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01-21-2010, 08:14 PM   #1
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Typical beginner's question...

I am brand new to photography and I'm getting ready to make my first DSLR purchase and follow with some formal classes. After waffling over purchasing a D90 or a K-7, the K-7 is the now the frontrunner. I don't really need help comparing the two since, being in a Pentax forum, I know what advice I would get. But I had two quick questions I wanted to ask that would help solidify my decision:

1. For a novice is this too much camera for me to start with? I want to find a balance between a good first-time user camera, but also one for me to grow into. One of my concerns is that this camera is too advanced for a newbie.

2. My budget allows me to purchase the kit with the 18-55mm lens. I have seen criticism of this lens so I wondered if I should just buy the body with a separate lens. My feeling is for the steep learning curve I face the 18-55 lens was fine, but still wanted any advice.

Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

01-21-2010, 08:29 PM   #2
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A number of newcomers have asked a similar question regarding it being seemingly 'too advanced' to a beginner. It's the general consensus that the K-7 is just fine for a beginner, as it has the modes to accommodate the newbie, as well as the advanced user, as it has the features and flexibility to accommodate the seasoned enthusiast/pro.

The kit lens will serve you just fine, even for years, until you work out exactly what focal lengths you would like to invest in future 'better' lenses. I would start, though, with a decent telephoto zoom lens to complement the kit lens, and that one would be the DA 55-300.
01-21-2010, 08:31 PM   #3
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Hi,

The controls may be intimidating but you can start slowly with any camera. The K-7 will do. I teach photography and sometimes beginners some with a full-frame model worth $5000+ USD because that is what they saw a photographer use. They all start with P mode and then take a course when they want to know what the other letters are for

As for the lens, don't buy it. I realize you may not see the difference at the beginning level but it really cripples the camera to put such a poor lens on something like the K-7. Nowadays the difference a good lens makes is much better than the difference between a basic and advanced camera. Really. Not only in terms of image quality but also autofocus speed and your ability to work with low light is compromised.

A note in case you did not realize is that the weather-sealing of the K-7 (or any other weather-sealed camera) only work when paired with a weather-sealed lens. For that, I prefer the DA* 16-50mm F2.8 than any other lens. If you do not mind lacking weather-sealing and want something longer the DA 17-70mm F4 is an excellent lens as well.

You will be able to add lenses later. If you can't afford a good lens, you should seriously consider a cheaper camera like the K-x, its image quality is actually better than the K-7 but you do lose a few functions, Keep in mind that the K-x is still capable of any type of photography, it might just take a few more button presses.

- Itai
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01-21-2010, 09:19 PM   #4
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QuoteQuote:
PSS: I don't really need help comparing the two since, being in a Pentax forum, I know what advice I would get.
This is not a fair thing for you to say--I disagree with your assumption here. Many of us at this forum shoot 2 or even more makes of camera, not just Pentax. And even of those who exclusively shoot Pentax, they are not all narrow minded fanboys, self-deluded with the Pentax name. If you asked this question here, I believe you would get some excellent answers, some of which might come from those of us who shoot both cameras. Remember, it is not about what is the best here, it is about what is best for you and your needs.

QuoteQuote:
PSS: 1. For a novice is this too much camera for me to start with?
A lot of people ask this question, but again, the real answer depends on you! You have the potential to make it too complicated as well as the potential to master it quickly. It all depends on the attitude with which you embrace the camera. Surely there are many who buy a K7, shoot a couple of hundred shots, and then let it sit for 3 months before selling it at a substantial loss. Are you going to let yourself become one of these people? It is all up to you, anyone who tells you differently needs to go back to Tarot card reading.


QuoteQuote:
2. My budget allows me to purchase the kit with the 18-55mm lens.
If that is what your budget allows, then that is what you should buy. BTW, that lens is an excellent lens, better than most kits you will find out there. You need to visit the thread at our DSLR lens section which showcases pics from this lens if you doubt me. Stopped down, in good light, the lens can hold its own with very expensive lenses. So. start with the kit--you will soon learn what focal lengths are important to you. Grow into the hobby slowly; Rome was not built in a day.

01-21-2010, 09:40 PM   #5
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Everyone, thanks so much for the info. It's all great insight and advice and I appreciate you taking the time to reply. We all need that final nudge before taking the dive.

