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02-25-2013, 09:38 AM   #1
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K-r or K-5 as first DSLR, limited budget

Hey all, I've recently been looking to get a new DSLR. Pentax seem to offer excellent value for money, although I HAVE been teetering beyond the enemy lines *gulp* with the sony nex 5n (for APC quality and p&s portability) and nikon d5100 (for good range of lenses/upgrade paths, good global support systems, good video) having been seriously considered.

Anyhow, I can get a Pentax k-5 for $600 here in the UK second-hand (it was bought last year, 4000 actuations). This is body only, and leaves me enough to get the 18-55mm kit lens, and perhaps more lenses further down the line. The other option would be to buy a Pentax K-r and be able to immediately afford better glass. I've considered the k-30, but genuinely can only find it for about $50 less than the K-5 (is this a good deal?). If anyone could lend me some words of wisdom, I'd be grateful. Thanks,

tobinobin.

02-25-2013, 10:13 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobinobin Quote
I HAVE been teetering beyond the enemy lines *gulp* with the sony nex 5n
No enemy lines here, no fan boys either. Lots of us shoot with multiple brands. Pentax makes a great camera but they are not perfect and other companies sometimes get things right too

If you can swing it the k-5 is the better camera by far. Although the k-30 is supposed to be better at video and it has focus peaking which the k-5 does not. You need to weigh what features are important to you. But the k-5 is a semi-pro camera and has features to match. I have a k-x and a k-5 (and a k-01) and the k-5 is the one I would not be without.

Look here for a good comparison chart: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-cameras-compared/?c1=k5&c2=k30&c3=kr
02-25-2013, 10:27 AM - 1 Like   #3
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If it's your firs SLR, anything will be fine until you understand what YOU will do with it. I tried a Nikon and hated the ergonomics. I like Canon even less. Pentax has better ergonomics for me. Makes my shooting more enjoyable.

Also, a K-R with some nice glass will be more rewarding than a K-5 with a kit lens. If I were just starting out, and had a fixed amount of money to spend, I'd get that K-R, an 18-55 kit lens, and the DA35mm f2.4. Use that for a year, then you will know what you really need/want. You could get something even older cheaper and get your feet wet. I still have my k-x, and it takes really fine photos. Those are like $200-$250 used. A bargain for sure.

If you have more money, the K-5 (or K-30) is nicer, but in ways you probably won't need or appreciate for awhile. You need to get comfortable with the basics: exposure, lighting, composition. If you buy the k-r kit and have money left over, put it in the bank until you know how you would best use it.
02-25-2013, 10:38 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I bought my K-r new in September 2011. I'm still learning about all it can do and I have a way to go before I will out grow it. Although there is the lure of newer bodies, at this stage there is no sense in me upgrading until I know more about what I'm doing. Any glass that I have bought to use on my K-r will work on a newer body so when I'm ready to grow into a new body I'll take the lenses with me. If I was in your position I would pick up the K-r and invest in some good lenses. There will always be the lure of a better body no matter which one you buy.

02-25-2013, 10:45 AM   #5
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Bonjour,

I bought a K-r first, then got the itch for a K-7 (which was used and a bad copy) ... dumped the K-7 for a K-5. Between the K-r and K-5, I'd take the K-5 any day ... but, it's a very steep learning curve, so take your time toward using it efficiently.

Lens? I would suggest the 18-55 WR so that the K-5 can go in any weather ... plus it's a very decent kit lens IMO and it does well in close focus (like macro) situations. A good lens to start out with. The second lens suggestion would be the DA 35/2.4, the "plastic fantastic" ... a great lens for budget minded folk. I have one one my K-5 a lot ... with the crop sensor the 35mm shoots like a 50 mm of the good old days ...

Good luck and be careful buying used DSLR's ... I kind of got burned my my K-7 acquisition from my B&M camera store, but ... c'est la vie! John le Frog
02-25-2013, 11:30 AM   #6
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For a first DSLR, the Kr might be the better choice. Simpler design, easier to learn, smaller and lighter, less initial investment. Since the lenses will work with newer bodies, it is easy to "upgrade" later if you fall in love and decide you want the latest and greatest.

I love my K-5 but this is not my first rodeo and I was ready for the semi-pro body. I also have a Sony NEX 5RK system for when I want to travel very lightweight so you are not really talking "enemy lines" here. Select what will fit your style best. If you aren't planning a lot of air travel or backpacking to get to your shooting locations, you may find the DSLR offers better features and ergonomics. For extreme lightweight, it is hard to beat mirrorless unless you go clear down to P&S.

Last edited by abmj; 02-25-2013 at 06:15 PM.
02-25-2013, 11:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobinobin Quote
Hey all, I've recently been looking to get a new DSLR. [...]
Hi tobinobin. Have you considered the K-01? If you can live without a viewfinder (or WR), then it's currently a steal. The image quality of a K-5 in a more compact body, with additional features like focus peaking. It's been discontinued, but several stores (at least in North America) still have stock and are letting it go for a song... Just a thought.

