Bought a Pentax K100D today. Thanks for the tips!

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Jeremy Z, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Against my better judgement, I bought a Pentax K100D w/ 18-55 kit lens locally today. The local Wolf Camera had one left, for $700, less a $50 mail-in rebate. New York (B&H Photo) has them for $590 less the rebate. How can this be? Do they really buy that many more cameras in New York?

    Anyhow, I asked if they had a price match, in case I found it for less locally. They don't match online prices. They said yes, for 30 days. So I just go home and found it for $90 less at another local place. (calumetphoto) So I'm going to march back there tomorrow and get $90 back.

    Another sweet deal was that it came with a "free" photo printer. The deal was, it's an HP 385 that costs $100, and it has a $50 rebate, with an additional $50 rebate if I bought it with a >4MP digital camera. Nice. To make sure, that wasn't considered part of a package with the camera, so I can still get them to price match.

    I was happy to pay the $60 in state tax to support a local store. But I'd rather not support the excessive mark-up of the local store. I'm sure Wolf Camera buys enough to get the same price from Pentax as B&H does.

    I also bought a nice LowePro bag with room for another lens, a Panasonic high speed 512 MB SD card, and some extra photo paper for the printer. It's an inkjet printer that will only do 4x6's but what the heck, it will end up free, except for tax, right?

    I wound up getting this Pentax because of the great reviews it got a PopPhoto and dpreview.

    Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to pay for it. :mrgreen: I'll probably sell a motorcycle (Honda Nighthawk 250) and my Olympus C-750 UZ. I've also asked my sister (a graphics designer) to design a business card for me. In the meantime, I'm going to work on a simple website. I do decent on-the-scene portraits and candids, and am pretty good with motorsports too. We'll see how that goes. I don't expect it to be easy to get started, but I'm hoping I'll end up with a couple gigs per month or so.

    Thanks for all the tips & advice in the earlier thread everyone.

    I'll post some pix later.
     
  2. seanberry

    seanberry TPF Noob!

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    I hope you enjoy it, I know I love mine :)!
     
  3. V.Alonso

    V.Alonso TPF Noob!

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    i have found that wolf camera is much more expensive than any other place, i now go out of my way and travel an extra few miles to go to a different place .

    hope you like the camera best of luck!
     
  4. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    B & H (and usually Adorama, but they've ****ed me off) always has the lowest legitimate prices. They are really Hasidic diamond merchants that opened a photo and electronics biz because someone in the family did it as a hobby. At least that's what I've heard; it could be complete BS. If you find prices lower than B & H be very, very suspicious.

    I think those Pentax DSLRs look like a pretty good deal. I hope it works well for you.
     
  5. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Congrats JZ! Lemme know how you like it, I'm contemplating a K10D.
     
  6. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Dimitri,

    I've been reading the book and the reviews very thoroughly now. The only thing I can see that it doesn't have that I'll miss is program shift. When shooting in Program mode, I keep an eye on the shutter speed and aperture. If I'd like to shift it one way or the other, it'd be nice to just be able to click the dial one way or the other. You can't do it on this camera. You have to go into one of the more advanced modes. (which is also fine, it's still automatic, after all...)

    It has some really innovative features too. The DoF preview is a momentary contact setting on the power switch. It can be programmed to either stop down the lens to what it's set for, so that you can see the DoF through the lens, or take a fake picture, which isn't saved to memory and display it on the LCD. The former is better for actually judging DoF, the latter is better for getting the white balance right.

    This is the best kit lens I've ever seen. It is loads smoother than the Canon ones I've checked out, and a little smoother than the Nikons. The manual focusing action is especially good. It also has a stainless steel lensmount, on both the lens and the body.

    The doors on the body have real hinges. None of that rubber stuff for Pentax.

    The fact that it will run on AAs, I see as an advantage. I can get spares no matter where I am in the world, though 50-70 shots on a set of alkalines is nothing to write home about. Still, consider them spares and you're good to go. Better yet for spares would be the CR-V3 lithiums; long shelf life, light weight, work in low temperature. The everyday batteries would be AA NiMH of at least 2000 mAh. (NiMH rechargeables are good for at least 400 shots) You have to remember to keep them charged though, as they lose juice fast while sitting around.

    I also got a nice Lowepro bag with it, just big enough for the camera with kit lens, and probably two extra lenses and a flash. The bag can be hand carried, hip sack strap is built in, and has a grippy shoulder strap too. The model is Photo Runner, if you're curious enough to look it up.

    For now, I'm going to use my old Vivitar 2800 flash or the built in flash. I'm going to be strapped for a while.

    If you're thinking about a 10D, I think you'll be happy. It's just like this one except with higher resolution, weatherproofing, and a proper pentaprism with full magnification.

    The anti shake feature really works. I took a shot of a coffee mug at 18mm and f/4 at 1/8 second that came out sharp under pretty dim indoor lighting.

    I like that it doesn't get noisy when you juice up the ISO too. You can get away with 400 for everyday stuff, and 800 or 1600 with very low noise for handheld stuff in low light.

    I can't wait to get a fast 30 or 50mm prime for this bad boy. I'll be a low light god.
     
  7. It's supposedly a great camera, I haven't had a chance to see one yet. Also, I gather there is a LOT of great lenses available for it. I think you'll be quite please you made that choice.
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Congrats... thats a great camera. I held it at a shop and found it fit very nicely. Don't forget all the wonderful Takumar K-mount manual glass out there if you are looking for good lens for little $$$. I've seen samples taken with the 50mm f1.2 (autofocus), pretty darn nice.

