closer detail)





Nice pictures. I'd love to be able to take pictures like that. I really want something with a better zoom now.
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