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08-07-2010, 10:04 PM   #1
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New member/photographer with questions

Hi all,

I just joined the forums and figured I'd tell you a little about my background before I started with the questions.

I bought my first digital camera back in 2002. It was a cheap Canon point & shoot. It worked well for quick and simple pictures, but it didn't really have the "pop" that I was looking for in my images.

In 2006, I found a really good deal on a Pentax ist DL DSLR, so I decided to take the plunge. Unfortunately, for the past few years, I used it on "Auto" mode, and the results were only slightly better than my old Canon.

Then I ran into an old friend of mine who is really good with photography. He showed me the in's and out's of shutter speed, aperture, ISO, etc.., and my pictures have improved significantly.

Recently, I decided that my lens collection (all 2 of them), was really limiting me on my pictures (The stock 18-55 that came with the kit, and a very poor quality 80-200 FA lens that I got on sale at Ritz for $79.99). I had heard great things about the 50mm F1.4, so I went out and spent the $380 on a new one (knowing full well that a little over a year ago it would have cost 1/2 of what I paid, but oh well, that's the market right now).

My images have improved dramatically.

I've been looking at the K-7, as I really like the idea of built in IS. But before I drop $800+ on a new body, would it really make that much difference in picture quality as compared to the ist DL, or does it just have more features?

Here is a recent image with the new lens (I also use Photoshop quite a bit):



08-07-2010, 10:14 PM   #2
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Unless you're a big landscape shooter or need faster autofocus, your money is better spent on better lenses, since the only "good" lens you have is the FA 50. K-7 have better sensor than IstDL in general, but if you still feel that you cannot get enough good pictures with the ist DL in normal circumstances, k-7 will not make your pictures better. Like this motorcycle picture will not be that much better with the K-7. Maybe you should start looking for da 70, fa 31, fa 77, or da 35 macro if you want zooms, 16-45, 17-70, 16-50, or 50-135 will be good as well. Take a look at Pentax Photo gallery and search the ist DL, and you'll see that alot of people create excellent images using that camera.

If you really want the K-7, I'd say wait until the new body comes out, at that time the K-7 prices will drop then you should get it.
08-07-2010, 10:16 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
Unless you're a big landscape shooter or need faster autofocus, your money is better spent on better lenses, since the only "good" lens you have is just the FA 50. K-7 have better sensor than IstDL in general, but if you still feel that you cannot get enough good pictures with the ist DL in normal circumstances, k-7 will not make your pictures better, like this motorcycle picture will not be that much better with the K-7. Maybe you should start looking for da 70, fa 31, fa 77, or da 35 macro if you want zooms, 16-45, 17-70, 16-50, or 50-135 will be good as well. Take a look at Pentax Photo gallery and search the ist DL, and you'll see that alot of people create excellent images using that camera.

If you really want the K-7, I'd say wait until the new body comes out, at that time the K-7 prices will drop then you should get it.

Thanks.

Do you think that's a good picture?
08-07-2010, 10:30 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Copyright Quote
Thanks.

Do you think that's a good picture?
I think that's completely irrelevant to this thread. If you're looking for compliments and critiques, there is another section of the forum devoted to that.

Your best bet would be to go to a camera store and trying the K7. I would certainly look at a few more lenses before a newer body. The istDL may be old but it is a very capable camera. I know quite a few people who prefer their istDL over newer bodies such as the K-x.

08-07-2010, 10:35 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
I think that's completely irrelevant to this thread. If you're looking for compliments and critiques, there is another section of the forum devoted to that.

Your best bet would be to go to a camera store and trying the K7. I would certainly look at a few more lenses before a newer body. The istDL may be old but it is a very capable camera. I know quite a few people who prefer their istDL over newer bodies such as the K-x.
Maybe I need to be more clear in the question. Earlier you had stated that the image wouldn't be much better if I had used a K-7. When I asked if it was a good picture, I meant does it look like I used the ist DL to its potential (meaning that I took the picture correctly).

Remember, I'm new to this forum and advanced photography.
08-07-2010, 10:50 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Copyright Quote
Maybe I need to be more clear in the question. Earlier you had stated that the image wouldn't be much better if I had used a K-7. When I asked if it was a good picture, I meant does it look like I used the ist DL to its potential (meaning that I took the picture correctly).

Remember, I'm new to this forum and advanced photography.
That's a resized JPEG and the question is incredibly open ended and probably indeterminable. Would you have got a better photo if you had a K-7? I don't know. You should be asking yourself if you're using the camera to its maximum potential.

The K-7 will enable you to take photos in adverse weather conditions. It'll let you blow them up to larger prints. It'll let you shoot more frames per second if you're worried about missing a shot. It'll focus faster and more accurately, etc. You can read the specs for all the other nifty things it'll do that your istDL will not. You can also try the camera at a brick and mortar to see if it fits your hands.

If you want better image quality, I'd be looking at lenses.
08-07-2010, 10:56 PM   #7
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The K7 has over twice the resolution of the ist DL, I'm sure that it would come into play eventually. The new kit lenses are also really capable.

