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10-29-2013, 05:21 PM   #1
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Want to move from film to digital

Hi,

I have an old ZX-60. I want to upgrade to digital, but have three lenses I don't want to lose. I have been told as long as I buy Pentax my lenses will work. Is there a specific Pentax body I should be looking for? Would a compact body work? Or do I need a SLR? A point in the right direction would be much appreciated. I want to make sure I make the right decision from the get go.

Thanks.

10-30-2013, 12:06 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emberley79 Quote
Hi,

I have an old ZX-60. I want to upgrade to digital, but have three lenses I don't want to lose. I have been told as long as I buy Pentax my lenses will work. Is there a specific Pentax body I should be looking for? Would a compact body work? Or do I need a SLR? A point in the right direction would be much appreciated. I want to make sure I make the right decision from the get go.

Thanks.
All your lenses will work on Pentax DSLRs. There are currently no non-DSLRs that take K-mount lenses.

You should look at the K-500, as it's a great starting point:
Pentax K-500 | B&H Photo Video
Pentax K-500 Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

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10-30-2013, 12:14 AM   #3
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The Pentax K-01 would be a more compact, non-DSLR option. Production has been discontinued, but it is still freely available, and very cheap. The focus peaking feature makes it very useful with old manual lenses.
10-30-2013, 05:20 AM   #4
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You can also look for a used K30 or K5 in the Marketplace. They'll let you transition from film pretty well.

10-30-2013, 06:12 AM   #5
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Good suggestions above, your lenses will work on the aforementioned cameras. Note that due to the cropped APS-C-format sensor common to most DSLRs (a lengthy topic), your lenses will perform as if they were slightly longer lenses. So, for example, a 50mm lens on a DSLR will have a perspective similar to what you would expect from a 75mm lens on your ZX-60.

I'm only mentioning this because you may find that you need to supplement your current lens collection with a wider lens(es), to maintain the coverage of your current lens collection. It all depends on your current line-up, and how you like to shoot. In any case, you can decide about that later, and picking up one or two wide-angle lenses is still cheaper than dumping all your current lenses and going with a different mount system.

The current K-50 and K-500 have some really great features, compared to competing brands! Read the reviews here on the site, to see how those compare to each other, and to your ZX-60.
10-30-2013, 05:59 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
You can also look for a used K30 or K5 in the Marketplace. They'll let you transition from film pretty well.
You can also buy an older used DSLR body for even less, between $100 and $175. Look at everything from the first *ist D series to the early K-series bodies on eBay and the Marketplace here.
10-31-2013, 11:32 AM   #7
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The one bit of advice I try to give to new digital shooters is to be aware of the differences between film and digital after you shoot. Instead of sending the film in to be developed and printed, which is pretty hands-off for most people, you will be uploading your images to, most likely, a personal computer and finishing them yourself. While it is certainly possible to just use the JPEG images straight from the camera, you will get the best results from "polishing them" a bit. I have friends who take the digital card right out of the camera and plug it into the machine at the local Walgreen's to get prints. They complain frequently that their pictures don't look like mine. There are a lot of reasons for that, not the least of which are experience, knowledge, skill and equipment ( ) but the only thing I can tell them is that I tweak my images before printing, getting things like cropping, exposure, contrast and saturation just right. If you haven't already, you might want to look into what we call post-processing as part of your change over to digital.
10-31-2013, 11:49 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by abmj Quote
you might want to look into what we call post-processing as part of your change over to digital.
In other words, YOU are the processing lab!
It does help you learn a lot about the camera, too.

10-31-2013, 11:51 AM   #9
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We can help you with specific suggestions if you let us know the type of shooting you plan to do, your budget, intention to use viewfinder almost exclusively (as opposed to willingness to shoot while looking at the LCD screen), and desire to go with new or used.

For instance, if you want to do a lot of action shooting and you strongly prefer a viewfinder, then the K-01 would be a poor choice for you (although many of us like this camera a great deal for certain shooting situations).

Last edited by ScooterMaxi Jim; 10-31-2013 at 11:54 AM. Reason: clearer language
10-31-2013, 05:01 PM   #10
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Which lenses do you have? The ZX-60 being an autofocus body, if you have autofocus lenses they should work exactly the same on a new DSLR.
Manual lenses with an A setting meter normally, but the shake reduction will require focal length to be set for a prime, and basically just won't work right on a zoom. I use all A lenses and I just turn the shake reduction off with zooms. A lenses also let you use the front and rear dials to set aperture and shutter speed when in M mode so you dont even have to take your eye from the viewfinder and its hella fast to make quick changes.
If you have lenses old enough to have no A setting unless they are really great ones I would sell them, if you would wish to keep them look up green button metering which is too much a hassle for me.

My biggest irritation with film to digital was the blasted crop sensor, all the focal lengths are screwed up and now all my perfect range zooms and primes are too narrow a frame, might wanna consider that when you choose what lenses you keep.

