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10-29-2009, 12:04 PM   #16
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The weight and size will matter a lot, if you intend to carry it around more frequently you might want to get the smaller K-x. Otherwise, no super-good camera can "overwhelm" you, you can always put it in auto mode, especially in Pentax you have a "Green" mode where you don't have to select anything (except to make sure you're using Autofocus because that's a physical switch, maybe another couple of dials like metering selection also override the "auto" in green mode). Perhaps I overwhelmed you with info there

10-29-2009, 12:24 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by waqas Quote
The weight and size will matter a lot, if you intend to carry it around more frequently you might want to get the smaller K-x.
Yes, waqas has a good point here. Size and weight may matter - and are very subjective matters. Me, I LIKE the larger bodies. I find the smaller bodies somewhat harder to hold on to. One of the things I do not like about the K-7 is that it's smaller than the K20D. But I agree it's a matter of taste.

Unfortunately, since it's so difficult to find different Pentax DSLR bodies in stores so you can handle 'em, it's a bit difficult to figure out in advance what you will or won't like. If this mattered a lot to me, I guess I'd read the dimensions, go to a store and try to find a Nikon or Canon model that was about the same weight and dimensions.


QuoteQuote:
Otherwise, no super-good camera can "overwhelm" you, you can always put it in auto mode, especially in Pentax you have a "Green" mode where you don't have to select anything (except to make sure you're using Autofocus because that's a physical switch, maybe another couple of dials like metering selection also override the "auto" in green mode). Perhaps I overwhelmed you with info there
Right. Shooting in full manual mode on the K20D can be trivially easy if you just keep hitting the green button!

People who know me here know that I am not (usually) sarcastic or impolite and I try not to cast aspersions on anybody's motives. But I do think you have to ask yourself why you want a digital SLR at all. I am quite sure - because I keep talking to these people - that there are zillions of users buying DSLRs who really just want a more impressive looking point and shoot camera. They apparently aren't aware that the top of the line point and shoots may take BETTER photos out of the box than they're going to get from their more expensive DSLR. Doesn't bother me that these folks are buying these cameras, because it keeps the prices down for the rest of us. Still, since the question was asked, I would simply answer that, if you really want and need a DSLR at all, then there's little reason not to get the best model. Notwithstanding the smaller size, I would own a K-7 today if I had the spare $$. For that matter, if I had the spare $$, I'd own a Nikon D3X, too.


Will
10-29-2009, 08:55 PM   #18
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Well, no disrespect felt about your comments WMBP.

I did use a SLR in my student days for one of my classes in college (Creativity class in architectural technician program). I understood the basics, but did not master them. But I loved playing with the adjusments. I remember thinking that with more time ( we only had 5 courses with the camera, that was College property), I could I could be able to tweak the camera and get the shot I am trying to get. And in those days, it was film. So a newbie taking pictures and axperimenting was, relatively speaking, costly as I had to develop photos to see the end result.

Now with DSLR, I can take pictures with no restraint, as I can visualize the photos easily.

I also have a P&S (Panasonic Lumix something - it's at the office, 3.2 mp, with iso adjuxtment, white balance, 3x optical zoom, etc). It has minimal adjustments and I started to use them about 3 years ago while on vacations ( sunny beach, evening pics, interior, even night pics with high iso and long exposure). I still remembered the basics, but the camera has limited potential. So I am a bit familiar with digital phography.

My "overwelmed" is maybe just a bad selection of vocabulary (I am a frnech canadian who seldom practices his english, so it can happen! But I am trying my best).

What I meant was ; Is a newcommer to DSLR with basic knowlege about handling a DSLR (aperture, esposure, focals, auto and manual focus...etc) and common knowlege about digital photography ( file format, memory cards, USB, HDMI, battery, zoom, etc....) better to enter the DSLR "world" with an entry level camera as the K-x (and get kit lenses 18-55 and 55-300, with bag, tripod, memory card) or go all the way in with a K-7 (with one kit lens, a bag and a memory card) ? Price is a factor, and I have 1500$ to spend, but would like to spend less because 15004 is a strech for me. So to go to that amout MUST be worth the money for me. ANd sinceit will be my first DSLR, I am unsure that i need the extra stuff that the K-7 has ( I must admit that weathrseal and battery are big pluses for the K-7)

Thanks
10-29-2009, 09:23 PM   #19
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Indeed no Pentax camera will be 'too advanced' or 'too complicated' to use for a newbie.
So the other issue then is value for money. I've mentioned it elsewhere, and lithos reiterated it, but it will depend on how far you want to take your photography that will determine which will be the most suitable for you.

Newbie just wanting to wade in the water of photography and enjoy it... get the K-x
Newbie looking to swim deeper into the ocean of photography and discover more everyday... get the K-7. Then the grip, then the top lenses, then a tripod, and extra memory cards and batteries, and ... you know the rest.

