Inexpensive gear with Pentax

Pentax K100D & DA50-200 on Ultrapod 2

I use all the inexpensive gear that I can get with Pentax. I am on the frugal side who wants to go back to school for learning photography instead of lusting for the expensive DA* or all the primes that I am so inclined to look and NOT dare to see the price tag. Not that I want to discourage others from getting the better gear, I am simply constrained by my limiting budget and I try to enjoy my hobby with the inexpensive gear in the beginning.

The following are various blog posts on all inexpensive but quality gear that I have with Pentax

1. Thoughts on DA 18-55

0.5 sec, f/4.5, 38mm, iso 200, -1/2ev (hand-held)
Reflections with Pentax K100D & DA 18-55
I find the kit's lens is right on the money for my beginning path to dSLR from p&s. It does very well for me in outdoor setting. It is not the sharpest but it does reasonably well for outdoor and its zoom range at wide angle fits me very well for outdoor use. For indoor, I find it slow and needing the help with external flash as the internal flash does more damage to a photo that I would like

2. Thoughts on Pentax DA 50-200
1/60 sec, f/4.0, 58mm, iso 200, +7/10 Ev
Kids Portraits with Pentax DA 50-200DA 50-200 is my favorite as compared to my two lens combo with kit's lens. Its zoom range, lightweight, small size, make it a all time favorite for the amateur in me. I find it odd that I use it even for indoor portraits. It is definitely too slow for indoor use but when coupled with good window lighting, great portraits can be done with this lens.

3. Thoughts on FA 50 f/1.4
1/160 sec, f/2.4, 50mm, iso 200, 0 Ev
Late Espresso Cafe with pentax fa 50 f/1.4
My FA 50 f/1.4 has become my favorite replacing my kit's lens for much better indoor portraits and night scene photography. It is the most difficult lens for me to use among all of my automatic lens but it is also the lens that produces the best color and contrast among my gear. Pictures when done close to right is bright, colorful and it has a creamy look that I don't quite know how to describe.

4. M42 Pentax Adapter

Pentacon 50mm f/1.8 (M42 mount)
Pentagon 50mm f/1.8, M42 mount

I have three M42 lens that are costing me $0 dollar to me as I have
forgotten that I have them in my old Praktica camera.

5. Takumar Asahi 28-80 Macro M lens

Picture of Takumar with added lens hood
Takumar Asahie 28-80 MacroThere is certain remorse in the initial purchase of this lens for cheap from ebay as I learned that super takumar should be the model that I should go after. But not too bad for the money that I spend especially for its macro capability at 80mm. The menu focusing is relatively harder than those in FA 50 f/1.4 or any of my M42 lens as the focusing ring is too short for fine tuning.

6. External flashes with Eyetek Digital DS328AZ
My bad, I have ordered an auto flash off from ebay for cheap. This is not something that I recommend my readers to try. I will be guinea pig confirming the fool or the cheap master in me.

Eyetek digital DS328AZ from eBay
Click picture to visit translated Emoblitz DS328AZ description
Eyetek digital DS328AZ
Eyetek digital DS328AZ

7. Free Software

And anoth
er odd thing about me on the frugal side, I even go the extra mile in not getting any software that incur a fee. I am using Picasa and And I am starting to explore with Gimp, PhotoPlus, faststone, and few others.
Picasa Samples
Picasa Samples Mosaic
8. Camera Bag (~cost of 2 diapers)
Backpack with Diapers & Lunch Box

9. Mini-tripod with Ultrapod 2 from REI I have managed to get at least a mini-tripod and I chose Ultrapod 2 from REI for $15.00. The tripod is very sturdy and it has a velco strap that looks strong enough to withhold K100D on a fence or tree trunk. On tabletop, it looks great and the money is well spent on the gear.

Pentax K100D on ultrapod 2
10. Tripod with DynaTran AT-CF992 from Amvona in Ebay

And I have purchased Dynatran AT CF992 from ebay and it is so awesome to have three level indicators, Carbon Fiber with 4.75lb weight and the maximum support of 8.8 lb. The tripod exceeded my expectation and I would pay for $200+ had it not offered in eBay through the store vendor of Amvona.

Other tripods considered include
DynaTran AT 858B on eBay as well as many Manfrotto Bogen tripods.

Pentax K100D on DynaTran AT-CF992
Pentax K100D on DynaTran AT-CF992



Anonymous said...

Hi Hin, I've been checking out your blog for a while now. Since i'm frugal, and I'm in the midst of looking for an external flash for my k20d... i was wondering what your suggestion would be. I also took a look at the cheap ebay flash which you posted on your site. Was it worth it? what would your recommendation be?

