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07-02-2012, 10:00 AM   #1
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1000 Dollar Question

My current setup consists of the following:

K100DS
Kit Zooms: DA 50-200, DA 18-55
Primes: DA35 2.4, M50 1.7
Flash: Metz 50
Post-Processing: Lightroom, Elements, Topaz Denoise/Adjust

This basic kit serves my needs fairly well. I primarily shoot indoor/outdoor family events, track & field, swimming, vacation photos, and occasional family photos for friends. In most cases, Im pleased with the results, but I often find cases where faster glass (or better high-ISO capability) would be helpful especially for indoor sports or stage performance scenarios. These particular scenarios reveal the weakness of my kit (at times I also wish for a quieter shutter!). In those scenarios with regard to image noise the K100DS is fine up to ISO 800, and can be acceptably pushed to ISO 1600 with the help of Topaz. But beyond that, my shots don't satisfy.

So, assuming I could find approximately $1000 for a system upgrade, it seems that the 2 best options to address the shortcomings of my kit (indoor sports or stage) would be either the K5 or the DA* 50-135.

Which brings me to my question...

Id be interested to know where others would choose to spend $1000. Would you choose between the options Im considering, or are there better options? Keeping in mind that those closest to me might suggest the best option is to "get over it"

Thanks!

07-02-2012, 10:04 AM   #2
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The K-5, just do it.
07-02-2012, 10:17 AM   #3
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The K-5 will be a major upgrade and has a quieter shutter. Those 2 lenses will, however, look not as good using the better sensor, and will limit the quality of your images. I noticed a difference with the 50-200 when going from the K100D to the K20D.

The Tamron or Sigma 70-200 are options. The Tamron is very sharp, but the Sigma has HSM which is the equivalent of the Pentax SDM.
07-02-2012, 11:05 AM   #4
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A year ago, I would have said body upgrade, now, for indoor sports, Sigma 70-200. High ISO only get's you so far and the HSM on that lens is blazing fast. However, it's also crazy heavy so you'll not likely be using it for all your other applications... Plus, it's not as nice as the Tamron equivalent in those other situations either. But, since you mentioned that you were mostly content in all those other situations, I'd say buy the specific lens to fix the specific issue you're having.

The good news is, you don't have to commit yet... try before you buy... rent both from cameralensrentals. Of course, you'll probably then desire a $2000 upgrade because you'll want both!

07-02-2012, 04:48 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
The K-5 will be a major upgrade and has a quieter shutter. Those 2 lenses will, however, look not as good using the better sensor, and will limit the quality of your images. I noticed a difference with the 50-200 when going from the K100D to the K20D.
I'm not sure I understand... why would the 50-200 image quality appear worse with the K-5 vs the K100DS?
07-02-2012, 05:16 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by magmotif Quote
I'm not sure I understand... why would the 50-200 image quality appear worse with the K-5 vs the K100DS?
When you zoom in to full size using a 16mp camera, the 50-200 will look soft at the long end. I experienced the same thing when I went from the K100DS to the K20D. The 55-300 I thought was so sharp at 300mm wide open, suddenly didn't hold up at 14.6mp. If you don't crop too much these consumer teles will still look terrific, due to good colour & contrast.

QuoteOriginally posted by magmotif Quote
My current setup consists of the following:
K100DS
Kit Zooms: DA 50-200, DA 18-55
Primes: DA35 2.4, M50 1.7
Flash: Metz 50
Post-Processing: Lightroom, Elements, Topaz Denoise/Adjust
Regardless of what I said above, I would still upgrade the camera. You have some good primes which will keep up with a high resolution camera, and all of your lenses will benefit from the higher DR and ISO performance of an upgraded body. Also, the handling and operating speed of a current dual-wheel camera will be a revelation. You should also take a close look at the K-30. Some people are still having trouble with K-5 low and/or tungsten lighting, which the K-30 may address.
07-02-2012, 05:16 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by magmotif Quote
I'm not sure I understand... why would the 50-200 image quality appear worse with the K-5 vs the K100DS?
There are some people who think if it doesn't have a * or LTD in the name it isn't worth using on the K-5. I have yet to find a lens that can be out resolved by the k-5 sensor.

The biggest problem with the 18-55 and 50-200 is that they are at their best around f8.

Which version of the 18-55 do you have? The I, II, or L?
07-02-2012, 06:01 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
The biggest problem with the 18-55 and 50-200 is that they are at their best around f8.

Which version of the 18-55 do you have? The I, II, or L?
I agree that the two kit zooms are best at f8, but I'm generally pleased with what I get throughout the range of each (although my fast fifty yields noticeably sharper and more 3D-looking photos). I have also noticed that the 50-200 seems to vignette at the long end (although I wonder if that's possibly the hood?).

I've got the first version of the 18-55. Looking at the lens reviews, I see that it is the lowest-rated of the three Not sure I understand why... the optical construction of my version has more elements (12) and groups (9) than the other 2. I always though more was better

07-02-2012, 06:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
You should also take a close look at the K-30. Some people are still having trouble with K-5 low and/or tungsten lighting, which the K-30 may address.
I am quite interested in the K30 for a number or reasons. Frankly, one of the things I REALLY like about my K100DS is that it uses AA batteries. But the K30 sensor and functionality upgrades would be wonderful. I'm waiting to see how well it is received. The K-5 seems very well-respected (after getting off to a rocky start). I don't want to be one of the early adopters that encounters problems
07-02-2012, 06:13 PM   #10
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I too would strongly consider the K-30. Otherwise I'd seek out a gently-used k-x, whose sensor is almost as talented as the K-5; sure other features are 'lesser' but it's a good step up in low-light shooting from your k100 - and you keep your AAs. A k-r is its sensor twin but in my hands I preferred the k-x, but the difference was slight. Both k-x and K-5 took images I found acceptable with little processing up to iso5000.

Going for a k-x would free up more wallet space for an excellent lens, but I won't tell you which is right for you. One of the 17-70s is a great step up from most of the 18-55s, and will give you more light grasp - though I've had some excellent kit lenses including my current WR. Ultimate IQ is great, but a compact lens with great IQ gets more use in my bag.

Last edited by jimr-pdx; 07-02-2012 at 06:25 PM.
07-02-2012, 06:43 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by magmotif Quote
I've got the first version of the 18-55. Looking at the lens reviews, I see that it is the lowest-rated of the three Not sure I understand why... the optical construction of my version has more elements (12) and groups (9) than the other 2. I always though more was better
More aperture blades are better but more glass elements are not necessarily better. More glass means more diffractive surfaces, therefore more potential for CA and loss of resolution, also more surfaces which catch light rays and cause flare. The ideal is to use the least amount of glass to achieve your performance goal.

I have an original 18-55 and the DA L 18-55 version, and there's a noticeable difference in performance in my copies. The newer design is better.
07-02-2012, 09:50 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by magmotif Quote
I'm not sure I understand... why would the 50-200 image quality appear worse with the K-5 vs the K100DS?
It could be some coincidence, but it seemed like the better lenses looked good and the lesser lenses did not, more so on the K5 than K100D.
07-02-2012, 10:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by magmotif Quote
but I often find cases where faster glass (or better high-ISO capability) would be helpful – especially for indoor sports or stage performance scenarios.
For $1000 I would get a good used K-x + a good used Sigma 70-200 2.8 HSM II.

If you don't like used equipment then you can get halfway there with $1000.
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