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MichelleBuerre Nov 25, 2006 3:29 PM

Hi, I'm new here and found this site by researching dSLRs. Please be gentle, sorry this is very long because i have alot of questions....

I *think* I have settled on the Pentax K100 - before I was settled on the Nikon D50, but I was searching hard through these forums and was convinced by the anti-shake feature. That said, I could probably be talked into something else if you think my needs are something else...

ok - about me:

- I own(ed) an old SLR from the 80s, handed down to me from my stepdad and was just getting started in learning photography - that was a few years ago so I'm rusty now :)

- I left that camera behind when i moved to Germany and got a cheapo Olympus 4 MP P&S, which i HATE. It was refurbished so I'm not sure if thats the problem but my flash overexposes and theres a horrible shutter delay - fine for still pics but....

- I now have a 2 yr old and am getting really tired of the blurry or overexposed pics (those are my 2 choices, and the first one is because she's rather fast :G). Played with every setting possible, handed it over to someone 'in the know' with the same results, yadda yadda....I need more control and need to get back into the SLR world. The anti-shake appeals to me because, well, I can be a little shakey.

So my criteria:
- ability to take pics FAST
- ability to get good actions shots (i.e. toddlers)
- excellent quality for not-so-big prints (i.e. i doubt I'll ever print anything bigger than 11x13)
- good battery life
- a good 'beginner' SLR - something to learn on, but also something i won't be limited by once i grasp the basics
- preferably in the 500-700$ range

My open questions:
- I read that the Pentax takes AA batteries and to be honest, that kind of scares me - would i be better off with a camera with its own rechargable battery (like my Olympus 400 has now) and charger bay?
- My old SLR has awesome accesories. The camera itself was a 1980s west germany model called 'Praktica' but my stepfather told me that the bayonet mount on the camera was standard could take other standard lens (i.e. minolta, etc) at that time). The lenses themselves, including a telephoto lens, are Zeiss and Sigma. Is it a lost cause to expect that i will ever be able to use these lenses on a new dSLR? Are there adapters available?
For a beginner, how important is it to have the lens kit that usually comes with the Pentax K100 (18-55mm) right off the bat? Could i get away with buying the body only now, and getting to know the camera first and if my old lenses are not compatible and theres no such adapter, buy the lens kit later or is it never worth it to buy it separately?

If you read all this, and aren't thinking 'idiot!' and can help me, I'll love you forever. :G

mtclimber Nov 25, 2006 4:36 PM


Yes, I read every bit of your post. Now I have several questions:

(a) What make you think you have to have a DSLR?

(b) Suppose you could get equally good photos of your toddler with a good pont and shoot camera, would you be interested?

(c) Do you plan on shooting in AUTO all the time?

(d) Are you seriously going into photography by taking course at your local community college?

(e) Are you planning to purchase multiple lenses for your DSLR? If so, which lenses?

I own and extensively use the Pentax K100D camera. The kit lens that comes with the Pentax K100D is quite a good lens. and the Shake Reduction feature of the K100D is a valuable feature. When used with 2500mah NIH batteries, the Pentax K100D has good battery life and is very dependable.

My basic concern is that a DSLR camera is sort of a continuing learning and financial investment. You might be able to get exactly the photos that you desire with a very good point and shoot camera, at a much lesser investment.

I will be happy to answer any questions you might have and I have the necessary background to do that well, as I do training for Kodak, Canon, and Nikon and teach for several universities.


