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09-24-2009, 06:28 PM   #1
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New to DSLRs



Hi, all!

Where do I begin... I'm shopping for a DSLR; the point-and-shoot just isn't cutting it for me anymore. I'm in my mid 20s, a Mechanical Engineering student, and am no stranger to the SLR format; having been raised by a father who's a HUGE Pentax fan, I was taught at a young age how to use and treat his gear with respect.

He's two camera bags full of lenses, and each bag has a body-- I'll have to dig them out one of these days, since he's switched to a smaller digital Canon. The fact that the old Pentax lenses work with the new bodies appeals greatly to me, for sure!

So I'm shopping for a DSLR; one that my dad told me to keep an eye out for would be the K100D Super, however I've been eying the K10D since it came out (ignoring the problem where the SR switch falls off), but I'm open minded. While there are many helpful reviews online, I thought (for good measure) I'd check with you guys and maybe you can advise me on which way to go!

So let's see what happens

09-24-2009, 06:49 PM   #2
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K100D Super

Your dad is right. The K100DS is the best DSLR to learn with. It can take great pictures. It is easy to use, but has enough features to push your abilities.
Get a kit lens for those times when you just don't want to bother with the focus, and for the 18mm.
Those older manual lenses can be a little difficult to learn to focus at first, but will still work good.
I had a K100DS until my daughter wanted it.
GP
09-24-2009, 06:55 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by gp1806 Quote
Your dad is right. The K100DS is the best DSLR to learn with. It can take great pictures. It is easy to use, but has enough features to push your abilities.
Get a kit lens for those times when you just don't want to bother with the focus, and for the 18mm.
Those older manual lenses can be a little difficult to learn to focus at first, but will still work good.
I had a K100DS until my daughter wanted it.
GP
Excellent! Thanks for the quick reply!

How does focusing work on the DSLR body? I recall having a split circle within a shaded box that was used for focusing on the SLR body... maybe? That made it super-easy to focus and get some great depth-of-view shots.

I'm looking for a body with a lot of manual options, as I'm feeling I've pushed the (albeit limited) manual options of the little SD450.
09-24-2009, 07:09 PM   #4
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Both the K100DS and K10D are fine cameras.
You won't be disappointed with either.
The K10D is more customisable but the K100DS performs considerably better at high ISO (sensitivity).
Manual shooting is possible with either camera - the lens that you put on them matters though!

09-24-2009, 07:20 PM   #5
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I have had two K10D's (the LCD on the first one broke while I was one the airplane... So beware! The camera's totally sealed, and pressure goes a loooong way!!)
Anyways, besides that little LCD incident, I'd totally recommend it. It was my first ever SLR (like, ever), and, as long as you know the technical stuff, the camera gets quite intuitive IMO. For example, top LCD shows shutter speed on top and aperture in the bottom, and guess what? The front wheel, which is closer to the shutter speed indication, by default changes shutter speed, and the rear wheel by default changes aperture! And then there's a shots left indicator in the corner. There's a lot of other stuff, but this came to my mind first
Also, I never had or heard of someone breaking off his SR switch... I mean... How?? Unless you bump it real hard. I guess anyone would prevent that from happening?

What else... Oh, the split thingy in the viewfinder you had in the old cameras... It's not there anymore - since the focusing screens are more optimized for AF now, they don't have the split. But, you can buy those customized screens, with splits, from focusingscreen.com or some ebay sellers.

K10D's go for as low as $300 now... You should probably keep an eye out on the marketplace here - a lot of people are selling older bodies to switch to K-7, or K20D.

Oh... And in comparison to K100D Super, K10D has one more wheel, uses proprietary batteries (not rare or expensive, but not as wide-spread as AA's), and has a dedicated grip (there's a special hole in the base of K10D for plugging in the grip contacts). The K100D Super can be fitted with a "chinese" grip, I think, but there is no Pentax-designed one.

Last edited by pbo; 09-24-2009 at 07:31 PM.
09-24-2009, 07:48 PM   #6
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Excellent information!! Thanks so much!

I can't imagine focussing manually without that split screen-- it's soo easy to get right!

The AA batteries is a huge point I overlooked-- I love Sanyo's Eneloops for just about everything, and hate when a lithium pack dies on me. It's good to know that the K100DS does better than the K10D at low ISOs.

Someplace I was reading that the switch will just fall off... ? I could be making it up, though


There's a K100D Super body for $275-- thoughts on the price? Keep in mind that I'm in Canada and those are Canadian dollars (roughy $15.98 in USD )
09-24-2009, 08:02 PM   #7
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I have an older Spotmatic II that I picked up in 1970 and about 4 years ago restarted my interest in photography with the K100. The K100 Super is a wonderful update (uses SDHC memory and also able to use the newer SDM [autofocus motor in the lens] lenses) - otherwise its the same as the K100. The Super works with all the Pentax lenses.

Your Dad probably has a mixture (I am guessing) of M42 screw mounts and various K mount lenses. To use the M42 lenses, you will need a lens adapter (M42 to K mount) that runs about $10.

On the older lenses, you just mount them, turn on the camera, and it will immediately detect them as manual lenses, thus querying you for the lenses' focal length, so that it can setup the SR (Shake Reduction) properly.

