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04-28-2010, 08:16 AM   #1
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DSLR Recommendation

Hi all. I'm new to this forum and new to the DSLR world. I'm trying to decide on a camera that's within my $500-600 range. I have a couple of 35mm cameras that I used a long time ago. A Pentax Program Plus with 50mm and 35-145mm lenses. I also have a Minolta X700 with 50mm and 70-210mm lenses. I'm not opposed to a used DSLR. I've done some research but I'm at the point of paralysis through analysis. Can you experts point me in the right direction?

If there are any who have Sony experience pleas advise me if my Minolta lenses will work on Sony DSLRs.

Thanks in advance.

04-28-2010, 08:26 AM   #2
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I cannot speak for the Sony compatability but I can say that those old Pentax lenses will work on a Kx (the camera I think you should get) or a used K20D. Both of those cameras will run you about 500-600 and are great cameras, and you already have some lenses for them.
04-28-2010, 09:05 AM   #3
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Without any experience with the Kx, I'll second the suggestion of the K20d. A fine camera all around.. The only experience I have with the Sony / Minolta question is that not all Manual lenses will work with the Sony cameras. That comes from selling a Minolta 50mm lens a year or so ago. Suggested that it Might work with the Sony DSLRs, and was quickly corrected. I would find a Sony forum though and ask them for a definitive answer. FWIW, Sony seems to be a proprietary company in that, they prefer and try to insure, that the Add-ons, can only be bought through them or manufacturers that they've licensed their technology to (I suppose they are all the same in that respect though). With the Pentax, you have the assurance that as long as you have the K mount you're good to go. Thousands if not millions of options out there.

04-28-2010, 09:25 AM   #4
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Minolta MD lenses that will mount on the X700 will not mount onto the newer Maxxum mount (Sony) cameras.
Canon and Minolta both chose to change their mounts completely when they went to autofocus, rendering the older lenses incompatible with newer cameras.

04-28-2010, 09:27 AM   #5
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k-x is a fine choice, I had one, excellent camera - upgraded to K7. Very good kit lens.
if you want to pay USD 300 more and to get a high value for what u paid, take the K7. Excellent weather resistant kit lens.
Sony? they are ok but not quite there, especially in entry level segment
Canon - good cameras but more plasticky than Pentax and lenses cost more. Kit lens is supposed to be crap so prepare to pay a few hundreds right away.
Nikon? Very good camera, better build than Canon but in your price range you get bodies with no AF motors, so you have to buy more expensive AF-S lenses afterwards. Anyway it would be my second choice after Pentax
Olympus? small sensor - 2x crop factor - good for birding, not so good for everything else
EVIL cameras? around 800 you get a very portable body, good IQ but with the limits of the smaller sensor and AF is quite slow.
Leica?...for that money you'll probably get a nice leather case )
04-28-2010, 09:33 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Minolta MD lenses that will mount on the X700 will not mount onto the newer Maxxum mount (Sony) cameras.
Canon and Minolta both chose to change their mounts completely when they went to autofocus, rendering the older lenses incompatible with newer cameras.
Oddly enough (or not) It Was a Minolta MD 50mm that I mentioned (couldn't remember for sure)..

04-28-2010, 10:16 AM   #7
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QuoteQuote:
Sony? they are ok but not quite there, especially in entry level segment
Canon - good cameras but more plasticky than Pentax and lenses cost more. Kit lens is supposed to be crap so prepare to pay a few hundreds right away.
Nikon? Very good camera, better build than Canon but in your price range you get bodies with no AF motors, so you have to buy more expensive AF-S lenses afterwards. Anyway it would be my second choice after Pentax
Olympus? small sensor - 2x crop factor - good for birding, not so good for everything else
EVIL cameras? around 800 you get a very portable body, good IQ but with the limits of the smaller sensor and AF is quite slow.
Leica?...for that money you'll probably get a nice leather case )
Many Pentax lenses are about the same price as the other brands. Most all bodies will do the job, but you should look at the "system" of body and maybe the first 3 lenses you would like. It can be a significant price difference.

However, many people say they only use manual-focus lenses, in which case that opens many possibilities of older screw-mount lenses (with a T-Mount or M42 adaptor) on a Pentax body.

Last edited by SpecialK; 04-30-2010 at 09:40 PM.
04-28-2010, 10:53 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Minolta MD lenses that will mount on the X700 will not mount onto the newer Maxxum mount (Sony) cameras.
Canon and Minolta both chose to change their mounts completely when they went to autofocus, rendering the older lenses incompatible with newer cameras.

I agree, the MD mount lenses are not compatible with the Minolta/Sony DSLRs. Only the Maxxum lenses (A mount) are compatible with Sony/Minolta DSLR.

