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Old Dec 30, 2007, 1:31 PM   #1
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I purchased a Pentax ZX-10 35mm back in 1999. Along with it came a Pentax FA 28-80 auto focus lens. I also purchased a Pentax FA 80-320 lens and a flash to install on the hotshoe. I went with what I was sold and the camera and lens have served me well. A few years ago I purchased A Nikon Coolpix 5900 point and shoot. I really like this camera and am getting betterat taking photos as time goes by. My biggest issues lie with the software for editing. I'm just real slow at learning thesoftware, maybe I should take a class. Any how I want to move up to a digital SLR. It needs to be robust, to go on, on and off road motorcycle trips. An absolute must is ease of use, I will not be using the manual focus. I know I can go with a Pentax and use the lenses that I have. I've read that there are better lenses on the market soI'm open to advise as to what maybe a better way to go. As far as price goes I'm not opposed to spending a few hundred more to change brands.

I look forward to your advice

Steve
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Old Dec 30, 2007, 2:43 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, it does seem that the two Pentax lenses you have are not examples oftheirbest work. So, if you're not adverse to spending a few hundred dollars extra to change brands, there are a number of different ways to go.

The market leaders in the dSLR market are Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus. There are a number of reasons to go with any one of those brands, and they all have camera bodies and lenses that should suit your purposes.

Canon and Nikon have a larger selection of OEM and third party lenses and accessories than any other brand.

Sony, Pentax and the Olympus E-510 and E-3 have sensor shift image stabilization built into the camera bodies, which means thatyou onlypay for it once, andit's always available whichever lens you're using. Canon and Nikon, on the other hand, put optical image stabilization in only some of their lenses, which makes them bigger, heavier and more expensive.

Because Olympus uses a physically smaller image sensor, it makes some of the smallest and lightest camera bodies available, and, for equivalent angles of view, the smallest and lightest lenses as well.

The best lenses in the world are made by Canon, Nikon, Zeiss (for Sony) and Leica (for Panasonic & Olympus.)

You have not elaborated on what kinds of photos you like to take (sports, wildlife, landscape/cityscape, close-ups, environmental portraits, etc.) so it's not easy for me to recommend a camera because I don't know what kinds of lenses you'll need, which might make one brand of camera more desireable than another.
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Old Dec 30, 2007, 6:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I am a causal photographerbut I want to improve my skillsso I need simplicity in my equipment. For example I take pics of Birds and wildlife motorcycle and car races, static shots. We travel a lotand I take photos of building and people, Grand kids, you name it .My wife loves to take close ups of flowers and ornate carving in old churchs etc.I hope this helps...

Steve
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Old Dec 30, 2007, 7:01 PM   #4
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Ok, that helps.

First, 35mm film cameras create an image that is 36mm wide and 24mm high, but most dLSRs have smaller image sensors, so the angle of view that you've had with your Pentax lenses will require different focal lengths on different dSLRs. The correction for the different angle of view is often referred to a the camera's crop factor or lens multiplier. For Olympus, the crop factor is 2.0x, for most Canon dSLRs the crop factor is 1.6x, and forSony, Pentax and most Nikons the crop factor is 1.5x. How that works is this. The 28-80mm Pentax lens gave you an angle of view of from 75° to 30°. For an equivalent angle of view on an Olympus dSLR, you'd need a lens with a focal length of 14-40mm, on a Canon dSLR you'd need a 17-50mm lens, and 18-54mm on the others.

So the kit lenses that come with the cameras will work about the same on a dSLR as your 28-80 did on your Pentax ZX-10. The Pentax 80-230/4.5-5.6 is another matter. For an equivalent angle of view, you'd need a 40-115mm lens on an Olympus, a 50-145mm lens on a Canon dSLR, and a 53-154mm lens on the others.

The kit lenses would also have the same maximum apertures that your Pentax 28-80 lens has, so if you didn't have trouble with light with your film camera, you shouldn't have trouble with digital.

For "Birds and wildlife motorcycle and car races", probably the worst choices would be the Nikon D40 and D40x, they only have 3 autofocus points, which means they will probably missfocus more often than the rest. The Canon Rebel XTi would probably be the best; not only does it have 9 autofocus points, it has a Predictive AI autofocus mode for action shots.

For buildings, if you've been able to get by with the 28-80 you've had, the kit lenses will work the same way. For close-ups the Canon's kit lens focuses as close as 10".

Unfortunately, the Canon's kit lens is probably the least good of the bunch, though you can just get the camera body and get another lens instead.

And again, the Canon doesn't have image stabilization except in certain lenses. If you think image stabilization is something you might want or need, then there are other ways to go.
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Old Dec 30, 2007, 11:20 PM   #5
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The Pentax K100 has 11 auto focus points (even more than the Canon), but I don't think it's necessarily better. I happily use both the Pentax K100 and K10 - when I was looking for cameras I bought the earlier Pentax DS because I preferred the feel of the camera compared to the Canon xt (and I saved money by using some old Pentax lenses at first, some I've replaced and some I'm still using).

