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Thread: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

  1. #1

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    Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    My old film camera is a Pentax Super Program. I have the 50mm kit lens and a 35-210 Vivitar. I can't remember how much I paid for the Vivitar lens but it would not have been high end - this was probably about 30 years ago and I would not have had alot of money back then ( still don't really ). I was thinking of trying to pick up a used 10D or K-x. B&H has these for about $350. But is it worth it?

    My reason for going with Pentax is really becsue of the lenses - I know they aren't the greatest quality but they did suffice back then. I don't want to spend alot of money on this. I have a Panasonic FZ100 which I bought for the superzoom and realtively compact size and am quite happy with. But I am thinking of a DSLR primarily for its lowlight capability, whcih is somewhat lacking (to put it mildly) in the Panny. In fact I intentionally stayed away from DSLR's when I bought the Panny because I did not want to have to carry alot. That has not changed but I would like to be able to try some lower light photography and if I'm carrying a tripod why not a bigger camera and lens.

    I've looked on ebay and there are not alot of Pentax on offer and I am a bit leary of buying from an individual rather than a reputable dealer.

    Any advice? Would the K-x ( for an additional $10 I think) be the better choice? The only real negative I have found on this is the lack of visible focus points, but since I would be using manaul focus anyway seems like a moot point. Unless I get bitten by the upgrade lens bug that is.

    Thanks for any advice
    Helen

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    Re: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    As an unabashed M4/3 user I suggest you could do a lot better than the 'old' Pentax DSLRs and still use you old lenses*.
    I would check at Dpreview the specs of the two cameras you are looking at and how high ISO they have. An Olympus will go to 3200 ISO and a Panasonic to 6400 ISO while the early DSLRs that maybe you are looking at go 1000 1600 etc.
    Personally I would only, and have happily, purchase from B&H and KEH for a 'big' item like a camera, I gather Adorama ranks with them.
    * my M4/3 toM42 to use my old Pentax lens cost me about $20 I believe when you can find the money later a 14-42 kit lens costs around $50 or so.... that is 28-84 Angle of view the way your 50mm will be a 100AoV and the 35--210 will be a 70-420

    M4/3 will I am sure be quite adequate for your needs and DSLRs for the amateur are on the way out. I even found somebody else making this point on another forum a day or two ago much to my delight. The message is getting out

  3. #3

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    Re: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    Thanks jcuknz - had not thought of M4/3 - more to look into

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    Re: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by HMW12 View Post
    Thanks jcuknz - had not thought of M4/3 - more to look into
    I am sorry but not paying attention to Pentax these days being Oly/Pany oriented I put you wrong ... the k-x goes higher that either M4/3 cameras in your budget. With the bigger sensor i would expect the K-x to be better but I suggest you check out the preview reviews. I am very happy with my Pany G3 but my rig is way above your budget which was my attempt to duplicate my FZ50 but with a larger sensor for IQ and higher ISO.
    As a general comment from a bridge camera enthusiast until I found M4/3 I see major problem for somebody with limited budget is the desire to buy extra lenses which usually cost when one goes to a DSLR [ OK I know I have ICL but I try to avoid that ] ... whereas with the bridge camera you have it all in one ... so I have the G3 and the x10 zoom and didn't have to trade my FZ fortunately.

    Sorry for my wrong comments in first message.

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    Re: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    As a pentax user for the last two years, i want to add few words to this discussion.

    If you really want a 'PENTAX' body, then go for 'K-01'. K-01 is a pentax mirrorless camera which accepts pentax k mount without any adapter.

    K-01 does not have good attention by market because it is 'Biggest' mirrorless camera. almost same size of DSLR.

    But, as for your concern, it perfectly fits. K-01 has
    1) Bigger sensor (same as in K5, d7000)
    2) All specs are very good for the price.
    yes now it is almost half the price when it is introduced. I got mine on last week for JPY 30,800 here in japan.Just wait for one more month it will come within your budget.

    But K-01 have two main cons.
    1) No viewfinder. External one is not possible.
    (you can use focus peaking)
    2) LCD display hard to see in sunlight.

    If you want viewfinder hardly, then go for K-x, nice choice.

  6. #6
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    Re: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    I'm a micro 4/3 Panasonic G3 user as well, and I say, go for the K-x. Or possibly its newer version, the K-r.

    Micro 4/3, NEX, are all great mirrorless compact cameras, but they're more like hybrids of digital P&S cameras and digital SLRs. To an old time film shooter, they can feel pretty damn weird, and if you want something closer in feel and handling to your old film Pentax, then a Pentax dSLR will be right down your alley. Pentax lenses rock, they're the equal of any of the other brands, but they will be more limited than what you could find in the Canon and Nikon camps.

    I also wouldn't recommend the K-01, because of the lack of an eye-level viewfinder, and the fact that you don't gain any of the size/weight advantages of the other, much smaller, mirrorless compact systems. The K-01 is just as chunky as a dSLR, and it's mostly (IMO), a style statement. In addition, the K-x is probably one of the smallest dSLR bodies around to begin with. As a woman with small hands and repetitive stress injuries, I found the K-x super comfortable when I played with one at Fry's.

