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10-27-2008, 05:10 PM   #1
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What to buy.... new lenses or a new(ish) body

Yes it's one of these questions again....I hate reading these but they usually help the poster so here it goes

Hey guys and gals,

I managed to walk into some extra cash and I'm debating about picking up a second body or a Tamron or Sigma 70-200 2.8

I only want to spend around $800 USD and even that's pushing the envelope.

I really don't need the 70-200 as I have a manuel focus 70-210 f/4 that covers this range, but I'd be really nice to have an auto-focus version with the extra stop for indoor shooting. (I've started to switch my shooting to indoor work, mainly musicals and plays)

Which brings me to the need/want of a new body.

I'm currently shooting with a K200 that I LOVE and does almost everything for me. The reason that I'm eyeing the K20 is the supposedly better high ISO performance and the bigger RAW buffer. I've done some research and those seem to be the biggest differences from my K200. (If anyone has anything other major differences from the K200 to the K10 or K20 please let me know).

I've also noticed a need for a second body as when I'm shooting plays or musicals I like to have my 70-200 for body shots and my 16-45 for the entire stage... but by the time I finish my switch I've lost my shot. I'm also going on a cruise in January and I would like a second body for that as well incase something happens to my primary camera.

I'm eyeing the K20 or the K10 for the second body which would probably become my primary and my K200 would take backup. I looked at the K-m and it's a cute camera but the lack of the upper display and weather-sealing is a deal breaker to me. Also the upper displays for the K20 and K10 light-up so that's be great for shooting indoors or when I'm shooting at night.

I still need to clear this with my financial advisor (AKA my lovely girlfriend who is managing my finances as well as my life...) but she should agree to it.

SO....

I was wondering what you think about my options, should I invest in the Glass or a body?

Actually it sounds like I've answered my own question but any help would be appreciated. I'm leaning toward buying the K20... but we'll see what happens.

10-27-2008, 05:48 PM   #2
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That's a tough one!

Since I could only make one choice, I went with getting the second body because I have 2 bodies and can attest to how convenient it is to have a different lens mounted on each. I've had my K20 for only a few days and I can already tell you that it's a great camera.

As for lenses, the Tamron 70-200/2.8 is on my radar, although I haven't made up my mind for sure whether or not I'm going to get it. If I do get it, it won't be until sometime next year, at least.

Have you thought about using your flash with the slower teles or will that not work in a theater setting?

If you decide on the K20, keep an eye on the Marketplace, but also check out Prodigital2000 on Fleabay. From what I understand, K20s from there have been going for some crazy cheap prices ($600-700 range).

HTH,
Heather
10-27-2008, 06:10 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hwblanks Quote
Have you thought about using your flash with the slower teles or will that not work in a theater setting?
They won't allow me to use my flash for anything but the dress rehearsals so that's not really an option for me. I usually bring my tripod but at f/4 in a dark theater I end up shooting at 1/30 or 1/40 at ISO 200 which is fine if the performers didn't move, and people have this amazing ability to walk into my tripod when I'm trying to shoot....

Do you feel that your K20 is a justifiable upgrade over the K200. I love my K200 and the idea of buying a new body so soon makes me cringe.

Thanks for the input.

-Yale
10-27-2008, 06:21 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yale Quan Quote
I really don't need the 70-200 as I have a manuel focus 70-210 f/4 that covers this range, but I'd be really nice to have an auto-focus version with the extra stop for indoor shooting. (I've started to switch my shooting to indoor work, mainly musicals and plays)
Yes, f/2.8 is much better than f/4. But you might want to check the size & weight of the lens to be sure you're comfortable with it. You might also consider whether, as you get more serious about this kind of indoor shooting, you start wanting to be closer to the action, and start finding that 200mm is longer than you actually need. Meaning the 50-135/2.8 might fit the bill better.

QuoteQuote:
I'm currently shooting with a K200 that I LOVE and does almost everything for me. The reason that I'm eyeing the K20 is the supposedly better high ISO performance and the bigger RAW buffer. I've done some research and those seem to be the biggest differences from my K200. (If anyone has anything other major differences from the K200 to the K10 or K20 please let me know).
The other main differences are that the K20D has the extra dial and buttons, and a somewhat larger/brighter viewfinder. Plus of course more resolution, bigger/heavier, proprietary Li-Ion battery, etc.

