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09-10-2015, 11:35 AM   #1
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Which Pentax body?

After many years of using Pentax film cameras, I bought a new Pentax K-x in 2010. Since then, I've been using that camera with the kit zoom, and I've been mostly happy with the results. It's the only DSLR I've ever owned.

Now I'm in the process of replacing the kit zoom with a few primes, and I want to get a second body, as well. My thinking is that at some point my K-x may become unreliable (how long do DSLRs last?), and also that a more recent model may offer some advantage in image quality or usability (true or false?). But mostly, I want just want a backup body in case something bad happens while traveling.

I haven't kept up with Pentax models released since 2010, but it looks like there are MANY to choose from. Obviously, I'll need to do my own research, but I was hoping to get a bit of help making a short list of Pentax DSLR bodies, based on the following criteria, listed in descending order of importance:
  • Price for the body (only) no more than $500-600 (new or used, but if used, then in very good or excellent condition)
  • Highest possible reliability
  • Ligher and smaller favored over bigger and heavier
  • Weather sealing a plus, but not a requirement
  • If it's any easier to shoot in movie mode, that would be something of a plus*

*I hesitate to mention that last one because I don't take a lot of video. But I do believe that mixing in a few short video clips can add variety and excitement to digital slideshows. I've been fairly happy with the quality of videos made with my K-x, but I find the process of recording video on the K-x to be a big hassle. I know that Pentax is not the best brand of DSLR for video, but I'm hoping there may have been some improvement since 2010(?) Anyway, I've already said too much about video - which is NOT a major criteria for my next Pentax DSLR, because I will probably get a different camera specifically for video.

So fellow Pentaxians, which models need to go on my short list?

09-10-2015, 11:40 AM   #2
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The K-S2 is the closest match in the modern range to your upgrade wants .... Price may be an issue but with the WR you may feel it's worth it. If its too much then you're heading towards a K50.
09-10-2015, 11:52 AM   #3
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The k-x is a very nice camera, and anything newer is going to feel bigger. If you are happy with the k-x and just want a backup why not consider another k-x? Used price is very low, maybe under $200 for a low shutter count one.

If you want to move to a newer model then in your price range the k-5IIs would be where I think you should be. The k-50 would be another possibility but given the choice I would go k-5IIs over the k-50.
09-10-2015, 12:08 PM   #4
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I would go for the K-S2. You can read all about it here:
Pentax K-S2 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews


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09-10-2015, 12:08 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by runswithsizzers Quote
After many years of using Pentax film cameras, I bought a new Pentax K-x in 2010. Since then, I've been using that camera with the kit zoom, and I've been mostly happy with the results. It's the only DSLR I've ever owned.

Now I'm in the process of replacing the kit zoom with a few primes, and I want to get a second body, as well. My thinking is that at some point my K-x may become unreliable (how long do DSLRs last?), and also that a more recent model may offer some advantage in image quality or usability (true or false?). But mostly, I want just want a backup body in case something bad happens while traveling.

I haven't kept up with Pentax models released since 2010, but it looks like there are MANY to choose from. Obviously, I'll need to do my own research, but I was hoping to get a bit of help making a short list of Pentax DSLR bodies, based on the following criteria, listed in descending order of importance:
  • Price for the body (only) no more than $500-600 (new or used, but if used, then in very good or excellent condition)
  • Highest possible reliability
  • Ligher and smaller favored over bigger and heavier
  • Weather sealing a plus, but not a requirement
  • If it's any easier to shoot in movie mode, that would be something of a plus*

*I hesitate to mention that last one because I don't take a lot of video. But I do believe that mixing in a few short video clips can add variety and excitement to digital slideshows. I've been fairly happy with the quality of videos made with my K-x, but I find the process of recording video on the K-x to be a big hassle. I know that Pentax is not the best brand of DSLR for video, but I'm hoping there may have been some improvement since 2010(?) Anyway, I've already said too much about video - which is NOT a major criteria for my next Pentax DSLR, because I will probably get a different camera specifically for video.

So fellow Pentaxians, which models need to go on my short list?
Seems to me this is what you are looking for Used Pentax K-S2 DSLR Camera (Body Only, Black/Orange) 13176 B&H If you don't like the color they have a black one with the new 18-50 that you could sell and keep just the body.
09-10-2015, 12:09 PM   #6
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I would recommend the K-S2 as well. I think you will be very happy with it.
09-10-2015, 12:18 PM   #7
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If Weather Sealing is not that important and size is. Look at the KS1. It is well under your budget. It is a bit gaudy but shares the same sensor as the KS2 (20mp). Both cameras do not have any P-TTL wireless master option from the built in flash - so if that is important look to the K50.

