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10-10-2018, 10:31 AM   #16
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The K5 series are great cameras, I still use mine. But compared to the K3, the K5 lags in auto focus capabilities, which may be something to consider as a beginner. If I were going to recommend a Pentax to begin with, I would start with the K70.

10-10-2018, 10:55 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Motikant Quote
i am an absolute beginner in photography. I want to try it out but also don't know if i will stick to it for a long term. So i want a good beginner camera to learn on, but also not drop a ton of money in it.
I will be buying used. So i need experienced users to help me choose one.
  • K-3 (449 in adorama , 398 in ebay)
  • K-5IIs (298 in ebay)
  • K-5 (239 in ebay)
  • K-S2 (278 in ebay)
Should i go for the best body or buy a better lens ?
Welcome to the forum! In general you want to find the best lens for your needs, and then a body that will do it justice. However, as an "absolute beginner" that may not stick to it, I would focus on finding a decent body that would be easy to resell if you change your mind or even want to upgrade.

My first choice from your list would be the K3 from Adorama. It's the best camera from the bunch, one of the newest in terms of resale, and Adorama gives you some protection with a warranty which will give you peace of mind buying used. And for $468 you can get a K3 in excellent condition from KEH with a 180 day warranty and free shipping: Pentax K-3 Digital SLR Camera Body, Black {24 M/P} at KEH Camera Store

The other alternative as someone that may want and need to sell their gear if you want 'out' would be something like a Nikon D3400 with an 18-55mm kit lens for $447. The K3 is a MUCH better camera than the entry level D3400, but the Nikon will have a full warranty and be the easiest to sell.

https://www.adorama.com/inkd3400k.html?
10-10-2018, 10:58 AM - 1 Like   #18
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I have the K-5 IIs, the KS2, and the KP which is a current model. They are in order according to age, and there have been some refinements, yet I still love my K-5 IIs. It is a great camera, and a good choice if it is in fine condition with a modest shutter count (lower use). It has a pro-grade build quality and controls design. Otherwise, the current K-70 new would be an excellent beginner's camera, and getting a new camera is always a good idea if you can swing it. It is designed very much like the K-S2 with additional refinements. The entry-level Pentax models provide much better quality than the Nikon and Canon counterparts. Better on-body control sets, a much better viewfinder, in-body anti-shake lens stabilization usable even with old used lenses, WR construction, and better useful features.

The lens I recommend, if you can, is the DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 which has a very large, useful zoom range, but with exceptionally fine build quality and WR (Weather Resistant) construction. It also provides fast, quiet, accurate autofocus (AF). To get WR in a lens with Nikon or Canon, you'd be fishing in the $1,000 per lens category. Same with their camera bodies.

B&H has a great deal going with the K-70 and DA 18-135mm combo, considering the lens alone goes for $400+. Their current price is $794 including lens, camera body, and even a memory card and protective lens filter. And even a camera carrying case! You'd have everything you need for versatile shooting.

Just remember to select "fine Sharpening" in the Custom Image menu, especially for the default "Bright" category (best for general use) and avoid having the mode dial set to the "green" auto mode where the camera selects everything and does not allow access to many important features and adjustments. For fully automated exposure by the camera, put the mode dial to "P" (Program).

Last edited by mikesbike; 10-10-2018 at 12:43 PM.
10-10-2018, 12:35 PM - 1 Like   #19
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Some in-field experience comparing K3II to my old K5. The K3II does everything better. The K5 still works great, and has been abused (poor thing).
I started carrying two cameras in the field this year. The primary work is insect macro, so the K3II gets the FA100 with a ring flash. I'm hard pressed to think of a better combination now.
The K5 gets the DA300. The focus works better with the K3II but works well enough with the K5. The images with the K5 are fantastic, Sony really nailed that 16MP sensor.

If I were trying to spend under $600 for a decent kit right now I'd pick the K5 and DA18-135. That lens works equally well on both, and is a pleasure to use. Just remember over 100mm will be a little soft, it's a zoom. If I could find a K5IIs for that budget, I'd buy it. Skip the cheap 70-300 zooms, they will dissappoint you unless you're good at removing purple fringing in post-processing.

