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10-02-2016, 11:40 AM - 1 Like   #1
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Overdue Upgrade: *istD to K-S2 or K-70?

Itís October, and high school basketball season is nearly upon us. A few years ago, when my son was playing, there were some other parents who could be relied upon for good photos, so I didnít worry about it. Now, itís my daughter out there playing point. The girlsí teams donít get much support and nobodyís taking pictures beyond the smart phone or P&S level. So this year, I want to be ďthe guyĒ who gets the good photos.

Iím tired of trying to eke out good shots from my cobbled-together rig of old used stuff: for basketball (and younger sisterís horseback riding) itís a *istD and an old manual-focus Tokina SD 70-210 4-5.6. Both decent in their day, but SO far out of date. So, Iím back on the PF looking at whatís new. The K-70 looks great, but discretion is the better part of valor, so Iím leaning more toward the K-S2. The new HD DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 looks like just the ticket with its new, faster AF speed, so Iíve ruled out older, used bodies like the K-5.

Sure, Iíd love to step up to the light-gathering superpowers of the HD D FA★ 70-200mm F2.8, but umÖ no. Not gonna happen.

Whichever camera I choose, Iím figuring Iíll buy just the body and the HD DA 55-300 for the time being. No need for the shorter kit lenses since I have a couple of MF lenses in similar lengths, including the old standby 50mm 1.7.

I have also taken to heart the good advice I received in a critique thread last year about learning PP, and not focusing (no pun intended) so much on the hardware. Yes, I got myself some white balance cards and software and am learning to use them. In spite of that, I really think itís time for a better camera and lens.

What are your thoughts on the question of K-S2 vs. K-70? What about my choice of lens? Are there any points Iíve overlooked that might sway a decision one way of the other? Any other pieces (esp. lenses) I should consider before buying?


Last edited by Rich_S; 10-02-2016 at 12:04 PM. Reason: I mean K-70... left out a couple of zeros.
10-02-2016, 11:54 AM   #2
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So, are you looking at the K-7 or K-70? I wouldn't recommend the K-7 at all. Both the K-S2 and K-70 do all you want them to do, and AF performance isn't that different from what I've read - except in the live view and video department, the K-70 might be quite a bit better there. The new lenses will work on both (and so will al the old ones).

I would, however, suggest getting the 18-50 kit lens with it. It's tiny and pretty good, and I don't think it adds that much to the price. Besides, the 50-300 kit includes it as well anyway (if there is such a thing as a 50-300 kit, there used to be).

Last edited by Giklab; 10-02-2016 at 12:02 PM.
10-02-2016, 12:08 PM   #3
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I left out a couple of zeros in the OP, but it's fixed now. It's the K-70 I'm thinking about. I haven't seen a 50-300 kit on B&H's site.
10-02-2016, 12:32 PM   #4
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K-S2 or K-70, definitely not K-7, it's just dated. I really don't think you would be happy with the 55-300 for basketball, it's a slow lens, and I have not read where the auto focus is faster. If there's not that much support I would think that means you would be pretty close to the court, you may not need that long of a focal length.

10-02-2016, 12:47 PM   #5
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i'm old to photography, though new to pentax. i chose the ks2 because it was the smallest/lightest camera in their lineup with a viewfinder. i love it. extremely solid, weather resistant, great deep grip. i dont like the swivel lcd and wouldve much preferred one that simply flips up or down. as a result, i keep it facing the body almost all the time. i believe the 'swivel' is video friendly, but its not still friendly. the rest of the camera is a dream. the rendering is the most film like ive experienced or seen except for the ccd digital Ms.

i dont know about cost etc, but i chose the DA Ltd 20-40/2.8-4 and again, i couldnt be happier. its also weather resitant, small and light, but just lovely rendering--nicest results from any zoom ive ever had.
10-02-2016, 01:01 PM   #6
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For basketball, you might try something like a 135/2.8 (if you're comfortable with manual focus). They are cheap and plentiful on the used market. I used my Vivitar for the kids school plays & concerts and it worked well. As far as camera bodies, either choice will give you better results than your *ist D.
10-02-2016, 01:04 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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The K-S2 and K-70 are very similar in terms of features, though the latter does deliver superior image quality. Based on our preliminary testing, it looks like the K-70 shows considerably less noise at high ISOs in JPEG mode, even compared to the K-3 II. The 24-megapixel resolution, 14-bit raw, and availability of pixel shift seal the deal as far as IQ is concerned.

In the long run, I think it'll be worth the $100-150 price difference. Stay tuned for our in-depth review of the k-70 around next week

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10-02-2016, 01:58 PM   #8
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I stepped up from the *istDL to the base model K-5 and the difference was so phenomenal it wasn't funny - trading up to a KS-2 or K-70 you're not gonna know yourself, OP. Enjoy whatever you get yourself and know that with just one exception (true TTL flash), you are taking a massive jump up in capability.

