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04-02-2013, 11:49 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Set on buying a Pentax - need suggestions

Hello,

I've never had a DSLR before, I will go for a Pentax (despite all my friends yelling to go for Nikon) and I have to decide between K5, K30 and K5II (already decided that KIIs would be overkill) and I'm not exactly sure what lens do I want, which would be the best for the money etc.

After I've spent countless hours reading about those problems, I've come to the following resolutions:

Body: I think I have to choose between K5II and K30. I would gladly go for the K5 if I could, but I live in Romania where apparently K5 is sold out. If I order K5 from US, I would have to pay for delivery and fees and I would get around the same price at which K5II is sold here, not to mention that I will have the warranty in another country, is that correct? Also, while I'm open minded to K30 suggestions, I specifically plan NOT to use auto and shoot a lot in low light. Mostly landscapes. Would this justify picking the K5II over K30?

Lens: I decided to start with the kit lens (18-55 WR) for a while and experiment with it. I've seen amazing photos taken with kit lens, so I am sure that I will be limited by my skills, and not by the lens at the very start. But I have come up with the idea to add a filter kit (UV, ND and circular polarizer) and a cheap tripod. Is this a sensible plan? I'm not sure whether or not do I need to add a trigger, or I can just use the camera's timer (point would be not to touch the tripod when I take the shot). I'm also considering getting the cheap DA-L-35mm-F2.4-AL pretty fast after the kit lens. Would that be sensible? as I said, I'll be doing landscapes and architecture mostly, I don't pretty much care about portraits and range.

I suppose I will try to get a bag of some kind and maybe I need a fast card, considering that Im planning to shoot RAW only and do the processing? or is it the case that any card will do?


Any suggestions are welcomed!

04-02-2013, 12:48 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hattifnatt Quote
I am sure that I will be limited by my skills, and not by the lens at the very start
Well, it seems you're already over one of the biggest hurdles for most beginners.

I use a K-5 and love it. Haven't used a K-30, so I'll defer to others on that question. I'll offer my opinion on two points:

1. Definitely get a tripod, and get the best one you can afford. It's almost certain that if you get a cheap one, you'll soon want to replace it with something better. Slik makes some nice ones that are not exorbitant.
2. On the K-5, the camera's timer is all you need. The mirror comes up when you press the shutter release button, and the shutter fires two seconds later. So you're not touching the tripod when the shot is taken, and mirror vibration is not an issue.

I haven't actually used the 35/2.4, but I've seen some impressive results from it.

Welcome to Pentax and to Pentax Forums. There's much good information and advice to be had here. Ignore your friends.
04-02-2013, 01:59 PM   #3
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Since it sounds as if you will be using it for pictures rather than video go with the K5 since it has 14 bit RAW rather than 12 bit like the K30. It also goes to ISO 80. I have the K5 and I love it, and from what I hear the K5II does the same, but focuses better in low light. Of course I would still get the K5IIs since it is not much more and will allow even better detail and sharpness, and moire is easily fixable in post processing.
04-02-2013, 02:01 PM   #4
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Sounds like your ideas are pretty good and you are on he right track to me.

A lot depends on what sort of shooting you like doing - which you won't know until you start using the camera. So starting with a kit lens is a good idea.

I don't think you would be disappointed with either the K5II or the K30. Both have some advantages. The K5II is mostly the same as the K5 and it may be useful to search threads here - "K5 versus K30".
I have a K-5 and love it but the K-30 has the advantage of better Live View performance (including focus peaking and sloooowwwww autofocus during movie recording). On the other hand the K-5/II has better build quality, HDMI / Microphone sockets and a bit faster shooting performance.

I have a tripod but mostly use it for low light / night shots and for lens tests. So they are certainly useful to have but depending on your shooting style not essential to start with - just very handy.

Polariser can be handy too so not a bad idea - even with the kit lens.

