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12-06-2010, 07:25 PM   #1
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K7 + good lens or K5 w/kit lens

I've been trying to decide on a camera and have been drooling over the k5 however if I bought it I would be stuck with the kit lens for a while as that is my price limit. So which would be a better option, the k7 with money to spare for a good lens, or the latest tech in the k5 with the kit lens for a while?

Which would you choose?

12-06-2010, 07:35 PM   #2
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What do you normally shoot? Personally I would go with the K-5 and the DAL 35mm (do they offer that as a kit yet?) and then an old fast 50. However, I like shooting with primes and enjoy older, manual focus lenses.

There are a lot of people here with more experience using both bodies but I think most people will ask you the same question.
12-06-2010, 07:41 PM   #3
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Yes, it's important to know what 'other lens' you may be after as it'll determine what other options you may have. But you know what, between the K-x, K-r, K-7 and K-5 there are advances that you may or may not appreciate. So starting off, I'd even suggest a K-x or K20D and an excellent lens (which you'll keep for life) rather than a K-7 and an OK lens, and definitely better than a great camera like the K-5 and an ordinary lens.

My suggestions do mean looking for second hand deals, but they abound here on this forum's marketplace.
12-06-2010, 07:45 PM   #4
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Personally I enjoy low light stuff. I had a canon 7d and loved the el cheapo 50 1.8 on it. then after that a medium zoom. I just wish pentax had a cheap and fast fifty like canon and nikon do. I dont know why but I'm always drawn back to pentax, maybe its the underdog or david and goliath type of thing. The 7d never really won me over

12-06-2010, 08:18 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Yes, it's important to know what 'other lens' you may be after as it'll determine what other options you may have. But you know what, between the K-x, K-r, K-7 and K-5 there are advances that you may or may not appreciate. So starting off, I'd even suggest a K-x or K20D and an excellent lens (which you'll keep for life) rather than a K-7 and an OK lens, and definitely better than a great camera like the K-5 and an ordinary lens.

My suggestions do mean looking for second hand deals, but they abound here on this forum's marketplace.
I agree...but you need to find a camera that fits your needs. If you're not really planning on needing weather sealing or some of the fancier features of the K-7/K-5, just get a K-x/K-r for now and buy an uber-lens that you will always use through the rest of your career.

Speaking personally, I bought a K-7 with the kit lens and an A 50 1.7 off of ebay. I barely use the kit lens because I can't stand it's IQ, so I'm stuck with my A 50 1.7 and an A 50 2.8 macro I inherited from family. It's been fun to get used to manual lenses, but boy is it hard to get action shots of my daughter!

If I had to do it over again, I would have gotten a K-x with a limited Pentax prime (DA 35 macro, FA 77, DA 70, etc). That's not to say the K-7 is bad (it's quite awesome in fact), but the sensor bugs the snot out of me at times, so it makes me want the K-5.

So anyway, food for thought...look into the K-x/K-r and make sure the extra investment is needed and not wanted. If you do go K-5, the newer 18-135mm zoom looks outstanding IQ wise (especially compared to the 18-55mm), so don't feel qualms about picking that up for a walkaround and supplementing with primes later!
12-06-2010, 08:48 PM   #6
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There seems to be a prevalence of people poo-poohing kit lenses -
But the Pentax 18-55 kit zoom is actually a GOOD lens -

12-06-2010, 08:49 PM   #7
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You already received some good advice. Let me add some thought.

Both the K-5 and K-7 are excellent cameras. You cannot be wrong with either.

The K-5 is the latest camera. Excellent users' reports. Expansive and fashionable.

The K-7 is an excellent camera with superb handling, viewfinder, WR and low ISO performances. The K-5 does as well but not better for all of these.

A weakness of the K-7 is the lwo light but there are several ways to have excellent low-light performances with the K-7. These include:

- with some in-camera PP, it is possible to get very nice shots either with in-camera PP (see K-7 High ISO Success!)

- with some dedicated noise reduction software like Noiseware and NoiseNinja;

- with some fast prime lens.

I have used all the above techniques successfully, although I prefer the latter in the darkest conditions. The first two techniques are very easy to use and implement. However, in dark conditions, my preference is a large aperture prime lens with MF. (yes, MF). I work often outdoor at dusk and dawn, and at night times. I got my best results with my Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 MF.

Please note I do not talk of high ISO, but real low-light conditions.


Coming back to your question:
- choose a good lens; 'a lens is worth every penny' and it is an investment that will not loose its value;

- the present prices of the K-7 are nearly 50% of the K-5 price. That is, the K-7 is extremely good value.

- if you want to shoot in low light, consider to purchase (now or soon) a large aperture fast prime.

Unless you are addicted to get the latest 'gear', get the K-7 and invest in some good glasses.

Food for thoughts....

