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08-24-2011, 04:58 AM   #1
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Which DSLR?

Hi there,

Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction.......

I have a Pentax MZ-50 which has been well used and well loved for many years and I have been extremely happy with the results.

I feel that after finding reasons for putting it off for ages, the time has now come to take the digital plunge.

After having such a rewarding relationship with this camera, it seems only logical to continue with Pentax. But here's where the questions start!

I value portability and need something suitable for wildlife, architectural and portrait photography (so pretty much a good all-rounder).

I have two lenses (that came with the MZ-50) that I would like to be able to use if at all possible:

Pentax-FA 80-200
Pentax FA 35-80

I would be ever so appreciative of any advice that you could give.

Thank you,


08-24-2011, 05:31 AM   #2
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Good Morning Kate:
Welcome to the Pentax Forum. You will find all kinds of information on this site to help you make the transitition from film to Digital. Your lenses will work with ANY pentax DSLR camera. Pentax is the only company that has made sure that ALL their lenses can be used with any Pentax camera.
If your lenses do not have the K mount you can still get an adapter to use them, but they may have to be used in the manual mode -- which is OK with most experienced photographers.
As to what model of Pentax to buy, well that really depends on what your MAIN venue is going to be.
Personally, I first bought the K10D which I still use as my backup camera. It now is 4 generations back from the K5 which I purchase a couple of months ago.
What a difference in 4 generations.
If you can afford the K5 it will just blow your mind at how good it is and the versitility it offers along with the logical thought that went in to making it.
I recently did a shoot of 130 soccer teams with another professional sports photographer who uses the top of the line Canon cameras (2 of them) and the K5 kept up with the Canons and actually out performed her cameras when focusing accurately by a ratio of 3 to 1.
Pentax left the Canons behind -- we have this friendly rivalry between us.
So, if you can afford the K5, go for it, otherwise in order to get your feet wet in digital, see if you can pick up a good used Pentax K10D, K20D, or K7.
There are other models of course, but if you are serious about photography then look at the ones suggested.
If you have any more questions, feel free to get in touch with anyone on the various forums in this site.

Last edited by oddie1990; 08-25-2011 at 06:52 AM.
08-24-2011, 05:31 AM   #3
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The Pentax K-r looks like a nice camera. With an 18-55mm lens, you'd have everything from 18-200mm covered.
There's always used or refurbished, but the Pentax K-r seems like such a good value.
Take care, Glen
08-24-2011, 05:52 AM   #4
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i think this is more $$$ question, if you can afford K5 then go for it. If you can`t, then go for K-r (it`s really a nice camera).
Since you are not invested in Pentax system, you can also look for other brands, but i don`t think you will find something comparable to K5 (maybe Nikon D7000, but it`s not Pentax maybe also canon 7D (i would not go into Canikon lowends, because they are really budget cameras.) If you will stay with Pentax, i think you will be more than satisfied. Mainly when you will get better lens than kit lens.

08-24-2011, 06:19 AM   #5

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QuoteOriginally posted by zelovoc Quote
i think this is more $$$ question, if you can afford K5 then go for it. If you can`t, then go for K-r (it`s really a nice camera).
Since you are not invested in Pentax system, you can also look for other brands, but i don`t think you will find something comparable to K5 (maybe Nikon D7000, but it`s not Pentax maybe also canon 7D (i would not go into Canikon lowends, because they are really budget cameras.) If you will stay with Pentax, i think you will be more than satisfied. Mainly when you will get better lens than kit lens.
It is not just a matter of cash, also matter of where she is coming from.
She has a MZ-50, so the digital camera would be the K-R. The K-5 most likely would be overkill. Unless she seriously wants a big upgrade
08-24-2011, 07:14 AM   #6
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Hello Kate,

If weather resistance (WR) is a must I would look into a used K20, K7 or a K5 (new if budget permits). These, however, may not be as portable as you may want.

If WR is not a priority and based on your requirements, I believe the K-r with 18-55mm kit lens would be the better option. I’d even suggest a used K-x but since its pricing with the K-r is not that far off and this would be your entry to the digital world, you cannot go wrong with the K-r. Both are probably the best high ISO performers in their respective class and not to mention, quite "petite" for a DSLR. K5 is an excellent camera and Pentax's current APS-C flagship but as mentioned, might be overkill for what you're looking for. I would spend the cost difference on good glass instead. Although, Pentax 18-55mm kit offering is regarded as one of, if not the best kit lens offered by any manufacturer.

