seeking some advice regarding a purchase

Started Sep 23, 2012 | Discussions
Unexpresivecanvas Senior Member • Posts: 1,158
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

My advise: get the k-30 plus the 18-135 wr and it will cover probably 99% of your current needs according to what you mentioned in the OP.

The k-30 is a newer k-5, with better autofocus and new processing algorithms. The K-5 is considered the best APS-C camera and I agree with that. Then, the K-30 is based on the k-5, which makes the k-30 itself also one of the best APS-C cameras.

Don't buy a high-end P&S cameras if you really want to get into 'serious' amateur photography. DSLRs are a step further than any top of the line P&S and interchangeable lenses will give you all the flexibility down the road which P&S don't provide.

With the Pentax you will get IBS (in body stabilization or shake reduction) built in the camera, so the lenses don't need to be stabilized for shake reduction. You get excellent dynamic range, very good low light performance, excellent color management, excellent results for an aps-c and a lot list of other neat features). It's the perfect camera for the amateur photographer who wants to have a tool that allows you some room to growth in the future.

Also you can use all legacy lenses, which you can buy from $30 or $40 and up, on ebay, craigslist, or the local thrift store or camera store. I bought a Takumar 55mm, f2.0 manual focus, which I never get tired of using, for only $35. (I have another 10 manual lenses). Also, the lenses you mentioned DA 35mm F2.8 is excellent for your needs.

The rants of people against Pentax are because the high-end users of Pentax feel they don't have a clear growth path in terms of body/camera for those with the budget and the interest to do Full Frame digital photography, (which I believe and the physics indicate gives a lot more IQ than APS-C). But APS-C already is an excellent solution for 'serious' photographers on a budget and it seems that Pentax is really committed to this market segment.

I don't sell or represent Pentax products. i just own a K-5, which I use a lot, I own several lenses (too many, according to my wife) and I am looking right now for a FF solution But probably I will keep my Pentax gear for a while, as for traveling the K-5 is a very good option for me

antoineb Veteran Member • Posts: 6,648
do NOT buy a DSLR!

(note: I own a DSLR with some good lenses, and a couple superzooms, of which one pocketable)

My advice is to NOT buy a DSLR

why? because a DSLR suffers from a few things:

  • bulky and heavy: so you won't always take it along with you, especially not places where you can't get to by car. If you have a bag of lenses things will be even worse

  • cannot film. I don't care what DSLR makers advertise - but DSLRs just cannot AF while filming, which makes them unsuitable for most family videos (camcorders of even an iPhone are better). Oh, and most DSLRs record only MONO sound... in 2012!

So what is my take here?

  • if you think you want a system camera ie interchangeable lenses, then you can go for one of the many mirrorless offerings out there. The body will be a good deal smaller, and you'll be able to film with AF and stereo sound. BUT, if you have a bag of lenses then the issue of complexity and bulk will come back to haunt you, as with a DSLR

  • you could also forget about a system camera and go for a superzoom. The ultimate image quality (IQ) will be less especially in lower light. But you'll be able to film with AF and motorized zoom. You never will have to worry about changing lenses and also never will have to worry about any dust entering the camera.

So how to decide?

  • if you want stunning shallow depth of field portraits then you'll need either a DSLR or a mirrorless with a f1.8 or even f1.4 lens. F1.8 is affordable, f1.4 tens to be much more expensive. A superzoom at the telephoto end can almost match this but not quite

  • if you want very good IQ in low light because you expect to do lots of low-light shooting then a DSLR or a mirrorless will be better. If this will be only occasional then a superzoom can do it too.

  • if you will FILM a lot, then a DSLR is a big no-no. A mirrorless system might work but you won't be able to zoom while filming (it's very difficult to operate a manual zoom w/o shaking the camera, or else you need a tripod which makes it much less convenient). So a superzoom will be much more useful.

  • if you want to photograph action rather than film it (I personally don't see the point, but each to his own) then a DSLR will generally prove more capable though some mirrorless cameras do OK and even some superzooms do OK

  • if you want very fast AF for whatever reason, it used to be that DSLRs had a big advantage but latest superzooms typically from Panasonic have AF times that are better than those of DSLRs except the very best high-end pro models

  • if you want very precise AF then remember that DSLRs use a system based on making two different optical paths match, which can cause errors and need user adjustment. Whereas the AF system used by mirrorless cameras or superzooms is much more precise and also lens-independent.

