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10-15-2015, 06:26 AM   #1
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$1000 - dSLR kit or fixed lens?

I am in the market for a camera or system in the range of $1000 or less. A couple of years ago I owned K-5ii with the 18-135 lens, along with the DA35 2.4. I preferred the K-5 to the K-30 ergonomics and AF performance. I was actually quite happy with the 18-135, but soon moved on to a Sony A6000 to save weight. Nothing wrong with the Sony's performance, but it was less satisfying to use and additional lenses are very expensive. I thought that was so with Pentax, but even more so with Sony.

So, I am considering the following:

Keep total costs in check by going with a fixed lens camera FZ1000 ($750) or RX10 ($650 used), and I would not have to buy any more lenses This is the way I am leaning, but I am also considering a Pentax DSLR system at the current low prices:

1) K-50 with 18-135 or Sigma 17-70, roughly $650.

2) K-50 with DA20-40 Ltd. $950. Am I crazy or would this be a nice kit?

3) K-3 with 50mm 1.8 for $650. Add the 18-135 or Sigma 17-70 for $400.

Question
- In comparison to the 1 inch sensor cameras, would either of these Pentax cameras with the 18-135 zoom provide better sharpness, dynamic range, focus speed, or low light performance? I have a suspicion that it would require prime lenses to dramatically exceed the RX10 or FZ1000 image quality, and the it becomes a challenge to minimize total cost and size of the system.

In my mind it comes down to which system will provide the most fun and satisfaction - and not require any additional investment for 2 - 3 years.

10-15-2015, 06:47 AM   #2
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Look at the K-S2 with 18-135 and maybe the 35mm lens.

The 20-40mm is a wonderful lens.
10-15-2015, 06:48 AM   #3
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1) Good kit, sounds fine. 2) is going to be very limited in the range, but an amazing kit if that's all you need. 3) the K-3 is going to be a significant improvement over the k-50, but you might not need it to be that good, and the k-50 is dirt cheap.
10-15-2015, 06:57 AM   #4
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it all depends on what you expect from a camera.
I would know the answer for myself, but not for you...

I mean, is tele important for you?
is wideangle important, is portrait important.
Just buy whatever suits you pictures.

But in the end, i wouldn't go fixed lens for my main tool.
You might want to buy a specialised lens after two years..
& if you're open to manual focus, you can have lots of fun and satisfaction experimenting with m lenses...

10-15-2015, 06:59 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Look at the K-S2 with 18-135 and maybe the 35mm lens.

The 20-40mm is a wonderful lens.
I looked at the K-S2 in a shop, but did not like the grip compared to the K-50. I suppose I could get used to it, but with the 18-135 it's the same price as K-3

---------- Post added 10-15-15 at 09:10 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by grispie Quote
it all depends on what you expect from a camera.
I would know the answer for myself, but not for you...

I mean, is tele important for you?
is wideangle important, is portrait important.
Just buy whatever suits you pictures.

But in the end, i wouldn't go fixed lens for my main tool.
You might want to buy a specialised lens after two years..
& if you're open to manual focus, you can have lots of fun and satisfaction experimenting with m lenses...

True. I use what is available. No portraits. I would take wide over Tele. Somewhere I have a chart of focal lengths that I used with the 18-135. Most likely there were clustered at the low end with another group at the long end. I rarely used the 55-210 on the Sony, but would have liked the 16-70 (too expensive). Rented the 18-105 for a vacation and it was pretty nice but bigger than the DA18-135.

So I need to answer for myself - how wide, how much Tele? I do have several old k-mount lenses, but not good ones. I also have an OM 50 f/1.8 but I never used it much on the K-5. With the DA 50 being so cheap, why bother?

---------- Post added 10-15-15 at 09:15 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Imp Quote
1) Good kit, sounds fine. 2) is going to be very limited in the range, but an amazing kit if that's all you need. 3) the K-3 is going to be a significant improvement over the k-50, but you might not need it to be that good, and the k-50 is dirt cheap.
I don't need it to be that good, just better than an RX10 or FZ1000. Great with limited range would probably be more attractive to me than good with wide range.
10-15-2015, 07:31 AM   #6
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K-3 with 18-135 is selling for under 900 so you could buy that plus a 35 or 50mm prime for your budget. That is what i would do.
10-15-2015, 07:37 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richjac Quote
3) K-3 with 50mm 1.8 for $650. Add the 18-135 or Sigma 17-70 for $400.
This combo is hard to beat, you have a 7x zoom and a fast prime, and of course an award winning body (K3). You are ready for many shooting conditions and the price is reasonable too
10-15-2015, 07:39 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Richjac Quote
I would take wide over Tele.
+
QuoteOriginally posted by Richjac Quote
Great with limited range would probably be more attractive to me than good with wide range.
In that case you might want to consider the new DA 16-85mm over the DA 18-135mm, I can't speak from experience but from what I have read it should be sharper.
I think with a K-3 it would be a great kit although it is not the fastes aperture. But this bundle would be around 1.3 kg so maybe a little heavier as you would prefer.
If weight was the main reason to switch from the K-5II, then kit number 1.) is probably the better option for you

