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5 Days Ago   #1
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New kit recommendations based around the K1 MKII - Pentax newbie

Hi, this is my first post! :-)

I hope this is the right place in the forum to start with??

Basically I have decided to buy a Pentax K1 MKII. I have fallen in love with the Silver edition which also comes together with the grip, and found it new online. Though I also love the black edition too so if the silver is unavailable I can always fall back to this body color.

My interests are mainly landscape and low light photography and would love to get into astrophotography too. I shoot a lot at night but never had a decent camera (or lens) to do this with; now is the time to get one! :-D

As the photography universe is so big including the Pentax ecosystem, the key for me really is where to start....?? Truth be told, I'm a little lost - ok maybe quite a bit lost :-P

As I've already decided on getting the K1, the key components I am looking at are:

* Lens
* Filter
* Tripod
* Backpack

Of course when it comes down to options there are so many and that's really what I need to narrow down and find the right setup for me.

Here are what I've looked at already and my thoughts:

Lens - I need a wide angle and a standard zoom, maybe even a fast prime. Already I have looked at Pentax, Tamron, Tokina, Rokinon, Sigma and Samyang offerings. With so many choices where to even begin??

Filter - I think a kit might be the best option for me. Something that contains the standard ND, GND and Polarizor combination. Lots of reading and NiSi look like a really good choice, though Haida maybe an option to lower cost?

Tripod - this is a difficult one. Of course something that is stable, lightweight and will last. So far I've looked at: Induro, Benro, Really Right Stuff, Gitzo, Oben and Vangaurd. There too many different models and selections to choose from so I'm totally lost here.

Having read through this:

a panable ball head would probably be the correct choice for me.

Backpack - Another difficult choice. So far I have looked at Lowepro, Vanguard and K&F. Based on features and size (especially as my laptop is large, Lenovo P series 15.4") I am leaning towards the K&F KF13.107 -

Outdoor Camera Backpack Large Photography Bag with Laptop Compartment Tripod Holder Waterproof Raincover Hiking Travel Professional DSLR Camera Backpack for Men Women Side Access

Would anyone be able to help me narrow the choice and selections down? It might be a good idea even to go for an older generation Pentax lens. This video was a great insight:

where a 40 year old 135mm lens was picked up for just $40 and still offered amazing results.

Quickly I also wanted to ask what the difference is between the DA and FA range of lenses when mounted on the full frame K1? Using the DA lenses do the images come out cropped?

Additionally, many people have said that the MKII has noise reduction baked in to the RAW files? Is this still the case? Reading the instruction manual for the camera, and it seems that you can turn this off and change the behavior to reduce more or less at different ISO settings.

As a kid and later teenager growing up with a Nikon FM and later at university a Sony Cybershot DSC P8, I was always very keen to capture lights and beautiful landscapes, I've still got both cameras today but find that now I need something of higher quality then my cellphone (which has been my camera for a while now) to bring the whole outdoors experience back. - though I think the Nikon FM is older then I am by a few years lol
I am really looking forward to working handheld with shake reduction at night. Many attempts in the past failed because I was shaking too much and never had a tripod. Now things have improved with my new cell phone - Samsung S21 Ultra but there is a ridiculous amount of baked in processing which is causing the images to look terrible when displayed on large screens. Basically it's a phone at the end of the day and not a dedicated camera :-)

Many thanks in advance for any advice and/or suggestions.

5 Days Ago   #2
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If I look at your wish-list I would get lost too. Sometimes it is worth knowing why you want a tripod or a backpack or anything else you mentioned. What are you going to do with it. As for the camera just buy it and buy the DFA 28-105 with it, it is just such good and capable team. Just get to know your new companion and from there extend your wishlist.
These are my two eurocents!