On focusing, its a bit different, however you will instantly catch on. Rather than the split circle, you just have the viewfinder. You just focus, and as the image comes into focus, the camera will sense focus (even in manual) and as it becomes focused, a little red box will pop up on the screen with an audible beep, and if you continue focusing to out of focus, the box will disappear. This is called a focus trap. So you can do it by eye, or with the box, or beep or all three - your choice.

Also, depending on the lens, you might need to put the aperture ring to A, or set it to your desired aperture, depending on the lens.

The K100 is very nice to learn on, it was Pentax's entry level body for quite a while. I recently upgraded to the K20 - a lot more features, for several reasons, however I retained my K100 due to the low noise sensor, and as a backup body. I still use it.

The K10 (10MP) was the semi pro body and was replaced by the K20 (20 MP).

The K100 (6MP) was updated to the K100 Super (6MP), then replaced by the K200 (10MP). The K200 has the guts of the K10 slid into the form factor and user interface of the K100.

The K200 has been superseded by the KM/2000 and recently by the just announced KX.

I have a Canon SD500. There really is no comparison between the two in terms of manual features. The K100 is a wonderful camera to start with. Really any of them are. The deciding factor is you and what you want. Unfortunately it is somewhat difficult to get your hands on a Pentax body so as to try them out. However, with your Dad's treasure trove of lenses, it would be a pitty to not go with a Pentax.

One way is to go to this website and check out the free downloads

k10dbook home

The free downloads for each camera (about 50 pages) should be enough to get you familiar with each model and what it can do for you, also what it would be like to use. I would then, spend the $5 for the complete book on the camera model that appeals to you the most. You can pickup a K100 for $200 to $300 depending on what it comes with. The idea of picking up a kit lens is an excellent idea too. The top end, is the K20 used goes for about $500 to $600, and about $650 new (still available). The other bodies fall in between these two.

... hope that helps ....
09-24-2009, 08:03 PM   #8
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QuoteQuote:
It's good to know that the K100DS does better than the K10D at low ISOs.
Ash said about high ISOs. K10D is limited to 1600, and I've had usable shots up to 1100... I never tried to shoot at 1600 when I actually needed to use the shots I don't know anything about K100DS...
I would guess low-ISO shots should be more or less same?

09-24-2009, 08:06 PM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
On focusing, its a bit different, however you will instantly catch on. Rather than the split circle, you just have the viewfinder. You just focus, and as the image comes into focus, the camera will sense focus (even in manual) and as it becomes focused, a little red box will pop up on the screen with an audible beep, and if you continue focusing to out of focus, the box will disappear. This is called a focus trap. So you can do it by eye, or with the box, or beep or all three - your choice.
The little red box shows up for half a second, but not when the image is in focus. I'm not sure, but on my K10D, it seems to light up right before image gets in focus.
The actual image-in-focus indicator is the beep and a small green hexagon in the bottom... The little red box is also used to indicate which focus point you're using.

QuoteQuote:
The K10 (10MP) was the semi pro body and was replaced by the K20 (20 MP).
K20D has 14 and some MP...
09-24-2009, 08:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
The K10 (10MP) was the semi pro body and was replaced by the K20 (20 MP).
Very informative post, but just remember the K20D has only a 14.6Mp sensor, which is more than enough for A3 poster prints...
09-24-2009, 08:08 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
... hope that helps ....
Thanks for that extraodinarily detailed write up!! I'm 100% certain all his lenses are K mount

QuoteOriginally posted by pbo Quote
Ash said about high ISOs. K10D is limited to 1600, and I've had usable shots up to 1100... I never tried to shoot at 1600 when I actually needed to use the shots I don't know anything about K100DS...
That's right; it's late :ugh: low light = high ISO, got that all jumbled up when I typed it out.


Looks like the K100DS is the camera to get!

Last edited by thefragger; 09-24-2009 at 08:25 PM. Reason: I'm mentally defficient at this hour...
09-24-2009, 08:40 PM   #12
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One thing to keep in mind, the K10D does not have any scene mode which beginners sometimes want to use. On the other hand, the K10D will likely force you to learn how to use the camera more and quicker than one that comes with scene mode - just my take on it.
09-24-2009, 08:52 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
One thing to keep in mind, the K10D does not have any scene mode which beginners sometimes want to use. On the other hand, the K10D will likely force you to learn how to use the camera more and quicker than one that comes with scene mode - just my take on it.
A very valid point; I'm not looking to use any of the preset 'modes,' as they are present on my little Canon, I don't use them at all.

However the sensor in the K100DS is more desirable vs. the K10D, no?
09-24-2009, 09:30 PM   #14
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Not necessarily.
The added megapixels in the K10D somewhat makes up for the benefit one gets from high ISO capabilities of the K100D - but overall, the K100D sensor is a top 6Mp sensor - few times have I even needed resolution beyond this, but it is handy to have at least 10 when cropping is done...
09-24-2009, 09:36 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Not necessarily.
The added megapixels in the K10D somewhat makes up for the benefit one gets from high ISO capabilities of the K100D - but overall, the K100D sensor is a top 6Mp sensor - few times have I even needed resolution beyond this, but it is handy to have at least 10 when cropping is done...
Agree with Ash, the extra megapixels come in handy when you need to crop; the other thing to keep in mind is that K10D has more advance features such as pentaprism viewfinder, two dials, TAv mode, green button etc. that you may not be able to find in K100DS.
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