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06-14-2012, 12:41 PM   #1
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Fairly New Photographer

Okay, so I just recently picked up photography up about 3 months ago. I have a Nikon D60 and a Pentax K1000 Se. The Nikon I have the standard 18-55 lens and that's it. The K1000 I have about 6 lenses, which brings me to my question(s).

I'd like to know as an amateur photographer what would be best in the long run, I'm looking to upgrade my DSLR. I like to do a few things besides your "typical shot"/shoots. I want to be able do night shots, light painting, light trails, star trails (looking to get a mount for a telescope), exposure bracketing for hdr, maybe something with a continuous timer for the star trails (if possible). I was also looking into hoya r72 filters and an ND 8 or 16? filters, but I've heard newer camera model sensors since the Nikon D60 doesn't really allow for infrared shots to be taken? and idk about the k30. Which ND filter is preferred/better.

On to the Pentax question part. For the dslr I was looking at the Nikon5100 or Pentax K30 (maybe something else?). Would either do all/most of what I'd like to do? And if I went the Pentax k30 route is it worth getting it to use all my k-mount lenses or would I have to buy new ones to replace them? and if that's the case is it worth getting a k-mount for my Nikon to use the lenses? I'm interested in knowing if in either case you lose picture quality.

I would appreciate all and any response back.
Thank you for your time.

06-14-2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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Some of the manual focus lenses lend themselves to digital use quite nicely. Others, not so much.

What Pentax K-mount lenses do you currently own?
06-14-2012, 01:20 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by FragileBird Quote
The K1000 I have about 6 lenses,
As noted it would help a lot if you listed what lenses you have.

That said, I cannot think of anything on your list you could not do with a Pentax dslr (or Canon or Nikon for that matter). The hard part is not the gear it is learning the skills to do what you want.

I don't know anything about IR shots but I have read you need to have the camera modified to do that, so you might want to check on that further.

You do not mention the k-5 which is (in many peoples opinion) the best in class of that generation and pricing is currently very good. The k-30 has not yet been released so no one has any hands on experience with it yet.

Post back with your lens list and we can tell you if the cost of the lenses is worth making a decision based on them.
06-14-2012, 01:30 PM   #4
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Any lenses you had to use on your K1000 will work according to their own limitations on the K30 and K-5. As mentioned, the K-5 is a very good value-for-money camera right now and is worth the upgrade even now. I have done IR photography using all my previous Pentax cameras using the Hoya R72 filter, and each camera has produced good results. The K-5 has been my easiest experience with IR work. All the best in your decision.

06-14-2012, 01:54 PM   #5
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The K5 is currently the best-of-breed, top-rated against all comers.

IR gets tricky. It's not as easy as loading a roll of flim and using a slow shutter. The dynamics: Film is normally sensitive to UV and blind to IR, hence the proliferation of UV filters. Digital sensors are just the opposite. UV is blocked at the sensor. The overwhelming majority of digital cameras have an IR-blocking hot.filter in front of the sensor.

Is possible to shoot IR with an unmodified digicam, but there are constraints on exposure time and spectral sensitivity. I used a deep-IR-pass 950nm filter to shoot the annular eclipse a few weeks ago. For anything dimmer than Sol in realtime, only near-IR filters are feasible. 680nm and 720nm are popular because they pass enough visible light to allow focusing and composing. But they don't give a deep-IR effect.

Are two ways to mod a digicam for IR. In both cases, the hot.filter is removed and replaced with other glass. Simplest is just to use a near-IR-pass filter; again, 720nm is popular, 780nm a bit less so. The modded camera can now be used ONLY for IR shooting. The other method replaces the hot.filter with clear optical glass. Now we can control the spectral response by putting appropriate filters on lenses. An IR-block filter allows normal photography. Various IR-pass filters can be used as desired. This is the solution I favor.

I do most of my IR shoots with P&S digicams: a Minolta F300 modified with a 720nm IR-pass filter, and a 'Nightshot' Sony DSC-V1 with a flickable hot-filter. (Push a switch, and the hot.filter flicks out of the way.) I use 780-900-930-1000nm IR-pass filters with the V1. I can shoot handheld in daylight with either camera and all filters, except that the 1000nm is best when tripodded. When I put a 720nm or deeper filter on my unmodded K20D dSLR, I need a tripod.

I'll skip my lecture on spectrum-slicing now. I'll just mention that Sigma and Fujica have made 'forensic' dSLRs for scientific, diagnostic, and criminal work. These have easily-replaced filter positions between lens and sensor. 'Tis very straightforward to change filters for the exact slice of spectrum desired. I very nearly bought a Fujica instead of my K20D, just for that feature. But then I'd be stuck with Nikon lenses. And those specialized filters ain't cheap. Darn.

