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04-14-2010, 11:07 AM   #1
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Want to move from film to digital - recommendations?

Hi all!

I currently have a ZX-L film camera and 2 lenses - which my husband bought me about 5 years ago (it's what I wanted).

I shot about 100 pictures - and it has sat in the bag since. At the time I took a beginning photography class and had a hard time with the whole ISO/apeture thing... but I'm going to try again.

I really want to move into a digital body and have about $300 to spend (budget's a bit tight).

I can purchase a K100d refurb online, or possibly something from the marketplace.. there is a K2000 listed now.

Keeping in mind I am a COMPLETE novice and am not sure when I will move out of auto - is there a body you would recommend? I have seen a lot of reviews but am a bit confused about some of the terms being used (flare? soft? etc...)

Also - is the SIGMA 28-135mm a good 'everyday' lens? I have younger kids so my pics are mostly zoo trips, softball games, and family outings.

Thanks so much!!
Jen

04-14-2010, 11:18 AM   #2
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I did what you are looking to do, a few years ago, and went with a K100D. Not a difficult change-over -- and I bought a ZX-L since. I find the ZX-L is actually a bit more difficult to use in any sort of manual control mode than the K100D.

I recommend the K100D or K200D as great starter cameras - easy to learn, very nicely made and designed, plenty good enough image quality, and good prices. Aside from the refurb, KEH has several on sale, and you get their quality control and return policy.

The problem with using film zooms is this - the 28-90 that you may have with the ZX-L looks like a 36-135 on a K100d (1.5 factor)... the 28-135 is a 36-156. If you tend to like longer lenses, this is a good thing; if you'll miss even moderate wide angle then you'd need to look for a kit lens --- which as luck would have it, can be had used for very little money.
04-14-2010, 04:58 PM   #3
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You'll soon be sliding down the slippery slope of lens acquisition. Welcome to the funhouse!

I'm not going to recommend any specific camera. I'll just relate my own analysis when I got my first dSLR two years ago. I read all the tech evaluations and recommendations I could on candidate cameras. Then I carefully read the user ratings at dpreview.com and similar sites. I noted which cams got the most complaints, the most comments about how the owner wanted/needed to upgrade to something better, soonest.

My budget is static. I can't afford to upgrade. So I picked the body with the most features that I could afford, that looked like it would keep me happy longest. It's one thing to have a starter camera when you think you'll have money for something 'better' before too long. It's another thing to get the best you can and hang on to it till it's just not sufficient any longer. For me, coming from a 5mpx Sony point-and-shoot, that meant the most megapixels in the best body I could afford.

And I didn't just ask, "What's the best camera?" because then people with opinions will volunteer them, free gratis for nothing. I looked at the ratings summaries. Here at PentaxForums we have a (very useful!) lens ratings database, and a section with overviews of many Pentax cameras, but no camera ratings database. So it's harder to decide on a good used camera. Sigh...

Anyway, I just thought I'd throw out those points for you to consider. Good luck!
04-14-2010, 05:19 PM   #4
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based on your 100 pics in 5 years, any body will surfice. You're not going to 'out grow ' it in a hurry.

I do suggest getting a kit lens with it as the wide angle aspect mentioned above is a valid usabilty factor.

04-14-2010, 05:43 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JenB Quote
Hi all!

I currently have a ZX-L film camera and 2 lenses - which my husband bought me about 5 years ago (it's what I wanted).

I shot about 100 pictures - and it has sat in the bag since. At the time I took a beginning photography class and had a hard time with the whole ISO/apeture thing... but I'm going to try again.

I really want to move into a digital body and have about $300 to spend (budget's a bit tight).

I can purchase a K100d refurb online, or possibly something from the marketplace.. there is a K2000 listed now.

Keeping in mind I am a COMPLETE novice and am not sure when I will move out of auto - is there a body you would recommend? I have seen a lot of reviews but am a bit confused about some of the terms being used (flare? soft? etc...)

Also - is the SIGMA 28-135mm a good 'everyday' lens? I have younger kids so my pics are mostly zoo trips, softball games, and family outings.

Thanks so much!!
Jen
Ha Ha!! We're all buying Film cameras (I just bought a ZX-L) and you're wanting to go digital!!

Both the K100d and the K2000 (Km) are fine cameras by most accounts. There are going to be features that some cameras have and others lack. That's always going to be the case, and there is no getting around it.

The best advice I can give is to look at the feature sets and decide which are more important to you. Keep in mind that (I'm going to get flamed for this), the K2000 is a 10Mp camera while the K100d is a 6Mp camera. One one end, the 6Mp cameras sometimes give cleaner results. On the other, the 10Mp gives you a LOT of room to make framing and composition adjustments, bringing subjects closer than your lens is getting you. The K2000 is generations newer than the K100d. Were it me, making this decision, K2000.

Can't speak on the sigma 28-135 (are you sure that isn't 24-135?) except to say that you may find 28mm on the wide end a little limiting in some situations. On a digital camera, 28mm is going to behave like 42mm (28x1.5) lens. You can pick up a first generation Pentax kit DA 18-55 lens for the neighborhood of $50. Or save your pennies and a DA16-45. For the purpose of this discussion it's about the wide end. If you already Have the 28-135, then for now you're all set. Most people can adapt to lens limitations when it comes to focal length.

Best of luck in your decision. Looking forward to seeing your photos

04-14-2010, 05:46 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by JenB Quote
I shot about 100 pictures - and it has sat in the bag since.
Jen, you're going to love the fact that you can now shoot THOUSANDS of pictures and it won't cost you a dime in film or processing. But really:

Because of this, the heck with your budget. Get the KX and 18-55 kit lens for 500 and change and get serious. The KX is an entry level DSLR, the latest, and it will give you years of good use.
04-14-2010, 05:51 PM   #7
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A Book recommendation

QuoteOriginally posted by JenB Quote
...At the time I took a beginning photography class and had a hard time with the whole ISO/apeture thing... but I'm going to try again.
I don't have any recommendations as to which camera body to use. As someone else said, I suspect that any Pentax dslr will do.