Seriously, the K-7 is a serious gizmo, not saying that the K-x isn't, only it's not designed with the high-end/pro user in mind...

10-29-2009, 10:22 PM   #20
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QuoteQuote:
What I meant was ; Is a newcommer to DSLR with basic knowlege about handling a DSLR (aperture, esposure, focals, auto and manual focus...etc) and common knowlege about digital photography ( file format, memory cards, USB, HDMI, battery, zoom, etc....) better to enter the DSLR "world" with an entry level camera as the K-x (and get kit lenses 18-55 and 55-300, with bag, tripod, memory card) or go all the way in with a K-7 (with one kit lens, a bag and a memory card) ? Price is a factor, and I have 1500$ to spend, but would like to spend less because 15004 is a strech for me. So to go to that amout MUST be worth the money for me. ANd sinceit will be my first DSLR, I am unsure that i need the extra stuff that the K-7 has ( I must admit that weathrseal and battery are big pluses for the K-7)
OK, let me try this once more.



It's mainly about the money

A camera is a bit like a musical instrument. And no matter what you're level of ability as a musician, it is ALWAYS better to play a good instrument than a bad or mediocre one. The main consideration then, is not "Am I ready for that instrument?" but "Can I afford it?", or perhaps more often it comes down to, "Can I justify spending that much money on it?"

The distinctions between starter cameras, prosumer cameras, pro cameras, and so on, are nothing more than marketing b.s. A Nikon D3X costing thousands of dollars does not magically take better photos than a Pentax K-x that costs a fraction of that. There are some differences between the sensors, yes, but they're not nearly as important as you think. When you spend more money on a camera, you don't necessarily get better photos. You just get a better photo-taking tool. I've mentioned already the two e-dials on the K10D/K20D and K-7. VERY useful to photographers who take a lot of photos and who shoot manual or at least want to stay in control of the camera. I shoot 700 photos in a few hours at a wedding. I'd hate to do it with a camera that didn't have 2 e-dials. The K20D is weather-sealed, better built. You can make focus adjustments for particular lenses. Hyperprogram mode on the K10D/K20D (and K-7) is a bit of genius in my opinion - not found on the less expensive Pentax models. I could go on. But does the K20D TAKE BETTER PHOTOS? No, not really. The sensor might have some advantages over previous models. But they're not nearly as important as we make them out to be. You can buy a K20D body today for about $700. Just a few years ago, a camera with the K20D's features would have cost thousands and thousands of dollars - and would have been purchased only by top pros. And a year or two before that, it wasn't available at any price.

So - don't think that the K20D is NECESSARY. It's not. There are some terrific photographers in this forum working with "old" *ist-generation DSLRs that (gasp!) don't even have shake reduction. Somehow they manage to take fabulous photos with them.

SO now it sounds as if I'm steering you away from the K20D. But I'm not. I might be steering you away from the K-7, because you probably can't afford it right now. (I can't either: rather spend my money for lenses.) But the K20D right now is a special case: you can get one for almost the same price as an "entry-level" Pentax camera. On Amazon.com tonight, you can get a K20D with a decent kit lens (the newer 18-55) for almost exactly the same price as the K-x. The K-x comes with TWO lenses, true. But the 50-200 isn't such a special lens as to make a huge difference to the package.

Still, money matters! You can buy a K2000 for a little over $500. And have some money to spend on lenses.

Will the K20D overwhelm a newbie? Absolutely not. It's nonsense to say that it will. The only thing you need to worry about overwhelming is your budget.


You can't be SURE you're doing the right thing

When I bought my first DSLR - and I was not a newbie then, just new to digital SLRs - the K10D had just come out. I bought a K100D with the kit lens and the 50-200. Within a few months, I'd sold the K100D and both of the lenses and purchased a K10D and some other new lens (can't remember what it was - perhaps the 16-45 f/4). It would have been less costly to buy the K10D in the first place. But I didn't yet know what I was doing or why.

You can't really go wrong - but you can't be sure of getting it right, either! You won't really know what you want or need until you've tried different things. Unless you're spectacularly lucky.


Buy the body only

I suggest you consider buying the camera body only. Me personally, I will never buy another kit lens. Every camera I buy in the future will be body only. If it doesn't come body only, I won't buy it. The kit lenses aren't BAD. But almost the entire reason to buy a DSLR is to get good lenses. And kit lenses aren't really good. I'd rather shoot with a K-x and (say) a Pentax 40 limited or a Pentax 16-45, than shoot with the new K-7 and the kit lens.

If you buy the body only, it's not such a big deal what you buy. The K20D would be nice. But the K-x is very nice, too. And you can find the K200D - a fine camera - for even less. There are differences between them. If you want video, too, then it's easy: get the K-x. The problem is, I don't know if the K-x is available body only.