Another thing that needs to be pointed out, in case you are not familiar with, is a non full-frame DSLR’s (All Pentax except 645D) APS-C sensor crop factor (CF). Pentax has a 1.5x CF which will narrow your 35-80 to a 52.5-120mm lens and your 80-200 to a 120-300mm lens; neither of which may not be suitable for architectural or landscape photography.

Hope this helps,


Last edited by K57XR; 08-24-2011 at 10:01 AM.
08-24-2011, 09:15 AM   #7
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If you are in Brighton UK, a visit to a few camera shops should let you handle both the K5 and the Kr, though the staff may not know quite as much as they seem to...

I handled a K7 at Jacobs in Leeds, later brought one 2nd hand when the K5 appeared.

Remember to allow for a couple of decent sized memory cards and a second battery - no need to buy a Pentax one, my K7 works fine with a 3rd party one.

If you dont have much free hard disk space on your PC you might want an external hard disk drive. However really you need two as everything important on a PC needs to be backed up...
08-24-2011, 09:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kaos Quote
Pentax-FA 80-200
Pentax FA 35-80
Your FA lenses will have full functionality (auto aperture & auto focus) on any Pentax DSLR. Of course the field of view will change significantly, they will look like 50-120mm and 120-300mm focal lengths.

I suggest you get the 18-55mm kit lens with your Pentax DSLR, whichever one you choose. I prefer the fully featured cameras like the K20D, K-7 and K-5, but the K-x and K-r are fine too. The K20, K-7 and K-5 are weather resistant, so if you go for one of these, the 18-55 WR would be a benefit.

Last edited by audiobomber; 08-24-2011 at 09:46 AM.
08-25-2011, 06:34 PM   #9

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I think you'll be very happy with any Pentax camera from at least the K100 on. Having said that, I wouldn't over-emphasize the importance of re-using your lenses. The cost of equivalent quality lenses with a greater range is just not that much. So in that sense you shouldn't feel bound to Pentax. When I started with Pentax in the '70s, I thought the Spotmatic was the best value available. When I wanted to migrate from all my fixed-length SMC lenses to zooms, I went with Canon in the 1980s, because I thought the A-1s were the best value at the time. Then I went to digital with the K100 in 2006, because at the time it seemed like the best value. I'm not sure any Pentax is the best value in its class today, and I'd mostly consider a Pentax because I already have several Pentax DA lenses. If I had your two lenses, I wouldn't let them alone keep me in the Pentax camp.

08-26-2011, 09:33 PM   #10
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I think all new Pentax cameras are good all around cameras. So if $$$ permits I would highly suggest the K5 and if not the Kr can be had for much cheaper. Both will render great photos whether of wildlife or indoor portraits (although the lens you choose will have a big impact on those 2 scenarios).
08-27-2011, 04:05 AM   #11
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I think either the kx or kr would be fine for your needs. The big thing to remember is that Pentax digital cameras use a cropped sensor that is smaller than a film negative. This means that the angle of view that a digital camera "sees" is more narrow than the one your film camera "sees." For that reason, you would do well to get a kit lens with your camera, since it will go quite a bit wider (to 18mm).
08-27-2011, 08:24 AM   #12
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Echoing some of the above: The K5 is more of a semi-pro camera; the Kr delivers great performance for substantially lower cost. Yes, your lenses will work fine on either; and yes, you'll want an 18-55 or equivalent lens to give a wider view than your 35-80. Any other lenses depend on where you want to go photographically. My original kit with my K20D were the DA10-17 fisheye zoom, DA18-250 superoom, and FA50/1.4 Fast Fifty. I now use a Tamron 10-24 ultrawide zoom more than the 10-17 fisheye; otherwise, those are still my most-used out of the ~220 lenses I've accumulated.

There is more to a lens kit than just the focal lengths that are covered. But that's independent of the body. When I selected my K20D, I wanted (among other things) a camera that I thought would last a few years, that wouldn't leave me with a desire to 'upgrade' as soon as possible. If I were to buy a new dSLR now, I would go for the K5, because I think it would satisfy me longer. Your mileage may vary. Good luck!

Last edited by RioRico; 08-27-2011 at 08:30 AM.

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