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Old Nov 14, 2006, 10:43 PM   #1
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Hi there.

I'm a moderately experienced photographer with the Digital Rebel I use at work and the Panasonic FZ30 I have at home, and think it's about time to move up to an SLR of my own. I noticed that the K110d is available at a very good price and am considering picking one up.

While I'll probably get it with the kit lens or a separate comparable lens, I'm also thinking about getting some used lenses for it, most likely manual focus lenses. I noticed that some of them will not support any mode other than manual. Is this true for all manual lenses?

Maybe this sounds like a dumb questions, but I'm also wondering if the light meter would work on these lenses.

The K110d is advertised as supporting all Pentax lenses. Is this true, or are there some exceptions?

Thanks for the help!
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 11:03 PM   #2
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Old lenses with the Pentax dSLRs are great! You have to enable aperture ring control in the camera menu, but once you do, you'll get any auto feature the lens offers. Usually it's just auto aperture, but even if it's fully manual, you can still meter through the lens. I can't remember the exact steps, but it will work well.

IMHO, the ability to use all those old, inexpensive (usually) Pentax mount lenses is one of the best reasons to buy Pentax.

One recommendation...if you can stretch a bit to get the K100D, I'd go for it. The shake reduction is amazing. Check out this hand held shot I took the other day at the close of the Renaissance Festival. 8/10sec, ISO1600, f4.0, 20mm using the kit lens. I was a little heavy handed with the noise reduction, but the picture is pretty sharp for the conditions. I didn't brace myself or anything, just stopped walking, raised the camera and shot this.



Russ
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 11:13 PM   #3
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There have been a number of excellent articles on the internet that can tell you the differences between the various "flavors" of Pentax lenses. I don't understand much of what they say, but in a nutshell you have:

screw mount - these will need an adaptor to use on the K110D, and they will be completely manual, the camera can't adjust the aperture. That means you have to focus and then manually stop down the lens or else try to focus when the viewfinder is dimmed (lens already stopped down). Don't have any experience with these.

K or M mount - I use several of these lenses (purchased in 1980/81 for my first SLR). There is a lever that allows the camera to stop down the lens when you press the shutter, so you can focuswith the lens wide open. You set the aperture on the lens, use the M mode,and push the AEL button, which allows the camera to quickly stop down the lens, meter and set the shutter speed. The camera doesn't change the shutter setting from frame to frame, only when you push the AEL button (or change it by the wheel), so it is easy to get the wrong exposure if you aren't thinking about it. If the camera is set to anything other than M, it won't stop down the lens (convenient if you were planning on using the lens wide open anyway, since it will adjust the shutter speed automatically).

A mount - I have only 1 of these lenses. They are manual focus, but the camera is able to "talk" to the lens, and can control the aperture (set the aperture ring to A and the camera can adjust the aperture and shutter speed, like it does with fully automatic lenses). So you can use P, Av, Tv etc. and the exposure will be controlled by the camera.

F and FA (and DA)mounts - Both these lenses add auto-focus, while keeping the camera's ability to set aperture like it can with the A lenses. I don't understand the fine-point differences between F and FA mount lenses. As far as I can figure out both work about the same with the digital cameras (auto focus and auto exposure).

By the way - the camera beeps at you (or shows a light if you have the beep turned off) when it thinks it is in focus. It isn't always perfect, but its reasonably accurate.
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 2:02 AM   #4
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Screw mount lenses operate as mtngal pointed out with one additional feature.

They will operate in Aperture Priority (Av) automatic mewtering mode as well as full manual exposure.


The "focus and then meter" process is not really a problem as I use a selection of screw mount primes for shooting motorsports.
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 9:38 AM   #5
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Thanks for the responses!

Russ, I'm still a bit conflicted about whether or not to spend the extra $100 on the shake reduction. I have very good stabilization on my FZ30 and know when it can be very useful, and also when it can't.