10-27-2008, 06:58 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yale Quan Quote
Do you feel that your K20 is a justifiable upgrade over the K200. I love my K200 and the idea of buying a new body so soon makes me cringe.
I actually had the K10 before I got the K20 and either way, I consider either one a nice compliment to the K200. The K20 has a few more buttons, which make accessing it's features more convenient than the K200. The K200 with a small lens stays in my purse most of the time, so I'll always be ready for that unexpected "Kodak" moment.

To me, it sounds like you're leaning more towards the lens, so perhaps you should go that route, since it's obvious you need something faster. Since people seem to like to bump into your tripod, why not use a monopod with a ballhead? It'll provide you more stability than handholding alone and by using a ballhead, you can quickly switch from horizontal to vertical framing.

Still, I don't think you should rule out the idea of a second body for that upcoming cruise, though. Since you like the K200 so much, why not consider getting another one? When you travel, you won't need to take 2 different types of batteries with you. With the prices of the K20 & K200 coming down so much, by the time you are ready to buy, either one should be really cheap.

HTH,
Heather
10-27-2008, 07:38 PM   #6
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Buy the glass.

First, while the glass might eat up your budget, you can recover some of that by selling your old lens.

Second, although my impressions are merely cursory, I don't think that the K20d's high ISO performance is a full stop better. The f/2.8 lens is. Well, I don't know if sharpness is comparable, but you see where I'm coming from.

Third, autofocus. If you're using a telephoto lens, everything on the stage is roughly the same distance from you...but my guess is that you still have more images lost to out-of-focus than you would with an AF lens. I can deal with lost shots for most things I photograph because I can go back another day; with the performing arts, when it is gone, it is gone.

Fourth, how often do you fill up your K200d's buffer? Often I'll switch from RAW to JPG when I know that I'll be taking a lot of continuous shots, at which point--as I understand it--the difference is negligible with a fast SD card. Then again, I don't take the action shots like you do, so I might be barking up the wrong tree--or maybe I don't understand the limitations of a K200d, because I have a GX-10.

Fifth, I don't see buying a second camera as a valuable insurance policy against losing a camera. It may work as a rationalization, but I'm not sure it is rational. I'm sure they sell cameras on ship if you need one, or you'll be at a port and can buy one in town--probably not a Pentax, maybe just a point and shoot, but something to get you through the cruise. (If the risk of loss is 10%--and that's certainly a high estimate--and the cost of a temporary camera is $400 and the resale value on that camera is $320--when you return home and want a permanent replacement--then the value of a second body as a backup to the first is $8. That is, it would be irrational to spend more than $8 to insure against a loss of your camera on the cruise.) Of course, you may be particularly risk-averse, or you may see a day without a camera, or a day without a Pentax, as intolerable, either of which changes the analysis.

Sixth, glass retains value while bodies lose value.

As for needing a second body for wider angles, I might suggest that a lesser camera would work fine in that role. No need to pay a premium for the latest and greatest; a 6 MP camera might do just fine, although I don't know your particular needs.

And, for what it is worth, I completely sympathize with your frustration about patrons not looking at where they're going. I used to usher at a performing arts center, and, well, people don't look where they're going. Maybe you could build some warning posts to put next to your tripod so that there's an eye-level warning about where the tripod legs are. Have you asked the house manager if maybe there's a spot that you could use which would be more out of the way? We would sometimes let folks use box seats, if unsold, for folks with cameras.
10-27-2008, 08:10 PM   #7
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Thanks all for the replies.

to Marc: I'm not sure if this is the way I want my shooting to go. My little brother is in theater, and my g/f sister is a vocalist so I go to their performances and events to shoot, I'm not shooting professionally for them (yet), I'd much rather be outside chasing the sun and shooting landscapes and animals.

to JonPB: I am a bit paranoid about my gear and I like the insurrance of having a camera that I'm comfortable with. Is it worth $800.... I'm not sure yet. You do make some great points and I may re-think my position on this.

edit: to JonPB: I tend to fill my buffer on the K200 when I'm shooting indoors 'cause in RAW I can almost always fix anything that goes wrong using Photoshop and Lightroom. JPEG would have a larger buffer but I'd lose alot of my editing capabilities.

