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03-25-2014, 08:11 PM   #1
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Dreaming of a new Pentax system

I'm quite fond of Canon and Nikon, but there's something about Pentax that stands apart ... although I'm not sure what exactly. It could be their sheer ruggedness, the no nonsense features, or maybe it's the fact that darn near everyone and their uncle shoots either Nikon or Canon nowadays. I once longed for a new Nikon system, but those days are long over. I once owned a Canon system, but those days are no more. It's time to start fresh and Pentax seems to be the best option for me. They are rugged, IQ is amazing, the ergonomics second to none, and they are dead sexy machines (imho).


After month's of researching different cameras and camera brands, I've chosen Pentax. I want great IQ, great dynamic range, ample fps, a weather sealed and rugged body, and a camera system that won't break your back and/or bank account. The buttons on Pentax bodies are intuitively placed, the feature set is no nonsense ... not gimmicky like some of the Canon and Nikon bodies. They just feel like a camera is meant to feel or at least how I think a camera should feel. Sure, more pro's shoot Canons and Nikon's. They are very well respected in the photography world, but I'm putting my money on Pentax. I truly believe they are destined for greatness.


With that being said, I'm leaning towards the Pentax k-5 IIs. I love the k-3, but the k-5 IIs is much more affordable and will suit my needs perfectly. I mostly enjoy landscape, nature, and portraiture , but I plan on shooting my sons high school football games next year also. I realize the k-3 would likely be a better camera for high school sports (Canon models too), but I'm confident the k5 IIs will provide. There are a few lenses I'm considering to start me off, but which one to purchase first? Pentax 77 mm f/1.8 ltd, the Pentax 31 mm f/1.8 ltd, or the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 art series are what I have in mind, but I can purchase only one at jump. The others will follow as my budget allows. Any suggestions on which to buy first, or suggestions on other suitable lenses ... maybe I should consider the k-5 camera body instead of the k-5 IIs.


Lots to consider still!

03-25-2014, 08:16 PM   #2
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I'd probably start off with the 31mm, as it's good all-around lens. The 77mm is a bit long for everyday use, and the 18-35mm isn't available yet.

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03-25-2014, 08:27 PM   #3
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I shoot sports with K-5 and despite how many says that the camera isn't a sports camera it works really well, you just need to learn the quirks and be a bit smart.
Though I would rather go with the K-5II or later since I've experienced the trouble with focus accuracy under tinted lighting.
03-25-2014, 09:04 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I'd probably start off with the 31mm, as it's good all-around lens. The 77mm is a bit long for everyday use, and the 18-35mm isn't available yet.

The 31 mm would be a fantastic first lens, but I'm fairly adamant about the sigma 1.8 zoom when it becomes available for Pentax. I've seen some really great photos taken with the sigma ... the Pentax 31 mm too, but I'm limited on funds. I don't think I need two similar focal lengths in my bag if I can create similar images with just one lens. Either I need to get the 31 mm and debate later to even get the sigma zoom, or I wait for the zoom, debate on whether to even get the 31 and purchase the 77 mm at jump. I dunno. I do need the wider angle, but it may be 2-3 months before I can purchase anything at all. I'm not sure how long until the sigma becomes available, either. I have time and that's a good thing. I don't want to rush into buying anything. I need more info I guess. The 31 mm has had my eye for some time now, but the sigma lens is in a class of its own. The 77 mm may not be great for an all around lens, but I'd use her daily just the same. Most of my photos will be portraits, landscapes, and nature images so whichever is better suited for these genres will likely be my best bet for starters. Budget limitations may prevent me from buying one of the aforementioned lenses. Then again, I may need to settle on cheaper lenses altogether. You never truly know what life is gonna throw at you, hence the thread title "Dreaming of a new Pentax system". I would like to decide on my best route early on though. That way I have a specific goal to aim for.

03-25-2014, 09:24 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JaggedZenMonkey Quote
Then again, I may need to settle on cheaper lenses altogether.
Both the DA 35mm 2.4 and the DA 50mm 1.8 are very high quality lenses that are also very affordable. They might make a suitable stop gap until the Sigma becomes available. And you could sell them for almost as much as you paid.
03-25-2014, 09:34 PM   #6
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I'd get the k3 if you can swing it, the k5lls if not, and get the 18-135 bundled with either as a kit for a general walk around in inclement weather and dusty conditions set up, then use that until you snag that 77, sigma 18-35, and since it seems you want fast and high quality the da55 to fit in the middle of those. Of course then you will need wider, longer, really longer, and.... And I should stop trying to spend your money for you! I do keep saying my next lens purchase will be the sigma 18-35 f/1.8, so like you I can't wait!
03-25-2014, 09:35 PM   #7
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I think the K-5 IIs is good to start. That's what I have now - didn't upgrade to the K-3 this year, because the K-5 IIs is doing the job.

