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10-02-2017, 07:35 PM   #1
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From SLR to DSLR: some input would be great!

Hi everyone,

First off, I should note that I am no expert photographer. My dad got me into photography years ago, and while I am decent, I am in no way looking to buy a bells and whistles camera.

Currently, my primary camera is a Pentax ME Super, and I love it. That said, I am interested in picking up a DSLR. This is in large part due to the obvious benefits (no need to develop film, see the photo right away, make it easier for my wife who doesn't have any photography experience to play around with it, etc.). It's also because my ME Super is starting to act up a bit.

I'm not looking to spend a ton of money. I also only need a body, as I have a number of lenses P/K lenses that shouldn't be an issue attaching to any of the Pentax DSLRs. After some research, I've concluded that I'd be well off picking up a used Pentax DSLR. I am particularly interested in the K20D and the K-5, but I can easily be swayed. Keep in mind that I am most interested in nature/landscape shots in variable lighting, however, indoor shots of the baby and whatnot will also be taken. I raise this latter point because I understand that the ISO on the K20D may be somewhat limited, but I have no problems using flash so I actually don't think it's all that big of a deal.

So, long story short: for someone looking for a digital alternative to the ME Super, that isn't completely technologically outdated and is versatile enough for the hobbyist, am I better off in 2017 picking up a K20D, a K-5, or something else? Crucially, I want to keep this under $200, and won't go over about $230.

Thanks!

Mike

10-02-2017, 09:03 PM   #2
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If budget allows get a K5. It is an awesome camera. I think you will enjoy the digital world.
10-02-2017, 09:10 PM   #3
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The K-5 is a very reliable, and capable camera that can also be had at a great price these days. It's better for manual focusing than the K20D, too, since you get live view with magnification.

If you want better low-light autofocus, go for the K-5 II. Otherwise the K-5 is a fine choice.

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10-03-2017, 01:05 AM   #4
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Just a radical thought, aren't K-S1's available at closeout prices around $200 including lens?

K5 etc are undoubtedly great but will be pretty old by now and may not have had an easy life.

10-03-2017, 03:54 AM   #5
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If you're vigilant on ebay you can get a K5 for around 250USD give or take, with a modest shutter count. You should also check for some of those related models like a K-50 or KS-2. I wouldn't suggest going older than a K5.
10-03-2017, 04:24 AM   #6
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I am with the K-5 camp, it is a great camera (though no doubt the newer Pentaxes could well be noticeably better, K-5iis, K-3, Kp etc) and you should hopefully be able to find one within your maximum budget. I have a K20D (and others) but much prefer my K-5. I got mine from a dealer for £199 (Great British Pounds) with a 6 month warranty in 2015, what a bargain. It had a high shutter count (77k) but apart from some small wear on the button lettering looked almost new and has given me zero problems.
10-03-2017, 07:20 AM   #7
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There is a k-5 in the Pentax market place for $250.00 that looks great. If I had not gotten a K-3 recently I would have jumped on it.


K3, K5, K7, Pentax DA*50-135 - PentaxForums.com


Jim Fellows
10-03-2017, 07:31 AM - 2 Likes   #8
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Thank you for your input, everyone! I think that I am going to go for a K-5. And yes, Jimfellows, I found that K-5 about 20 minutes ago and have jumped at the opportunity.

10-03-2017, 09:15 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MichaelPatrick Quote
Thank you for your input, everyone! I think that I am going to go for a K-5. And yes, Jimfellows, I found that K-5 about 20 minutes ago and have jumped at the opportunity.
A good move on your part. My wife has a K5 and I the K5iis both bought as discontinued models and plan on using them for years to come.

Enjoy.
10-03-2017, 08:05 PM   #10
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Somethings to consider;
If you're coming from an ME Super, you likely don't have any autofocus lenses.
And possibly some older non-A (M or K) glass.They all will all mount and work on any Pentax DSLR, but they don't work like you are used to. There will be a learning curve.

Any A lenses you have will work fine for any automatic or manual metering modes, but your non-A lenses will require Green Button (stop-down) Metering, as the older lenses don't fully talk to the new cameras.

Modern DSLRs are set up for auto-focus and are harder to manually focus than the older non-AF SLRs, The smaller viewfinders are not set up as well to use manual focus as you're used to. The split-image and micro-prism features you had in the film view finder are not there. It works, and can be done, but takes some practice.
I have a bag full of Pentax film bodies and old K and M glass, and that was the reason I bought into Pentax DSLRs, but I have bought all new, autofocus glass since switching to digital. I don't use the old lenses any more.
As well as a new body, you may want to consider in your budget a good walk around, easy to use autofocus zoom, 18-55, 18-135 or 16-85 come to mind. Especially if your wife wants an easy to pick up and use camera.

