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01-10-2013, 06:28 PM   #1
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K-?

Hi all, I'm new here and I've restoked a long dormant photography interest in the last year and have been studying photography and shooting film with an SLR that has been first my dad's then mine since the mid-80s and shotting digital with a good compact camera, not usually in auto mode. I am a rank, amateur hobbyist with no professional aspiratons, but not an entirely ignorant one and I feel like I'm back into this in a way that won't go away. So, here's where i post a really neurotic newbee rambling and you all get to set me straight. I recognize that in parallel worlds where I'm actually the forum subject expert that posts like the one you're about to read get tiresome and only show the ignorance and neurosis of the poster. I'll own up to that and take what you give in response, but here goes:

I'm sold on my DSLR purchase being a Pentax and I'm ready, but stalled. If I just look at where things are in the product range, I typically buy at the K-30 level on things that I don't do at least semi-professionally. Alternately, I go up a level and buy a used or outgoing model, which in this case is the classic K-5. I feel in this particular case that I would like to buy a camera that I can live with for a long time and form a deep relationship with. I basing that largely on my connection to that 80's film SLR that I'm shooting with. I know some of you guys (rightly) look at these as ~2 year purchases, I feel like that won't be me. By the way, I actually think I'll be a top-LCD guy. Something I love about my film camera is that I can look at it and see where there aperture, shutter speed and ISO is set. I hate on my compact having to navigate the menu system to check that stuff. If that's what top LCD gives me, then I'll definitely use it. but, I don't know and I'm not really hung up on that.

The rub is, based on everything I've learned here and on photography review sites is that it seems that the K-30 in a lot of ways is a better performing camera than the outgoing K-5. That may not be quite right, but specifically AF. The camera I'm shooting with now is manual only of course, but I don't always get it right and I think that useable AF would be great to be able to rely on. The K-5 ii seems to have resolved a pretty big usability problem from the K-5. If it had been about a new design or a bunch of new features, I'd be happily snapping up the K-5, but my gut tells me that it's more than that. Which makes me think more about either K-5 ii or K-30. I think I can live without the iis, for my purposes.

What are my purposes? I love shooting city street shots. It is generally dark and wet here for a good part of the year, which is part of what draws me to Pentax. We've also got mountains, sea and rainforest all around us so there would be some wildlife/landscape, hiking shoots. And, maybe 1/2 of what I shoot now is in jazz clubs. I'm a player and friend to lots of players locally and around the country and I like to shoot for them when I go to their shows and have them do the same for me at mine. (I don't really care about video, by the way) So, I feel like that pushes me to low-light/no flash territory. Makes me afraid of what I read of the K-5, until i remind myself that I manually focus now and have said more than once that if my film SLR was only digital, I'd be good without all the features.

Lastly, I have a 4 year old boy who seems intent on playing sports as soon as they'll let him and I can see my direction changing to shooting his soccer/baseball/basketball/hockey/whatever games. I haven't done much of that sort of thing yet, but it does make me wonder if autofocus is going to become more important to me when that happens.

So, all that said, easy buy the K-5 ii, if cost isn't a factor. I could swing it, but of course cost is a factor. I am sort of waiting out price drop, but shifting around in my seat a lot while I do. If I thought that the difference between the K-5 and the K-5 ii wouldn't be significant to me, which some reviews suggest, I'd definitely buy a new or one of the clean used ones in our forum. Actually there's a nice one from a member who's taking some beautiful pictures with it who is semi-local to me so I could actually meet him and leave with it, most likely. But, he's selling it to fund and K-5 ii purchase, which feeds back into my neurosis.

I have pretty much no-doubt that the K-30 is all of the camera that I need for it to be. To be completely honest, I don't like the aesthetic of it that much, which makes me feel very small, but there it is. If it used the same materials but had a more conventional design, I'd probably buy a black one. Should it matter? No. Then again, I plan on having this for a decade or more and rarely being without it and I worry. I've watched a few hands-on video type reviews where the reviewer said it was a great camera, but looked and felt gimmicky and plastic-y. I wonder how they will age, we don't really know yet. Not trying to offend K-30 owners, I'm partially inviting you to tell me that I'm a beginner and I should get over it, it's a better camera than I'll ever need, etc.. I've seen some of the amazing pictures you take with them and there's no doubt in my mind that it's a great camera that's probably underpriced or over-built for where it sits in the market.

