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01-02-2013, 05:19 PM   #1
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A couple of questions

I'm as new as possible to digital photography. I don't even have a proper camera right now, just the one on my old iphone.

I am selling my house (knock on wood) and hope to close in a couple of months and use some of the money to invest in a camera system. After some research, I've narrowed it down to the K-5 or the Q, or maybe even both depending on how my finances work out.

I will be moving to the Oregon coast and want something rugged and weatherproof. The Pentax cameras are the only ones I have seen that have weatherproofing that gets consistently good reviews.

My main interest is in wildlife and nature photography, so I will be outside a lot. It rains a lot on the Oregon coast, but doesn't usually rain very hard. It's more like a constant drizzle.

I'm anticipating having around $2000 - $2500 to get set up. I've seen some grey market deals on ebay that include a lot of lenses and accessories, but I don't know how good they are.

I was thinking about getting a kit like one of these:
Pentax K5 with 18 55mm 55 300mm 36 Piece Pro Kit 5 Years Warranty 16GB 027075176683 | eBay
Pentax K 5 Digital SLR Camera Package Lenses and Accessories Included New 0027075176546 | eBay


Then I wanted to add on the Sigma (I think) 15mm fisheye lens.

I was wondering if anyone has any experience with these kinds of kits? The sellers all seem to have good ratings with lots of reviews.

I've also considered getting used equipment, but the price of used is not low enough to make it worth it, from what I have seen.

For the Q, I've found this Pentax branded case that holds the camera plus three lenses and has a pocket for extra batteries and cards. Unfortunately, I can only find it on Amazon UK site and the shipping is more than the case. All together it's about $75. Is anyone familiar with this case?

Pentax Multi-Bag for Q Compact System Camera - Grey: Amazon.co.uk: Camera & Photo

01-02-2013, 05:47 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Hi, welcome to the forums!

If the weather resistance (WR) is something that you need, the cameras that offer it are the K-30, K-5, and K-5II/s (there are also older models such as K10d/K20d among others).
The Pentax Q will not give you the WR.

In the first Ebay link, the two lenses included with the camera are DA/DA-L and will not offer WR. For WR to be effective, you will need your lenses to be labled WR (or DA*), like in the second link. Imo, both kits are a bit overpriced and throw in lots of cheap items that you don't need.

If I were in your shoes, I would build up my kit myself.
K-5 body will currently run you about $750 ---> Pentax K-5 Digital SLR Camera (Body Only) (Black) 14748 B&H
For the price that it is at, I would buy new; used isn't all that much cheaper.
Plus, if you buy new, you'll be able to purchase an extended 2 year warranty.

The DA 18-135 WR would probably make a nice begginer's walk-around lens ---> SMC Pentax-DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Or a combination the DA 18-55 WR and the DA 50-200 WR
---> SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
---> SMC Pentax-DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED WR Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

The DA* lenses are Pentaxe's higher-line of lenses, and like WR lenses, they are weather sealed.
Be sure to take a look at those as well.
Follow the links, but remember if you want WR, they have to be labeled DA*
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/category-SMC-Pentax-DA-Lenses.html
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/category-SMC-Pentax-DA-Zoom-Lenses.html

I know all these lens choices much be overwhelming, that is why I'm suggesting either the DA 18-135 WR or the DA 18-55 WR and DA 50-200 WR to start out and see what you like to take photos of and see what you need. When you graduate out of those and find out exactly what you'll be shooting and what lenses you'll need to do the job, then you can hop in and buy some more expensive and specialty lenses.

Last edited by Julie; 01-02-2013 at 05:54 PM.
01-02-2013, 05:47 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I tend to avoid kits or bundles as some of it is invariably not what you need or possibly want.

For wildlife, using a K5, a 300mm lens is sort of the minimum focal length. The 55-300 is actually a pretty good lens though it is fairly slow. Other options are the Sigma xx/xxx-500mm zooms for $1000-1500, or the Sigma 500 that is something like $4000, or the soon to be released Pentax 560 for about $8000. The 560 may be WR but the others are not.

