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12-23-2018, 05:37 PM   #1
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Deciding on a Pentax DSLR to buy

Hi all,

Seeking advice about buying a new DSLR.

I've been using a Nikon D40 for 13 years. It's been a good camera, a nice "low-end of the high-end" entryway to DSLR's. But I grew up using film, learning photography as a kid in the 70s/80s, using a Pentax K-1000 for years.

I enjoyed that classic film Pentax, and have a Pentax-enthusiast friend who has talked up the brand. So I'm inclined to "make the switch" from Nikon back to Pentax.

Thoughts & Questions:
  1. I would like to spend less than $1,000 on the body, so I can invest in lenses.
  2. The Pentax KP looks good. Who here has used it? What do you think of it?
  3. My main reason for upgrading my camera is to get a more modern camera body/imager (I've shot 200K+ photos on the Nikon), then invest in lenses to get better bokeh and better pixel depth.
  4. Who do you recommend buying it from? I live in Atlanta, where there's almost no camera stores anymore, so I'd like to buy online.
  5. Open to any input or thoughts you have about Pentax DSLR's in this price range in general; and in your input in the Pentax KP specifically (or another model you recommend more, if there is one).
Thanks in advance! Assume I don't know much about buying DSLR's - the more info you all give, the better. Thanks!


Last edited by ATLphotog; 12-24-2018 at 08:47 AM.
12-23-2018, 06:22 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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Do you still have any old Pentax lenses?

The KP is a massive step-up from the D40. It is only $797 (body-only) at B&H at the moment. Along with Adorama, these are probably the two best on-line camera stores in the US.

However, there are a few kits available that are better value than buying body and lens separately. With the KP, you can get the DA 18-135 with it for $1097, or body+DA20-40 Limited for $1394, or body+DA 16-85 for $1294. You would find people on this site who would argue for any one of these. Personally, I'd go for the DA 16-85 (a very high quality variable zoom) and look to add a DA 55-300 PLM and a faster prime later.

Welcome back to Pentax.

P.S.: The K70 is also worth a look ($672 body only). However, the KP is the more advanced option.
P.P.S: There are other kits available that I did not mention. For example, KP+DA18-55 for $897, but I would not recommend it.

Last edited by Paul the Sunman; 12-23-2018 at 07:02 PM.
12-23-2018, 06:41 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I agree. The 16-85 I have, and it is spectacular. I also used a K-1000, and still have it, though I usually use one of my Pentax dslrs now (K-1 II, K-3 II, K-5IIS).
12-23-2018, 06:59 PM - 1 Like   #4
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The KP is great choice, decide what lens goes with it based on what you shoot.

Some people prefer the 18-135, some prefer the 16-85, some prefer to start with an 18-55 or an 18-50 and something like the 55-300. It's not about the lenses per se, although some will argue that. It's more about your intended use and finding the focal length that best suits what you wish to do. As much as I love to humour the lens enthusiasts and their preferences, my suggestion that just picking out the desired focal length and minimum aperture is the smart path.

Better bokeh you say?
The DA 50 1.8 will do that. Or for more money the DA* 55 1.4. In zooms you should be looking at at least ƒ2.8 lenses.

But, we need more direction, we don't know what you shoot, so we don't know what you need.

12-23-2018, 07:12 PM - 1 Like   #5
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In your price range, the KP is probably your best bet. I just purchased one from Ricoh Imaging during their 12 days of Christmas sale for $699. Unfortunately its now sold out, but at $799 its still a very good deal, down $300 from its original price. It appears to be very well made & is highly configurable, it well be a very big step up from from a Nikon D40. Unlike the D40 it will meter with legacy lens. I would recommend the 18-135 kit lens, I purchased one with my K-3 - its much better that the 18-55 kit lens and a very useful range of focal lengths.
12-23-2018, 07:22 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Don't pass up gently used cameras from the Marketplace here, I've been very lucky with each of my camera purchases here. Often a camera that is perfect for you was just not for someone else or was and has since been eclipsed by a newer body (can you say K-1 trophy camera?). In any case, KEH and Adorama each rate their used equipment very conservatively.

