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07-19-2016, 11:20 PM   #16
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You should get some high quality glass before deciding your next upgrade. Better be FF glass.

07-20-2016, 04:45 AM   #17
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I agree with the rest of the comments, in that you should make sure all of the other areas (lens, flash skill, tripod/monopod) are covered before you upgrade bodies. If you prefer natural light, there are much faster lenses than the 18-135. Full-frame has better light performance but you'll see much better portraits if you go with a better lens as opposed to a better body. Of course, you could always get both.
07-20-2016, 07:00 AM   #18
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Save wasting your time and money to just find out in the end that you want a K-1 and new lens with it......... just get it now and be done. It will save you in the long run.

Money being no issue, the K3II and lenses will just be a stop gap.
07-20-2016, 10:55 AM   #19
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You should also consider a flash - it doesn't have to be big. I got the little AF201 flash when I bought the K3II. It's nice because it's small and it can bounce behind. A diffuser helps too. Its only drawback is that it doesn't recharge very quickly, which knocks your consecutive shot rate down. It's a major step up from the pop-up flash because it can be bounced and easily diffused.

A faster lens of course is a good option, though it will reduce your depth-o-field.

07-20-2016, 07:40 PM   #20
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Wow- im shocked and amazed that so many of you posted here. So much great info. I will start with some of the lens suggestions and go from there. Thank you!!!!
07-24-2016, 12:38 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by nrgcreator Quote
Wow- im shocked and amazed that so many of you posted here. So much great info. I will start with some of the lens suggestions and go from there. Thank you!!!!
You said you mostly do portraits, and use a slow kit lens, that the best solution: get some nice lens that let more light on that camera.

The ways to improve your low light shoots are many:
- Improve your post processing skills. Between a K5-IIs in camera JPEG and a carefully post processed raw, there at least 2EV difference in quality. Meaning a 3200 iso shot on a carefully post processed raw could look as good as a 800iso JPEG straight from camera. If you have more time than money give a try to raw therapee as a raw processor... Otherwise just shoot raw and buy lightroom or DxO.
- Your kit lens is nice but doesn't let much light in. At 50mm it is f/4.5 while a 50mm f/1.8 is by definition f/1.8. That mean with the DA50mm f/1.8 you be at iso 500 wide open and at iso 1200 at f/2.8 when you are at iso 3200 with the 18-135.
- There typically 2 issues with indoor ambiant light. One issue is the quantity of light. The other is the quality of light. Often you'll find the face in shadows, the direction of light unflatering. So even if you could shoot at iso 100, it would make for an uninterresting picture. You should learn how lighting works and how you as a photographer can play with it. Maybe move your subject in a better position toward the light (or wait for the right moment), change shooting angle... And learn how to control light. At home that can be just putting on the lights, but for great control, that be a flash. Not the flash bundled with the camera that is too limited, but flash that you can use to bounce light from ceilling or maybe flash in one hand, camera in the other hand to get a much better light.
- Finally you can also upgrade you camera. But understand that while a very expensive FF would give you more margin to play with (1-2EV) it will not fix all the rest. Changing the camera alone will improve things noticably, no more as other points in that list in fact and alone will not really fix the issue, by far. To me you should at least go through 2 points (maybe one at a time) to decent results.

Here 2 examples:

First example: Indoor in a tattoo convention. 135mm f/2.8, no flash, raw post processing. Using f/2.8 instead of f/5.6 allowed to use iso 800 and a fast shutter speed for a sharp picture. Using raw and a raw processor (here DxO but lightroom would do it too) helped remove the noise:




Second example: An old shoot, indoor, new year evening. iso 3200, f/3.2, bounced flash, post processed with DxO. f/3.2 instead of f/4.5 allowed to keep the iso at 3200 instead of 6400. The flash added some light with smooth tone graduation, no harsh shadows. The amount of light from the flash was small just to correct the lighting but is also ensure proper expose and good highlights. Again shooting raw helped reduce a noise and in that case have pleasant film like grain... This is not that great and could have been better. But this isn't bad.

Last edited by Nicolas06; 01-31-2017 at 02:03 PM.
07-24-2016, 04:21 AM   #22
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Like you guys have suggested, maybe a lens upgrade would be fine. However, we have very few choices to choose from. I would like to have an upgrade of the HD 55-300 WR with a much better motor. However, the new one has an electronic aperture control instead of the aperture lever thus isolating the older cameras. One reason I bought into Pentax is being WR. Sigma and Tamron lenses for Pentax aren't WR.
07-24-2016, 04:48 AM   #23
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An upgrade of the 55-300 could be many things:
DA* 50-135 2.8
DA* 60-250 4
DA* 200 2.8
Da* 300 4
D-FA 150-450
D-FA* 70-200

It depends if you want an exact upgrade of that lens itself, or if you just want a better lens for some specific type of photography.

