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11-04-2014, 03:35 PM   #1
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Need help deciding whether to purchase a Pentax K-50

Hi folks,

I'm new to this Forum and would appreciate your assistance with a decision regarding a Pentax camera and lenses - I'm sure that my dilemma is not uncommon and has probably been encountered by many other members due to changing technology. Here's my situation.

I own a Pentax SF-1 film camera that I purchased new from B&H Photo on November 2, 1988. I also purchased a SMC Pentax - F zoom 28-80 3.5-4.5 lens, a SMC Pentax - F zoom 70-210 1.4 - 5.6 lens, and a Pentax AF 400 FTZ flash. I invested about $1,000 for everything.

I am by no means a professional photographer - I enjoy pottering around with a camera when I have the time and inclination and when I was using the SF-1 before the days of digital, I liked it very much - most of my photos came out quite nicely!

I also purchased a Pentax Optio 4i pocket camera in 2004 and have been using it since then - I like the compactness of the camera and the great quality of most of the pictures.

Fast-forward to 2014. My SF-1 and lenses are in like-new condition. They are stored in a camera bag and I have the original boxes for the camera and lenses. For about the past year now, I have been deliberating whether to sell what I have and get a Nikon or Canon camera, or try another Pentax. Pentax seems to be quite expensive compared to other brands, although I've noticed in recent months that the prices of some models may be dropping??? I looked on eBay today and was shocked to see that identical lenses to what I have are being sold for around $20-35 each, the SF-1 camera body for the same amount or even less (I can understand this, because film cameras are pretty much no longer in use) and that my expensive flash is not even compatible with the new digital Pentax cameras - mine is TTL and I now need P-TTL (not sure what this means). So my decision is:

1. Do I sell my camera and lenses for as much as I can get for it - maybe a hundred bucks for everything - and buy a nice medium grade Canon or Nikon point and shoot camera that will be easier to carry around? I'm going to be 65 soon, so don't necessarily need the extra weight of a camera around my neck when I'm walking, hiking, touring etc. but on the other hand, I do like to have the flexibility of a wide angle or telephoto lens to compose scenic shots or,

2. Sell or donate the SF-1 body and the flash, keep the two lenses and buy a new Pentax K-50 with a 18-50 lens for about $500? In this way, I still have the use of my two lenses. But for about $600 total I can get a K-50 with a 18-55 lens plus a 50-200 lens and a flash. In that case, why even keep my two older lenses?

I'm stuck and not entirely sure what to do here. I would certainly appreciate some input from the experts on this forum. I would like to stay loyal to the Pentax brand, but only if it makes sense financially and otherwise to do so!

In conclusion, I get that when digital cameras came in, the older film cameras in large part became obsolete, except for professionals and enthusiasts who still use it today and that my dilemma is the direct result of the evolution of technology. In addition, I'm fortunate that my old Pentax lenses fit the new Pentax digital cameras - people who own other brands are not so fortunate!

Thank you very much!

Arnold

11-04-2014, 04:19 PM   #2
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If it were me, I would keep the SF-1 for the time being and buy the K-50 either as a one or two lens kit. At its current price point, it is the best value in the current dSLR market. As you noted, the SF-1 has very little value used, but you might still want to shoot some film on occassion. The situation with the lenses is a little more complex. Both may be useful focal lengths on the K-50 and the 70-210 is well-regarded may be a better lens than the DA 55-200. What the old lenses lack is weather resistance. OTOH, both are FF compatible and may have higher value if/when Pentax offers a FF camera. I would be inclined to buy the K-50 as a two lens kit, keep the SF-1 and the 28-80 together, evaluate the 70-200 against the 55-200 and keep the one you like best!

Your flash does not support P-TTL mode and will be more limited in functionality on the K-50 than on the SF-1. I believe you would be limited to manual flash only. Perhaps you might keep it with the SF-1?


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 11-04-2014 at 04:29 PM.
11-04-2014, 04:36 PM   #3
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Another option if size / weight is an issue is to take a look at the Pentax Q system. Not much bigger than a P&S camera but with interchangeable lenses. Also, your old lenses will fit (with an adapter and in manual mode) so if you want to have a play at that you can.

The Q-10 model can be had quite cheaply with the kit lens, often around $200. The newer models are more but still very reasonable.

The 70-210 is still a well respected lens despite it's age. If you decide to go with a DSLR I would definitely keep it, though I would get an 18-55 as the kit lens so you can have a wide-angle. As Steve noted the k-50 is currently the best value out there.

