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08-28-2013, 11:14 AM   #1
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K-30 or K-5 II or IIs

I recently borrowed a DSLR while on vacation and it rekindled my interest in photography which had laid dormant for a long time. As a result I want to get a DSLR. I've done a reasonable amount of research online and gone to a local shop and held both the K-30 and K-5 II as well as the Nikon D7100 which I'm also interested in. I like the k-5 a lot though some features of the D7100 attract me. I found the most comfortable in my hand to be the k-30, but I missed the info display that the K-5 and K-30 have on top of the camera.
At any rate, I can get the K-5 and D7100 at the local shop for the common prices on the internet (plus taxe, grrrr). However, they've aggressively priced the K-30, probably because of the introduction of the K-50, and it does tempt me. I can get the K-30 18-55 mm kit for $500.00 or with the 18-135 kit for a little under $900.00. Those prices really draw me, but I'm thinking in a very short time I'll be wishing I had the K-5 II (or the D7100).
A little about me I'm in my 60's, recently retired, in good shape (for my age), and want to hike with the camera. I have a Canon AE-1 35 mm SLR, but haven't used it in many, many years. I once knew a bit about photography, but will have to relearn a lot.
Any opinions about the best course of action would be appreciated.

08-28-2013, 11:32 AM   #2
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I'd say treat yourself to the best there is- i.e. the K-5 II or the D7100, depending on which you like more. If you can try both cameras in a store, definitely do so!

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08-28-2013, 12:55 PM   #3
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Ive been trying to choose between the d7100 and k5II and im going to get the k5II because the nikon feels a bit more plasticy and is much larger then the k5. Also i dont think its weather sealed to the levels of the k5.
Good luck choosing
08-28-2013, 12:57 PM   #4
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Any of these cameras will give you very good image quality. Keep in mind that in the digital age the camera bodies depreciate very rapidly. On the other hand, lenses generally hold their value steady. Most of the time (especially if you buy used) a lens will be worth exactly the same or a little bit more a few years down the road.

I think the most important part is to pick one and get (re)started. Both Nikon and Pentax have good lens lineups. Pentax is very strong at the "entry" level with a K-30 (a camera that's really more mid-range), whereas with Nikon (or even Canon) you actually do want a model a little ways up the line, as you've probably already discovered (because the D7100 really is the lowest you want to go with Nikon).


The Pentax 18-135 is a good lens to start with. This forum is a great place to buy and sell lenses. Both Pentax and Nikon (D7100 or above) will work well with older lenses - especially Pentax.

As Adam suggested, it's great to get your hands on the cameras with a few lenses you like. And the K-5 II and IIs are great cameras. But I started with an entry body and spent my money on some truly excellent lenses before getting a K-5 and a K-5 IIs.


Oh, one more thing: Some forum members have found it harder to hand-hold the camera steadily as they age (I expect to be there much sooner than I'd like). The built-in Pentax SR has proven to be beneficial here, since it works with all lenses. With Nikon (or Canon) you only get this benefit with specific VR lenses. Pentax SR works very well (and nearly as well or equal to in-lens VR) while being much more flexible.


Last edited by DSims; 08-28-2013 at 01:17 PM.
08-28-2013, 12:57 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Do you shoot RAW or JPEG?
If you shoot JPEG, you shouldn't notice any difference in image quality compared to K5.

If you are looking for a camera to go hiking, weight is very important. K30 is lighter than K5/7100, have a grip that you like and also, with the K30 you can use AA's with adapter (few $ on ebay).

I'd get K30 and spend more on lenses.
08-28-2013, 01:28 PM   #6
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First, I would say the price difference between the K30 18-55 kit and the K30 18-135, the $400 price difference, is NOT aggressive. You can buy the 18-135 on amazon for $400 all day long, so that's not really a discount on the lens. Now, when I bought my K-5ii, I did buy the 18-135 kit because the price difference between the body only and the K-5ii w/ 18-135 was only $200, so that IS a $200 discount on that lens.

Second, I love my K-5ii. I started with a K200D, which has the LCD (?) monitor on the top. I really like this feature, which is one reason I got the K-5ii. But then as I was using the k5ii, I often paid particular attention to when I use the top monitor and when I don't. Frankly, while I like having it there, I believe I get most of my information from the viewfinder, meaning in reality, I'm not sure how practical that top monitor is, or how necessary it is. Thus, that would not be the deciding factor for me, meaning the K30 would be good.

Third, I do think the Pentax menu and button layout is much better, more intuitive than either Canon or Nikon. But that is largely preference.

Finally, Apa mentions the AA's. One of the reasons I bought the K200D was its use of AA batteries. One thing I wish the K-5ii had was that ability. But I bought a backup battery for that. However, if I were hiking and camping freestyle, meaning not at a campsite with electricity, I would be in trouble if the trip lasted more than 3 days, which is just about what I get from both batteries, about a 1 1/2 days use from each battery with constant on and very frequent shooting.
08-28-2013, 03:13 PM   #7
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AA's in the K30 is a HUGE advantage.

