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09-22-2008, 09:00 PM   #1
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First Pentax DSLR -- Which One?

Okay, I really hate to come here with a dumb post for my first one, but that's probably what I'm doing. If this has been covered in depth -- and it probably has -- just point me in that direction, and accept my apology on the front end.

Here's my situation. I have a number of Pentax lenses for 35mm film cameras. I have a long background shooting film, starting with a new Asahi Pentax 35mm, way, way back. My Nikon D200 is my only DSLR, and I haven't really wrung it out. In other words, I know how to shoot good photos (been doing that for 40 years), but I don't really know digital.

I'm looking at all this Pentax equipment that's just sitting here, not being used because it's film, and thinking that I should get a digital body, so I'm looking for suggestions.

Lenses. I have several zooms for the SF-1N and PZ1 bodies. Plus, the 28mm shift, 200mm ED Macro, 300mm f/4.5, and 400mm f2/8 (with the 1.4X and 2X extenders).

I'd like to get a body that would give me as much utility (autofocus, anti-shake, etc.) as possible.

Fire away, but remember that I'm an ol. . er, experienced photographer.

The use would be just fun photography. I'm not shooting for magazines anymore.

09-22-2008, 09:26 PM   #2
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Just stick the coming K.m on your lenses and have fun.
09-22-2008, 09:41 PM   #3
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Shake reduction will come will any of the current bodies and will work with all your lenses. But autofocus - well, that will work only if those are autofocus lenses. Those are some great lenses you have there, from what I understand, but I'm guessing most are manual versions?

Anyhow, you have basically two current choices (K20D and K200D) and one just announced (K-m, aka K2000). K20D is top end, K2000 bottom, K200D in the middle - although the new K2000 actually has some advantages over the K200D. Differences in feature set probably won't matter as much as how they feel - the K20D is the biggest with most controls, K2000 smallest with least controls, K200D somewhere between.
09-22-2008, 09:52 PM   #4
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I honesly think you would have the best time with the K20. the new K-m would suit your needs too but the "beginner" features will probably just cause you more confustion than anything else. Coming from a pentax film background you will probably find the controls fairly intuitive on the k20. You'll probably only ever use the "P" (program) and "M" (manual) modes. Other than that you just have to find the "function" button to sort out your ISO and white balance and you should be having no trouble. I think coming from film and Nikon D200 you would find the noise (at high ISO) on the k200 to be troubling

09-22-2008, 09:58 PM   #5
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I almost never shoot the D200 at anything higher than 100 ISO. I grew up shooting K64, and thought that a 100 ASA/ISO was a fast film! Tri-X, at 400 ASA, was a speed demon.

Of course, we would push it to 1600 by souping it in some witch's brew. It looked as though it was raining golf balls with all the grain!

Yeah, I want to have control. I've been shooting auto exposure since the Olympus OM-2 came out, and autofocus since the Nikon 8008. Program is my friend, but I want the option of manual, for those "sometimes" shots.

Yep, the top lenses I have are manual focus. I do have four or five autofocus ones.

Oh, for several years (early 90's), I wrote the copy for some of the Pentax brochures. That was fun.
09-22-2008, 10:08 PM   #6
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QuoteQuote:
I honesly think you would have the best time with the K20. /snip/ probably only ever use the "P" (program) and "M" (manual) modes. Other than that you just have to find the "function" button to sort out your ISO...
I would recommend a used K100D (but not mine as it is going to someone) for about 1/3 or less the cost of a new K20D, which by the way, allows you to set the ISO with a press of the OK button and turn of the front dial - no menus, yay! The K100d is a capable basic camera, pretty good at up to ISO 800, and will allow you to get your lenses going again, particularly that 28 PC. The K20D is very nice of course, has lots of options, and very large files sizes which may factor into processing and storage considerations.

Oh, I'm mostly in P, occasionally S or A, never M :-)
09-22-2008, 10:33 PM   #7
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I'd pick up a good used K10D. Seems the going rate for a used one in good condition is $450-500.

Jason
09-22-2008, 10:33 PM   #8
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I just bought a second hand *ist D, for the same reason, a few old pentax lenses knocking about. (The ubiquitous SMC M 50mm, the "A" zoom below, and an M42 135mm F1.8 Spiratone.)

I didn't even know my Tokina 80-200 had an "A" setting, because my ME super didn't make use of it. (Doh!)

After a week I can confidently use all the settings, flip the ISO up and down in a hurry, shoot sports action of my son, shoot at the beach, shoot interior night restaurant with no flash, shoot hummingbirds suddenly appearing outside my window, all without fuss or panic.

The point I'm trying to make is the camera has such simple controls, as opposed to menu's, that even I can use it quickly and effectively. Always manual focus, always with either the depth of field, or shutter, or ISO I want. No fuss.

