seeking some advice regarding a purchase

Started Sep 23, 2012 | Discussions
Blackburn11 Regular Member • Posts: 100
seeking some advice regarding a purchase

I have been wanting to buy a dslr for about 4 years (hard to budget money when buying a house, daycare costs, etc). I will take family pics (4 year old daughter) of camping, zoo, kid sports, indoor family events. Will take occasional video also.

I have a budget of about $1200 and will have a hard time finding more funds for future lenses (and prob will never be able to get a lens over $700ish).

I am thinking the k-30 is the best bang for the buck in this range (though I think nikon will release something the minute I buy!). I love the IQ at higher ISO, the weather sealing, and the large viewfinder.

I am looking for advice on two things. First, I am hoping to get some nice comments about people happy with pentax and that think it is a good system to buy into. There are lots of posts here shooting down pentax and people thinking about changing systems. I dont know if that is just for higher price point cameras or what, but I need some confidence that this system is a good investment (I have considered m4/3 systems as well as canon and nikon systems).

Second, I was considering the 18-135 weather sealed lens and k-30 for $1100 (and a 70-300mm lens in the future). I was also thinking about the 18-55 lens and a 50-200 lens for $930 (and perhaps a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 in the near future).

My wife has the patience of a mosquito and I am worried about having to change lenses. I want this purchase to yield some very sharp images for viewing on a very large monitor and hopefully for some large prints also.

So, any recommendations or advice would be appreciated. I am undecided about everything, so all advice is welcome.

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Scott Blackburn

Pentax K-30
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Zvonimir Tosic
Zvonimir Tosic Senior Member • Posts: 2,860
Second option

Blackburn11 wrote:

Second, I was considering the 18-135 weather sealed lens and k-30 for $1100 (and a 70-300mm lens in the future). I was also thinking about the 18-55 lens and a 50-200 lens for $930 (and perhaps a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 in the near future).

I think second option is more versatile.

I have both 18-55 and 50-200 WR editions and both will give you lots of fun. With K30, lots of sharp images and plenty of dynamic range, and lots of low light shooting ability.

Like yourself, I too carry my Pentax K-7 with both lenses when going with my family to some holiday, and despite the snow, drizzle, cold, wind, sand, etc. it just works. I am so pleased with it that I don't dream about new systems, but simply want to enjoy using mine to the max. In addition to two zooms, I also got several Limited lenses. To describe them, I have no words — they are works of art.

If I were you, I'd leave all full of nonsense opinions you'll find here about the gloom and doom. You will find similar attitude about ANY subject in life, and that is usual people's comfort zone, guarded by fear, doubt. Instead of opening their eyes and enjoying life, they poison others. Most trolls have no better idea what to do but live in fantasy lands of camera specs alone, dreaming about "what the next day will bring on". But true photography is taken rather now.

Pentax, bar none, is the name for most comprehensive APS-C lineup of lenses and excellent cameras, and will commit to it in the future. It is just perfect for people like you and me, with lots of obligations, have a growing family, must work, so on.

Here are some from my family holidays, all taken with a simple 18-55 WR kit lens, and the last two, on the beach, with 50-200 WR.

Please enjoy your K-30 and learn as much you can about it. Remember, you're after wonderful memories in life. Don't waste your time on fools' opinions.

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Zvonimir Tosic

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OP Blackburn11 Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: Second option

Thank you for the reply. I agree with your statement about people over reacting about things. Just made me worried when I read some of the posts in these forums.

If I get the two cheaper lenses, maybe I could free up money for a good prime. I am very new to this and wont know the diff in lenses unless I get to try them.

I enjoyed the images you posted.

Thanks for the advise!
--
Scott Blackburn

brandrx Forum Pro • Posts: 28,337
Re: Second option

Blackburn11 wrote:

Thank you for the reply. I agree with your statement about people over reacting about things. Just made me worried when I read some of the posts in these forums.

If I get the two cheaper lenses, maybe I could free up money for a good prime. I am very new to this and wont know the diff in lenses unless I get to try them.

Hi Scott,

Keep in mind that the kit lenses (18-55mm and 50-200mm) that are sold with the K-30 in the USA are not WR lenses. If you want 18-55mm and 50-200mm WR lenses then you need to buy the Pentax K-30 body only and the two lenses separately.

Good luck.

