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07-23-2012, 08:02 PM   #1
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How did you get introduced to a Pentax DSLR?

Another thread I posted in earlier made me reflect back on how I decided on the K-x a couple years ago. It also made me think back to how I was introuduced to Pentax DSLRs in the first place. In the United States, at least, Pentax doesn't seem to spend anything on advertising, and has practically no DSLR presence in stores, so I expect that most people were not introduced to the brand through conventional channels.

My first DSLR was an Olympus e-410 that I got for around $350 at H.H. Gregg after trying in vain to buy a new point & shoot camera that could take a decent shot indoors. I quickly returned the e-410 when I found out that the next model above it had shake reduction. I ended up getting an e-510 two lens kit for $450 on eBay. I dearly loved that camera, but eventually I became dissatisfied with how the Olympus performed above ISO 800.

So when the Canon t2i was introduced and everybody was making a big deal about how the new 18mp sensor performed at high ISO's, I pre-ordered one at $900 without ever actually handling a Rebel in person. When the camera came, I loved the images it produced, but I was very disappointed in the feel of the camera and the perceived build quality. Whereas my Olympus felt solid and substantive, the Rebel felt very plasticy and cheap. It also failed in the style department, with its jelly-bean shape and its unattractive flat-black paint. And the kit lens just screamed cheap, and produced an annoying sound of plastic-on-plastic when zooming. I felt ripped off that my new $900 camera felt like an inferior product to my old $450 camera.

It was about this time that I remembered briefly reading about the Pentax K-x when it had been introduced a few months earlier. I had just happened to see a brief article on dailytech.com when the K-x was first announced, and I remembered thinking that the camera looked cool with the different colors. So after being disappointed with the t2i, I went back and started researching the K-x, and decided I would give it a try since it seemed to offer more features for less money.

So I sold the t2i for what I paid, and then bought an almost-new K-x in white on eBay for $455...literally half the price of the t2i. And when I got the K-x, I was happy to find that it did not lack anything in style or build quality compared to my old Olympus. Unlike the t2i, the Pentax felt good in my hand. And with the money I saved, I bought my first upgrade lens, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8.

So if I had not happened to read that brief article on Dailytech, and if the K-x had only been offered in basic black, I may not have ever found my way to Pentax. But I think that if Pentax had been available in the stores alongside the Canons and Nikons, I never would have bought the t2i.

I just did a Google search and found the old Dailytech article dated 9-17-2009, and looking at the comments I see that I actually left a postive comment. (My user name is Indianapolis). It was in April of 2010 that I bought my own K-x. Here's a link to the fateful article:

DailyTech - Pentax Announces Affordable K-x D-SLR

So I'm curious how some of the rest of you were introduced to Pentax and were convinced to buy your first Pentax DSLR. And it's probably wishful thinking, but perhaps some of the stories here can help somebody at Pentax realize that their lack of marketing makes it an uphill battle for somebody to make the decision to buy a Pentax DSLR.

07-23-2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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It was a couple years ago. I was looking for my first SLR camera and looked online for a DSLR. After looking at some pictures, I thought the Pentax DSLR design looked the coolest, especially with the green ring around most of their lenses. I went and bought the K-2000 as my first DSLR. Of course when I upgraded to the K-7 soon-after, it was not because it looked cool.
07-23-2012, 08:18 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I searched for DSLR's that took AA batteries. The only result was the k-x so that's what I got. I refused to consider any options that did not use AA's. I had no idea what I was getting into.

Of course two years later I bought a k-5 so no more AA's. Weird how things work out.
07-23-2012, 08:24 PM   #4
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It was a no brainer for me. I've been shooting Pentax since 1981 when I bought my ME Super. A salesman at Elder Beerman's a local department store chain introduced me to Pentax. I was told back then by a lot of people that Pentax was on it's way out yet here we are 31 years later. I love my K200D. It does everything I ask of it and it does it well.

