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02-16-2014, 10:48 PM   #1
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Well, It's Come Down To This....

This week sometime I'm getting an new credit card with about a $550 limit. So I'm going to either get a K-30 or a K-5. I'm really wavering between them though. I've read all the AF tests and the older posts on here about the two versus each other and I still can't quite make up my darned mind! So here's my question, now that they've both been out for quite a while, in terms of practical usage only, do any of you actually have BOTH or have you had both for a while and if so which one did you actually end up preferring and why? I'm talking K5 not K5II because I just cannot swing the K5II unfortunately.

Probably I'm getting a used body either way because they are easily had for under $500. A K-30 brand new with warranty however under $500 is not out of the question apparently from what I've seen recently but I think I'd rather go used anyhow so I can spend more down the road on the 18-135WR lens. I've got several bodies bookmarked, mostly used, but not all. No, I don't want the K-50. I prefer the styling on the K-30, and there's not so much difference there that spending more for a K-50 make sense to me. I'm definitely a portrait, nature photographer. I don't do video, and could not care less about video capacity. (I have yet to do any video on my K-x the whole time I've had it.) To me it looks like the K-5 still might have the edge over the K-30 just a bit when it comes to still photography?

I'm a bit worried about it ergonomically. Using the K-7 was great in some ways but it was so much heavier than my K-x. A K-5 would be heavier too and that can work against me a bit. Arthritis, and I hate tripods, shrug, but then again the advantages of the magnesium body might outweigh it, since I am admittedly Steve Urkel level clumsy. I have seen a few K-5's under $550 even with an 18-55WR kit lens, so there is that to consider too. It's a bit more bang for the buck getting at least one WR lens with it. I'm seeing a lot of K-30 bodies well under $400 but hardly none with a WR lens, even at the $500 range. I could just pick one up I suppose though given I'd save at least that buying just a body anyway. Or I could just wait and get the 18-135 as soon as I could afford it and try not to shoot in the rain till then...:P

You see? Back and forth, and back and forth. I'm swaying so much I'm looking like I'm trying to waltz around the room here. This is a huge decision for me. Spending $500 on something besides my rent is not something I do every day. Most of the places I am looking used have pretty good return policies, and a couple of them even have limited warranties. Plus, if did happen to go K-30 new I'd have a Pentax warranty. But not going new means I probably can afford to buy that 18-135WR lens this year used and that is a big deal for me because that's the lens I want for work, the best one in my range that I can afford that is AF. I do have non-WR lenses in my range that I use all the time, but that's the one I really want and need for my studio. The kit would do me for a while for casual shooting and I could just use the lenses I've got for now in my studio, but ultimately I want that 18-135mm for working outdoors. Having gotten THISCLOSE to falling in a pool while shooting a client, well, I just think that is the way to go. It will give me just the right range for work and a bit more in terms of camera safety. The lens I know I want, it's just choosing which body that is giving me fits. The K-5 has survived Afghanistan, drops in rivers, being drowned under a faucet, that I know, but would a K-30?

I admit I am really, really tempted by this: Pentax K-30 Digital Camera (Body Only) (Red): Camera & Photo

But I'm just not sure this body wouldn't be the better buy and I can get that used for under $500 in several places now... Pentax K-5 16.3 MP Digital SLR with 3-Inch LCD (Black Body Only): Camera & Photo

I did think about a K-7 too, because they can be had dirt cheap now, but after a while I decided at least a K-5 or K-30 was going to be it. I do need slightly better AF than the K-7 and slightly better iso capacity, I think and for $100-150 difference the K-5 or K-30 just seems a better deal to me. Opinions? Advice? I really need to make up my mind shortly here. Heie's K-7 is on it's way back to him, and I'm back to using just the K-x for work. I'm not exactly busy right now but I expect that when the weather gets warmer again things will pick up and I won't want to be using just the K-x by then. It's still serving me faithfully but it's aging fast and I really need to relegate it to auxiliary body status soon.


02-16-2014, 10:59 PM   #2

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I have had K5 then moved to a K30.

K30 does everything as well as a K5 sensor wise.
AF is maybe a bit better in tungsten light, but I did not have this issue with my k5.
I find that the AF motor on the K30 seems weaker and spins up heavier lenses slower (mainly FA* lenses)
For the latter reason, I will go back to a higher end camera next time I replace my K30.

Given the AF problems the folks in the US seem to have with the K5, I will suggest neither.
K30 is not a big enough improvement over K5 to be worth it.
It does save money though.
I got back money selling my K5 for K30.