By the way, PENTAX, at least half of my skittishness is based on the fact that there are no Pentax retail stores within a days drive of me without crossing an international border. If I could go to a shop, talk through this with an educated sales guy and pick up and handle these cameras, I would already own one or the other of them. I'm sure of it. I can do that with your competitors. I'm going on faith that your products are going to feel right in my hands in a way that the others don't. Nikons and Canons feel like computer peripherals to me. I think that a K-5 is going to feel more like my beloved SLR (plus weather sealing, plus low light kick-assness, plus all those great lenses back to the 60's). I hope I'm not wrong, it would be a lot easier if I could see one along side those others. Just sayin'.

Now, all that said, am I over-thinking the autofocus issue with the K-5? Would I feel differently about the look at feel of the K-30 if I was holding one? Should I be patient or fund raise on the price of the K-5 ii? Should I shut up and go take some pictures? Should I buy a $150 iST on craigslist, acquire a few lenses, practice shooting and wait until all of you guys dump your K-5 ii for the FF camera when it comes out?

Thank you in advance. Give it to me straight, guys. I can take it.


Last edited by troika; 01-10-2013 at 06:49 PM.
01-10-2013, 06:43 PM   #2
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I like the K-5. Stupid reason, though - I don't like the aesthetics of the K-30 very much. It handles pretty well, though.
01-10-2013, 07:28 PM   #3
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Yes, you are over thinking this. Seriously, they are all quite similar in terms of performance. Just because it is pretty hard to improve on the original K-5.

If you like the feel of the camera in your hands as you say, then I would say the K-5 is a good pick, because of the magnesium alloy chassis. I haven't handled the K-30 to compare, but it is plastic-bodied.

The K-5 AF is not bad, the biggest problem is that the AF sensors are kinda larger than the red dots indicate, so you point it and it might pick the contrasty area close by. Some have said the focus under low light is not that accurate but I've never, ever noticed any kind of limitation in this regard myself. I don't think the AF sensor sizes were reduced in size in the K-30 or the K-5II/s.

Just to be clear, I think any of them will suit you.
01-10-2013, 07:56 PM   #4
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I just got my k-30 2 nights ago. I am upgrading from an*istDL that I have had for the last 6/7 years . I love the feel of the k-30. The AF is amazing compared to the DL. I tried a shot of one of our dogs in the living room with only the TV for light there is no way the DL would have focused, but the k-30 focused instantly. The DL has the top lcd screen. I was afraid I would miss it . Not at all as the info is on the rear screen and since it is larger it is easier to read on the k-30. I was also afraid that the light from the rear screen might be a problem using th Viewfinder ,but the rear screen goes black with just a slight touch of the shutter release.
I have never held a k-5 so I also cannot compare butr the k-30 feels quite sturdy not plasticy Like my daughter inlaw's new Cannon 3TI. In short I don't think you could go wrong with either the k-5 or the k-30

01-10-2013, 07:59 PM   #5
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As a current K-5IIs user who used the K-5 previously, it is painfully clear that the AF has improved a lot. Even the K-30 focuses better than the K-5. I'll never go back to a K-5.
01-10-2013, 08:51 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
As a current K-5IIs user who used the K-5 previously, it is painfully clear that the AF has improved a lot. Even the K-30 focuses better than the K-5. I'll never go back to a K-5.
I'm curious, in what ways has the AF been improved in the K-5II? Is it under low light, or mixed lighting? Have the size of the AF points been reduced? Is it faster? Thanks for clarifying.
01-10-2013, 09:47 PM   #7
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I really appreciate the responses so far, guys. Thanks, keep them coming.
01-11-2013, 08:46 AM   #8
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First of all, you needn't worry about being a newbie -- this is the friendly Pentax forum, remember? People are on here because they like to help people out!

In my experience, not having a local Pentax retailer has never been a problem. I have yet to see a single new Pentax item in a store, and even if I did see something, I probably couldn't afford the MSRP.

As for buying an old body, I would say go for it if not for one thing. I chased my little kids around with a K100D for years, but the low ISO and poor low-light AF (and MF) capability was kind of an issue. As a practical matter for photographing my kids, the K-30 is way, way beyond what the K100D could do. Focus peaking means I can use 50-year-old lenses practically in the dark with very few focusing errors, even with wiggly kiddos.