Eventually you will probably want to play with a "faster" lens which means a lens with a bigger aperture (and smaller f number) - somewhere between f1.4 and f2.4. The 35 f2.4 looks a good option (I don't have one) but there are cheaper options too if you don't mind experimenting with manual focus. I have a Pentax A 50 f1.4 which I absolutely love.

One last point with a DSLR is that if you have come from a Point and Shoot , you may be a bit disappointed with results sometimes. This is quite normal to go through. A DSLR has much bigger potential than a P&S but does take more care / practice to get those results. I quickly found that program mode "P" was my happy place (camera picks reasonable settings to start with but then allows you full control over settings) but it may be different for you.

Enjoy!

04-02-2013, 02:04 PM   #5
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Well IMHO your thinking is certainly along the right lines and your about to get a whole load of good suggestions for you to consider from the membership here.

Most importantly when you've got it all, remember to enjoy your photography.
04-02-2013, 02:08 PM   #6
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The 18-55 is fine for starters. I changed over to mostly primes, and really love them. The 40mm limited isn't too expensive used, and they are a fine way into the limited cult. Try one, you can always sell it if you don't like it. Your nikon friends will be jealous of how tiny it is, and the real quality feel of a metal lens. if you like nice things, they are worth it.

I also recommend trying some kind of manual focus legacy prime. They are so much fun, and reasonable cost. Just jump in and start shooting.
04-02-2013, 03:17 PM   #7
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You mentioned low light. How low?

At sunrise/sunset or a little darker, the K5II is a good choice. There might be enough light to allow autofocus and handheld usage. The K30 autofocus needs more light.

At night, you'll need a slower shutter speed which will likely require a tripod and manual focus. Buy a good tripod; cheap tripods are shaky and you'll quickly want to upgrade it. The K5II still retains an advantage over the K30 even when it's too dark for autofocus, due to 14-bit raw files.

The 18-55 kit lens is a good choice to start with. It is very inexpensive but can yield good photos. As you learn its limitations you'll be better informed as to what lenses you want to upgrade to; you might want a wider lens, or telephoto, or a fast lens for low light and for altering depth of field.
04-02-2013, 03:22 PM   #8
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P.S. Card speed is not that important unless you're shooting sports or other fast activities where you take a lot of quick photos hoping to be lucky and capture an exact moment.

04-02-2013, 03:48 PM   #9
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Nikon is also a fine choice, but only if you prefer their lens selection, which is probably difficult for you to determine right now. Their cameras are almost as good, but for the type of photography you're doing I think even their new D7100 may be outdone by the current Pentax models (e.g. in low light), let alone some new Pentax models sure to come later this year.

The K-5 IIs (which I have) appears to be even stronger than the K-5 II. However, I strongly recommend you consider the K-30 instead. If you think the kit lens won't limit the quality of your results much, I can tell you the camera matters even less. If you look at my profile, you can see the quality lenses I've been fortunate enough to aquire. Most of them were purchased when the K-x was my best camera body. When I finally purchased a K-5 it was almost a letdown, because there was almost no difference in my image quality. The K-x was already taking almost full advantage of my lenses!

Since I've been through many lenses I can be pretty specific in my suggestion. Get a K-30 with the 18-55 and 55-300 kit, if you can find it for a good price - the 55-300 is quite good for an entry lens, and you may use it more than you think. Then add a DA16-45 as soon as you can. Otherwise, get the K-30 body only and pick up a DA16-45 or a DA17-70, plus an F70-210/4-5.6 (the Takumar version is an even better value). I found I only used the 18-55 lens for a very short time, but was happy with the DA17-70 for a year or two. There are alternatives from Tamron or Sigma, but the Pentax (or Tokina) lenses tend to give you nicer color.

