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02-11-2013, 08:23 PM   #1
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Upgrade K200d body or lens?


I was wondering if anyone could help me decide what lens/ body I should upgrade to... I have a k200d, the kit 18-55 lens it came with, plus a few manual lens: a Pentax 50mm 1.7, pentax 50mm 1:2, 28mm Itorex, Ricoh Rikenon 35-70mm. I only really use the kit lens and the 50mm 1.7. I mostly shoot portraits, have been shooting a lot of friend's kids and babies and have just been asked to photograph a friends wedding in March. I know the equipment I have is woefully inadequate to do the wedding and would really love some better AF glass for portraits as well. The 50mm 1.7 takes a beautiful photo, but it's tricky photographing babies and toddlers with MF (well for me, anyway.. I'm not the most experienced photographer! Just love playing around with it so far).

I have seen a K30 with the 18-135WR lens for $840 online and am wondering whether I should get that, or just keep the k200d and spend the money on lenses. I don't want to spend much more than $800 right now..

Any help would be appreciated!!


02-11-2013, 08:35 PM   #2
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I'd say that it would be a good idea to upgrade to the K-30. The 18-135mm is a great walkaround lens (with very fast AF), but I think that you should also consider the DA 50mm F1.8 if you want a standard prime with AF.

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02-12-2013, 09:20 AM   #3
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Weddings could mean a huge range of lighting and distance requirements, and lots of shots to get right the first time. It's a good way to spend $2500-3000 (a couple of f2.8 zooms, another body, two flashes) to cover it all. Can you rent any equipment for the wedding?

If you can't, you need a Tamron or Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 zoom, as a primary lens. Add a flash and there's your budget.

If you get the K-30 and 18-135, it is not ideal for a wedding, unless it's a beach wedding. Suggest moving the wedding to Hawai'i.
02-13-2013, 08:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice, I appreciate it! However, I'm still really conflicted as to what to buy.. rentals don't seem to be an option where I live, unfortunately! I see eglobal has the tamron 17-50 2.8 for $241. If I get that, any recommendations as to flash?

02-13-2013, 09:06 PM   #5
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I bought the Pentax AF-540FGZ, their top of the line. I was hoping for perfect compatibility, which I got, and to avoid knowing anything about flash except put the camera in P mode and let the expensive electronics make a perfect shot. That didn't work for me. So I don't think you can avoid knowing anything about flash. In the short time you have and the production-type environment of a wedding, I'd suggest something like it, with P-TTL, tilt, swivel and lots of power. But you will also need some experience to get the best out of it.

The main problem that I see for you is the wedding requirements force you in a direction that may not make sense for other photography, just to cover all possibilites at one event.

I was only partly kidding about a beach wedding in Hawai'i. It would solve all your problems. I took this shot with a Pentax *ist DS, Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135mm f3.5 probably wide open, at Anini Beach on Kaua'i. But I didn't have to be the main photographer.

02-16-2013, 08:17 AM   #6
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Three suggestions:

- Show some of your favorite portrait shots to your friend and see if they are what he/she really has in mind for wedding photos. Developing a new style is something you don't want to try in just a few weeks. And you certainly wouldn't be the first person asked to shoot a friend's wedding because that person really likes your staged/posed portraits.

- If the first suggestion results in a positive outcome consider buying a used AF 50/1.4 and maybe an AF 28 and experiment with high ISOs to see just how high of a rating you're comfortable with for shooting. A person could do a very nice job with a fast 50 and a 28 without using a flash.

- Verify ASAP with the wedding venue you may use flash in the areas you intend to shoot during the times you will be shooting before you buy a flash specifically for the event. Flash is often not allowed in church sanctuaries and chapels, for instance.

The old-timer pro my wife and I hired for our wedding back in the day shot everything with two Hasselblads in full manual mode and without flash using slow Kodak pro film. He simply asked that when we saw him raise his hand we should "semi-pose". Our wedding photos are wonderful. In fact, he and his assistant blended in so nicely (dressed for the occasion, quiet, shoot from out of the way spots) a couple of our guests asked afterward why we hadn't hired a photographer.
02-16-2013, 09:56 AM   #7
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I think the first thing you have to determine is what parts of the wedding are you expected to cover. Are you shooting all day or just the ceremony and some group shots? Then determine what those locations are like - is the ceremony in a church or outside? Is this during the day or will the reception go into the night? Are there rules about things like the use of flash?

If this is an all day thing, in a church, with a reception at night here is what I would do:
1. Upgrading your camera. It will let you use higher ISO and will allow you do to a little more in post. I started on an *istDL, and moved to a K20 - huge I am on the K5 and I never use my K20. Lenses are always the most important (after the photographer, of course), but when shooting important events like this you want to have the best camera that you can afford.
2. Get the FA 50 1.4 This will be your best friend if the church doesn't allow flash and is dark. It will also be a good friend during the dancing part of the reception. If you are concerned that this covers a length you already have than consider something longer, but still fast. The longer lengths would also be useful for your portraits.
3. Consider a flash. It will help you a ton during the reception. DJs have some fun ideas of what makes cool lighting for things like cake cutting and the first dance. You never know what you are going to get with them. If you don't have a big flash, you won't be able to get rid of things like LED green (or red) "bugs" or backlit cake cuttings. You don't have to go with the 540 (although if you can afford to, you should just bite the bullet), but just make sure it tilts and swivels. PTTL is nice and some sigmas offer this. Metz also has some really nice offerings. My first year of weddings I went out with a $150 flash - it isn't what I use now, but it was good enough.
4. Get the tamron 17-50 2.8 if you can. You need a fast zoom for weddings, it is just the way things go. I have shot some pretty dark churches that don't allow flash and I would not be able to work without a 2.8 zoom or some fast primes. I shot with a different Tamron (the 28-75) for the first few years until I could afford to get the Pentax 16-50.

Weddings are an interesting beast. They combine several types of photography into a few hours. You will be doing photojournalism, portraits, product shots, street shoot, and more all in the same day. If you get into them, you will build your gear, but at a minimum you should go in with the best camera you can afford, a fast AF prime, a fast zoom, and a flash with tilt/swivel.
02-16-2013, 10:15 AM   #8
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Good advice so far. Whilst a good wide angle zoom will ensure you can capture scenes in their entirety, a lot of the couple shots need a longer and faster lens. Pentax's 50/1.8 is a very good low cost option for this purpose, but I would agree that to cover a wedding properly you will 'need' higher end gear, both in camera and in lenses, and then get duplicates of camera and flash with many sets of batteries. And tools such as reflectors, light stand (for off camera flash) and shoot through umbrellas shouldn't be without mention.

In the end, if you're just after a casual capture of the wedding, the K200D might be alright, but it may struggle in low light and with ISO 800 and above settings. A fast lens will reduce that need for high ISO and give you more creative licence in your portraiture.

All the best.


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