If anything you could get a Kx and one really nice lens for the price of a K7. I've had both and I think the Kx produces better pictures, especially handheld and in low light. In my mind the only reason to buy a K7 is for weather resistance and marginally better video performance. The differences other than those don't really warrant the 400-500 difference when you could get some nice lenses with the difference or just save money in general

(in case you're wondering I have the K7 because I needed weather resistance, I had to sell the Kx to free up some funds but I'd have just a Kx no doubt if I didn't need the WR, I still wish I had it sometimes)

Ideally if I were in your situation I would get a Kx in your color of choice, and then a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8, maybe a Pentax DA 55-300 and call it good because that would probably fill all your photography needs for a while, also would only be about 1300, which is honestly pretty cheap for a full featured system with a good balance of body and lenses

Last edited by future_retro; 08-07-2010 at 11:02 PM.
08-07-2010, 11:12 PM   #8
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Go for lenses. A camera is a box upon which you hang lenses. A digital camera lasts for a few years; a lens lasts for a few decades or more. (Disclaimer: I own many cameras and too many lenses.) Your FA50/1.4 is a damn good start.

Exactly what sorts of lenses to think about will come from asking yourself: What do I want to do that I can't do with what I have now? My answers brought me to the FA50/1.4, and an AF fisheye zoom and superzoom. (And then a zillion old manual lenses.) Your mileage may vary.

Too many people go at this backwards, thinking, "I have this body and the kit lens, what's the best glass I can afford to replace the kit?" Think instead of, "Where do I want to go? What will get me there?" For portraits, macros, landscapes, and general farting around, the gear can be pretty inexpensive. For action sports, distant wildlife, or going wide, it can be rather costly. New and fast and autofocus, costs. Old and (not superfast) and manual, costs much less. What are the good and bad lenses? See the lens review database for specifics.

I'm not going to suggest lenses for you to buy now; enough others here will do that. I *would* chuck that FA80-200 and get something a bit better. I favor old manual primes. But my most-used lens is a DA18-250; long AF zooms are just *so* handy and flexible. Again, you need to think of what you want to shoot, at what speed, in what light, to what purpose. Have fun!

08-07-2010, 11:36 PM   #9
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Thanks for the responses.

I bought the 50mm F1.4 because I love taking pics with a shallow DOF. Also, the image quality is noticeably sharper than with the 18-55.

I bought that 80-200 because I thought I wanted a zoom lens. As it turns out, I've used it once or twice in the past 4 years. For my needs, I could probably get by with just another higher quality 18-55.
08-08-2010, 12:50 AM   #10
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I've used my telephoto about 3 time too. If all you use is the kit lens then a fast kit lens like the Tamron 17-50 would be the perfect improvement, if you need further convincing then you can check out this thread going on:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/109958-tamron-...lly-worth.html
08-08-2010, 12:59 AM   #11
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If you want a higher quality 18-55 you can't go wrong with the Pentax DA* 16-50. Fantastic lens.
08-08-2010, 09:31 AM   #12
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You asked about the picture you posted. I think that most of the background doesn't contribute to the picture, so you might try eliminating it.

With 6mp you don't have as much cropping flexibility as you would with 14mp. For me, I have a 6mp and 10mp and really for what I do there isn't much difference, because I have mostly static subjects, and zooms that allow relatively precise framing.

As for your lenses, I'm not completely convinced that you're seeing huge differences between your 18-55 and 50mm lenses. I base that on the fact that I can see far fewer differences in lenses with my 6mp body than with the 10mp. I'm sure with more megapixels, even more differences would be more readily visible. Obviously a 1.4 lens can do things in terms of shallow depth of field that a 3.5-5.6 can't, but at f9.5-11+ I'm just not convinced the differences are going to jump out at you, especially at 6mp. If your pictures are better with the 50mm, it might be because you've gotten better, not because your equipment is better.

The lens and sensor quality issue somewhat depends on what you're going to use the images for, and the subjects that you photograph. At some point better lenses help, and at some point you need full-frame or even larger sensors. If you only read this forum, you may tend to conclude that there is some magical minimum acceptable level of image quality that you can only reach with fixed-length or very expensive zoom lenses, but in fact there is a continuum of image quality, and many factors that contribute to it.

Paul
08-08-2010, 10:22 AM   #13
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Oh no...

The local store has the K-x kit on sale for $497 (in tax-free NH).

I could sell my ist DL on eBay (like new condition with the extra telephoto lens) for $250-300.

So I could upgrade for ~$250.

Decisions decisions...
(And I'd really like to be able to print on 11 x 17, which 6mp won't allow).
08-08-2010, 11:11 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Copyright Quote
(And I'd really like to be able to print on 11 x 17, which 6mp won't allow).
If you have a costco near you, for $9 you can get a 20x30 print (at least you could here at our local one). It is not that you can't, but there is software that will help you maintain some of the quality at the larger print sizes.

A year ago our TV died, so my wife and I splurged on a 52" flat panel. For a lark, I loaded up an image from my K100 (6mp) and my K20 (14mp). I was expecting stunning results from the K20 - which I saw. What I did not expect was the stunning results from the K100's 6mp image. So do not count your *ist short.

08-08-2010, 12:45 PM   #15
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Would the DA* 16-50 autofocus on the *ist D though?
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