Hope this helps

 antoineb's gear list:antoineb's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Olympus TG-610 Nikon D7000 +5 more
Insulted
Insulted Regular Member • Posts: 161
Re: do NOT buy a DSLR!

if you want very precise AF then remember that DSLRs use a system based on making two different optical paths match, which can cause errors and need user adjustment. Whereas the AF system used by mirrorless cameras or superzooms is much more precise and also lens-independent.

Remember you still have CDAF with a DSLR, you just simply swap to LV. It's usually not as fast but the times we prefer CDAF isn't usually times we need speed anyways. The best rule of thumb is, use PDAF any time you MUST have tracking speedy AF, and use CDAF whenever you shoot stationary.

Some people only use one or the other just because of preference, but DSLRs still offer both which can't be said for mirrorless or SLT.

Donald B
Donald B Forum Pro • Posts: 11,845
Re: do NOT buy a DSLR!

gotta agree with most of your post. the video on the fz150 is just amazing even shooting very low light videos is flawless i just shot my daughters dance concert and got a copy of the pro vid taken on the night the fz150 kicked a....s no comparision low light vid is in another world compared to my slr video. not to mention seamless af full manual control while shooting as wel as shooting stills at the same time. a friend of mine just got the fz150 and shoots d7000 with all pro lens and made a comment the other day how much faster af was on the fz compared. but hey its going to be a hobby as well theirs nothing like dslr for that you must learn the systems yourself i use my k7 for pro work dance,events its a work horse and the wb is perfect in every situation and i must use an ovf, they are 2 different machines and i need the 2 of them actualy i have 3 an oly xz1 which is my low light camera of choice and pocketable but thats another thread.

cheers don

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 15,186
Re: seeking some advice regarding a purchase

Blackburn11 wrote:

I am getting the k-30 w/18-135 wr! Can't wait to order, get it,

and post my first pics (so you guys can laugh and say...he needed a 1200 buck system for that!? Which is what my wife will say.).

Let's be clear about this - if you are a crap photographer you'll shoot crap whatever you use. If you have a good photographic eye you'll take good photos whatever you use. To that extent the kit you use won't make a lot of difference. Indeed, within its limits cheaper kit can produce results every bit as good as a DSLR (just look at Don's input here).

But where the better kit comes into its own is when what you want to shoot is beyond the limits of the cheaper kit. You'll spend some time - weeks, even months, before you learn how to get that extra bit from your K30. A lot of the things you shoot won't even need it.

When you post here you'll get C&C if you ask for it (or even if you don't) but most of it will be about how to squeeze that extra bit out. Even if you get negative comments, just use them as pointers about how to improve.

-- hide signature --

Gerry

First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
http://www.pbase.com/gerrywinterbourne

Zvonimir Tosic
Zvonimir Tosic Senior Member • Posts: 2,844
Why would anyone buy your advice?

OP wanted a DSLR.

Do you get that, and, can you appreciate that idea? DSLR is an experience no other camera can replicate and OP wants that. Why is that hard to understand?

We appreciate you and Donald worry, but continue worrying for yourself and please stick to your powerzooms if they suit you.

Hope this helps

No it doesn't help.

-- hide signature --

Zvonimir Tosic

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

dpnaiba Regular Member • Posts: 121
Re: do NOT buy a DSLR!

antoineb wrote:

  • bulky and heavy: so you won't always take it along with you, especially not places > where you can't get to by car. If you have a bag of lenses things will be even worse

I don't really agree... My K5 with any of the lenses I own (50-200, 18-135, 21mm, 35mm, old 50mm ) is pretty small and carrying any of the extra lenses is not that big deal either.

I spent a couple of days in Sweden playing some "hardcore airsoft" which meant hiking some rock hills for 8+ hours with combat gear, AK74, magazines, 3L of water in Camelbak and all sorts of stuff in a small backpack. Fitting the K5 + 50-200 and the 21mm in the backpack was no biggie, and didn't add to my load very much so I didn't feel it. Ok it was not what a real soldier would carry but I'm no more fit than an ordinary civilian either!

