Assistance request in "possible" new system purchase

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cutterpup
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Assistance request in "possible" new system purchase
3 months ago

Okay..I have a fairly complete Pentax outfit(built up since the film days)  that, until now, has served the majority of my photo taking interests..landscape, outdoor still life, flowers and back yard birds.

I have been taking a series of workshops/meetups on bird photography.  I have not been held back by my equipment as all advice and lessons involve settings, technique, working in the field-spotting and approaching birds, composing, etc  regardless of what lens you may have.  In fact most of us have a 70-300 or so zoom as our longest lens.  The only purchase I have made based on the workshops has been to get a better tripod and head.

I have been toying with the idea of getting a longer lens for birding.  Since for now my budget would extend more to a third party lens I figured I could either get the lens for my Pentax (K5) OR, get it for another brand and get an entry level camera to put it on.  My thoughts are that maybe for long tele work, a non-pentax brand might be better and I can build up a new system slowly.

So last Sunday, during a workshop in the field I tried my hand at some cameras used by my fellow students.  Entry level Nikon, Canon and Sony.  Everyone of them frustrated me.  My K5 has a dedicated autofocus button (separate from the shutter), a glass pentaprisim and I can manually fine tune the focus without taking the lens off AF.

I have done a feature search here and found that the features I have been "spoiled by" are not on entry level priced cameras.

I am starting my search by posting here as I am open to brand and at this point do not know which direction is best to start looking in.  So any advice, whether it be for staying within Pentax entirely, or for looking at older model cameras in another brand would be appreciated.  I know very little about other brands so this past week has really been first steps for me.

Thank you

Pentax K-5
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