Lenses

Anyway, so now you've got a body. What lens do you buy??? That's really the important question. I have some suggestions.
  1. Pentax DA 40 f/2.4 limited. If I had to live with just 1 lens, this might be it. It's not THE greatest lens ever made, but it's one of the best. Small, quick, perfect focal length. But of course it's a prime....
  2. Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. Outstanding lens and has the advantage of being a constant aperture and fast (f/2.8).
  3. Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 macro. About as good a lens as the Tamron just mentioned, and wider. Only draw back is that it's not a constant f/2.8 throughout the zoom range. Still it's a better lens than the Pentax kit lens. By the way, the Sigma 17-70 is one of the best bargains in this list.
  4. Pentax 16-45 f/4. Excellent zoom lens, very nice wide, and constant aperture. Only drawback is that f/4 isn't terribly fast, so if you plan to shoot in low light a lot this may not be the best choice, and it's not so good for portraiture either. But if you shoot mainly in pretty good light - say if you are traveling to the country and want to take great pictures of the mountains or lakes - this is a terrific lens, and again, a very fine replacement for the kit lens. (Personally, as a general purpose lens, I think I like the Sigma 17-70 more than the Pentax 16-45.)
  5. Pentax 18-250 (or the Sigma, or the Tamron). All of these seem to be at least as good as the kit lens within the same range, and of course they have all that telephoto capability as a bonus.

I could go on. I need to warn you about something - and I'm quite serious now. You hear jokes about "LBA" (lens buying addiction). These are actually not jokes - LBA is a serious problem. If you can buy 1 camera and 1 lens and be happy, well, God bless you and please forgive my impertinence in attempting to give advice. But you should be aware that an awful lot of us buy the camera and very quickly realize that the cost of the camera was nothing compared to what we end up spending on lenses. If you were really smart, you might buy the cheapest body you could buy, and then spend your money on lenses.

So you see what I'm doing. You asked about the bodies. I'm coming back at you about lenses. Sorry.

And good luck!

Will

Last edited by WMBP; 11-05-2009 at 12:30 PM.
10-29-2009, 10:35 PM   #21
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Woh, Will.
I hereby declare you chief advisor for the Beginners Q&A section!
10-30-2009, 09:03 AM   #22
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Yeah, man!
10-30-2009, 08:08 PM   #23
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Chief advisor or not, thanks for your input Mr WMPB!

Holy s***! more stuff to consider! (Mu brain is turning to pudding)

10-30-2009, 08:37 PM   #24
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Will....dude!!!

you NAILED it...best which camera is right for a noob answer ever! Great lens recommendations too...

Does anyone thing Wil should be punished for such a great answer by asking he doctor it up as an article for the site?
10-31-2009, 05:25 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
Will....dude!!!

you NAILED it...best which camera is right for a noob answer ever! Great lens recommendations too...

Does anyone thing Wil should be punished for such a great answer by asking he doctor it up as an article for the site?
Yea maybe a sticky perhaps.
10-31-2009, 10:01 AM   #26
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<blush>Gee, thanks. Glad somebody thought it useful.</blush>

I do want to add one point. I said that cameras are like musical instruments: even beginners should use the best "instrument" they can. But there is an important difference, too. In the world of acoustic musical instruments - I know pianos, harpsichords and a little about guitars - there absolutely is a real possibility of getting a BAD instrument. But as far as I can tell right now, there's virtually no way to buy a BAD DSLR. Doesn't matter what brand you buy or what model. Every thing on the market right now looks like it could take a Pulitzer-prize winning photo.

Will
10-31-2009, 10:25 AM   #27
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Will,

That has got to be the BEST advice to a beginer I have ever read.

Well done!
11-05-2009, 12:26 PM   #28
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what an amazing post, Will!
i just started with my first DSLR less than a yr ago and in my short while as a Pentax shooter, find many of your points to ring true. (especially the part about the LBA...)

i use a K10D at the moment and was almost tempted to upgrade until i saw how many K10D shooters in these forums are getting far better shots than me, so i realized, i have all the tool i need for awhile anway, until i get better or need other features, etc...
11-05-2009, 01:02 PM   #29
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I finally decided

Well, you conviced me, I'd better invest a bit more and get a good camera and eventually grow into it, and its multiple options/ adjustments.

So i put out the extra money and bought the K-7. And on Will's advice, I am heavily leaning on a Sigma 17 - 70 as my first lens, as it has a good range for my initail needs, and supposedly better IQ than the kit lenses.

thanks for the very helpful input.
11-05-2009, 01:14 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by mba1971 Quote
So i put out the extra money and bought the K-7. And on Will's advice, I am heavily leaning on a Sigma 17 - 70 as my first lens, as it has a good range for my initail needs, and supposedly better IQ than the kit lenses.
Congrats on the K-7 - and I think the Sigma 17-70 will be a terrific alternative to the kit lens. Happy shooting!

Will
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