Last edited by AfterPentax Mark II; 5 Days Ago at 06:11 AM. Reason: typo
5 Days Ago - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Mark II Quote
As for the camera just buy it and buy the DFA 28-105 with it
Agreed. Putting the DFA 28-105 on (after going through my collection of FF lenses) really brought the K-1 to life and to be honest, a tough lens to take off the camera.
Having been on a similar journey, looking back the one purchase I would postpone was the tripod. They have a place but for most of my walk around shooting they are an encumbrance and gets used about 10% of the time. As a recommendation, wait, these locally are a good item to keep an eye out for as you can get some good deals on used. The second item to reconsider, depending on your shooting style is the backpack. Great thing if you're trekking distances and have a lot of lenses that you'll need. For me actual need <5% of the time. As I learned my equipment and style, it is very easy to simplify a selection and for most of my outings, actually prefer a shoulder style bag over the backpack.

Last edited by AlwaysAl; 5 Days Ago at 10:38 AM.
5 Days Ago   #4

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QuoteOriginally posted by kayasaman Quote
Would anyone be able to help me narrow the choice and selections down?
I have had the K1 ever since it came out. I bought the 28-105 with it and it does most of what I photograph. I also have a few other lenses (FA Limited trio, Tamron 70-200, Pentax 50 and 100 macros, Samyang 14, Tokina 20-35 in addition to a bunch of manual Takumar and other K-mount lenses) The one lens that I am missing is the Pentax (Tamron rebrand) 15-30mm f2.8. That is the lens that will help you with your astro and landscape work. The Samyang 14 I have is fine but it is limited in its focal length and the the Tokina 20-35 needs to be stopped down for sharp images. For your astro work you will be shooting at or near wide-open. So, you need a lens that is sharp wide open. The only viable and flexible (as in zoom lens) that I know of is the 15-30. As far as tripod choices, it depends. If you are gonna backpack, then you need something light weight Mefoto or something like that in the $100-150 range will do. If you do not mind the weight, then get a bigger tripod, carbon fiber if the budget allows. I have four tripods. Two are legacy from years ago and two are newer. I bought a ballhead for one and the lighter tripod came with a ballhead. Non of them did the job so I finally bought a pro ballhead that is fantastic. The downside is that the ballhead cost as much as my bigger tripod. For bags, go for something that will fit your gear. Again, I have a bunch of bags that I bought over the years. The one I use the most is a Tamrac old-style over the shoulder bag. I use my rolling Vanguard backpack for air travel and travel by car. It gets too heavy for backpacking. One thing you did not mentions was SD cards. I use Sandisk Extreme Pro. They have never failed me in 20+ years of digital photography. I guess there is a lot more but I think I'll stop here and let other forum members chime in. Good luck and welcome to the Pentax world.

5 Days Ago   #5
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Many thanks for the response! :-)

Darn, I forgot to think about breaking things down into smaller chunks as per your suggestion.

Thats true, start off and learn then build up as you go.

My thought regarding the tripod and backpack really was for traveling and stability when the lights go out.

I attached two images where a tripod or stability control would have helped a lot.

Though if I grab the 28-105mm zoom I should really see what it can do as I may not need the tripod yet...
5 Days Ago - 1 Like   #6
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Do not rush out to buy all of that at once. You will just get overwhelmed. Get a small basic kit first and as you learn add things that you see you need.

Start with the DFA 28-105 for your first lens. Shoot with that for a while and see what focal lengths and types of images you like. If you have the budget eventually get the DFA 15-30 and the DFA 70-200 or DFA 70-210.

But until you know what you want to shoot you cannot make proper decisions. For example do you want the DFA 70-200 f/2.8 or the DFA 70-210 f/4? Both are good but different. the 70-200 is fast at f/2.8 but also very heavy. The 70-210 is slower at f/4 but much lighter to carry if you are hiking.

Do not buy any filters yet! You do not know what you need, how to use them or what sizes you need. Once you determine which lenses will be your main lenses then consider getting the filters you really need. Many, many photographers don't use any filters and never need them.