As soon as you're able, consider some other lenses, like these:

A50/1.7
DA35/2.4
A24/2.8
A (or M) 100/2.8 (non-macro)

Finally, at some point you may want to incease your options or quality on the wide end and consider the DA15, DA10-17 Fisheye, or Sigma 8-16. But if you just buy 2 zooms plus 4 inexpensive primes like I've mentioned above, you'll learn enough about what you can do with your camera (and what you like) that you probably won't ask for direction anymore, because you'll already know where you want to go.

Last edited by DSims; 04-02-2013 at 03:59 PM.
04-02-2013, 04:10 PM   #10
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I guess both k5 & k30 will suit you. It comes a bit down to pricing & handling. the price gap could offer you a prime as suggested above.
Personally I use a standard zoom in combination with a da70 telephoto. Its a small complete set that way.

Indeed, the kitlens is quite good. Although I upgraded it to the 16-45. Quite nice for landscapes. But not WR

Focus peaking on k30 is nice...
Top lcd on k5 is nice...
04-02-2013, 05:05 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hattifnatt Quote
I'm not exactly sure what lens do I want, which would be the best for the money etc...

I specifically plan NOT to use auto and shoot a lot in low light. Mostly landscapes...
it's just my two cents,
Lens, I would go with a fast prime. even second hand one. you mentioned about "NOT to use auto", then a fast manual prime might help you save some more for the K5II.

The Body, It looks like you has been reading a lot already, I am sure you have an idea of K5, K30 specification. the only thing missing is how it feels on your hand. you might want to try to get a hand on both K5 and K30 and see which one feel right for you. as for me I prefer K5. if order K5 from foreign country will bring the price closer to or the same as getting a K5II in your country then get a K5II in your country with warranty is a no brainier.

filter, I would skip filter but go for a good hood if your lens doesn't come with one.

Last edited by pakinjapan; 04-02-2013 at 06:16 PM.
04-02-2013, 05:11 PM   #12
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Start of with the camera of your chosing, kit lens, as landscapes are your thing maybe look at the sigma 10-20, ive not used it but heard good things. On saying that landscapes dont always have to be wide. Then work out what focal lenghts you use and move onto better lenses if you wish down the track.

Most important however is not to buy a cheap tripod. I have two myself, big sturdy one i bought first then a compact carbon fibre one about a year after. Also consider a ball head, so much more user friendly in my opinion.
04-02-2013, 05:27 PM   #13
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Hi and welcome to the forum Hattifnatt!
I was in your shoes just a week ago but what I did was to buy the K-30.
If I were you I would buy the K-30 with the 18-55mm WR or 18-135mm WR, save a bit of money and later buy a wide-angel lens for your landscape and architecture shots. But that is if you can get a K-30 in your country since I think a local warranty is good to have.

Anyway, just my two cent.
04-03-2013, 08:02 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yos Quote
Hi and welcome to the forum Hattifnatt!
I was in your shoes just a week ago but what I did was to buy the K-30.
If I were you I would buy the K-30 with the 18-55mm WR or 18-135mm WR, save a bit of money and later buy a wide-angel lens for your landscape and architecture shots. But that is if you can get a K-30 in your country since I think a local warranty is good to have.

Anyway, just my two cent.
Thank all of you guys for your suggestions...

.. But the situation got complicated as it seems I found a way to get a new K5 from Austria (a friend will bring it for me to avoid fees). I should assume that between K30, K5 and K5II, good ol' K5 should be an instant winner right? that new autofocus system that K5II has with better AF in low light, how would that impact my photos?
What exactly does low light means anyway? When I said I'm planning to shoot in low light, I was thinking about sunsets and sunrises. Will the K5II perform significantly better in those scenarios?
04-03-2013, 10:35 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hattifnatt Quote
When I said I'm planning to shoot in low light, I was thinking about sunsets and sunrises. Will the K5II perform significantly better in those scenarios?
K5 and K5II should be identical for landscapes if you use manual focus or autofocus on clouds or horizon. If you want to autofocus on some shadowed object when it's dark, though, K5II might help.
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