On the other hand, having the high ISO capability of the K5 with me meant the difference between taking a pic or a blurry mess, in the relative low light of a forest. I have taken pics that simply were not possible with my old cameras (Canon S1 or Pentax K100D):

Of course I did take more pics than that but all the above are ISO 1600-3200. A DSLR made the difference, and maybe having chosen the K5 vs the equally potent Nikon D7000 also made it more likely to have the camera on me that day, and for many players and myself to have a nice pic to remember the action.

 dpnaiba's gear list:dpnaiba's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax K-3 II Pentax K-1 Pentax KP Pentax smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED +12 more
OP Blackburn11 Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: do NOT buy a DSLR!

I love those pics and it looks like your trip was lots of fun! Thanks
--
Scott Blackburn

antoineb Veteran Member • Posts: 6,648
I sometimes even take my D7k in the mountains but...

I sometimes, rarely, take my D7k Nikon on the odd hike in the mountains.

This results is the following:

  • it becomes impossible to film friends or family in interesting climbing or other technical parts

  • it is much heavier to carry around and since I need to put it in my backpack or else it would just be too damn uncomfortable, well anytime I want to take a photo I need to have enough space to put the backpack down, take the camera out, you name it. A big hassle compared to a superzoom that fits in a hip pocket

  • most images are in no way superior to what I get with the superzoom. Rare, I repeat rare, exceptions include: difficult dynamic range; forests where light levels are typically very low.

 antoineb's gear list:antoineb's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Olympus TG-610 Nikon D7000 +5 more
antoineb Veteran Member • Posts: 6,648
Please read my post

If you read my post, you will see that I mentioned that I own BOTH types: namely a (Nikon) D7000 DSLR with some decent glass (including an 85mm f1.4), and a couple superzooms.

FACT is, the D7k is an INFERIOR photographic tool for most situations, and is much more of hassle to carry around, and cannot film if one assumes that filming involves the ability to keep things in focus.

On the other hand, the D7k can be a great portrait tool when coupled with my 85mm f1.4 but that's a heavy bulky and expensive solution. And the D7k will be better in low light. And the D7k will be able to photograph action better (but I think it is more interesting to film it).

So if anyone asks, does not already own a DSLR, and wants a fair amount of flexibility, then a DSLR is just NOT a good solution.

You are free to disagree - but it is bad manners to just dismiss my opinion when it is based on actual experience.

 antoineb's gear list:antoineb's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Olympus TG-610 Nikon D7000 +5 more
awaldram
awaldram Forum Pro • Posts: 13,258
Re: Please read my post

antoineb wrote:

If you read my post, you will see that I mentioned that I own BOTH types: namely a (Nikon) D7000 DSLR with some decent glass (including an 85mm f1.4), and a couple superzooms.

FACT is, the D7k is an INFERIOR photographic tool for most situations, and is much more of hassle to carry around, and cannot film if one assumes that filming involves the ability to keep things in focus.

On the other hand, the D7k can be a great portrait tool when coupled with my 85mm f1.4 but that's a heavy bulky and expensive solution. And the D7k will be better in low light. And the D7k will be able to photograph action better (but I think it is more interesting to film it).

So if anyone asks, does not already own a DSLR, and wants a fair amount of flexibility, then a DSLR is just NOT a good solution.

You are free to disagree - but it is bad manners to just dismiss my opinion when it is based on actual experience.

Your explanation reads as someone who needed a video camera and brought a DSLR.

Subsequently your found the Dslr was not a video camera !!

This is not really the fault of the equipment, You would also find a video camera would outperform your super-zooms for filming.

If you want a camera to do what cameras do and extend a hobby in photography then a d-slr is still the IQ Vs price sweet spot.

For you I suspect your dlsr is more ball and chain than joyous tool to further you skills.

 awaldram's gear list:awaldram's gear list
Pentax K-x Pentax Q Olympus PEN E-PM2 Pentax Q7 Pentax K-3 +17 more
OP Blackburn11 Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: do NOT buy a DSLR!

Thank you for your comments. Part of me wants to experience a dslr to learn more about photography. But another part of me doesn't want to spend the money (that part is called my wife).

I lied when I said I was ready to buy. I a still torn and know that each individual needs to decide what is right for them.

