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01-07-2012, 09:55 AM   #1
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Pentax on a budget

If someone came to you and said they were interested in the Pentax system but only had $1,000 to spend on both camera and lenses. What would you advise them to get?

My advice would be:

Pentax K-x/K-r body
DA WR 18-135 lens
DA 35mm AL lens

01-07-2012, 10:05 AM   #2
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Not much point spending on a WR lens for an unsealed body, unless you *really* like that focal length range. I'd probably suggest the two lens kit, K-r plus 18-55 and 55-300, and the DA 35mm AL, with anything left over to go on peripherals, memory card, a cheap flash, second battery, whatever.

It really depends on what the person buying the camera wants to use it for though. Some people wouldn't make much use of the 55-300mm, others couldn't live without it.
01-07-2012, 10:12 AM   #3
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Used kx, used DA 40, used DA 70. Right on $1000 if you shop around, maybe more realistically $1050.
01-07-2012, 10:16 AM   #4
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If they are new to this I'd suggest the K-x with 2 lens kit (the 300mm NOT the 200mm option), DA35/2.4 to introduce them to primes, a nice tripod, remote, camera bag, at least two memory cards, and a CPL for the 300mm at least. All that can be done for <$1k if you are a good and patient shopper.

01-07-2012, 10:19 AM   #5
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It has been my observation that while the 18-135 is just okay on the K-5... it actually is an excellent performer when attached to the K-x or K-r. You're right, WR is beside the point on the K-x or K-r, but in all other respects I think it's a nice, versatile step up lens from the kit zooms.
01-07-2012, 10:29 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vapentaxuser Quote
It has been my observation that while the 18-135 is just okay on the K-5... it actually is an excellent performer when attached to the K-x or K-r. You're right, WR is beside the point on the K-x or K-r, but in all other respects I think it's a nice, versatile step up lens from the kit zooms.
Well, if you want an all around lens then how about a used 18-250, either Pentax or Tamron?
01-07-2012, 11:09 AM   #7
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A quick check @ KEH turned up a KX and a Sigma 18-200 for about $700.00... Yes, with careful shopping easily doable for a $1000.00 Happy hunting...Cliff
01-07-2012, 11:10 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Philoslothical Quote
Not much point spending on a WR lens for an unsealed body, unless you *really* like that focal length range. I'd probably suggest the two lens kit, K-r plus 18-55 and 55-300, and the DA 35mm AL, with anything left over to go on peripherals, memory card, a cheap flash, second battery, whatever.

It really depends on what the person buying the camera wants to use it for though. Some people wouldn't make much use of the 55-300mm, others couldn't live without it.
For someone just starting out this is the kit to get. End of.

Of course if it was my money then it would be different but that's the kit to get someone started.

01-07-2012, 11:12 AM   #9
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Yep, used is the way to go -
I would look for K-x,
or (if available at reasonable price) K-r
(especially if you think the user cannot live without the focusing position lights in the viewfinder -
let me declare my bias - I have and am very happy with the K-x - ideally I would have liked the focus lights -
but I have two easy workarounds)

As for lenses - this is where one can spend a fortune -
I get away with the two humble kit zooms 18-55 and the 50-200
the 50-200 did not get a good review at PhotoZone.de
however after 10's of thousands of shots I am still very happy with my copy.
FWIW Popular Photography actually gave the 50-200 as the Samsung clone a very good review:
Lens Test: Schneider-Kreuznach D-Xenon 50-200mm f/4-5.6 AF

" IN THE LAB

SQF results topped out in the Excellent range at all three tested focal lengths, an above-average performance by kit lens standards. (Even pro-caliber lenses in this focal-length range tend to dip into the Very Good SQF zone at 200mm.) Distortion was also very well controlled, according to DxO Analyzer 2.0 tests, with Imperceptible barrelling at 50mm (0.09%); and Slight pincushioning at 100mm (0.22%) and 200mm (0.23%). Light falloff was gone by f/5.6 at 50mm, and by f/8 at the longer focal lengths -- about average for the kit-zoom class. Close-focusing distances ranged from 39.25 inches at 50mm (1:16.2) to 42.24 inches at 200mm (1:4.4).

