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03-26-2014, 04:48 PM   #1
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Upgrade advice wanted

Years ago I had a film Pentax ZX-5N. I upgraded to a Pentax *ist-DL and I have struggled with battery life on that sucker, oh, forever. It takes 4 AAs and seems to only recognize the batteries' presence if they are overcharged - it will tell me there is no battery sometimes when I put in brand new fully charged name brand camera batteries. (And yes, I put them in the correct way ;-) So, unless someone here has some brilliant suggestions to combat THAT particular issue, I'm looking to upgrade. I've been looking at the K-5 (maybe with other modifiers after the model? can't remember), used, from KEH. I have SMC Pentax F lenses (35-80mm, 1:4-5.6 & 100-300mm, same) and I have an APO 170-500mm 1:5-6.3 lens. From what I've been reading, it doesn't sound like any of them will work all that well with a newer DSLR? If I can keep using the lenses I have without all kinds of weirdness, I want to stay with a Pentax body. If not - then I may be considering other brands as well.

Thanks!

Kathleen

03-26-2014, 05:12 PM   #2
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@Kathleenb -- don't know about the lenses (others will), but I recently upgraded from my K-01 to a K-5 IIs, $696 body-only from Amazon US. It is a wonderful camera, and I can recommend it to anybody. Just excellent.
03-26-2014, 05:14 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kathleenb Quote
I have SMC Pentax F lenses (35-80mm, 1:4-5.6 & 100-300mm, same) and I have an APO 170-500mm 1:5-6.3 lens. From what I've been reading, it doesn't sound like any of them will work all that well with a newer DSLR?
They all will.
03-26-2014, 05:37 PM   #4
Des
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kathleenb Quote
Years ago I had a film Pentax ZX-5N. I upgraded to a Pentax *ist-DL and I have struggled with battery life on that sucker, oh, forever. It takes 4 AAs and seems to only recognize the batteries' presence if they are overcharged - it will tell me there is no battery sometimes when I put in brand new fully charged name brand camera batteries. (And yes, I put them in the correct way ;-) So, unless someone here has some brilliant suggestions to combat THAT particular issue, I'm looking to upgrade. I've been looking at the K-5 (maybe with other modifiers after the model? can't remember), used, from KEH. I have SMC Pentax F lenses (35-80mm, 1:4-5.6 & 100-300mm, same) and I have an APO 170-500mm 1:5-6.3 lens. From what I've been reading, it doesn't sound like any of them will work all that well with a newer DSLR? If I can keep using the lenses I have without all kinds of weirdness, I want to stay with a Pentax body. If not - then I may be considering other brands as well.

Thanks!

Kathleen
Hi Kathleen.

Maybe I'm missing something but I assume your question is about battery power/life using screw-drive lenses on the K-5 or later DSLRs?

I use a Sigma 170-500 (and other screw-drive lenses) on my K-30 and the battery power is fine, using either the battery pack or AA batteries with adapter. The battery life isn't stellar but the battery packs are very light and aftermarket ones are cheap, so I just carry a spare.

I don't imagine the K-5, K-5 II, K-50 or K-500 would be much different.

Incidentally, choice of AA batteries was a big issue with my old K100D Super. (You'll see a lot of threads about this issue.) I tried various types of batteries before settling on Sanyo Eneloops with a top-quality discharger/charger and they worked a treat. Excellent shelf life too. Maybe you could try them before giving up on the *ist-DL?

If I have missed the point perhaps you need to be more specific about the problem you are concerned about in using your existing lenses with a recent Pentax DSLR. I don't know what sort of "weirdness" you are referring to.

Regards
Des

03-26-2014, 06:05 PM   #5
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SMC-F lenses work great on the newer Dslrs. Take a look at the reviews in the Gear database section.... I have a K50 I have been using a couple of them on. I bought a used K5 lls from B&H yesterday for $556.00 that only has 778 activations. Both B&H and Adorama have used K5's & K5 ll's. If your going that route call them for any you are interested in and ask if they know the shutter activations for them. Another good used source for cameras and lenses is Keh Camera I know they have a few K5, K5ll & k5 ll's.
03-26-2014, 06:30 PM   #6
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I had not heard of the Sanyo batteries 'til now - thanks, I'll give them a shot.

I didn't really have any concerns about battery life on the newer cameras - just the old one. And I can live with short battery life if necessary - but it's really frustrating to pull out the camera, pop in new batteries, and have the camera reply, "What batteries?" (Ended up using the p&s camera at the Grand Canyon last December as the DSLR refused to cooperate - fortunately we used to live in PHX and I already have lots from the old film camera.)

I am far from expert and nowhere near up to date on current camera technology; I just started doing some web-surfing yesterday. I had read something, I thought, about some function or data transmission between newer bodies and older lenses that didn't work and I got the impression it impaired the ability to actually shoot a decent photo. It sounds like that's not the case - yay for me. If the recommended batteries work, I'll resurrect the old equipment and spend the $$$ elsewhere.

