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08-13-2012, 09:33 AM   #1
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Should I purchase?

I'm new to DSLR cameras, dabbled briefly in a 35mm class in college, so I have some basic familiarity with more complex cameras. I currently have a point-and-shoot camera that I've had for ages and I want to upgrade to something that will take action shots of a busy toddler. I also want to use the camera for general vacation pictures and life events with dabbling in some outdoor photos. I would like to have the ability to shoot short video without having to carry a separate video camera, so I had considered getting a mirrorless camera instead of DSLR for that reason. Until I came across a Pentax K-X on Craigslist with two lenses (Pentax Takkumar 135mm 2.5 and Pentax M 50mm 1.7). They are asking $200 for the camera and stated that the AF/MF switch is broken (AF works with AF lenses and MF works with MF lenses, just AF lenses won't MF). My questions: 1. Does the AF/MF switch being broken impact the usage of the camera? Are there actually Auto focus and Manual focus lenses for this camera, and which type are the two above? If I purchase this camera I would probably be using the AF setting most (at least initially until I'm comfortable with the camera and my own abilities), could anyone recommend lenses?

Thank you everyone!

08-13-2012, 10:28 AM   #2
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there are hundreds of manual focus lenses for any Pentax camera, every lens ever made for m42 or k mount cameras, far more than there are AF lenses actually. tyhe 2 lenses they are offering are manual focus, and the m 50 1.7 is quite a good little lens. for the price with the 2 lenses the camera value ends up about $100 a good buy. A basic AF Kit lens the 18-55 will cost about $50 on the used market

for lens info have a look here, All pentax brand lenses are listed, many 3rd party ones as well (including all new 3rd party lenses)

Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

For that price it's a good entry to the system.
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08-13-2012, 11:01 AM   #3
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The DSLR means a certain commitment to carrying it around. To really take advantage of its capabilities, you'll be carrying the camera, a second lens, maybe even a flash. They are not quite pocketable. So the first question is, do you see yourself doing this? Image quality is zero for a camera that you've left at home.

Second, the DSLR is designed for you to take control over the shot, not really leave it in Auto and hope the camera does it right. The K-x has a number of intermediate modes and friendly icons and stuff, which almost all require a modern auto-focus lens. Those modes will not work with the two lenses mentioned in your post - you'll have to focus yourself, select an aperture yourself, meter yourself, then shoot. The results when you get it right are stunning and you can take all the credit for it. Otherwise, lenses are going to cost more because you'll need the extra features.

The camera is a great price, especially if it comes with the DA 18-55mm lens as well as the others, because that's the lens you'll use at first. The broken switch sounds like it broke in at least a useful way, if the seller is telling the truth. It'll be harder to sell the camera later but digital cameras lose value anyway over time.

If you didn't get the kit lens already, they are available used. Or you might consider one of the lenses meant as a kit lens upgrade. They are either capable of taking shots with less light ("faster") such as the Tamron 17-50/2.8, or have a wider range (Pentax DA 18-135, Sigma 17-70/2.8-4). Pentax has two inexpensive new lenses, the DA 35/2.4 and the DA 50/1.8, that are not zooms but smaller, lighter, faster and have better image quality.
08-13-2012, 11:11 AM   #4
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Both of the lenses they are offering are manual focus and also do not have the electronic contacts to allow any of the auto modes on the camera. You will need to manually focus and set the aperture on the lens. While many here on this forum use manual focus and are comfortable with all manual lenses this is not a combination I would suggest for someone new to DSLRs that just wants to take pictures. If you want to learn photography and all the details of the hobby, that's a different story. As noted the M 50mm f/1.7 is a fine lens, and the 135mm f/2.5 is also very nice although it has a lot of detractors because the coatings on it are not as good.

The AF switch being broken is not a big deal in my opinion, unless you want to manually focus AF lenses which again, if you just want to take pictures you probably won't be doing. That leaves the problem of the lenses being manual. As noted you can pick up a used 18-55 for maybe $50 which would give you a decent starting kit.

Assuming nothing else is wrong with the camera besides that switch, then pay them $175, sell the 135mm and 50mm for maybe $100 combined if you are lucky and buy an 18-55 for $50. But I would be very careful to check that camera A to Z to make sure nothing else is wrong.

08-13-2012, 06:21 PM   #5
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Thank you all! From what I'm reading, this sounds like a great starter camera, given the price and defect. While I'm not opposed to using the MF lenses eventually, I would like to become familiar with the camera at first by using the AF lens, probably looking at the 18-55 everyone mentioned. I'll be sure to ask whether they have the lens and would be willing to part with it as part of the cost. If anyone else has anything they would like to add, please let me know!
08-13-2012, 06:59 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum Newbie. I cannot say any more about the lenses available with the camera, just a bit about the camera itself. I purchased a K-x a couple years ago with the kit lens and love it. In my opinion the camera is great. I appreciate the various modes available, plus the camera is fairly lightweight, compact and easy to operate and learn. I admit I am still learning things about it but that just gives me more opportunity to take more photos and improve. Good luck with your decision and with the camera. Look forward to hearing about it and seeing some photos from you.

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