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08-19-2013, 03:21 PM   #1
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Looking to get into DSLR

Considering staying with Pentax, I have a Super ME from the 80s. Not sure if my old lens will work on a cropped frame camera. My lenses are Pentax 200MM, 300MM and a 35-105 zoom. Which model would you recommend in the $800 range? Thanks.

08-19-2013, 04:43 PM   #2
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All your lenses will work, their FOV just won't feel as wide due to the crop factor. I'd say look at the K-50:

Pentax K-50 Review - Introduction -

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08-19-2013, 05:25 PM   #3
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... or you can't beat the K-30 at the price it is at now. The K-50 has some small improvements over it, but I don't know if they're worth the difference in price.

This is a great deal, imo for the K-30 with 18-55 WR (weather resistant lens):
08-19-2013, 05:29 PM   #4
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Hey there, welcome!

All K-mount lenses will work on modern Pentax DSLRs. Of course, they might not have all the features, like AF or automatic aperture. Here is a thread on how to use manual lenses on modern DSLRs, be sure to take a look at it later, after you have a digital camera

$800 is a great budget, but it falls right between the two tiers. K-30 is the upper mid-tier camera that was released some time ago. Then there is the K-50, which is essentially the same as the K-30, with very few differences, mostly in looks. The K-500 is a stripped-down variant of the K-50. With your budget, you dont have to consider the K-500. Then there is the higher tier: K-5 and K-5II. Again, the K-5 was released some time ago and is well-loved. The K-5II has a couple more updates and features, but is very similar, almost the same camera (its main advantage is the improved AF system). The K-5 and K-5II are probably just out of your budget, so the K-30 or K-50 should be just right for you. Simply choose the one that appeals to you more. Its also great if you can hold it in your hands and compare it to other brand's cameras. Pentax cameras tend to feel much more solid than what Canon and Nikon offer for the same price.
And you can spend the rest of the budget on a really nice lens.

Pentax right now isn't making a total beginner's camera, like some other brands offer, but you probably don't need that, since you already have experience with cameras. With a K-50, you should be able to jump right in where you left off, it will have all the familiar shooting modes, with some extra features. And everything that the digital revolution brought.

08-19-2013, 08:25 PM   #5
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You need to make sure your budget has some room for a lens of some type wider than 35mm, because of the crop factor thing*. Pentax sells an inexpensive option meant to go with the camera, the DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6. You may see the camera packaged with the L (cheap) version of this lens. There is a weather resistant version WR usually sold separately. Newer cameras may have an L version that is weather resistant too, L-WR. There are all kinds of other lens options, but you probably want this as a minimum. It is also handy to have a modern lens that works with the new camera's many many features.

I would only buy one lens for now because you need some time to see how you will like using the old lenses.

*The Pentax DSLRs all have a sensor smaller than film, but the old K-mount lenses still mount and work. Some take an extra step to meter. Crop factor is an oversimplified term for what happens to the field of view. Say you take a shot with a lens on film, develop and print it as a 4"x6". Then crop away the edges of the print to get a 2.66"x4" print. That's the effect of using a smaller sensor, and what you'd see if you used the same lens from the same spot on a DSLR. The field of view changes and the viewfinder is smaller. If you are setting aside your film camera, you really only have to think about this once, when buying appropriate new gear. Your 35-105 will no longer be wide angle at all. If you are using both film and digital, explore it further.
08-19-2013, 08:37 PM   #6
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I use all my Pentax film stuff with my DSLR (and my film cameras), especially my A35-105 F3.5
I would stick with A series lenses from the film era so you can leave it on A and use the front and rear dials to set aperture and shutter speed. Any K or M lens (or M42 with adapter) will work but setting exposure is rather more fiddly than it needs to be.

With a non AF lens you have to tell the camera what your focal length is so the shake reduction works right, with a zoom lens that's a bit of a problem since when you change the zoom what you told the camera is then incorrect so it won't compensate for shake perfectly. The solution is to pick a number in the middle of the zoom range or just turn shake reduction off which requires being much more steady than with a film camera since even slight blur is super visible without film grain to hide it.

Unless you are in a hurry wait till later this year, I expect something new to come out that will push used prices even lower and likely cause some clearance sales on the new stuff you are looking at now (watch for those already).
08-20-2013, 01:44 AM   #7

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You might also consider following the route that I took into DSLR Photography: If you are not afraid of buying used, you can browse the Marketplace listings here at PF. I did so many moons ago with a cheap used Pentax *ist DL and the simplest Sigma kit lens, just to see if this was something for me and my old K-mount lenses - and I was hooked.......

A quick glance today tells me that you could get a used K-5 body and a used 18-135 DA lens just within your budget (two separate listings combine). And of course, there are even cheaper combinations to be found.

If you don't want to buy used, I'd point at the current bargins you can now find at authorized Pentax dealers for a K-30 + lens kit such as this one (note it is with the weather resistant WR kit lens):

Pentax K-30 DSLR Camera with DA 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL WR15601 B&H

Like others, I think you should get yourself at least one digtial lens from the start - but you will surely also enjoy using your existing, manual lenses on a K-30 or K-50 body!

08-20-2013, 05:58 PM   #8
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Thank you all so much, maybe the K30 at Costco for 749 might be a good choice. I'm embarrassed to see I asked the same question here back in 2008 but did not remember it at all!

Pentax K-30 2 Lens Weatherproof DSLR Bundle Black

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