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01-10-2010, 12:15 PM   #1
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getting a first DSLR

I am about to take the plunge for my first DSLR. After narrowing it down to one of the micro-four-thirds (lumix gh1), the Canon ti1, and the k-x, I am pretty close to choosing the k-x but I have a few questions.

1. I think I will be relying on autofocus for a long time in the beginning. I will be photographing mostly indoors with little natural light, taking snapshots of my baby, toddler and dog. Will the lack of autofocus points in the viewfinder mean the k-x isn't the right camera for me?

2. There is a kx kit available with the 18-55 mm lens and a 55-200 lens. Is it sensible to get a start with these two types of lenses? Again I will be doing a lot of autofocus shots in the beginning.

thanks!

01-10-2010, 12:24 PM   #2
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pick K-x

I think you will be fine with K-x, only concern I have is to find really really good rechargeable batteries...
01-10-2010, 12:39 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forums pemfan!
I have no experience with the Lumix or the Canon but from the reviews I have read about the GH1 is that it is rather noisy plus you only have an evf (I think, well definitely not a prism viewfinder) and with the Canon, usually the viewfinders on them are not as bright as the Pentax.
They are both penta-mirror but pentax makes the brightest penta-mirror from what I have read.
The K100Ds that I have has a bright viewfinder for a penta-mirror though not as bright as a pentaprsim which the K10D, K20D or the K7 have.
This is better for low light situations if you would use the viewfinder and not the LCD screen (as the K-x has liveview too).
The K-x has a very good low light high ISO capability and better than any of the other brands you mentioned.
This would enable you to shoot in faster speeds even in low light.
The K-x would be my choice from the 3 you have mentioned for sure!
01-10-2010, 12:39 PM   #4
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The lack of autofocus points in the VF shouldn't be a problem. What if you had one of the other camera's with them? If the point that was in focus wasn't the one you want you'd have to rotate a control dial to select a different point. By that time whatever cute thing your child was doing might have passed. Use the single center point and lock the focus with a half press of the shutter and then move your subject off center and finish the shot.

As far as lenses go, you might want to reconsider the 55-200. It's a pretty good lens - not great but adequate. I just don't know how beneficial it would be using indoors. Also, the 18-55 is relatively slow in terms of aperture. Fortunately, the K-x works wonderfully at high ISO to help offset the slowness of this lens. You might want to look for a prime or two that would be one to three stops faster than the kit lens and choose one of these instead of the 55-200.

01-10-2010, 01:05 PM   #5
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Get the kit with the 55-300

Amazon has it for $644... It is a great combo...

Once you get that combo... we will talk you into a fast fifty mf lens for 30 bucks or so.

And then the DA 40 ltd AF
then the.......
01-10-2010, 02:31 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum.
You can't go wrong with the K-x and dual lens kit - it suits the dSLR newbie perfectly.
It's not just cheap (in price), it rivals any other competitor's entry-level dSLR in every aspect.
01-10-2010, 02:38 PM   #7
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Perhaps you should try and feel the combo in a shop before buying.
ALso, consider the 55-300mm over the 50-200mm, its quality is excellent for the price.

- Bert
01-10-2010, 03:17 PM   #8
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I have a Kx, 2 relatively small kids (5 and 3) and a dog. It's been great but I typically don't use the kit lenses inside. (I have the 18 - 55 mm and 55 -300 mm kit lenses)

My main indoor lense is a 24 - 135mm f2.8 - 5.6 Sigma zoom. I'm a noob and the zoom allows more versatility than the fast 50 mm (I have one but find it limiting.)

You'll be very happy w/ the Kx

01-10-2010, 04:15 PM   #9
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Welcome,

If your main goal is to be shooting indoors and little kids. I think you should ignore the 2 lens kit unless you get a really good deal on it. I think you should save the money and get a fast prime lens or a decent zoom lens like the one previously suggested. I think all the camera combos you are looking at will be inadequate for the type of shooting you are looking for. In your case, the regular lenses will require the flash to fire in order to get decent shots indoors. For the case of little kids or animals the flash may or may not be a concern. For me, I would try to avoid exposing them to the flashes. Bright flashes at such a young age can't be a good thing right???

I'd go with an FA 50mm F1.4 lens and the 55-300mm DA lens if you plan on doing distant photography.