    Once the older Pentax digitals drop below $150 bucks used, I'd consider simply to add more enjoyment to my manual K-mount system. Throw in a screw mount adapter and I have even more options. 50mm f1.4 screwmount Takumars were among the sharpest lenses made (that is you were able to find one that hasn't yellowed over the years).
     
  9. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Just a word of warning... don't use the Vivitar flash without first checking the voltage here. The K100d like many dSLRs can't handle voltages over a certain limit, which older flashes usually exceed. Some googled sources say that the Pentax *ist series (on which the K100d is based) are ok up to 30v. According to that site, the Vivitar 2800's voltage could be significantly higher, so I wouldn't risk it without contacting Pentax first. For this same reason (I have other old Vivitars and other flashes I'd like to use) I'm planning on getting one of these as soon as I can find one for a good price. They reduce the voltage to under 6v.

    That said... good to see you're enjoying the camera. I agree on the kit lens, everything about it, from the manual focus in AF mode to the hood with the bit that comes off so you can rotate a filter, says good design. The minimum focusing distance is pretty good too. Obviously it's not too good wide-open but it's a great lens for the price.

    If you're looking for a fast prime, the 50mm is always a good choice. Obviously you can save money by going for an old manual focus lens (I suggest going for a "KA" lens with an "A" on the aperture ring, or a screw-mount lens with an adapter, but not a "KM" lens without "A" on the aperture ring as they're not so convenient for metering). But the autofocus SMC-F or SMC-FA f/1.4 is very good value, in fact fantastic value if you can get a rebate. New ones are in demand however, especially with the K10d now out, so there may be a short wait for one after ordering (best to call up the retailer and ask when they're expecting some in).

    If you don't get an autofocus 50mm (in fact even if you do), I second the recommendation for a Super Takumar. Mine has the yellowing but it's not really a problem, and the build quality, the feel of the focus and aperture ring, is great. Final piece of advice though, if you buy any screw-mount lenses, buy the genuine Pentax adapter, not a cheap one off Ebay. It may cost more but because of the better quality it'll be much easier to use and won't scratch you or your equipment.

    I'll just finish by saying that if you haven't owned a dSLR before, you'll probably have discovered by now what I discovered... that sooner or later you will have to "RTFM". There's just so many features and menu options that even the most user-friendly dSLR will have some that need some explaining. I found this is very true of the menu options where they've removed all the vowels to fit them on screen, so you end up with options like Lns Fcs Lck Cnfrmtn (I may have made that up but you get the idea).
     
  10. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ZaphoD, thanks for the tip on the flash. I looked it up. It seems my flash will put out somewhere between 130 and 150 V. Ouch. I'd better RTFM right now, to make sure it'll be OK. Why would they let it be that high? Grrr...

    I was browsing ebay last night for '50mm pentax' and found a whole stack of Zeiss screw mount lenses. I was tempted, but they have very old coating technology. The newer Pentax primes are probably better.

    I have been reading the manual on the train to & from work.

    I think if I buy any more new lenses, they will be the Pentax ones. I've been very happy with Pentax optical quality in the past. They don't try as hard to make them all fast as some other makes, but the optics are always top shelf, especially the coatings. I think I'm going to look for a clean 50mm f/2.

    Here are some sample images I took at lunch with it, if anyone's curious. I'm just providing links to the 6 MP shots, since they're about 4 MB each. The ones I reduced in size, I'll post here directly.

    [​IMG]

    Not such an impressive picture, until I tell you that it was handheld. Here's an excerpt from the EXIF data:

    ExposureTime - 1/1.4 seconds
    FNumber - 4.00

    ISOSpeedRatings - 800
    FocalLengthIn35mmFilm - 49 mm

    Here are the big 'uns:

    http://home.comcast.net/~jzorns/Chinesey_Bridge.jpg

    http://home.comcast.net/~jzorns/Chinesey_Bridge2.jpg

    http://home.comcast.net/~jzorns/Pagoda_Thingy.jpg
     
  11. seanberry

    seanberry TPF Noob!

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    I use my mom's old Vivitar just fine, although it is the 2800D (the D is important). If you've got the cash, you could look into the FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited. It's supposedly designed to be the "perfect normal lens". The FA 50 is also held in quite high review.

    While your at it, check out the others Limiteds, they do induce quite a bout of LBA :D (I've ordered the 77)
     
  12. Jeremy Z

    Jeremy Z No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Acronym translation please? (LBA)

    43mm is really equivalent to a 61 mm, which is quite towards the telephoto side of normal. I've always read that 45-50mm (in 35mm format) is the perfect normal.

    Also, for the kind of money Pentax is asking for those Limiteds, they should be faster than f/2.8. I think portability & quality are what they're really pitching.

    How do you find that Pentax-M 50mm F/2 works for you? I had one with my K1000 back in the day; it was VERY sharp. I'm curious how it translates to digital. Is it a perfect portrait telephoto, or does it have optical issues with the smaller sensor?

    My Vivitar 2800 isn't a D, so I don't think I'll risk it. At B&H, I just found two Sunpak Pentax dedicated flashes for $40 and $90, with IR focus assist and TTL setup. It's not worth risking my $700 camera body to try a $20 flash, hehehe.
     

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