10-10-2018, 12:49 PM - 1 Like   #20
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The DA 18-135mm's softness beyond 100mm is mainly around the outer part of the image, while the central area remains in the excellent range of sharpness throughout its zoom range, which is great for a zoom lens of this span. I have other, more expensive lenses, but this is one I often turn to when I need its versatility, very good imaging performance, and excellent AF.
10-10-2018, 01:15 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
The DA 18-135mm's softness beyond 100mm is mainly around the outer part of the image, while the central area remains in the excellent range of sharpness throughout its zoom range, which is great for a zoom lens of this span. I have other, more expensive lenses, but this is one I often turn to when I need its versatility, very good imaging performance, and excellent AF.
+1 on this comment - The 18-135mm is my go to for versatility. Couple that with a 55-300 PLM and you're pretty much covered. Want something faster? Use primes
10-10-2018, 01:59 PM - 2 Likes   #22
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K5Iis or K3, something with two wheels. Forget this beginner stuff. That's like trying to learn to play on a beginner guitar that's a lot harder to use than a good one.

Skip all the junk stuff and learn to shoot manual mode. Then you have full control. It's 3 things to learn, ISO aperture and shutter.


Entry level cameras make it really hard to control your image or at least make the one you want by burying the essential controls. I spend a lot of time in my basic photography classes helping folks unearth the controls they need.
10-10-2018, 02:31 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
The lens I recommend, if you can, is the DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 which has a very large, useful zoom range, but with exceptionally fine build quality and WR (Weather Resistant) construction. It also provides fast, quiet, accurate autofocus (AF).
+1. A great budget buy, and an ideal lens for a beginner, for the uses you describe, at around $250 used (e.g. Used Pentax SMC DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR Lens). You might find one bundled with a camera, for effectively even less. This thread might convince you about capability of the lens: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-...at-can-do.html

Use a lens like this for a while and you will see what your preferred focal length(s) are. If you stick with the DSLR thing, you can add other specialist lenses later - e.g. a wide angle lens, a high-quality portrait lens, a telephoto lens, a macro lens, etc. If not, you could sell it with minimal loss. Not that I would discourage you from getting a cheapish prime lens to complement the zoom - e.g. if you can find a budget macro lens or something suitable for astro.

As for the DSLR bodies in your list, any of them would be fine but personally I'd go for the K-S2. It's a lot of camera for the money, with all the features a beginner could want, without the bulk of the flagship models (K-5 series, K-3 series, etc). The flippy screen is really useful for macro and any other shots not taken at eye level.

Don't laugh, but if you get one in a colour that isn't black or silver, people will find it less intimidating. I got a white K-S2 just because it was cheap, but I've come to really like it.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned. Leave $80-100 in the budget for a flash (less for an all-manual one). The popup flash is OK for fill, but for portraits, macro and low-light you will soon want something more capable, especially with a slow-ish lens (ie maximum aperture isn't very wide) like the DA 18-135. Plenty of threads about which type of budget flash to get (e.g. Help with first flash - PentaxForums.com). You can also get diffusers of various kinds very cheaply or make your own. Some camera bodies (e.g. K-3, K-5, K-30) can control a suitable off-camera flash wirelessly; the K-S2 can't, but there are cheap workarounds like using a cord or triggering an off-camera flash in slave mode with the pop-up flash, or you can add a radio trigger system.

QuoteOriginally posted by Brooke Meyer Quote
Entry level cameras make it really hard to control your image or at least make the one you want by burying the essential controls. I spend a lot of time in my basic photography classes helping folks unearth the controls they need.
I'm sure you have more experience than I do with this Brooke, but surely one thing about Pentax is that even the entry-level cameras like the K-S2 allow a great degree of control right away. For example TAv mode with a narrow ISO band, or fully manual mode, can be set very quickly. Separate wheels for aperture and shutter speed. If you set up the camera through the menus you can have back-button AF (admittedly that's a little buried), DNG, suitable tracking, etc, before you start. And you can set a couple of user modes (e.g. one for birds in flight). I didn't really find it harder to set up the K-S2 for the controls I wanted than I did the K-3; if anything it was simpler because there were fewer options. Of course I like having a top screen on the K-3 and things like a dedicated ISO button but the major controls really aren't that different are they? The K-S2 (like other entry models) has Scene modes that the flagship models don't, which may be useful for those who don't attend classes like yours, and are handy when you give the camera to someone else, but there is no need to be seduced by them. ;-)