Before the HS Football season starts you need to get a *300, FA*200, Tamron 70-200/2.8, or similar lens. In general I'd recommend a 300.


Don't waste your money on any of the "kit" lenses unless it's the DA18-135, which has its uses (but I still haven't needed one yet). I think you should start out with the FA77 or DA*50-135 (which can be a bit expensive if not purchased used). Don't mistake the DA*50-135 for a fast-focusing football lens, though. But otherwise it's brilliant. Then for only $200 you should supplement your FA77 or DA*50-135 with the DA35/2.4. It's very affordable, and since it was originally designed as an f/2 lens, it's quite sharp wide open at f/2.4. So you can shoot it at f/2.4 while taking advantage of the wide-open bokeh. Don't get the FA31 yet unless it's really the focal length you're more interested in, because the same characteristics that make it so "great" also make it behave differently than any other lens I've used - so you may find it challenging to get the results you want, as I do.


As you may already know, both the FA77 and FA31 perform very well wide-open. The FA77 may also be useful for sports (I replaced mine with an FA*85/1.4, which I use for sports along with my F*300 and FA135). For sports you can get better AF performance with a screw-drive lens (unlike Canon, which optimizes its in-lens motors for sports). Since Pentax continues to sell many small, screw-drive Ltd lenses, they've optimized the screw-drive AF system instead. The only in-lens motors that are semi-optimized for sports (at least at 300mm or less) are in the DA*300 and the latest Sigma 70-200/2.8 HSM OS. I tried them side-by-side on my K-5 IIs in a gym last weekend. The DA*300 AF was OK for sports, but definitely more problematic than my F*300. The Sigma AF was maybe as good as my screw drive primes (although I'll have to study my pictures a bit more) but definitely not better. And I also prefer the image rendering of the Pentax lenses. But the Sigma can do the job for those who like or need its characteristics.

QuoteOriginally posted by JaggedZenMonkey Quote
I don't want to rush into buying anything. I need more info I guess. The 31 mm has had my eye for some time now, but the sigma lens is in a class of its own. The 77 mm may not be great for an all around lens, but I'd use her daily just the same. Most of my photos will be portraits, landscapes, and nature images so whichever is better suited for these genres will likely be my best bet for starters.
The FA31 is in a class of its own - perhaps even more so than the Sigma 18-35/1.8 (it's just not as obvious on the surface). But as you can see above, I'm not necessarily advocating that lens for you. So you should definitely get the DA35/2.4 and give yourself time to decide between the Sigma and the FA31 in the future.

The FA*85 is perhaps my most used lens, so there's nothing silly about getting a fast prime in that focal length. Even Adam's Avatar features the FA*85, so don't listen to what he says about getting the FA31 (do as he does, not as he says)!

Last edited by DSims; 03-25-2014 at 09:47 PM.
03-25-2014, 10:12 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by VoiceOfReason Quote
I'd get the k3 if you can swing it, the k5lls if not, and get the 18-135 bundled with either as a kit for a general walk around in inclement weather and dusty conditions set up, then use that until you snag that 77, sigma 18-35, and since it seems you want fast and high quality the da55 to fit in the middle of those. Of course then you will need wider, longer, really longer, and.... And I should stop trying to spend your money for you! I do keep saying my next lens purchase will be the sigma 18-35 f/1.8, so like you I can't wait!
This. Solid advice. Start with the 18-135 and figure out what focal lengths or ranges you use most frequently.

And I haven't purchased anything all year, so I'm happy to spend the OPs $$$!

