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149 of 152 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2013
If you are interested in this camera, I assume you are either motivated to not buy Nikon or Canon, or at minimum you are not opposed to the idea of being a little different. For the cost of explaining to you friends that Pentax does still make very good cameras, you get a feature set that above and beyond what the "Big Two" offer at this price. Along that line, this is Pentax's current flagship camera. That means they held nothing back. There are no capabilities reserved for more expensive cameras in the line, and that should eliminate any buyers remorse.
If you enjoy using manual focus, a Pentax Camera is a no brainer. Their DSLRs use the classic Pentax K mount. This allows you to mount (without an adapter) an arsenal of great old lenses. Did I mention in-body image stabilization? Not only can you build a small library of lenses, but utilize modern (and very effective) image stabilization on every one. In the K-3 Pentax dedicated a servo to its image stabilization.
As for the K-3... I also own a K-30 and purchased the K-3 to be a primary body, with the K-30 serving backup, in order to start taking on portrait contracts. Do not let the APS-C sensor size steer you away. Many pros are now shooting Fujifilm (APS-C) and Olympus (m4/3). The focus peaking is very accurate and easy to use. The dual SD card slots is a nice pro feature. However, if you were hoping for WiFi, this is only achieved via SD card. Considering the trend towards connected cameras, this is unfortunate. But if you shoot RAW and dedicate your time to a post-processing workflow, than WiFi may be unnecessary. The IQ is brilliant and the colors and WB are the best I have seen from Pentax. The shutter/mirror sound is very quiet and precise sounding. And if you are interested in video capabilities, Pentax has finally taken you into consideration with the K-3. The camera is very customizable if you take the time to explore the labyrinth of menu screens. Overall, this camera is a leap forward for the company.
PS. A firmware update was just released so any issues you may read about prior to Dec. 19th may have been addressed in the new firmware.
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105 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2014
Up front, please be advised that this camera does not come with the required Micro-B USB 3.0 cord, which I found out at 9:30PM, eager to look at my first shots with the new Pentax.

I upgraded from a three year old Pentax K-5, which is an amazing camera in its own right.
There is a certain quality to the images I got from the K-5, the dynamic range that enables the camera to draw photos unlike any other I have seen.
The K3 has the same sensor characteristics, albeit in a much larger 24mp package and much much sharper thanks to the removed deep pass filter (which can be simulated by the sensor if needed).
So far I have had no need for the filter after taking 1000+ shots, even though test shots of some fabric did display moiré patterns which were almost gone turning on the deep pass filter simulator (there are two stages available). The clarity and crispness is amazing! The RAW images the K3 spits out contain data from the darkest blacks to the brightest whites, giving enormous room for developing the RAW photos to JPEG.
Comparable cameras like the Canon 70D have all the bells and whistles, like built in wireless, touch screen, video autofocus etc. That is nice to have if you like gadgets, if you like cameras, get the K3. It'll wipe the floor with the 70D in photographic output. The only feature I envy the 70D for is the swivel screen, which would be a great photographic tool to have. Maybe it'll be implemented in the next model. The dual cards are great for shooting RAW+JPEG for example, or just using the convenience it provides to have massive amounts of storage available if needed.
The live view function has been massively improved over the K5, the focus being several times snappier and accurate.
I took over 600 shots last weekend alone in combination with the mind-blowing Pentax 35mm 2.8 Limited Macro and the Sigma 70mm 2.8 Macro. The bokeh, colors and contrast these lenses paint onto the K3's sensor are pure art! Can't say it any differently.
If you are starting out and aren't yet locked into any camera brand, give the K3 a go. It is an innovative, solid as a tank, pure camera, aimed at taking the best photos possible.
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80 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2013
Photography is my favorite hobby. I bought my first Pentax (ME Super) after saving for two years on my paper route in middle school. After a twenty year hiatus, I started shooting using the new digital Pentax cameras a few years ago. I loved the K5. Things I like about Pentax: they focus on what advanced amateur's like instead of flashy features. The cameras are more compact, very durable (you can drop them from hand height without damage!). They can use virtually any lens with an adapter (Canons have trouble with some older lenses even with an adapter). They integrate the shake reduction into the camera so that it works with all lenses and you don't need to re-buy the anti-shake with every new lens. They don't add features on a whim - and instead evolve the product in a backwards compatible and practical way. The K3 exemplifies this design methodology. It sticks with APS-C instead of jumping on the old full frame band wagon. That's great because the quality is similar to full frame, but the camera is smaller and all the lenses are smaller. They improved the sharpness, the dynamic range and shake reduction. The sharpness improvement without the AA filter is amazing. The batteries and battery charger are identical with the k5. Another example of the backwards compat. They improved the lens release button which was flawed on the k5. And the sensors on both the K3 and K5 vie for the highest dynamic range in the industry. Too bad there is no six star rating. This is my favorite possession. The latest photos on my site are all K3 [...]
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2013
The Pentax K-3 is amazing! I am interested in taking pictures of birds and wanted a camera that is rugged and weather sealed but that also has high image quality. I also prefer an APS-C camera sensor which is an advantage for birding due to its increased effective focal length which allows one to put "more pixels on the bird" for better detail of feathers and such. The Pentax K-3 fits the bill perfectly. I paired it with the terrific Pentax DA*300 mm lens, which is also weather sealed and super sharp, and couldn't be more pleased! Now I have a terrific birding setup that takes amazing images but is still light enough to carry around in the field without having to use a tripod.

