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03-10-2014, 08:03 PM   #1
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Please offer advice- which camera?


I am interested in a DSLR for family photos primarily.

All of my kids do indoor and outdoor sports. I just read the K-50 review on this site and in the conclusion they advised that it is not a good choice for sports.
Is that also the opinion of the K-50 owners here? ----Here is the quote from the forum's review: "If you're interested in sports photography or filmmaking, then the K-50 would not be the ideal choice"

The sports I am hoping to get better shots of are indoor and outdoor field hockey and soccer and indoor gymnastics. I would also consider the K-5iis and the
K-3, but since this will be my first SLR ever, I thought I might save some cash and start out with the K-50 and work my way up. On the other hand, I do not want
to sell or "buy" myself short and get a camera that will not be good for sports.

I am on a budget such that I am not planning on getting "expensive" lenses at the time of my camera purchase. I need to save up for lenses later.
The K-50 I saw for $700 came with 18-55 and 50-200 kit lenses. I was planning on adding a 50mm f/1.8 "telephoto" for indoor shooting and then cropping photos - I know not ideal, but what I can afford for right now.
I think that compared to my Panasonic zoom point and shoot camera; I will be able to get better (but not ideal) pics with this set up while saving up money for better lenses.

Please send me your thoughts on the K-50 vs K-5iis vs K-3...I know they are all on sale and I really want to buy the right one the first time.



03-10-2014, 08:24 PM - 1 Like   #2
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The biggest problem with the K50 kit you describe isn't with the camera but with the lenses included, at least for indoor events like gymnastics and such. I shoot events like this for a living and have both lenses and feel they are very slow for most indoor action, but in a pinch you could Max out the ISO and deal with the noise in post. A 2.8 tele will land you the best results. The 50 you mention will be great but it has limited reach. here is not enough resolution in 16mp to crop that much , and use it like a "digital zoom" if you will. I understand its possible with a 40mp 645d. But the 50-200 is good for outdoor action, relatively sharp and quick focusing. My copy of the 18-55 is my least sharp lens of which I have several going from the 60's to recent limiteds. I really don't recommend it at all.

---------- Post added 03-10-14 at 10:31 PM ----------

Just a quick suggestion: perhaps as a first time buyer and new forum member, you might visit the forum's marketplace. I have bought items from members and have had success in acquiring some fine equipment. You definitely can get more for your buying dollar by getting used equipment that still gets you good results. Even if you get a new body, you might find used lenses a little faster or longer than the kit lenses you mentioned. Just an idea.
03-10-2014, 08:34 PM   #3
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Original Poster

Thanks for the advice. Quick and helpful. I thought about getting the camera only for $500 (saving $200) or if I am not getting a bundle anyway going for the K-5iis for $700 (no bundles available).
What 1 or 2 lenses would you recommend at that point? Now that I am saving the $200 I could put that toward the better body or a better lens than the kit ones.

P.s. I also look forward to being able to shoot indoors without always needing a flash, I thought that the 50mm f/1.8 could help with that goal also.


03-10-2014, 08:39 PM - 1 Like   #4
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For indoor sports, the Tamron or Sigma 70-200 f2.8 are superb. Pricy glass, though (600 used for the Tamron, 1000 or so for the Sigma). It's also very heavy and long (quite huge, really). Were I you, for mostly indoor sports, I'd pick up a used K-30 and the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 (also used), and maybe an 18-55 for walking around.

For outdoor sports, there's more light, so the Pentax 50-200 is fine, and that's a pretty cheap lens, not huge at all. If it is outdoor mostly, go for the 18-55 and 50-200 setup.

Edit, just saw the budget comment.
At your budget, the 18-55 and 50-200 is your best bet. Indoors, use TAv mode, set ISO to 3200, aperture wide open, shoot in RAW, and use Lightroom (or Topaz denoise) in post to remove the noise.

Also, if it's your first DSLR, don't expect great shots at first, there's a learning curve. Read "understanding exposure", a great book on the exposure triangle.

If you want indoors without a flash, 50mm is too long. Save up, get the Sigma 30/1.4.

Last edited by Kozlok; 03-10-2014 at 08:44 PM.
03-10-2014, 08:45 PM   #5
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Also keep in mind that the K-30 and the K-50 are really similar. I bought the K-30 for the price difference and bought more lenses. A low priced K-30 with a better lens could be a great alternative.
03-10-2014, 09:06 PM   #6
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Kozlok, thanks for the lens advice - I found the Tamron 70-200 on Amazon for $750. Where would you recommend buying it used? Also, I get confused sometimes there are multiple of the same lenses - DA, FA, DAL, etc. How do you know which one will fit your camera body.

Supersyx, thanks for the info about the K-30. At least on Amazon, the price of the K-30 and K-50 are about the same. Please let me know if there is a better place to look for the K-30....the K-50 is under $500 now!

twitch, thanks for the info about the lens. Sounds like you recommend the same lens as Kozlok. Sounds like the lens is more important than the body...any idea why Pentaxforums would advise against the K-50 for sports?????

03-10-2014, 09:07 PM   #7

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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Buy a second hand Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 and whatever body you can afford to put on the back of it. A cheap K-x + 70-200 will be far better than a K-3 with that 50-200 for indoor sports.
This really is the best idea. I got a lot of mileage out of my K-x with very good (well, actually even excellent) lenses. The K-x is almost completely depreciated by now. And used lenses hold their value. So it's an excellent use of your money - especially if you may sell some of it later.

The only other semi-affordable lens I can think of that works well for sports is the FA135. Even though it's not a zoom, I'm sure you'd like it. I worked well on my older bodies and is great on my K-5 IIs. Focusing is fast. And it's really small. Last I checked KEH had one for less than $365 (which is a good price).

