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08-11-2015, 11:06 PM   #1
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New to DSLR: Camera recommendations (KS1 or K50)

I am new to DSLR and I've been inspired by photos like these (Florabella Collection Photoshop Actions - Florabella Photoshop Actions). I would be most interested in using the camera to take portrait photos of children. I don't see myself as the type to take a bunch of photos of landscapes or scenery-- they just do not interest me as much. I thought about getting a smaller m4/3 or mirrorless but I thought DSLR would give me the best bokeh.

I don't need the best of the best photo equipment, just something that will give me sharp photos with good color and bokeh. My pictures will be more skill-limited than camera-limited. I know there's a lot to learn and I don't expect to get amazing photos overnight after purchasing DSLR. I also realize there's Photoshop involved to get the photos like those referenced above. I will mostly shoot in more well-lit and controlled environments so low-lighting is less of an issue. I like Pentax because of the price for what you get. There are some nice deals on KS1 and K50 right now-- I was pretty set on getting KS1 for its smaller body size and also I don't need WR-- I live in California and we don't get snow or rain or anything like that :-P But I also hear the K50 has better controls? Which camera is more intuitive and easier to handle?

I want to spend as little as possible to get the job done. I imagine I will also pick up a 50mm F1.8 prime in addition to kit lens. Like I said, I don't anticipate taking photos everywhere I go, but I do want nice photos of the kids as they're growing up and changing so quickly.

---------- Post added 08-11-15 at 11:28 PM ----------

Also, I meant to add I don't mind buying used as long as it's in good condition with a lot of life left. I have been looking at eBay deals as well. Based on what I hear, it seems not worth it to deal with older cameras model even at the lower prices (though I see very nice photos from them in forums). If I was passionate about this hobby, I could spend more but I would hate to discover that I am not a gifted photographer, abandon it in favor of an iPhone, and lose money on whatever I invested.

08-11-2015, 11:44 PM   #2
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I'd suggest a Pentax K5. You can get a good used K5 for around $250 to $300 plus a great manual 50mm for around $100 max. You didn't post a price range so I'm guessing what I quoted is what you planned on spending. Though the other two cameras are good I think the versatility of the K5 plus it's advanced capabilities would make it more desirable.
08-11-2015, 11:54 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by thaliagoo Quote
I am new to DSLR and I've been inspired by photos like these (Florabella Collection Photoshop Actions - Florabella Photoshop Actions). I would be most interested in using the camera to take portrait photos of children. I don't see myself as the type to take a bunch of photos of landscapes or scenery-- they just do not interest me as much. I thought about getting a smaller m4/3 or mirrorless but I thought DSLR would give me the best bokeh.

I don't need the best of the best photo equipment, just something that will give me sharp photos with good color and bokeh. My pictures will be more skill-limited than camera-limited. I know there's a lot to learn and I don't expect to get amazing photos overnight after purchasing DSLR. I also realize there's Photoshop involved to get the photos like those referenced above. I will mostly shoot in more well-lit and controlled environments so low-lighting is less of an issue. I like Pentax because of the price for what you get. There are some nice deals on KS1 and K50 right now-- I was pretty set on getting KS1 for its smaller body size and also I don't need WR-- I live in California and we don't get snow or rain or anything like that :-P But I also hear the K50 has better controls? Which camera is more intuitive and easier to handle?

I want to spend as little as possible to get the job done. I imagine I will also pick up a 50mm F1.8 prime in addition to kit lens. Like I said, I don't anticipate taking photos everywhere I go, but I do want nice photos of the kids as they're growing up and changing so quickly.

---------- Post added 08-11-15 at 11:28 PM ----------

Also, I meant to add I don't mind buying used as long as it's in good condition with a lot of life left. I have been looking at eBay deals as well. Based on what I hear, it seems not worth it to deal with older cameras model even at the lower prices (though I see very nice photos from them in forums). If I was passionate about this hobby, I could spend more but I would hate to discover that I am not a gifted photographer, abandon it in favor of an iPhone, and lose money on whatever I invested.
Unless you have tiny hands I'd go for the K-50. It handles a lot better.

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08-12-2015, 12:02 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by BlakeShellman Quote
I'd suggest a Pentax K5.
i tend to agree. Looks like this will be a "long term" body..
can't comment on Ks1 vs k50.
But if you buy new, it might be worthwile looking for a kit with the DA35 2.4. just a tought..