07-25-2016, 06:27 PM   #24
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So i got the DA 50mm 1.8 this weekend suggested by many of you. Holy cow what a different. Im getting plenty of light in all situations so far. Camera is able to focus better also. Really impressed. In addition (and really embarrassing), i also noticed i had a circular polarizing filter on my 18-135 instead of what i thought was a UV. Now im getting much more light into my original lens as well, which is amazing b/c i really love this lens - so long as i have enough light.

Nicolas06 - great info, thanks! I do use lightroom and obviously am correcting due to so many issues with low light. Many images actually come out decent after processing, i just knew that was not normal..

Between the new prime, and realizing i left a CP filter on my 18-135 = its like i have a whole new camera!

Now im going to try and find a zoom lens that will give me a good range and thats fast. I cant seem to find many options for something similar to my 18-135 thats faster? I hate carrying a bag in the woods and would like to be able to carry just one lens.. anyone got any advice on a fast zoom?

I really appreciate everyones input. what a great community here.
07-25-2016, 07:46 PM   #25
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Kit lenses are typically awful. You soon find out that the real expense (an epic, vast infinite vista of expense) is not in the body but in the glass.

As both a Sony and Pentax shooter (both APS-C and full frame in both brands), my advice is get a K-1 and a D-FA 2.8/24-70 for starters, then the D-FA 2.8/15-30 and D-FA* 2.8/70-200. I have the latter pair, but not the 24-70.

For the photographic genres you mention, these lenses are great. But I'd also recommend Zeiss Distagon T* 2/35 ZK and Zeiss Planar T* 1.4/85 ZK. I've have these. The 85 portrait lens you can also use for landscape, stopped down its sharpness is otherworldly. Zeiss ceased production of ZK's in 2010, but you can still easily find the two lenses I mention, either new or used.

For low light you have the Pentax-K or Pentax-A 1.2/50. Very tricky to focus wide open mind, but it can be done. I have the K version and I love it. I believe it's the same age as me (41) yet is certainly in better condition.
07-25-2016, 08:35 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by nrgcreator Quote
Now im going to try and find a zoom lens that will give me a good range and thats fast. I cant seem to find many options for something similar to my 18-135 thats faster? I hate carrying a bag in the woods and would like to be able to carry just one lens.. anyone got any advice on a fast zoom?
Fast zooms won't have the same range as your 18-135. To get that range, you'll need two lenses, probably - like the Pentax DA* 16-50 2.8 or Tamron/Sigma 17-50 2.8, with a Pentax DA* 50-135 2.8 or Tamron/Sigma 70-200 2.8, or used Sigma 50-150 2.8. Something like that.
07-25-2016, 09:08 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by nrgcreator Quote
..... Really impressed. In addition (and really embarrassing), i also noticed i had a circular polarizing filter on my 18-135 instead of what i thought was a UV. Now im getting much more light into my original lens as well, which is amazing b/c i really love this lens - so long as i have enough light. ....
The circular polarizer cut the amount of light by at least 1.5 and perhaps 2 stops, depending on its make and how dark it is. That will make a world of difference right there.

07-25-2016, 10:43 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by nrgcreator Quote
Now im going to try and find a zoom lens that will give me a good range and thats fast. I cant seem to find many options for something similar to my 18-135 thats faster? I hate carrying a bag in the woods and would like to be able to carry just one lens.. anyone got any advice on a fast zoom?
You can either get a lens with lot of range and that lens will be slow and not that great for low light but more than good enough for most situation in daylight. If you miss some light in the woods, I'd think that going up to iso 800 at time should be enough and allow you to keep enough quality.

So the most obvious zoom that would help you is an f/2.8 transtandard. There very cheap and nice one from tamron or sigma with 17-50 range. Tamron smaller cheaper with a bit of field curvature. Sigma bigger, more expensive and with silent focussing. For both it is better to buy new and to not hesitate to ask for a new sample if the one you got is not very good. There the Pentax too the 16-50. It is significantly more expensive, weather resistant and give the bonus of 16mm.

If really 50mm is not enough then there the 70-200 f/2.8. Tamron has one, quite cheap and great in screw drive version. But beware that already quite a price. And huge lens. Sigma and Pentax have equivalent 70-200 that are VERY expensive.

To keep one lens and still get lot of light, an expensive but practical option would be to take an FF + a slow zoom or at least f/4 zoom. K1 + 28-105 f/3.5-5.6 look quite slow but it is equivalent to 19-70 f/2-f/3.5 already due to the sensor size. 105mm seems more limited than 135mm, true but because you got much more details/quality with 36MP FF, you can always crop. So that would be that 18-135 you use today, but with much more quality in most settings and also quite decent low light capabilities. K1 is a bit expensive today, should get cheaper if you give it some time. But there also the competition where you can find D610 or equivalent for 1000 and should be able to find an interresting lens with it. Some brand also have 24-105 f/4 zoom that look like a very interresting compromize for you.
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