I would suggest doing it right once d just wait for a right priced k5iis or k3.
02-16-2014, 11:11 PM   #3
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I honestly can't wait. Down the road maybe but right now it's K-5 or K-30 or nothing. (Though I could easily scoop up a K-7 for about $275-300.) Like I said my K-x is aging fast and I don't like working with just one DSLR and no backup. If the K-x goes I'm totally screwed in terms of my work. I'm a working portrait photographer. I'm not just a hobbyist anymore. I can't afford to just wait around for another camera to arrive if one breaks. Jobs are scarce here and I can't afford to miss any. I really do need a body that is WR and faster to focus than the K-x. I love my K-x but it's a bit slow sometimes and no WR, that's a major issue with me. I have to pull the trigger on a new DSLR soon and a K5II or K3 is just not in my range at all. Not right now. I wish. I kind of like the K5II but that's going to have to wait until they're sub $500. There's always going to be another, better camera I probably can't afford. I'm just trying to pick the better one that fits into my budget now.
02-16-2014, 11:21 PM   #4
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I have the k-30. and i would recommend the k-5 over it.
For one thing if at some point you would like a vertical grip , there is one for the k-5 and not the k-30.
The k-5 seems to be built a little more robust, made of magnesium alloy and stainless steel, whereas the k-30 has a stainless steel inner frame covered by a plastic shell.
The K-5 also has much better battery life than the k-30
The k-5 also has ISO 80 the k-30 does not.
The k-5 also has a quieter shutter than the k-30, very important IMO
The k-5 has a top LCD for quick viewing of settings. the k-30 does not.
On the down side the K-5 is very very hard to find new. And the k-30 is likewise hard to find new, except on the gray market.
Just some things to consider.
As others have mentioned I would also suggest the k-5II or the k-5IIs both of which can still be found new .
The K-50 can also be found new for under $500
PLEASE PLEASE be careful of amazon sellers based in countries foreign to your own. These are most often gray market cameras and may be refurbished or used and may not have a Pentax warranty. Also it may take many weeks for you to receive your camera and returns may not work well.
B&H and Adorama are the most trustworthy companies out there to deal with.
And KEH for older used equipment.
Crutchfield is also a very good company offering a 90 day return policy and good support. but higher prices.

Last edited by OldNoob; 02-16-2014 at 11:58 PM.
02-16-2014, 11:39 PM   #5

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When they say "Like New", they mean it K-5.
02-16-2014, 11:55 PM   #6
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Thanks. I actually have not seen the K-50 for under $500 as yet. If you know where I'd like to see that. I've been sort of looking at those but not as seriously. The main reason I ruled it out was it was just not in my budget at all. $600 plus for a body? Not doable. I really do have a strict limit of $500-550. I do like the styling on the K-30 a lot better and they do seem pretty similar otherwise so I figured the K-30 was the better deal for me if I was going to buy new. K-30's can be had from Amazon new sub $500 from Electronics Basket and a couple of other sellers and I understand they do come with the Pentax warranty. I have seen gray market ones at even cheaper prices but I don't really want to order from say Singapore and take my chances. I'd rather stay on Amazon for used or new than not. At least that way I know I can return a defective one.

I can also just go used and grab one online from a reputable seller. They're turning up here and there used for less than $400 now. The K-5's are sub $500 used and I figured if I went that route I'd be buying used. The K-30's I could do either way, though used is less, of course. I would like one or the other with a short warranty at least but it's not essential. I'm somewhat flexible on that point so long as where I buy it from is trustworthy and has a decent return policy. I'm not doing the market because I don't really want to have to deal with opening a Pay Pal account and private sellers and all that. I've looked at all the major camera stores, at new, at used. There are quite a few options for both K-5's and K-30's, but unfortunately nothing in the K5II range that I can swing just yet. It's just too far above my credit limit on the card I want to use. $500-550 that I can do. $600-up, I just can't. It won't fit on the credit card I want to use. It's got a pretty low limit.

The crystal red K-30 sings a serious siren song, has ever since I laid eyes on one, grin, but I don't want it's flash and dash to persuade me to buy the wrong camera if a K-5 would actually do me better. If I had to pick between a K-50 and a K-30 though? I think I'd hit the K-30 vs the K-50 even if it's not quite as updated. I just don't think the K-50 is worth the upgrade and I like the K-30 a lot better. Money-wise the K-30 is more practical, particularly used, but in terms of work I think the K-5 used might well be a better choice sometimes. They both have their major advantages and disadvantages. That's why this is such a hard choice. I do have to watch that video. I do like a quiet shutter....

Edit: I watched. Had to laugh the K-3 sounds exactly like my old typewriter. K-5 is better but the K-30 wouldn't annoy me. It's no worse than the K-x and I have been living with that...

Last edited by magkelly; 02-17-2014 at 12:10 AM.
02-17-2014, 12:02 AM   #7
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also keep in mind the k-5 series shutter is rated for over 100,000 activations, where as the k-30 the shutter life is never OFFICIALLY given by Ricoh
02-17-2014, 12:21 AM   #8
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That's one of the reasons I'm kind of worried about my K-x. I haven't checked it recently but it's got to have 40K on there by now with work and all. I really need it to go to backup status soon. :P

02-17-2014, 03:44 AM   #9
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I think it's all been said, but the two things I think I would miss the most from the K-5 are the top LCD and the quiet shutter.