Ron

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OP Blackburn11 Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: Second option

Woah. That I did not know. Well that changes things. I figured a kit lens sold with a sealed body would be sealed.

Thanks for the info.
--
Scott Blackburn

Zvonimir Tosic
Zvonimir Tosic Senior Member • Posts: 2,860
50-200 WR is on sale now

Blackburn11 wrote:

Woah. That I did not know. Well that changes things. I figured a kit lens sold with a sealed body would be sealed.

Thanks for the info.
--
Scott Blackburn

WR (Weather resistant) versions are here

It seems 50-200 WR is on sale now (just $199):
http://www.pentaxwebstore.com/product/9813

18-55 WR costs the same:
http://www.pentaxwebstore.com/product/9814

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Zvonimir Tosic

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Mike Hiran
Mike Hiran Senior Member • Posts: 1,226
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

One other option is to buy the 18-55wr used at pentax forums - many choose to buy a larger aperture lens to replace it, so it can be had for around $125. The 50-200wr will pop up (less frequently) for around the same or maybe a little more. That should leave enough for the very good DA35 f2.4 for $170 (which I think is a great focal length for indoor shots) or the DA50 f1.8 for $250 which is great for portraits and still works good for indoor shots though you might be limited to how many people would fit in the frame. The 18-135 is liked by many and has great versatility, but the aperture is a little small for indoor/ low light shooting and having that as your only lens (given the budget you are allowing) may limit your system somewhat. Now if you are ok w/ manual focus, you can pick up a m50 1.7 for around $50 so that might work until you get the funds for an auto focus fast lens.

So to sum up:
k30 black body only on amazon for $640
used 18-55wr and 50-200wr for $300

new DA35 f2.4 for $175 on amazon f/ adorama (good company - bought many things f/ them)

which leaves around $80 for a bag, extra battery (ebay has some inexpensive versions or just get the k30 AA battery adapter if you have rechargeables at home), and a lens pen (lens cleaning device).

Sounds like a great kit! Great for rain or shine, indoor or outdoor, fairly wide by decently long focal length shooting.

I think the latest round of negativity on these forums is some disappointment that Pentax did not come out with a Pro Level camera at the latest big camera show. Given the excellent products that Pentax has been putting out lately, expectations have been running a bit high lately (too high if you ask me) so disappointment and disillusionment has become more common. Perhaps you did not know, but Pentax was bought out by Ricoh, a giant office products company with a respected but small camera division, last year. Most Pentax owners are expecting faster development of products under Ricoh and we have seen some signs of this happening. Anyways, I think Pentax's future looks brighter than ever right now and the products they have are among the best in their price classes.

Feel free to check out some photos in the link in my signature; I'm no pro, but Pentax has plenty of great options for the photo enthusiast.

Good luck in your decsion,
Mike

Blackburn11 wrote:

I have been wanting to buy a dslr for about 4 years (hard to budget money when buying a house, daycare costs, etc). I will take family pics (4 year old daughter) of camping, zoo, kid sports, indoor family events. Will take occasional video also.

I have a budget of about $1200 and will have a hard time finding more funds for future lenses (and prob will never be able to get a lens over $700ish).

I am thinking the k-30 is the best bang for the buck in this range (though I think nikon will release something the minute I buy!). I love the IQ at higher ISO, the weather sealing, and the large viewfinder.

I am looking for advice on two things. First, I am hoping to get some nice comments about people happy with pentax and that think it is a good system to buy into. There are lots of posts here shooting down pentax and people thinking about changing systems. I dont know if that is just for higher price point cameras or what, but I need some confidence that this system is a good investment (I have considered m4/3 systems as well as canon and nikon systems).

Second, I was considering the 18-135 weather sealed lens and k-30 for $1100 (and a 70-300mm lens in the future). I was also thinking about the 18-55 lens and a 50-200 lens for $930 (and perhaps a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 in the near future).

My wife has the patience of a mosquito and I am worried about having to change lenses. I want this purchase to yield some very sharp images for viewing on a very large monitor and hopefully for some large prints also.

So, any recommendations or advice would be appreciated. I am undecided about everything, so all advice is welcome.

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OP Blackburn11 Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: 50-200 WR is on sale now

Thank you. I now know what to look for.

I am very glad I posted here and got feedback. I would have felt very stupid thinking that kit lens was wr. Or worse ran out in the rain with it.

