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Pentax Camera Help For Newbie


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I know very little about cameras and pretend to know even less. So, I will tell you what I know and ask you the rest.


I have a Pentax Program Plus 35mm film camera. Along with this camera I have two lenses that are attachable to the camera base. One is a "SMC Pentax-A 1:2.8 28 mm" and the other is a "SMC Pentax-A Zoom (macro) 1:4 70/210 mm".


Question: Can I purchase a digital camera base that will be compatible with these lenses and what would you recommend? Note I only used the 'automatic' mode of the camera when I used it so it does not need a lot of whistles and bells. Secondly, what should I do with the base I already have? (It doesn't fit where the sun don't shine)


Thank you

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Evidently the new Pentax digital bodies will fit your old lenses, and both of yours are fairly well-regarded from my brief googling. You may be able to get an adapter ring to fit other bodies.


Having said that, I don't know that they're so good that I'd buy a body to fit them, rather than just buying the body I wanted.


Also, since you only ever used auto mode, I'm going to take a leap and say you may not want an SLR camera at all. I'd look at the "SLR-like" cameras with fixed zoom lenses. These will give you similar feel and capabilities, without the hassle of lens changes and dust. (Dust can be a real issue with digital bodies, so don't go that route without really assessing your need.)


I'd also look at the nicer P&S cameras. If you haven't had recent experience, you might be surprised at what they can do.


Try Ebay for your old stuff. Someone probably wants it!


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I am a long time Pentaxian and you can get a K100 pretty cheap that will do what you want.


I will say this though, my next body will be a Nikon I think. Pentax is just too hard to shop for anymore here in the states. Nikon stuff can be found anywhere.


How much do you shoot? Sounds like not a lot.



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Question: Can I purchase a digital camera base that will be compatible with these lenses and what would you recommend? Note I only used the 'automatic' mode of the camera when I used it so it does not need a lot of whistles and bells. Secondly, what should I do with the base I already have? (It doesn't fit where the sun don't shine)


I asked my husband, a long-time Pentaxian, on this.


Mark says that these lenses are, he is pretty sure, automatic exposure lenses. They will work on any of the Pentax digital camera bodies currently in the market. In fact, Pentax cameras can actually use almost any Pentax compatible lens ever made; although, you need an adapter to use old screw-mount lenses.


That being said, neither lens is an auto-focus lens. As such, they will not be able to take full advantage of all the benefits of a modern digital SLR. The good news is that, since Pentax builds the anti-shake into the body rather than the lens, you will get anti-shake even with your old lenses.


If you want a Pentax so that you can use your old lenses, Mark would probably recommend the K200D (with a kit 18-55 mm lens) at about $600.00. If you do a lot of 'people' photos, the K2000D at about $700.00 adds a flash to the package. If you are looking used, the K100D would probably work fine for you. The K10D and K20D are probably overkill and are better suited to folks who don't use automatic as much.


If you are not wedded to the Pentax platform (Mark is due to the huge number of lenses and such that he has), he might recommend looking into one of the other brands, particularly Canon and Nikon, as they have a much larger market share and more lenses and accessories are available. If you do look at the Canon or Nikon, be aware that the image stabilization is in the lens rather than the camera body. This means that you pay for that each and every time you buy a lens. The Olympus E-volt is a nice offering, though-similar to the Pentax- accessory and lens availability can be problematic.



As far as the old camera body and what to do with it: the body is probably not worth a lot at this point. You might be able to sell it on eBay for a very small amount of $$$. If your local high school or middle school has a photo program, they might (or might not-depending on what they already have in stock) accept it as a donation so that they can take a kid who can't afford to buy his/her own camera. Otherwise, Goodwill will usually take such things. Or it makes a good starter camera for a kid who might be interested (as long as his/her parents can afford to buy film and processing).


Hope this helps somewhat.



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Dick -- I had the exact same questions for the exact same reasons several months ago. I recommend you do what I did. After a little 'net research (including Ken Blackwell, who I think is pretty sharp -- not as sharp as he thinks he is, but that's true of most of us), I went to the local high-end camera store with a couple of my Pentax lenses. I compared Canons, Nikons, and Pentaxes, totaled up the costs of bodies and lenses, and tried to figure out what gave me the best setup for the least money. I wound up buying a Canon XTi. The cost was within a couple of hundred dollars of the Pentax without lenses and the controls were more intuitive. Accessories also seemed harder to buy locally for the Pentax. Also, it fit in my hand better than the Nikon.


Once you start poking around, you'll probably find that the small savings using your old, manual-focus lenses doesn't make up for the difference in quality. YMMV, of course, but the fact is you could walk into any camera store, blindly pick out a dSLR, and be amazed at your own photos. It's a great time to play photographer!



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digital is great. once you decide you are due a new camera you need to decide if the bulk of the SLR digital is worth it to you compared to a more compact camera; this for me is the deciding factor. then you go shopping. i went with the pentax (istD at the time) due to a combination of reasons (price, features, takes AA batteries not customer battery pack- handy when you are in patagonia)


note that on digital bodies the effective lens length is increased so your old 28 mm, when mounted on the digital body gives a lens that produces images more like 35, 210 is more like - i dunno - 240 or something. etc (my numbers are a swag it is the concept that is important).


k200d top pick in this months 'consumer reports' magazine.

you might want to buy this magazine and read it. short article but you can see the decision criteria.

so : you could get a new digital pentax body and:


two options depending on your budget:

a) get a new 'perfect all rounder AF lens' say 35 - 200 and keep the 28. you could go Sigma rather than pentax to save a bit. sell the old 70-210.

(what i think i would do)


b) take the lens that comes with the package (cheaper) it will likely be not so versatile - say 50 - 100 ish). try to sell the other two lenses.... if you dont get your price you get to keep them - one or the other or both. they likely will become just more clutter in your life so if you can find a good home for them whre they will get used - even if you get nothing it would be better (better for the world).



before buying the new pentax i would try out the old lenses on the new body to make sure it works - else this changes the equation.







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