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07-29-2007, 10:02 PM   #1
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backup camera, or new lens?

Trying to make up my mind how to spend about $500 to help with my event photography. In addition to graduations, banquets, etc., I'm starting to do weddings and would like to improve my kit a little.

What I have now:
K10D
Pentax AF540 flash
Pentax auto-focus 50mm f/1.4
Pentax auto-focus 16-45
Tamron 28-75 f/2.8
Tamron 18-250 f/3.5-6.3

And some more stuff, but those are the things I depend on all the time now. What I'm considering adding would be ONE of the following; either
  1. A fast prime lens around 100mm. Pentax makes a 100mm f/2.8; Sigma makes a 105mm f/2.8. Both seem to be well regarded. Both are designated "macro", which I take it means simply that they have an excellent max magnification factor (1:1) -- NOT that you can't use them for portraits, etc. (Right?)
  2. The Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 EX DC: $499 from Adorama. Has excellent reviews. I don't want a fish-eye -- just a nice wide zoom. Right now I can only get down to 16 (with the Pentax 16-45) or 18 (with the Tamron 18-250).
Those are the lenses I'm going back and forth between. I'm leaning strongly at the moment to the Sigma 10-20, mainly that 10-15mm range is simply something I can't do at all right now. But then I come back to the idea that the 100/105 f/2.8 might be more frequently useful as it would allow me to shoot sans flash from a distance, good not just for portraits but also for candid shots. On the other hand, the 10-20 could be useful to candids especially at weddings, banquets, etc., where I find I sometimes don't have much choice but to be fairly close to the subject.

The final option is to skip the lens for the moment and buy a second camera -- probably a K100D (body only). Advantages here are pretty obvious: (1) If the K10D were -- heaven forbid! -- to die on me in the middle of an event, I'd have an excellent second camera to fall back on. And (2) I could attach my preferred lens to the K10D and my second choice lens to the K100D and have 'em both ready instantly without having to change lenses. Of course getting the full benefit of this plan requires carrying two cameras around, which is a pain in the patoot, and could end up actually getting in the way of shooting photos. I do have other backup cameras that I could use in case of real disaster -- a Nikon film slr, and a couple good quality compact superzooms (Canon S3 IS). And I don't have any real worries about the K10D dying on me. So I'm inclined to go with the new lens.

What would you do if you were me (after you got over the shock)?

Will

07-29-2007, 10:32 PM   #2
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i say go with a second k10d

that way you will ALWAYS have the quality that you want with the camera you ALWAYS use.

you have the focal length covered anyway
going faster is nice

but backup is a necessity
07-29-2007, 11:19 PM   #3
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yea wedigs defntly a 2nd body, in wedings you get 1 shot and if there is a problem with 1 camera you still get the job dun and get payed if your first gos bad for some reson. if you get the lens you have the lens but no way to get the job dun.

i would get the K100D for back up and you can get a older 135 F1.5 MF for cheep i love mine. i got mine for 25$ it is a 70s modal
07-30-2007, 03:45 AM   #4
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Hi "WMBP"

Believe me, I am not an expert on this subject, but can only surmise that if you are seriously thinking about getting involved in doing wedding photography on a semi-commercial/commercial basis (i.e. being paid real money !), to go out on an assignment with 'just one DSLR' seems like a pretty risky strategy to me ! All I know is that when I undertake a classical concert recording on location, I ALWAYS have TWO separate 'rigs' running in parallel at ALL TIMES......PERIOD !! Is the term 'belt & braces' familiar to you.........oh, and 'Sod's Law' always tends to enter into the equation at just the most inconvenient moment !! Ask yourself just ONE QUESTION: If I screw-up big-time (through no fault of my own), can I realistically expect the Bride & Groom and ALL the guests (assuming no one has died in the intervening period !) to conveniently re-assemble at the same location for a second attempt at some time in the future ?.......precisely, it AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN, FOLKS.......Bang goes what 'little reputation' you thought you might of had to start with. Do you STILL want to be a Wedding Photographer after that little scenario ???

