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12-07-2015, 07:57 AM   #1
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Getting Back Into It - New Camera?

Unfortunately due to various life events over the years, I've been out of Photography for a good 5 or 6 years. But things have changed and I am looking to get back into things, and I feel like it's time for an upgrade. I currently have a K100D.

My favorite type of shooting is nature/landscape, architecture, and wildlife. I enjoy shooting with macro lenses as well, though I will need to pick up my own at some point as I previously borrowed one for a while.

I am also an avid astronomy enthusiast, and I am interested in getting into Astrophotography. I already have a very capable dobsonian so I'd like a camera that can handle this well.

I don't really have a budget, so my instinct was to go with the newest model which seems to be the K3-ii. But I'm also reading that there's apparently a full frame model coming out in the Spring, but I'm not really doing what I do for professional reasons or anything so I don't know if that's something I need to consider or not.

Though I haven't been as active in recent years and I'm not a professional, I do feel when I use my K100D that it's just not giving me what I'm looking for anymore so I want to make sure I go down the right path with my upgrade.

12-07-2015, 09:51 AM   #2
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The K3 or K3II are both light years away from your K100D, good though it was in the day. Whether it's worth waiting for the FF is a matter for you, in particular what you intend doing with the photos you take, rather than subject matter.

The current Pentax cameras will allow high quality reproduction at A3, but the downside is very large file sizes.

There are pro's and cons regarding the K3II over the K3, especially for some the absence of built-in flash which was sacrificed for Wi-Fi.

Plenty of reviews here and elsewhere and some good deals around still.
12-07-2015, 09:59 AM   #3
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No budget?
It's fun spending other people's money

K-3II
D-FA 100mm F/2.8 Macro WR
DA* 300 F/2.8
DA* 16-50 F/2.8
DA* 50-135 F/2.8
DA 1.4x RC AW

Wait, that is my personal wishlist

Get whatever you can afford. A telephoto for wildlife (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/307822-supe...es-pentax.html), nice macro lens, and a wide angle for the astrophotography.

The K-3ii has GPS built in to use astrotracer without an external flash.

The FF will probably be announced in February. If you were thinking FF I would suggest to get this when available (maybe):
DFA 150-450
DFA 24-70
DFA 70-200
DFA 100 Macro

QuoteOriginally posted by JohnX Quote
There are pro's and cons regarding the K3II over the K3, especially for some the absence of built-in flash which was sacrificed for Wi-Fi.
K-3 and K-3ii are pretty much the same.
K-3 has flash and K-3ii has GPS.
K-3ii also adds pixel shift.

Neither have Wi-Fi.

Last edited by bertwert; 12-07-2015 at 10:05 AM.
12-07-2015, 10:42 AM   #4
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Thank you for the replies!

I think I'm leaning towards the K3II, as I don't think I'll need the on-board flash so much. I have an external flash that I threw on my K100D a few times when needed (I'll have to see if it will work with the K3II).

I suppose I may wait until the Full-Frame comes out just so I at least have another option to consider if nothing else. I will say that one thing I wish I could have done with some of the pictures I took with my K100D was being able to print them much larger, so that may be something I want to get out of my next one.

12-07-2015, 10:47 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jcleary47 Quote
I think I'm leaning towards the K3II
Good choice.
QuoteOriginally posted by jcleary47 Quote
I'll have to see if it will work with the K3II
It should do.

BTW what lenses do you have already?
12-07-2015, 10:57 AM   #6
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Going from memory here since I'm not at home...

SMC Pentax-DA 18-55mm (Came with the camera as a kit package)
SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited (This has been my most used lens)
Pentax-M 55mm f/1.8

I also have a Tamron Zoom lens - I wanna say it's the Tamron 75-300mm F4-5.6 LD.

My priority for new lenses will be a prime telephoto to replace the Tamron and a prime macro lens.
12-07-2015, 11:01 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jcleary47 Quote
prime telephoto
Get the DA* 300mm F4 and the DA 1.4x RC AW for a 420mm f/5.6 lens.
QuoteOriginally posted by jcleary47 Quote
prime macro
Get the DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR

Both are WR and great lenses.



A standard zoom (replace kit 18-55) could be the (Kit lens) 18-135, (kit lens upgrade) 16-85 or (pro lens) 16-50, all are WR and good lenses.
12-07-2015, 11:27 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
Get the DA* 300mm F4 and the DA 1.4x RC AW for a 420mm f/5.6 lens.

Get the DFA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR

Both are WR and great lenses.



A standard zoom (replace kit 18-55) could be the (Kit lens) 18-135, (kit lens upgrade) 16-85 or (pro lens) 16-50, all are WR and good lenses.
Thank you for the suggestions!

I don't know if this information is known yet, but if I were to go for the Full-Frame, is it expected these DA-Lenses would be compatible with that as well?