03-26-2014, 02:18 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by JaggedZenMonkey Quote
They are rugged, IQ is amazing, the ergonomics second to none, and they are dead sexy machines (imho).
QuoteOriginally posted by JaggedZenMonkey Quote
After month's of researching different cameras and camera brands, I've chosen Pentax. I want great IQ, great dynamic range, ample fps, a weather sealed and rugged body, and a camera system that won't break your back and/or bank account. The buttons on Pentax bodies are intuitively placed, the feature set is no nonsense ... not gimmicky like some of the Canon and Nikon bodies. They just feel like a camera is meant to feel or at least how I think a camera should feel. Sure, more pro's shoot Canons and Nikon's. They are very well respected in the photography world, but I'm putting my money on Pentax. I truly believe they are destined for greatness.
Ahh....so Canikon users can see the light of day. Maybe there is hope after all

But yes, I agree with the above - the K-3 (or the K-5 IIs, but I would go for the 3 if you can), and get the 18-135. It has fared terribly in professional reviews (i.e. photozone), but I routinely find it an excellent lens when the situation calls for a small, weather sealed all-in-one. Here's a recent excursion I did to Finland for a military partnered training exercise (40 images), all with the 18-135 and the K-5 IIs.

For your purposes (low-light sports), here's the immediate breakdown of the cameras. The K-5 will not be a reliable focuser, especially with the crappy high school lighting. It sadly has a history of poor focusing in low light conditions, especially if it is artificial light. As others have eluded to, it can be done, but if you can afford it, skip this iteration. Especially since it is now approaching 4+ years old. The K-5 II/IIs will be a significant improvement over the K-5 and will match the K-3 for low-light focusing. All three models (II, IIs, and K-3) can focus in damn near darkness - it's very impressive. The K-3 takes it a step further and really makes a considerable leap towards competitive AF tracking of moving subjects.

Also, I would also concur with the DA* 60-250 or DA* 300 recommendations for lenses once the football season starts. Both produce stunning quality images, can be monopod mounted with a detachable tripod foot, and are excellent weather sealed.

Oh, and welcome - hopefully you find the forums a beneficial resource to you as we surely all do

-Heie

Last edited by Heie; 03-26-2014 at 02:25 AM.
03-26-2014, 05:40 AM   #10
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I went from a K-3 back down to a K-5 and have I have no regrets. For my purposes, the K-5 is an excellent camera and a bargain at current prices.
I would also recommend the FA31 Limited or the DA35 Macro Limited to start, I have both and they are both great choices.
If you want to add more I'd recommend the DA 55-300 on the long end and either the DA 12-24 or the DA 15 for the wide end....that would give you pretty much all you need but once you get started buying lenses it's hard to stop....kind of like eating potate chips...
03-26-2014, 07:02 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by JaggedZenMonkey Quote
I mostly enjoy landscape, nature, and portraiture , but I plan on shooting my sons high school football games next year also. I realize the k-3 would likely be a better camera for high school sports (Canon models too), but I'm confident the k5 IIs will provide. There are a few lenses I'm considering to start me off, but which one to purchase first? Pentax 77 mm f/1.8 ltd, the Pentax 31 mm f/1.8 ltd, or the Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 art series are what I have in mind, but I can purchase only one at jump. The others will follow as my budget allows. Any suggestions on which to buy first, or suggestions on other suitable lenses ... maybe I should consider the k-5 camera body instead of the k-5 IIs.
So here is my approach.

When you think off the sigma 18-35mm then don't spend money on a lens in that range. Just wait for that lens and the landscape doesn't run away and next season there will be again that lovely view and Sunrise. This is probably for landscape, but personally I think you can also use longer lenses for this.

For sports you need something longer. Myself I prefer using 300mm, but I see most off the photographers using 70-200mm alongside a small size soccerfield (are we talking about soccer or american football? That field is much larger and you need 300mm). Not in your budget, but no worry's, that is for next season. I do some sports and you can look at the used lenses and camera's to make choices. When no lens is mentioned, mostly the Sigma 70200 is used. Showcase sports images

For portrait you should buy a proper portrait lens. The best in the bunch is the DA*55mm for this. There is also DA70mm, FA77mm, FA43mm and FA*85mm that are all great. For duo's or groups there is offcourse also DA40mm and FA31mm, but you probably will find that with the Sigma 18-35mm that you can make some great shots at the long end off this lens. Otherwise the DA20-40mm is an option.

So what would probably meet your demands the most for a first lens? I think that for this either the DA70mm or the FA77mm would be a great choice giving you an excellent lens to work with in the coming months while saving money for a second lens!