Last edited by Doundounba; 02-25-2013 at 11:31 AM. Reason: trim unnecessary quote
02-25-2013, 11:47 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Doundounba Quote
Hi tobinobin. Have you considered the K-01? If you can live without a viewfinder (or WR), then it's currently a steal. The image quality of a K-5 in a more compact body, with additional features like focus peaking. It's been discontinued, but several stores (at least in North America) still have stock and are letting it go for a song... Just a thought.
Hmm...and I can use lenses for both the K-01 and future upgrades? I realise that the sony nex 5n beats the k-01 marginally based on stats, but the thought of having lenses available to me for both a mirrorless and a future dslr is appealing. Can I mount legacy glass too?

02-25-2013, 12:01 PM   #9
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I would get the K5. It has a set of features that you will not outgrow for a long time, and after using dual control wheels you will find yourself wondering why you didn't go with a camera that had them in the first place. Besides, regardless of what others say the kit lens is really decent, and if you get the 18-55 WR along with the K5 you're going to have something you can shoot with in the rain!
02-25-2013, 12:10 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobinobin Quote
the thought of having lenses available to me for both a mirrorless and a future dslr is appealing. Can I mount legacy glass too?
Yes, absolutely. That's what I do. The focus peaking on the k-01 is a game changer for manual focus lenses. I bought the k-01 as a backup camera, it fits in the same space as a lens in my bag. But I have found it so much fun that I use it almost as much as my k-5.
02-25-2013, 12:13 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tobinobin Quote
Hmm...and I can use lenses for both the K-01 and future upgrades? I realise that the sony nex 5n beats the k-01 marginally based on stats, but the thought of having lenses available to me for both a mirrorless and a future dslr is appealing. Can I mount legacy glass too?
Yes, the K-01 is a k-mount mirrorless, so you will be able to use any and all of the lenses you buy for the K-01 on your future Pentax DSLRs. You can also use legacy glass with it, and in the case of manual focus lenses, focus peaking (a feature also present in the K-30, but not on the K-5 or K-r, AFAIK) makes using those lenses a pleasure. For instance, I love my Pentax-A 50mm F1.7 lens, which (IMHO) makes a wonderful close quarters portrait lens. And it cost me all of $80! The main downside to the K-01 is its auto-focus performance. It's been improved quite significantly (via firmware update) since the camera was reviewed by photography sites, and I'd call it reasonably quick in most situations. But it's still not an especially good choice for things like sports photography or other uses where you really need lightning-fast autofocus, or for use with slow-ish (>F4) autofocus tele-photo lenses (slow lenses seem to hamper CDAF auto-focus performance).

(Do note that some of Pentax's current lenses are APSC-only, which means that those lenses aren't compatible with full-frame cameras, and so if Pentax ever releases a full-frame DSLR, those lenses won't work with that. But that's true regardless of whether you get a K-r, K-5, K-01 or K-5II.)

Last edited by Doundounba; 02-25-2013 at 12:23 PM. Reason: Add full frame note.
02-25-2013, 12:32 PM   #12
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Hmm, I feel for the size of the K-01 I'd probably be better off getting a K-5 perhaps..it's pretty large, over double the size of a sony nex 5n. If my plan is to upgrade anyway (with getting new lenses) surely I should just spend the money on a k-5 whilst it's still relevant and quite darn cheap?
02-25-2013, 12:35 PM   #13
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I would start with the K-5. I started with a K-x myself, which was a fine camera. But after about 18 months I upgraded to the K-5, which is in a different league. I believe it's a camera that will get good use for several years to come, and I am now in the position where I'm looking to build up a decent collection of lenses before thinking about a further camera body upgrade.
If you get the K-r (pretty similar to the K-x) I don't think you would regret it, but before long you'd quite likely be looking to get the K-5. So maybe you should just go for that straight away.
But at the end of the day, wither camera will do a good job.
02-25-2013, 04:07 PM   #14
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Does anyone have any thoughts on the K-30? I can find a display model for $50 less than a used (only 4000 actuations, bought last year) Pentax K-5. Main things that attract me are: lesser weight, better AF in normal and low light, better video, focus speed and a newer build in general. I'm not sure how much I really need the titanium build, top lcd display etc of a K-5...anyone want to chip in?
02-25-2013, 05:47 PM   #15
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If I were you, I would buy the cheapest dslr I could live with and the best lens/es I could afford. The kit lenses are ok, if you work at it but for quick results from going from a point and shoot to a dslr, better lenses will offer you a bigger bang for the buck.

If I were you I would get the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 lens instead of the kit lens. Its heavier than the kit lens but its not too heavy.
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