Am I ready to step up to Dslr - do I need to?


johnjbloomfield

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 08:56
Hi All

First time posting here and hoping for some insightful feedback.

When I was a kid 15-19 ish I was in to photography in a big way I had a suitcase full of Cannon SLRs and Glass - I used to do my own developing but it was still an expensive hobby that I couldn't really afford to maintain while at UNI.

About 4 years ago my passion for photography was rekindled when after a passing comment I made my wife bought me a bridge camera - a year or so later I thought about a DSLR but decided against it as I didn't want to spend the money when and instead I bought a better bridge that offered full manual control, and I have enjoyed using it over the last few years but there are now a few areas that I think the Bridge isn't meeting my needs as much as it did.

Firstly and perhaps you guys are going to tell me that this isn't a reason to upgrade, autofocus speed and shutter lag. I have a two year old he moves quickly and the bridge often lets me down when doing a bit of candid photography with him as he moves too fast for the camera, and although you do have manual control of shutter speed on the bridge it is within auto balanced limits of the lens and a fast shutter doesn't really help if the autofocus and tracking can't keep up.

I've always wanted a bulb mode for photographing the night sky.

DoF can be difficult to achieve on portraiture given the lens limitations.

Are these good enough reasons to step up? I know a lot of people also say that they upgrade for making large prints etc but to be honest I have never had any issues printing large from the images from the Bridge.

Having done a little research I think Pentax is probably the brand for me for a couple of reasons;

- I particularly enjoy Landscape and architectural photography and 'bad' weather is always an enhancement to me with the WR bodies and lenses I think a Pentax will allow me to enjoy this more instead of spending most of the time trying to protect my gear.

- Stabilization being in the body rather than the lens makes me think I will be able to pick up old glass and get reasonable results from it.

Are these good enough reason to choose Pentax over Nikon or Canon.

At the moment I have about 250 set aside for this and through some connections I can pick up an entry level Nikon or Canon with kit lens for this price or a pentax k50 for not a lot more but I'm not sure that a entry level body is the way to go for me.

The plan at this point is to save for a k3 as I am not the sort of person to regularly upgrade the camera body, I prefer to learn the one I have to the point I can operate it in my sleep and invest my money in lenses and light.

Is this the right strategy - is the K3 worth the extra over entry and mid level models - i'd be really interested in your feedback and opinions.

johnriley

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 09:09
Moving from a bridge camera, and having enjoyed the universal, compact solution it offers, i'd just caution against ending up where you started, with a huge and heavy bag full of big cameras and lenses.

So, I would try to go for a Pentax K-50, K-S1 or K-S2. These are smaller and lighter than the K-3 and yet will offer you the versatility you need. (The K-S1 is very compact but not weather resistant like the other two)

The ideal lens to start with will be a kit lens, maybe the 18-55mm or 18-50mm as supplied with the camera kit. Add to that a modestly priced fast lens (50mm f/1.8 or 235mm f/2.4) with very little extra weight. Then add a telephoto zoom, ideally the 55-300mm, and you have a reasonable compactm weather resistant and light system that will cover everything that day to day photography will demand.

Other lenses will suggest themselves later as you find the need for them.
Best regards, John

johnjbloomfield

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 09:21
Thanks for taking the time to reply I appreciate it.

I think however we are at crossed wires the heavy bag if gear was not a factor in me moving away from photography it was the cost of film and development.

I won't make a choice based on size and weight etc as it isn't a concerning factor. Where size and weight will be an issue on any given day I would just get the bridge out.

McGregNi

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 09:31
Welcome, and happy New Year. All of your points justify the move to a Pentax DSLR. Most of us are here because of the products good value, high quality and versatility. You can get great results from some superb old manual lenses , and with the shake reduction built in.

You may be surprised at how full featured the Pentax mid range is, and IQ is very high for the price point, so based on what you said about your shooting needs then a K3 may be unnecessary .... Perhaps more spent on a higher quality lens at the start would reap more rewards.

There's plenty to toss up between the models, and the K50 is extraordinary value now, but the KS2 offers the very latest in sensor development and interface innovation to be very tempting as well. If you can try any out that's always good for getting the 'feel' of each model, but Pentax handling is always well regarded.