Summary: IR can be shot with any digicam using the right filters. Tripod may be needed. Results may be not what you expect; digital IR doesn't generate false colors like some films. You'll find the same constraints with any modern dSLR. (Certain older cams had weaker hot.filters but those days are over.) So start with a K5 and a 720nm lens filter, and go from there. Have fun!
06-14-2012, 02:20 PM   #6
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Lenses for the K1000 work with the K series Pentax DSLRs in a really cool way I think. You have to shoot manual for aperture control, but from there you can use the green button or DoF preview to activate the meter, adjust your settings accordingly then shoot. Or you can use the RAW/Fx button for digital preview and change settings based on the histogram. You certainly don't have to buy new ones unless you want autofocus.

But yeah, either DSLR will be good for you for general shooting. Naturally I'd recommend the Pentax, you'll have fun with all your old manual glass.
06-14-2012, 02:49 PM   #7
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Thank you guys. I'll read your responses in a second I just wanted to list the lenses, they aren't anything special but they work.

SMC Pentax-A 1:2 50mm
Prospec MC Auto 1:3,5-4.5 F=28-70mm
Prospec MC Auto1:3.9 F=80-200mm
Sigma Auto Super Wide II 1:2.8 24mm
Sears Auto 1:4-4.5 F=18-28mm
Auto 2x Converter

Thank you for all of your responses. I'll look more into the k-5. Just kinda jumped straight to the k30 since it'll be new hah.

I was interested in messing with IR without doing the whole sensor ordeal. So should I just try out the 920? I know you have to do all the setup before hand which I'd rather take the extra minute to compose then possibly not get near the effect I'd imagine.

Last edited by FragileBird; 06-14-2012 at 03:04 PM.
06-14-2012, 03:41 PM   #8
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If you're serious about doing astrophotography with digital I think you'll want to either modify your camera or buy one that comes with a modified IR filter out of the box (like the Canon EOS 20Da and 60Da). Of course you would have to get a K mount adapter if you want to use your old lenses. But you would have to be very careful to make sure that the adapter doesn't cause you to lose infinity focus.

On the other hand, if you don't want to remove the IR filter from a digital camera then I'm guessing you won't want to spend that much on a seperate DSLR. You could try your luck with an IR pass filter on a regular DSLR. But I think you'd be much better off getting some infrared film for your K1000. At $10-$15 a roll this is probably your cheapest option. If you shoot a few rolls and want to to more then perhaps you could get one of the point and shoot astro cameras that @RioRico mentioned.

06-14-2012, 04:28 PM   #9
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Stainsor, you suggesting to use IR for astro?

And being caught up in digital, I honestly forgot about trying IR on my k1000. Could potentially save more if I'm not into it. I at least want to try it once so I think I'll try that out.

IR is just something I just want to try at the moment.

Also, why the k-5 over the k-30? I get the whole looks good on paper thing, but the k-30 is newer and cheaper?

Last edited by FragileBird; 06-14-2012 at 05:31 PM.
06-14-2012, 06:29 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by FragileBird Quote
Also, why the k-5 over the k-30? I get the whole looks good on paper thing, but the k-30 is newer and cheaper?
k-5 is more sophisticated camera, more towards "pro" features. Also it is tried and true, all bugs (mostly) worked out and has a proven track record. K-30 has not been released yet so is an unknown to some degree. k-30 is supposed to have better processor and upgraded AF but that is nothing but spec sheets at this time, sensor is supposed to be the same or very similar (maybe newer generation of same sensor??). Price is almost the same if you shop carefully.

Here are some links discussing the differences:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-30/188487-k30-better-then-k5.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-5/186886-k5-vs-k30.html

Your needs will determine which is better for you. In particular look at the # of brackets (for hdr) and 14 bit processing and wired remote port also higher ISO all important for some of the things you mentioned you wanted to shoot.
06-14-2012, 07:17 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by FragileBird Quote
I just wanted to list the lenses, they aren't anything special but they work.

SMC Pentax-A 1:2 50mm
Prospec MC Auto 1:3,5-4.5 F=28-70mm
Prospec MC Auto1:3.9 F=80-200mm
Sigma Auto Super Wide II 1:2.8 24mm
Sears Auto 1:4-4.5 F=18-28mm
Auto 2x Converter
Nope, nothing special. The Sigma 24 is good. The A50/2 ain't bad. I've never heard of an 18-28/4-4.5. The others may be competent. You may find those zooms to be limiting on a dSLR. Most newer zooms really are much better.

QuoteQuote:
I was interested in messing with IR without doing the whole sensor ordeal. So should I just try out the 920? I know you have to do all the setup before hand which I'd rather take the extra minute to compose then possibly not get near the effect I'd imagine.
I'm not sure which "920" you mean. A 920nm filter? Or maybe you meant a 720, like the Hoya R72. A 720 is easier to use; an actual 920 would give deeper IR effects, and will indeed take more setup. But yes, you can shoot IR with an unmodified camera. Just be patient, eh?
06-14-2012, 09:15 PM   #12
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Thanks Jatrax! I definitely will look into the k-5, or maybe even wait for the replacement,

Sorry Rio in my first post I was referring to the hoya r72, but I think you might have talked me into the 920nm. I definitely want to try a roll of film first and see how I like it.