07-23-2012, 08:34 PM   #5
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I started out with a k1000 back around 77 I still have and use it. It's lasting build ruled out all other brands for me when 6 years ago I stumbled on an *istDL. I liked the feel in my hands. It still functions, but I believe it is time to upgrade. i would like better low light, and SR. So I am on the lookout for a K-x
07-23-2012, 08:36 PM   #6
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I started talking about getting a DSLR in the spring of 2010, and a friend who shoots Pentax steered me toward Pentax. I bought the Kx from a member here in June of 2010, and in January ended up buying a K5.
07-23-2012, 08:40 PM   #7
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I found an old K1000 in the garage along with some lenses that my mom had gotten from a rich family who's kid she baby-sat years ago (they were going to throw it out!). Apparently, my parents had no interest in learning to use an SLR so it was packed up into storage and I didn't come across it until years later when we were getting things ready for our garage sale.

Awhile later, I began lusting over a DSLR... I had no clue about Pentaxe's backwards compatibility at that time. One day I walking into CompUSA (which was then called Tiger Direct, I think...) and saw a striking white camera sitting up there with the plain black Canikon cameras. I immediately became interested in the camera and curious how Pentax stood up against the other brands. I found many great reviews about the K-x and then stumbled across someone talking about how they use their old manual lenses on their Pentax DSLR- my mind went to the K1000 that was sitting in my closet. So it was the backwards lens compatibility that won me over. I liked the K-x colors, but I wasn't ready for a white or red body, so I went with black.
07-23-2012, 08:45 PM   #8
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After looking at and rejecting all the low-end Canikons, I looked at the K1000 on my bookshelf and said to myself I remember seeing some product announcements on Macnn. So I took a look at the Pentax section of DPReview. They didn't have a review of the K-x yet, so I googled it. That led to many good reviews and the decision was made.

07-23-2012, 08:46 PM   #9
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My wife and I have been shooting Pentax since the Spotmatic F days. When it came time to buy her a digital camera it was actually a tough decision as I was using a Nikon D200 and working at a place that had Nikon lenses from 10.5 to 400mm 2.8. But she wanted to stick with Pentax so got her a K10D and then the 16-45 DA lens. The other option was the Nikon D80. Either was a good choice but now if I need to borrow a lens I have to borrow a camera.If I did buy the Nikon there are lots more lenses I cannot afford then there is with Pentax. Last year I decided I wanted a camera that was both better at high ISO and smaller than the D200 so I got a K-r. Perhaps should have got the K5 but for the then price difference I saved enough to get the K30 and we both would have newer cameras then the K10D. Still have not made a decision on the K30 as currently not really needing it.

We each have a film and digital camera and can share lenses as she has other than the macro all zooms and I have other than the fish eye all primes and we both have the Sigma 70-200. I still used the D200 although I do have another job but same employer so just took it with me to the new job. Earlier this month I got myself another Pentax, a film camera the zoom 70WR. Going to give it a try out this weekend on a canoe trip. Was able to get a bunch of new but outdated batteries so the total cost of the setup was one dollar. Already had lots of 400 ISO black and white film which is most likely all that will go through it. Really bought it more for taking along on the bike rides.

If anyone asks me which camera to buy I tell them to go and try them out as Edgar said some feel plasticily but most important how does it fit your hands etc, I used a large Canon and it did not feel right even though it was no larger than some of the Nikons I have used. I can understand how others would think the K-r/K-x as too small or even the K5 too small (had that comment made to me about the D200).
07-23-2012, 08:48 PM   #10
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1979 my father switched over to nikon threw me a K1000 and a couple rolls of film (I forget which film) I asked him how do I work this, his response " the same way he did, go figger it out yourself" hmm ok! Switched to olympus during the 80's-90's, 2000's. First Dslr olympus E300, until K10d came onto scence the rest is?
07-23-2012, 08:49 PM   #11
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Back in '99, I got my first hankering to take pictures. My brother and I typically share interests, and I think he'd already gotten his old Nikon F body by the time I got my first real camera. I'd heard of Pentax, but it was being mentioned me more and more as a good intro camera as I visited the stores usually referring to the K1000 ''student camera" in addition to having 30 years of lenses to use (which one could still get cheaply then)I wanted AF so I went with an SF-1. Most likely, I went with Pentax since the name was already in my head before I started looking. Brother, of course, couldn't understand why I wouldn't choose Nikon.
07-23-2012, 08:53 PM   #12
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My story is a 'bit' unique but here it goes...