I look forward to hearing about your choice, and there's always help on hand here for any technical or photographic question.
My Guides to the Pentax Digital Camera Flash Lighting System : Download here from the PentaxForums Homepage Article .... link
Pentax K7 with BG-4 Grip / Samyang 14mm f2.8 ED AS IF UMC / DA18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AL WR / SMC A28mm f2.8 / D FA 28-105mm / SMC F35-70 f3.5-4.5 / SMC A50mm f1.7 / Tamron AF70-300mm f4-5.6 Di LD macro / SMC M75-150mm f4.0 / Tamron Adaptall (CT-135) 135mm f2.8 / Asahi Takumar-A 2X tele-converter / Pentax AF-540FGZ (I & II) Flashes / Cactus RF60/X Flashes & V6/V6II Transceiver
Last Edited by McGregNi on 31/12/2015 - 09:32

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johnjbloomfield

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 09:36
Thanks what would you say are the shortcomings of the KS2 vs the K3 given how long the K3 has been out I was wondering if we might see a replacement for the k3 soon and thus some k3 bodies goingbat bargain prices as it is phased out, does this seem likely?

McGregNi wrote:
Welcome, and happy New Year. All of your points justify the move to a Pentax DSLR. Most of us are here because of the products good value, high quality and versatility. You can get great results from some superb old manual lenses , and with the shake reduction built in.

You may be surprised at how full featured the Pentax mid range is, and IQ is very high for the price point, so based on what you said about your shooting needs then a K3 may be unnecessary .... Perhaps more spent on a higher quality lens at the start would real more rewards.

There's plenty to toss up between the models, and the K50 is extraordinary value now, but the KS2 offers the very latest in sensor development and interface innovation to be very tempting as well. If you can try any out that's always good for getting the 'feel' of each model, but Pentax handling is always well regarded.

I look forward to hearing about your choice, and there's always help on hand here for any technical or photographic question.

BruceStrachan

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 10:18
Hi
I only recently made the same journey as you from a bridge camera to Pentax DSLR.
I was always aware from my SLR days of Pentax as a top brand and was surprised to see it was a bit of an underdog in the DSLR ring.
I was all set to buy the Nikon D5200 kit after reading all the (very biased I realise now) reviews.
I had also been looking at the K50 and a Canon Eos 500 the K3 had just came out (2014) but I had really bought the media buff on Nikon.
I spoke to a pro friend who is firmly in the Canon stable and he told me to disregard most of the stuff about Nikon as Canon were much better and that Pentax were rugged but he didn't think as advanced.
So I thought again then actually went to a shop to try them out in my hands.
The Nikon I dismissed as too plasticy and didn't feel good so I was away to buy the Canon when I noticed a K50 with 18-135 kit lens as soon as I felt it in my hands it felt so much more rugged and just felt right.
So I bought it.
Immediately I started wishing I had bought the K3 as I figured my shots would be better with a better camera so after a month I also bought the K3!
When the KS2 came out I sold my K50 and bought the KS2 body.
I have also experimented with both other DSLRS that I looked at courtesy of eBay and am so glad I went down Pentax road.
Particularly with Nikon using a non Sr lens from Tamron or Sigma results were very poor with visible shake on most quick shots.
I used the WR 18-135 on one body and a non WR Sigma 18-250 on the other but also bought a Sigma 10-20 non WR as well as the DA35 & 50 Lenses.
I never noticed any issues with the Sigma lens or with a cheaper Tamron 18-200 I had for a short spell.
My advice to you would be to go for the KS-2 or K3 if you can afford the 18-135 WR go for that if not a Tamron or sigma 18-200 along with the body should see you alright.
The K50 I never really gave a chance to but if you look in the pictures section of the forum there is a post this week of parapenting on Swanage taken with a borrowed K50 and the 18-55 kit lens the pictures are wonderful so the K50 is also still a great canera.
Like John mentioned the 2 DA primes are very economically priced and offer great results though not WR.
The reasons you mention are all very valid and good reasons for moving to DSLR and the lens selection available for Pentax is huge and it is easy to build up a good collection of older glass for not much money on eBay.
This is also a good place to pick up gear sometimes at really good prices so welcome to the Forum I hope my recent experience helps you to choose.
Cheers,