The #1 goal for me is to have better pictures of my daughter growing up. The secondary issue here is to explore this as a hobby.

I feel like if I am going to invest in the m4/3 system I want a camera that competes with the dslr's. that means the mod or the gh3 which really mean significant money. More even than the k-30.

I am considering the fz200. Although I am certainly not excited about it and think I will want a dslr a year down the road, I still think it would be a great camera for me and wouldn't cost extra money for lenses down the road.

Again, thanks for the advice.
--
Scott Blackburn

antoineb Veteran Member • Posts: 6,648
again: please do read my post ;-)

Let me repeat. I said that the DSLR suffered from various problems:

  • big and bulky and heavy - thus misses out on a large number of photo opportunities because it stays home

  • AF precision issues imposing the need to fine-tune (there is CDAF but it is very slow)

  • cannot film with auto-focus. Oh, and records only low-quality mono sound when my iPhone can film with AF and record stereo sound, and so can my superzooms

You summarize this as "you discovered it's not a camcorder" - come ON

Again like I already said, I do use my DSLR:

  • mostly in locations either where I already am (at home), or that I get to by car so I don't have to worry about bulk and weight

  • for portraits especially when coupled to the great 85mm f1.4 which cost me more than the body so it had better do something special

  • for low-light photography - not that I do much of this at all, but there will be the occasional large indoor family dinner where it is nice to be able to do w/o flash

  • I COULD use it to photograph action - but I find that filming action is much better

The OP sounds like he hasn't taken his decision yet, and from his aims I simply think that he will be much better served by a superzoom. Or at the very limit, a mirrorless camera.

Finally I said I had some experience, and this D7k has nearly 26'000 shots on the meter after 22 months of ownership - nearly matching the number of shots per year on my compacts or my iPhone but that's mostly because of regular portrait sessions with the kids where I will take several dozen shots of each child.

The D7k is a nice toy but it suffers from various severe limitations because of the obsolete concept, is all.

I personally will never buy another DSLR, and that's me with a tendency to photograph a lot, and the means to buy a D7k and an 18-200 and an 85 f1.4 etc.

I want something smaller, lighter, with faster AF, and more precise AF. And if sometimes I want to film, I want films with AF and stereo sound because this is 2012 not 1970.

 antoineb's gear list:antoineb's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Olympus TG-610 Nikon D7000 +5 more
antoineb Veteran Member • Posts: 6,648
if portraits then get a 2nd hand DSLR w a f1.8 lens

If portraits of your daughter are the main goal among your many goals, then you will probably be best served by a simple DSLR, possibly 2nd-hand, and a f1.8 lens, ideally an 85mm.

I think brands don't matter much.

As a Nikon owner I quickly check on Amazon and see that the D5100 costs $550 bod only. Or you can get a D3200 with 18-55 for $650 but kit lenses don't deliver photos that look much better than what compacts deliver.

then the Nikkor 85mm f1.8 lens costs $500.- (yes it's a lot but my 85mm f1.4 cost me $'1800...).

Or you can get a 50mm f1.8 for $220.- which will also give you good portraits but less great.

Or go Canon, they have an 85mm f1.8 for $370 and you can couple this to whichever body suits your needs.

Or go Pentax.

If you go reasonable on the DSLR body (lowish-end or 2nd hand) and get a decent portrait lens, hopefully you'll have enough money on the side to get a nice pocketable superzoom that will be the tool for 95% of the occasions.

Just one warning: once you own an iPhone, even the superzoom seems a bit like overkill because the iPhone will always be with you whereas while the superzoom doesn't need its bag of lenses and is small, it still needs its own charger and possibly carrying case...

 antoineb's gear list:antoineb's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18 Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS7 Olympus TG-610 Nikon D7000 +5 more
OP Blackburn11 Regular Member • Posts: 100
Re: again: please do read my post ;-)

I have and intend to keep an hx9v Sony around. It takes great video, but I would like better image quality. But I will have it for video and times when I just want a pocket camera.

Especially at longer focal lengths it gives images that aren't very sharp. Maybe it's me.

The fz200 is a camera that can shoot raw, has low aperture across the zoom, and isn't too bad in low light. So it is appealing. And great video!