JimC Nov 25, 2006 5:33 PM


Look for an All RESET menu choice under your Setup menu and turn it ON

This doesn't have anything to do with your questions. But, you may have missed a setting when you were trying to determine the cause of your overexposure issues. With this menu choice set to on, it will automatically reset everything back to factory defaults with most Olympus models when you turn the camera off. If that doesn't solve it, start a new thread in the Olympus forum about it and I'll keep an eye out for it. There may be something that you can change to get around this issue.

mtngal Nov 25, 2006 5:39 PM

I'm no expert, having never used screw mount lenses - I've stuck with the Pentax K-mount lenses. However, if your old lenses are M42 screw mount lenses (which from what I saw on the internet, I would guess thats what they are),you can use them on the K100 camera - they would be totally manual lenses, and you'd need an adaptor. There are other types screw mounts and there are adaptors for some of them to make them work with the Pentax, but I don't know enough to be able to say whether yours would work or not. When I say totally manual, I mean that the camera can't control the aperture so you would either have to focus and then set the aperture or focus with a dark viewfinder. There are lots of people that use old screw mount lenses on their Pentax dSLRs, but be aware that you won't have any automatic settings at all.

The kit lens that comes with the camera is a good lens for the price, but many people skip it if they have something else/better. It's well worth the little it usually costs, but if you don't mind totally manual lenses, you could skip it. Since you are talking about taking pictures of a toddler, I'd get it - you'd spend all that much time setting up your picture (focus, set aperture) and the kit lens would do all the work for you very quickly.

Rechargeable batteries aren't that big of a deal- they don't cost much so I cycle through two sets. That seems to work out fine - I can go several weeks on a set of batteries, probably at least 500 pictures (I don't use flash much unless I'm doing something macro). Not all rechargeable batteries are the same - I have one set of Duracells that don't hold a charge well, while I have 3 sets of Sanyos that I use mostly (I have two camera bodies, a DS and a K100D).

MichelleBuerre Nov 26, 2006 12:26 AM

Thank you all for your answers so far!



(a) What make you think you have to have a DSLR?
Because I had a SLR and loved it - I liked playing with it, learning about it, etc etc. Also see below. I'm an engineer so you know....essentially that means I'm a geek who is not happy with black-box applications. If I'm not at that point now, I WILL grow out of the P&S.


(b) Suppose you could get equally good photos of your toddler with a good pont and shoot camera, would you be interested?
I would---but only for a limited amount of time, if it saves me money now, sure but like I said, I loved the Praktica and WILL eventually get another SLR. I mentioned the toddler specifically because of the 'action shots' problems I've had but I should have mentioned also that our family travels alot etc and But see c). We are complete outdoors people and spend alot of time in nature - camping, kayaking, lazying around ;) etc so these things are all in the realm of where I would take my camera. FYI: I used to rock climb (not anymore) and I had the praktika for that - I never got pictures like i did with the Praktika with a P&S, esp against limestone. :lol:


(c) Do you plan on shooting in AUTO all the time?
No! And i hope i never get to that point in my life where I do with any of my technogear. I have a hard time leaving things 'be'.

I keep teasing MY mother because she has a dSLR and has it on manual all the time, and takes somewhat crappy photos with it because she has no idea how to use it. I think I deserve that camera :G. Like i said above, I liked playing with the manual settings on the Praktica and was just getting into it when I moved to Germany. I ended up getting some awesome shots (for a newbie) with it by experimenting, as well as with my mothers camera when I was visting her. When I look at the difference between the pics of my daughter that I took with my mothers SLR, and the ones with my P&S, I get a little sad. Not just for quality alone, but for the composure of the entire photo - the colour, the soft focus of the background, etc.


(d) Are you seriously going into photography by taking course at your local community college?
Going 'into photography'? Amateur photography only - out of interest for all things technical AND aesthetic. That said, I live in Germany and don't speak German (fun, huh?), esp not enough to take a technical course here. I had signed up for one in Canada but we were transferred here before it started. I have my books and my stepdad who was a prof. photographer, so at least i have SOME resources. I also read through these forums and saw recommendations to get a model-specific book so I was planning on doing that after I chose the camera.