On the lens front, again, those package deals aren't generally great deals. You can find the 18-135 for $175-200 regularly in the gently used category as opposed to adding $300 to the body price new in the package "deals".
12-23-2018, 07:29 PM   #7
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Thanks for the first several comments, these are helpful already!

Here's more info about what I shoot:

- Mostly non-paid stuff like family & school events - casual, but enthusiastically so about capturing day to day moments
- Mostly natural light situations
- A lot of people shots where I want sharp focus but depth of field that gives nice bokeh
- A lot of amateur nature photography too, all outdoors
- Some lower-light and motion-heavy situations, like photos at sports events or plays or official functions for my kids that are held indoors
- Some paid work, all of it residential photography. That's the other reason I'm considering a big change - I need a great wide-angle lens to get residential interiors, which got me thinking - if I'm going to invest in a new wide-angle, but am ready to move up from my Nikon D40 - why not reconsider the whole paradigm/camera make and maybe start anew?

I look forward to any and all comments - hope that helps clarify what I shoot.
12-23-2018, 07:31 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I think that many KP owners will tell you that they really like it. Including me. There is a lot of information in this forum regarding Pentax cameras. Check out everything about the KP. You will probably find some negative comments. The KP did generate some controversy. This made me delay my decision of buying one. I find that most of the negatives are irrelevant. But that's my opinion. The KP is an excellent photographic tool. Besides I like the retro look.

12-23-2018, 07:32 PM   #9
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Also, lens-wise: I have a friend who upgraded to Pentax K-1, so is looking to sell a bunch of his older lenses to me at a good price. So I'd likely just buy the body solo, then pair with some awesome lenses he has. If you're interested, I can share the actual lenses he's offering to sell to me.

---------- Post added 12-23-18 at 07:33 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Caribe Quote
I think that many KP owners will tell you that they really like it. Including me. There is a lot of information in this forum regarding Pentax cameras. Check out everything about the KP. You will probably find some negative comments. The KP did generate some controversy. This made me delay my decision of buying one. I find that most of the negatives are irrelevant. But that's my opinion. The KP is an excellent photographic tool. Besides I like the retro look.
Cool - I'm busy studying the KP online, but can you summarize what about it generated controversy? Thanks!
12-23-2018, 07:48 PM - 1 Like   #10
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one of the best things I can recommend is that you invest the time and go up to " Cameras " above and take the time to look at both the user reviews and the " in depth reviews " of the various Pentax camera bodies.

_______________

you can also access a comparison tool which will compare side by side up to 4 different Pentax camera bodies.
I have set it up to look at the K 70, the KP, the K 3 II and K 3:

Pentax K-70 vs. Pentax KP vs. Pentax K-3 II vs. Pentax K-3 - Pentax Camera Comparison - PentaxForums.com

it is easy to substitute other camera bodies in the tool if you wish to.

_____________________

you can look here to determine info about various Pentax terminology and how the various Pentax lenses, current and past work with various Pentax camera bodies (( hint, with very few exceptions, they all work )

Pentax Lens Terminology - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com

Pentax K-Mount Lenses Explained: The differences between various Pentax lens series **

The Pentax Camera Lens Compatibility Chart **

** = used with permission of copy right holder

________________________________________________

Finally I join Docrwm with the recommendation of looking at the options in the forum's market place

The Pentax Marketplace | Buy & Sell Pentax Cameras and Lenses (United States) - PentaxForums.com
12-23-2018, 08:13 PM - 1 Like   #11
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A lot of good advice here on the choice of camera under $1,000. All are in agreement that the KP is the most capable camera in that price range. Having said that, the K-3 and K-3 II aren’t far off from being the best you could get. Bear in mind the more important complement to any of these fine crop sensor cameras is the lens. You’ll have to spend a decent amount to get the quality you’d be after.

