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06-23-2009, 09:45 PM   #1
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what should I advise my friend to buy?

A friend came to me for advice on what camera to buy. She is a college student who took some photography classes in high school but is very much a beginner and ignorant about much of the technological side of photography. She would prefer to keep the total to $1000 but would go as high as $1500. She wants to take photos of people mostly, whether portraits or at events. And some scenics. Not interested in macro.

I think she'll get the most bang for the buck with Pentax. What would you suggest for that money? My first thought is a camera body with two lenses--and a tripod.

Suggestions???

06-23-2009, 09:52 PM   #2
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Great way to start IMO too.
She has to be happy with the nuances of the system she chooses.
Sure, we can advise on getting something like a K-m with Tamron 28-75 +/- an FA 50/1.4, but would she be comfortable using the K-m and will it have the features she wants in a camera?
Another option would be to go with a second hand K200D or even a K20D.
Though, since lenses are more important to get right, she may well benefit from a DA 70, DA* 50-135 or even FA 77 ltd if portraits are her main interest.

Last edited by Ash; 06-23-2009 at 11:10 PM.
06-23-2009, 09:56 PM   #3
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First, tell her to do a little of her own research so she's got a basic idea of the current market, then with your feedback she can choose the best suited camera. If you do all the work and then she doesn't like it, you're to blame.

If $1500 is her limit, I'd wait for the k-7 to come out and then get a marked down k20D or if it's too big I'd go for a k-m. Lens wise, I'd go for a prime, maybe the DA 40/70 combo route.
06-23-2009, 11:53 PM   #4
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If she is just starting, maybe drop back to a DL. That way she has more money for lenses and other accessories.

06-24-2009, 01:25 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
Suggestions???
I'd suggest you either do not advise her or advise her to go C or N. No kidding. Why? First, because if she'll be unhappy with her purchase one time or another, for one reason or another, the fault will be yours. Second, I think Pentax is a brand which has to be bought into after personal decision and research. When she some day tries to find some or another gadget for her Pentax, the retailer most likely has never heard of the brand. And she'll hear all the comments wondering why she went for this obscure brand and not the big ones. Now if she'd done the research herself, she'd know how to take that with a grain of salt, but as she'd bought it on your advice, she'll end up wondering if she did the right purchase or not.
06-24-2009, 01:32 AM   #6
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She sounds very much like a candidate for a prosumer (point and shoot) camera.Maybe a DSLR will be too much "mucking about" for her. Ask her.......some people like simplicity not changing lenses and lugging around a tripod.
06-24-2009, 01:52 AM   #7
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Take her out shooting with your camera to see if she likes the feel of Pentax, she can then go to a store to try out other brands.
I'm sure she's wise enough to come to her own decision, you'll just be giving her the benefit of your experience.
06-24-2009, 02:05 AM   #8
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I'm in a similar situation, but smaller budget. So if not a entry dSLR, then a Pentax X70, or Canon G10 sort of thing may be better. They still have manual control as well as the auto modes.

06-24-2009, 05:13 AM   #9
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I checked with her, and she wants to get a DSLR. She understands the idea of interchangeable lenses.

I also would provide her with a carefully reasoned case for going with Pentax over C & N. She is welcome to ignore those reasons and go with C or N, naturally.

Yes, she can try out my camera (a K20D), and I will be telling her to try out lots of cameras, at stores if she can but also any DSLRs she comes across in the hands of friends and family. How a camera feels in the hands is, as we know, crucial.

But I'll also sell her on features and cost: particularly, in-body image stabilization, ruggedness, dust removal, image quality, lens availability through backwards compatibility, and so on. And I'll point out how well she can do buying used but good equipment.

So, I'll take suggestions for either packages of new equipment or used equipment (or both).