AA's was the reason I got the battery grip for my K5IIs! I did calculations, and in the long run, grip + rechargeable AA's beat Li-ion batteries in the performance/price. Also, you get a better grip as bonus

Li-ion batteries are crazy expensive and doesn't last even close as good rechargeable AA batteries. Also, AA's are now labeled to work just well in -10 Celsius (even though, I haven't tested that yet).
08-28-2013, 03:58 PM   #8
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If it starts drizzling or raining during one of your hikes you will be glad to have that WR body AND lens

The K-5 II with 18-135WR lens is under 1000 dollars right now at Amazon. Maybe your local dealer will match that price? That's pretty much what the K-30 would cost you with the same lens... that combination (or the K-30 with the same lens) is the only thing you would need for your hiking trips, it does cover a lot. You could also look at the 18-250 or 18-270 offerings by Pentax, Tamron and Sigma - these zooms have really gotten a lot better than they used to be. Plus they have macro - you never know when you'll find a bug or a flower you want to capture The downside of those would be, they don't have WR.

The Nikon kit is good too, I had a D7000 (plus 18-55 and 35mm f1.8) in my hands for a couple of months early this year, which is what gave me the DSLR bug. So when my mother in law took it back with her after spending a couple months I knew I had to get a camera... But the D7000 and the D7100 are big cameras to carry around... I don't know if I would go hiking with one. Their weatherproofing isn't as good as Pentax, either, and doesn't extend to the kit lens.

08-28-2013, 04:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Catscradle Quote
At any rate, I can get the K-5 and D7100 at the local shop for the common prices on the internet (plus taxe, grrrr). However, they've aggressively priced the K-30, probably because of the introduction of the K-50, and it does tempt me. I can get the K-30 18-55 mm kit for $500.00 or with the 18-135 kit for a little under $900.00. Those prices really draw me, but I'm thinking in a very short time I'll be wishing I had the K-5 II (or the D7100).
I just went through the same process. I went with the K-30, and after a couple weeks, I wasn't satisfied. Two main reasons: first, I do some race photography on the side, and after 900 shots in a few hours, I had almost gone through my third battery. I'm not suggesting that you'll be doing that much shooting, but if you've got grandkids or other things in your life that you want to shoot a lot, you'll notice the difference. Second, the lack of a battery grip. I don't shoot with a strap, and really noticed how small the K-30 grip was after swinging it around.

So I just upgraded to the K-5ii + grip (I went with the Pentax grip, rather than knock-off, and I'm already aware of where my money went. It'd be nice if they knock the price down a bit, but the grip is great, weather sealed, etc).

The biggest lesson for me is that I found that I had my heart set on the K-5ii, went with the K-30, and regretted it. If you know the body you want, just go get it. The K-30 is great, but its not a K-5ii (or D7100).

As far as the D7100 goes, it was quite simple for me. K-5ii + Pentax grip and Pentax WR lens = go wherever I want (and as a climber and former guide, that's a lot of places). There's no way I'm bringing a D7100 on an overnight trip where the weather might get a bit nasty.

Hope this helps
08-28-2013, 05:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apapukas Quote
Do you shoot RAW or JPEG?
If you shoot JPEG, you shouldn't notice any difference in image quality compared to K5.

If you are looking for a camera to go hiking, weight is very important. K30 is lighter than K5/7100, have a grip that you like and also, with the K30 you can use AA's with adapter (few $ on ebay).

I'd get K30 and spend more on lenses.
although I have the k5iis, I also have the k30. while I use the k5 more often than the k30 (mostly b/c I seemed to have lost my second battery and I always have a back up), I think the k30 w/ better lenses would be the way I'd go if I were just starting and knowing what I know now. The k30 is a very full featured camera that can take great photos.

That being said, just know where the k30 is a little different - the top lcd, exposure bracketing limited to 3 shots (vs 5), iso button is shared with directional focus point selection (rather than dedicated like on the k5), a battery grip is not an option on the k30.

If these issues aren't huge issues for you (remember all the info in the top lcd will be on the back lcd and most of that will be in the viewfinder also), I'd go with the k30 especially since it's the one that felt the best in your hands.

Regarding pricing: the k30 came with 2 different 18-55s - one that was weather resistant (WR) and one that wasn't. If the $499 price was with the WR version, that's a pretty good deal. If not, check out the link below:
ebay k30 w/ WR 18-55 $540

Or you can get a red k30 on amazon for $469 and then buy the 18-135 for $391 also on amazon.

Hope that helps!
08-28-2013, 06:51 PM   #11
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I'm in my 60's too. My wife suggested I take up a hobby and I also returned to photography after a long absence about 7 years ago now. I started with the entry level K100 (essentially the K30 equivalent) and then after about 3.5-4 years jumped to the equivalent K5 line. I now have the K5. For everything I like about the K5 (and I do a lot of ambient low light shooting - the K5 works extraordinary well), starting out with the very capable K30 does make a lot of sense. I remembered seeing this the other day - the K30 with the 18-55 WR (weather sealed) kit lens. For $20 Pentax offers an additional 2 year (3 year total) extended warranty - its the best deal around. For backpacking I doubt that you can really do better. This would allow you a bit of freedom to pick up some additional lenses.