More expensive lens, but available second hand is the DA70. I love to take pictures of my nieces with that lens. So beautiful with nice bokeh and also good focal to keep some distance.
May be worth the investment.

08-12-2015, 12:32 AM   #5
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I would go for something like a k-50 to start with. With some scene modes as well as the ability to have semi auto settings right through to full manual it will be a good learning tool with the ability to take good photo's. Once you have mastered that you'll have a much better idea what suits your needs, and you can then maybe trade up to a k-3 (or whatever the equivalent is at the time).

If you want sharp pictures then it's generally worth investing in good quality lenses. They will last a lifetime and outlast several camera bodies. But start with a good general purpose lens such as the 18-135 which is a nice lens with a very useful range, instead of the standard kit lens. This will give you better opportunity to learn what sort of focal lengths you like to use. The 50mm F1.8 is a good idea too (although I would prefer the wider 35mm F2.4 myself).

After a couple of years using that kind of kit you'll have a much better idea how you want to develop your system in the future.

Last edited by percy; 08-22-2015 at 06:09 AM.
08-12-2015, 03:55 AM   #6
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It is a matter of taste really. Both the K-50 and K-S1 has smart automodes and scene modes. The main difference in operation is that the K-50 has twin dials and the K-S1 one dial for selecting parameters. The K-50 allows for HyperProgram, this means a P mode where one dial changes aperture (you are in Av-mode) and the other dial changes shutter (you are in Tv-mode). It is P, Av and Tv-mode in one mode. K-50 also offers traditional P, Av and Tv-mode. K-S1 only offers the traditional modes. But most of the time I believe that you will find that you will be using either P, Av or Tv-mode and it is very easy to switch between them on the K-S1...

Some prefers the handgrip of the K-50, but this is all about personal preferences... The K-S1 has a different control system at the back and a more modern approach to the menu system, I really like the menu system in the K-S1. No big differences but better typeface and colours in the K-S1, making it easier to read.

Try both out and take the one that you prefer.
08-12-2015, 04:38 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BlakeShellman Quote
I'd suggest a Pentax K5. You can get a good used K5 for around $250 to $300 plus a great manual 50mm for around $100 max.
Hell, you can probably get a reasonable older-generation kit zoom for under $100. Depending on the deals going, you don't even have to settle for a manual prime - the DA 50/1.8 gets pretty close to that price at times.

I second the above opinion. If my K5 died tomorrow, I would want to replace it with another K5. Okay, considerations of needing the best possible option for work might push me towards a K3, but for personal use I'd still want a K5.
08-12-2015, 06:43 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by thaliagoo Quote
I am new to DSLR and I've been inspired by photos like these (Florabella Collection Photoshop Actions - Florabella Photoshop Actions). I would be most interested in using the camera to take portrait photos of children. I don't see myself as the type to take a bunch of photos of landscapes or scenery-- they just do not interest me as much. I thought about getting a smaller m4/3 or mirrorless but I thought DSLR would give me the best bokeh.

I don't need the best of the best photo equipment, just something that will give me sharp photos with good color and bokeh. My pictures will be more skill-limited than camera-limited. I know there's a lot to learn and I don't expect to get amazing photos overnight after purchasing DSLR. I also realize there's Photoshop involved to get the photos like those referenced above. I will mostly shoot in more well-lit and controlled environments so low-lighting is less of an issue. I like Pentax because of the price for what you get. There are some nice deals on KS1 and K50 right now-- I was pretty set on getting KS1 for its smaller body size and also I don't need WR-- I live in California and we don't get snow or rain or anything like that :-P But I also hear the K50 has better controls? Which camera is more intuitive and easier to handle?

I want to spend as little as possible to get the job done. I imagine I will also pick up a 50mm F1.8 prime in addition to kit lens. Like I said, I don't anticipate taking photos everywhere I go, but I do want nice photos of the kids as they're growing up and changing so quickly.

---------- Post added 08-11-15 at 11:28 PM ----------

Also, I meant to add I don't mind buying used as long as it's in good condition with a lot of life left. I have been looking at eBay deals as well. Based on what I hear, it seems not worth it to deal with older cameras model even at the lower prices (though I see very nice photos from them in forums). If I was passionate about this hobby, I could spend more but I would hate to discover that I am not a gifted photographer, abandon it in favor of an iPhone, and lose money on whatever I invested.
Definitely agree that the K5 is the way to go. I love my K-5iis but my K-5 is the one that I would never want to be without. If you could find a good FA 50mm 1.7 (I got lucky for $75) that would be a great start.