04-28-2010, 11:50 AM   #9
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Thanks for the suggestions so far and the info about the Sony lenses. Sounds like the K-x and K20 are very popular in this forum. What about older models such as K10D, K200 etc. If I went with one of those I may be able to pick up another lens or two. How are the older cameras in low light? I'm also thinking about playing around with HDR. Any thoughts?
04-28-2010, 12:16 PM   #10
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I was never very happy with my K10 at high ISO (sold it when I got a K20). The K200 uses the same sensor and they did something that made it better than my old K10, but its still not as good as the Kx. On the other hand, I really like the K100 (and still own it) and it's 6 mp sensor - mine was very good through 1600. Any camera does pretty good if you use low ISO and a tripod (and longer shutter speeds).
04-28-2010, 12:39 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by iClick Quote
Thanks for the suggestions so far and the info about the Sony lenses. Sounds like the K-x and K20 are very popular in this forum. What about older models such as K10D, K200 etc. If I went with one of those I may be able to pick up another lens or two. How are the older cameras in low light? I'm also thinking about playing around with HDR. Any thoughts?
Bottom line is this. You can go nutz trying not to make the Wrong decision. I don't think there is one in the case of Pentax DSLRs. Any of the Pentax cameras are good performers in most conditions. Some are better at Some things than others. That doesn't mean that the others are not up to the tasks. My recommendation would be to decide what is most important to you.. That is, what type of shooting do you primarily hope to do. Low light, Machine gun (fast frame per second), general photography of all sorts, etc. The K20d buys you a lot of things if you want to go there. Fantastic (IMO) image quality and plenty of room to work with in the image, reasonable low light performance (not the best but certainly far from the worse), ability (this can be a biggie) to adjust the AF for 20 different lenses. The K10d is equally capable and some say better at lower ISO, but you give up the AF adjustment capability. These are both Prosumer cameras and do not feature things like Scene modes that just use a predetermined setting for exposure. The K10d is a very solid performer.

You can probably find a used (not likely to find any other) K10d in the $300 or less range. The K20d is going in the $500+ range. The Kx, can be had (new) for just slightly more right now. The *ist cameras, all of which are good boxes to hang a lens on $250 or less. K100d, K200d, etc, roughly $200-$300. The *ist and Kx00d cameras are all 6Mp cameras. Some will say (and they're probably right) that these are better for noise performance than the flagship big brothers (I think the K200d is a 10Mp camera). The *ist cameras do not have Image Stabilization. Still doesn't make them bad cameras.

You'll be buying lenses regardless of which body you start with. Rest assured of that, especially if you hang around here. Any of the cameras is capable of producing the images you need to build an HDR image. I wouldn't base my buying decision on the idea of using In camera HDR (in case that was a consideration). It isn't that great.

04-28-2010, 01:06 PM   #12
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Jeff, You are exactly right! I AM going nuts trying not to make the wrong decision. I drive myself crazy sometimes.

You mentioned the ability to adjust the AF for different lenses on the K20d and not the K10d. So the K20d has a focusing motor in the body? Do any of the others have that feature?

If I buy used. How many actuations is too many on these bodies?
04-28-2010, 02:09 PM   #13
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You can buy the K-x for under $600


I just place my order 10 minutes ago for the 2 lenss kit for $750 CDN
04-28-2010, 02:24 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by iClick Quote
Jeff, You are exactly right! I AM going nuts trying not to make the wrong decision. I drive myself crazy sometimes.

You mentioned the ability to adjust the AF for different lenses on the K20d and not the K10d. So the K20d has a focusing motor in the body? Do any of the others have that feature?

If I buy used. How many actuations is too many on these bodies?
What Jeff is talking about it changing the "focus alignment" (my term) to match the camera to a particular lens (or multiple lenses) to achieve the sharpest focus possible - not in-lens focusing motors.

Shutter life-spans are usually 100,000 or so clicks.

Last edited by SpecialK; 04-30-2010 at 09:41 PM.
04-28-2010, 02:33 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by iClick Quote
Jeff, You are exactly right! I AM going nuts trying not to make the wrong decision. I drive myself crazy sometimes.

You mentioned the ability to adjust the AF for different lenses on the K20d and not the K10d. So the K20d has a focusing motor in the body? Do any of the others have that feature?

If I buy used. How many actuations is too many on these bodies?
Depends on How Used it is.. You can use a program called PhotoMe to see the number of actual actuation's.

All of the Pentax AF SLRs and DSLRs, are In Body AF. Some of the lenses have Lens based focus as well (SDM DA*) but, not to be rude or presumptuous, out of your price range right now.

The AF adjustment works by telling the camera how much forward or backward to adjust the lens focus. Many lenses on the K10/K20/K7 (and other) cameras miss focus by just a little bit. The K20 and K7 give you the ability to provide small adjustments and store them for 20 specific lenses. For the most part, in my experience, AF works perfectly fine. Some however experience front and back focus problems, especially with the FA (and older), the third party lenses. The K10d (or any of the other cameras) does not have that ability built in. However, there are software hacks that you can use to adjust the AF sensors for the entire body (1 shot) if it's consistently off. If you only have a few Pentax (autofocus) lenses and one of these bodies, it may be worth sending the entire kit to Pentax for a calibration. I think they'll adjust a body for up to 3 lenses. This isn't something to be worried about, it happens with All brands.

The AF adjust is a nice feature to have but wouldn't drive my entire decision.

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