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04-12-2014, 08:01 PM   #1
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k30 help

Hello everyone.
I am in a real quandry. I am readly to upgrade from a Kr (that I have had constant trouble with) and I am thinking of getting a K30 based on the reviews from this web site. I can purchase the body only for under $400, or a kit that comes with a 18-55mm lens and a 55-300mm lens for $745 on Amazon. I already have two 18-55mm lenses and a pentax 200mm lens. Question 1....is a k30 a good choice? Question 2 ...Instead of purchasing the kit, I was thinking of buying a 2x teleconverter to use with my 200mm. I am on a budget of around $700, and want to get the best for my limited spending ability. Has anyone had experience with a teleconverter, regarding picture quality, etc, and does it really turn a 200mm into a 400 mm in focal length, or should I purchase the kit with the 300mm ? I love photography, but admittedly, when it comes to the photography jargon I am at a loss. I would appreciate any advice in helping me make a decision regarding these issues. Thanks so much

04-12-2014, 08:30 PM   #2
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Yes the K-30/K-50 is an excellent choice IMHO.

No. I would not recommend a TC. You loose in IQ.

Since you already have a 18-55mm , I suggest to consider the 55-300mm lens. The cheaper DA-L is possibly the best deal. Same optic as the other versions, but plastic mount and cheaper.

Hope that the comments will help.
04-12-2014, 08:46 PM   #3
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I have the 55-300mm DA-L and can recommend it for the price.
04-12-2014, 09:12 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum!
1- Yes the K-30 is a decent camera, you'll gain weather seals, two control wheels, better newer sensor, better, larger and brighter viewfinder etc... It is however a discontinued model (replaced by the K-50) but it is still great (and sorry to hear your Kr hasn't been good to you by the way)
2- If you already have two kit lens and very little need of the 55-300, don't get the kit. If you do want the 55-300, a 18-55 will get you ~$50 "IF" you can sell it. This values the 55-300 at $295 (~$400 new for an HD) but the one with the K-30 kit is usually the cheaper DAL version which cost ~$250. So your not winning.
2b- A good quality TC might make you go over budget. The new Pentax 1.4 is ~$600. A cheap one could do the job but you will sacrifice image quality and usually lose autofocus (or severely bog it down). Some TC are better than others and the good cheap ones tend to be older and discontinued model which are hard to get.
2c- Yes, a 2x TC will effectively double the lens focal length. But it will also slow your lens two stops (reducing the amount of light hitting your sensor) and this is not good. So whatever you 200mm f/?? lens is, it'll get slower (f/2.8 will become a f/5.6. A f/4 will become a f/8). It is good to know that most autofocus system will start to struggle with a lens slower than f/8 and your viewfinder will get darker.
Most people will prefer a 1.4x TC which will give you 1.4 times the magnification but at the cost of only 1 stop of light. A bit of a trade off.

Another problem with teleconverter is that you might run with compatibility issues with your lenses.

Can you tell me which 200mm you have and which version of the 55-300 comes with the kit? Until I know what model the 55-300 is, it doesn't look like much of a deal in your case. Unless the 55-300 is the DA (not DAL) or the HD version, I would pass on the kit and get only the body. You can always look for a second hand 55-300 here on the market place later on.

EDIT:

And before I get flamed, I am not bashing on the 55-300 DAL. I am only considering kit price vs lens price vs value. The 55-300 (DAL, DA and HD) are very well regarded and liked. Value wise, a second hand WR lens would be better than the DAL


Last edited by fgaudet; 04-12-2014 at 09:18 PM.
04-12-2014, 09:34 PM   #5
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K-30 is an excellent camera, big upgrade from the k-r. Pass on the kit, get the body only and use your current 18-55. Watch the marketplace here or elsewhere and get a used DA or DAL 55-300
04-13-2014, 05:26 AM   #6
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Going against the flow here, but I'd say pass on the k-30, get the 55-300 hd wr instead (or maybe a da limited, or a da 35mn f2.4?).

Stick with the kr for another year or two. Dont get me wrong, the k-30 is a great camera, but IMHO you won't notice a significant improvement in the final images over what you currently have. (this is from someone who jumped from a k-x to a k-5). Wait a couple of years, and you'll probably be able to get a 24mp k-60 (or whatever they'll call it).

Sticking some better glass infront on the k-r will give it a second lease of life, and when you do decide to upgrade, you'll have an amazing camera with some fantastic glass. My 2 cents...
04-13-2014, 10:28 AM   #7
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Thank you for your replies. @fgaudet my pentax lens is a 50-200mm DA. The lenses being sold with the k30 kit are not specified, but I'm sure they are the DAL lenses. I had a Tamron 50-300mm lens, but dropped it on the road, and when I took it in to the camera shop I was advised it would cost more money than it was worth to get it fixed. I don't think I could afford to purchase a Pentax 300mm lens, but maybe one that is compatible with pentax. I wasn't real thrilled with the Tamron. Any suggestions on a decent 300 or even 400 mm lens beside a pentax? You mentioned teleconverter compatibility with current lenses. How will I be able to know whether it is compatible or not? Would the manufacturer state it? I'm also rather leary about buying a used lens for fear of not knowing exactly what condition it is in and getting burned.
@robthebloke....I took my Kr to see if I could get it fixed. I was told it was probably a sensor problem and would cost at a minimum of $250 for repair. I figured I would give up on it and buy new for just a bit more than the cost of fixing it.