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Scott Blackburn

OP Blackburn11 Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

I am feeling much more confident in my choice of the k-30 for my budget and can't wait to get it.

Thank you for the advice. I would love to save 100 bucks and get used wr lenses, but I am very nervous about getting lenses that may have not been cared for or have dust/scratches or whatever else could ruin a lens. Or that it would be a "bad" lens to start. Seems some lens may not be manufactured correctly. I don't know if my worries are warranted or not.

Are my fears silly?
--
Scott Blackburn

dpnaiba Regular Member • Posts: 121
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

Mike here got it all perfect

So I summarize:

1) Get a WR lens for general walk around & vacation shots. 18-55 or preferably 18-135 in my opinion. This is the lens for when you don't want to worry about rain or keeping the gang waiting for you to change the lens.

2) Get the cheap and excellent 35mm 2.4 for in house stuff and for general great shots. 35mm is not very good for close portraits - not very flattering IMO - but its hard to fit a playing kid in 50mm.

3) Get a tele zoom if you think you need it (sports, airshows for example). the 55-300 is said to be the better option but the 50-200 is decent for my level too. I don't think WR is such a big deal for these but i did shoot a Thunderbirds airshow in rain, with my non WR K100D and 50-200. No harm done!

My current kit:
K5
Samyang 8mm Fisheye
18-135WR
21mm Limited
35mm 2.4 cheapo
A50mm 1.7 (manual focus)
50-200 Non WR

(I gave my old K100D + 18-55 away for free cause I couldn't find anyone to buy it )

What I currently use mostly is the 35mm for following the 11month kid around and the Fish eye for general WTF shots since its so addictive.

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OP Blackburn11 Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

Yes, I have been going back and forth over the 18-55 vs the 18-135. I have a Sony hx9v and don't think I used a lot of the longer focal lengths. Of course I didn't because I wasn't very happy with the results when I did.

I am worried about the 18-55 not having enough focal length for a walk around lens and having to switch lens to often. But until I get it and try it out, I am unsure.

Then I think that the 18-135 wr would be a good lens to get first and see what focal lengths I use. Then make a decision on how much to invest on a telephoto lens, which prime I may get the most use of, and if a wide angle lens may be of use to me.

Of course, I may end up with a 18-135 and a 55-300 and spend way more money when a 18-55 and 50-200 may have been a fine setup for me (and not as heavy/large).

Not easy being clueless ....and poor.
--
Scott Blackburn

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 15,444
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

I think you are right to pick the K-30. There are cameras from other makers that can produce equal quality but they are either (a) more expensive for a similar feature set or (b) less feature rich at the same price.

One thing you may not have picked up: there are two basic types of DSLR controls: a single control dial plus direct access to scene modes, with many controls via menus; oe two control dials and a lot of direct access controls. The twin-dial type takes more learning but then gives easier control of your shooting. The K-30 is a twin-dial body but has scene modes accessible via one screen, so it's a good hybrid of the two types. Equal-price models elsewhere are single-dial.

Don't worry about the moans about Pentax's limited lens choices. Unless you want fast long tele lenses for sports you can find anything you want from Pentax (one exception - if you want in future to shoot really wide angles you'll need to go third party, but Sigma makes the only 8mm lens so all other makes have the same limitation).

Don't worry about poor lens reviews. Reviewers look at the limits of performance that most of us very rarely need. The 18-135 you are considering, for example, gets mediocre reviews but search here for ozdean (Dean) and you'll find that he posts excellent shots with it. And remember that a convenient, WR lens means you are much more likely actually to have the camera with you. It's no use owning the best lens in the world if you leave it at home for safety.

Having read the other posts here and understanding your reluctance to risk second-hand, I agree with those who suggest 18-135 + 35/2.4 as lens choices. The zoom jumps out for your needs - versatile, WR and reasonably fast. It covers a lot of what most people want to shoot. I wouldn't buy either a longer or wider lens until you've used this lens for a while and find a specific use that it can't do.

The 35/2.4 sits in the middle of the 18-135 range, so why suggest it? First, it's a stop faster than the zoom's best, which can be important with kids to keep shutter speed fast. Even though it's not WR it is small so it's easy to protect and light to carry. It's angle of view is similar to the old standard lenses on film cameras and it is useful for a lot of different types of shot. I often go out with just a 35mm lens and no others. Finally, using prime lenses is a completely different experience to zooms - no fiddling with FOV - which some people love and some don't; and the 35/2.4 is a cheap way to find out if it suits you.