Last edited by eminker; 08-12-2015 at 06:44 AM. Reason: typo
08-12-2015, 06:58 AM   #9
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If you're looking to get the sharpest photo possile, the K-S1 wins hands down. It lacks an anti-aliasing filter. Get a 50mm prime & you're gold.

The K-50 can also put out some amazing photos, but if you're looking for absolute sharpness, the anti-aliasing filter is not going to help out.

Here lies the problem. Sometimes you get "moire" in repeating patterns like fabric, bricks, stucco, etcetera when no aa filter is present. The K-S1 has a selectable aa simulator that can help out. You just need to figure out when you'll need to use it, but that reduces sharpness a bit.

---------- Post added 08-12-15 at 07:26 AM ----------

By the way, unless you really need a camera now, I suggest you wait until "Black Friday" this year. My guess is that there will be some insane deals on whatever Pentax K-S1, K-50, & maybe even K-3 cameras are left. You can probably get a Pentax K-3 flagship that will take care of sharpness with a selectable aa filter, weather sealing, & has a ton of features, but then that might be overwhelming for a beginner.

Pentax Price Watch - PentaxForums.com

^ Make sure to look at the "Pentax Price Watch" section of this forum. Sometimes you can find some incredible deals in there. There was a recent deal for a blue or olive Pentax K-50 with a flash, 4GB eyefi SD card, 18-55 lens, & 50-200 lens on eBay for only $399. They basically gave them away at that price. Other deals pop in once in a while, but you basically have to act fast.
08-12-2015, 10:07 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the responses... My budget is around $500 with the camera and a couple of prime lenses (50mm F1.8 and DA35). I read the lens comparison articles and both seem like good values. If I find I really love photography, I may want buy better quality lens down the road. I didn't realize some kits has DA35 in them, that would be even better.

If I were to buy used, what's a good shutter count cut-off? For lens, I would look for one that is well-taken care of but anything to watch out for? For new cameras, I could definitely wait for a good sale, I am not on a timeline.

So far, I have 4 votes for K5, 2 votes for K50, 1 vote for KS1, and 1 either. I didn't pay much attention to K5 before, I may go read up on it since it has such a positive following. Seems I lose the extra dial with KS1, but it may be worth it for the smaller size since I do have pretty small girl hands. Functionality wise, seems KS1 would probably be enough for me.
08-12-2015, 11:12 AM   #11
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If you buy via the Marketplace here I think you can be pretty confident of quality used gear. The shutters are rated for 100000 actuations - and that's a LOT of activity. My K5 isn't even at 30K, and I take a lot of pictures. A used K5 can be obtained for $250 or so now, which is an astonishing value.

I really like the top LCD panel, particularly when outdoors. It's a quick way to check your settings which can get knocked around if the wheels get moved.
08-12-2015, 05:53 PM   #12
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I am going to go entirely against the flow here. I have a K-S1, a K30, a K5, and a K3. The K-S1 is light, but can be very slow sometimes, and some of the trim can be very easily scratched - but the photos it takes can be lovely, and for me it was very cheap. The K5 is often very slow at writing to memory card, especially after a 3 shot burst, and there are sometimes problems with focusing.

My wife uses our K30 all the time, and prefers to to both the K5 and the K-S1. She is trying to convert to the K5, because it is theoretically better than the K30, but the process of converting is not a happy one! So as the K50 is an evolution of there K30, I would recommend the K50.

Of course, the best choice, and the best value currently on the market, is the K3...
08-12-2015, 06:52 PM   #13
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The K-50 by a mile.
08-12-2015, 09:08 PM   #14
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K-50.
There's very little practical difference in the 16mp sensors of the K30, K50, or K5 series. For someone who just wants to take sharp photos, there will be little difference and the K50 maybe easier for a beginner to master. It will definitely be more affordable than a comparable K5. The balance of funds can be invested in good lenses, which would be a greater return on sharpness investment.

If your focus is on people, a good portrait lens like the DA70 or FA77 should come over other suggestions. Wider lenses are often not that great on people, particularly if you're after bokeh.
08-16-2015, 12:36 AM - 1 Like   #15
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Thanks all for the valuable feedback. I did indeed ordered a K-50 in white Can't wait to get it and I'm sure I will come back to the forum to ask a million photography questions...
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