Thanks all for the imput.

-YQ

Last edited by Yale Quan; 10-27-2008 at 08:14 PM. Reason: spelling and new idea
10-27-2008, 08:56 PM   #8
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I guess I am in the same (almost) situation as you.

I am using the k100D and would like to upgrade to k20D before christmas. I would also like to get the Tamron 90 macro as well as the Tamron 70-200/f2.8.

So my wife told me that it is more rational to just get the lenses this time and wait for a new body (maybe a k30D) which is going to be released sometime in summer 2009? Anyone know when is the release? If it is summer 2009, that is just 6 to 7 months away from now.

I can't say I disagree with my wife because I think she is right!

10-28-2008, 05:35 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yale Quan Quote
I usually bring my tripod but at f/4 in a dark theater I end up shooting at 1/30 or 1/40 at ISO 200 which is fine if the performers didn't move
ISO 200? Couldn't you bump up ISO and clean up the files a little in post-processing? Reading the reviews of the K200 and K20 on DPR, it doesn't seem too controversial to say that noise performance on the K20 is better. Also there's an amazing difference in focussing with the manual lenses on the K20's bigger viewfinder. All rationale aside, it sure is fun to have two bodies.
10-28-2008, 08:08 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
ISO 200? Couldn't you bump up ISO and clean up the files a little in post-processing? Reading the reviews of the K200 and K20 on DPR, it doesn't seem too controversial to say that noise performance on the K20 is better. Also there's an amazing difference in focusing with the manual lenses on the K20's bigger viewfinder. All rationale aside, it sure is fun to have two bodies.
Honestly I haven't tried to de-noise with photoshop. Photoshop and I don't work well together so de-noising may be out of my technical experience but It'd be worth giving it a shot.

I like using manual lenses, and the bigger and brighter(?) viewfinder on the K20 would help. Although with the rumors of the K30 it may be wiser to invest in glass and see what Pentax does...

-YQ
10-28-2008, 10:08 AM   #11
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So after thinking about it, I really would benefit more from the 70-200 than I would a second body. The extra stop that 2.8 would give me seems to be a better idea than buying a new body for one type of shooting, and plus I could sell my 50-200 and my 70-210 and make some of it back.

Thanks to all for your help. Now to go into the lens forum and see what people are saying about Tamron vs Sigma.

-YQ
10-28-2008, 10:15 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yale Quan Quote
Honestly I haven't tried to de-noise with photoshop. Photoshop and I don't work well together so de-noising may be out of my technical experience but It'd be worth giving it a shot.
What NR setting do you use on the K200?

QuoteOriginally posted by Yale Quan Quote
I like using manual lenses, and the bigger and brighter(?) viewfinder on the K20 would help. Although with the rumors of the K30 it may be wiser to invest in glass and see what Pentax does...
-YQ
There's little doubt the next Pentax will be better than the existing, and the next will be better than that, etc. You really can't go wrong with a new lens.
10-28-2008, 01:04 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Yale Quan Quote
So after thinking about it, I really would benefit more from the 70-200 than I would a second body. The extra stop that 2.8 would give me seems to be a better idea than buying a new body for one type of shooting, and plus I could sell my 50-200 and my 70-210 and make some of it back.
Before buying anything, though, I'd turn up the ISO beyond 200. That's crazy for low light work. You might find that ISO 800 with your existing f/4 is good enough for now. Also, if you'r not in a clear space and people are stepping on your tripod, try a monopod. That plus SR should be enough for perfectly good shots at 1/30" or so.
10-28-2008, 01:09 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Before buying anything, though, I'd turn up the ISO beyond 200. That's crazy for low light work. You might find that ISO 800 with your existing f/4 is good enough for now. Also, if you're not in a clear space and people are stepping on your tripod, try a monopod. That plus SR should be enough for perfectly good shots at 1/30" or so.
I'll try bringing my monopod to my shoot on Wednesday and I'll bump the ISO and see what happens. I'm not in a huge rush to buy anything...no-one has the Tamron or Sigma in stock. The reason I'm eying the Sigma or Tamron is for the AF, my eyes aren't great and in a dim auditorium manual focusing is a tough. Plus shooting animals with a manual lens is a pain...they always keep moving...

-YQ
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