12-07-2015, 11:29 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jcleary47 Quote
is it expected these DA-Lenses would be compatible with that as well
DA lenses are APS-C
DFA lenses are FF

Some DA lenses work on FF.
12-07-2015, 12:17 PM   #10
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If you want a versatile and sharp lens for landscape, I can highly recommend the HD DA35/2.8 ltd macro. This has become probably the second most-used lens in my collection, in spite of the fact that I also have the FA31/1.8 ltd. I also find the FoV more generally useful for macro than the more common 100mm, or even 50mm, focal length.
12-08-2015, 01:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jcleary47 Quote
Unfortunately due to various life events over the years, I've been out of Photography for a good 5 or 6 years. But things have changed and I am looking to get back into things, and I feel like it's time for an upgrade. I currently have a K100D.

My favorite type of shooting is nature/landscape, architecture, and wildlife. I enjoy shooting with macro lenses as well, though I will need to pick up my own at some point as I previously borrowed one for a while.

I am also an avid astronomy enthusiast, and I am interested in getting into Astrophotography. I already have a very capable dobsonian so I'd like a camera that can handle this well.

I don't really have a budget, so my instinct was to go with the newest model which seems to be the K3-ii. But I'm also reading that there's apparently a full frame model coming out in the Spring, but I'm not really doing what I do for professional reasons or anything so I don't know if that's something I need to consider or not.

Though I haven't been as active in recent years and I'm not a professional, I do feel when I use my K100D that it's just not giving me what I'm looking for anymore so I want to make sure I go down the right path with my upgrade.
Your K100D could do the job for architecture and landscape I think, I long as you dont want to print large. For sharing on the web or print 8x12" it would be ok. But you wouldn't have that much margin for error.

For macro I think that the resolution would be limiting because basically you'll get far less details out of your shoots than when working with a modern DSLR with 16 or 24MP.

For wildlife a tele often and potentially a moving subject require a quite fast shutter speed and modern cameras handle high iso setting much better than before. You can go up to 800-1600 and still get great image and that really helpfull. If you can keep the iso at 800 the added resolution give you much more detail on your subject and that also very valuable as the subject always to be too small, too far away for this kind of practice.

In term of feature/performance there really 2 level in current Pentax offering:

- K50/K-S1/K-S2 (and also K30 K5, K5-II, K5-IIS) are already all a fantastic improvement versus the K100D. Depending on the model they have 16 or 20MP so that's quite similar. They all share a variation of the same autofocus system with slight variations. K5-II and K5-IIs are a bit better for focussing in low light environement. In this offering the K50 is likely the best bang for the buck because it offer the same as the other basically but for a very good price. The K5 and K5-II are the old professionnal flagship and have so a better build and the K-S2 has the benefit of an articulated screen if you are after that. But it might not be worth it as the price is not so different than a K3 that make much more difference.

Then there K3 and K3-II. Performance wise, they are identical. The K3-II may really appeal for astrophotography as you'll be able to track stars for long expose and avoid to buy an expensive head for your tripod to do that. Be aware that you'll still need a tripod obviously and a fast lens for good results. The key difference between both K3 and K3-II and the other camera from the previous category are:
- Much better AF performance. Not that interresting for landscapes/architechture but quite helpfull for wildlife.
- A bit more resolution thanks to a 24MP sensor.
- Improved while balance and exposure accurary.
- Significantly heavier (800g instead of 550-650g), in particular vs K50, K-S1, K-S2 due to better build quality.

Remember that you also need great lenses to match. For you interrests you would need a wide variety of them and that can be expensive quite fast. The minimum to me would be a sigma/tamron 17-50 or 17-70 + a Pentax 55-300 + a macro lens like the tamron 90 and an UWA lens would be real plus. The cheapest solution could be a Samyang but you would loose AF. If you don't have the gear already, all of this is going to cost significantly more than the camera. And that's assuming that each time you get basic gear, not the more expensive ones.
12-09-2015, 07:31 AM   #12
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Thank you for all of this great info everyone, I really appreciate it!
12-09-2015, 07:47 AM   #13
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The latest greatest in lenses, is the 24-70, the 70-200 and the 150-450. The are all lenses that can take advantage of the K-3 or K-3IIs speed of AF. The older SDM lenses, not so much. Those lenses are also compatible with he Full Frame.

If I had unlimited funds, that's where I'd start. Along with the 31, 43, 77 and 100 macro, that's a pretty full kit.

You want the K-3 or K-3 II for wildlife even if you do move up to an FF at some point. That extra magnification functionally extends your reach. You might be interested in something like the Sigma 8-16 and DA 10-17 fisheye for the ultra wide end, but those are APC=c only. Pentax currently doesn't have a Full Frame ultra wide lens.
12-17-2015, 11:35 AM   #14
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I would get a Pentax K50; it's half the price of the other cameras and nearly as good. It's a huge upgrade to your K100. Then if you prefer, you can upgrade to the new full frame camera or the K3s replacement in a year or two if you're enjoying photography.

Getting a K3 now, to me, in your case seems a bit premature. But, if you have the money, go for it!
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