Bruce

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vic cross

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 10:18
One point I noticed is that you want to shoot the night sky. SO. Although a bit out of your price range the K3ii is the one for you as the sensor can follow the stars for 5 mins.
(No expensive astro gear to buy)
Other than that listen to the others, they know what they are talking about.
CHEERS Vic.
Born again biker with lots of Pentax bits. Every day I wake up is a good day. I'm so old I don't even buy green bananas.

pgweber

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 10:31
johnjbloomfield wrote:
Firstly and perhaps you guys are going to tell me that this isn't a reason to upgrade, autofocus speed and shutter lag. I have a two year old he moves quickly and the bridge often lets me down when doing a bit of candid photography with him as he moves too fast for the camera, and although you do have manual control of shutter speed on the bridge it is within auto balanced limits of the lens and a fast shutter doesn't really help if the autofocus and tracking can't keep up.

I've always wanted a bulb mode for photographing the night sky.

K3ii yes for night sky photography.

I am a bit disappointed but not surprised that no-one else has acknowledged that Pentax still leave a little to be desired in terms of auto-focus speed and focus tracking though.

My K5 is a bit hit-and-miss tracking large objects (trains!) moving steadily through the frame.
Peter

Pentax K5
Pentax DA 18-55 Mk1, 50-200 (Samsung), 16-45, 55-300 Mk1, 35 f/2.4
Pentax MZ6 + FA28-90, FA50 f/1.4, M 50 f/1.7
Tamron 80-210mm & 28mm

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johnjbloomfield

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 10:32
I've been reading a few reviews on the KS2 and K3 following on from the great feedback on these boards.

The snag ibseem to be coming across with the KS2 is the 11 point autofocus not being as good as other models. How do you guys who have used the KS2 feel it compares in autofocus speed compared to the KS3. This feature is a big deal to me as I imagine I'll use this camera a lot at my kids sports events etc.

I was tempted by the KS3ii for the GPS tracking of stars etc but losing the pop up flash was too off putting. I don't always want to carry a flash with me and though it is something of a "non pro" feature I have found pop up flashes though limited quite useful for fill on sunny days out when the sun is behind the subject.

geordie01

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 11:12
I have been using a K30 for the last 3 years and photographing rugby and football matches and not had any auto focus speed issues and at the minute the deals going on the K50 make it one of the best on offer and it has the superb Sony 16mp sensor.

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wvbarnes

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 12:18
I went from Minolta A200 bridge via a Canon G9 to Pentax DSLR's I had KX then KR before moving up to K5 and this year K3 (I bought late ones on last two for best value).

The biggest short comings of bridge cameras for me were their tiny sensors. Poor control of depth of field, burnt out highlights and poor low light focus and night performance. I'm sure they've improved since but I love my K3 and changing lens options depending on interest at time. Currently wildlife interests me as much as landscape so 300 star and tele adapter get a lot of use. A recently acquired 12 24 zoom is fun indoors and for seascapes & cityscapes. My wife has a Panasonic bridge. Lovely fast F2.8 Leica lens but sadly very poor results. Increasingly she borrows my K3 which although heavy is a wonderful powerful camera, rain and dust sealed and very intuitive to use cratively especially with TAV mode which I have grown to love.

BruceStrachan

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 13:00
johnjbloomfield wrote:
I've been reading a few reviews on the KS2 and K3 following on from the great feedback on these boards.

The snag ibseem to be coming across with the KS2 is the 11 point autofocus not being as good as other models. How do you guys who have used the KS2 feel it compares in autofocus speed compared to the KS3. This feature is a big deal to me as I imagine I'll use this camera a lot at my kids sports events etc.

I was tempted by the KS3ii for the GPS tracking of stars etc but losing the pop up flash was too off putting. I don't always want to carry a flash with me and though it is something of a "non pro" feature I have found pop up flashes though limited quite useful for fill on sunny days out when the sun is behind the subject.

being completely honest I have never noticed any issues with auto focus on KS2 I took it on a very dusty 3 week trip through Uruguay and it never disappointed got good results with wild Ostrich which always move.
With a high enough shutter speed any of the cameras will cope with normal kid shots as well as sporting events.
Cheers,

Bruce

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johnjbloomfield

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 16:33
Thanks for that Bruce admittedly I am quite torn now the KS2s WiFi and NFC features look attractive too. Appreciate your opinion especially as you have both bodies.

