Saturday, November 10, 2007

I want to buy a Pentax digital camera or DSLR

With the holiday shopping season just around the corner, this is about as good of a time as any to introduce this new feature. Worry not, your favorite brand will be featured, I will be covering all the major manufacturers. But I have to start somewhere, and Pentax goes first!

Please keep in mind these are only my opinions and should be treated as suggestions. I don't want to sound like yet another self-appointed internet authority :) As always, be sure to check plenty of professional and use reviews, and take a look at sample pictures both on review sites and also on gallery sites and sites like PBase. Different people have different preferences, priorities and styles, so one camera does not fit all.

DSLR Suggestions
The Pentax K100D Super DSLR is a great bang for the buck. For about $450 to $475 you can get the body only version, and for about $75 more you can get the camera with the typical 18-55 DA kit lens. This is before a $100 Pentax mail-in rebate! The camera has sensor shift stabilization and even if it is not as effective as that of individual lenses or other DSLR models, getting a two stop benefit with just about every lens attached is two stops more than what you get without it :)

Usually the bundle that includes the kit lens is the best value for money, and even if you don't need the kit lens, there are benefits to getting it. For one thing you can trade or sell it. For another you can use it as a backup or in situations where the lens may be at risk. Or if your friends/family borrow your DSLRs, why risk your favorite lenses? Just give them an old DSLR with the kit lens. Then they'll be able to use all the automated DSLR features. Giving them a DSLR with a manual lens may not be as helpful if the person is not familiar with manual focusing, metering, etc.

And while the K100D Super sounds like a great deal, Pentax makes a decision more difficult because the Pentax K10D is also a great bang for the buck. Especially when you consider that similarly spec'ed cameras from Canon and Nikon cost two to three times as much. Either one of these DSLRs are a great choice. Obviously different people have different needs, preferences, requirements, priorities, etc, etc, and those will answer the question of which one of those two to get.

Digital camera suggestions
The most unique of Pentax compact cameras is the W-series, which as the name suggests are waterproof. Not just splashproof as the Olympus Stylus series, but waterproof. You may recall the Pentax ads featuring the camera sitting pretty at the botom of the water tank with goldfish dancing around it. Of course be sure to read the specs to see what type of water exposure the cameras are equipped to handle, it doesn't mean you can take them to the bottom of the ocean and expect them to work :) The newest model is the Pentax W30, with the Pentax W20 being the previous model.

Another relatively unique camera is the T-series which features touch-screens, thus the T in the product name. The newest model is the Pentax T30, preceeded by the Pentax T20.

Pentax's entry in the affordable point and shoot segment is the M-series, with the Pentax M40 and Pentax M30 having LiIon batteries, which allows them to be smaller in size and have a sleeker look and feel.

More Suggestions
The above is our first wave of suggestions, but we have more! The other DSLR we think is a great bang for the buck is the Pentax K100D. The only reason we did not put it in the first wave is because the K100D Super is available for just $50 to $75 more. Since the K100D Super offers support for SWD lenses and dust-bunnies (sensor dust shaker), it's probably a better purchase. But if you can find the K100D at a really good price, it's a great purchase too! And while the other recent DSLR, the K110D is a good camera, the prices are so close, that we think it is a bad idea to get the K110D when you can get the K100D or K100D Super for a few dollars more and get stabilization with almost every lens attached to the camera. The only situation where the K110D may be a good idea is if you plan to glue the camera to tripod or monopod ;-)

The Pentax A-series is their entry in the gloried P&S category with bigger sensors and lots of megapixels. The latest model, the A40 has been delayed until February 2008 because of a Matsushita factory fire (they made their batteries). The latest A-series is the Pentax A30.

If you are a Walmart shopper, the Pentax S10 is another option to consider, a P&S camera but with a 1/1.8"-ish sensor and some style.

If you are brave, the Pentax Z10 is now available, but this looks very similar to the Casio EX-V series and while they look like a great idea on paper, the compromises involved in making such a camera may scare away a lot of buyers. I have to stress it in this case, do check the reviews!

For all current Pentax digital camera models, as well as models from all the other major manufacturers check our 30-page every single digital camera post.

Ready to Buy?
If you are ready to order a digital camera, please consider using one of our favorite online retailers and at the same time support this blog. All the big names are included, such as B&H Photo, Calumet, Cameta, Adorama, Amazon, J&R World, Dell Small Business, and more.

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