    However. One thing I should probably stress is that with dSLRs, manual focusing isn't quite the snap it was on manual focus film SLRs. The focus screens have changed to optimize autofocus performance. There is no split-circle or prism collar, and the "throw" (i.e., how far around the ring rotates on the barrel of the lens) on modern autofocus lenses is much shorter, and many new lenses focus by wire, rather than physical gearing, so precise and accurate manual focusing by touch is not as easy at it used to be back in the day. Magnification in liveview on the back LCD and features like focus peaking can substitute, but it's not the same.

    One more note, K-mount/M42 lenses can be adapted to Canon dSLRs and mirrorless compacts with adapter rings, but they're still likely to be easier to use on a K-mount camera.
    Last edited by inkista; 6th August 2012 at 06:21 PM.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    One other consideration is that all recent DSLRs have been designed around autofocus lenses. In the past, camera manufacturers put a lot of effort into making focusing screens that made it fairly obvious when an image was in sharp focus. With most people shooting with auto focus lenses, I find that the focus screens are not nearly as good, especially in the consumer class cameras. I find that my manual focusing accuracy with my DSLR is lower than on my film SLR.

    While you do have some old Pentax mount lenses, you might find the whole experience of using them a bit frustrating.

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    Tringa's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    I have a Pentax DSLR and use a couple of old manual focus K mount lenses (a SMC Pentax 55mm and a Sigma 70 -210mm zoom).

    Manual focussing with these lenses on the DSLR is more difficult than with my 30+ year old 35mm Pentax, it takes a bit of practice and careful selection of the subject, but it is certainly possible.

    It could be argued that the use of manual lenses on DSLRs does not so much require careful selection of subject, rather it restricts the subject and there is some(perhaps a lot of) truth in this view. However, if you already own some old lenses then they are effectively free and worth a try.

    The third photo in this set was taken with the old zoom-

    Shetland

    as was this one -

    Garden invader


    Dave

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    Re: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    Thanks everyone so much for taking the time to reply. I had not thought of the focusing considerations. Ideally when I have more money (if ever ) I would seriously consider an M4/3 system. I was hoping this might be a relatively inexpensive alternative for lowlight only. Will not rush into anything - maybe if I wait a little longer the price will drop even more

  10. #10
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    I use mFT (Panny video camera), APS-C consumer camera and full-frame. If I were to an amateur level camera, it would be APS-C rather than mFT for two reasons. The first is a larger sensor and the second reason is that there is an upgrade path the full-frame.

    I understand why both Panny and Olympus went mFT at the time, but personally wish they had gone at least APS-C.

  11. #11

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    Re: Thinking of buying a used Pentax DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    I use mFT (Panny video camera), APS-C consumer camera and full-frame. If I were to an amateur level camera, it would be APS-C rather than mFT for two reasons. The first is a larger sensor and the second reason is that there is an upgrade path the full-frame.

    I understand why both Panny and Olympus went mFT at the time, but personally wish they had gone at least APS-C.
    I have rarely if ever manually focused since I went digit.. With my G3 I have the smallest area selected so I can precisely pick the point I want to be principle focus, the rest of my cameras have 'horrible' large focus areas when compared with the G3 ... sorry folks but that is a fact of life

    But that is largely academic for the OP with a budget of 350 ...UKP/ USD ? I rarely use my legacy lenses simply because fortunately I have been able to afford near comparable automatic Lumix. With 6400 ISO I do not need my Takumar f/1.4 .... with 280 AoV Lumix I do not need the slightly greater reach of my Tokina 230 [460 AoV] which I can get with my TCON x1.7 tele adaptor with some IQ loss.

    But with only 350 I would take the advice of those above and go for a Pentax body rather than a Olympus viewfinder less 'P'. Maybe one day you can do better with pennies saved but for the time being the Pentax will be a very good choice IMO.

    The whole point of going M4/3 is to reduce weight and all the APS-C mirrorless camera , or near so, are mistakes and pandering to the DSLR fraternity. To duplicate my x10 zoom would cost twice as much and weigh twice as much in APS-C. If you are only going to use a wide or normal prime they make sense BUT if you want a 'digital age' camera with reach they do not ... i.e. a large sensor 'bridge' camera.

    I foresoke the SLR/DSLR camera over a decade ago and have been waiting for something like the G3/GH2.
    I am no longer a pro and I don't need pro gear. Actually back when I was I rejected my Leica IIIB for a Japanese fixed lens [ Topcon 35 ] because it was more suited to my needs with its leaf shutter And it didn't give up the ghost like my peers suggested but earnt my living for three years before I on-sold it to a studio guy who I guess had heard what it enabled me to do, the only pro in my area who could shoot 35mm syncro-sunlight properly.

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