If you are rich get a K-3, if not get one of the original K5's that are going to start dumping onto the market used as the K-3 was actually a good enough upgrade to be worth it to K5 owners (unlike the K5II).
Or you could be like me and just sit on your wallet until the Pentax full frame DSLR comes out, you will know it by the curled horn coming out of where the flash used to be.
11-01-2013, 06:46 AM   #11
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Of course, not everyone finds the non "A" manual lenses too much of a hassle. Besides the hassle of pushing the green button to get a meter reading, the accuracy of the reading can be off a bit depending on the body or lens; easily corrected by checking the exposure histogram - something you don't get with film. Not everyone is willing to shoot with manual lenses even in A setting. Overall, it is better to have the A-setting, of course, and those lenses fetch a higher price on the used market.

Depending on your needs, a K30 can work better for you than any of the K5s (especially if you plan to use manual lenses extensively, and like to use live view - screen view for shooting). I think the K30 works better for people new to dSLRs because it encourages you to use both modes for shooting. However, the K5s are a full level higher in terms of build, and include some pro oriented features (none of which are essential for 99% of shooting situations).

You will find a lot of Pentax folks claiming that the brand can't move forward without full frame. While this may or may not be the case, it isn't a conversation that's particularly relevant to your situation. As a former Canon full frame camera owner, I can assure you that the APS-c cameras will be more than satisfactory for your needs. In fact, it will be a sad day for some Pentax users who have assumed that their FA and older lenses designed for film will work the same on digital, but will tend to yield poor edge and corner performance on FF digital. It has to do with the way light is accepted on digital sensors due to the severe angle of the rays. These lenses tend to work well on APS-c, though.

Last edited by ScooterMaxi Jim; 11-02-2013 at 07:54 AM. Reason: transposed words
11-02-2013, 08:40 AM - 1 Like   #12
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The beauty and the bane of going from film to digital is that you will have two more things to manage - ISO and white balance.

With film, ISO and white balance were pre-designed by chemists. You either like or dislike a film because of that, but it remains outside your control. With digital, you must juggle these additional two aspects of photography on a frame by frame basis* as well as all the other things you learned about film photography. *okay before everyone gets upset with me ... sure you can lock down either or both ISO and white balance and operate more like a film camera. I will counter that these are as much creative aspects as shutter, aperture, composition and focus and a photographer needs to add them to his or her toolbox.

I think the biggest mistake any photographer makes when moving from an older film camera to current cameras is becoming overly dependent on auto-focus. I use AF for the vast majority of my shots, but have also learned that it is important to pay as much attention as I did with manual focus because frankly, my brain is still better than the camera's. And what the camera thinks is a good focus may not be what I envisioned for that particular image. I don't rant after pressing the shutter release because my camera didn't get the focus right, I tweak it before I press the shutter release. I am also a BIG fan of checking a scene before exposure by stopping down the lens and visually checking depth of field.
11-02-2013, 09:41 AM   #13
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All worthy points, Jim. I wish to add three points.

With instant feedback, we can learn immediately what we have done wrong (conversely we also can get very lazy by shooting endlessly and forget to think about the exact right perspective or moment of maximum visual impact). When I sense a lazy streak, I artificially impose "shot a day" kinds of discipline, or at least impose single shot mode (which I use nearly half the time in any event).

In the digital era, we can do our best by improving our software "darkroom" technique. Much of a shooter's style can be established through digital post processing. To achieve the most in this regard, at least some exposure to RAW processing is strongly advised. At the same time, the temptation to get lazy and say "I'll fix it in post" is another unfortunate potential trap.

With the advent of quality live view (in my instance, the K-01 and K30), the ability of shifting perspective and better understanding the relationship of camera and subject observed from a distance (typically achieved by using a remote in the film era) is more valuable than I had assumed previously. While the viewfinder is essential for the majority of shots, you can improve your photography markedly by pushing yourself away from the back of the camera for a great many shots.
11-02-2013, 11:11 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by ScooterMaxi Jim Quote
All worthy points, Jim. I wish to add three points.

With instant feedback, we can learn immediately what we have done wrong (conversely we also can get very lazy by shooting endlessly and forget to think about the exact right perspective or moment of maximum visual impact). When I sense a lazy streak, I artificially impose "shot a day" kinds of discipline, or at least impose single shot mode (which I use nearly half the time in any event).

In the digital era, we can do our best by improving our software "darkroom" technique. Much of a shooter's style can be established through digital post processing. To achieve the most in this regard, at least some exposure to RAW processing is strongly advised. At the same time, the temptation to get lazy and say "I'll fix it in post" is another unfortunate potential trap.

With the advent of quality live view (in my instance, the K-01 and K30), the ability of shifting perspective and better understanding the relationship of camera and subject observed from a distance (typically achieved by using a remote in the film era) is more valuable than I had assumed previously. While the viewfinder is essential for the majority of shots, you can improve your photography markedly by pushing yourself away from the back of the camera for a great many shots.
Nothing I can argue with. Checking instant preview (otherwise known as 'chimping', is a bad thing only when done so often that I shot is missed - or as in a few months ago when I somehow accidentally fixed my white balance as tungsten on a bright sunny day. oops! And your point about RAW is well taken. Unless needs dictate otherwise, I shoot RAW+. Which by the way, meant I didn't panic when I discovered about an hour later what I had done to my white balance...
11-03-2013, 02:45 PM   #15
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Pentax has a good line-up right now and including discounted models you could pick up a K-01, K-30, K-50, one of the K-5 series, or even the new K-3 if you really want to go for it.
You'll really need to tell us your budget and what you like to photograph.
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