Last edited by Des; 10-10-2018 at 08:21 PM.
10-10-2018, 02:46 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Motikant Quote
Hey guys. As stated in the title, i am an absolute beginner in photography. I want to try it out but also don't know if i will stick to it for a long term. So i want a good beginner camera to learn on, but also not drop a ton of money in it.
I will be buying used. So i need experienced users to help me choose one. Prices are in USD.
  • K-3 (449 in adorama , 398 in ebay)
  • K-5IIs (298 in ebay)
  • K-5 (239 in ebay)
  • K-S2 (278 in ebay)
The above are the available cameras for me to choose from .I will be shooting mostly landscape, portraits , astro and a bit of macro. Probably not much action . I know the lenses play a major part in photography so i want to know if the price of K-3 is justified compared to the price of K-5 (449 vs 239). Should i go for the best body or buy a better lens ? Or may be something in between ?
Any help is appreciated.
Don't forget to check out the Marketplace on our forum - quite a few options there: The Pentax Marketplace | Buy & Sell Pentax Cameras and Lenses - PentaxForums.com
10-10-2018, 03:11 PM   #25
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I have owned a K-5 for over 5 years, and used it in all sorts of conditions, and it has not let me down. I use all sorts of new and old lenses with it, to great results.
Get the K-5 or the K-5ii for a budget conscious choice with more than enough features to keep you happy for years to come.
10-10-2018, 05:43 PM - 1 Like   #26
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There is a K5IIs on the marketplace right now for $265. You would be hard pressed to find a better camera for less. I have had mine a couple of years and the image quality is excellent. Shooting in raw gives you a very large amount of leeway to adjust the highlights and shadows. It really amazes me how much detail can be pulled from the raw files.

You should also go with the best glass you can afford, as the best high end camera with low end glass is going to leave you wanting. I would recommend used K5IIs and used DA35 2.4, could probably be all in for $350-400. That would be an excellent place to start!

You can click on my flickr link for samples from the K5IIs and a bunch of different lenses. There are also a couple of flickr groups for the K5IIs. Good luck!
10-10-2018, 08:05 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Motikant Quote
Any help is appreciated.
QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Get good glass and an okay body. If you stick with it, you'll get a better body later, and keep using the good glass.
What is your budget? Before I saw the reply from pres589 I was thinking along those lines as well. With this combination you will likely get the best pleasure and image quality per dollar spent, so this will give you a good gauge whether you will want to continue with this hobby. I think the strategy mentioned in the post is good. As I started in DSLR I bought starter lenses, but I wish I would have started with upgraded lenses. My 2 cents worth also.
10-10-2018, 08:30 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
What is your budget? Before I saw the reply from pres589 I was thinking along those lines as well. With this combination you will likely get the best pleasure and image quality per dollar spent, so this will give you a good gauge whether you will want to continue with this hobby. I think the strategy mentioned in the post is good. As I started in DSLR I bought starter lenses, but I wish I would have started with upgraded lenses.
That was my first thought too - buy high quality, buy once. But the OP isn't sure whether they will stick with a DSLR, and doesn't want to drop a lot of money on it - so bang-for-buck, versatiity, low budget and re-sellability seem to be the priority.

Last edited by Des; 10-11-2018 at 12:37 AM.
10-10-2018, 08:31 PM   #29
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The K-5IIs and DA 18-135mm are a beautiful combo. I use it a lot. Handling and imaging- both great. The control set can't be beat. No "scene" modes, since this is a pro-style camera, but if you want to really learn photography, the more advanced controls of a camera like the K-5 IIs, along with its excellent imaging detail, provide the tools and ease of use. AF is unsurpassed in Pentaxland. Exceptionally high build quality also.
10-10-2018, 10:11 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
What is your budget? Before I saw the reply from pres589 I was thinking along those lines as well. With this combination you will likely get the best pleasure and image quality per dollar spent, so this will give you a good gauge whether you will want to continue with this hobby. I think the strategy mentioned in the post is good. As I started in DSLR I bought starter lenses, but I wish I would have started with upgraded lenses. My 2 cents worth also.
My budget will be $500 max.
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