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Gecko85 Oct 18, 2005 1:11 AM

I was all set to pick up the Pentax *ist DS. I'm an amateur/hobbyist and have been out of things for a while. I took a couple photography classes in college and have an old Pentax SLR with 3 lenses. I was sold on the *ist DS because I could use my existing lenses, but the more I think about it, the less of an advantage I think it is (my existing lenses are not auto-focus, so I'd probably buy new lenses anyway.) Still, though, the thought of picking up an old *quality* lens for cheap on eBay is enticing.

So, I went into a local shop to see/touch/play with the *ist DS, and the salesperson mentioned the Maxxum 5D. I had read many reviews on the Nikon D50, Canon XT, and the *ist DS, but hadn't heard much about the 5D. The salesperson (right or wrong) boiled it down like this: the *ist DS is slightly smaller and can take just about any Pentax lens ever made. Plus, the *ist DS has more control over the flash (can't remember what she called it, but something about compensation comes to mind) and 11 point auto focus (both advantages over the Maxxum.) The Maxxum 5D, though, has built-in image stabilization which is a big help to amateurs shooting with heavy zoom and no tripod (and also macro shooting without a tripod.)

I've since read all the reviews I can find on the 5D, and it does sound like an excellent camera.

Can anyone help tip the scales for me? I'm now thinking the image stabilization is the killer feature that leads me to the 5D. Am I making too much of it, or is it really all that and a bag of chips?

Lastly, if I do end up with the 5D, I need to think about lenses. I don't shoot much in the way of sports or action (but will occasionally shoot some wakeboarding.) I will shoot a lot of landscapes and buildings (travel shots), plus indoor (lower light) people/party shots. I'm thinking a decent wide angle plus a moderate zoom? I've heard people mention getting a good prime for a wide angle, since it would be brighter than the kit lens and better for indoor/lower light/club shots. Any specific recommendations?

Whew. My head is spinning from all the reading and comparing. I wish there was a clear winner, like there was when shopping for my new TV :G.

Thanks in advance for your replies.

bernabeu Oct 18, 2005 4:52 AM

used maxxum 24mm (36 equivalent) f2.8 $175

50mm f1.4 (75 equiv) new $400

used 70-200 f4 $90

JimC Oct 18, 2005 10:19 AM

Gecko85 wrote:

I'm now thinking the image stabilization is the killer feature that leads me to the 5D.
I think that's a pretty good way of putting it ("killer feature").

Yea, it's pretty neat. I'm not the best photographer in the world (actually, I'm pretty bad, and my wife embarasses me she's so much better at it). But, I've used more than a few cameras in my time, and Antishake is *nice*.

Irecently got a 5D myself. None ofmy shots so far are anything to write home about (my fault, not the camera's). But,just in the past week, I've got shots hand held at shutter speeds from1/10 - 1/15 second shooting at ISO 1600 and f/2 with a 28mm f/2 in a dimly lit restaurant. Try that one with another camera. LOL

Of course. it would help if I was actually focusing on my subjects (but, what I did focus on was sharp enough -- especially since I was shooting with the aperture wide open). :-)

I've changed to center point only focus since then (Ican't seem to get used to these fancy multiple focus points inmodern AFcameras, but some people love 'em, especially for shooting any kind of action). I'll use the center focus point and reframe for the type of shooting I do, using MF if light gets too low.

Last night, I took a quickshot at 1/10 second at ISO 800 and f/3.5 at 40mm with a Tamron 20-40mm f/2.7-3.5 in another restaurant (yea, I could have bumped up the ISO speed, but I was having fun trying to see what I could get away with). I seem to have a thing for shots at around 1/10 second lately (and the "rule of thumb" for a hand held shot at 40mm would have been 1/60 second after the 1.5x focal length difference (40mm on a DSLR like this gives you the same angle of view as a 60mm lens on a 35mm cameras).

Earlier, just after sunset, we even stopped by the road and took some hand held shotsof the marsh/water going towards Tybee Island at 40mm, ISO 800, f/3.5 with shutter speeds ranging from 1/8 to 1/13 second with some of the island in the farbackground with the moon rising.

