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10-10-2018, 07:29 AM   #1
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New to photography. Help me choose a pentax.

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.

10-10-2018, 07:53 AM   #2
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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.
More chocies:

Used Pentax K110D Digital Camera Kit with Pentax SMCP-DA 19028

Used Pentax K30 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm AL Lens Kit (Blue)

Used Pentax Pentax K-x Digital SLR with 18-55mm Zoom Lens 17536

Used Pentax K-70 DSLR Camera with 18-55mm Lens (Black) 16269 B&H
10-10-2018, 08:05 AM   #3
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What are you planning on doing with "astro"?

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.

I would honestly just get a K-5 II or K-5 IIs and a Tamron 17-50 and then a macro lens in the 90 to 105mm range. I don't think there's a bad one in native K-mount in that range of focal lengths. Tamron has sold a bunch of 90's, Pentax had some 100's, Sigma and Kino Precision (via a bunch of different brand names) sold 105's that were good. Manual focus with a true macro lens, used for macro activities, is not a problem in the least and probably how you would actually handle the lens anyway even if it had autofocus. And get a tripod. K-5 II's are probably $300 for a good one used, Tamron 17-50 for $300 new, Kiron 105 macro for $150 to $200, tripod for $100. A new real Pentax battery for the camera would be smart, so another $50. All in USD.

My 2 cents.
10-10-2018, 08:05 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I would go for either a K-3 or a K-70. The former is more durable, and the latter has better image quality. Personally I think it might be best to opt for the K-70 if you plan to use higher ISO settings frequently.


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10-10-2018, 08:11 AM   #5
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I think the K-5iis is a great option to start. Better then the original K-5.
10-10-2018, 08:11 AM   #6
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From these, I would recommend to go with either the K-3 or the K-S2. The two older K-5 aren't compatible with some of the newer lenses, making them difficult to recommend.

If you're an absolute beginner in photogrpahy, the K-S2 might be a better choice than a K-3. Mainly because it's simpler to use and will give you the possibility to fall back to the easy "scene modes" when you just want to take the shot without having to care much about the settings. The K-3 really is targeted at expert users supposed to know what they're doing and doesn't need any hand holding. The number of features and functions on the K-3 can be overwhelming for a beginner.
10-10-2018, 08:23 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by CarlJF Quote
From these, I would recommend to go with either the K-3 or the K-S2. The two older K-5 aren't compatible with some of the newer lenses, making them difficult to recommend.

If you're an absolute beginner in photogrpahy, the K-S2 might be a better choice than a K-3. Mainly because it's simpler to use and will give you the possibility to fall back to the easy "scene modes" when you just want to take the shot without having to care much about the settings. The K-3 really is targeted at expert users supposed to know what they're doing and doesn't need any hand holding. The number of features and functions on the K-3 can be overwhelming for a beginner.
Didn't know about the incompatibility of K-5 with newer lenses. Thanks for the information.
10-10-2018, 09:23 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Motikant Quote
Didn't know about the incompatibility of K-5 with newer lenses. Thanks for the information.
What "newer" exactly means here is KAF4 mount lenses. Actually, the're only two: the DFA 50 1.4 (which you probably won't be interested in) and the DA 55-300 PLM (which might interest you in the future if you ever feel the need for a telephoto zoom). We don't know how many nor the proportion of KAF4 lenses that could be launched by Pentax in the future. But it's probably better to be future-proof and get a body supporting KAF4 lenses than saving a few bucks on one limited to KAF3...

10-10-2018, 09:28 AM   #9
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I'll vote for a K-70, failing that a K-S2. I have a K-S2 and I'm happy with the results, but the K-70 offers killer new features over the K-S2.
10-10-2018, 09:33 AM - 1 Like   #10
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K-S2 is a good option for a beginner. It is also the lightest and smallest of the bunch, which mean you're more likely to take it with you and use it rather than leave it at home.

The flippy screen is useful for landscape and macro.


If you can get it with the DA 18-50 lens included that would be a good compact walk-around lens to start with. A DA 50 1.8 ($100) later would be good to start portrait work with.
10-10-2018, 09:35 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Motikant Quote
landscape, portraits , astro and a bit of macro. Probably not much action
I'd lean towards the K-5iis from that list because of the astro requirement.


K-5iis vs K-5: The K-5 has an anti-aliasing (AA) filter in front of the sensor. It introduces a tiny bit of blur to remove moire patterns that can occur when photographing fine patterns such as fabrics. The iis removes the AAA filter for better sharpness, and the expense of increased risk for moire. Landscape and astro never show moire. Moire is an occasional risk for macro, though.

K-5iis vs K-3: The K-3 adds faster burst speed and 24 megapixels. Low-light arguably suffers. The K-5iis is IMO better for astro. For landscapes, though, the K-3 extra pixels can be useful but only if you need to print very large or do heavy cropping.

Can you find a used K-70 at a good price? That's a newer camera with good low light performance, no AA filter, improved autofocus, and 24mp. That would be even better than the K-5iis for landscapes, astrophotography, and macro.
10-10-2018, 09:39 AM   #12
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The K-5 IIs would be my budget choice right now. It's lower resolution than the K3, but it is actually rated for better dynamic range, almost on par with the K-1 and 645Z. DXOMark sensor scores are not by any means the end word in image quality, but the K-5 IIs is 4th highest scoring sensor in the Pentax lineup.


I primarily shoot a K-1, but I have a K-7 as my backup (which is also perfectly fine - it was the entry point to Pentax that got me hooked, and they practically give them away these days). The K-5 IIs is so cheap now that I've been tempted to get one as an upgraded backup for the extra dynamic range. 16 MP is plenty for most purposes short of giant fine art prints.


QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
I would honestly just get a K-5 II or K-5 IIs and a Tamron 17-50 and then a macro lens in the 90 to 105mm range.
This is good advice.
10-10-2018, 09:46 AM - 1 Like   #13
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K110D is ancient... and the K-x is not all that recent either.
Those prices are stupidly high, even for a reputed dealer, with all the things it implies.
10-10-2018, 10:23 AM   #14
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Personally, I would go with the K5IIs as the body. I have one and use it for astro in addition to my K1. You are going to want to shoot it at ISO 1600 for astro and at 1600 and lower the K5IIs out performs the K3 on noise. That said, there are other expenses too.
  • Lens - look at the Rokinon 16mm f2 for around $300
  • Lens - look to pickup a kit lens 18-55mm for less than $100 for general landscapes and stuff
  • GPS - the O-GOS1 for $100 to $150 for astrotracking
  • Tripod with head - something used on craigslist for less than $100
  • Remote shutter release - for around $10

10-10-2018, 10:23 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
I'd lean towards the K-5iis from that list because of the astro requirement.


K-5iis vs K-5: The K-5 has an anti-aliasing (AA) filter in front of the sensor. It introduces a tiny bit of blur to remove moire patterns that can occur when photographing fine patterns such as fabrics. The iis removes the AAA filter for better sharpness, and the expense of increased risk for moire. Landscape and astro never show moire. Moire is an occasional risk for macro, though.

K-5iis vs K-3: The K-3 adds faster burst speed and 24 megapixels. Low-light arguably suffers. The K-5iis is IMO better for astro. For landscapes, though, the K-3 extra pixels can be useful but only if you need to print very large or do heavy cropping.

Can you find a used K-70 at a good price? That's a newer camera with good low light performance, no AA filter, improved autofocus, and 24mp. That would be even better than the K-5iis for landscapes, astrophotography, and macro.
Unfortunately the K-70 is still quite expensive compared to others.
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