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10-17-2010, 01:57 PM   #1
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New convert to Pentax--which camera & lens to buy

Hi folks,

I'm very excited about switching to Pentax after 20+ years with Nikon. I wish I had known about Pentax back in the day, but better late than never! I really like using a good quality digital camera plus some great prime lens that don't cost both arms and legs, and don't break your back like those big Nikon/Canon monsters!

I would like to know from your experiences about:
1) customer service--I went to the 3 top photo shops in Portland, OR, but none of them carry Pentax! I guess I will have to order/buy them from B&H or Amazon, unless there are other places I don't know about. What happens when something isn't working? Do I have to send equipment to Pentax, and how good is their customer service? I was jerked around by Nikon, so that's another reason I'm leaving it, bye, bye Nikon!
2) Pentax cameras I'm considering--K7 or Kr. My passion is street photography, so I need a very fast camera, with great autofocus, and above par in low light/high ISO. Also a wide angle, very fast and sharp lens with good bokeh and that magical 3D look. I'm intrigued by the 31 mm. f1.8. Is it REALLY sharp even wide open at 1.8?? Where do I even buy one? It's not available at B&H, and it's a heart-stopping $2,500 at Amazon! I would prefer to buy one new, since buying on ebay can be iffy.
3) What about flashes? Are any of them TTL flashes like the Nikon SB 600? If not, what system does Pentax use, and how good is it?
Lots of questions from a newbie, I know, but any help/advice will be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

10-17-2010, 02:11 PM   #2
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The 31mm can be gotten for $800ish- not sure where you got the $2500 from!

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10-17-2010, 02:19 PM   #3
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A suggestion for item 2: check out the Tamron 17-50mm 1:2.8, it is pretty fast, has very good IQ including being primishly sharp and is reasonably priced too.
10-17-2010, 02:22 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by dahlia Quote

I would like to know from your experiences about:

2) I'm intrigued by the 31 mm. f1.8. Is it REALLY sharp even wide open at 1.8?? Where do I even buy one? I would prefer to buy one new, since buying on ebay can be iffy.
3) What about flashes? Are any of them TTL flashes like the Nikon SB 600? If not, what system does Pentax use, and how good is it?
Lots of questions from a newbie, I know, but any help/advice will be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
2) Try adomara.com.

3) Pentax uses P-TTL for their flash system. It's been adequate for my rather infrequent use of it; my understanding, however, is that Nikon's flash system is the best in the business.

10-17-2010, 07:45 PM   #5
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Welcome aboard. I stopped into the Shuttberbug downtown the other day (broadway and alder) and they had a KX in stock. Not sure if they have any other bodies, but its worth at least a phone call.
10-17-2010, 07:49 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by The_Reasonable_Man Quote
Welcome aboard. I stopped into the Shuttberbug downtown the other day (broadway and alder) and they had a KX in stock. Not sure if they have any other bodies, but its worth at least a phone call.

Hopefully you're following the threads on the K-5/K-r. Not sure what your price range is, but your list of requirements/desired features sure looks like the K-5 would fit every bill and more.
10-17-2010, 09:24 PM   #7
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To begin with, IMO, you should go for K-r + DA 40mm/2.8 ltd.
Excellent kit, in very reasonable price.
10-17-2010, 09:41 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dahlia Quote
... great prime lens that [...] don't break your back...

[...]

Also a wide angle, very fast and sharp lens with good bokeh and that magical 3D look.
You can't have it both ways I'm afraid. You either get a big(ish) prime that's fast, or a prime that's small, but not fast.

Pentax have a few offerings that could be considered wide-angle, at 14mm (f2.8, big), 15mm (f4, small), 21mm (f3.2, tiny) and 31mm (f1.8, medium). And then there are of course offerings from Sigma, and legacy lenses, etc.

I can personally recommend the DA15mmf4, it's not fast, but godlike in every other way. And, I find, perfect for streetphotography (see my website, Beijing, Luoyang or Philippines for examples).

As for which body, you could go with excellent AF and excellent high ISO, but entry-level body (pentaprism, one dial, one screen) with the K-r. Or go for excellent body, but slightly less good high ISO and AF with the K-7. Or you could fork out some more cash and go with the camera that has it all, the K-5.

10-17-2010, 11:46 PM   #9
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Welcome here, and it's refreshing to see a Nikonian make a concerted switch to Pentax. Funds permitting, the K-5 seems to be the camera with all the bells and whistles, plus the weather sealing. Otherwise the K-r is indeed excellent value. Both will have reasonably fast AF and are built well.

Pentax service is something that has featured frequently on the forum, mostly for the wrong reasons. Ihaven't had personal experience with them so far, but there are unfortunate stories of slow repairs and service for their gear. Nevertheless, do a search and decide for yourself how they stack up for you. Ultimately it's their products that were the clincher for me, and I've been fortunate after 5 years, 4 cameras and many lenses and accessories never to have needed servicing or repairing.
10-18-2010, 12:05 AM   #10
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Id get a K-x or a K-5, the K-r is hardly an upgrade to the K-x but the K-5 is a major upgrade of the K-7

Also DA ltd primes are better imo than FA ltd. FA are faster but not as sharp across the whole frame. Faster is less and less important these days as the sensors are so good at higher iso.
10-18-2010, 02:33 AM   #11
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I'd suggest something completely different. Get a K-x which is very reasonably priced now and also couple that with an FA50/1.4 or if you insist on a wider angle, get a good used FA35/2. Both lenses are small, reasonably priced and fast....and you could get both for what you can find even a used FA31 for.

Jason
10-18-2010, 04:55 AM   #12
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might help knowing what body you had before to know what you are used to (like how many dials your previous cam had). also, are you ok using manual focus lenses? and what's your budget?
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