I'm sure there's a modern version, but at $260 for the body, I'm a very happy bunny. So happy in fact, I'm now looking for more good SMC A lenses for it. (They're a lot less fuss than the older lenses, although the M42 is really WYSIWYG)

Just my 10 pence.

cheers dunc.

09-23-2008, 04:29 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dunc Quote
I just bought a second hand *ist D, for the same reason, a few old pentax lenses knocking about. (The ubiquitous SMC M 50mm, the "A" zoom below, and an M42 135mm F1.8 Spiratone.)
Just for the record, the *ist line does not have shake reduction, which was on the OP's wish list. That body has some other great features, but given the long lenses he's collected, SR would be advisable.
09-23-2008, 05:03 AM   #10
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I had exactly the same question today at lunch.

My 5c advice would be : "Go to a shop, and try them out" K100D / K10D / K200D / K20D are all good cameras. Ergonomics for K100D and K200D, K10D and K20D are the same respectively. After you chose the money you are willing to put in it, the ergonomics you want, then you will get the model you want to buy.

I expect the K-m / K1000D (american name) to be a good model too, but most tunings are made through screen menus, something that fits more people used to electronics devices (more than cameras)

Guillaume
09-23-2008, 10:39 AM   #11
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given you have a PZ-1 I would go for an *istD, K10D or K20D as controls are most similar.

Also, and I can't tell this from the posting of what lenses you have, if you plan to do flash with wild life, I would get an *istD as a second body, only because it can do TTL flash, and I find the P-TTL does make animals (especially birds) move slightly when the preflash fires.

Also the *istD meters more accurately than the K10D (and I assume K20D as it has the same focusing screen) for manual apature lenses. "A" lenses are OK on either.
09-23-2008, 10:54 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom2 Quote
I know how to shoot good photos (been doing that for 40 years), but I don't really know digital.
Well, there's 90% of the battle won right there :-)

I made the switch from film to DSLR digital just 2 years ago. First to Nikon, then to Pentax. It was the Pentax ruggedness, AA batteries, well-priced primes, and in-body share reduction that swung me.

The best advice I can give is not to buy a top-end body right away. Unless you're a rampant photojournalist blasting away, the features of a lower end DSLR are more than enough for 95% of photographers. If you have the technique down, the best move up in terms of IQ and artistic range is better lenses. So I would advise getting either the K200D or the newer K2000 (no DOF preview is NOT a good thing for anyone for whom technique is an issue). You'll get the best price/performance from the less expensive models and as your digital experience grows, a newer upscale model will be available if you so choose.

Best of luck.
09-23-2008, 02:39 PM   #13
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Get the Pentax K10D or Samsung GX-10 if you don't mind buying a generation old. I'm still a novice but I realized early on with my K100D that the menus really slowed me down. I bought a GX-10 to get away from setting things in menus and because I could get K10D functionality at discount. I like really having two dials (front and back). I really like the green button on top that resets exposure to meter default. I actually use the RAW button more than I thought I would. Back in the menus I like being able to use Kelvin to set white balance. I like the bigger buffer that I can shoot 3 FPS RAW if I feel like I need to (which I find myself doing on an increasing basis).

I think that if you're a long time manual film guy you'd be disappointed with K100D/K200D.

There are some things I'd like about the K20D over K10D (CMOS, ISO 3200, change ISO with dial instead of menu) but you get most everything else with K10D/GX-10 at a nice discount in price.

09-23-2008, 03:08 PM   #14
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Agreed. I'm just about to land a 9 month old K10D including grip for $525.

QuoteOriginally posted by Jasvox Quote
I'd pick up a good used K10D. Seems the going rate for a used one in good condition is $450-500.

Jason
09-23-2008, 08:46 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tom2 Quote
Okay, I really hate to come here with a dumb post for my first one, but that's probably what I'm doing. If this has been covered in depth -- and it probably has -- just point me in that direction, and accept my apology on the front end.

Here's my situation. I have a number of Pentax lenses for 35mm film cameras. I have a long background shooting film, starting with a new Asahi Pentax 35mm, way, way back. My Nikon D200 is my only DSLR, and I haven't really wrung it out. In other words, I know how to shoot good photos (been doing that for 40 years), but I don't really know digital.

I'm looking at all this Pentax equipment that's just sitting here, not being used because it's film, and thinking that I should get a digital body, so I'm looking for suggestions.

Lenses. I have several zooms for the SF-1N and PZ1 bodies. Plus, the 28mm shift, 200mm ED Macro, 300mm f/4.5, and 400mm f2/8 (with the 1.4X and 2X extenders).

I'd like to get a body that would give me as much utility (autofocus, anti-shake, etc.) as possible.

Fire away, but remember that I'm an ol. . er, experienced photographer.

The use would be just fun photography. I'm not shooting for magazines anymore.
If you have Nikon D200, get one standard lens, work on wringing out the max out of that SLR and when pentax comes with full frame, you can think of jumping ship... Good standard lens like tamron 17-50 or 28-75 or sigma 18-50 shd do it D200.
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