Yea, I could have/should haveused a tripod. But, again, I'm having fun with my new toy. Tripod, self timer with mirror lockup... Nah, who needs it with Antishake (although, I'm stretching it's limits for sure). :blah:

BTW, thisTamron20-40mm lens is ADI compatible (even though it's a discontinued model). That's something to keep in mind when shopping (ADI compatibility), as a lot ofolder lenses are not ADI compatible (look for the "D" designation in Minolta lenses for ADI compatibility, or check with the manufacturer for others if you can't find out by looking at lens charts, etc).

Although the jury is still out on how much ADI helps flash exposure with Digital, flash shots with this Tamron are "spot on" using the built in flash with the camera set to ADI flash mode from what I'm seeing so far.


I've heard people mention getting a good prime for a wide angle, since it would be brighter than the kit lens and better for indoor/lower light/club shots. Any specific recommendations?
Well, the jury is still out for meas to whatfocal length works best in most indoor low light conditions I'll use a camera in around here. I seem to be coming up short in focal length for the last couple of times I've tried usingjusta 28mm f/2 while out (that goes for the 20-40mm Tamron, too).

Of course, you canmove closer, and sometimes there's only so much roomto back up. Iwas originally leaning more towardsthe Minolta 35mm f/2 (and there are f/1.4 versions of this lens, too). But, I founda 28mm f/2 at a bargain price (anda Minolta 35mm f/2 is pretty hard to come by used at a bargain price).

But, if I were you, I'd pick up a 50mm f/1.7 (I've got a feeling I'll settle on using this one for low light stuff at restaurants, clubs, etc. around here.). You can get them for about $50 on the used market. Or, if budget permits, shop around for a 50mm f/1.4. You sometimes see these used fornot much over $100, and it would give you a little extra room for lower light if you needed it (although DOF is going to be pretty shallow wide open at closer ranges).

Heck,I got a Minolta 50mm f/1.7 AF lens *and* a Maxxum 7000 35mm camera *and*a Minolta 1800AF flash for $49 on Ebay (flash won't work with the 5D, though). But, that was luck (someone listed this package at a "buy it now" price of $49 and I probably saw it first. The lens by itself usually runs around $50 used (or a bit less if you shop around).


I will shoot a lot of landscapes and buildings (travel shots)...
The kit lens isn't too bad either as a walk around from what I'm seeing so far. It's not very bright (stops down to f/5.6 relatively early). But, it seems to have verygood contrast,color and flare resistance (and a decent focal range for general purposes).

I think it's well worth the extra $100 they charge for it in the kit, and you've got antishake to help out, too. Also, you'll probably want to use smaller apertures anyway formore DOF in a lot of your shots during the day (and you've got higher ISO speeds if needed).

The KM 28-75mm f/2.8 (D) seems to be *very* well liked lens, too (but, I don't have one of these to play with). It's not as wide as you may want from time to time, but, it's a very sharp lens from images I've seen.

Users really seem to like the Tamron branded version of this lens, too (on a variety of DSLR models they make it for). It's the Tamron 28-75mmf/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) Autofocus. But, the Konica-Minolta 28-75mm f/2.8 version may have different coatings on the optics with electronics better optimized for KM cameras (speculation, but that's what most people seem to think).

That one may be a very good choice if you don't really need the wider end too much (with it's f/2.8 giving you a lot more flexibility for low light, DOF control, etc.).

The Minolta 24-105mm f/3.5-4.5 (D) seems to be getting pretty good reviews from users I've seen comment on it, too (I haven't tried one). I've seen a lot of praise for this one (sharpness, AF speed, etc.). The only negative I've seen is that it's a bit soft with wider apertures on the long end of the lens.

I'll be givinga used Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 a workout on the 5D, too (BTW, KEH had some for as low as $119.95 not too long ago).It doesn't start out as wide, but this lens tests *much* better than the newer Tamron 28-105mm f/2.8 on MTF charts (wide openand stopped down), and it's not as large and heavy either as the newer one either.It's not a speed demon (but, I personally don't care for my needs).

Even though it will start out at a 35mm equivalent focal length of around 52mm, I think that would probably work just fine for me for most stuff I'd shoot except for close quarters stuff.

I've already used it a bit on the Maxxum 7000 I bought used, and I'll give it a more thorough spin on the 5Dreal soon to get a better feel forit's pros and cons, flare resistance with backlit subjects, etc.

