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08-29-2012, 07:10 PM   #16
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The D5100 also shares the same sensor as the K-5, K-30, and D7000. So there is minimal differences in high ISO image quality between these cameras. Choosing one of these is perfect for you if you are planning to shoot indoors a lot without flash like you said. That's because this Sony sensor used in these cameras are at the top of it's class in low light, high iso settings.

08-29-2012, 07:22 PM   #17
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If you want to go used pick up a Kx or Kr. I have the Kx and it was VERY easy to learn. The K5 I have was a bit more on learning than the Kx, but I really like it.

As someone above said, start in auto. Read Understanding Exposure, then work over to manual mode. That's what I did, and now it's always in manual mode.
08-29-2012, 07:31 PM   #18
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I'm going to go against the grain and suggest you get a used K-X or even a K-R with the kit lenses (18-55 and 50-200 or 55-300). You can pick one up here on the Buy/Sell forum for under $400. That way if you get frustrated, you can continue to play around with it at your own time without worrying about having a ton of money tied up in gear that you need to justify to yourself. Put the rest of the money aside. When you find yourself up against some limit the KX can't meet, then you will know WHY you are buying a new camera.

The KX is amazing, easy to use, and it's light and cheap. I tried a Nikon and hated every second of touching it. My KX does exactly what I need it to at every turn.

When you get an SLR, first thing, reset the camera back to default settings. Past that there are only 4 things: Focus, Aperture, ISO and Shutter Speed. With the KX, set ISO to Auto 100-3200, and forget about it until you get better. Now you only have 3 things to worry about. Set focus on Auto, with the center group of 9 points. Now you only have 2 things to worry about. Shoot in AV mode, and now you are in control of aperture, and the camera will set shutter speed for you to make your pictures expose correctly.

Now, go out and take some pictures. Take pictures of stuff you don't care about just to learn the camera without stressing about getting an important shot. Take the same picture a bunch of different times with different aperture settings. Look at the results. If the aperture number is small, the picture will be in focus only in certain places, and blurry everywhere else. If the number is large, the depth of focus will be big. There are times and places for both small and large apertures. Now you will understand how aperture works without cracking the manual. Don't get confused by this: If the Aperture number is small, the actual aperture is large, and a larger aperture number means the actual physical aperture is small. They are backwards, just accept it.

After you master aperture, learn about shutter. Take pictures of moving things with a slow shutter, and you will get motion blur. If you use a fast speed, the image will be clear, but will feel less exciting. Try it different ways to see what you like. Again, there are times for both. Look at waterfall pictures, if you can see the water drops in mid air, that's a fast shutter speed. If the water flow looks all smoothed over, that's a slow shutter speed.

Now you've probably gotten far enough to look at the manual, and learn about ISO and choose your autofocus points more carefully. For ISO, you only change if you want to choose specific aperture and shutter speed at the same time. If I need a slower shutter speed, but want a small aperture number (to get a shallow depth of field), you will need a small is number. If you want a fast shutter and la

Look at pictures on flickr, which ones do you like? Try to make one that looks like it. You do this by choosing aperture, ISO and shutter speed. That's all there is to it.

If you take a picture and don't like it, post it here, tell people what you don't like about it, and they will tell you specifically how to fix it. Try what they say, and keep repeating until you get what you really want.
08-29-2012, 07:38 PM   #19
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A D5100 is about as simple as an SLR camera gets. Find a friend who has a Nikon camera to help you learn enough to get started. It has the same auto/program modes as a point and shoot. Honestly, it won't take more than an hour tops.

If you truly want something simpler that still takes good photos, Sony's NEX C3 has the same sensor as the D5100 or the K30 but functions more like a point and shoot camera. It very reasonably priced, too.

08-29-2012, 08:07 PM   #20
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Think about learning a language. If you show up in a foreign country and can't understand everyone immediately, it's not because you're bad at languages, it's because you haven't put any effort in to learning.
Cameras are a lot simpler than learning a language, but equally, you can't expect to know how to use one without any effort.
08-29-2012, 08:25 PM   #21
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I have a K-r. In the beginning I shot in mostly auto (a few times in manual but I had to feel like getting frustrated). In July I took a 12 hour course and I haven't shot in auto since. First I got a feel for the camera, then when I took the course, I learned how to really start using it. By no means do I get it all, but I am more confident and definitely more comfortable with what I do know. For me I don't learn from reading a manual I learn from trial and error, and thankfully DSLRs don't charge for processing (except my time) so I could make plenty of learning opportunities with the shots I experimented with. Give yourself time to learn and don't expect perfection everytime, but mostly enjoy the experience and your successes.