1. I took photography way back when I was in jr high school and have been interested in it for a very long time. 2. I LOVE travel and going to wild, weird, off the beaten path, or on the beaten path places. 3) I have wanted a DSLR camera for a very long time but I simply saved my money to pay off all my school loans (which I did)...but finally after a lot of scrimping and saving I was in a position to 'buy'...

I have a few friends that are very professional photographers. Cover of Time, Newsweek, several other mags, book covers, all kinds of stuff and I have always admired it. I somehow get introduced to more and more people as time goes on...anyway I have been teased and harrassed for using a 'point and shoot'...LOL! (I am just kidding--not really)

Anyway as I started to research I did a lot of homework. I approached the whole thing with an open mind, but I did have several objectives of the features I wanted and so on and so forth. I shopped (while saving) and read a ton of books for about a year...I could have bought sooner but I intentionally waited...

And then low and behold I was reading and researching... I read more spec sheets from cameras than you can shake a stick at... I was all set to buy a Canon 7D but I also knew 'this is gonna hurt' when it came time to start buying lenses and everything, especially not really knowing what I 'really wanted or needed'... all added up it was prohibitively expensive for a 'first camera' so I dragged my feet before getting in...I mean seriously...that is a ton of money to buy a full range of primes only to find out you don't like shooting a lot with primes or vice versa...

Then I was actually reading online at another website...I won't name names but it was D P Review and they had a really nice write up on Pentax. I liked what I saw. The 7D immediately had competition. I didn't research all the lenses and everything...but based soley on the numerous write ups about the K-5 I started looking and it was a downright steal by comparison.

It would seemingly give me all the functions I wanted and allow me to get into DSLR photography and learn all the basics before dropping 'big cash' on a full frame canon with all the bells and whistles...

I did not want to buy some mid level camera that was a glorified point and shoot... I wanted one that would allow full manual control so I could learn what to do and how to do it and learn the basic fundamentals... I would rather have one like the K-5 where I could grow into it rather than outrun my camera after a few months (I am a fast learner plus I have some good coaches when I can coax it out of them)...

So the rest was history. The price was too good to pass up. Also I liked the in body shake reduction AND the backward lens compatibility...I intentionally wanted to have the capability to go full Marsha Brady manual.

After shooting for a while I am in love with the K-5. I unboxed June 1 and have not regretted it not a single day since. I made a very wise choice.

Now for the only complaint---I am not entirely pleased with Pentax's lens line up. I bought the camera to learn on and develop my own style...I wanted to see what I like... not merely go by what my buddy happens to shoot because none of the three of them really shoot the same things or the same way...some cross over but not really...eventually I might move to a full frame camera but then again it just depends.

If anything at all will send me away from Pentax it definitely won't be the K-5. If they stop making K-5 (or a model similar to it) then when mine is worn out or broken I will probably move on...also over the coming couple of years if we don't see a better selection of lenses that is another factor...I just hope pentax sees things the way I see them... but one thing is for sure... I refuse to own a camera that comes in higlighter yellow, or pink, or green or whatever. Its just not me or my style.

My ultimate aim is to be on a truly professional level. If I make money at it so be it. If not, so be it, but ideally I want to be able to pack all my gear into a backpack and then go marching across Africa. I want to be the ultimate street photographer. I want to incorporate photography into something I already love doing.

And when I am ready to move up to a full frame that is yet another consideration. My plan is to keep on upping my game and to learn as much as I can. I have already learned a ton, but I still have a long long way to go.

Eventually, pocket book allowing I could see myself shooting both. I could see myself having Pentax and a full frame Canon or Nikon but honestly I haven't looked into those that much as it didn't suit my needs to go full frame right out of the gate. It all depends on what Pentax does.