[Edit: Can I just say that I realize it is insane to call 3200 "low ISO"? The ASA selector on most film cameras I have used only goes to 400 or maybe 1600...lol]

01-11-2013, 10:34 AM   #9
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Thanks Finn. This is a friendly forum. I've been involved in some that are not.
01-11-2013, 10:56 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
Hi all, I'm new here and I've restoked a long dormant photography interest in the last year and have been studying photography and shooting film with an SLR that has been first my dad's then mine since the mid-80s and shotting digital with a good compact camera, not usually in auto mode. I am a rank, amateur hobbyist with no professional aspiratons, but not an entirely ignorant one and I feel like I'm back into this in a way that won't go away. So, here's where i post a really neurotic newbee rambling and you all get to set me straight. I recognize that in parallel worlds where I'm actually the forum subject expert that posts like the one you're about to read get tiresome and only show the ignorance and neurosis of the poster. I'll own up to that and take what you give in response, but here goes:

I'm sold on my DSLR purchase being a Pentax and I'm ready, but stalled. If I just look at where things are in the product range, I typically buy at the K-30 level on things that I don't do at least semi-professionally. Alternately, I go up a level and buy a used or outgoing model, which in this case is the classic K-5. I feel in this particular case that I would like to buy a camera that I can live with for a long time and form a deep relationship with. I basing that largely on my connection to that 80's film SLR that I'm shooting with. I know some of you guys (rightly) look at these as ~2 year purchases, I feel like that won't be me. By the way, I actually think I'll be a top-LCD guy. Something I love about my film camera is that I can look at it and see where there aperture, shutter speed and ISO is set. I hate on my compact having to navigate the menu system to check that stuff. If that's what top LCD gives me, then I'll definitely use it. but, I don't know and I'm not really hung up on that.

The rub is, based on everything I've learned here and on photography review sites is that it seems that the K-30 in a lot of ways is a better performing camera than the outgoing K-5. That may not be quite right, but specifically AF. The camera I'm shooting with now is manual only of course, but I don't always get it right and I think that useable AF would be great to be able to rely on. The K-5 ii seems to have resolved a pretty big usability problem from the K-5. If it had been about a new design or a bunch of new features, I'd be happily snapping up the K-5, but my gut tells me that it's more than that. Which makes me think more about either K-5 ii or K-30. I think I can live without the iis, for my purposes.

What are my purposes? I love shooting city street shots. It is generally dark and wet here for a good part of the year, which is part of what draws me to Pentax. We've also got mountains, sea and rainforest all around us so there would be some wildlife/landscape, hiking shoots. And, maybe 1/2 of what I shoot now is in jazz clubs. I'm a player and friend to lots of players locally and around the country and I like to shoot for them when I go to their shows and have them do the same for me at mine. (I don't really care about video, by the way) So, I feel like that pushes me to low-light/no flash territory. Makes me afraid of what I read of the K-5, until i remind myself that I manually focus now and have said more than once that if my film SLR was only digital, I'd be good without all the features.

Lastly, I have a 4 year old boy who seems intent on playing sports as soon as they'll let him and I can see my direction changing to shooting his soccer/baseball/basketball/hockey/whatever games. I haven't done much of that sort of thing yet, but it does make me wonder if autofocus is going to become more important to me when that happens.

So, all that said, easy buy the K-5 ii, if cost isn't a factor. I could swing it, but of course cost is a factor. I am sort of waiting out price drop, but shifting around in my seat a lot while I do. If I thought that the difference between the K-5 and the K-5 ii wouldn't be significant to me, which some reviews suggest, I'd definitely buy a new or one of the clean used ones in our forum. Actually there's a nice one from a member who's taking some beautiful pictures with it who is semi-local to me so I could actually meet him and leave with it, most likely. But, he's selling it to fund and K-5 ii purchase, which feeds back into my neurosis.

I have pretty much no-doubt that the K-30 is all of the camera that I need for it to be. To be completely honest, I don't like the aesthetic of it that much, which makes me feel very small, but there it is. If it used the same materials but had a more conventional design, I'd probably buy a black one. Should it matter? No. Then again, I plan on having this for a decade or more and rarely being without it and I worry. I've watched a few hands-on video type reviews where the reviewer said it was a great camera, but looked and felt gimmicky and plastic-y. I wonder how they will age, we don't really know yet. Not trying to offend K-30 owners, I'm partially inviting you to tell me that I'm a beginner and I should get over it, it's a better camera than I'll ever need, etc.. I've seen some of the amazing pictures you take with them and there's no doubt in my mind that it's a great camera that's probably underpriced or over-built for where it sits in the market.

By the way, PENTAX, at least half of my skittishness is based on the fact that there are no Pentax retail stores within a days drive of me without crossing an international border. If I could go to a shop, talk through this with an educated sales guy and pick up and handle these cameras, I would already own one or the other of them. I'm sure of it. I can do that with your competitors. I'm going on faith that your products are going to feel right in my hands in a way that the others don't. Nikons and Canons feel like computer peripherals to me. I think that a K-5 is going to feel more like my beloved SLR (plus weather sealing, plus low light kick-assness, plus all those great lenses back to the 60's). I hope I'm not wrong, it would be a lot easier if I could see one along side those others. Just sayin'.