As prices drop the K3 starts to be close to your budget - but it may be too large for what you prefer.
09-10-2015, 02:23 PM   #8
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You should be a able to get a new K-S2 and definitely a new K-50 in your price range complete with a warranty. Both will be huge improvements over your K-x, and just a bit larger.

09-10-2015, 03:10 PM   #9
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KS1, K-x, K50
Size (W x H x D) 120 x 92.5 x 69.5 mm (4.75 x 3.65 x 2.75 in.) 122.5 x 91.5 x 67.5 mm 129 x 96.5 x 70 mm (5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8 in.)
Weight 558 g (19.7 oz) 515 g (580 g with lithium batteries and SD card) 650 g (23 oz)

KS2 is slightly bigger than the KS2 and smaller than the K50.
09-10-2015, 03:28 PM   #10
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Wow! What a great response!

So the tally, so far, is:

K-S2 -5 votes
K-50 - 4 votes (but usually as a second choice)
k-5IIs - 1 vote
K-S1 - 1 vote
K3 - 1 vote
K-x - 1 vote

I will definitely be investigating these models.

That last one from jatrax - another K-x - is brilliant. It's an obvious candidate, now that you mention it, but it had not occurred to me. But I have to ask - "low shutter count" - is that just a figure of speech, or is there some way to get an actual shutter count on these cameras?

I forgot to mention in my list of requirements that the new DSLR needs to work well with my AF-360FGZ flash. UncleVanya says neither the KS-1 nor the KS-2 support PTT-L flash(?) I don't use the flash often, and PTT-L even less often, but it's not something I'd want to give up without more thought. I'm hoping that using faster primes rather than the kit zoom can make my flash even less important.

Thanks so much for the guidance. With your help, I feel like I've just cheated Google out of about half-a-day of my life!
09-10-2015, 04:50 PM   #11
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BTW, with any of these cameras you will quickly realize they'll be best used as your main camera and the Kx as the backup, not the other way around...
09-10-2015, 06:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by runswithsizzers Quote
But I have to ask - "low shutter count" - is that just a figure of speech, or is there some way to get an actual shutter count on these cameras?
When buying a used camera you should always ask for the shutter count. Many (most?) sellers will include that info, and if they don't it is easy to determine. Upload a jpeg straight from the camera here: Check Shutter Count & Camera Manufacture Date Online - EXIF Reader

QuoteOriginally posted by runswithsizzers Quote
new DSLR needs to work well with my AF-360FGZ flash. UncleVanya says neither the KS-1 nor the KS-2 support PTT-L flash(?)
They do indeed support P-TTL but they do not support being the 'master controller' for off camera P-TTL flashes. So if the flash is mounted on the camera you are fine. I believe that is correct but if not I am sure someone will post the right info.
09-10-2015, 06:11 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by runswithsizzers Quote
is that just a figure of speech, or is there some way to get an actual shutter count on these cameras?
There are programs that can read the shutter count off the pictures EXIF data. you can also read it here on the Forums. I need someone else to give the directions to get that part of the forums.

Edit Jatrax posted while I typed I need to speed up
09-10-2015, 06:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by runswithsizzers Quote
I forgot to mention in my list of requirements that the new DSLR needs to work well with my AF-360FGZ flash. UncleVanya says neither the KS-1 nor the KS-2 support PTT-L flash(?) I don't use the flash often, and PTT-L even less often, but it's not something I'd want to give up without more thought. I'm hoping that using faster primes rather than the kit zoom can make my flash even less important.
What I tried to say - probably poorly - is that the on board flash can't control and transmit P-TTL info to an off camera flash. You can mount your AF360FGZ on the KS1/2 and it will work in all P-TTL modes including controlling remote P-TTL flashes.
09-10-2015, 08:01 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
BTW, with any of these cameras you will quickly realize they'll be best used as your main camera and the Kx as the backup, not the other way around...
Right!

---------- Post added 09-10-15 at 10:01 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by patrick9 Quote
There are programs that can read the shutter count off the pictures EXIF data. you can also read it here on the Forums. I need someone else to give the directions to get that part of the forums.

Edit Jatrax posted while I typed I need to speed up
Wow! I had no idea. Thanks!
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