10-02-2016, 04:16 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
In the long run, I think it'll be worth the $100-150 price difference. Stay tuned for our in-depth review of the k-70 around next week
I can't wait

I also have a K-70 up from a K-50 and I'm extremely satisfied with the purchase.
10-02-2016, 04:25 PM   #10
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I plan to buy K-70 + 55-300 PLM to replace my current K-30 + 55-300 screwdrive. If my daughter were still playing basketball {she's now earning money to pay off college and auto loans}, I would make that purchase now. I believe the K-70 is going to turn out to be much much better in low-light situations than the previous Pentax cameras were, and the new 55-300 will also be a step up. I don't know whether this combination will yet be up to the
AF standard needed to photograph basketball, but you could always go "old school" and manually pre-focus to get the pictures you want.
10-03-2016, 01:12 AM   #11
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I have not tried sports on the K-70 yet but have used a K-01 with an old 100-300 lens (when you are interstate and contemplating landscapes). I succeeded in getting some keepers and video using manual focus so using the K-70 should be easy going. Most of the secret in sports is predicting the action and getting a sequence. If you know the sport and are ready for any scoring action you will get popular shots as no one needs to see the misses.


10-07-2016, 03:37 PM   #12
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I'm trying to be the responsible, well-informed consumer before deciding, and waiting patiently for the upcoming in-depth review of the K-70. I check the DSLR Comparision page several times a day, waiting for that red seal to appear. In the meantime, I'm going slowly crazy!!!

It's gotten worse since I noticed that, if you go apples-to-apples and look at the kits with the SMC DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6, the K-70 is only $50 more than the K-S2. Makes me wonder if I should even wait for the review. OTOH, basketball season is still a few weeks away, so... patience.

Last edited by Rich_S; 10-07-2016 at 03:45 PM.
10-08-2016, 02:50 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rich_S Quote
I'm trying to be the responsible, well-informed consumer before deciding, and waiting patiently for the upcoming in-depth review of the K-70. I check the DSLR Comparision page several times a day, waiting for that red seal to appear. In the meantime, I'm going slowly crazy!!!

It's gotten worse since I noticed that, if you go apples-to-apples and look at the kits with the SMC DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6, the K-70 is only $50 more than the K-S2. Makes me wonder if I should even wait for the review. OTOH, basketball season is still a few weeks away, so... patience.
There are other reviews out there. The K-70 isn't going to be any worse than the S2, and it will have new features and longer support. I think the extra 50$ is worth it, but in the end it's your decision alone
12-04-2016, 09:37 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by paulh Quote
For basketball, you might try something like a 135/2.8 (if you're comfortable with manual focus). They are cheap and plentiful on the used market.
I have to credit PaulH with the only suggestion I've actually followed so far. He got me thinking about lenses, and I went ahead and found a nice old-timey manual focus SMC Pentax-A 2.8 135 mm. It's quite a bit faster than the old zooms I've been using. As a card-carrying old fart, I'm comfortable with manual focus and the fixed 135 mm focal length is just about perfect for high school basketball from the second row of the bleachers. It wasn't exactly cheap, but it's a helluva lot cheaper than a modern fast AF zoom.

The 135 mm makes for a nice compact rig on the *istD body. Yesterday was my first outing with it (My daughter's team won 30-20!) and I realized halfway through the game that it was nice NOT to have to worry about fiddling with the zoom. The PK-A lens handles exposure, I take care of the focusing, and zooming is a non-issue. The little bit of extra aperture is a welcome improvement, the since the *istD was maxed out at 1600 ISO. Like the doofus, I got carried away with the "traveling light" theme, just took the camera with me, then realized that I should have brought the bag, because that's where the white balance cards are. Doh! I had to make do with using the white stripe on the uniform for adjusting white balance this time out, next time I'll take the cards to the game. I did minimal post-processing on the two photos below - horizon adjustment, a tiny bit of cropping, and white balance.

I still plan to upgrade to a K-70 when the family budget permits but for now, a small investment in a good lens has made a large improvement in my rusty old DLSR.
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12-05-2016, 01:56 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rich_S Quote
found a nice old-timey manual focus SMC Pentax-A 2.8 135 mm
Congrats on the new lens. You did pretty nicely with those shots, esp at iso 1600. I don't think I've ever gone past 800 on my *ist D. I have an old Vivitar 135/2.8 I found for $20 - it's totally manual, so needs the green button metering. Here's the type of shot I used to take with it on the *ist D - iso800:
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