Hope all this helps....
06-24-2009, 05:16 AM   #10
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I never advise people to buy a model or another. It has a way of coming back at you with a vengeance. I let people try my cams, and I tell them what I like and dislike about other cameras, but I never recommend one over another. I just don't want to turn a friend into an enemy. Friends are too precious to lose over something like that.
06-24-2009, 06:48 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by flyer Quote
I never advise people to buy a model or another. It has a way of coming back at you with a vengeance. I let people try my cams, and I tell them what I like and dislike about other cameras, but I never recommend one over another. I just don't want to turn a friend into an enemy. Friends are too precious to lose over something like that.
I know what you mean and I agree with you. Nevertheless it's hard to hold back when my brother-in-law assumes the 50D he selected is way better than my K20 based on marketing BS from a sales bot.

I had actually advised he buy a Canikon, because he wanted a big p&s with extra prestige. Green mode doesn't work so well with the K20D. You actually have to understand exposure basics and know when and how to use compensation.
06-25-2009, 10:11 AM   #12
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let her try your gadget and see how she feels about it. the most important thing in owning a camera is the feel for it. experiencing how a particular camera works somehow erases uncertainty on what camera model to buy. remember that hands-on application is better than just word of mouth alone. that differentiates you from those salesperson who sell you with snake oil and magic potion. once she got to try the camera, atleast she had taken a step forward on what camera to buy.
06-25-2009, 03:02 PM   #13
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Sadly, if my friends see my pics and like them and then ask what kind of camera they should buy... I have almost never recommended Pentax. Unless of course they have some real camera experience. Then I can talk honestly about the positive and negative of the system. And the work arounds for some of the issues.

But for the DSLR newbie, especially those coming from a P&S Auto camera, I try to be honest with them about the level of basic photo knowledge they would need to get the best from the pentax.

When they ask what I would get between the canon and nikon I push them towards the Nikon. Now out of the 10 or so who have asked me... Only 1 actually ended up with the Nikon and the rest were talked into Canons and Sonys and even an OLY by the sales folks. But the one who got the little Nikon, loves his Point and Shoot 8^)

Hopefully the K7 and whatever the new 'entry' cam that will replace the KM / K200 will be, will change that.
06-25-2009, 07:29 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
Sadly, if my friends see my pics and like them and then ask what kind of camera they should buy... I have almost never recommended Pentax. Unless of course they have some real camera experience. Then I can talk honestly about the positive and negative of the system. And the work arounds for some of the issues.

But for the DSLR newbie, especially those coming from a P&S Auto camera, I try to be honest with them about the level of basic photo knowledge they would need to get the best from the pentax.

When they ask what I would get between the canon and nikon I push them towards the Nikon. Now out of the 10 or so who have asked me... Only 1 actually ended up with the Nikon and the rest were talked into Canons and Sonys and even an OLY by the sales folks. But the one who got the little Nikon, loves his Point and Shoot 8^)

Hopefully the K7 and whatever the new 'entry' cam that will replace the KM / K200 will be, will change that.
I dunno, almost all the camera shops recommend the Canon and I can undestand why. because most if not all of their sales personnel only uses a Canon and don't have an idea as to the other unknown brands. that's how successful Canon has become due to it's successful marketing. it has built this sense of bias judgement due to limited experience in photography. now the only people that has shown unbiased judgement as to camera preferences are the ones who has/had experience using different kinds of brands.

my advice is, to refer your friend to a person with massive knowledge rather than to a personnel with a limited photography experience.

anyway, it is a good thing that you are giving your friends some sound advice that it takes two to tango inorder to produce a great photo.

if your friend is persistent, eventhough she has limited photography knowledge. then let her buy the system that she wants and then later realize if she is built for photography or not. experience is a good thing for discovering your passion for photography.
06-25-2009, 08:00 PM   #15
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Pentax K20D with 16-45mm lens - $1040 @ B&H
Pentax FA 50mm f1.4 - $249

Portraits and scenics are covered with these 2 lenses.

Total: $1289
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