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04-16-2014, 12:24 PM   #1
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Thinking about a Pentax DSLR

Hi all,

New to the Pentax forum. I'm a Canon person (50D, 30D, XS). I am considering to add a Pentax DSLR to my Canons. I enjoy shooting with primes (I own a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 for Canon) and was going to buy a new Canon lens, EF 35mm f/2 IS because sometimes I need image stabilization. I like to shoot indoors for family and kids so lowlight is always apparent. My Sigma is really good but sometimes I miss some shots. The new Canon lens is going to set me back about $650 (Canon hood costs ~$54) so I thought why not get a newer Pentax DSLR (K50 or K500) with the Pentax 35mm DA L F/2.4 lens for about the same price or lower. I think comparing the K50 and K500 the K50 is a better deal breaker at Adorama.

Reading about the current Pentax cameras I really like a few things I consider important:
1) Image stabilization (possible with all lenses)
2) AF fine adjustment (my Canon 50D has it and has saved me from front/back focusing lenses)
3) Good ISO performance (my Canons are the older models with higher noise)

The Pentax will be a people camera - shoot pictures and capture the moment. Any thoughts of this idea to own a different brand or keep going with Canon?


04-16-2014, 12:42 PM   #2
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Welcome aboard

I'm extremely new to photography, so while I wouldn't be qualified to breakdown the merits of trying a new brand, I will say that after warming up on my buddy's K10D (enjoyed shooting with it) -- I am loving my K-50 even more. I see you're based in the US. Here's a link posted by another member, that has a nice deal for a K-50, from Costco.
04-16-2014, 12:55 PM   #3
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2-Camera System?

Hello ejhc11, Welcome to the Forum!
First off, I wouldn't be comfortable shooting with two different systems (brands, not formats) because I'm heavily invested in K-mount and am happy with Pentax.
But if another brand had a couple of specific advantages that I couldn't get otherwise (and needed), maybe I'd be looking, as you are.
Based on that, I agree that the K-50 and DA 35mm f/2.4AL is a great combo. Although the DA35 isn't WR, the K-50 is. And I'd almost bet that sometime down the road you'll want a kit zoom (All WR) or specialty lens that completes the WR advantage.
With the K-500, not a WR body, you don't have that option.
You might look here; for some ideas on what this lens can do, it's one of the best bargains going. As you say, for the price of one IS Canon lens, you'll have a WR body, sharp prime and great high-ISO performance.
Good Luck!
04-16-2014, 01:42 PM   #4
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Hey esrandall and rbefly/Ron,

Thanks for the tidbits of info. I'm glad that DA35 f2.4 is a great lens - those posts of pics look pretty amazing! There was another Pentax 35mm not mentioned a lot - the SMC P-FA f2, how does everyone like that lens? The f2 aperture is enticing.

Another Pentax I saw was the K5II and I like the higher autofocus sensitivity, I forgot to mention I do shoot in manual mode and RAW on the Canons. I'm not any expert either but do I like the control.

Thanks all - Eric

04-16-2014, 02:10 PM   #5

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In general, I'm not sure I'd go to a second system like this. Perhaps selling your 50D and getting a 70D would be a better investment, for example. (In fact, IMO you should probably sell both the 50D and XS). You'll still need the 35/2 IS lens, however.

But evaluated alone, the 35/2.4 with any current Pentax camera is a good setup. The in-body SR works well, and the 35/2.4 has good IQ wide-open. AF performance has traditionally been a weak spot for Pentax; however, it's pretty good now with any of the current bodies or the K-5 II or IIs. And while the AF is still catching up with the competition for action performance (although I still use it for that - successfully) the low-light AF ability sometimes exceeds other brands. Ironically, the best AF performance is usually achieved with the latest bodies and (older) screw-drive lens designs, including out of production models. Combined with the in-body SR, this can be an advantage, depending on how you look at it. The DA35/2.4 AF is a bit noisy, but fast, and it's light.

The K-3 will give you the best AF performance, but the K-5 IIS (or II) and the K-50 are probably the sweet spot here. There's nothing wrong with the K-500 either, except it lacks and AF-point indicator in the viewfinder (and I seldom use center-point AF) so you'll have to check the screen on the back of the camera to see where it's set.

Don't bother with the FA35/2 - I owned 2 and sold them. They're not bad, they're just no better than the DA35/2.4, which I bought for my daughter. IQ is too degraded wider than f/2.4, and they're identical optical designs, so it's not worth paying nearly twice the price. Plus with the DA35/2.4 you can shoot wide-open and get nice, rounded bokeh with sharpness.

So, send me a PM - let me know if you're in the northern or southern part of the county. I may be able to let you get hands-on with something, since they're hard to find in stores.
04-16-2014, 02:17 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ejhc11 Quote
Hey esrandall and rbefly/Ron,

Thanks for the tidbits of info. I'm glad that DA35 f2.4 is a great lens - those posts of pics look pretty amazing! There was another Pentax 35mm not mentioned a lot - the SMC P-FA f2, how does everyone like that lens? The f2 aperture is enticing...
I have that one. It was discontinued a while ago, but sometimes available new. Because it's not in production, prices are all over. It's hard to say what is fair, maybe $350-400 or so. Pentax includes the hood on it, a reversible bayonet mount with a sliding port so you can adjust a polarizer.

The optical design looks identical to the DA 35mm f2.4. For some reason the minimum focus difference is slightly shorter. Build is different, maybe less plastic inside but nothing special. Pentax has improved the coatings somewhat since this series, so the DA coatings are better. The FA lens has a metal mount.

It's one of my favorite primes. When I import a card of photos, contrast and colors from this lens stand out even in small thumbnail shots. I have heard some complaints that its bokeh is a little harsh. I get some purple fringing in high contrast spots wide open, infrequently. But those issues are never enough to throw a shot away. I use manual focus a lot, and the ring is pretty good for an AF lens. The contrast really makes MF easy.
04-16-2014, 02:35 PM   #7
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Hey, welcome!
You listed some good things. Pentax is usually known for being best bang for buck and its ability to use legacy lenses all the way from the 70s (even older with a simple m42 adapter). They might not have AF, but they will probably allow catch in focus (focus trapping), which gives you pseudo-AF. The other good thing about Pentax is the overall ergonomics. The buttons are well placed and the green button is a nice addition. And it seems that lately Pentax is moving into a WR direction, which is also great. If you have a WR camera, I would recommend you also buy a WR lens so you can shoot in poor weather without worries. Something like the DA 18-135mm or DA 18-55mm WR. Often you can find a great bundle price.
04-16-2014, 02:56 PM   #8
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Ok, thanks DSims/Just1MoreDave on the other 35mm lens info. DSims - the 70D is a very logical option too. More choices and more money to spend.... Yes, Na Horuk I did notice bang for the buck in features on the Pentax... It was one of those things that pulled me towards Pentax..


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