The eternal body/lens question

Started Jan 11, 2011 | Discussions
BHPhotog Contributing Member • Posts: 812
The eternal body/lens question

With about $1000 to spend replacing my drowned K20, my budget won't stretch to the very best lenses/body combination (perhaps the K-5 with the DA-35 macro?), so I'm trying to choose between less expensive body + better prime with the K-X and DA-40 Ltd., or the better body + kit lens of the K-7 with the 18-55WR. The cost is about the same give or take a bit.

I'm asking basically the same question on the Nikon forum about the D90/D5000 vs D3100 (I've excluded the Olympus and Canon lines for a variety of reasons, and I've tried the micro 4/3 and found them wanting). But this is only for input comparing within the Pentax brand.

The K-7 feels much better in-hand, is better built, sealed and has the external controls I had on K20, plus the very important pentaprism VF and larger LCD for old guy eyes, but it would eat the budget; the K-x would let me get the excellent prime and remarkable high ISO ability (keeping the 18-55 for bad weather shooting). I'm really buying into this body/lens package for the foreseeable future, so as nice as down-the-road additional lenses, etc capabilities, is less important than today's out-of-the box use.

I suppose my top priority is IQ and the kind of contrast/resolution/acutance I like to see in b&w images. I'd use it mostly for urban b&w, no sports mostly static street scenes, occasional candid portraits and still life. Not interested in video, so that's not an issue. Additionally, the vast majority of my shots are in the 24-40mm range, so either lens would cover my needs.

It comes down to if you had that budget (independent of the cost up to the budget ceiling) and would be using this body/kit lens combination for at least a year or more before upgrading, what is your recommended best package?
Brian

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Lee Beasley Senior Member • Posts: 2,464
Re: The eternal body/lens question

I really like the K-r, which can be had for $649 with the 18-55 lens or $630 body-only (go figure). That would still leave you $350, more or less, for a prime. I notice the 40mm is $30 more than that new ($380). I'm sure I could be entirely happy shooting with the K-r for a year, but that's me. I'm not inclined to go out shooting in the rain, snow or extreme cold any more, so the lack of weather sealing doesn't bother me. The K-x is even less, leaving you more for a better prime, and I tried one out, but I just couldn't get used to the lack of light-up focus points.

Now, if you just want to shoot black and white and don't mind the lack of a viewfinder, you can't really do much better than the Olympus or Panasonic micro 4/3 cameras, but using the LCD screen all the time begins to annoy me. Olympus has a grainy black and white filter that's really fun, and Panasonic has an exceptional black and white engine. It seems to me that somebody has the EPL-1 for a giveaway price, but I can't remember where I saw it. Then you could just bank the difference and start saving for the Pentax system you really want.

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Hello_Photo Regular Member • Posts: 234
Re: The eternal body/lens question

BHPhotog wrote:

The K-7 feels much better in-hand

You said it right there. That's your reason to go with the K-7. Go with the camera you feel most comfortable with an you'll enjoy photography much more.

I suppose my top priority is IQ and the kind of contrast/resolution/acutance I like to see in b&w images. I'd use it mostly for urban b&w, no sports mostly static street scenes, occasional candid portraits and still life. Not interested in video, so that's not an issue. Additionally, the vast majority of my shots are in the 24-40mm range, so either lens would cover my needs.

Given your intended subjects, may I suggest that you consider buying the K-7 body and a used prime. You seem to be comfortable with using primes and Pentax has made many over the years that will soundly trounce the kit lens in the IQ department. The best part is that some of these primes often go for a song on the used market because they lack AF. Static street scenes and still life don't require blazingly fast AF, so these primes may be right up your alley (sorry, couldn't resist the pun). If you consider one of the many screwmount ("m42") lenses (Takumars, Super-Takumars, etc.), just be sure to budget for an adapter for your camera ($50-70, IIRC).

Best of luck!

jimrpdx
jimrpdx Veteran Member • Posts: 3,496
Re: The eternal body/lens question

It's eternal because every person has a different reason to shoot, different needs and budget - so the answers may not suit the questioner but we keep trying..

I went with K-7 and 16-45, a most excellent performer but not WR. I've an 18-55WR on order and have the 50-200WR which I like a lot. Either of those zooms plus the manual-focus prime(s) as suggested above will serve you well. I have a Rikenon 50/1.7 and a Chinon 28/2.8 that serve me well, both cost very little.

As to m4/3: I have a Pana G1, the flip screen is handy & discreet. No IS inside though, and if you dislike electro-VF then never mind! Far better than any P&S but not as feature-filled as the K-7.

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Jim in Oregon.. granitix.blogspot.. A200 veteran, now K-7 + G1

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