From a review that I read I got the impression that the shake reduction on the K100d was only so-so, and that it just afforded a 1 1/2 stop advantage, which would make me think the K110d is a better deal. If you're telling me, and I can confirm with more than one source (not all cameras of the same make necessarily perform the same) that shake reduction is good enough to take pictures like the one you posted reliably, especially if it's useful for telephoto as well, then I'd definitely consider it, though it would probably mean that I'd feel obligated to sell my FZ30 which I'm loathe to do. While I can't typically get DSLR quality pictures from the FZ30 (anything above ISO 100 is trash), I've never handled a camera that was so fun to shoot with.

Mtngal, thanks for the wealth of information! That will be extremely helpful when shopping Ebay. About that focus beep, I'm assuming that occurs when you half depress the shutter button. Please let me know if that's not how it works.

Philneast, thanks for the clarification.

Thanks again!
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 3:05 PM   #6
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Corpsy - I remember (and admired) you from the Panasonic boards, though you probably don't remember me because I was only on there for about a month (last December) when I briefly had an FZ30.

About IS/SR - this is just my personal experience, so please take it that way (nothing scientific). I didn't think IS on the FZ30 made much difference and I did try all of the different settings. Maybe my camera had a defect, all I know is that I took very fewgood pictures with it. It also made me decide that I couldn't handle a lens beyond 200mm because of camera shake, and that IS wasn't worth it. So I dumped the Panny and bought a DS, and re-discovered my love for photography. I limited myself to a 200mm lens, but then I really wanted something longer. I still have the DS and use it with the kit lens mostly (nice combination).

But I still wanted a long tele, so with that in mind I talked my other half into letting me buy the K100D, and experimented successfullywith slower shutter speeds, ones that I knew I couldn't do with the DS. I bought an A*300 lens (my one A lens) and love it. I have no problems and have occasionally gotten good handheld shots at speeds I really shouldn't with such a long tele. I don't know why I had so much trouble with the FZ30, or why the SR on the Pentax works better for me than the IS on the Panny I had, but it does. I'm delighted that I got the K100D, it was money I don't regret at all, and it does make a difference for me. However, my old DS still takes great pictures and the K110D would too, so it really depends on how steady you are and how long of a tele do you want.

Yes, the focus indicator works when you half-press the shutter speed. You can turn the beep off, and go with the little light in the viewfinder (I did that when taking pictures of wild squirrels and birds - the beep would startle them. For the most part I find I respond better to the beep than the light, though, so I leave it on most of the time). There's a setting on the camera you can set for long after you initially press half press the shutter that the indicators stay on (don't have my owners manual here so can't check the facts/options, but that's what I recall).
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 8:32 PM   #7
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Here's another shot showing the chops of shake reduction. ISO800, 1.5 sec exposure, 18mm (kit lens), f6.7. There's too much noise, but I didn't really run any noise reduction. However, it's acceptably sharp, especially for 1.5 seconds handheld.

Russ




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Old Nov 15, 2006, 8:46 PM   #8
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Corpsy wrote:
Quote:
I'm still a bit conflicted about whether or not to spend the extra $100 on the shake reduction.
In this link (part of Sarah's fantastic and amazing flash thread):

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...=80&page=3

Scroll down to flash lesson 3, about half way down. There are pictures of a basket of purple flowers, low light with flash, with the DL (no SR) and the K100D (with SR). The difference is very clear.

Note also that imaging-resource.com's review of the K100D found its SR to be slightly better than any other competing in-body SR.

$100 for SR on all Pentax lenses ever made is one of the best bargains in all of photography. Canon and Nikon owners spend many times that amount... per lens...

--Brett
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 9:52 PM   #9
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Mtngal, thanks for the kind words! I actually did recognize your name, but just wasn't sure I was remembering accurately.