---------- Post added 04-13-14 at 12:39 PM ----------

I forgot to mention that my 50-200mm lens is an f4-5.6.
04-13-2014, 10:54 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jalemusk Quote
How will I be able to know whether it is compatible or not?
Check the lens database, there is a special topic for TC. But they all will still work in a way (doubling your lens) but sometimes you'll lose autofocus, sometimes you'll lose all automation. It's very hard to know. Even the new $600 Pentax one won't work properly with some of my Sigma lenses. (the reason why I never bought it)

QuoteOriginally posted by jalemusk Quote
Any suggestions on a decent 300 or even 400 mm lens
I have been looking for a long while for one. I have decided to go with a DA*300, I'm slowly putting money aside for it. The 55-300 is supposed to be very good for a zoom. I had a Tamron 70-300 which was awful and a Sigma 70-300 which wasn't so bad, but it wasn't the APO version which I hear is better. Anything pass the 200mm mark gets expensive (same is true for less than 18mm).

But often people will say that if 200mm isn't enough for you, 300mm won't be enough either.

Stick with your 50-200 and buy a cheap Kenko 4 elements 2x TC on ebay for $25. It'll soften your images a bit but for the price it'll give you an idea if a TC can suit your style. I've got this combo and although it doesn't yield incredible IQ, pictures are quite usable (but you need tons of light for it to work).


Last edited by fgaudet; 04-13-2014 at 12:18 PM.
04-13-2014, 11:58 AM   #9
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A DA 50-200 with a 2X teleconverter will not let enough light in to the camera for reliable autofocus. Maybe on a very bright day it will work sometimes. That assumes you could find a teleconverter that allows autofocus at all. Teleconverter compatibility is an issue with Pentax - just a couple of models work. Then there's image quality. In many cases, an image with a 2X teleconverter looks worse than simply cropping a shot without the teleconverter.

The amount of light is another issue. You'd have a 400mm lens, so you want a shutter speed of 1/125 at a minimum, maybe as much as 1/750 depending on how steady your hands are. The combination means that f11 is wide open. These numbers are maybe too technical, so instead of explaining them, I looked at my photos. I have a 400mm lens that I've used for around 1300 shots. I have only six shots that are handheld in those kind of conditions. Then about 80 shots on a tripod. For about 93% of my shots, I choose camera settings that wouldn't be possible with a DA 50-200 plus a 2X teleconverter.

Your budget probably rules out any new lens that goes to 400mm, or a new 300mm prime lens (he confidently states without looking first). Probably you are going to have to choose between another Tamron or Sigma zoom that goes to 300mm, or a version of the Pentax DA 55-300mm.
04-13-2014, 12:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
he confidently states without looking first
And he is right in doing so... Even old M42 300mm and + are still expensive enough
04-14-2014, 07:35 AM   #11
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Thank you for the information all, I do appreciate your knowledge......I am not concerned if the lens will not work with autofocus. I take most of my pictures on manual focus anyway. I find that I can have a little more control. I do a lot of nature photography that requires manual focus. I think I take a decent picture, but would like to be able to get closer to my subjects, and I have cropped photos, but lost quality esp. when taken in lower light. This picture was taken with my 200mm lens but was cropped. I used my K100 camera.
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04-14-2014, 08:18 AM   #12
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The DA55-300 is a nice lens, best bang for the buck on a Pentax long zoom. To get better you're talking a pretty big jump in money.

If you need to replace a damaged Kr, the K30's not a bad choice. I think you have a couple options.

The new K30 kit will come with weather resistant lenses, if this is important it is a consideration.
A kit with an 18-55WR or 18-135WR is attractive.
Then look for a used 55-300 here in the marketplace.

Alternately just get the body, and look for a used 55-300 and keep you current 18-55 to see how it works. You can get used 18-55WR pretty inexpensive or just go for the 18-135 later.
04-14-2014, 09:57 AM   #13
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I'm going to throw in a little different curve. I originally bought the k50 in November ( virtually the same as the K30) and it is a very nice camera which I am/was ok with but then the price dropped for the K5 lls to $696.00 and I couldn't resist the price so I took the plunge and got it. I feel the difference is Well worth the extra expenditure for several reasons. One I find the image quality, even with my existing kit lenses, hands down to be vastly superior as well as a better dynamic range. Two the added buttons/button layout convenience vs having to go to the menu for simple changes makes it a lot easier. Three having the top menu display convenience. Four I like a heavier camera, with the addition of the battery grip it adds additional weight and better fit to my hands which I also feel balances the camera better for me hand held. Had I have held off a few more months given the current price difference I wouldn't have bought the K50 or even the K30 as the k5 lls is extremely affordable now and overall a much better camera IMO.

Normally I would recommend getting different/ better glass but I feel the price of the K5 lls may be worth your spending your $$$ on then pick up either new or used glass down the road. If you need a longer lens sooner you could pick up an older Pentax 100-300, Sigma DL 75-300mm DL or Tamron 70-300 LD lens pretty cheap and they would work well then later on pick up something newer.

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 04-14-2014 at 10:09 AM.
04-14-2014, 11:06 AM   #14
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I'd advise against the Tamron 70-300 on the K5 - purple fringing was outrageous when I did that. It prompted me to get the 55-300. The Tammy was OK on my K10 but useless on the K5.

I won't argue against the K5 stable - mine has been great.
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