Now, all that said, am I over-thinking the autofocus issue with the K-5? Would I feel differently about the look at feel of the K-30 if I was holding one? Should I be patient or fund raise on the price of the K-5 ii? Should I shut up and go take some pictures? Should I buy a $150 iST on craigslist, acquire a few lenses, practice shooting and wait until all of you guys dump your K-5 ii for the FF camera when it comes out?

Thank you in advance. Give it to me straight, guys. I can take it.
Welcome to the forums! You have described what you want in good detail (thanks for that) and you have gotten some good replies. I have only one thought I do think you need to get over. Digital SLRs are not like your grandfather's SLR in their longevity. Most DSLRs are pretty reliable. However, the nature of digital imaging progress means that in 3 to 5 years, you may not want to send in that body for a moderate repair since you can put that repair money towards a new body that should have superior imaging, autofocus, features, etc. So, I would not expect my DSLR to last a decade even though it may. Lenses are different and they can be expoected to last much longer. After a decade, the entire digital landscape may have changed so radically that even buying a replacement DSLR would seem old. I expect mirrorless will, most likely, become more dominate. But who really knows. If I were you, I would have shorter term thoughts - perhaps 4 or 5 years. 2 years is definitely too short. 10 is way too long IMO. Good luck!
01-11-2013, 12:09 PM   #11
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Good input, thanks. Something that generally saddens me is that most things are designed to be disposable now. Computers, phones, TVs etc. Most are not meant to last when designed or marketed. But, it's true, I'll think about the lenses being that investment and the body being the receptacle.

I could get on board with micro 4/3s, especially the K-01 with the K-Mount, which I think is brilliant, if they had a viewfinder/rangefinder. One of the things I've reconnected with shooting film is how much difference it makes to look through the lens vs at a screen. I don't think putting an EVF in the hotshoe satisfies it for me.

I'm really feeling like I need to either pony up for the K-5 ii or pick up an older Pentax DSLR with a useable lens or two that I'd be happy to move to the next camera and wait out the market price on the ii's. I'd like to see what happens once the original k-5 Stock is gone and what gets announced in the next few months. Not because I think I'll get sucked into it, but because I think it might come with some leveling off of street price on the current models.
01-11-2013, 02:21 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by troika Quote
Good input, thanks. Something that generally saddens me is that most things are designed to be disposable now. Computers, phones, TVs etc. Most are not meant to last when designed or marketed. But, it's true, I'll think about the lenses being that investment and the body being the receptacle.
With camera bodies though, I think the right comparison is that when you buy a body you are buying all of the film and processing that you will ever use when you pay for that sensor. When you look at it from that perspective, in consumables alone you are paying $0.10-0.25 per shot in film and development so if you bought a DSLR and fired the shutter 10,000 you are already coming out way ahead. Not to mention the pollution associated with the film industry! Even with people cycling through digital cameras every few years instead of every decade with film, the environment comes out ahead and electronics are getting more and more recyclable especially since they contain trace amounts of valuable metals like gold making a viable market for recycling.
01-11-2013, 02:42 PM   #13
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That's a really good point. It's costing me about $25/roll to buy, shoot and develop film to negatives/scans. More if I actually wanted prints.

Of course it would take me a lot longer to shoot 10,000 shots on film than it does any time I have a digital camera in hand, let alone one with a good burst mode, but I'll list that in the advantage column.

I'm in, I just got to find my deal. You've all been really helpful.
01-11-2013, 04:12 PM   #14
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Perhaps I am biased, as I will be posting a Used K5 for sale in several days, but you really can't go wrong with a used K5. You can pick it up for $550-$700 depending on condition and its a lot of camera for an enthusiast. I used this one very successfully with the 50-135 (also purchased used) for all of my sons events. The thing is built like a tank and will definitely last you several years. I had a K-x previous to the K5 and while its a fine camera, using a prosumer camera is a much more enjoyable experience than using an entry level camera, granted the K-30 is a much nicer camera than a k-x.
01-11-2013, 04:34 PM   #15
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I reckon a K-5 in good nick would suit you well. It is quite a bit more camera than the K-30 (build, top LCD, dual control wheels, 14 bit RAW) and the autofocus doesn't exactly suck.
I still use mine paired with a K-5 IIs for commercial concert photography in frequently difficult light, and while the AF is not quite in the same league it performs admirably.
The prices you pay now make it a ridiculous bargain.

The K-30 (which I haven't actually used, so take this with a grain of salt) is a better video camera (not a priority for you) and does autofocus a little better by all accounts. I don't particularly like the aesthetics, but that shouldn't be a deal-breaker.

I'm sure you'll enjoy whichever you choose.
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