Basically, you've got lots of choices in lenses for this camera, new and used (from Minolta, Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Vivitar, and more).

Gecko85 Oct 18, 2005 10:58 AM

Wow. Thanks for the excellent (and detailed) response! Looks like I've got some searching to do for some lenses :-)

JimC Oct 18, 2005 11:10 AM

I'll be giving some lenses a good workout over the next week or two (trying to decide what works best for me). They're all a compromise in some way (size, weight, ergonomics, focal range, brightness, optical quality, etc.).

It's too bad we can't get a lens that's tack sharp with great characterisitcs that's about 18-300mm with f/2.8 throughout the focal range in a small and light package. ;-) But, you do have both antishake *and* higher ISO speeds with these KM DSLR models to help out if you need to keep size and weight down.

JimC Oct 18, 2005 11:18 AM


Of course, an easy (and inexpensive) option would be to just buy the 5D kit with the 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 (and pick up a 50mm f/1.7 for around $50 used for lower light use). Then, shop around for something longer if you need it (that 70-200mm f/4 that bernabeu mentioned is available at bargain prices used, and seems to be a popular choice).

The kit lens only adds about $100.00 to the price of the camera in the 5D kit (and you get a lot of focal range in a relatively small and light package since this one is designed only for DSLR models with sensors smaller than 35mm film).

It's selling for about $149 and up separately (outside of the kit) from what I've seen dealers pricing it at so far. Then, if you decide you don't like it (or need something different), just sell it on Ebay (you'd probably get about what you paid for it used, given what I'm seeing it sell for separately new now.

Stevekin Oct 18, 2005 2:05 PM

Couple of observations Jim.

First,am I right in thinking you arepleased with your new 5D :?

Second, do you everdine out ? :blah:

Sterling work on your lens review though ;)

JimC Oct 18, 2005 2:13 PM

Stevekin wrote:

First,am I right in thinking you arepleased with your new 5D :?

Well, I wasn't planning on commenting much until I've given it a more thorough workout. But, I just haven't been able to resist.

Antishake combined with higher ISO speeds is really neat for low light (as you can tell by my enthusiasm for it). ;-)

I'm going to do a lot more outdoors with it this weekend than I've had a chance to yet (yea, I spend way too much time in front of this monitor). :-)

The shots I have taken outdoors in daylight with it have been fine (no major complaints with it so far, and I actually prefer it's more conservative exposure compared to many models).


Second, do you everdine out ? :blah:
OK, you caught me. :-)

But, I've got an excuse this week. My wife and I are celebrating our Anniversary (actually it was yesterday). I won't saynow many years though (more than a single digit is all I'll admit).;)

So, I guess I can justify the extra bucks for a meal or two out (by starving myself for a few days before). ;-)

I've been known to go to the local restaurants here without actually eating anything, too. LOL A few close by restaurants have live music with no cover charge pretty often.

Stevekin Oct 18, 2005 4:26 PM

When I feel the need to upgrade to Dslr, which I don't at the moment.......... I feel the 'want' but not the need :-), I shall have to seriously consider a KM.

I'm so used to, no make that reliant on, the Antishake in my A2 :roll:.

It has got to be a big plus that all lenses would be 'stabilized'.

I shall keep an eye on your future comments on the 5D.

JimC Oct 18, 2005 4:46 PM

Stevekin wrote:

When I feel the need to upgrade to Dslr, which I don't at the moment.......... I feel the 'want' but not the need :-), I shall have to seriously consider a KM.

I'm so used to, no make that reliant on, the Antishake in my A2 :roll:.

It has got to be a big plus that all lenses would be 'stabilized'.

I shall keep an eye on your future comments on the 5D.

Yep...antishake a very nice feature (so, I'll probably get to be reliant on it, too).

The 5Dhasfew things that could use some improvement (as all cameras do). But, nothing major at all that I've found would impact me much.

Also, it's fast enough (at least for my limited needs) that you can shoot in raw and have a lot of flexibility in how you process the images. It can actually write to a fast card like a Sandisk Extreme III at about 1 raw/frame per second *after* the buffer is full.So, I don't need a large buffer. :-)

It's too bad we can't get ISO 3200 with antishakein a smaller and lighter model with loads of focal range and plenty of DOF when we need it wide open, huh? There are pros and cons to any of them.

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