CONCLUSIONS

Optically, the best digitally-dedicated tele kit zoom that we've tested so far, this Samsung lens produced the sharpness and distortion numbers of a much more expensive, pro-caliber zoom. It remains to be seen, however, whether the plastic body will be able to hold its 11 elements in alignment for the long haul.
"

The 55-300 was not available when I got the 50-200 -
and although it sounds better/more tempting -
it is more expensive, and more important to me larger and heavier -
so I don't regret having the 50-200.

I have lots of examples from the K-x and the 2 humble kit zooms - in this thread:
Kx in Use ( 1 2 3 ... Last Page)
01-07-2012, 11:23 AM - 1 Like   #10
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I've already stated my opinion (DA 40 and 70), but I feel like I need to take one more stab at persuasion (seeing as everybody else says to get some form of kit lens).

My coworker asked for similar advice and we settled on an 70/30 split of money spent on the lens vs on the body. In his case, he bought a Panasonic-Leica 25/1.4 and a GF3 (about $500 and $200 respectively). Everybody in his family asks him what he has done to get such great new photos. I've seen the emails from his cousins and other relatives.

I don't think he'd get the shots or the reactions with a kit lens on any body, even a K-5.

That's why I'd buy some fast primes instead of kit lenses.

/end of rant
01-07-2012, 11:50 AM   #11
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Aegon, you make a good point there. There's no disputing that the IQ of those primes will be better than the kit lenses. The important distinction here is that someone just starting out has no idea what focal lengths they love to shoot. I know I'd feel very trapped if 70mm was the longest lens I had, even if it produced great quality shots.

This is why I think zoom lenses are ideal starting out. They allow for greater experimentation, and once the person develops their style and defines their areas of interest a bit, they can make more educated decisions about which primes to acquire.
01-07-2012, 12:11 PM   #12
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The beauty of the K-x HighISO performance is that it allows one to use lenses with more modest max apertures -
such as the kit zooms -
from just 2 days ago:

K-x, 18-55 kit zoom @ ISO5000 (that's 5 thousand)


K-x, 50-200 kit zoom @ ISO5000 -
01-07-2012, 12:13 PM   #13
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My initial Pentax kit (not counting the DA10-17 fisheye) was the DA18-250 and the FA50/1.4. I think a great startup kit would be the Kx or Kr, DA35/2.4, and the DA18-250 or its Tamron twin.

Moneywise, a two-zoom kit of the DA18-55 and DA55-300 makes sense. Usagewise, not so much. An awful lot of photographic subjects are best-shot in the 35-70mm range, and swapping lenses at 55mm is a pain and a loss. The 18-250 is simply the most flexible lens around and covers (well!) a vast and useful range, from almost-ultrawide at one end to great reach at the other end.

An 18-250 is not for low light, of course, so a faster prime should be included, and a new DA35/2.4 is the most affordable. A FA50/1.4 would be even better but would probably break the budget. I'd also push for some manual primes, but those can come later.

An advantage of an 18-250 as the basic kit lens is that a newbie can easily figure out which focal lengths they use most, so can plan future lens acquisitions based on usage. That could still be done with a two-zoom (18-55 plus 55-300) kit but it would be more of a pain. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
01-08-2012, 01:46 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by vapentaxuser Quote
If someone came to you and said they were interested in the Pentax system but only had $1,000 to spend on both camera and lenses. What would you advise them to get?

My advice would be:

Pentax K-x/K-r body
DA WR 18-135 lens
DA 35mm AL lens
The 18-135 with the 35 are $600, which would leave $400 to find camera bodies that have been discontinued. Meh.

I would advise them to get another system, like:

Olympus E-PM1 with 14-42mm lens - $450
Plus one of: 20/1.7 or 45/1.8 or 100-300/4-5.8 - a faster prime lens or a longer zoom, depending on need - < $500

This way they can buy new, rather than second hand, and they'll have some dollars left for accessories.
01-08-2012, 09:43 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by vapentaxuser Quote
If someone came to you and said they were interested in the Pentax system but only had $1,000 to spend on both camera and lenses. What would you advise them to get?

My advice would be:

Pentax K-x/K-r body
DA WR 18-135 lens
DA 35mm AL lens
New Pentax k-r kit
sell the kit 18-55mm lens
buy:
Pentax M 50mm 1.7 used lens
Pentax DA 17-70mm f4 AL IF SDM used Lens
Pentax DA 55-300mm new lens (metal mount not L)

That is exactly what I am doing

Last edited by Wolfie665; 01-08-2012 at 04:11 PM.
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