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07-27-2008, 07:49 AM   #1
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New Camera

Hi Y'all,
Forum newbie here with questions regarding updating to DSLR. I have Pentax film equipment and have been away from photography for a few years. Now that I'm retired, I would like to move into the digital photography area, but I'd like to be able to use some of my old "glass". I have a number of manual lenses from my K1000 and ME, and a couple of autofocus lenses from my SF-10 (bought new so you can tell how long I've been away from photography).
I'm looking for something "entry level" that would allow me to gradually ease back into shooting. Unfortunately, I'm now on a somewhat fixed budget, so cost is a big factor. I'm not against used, and all of the P&S cameras we have are SD card based, so I'd like to be able to share those as well.
I'm not asking the "what is the best" question, but I would appreciate suggestions on what equipment meets my needs. There are so many of the digital models out there that I have no idea where to start, and I'd hate to get something that is going to be problematic from the beginning.
TIA for any assistance.
John

07-27-2008, 08:13 AM   #2
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Welcome to the group. I'd say get a K100D or K100D super. That way you get SR (Shake reduction) that will work with your old lenses. Being an old fart myself I find it very useful. 6 MP prints very well through 18 X 12 so don't worry about that. You should be able to get one for $325 or less.

Have fun,
Ken
07-27-2008, 08:39 AM   #3
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I'm not a real expert at anything, but I'll add in what I know. All the K number D (K10D, K100D, K200D...) bodies all use SD cards. And all should work perfectly well with all your lenses. Obviously they won't makes manual focus lenses autofocus, and if the lens doesn't have an A mode you'll have to set the aperture on the lens itself. In the Aperture priority mode, the old lens/modern body works as would be expected.

The biggest change is that the lenses will all act like you have a 1.5X teleconvertor on all the time. This is because the sensor of all the Pentax DSLRs is smaller than film. Instead of 50mm lens being very close to normal, it would be closer to 35 or so. This is why the modern kit lenses start at 18mm to get a similar perspective to the 28mm wide end of similar older lenses.

Some newer and usually fairly expensive lenses now have SDM motors built in. Without going in to any details which I don't know anyway, these focus faster, and quiter than the old autofocus lenses. The K100D and the K110D cannot use this feature. The K100D super, K200, K10, K20, all can use these lenses. In the interest of not limiting future options I'd suggest getting a body that has this feature.

The other things that distinguish the models are less deal beaking in my mind. Slightly more megapixels for K10D, K20D, and K200D, over the K100D super for more ability to blow up pictures to giant sized prints. Those same three over the K100D super also have weather sealing. K200/K100 all use AA batteries, the K10/K20 use lithium batteries. So the lower end models might be a bit simpler to get spares in the field.

So in my mind throw out the K20D as being expensive, the K100/110D for not supported SDM lenses. If you have a big preference over battery type, make your decision based on that. Otherwise in my mind the K200D has more of a dumbed down control setup, with automatic type stuff. Where the K10D has nice additions for someone who knows what they are doing with an extra dial for easier aperture/shutter speed changes in manual modes. You will probably want the 18-55 kit lens with whichever camera you get. It's likely wider than anything made for film, and is a very cheap addition when getting a camera body with it.

Hopefully someone will come along and point out where I've said something completly wrong here too.

Good luck.
07-27-2008, 09:01 AM   #4
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Based on my own experience, I would think a K100 (either K100D or K100 Super) would probably a good choice, with the new K200 being another possibility if it would fit in your budget. The K100 (I still have mine, though I also have a K20) takes lovely pictures, it's a relatively simple camera but also allows quite a bit of control is you want. It has the ability to change most of the same things the K10 does, but the controls are in menus rather than on knobs and levers on the camera body. That means its quicker to change those items on the K10, but it also means that its easier to accidentally change something when you take the camera out of the bag or while handling the camera.

On the other hand, the K10 is an excellent camera, offers all kinds of options and ways to customize the camera to match the way you work, and it's an excellent value (especially if you can find a left-over stock at a camera store).

If you do lots of flash and have a TTL flash you want to use, you might want to buy a used DS. Anything newer than that uses PTTL (don't ask me the difference because I'm pretty clueless when it comes to flash).

All old lenses will work on any of the Pentax dSLR (I've used my old M and K lenses on a DS, K100, K10 and K20). It's been great fun!

07-27-2008, 04:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies so far. I just have another question; what about the *ist series? Isn't this similar/just like the K100 line?
Thanks,
John
07-27-2008, 04:58 PM   #6
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while you say yoou want to keep it SD card based, I am wondering if you would consider getting a SD-CF adaptor and using an *istD.

The reason I suggest the D is it is a very competant camera, and with manual lenses it is one of the best in terms of not just metering btu the use of TTL flash with older lenses.

In terms of the most useability of older lenses it is the best. If you have a TTL flash from your old AF body, it will aslo probably work on the *istD
07-27-2008, 05:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
Welcome to the group. I'd say get a K100D or K100D super. That way you get SR (Shake reduction) that will work with your old lenses. Being an old fart myself I find it very useful. 6 MP prints very well through 18 X 12 so don't worry about that. You should be able to get one for $325 or less.

