Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
05-26-2009, 08:25 PM   #1
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Carolina
Photos: Albums
Posts: 612
Wanting/Needing a new DSLR.

So, I am looking to buy a new DSLR as soon as money allows.

I am seriously looking at switching to Pentax to replace my Nikon D40. I'm not so enroached in Nikon lenses that I can't switch. Both the lenses I have that I regularly use on the D40 probably wouldn't fetch much more than $100 used (18-55 and 55-200 VR), and since the D40 is being upgraded from in droves now it isn't worth much either. Oh well, I'll give it to my mom.

So basically I want a new DSLR because I want something with more resolution (to allow for cropping and larger prints when necessary...6MP doesn't cut it for me probably 5% of the time). I also want something that is well-designed and won't get in my way too much. Video? I don't care. Don't care too much about Live View either. X-Sync port is pretty much a (VERY) nice to have feature, but I guess I can live without it if I have to.

I would love to get a good body, and a few lenses for under $1k. I would also LOVE to have a vertical grip.

But, can anyone please explain the lens monikers used by Pentax? I finally just began to understand Nikon's nomenclature...it seems like Pentax has way too many abbreviations. Basically out of the box I want a fast 50 for portraiture, a wide-short tele (ie, 18-55) and a decent telephoto (200-300). Are there any good used Pentax AF lenses that I can get, along with a good body and a vertical grip for under $1k? I'm looking very very seriously at the K20D. I can get one of those and a vertical grip for around $800, which leaves me $200 for lenses. I figure I can at least get started with a fast 50, and buy more as I can.

Any pointers?

Thanks!

05-26-2009, 08:55 PM   #2
Veteran Member
Andi Lo's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,925
From your requirement I can fill in the options:
Fast fifty : FA 50/1.4 (170 USD used), F 50/1.7 (140 USD used)
Short lens: Kit lens 18-55 (50 USD used), Kit lens II (90-100 USD used), 16-45 (230 USD used)
Decent telephoto: 55-300 (230 usd used)

There's 55-200 as well (100 USD used) but it's not as good as Nikon's offering of the same range as far as I know, feel free to correct me. I've used this lens with great results, so I'm not complaining. Although people seem to recommend the 55-300 more.

If you can discount the vertical grip, you'll get the budget ones (by no means a bad choice) - F 50/1.7, kit lens I, and 50-200 for a total of 300 USD. Just right on 1000$ mark for a K20D and those three lenses. I personally would go for K10D instead and get the better lenses unless low light shooting is a real concern. Ritz are literally throwing away vertical grips for 50 bucks or less these days, though.

F and FA is only different in lens aesthetic; some of them have different optics but all pentax fifties of the same aperture are pretty much the same lens.
DA lenses have no aperture ring, and most are not fully compatible with film bodies.
D-FA is the same as FA, only with DA coatings (? not sure). There are only the two macro lenses in this line anyway.
Lenses that does not contain F, FA, DA, or D-FA are not autofocus.

For the fast fifties, 1.4 is the bokeh king, 1.7 is the sharpness king. I'd personally go with the 1.4.
Or better go with a fast 35 (DA 35 or FA 35), unless you're really into portraits... DA 35 especially is highly regarded by many. Its only weakness is the bokeh, which isn't exactly pretty but is not ugly either.

If I am to start again I'll personally go with the Sigma 17-70 as my kit lens + a fast fifty / fast thirtyfive.

Last edited by Andi Lo; 05-26-2009 at 09:00 PM.
05-26-2009, 09:09 PM   #3
MSM
Veteran Member
MSM's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Alabama
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 994
Welcome Brofkand. I hope you find the conversion to Pentax simple and painless. This is an absolute great site for info. Andi Lo pretty much summed it up. I would add that the Takumars are M42 screwmounts. Depending on how much you will use/need autofocus, consider the manual lenses (K, M, A mounts or the Takumars). They are cheaper and the build especially of the Takumars are incredible. I thank all of the members here that turned me on to them. My SuperTak 50 mm 1.4 was under $70 and is great!