bigted (who's learned a lot, but has a lot more to learn)
08-29-2012, 08:28 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boker Quote
My daughter got a Nikon 3100 about the same time I got a Pentax KX and we tried out each others cameras,both agreeing the Pentax was more user friendly with the IQ of the cameras about equal.All modern DSLR's have mostly the same basic settings so going to different models or brands changes very little.For low light inside shooting one needs a lens at least 2.8 which Tamron and Sigma offer cheaper than from the camera manufactures.Stay with it and you will find using the camera gets easier with time.I was 72 years old when I got into DSLR with my brain not working as well as in years gone by but am now comfortable with using.One thing in my favor I had used Pentax manual film cameras for 40 years so light and exposure were easy for me,just had to learn how to make the camera do what I wanted it to do.
Paragraphs, please.

I currently shoot on a K-x and my dad has a d3100. The d3100, to me, is above and beyond more user friendly. The modes, the on-screen menu, the button layout.. I felt it very oriented to beginners.

Actually, the d3100 seemed more modern to me too.. and the shutter was a lot smoother sounding. It felt more plastic to my hands though and, the important thing, the shots coming out of the d3100 kit seemed a little over-saturated. I prefer the IQ of the K-x over that of the d3100 slightly. I also like the fact that, while the K-x is easy to navigate, it doesn't feel too beginner oriented.

That said.. I'd avoid a K-x starting out.. just because you will want the focus point dots in the viewfinder since you seem easily frustrated and the K-x does not have them. If you went Pentax, you'd want a K-r (which is discontinued) or a K-300 maybe (which has yet to even be announced).

It is an awkward time for beginners coming to Pentax...
08-29-2012, 08:35 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by paulh Quote
I also would recommend Bryan Peterson's book, "Understanding Exposure" for DSLR noobs - money very well spent!

I triple recommend this book. It will explain the 3 main things you need to know about your camera (whichever make and model you buy) and how to use them to achieve the proper exposure. The techniques are very simple to follow.

I would also like to say, of all of the features of my camera, I use maybe 30-40% of them. These days cameras are similar to cars in that each maker wants to stuff as many features as possible into the end product hoping it will be more attractive to the buyer.

HOWEVER, you don't need to use, and I would go as far as to say you shouldn't use, all of those features on typical shoots.

You just need to know how to set your camera to manual exposure (keep it on automatic focus though) and how to manipulate shutter speed, the f stop, and the ISO level together to form the 'right' exposure. Read the recommended book to learn and then experiment.

You will take hundreds, if not thousands, of terrible photos. I've been shooting for over 2 years now and I still take many throwaways.. this is part of learning -- falling down, but then getting back up.

08-29-2012, 10:05 PM   #24
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If you want a camera similar to what you have now, but significantly improved, I'd consider this:

Panasonic Lumix FZ200 Digital Camera DMC-FZ200K B&H Photo Video

Otherwise, find a good lens (or 2) and get a reasonably priced camera that fits it (or them).


You called the Nikon 18-200 lens spendy when added to the price of a camera, but the lens will make the most difference. For goodness sake, if you're going to spend that much you should just get a Nikon 24-120/4, slap it on anything between a D3000 and D5100 (used if you can), and be done. You'll have something truly excellent.



If you're intent on buying new, wait a couple of months and get whatever looks good including the new releases coming out. That will give you time to take a class or two while you wait. Pentax is expected to have its own lens of about 18-200 by then.

Sony now has some reasonably priced 18-135 kits with cameras, and Pentax already has the K-30 with 18-135. There's a good chance Pentax will release an even cheaper camera to go with that lens soon, and Nikon will release something as well (whether or not it's what you want). In any case, you should have more selection then.

Last edited by DSims; 08-29-2012 at 10:12 PM.
08-30-2012, 12:59 AM   #25
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K-5?

Thx to all for the WONDERFUL advice and replies, I really appreciate it! I am leaning toward the Pentax k-5 and returning the Nikon 5100. Am I crazy? I know I have homework to do, but is the interface fairly friendly to negotiate? Love the idea of stability in the body instead of the lens. The other models just aren't available new anymore, and I don't want to wait (I have some free time coming up to play!)
How do you think the lenses compare? I want a great portrait lens for bouket, and a longer for sports and landscape or a combo? What's a great lens for the K-5? Sorry I sound illiterate- I don't have the terms yet
Thanks!!!
08-30-2012, 02:07 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
How do you think the lenses compare? I want a great portrait lens for bouket, and a longer for sports and landscape or a combo? What's a great lens for the K-5? Sorry I sound illiterate- I don't have the terms yet
If you can afford it just get the DA*50-135 - really. You won't need to upgrade, and you won't need other lenses in this range unless you really want to (and have a special need such as macro, and a good macro can be added later for as little as $100 or so). The DA*50-135 works well for portraits, sports, and almost any other purpose within this focal range.

