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10-06-2009, 09:50 PM   #1
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Better glass, or a back up dSLR?

I am just a hobbyist, with a few paid sessions here and there--mostly for pet photography, if that makes any difference in the question, but I have a dilemma I am hoping a few of my fellow Pentaxians will help me out with.

I primarily shoot with my K10D with a sort of broad assortment of okay lenses (18-55 kit lens--doesn't get much love, 75-300mm Macro Sigma, 28-80 Mini Macro Sigma, 50-200 Pentax DA, 100mm 2.0 Macro, and a SMC-A 50 mm f: 2:0--used most often)

I have a "back up" body, which is the *ist DL. I have been thinking about selling it to help fund some nicer glass. Maybe a FA or DA 50 mm, since I am tired of always manually focusing with the 50 mm I have now, or maybe a 35 mm or a wide or fisheye lens.

So my question is two fold--should I just hold off and keep a 'back up' camera or should I sell the DL and fund something else? If I sell the DL--are there any lens recommendations? We aren't really in a place to contribute much towards something new without selling the body, so though I wish it were, it just isn't an option.

Thanks in advance for advice/opinons! (And I hope I put this in the right place! Please let me know if I am in the wrong forum with this!)

10-06-2009, 10:15 PM   #2
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I'm not a pro, but I suspect that your old DSLR camera bodies will work well with better glass.
10-06-2009, 10:31 PM   #3
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Having 2 bodies is useful for those fast-paced assignments.
Selling the DL may not give you very much - maybe even not covering the cost of a 50mm AF lens.
Consider these things first, and be sure what lenses you're really after. If it's a fast fifty - there's the FA 50/1.4 or DA* 55/1.4 but no DA 50 (unless you're talking about the DFA 50 macro).
Enjoy deciding!
10-06-2009, 10:48 PM   #4
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Thanks for weighing in. Yes, those were the two 50mms I was thinking of, either the FA or DA*.

If I sold the DL, I would probably sell it with the kit lens and another zoom I have, in addition with a flash and bag I have around that don't get used. I'm pretty sure I could cover the cost of the FA/1.4, but would try to talk my husband into letting us get the DA*

But again, I am kind of torn. I am very happy, aside from having to focus myself, with the SMC-A 50mm I have. And when I shot film, I used my wide angle lenses quite a bit, especially with pets. But my wide angles from the film days just don't really cut it on digital, so I was also thinking of a wider lens. But haven't done my homework on them. (That was a lot of sentences starting with But...not good for an English teacher, LOL!)

And I rarely, if ever, have fast paced assignments.

10-06-2009, 10:57 PM   #5
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Well then Kierra, you'll be more than pleased with an FA 50/1.4 - your f/2.0 captures will be very sharp on it compared to your 50/2.0.

You may as well sell the DL kit you have, but if you're getting rid of the kit lens also but want to do wide angle work, you will definitely be spending more on a decent replacement - the DA 16-45 comes to mind, which is probably the most cost-effective quality wide angle zoom you can find. Otherwise it would be the Tamron 17-50. Wider than that, you're looking at bigger bucks from the Sigma 10-20 and the Pentax DA 12-24.

Take one thing at a time - if you want to do wide angle work, keep your kit lens, sell the 50/2.0 and replace it with the FA 50/1.4 - then decide if you really want something wider than 18mm and work from there when you have the funds...
10-06-2009, 11:05 PM   #6
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If I was in your shoes, I would concentrate on building an array of the best glass you can afford, keep your current bodies and then after you have sorted out your top few lenses you tend to use the most, then upgrade to a newer body afterward. The K10D is a very capable camera, matched with good glass...and wont provide lesser or better images if you pair "ok" glass with a more expensive body.

That's my take at least.