Hin Man said...

Hi Kathleen, I won't recommend the Eyetek Digital DS328AZ that I mentioned in the article. Though, it is inexpensive, I have a difficult time in getting a accurate exposure. The flash recharge is extremely fast but for the short time that I played with the flash, I can't get accurate exposure. The strength of the flash is also weak unless I cover the light sensor to have full strength. You are better off to look into other alternatives.

Species: Cheekius_Geekus said...

Love your advise and philosophy. Pentax DSLRs are a WONDERFUL choice if you are a "bang-for-the-buck" guy. I absolutely love the ability to put old glass on my K200D.

I found a genuine Pentax 49mm reverse adapter in a camera store closeout bin for $4.95. I found a genuine Pentax M42-to-K adapter on a cheap 135mm lens that I got for free.

So far, my manual lenses accumulated are:
Tokina RMC 80-200mm f/4.5 (Gifted to me)
Super-Multi-Coated Takumar Macro 50mm f/4 ($50)
Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7 (free)
Pentax-M 100mm f/2.8 ($40)

Since I use my own camera and lighting at work, my employer just bought me a Metz 58 AF-1 and I'm now figuring out how it works.

For another excellent frugal bargain, look for the RF-602 radio slaves (google 'em). Great for turning those old Vivitar 285s into Strobist set-ups!

Hin Man said...

Thank you so much for the visit and the thoughtful reply with your inexpensive gear. The A 50 f/1.7 is wonderful and you get it for me. I have used Pentax K 100mm f/4.0 1:2 macro and it is dead gorgeous in color.

I need to look up RF-602 but last I check, they don't x-synch past 1/125 sec and I will buy it in a heartbeat if it synch up to 1/180 sec.

Dennis said...

I'm not a blogger but here goes.

It's great to see somewhere where there are great Pentax people. I learned on a Spotmatic in the early 1970's. It felt so perfect in my hand and I never forgot that. When the time came to buy my own camera I got an MX and I've never looked back. I have five film bodies; two MX's, two K1000's (one is the later Chinese built) and a P30T. The black MX is gorgeous. I went digital with a *ist DL. I've used some of my "A" series lenses on it and they worked well. I have a bunch of M series that I've never tried on the digital. Recently the *ist DL stopped powering up and I couldn't see spending any money to fix a six megapixel camera without image stabilization. I've replaced it with a K2000. is selling the two lens kit (18-55 and 50-200) and a free 2GB SD card for $499.99 shipped. Both lens mounts are plastic. I'm wondering if I should stick with the "new" 18-55mm because it was designed to go with the newer SLR bodies. So far I'm impressed with the K2000.

Dennis said...

I bought a "for digital" flash on eBay that is identical to the Eyetek digital DS328AZ on the front except it's all black. It's a Precision Design DSLR300 flash. I bought it from a very trusted seller; Cameta Camera. I've done business with them for a long time and have always been very happy with what I bought and their customer service. As far as I can tell Precision Design is a brand only available at Cameta.

The instructions that come with it aren't very helpful. I've only used it once about six months ago and had to experiment to get it to work well, but once I had it set up right it worked great. It didn't come with a bracket. If this isn't too private how much did you pay for it? I paid $50.00 for this one.

The back looks completely different. This is the first image I've uploaded from my new K2000. I used the 18-55mm kit lens that came with it; it has a plastic mount. So does the 50-200mm lens that came with it. I haven't changed any settings.

I have three powerful Sunpak flashes I've used on my Pentax film cameras. No one on any Pentax group I went to had ever used any of them on a Pentax digital SLR. I figured I'd play it safe. Cameta guaranteed it to work on any Pentax digital SLR. Does anyone here have any experience using pre-digital Sunpak flashes on a Pentax digital SLR?

James said...

Good cheap flash? I use an old Nikon SB22 auto flash. Works fine and it has the ability to fire off four rapid flashes in a row for using with the 3.5 fps function in the Pentax k10D.


Theo said...

I second what James said about the Nikon flash. Any Nikon lens that has a AUTO function can be used and work perfectly with the camera in AV or Manual mode.

I used a Nikon SB-20 and an SB-30. Both around $30-50 on fleabay.

The SB-30 is TINY but puts out 16 GN of light. Yes, not that much more then the inbuilt flash but enough to notice the difference. The SB-20 has a GN of 72 so lots of power. Both flashes can do bounce flash.

Spot the ball Software said...

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