Also, remember that there is a crop factor between your ME Super and the K5, The digital sensor is smaller than a full frame of 35mm film, and crops the edges of the lens' field of view off. If you use your 50mm lens on the DSLR it will look like it was shot with a 75mm on full frame film. You need a 35mm lens to get a similar field of view from the same position as your 50mm on full frame film. Your favorite wide-angle lens has now become more of a normal lens. But your longer lenses have more reach.

K5 is a good solid camera, it would be a good way to enter the digital world,
10-03-2017, 08:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by K-Three Quote
Somethings to consider;
If you're coming from an ME Super, you likely don't have any autofocus lenses.
And possibly some older non-A (M or K) glass.They all will all mount and work on any Pentax DSLR, but they don't work like you are used to. There will be a learning curve.

Any A lenses you have will work fine for any automatic or manual metering modes, but your non-A lenses will require Green Button (stop-down) Metering, as the older lenses don't fully talk to the new cameras.

Modern DSLRs are set up for auto-focus and are harder to manually focus than the older non-AF SLRs, The smaller viewfinders are not set up as well to use manual focus as you're used to. The split-image and micro-prism features you had in the film view finder are not there. It works, and can be done, but takes some practice.
I have a bag full of Pentax film bodies and old K and M glass, and that was the reason I bought into Pentax DSLRs, but I have bought all new, autofocus glass since switching to digital. I don't use the old lenses any more.
As well as a new body, you may want to consider in your budget a good walk around, easy to use autofocus zoom, 18-55, 18-135 or 16-85 come to mind. Especially if your wife wants an easy to pick up and use camera.

Also, remember that there is a crop factor between your ME Super and the K5, The digital sensor is smaller than a full frame of 35mm film, and crops the edges of the lens' field of view off. If you use your 50mm lens on the DSLR it will look like it was shot with a 75mm on full frame film. You need a 35mm lens to get a similar field of view from the same position as your 50mm on full frame film. Your favorite wide-angle lens has now become more of a normal lens. But your longer lenses have more reach.

K5 is a good solid camera, it would be a good way to enter the digital world,
Thanks for your input on lenses! I was actually just reading up on some of the topics you brought up, and now I have a few more to pursue. I’m curious, are there any newer auto lenses that offer the viewfinder experience that I am used to?
10-03-2017, 11:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MichaelPatrick Quote
Iím curious, are there any newer auto lenses that offer the viewfinder experience that I am used to?
There certainly are. Which focal lengths do you usually use with your film slr? Like K-Three said if you plan on recreating the field of view you're used to with your current lenses on your ME you'll need to take the crop factor into account. An APS-C sensor is 2/3 the size of 35mm film so If you multiply the focal length of your current lenses by 2/3 you'll get the focal length you need to match the field of view you're used to with your current film system. With that info you can check out the lens search tool to see which lenses are out there. You don't need to worry about image format with APS-C so you can leave that set to ANY and the other filters are dependant on the features you're looking for.

Pentax Lens Search | PentaxForums.com
10-04-2017, 06:46 AM   #13
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Currently, I use three lenses:

I rely most heavily on a 80-200mm zoom and a 28mm wide angle. When necessary, I also use 50mm lens.

I actually setup a separate forum discussion on the three specific lenses that I use. I've had a hard time locating specific information on them, as well as how well they will match up with the K-5.

I'm definitely interested in picking up an automatic lens that is properly matched with the K-5. Indeed, it will be helpful for my wife who doesn't have any experience with manual photography, but who would love to use the camera to shoot the kids, and to take photos around the city. I'd also enjoy it for those moments when a quick photo is in order. But even more, it would just be nice to not have to make mental adjustments in terms of SLR-to-DSLR mm changes! All this being said, I'm not looking to spend a ton of money, as the primary reason for moving to the K-5 has been that my 35mm crapped out on me!

Here is the link to the other discussion: Need some lens help/advice - PentaxForums.com

Thanks,

Mike
10-04-2017, 12:01 PM   #14
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A suggestion about mindset. Shooting digital images is closer to shooting slide film than print film.
Print film ==> expose for the shadows.
Slide/Transparency/Reversal film ==> expose for the highlights

Digital ==> expose for the highlights ==> ETTR Expose To The Right (histogram).
10-04-2017, 12:31 PM - 1 Like   #15
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For a basic budget kit that would cover everything, go with a DA 18-55, DA 55-300, DA 35 and DA 50. The first two can be purchased with WR (weather resistance). The second two are faster aperture, (2.4 and 1.8 respectively) and superb image quality for little money.
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