New Pentax K10D owner. What now?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by eji, Jan 24, 2007.

  1. eji macrumors 6502


    Jun 8, 2004
    Inland Empire
    [I posted this same thread on the DPReview forums, so apologies if anyone sees this twice. I just wanted to get as much advice as possible from as many trusted sources as possible.]

    Just ordered my K10D kit w/ 18-55 lens yesterday ($925 shipped!).

    This is my first-ever SLR, D- or otherwise. I wanted something more powerful and extensible than my Olympus C4000z, which has been great for a point-and-shoot and has served me nicely for about 4 years. But now I'm in the position of equipping myself with accessories, and that's left me with a few questions you've probably heard a hundred times before.

    - What would be a good companion to the 18-55 kit lens? I was thinking of the Tamron 70-300mm. It seems good value for money (I found it for $125 shipped from a reputable retailer) and an ideal beginner telephoto lens. I shoot anything and everything, so I can't say my K10D will mostly be used for one specific thing, whether it's landscape or wildlife or portraits.

    - Are there any filters that are indispensable for all-around shooting?

    - Would anyone highly recommend the BG-2 battery grip or say it's utterly essential? At $150, it seems a bit pricey if I don't need it.

    - Is it okay to go with third-party D-LI50 batteries, or should I go Pentax all the way? B&H has a generic (Impact, I think it is) D-LI50 replacement for a decent amount, and I've also seem some Power2000s for around $20 -- more than half the price of the Pentax D-LI50.

    - Is a Transcend 4GB 150x card (I've priced them out for about $60 online) fully compatible with the K10D; and if so, is it a reliable card with acceptable write speeds?

    - I plan to use Apple iPhoto and Photoshop CS2 to work with my photos. Should I upgrade to Aperture or Lightroom? And will I desperately need SilkyPix or other image software?

    - Are there any other things I should keep in mind? Any hot deal sites, any software, any accessories, etc that will help me along?

    So, yeah, as you'll note, price is something of a concern. If I were rich, I'd go for top-of-the-line lenses and cards and everything else. But I'm not. And I'm starting from the bottom here, because this is my first foray into the SLR world.

    Sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to answer.

    I also wanted to add that, if/when making lens recommendations, you can get an idea of what I like to shoot by going to my website:

    or my Flickr page:
  2. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    It's always tempting to buy a slew of lenses right after getting a new camera. I'd shoot for at least a month with the lens you're already getting. In that time, you'll get a feel for how much lens you're willing to haul around, what sort of things you want to shoot and be able to make a much more informed decision (it may be that you end up shooting wide and want a different lens than the one you first got for instance.)

    A good tripod and head will go a long way to getting better shots if you have the discipline to use them. Getting a good flash and using it for fill in shots that aren't landscapes/cityscapes will improve your pictures immensely too.

    I tend to use whatever CF cards are cheapest at the time, and I've yet to have a failure, but I know others who seem to have them more often.
  3. EstorilM macrumors regular

    Jan 7, 2007
    To be honest, I don't know much of anything regarding the Pentax system, but I'll chime in about the 3rd party batteries!

    I'd be VERY careful about Power2000. They were (and maybe still are) the only company to have a 3rd party option for the Nikon EL-3e battery (with the information chip) and they advertise a larger capacity as well.

    To make a long story short, after I got the batteries (and paid overnight to get them) the advertised capacity was 200mah less than the website stated, and one of the two batteries is now reporting that it has "0" life cycles left on the battery life graph. It will also randomly jump to 0% left (luckily I always have two batteries in the grip, so the camera can leech off the other battery for a second) but if the other battery is dead, I'm screwed.

    I'll keep you updated on their customer support though. This might not even be an issue for batteries without the info reporting chip in them.
  4. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    In addition, I'd also shoot with just the kit lens and take a note of how many photo opportunities you miss because you don't own a particular lens. I don't even own a lens longer than 105 mm, and I don't think I need one. I also own 5 good lenses. If I needed a long telephoto, I certainly would have considered something longer than 105 mm by now. ;) It's your call, but make sure you need it before you buy it.