If you get a Q (and I believe you will need a lens adaptor) the effective focal length is much longer so you can use more economical lenses and still get the telephoto effect. Image quality may not be quite so high, though. I don't think the Q is weather resistant. You can always use a camera baggie.

Last edited by SpecialK; 01-02-2013 at 07:54 PM.
01-02-2013, 05:48 PM - 1 Like   #4
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In general those 'kits' add a lot of stuff that sounds useful but in reality may not be. Price out what you actually need and compare. Consider anything in the "I might use that" category a waste of money.

Consider instead buying what you need as you need it. That way you have time to learn each piece of gear and as your skills develop determine with more accuracy what you really want to spend money on.

I looked briefly at the first kit. It has a 650mm and a 500mm lens with attachments, neither of these are very good quality and if you are interested in wildlife would IMHO not be of much use. It has the 18-55WR and the 50-200WR which is an OK starter set but a better set would be the 18-135WR and the 55-300 (which is not WR but you are not likely to be using it in the rain anyway.) It has two camera bags, but since a camera bag is a very personal choice how do you know you will even like them? Most likely you won't. There is a really cheap looking tripod that I would not put a $1,000 camera on much less use.

Make up a list of what you actually need and see how that matches what is in the kits.

Here is a suggested list for k-5:
K-5
18-135WR
55-300
A good tripod and head (figure $300 plus)
A good camera backback if you hike a regular bag if not
A couple of good name brand SD cards like 8gb Sandisk
A good CPL filter to fit both lens

That's all you need for a great kit and anything else can be added when you know what you want.

And do not be afraid of used lenses, nearly all of mine were bought used. If in good shape they hold their value. There is a good marketplace on this site, check there or post what you need when you need something.

And its up to you but I would not be buying my camera from ebay. Try Adorama or B&H. Great prices and great service. Or try Robi's Camera in Tacoma if you want to buy local.

Can't help with the Q.

01-02-2013, 05:52 PM - 1 Like   #5
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If you go with the DSLR (rather than the Q) you'll probably end up wanting the DA*300 lens for wildlife. Consider the K-30 or K-5 for the body. The K-5 IIs is even a little better, but it will depreciate more rapidly.

Then consider adding the DA*50-135 and a lens like the Tamron 17-50/2.8 (although I don't think it's WR - but it's "relatively" affordable and might be worth the risk anyway. I got the DA*16-50 instead, which I like better for Image Quality (and it has WR), but it costs ~2x as much). Also consider the DA10-17 as your fisheye. I like mine.

The bottom line is get both the DA*300 and DA*50-135 if you can. You can go cheaper on the body (used - even a K-r if the rain isn't too hard - is fine) and not lose much. You can also go cheaper on the other lenses for now. But the two longer DA* lenses will show you just how good the system can be. See these examples to understand why:

PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model
PENTAX : Select a PENTAX interchangeable lens camera or a lens model

Notice that which camera body was used is not that important.

So what I'd recommend is very close to what I did (except updated with newer camera bodies for today):


DA*300
DA*50-135
Tamron 17-50/2.8 (or keep the 18-55 kit lens if over budget)
K-r or K-30 (whichever you can afford after the above) or even the very affordable K-01 if you don't mind having no viewfinder (I generally do).

Add a fisheye sometime after you figure out how to use the above equipment.

If you don't like any or all of it, you can sell it and recoup close to all of your money (but you will like it - this is good stuff!) Even if it turns out not to be the exact right combination, getting the good lenses will help you understand what you really want better than any other way I know. Getting a more expensive camera will do little to assist this process, however.