Have fun,
Ken
I've been doing a little surfing and it looks like the K100 series is running around the $400 range. I've also done a little research based on all of the replies and, please correct me if I'm wrong, but the later *ist series is SD card compatible and has, what appears to be, the same specs as the K100 line, but without the SR. And, there seems to be a lot more of them around (which could be a good thing or a bad thing)!
Do both lines, K100 and *ist, have similar controls?
Thanks,
John
07-27-2008, 06:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jselph Quote
I've been doing a little surfing and it looks like the K100 series is running around the $400 range. I've also done a little research based on all of the replies and, please correct me if I'm wrong, but the later *ist series is SD card compatible and has, what appears to be, the same specs as the K100 line, but without the SR. And, there seems to be a lot more of them around (which could be a good thing or a bad thing)!
Do both lines, K100 and *ist, have similar controls?
Thanks,
John
All pentax DSLRs except the origonal *istD are SD card cameras, and the *istD can wirk with an SD to CF adaptor.

Within the *istD and Kseries, cameras, except for the K10 and K20, all cameras are 6MP. Ther emay be image processing speed differences between the *istD and newer K series, someone else may be able to advise on this point.

Only K10D, K20D, K100 and K100 super have image stabilization, and only the K100 Super, K10, K200 and K20 have USM capability.

But what may be most important for a user of old lenses is the *istD and DS TTL flash capability. WHile flash may seem like a small point, if you want good flash metering on older lenses, you need to consider this point carefully

07-28-2008, 08:21 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
while you say yoou want to keep it SD card based, I am wondering if you would consider getting a SD-CF adaptor and using an *istD.

The reason I suggest the D is it is a very competant camera, and with manual lenses it is one of the best in terms of not just metering btu the use of TTL flash with older lenses.

In terms of the most useability of older lenses it is the best. If you have a TTL flash from your old AF body, it will aslo probably work on the *istD
So could I also use my old Vivitar 285 on any of these cameras (*ist D series, K100)? If so, that would be great since I have a slew of accessories for that flash.
John
07-28-2008, 11:29 AM   #10
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I just picked up a used *ist D from someone on here, and so far it's a great little camera. I got it specifically to use with my old lenses that I had with my old 35mm PZ-10, and so far so good. The lenses I have are not great glass, but still works good.
07-28-2008, 11:46 AM   #11
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Pick up the K100 Super. It is the cheapest camera that works with SDM lenses and has the so essential Shake Reduction feature, plus sensor cleaning etc. You give up quite a bit with earlier models.
07-28-2008, 01:52 PM   #12
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Be careful when using old flashes on new digital SLRs.
Some of the old flashes have pretty high trigger voltages that can fry the circuits of the newer cameras.

I've been told the newer Pentax SLRs can handle about 30V. If you have a multimeter handy, you should measure the voltage of your flash first before considering using it with any new Camera.

(i unknowingly used a flash which had a trigger voltage of about 300V on my K100D and nothing happened to the cam, but better be safe than sorry...)
07-29-2008, 03:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote

Only K10D, K20D, K200, K100 and K100 super have image stabilization, and only the K100 Super, K10, K200 and K20 have SDM capability.
fixed....
Heres the differences that I cared about...

Two control wheels - *istD, K10, K20
pentaprism viewfinder - istD, istDS, istDS2, K10, K20
SR - shake reduction - K100, K100super, K10, K20, K200
TTL flash - istD, istDS - otherwise manual only, or P-TTL with a new flash
6Mp - Sony CCD - all except noted below
10Mp - Sony CCD - K10, K200
14.2Mp - Samsung CMOS - K20
4AA (or 2-CRV3) batteries - istD->K100super
4AA (NO CRV3) K200
L-140 lithium battery - K10, K20
08-01-2008, 08:04 PM   #14
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I just measured my 285 and had a trigger voltage reading of 7.44 volts, which dropped to about 4.5v when flash fired. I found a few references online that indicate the 283 series has a pretty high firing voltage, but the 285's are "usually" under 10 v.
Since I managed to pick up the *ist DL combo w/Sigma flash from a forum member, I guess I could use the 285 as a slave with an optical trigger.
I settled on the DL because of my "collection" of film lenses that I have, and because it fit my budget. Hopefully, it will arrive early next week and I can begin to get some images under my belt and maybe even submit some to the forum for critique.
Thanks again for all the info and suggestions, and I hope to become a frequent poster and valuable member of this group.
John

QuoteOriginally posted by shadeless Quote
Be careful when using old flashes on new digital SLRs.
Some of the old flashes have pretty high trigger voltages that can fry the circuits of the newer cameras.
08-03-2008, 02:56 PM   #15
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Having very recently decided to consider a digital body for my manual KA lenses, I've ranged from considering a (new) K20D (expensive) to a *istD without being able to see clearly what benefits or disadvantages might apply to any of the models, even (or especially) after reading Digital SLR - PENTAX U.K. Limited .
My enquiry to this forum was compiled and ready to be unleashed, but two threads (this one and https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/32380-looking-olde...cheap-2nd.html ) have answered most of my questions, apart, perhaps, from reliability, battery life, and the effect of a pentamirror instead of a pentaprism.

To me, shutter delay is important (as is speed of focus, although I will almost exclusively be using manual focus KA lenses). I also value 'continuous' shooting, rather than having to wait while the exposures are written to memory as much of my photography involves aircraft displays.
Oh, and I see that only the K20D has an X synchronisation socket for flash.

In summary, I am left with the impression that almost any of the digital models will be just fine (especially for use with manual focus lenses).
Now I will just have to see what is available at what price(s).
(All my equipment, apart from a Cobra D650 flashgun, has been bought secondhand from stores. Anybody know if the Cobra D650 can be safely used with any of these models?)

Just a final question - are the latest models significantly better (focussing response and definition) than the original *ist models?
Is it worth paying megamoney for a 14Mp CMOS?
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