Now let's deal with the lens issue. This is what I wrote on another post to somebody who needed a relatively inexpensive lens for taking shots of internal architecture:

QuoteQuote:
It's actually quite difficult to explain to someone who's never seen it before just how "w-i-d-e" a field of view the Sigma 10 - 20mm zoom is capable or rendering. It certainly 'blew-me-away' the first time I hooked it up to my Pentax K10D, but the truly astonishing thing about it is the virtual absence of visible distortion in the viewfinder. What little distortion 'there may be' in the images can quite easily be eliminated with modern editing software, from which there is quite a variety to choose, both inexpensive and somewhat more-so.

IMHO I believe the Sigma 10 - 20mm HSM zoom to be quite an extraordinarily accomplished lens, within it's price bracket. Please note that there have been some posts elsewhere on this forum regarding issues concerning sample variation and focusing anomalies, so if I were you I'd strongly advise that you check out the lens very thoroughly prior to purchase at a photographic store ! If using mail order please get some kind of firm agreement in place, should you need/decide to return it.
Having said all that, I'm not sure precisely how useful this lens would be for taking photos at a wedding ? It would undeniably be indispensable for 'framing' group photos and the adjustability of the w-i-d-e zoom-function on this lens is pretty spectacular. However, for portraits etc I would think far less so ? It's really a matter of 'horses-for-courses'. I would tend to side with the other contributors on this one: obtain a second body FIRST and then think about getting another lens of some description, assuming that your budget will stretch that far ?

With best regards
Richard


Last edited by Confused; 07-30-2007 at 11:16 AM.
07-30-2007, 04:31 AM   #5
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Will

I would opt for the 10-20mm lens, as it gives you something you don't have at present.

You can always wait for something to come along with respect for a second body.

With respect to a second body, you may wish to look for an *istD if for no other reason that it has 2 features you may wish to have, first it goes up to iso3200, which is great for low light, and second, it has TTL flash, which your AF540FGZ supports and will allow you to do flash photography with older K-Mount lenses.

As I commented elsewhere, with respect to back up body, it should not only be a back up but it should do something your main body can't do. The *istD fits that requirement, and has very similar controls to the K10. Only draw back is the CF Card.
07-30-2007, 04:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Will

I would opt for the 10-20mm lens, as it gives you something you don't have at present.

You can always wait for something to come along with respect for a second body.

With respect to a second body, you may wish to look for an *istD if for no other reason that it has 2 features you may wish to have, first it goes up to iso3200, which is great for low light, and second, it has TTL flash, which your AF540FGZ supports and will allow you to do flash photography with older K-Mount lenses.

As I commented elsewhere, with respect to back up body, it should not only be a back up but it should do something your main body can't do. The *istD fits that requirement, and has very similar controls to the K10. Only draw back is the CF Card.
To back up what Lowell says, I just bought a *ist D for those two exact reasons - it is better at high ISO and supports TTL flash. I have an AF500FTZ flash that is TTL only. The *ist D (unlike any other model except the K10) also natively supports wireless - so I can still trigger my AF360FGZ with both bodies.

Keep in mind, however, that I bought every single lens I need before buying the backup body. My style of photography doesn't demand much wider than 24mm - and for those occasional times I can use the Tamron 14/2.8 and SMC Takumar 17mm Fisheye.

--Sean
07-30-2007, 04:58 AM   #7
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Will - I should probably not be offering advice as I am not experienced enough to get paid to take photos, but I would probably go for the extra body. My reasoning is two fold - if one camera has a malfunction you are not screwed and secondly you have two lenses available without havng to make changes and possibly miss the shot.

Gary
07-30-2007, 05:10 AM   #8
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To "Lowell"

...to which I would most 'respectfully' reply:

You could possess all of the finest Pentax lenses in Christendom, but if your sole DSLR goes 'kaput' on an actual job, that expensive glass will be about as much use to you as a 'spare pr.....k' at a wedding reception, which is precisely what you're going to look like when the Bride and Groom quietly sidle up to you and coyly ask "How did the wedding photographs turn out. Was everything o.k." ??? Here's the reality check: You only get ONE OPPORTUNITY to 'get it right' and it's simply not worth permanently ruining a married couple's once-in-a-lifetime 'special day' by not having a second DSLR body in your camera bag, which might hopefully get you out of a very tricky if not embarrassing situation. The choice is entirely yours of course, but I have no doubt whatsoever which path I would personally follow !!

