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05-23-2015, 11:17 AM   #1
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Putting together a kit

So few months ago I had no idea how to make a DSLR work. My wife wanted a suitable camera and lens for our 5th anniversary in Ireland. So I did some research and Pentax won out by sheer logic. I came here looking for well informed advice on a suitable lens. I left with a K-50 and the 18-135 was clearly a favorite so that was added to the list.

Thats the back story. Now to present day. 1 camera isnt going to be enough. Getting harder and harder to "share" the camera with the wife as we learn how to make full use of it. Not only that but she told her friends how much fun we were having and one thing lead to another, in 5 weeks we will be at a wedding taking shots. They are well aware we are NOT pros by any stretch. was more of an offer to have fun than to "work".
After learning my way around the K-50 and 18-135mm some short comings have been apparant. Its not going to cut it in doors. As luck would have it it is going to be on a beach during the day, I hear sunburns are in. After will be indoors and I am a fair bit worried its just not going to be able to handle it. So I was hoping this forum could once again rescue me from my wife's visions and now from myself as I have become addicted to photography.
So another K-50 is on the list, that I know for sure, great cam and great price, exactly what I was and still am after. Lenses for indoors. I have researched and read and everyone suggests some really expensive solutions. Budget is an issue. Lets just nix the 77mm ltd. out of the gate. I can't afford a $700 lens. I am a very bang for buck sort so is there anything that fits the bill that won't set me back so much? Pro results would be awesome but realistically I am not a pro and don't expect pro results and thats not considering the lens, just me.
Anyway, budget friendly lens or lenses for dim lighting, any flash recommendations would also be great.This will almost be like putting together 2 kits but going to try to off set the lenses for each to try to keep the budget in check.
So again, really appreciate allowing me to use your brains, this site has been a huge help. I will be ordering the body from Adorama and bundling the lens if it helps save a few bucks. Of course used is not out of the question.

05-23-2015, 11:38 AM - 1 Like   #2
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50mm 1.8 and 35mm 2.4 are awesome and cheap. Get them and learn to zoom with your feet. You'll see why they're called plastic fantastic.

If you could spring for another body I'd suggest aiming a little higher and get a K-3 or even one of the K-5 cameras. Sure you might say you're not pro (yet) but the minute you start handling pro events you'll need pro features.

Have fun and good luck!
05-23-2015, 11:45 AM   #3
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You can consider the ...
  • DA 35/f2.4 - A very good lens that can be had for about $111 on sale and ~$200 when not.
  • DA 70/f2.4 - Not the 77 but it does nearly everything nearly as well. ~$400
  • DA 50/f1.8 - Good performance for the price ~$150
You can also find these for less here on the Marketplace. Also on evilbay.

05-23-2015, 02:58 PM   #4
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Or the fa 50 1.4 at $200.

05-23-2015, 03:24 PM   #5
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Since you will have two bodies, two primes could work. They would also complement your 18-135 in future. I have had both of the plastic fantastics (DA 35 f2.4 and DA 50 f1.8) and heartily recommend both. There is one of each for sale in the PF marketplace at present.

Only thing I'd say is that for group shots and wide shots inside, 35mm might not be wide enough. You might want to consider a DA 21, even though they are a bit pricey. Couple it with a DA 50 or a DA 70.

If the 21 is too expensive, consider one of the f2.8 zooms for the wedding. Maybe one of these:
Tamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database
They are not very expensive. You could sell it on afterwards if you don't think you would have a continuing need for it.
05-23-2015, 11:08 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Flash
For convenience, I would stay away from full manual only flashes like the Yongnuo and others; you don't want to do 'calculations' with aperture, guide numbers etc for every shot. They are however, in general, the cheapest option.
Get a flash with tilt and swivel. There is no absolute need for pTTL if the flash has an auto-thyristor mode.

pTTL models
Pentax AF540FGZ, AF540FGZ/II or AF360FGZ/II
Sigma 610 Super or 610 ST; the Super will be the preferred one
One of the Metz models

From the named ones above, the older Pentax AF540FGZ is most flexible one

auto-thyristor models
Auto-thyristor Flashes | B&H Photo Video
I don't have any of the listed ones, the Vivitar 385HV sounds good but I don't know about build quality
If second hand is an option, look for a Metz 45CT-1 (auto-thyristor) or Metz 45CT-4 (auto-thyristor and full manual with power settings); still using my CT-1 at occasion. There are plenty others, but I'm not familiar with them.

Further add a diffuser to the list of 'what you need' to soften the light.