10-15-2015, 08:21 AM   #9
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I chose a fixed-lens camera for my first digital and was very sorry I had done so. When theft forced replacement, I seized the opportunity and went over to DSLR immediately. If I were limited to $1000, I'd be looking for a K-3/18-135 package. I use flash a fair bit, so an inexpensive external flash would be a necessity if I wanted the K3-II for its pixel shift.

In terms of lenses, the DA18-135 is probably the most versatile at the moment, and it's one you know from previous experience. I find it has severe distortion at the edges close up at 18mm, and it can be a bit slow in low light when you don't have sufficient range for flash, BUT it is versatile (including WR) and IMO sometimes versatility trumps optics.

The other big question is: which K mount lenses do you have left over, and what gaps are you trying to fill? If you're still hanging on to the DA35/2.4 and you have some spare cash, the DA50 is nice and fast. If you didn't and you're choosing between those, I'd go with what you had before.

It's very easy for people to throw lens recommendations at you, but there is that budget to think about. Remember - in the end, a DSLR with a decent-range zoom has growth potential and a fixed-lens camera does not.

Last edited by pathdoc; 10-15-2015 at 08:36 AM.
10-15-2015, 08:28 AM   #10
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I'd get a fixed lens camera as a secondary one but I prefer interchangeable as my main camera and think the size/weight trade-off is usually worth it.
All those bodies you list are very good with the K-3 being the best. I think the K-3 & 16-85 plus a fast prime would be a good way to go. Or a KS-2 which I also have as my walk around and I like it very much.
10-15-2015, 08:50 AM   #11
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I've had numerous bridge cameras like the FZ1000 and Panasonic has been steadily improving them over the years. I've owned many of them. This one looks to have finally "bridged" the gap in a lot of ways, but it won't equal a DSLR in image quality. The convenience factor is huge. The camera does make great pictures. If I were you, I'd buy the Panasonic and try it out. Return it if you can't stand it. But you might love it enough to put up with its foibles.
10-15-2015, 09:19 AM   #12
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If you can not tell the difference in image quality between a bridge camera and a DSLR (nothing wrong with that), then perhaps a bridge camera is more suitable for you with the biggest convenience factor and super-zoom feature wise. Otherwise, I think the k-3 with DA18-135 would probably provide the best bang for the buck now plus a potential to grow if your interest takes you something further. IMHO, I will never want or like a bridge camera especially when it is no cheap either.
10-15-2015, 10:10 AM   #13
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that's the path I'm on - have an FZ1000 on order that is arriving this afternoon. I think it is likely to be as large as the K-3 plus 18-135, but lighter. There are no stores in my area that carry this camera, so I have no choice but to try and return. I can compare to shots taken with the K-30 and K-5ii.
10-15-2015, 10:16 AM   #14
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K50 + DA 18-250 or 18-270 might work as well or better than the 18-135 combo. These are slightly heavier but more versatile - however, sadly they lack weather resistance.

Last edited by UncleVanya; 10-15-2015 at 12:12 PM.
10-15-2015, 10:17 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
If you can not tell the difference in image quality between a bridge camera and a DSLR (nothing wrong with that), then perhaps a bridge camera is more suitable for you with the biggest convenience factor and super-zoom feature wise. Otherwise, I think the k-3 with DA18-135 would probably provide the best bang for the buck now plus a potential to grow if your interest takes you something further. IMHO, I will never want or like a bridge camera especially when it is no cheap either.
I'm thinking along the same lines - but the FZ1000 price is more comparable to K-50 with 18-135. I'll try it and compare to my K-5ii shots, as the K-50 should deliver the same results.

---------- Post added 10-15-15 at 12:20 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
K50 + DA 18-250 or 18-270 might work as well or better than the 18-135 combo. These are slightly heavier but more versatile - and they lack weather resistance.
If I'm going to get a superzoom, I'll stick with the 1 inch sensor bridge cameras - by most accounts and reviews, the quality is as good or better, particularly since the RX10 and FZ1000 both have excellent lenses with wide aperture at longer focal lengths. And the price will be lower.
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