If you are interested I have a new K10D that I will likely put in the market place. Send me a PM if you are interested. Good luck.
05-26-2009, 09:42 PM   #4
Veteran Member
Andi Lo's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Posts: 2,925
I love takumars and would wholeheartedly recommend them... My personal fave out of my collection is the 50 and the 200. The op seems to be looking for AF lenses which is why I didn't mention the taks. But if you'd like to try dip you feet in the takumar / m42 world, there's only fun with these old lenses!

05-27-2009, 07:48 AM   #5
Veteran Member
GerryL's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: CA
Posts: 2,731
They pretty much summed it all up.
The bodies that you can consider are:
K10D 10mp - goes for around $400+ brand new
K200D 10mp - goes for around $500+ brand new (used around $375-$400+)
K20D 14mp - around $650+ brand new (used $550-$600).
The grip for the K10D and K20D are the same (around $90-$100 used).
Only the K200D has a different grip and uses "AA" batteries (>$60 brand new, I think).

*all of them has in-body SR (shake reduction) and DR (dust removal).
05-27-2009, 09:57 AM   #6
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Bronx NY
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,599
Hi Brofkand and welcome. I don't really have much to add regarding bodies, but if you are willing to accept manual focus I can HIGHLY recommend the Pentax A 70-210 F4. The "A" means that it is auto aperture, you can control the aperture from the camera body (rear e-dial in a standard setup) Image wise it is one of the best medium teles available for the Pentax system, you can usually find one for about 250 usd or so. I think you might find the Pentax 18-55 to be a very good lens for it's price. It is considered by many to be the best "kit" lens out. Good luck with your choices!

NaCl(pentax is a good 'bang for the buck' brand)H2O
05-27-2009, 11:13 AM   #7
Veteran Member
AndrewG NY's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Chappaqua, NY
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 676
You should be able to add the PC flash port via a hotshoe-mounted adapter to pretty much any hotshoe-equipped camera whether it's a K10D or a Nikon D40.

There are some minor technical differences between F, FA, D-FA, FA-J, and DA but all will offer full autofocus, SR (stabilization), matrix metering, autoexposure, etc. on Pentax digital SLR bodies.

I think you're going to have a hard time building a full K20D kit for anything near $1K unless you stick with the kit lenses (DA18-55/3.5-5.6 and DA50-200/4-5.6). If you want more reach, you'll probably want Sigma 70-300/4-5.6 APO instead of the 50-200. The DA55-300/4-5.8 is a great choice as well and worth the extra $ for many but will likely cost more than the Sigma. Many will recommend economizing on the body a little and investing in better glass since you can upgrade the body later and keep the glass--so you could get a K10D or K200D (used if you like to save more $) and plan to upgrade the body after a while.
05-27-2009, 02:51 PM   #8
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Carolina
Photos: Albums
Posts: 612
Original Poster
Thanks everyone for the input. Let me clarify some things that were brought up.

I certainly appreciate the explanations of the lenses. That helps me a lot! I figured out Nikon's nomenclature, and now it looks like I'll have to learn Pentax's system. I'll definitely be making notes of this when I get my new camera.

I am definitely NOT against using manual-focus lenses. If the optics are pretty much the same as the newer AF variant, I don't see a problem in it. I don't shoot a lot of things where I require FAST focusing, so manual focusing is not a big deal. I use a few on my D40, but since the D40 can't meter with MF lenses I don't do it much. Just to clarify, Pentax cameras do support metering with manual focus lenses?

As for the K10D vs K20D, here are my feelings on that: since I am switching systems, I would much rather go for a newer model. It may cost a bit more, but I don't want to start off with obsolete technology. The PC Sync is definitely a nice to have. Plus the 14MP CMOS which should be better than CCD in High-ISO situations (which I do a good bit). I am very big on portraiture and other fine-art work, so I think a fast 50 is more than enough to get started. Later on I'll buy a wide-angle zoom and a telephoto zoom.


I am fully aware that you can get a cheap hot shoe->PC Sync adapter, but having it built in makes sure there's one less thing that may have gotten lost, broken, or left behind.