    I may buy a Sigma 100-300 mm f/4 or an 80-400 mm lens if I do decide that I need a zoom lens. I probably don't need a fast f/2.8 zoom lens, so the 100-300 mm f/4 would probably be perfect. But right now, I'm not buying one because I know I rarely need something that long.

    Judging by the photos on your site, you're already quite a good photographer. :) I don't think you'll shoot with a long telephoto as often as you think. You're actually better off with a wide zoom lens in the wide to medium zoom range. I can't make a recommendation to you because, like you said, you don't have a lot of money, and wide angle zoom lenses (under 18 mm) are expensive. :eek: A Tokina 12-24 mm or Sigma 10-20 mm are the cheapest wide angle lenses I can think of.
    The only recommendation I can make is actually to look at something like an 18-50 mm f/2.8 Sigma or Tamron lens. I know your kit lens covers the same focal lengths (18-55 mm), and the Pentax kit lens is supposed to be fantastic. :) However, it's not "fast" and can never offer you what a constant f/2.8 can offer you in lower light situations, or when you want the background to be creamy smooth. Either lens I recommended will let you take quasi-macro photographs, although your kit lens probably offers you similar macro capabilities. My Nikon 18-55 mm kit lens does, although I have a Sigma 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens that I use now and it's much better.

    I don't know about 3rd party batteries, but I don't think you need one. Don't buy it until you find that you need it. If all you're going to do is go out, take 150 photos, and come home to look at them, I think one battery is fine. You'll get hundreds of shots out of your battery, I'd think.

    The only exception is if you're going out on a fab vacation/trip and think you'll need a separate battery in case something happens or it fails.

    Nope, you may not need this either. If you shoot in "portrait" a lot, then it may be very handy. That, and you'll get longer battery life out of it, but again, you may not need longer battery life anyway. Plus you can always carry around 2 batteries if you think you need another.

    I think they should be OK. At least I've heard of them. :p Some of them are complete no-names. Most of these smaller companies use the same memory found in more expensive brands. They just don't have the "big brand name" on it. There aren't many companies in the world that make flash memory. Same can be said for RAM, where Samsung makes a LOT of the RAM for a lot of companies.

    Nope. :) It depends on what you're shooting, but I'd say that no filter is absolutely essential. Circular polarizing filters are great if you're taking landscape photos, but there isn't any one filter you "need."

    Recommendation? I'd recommend getting 2 smaller memory cards rather than one big card. If it fails or loses your photos (ie: sometimes, your computer can't find the photos, or they didn't save properly), then you can stop using it and start using the other card instead. Bringing only one memory card is a bit more dangerous.

    One accessory I'll recommend is a card reader. They're MUCH faster than reading images straight from the camera, and card readers won't suck the battery life out of a camera. :)

    I wouldn't worry about a tripod. Buy it if you find that you need it, and don't buy a cheap one. They just break and you may break your camera if the tripod breaks. You may not even want to lug a tripod around with you.

    Flash? Again, buy it if you need it. A flash isn't of much concern if you're shooting landscape photography. Having one is nice though, although you'll be even less discrete when taking photos of friends and family with a big camera + a big flash on top, so taking candid photos is a bit more difficult with a big flash.
  5. Phatpat macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2003
    Cambridge, MA
    Kind of going along the lines of what's already been said, but get out and take a lot of pictures. Don't worry too much about what else you need to buy. Take some time and go take lots and lots of pictures.

    Your flickr photostream looks nice, you'll make great use of this camera.
  6. eji thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jun 8, 2004
    Inland Empire
    Thanks for all the tips and compliments.

    In the end, I went with the Pentax 50-200mm based on the advice of the folks at DP Review. There's a $50 Pentax lens rebate at the moment, which was pretty irresistible. A further $15 coupon and free shipping allowed me to get it to my door for $150 even. Can't pass up a great deal like that.

    Eventually I'll go with one of the better quality f/2.8 (this is new terminology to me) wide zoom lenses, I guess, rather than buying a cheap lens as a stopgap. A few people have suggested the Sigma 17-70, which looks great, but it will be a while before I get that. Like a lot of you have said, it's best if I get acclimated to the K10 before I go out and make major lens purchases.