Last edited by hcc; 12-07-2010 at 11:50 AM.
12-06-2010, 09:59 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
There seems to be a prevalence of people poo-poohing kit lenses -
But the Pentax 18-55 kit zoom is actually a GOOD lens -
Sorry for "poo-pooing" but I still don't like the IQ. Take a look at the new 18-135mm review on this forum and look at the comparison shots; it blew me away!

12-06-2010, 10:49 PM   #9
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Yeah, the even the 18-135mm blows the kit out of the water. I mean, it's usable, but you should expect your money's worth for an $100 lens.

To the OP: I think you should get the K-5 and wait it out on getting a good lens. There's no point in getting an older body, since it'll end up being replaced anyway.

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12-07-2010, 12:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote
Sorry for "poo-pooing" but I still don't like the IQ. Take a look at the new 18-135mm review on this forum and look at the comparison shots; it blew me away!
Yep - based on the comparison photos I would agree with you -
the 18-55 looks so bad that it looks out of focus.
(I mean it's so bad even the f/8 shot looks bad at the center which would make this lens unacceptable at any aperture!)

There is another instance of the 18-55 looking so bad that it looks out of focus -
NOTE: this Imaging-Resource.com link opens a 6Mp sample image from the K100D using a DA 18-55mm AL
Whereas this 6Mp image shot at f/8 doesn't seem to have that problem.....

Last edited by UnknownVT; 12-07-2010 at 12:29 AM.
12-07-2010, 12:21 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by harleynitelite Quote
Personally I enjoy low light stuff. I had a canon 7d and loved the el cheapo 50 1.8 on it. then after that a medium zoom. I just wish pentax had a cheap and fast fifty like canon and nikon do. I dont know why but I'm always drawn back to pentax, maybe its the underdog or david and goliath type of thing. The 7d never really won me over
I am with Ash here. Unless you insist on having 100% viewfinder, in-camera level and whatever else bells and whistles were added to the game by K-7, you could buy K-x or even K20D and FA 50/1.4. By doing so you will be well within USD 1000 and still be able to shoot in low light. Depending on your eyesight and ergonomic requirements (such as size of your palm) K-x is indeed an excellent choice. So is K-r (slightly more expensive) and K20D.
12-07-2010, 12:24 AM   #12
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no way that the 18-55 II kit lens can be as bad as that one in the review!
12-07-2010, 02:26 AM   #13
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I have been very happy with my K-7 matches with a DA 35 Limited Pentax lens. I have taken many superior pictures with it in various situations. It's a macro, but can be used for most subjects. The big advantage is resolution, build quality, and IQ. It also has a f2.8 max aperture. That said, the kit lenses are good too.

As a rule, I would send money on good glass, as bodies are continually superceded, while lenses are not. The limited lenses keep their value longer than the bodies.
12-07-2010, 04:42 AM   #14
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Vincent et al. re: kit lens
I've come full circle with the 18-55: starting off with the first version of it on my first Pentax dSLR, the K100D, then giving it up for a fast fifty, which made me put the kit lens away never to be mounted again. I then sold it for a Tamron 28-75 then added on the DA 12-24. No regrets.

Then after loving the DA* 16-50, I thought, I'm not all that keen on SDM, but I want to keep a WR lens, so I'll go back to an 18-55 WR. After all, it's the version II, which should be better than the first one I had, plus all those reviews made me feel good about going back to it.

Let me poo-pooh it some more here - it barely passes as just a GOOD lens in my books. Despite it being rated as the best kit lens around; I have tried to get adequate (subjective term) results from it, and under optimal conditions it doesn't do too badly, but otherwise it pales in comparison to the DA 12-24, Tamron 28-75 and DA* 16-50. I also had the DA 16-45 at one stage, and didn't mind that one, but I did find it hard to see compelling differences between the kit lens and the 16-45. That's what made me go on to the DA* 16-50, which did blow me away with its striking colours, 3D rendition and sharpness.

So overall, the kit lens is at best uninspiring, and mainly reserved for your 'f/8 and be there' type of photography. My advice, you want good images, and you can afford to invest in a decent lens, then go for it ahead of a camera body. Nowadays, the choice is made simpler if you still want WR - as Adam says, the 18-135 WR is now available, so buddy it up with a K-7 (best compromise for low-light work) and you're set.

Last edited by Ash; 01-06-2011 at 02:12 PM.
12-07-2010, 06:17 AM   #15
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Boy, this is a tough decision. I own the K7 and am very happy with it, but I have quite a bit of desire for the K5 -- it really seems to fix all of the things that are niggles with the K7.

I guess, as I think it through, I would get the K7 with a prime (you choose the focal length) and the Tamron 17-50 f2.8. I think that would cover a lot of situations and I think you would end up with roughly equivalent shooting ability in low light situations. Overall, you would get better image quality. As Ash says, the kit lens is good for a kit lens, but it is pretty weak overall. I would only get it if you feel like you want a truly weather sealed combo.

Unfortunately, low light is really where the K7 does suffer the most, I never really shoot above iso 1600 with mine.
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