Best regards
Richard

07-30-2007, 05:12 AM   #9
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I know a few wedding photographers who only carry a superzoom or like compact camera as a backup locally. It has worked for them nicely. Some of the more advanced cameras are almost right up there with DSLRs in performance and quality.

If you feel that is the entire backup you need, then I wouldn't worry about it overly much. My opinion is this, you should get yourself another DSLR, maybe not now if you don't really feel the need..but you should put it on your short list of must get equipment.

I second Lowell Goudge's statement. Your second body can be a used cheap model. It is there just to get you out of the danger zone incase your main gear stops working.

Now as far as the lenses. The K10d has a cropping factor of 1.5. Thus your 16-45mm lens turns into a 24-67.5mm lens. 24mm may be as wide as you need. If you feel that you need 10-20mm (15-30mm), then this may be a good choice for you.

The macro lenses are well known for their sharpness. Those 100mm/105mm macros turn into a 150mm (157mm) lens with the 1.5x cropping factor. That is a little long for portraiture work. This does not mean you can't use them. I know people who prefer a longer telephoto for their portraiture work, some a much shorter one. Anyways, macros used for portraiture will show ever flaw, wrinkle, etc. You would probably have to invest in a soft filter, or make your own with some petroleum jelly on a piece of glass. Either that or add some in Photoshop.

There are lenses made specifically for soft focus portrait work. Not sure if Pentax offers anything like this, I know a few larger camera makers do.

One thing you did not mention however is a good flash bracket. Either the flash flip or camera flip variety. I know a few wedding photographers, and they all use some sort of flash bracket and diffuser combination to get better lighting. If you don't have one of these yet, you may want to start looking into what is available, etc. Just a thought.
07-30-2007, 05:32 AM   #10
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To reply to those who pick a back up camera over new lenses, I guess this is the difference between a long term pentax user and a newcomer.

With the exception of my second camera, (a KX) which was bought as a mechanical only body not requiring batteries except for the light meter, my way of having a back up was always to retain my old bodies.

When I bought my *istD, my PZ-1 was the back up, now with purchasing a K10D, my *istD has become the back up, and the PZ-1 sits with my 2 other film bodies.

When I bought the Sigma 10-20 lens, it was the first, and at present remains the only digital only lens. All other lenses I own, including 4 other AF zooms are full frame, and all but the 18-35 which came with the *istD can be used on all 3 film bodies as well. (The 18-35 can only be used with the PZ-1)

I guess because of this I don't think of back up in the same way. For me it has always existed.
07-30-2007, 05:50 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Trying to make up my mind how to spend about $500 to help with my event photography. In addition to graduations, banquets, etc., I'm starting to do weddings and would like to improve my kit a little.

What I have now:
K10D
Pentax AF540 flash
Pentax auto-focus 50mm f/1.4
Pentax auto-focus 16-45
Tamron 28-75 f/2.8
Tamron 18-250 f/3.5-6.3

And some more stuff, but those are the things I depend on all the time now. What I'm considering adding would be ONE of the following; either
  1. A fast prime lens around 100mm. Pentax makes a 100mm f/2.8; Sigma makes a 105mm f/2.8. Both seem to be well regarded. Both are designated "macro", which I take it means simply that they have an excellent max magnification factor (1:1) -- NOT that you can't use them for portraits, etc. (Right?)
  2. The Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6 EX DC: $499 from Adorama. Has excellent reviews. I don't want a fish-eye -- just a nice wide zoom. Right now I can only get down to 16 (with the Pentax 16-45) or 18 (with the Tamron 18-250).
Those are the lenses I'm going back and forth between. I'm leaning strongly at the moment to the Sigma 10-20, mainly that 10-15mm range is simply something I can't do at all right now. But then I come back to the idea that the 100/105 f/2.8 might be more frequently useful as it would allow me to shoot sans flash from a distance, good not just for portraits but also for candid shots. On the other hand, the 10-20 could be useful to candids especially at weddings, banquets, etc., where I find I sometimes don't have much choice but to be fairly close to the subject.