Otherwise the Kx is a really good camera and no you should not be worried about the number of autofocus points.
01-10-2010, 05:00 PM   #10
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lenses for the kx

ok now I am completely confused about the lens to get. Remember I am new to this and coming from point-and-shoot. i don't think they sell the kx body-only. it's 18-55, or 18-55 plus 200, or 18-55 plus 300. I do need an education about lenses! Thank you for your guidance. I am glad to hear the lack of AF points in the viewfinder won't be a problem for a total newbie like me... i am encouraged (but confused about lenses as you can tell.)
01-10-2010, 05:05 PM   #11
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ps i should have explained that i was considering one of those additional kit lenses (like the 50-200) in case i do want to shoot at distance on a trip or something. but most of my subjects will be indoors close up.
01-10-2010, 05:31 PM   #12
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For the batteries go with ENELOOPs, they are really good. As far as the charger goes, get one that isn't just a fast charger. Fast chargers tend to wear out batteries faster because they heat them up so much. Fast charge only when absolutely necessary otherwise let them charge overnight.
01-10-2010, 06:30 PM   #13
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Okay sorry about that forgot that you haven't used an SLR before. The Pentax Kx only comes in a 1 lens kit or a 2 lens kit. The standard 18-55mm or packaged together with the 55-300mm one. The 50-200mm lens to my knowledge is not a standard package. I'm pretty sure they are/have discontinu(ed/ing) that lens and only the WR edition (weather resistant) version is still being sold. If you can get a good deal with 55-300mm you should probably get it if you intend to do some ranged pictures as it really is one of the best lenses for that range. the 50-200mm lens is mediocre.

Now the FA that I was referring to is a model/style of Pentax lens. It's an autofocus lens that was originally released for the SLR series camera but it will work with the DSLR no problem. The DA lenses are designed for DSLR. This information can be found in the article section of this site.

The speed of a lens is related to the max aperture of the lens. the smaller the F number the faster the lens. So the FA 50mm F1.4 is considered a fast lens as it allows more light through the lens. At F1.4 you can use a faster shutter speed compared to a lens that can only do F5.6. This allows you to take pictures in lower light conditions also. In order for an F5.6 lens to get the same shutter speed you would need to use a flash, which will freeze the movement.

The difference between a Prime and a Zoom lens is very simple. A zoom lens has many focal lengths. Such as 18-55mm is a zoom lens that has focal ranges from 18 to 55mm. A prime lens is one which has only one focal length. Generally, prime lenses have the advantage of better picture quality and faster. I'm not saying zooms can't be fast but most are not.

I hope that helps.
01-10-2010, 08:18 PM   #14
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yes thanks, that gives me a good start. B&H has a kit, btw, which gives the 50-200 along with the 18-55, and a 4 gb card and a pentax sling bag, so it seemed like an appealing set for a newcomer. I will study this more... thank you very much for the advice!
01-11-2010, 07:30 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pemfan Quote
ok now I am completely confused about the lens to get. Remember I am new to this and coming from point-and-shoot. i don't think they sell the kx body-only. it's 18-55, or 18-55 plus 200, or 18-55 plus 300. I do need an education about lenses! Thank you for your guidance. I am glad to hear the lack of AF points in the viewfinder won't be a problem for a total newbie like me... i am encouraged (but confused about lenses as you can tell.)
Ok, let me give it a shot, perhaps it will help you....

In a point&shoot camera you'll find small sensors. In a DSLR you will find large sensors. Check out: Digital Camera Sensor Sizes: How it Influences Your Photography

So, a larger sensor has larger pixels (picture elements) which work somewhat like a solar cell. A large cell generates more power with the same sunlight than a small one.
Why do I bring this up if we are discussing lenses? For one simple reason: a sensor with a small diameter needs a lens with a small diameter and can therefore work with a short physical distance between sensor and lens.
It works progressive. Which means that to cover all the surface of a DSLR sensor you need much, much bigger, heavier and physcal larger lenses than with your point and shoot.
Since the resolution of a large sensor is much better than a small sensor, you will see small lens errors much more easy than with your point & shoot camera lens.
Also, to make a perfect large lens is much more difficult to make a perfect small lens.

All and all, you will not find zoom lenses on DSLR systems that can cover the same zoom range as in point & shoot cameras. If you want 15x or 18x or even more zoom? You'll need more then 1 lens.

Zoom lenses are allways compromising optical quality. It is therefore that many stick with zooms with a small range of even better work with primes.

The disadvantages of this all are numerous: you'll be carrying many lenses, it is bulky, heavy, expensive... So. why are we all doing this? Image Quality!

You'll see that a proper exposed and focused DSLR picture has a much better image quality over point & shoot camera's, specially in low light.

The 55-300mm lens has a longer zoom range than the 50-200mm.
Check out the Tamron website to experience the difference of the focal lengths.
Focal length comparison tool, Tamron USA

Also, the image quality is better (less distortion, sharper images) of the 300mm.

The other important thing about lenses is how "fast" they are. That is, how large the maximum opening of the lens is compared to its focal length. The larger, the more light it catches the less light you need to be able to take a picture.
The lens opening (aperture) is expressed in stops. The smaller the number, the faster the lens (f2 brings in twice as much light as f4). The "f" number equals lens diameter devided by its focal length.
Read: F-number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Did this help? Too technical still?

Cheers, Bert
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