The Nikon D7100 is also a very capable camera. I do like the Pentax built in body stabilization. Its a wonderful differentiator. Nikon does do fast action focusing and has a better flash system. However, their lenses are larger with the Image Stabilization in the lenses.

Each camera system has their own advantages and disadvantages. I choose Pentax, and will continue. No need to change.

08-28-2013, 09:38 PM   #12
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Thanks!

Thanks everybody for your opinions. I'm still not completely decide which camera to get, but I think I've managed to put the Nikon out of the picture. A couple of things struck home...
1. The comment about having your heart set on a K-5 II but getting the k-30, then a couple of months later getting the K-5.
2. The oft repeated point that if I go with the cheaper k-30 I have more money for additional lenses.
Those 2 points call for opposite decisions so they still leave me with a decision to make, but they are good points. I do indeed have my mind set on the K-5, but I have a somewhat limited budget. The money will come from selling cues (pool cues) out of my modest cue collection, took me a long time to gather those cues and it is tough to sell them.
I'll ponder these opinions and more are welcomed and I will post an update to this thread when I've taken action.
08-28-2013, 09:47 PM   #13
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BTW, maybe I can improve on pictures like this with a DSLR, this was taken with a Nikon AW100 which is a water/shock resistant P&S with 12 meg (9 true resolution).
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08-28-2013, 10:03 PM   #14
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Amazon

One other thing. Several people have mentioned the real good prices on Amazon.com. Now I love Amazon and I'm a prime member, but when I saw prices so different from places like Adorama, B&H, and my local shop I grow real suspicious of places I've never heard from. Does anybody know more about these places.
08-29-2013, 03:49 AM   #15
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Good Morning,

Here is a thread on the price from Hunt's. I too had never heard of them, but the thread does fill in a bit of information. There are so pretty shady places that advertise somewhat too good to be true prices.Your other questions - I'll take a shot at....
  • maybe I can improve on pictures like this with a DSLR - The point and shoots have made tremendous progress over the years and do produce wonderful results. Don't be surprised if your DSLR results lag and are not specular right off the starting line. P&S are essentially / usually all auto. DSLR is a bit more manual with additional photographer control, and do have a learning curve over the basics of photography. DSLRs also have interchangeable lenses which contribute greatly to the resulting image. For example, there are 2 lenses I have - the 31 Limited and an old manual Contax Zeiss 28. The colors, rendering and characteristics are different and do contribute to the overall image quality. Both are wonderful lenses, but have different qualities. Another aspect is that P&S usually produce JPGs. DSLR produce both RAW and JPGs. RAW images do need some post processing to bring out their best image quality - which implies some additional decisions from the photographer. You can easily make a so-so image into an wonderful image. DSLRs are all about choice and controls - the photographer's and not the engineer's decisions made in the lab during product development. You can think of JPGs as having a lot of their post processing done automagically in the camera. In terms of talking about the differences that lenses add to the overall image quality of the results, the only way I know to address this is a set of examples. Here is one of the best comparisons I can think of. The second link has a side by side comparison of one of the images - where you can see some of the differences a bit more directly between the two lenses (no post processing). So lenses do make a difference - which is one additional choice/control at the photographer's discretion when shooting a scene.
  • having your heart set on a K-5 II but getting the k-30, then a couple of months later getting the K-5 - You mentioned selling your pool cues to fund the camera. Camera bodies are essentially computers - and not like the old mechanical film bodies, that tend to last forever. I hate to say this, but almost disposable to a point and depreciate relatively quickly. I still have my 7 year old K100 because it has a very different sensor - I tend to not use it that much - for the more capable K5. Lenses on the other hand hold their value pretty well. I have a few lenses that are 50, 40 and 30 years old, that do very well. The K30 is extremely close to the K5 - same sensor, newer processing engine, better video, slightly less control buttons on the back than the K5 (the controls are on the menus via the rear screen). The K30 also has the two wheels, front and back - that make is very similar to the K5. So, there is much less of a difference technically between the two (K30 vs. K5/II) as compared to older bodies (the Kx and Kr vs the K20 and K7). The main difference (K30 vs. K5/II) is in the Analog to Digital conversion - the K30 12 bits and the K5 14 bits of resolution. You will never see the difference unless you print really large - about 20"x30" and have a lot of shadows (in general). The most important aspect is the sensor, which is the same in both bodies. Both are sealed bodies. To complete sealing - you need a sealed lens also. The package from Hunt's has both the body and lens - both sealed. For hiking that can make a difference. The other difference is that the K30 its polycarbonate over a steel frame, rather than magnesium alloy shell construction. My old K100 has the polycarbonate over a steel frame and it feels very sturdy.
Hope that helps some....

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