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06-19-2018, 09:26 AM   #1
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Robbed of All My Gear - How to Start Over?

OK, here's the scenario: You switched from Olympus to Pentax about 6 years ago. (Olympus was great, but you weren't happy when they went mirrorless, and with no upgrade path, Pentax seem to fit the bill.) You've been happily making photos that please you with a K-30, a Pentax prime, and a pair of Sigma zooms, but for the last year or so you've been itching to swap for a more capable camera. The KP you rented was nice, but you thought you'd hang on for the K-3iii.

Suddenly...all your gear is gone--stolen by thieves who went through your home office like a front-end loader. With the exception of your battery re-charger, they got everything camera related, including every Canon point-and-shoot your wife ever collected and the nifty Polaroid SX-70 you rescued when your father passed away. [sigh] Now the question is urgent: Not what camera to swap for, but...damn...what system? What format? What camera? What lenses?

I'm not a professional, but I am adept enough to get the effects I want, pretty reliably by working with shutter-speed and aperture. Beyond that, I'm a novice. Couldn't tell you how or why to bracket, and without Lightroom, my photos look like crap, but I do OK most of the time. (At least that's what my friends say about my Flickr feed.)

So for all your Pentaxians out there: Where would you go from here? Should I think about full frame? Just lump and and buy the KP? If you were in my position--in other words, nothing left that constitutes an investment in Pentax or compatible lenses, would you jump to another system? If so, which one and why?

Thanks for any opinions. It's all much appreciated.


Bill Herndon

06-19-2018, 09:35 AM - 1 Like   #2
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my sympathies

well first I would look at this and see if they might be able to help recover your gear:

Lenstag - Protect your camera equipment, images and help make the world safer for photography on iOS, Android and the web.


second, I would say take a look at renting equipment to help you decide what you want to invest in

I have used with good results there are other companies as well


third - I would not jump to another system but stick with Pentax myself. one advantage is the ability to obtain and use good "experienced " equipment which can be helpful for recovery costs

good luck

Last edited by aslyfox; 06-19-2018 at 09:51 AM.
06-19-2018, 09:43 AM - 2 Likes   #3
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We need to know what focal lengths your lenses were.
I'd say K-P with a kit 18-135 (although the 16-85 is also an option if you can find one bundled wit the camera) with a 50 1.8 and DA 55-300 PLM and possibly a 100 macro, if you do much macro.

18-135 and 55-300 to cover an everything kind of range.
50 1.8 for low light performance, (or 35 2.4 if you shoot indoors a lot)
100 macro for macro (duh).

But I've been told my views aren't for everyone, so follow at your own risk.

100 macro

DA 55-33 PLM (you might not even need macro with this lens, it might be good enough for you).

FA 50 1.7

DA 18-135

Last edited by normhead; 06-19-2018 at 10:07 AM.
06-19-2018, 09:44 AM   #4
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Sorry to hear about your loss. I had my large format gear stolen many years ago and it was financially very difficult to replace. Not sure what your budget is -- but pricing on a lightly used K-1 has been pretty decent -- a few went here in the $1300 range. If you can swing it and wanted to stay with Pentax I'd definitely consider this.

Best of luck in carrying on … hope you have all the serial numbers to pass on to the police. If it is any consolation -- you never know when or if a break gets your gear back. Believe it or not, I got a call from the Vermont State Police 3 years after my bag loaded with an Arca Swiss, multiple large format lenses and a backup Canon with 100-400 on it was stolen -- they recovered the bag entirely intact -- the only thing the thieves had taken out was a small point and shoot. I kid you not.

06-19-2018, 09:46 AM   #5
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B H is still doing its deal for a K 3 II and battery grip costing $7 more than the K 3 II alone

Pentax K-3 II DSLR Camera with Battery Grip Kit B&H Photo Video


B H no longer offers the K 3 II for sale, please ignore this comment

Last edited by aslyfox; 06-20-2018 at 02:21 AM.
06-19-2018, 09:51 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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I'm really sorry for what happened to you
Main weakness in a Pentax system is AF and the lack of some third party lenses. Do a little research and ask yourself if that bothers you.

If I had to start anew, I'd skip all the cr*p and aim for the cream of the crop.
Buy a good, sturdy body, not prone to ACB failure perhaps, maybe a second-hand K-3.
Then only buy top-notch stuff. You can indulge in a couple of vintage lenses as well, but don't buy stop-gap film-era or kit zooms.

If I had to chose a "utility", "all-purpose" zoom, I'd go straight for either 16-85mm WR or a 2.8 constant aperture.
Then one good tele zoom... ideally I'd want the rumored upcoming f/4 constant, but I've seen cheap 70-200/2.8 from Sigma recently going for bargain prices.

If you want to go the way of primes, you're spoiled for choice with Pentax... the FA 31-43-77, or the cheaper DA 21-40-70, then the 15, the 31, the 35 macro...

My only advice is this... skip the so-so stuff, and buy the best right away. If you can't afford it all at once, start from a wide-normal/short tele zoom (16-17-18 to 50-55-85...) and add other lenses one by one.

You can only mount one lens at a time on your camera.
06-19-2018, 10:05 AM - 1 Like   #7
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To LensBeginner and normhead: My lenses were a Sigma 17-70 (the 'everyday' lens) a Sigma 18-300 (got this on a lark to shoot last summer's Solar Eclipse), and a DA Limited 35mm Macro (wickedly expensive when I got it...not so expensive now.

I'm not terribly constrained on my gear investments. Insurance will help, but I'm also able to cover my losses and then some. Though I'll probably take things slow due to having to deal with a ton of other stuff that also needs to be replaced.

