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11-03-2015, 07:31 AM   #1
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Camera Buying Help!

So here's the deal:


I first got into photography with my Olympus TG-2. I take lots of sea kayaking and backpacking trips and wanted something to document my adventures. Somewhere along the way I decided to upgrade to a Pentax K-50. I wanted picture quality and weather sealing in a price-sensitive package and I found it. I would use the TG-2 when conditions demanded it and took the K-50 out when I got to land.


Recently I've been getting more into photography and want to up my game and learn more. I sold the TG-2 since it's image quality wasn't up to par and picked up a Pentax Q7 for fun. I got the 01 prime, 02 standard zoom, 03 fisheye and 06 telephoto lenses to play around with. However, I now have 2 dilemmas I'd like your input on:


  1. While I like the Q7, its not a tough or weather sealed camera. Should I "upgrade" to the Olympus TG-4, which shoots in raw and potentially sell the Q7? My main question here is would I see a significantly diminishing picture quality in the TG-4 over the Q7? Anyone with actual experience with the two please input. Anyone speculating please also input!
  2. As I'm getting more and more into photography with my K-50, I'm potentially thinking about upgrading to a K-3 or K-3II in order to significantly get more into this as a hobby. I currently own the 18-135 WR and 55-300 WR and would like to pick up the reasonably priced 35mm prime and the 50mm macro prime. I know photography is MAINLY the person behind the camera, but with a camera upgrade would I see a benefit?
Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Again, I'm still new and learning but want to make the best choices to optimize my camera kit.


Thanks!


www.flickr.com/photos/stevendupre

11-03-2015, 10:23 AM   #2
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You could get a K-3 or K-3II, I don't have either but I think you'll notice a difference.
The DFA 100mm f2.8 Macro WR is quite cheap right now.
It is WR (and full-frame ready...) and from what I hear has great IQ. Not 50mm though.
Also a 50mm macro and another 100mm macro, both DFA and f/2.8 but not WR.
I don't think any of the 35mm are WR if you want that.

As for the TG-4 and Q7 dilema I have no idea. There is also the Ricoh WG40 / WG40w.
11-03-2015, 10:50 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by steve28134 Quote
I know photography is MAINLY the person behind the camera, but with a camera upgrade would I see a benefit?
The difference between the k-50 and the k-3 is noticeable but not huge. The k-50 is already a very good camera with a well respected sensor. The k-3 moves up to 24mp but the image quality by itself is not a lot different. The k-3 is the flagship camera and as such has more features and a better build to it, but at most print sizes I doubt you would notice much difference, depending of course on your shooting style. You might get more bang for your buck with some better glass. But better glass comes with a price and a weight penalty unless you go to primes.

Cannot help with the TG-4 thing, but doesn't Nikon have a waterproof version on the Nikon 1? AW1 maybe?
11-03-2015, 11:04 AM   #4
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The Pentax K-S2 is a contender I think. It is lighter than the K3, rates very well, and has a moveable LCD screen. It is WR. With a WR lens you would have a kayak ready kit, but please note that the camera/lens combination is only Weather Resistant, not waterproof.

11-03-2015, 11:10 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
but doesn't Nikon have a waterproof version on the Nikon 1? AW1 maybe?
Yes they do: Nikon 1 AW1 | Waterproof, Shockproof, Freezeproof Advanced Camera with Interchangeable Lenses

Only two AW lenses though. You can buy the kit with two lenses for $900.
11-03-2015, 11:12 AM   #6
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Well, I haven't owned either the Q7 or the TG-4, but from a quick look at the specs, it looks like your Q7 will likely have the better IQ of the two. It has a larger sensor: 1/1.7" vs.1/2.3", and therefore larger pixels. According to Snapsort.com, the TG-4 only resolves about 9.7 MP (out of the manufacturers claimed 15.9MP) , while the Q7 resolves all 12MP

Specifications - Olympus Tough TG-4 vs Pentax Q7

Of course you can't really compare a compact "tough" camera to a mirrorless ILC. You can always get a "better" lens if you need better performance from your ILC, whereas with the compact, you're stuck with what you've got.
11-03-2015, 11:17 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by steve28134 Quote
  1. While I like the Q7, its not a tough or weather sealed camera. Should I "upgrade" to the Olympus TG-4, which shoots in raw and potentially sell the Q7? My main question here is would I see a significantly diminishing picture quality in the TG-4 over the Q7? Anyone with actual experience with the two please input. Anyone speculating please also input!
Can't tell for IQ, but they certainly are two totally different beasts! There are differences between them that are much more significative than IQ. Obviously, your Q7 and lenses are more versatile than the TG-4. But the TG-4 is waterproof, if this is important for you... The handling is totally different, P&S like for the TG-4 and DSLR like for the Q7. No good or wrong for both on this point, it really depends of what you want...