Tripods are hard to make suggestions for because there are so many good ones. But really good ones for landscapes are not cheap. So don't buy cheap. I use a Manfrotto 055 in carbon fiber with a Acratech ball head. It will last my lifetime. There are two parts to a tripod, legs and head. Both need to be of matching quality, in other words a great head on cheap legs isn't going to work, same if you have great legs and a cheap ball head.

Back pack? Who knows. But if you buy one before you figure what gear you are going to carry on a regular basis I guarantee you will be buying a different one. So wait up on that for a bit as well. Get the camera and the 28-105 and spend a few weeks learning before you start spending on other gear.
5 Days Ago - 2 Likes   #7
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I think mapping out your desired kit before buying anything is sensible. I also think from everything Iíve read and seen that the 28-105 is a very good lens to have. But your intended use matters.

Landscape is a broad topic and Astro is an area I havenít spent really any time on but my understanding is that coma is very important and isnít covered in most non-Astro oriented reviews.

Size? Budget? Weight considerations? These and details about what you want to accomplish in various types of photography are going to impact the recommendations.

Lastly while thereís a value in looking at this holistically, asking for a complete kit recommendation will limit replies of substance. Focusing on each topic may be necessary.

DA lenses are mostly crop lenses by default. FA are Full Frame from the film era. D FA are digitally optimized Full Frame lenses. In truth it can be more complicated in that a few DA lenses offer pretty good Full Frame coverage and a few are officially considered full frame (like the da* 200 and da* 300).
5 Days Ago   #8
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Just a few suggestions:
- in general- start slow- advice to start with the 28-105 is sound. FA lenses can be a great bargain, some are great - study the reviews in the lens review sub-forum and the pictures there.
-filters- get a "uv-protector" individually for each lens.
I'd also get a polarizing filter for the walk around zoom, it will be helpful around water and in case of
"other" reflections. I can't imagine needing a ND filter often or at all-- but if you do it will be for a specific lens/use.
- I would not buy a pack or bag until you have settled on what kit you acquire and what you actually may carry.
-buy a bigger tripod than you think you need.

5 Days Ago - 1 Like   #9

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Buy the DFA 28-105. It is cheap but of extremely good quality for the K1. Avoid clear filters, unless you need to protect the lens from the elements (sandstorm, sea wind). Polarizer filter can be useful though.
5 Days Ago   #10
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Many thanks for all the suggestions!! I really appreciate it :-) :-)

I am not sure if my attachments actually got attached so hopefully re-submitting them will work this time.

Now I'm looking at where to buy and suddenly I have become extremely excited. :-D

Though I will take my time in deciding on what to get first. This kit from B&H Photo might be a great starting point:

Though if only they would have the same in silver, but really it's not the outside of the camera that's important - it's the inside

To cover the shorter focal lengths and wider angles I will also take a look at the 15-30mm or similar which looks pretty amazing from one of my recent favorite readings:

Pentax K-1 Mark II Astrophotography Review – Lonely Speck

Still a long road before purchase I think but at least I have the basic ground work now and a direction as to where to go - which is a lot more then before

QuoteOriginally posted by kayasaman Quote
Many thanks for the response! :-)

Darn, I forgot to think about breaking things down into smaller chunks as per your suggestion.

Thats true, start off and learn then build up as you go.

My thought regarding the tripod and backpack really was for traveling and stability when the lights go out.

I attached two images where a tripod or stability control would have helped a lot.