I appreciate all the responses. Was kinda hoping to more use out of the lenses in the future, but oh well.
06-14-2012, 10:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by FragileBird Quote
Sorry Rio in my first post I was referring to the hoya r72, but I think you might have talked me into the 920nm. I definitely want to try a roll of film first and see how I like it.
A 920nm filter on a film cam or unmodded dSLR will be shooting blind unless you're aiming into Sol or something as bright. My usual tactic: Camera on tripod. Setup the shot without filter. Add filter. Shoot. Hope.

A deep-IR-pass filter on a modded cam is quite different. The LiveView screen shows what the sensor will see. I can use my 720-780-900-930nm filters on IR-capable digicams in almost any light. I also have a Sony HVL-IRM infrared light (mine was US$20 on eBay) that mounts on a shoe or bracket and allows shooting in total darkness. TOTAL darkness. Great for sneaking around...

QuoteQuote:
Was kinda hoping to more use out of the lenses in the future, but oh well.
Your primes are fine. Your zooms will work, but better and more convenient zooms are available. Here's my take on old MF zooms:
  • CON: They're harder to use with SR (shake reduction) than are AF lenses. So I tend to use MF zooms in bright light with a fast shutter and SR off.
  • PRO: They're usually weakest around the edges. But an APS sensor crops that, leaving the "sweet spot". So they may look better on digital than on film.
  • CON: Zoom optics really have improved tremendously since the 1980s. Some old MF zooms are still crisp and brilliant; most are rather outclassed.
  • PRO: Old optics and coatings don't render like modern glass, so they're good for images with a 'period' feel. I love than 1952 Kodachrome look.
  • CON: Wide MF zooms (and even primes) are rare. Going into UWA (ultra-wide) range requires newer glass. Your 18-28mm is an anomaly, and a mixed bag.
I currently own 240 lenses. I have 12 each of MF and AF zooms. Those MF zooms are a very select lot. They definitely have their places, mostly for special uses. As I said, some older zooms are quite good. You may be lucky!
06-15-2012, 06:23 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by FragileBird Quote
Stainsor, you suggesting to use IR for astro?

And being caught up in digital, I honestly forgot about trying IR on my k1000. Could potentially save more if I'm not into it. I at least want to try it once so I think I'll try that out.

IR is just something I just want to try at the moment.

Also, why the k-5 over the k-30? I get the whole looks good on paper thing, but the k-30 is newer and cheaper?
Yeah, I would try IR film for astro. I didn't think of it at first either, I was halfway through the post before I did.

As far as K-30 vs K-5, I don't know much about either one other than what people say. But I personally wouldn't buy a DSLR without reading the review on DPReview.com. They have a K-5 review, but the K-30 is too new so they only have a preview. The opening of the preview has a lot of comparisons to the K-5, so that might be good reading for you.
06-15-2012, 09:52 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
A 920nm filter on a film cam or unmodded dSLR will be shooting blind unless you're aiming into Sol or something as bright. My usual tactic: Camera on tripod. Setup the shot without filter. Add filter. Shoot. Hope.

A deep-IR-pass filter on a modded cam is quite different. The LiveView screen shows what the sensor will see. I can use my 720-780-900-930nm filters on IR-capable digicams in almost any light. I also have a Sony HVL-IRM infrared light (mine was US$20 on eBay) that mounts on a shoe or bracket and allows shooting in total darkness. TOTAL darkness. Great for sneaking around...


Your primes are fine. Your zooms will work, but better and more convenient zooms are available. Here's my take on old MF zooms:
  • CON: They're harder to use with SR (shake reduction) than are AF lenses. So I tend to use MF zooms in bright light with a fast shutter and SR off.
  • PRO: They're usually weakest around the edges. But an APS sensor crops that, leaving the "sweet spot". So they may look better on digital than on film.
  • CON: Zoom optics really have improved tremendously since the 1980s. Some old MF zooms are still crisp and brilliant; most are rather outclassed.
  • PRO: Old optics and coatings don't render like modern glass, so they're good for images with a 'period' feel. I love than 1952 Kodachrome look.
  • CON: Wide MF zooms (and even primes) are rare. Going into UWA (ultra-wide) range requires newer glass. Your 18-28mm is an anomaly, and a mixed bag.
I currently own 240 lenses. I have 12 each of MF and AF zooms. Those MF zooms are a very select lot. They definitely have their places, mostly for special uses. As I said, some older zooms are quite good. You may be lucky!
Thanks Rio, I'll keep the explanation in mind. I'll have to look at new Pentax lenes and see what I'd have to "replace" if I stick the Pentax route. Would it be worth going out and renting a K-5 to see what works on it and what doesn't?

QuoteOriginally posted by stainsor Quote
Yeah, I would try IR film for astro. I didn't think of it at first either, I was halfway through the post before I did.

As far as K-30 vs K-5, I don't know much about either one other than what people say. But I personally wouldn't buy a DSLR without reading the review on DPReview.com. They have a K-5 review, but the K-30 is too new so they only have a preview. The opening of the preview has a lot of comparisons to the K-5, so that might be good reading for you.
Never thought of trying IR film for astro. I don't know if it would be worth it where I live? Pretty close to a city (living in a suburb) and we have a lot of light pollution here.
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