If they REALLY DO offer a full frame version of the K-5 with a 7 shots per second burst mode (minimum) and really aim at the professional market with that and a substantially improved lens line up then we will just have to see. I give the K-5 triple thumbs up...more than pleased there.

The way I run is going to depend highly on the way Pentax runs going forward though. Within the next 2 or 3 years a full frame set up is on my radar already. Whether or not Pentax is there or not at that time remains to be seen. It also depends largely on what kind of style I ultimately develop for myself. Right now I am not a huge 'prime lens' kind of guy but then again I will remain in experiment land for the foreseeable future.
07-23-2012, 08:56 PM   #13
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I'm really enjoying the stories, keep 'em coming! It sounds like the most common story is that people were familiar with Pentax's old film cameras. I still haven't seen anybody mention seeing a Pentax advertisement that grabbed them.

One thing I forgot to mention, is that another factor that attracted me to Pentax is that it's something different. I liked how my Olympus DSLR was relatively unique amongst all the Canon and Nikon DSLRs out there, and that's another thing that helped convince me to take a chance with Pentax. Probably the same reason I rode a Triumph Daytona sportbike while everybody else I knew had a Japanese bike.
07-23-2012, 09:14 PM   #14
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I got introduced shortly after having my daughter in 1998. I could get an SLR with a 28-80 and an 80-200 for $600. It was at The Good Guys, I believe. The salesman said the Pentax had the easiest to use controls, and it probably did. Even at the time I could tell the lenses weren't that good - the IQ never seemed to be as good as it should be. I now understand those were probably some of the worst kit lenses Pentax has produced. However, I liked the camera. I'd never had an SLR before (my best camera had been the fantastic little Olympus XA), and I was impressed that I could now get AF in an SLR!

I later got a few compact Canon digital cameras, including one of the earlier ones - an S50. It seemed like a huge investment - to get into digital at $500. And I suppose it was. Flash exposure and focus were often problems (Canon digital compacts became quite good within the next couple of years or so, and I really liked those). By then I wasn't buying much film anymore, and the Original Pentax SLR kit is long gone now.


When Ritz camera was closing most of its stores, they had an outlet-type store close to my work. I decided to get my first DSLR. They had a Sigma and Pentax that were under $300 or so. By the time I purchased my brand new K100D Super it had been marked down to somewhere between $175 and $225 - I can't remember exactly anymore. Ritz also helped my get great prices on an 18-55, a 55-300, at least 2 flashes, some quality filters, and other items I can barely remember now. Soon after I bought a used FA24-90/3.5-4.5, and I was off and running. It didn't take long for me to realize I rather have nice lenses on relatively inexpensive cameras, and I've followed the pattern since then. The money I've spent on lenses hasn't bothered me, but I'm still not sure I've recovered from the shock of how much I spent on my K-5 when it was newly released! But I really like nearly every lens I have now, and it would be hard to leave Pentax because of this.
07-23-2012, 09:20 PM   #15
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We started a family a few years ago and that got me thinking about going back into real photography. The last SLR I had was a Canon A-1, which uses the earlier Canon FD mount, a very robust breech mount system, but one which Canon abandoned a few years later in favor of the current EF mount. I still have my FD lenses and thought about Micro Four-Thirds, but at the time (and still today) it wasn't up to the ergonomics of real dSLRs.

So while deciding what dSLR to get, a fellow co-worker and good friend told me to go to our local reputable camera shop and try out the Pentax offerings .... and of course they had recently stopped carrying Pentax. I would have paid more for local service and support. Without being able to handle the camera, and with what appeared (and still appears to be) a declining market share, it would have been a huge leap of faith at that point.

Just to be a little different from Canon and Nikon, I strongly considered Sony. Even though Sony has always annoyed me with their incessant consumer product turnover rate.

But my buddy was insistent on Pentax. And with a tremendously loyal following here on PF, plus a good review by DPReview, I finally decided to take a leap of faith and ordered the K-5. And the rest is history.

And I thought I'd only buy one or two lenses, sheesh.

Funny thing is, if my old FD lenses fit on the current Canons, that would have been a no-brainer, even without autofocus.
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