Now it seems like there are more than a few people who are getting really good results out of the stabilizer. Perhaps the reviewer had an earlier version of the model. Either way, I am swaying in that direction now. I guess the main question is whether to go for the $50 rebate, or wait until after Christmas and see if the price drops. A lot of cameras get cheaper then, but I do regret missing the boat on the Maxxum cameras when they were around and would hate to see that happen again.

Russ, that second picture you posted is pretty cool, but I'm curious, why didn't you open up the aperture more?

1.5 seconds is pretty impressive. I've managed 1 second exposures with my FZ30, but that's very hit and miss and I could never get more than that long.

Something that's bugging me a bit is the level of noise I see on some of these long exposures. The quality doesn't really seem any better than my FZ30. Here are some examples of 1 second exposures I took in the Buffalo Museum of Science with no flash, no noise reduction, and no retouching;









This is a 100% crop of the previous photo:



Russ, do you have any examples of long exposures taken at lower ISO settings? One thing I found with my camera is that doing long exposures at increased ISO settings only seemed to multiply the noise levels, and so I always use ISO 80 or 100. I'm wondering if the K100d would perform noticeably better by using ISO 200 and opening up the aperture all the way.

Brett, the example you posted is a very good example of how handy the stabilizer can be for more practical shooting. Without the stabilizer, I suppose that shot would have required ISO 800 which wouldn't be nearly as clean.

I have a question about ISO. Pentax starts at 200 instead of 100. Is the 200 setting basically the same as any other camera's 100, or is it actually more sensitive? What I mean is, if you had this camera and say a Digital Rebel, each on M mode with the same shutter speed and aperture and each set to their lowest ISO setting, would they get approximately the same exposure or would the Pentax be much brighter?

Thanks for the help!
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 11:40 PM   #10
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My opinion, but noise isn't as much of an issue with the Pentax cameras as it was with the FZ30. If you are interested, here are some examples I've taken under various situations. These are 100% crops and I've done nothing other than crop the pictures, they were chosen not for their quality but for their shutter speed and ISO. I took them all in raw and used Adobe Lightroomto crop and convert them to jpg, with no other adjustments at all (no contrast/exposure compensation)- they are straight out of the camera.

This first one was taken in August with the DS, when I was trying to capture motion at a local midway ride. It washandheld at 200 ISO and .6 sec - the camera shake is very evident but not that much noise. DA 50-200 lens, and since this had the least camera shake of all the pictures I took at this shutter speed, you can see why I wanted the K100D.



This one was taken the same night (DS and DA 50-200 lens) at 1/350 shutter speed, using 1600 ISO. Much more noise, DOF wasn't quite enough to get the ferris wheel's lights in focus as well as the moon, but not all that bad (Neat Image did a good job with this one).



Next time I go to our local festival IWILL take a tripod!

The next picture I took with the K100D right after I got it (end of August). I was only playing with it one evening - I'm not a gambler so while my other half was leaving his deposit at the Paris Casinoafter dinner, I took a walk. This is a 100% crop at 1/4 sec shutter speed, ISO 200, SMC M 24mm 2.8 lens (one of my 25 year old lenses bought for a Pentax ME camera), I think wide open but maybe not. I only took one slower shutter speed picture on that walk (1/3 sec) but it was pretty over-exposed.



This is a slightly cropped, mostly resized version of the above picture to give you an idea of what I was trying to take.



Are these perfect? No. Are they useable? From a noise point of view definitely. From a camera shake point of view, the DS picture definitely leaves much to be desired (I handheld it while sitting down with my elbows braced on my knees to try to add some extra stability). The K100D photo was taken standing up while walking along Las Vegas Blvd. Hope they can help you get an idea of what the camera(s) are capable.

One other thought - since you can handhold an FZ30 at 1 sec. then perhaps the SR isn't such a big deal to you. If that's the case, check out the prices of the DL - if there's a significant price difference it might be better to get it instead of the K110. If no price break then get the newer K camera.

P.S. I'm hoping that someone has an answer to your question about various camera's ISO settings. Good question!

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