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10-13-2012, 12:23 AM   #1
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Best value used Pentax DSLR for catalog photography?

I am in the market for a used DSLR for catalog photography.

It will be used to make ebay /etsy photos for stuff we made in a small workshop and the camera will be left out and used by a bunch of people, mostly indoors over a white background.

The lens will either be a Pentax-A 100/4 Macro or a Tamron 90/2.5 Macro with P/KA Adaptor. I find these to be the best for the distances we shoot at, Small handbags or 3/4 fashion portraits. These are what I have but open to suggestions on good *cheap* autofocus macro.

Used by people who can compose but do not know how to expose, so need to be easy to use and produces attractive results.

Especially important is easily accessible Auto Exposure Compensation and Auto White Balance needs to be good as lighting can vary from daylight to florescent to incandescent.

I have a K7 myself but that's my "good" camera that I won't want to share.

What are the bargains in used Pentax DSLR bodies these days that will satisfy the above?

10-13-2012, 01:31 AM   #2
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I think the K-r, K-x, and K200D are your best bets (probably in that order). I've had the K-x, and still have the K200D. I think the auto WB is pretty good on them. Of course, the real way to handle WB is to teach them how to use an ExpoDisc every time the lighting changes. It's pretty easy, actually.

Don't forget that macros tend to show every spec of dust. Often it's better not to use a macro for product shots, if you can help it. Those particular macros may be a little more forgiving - I haven't used either one.

Of course, you know the Cosina 100/3.5 macro (sold under many brands - see reviews under 'Cosina' on this site) is available in AF as well as MF versions. It's very good but is also slightly more on the "forgiving" side.
10-13-2012, 02:40 AM   #3
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I would suggest a K01, as I guess the camera will be used on a tripod. So it maybe easier to use live view instead of OVF.

I don't think AF will be needed, and focus peaking on K01 will most likely be easier to use than AF.

But the most important equipment for this type of photography is the lighting, and I would recommend using photo lamps as they are easier to handle than flash, as you see the lighting before the shot if using lamps. With good lighting WB and exposure will not vary which makes it easier to handle the camera.
10-13-2012, 04:32 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hamster Quote
Especially important is easily accessible Auto Exposure Compensation and Auto White Balance needs to be good as lighting can vary from daylight to florescent to incandescent.
I think you need to nail down the lighting. The secret to getting consistant results is to control as much of the process as possible.

10-13-2012, 05:42 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Since even 6MP is more than you need for eBay & online product photos, I'd buy a used *ist DS, *ist DL or K100D body for $125-$150, and spend the money you save on lighting. Those bodies might be considered "obsolete", but they still take great photos.

The Cosina 100/3.5 macro that was mentioned by DSims is an excellent lens, and less expensive than most other good macro lenses.
10-13-2012, 11:39 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by GibbyTheMole Quote
Since even 6MP is more than you need for eBay & online product photos
Ya, really -- *any* used Pentax DSLR will be fine.
10-13-2012, 03:55 PM   #7
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If you're using either of those manual focus lenses, I would suggest a camera with a pentaprism finder or focus peaking.
I hav a *istD that I still use for product photos and they can often be found in the $150 range. Also, the K10D can be had quite inexpensively these days.
10-13-2012, 03:58 PM   #8
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+1 for the K10D.

Still a fine camera at ISO 400 and lower.

Tom G

10-13-2012, 06:13 PM   #9
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Any will work, you're going to need to spend more effort getting your lighting and background right. Shoot in A mode if you have an A or later lens, on a tripod and any decent DSLR will suit your needs. I'd look for a K-10 or 20 so you can use full manual easily.

I shoot a lot of model (planes, tanks etc) which is very similar to what you want to do. Unless your subject is very small, that 100mm might be too long. A 50 might be easier to use.

Oh, white backgrounds can be tough - gray or light blue is often easier to use, so you don't underexpose your subject.
10-13-2012, 09:24 PM   #10
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I have a Pentax *ist D if you'd like. I do all my close up macro product photos with a Fujifilm HS20 and the pictures come out great!
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