I have used my first camera (Sony A-300) for 2 years already. It is okay but I want something new and better, and have a budget of between 1200 and 1300 euros. A couple months ago I talked to a local photographer, who suggested a Pentax K-5 and said that had not tried Nikon D7000 yet which could be competitor for Pentax K-5.

What other cameras within my price range should I consider?

  • Those are fine cameras. But this isn't really a great question for this site, since the answer is both very specific to you and very specific to this moment in time. For that reason, I'm voting to close the question. That said, @jetxee's specific advice is pretty much spot-on.
    – mattdm
    Mar 1, 2011 at 13:56
  • 1
    As asked, this question cannot be answered. All modern DSLRs are quite good. The only way you can choose between them is to ask for something that satisfies specific needs.
    – Itai
    Mar 1, 2011 at 14:23
  • Thank you all a lot. There are lot's of things I have to think about. Thanks again. Mar 2, 2011 at 11:01

5 Answers 5


If you already owned some Sony glass, you'd probably wanted to stay with Sony. As you don't want to stay with Sony, I assume that you don't own much of their glass yet. In this case you are still free to choose whatever brand you like.

First choose the lenses you like. Think about what lenses you want to buy in two or three years. Buy a camera body and a good lens that you really like. D7000 or K-5 alone will not automatically deliver better images.

Choose Pentax if you want to use Pentax Limited primes (really lightweight and small, good image quality), or if you are attracted to their DA* lenses (high IQ and weather resistant), or like their relatively cheap, but weather-sealed zooms (WR-series). Or if you like Pentax ergonomics in general (I happen to like it more than that of Nikon), or if you want to have built-in image-stabilization that works with any lens or use slightly higher ISO of K-5, or if you shoot mostly outdoors and need a weather-sealed body.

Choose Nikon if you want to enjoy better retail experience (with Pentax you'll likely have to buy everything online) and have wider choice of glass and accessories. Choose Nikon if you're thinking about upgrading to a full-frame camera in the future (with Pentax the next step is medium format, a completely different system*).

P.S. Consider spending this money on some Sony glass instead if you already own a Sony body. You will be surprised how much better your old camera can do, if coupled with a decent lens.

UPDATE 2019: * Pentax does have 2 Full Frame bodies on the market in 2019. The K1 and the K1-II so you have one more reason to choose Pentax.

  • 5
    Lens, lens, lens... +1 ! Mar 1, 2011 at 14:21
  • me too: +1 for lens, lens, lens! Mar 1, 2011 at 23:52
  • Any suggestions about cheep lenses for portrait photography? Apr 6, 2011 at 22:13
  • @Aram Sahradyan: for Pentax you may consider DA 70mm f/2.4 Limited (≈550€), FA 50mm f/1.4 (≈480€), DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited (≈400€). I also like my Tamron 90mm f/2.8 Macro very much, but it is generally too long for indoor portraits. There are some more expensive options (DA 55 f/1.4 SDM, FA 43 f/1.9 Limited, FA 77 f/1.8 Limited), some zoom lenses may be suitable too. Or you may choose to buy some older manual-focus lens, which are cheaper but less convenient.
    – sastanin
    Apr 7, 2011 at 8:50
  • Well this should be edited nowadays because Pentax DO have FF. K1 and K1-II
    – Daniel
    Mar 13, 2019 at 14:48

Pentax K-5 is a great camera (according to all the reviews), but for 1200 Euros you're looking at a kit lens setup with that body.

From what I heard, kit lens does not do justice to that body, and you'd have to spend another 400+ Euros to get a good lens.

I'd recommend going with a USED body and a TOP OF THE LINE lens (that's what I did, and can't be happier)

  • True, the K5 is a superb machine and very enjoyable to use. If you attach good glass there, it delivers stunning images.
    – Daniel
    Mar 13, 2019 at 14:51

So as jetxee says so well :

  • Lens before body

For the rest, I compare that to religion. There is Nikon people, Canon people, Pentax people, Sony People, etc.. All my friend were Nikon's so I went there. I can try their lens and get specific tips. I guess if you are there, the question is Which religion ?


I've had the D7000 since it first came out in late 2010 and I really love it. I agree with LordDragon's comment:

Choose Nikon if you're thinking about upgrading to a full-frame camera in the future (with Pentax the next step is medium format, a completely different system).

It's important to think past your next camera because it's extremely expensive to keep buying new bodies and lenses with every upgrade. That being said, I upgraded from a D3000 to the 7000 and haven't regretted it.

Once you've decided which manufacturer you want to go with look into getting some good glass. It all depends on what sort of shooting you plan on doing, but one of the cheapest Nikon lenses is the 35mm 1.8. It is fast and great for all around shooting and you'll eventually want to get a wide angle, but it's good to start with and doesn't add that much to the cost of the body.

Good luck!

  • 1
    Not anymore. In 2019 you can buy Pentax FF bodies. And very good for the money. So this makes no sense anymore.
    – Daniel
    Mar 13, 2019 at 14:52

As other have said, glass is your best option at this point.

If I were you, I'd choose Nikon or Canon because they offer a very good upgrade curve for relative newcomers. Low end bodies are cheap but they're largely compatible with the entire range of lenses and flashguns.

Because my experience is with Nikon, here are my suggestions: a second hand D90 or new D3100 for around €500 should leave you enough to get a couple of nice, second hand lenses. Just be aware that the lowest end Nikon bodies don't have focus screws (the D90 does but the D3xxx and D5000 don't) this might limit your buying choices to newer lenses.

But there's no reason to be prudish about good second hand glass. A 5 year old lens with a little dust is easily restored and works as new for another 10 to 15 years. But people know this so it doesn't always save you a ton of money.

And buy yourself a nice flashgun. The SB400 is great. The SB800 and SB900 are monstrous but insanely flexible. Lighting on its own will not only transform how good your photos are but will also expand the range of photos you can consider taking.

  • FWIW, low-end bodies from other brands are also compatible with the brand's entire range of lenses and flashes. That kind of smacks of FUD.
    – mattdm
    Mar 1, 2011 at 15:27
  • @mattdm Perhaps but in some others' cases, the range doesn't really compare to Canon and Nikon's decades of lenses. (in the scope of consumer/enthusiast price ranges).
    – Oli
    Mar 1, 2011 at 15:31
  • — depends what you're looking for. It's indisputable that the top two brands have more lens options. It's the compatibility implication I'm looking askance at.
    – mattdm
    Mar 1, 2011 at 15:33
  • If anything Nikon and Canon are the two worst in this regard. With Canon, EF-S lenses will not work on full-frame bodies. With Nikon, you pretty much need expert guidance to figure out what old lenses will work to what degree on what bodies. By contrast, all Sony bodies work with all A-mount lenses and all Pentax bodies work with all K-mount lenses. Both have lenses going back for decades as well, and both offer anti-shake for all those lenses too. Mar 1, 2011 at 16:18
  • Glass over bodies yes I agree. But Every brand has wonderful glass (and usually same specs, same focals and apertures) which usually concurs to be the same in any brand. So choose a brand and choose a lens. Later choose the body. At the end the lens is the most important but every single brand has those same lenses. So choose.
    – Daniel
    Mar 13, 2019 at 14:54

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