Also, you noted that Canon and Nikon have lower prices. They do sell some lower end models that are cheaper, but Pentax has stuck with "mid-range" features on their bodies so they do not have the cheaper promotional models you see in the ads. I know, my dad refused to listen to my advice and ended up with a cheap Canon he got as a 'deal'. When he asked me to explain it to him I was surprised at how many features I take for granted on Pentax were missing on his Canon.
11-04-2014, 04:46 PM   #4
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With the K-50 you will gain image stabilization with those legacy lenses which is a really nice thing about Pentax cameras. (unlike Canon and Nikon)
I think you should try a K-50 kit, maybe just the single lens kit to keep your costs down. Then you will have the body, the modern kit lens which is pretty compact and light, and your legacy lenses to see how they work on the now body for you.
Like others have said the flash will work in manual mode and if you ever want to get into off-camera flash it would work with wireless triggers like the ones from Cactus.

All that being said, if you want to go smaller you may want to consider a Q or some of the mirrorless options from Olympus, Sony, and the ones that tempt me: Fujifilm.

Cashing in you old gear won't generate much cash so that $100 (if you are lucky) may not need to be a big factor in the decision.

11-04-2014, 05:00 PM   #5
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I think I would go for a micro four thirds in your case.

You can get a refurbished E-Pm2 which has a relatively large sensor, good image quality, simple operation and a very light weight: for $319. You also get two lenses covering 28-84mm and 80-300mm in price.

E-PM2 Black with M.14-42mm & M.40-150mm R Lenses (Reconditioned) - Outlet | Olympus
11-04-2014, 05:04 PM   #6
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What Steve said [nodding head].

Welcome to the forum!

I love the SF-1. It has a great meter and real TTL, among other features. You probably couldn't trade it for lunch money these days.
The lenses are good. I use them with my K-50. They aren't weather-resistant, but if you don't need that, you can keep them and use them with both cameras.
There are advantages in obtaining new DA kit lenses with the purchase of a new K-50. Weather resistance to match the camera, plus an improved look and feel that the F lenses don't have. The DA lenses actually have a focus ring you can grab with your hand and turn smoothly, if you really wanted to focus manually.
However, the new DA lenses won't take the place of your older F lenses on your SF-1. They would work, but your pictures will look like you are looking out of a port-hole.
Another option is to get a DA 18-135 zoom. It is a great all-purpose zoom lens that seems just about perfect on the K-50.

Most importantly, shop around and actually try out the cameras. You might find a point & shoot that works for you or fall in love with a Nikon D3200. I bought and sold a few expensive cameras before I got a K-50 and settled back into being a Pentax guy.
11-04-2014, 05:04 PM   #7
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Arnold,

The SF-1 was a very good camera in its day, but unfortunately has not retained a high value dollar-wise. You may find several reviews on the Pentax Forums camera review section, here:

Pentax SFX/SF1 - Pentax Autofocus Film SLRs - Pentax Camera Reviews and Specifications

I agree with the suggestion that a K-50 plus a single kit lens (18-55 mm) would be an attractive kit, and would produce very good pictures. Your F 70-210 lens is still perfectly usable, and rated fairly highly even today. For reviews:

SMC Pentax-F 70-210mm F4-5.6 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

You may be aware that there are other types of camera systems, such a micro four-thirds, that offer excellent image quality but with smaller gear. The compact Pentax Q system is another flexible system that offers several lens options, but with slightly lower image quality compared to the Pentax 'APS-C' format (i.e., K-50). Depending on your desire for lighter gear, these systems could be appropriate. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages.

Good luck with your decision. By the way, another reason to go with Pentax is the excellent information and knowledge that is shared right here on Pentax Forums!

- Craig

Last edited by c.a.m; 11-04-2014 at 05:11 PM.
11-04-2014, 05:12 PM   #8
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My advice - keep the lenses. The longer zoom should work even better compared to film camera (higher ISO and shake reduction will serve you very well!)

11-05-2014, 04:47 AM   #9
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Here's a slightly different idea... how about a high end compact? I just picked up a Fuji X30 last week and sold off a bunch of lenses. I'm still in the honeymoon phase, but it's a beautiful camera. There's something to be said about having something small, light, and versatile... there are compromises of course, so it depends on you...

Some days, I understand the idea of brand loyalty, some days I don't. I still have a Pentax K-01 and didn't sell it yet. Mostly for sentimental reasons.