I have bought through both KEH & B&H multiple times - good places both.
03-26-2014, 07:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kathleenb Quote
I had read something, I thought, about some function or data transmission between newer bodies and older lenses that didn't work and I got the impression it impaired the ability to actually shoot a decent photo.
Some ancient lenses require you to "use the Green Button" to meter while in a specific shooting mode such as AV or M, and others may require the focal length to be input for the SR to work properly. Old manual zooms and SR can pose an issue - many people recommend using the middle FL or just turning it off. If you are tripod person, you would turn off SR anyway.

Once you figure out the mechanics, the image quality will be fine. Eneloops are good.
03-26-2014, 07:50 PM   #8
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Get the k5iis new for not much more than a used k5. You will be blown away.

03-26-2014, 07:53 PM - 1 Like   #9
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New Stuff, Old Stuff?

Hello Kathleen, welcome to the Forum!
I hope the replies so far have covered your concerns, the batteries, the fact that all the older Pentax lenses will work properly on newer Pentax DSLRs, and recommendations for a more modern camera body. If so, I'd like to throw out a couple of suggestions.
Depending on where you want to go with photography and of course, how much you're willing to spend, I'd recommend an upgrade, too. Both a body and a couple of lenses. See how easy it is to spend other people's money?
Seriously, without sounding too much like a gearhead, more advanced basic equipment (camera and lenses) is the simplest way to improve your photo quality. The hardest way, one that takes much longer and can't be bought, is experience. You'll get that as you continue to take photos, regardless of the age of the equipment. So, here's my recommendations. A new K-5IIs, DA 35mm f/2.4AL and DA 50mm f/1.8. Yep, about a grand. Hopefully I won't have to convert that to Euros off the top of my head.
Why? Because your photo quality will improve dramatically and you'll have a much smoother learning curve with a couple of primes (single-focal length lenses) to mix with your zooms. The fifty will take great portraits, works in low-light better than the zooms and is lighter, faster and sharper. Same for the 35mm, but it's a bit wider angle, good for group shots and general walk-around use. You'll find specific threads for each under the separate lens forums.
For a budget option, a classic K-5 (no initials, the first one) used is going for around $500 and you might also find a couple of similar primes, used, for less than the two DA's would cost.
Either way, I wish you the best on your photographic journey, and hope you'll stay here and hang around when you can. And post some photos!
Ron
03-27-2014, 01:34 AM - 1 Like   #10
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@rbefly --- ditto ditto ditto. Very good advice. That f/2.4 35mm lens is an inexpensive gem... at steal at the price!
03-27-2014, 01:36 AM   #11
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The sigma 170-500 is also a very nice lens. Look into K-30/K-50 and you have a nice new camera.
03-27-2014, 03:30 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Look into K-30/K-50 and you have a nice new camera.
Agree. It will be a HUGE step up from your *ist DL! Btw, K-30 and K-50 are essentially the same, so no need to pay more for the K-50 just because it's a newer model.
03-27-2014, 04:35 AM   #13
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I would agree, if you owned a K-30 and were looking into upgrading, the K-50 wouldn't make sense. However if you are buying for the first time or upgrading from much older technology then there is enough of a difference between the two to make the small $$$ difference. To me it is a very good consideration to get somewhat newer technology for the small difference. Now the kicker, with the current price reduction of the K-5 ll's it puts it in very strong consideration IMO. But hey that's just how I think and I do agree that an upgrade would be a benefit if you can do it regardless. All of the suggestions are valid. So far I am falling in camera love, even after one day, with my K5 lls. So time will tell on what I do with my K-50.

Last edited by Oldbayrunner; 03-27-2014 at 04:48 AM.
03-27-2014, 04:54 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kathleenb Quote
I upgraded to a Pentax *ist-DL and I have struggled with battery life on that sucker, oh, forever. It takes 4 AAs and seems to only recognize the batteries' presence if they are overcharged - it will tell me there is no battery sometimes when I put in brand new fully charged name brand camera batteries. (And yes, I put them in the correct way ;-) So, unless someone here has some brilliant suggestions to combat THAT particular issue, I'm looking to upgrade.
As an *ist DL owner I can confirm as follows:


  • Ordinary AA cells: Do not work
  • Energizer lithium: Worked a couple of times - now the camera refuses to recognize them
  • Ordinary rechargeable NiMH cells: Unlike in your case, they work for me - but only hold capacity for a limited time
  • Rechargeable Sanyo Eneloop cells: The perfect match for my *ist DL! Hold charge for ever
It all seems to be due to an under-dimensioned/week capacitor in the power supply circuit. There are remedies. See this thread:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/6-pentax-dslr-discussion/13335-ist-dl-bat...ml#post1558018

but changing to Eneloops was good enough for me.

Still, you might want to contemplate an upgrade anyway. There has been an almost incredible development since the days of the *ist DL. Anything from the K-30 and later would be a tremendeous upgrade for you.
03-27-2014, 09:53 AM   #15
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I say go for the Sanyo Eneloop (or Sony Cycle, they work perfectly on my ist*D) and enjoy your fine camera. If you want to make a more relevant upgrade buy a better, newer lens. Such as Tamron 17-50/2.8, Pentax DA55-300. Even some fast primes such as: Pentax DA35/2.4 or DA50/1.8. That is a much better insvestment and upgrade path than buying a new camera in my opinion. You can change the camera later on and the lenses will be just as good or better.
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