Last edited by DSims; 01-02-2013 at 06:04 PM.
01-02-2013, 05:53 PM - 1 Like   #6
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The authentic Pentax equipment should be good in those kits, but from what I've seen before...everything else in the kit will likely be Chinese junk and not worth the cost.(and also not weather sealed)
If you have a $2k budget get either a K5 or K30(around $750) and invest in good lenses. Since you're looking at wildlife, check out the DA* 200 or 300. If you think you can get away not being weather sealed, Sigma makes a 50-500mm that has a great reputation.
You could get a K5ii or K5iis for $400-500 more but read the comparison reviews to see if you would benefit from the changes.
Hope this helps a little, and spawns some good Northern Pacific shots to the forums ;-)
01-02-2013, 06:03 PM - 1 Like   #7
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K30 and DA 18-135.
or
K30 and DA*16-50 and 50-135 if you have more money.
01-02-2013, 06:06 PM   #8
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Wow, so many helpful responses so fast! Thanks.

B&H has some used k-7 and k10d bodies. So that is definitely a consideration, as well. I don't mind getting a cheaper/used body if it can mean getting better lenses. I know that the lenses are really what matters the most.

I have some time to figure it all out. Maybe I can find a camera shop locally where I can play with the different bodies.

01-02-2013, 06:18 PM   #9
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Now I have a new question.

If I get a lens that isn't weather resistant, can I use a lens sleeve alone to protect it? Like this one: Kata E-704PL Extension Lens Sleeve Kit (3 Sleeves) KT PL-E-704 It's supposed to fit with a sleeve for the camera, but I don't suppose I would need that. Does anyone think this would work by itself?
01-02-2013, 06:30 PM - 1 Like   #10
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the Pentax 55-300 is not WR, the 60-250 is though!
01-02-2013, 06:31 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThatPoshGirl Quote
B&H has some used k-7 and k10d bodies.
Those, as well as the WR K200D (I still have mine) are very good bodies, so no problem there. The images look just as good as (sometimes better than) the newer bodies, unless the lighting is really low.

QuoteOriginally posted by ThatPoshGirl Quote
If I get a lens that isn't weather resistant, can I use a lens sleeve alone to protect it? Like this one: Kata E-704PL Extension Lens Sleeve Kit (3 Sleeves) KT PL-E-704 It's supposed to fit with a sleeve for the camera, but I don't suppose I would need that. Does anyone think this would work by itself?
Yes, Canon and Nikon shooters do this all the time. It just isn't as convenient. A WR lens is less fussy and more confidence inspiring, however.
01-02-2013, 06:37 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThatPoshGirl Quote
Now I have a new question.

If I get a lens that isn't weather resistant, can I use a lens sleeve alone to protect it? Like this one: Kata E-704PL Extension Lens Sleeve Kit (3 Sleeves) KT PL-E-704 It's supposed to fit with a sleeve for the camera, but I don't suppose I would need that. Does anyone think this would work by itself?
That takes the fun out of having a WR camera kit!
That's what Canikon shooters have to resort to.
01-02-2013, 06:51 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the advice. This has been really helpful. Based on the feedback I am thinking about this setup:

K30
Pentax 21977 DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR Lens for Pentax Digital SLR cameras
Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Pentax Digital SLR Cameras

And also maybe: Pentax 21870 DA 50-200mm F/4-5.6 AL Weather Resistant Lens, but I don't know if it would be too redundant.

If I can find some used then I might even be able to get a bag and some extra batteries without going too far over budget.
01-02-2013, 07:03 PM - 1 Like   #14
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Since you are looking to acquire something in a couple of months, the K5 and the Q have been discontinued and replaced. Currently, the retailers are selling off their stocks with discounted pricing. I would guess that the K30 would be the best body, since the K5 replacement of the K5II and K5IIs are more expensive, and the K30 is sealed WR body. The Q is being replaced by the Q10, with the Q currently in close out pricing.

I would concentrate on researching lenses, and just watching the bodies until you are ready to purchase. The K30 was announced in May 2012, and has been priced very aggressively. I would suspect that its pricing will continue, and may even be replaced in 2013, so its price should probably no higher that what it currently is - perhaps even lower.

01-02-2013, 07:59 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThatPoshGirl Quote
...And also maybe: Pentax 21870 DA 50-200mm F/4-5.6 AL Weather Resistant Lens, but I don't know if it would be too redundant.
.
The 50-200 is nothing special optically.
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