Thanks for all the opinions thus far.


Bill Herndon
06-19-2018, 10:05 AM   #8
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If everything I had camera-wise evaporated, and I wanted to get out there shooting again, I'd buy another used K-5 II or IIs, a DA 18-135, a used SMC DA 15, and a DA 70 (new, used, SMC or HD, don't care). Wide, do-all zoom, and portraits. Core of the kit is handled and I could re-evaluate a month or two later when the sting of the break-in was over. This is almost exactly what I did when my K100D and Sigma 17-70 was stolen during a home break-in.

06-19-2018, 10:13 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I'm sorry to hear that happened.

If I lost what I had built up and had to start over... that's tough. But I'd probably start with a KP or K3ii, the DA 20-40, the 55-300 and a few primes (my preference would be the FA Limiteds, if I could afford them at the time). Then I would be looking for another K-1 shortly after.

Good luck with your decision. Pentax does for me everything I want of it, so I have no reason to change.
06-19-2018, 10:24 AM   #10
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Is this another hypothetical, or are you the 'you' you refer to as 'you'?

So to hear about your(?) loss. Hypothetical or real, you're operating from a clean slate, with a history of experience to guide
you. I would suggest first listing all of your equipment in a spread sheet, then critique each item for it pros and cons. Identify
any glaring holes in your prior setup. Did you like the build and ergonomics of your K-30? Did you find IBIS useful? Were you
satisfied with its auto focus performance or did you find it wanting? Were you satisfied with the focal length range you had?
Were you often wanting a wider view, or more reach, or more light or to get in closer? Then start comparing and shopping.
Obviously price will be a further guide, (a replacement K-30 will cost you a few hundred dollars. If your wants point you to
a K-1, you'll have to spend considerably more).

If I lost everything today I would most likely buy back into Pentax. The cameras and lenses do everything I need them to do
and I very much appreciate their ergonomics. And the price of the system is very hard to beat.

Last edited by tvdtvdtvd; 06-19-2018 at 10:31 AM.
06-19-2018, 10:57 AM   #11
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Sorry for you.

Now, for your question, I don't know what I would end up with, but I would certainly grab the opportunity to try everything inside my budget. Mirrorless, DSLR, from all makers...
06-19-2018, 11:01 AM   #12
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That's true. If the OP is in a good location that has stores with hardware on the shelf, checking out other systems in-person would be nice. Not everyone has that luxury, of course... taking a trip to one of the big camera stores in NYC, for instance, would be great.
06-19-2018, 11:16 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bill Herndon Quote
Now the question is urgent: Not what camera to swap for, but...damn...what system? What format? What camera? What lenses?

So for all your Pentaxians out there: Where would you go from here? Should I think about full frame? Just lump and and buy the KP? If you were in my position--in other words, nothing left that constitutes an investment in Pentax or compatible lenses, would you jump to another system? If so, which one and why?
Bill Herndon
Bill, sorry for your loss. When it happened to me, I lost 4 cameras and 6 lenses, which was my entire system. It was all Minolta film gear, and with the help of insurance, I came to the decision that I would be better off with two systems: Nikon 35mm AND Pentax 645.

With that said, unless there is something significant that was amiss in your Pentax system, I wouldn't switch because there is a lot of value in your familiarity with Pentax.

If you print 16x20" or larger, often crop, shoot more wide and landscapes vs. telephoto and wildlife or sports, tend to prefer shallow depth of field over great, then I would go directly to a K-1ii. However, if most of the above is not your style, then a Pentax APS-C makes the most sense. Emotionally, from a loss like this, I think it's best emotionally to replace the lost gear with something new/different. Turn a bad thing into a good thing. BUT if you had a camera or lens that did exactly what you wanted and would miss it, then I would just replace it with the same.

And if weight and $$$$ are not an issue for you, I would go with a 645Z system.
06-19-2018, 11:18 AM   #14
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If I had to start over. I'd purchase all used / experienced equipment. Starting with a K-3 II (Unless the K-3 II replacement is announced). I'd start my lenses with the Sigma 18-300 for my general purpose walk around lens. I would then go for the following DA* lenses 16-50 f2.8, 50-135 f2.8 and 60-250 f4. I would then top it all off with the Pentax A 50 F1.4 because everyone needs a fast 50 in their kit. This would cover 95% of the range I shoot. I would have included a 70-200 f2.8 which I do currently own and is excellent optically. But on APS-C I find it long on the short end and short on the long end (Just MHO).

Optionally I might add the Sigma 8-16, D FA 100 WR macro, DA* 300 and DA 1.4 teleconvertor.
06-19-2018, 11:21 AM   #15

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That is a terrible thing to have happened- my condolences. But now that it did, I would say time to update, since you were considering that anyway. Since you are not a professional, and should not be in need of a huge arsenal of expensive specialty lenses, multiple bodies, etc. I would say get a top-quality, well built body and a versatile set of good lenses. It seems that versatility would be important, since you've not expressed a particular photographic interest. Norm's advice seems the most logical to me. The KP is the most versatile body, being able to convert from compact to beefier via the battery grip. I love mine. It can delver fine image quality results, even in JPEGs right from the camera. Just implement Fine Sharpening in the Custom Image menu. It is exceptional for low light, higher ISO use. The DA 18-135mm besides being versatile with fine IQ, is among the most reliable Pentax zoom lenses, and has among their fastest AF which is quiet and accurate.

The kit Norm recommends is a great one. I would only add a DA 15mm Limited.

Last edited by mikesbike; 06-19-2018 at 11:44 AM.

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