Let me ask this. If I look at a 100% crop of a raw image taken with a k-30 w/18-135 lens at 135mm (at say 400 iso) and a 100% crop of a raw image taken at an equivalent focal length at 400 iso with the fz200, am I going to notice a significant difference? In sharpness, resolution, dr, ... Or just overall IQ?

Wish I could just have each system for a week to play with (and a m4/3). To see what the differences really are.

Again, thank you for all your input. It really isi helping me sort through this. Though I do realize its a personal preference and therefore really just something I need to decide on.

-- hide signature --

Scott Blackburn

Jim in Hudson Senior Member • Posts: 2,295
Re: again: please do read my post ;-)

Blackburn11 wrote:

I have and intend to keep an hx9v Sony around. It takes great video, but I would like better image quality. But I will have it for video and times when I just want a pocket camera.

Especially at longer focal lengths it gives images that aren't very sharp. Maybe it's me.

The fz200 is a camera that can shoot raw, has low aperture across the zoom, and isn't too bad in low light. So it is appealing. And great video!

Let me ask this. If I look at a 100% crop of a raw image taken with a k-30 w/18-135 lens at 135mm (at say 400 iso) and a 100% crop of a raw image taken at an equivalent focal length at 400 iso with the fz200, am I going to notice a significant difference? In sharpness, resolution, dr, ... Or just overall IQ?

Wish I could just have each system for a week to play with (and a m4/3). To see what the differences really are.

Again, thank you for all your input. It really isi helping me sort through this. Though I do realize its a personal preference and therefore really just something I need to decide on.

Scott, have you played around with the Studio Comparison Tool on this website? I think you can get a feel for the answers to your questions spending a little time there.

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/studio-compare

Plug in the K-30 as your baseline camera and then select others for comparison. Just for fun a moment ago, I compared the K-30 to the Panasonic FZ-150. Click around on the image to get crops of particular segments. You'll see good results for the FZ-150 at ISO 100 but change the ISO to 800 and the differences between cameras start to become more dramatic. Have fun!

 Jim in Hudson's gear list:Jim in Hudson's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-3 Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Pentax smc DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR +4 more
Donald B
Donald B Forum Pro • Posts: 11,845
Re: again: please do read my post ;-)

hope your ready. here are some comparisions d7000 +$7000 lens 300 2.8vr11 and my k7 with tamy 300 70 the k7 shots are cropped at about %500 these boats are 5klm away hope this helps or just confuses you more. its not about imagequality anymore so forget that before i brought mine i whent to IR site and downloaded files and printed them at a2 between the k5 and the fz150 at different iso and could not tell the difference.

cheers don

dpnaiba Regular Member • Posts: 121
Re: again: please do read my post ;-)

The first 2 sets of pics make the D7000 a clear winner over the Panasonic. Sure for pure sharpness maybe there's no difference.

For what I would try to do with a pic - selective DOF - the Panasonic doesn't seem to allow you to do so in those conditions.

 dpnaiba's gear list:dpnaiba's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax K-3 II Pentax K-1 Pentax KP Pentax smc DA 50-200mm F4-5.6 ED +12 more
Jim in Hudson Senior Member • Posts: 2,295
Re: again: please do read my post ;-)

Donald B wrote:

hope your ready. here are some comparisions d7000 +$7000 lens 300 2.8vr11 and my k7 with tamy 300 70 the k7 shots are cropped at about %500 these boats are 5klm away hope this helps or just confuses you more. its not about imagequality anymore so forget that before i brought mine i whent to IR site and downloaded files and printed them at a2 between the k5 and the fz150 at different iso and could not tell the difference.

cheers don

Bright sunlight... no problem for the Panny. Get into lighting that requires something like ISO 800 and higher and the differences become obvious.

 Jim in Hudson's gear list:Jim in Hudson's gear list
Olympus E-M1 Pentax K-3 Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Pentax smc DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6ED AL [IF] DC WR +4 more
Donald B
Donald B Forum Pro • Posts: 11,845
Re: again: please do read my post ;-)

Yes you are right the fz150 at iso 1000 has less noise than the k7 at iso 800 and retains more detail. But I'm not here for that I have plenty of pics to prove that but it will only fall on deaf ears been their done that, the op wants a learning experience and an slr will give him that.

Cheers don

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