I think if you know and learn how to work with it that you can do your work on excellent base with Sigma 18-35mm, FA77mm/DA70mm and DA*300mm and nothing else is really needed. (except offcourse DA*55mm, 70-200mm, 560mm and a fish-eye).
03-26-2014, 01:39 PM   #12
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I may consider the k-3, but is it truly worth the extra cash? I'm fairly certain my first prime will either be the 77 mm ltd or the 70 mm ltd. The 70 mm is cheaper in price, but I'm concerned about image quality compared to the 77. I could get the k-5 IIs and the 77 mm for about the same price I can get the K-3 and the 70, but I'm not sure which would be the better system to start me off. I'll pick up either the 31 ltd or the sigma 18-35 later this year ... hopefully in time for the Autumn colors. The long zoom will need to be purchased before football season also.

K5 IIs $700.00
77 mm $980.00
----------------------
Total - $1680.00



K-3 $1050.00
70 ltd $ 650.00
--------------------
Total - $1700.00


Decisions decisions!
03-26-2014, 02:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JaggedZenMonkey Quote
K5 IIs $700.00
77 mm $980.00
----------------------
Total - $1680.00



K-3 $1050.00
70 ltd $ 650.00
--------------------
Total - $1700.00


Decisions decisions!
I only used both lenses 70/77 briefly on a single occasion (since I have the FA*85). They are very different, but also veru excellent in their range. Look into the lens section, there must be a good comparrisson.

How big is your budget? What would be left over when you choose K-5iis with 70 ltd? Can you buy anything from the left over budget?
03-26-2014, 02:08 PM   #14
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Perhaps some others can chime in, but here is my view as a K-5 owner. If you are photographing sports, then get the K-3. No discussion needed. It should have much better tracking AF than any earlier body. If sports were not in the picture (pun intended), then I think the choice is much more difficult. From what I have read, the single AF performance of the K-3 and K-5II is pretty close, although reportedly the K-3 has a smaller AF point which is a definite advantage with some types of photography. Both are an improvement over the K-5.

I personally have some issues with the slightly changed control layout on the K-3 where I think it regressed compared to the K-5/K-5II layout, which I think is better. I don't really see a need for increased resolution of the K-3 compared to a K-5IIs... I'm quite happy with the resolution of my K-5 in any case and the IIs is a minor step up already. Considering the deals on the IIs, that's probably where I would throw my money at the moment. I don't really care about tracking AF, I'm mostly a landscape and outdoor photographer so speed is not a factor for me. I would rather put money into lenses.
03-26-2014, 02:24 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
I only used both lenses 70/77 briefly on a single occasion (since I have the FA*85). They are very different, but also veru excellent in their range. Look into the lens section, there must be a good comparrisson.

How big is your budget? What would be left over when you choose K-5iis with 70 ltd? Can you buy anything from the left over budget?

After I posted I ran to the lens section and did a few comparisons. I like both, but the 77 mm seemed to produce a creamier bokeh. The 70mm was a bit busier imo. Both are satisfactory, though. I dunno. I drool over the k-3, but it's still a new camera. The k-5 IIs has been thoroughly tried and tested. I do need a sports camera next football season, but will the k-3 truly outshine the k-5 II's for sports? I mostly want to shoot landscapes, nature, and portraits ... sports being needed only for a couple more seasons. I like the extra megapixels offered by the k-3. It will almost certainly produce better quality images, but the k-5 is no slouch in that department, either. I also like the fact that the k-3 offers anti aliasing feature that can be turned on when needed. Geesh!


I'm stuck ... again!

---------- Post added 03-26-14 at 05:29 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by cbope Quote
Perhaps some others can chime in, but here is my view as a K-5 owner. If you are photographing sports, then get the K-3. No discussion needed. It should have much better tracking AF than any earlier body. If sports were not in the picture (pun intended), then I think the choice is much more difficult. From what I have read, the single AF performance of the K-3 and K-5II is pretty close, although reportedly the K-3 has a smaller AF point which is a definite advantage with some types of photography. Both are an improvement over the K-5.

I personally have some issues with the slightly changed control layout on the K-3 where I think it regressed compared to the K-5/K-5II layout, which I think is better. I don't really see a need for increased resolution of the K-3 compared to a K-5IIs... I'm quite happy with the resolution of my K-5 in any case and the IIs is a minor step up already. Considering the deals on the IIs, that's probably where I would throw my money at the moment. I don't really care about tracking AF, I'm mostly a landscape and outdoor photographer so speed is not a factor for me. I would rather put money into lenses.

I'll only be shooting sports for a couple more seasons ... after that It'll be nature, landscapes, and portraits mostly. However, I don't want to miss shots if I can help it. My son is only playing a couple more seasons then he'll be off to college. It's important to get the shots in other words.
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