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12-25-2010, 05:05 PM   #1
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holiday question

first off, happy holidays to fellow members (and for the members who are going to celebrate or have celebrated already).
i received some christmas money and i don't know what to save up for. i'm looking at KX, KR, and maybe a K7 or K5 body, or maybe a good lens. my equipment right now is a *ist dl with the standard 18-55mm kit lens, an A series 50mm f2 lens which i actually really love, a 28-80 f3.5 tak, and a tamron 90-300mm f4.5 AF lens... the tak and the tamron are from '94 when my uncle had his sf10. i also received an external flash for christmas, which is really fun to use but they sent one for a canon instead of a pentax! lol it works, but i don't want to ruin my camera. anyway, i really like to use available light and i like to shoot outdoor landscapes. i also take photos of family events and sometimes family greeting cards.
so my question is to you, should i get a more up-to-date body? or should i just get a good lens? i was thinking about taking some photography classes in school because well, i suck at taking pictures. the latter will probably help the most. thanks!

12-25-2010, 08:08 PM   #2
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Although the *ist DL has the fewest features (and slowest AF) of any Pentax DSLR, a photography class or book will help more than upgrading the camera or lens. You should get a decent idea of how to approach each photo, what to look for, and what to do.

Then look at your equipment. It's very hard to resist purchasing a new camera, when you start to look at the current features. If you have an extra $500, go for it. But I would try to resist as long as possible, because only a few features contribute directly to improving photos (SR and high ISO performance, maybe better AF). On a limited budget, used cameras are a good idea.

Lenses can totally change your photographs. The lenses that make the biggest difference often cost a lot. The photo class should help you here by giving you an idea of what each lens is meant to do, and helping you figure out if you want to do that. Until you really know what you want to photograph, buying lenses is just spending money. It can work - you can buy an FA 31mm f1.8 then figure out how to take great photos with it - but it works better to start knowing something about the lens before buying.
12-25-2010, 08:39 PM   #3
hcc
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1 with Dave

"Good glass is worth every penny"

"Invest in glass, waste in body"

Dave gave you some excellent advice. Another perspective is some financial consideration. New dSLR camera body comes out every year. Your new camera will loose almost 50% of its value within the first 12 months. On the other hand, a good lens is always a good lens and will still be a good lens in 5-10 years. Its value will increase with time in most cases. It can be used on newer cameras and its does not loose its value.

I use the expression 'good glass' for non-kit lenses. (Nothing against kit lenses, but simply a fiinancial perspective.) The kit lenses are not bad, but there are superb lenses with K-mount (the Pentax mount) that you can use and re-use on any Pentax dSLRs. Dave mentioned the FA31mm Ltd and it is a classical example. Developed for full-frame film cameras, the lens is still loved by dSLR Pentaxians: see its rating in the User reviews in this Forum (https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-FA-31mm-F1.8-Limited-Lens.html).


I would say: invest in a good lens after carefully considering what lens is best for you (prime or zoom, range of focal length(s)). Everybody is different and each one of us will have some different preferences. The lens is more important than the camera body however. If you are happy with the *ist DL, keep it and use it to develop you skills. In a few months/years, you can then consider another body and will have save yourself a lot of money....

Hope that the comments will help....

Last edited by hcc; 12-25-2010 at 09:59 PM.
12-26-2010, 06:40 AM   #4
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the advice is really appreciated. dave did hit all the 3 points of why i would like a new body, along with faster continuous drive mode and not to mention the really funky AWB and the color cast being present even with the white balance set manually... so i figured for now, i'm gonna get a nice how-to photography book and learn from it for now... does anyone know any good books?

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