Jewelltrail- I meant no offense, and of course I was in no way was calling anyone self-deluded or narrow-minded. If you or anyone else thinks the D90 to be a better choice, then of course I'm all ears.
01-21-2010, 10:22 PM   #6
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I'll throw in that I started my DSLR "training" with a K10D and the DA 16-45/4 lens. Very good set to learn on. The Pentax it lens is one of the best kits lens you can get based on reviews, is a good usable range, and would let you cut your teeth on photography. If you can swing it I'd take the advice on the DA 17-70 or a DA 16-45/4. In the long run I think you'll get more out of either of those lens and their resale value should hold more than the kit lens. Take a look here in the market place or maybe eBay and you might be able to get a good place on a used DA 16-45/4, now discontinued by Pentax since it's been replaced by the DA 17-70.
01-21-2010, 10:58 PM   #7
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QuoteQuote:
PSS: Jewelltrail- I meant no offense, and of course I was in no way was calling anyone self-deluded or narrow-minded. If you or anyone else thinks the D90 to be a better choice, then of course I'm all ears.
No problem--I know your words were not meant to offend anyone--I did not say you did. I am just pointing out that you made an invalid assumption when you stated, "I know what advice I would get."

QuoteQuote:
Tybeck: If you can swing it I'd take the advice on the DA 17-70 or a DA 16-45/4. In the long run I think you'll get more out of either of those lens and their resale value should hold more than the kit lens.
QuoteQuote:
PSS: 2. My budget allows me to purchase the kit with the 18-55mm lens.
Tybeck, the kit lens comes with the body--how can it ever really lose any resale value? On the other hand, the 17-70 & 16-45, especially being zooms, are likely to lose a bit of resale value--more value than the cost of the kit brand new.
01-22-2010, 12:52 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by PSS Quote
I am brand new to photography and I'm getting ready to make my first DSLR purchase and follow with some formal classes. After waffling over purchasing a D90 or a K-7, the K-7 is the now the frontrunner. I don't really need help comparing the two since, being in a Pentax forum, I know what advice I would get. But I had two quick questions I wanted to ask that would help solidify my decision:

1. For a novice is this too much camera for me to start with? I want to find a balance between a good first-time user camera, but also one for me to grow into. One of my concerns is that this camera is too advanced for a newbie.

2. My budget allows me to purchase the kit with the 18-55mm lens. I have seen criticism of this lens so I wondered if I should just buy the body with a separate lens. My feeling is for the steep learning curve I face the 18-55 lens was fine, but still wanted any advice.

Any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Welcome to the foum. There has been a very similar thread and discussion that I encourage to read:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/86997-pentax-k-...-beginner.html

No, the K-7 is not too advanced. I bought a K-7 as my first dSLR: I choosed the K-7 because of it wide range of options, its superb viewfinder, the weather resistance and the continuous shooting characteristics.

Simply I was in a similar position as you are. I considered the K-7, K-x, D90 and 500D. At the end, I focused on my needs: I shot often outdoor, with motion and actions; I wanted the weather resistance and continuous shooting at high rate (5 fps). I went to a shop to try all these cameras. The K-7 was the best fit in my hands (the K-x was not far). Importantly, the K-7 had the nicest viewfinder with the D90, but the latter was far too bulky and heavy. The K-7 was by far my first choice and I have no regret.

All in all, I have had the K-7 for 2 months: I love it and I learned a lot, even if I am still using the P mode primarily. The Pentax Forum is a great place to learn, and there are many very helpful contributors.

I can recommend the K-7. It is not too advanced.

For the lens, "you get what you pay", but many pentaxians will tell you that the kit lens is a good start. I would recommend you to get the 18-55mm WR to have the weather-resistance for both camera and lens.

I did not get for the kit lens because my budget allowed it. But the beauty of the dSLR is that you can add a lens later in your collection (in 6 months time of 1 year).

Lastly I recommend you (for any camera) to get a good memory card. If you shoot video or do some serious continuous shooting, you do need a good quality and fast card. I would recommend a Sandisk class 10: the price for the 4 Gb or 8 Gb cards have dropped and are more affordable.

Happy hunting and all the best with the K-7...


Last edited by hcc; 01-22-2010 at 11:43 AM. Reason: Typos
01-22-2010, 02:02 AM   #9
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Hi there,

I started around 8 months ago with a K20D, like jeweltrail said it really depends on you if the K7 is too advanced for a beginner.... however I think (i did) that you can start in full auto... and then branch out to the semi auto modes as your knowledge increases.

I would also question some of the advice from Itai (points 1 & 2)...
1) If your budget allows the K7 and 18-55 WR kit... I would get that no questions asked... you will get a lens far more capable than you are (as a new photographer)... also is minimal extra cost and is also WR (so you have a complete WR kit). Of course there are "better" lenses out there but you will be forced to spend more, you can get a new lens when you see the limitations of the kit lens...

2) While the Kx has some advantage in low light, this can be offset when shooting in Raw (something you will most likely want to do). The Kx does not have better image quality than the K7!... The Kx is an excellent camera however and at a lower cost... maybe worth investigating.

