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Old Nov 2, 2006, 5:38 AM   #1
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Hi all,

I'm looking for a cheap yet effective entry level camera. So far I have been considering Pentax K100D or Pentax *ist DS2 with an entry 18-55mm lense. Are those top choices for my budget? ( -/+ $500)
If you think those are the top choices then what should i go with K100D or *istDS2? I'm getting more serious about photography and I would like something to start on strong.


PS. Please please please do not write on cameras that are in range of $700 and above... I don't have that kind of money

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Old Nov 2, 2006, 9:01 AM   #2
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whether either camera is a good choice depends completely on what you want to use the gear for. What types of photography are you iterested in? What areas do you want to get interested in?

Any DSLR on the market will allow you to learn the principles of photography so that's not an issue. But there are certain areas of photography that are more gear-intensive than others. Shooting wildlife or outdoor sports often requires long lenses and benefits from some specific camera features. Portrait or macro photography benefis from lenses that have certain design characteristics.

And, this is where it's important to think about where you want to go as a photographer: when you buy a DSLR you buy into a system. The camera body is the first but ultimately the least expensive aspect. If you stick with the hobby, over time you'll acquire more lenses and accesories that you won't be able to use with other manufacturer's camera bodies. So you want to consider, as best you can, when starting out if a given manufacturer meets your long term goals. You may not know, and that's OK too. It's just that some people DO have an idea where they want to go, but don't consider it on their initial purchase and then they're stuck in a system that may not support that long term goal.

So, those are fine cameras. But you have to give us some more information regarding what you want to shoot in order for us to help you figure out if they will accomplish your goals (again, if your goal is wanting to take great birds-in-flight shots or great sports shots but only spending $500 you won't be able to accomplish that goal with any $500 solution). But if your goal is to take vacation shots and just learn principles of basic photography than you can certainly do so near that price point.
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Old Nov 2, 2006, 9:21 AM   #3
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The biggest difference between the two cameras is the Shake Reduction (SR) on the K100D. Some peoplesay that the K100D has a faster AF than the DL, but I didn't notice it much (I have both a K100D and the DS, a model similar to the DL). I suspect that it's probably more noticeable with certain lenses. The jpg quality is supposed to be better, but I didn't think it was leaps and bounds better, only slightly better (and I shoot raw mostly anyway, so that wasn't a big deal to me).

Is SR worth extra money? Its definitely worth it to me - I do occasionally shoot in low light, and I really wanted a long tele, but knew there was no way I couldhandhold one without camera shake. If you aren't interested in handholding in low light or long teles, then SR might not be worth much to you.

Both cameras come with the same kit lens, which is very nice as kit lenses go. When I originally got the DS, I only bought the kit lens because I bought the camera at Costco and it came with it. I still use it on the DS, though I mainly use a couple of manual fast prime lenses I bought over25 years ago on the K100D. If you don't mind manual focus and an extra step, you can often find them quite a bit cheaper than new lenses (though this isn't as true as it was 6 months ago - the popularity of the K100D has driven up the price of used lenses).

I'm of two minds about the K100D vs. DL issue. On the one hand, knowing that the DL doesn't have SR will either force someone into practicing good shooting techniques, or frustrate them completely. The K100D will give you more "keepers" but will make one less careful when shooting? I don't think so, since SR helps, but won't compensate THAT much (trying to take a sunrise with a 50mm lens through the windshield of a car moving at 65 mph and using a shutter speed of 1/15 will giveme camera shake no matter which camera I use. Using the K100D and a shutter speed of 1/30 can produce a sharp picture).
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Old Nov 2, 2006, 9:48 AM   #4
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I agree with the choice of the Pentax K100D. SR really does work and for me it eliminated the need to carry a tripod in a lot of cases. Personally, I feel that is a huge advantage. And yes, the K100D does focus faster and more accuartely. Finally the jpeg quality is noticely better.

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Old Nov 2, 2006, 11:03 AM   #5
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I'm not sure what prices you can find now on the *st DS2. But make sure it is less than the K110D. The K110D is about $100 less than the K100D, and only lacks the shake reduction. Otherwise it's the same camera, a bit improved from the *istDS (with the focus and jpg quality improvements MT notes above). I'm seeing the K110D for around $420 new online (body only).

I do think it's worth the extra $100 for shake reduction
, but if you'd rather spend that $100 now on lenses, you would always have the option of upgrading the body in the future. So any Pentax lenses you invest in you will hopefully be able to have with shake reduction in the future. So the fact that that is available in the K100D and K10D I think also makes the K110D attractive as an entry level model (even without it).

Another model to weigh might be the Olympus E500. I believe the single lens kit there is over $600, and the 2 lens kit around $700. But Cameta auctions on ebay have factory refurbished models from Olympus with a buy it now price of around $540 with the 14-45 kit lens. I saw one sell in auction yesterday for $460 ($480 after shipping).

I also saw a refurbished Nikon D50 (body only) sell yesterday for about $425 shipped.

But, you can also get K110D new from a retailer like Beach camera for that price, or around $475 with the 18-55 kit lens.

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Old Nov 2, 2006, 1:53 PM   #6
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Keep in mind that the point of an SLR is to use different (better) lenses than the kit lens. So also look at the available lenses for the system.
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Old Nov 6, 2006, 7:15 AM   #7
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I was in your position a few months ago and selected the K100D primarly due to the image stablization in the body (called SR for shake reduction), the way it felt to me - size/weight/mass of the unit and because I knew of the Pentax name and quality (I have an old SLR - 35 years old).

For $500 the kit is excellent with the 18 to 55 lens. eBay and the web is a great way to pick up additional lens over time in the area that interests you (wide angle or telephoto), and you can not go wrong with Pentax lens as there are a lot of them out there, and the price is affordable $20 and up depending on the lens. I would think that for a person on a budget (or even one where funds are not a problem), you can not go wrong with this selection.

What I would do is to go to a camera shop and hold the unit and see if it fits your hand and is confortable. No use buying something that your going to hate to use.

Even as an entry level, there is sufficient functionality (bells and whistles) on the K100D to keep you occoupied for quite a while (for the non professional - years). SR is worth the extra $100, and it will work for every lens you put on the body.

My suggestion is the K100D kit, (if it fits your hands and you like it), figure out where your interests lie, and then add lens there from ebay - prowling the auctions, over time. You can get some great manual lens for a song (very little), that will actually make you think about setting up the shot and metering the light - thus learn the basics of photography. Pentax lens quality is among the best and there are over 20 million lens out there.

My only warning (and warning may be too strong) on this selection is - if your expecting to go to a car race or sports event and take an automatic burst of 10 images in 20 seconds then you will be disappointed. The Pentax buffer will only hold 3 images, so you get only automatic bursts of 3 images every (about) 15 to 20 seconds (as the camera writes the images to the SD card). This will not be a problem the vast majority of the time, in the majority of most applications - however, if this is the one main thing your thinking about it may be a weak point. For every other application, I like Pentax a lot. I'm very happy with my selection.

PS the Pentax board here is great!
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