Then get someone's DA18-55 for peanuts (and possibly a DA50/1.8) and get started.

Last edited by DSims; 03-10-2014 at 09:34 PM.
03-10-2014, 09:29 PM - 1 Like   #8

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QuoteOriginally posted by radman Quote
twitch, thanks for the info about the lens. Sounds like you recommend the same lens as Kozlok. Sounds like the lens is more important than the body...any idea why Pentaxforums would advise against the K-50 for sports?????
Honestly, I wish I knew the reason why. They're probably comparing it to the K-5 II (or IIs) or K-3, which are more expensive. But it almost certainly has to do with AF speed. The K-30 and K-50 reportedly have better AF than the original K-5, which is why I think it's an odd conclusion.

But the K-5 IIs has definitely improved AF for sports over the K-5 for me. And the K-3 is reportedly even better. It works great on my fixed-focal-length lenses, but others have said it helps on the Tamron 70-200 as well.

But you have to get the lens first. Then you can worry about getting a body that improves the AF speed.

Anything between a K-x and K-5 IIs could be a good choice right now, provided you can afford it after getting that lens. Pentax acknowledges they've put a concerted effort into improving AF performance on recent bodies, since their plans include keeping many screw-drive lenses in their lineup.

03-10-2014, 09:36 PM   #9
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I think radman needs to go and see a 70-200 2.8 lens 'in the flesh' and decide if he really wants to carry such a huge beast to his kid's games - I would really think twice about it. It is, after all, only kids sports and the other parents may give you strange looks if you look like you're from 'Inside Sport'. Yes, you may get great pics, but are you going to be selling them? Sometimes 'OK' is good enough.
03-10-2014, 09:46 PM - 1 Like   #10

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So, in summary, I think this should be your plan:

Tamron 70-200 (or FA135)
Whatever body you choose (can always upgrade later)
DA18-55 used from the marketplace on this site

Next steps:
Your choice among: DA16-45, Tamron 17-50/2.8, DA17-70, or Sigma 17-70 (in most cases these days it's better to get the latest version when buying Sigma).
Cosina 100/3.5 macro (affordable; sold under many brands in either AF or MF models) if you have any interest in macro

After this, everything else is gravy (although there's some pretty good gravy out there!). The next steps don't extend you too far out from your original expenditures and they complete your kit with a high value ROI (in terms of capabilities).
03-11-2014, 12:18 AM   #11
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Lens alternatives... or additions

Back when with my ES II I used to shoot my kids basketball just fine with a couple MF Primes - the M42 SMCT 135mm F2.5, and 200mm F4.0. Given budget restraints, might something like these be worth a look - say with the K-50, perhaps CIF at times?

I think they are both still available mint for $100 or so...

Another $100 alternate might be - at least for the indoor stuff - a Q/Q10 body with adapted APS-C/FF lenses of 'standard' focal length but relatively fast - 50mm F1.4, 55mm F1.8 or? (No CIF though..
03-11-2014, 06:46 AM   #12
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A really good fast 135 f2.8 could well be lighter and cheaper than that 50-200 cheapo kit zoom, and because it has no zoom it allows you to concentrate more on catching the action. And if it is of good quality you can easily crop to the same area of the frame as the 200 would give you, and still give you better quality. Less edge problems, higher resolution, and so on.

So, the 135 gives you: better speed, ease of use, lower price, maybe it would be lighter, and the image quality could well be better than the kit 50-200. Maybe match it up with a decent shorter zoom too, a Tamron 28-75, for example, or the Pentax 18-135. (I know I mention 135 again, but the aperture is not good at the longer lengths, and above 100 it's not very good compared to a prime)

Last edited by Bagga_Txips; 03-11-2014 at 07:08 AM.
03-11-2014, 10:22 AM   #13
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135mm Manuals Tested

I recently tested some 135mm to select one for my Q:

I took six 'affordable' M42 135mm lenses:

SMCT 135mm/F3.5 S/N - 855
SMCT 135mm/F3.5 S/N - 459
Vivitar Chrome Nose (Kiron?) 135/F2.8 S/N 106899
Vivitar Komine 135/2.8 28xxx109
SMCT 135/2.5 43812 V2 8202194
SMCT 135/2.5 43802 V1 4726992

Read more at:

For a 'sports' application on an APS-C DSLR (or K-01), I'd suggest the Vivitar Komine gives 'the most bang for the buck' - F2.8 at well less than $100 - more like $40 for a really good one - still.
03-11-2014, 10:40 AM   #14
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Check out @RonHendriks1966 threads on sports photography...

He doesn't use a K-50, but the K-50 is supposed to have better AF than the K-5.
03-11-2014, 11:13 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by radman Quote
...any idea why Pentaxforums would advise against the K-50 for sports?????
Pentax is perceived to lag behind other brands in autofocus speed. Instant autofocus and perfect accuracy under any lighting conditions are ideal for sports, so you can just point the camera at the right thing and fire. No AF is perfect. It can fail to focus at all, or take forever, missing the action. Or it can lock onto the wrong subject, so your kid is a blurry blob and someone else is razor sharp. The review discusses AF in section 12. There's a chart that shows the focusing time outdoors and indoors. You can see the camera slows down indoors. You will want to focus through the viewfinder. The review says that the K-50 will try to track a moving target and keep focusing on it. Without supporting it, they say the 11 focus points aren't enough for tracking. I'd like to see some data for that, but some competitors do have a lot more points. Somewhere between the AF section, which ends with positive AF comments, and the conclusion, the AF becomes poor for sports. I don't blame you for confusion here.

AF's biggest problem has always been identifying the subject. It might figure out the difference between a single gymnast and the balance beam, but it isn't going to know which kid on the soccer field is yours. The world's best AF won't know that. One solution for that is manual focus.

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