Also, I have heard this before about Pentax: do the bodies have built-in circuitry to prevent frying your flash circuitry with an old flash? I have a few Viv 283s and 285s, and I haven't used them on my D40 because of this fear.


Again, thank you for all the hints and tips! I really appreciate it. If I had asked this question on a Nikon or Canon forum, I would have gotten a ton of "SEARCH!!" or "Just Effing Google it" replies. That says something about Pentax users and the community.

05-27-2009, 03:20 PM   #9
Veteran Member
Reportage's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 739
Not to limit your options.

There`s also the Olympus E620 and Sony newer model if you prefer to use Live View for your shots and i can say the learning curve is lower compare to the K20D.

Right now the latest Pentax is K-7 but it doesnt really have that many improvements to warrant a $1299 pricetag imo. Would really have liked a articulating lcd but who knows, maybe reserved for the K30D instead.

All thats needed now is for Hoya to get Pentax to launch no frills version of the DA* lineup. pointless to have a value for money body if the beginner lenses cost a arm and leg.
05-27-2009, 03:29 PM   #10
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Carolina
Photos: Albums
Posts: 612
Original Poster
Reportage:

I don't want to go with Olympus, mainly because there is a dearth of good primes for that system. Plus I don't like the idea of such a tiny sensor. Perhaps it's a personal thing, but they definitely compete well on price. I don't care about Live View. And none of their cameras in my price range has a top LCD.

As for Sony, I've not yet seen anything from them that makes me want to buy it. For Pentax, what originally turned me on to the brand was the backward compatability and price. Sony has backward compatability with Minolta lenses, but not so much on price. Plus their newer cameras don't have a top LCD, something I really want even though I didn't list it.
05-27-2009, 04:59 PM   #11
Veteran Member
heatherslightbox's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Gainesville, FL
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,594
QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
I am definitely NOT against using manual-focus lenses. If the optics are pretty much the same as the newer AF variant, I don't see a problem in it. I don't shoot a lot of things where I require FAST focusing, so manual focusing is not a big deal. I use a few on my D40, but since the D40 can't meter with MF lenses I don't do it much. Just to clarify, Pentax cameras do support metering with manual focus lenses?
If a manual focus lens has an "A" on the aperture ring, it is capable of communicating with the camera just like any modern AF lens, so yes, the "A" lenses will easily meter on the K20. Older lenses without the "A" on the aperture ring (m42-screwmount, K series, and M series) will still meter, but it's a little trickier. On top of the camera next to the shutter button is a little green button that you push to meter with those lenses once you've manually set the aperture on the lens. Usually, the metering is pretty accurate if you're shooting with existing light, but in my experience, I haven't been able to figure out yet how to use these lenses with flash and get decent results.

QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
As for the K10D vs K20D, here are my feelings on that: since I am switching systems, I would much rather go for a newer model. It may cost a bit more, but I don't want to start off with obsolete technology. The PC Sync is definitely a nice to have. Plus the 14MP CMOS which should be better than CCD in High-ISO situations (which I do a good bit). I am very big on portraiture and other fine-art work, so I think a fast 50 is more than enough to get started. Later on I'll buy a wide-angle zoom and a telephoto zoom.
Before getting my K20, I had a K10 and I've noticed a good bit of difference in noise levels at higher ISOs; while I don't do a whole lot of cropping, having the extra MPs gives me peace of mind for those times where I need to.

On the lenses, another good fast 50 to take a look at is the A50/1.7, which can be had for less than $100. Unless you need a constant 2.8, then I would recommend the DA55-300--for it's class, it's a sharp lens that produces great colors. In the same vein, I like the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5 because it packs a lot of utility in one lens--you get wide angle to portrait focal lengths, plus good closeup ability, along with overall good IQ.

HTH,
Heather
05-27-2009, 05:11 PM   #12
Ash
Community Manager
Loyal Site Supporter
Ash's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Toowoomba, Queensland
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 22,678
Lots of good advice here.
Since you're up for a modern model, you're probably looking at the K20D or K-7 in Pentax.
Both are stellar performers, although the K-7 won't be out for a couple of months.
Getting a K20D+grip may set you back about $700, then you need to factor in lenses, which won't be as pricey as other systems, but aren't cheap either.