I suppose if you're feeling sentimental about your camera gear (you've already invested money in it as well), and you're happy with it (image quality, size and weight) I'd keep it and buy a Pentax body. If you want a more compact kit and have the funds, I'd consider high end compacts like the Fuji X30. Sell your current stuff if you can part ways with it, or if it's not worth much, donate it to a family member interested in photography.

For me, I feel like I sacrificed the weight of 2-3 prime lenses and shallow depth of field for something smaller to carry with me. I also valued Fuji's color renditions, which means less tinkering around with pictures.

I hope that helps!
11-11-2014, 12:17 PM   #10
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Original Poster
Hello folks,


Thank you very much to everyone who offered their input about what I should do with my SF1, my two lenses and flash. I certainly do have a lot to chew on!


On the one hand, I feel a little inclined to go ahead and purchase a Pentax K50, as this will be my first SLR since 1988 and I have been wanting an SLR for a while. I will be spending an additional $500 approx., making my total investment around $1500 for a camera and lenses, but would still need a new flash. I will then have a fairly good SLR camera system, but I would need to "lug" it around wherever I go to take my pictures.


On the other hand, I am thinking about cutting my losses, selling my gear for whatever I can get for it, be it $50 or $100, and going for a medium to high end compact, along the lines suggested by quimming - something that's easy to carry around, light, and takes amazing photos, especially indoors. The Fuji X30 looks like a nice camera and is in my general price range. I am sure there are others as well such as a Sony and even a Canon G16.


One of my friends commented the other day: "After you've taken photos with your camera, what are you going to do with them? Are you going to blow them up and turn them into prints, or are you going to simply download and store them on your computer like most of us do? How often are you going to look at them on your computer? Who else besides you, is going to look at them?" That got me thinking. I have no intention of printing any of my photos, nor am I planning to sell them - I'm not that good of a photographer! My friend is right - my photos are just going to land up being stored on my computer together with the 1000's of other photos I have taken over the years, and that I look at very rarely.


So, given this scenario, do I really need a heavy camera bag or SLR camera strung around my neck with lenses, flash etc. or even an SLR with a 28-135 lens when I go anywhere? A K50 with a 28-135 will cost more than $500 as the lens is expensive. It was my wife's birthday this past Sunday. Three of us went to a restaurant for lunch and I tool along a compact Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH8 pocket camera that I used to take some photos when they came to sing happy birthday and she was blowing out the candle. Our daughter took some photos of the happy couple sitting in the dining booth- it was easy - simply point and shoot. The pictures turned out ok - if I would have had a better compact camera, they may have come out better. After the meal, we took a nice walk and I was so pleased that I wasn't having to carry a heavy camera around my neck or on my shoulder.


And this is an example of the way I would use a camera. When we travel, I like to take shots of scenery, old buildings, interesting sights. Do I really need an expensive DSLR for this, or would a good compact camera produce very acceptable shots?


Am I missing something here, or am I on point?


Thank you again for any concluding comments that anyone may have.




11-11-2014, 12:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold111 Quote
Thank you again for any concluding comments that anyone may have.
I think you are perfect for a Pentax Q. Pocket-able, good image quality and you can play with lenses if you want. Well within your price range.
11-11-2014, 12:44 PM   #12
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If you are concerned about weight, you probably shouldn't be looking at a DSLR. You sound like the perfect candidate for a Q, if you're looking for interchangeable lenses. I bought a SF-1 and F 70-210 for 35 dollars. I like the 70-210 but I have better lenses. The issue with older lenses is they tend to be prone to Chromatic Aberrations and Purple fringing.

A couple F-70-210 images.






An F-70-210 slide show.. <click here>
11-11-2014, 03:52 PM   #13
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It depends on what your expectations are.

Better quality point and shoot are really nice, but they still have one disadvantage which i will never overcome - very big depth of field. you cant really isolate object no matter how wide open your aperture is. the background is blurred, but its not really the kind of bokeh, i like.
try it out if you happy with it, than its more than enough for you.
donīt let fool you of the "fast" lenses, they offer. the canonīs g7x with f2.8 performs very similar to sonyīs rx100 f4.7 in the tele range in the means of isolation.
Fuji x-30 very good, and in my opinion it has the best view finder, between all point and shoot.
For architecture, landscapes and macro, point and shoots are best choice - small handy, and very good sharpness.

there is no way, pentax is more expensive than other brands. the problem is pentax are one or two steps ebove their class. so, you should compare k-50 with cameras like nikon 5200, and canon 700D, and not with canikon lovest class, which are not even close in terms of build and image quality.


the only alternative to pentax DSLR, for myself, i would consider a micro four third, like olympus om-d e-m10. it has big enough sensor, to have a nice bokeh, and its small enough to keep the lenses small(and mostly you are getting more zoom). the camera is smaller than film slr, and well build. it was developed to postprocess your pictures in the camera, and has some nice features especially for night photography.
there are two kits, one with a pancake 28-84 which is extremly small, another with 28-300, and its still small, compared to APS-C.
although MFT lenses of any brand can be used on the MFT mount.
it is a bit overprised, but a camera with a good lense and a digital viewfinder lies in that prize range.