The final option is to skip the lens for the moment and buy a second camera -- probably a K100D (body only). Advantages here are pretty obvious: (1) If the K10D were -- heaven forbid! -- to die on me in the middle of an event, I'd have an excellent second camera to fall back on. And (2) I could attach my preferred lens to the K10D and my second choice lens to the K100D and have 'em both ready instantly without having to change lenses. Of course getting the full benefit of this plan requires carrying two cameras around, which is a pain in the patoot, and could end up actually getting in the way of shooting photos. I do have other backup cameras that I could use in case of real disaster -- a Nikon film slr, and a couple good quality compact superzooms (Canon S3 IS). And I don't have any real worries about the K10D dying on me. So I'm inclined to go with the new lens.

What would you do if you were me (after you got over the shock)?

Will
Hi Will,

I started (this evolution of digital) with two K10 bodies (got a K100 too); and I have the 105mm Sigma from film days. And two of just about every accessory: flash, bracket, diffusers, etc. My lens collection is fast from 12mm to 200 and is complimented by primes across the same range; all with macro ability. The whole mess weighs almost as much as I do-which pretty much disallows me fitting into your 'skinny' body. And, well, that the best I can do for equipment buying advice.

On the other and, when the money flows in from events, weddings, whatever, all that weight seems a bit 'lighter'.
07-30-2007, 06:42 AM   #12
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If your are making money, the sigma 10-20 and another K10D is the way to go. It will pay for itself in no time and is profitable insurance. I have the 10-20 and it is excellent for wide shots.
07-30-2007, 11:55 AM   #13
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To "Ivoire"

QuoteQuote:
The Sigma 10-20 and another K10D is the way to go
In an ideal world of unlimited monetary resources, I'd have no problem with that advice. However if I may refer everybody back to the original question, the available funds allowed for either a lens OR a body, but NOT BOTH !!!
O.K. 'Mesdames et Messieurs', please let's wrap this one up once-and-for-all.

A) If you're the kind of guy who enjoys taking a calculated risk, buy the Sigma but don't come back crying to this forum if/when your camera body unexpectedly goes AWOL right when you need it most or:

B) Buy another body (cheaper backup, doesn't necessarily have to be K10D) and relax in the knowledge that at least you have a 'Plan B' to fall back upon !

Finito......

Best regards
Richard

Last edited by Confused; 07-30-2007 at 12:38 PM.
07-30-2007, 01:02 PM   #14
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I'd buy a second K10d body used or something...even a K100d or istD and save up for whatever Pentax is planning on to top the K10D with next year. If you are doing events you really need two bodies as I have seen many, many others comment on...
07-30-2007, 02:49 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I would opt for the 10-20mm lens, as it gives you something you don't have at present.
Thanks, Lowell. Exactly why I'm leaning that way. You know me from this forum -- I think others who responded may not. I'm not a life-long Pentax user but I'm not an inexperienced photographer. I know that a 10-20mm lens is not typically a portrait lens, and I wasn't planning to use it for portraits. But there's more to a wedding or a banquet than portraits! In the events that I've shot, even just in the last few years, I've often wished for something wider than I had -- say, to get a good view of the entire hall, to be able to take a large group shot with a fair bit of depth of field, and last but not least, to be able to shoot candids while slyly pointing the camera slightly to the side of the subject.

The fact that I'll use the 10-20 in November when I'm camping in the Grand Canyon has not escaped me, either.<g> But it's not my first thought right now.


QuoteQuote:
With respect to a second body, you may wish to look for an *istD if for no other reason that it has 2 features you may wish to have, first it goes up to iso3200, which is great for low light, and second, it has TTL flash, which your AF540FGZ supports and will allow you to do flash photography with older K-Mount lenses.

As I commented elsewhere, with respect to back up body, it should not only be a back up but it should do something your main body can't do. The *istD fits that requirement, and has very similar controls to the K10. Only draw back is the CF Card.
This is an intriguing suggestion and I appreciate your making it.

I have old CF cards here, but being able to exchange cards between cameras would indeed be very useful. I can think of a second drawback to the *ist D: no SR. The K100D would give me slightly better high-ISO performance than the K10D. If disaster strikes I could live without wireless capability. And I am not really using any manual-focus lenses right now. (I have the Pentax M50 f/1.4, but since I have also got the auto-focus version of the same lens, I don't find myself using the manual focus very often.) When is the new K100D supposed to come out?

In retrospect, I regret that I sold my K100D when I bought the K10D, but at the time, it was really a budgetary necessity. C'est la guerre.

Will
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