Start off with something like 18-135 but 16-85 or DA primes on the marketplace might still be financially viable for you.
12-23-2018, 08:23 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ATLphotog Quote
Also, lens-wise: I have a friend who upgraded to Pentax K-1, so is looking to sell a bunch of his older lenses to me at a good price. So I'd likely just buy the body solo, then pair with some awesome lenses he has. If you're interested, I can share the actual lenses he's offering to sell to me.

---------- Post added 12-23-18 at 07:33 PM ----------


Cool - I'm busy studying the KP online, but can you summarize what about it generated controversy? Thanks!
A list of the lenses (DA's I suppose since he's going FF) would help. What body is he leaving for the K-1?
12-24-2018, 12:33 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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Welcome to the Forum!

I recently upgraded from the K-S2 to the KP and I'm glad I did. I was really happy with the results I got from the K-S2, but it developed the "dreaded aperture block failure" problem. While it was away for surgery, I had a chance to try the KP and was quite impressed. Now that I've bought one, my "impressedness" has deepened. Things I like over the K-S2 are, better high ISO performance, better IBIS (both of which I noticed in my initial trial of the camera), better control layout (the third e-dial is brilliant!), nice, dense feel and build. I haven't yet really tried out some of the other added bonus features like Pixel-Shift Resolution, Night mode display and the battery grip (an add-on I bought which will help out with battery life, see below).

Here's a link to a whole whack of threads on the KP specifically: Pentax KP - PentaxForums.com

There are also extensive threads featuring lots of shots taken with specific lenses (eg 16-85, 18-135), lens lines, (Takumar, K, M, A, F. FA, DA) dedicated clubs for particular focal lengths, subject matter, themes, techniques, etc. You can see what other people have been able to do with pretty much anything made by or for Pentax. Lots of great advice and troubleshooting help, too. The Pentax Forums site is a wealth of information, support, and enthusiasm which I have found invaluable. As you've already seen in this post of yours, you can get a lot out of it, just by asking. I hope the information you get from here lets you make equipment decisions that best suit your needs. It's certainly helped me in that regard, as well as allowing me to get even more enjoyment out of my photography while enjoying the results of other people. We welcome your input, too!

As to the controversy mentioned above, there were/are several. At the time of the KP's introduction, many in the Pentax community had been wanting a K-3II, APSC flagship model successor. At one point, possibly through misunderstandings about Ricoh's intentions for the APSC line, or mixed messages from Ricoh itself (I will leave it to others to give a definitive call on this), the KP was seen/prtesented/interpreted to be this long-awaited K-3__ camera. For those waiting for or expecting a "flagship" model, the KP fell short on a number of fronts; no top deck LCD, no second slot, shallow buffer, lower than desired battery life. This, I believe, is what generated whatever degree of controversy which arose around the KP. None of these things (except perhaps battery performance) were really relevant for my needs. Of course, your mileage may vary. Figure out what's going to work best for your imaging needs, budget, and style of shooting. If you can preview or handle the gear you're considering, so much the better. Feel, weight, balance, and control layout aren't things you can experience online.

Enjoy your stay. Hope this helps!

Last edited by Thagomizer; 12-24-2018 at 12:34 AM. Reason: typo
12-24-2018, 01:47 AM - 1 Like   #14
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It sounds like you're looking for a camera that will last- for this, the K-1 / K-1 II would be the best option, but it's also full-frame and bigger than the KP.

The KP is also very durable and one of the best APS-C cameras on the market from an image quality perspective.

The K-70 is essentially the KP in a less durable body (so the image quality is basically just as good), but with a less durable shutter.

We have in-depth reviews of all 3 models if you'd like to learn more:

Pentax K-70 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
Pentax KP Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
Pentax K-1 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
Pentax K-1 Mark II vs K-1 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

As for where to buy, I'd recommend B&H. They are an authorized dealer, offer quick shipping, and their customer service team is always there to help.

Adam
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12-24-2018, 01:56 AM - 1 Like   #15
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Also, if you just want a quick specs comparison, see here:

Pentax K-1 II vs. Pentax KP vs. Pentax K-70 - Pentax Camera Comparison - PentaxForums.com

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PentaxForums.com server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover these costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

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