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Donald B
Donald B Forum Pro • Posts: 12,028
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

personaly i would go and buy a fz150 or fz200 for $400-600 and forget about an slr.

the pic quality and usability is just amazing. ive been shooting slr for 6 years and picked up an fz150 6 weeks ago best camera ive owned. i need the k7 for pro work but thats it. i have a 9yo daughter and the pics ive been getting the last few weeks as well as first class video are fantastic.

cheers don

leopold Forum Pro • Posts: 14,083
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

Great advices and i agree with the 18-135mm choice, a very good all around focal length choice. Sure the longest focal length is 135mm, unless you really need longer than that very often then the DAL 55-300mm might be a better choice but it's not WR.

I've been with Pentax since i started photography 25 years ago and it's not the first time that people say that Pentax is dead and will not survive.... well they are still there and in better shape since they got in the DSLR era !

I'm very confident for the years to com, unless you need FF i think Pentax is a lot of value for the price and the WR really works well, i've used my camera and lenses in very bad weather and they stil work flawlessly.

Good shooting.
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Leopold
Pentax forever
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Zvonimir Tosic
Zvonimir Tosic Senior Member • Posts: 2,860
Walkaround lens

Blackburn11 wrote:

I am worried about the 18-55 not having enough focal length for a walk around lens and having to switch lens to often. But until I get it and try it out, I am unsure.

I often limit myself to just one lens. Say 18-55 for a winter trip. And once you do it, you don't regret about gear you could have brought, but use best what you have at hand. Then photos look much better because you try better.

However, my walkabout, "relaxing myself lens" is Vivitar 28mm/f2.8, totally manual lens with closeup capability.

It is a perfect normal focal length for K-7/K-5/K-30 cameras. You'd think you're too limited with it — but no, you are not. It frees up your imagination and gets you into the matter of things, makes you more involved rather than being a solitary, distant observer.

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Zvonimir Tosic

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Zvonimir Tosic
Zvonimir Tosic Senior Member • Posts: 2,860
Or an iPhone, and forget about everything?

Where does the compromise end?

For someone willing to try a DSLR after so many years of wanting, it only makes sense to stick to that desire and learn and experience as much as possible. It's not about gear per se, but about learning and special experience that comes with it, and that experience and knowledge one cannot buy or experience by using FZ..., DFZ... , XZ ... cameras, iPhones or Nokia phones.

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Zvonimir Tosic

"I want to be the tripod, the light meter, the motor drive."
— Eve Arnold

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Donald B
Donald B Forum Pro • Posts: 12,028
Re: Or an iPhone, and forget about everything?

True. the learning experience on dslrs is worth the purchase if thats what your after.
have throught about that for some weeks and agree with you.

but when you have the experience boy these new toys are great fun can take pics where you would never be able with a slr, macros on an fz blows my k7 away as well as video.

cheers don

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 15,444
Don

Donald B wrote:

True. the learning experience on dslrs is worth the purchase if thats what your after.
have throught about that for some weeks and agree with you.

but when you have the experience boy these new toys are great fun can take pics where you would never be able with a slr, macros on an fz blows my k7 away as well as video.

I think you've hit on a key point here, Don - you need the experience to get the best out of these "lower" spec cameras. Note that I put lower in quotes because, as you rightly point out, they can actually do things that "higher" spec cameras can't.

For example, my brother recently bought a Nikon P510. It zooms out to something like 1000mm equivalent and gives good-resolution images hand held, which is effectively impossible with a (D)SLR. On the other hand, its DR is narrow and it blows out skies easily. So there's always a compromise to be made.

In a similat vein I enjoy using my Q. The only lens I have is the 01 Prime (47mm eq) and it fits in a pocket. It goes out with me when a DSLR is just too big or inappropriate.

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Gerry

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grcolts Senior Member • Posts: 2,950
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

Scott,
I use both the 18-55 and the 50-200 WR lens and have not been disappointed.
Others have already posted some great images taken with those lens.
GR

OP Blackburn11 Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: Walkaround lens

That is great to hear. I need to get out of this "more is better" mindset.

Thank you.

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Scott Blackburn

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