Get the DA*50-135 even if it means you have to use the DA18-55 kit lens for a while. If you can, upgrade that to the Tamron 17-50/2.8. It won't be as good as the DA*50-135 (not even the DA*16-50 is as good as the DA*50-135), but it's good enough and will take care of landscapes and other needs. And since others really like these two lenses, you can easily sell them if for some reason you don't.

The DA18-135 will take nice photos and is convenient, but you'll never get the image quality you can get from the above two lenses, which are the best value you can get (from any brand), and also the best image quality without going to a whole bunch of individual, more expensive, non-zoom lenses.



Otherwise, don't take my advice and spend a lot of time trying various other lenses until you come to the same conclusion, as most of us have who have ever tried.

Last edited by DSims; 08-30-2012 at 02:23 AM.
08-30-2012, 05:14 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
I am leaning toward the Pentax k-5 and returning the Nikon 5100. Am I crazy?
With the K-5 you get weather sealing (and, as you noted, in-body shake reduction) and much higher build quality (body made of magnesium alloy vs. plastic). A small but important difference is that the K-5 has two control wheels vs. one for the D5100. You won't care about this at first, when you are using full auto mode, but as you delve into Understanding Exposure and want to try different shooting modes you might find the second wheel very handy. In short, the K-5 is more of a professional or "enthusiast" camera while the D5100 is more of a mid-range consumer model.

Edit: also, the K-5 has a pentaprism where the D5100 has a pentamirror. In short, the K-5 will have a brighter viewfinder.

Note that the K-5 has just been officially discontinued; presumably there will be a replacement model soon (maybe to be announced at Photokina in a few weeks). Doesn't mean you shouldn't buy one, and indeed I wouldn't expect the prices to drop much more when/if the new model is released, but I don't have a crystal ball.

Last edited by baro-nite; 08-30-2012 at 10:55 AM.
08-30-2012, 09:31 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
Thx to all for the WONDERFUL advice and replies, I really appreciate it! I am leaning toward the Pentax k-5 and returning the Nikon 5100. Am I crazy? I know I have homework to do, but is the interface fairly friendly to negotiate? Love the idea of stability in the body instead of the lens. The other models just aren't available new anymore, and I don't want to wait (I have some free time coming up to play!)
How do you think the lenses compare? I want a great portrait lens for bouket, and a longer for sports and landscape or a combo? What's a great lens for the K-5? Sorry I sound illiterate- I don't have the terms yet
Thanks!!!
The K30 is just a month old, has the same sensor as the K5 but a new processor and new and better AF system.
The K30 is aimed slightly lower though, less buttons and high quality plastic body instead of magnesium and the shutter is a bit more noisy, beside that you do get 2 controll wheels, prism viewfinder and weather sealing.

And i'm not sure but the K30 seem to me also user firndely, it has shooting modes i believe, something the K5 doesnt have like sport and landscape for example.
08-30-2012, 09:56 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
Paragraphs, please.

I currently shoot on a K-x and my dad has a d3100. The d3100, to me, is above and beyond more user friendly. The modes, the on-screen menu, the button layout.. I felt it very oriented to beginners.

Actually, the d3100 seemed more modern to me too.. and the shutter was a lot smoother sounding. It felt more plastic to my hands though and, the important thing, the shots coming out of the d3100 kit seemed a little over-saturated. I prefer the IQ of the K-x over that of the d3100 slightly. I also like the fact that, while the K-x is easy to navigate, it doesn't feel too beginner oriented.

That said.. I'd avoid a K-x starting out.. just because you will want the focus point dots in the viewfinder since you seem easily frustrated and the K-x does not have them. If you went Pentax, you'd want a K-r (which is discontinued) or a K-300 maybe (which has yet to even be announced).

It is an awkward time for beginners coming to Pentax...
I think we see things quite different,for example focal points.I only want one,center which for me can't see why anyone would want anything else.With center focus on the most important subject or the spot which will give hopefully best depth of field for the shot,hold,reframe and shoot.
This may come from 40 years of using manual film cameras.Daughter and myself agreed the KX was easier than the d3100
08-30-2012, 02:24 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Boker Quote
I think we see things quite different,for example focal points.I only want one,center which for me can't see why anyone would want anything else.With center focus on the most important subject or the spot which will give hopefully best depth of field for the shot,hold,reframe and shoot.
This may come from 40 years of using manual film cameras.Daughter and myself agreed the KX was easier than the d3100
Reframe just doesnt work in some situation because the shift in focus is to great.
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