You can use your old lenses with the Pentax dSLR cameras, but the FA 28-80 has a poor reputation, the FA 80-320 is supposed to be better. As TCAv pointed out, the dSLRs have a crop factor, which means that lens isn't very wide. The Pentax kit lens is pretty good (I'm still using mine and don't feel any need to upgrade it) and fairly wide at 18-55. If you need something wider for architecture, there's the 12-24mm or the 10-17mm fish-eye. There are a couple of choices for a long telephoto lens for birding. You could probably sell your FA 80-320 and upgrade it to either the Sigma 70-300 APOor Tamron 70-300,since Pentax lenses are selling quite well now. One thing you can do is buy a Pentax with the kit lens and use your 80-320 now, then upgrade to a better long telephoto lens later on.
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Old Dec 31, 2007, 12:26 PM   #6
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This process is becoming complicated and FUN. I don't want to end up like I did when I purchased the ZX-10, even though it has served me well, I do feel that the sales person took advantage of a stooge (me) with the sale. This time research is the name of the game.Saturday I looked at the D40 line and the Pentax K10D. I liked them both. The D40 will not work because of the 3 auto focus points. That leaves the Pentax line. Then TCAv brought upthe Olympus E-510 and E-3, so now another trip to the shop is in order.

Another consideration is I'll want to end up with a camera that will last me a good while before it becomes obsolete. When I was in the Navy I bought a used Argus C3?, range finder, from a guy on the ship who needed money and that camera lasted me many years and I still look at photos from Hawaii and Viet Nam and all points in between. Then I picked up a Yashica range finder and that lasted till the ZX-10.

What I'm really looking for is a do everything SLR. The advice is very helpful. It looks as though the Pentax and the Olympus line with the anti shake are in the lead.

As a side, Mtngal,what arethe issues with the Pentax lenses?

Steve

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Old Dec 31, 2007, 7:55 PM   #7
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For the most part, Pentax lenses have a very good reputation, some are really outstanding. If you are interested in reviews of your lenses, try http://stans-photography.info/which has reviewer comments about most lenses. If you are interested in specifications for various lenses, along with a good article detailing the development of them, visit http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/index.html.

The neat thing about Pentax lenses is that you can use any Pentax lens ever made (screw mount lenses require an adaptor). I'm still using a couple of manual lenses that I bought new in 1980. The big thing is to learn what capabilities go with which lenses since a manual focus lens doesn't suddenly become auto focus on a dSLR. Your two lenses are both FA lenses so they are auto focus/auto exposure and would maintain their capabilities on any of the Pentax dSLR cameras.

The fact that you can use any Pentax lens on the dSLRs, and that the K100 and K10 have become popular cameras means that there are more and more people looking for good buys in the used lens market, and a number of people have been bidding the price up on ebay, hoping to make money, so the price of used lenses has gone through the roof in the past year. There are still good buys out there, but they are harder to find.
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Old Jan 8, 2008, 9:57 PM   #8
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I've been out handling the Pentax K10D, I liked it alot, It seemed easy to use well balanced and fit my hands, I think if I go for it I'll take Mtngal's advice and keep the 80-320 and build from that point. I put a card in and took a number of good photos around the shop, I wish they would have let me take it home for a few days. I think I'll bring in my 80-320 next trip and see how it works on the K10.however I am unable to find a OLY E3 as the camera shops I've been to do not stock it. I also read some on the new Sony A700 and not to be found either.

My problem is that it seems to take me forever to make a decision.
Steve


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Old Jan 9, 2008, 2:14 AM   #9
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skrenz wrote:
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I also read some on the new Sony A700 and not to be found either.
Sony also just announced a new A200 at CES. It's an improvement over the A100 (autofocus speed in particular) and it's $100 cheaper!
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Old Jan 12, 2008, 8:52 AM   #10
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Hi skrenz,

I recently purchased my first dSLR so I empathise with your situation. I also had a 35mm SLR so I pretty well knew what I wanted going digital.

One huge help for me was reading reviews, both professional and user. I found this site for professional reviews which aided my decision - possibly it may help you also: http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/di..._reviews.shtml

I chose the Olympus E-510 although I salivated over the E-3. The biggest reason I went with the 510 was that, although the E-3 is "better", it also costs twice as much without lenses. The 510's 2 kit lenses cover an equivalent focal length of 28-300mm. They're not the fastest but still very good, crisp and clear.With both cameras one gets the big three of in-body image stabilization, dust reduction and live view. Probably the biggest reason I went "cheap" was that I admitted to myself that I'm an amateur photographer -I don't sell my pics. I just didn't need that small, incremental difference between the pro models and the "next best".

If I can offer my advice, be an informed consumer (which I can tell you already are) and you'll be quite happy with whichever camera you select.

Dennis
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