There are although other system cameras in cheaper price range although in APS-C size available.

hope, i could help you.)
11-12-2014, 06:34 AM   #14
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A DSLR is about the lenses - which are for specific jobs. If you're not going to look for long macro, or long telephoto maybe you don't need the DSLR. There are major advantages with a true DSLR, the viewfinder and the shutter allow for very quick action while some compacts can have lag and often rely on the LCD screen which can be troublesome in the bright sun.

The 4/3 systems are nice, I've been impressed. I do like my Q system, it can go in a jacket pocket. While it takes more effort to photograph with it than my K5 the images rarely disappoint. With the -01 lens it's a nearly a rangefinder. For sure a small camera has its own advantages over a DSLR, which cannot be pocketed or easily hidden.
11-12-2014, 09:21 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold111 Quote
Hi folks,

I'm new to this Forum and would appreciate your assistance with a decision regarding a Pentax camera and lenses - I'm sure that my dilemma is not uncommon and has probably been encountered by many other members due to changing technology. Here's my situation.

I own a Pentax SF-1 film camera that I purchased new from B&H Photo on November 2, 1988. I also purchased a SMC Pentax - F zoom 28-80 3.5-4.5 lens, a SMC Pentax - F zoom 70-210 1.4 - 5.6 lens, and a Pentax AF 400 FTZ flash. I invested about $1,000 for everything.

I am by no means a professional photographer - I enjoy pottering around with a camera when I have the time and inclination and when I was using the SF-1 before the days of digital, I liked it very much - most of my photos came out quite nicely!

I also purchased a Pentax Optio 4i pocket camera in 2004 and have been using it since then - I like the compactness of the camera and the great quality of most of the pictures.

Fast-forward to 2014. My SF-1 and lenses are in like-new condition. They are stored in a camera bag and I have the original boxes for the camera and lenses. For about the past year now, I have been deliberating whether to sell what I have and get a Nikon or Canon camera, or try another Pentax. Pentax seems to be quite expensive compared to other brands, although I've noticed in recent months that the prices of some models may be dropping??? I looked on eBay today and was shocked to see that identical lenses to what I have are being sold for around $20-35 each, the SF-1 camera body for the same amount or even less (I can understand this, because film cameras are pretty much no longer in use) and that my expensive flash is not even compatible with the new digital Pentax cameras - mine is TTL and I now need P-TTL (not sure what this means). So my decision is:

1. Do I sell my camera and lenses for as much as I can get for it - maybe a hundred bucks for everything - and buy a nice medium grade Canon or Nikon point and shoot camera that will be easier to carry around? I'm going to be 65 soon, so don't necessarily need the extra weight of a camera around my neck when I'm walking, hiking, touring etc. but on the other hand, I do like to have the flexibility of a wide angle or telephoto lens to compose scenic shots or,

2. Sell or donate the SF-1 body and the flash, keep the two lenses and buy a new Pentax K-50 with a 18-50 lens for about $500? In this way, I still have the use of my two lenses. But for about $600 total I can get a K-50 with a 18-55 lens plus a 50-200 lens and a flash. In that case, why even keep my two older lenses?

I'm stuck and not entirely sure what to do here. I would certainly appreciate some input from the experts on this forum. I would like to stay loyal to the Pentax brand, but only if it makes sense financially and otherwise to do so!

In conclusion, I get that when digital cameras came in, the older film cameras in large part became obsolete, except for professionals and enthusiasts who still use it today and that my dilemma is the direct result of the evolution of technology. In addition, I'm fortunate that my old Pentax lenses fit the new Pentax digital cameras - people who own other brands are not so fortunate!

Thank you very much!

Arnold
Personally, I would keep the SF-1 and lenses (I did). There may come a time when you want to do something with film. And, if Pentax ever comes out with a full frame dslr, the lenses for the SF-1 will work for it.
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