It would be nice to have focus peaking with manual focus lenses, though. But I get by OK after I changed the focus screen.
02-17-2014, 07:07 AM   #10

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I started with a K-x then I sold it and have been a proud K-5 owner for over 3 yeas now, recently (just over a month ago) I acquired a used K-30 as my second body, sensor wise they are pretty much the same, I now use my K-5 mostly on tripod for my long exposure stuff, because it has ISO80 and a IR remote receiver in the back of the camera and 14bit RAW, the other reason is that base on my unscientific test the PDAF in K-30 is slightly better than K-5 and CDAF a lot better, plus the advantage of having focus peaking makes K-30 more usable in more situations. K-30 with a small prime is very comfortable in hand,

Cons for the K-30? First thing is that original battery capacity is not up for it, in K-5 I can easily get 1000 shot out of 1 battery if I don't use flash, not the case for K-30, however if I use eneloop then there is not much battery problem. Secondly is the lack of shoulder LCD is a bit annoying coming from K-5, but manageable, what I found most confusing is the difference in LV/Reply button placement, especially when I tend to used them side by side...Thirdly is the shutter noise, everything you read about the K-30 shutter being noisier is true, but it doesn't seem to draw any more attention in the street than my K-5, but I've only used it for streets for 2 weekends so we will wait and see.
02-17-2014, 07:23 AM   #11
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Ether way you will be happy. Both are good choices, so don't stress out. Make your choice and don't look back. Here are the advantages of each, in my view:
K-5: battery life, quiet shutter, top LCD, battery grip, magnesium body is sexy,
K-30: lighter, focus peaking, awesome live view focus, generally faster computer inside, body available in colors

For me, I bought two cheap aftermarket batteries for my K-30, so that problem is very small, I never shoot in quiet places, so that's not a big deal for me, and I use MF lenses very frequently, so focus peaking means the K-30 for me.

One more note, focus peaking is useful with autofocus lenses too, especially when focusing close. I really use it all the time, would never buy another camera without it.
02-17-2014, 07:30 AM - 1 Like   #12
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You can buy a like new K-5 for under $500. I bought mine from KEH and it had 108 clicks on the shutter and not a blemish anywhere.
02-17-2014, 10:30 AM   #13
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Why go into debt? What is wrong with your K-x?

Last edited by stormtech; 02-17-2014 at 12:42 PM.
02-17-2014, 03:21 PM   #14
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My K-x is aging rapidly as I said. I've been using it to shoot for work for a while now. I need 2 bodies. Relying on just one is not smart. Something happens to my K-x and I might have to turn down jobs till a replacement arrives. I can't afford to do that. I live in an area that is tropical, and there is water all around me. IIt also rains a lot. I get offers sometimes to do work that involves beach shoots, pool shoots, general work outside in some pretty hot and humid weather. I'm admittedly a klutz. I have problems with my balance because of some autoimmune stuff. It's affecting my ears and eyes. Last year I nearly fell into a pool while shooting a portfolio shot for a wanna be model. I slid on wet concrete, fell on my behind, and nearly skidded into the pool. Fortunately my K-x landed on my lap and not in the pool, that time, but after that I decided that my next DSLR was definitely going to be WR.

It's a minor miracle that my K-x hasn't suffered any major damage in the time I've had it. I just need a tougher camera, one that can take the tropics, and maybe some abuse from me. I have almost $300 squirreled away that I meant to use for this. But then I got the new CC offer and I decided that money was going to go for the 18-135 WR lens as it's the best WR lens I can afford and one I really could use having on the new camera for work. For a long time now my ideal combo for work has been a WR body and that lens. It's just time. My K-x isn't going to last me forever and with the weather here a WR body just plain makes sense. The K-x has served me well and I will continue to use it but I do legitimately need a bit more camera than I've currently got. I'm not just upgrading to upgrade. I'm working professionally and I need a better tool set.

---------- Post added 02-17-14 at 05:26 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by peterjcb Quote
You can buy a like new K-5 for under $500. I bought mine from KEH and it had 108 clicks on the shutter and not a blemish anywhere.
Oh darn! I wish you hadn't done that. (LOL) You may have just spoiled my party! I was looking at that one and now it won't be there when I want it later in the week. They also have a red K-30 (<3) used and I'm thinking hard about that too. I'm just waiting on the new plastic to arrive. I can't actually grab either one till I have the new card in hand. Should be here this week sometime and when it is I will grab one or the other, IF they are still there... :P I must admit that red K-30 really has me sighing, but I'm supposing the K-5 is the way to go.

Last edited by magkelly; 02-17-2014 at 03:28 PM.
02-18-2014, 08:26 AM   #15
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Although I do not own either camera, I would just like to make a personal opinion:

If you are taking on portrait shoots for money, then turning up with a 'professional' looking black K5 may make a better impression than a 'toy' looking candy red K30 (depending on your client of course!), despite the fact that photos from either one would be fine.

You just might have to justify it more to the client when using a red K30? (Could always get a black K30 though.)


Edit: Just seen your post here in the d@rn K5 thread - maybe compromise on a black K30 if the K5 AF bothers you.

Last edited by Dieseler; 02-18-2014 at 09:45 AM. Reason: read another thread

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