Generally, I recommend almost everyone starting out, particularly if doing some portraiture, to go for a fast 50 of your choice, preferably an f/1.7 or 1.4, and I can highly recommend the FA 50/1.4. It's below $200, and the results are excellent. Really, only the more expensive FA 77/1.8 Limited (and perhaps the DA*55/1.4, although I've never used it) has appreciably better results in this range of prime.

So get a K20D with a kit lens to start off with - great deals are available for this combo, then add a grip and a fast fifty. See how you go.
05-27-2009, 05:53 PM   #13
Veteran Member
rparmar's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 8,783
QuoteOriginally posted by brofkand Quote
I'm not so enroached in Nikon lenses that I can't switch.
"Enroached "?

Actually, it seems you are on a good track and have made up your mind: K20D + grip + FA50. you could shoot a lot with that before you get the craving for other focal lengths. Then, as others have said, there are quite a few good manual deals below $150 each.
05-27-2009, 06:01 PM   #14
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Carolina
Photos: Albums
Posts: 612
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Lots of good advice here.
Since you're up for a modern model, you're probably looking at the K20D or K-7 in Pentax.
Both are stellar performers, although the K-7 won't be out for a couple of months.
Getting a K20D+grip may set you back about $700, then you need to factor in lenses, which won't be as pricey as other systems, but aren't cheap either.

Generally, I recommend almost everyone starting out, particularly if doing some portraiture, to go for a fast 50 of your choice, preferably an f/1.7 or 1.4, and I can highly recommend the FA 50/1.4. It's below $200, and the results are excellent. Really, only the more expensive FA 77/1.8 Limited (and perhaps the DA*55/1.4, although I've never used it) has appreciably better results in this range of prime.

So get a K20D with a kit lens to start off with - great deals are available for this combo, then add a grip and a fast fifty. See how you go.
Are you quoting used prices, Ash? I haven't seen an FA 50 1.4 for anything less than $250, and the K20D with kit lens is around $750, with another $130 for the vertical grip and $40 for the battery. Those are all new prices for Pentax-genuine equipment.

Are the off-brand verical grips and batteries good for the K20D? I can shave quite a bit off of the price by going with an off-brand grip and a few extra batteries.

Basically, to clean things up a little bit, this is what I'm looking for:

K20D, 18-55, fast 50, long tele (200-300 max length) vertical grip, a few extra batteries to start off. Eventually I plan on getting some better lenses, and some studio lights and small strobes.

I know that Tamron makes a 70-300 and a 75-300. Which is generally regarded as the better lens all-around?

This thread has gotten me ready to switch over. I have read tons of reviews on the K20D and I honestly think this is the camera for me.
05-27-2009, 06:04 PM   #15
Veteran Member




Join Date: May 2009
Location: North Carolina
Photos: Albums
Posts: 612
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
"Enroached "?

Actually, it seems you are on a good track and have made up your mind: K20D + grip + FA50. you could shoot a lot with that before you get the craving for other focal lengths. Then, as others have said, there are quite a few good manual deals below $150 each.

Perhaps I should have said encroached? :-D

I think with the 50mm, I could get 60% of my shooting done. It isn't very often I wish for wide-angle, nor is it very often I wish for telephoto.

Something I've forgotten to mention until now: what kind of options do I have for a longer (85mm+) macro lens? I always focus macro work manually, as everyone should
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
body, camera, care, d40, dslr, grip, lenses, love, nikon, pentax, pentax help, photography
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ever had a lens needing more then +10 AF adjustment? Reportage Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 3 07-13-2010 12:07 AM
new and needing help. digger2307 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 1 05-08-2010 06:18 AM
Metering on the K-7 needing a tutorial summergirl Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 4 02-17-2010 06:23 AM
Might be needing a new film camera, please help Isaac314 Pentax Film SLR Discussion 15 06-25-2009 02:10 PM
New guy needing some critique mr tibbs Post Your Photos! 2 02-22-2009 02:48 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:43 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top