However, if you are still confused about "the whole ISO/aperture thing", I suggest a copy of Bryan Peterson's book, "Understanding Exposure". It is a well-written, easy-to-read book, with lots of examples. He does a terrific job of explaining the three parts of "proper" exposure, ISO/Aperture/Shutter speed and the ramifications of the choices you make for each.

If you read the book and practice a little, you will understand the subject.
04-14-2010, 05:57 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by noblepa Quote
However, if you are still confused about "the whole ISO/aperture thing", I suggest a copy of Bryan Peterson's book, "Understanding Exposure". It is a well-written, easy-to-read book, with lots of examples. He does a terrific job of explaining the three parts of "proper" exposure, ISO/Aperture/Shutter speed and the ramifications of the choices you make for each.

If you read the book and practice a little, you will understand the subject.
Too much work for her:

Just get a Pentax DLSR and put it in P mode.

04-14-2010, 06:44 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Too much work for her:

..... and you know this How?? Even P mode can take a little understanding of Exposure. It's one of those subjects that once you get it, you won't believe you didn't understand it.

I'll help you get your post count up by giving you something to respond to... I see you're in the running

04-14-2010, 07:28 PM   #10
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If you have the budget for the K-m then by all means get the K-m as it is newer than the K100D (although K100D is better at low light), and has more auto features than the K100D.
The K-m also has an on board help guide so it will be easier for beginners.
The K-m would also have a better resale value since it is still fairly new.
I have the K100D super and am extremely happy about it but I already shot film before and understood most of what's going on so the K100D super was perfect for my needs.
If you are not going to shoot very wide angles or nature then the 28-135mm would suffice although it would be better to have it in tandem with the DA L 18-55mm kit lens for the K-m.
If you can shell out more moolah for the K-x, then that would be much a better value.
Good luck!
04-14-2010, 07:30 PM   #11
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Welcome to the forums by the way JenB and don't worry about the terminologies since now that you are a forum member, you can pretty much ask anything you want and there would be very helpful members here to lend a hand and assist!
Looking forward to more of your posts once you decide which camera to get.
04-14-2010, 07:35 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
..... and you know this How?? Even P mode can take a little understanding of Exposure. It's one of those subjects that once you get it, you won't believe you didn't understand it.

I'll help you get your post count up by giving you something to respond to... I see you're in the running

And you know this not to be true how?
04-14-2010, 07:37 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
Even P mode can take a little understanding of Exposure.
So how was I wrong to suggest P mode then?

Just trying to keep my post count up, like you're helping me to do!
04-14-2010, 08:46 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by JenB Quote
Hi all!

I currently have a ZX-L film camera and 2 lenses - which my husband bought me about 5 years ago (it's what I wanted).

I shot about 100 pictures - and it has sat in the bag since. At the time I took a beginning photography class and had a hard time with the whole ISO/apeture thing... but I'm going to try again.

I really want to move into a digital body and have about $300 to spend (budget's a bit tight).

I can purchase a K100d refurb online, or possibly something from the marketplace.. there is a K2000 listed now.

Keeping in mind I am a COMPLETE novice and am not sure when I will move out of auto - is there a body you would recommend? I have seen a lot of reviews but am a bit confused about some of the terms being used (flare? soft? etc...)

Also - is the SIGMA 28-135mm a good 'everyday' lens? I have younger kids so my pics are mostly zoo trips, softball games, and family outings.

Thanks so much!!
Jen
Welcome to the forum!

Both the K100D and K2000 are fine cameras - I've had both. The K2000 has the benefit of being newer, with noticeably faster AF.

IMO, 28-135 is a fine range for everyday shooting.
04-14-2010, 10:20 PM   #15
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My first suggestion is to consider if you really want a digital SLR. I have a couple of siblings who know enough about cameras and photography to get great photos. They tell me they don't want to carry a bulky camera or spend the extra time needed to take the photos that can't be taken with a point-and-shoot digital. If you're not making big prints, taking photos in low light, getting deeper into photography as a hobby or using different lenses, you could get by without a digital SLR.

I would avoid the *ist series bodies and the K110D because they don't have Shake Reduction (SR). That's a system to stabilize the camera's sensor, improving your chances of getting a sharp photo. That leaves the K100D and K100D Super, K200D, K-m and K2000 models which might fit your budget and intended use. Other models have more features that appeal to advanced users and less features to appeal to new users. The K100 and K100D Super are essentially the same - someone will mention SDM compatibility but ignore them. The K200D is an in-between model with a lot of features from both beginner and advanced lines. The K2000 and K-m are the same camera with different names.

Reviews of these cameras or competing models on the internet tend to look for small differences and make them sound really important. The cameras are good enough to ignore all of the technical stuff, even the megapixels. In reality, 6 is plenty and 10 is better, but not by enough to make a big deal over it. I'd say choose on features but I'm not sure any particular feature that separates the models is really important. If you really like one model, go for it.

Someone else mentioned getting the lens with the camera. That's usually the cheapest way to get it. The lens is the DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6, usually called the kit lens here. Again, there are slight differences between kit lenses for the above cameras, but you aren't going to really notice any qualiy difference in photos. The lens is important because it's the cheapest way to get the most-used range. The Sigma lens you mentioned will work like a normal to telephoto range lens, a good second lens to have.

Once you have a digital SLR, it is so much easier to learn everything you wanted to know about photography.
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