(e) Are you planning to purchase multiple lenses for your DSLR? If so, which lenses?
Not if i can help it. And its too early for me to think about purchasing lenses right now. I have my lenses for the Praktica but never got a chance to use them (I hadn't progressed that far yet before i moved here) and while they are still in Canada, I do know one is a Sigma telephoto lens, and I believe the other is a fisheye. I'd love to be able to use them someday - like i said, as an amateur, just taking the camera out for the day and playing.


Look for an All RESET menu choice under your Setup menu and turn it ON

I've done this - several times. :-) I also went through my manual and made a little chart of all the options and combinations and did some tests, but I will definately post in the Olympus forum anyways to discuss the problem in case theres something I missed. Totally getting off topic but I also am not 100% sure that my 'tests' were optimal. The main issue obviously is the overexposure with the flash - and of course with the flash off, the pictures are blurry because what toddler can stand perfectly still - the blurriness and the button delay is no fault of the camera, I know that, but the overexposing flash has been confounding me. Anyways....stay tuned...


Thanks! You raise an excellent point - i should have at least one automatic lense for the kiddos, and can keep the manual lenses for those lazy playing days.

Thanks all!

peripatetic Nov 26, 2006 3:46 AM


Your responses now make things very clear.

You DO need a DSLR. :cool:

You don't say what your budget is, both long and short term. Having an idea of that would help a lot.

MichelleBuerre Nov 26, 2006 7:08 AM

Thanks! I'm all too aware that just because I get an dSLR, doesn't automatically mean I'll be snapping pro looking pics compared to the P&S. But i like to tinker, and have pushed my limits with the P&S (i *think* - although you people that know much more than me would laugh hard at my attempt to bounce or diffuse the flash on the olympus. :lol:)

I did mention it the budget, but I'm so long-winded its easily missed ;). I think somewhere between 500-700$ short term. Because of the nature of my husbands business, cash flow is limited this year, but with the profits coming in in another year or so. So, in the 'middle-term', I will definately be able to 'add on' or upgrade. My rush right now is that we only have 2 more years left in Europe, our children are small, and I'm getting tired of explaining to people back home that my daughter really isn't that pale :lol:)

mtngal Nov 26, 2006 9:34 AM

I think the K100D with the kit lens would work very well for you, get the camera now with the kit lens and get the adaptor for your old screw-mount lenses, and then have fun with it. Later on you can add additional auto lenses, the Pentax lenses that are designed for the digital cameras are lighter and smaller than their earlier equivalents and you'd probably appreciate that when you are climbing.

interested_observer Nov 26, 2006 10:37 AM

Pentax in the US is having a rebate through early January on the Camera Body and specific lens. I believe that if your a careful shopper, you could score both the Body kit (includes the 18-55) and the 50-200 zoom lens for if not right at $700 not much over that.

The body only rebate is $50
The 50-200 lens rebate is $50
The body with flash rebate is $100

A couple of months ago, I was able to find the exact same set and it came in at $785 after the rebates.

The K Banet to M42 adapter can be found on eBay for about $20.

Happy Hunting!!!!

Actually you can do much better ($519 + $216) = $735 before rebates of $100 ($50 for the kit and $50 for the lens)

So you could be out the door for a bit under $700 - then there are the extras (SD card, batteries, etc.)

mtclimber Nov 26, 2006 12:18 PM


Surely, mtngal and interestedobserver have give you some excellent details on the Pentax K100D rebates. I would stay with the K100D which incorporates IS at the imager, thus giving you an IS feature for any lens you mount on the camera. The K100D would also allow you to utilize those older manual lens that you have with the purchase of a screw mount adapter. So that give you a very workable solution to consider.

Yes, I agree that you do need a DSLR camera and I admire your desire to learn. That will certainly increase your camera satisfaction quotient. I am not quite sure how the rebates being offered will apply to you, with you residing in Germany.

Enjoy your new camera. The Pentax K100D is a great quality camera. It will offer you some challenges but with your very high motivation, I am sure that you will have a lot of fun.


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