PS with older flashes, make sure that you buy ones with safe trigger voltages.

Last edited by sterretje; 05-24-2015 at 01:33 AM.
05-24-2015, 01:28 AM   #7
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Buying second-hand you could also use faster A series lenses and manual focus. Inexpensive enough to eventually have several different focal lengths. As stated above though, the f/2.8 zooms can do the job nicely for a higher price.
05-24-2015, 11:15 AM   #8
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Thanks, you guys are great.
So with body at Adorama I can get the:
DA 35/f2.4 for $111.95
DA 50/f1.8 for $51.95
These prices are far lower then others as far as I see. I set my 18-135mm to those ranges and it felt pretty comfortable, though have to admit the 35mm is a fair bit closer then I am use to for a headshot. Don't think I'll be doing many headshots though, mostly waist up or ankle up.
Was very tempted to jump on the 70mm. Fair chunk of change right now on top of a 2nd body and 2 new lenses. Plus the fact I have budgets $100-150 for a good flash. If I can get a good flash and learn to make it work well I should be able to get the 18-135 to work well.

Been researching flashes and I am fairly sure I want P-TTL. Seems it makes it easier for the basic use of a flash. I know it doesnt solve the creative uses but appears to help ease the learning curve. The body comes with a free flash but it looks like its nothing more then the onboard flash with more power. Probably more trouble than its worth. It is free so might be useful outside to kill some shadows on low power.


Last edited by SininStyle; 05-24-2015 at 05:01 PM.
05-24-2015, 11:17 AM   #9
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I can recommend the pentax F 28mm f 2.8 af , great reviews on here.
SMC Pentax-F 28mm F2.8 Reviews - F Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

and the pentax F 50mm f1.7 af
SMC Pentax-F 50mm F1.7 Reviews - F Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

both these can be found for around $150 each and are excellent value for money.
05-24-2015, 04:46 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by SininStyle Quote
If I can get a good flash and learn to make it work well I should be able to get the 18-135 to work well.
As I was reading through this thread, I was thinking pretty much what you posted. Maybe get a flash for use with the 18-135...and buy a fast prime to use with your second body to shoot available light.
05-24-2015, 05:05 PM   #11
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Any suggestions? Doesnt need to be high end or insanely powerful. Looking at P-TTL I am pretty sure, think I am on the right track anyway.
Was just looking at the Sigma EF-610 DG ST . Looks like its more powerful for less money with all the basic features needed. Havent gotten very deep though. Was also looking into Metz but they seem expensive for the offerings, but again ive just started in on this.
05-24-2015, 07:47 PM   #12
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Researching auto-thyristor compared to P-TTL and...which is better? auto-thyristor is newer I guess, but is it better?
05-25-2015, 08:48 AM   #13
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Auto-thyristor is older. pTTL results can be a bit inconsistent (fix up in PP) and there is a delay (due to the pre-flash and related calculations by the camera); it's why a number of Pentax users prefer auto-thyristor.

pTTL is more convenient when you're using a zoom-lens in combination with a flash that has a zoom-head; you don't have to worry about zoom-head position on the flash matching the focal length of the zoom lens.

If the 610ST fits in the budget, go for it (better a flash than no flash at all). You will not get much more power for that price. Difference with the the 610Super is that the 610ST does not support HSS and (to my knowledge) can't be used as a controller in a multi-flash setup.
05-25-2015, 09:11 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
Auto-thyristor is older. pTTL results can be a bit inconsistent (fix up in PP) and there is a delay (due to the pre-flash and related calculations by the camera); it's why a number of Pentax users prefer auto-thyristor.

pTTL is more convenient when you're using a zoom-lens in combination with a flash that has a zoom-head; you don't have to worry about zoom-head position on the flash matching the focal length of the zoom lens.

If the 610ST fits in the budget, go for it (better a flash than no flash at all). You will not get much more power for that price. Difference with the the 610Super is that the 610ST does not support HSS and (to my knowledge) can't be used as a controller in a multi-flash setup.
ok so there really isnt anyway around manual adjustments. thought 1 of these options made that easier but i guess its the same difference. Either setting by ISO or by focal length. was hoping for something faster for indoors because things tend to happen pretty quick at a wedding. didnt want to stop and guess what ill need for a shot that has passed by the time i work the guide.
05-25-2015, 09:34 AM   #15
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If you're using pttl, changing aperture , shutter speed or iso will have little or no difference to the shot. HSS or manual if you want control. Or just stick to pttl and pp the shots after.
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