For me, the question basically is if you absolutely need waterproofing or not. If yes, the TG-4 is what you need. If not, you're better staying with your Q7 kit for its versality.
11-03-2015, 11:18 AM   #8
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Thanks guys, keep them coming!

I've looked into the Nikon version, but the waterproof-ness of the Nikon vs. the TG-4 is its major downfall. I considered this heavily and decided against the Nikon as the number of complaints of leaks was pretty high.

I may just stick with the K-50, getting better glass and using it as my go-to primary kayaking camera with my 18-135 WR lens. I hear glass, not the camera, tends to make more of a difference.

Keep the input coming though. I haven't decided fully. I could even just still get the TG-4 and add it to the collection since scuba-diving is in my future (maybe not near, but somewhere in it!).

11-03-2015, 11:18 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
Only two AW lenses though. You can buy the kit with two lenses for $900.
Well, there's almost always a better option than buying straight from the manufacturers website...

Nikon 1 AW1 WP Dig Camera with AW 11 27 5mm F 3 5 56 Lens White Refurb by Nikon | eBay

That's $430 for the camera and kit lens, and the 10mm is another $185 = $615

Last edited by 12345; 11-03-2015 at 11:19 AM. Reason: correct typo
11-03-2015, 11:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by 12345 Quote
Well, there's almost always a better option than buying straight from the manufacturers website...

Nikon 1 AW1 WP Dig Camera with AW 11 27 5mm F 3 5 56 Lens White Refurb by Nikon | eBay

That's $430 for the camera and kit lens, and the 10mm is another $185 = $615
IT was $869 from BH.
11-03-2015, 11:26 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
IT was $869 from BH.
I generally make it a point to buy reputable used anyhow.
11-03-2015, 11:56 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by steve28134 Quote
I generally make it a point to buy reputable used anyhow.
Me too. That ebay link for the camera/lens bundle goes to Adorama Camera, one of the best camera dealers in the world!

---------- Post added Nov 3rd, 2015 at 13:59 ----------

And it's manufacturer refurbished, not "merely" used.
11-25-2015, 03:21 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by steve28134 Quote
As I'm getting more and more into photography with my K-50, I'm potentially thinking about upgrading to a K-3 or K-3II in order to significantly get more into this as a hobby. I currently own the 18-135 WR and 55-300 WR and would like to pick up the reasonably priced 35mm prime and the 50mm macro prime. I know photography is MAINLY the person behind the camera, but with a camera upgrade would I see a benefit?
QuoteOriginally posted by steve28134 Quote
I may just stick with the K-50, getting better glass and using it as my go-to primary kayaking camera with my 18-135 WR lens. I hear glass, not the camera, tends to make more of a difference.
I've just gone from K-30 (basically the same camera as the K-50) to K-3. The most noticeable things, on first impression, are to do with build and features rather than image quality. AF performance is much better, and the shutter is quiet, and there are many small improvements (e.g. in-camera test for dust on the sensor). For me the 24mp sensor is a big advantage for shooting birds and other wildlife, where cropping is the norm, but of course it comes at the price of more noise at high ISOs (although removable in PP).

If longer telephoto is not your area of interest, I agree that it would be better to spend the money on lenses, such as the plastic fantastics you mentioned or the DFA 100 WR mentioned above (a truly stellar lens).

I would also mention an ultrawide zoom (e.g. DA 12-24 or Sigma 10-20). Downsides for your use are that there aren't any WR ones and they are bulky to carry. Still, I often take my 12-24 on walks and love it for nature shots.
11-25-2015, 06:16 PM   #14
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Thanks for the replies... ended up buying the 50mm macro and 35mm primes. I'm actually gonna hold off and spend more time shooting and learning and upgrade to the K-3 or K-3ii when my skill level demands it. I'm still new to photography and have much more to learn!

Also pulled the trigger on the TG-4, I couldn't resist the RAW and got really itchy to try Olympus' new Live Compsite mode. I'm familiar with the TG-2 and also wanted to stick with what I knew, not to mention make use of the tele converter I already have. Thanks again!

---------- Post added 11-25-15 at 06:17 PM ----------

PS: Love the trees!
11-25-2015, 07:36 PM   #15
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Sounds like good decisions Steve. Have fun.

If you haven't used primes before, it's a great experience. A prime helps you learn better to see a shot, rather than just standing there and zooming. The wide aperture of the DA 50 f1.8 opens new creative possibilities too. They are wonderful lenses for the money.

QuoteOriginally posted by steve28134 Quote
PS: Love the trees!
Thanks. The trees are mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) - tallest trees in the world until the biggest ones got cut down in the 19th century. You wouldn't think of Australia as the likely site for such tall trees - but this area has a cool temperate damp climate.
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