Though if I grab the 28-105mm zoom I should really see what it can do as I may not need the tripod yet...
Attached Images
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DSC-P10  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
DSC-P10  Photo 
5 Days Ago - 1 Like   #11
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Agreed with everyone who talked about the D FA 28-105. Absolutely fantastic "Not sure what I'll shoot today" or "I'm gonna travel and don't wanna think about it too much" lens. Hold off on any other lenses until you see what else you need; the DFA 28-105 has given me a bunch of decent astro shots already, for example.
About filters and tripod; I generally like having a CPL on my DFA - again, if you don't know what you'll shoot, having the CPL helps when it's needed. That's about the only filter I use it *extensively*. I have a reverse grad ND for sunsets on a tripod (K&F Concept) and a Rollei Astroklar for night photography, but I don't use them often. For the tripod, I only really use it for long exposures, pixel shift and astro - the K-1 goes to ISO 12k like a champ so handholding is easy until it's really dark. SR also helps.

Regarding backpack: do you need to carry your laptop with on photo outings? I personally prefer carrying a good hiking backpack (Currently very happy with my Osprey Talon 33, previously I used a Quechua Forclaz 20 Air - I think that one's no longer made). Those tend to have good access and they are very comfortable when it comes to carrying weight over the entire day.
5 Days Ago   #12
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You wont always need a tripod but when you do need one you will really need it. Do not start with a low load capacity tripod. Check your camera and lens combined weight, consider heavier lenses you might upgrade to later and double it. An inadequate tripod will be a waste of time and money. Spend time on the net and study the many different tripod and head types and materials, a few hours of research can save regret later.
5 Days Ago   #13
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I came from APSC (K5/K3) and already had a Tamron 28-75 and 70-200 and for the first year or more with the K1 I shot almost entirely with the 28-75. I have since expanded my lenses and evolved my shooting, and I shoot almost exclusively with primes now. It is less convenient having to work harder to get myself in position and swap lenses often, but I enjoy it more. I also found I don't like to shoot wide so my prime kit starts at 35mm. I also learned that because we are shooting Pentax, the astrotracer can often negate the need for fast glass, and I can stop down my lenses and still get milky way or star shots, and they will be sharper than if I tried to shoot wide open. Some of my favourite milky way shots were done with the HDFA35mm stopped down to F4, so even the notion that you need something wide for astro may not be correct for you. I would echo the advice here to start with the 28-105, experiment and keep track of how you like to use that lens. 28mm is still decently wide and will suffice for a lot of landscape and astro needs. You will know more in 6-12 months with that kit where you want to put your future $$.
5 Days Ago   #14
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I have the K-1 and DFA 28-105. The DFA 28-105 is a great all-purpose lens. This is a great combo to start with.

For landscapes you might want something a little wider. I rented the DFA 15-30 and it is a great lens if you donít mind the extra weight. It is also a good lens for astrophotography.

For me, the DFA 15-30 was too heavy. Instead I use the Rokinon/Samyang 14/2.8 for astro (manual focus). I also bought a used Pentax FA 20/2.8 because that gives me a small, autofocus wide-angle lens, but the FA 20 is not good for astrophotography.

For tripods, If you have a photo store near you, I would recommend looking at different styles of heads and leg clampsósome can be awkward to use. Also remember you can mix and match tripod heads and legs in most cases.
5 Days Ago - 1 Like   #15
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Welcome to the forums

you will find friendly members and a lot of knowledge here

I recommend you consider getting the Ebook
Pentax K-1 / K-1 II eBook
Lifetime download access to Yvon Bourque's comprehensive Pentax K-1 / K-1 II guidebook! (PDF) Download here after purchasing
Amount: US$18.99
you will find the link at the bottom of the linked page PayPal Donations

you might find this chart helpful to understand the different Pentax Lens Series:

Pentax K-Mount Lenses Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series

and this chart shows how your K 1 II works with each series

and this article looks at how the DA series designed for the ASP-C sensor works with the larger K 1 II's full sensor

Full Frame Coverage of DA Lenses: Comprehensive Test
Which DA lenses cover the full 24x36 mm frame?
By PF Staff in Gear Guides on Jan 7, 2019

Read more at: Full Frame Coverage of DA Lenses: Comprehensive Test - Gear Guides |

Last edited by aslyfox; 5 Days Ago at 10:11 AM.

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