Jason
10-06-2009, 11:05 PM   #7
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Thanks, Ash! I think that is great advice. I should have been more clear--I have two kit lenses. So selling one, will still leave me with an 18mm width--and something to work with while I save up for something a little more playful.
10-06-2009, 11:09 PM   #8
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Thanks, Jason (sorry--we must have posted at the same time). I definitely won't be upgrading bodies until I have sorted out the glass. I tend to sort of just keep lenses from cameras past around. And most of them are just lenses that I picked up here and there in college--nothing special but they do the job...and I have reached the point where I know if I want to improve, better glass is the way to go.

10-07-2009, 12:49 AM   #9
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I would definitly go for better glass than having two bodies. The number of occasions where you need a backup body is limited, unless you do photographing as a job at weddings etc.

The difference between a kit lens and a quality lens is significant.
10-07-2009, 06:11 AM   #10
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I'm not a pro but I enjoy taking photos. I don't need a second body because I might be caught short in a critical shoot. There are times I'd like to have one camera with a wide-angle lens and another with a telephoto.

When I replaced my K10d with a K20d, I kept the K10d as a second body. As an avid amateur, I wouldn't buy a second body. Extra funding went for my lenses. Now, I have the lenses I want so I don't buy much.
10-07-2009, 06:21 AM   #11
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In all honesty, the *istDL won't command a lot of money on the used market, and would only put a dent into the price of a single better lens that what you have now.

You might be better to trade in or sell the lenses you don't plan to keep long term, because the second body will always be more useful than lenses you have made useless by upgrading to better quality.
10-07-2009, 07:22 AM   #12
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I think you need to keep the body and get new glass. Helpful, eh?

If you are doing pro shooting you need a backup body for three reasons:
  • in case the first one breaks down
  • so you can switch between two focal lengths/ranges instantly
  • so you can have a second shooter
Not all of these may apply to every job, but it is important to have the option.

And you need better glass if you are going to be printing larger than a snapshot or cropping, enlarging etc. I am sure what you have is fine in controlled circumstances, but when light is poor, contrast high, etc. you will be going beyond the limits.

The best way is if you do not mind manual focusing and manual (stop down) aperture. You could assemble a kit of three primes with much better IQ and faster speeds than what you have. And for little money. For example I shoot an old (1984) Vivitar 24mm prime when I don't want to drag around a DA12-24.

But it seems that you do want auto-focus which bumps up the price considerably.

So, keep the body and reduce your lens options down to a handful that do stellar work for you. From what you say I'd sell the DA18-55, Sigma 28-80, A50 and DA50-200 (as this seems redundant with your Sigma). This won't get you tons of money but will be a start. Put aside two bucks a day from your beer/coffee fund to supplement this.

As for what to buy...

There is no better wide angle than the DA12-24mm. Or Sigma 10-20mm on a budget. I have no use for fisheye myself and that is too specific a lens application for someone on a budget. If you do not need really wide then DA16-45 is a great bargain to replace your kit lens. The FA50 would certainly replace your manual 50, giving you speed and auto-focus.

That will give you a three-lens kit I would judge as being a significant improvement over what you have now.
10-07-2009, 07:25 AM   #13
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Correction -- this will give you four lenses:

DA 16-45
FA 50
DA 100 macro
Sigma 75-300

Keep the macro!
10-07-2009, 07:31 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by KierraElizabeth Quote
I am just a hobbyist, with a few paid sessions here and there--mostly for pet photography, if that makes any difference in the question, but I have a dilemma I am hoping a few of my fellow Pentaxians will help me out .....
I'd keep at least one functional back-up body in case your main camera fails.

A little while back I thought my camera had died & almost had a heart attack when I thought about having to send it away for repair and waiting for an interminable time while missing photo-ops! OMG.

I haven't gotten a backup body yet as I can't decide what to get!
10-07-2009, 09:26 AM   #15
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Thanks for weighing in, Robin and others. I went to bed last night thinking I knew the answer and now I think I've changed my mind again! Hmm....now to figure what those lenses will fetch!
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