    I'm about to order some used filters (UV and polarizer) for the kit lens and an extra battery from B&H, and once I've found some decent SD cards, that'll be it for now.

    Just in case you get the impression that my money's burning a hole in my pocket, or that I'm a newbie desperate to buy all the gear and play photographer, I should add that some of my haste is due to the fact that I'm only back in the US for a week to pick up what I'll need for the next few months. The prices in Europe are astronomical, and I simply can't bring myself to buy anything significant here.

    Thanks again to everyone who chimed in. I feel a lot more sure about what I should be buying now and what can wait.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    About the battery. If Pentax is like Nikon and canon the battery that comes with the camera will last for 1,000 shots. You wiill not need two. But if you do buy a spare stick with the Pentax brand. Cheap batteries have a poor reputation

    About the Lens: Don't buy anything untill you have shot a few thousand frames. Almost all beginners think they want a cheap ultra-long telephoto and that's what you've picked. These are not so usful. a 300mm lens is a bit of a specialty lens. You may find you want to go wider first to 12mm or more likely you may find you want a faster lens like f/1.4 but wait. After you've shot a 1000 frames you will know what kinds of shots you are missing with your kit lens. I doubt a 300mm f/5.6 lens would have gotten many of those missing shots. Also you bought a Pentax camera maybe for the reputation of the Pentax optics so why then get a third party lens? Stick with top-line glass.

    Filters? With a DSLR you can correct the color in post processing so the only filters you might want are (1) a clear UV to "protect" the lens and (2) polarizing filter for anti-reflection and more color saturation in some outdoor shots. Back to #1. The UV filter will sightly degrade the image and why bother? "Protect" from what? It's a $100 lens so if it is "totaled" you are only out twice the cost of a good filter. The lens hood and lens cap offer good enough protection. Different story if the lens cost $1,500.

    Which CF card? One is as good as another. They either work well or they are dead, no half way with CF cards.

    Battery grip? Do you need to extend the battery life? Do you need a grip? Big hands maybe? Do you want to haul around the extra weight? Do you know any of this yet? After 2,000 frames you will.

    What to buy next? I'd say a tripod. Spend the money you were going to spend of the lens and/or grip. A quality tripod will out last the camera. I like the Bogen/Manfroto tripods and a basic three axis head. Get one rated for the weight of the camera and a very large lens plus a 2X "safety" factor

    Aperture vs. iPhoto. I'd try and name some faults with iPhoto before I'd addreess those faults with $$$. At least decide why you don't want to go with Adobe Lightroom. Why CS2? Does it offer something Photoshop Elements does not? If so What?

    A lot of questions above. Reason: It make little sense t by stuff if you can't answer them. For example what will you dislikemost about the kit lens" not long enough, not wide enough, or to slow? No need to buy a second lens until you know.

    What about light? Why not buy a strobe? if you mostly do portraits you will want a good strobe and a faster f/1.8 lens before anything else. But the tripod is usfull no mater what, een if you decide to switch to videography.

    Photography is a hoby where tomany people think "if only a spend another $1,000 then I'll be a better photographer." It don't work that way, it's a trap.
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You want the best quality UV filter you can find. Spend the extra $20 and go top-line. Wht matters is the optical coating. You want "multi coated" as a minimum. It's an absolute waste to spend good money on good equipment and then shoot every frame through a cheap $10 piece of window glass. Hoya "SMC" has the same quality as the glass in an decent lens but if you go down to something like a "tiffen" it's window glass. The best filters are European, B+W and Helipoan
  9. petersim macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2011
    Help needed from eji

    My Imac G5 is shutting down randomly . You had a list of how to reset the SMU/PRAM with links.
    I can't find it .
  10. AoxomoxoA macrumors member

    Apr 8, 2010
    The Most Important Thing...

    after getting a new camera... Read The ********* Manual!

    modern DSLR's have so many tools and settings built in... read the manyual, learn what everything in the menu is, learn how to set your personal 'modes' and make them one-key operations.

    My 2 cents,

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