3) one additional piece of advice.... if you do take the kit lens route... a good first step is to pick up a 2nd hand "fast 50"... such as a K/M/A 50 1.4 or 1.7. This is an excellent way to learn how to use your equipment while also learning the tradeoffs in the use of fast lenses and primes.

Good Luck... either way you go (K7, Kx, D90) you will certainly have a great camera.
01-22-2010, 01:16 PM   #10
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All DSLR's have at least one fully automatic mode, meaning that if you wish to not use any more advanced features or learn anything more about the process of using the camera, all DSLR's will work equally well for you. You just might not be taking full advantage of the extra features of the more expensive camera if you only use the fully automatic modes.
01-22-2010, 10:07 PM   #11
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Again, thanks so much to everyone for all of the info. You have confirmed my thoughts so I will probably proceed with the K-7. I will probably need to stick with the kit lens for now simply for budget purposes, and also due to my followup question below...

In registering for photography classes I am also going to be taking a film class, so I picked up a cheap K1000 on ebay. I was advised to buy the SMCP-M 50mm f/1.4 lens to complement. In attempting to price this lens, there obviously seems to be different versions, right? Excuse my ignorance, but it seems as if the recommended lens is manual (hence the M?), whereas the one being recommended for the K-7 here has AF. Hopefully I'm not completely off base here. At this point I just want to get set up well, but in the most economical manner possible. I just want to make sure I get the right lens.

Again, thanks so much for all of the help. It has definitely made me feel more comfortable with my decision.
01-22-2010, 10:21 PM   #12
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And if you are concerned about the quality of the kit lens, go to the lens section here, and check out the "kit lens club" thread, that should ease any worries you have about its capabilities. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/45425-kit-lens-club.html
01-22-2010, 10:44 PM   #13
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I upgraded from a D40 to a K-7 within two years. Don't make the same mistake as me; buy the most camera you can afford from the outset. You save money in the long run. The worst part of entry-level models like the D40, Rebel XS, etc, is they are such mass-market items their resale value is pretty much nonexistant.

I think whichever body you choose, you will have a great camera. I would recommend you visit a local camera shop and test out both bodies, so you will leave with the camera you need. Bring printouts from B&H detailing prices, so you will have something to negotiate with. Especially with the D90, that model has been out for a while so the shop may be willing to cut you a pretty good deal (same with the K-7 really, although perhaps to a lesser extent).
01-22-2010, 10:45 PM   #14
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Let me pile on to the discussion and vouch for the 18-55 being a damn fine lens. I simply can't agree with this comment above:
QuoteOriginally posted by Itai:
...it really cripples the camera to put such a poor lens on something like the K-7.
The current version of the 18-55 is a great performer, and no zoom can touch it in the image quality-vs-size department. I may own and love the 16-50, but there's no way I'd give up my kit lens. Sometimes you just need something smaller than that giant hunk of DA* glass hanging off the front of your camera. And the step down in IQ when going to the 18-55 is far less than the step down in size. I think thekit lens totally justifies its own existence.

To the OP, don't listen to anyone who wants to bash the kit lens. Of course it's not the greatest lens ever made...that's why it's so affordable. But it may be as good for the money and good for the size as anything else you'll ever find.

But I will concede the part that immediately followed that statement in the post above:
QuoteOriginally posted by Itai:
Nowadays the difference a good lens makes is much better than the difference between a basic and advanced camera.
It's true that if IQ is the most important thing to you, you're better off with the best lens you can afford. The image quality between different levels of camera bodies nowadays is very slight, and the glass can make a bigger difference. But again, that's not any sort of proof that the 18-55 sucks. In fact, it's great. It's just less great than some of the other tremendous Pentax lenses out there.
01-23-2010, 11:36 AM   #15
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Hi there, looks like you have your decision made... I am sure you will love the K7.

On the SMCP-M 50mm f/1.4 lens you mentioned.... you are correct, this is both manual focus and manual aperture.

There is a page out there which explains the difference in the pentax lens nomenclature.... I dont have the page at hand but hope someone knows what Im referring to and can send you the link.
now... off the top of my head...

There are K Lenses (I have a K501.4)... these are both manual focus and aperture
Next came the M Lenses (as the lens you referred to)... also manual focus and aperture but typically smaller... and I understand less "durable in construction"
A Lenses signify that you can set automatic (camera controlled) aperture although still manual focus...
You then have FA and DA which have auto focus and auto aperture, DA is specifically for digital cameras.

This site also has a very useful lens review section where you can read the details of any lens you are interested in.

Older manual lenses can typically be picked up at reasonbly low prices so if you are unsure about the limits of a prime (non-zoom) lens it can be worth to get your feet wet here before deciding if you chould get an auto-focus version (which are far more expensive in comparison... and as I understand not necesserily better image quality)
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