It will be a couple of weeks before I gave the free cash to decide hopefully I can find a local retailer that stocks both models so I can have a feel it seems most shops around these parts only stock Nikon and cannon, our local Costco warehouse does have some great deals on cannon an Nikon kits but I'm still swaying heavily towards Pentax

bwlchmawr

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 16:47
That new 20mp sensor in either the KS-1 or KS-2 looks very tempting were I to be starting from scratch. The KS-1 is available for remarkably little money at the moment. This is not the most appropriate place to say this but I'd try to handle a range of DSLRs and the newer mirrorless offerings from Fuji, Sony and Panasonic. You may prefer the electronic viewfinder and smaller size. Lots of folks do. Others like a larger camera with a "proper" glass pentaprism

You're about to make an important choice when opting for a particular system. Get it wrong and you'll be unhappy and much poorer.
Best wishes,

Andrew

"These places mean something and it's the job of a photographer to figure-out what the hell it is."
Robert Adams
"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference. All of them can record what you are seeing. But, you have to SEE."
Ernst Hass
My website: http://www.ephotozine.com/user/bwlchmawr-199050 http://s927.photobucket.com/home/ADC3440/index
https://www.flickr.com/photos/78898196@N05

ronniemac

Link Posted 31/12/2015 - 17:08
I use K-3 ii, K-5 and K-S2, my daughter the Pentax X-5 bridge camera. Each in their own right are good cameras and excellent value for money.

The K-5 was my favourite and although I still have a soft spot for it, both the K-3 ii and K-S2 leave it behind.

If you can afford the K-3 ii, it will give you superior autofocus tracking and shake reduction. It also offers gps and astro tracing which are worth having. If you are taking stills, there is Pixel Shift technology which gives incredible results in terms of low noise, colour fidelity and resolution - provided you use a tripod. It is a seriously good state of the art camera. For some, the lack of a built in flash is a drawback, but not for me. I carry a small pocketable flash (Pentax AF201FG) which, although simple, is far superior to any built in flash because you can adjust the angle and bounce light of the ceiling for indoor shots, and adjust the power for fill-in flash.

A less expensive and very versatile option is the K-S2. It has the advantage of a tilt/flip rear screen, is lighter, and is more user friendly. In terms of operation, it has something in common with bridge cameras - scene modes etc- but still all the benefits of a Pentax DSLR - big sensor, weather resistant, excellent pentaprism viewfinder, and will work with all Pentax K lenses (going back to the 1970s). For me, it's more fun to use. Although on paper the autofocus is not quite on par with the K-3 ii, in the field I don't notice any significant difference.

All three of these 'K's' are weather resistant. If you're an outdoors sort of person, this could be really important. Last week I was on a coastal walk in vile weather off the NW coast of Scotland with my K-S2. As if rain and hail weren't enough, the gale force winds whipped up a bit of a sand storm from the dunes at Camusdarrach. I got back home with the camera and lens wet and covered in sand, stuck it under the kitchen sink tap and washed it clean, dried it with a towel. Not sure how many other cameras can take this sort of treatment, but a Pentax can. Got some fine photos in conditions that would have had most other cameras left in the car or camera bag.

You are absolutely right to place high value in lenses - if you take photography seriously, I suspect that this might be where you spend more in the long term. Pentax kit lenses are good. The basic 18-55 and 50-200 are fine, but bettered by the more recent DC18-50mm, 18-135mm, and 16-85mm which have superior focus technology. Then there are Pentax's lovely primes, the cheap 35mm f2.4 and 50mm f1.8 are such good value for money offering superb clarity (but not WR). After that, you might be attracted to the 'DA Limited' primes or the DA* zooms, well that's what happend to me. I also picked up a number of older primes and zooms, all for a snip.

I'm sure you would be happy with the K-S2 and just 1 of the 3 DC lenses - you can add more later when you know what you want and as funds allow. If you want more in terms of camera at the outset and can afford it, I recommend the K-3 ii, but not if it means you have to wait months to save up the necessary funds. You know the old addage; the best camera is the one you have with you.
Last Edited by ronniemac on 31/12/2015 - 17:20
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