DPreview has an end of the year poll on their website for The Best DSLR of 2013. As of today over 7650 people have voted in the poll which includes 11 camera models and the Pentax K-3 is the clear winner, having nearly twice the votes as the second place camera (the Canon 70D). I did a lot of research before purchasing the K-3 and agree wholeheartedly with all the wonderful reviews of it.
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63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2014
***Please note, I turn off JPEG Noise Reduction on my cameras. Noise reduction (NR) can smear images as opposed to helping them when the option to fix noise in post production tools exist that do a better job. All comparisons between cameras in JPEG are done as such to get a better idea of sharpness provided by each camera. By turning off Noise Reduction I also get a better sense of what the JPEG engine is doing in the camera. I do shoot in RAW also, but really only for exposure corrections, CA removal, and other basic "photographic" based functions such as White Balance. I do review comparisons of RAW to JPEG for final images, but not for focus tests which is deemed unnecessary to note focusing performance of a camera.


- Blazing fast firmware - including in camera RAW editing
- Blazing fast live view operation, focusing, and shot to shot times in live view
- Blazing fast write times to card/fast buffering
- LCD a huge improvement, literally HUGE improvement in size and clarity.
- Remains compact in size, but big enough to feel solid just like the K5 and Pentax family
- Vignetting and CA removal VERY effective in JPEG format (processed rapidly while shooting!!). Its faster and more effective than in previous cameras.
-Images far cleaner at 1600 ISO and 3200 than advertised by review sites and worry- warts. K5 does remain cleaner for JPEG luma noise while both have the same chroma noise. The K5 and K01 are undeniably better images, but the K3 is still better than the competition and close to the K5 and K01.
- Sharp images when viewed at the same size as 16MP images (10x15 on your LCD or on print). I am referring to sharpness of JPEG's WHEN JPEG ISO NR is turned off in the camera. Try it for ISO under 1600, you won't regret it!!!
- No moire noted at all with the AA simulator turned off. I only have shot the K3 with the AA simulator turned off which yields sharper images.
- MUCH less fringing with the K3 than the K5. I tested in really challenging conditions under bright sunlight where the K5 fringed on metal and fencing and hi contrast. The K3 was squeaky clean (AA filter off and CA removal on in the camera settings). This is something K3 advocates have yet reported that is really important to hear. It is a HUGE benefactor in my opinion and makes for great images for architectural or automotive shooters.
- Slightly larger OVF magnification that makes viewing the OVF really nice.

-Shutter and focusing a bit louder while using OVF (though still nice). But live view (CDAF) clicks loudly while focusing, almost annoying compared to the K5
- Live view mode does not zoom/verify focused point (a trade of for faster focusing)
- USB Door is thinner and flimsier on the K3 as opposed to the K5 and does not seal as well. While in warm temps, I noted the door alters shape and becomes soft causing alarm for making a good fit in wet conditions. It should still "do the job", just not as confidently as the K5 door.
- Fidgety button operation. In some circumstances, buttons at varying points of the camera must be used at the same time to change a function (such as changing AF selection).
- reduced battery life
- edials are not as smooth on the K3 as the K5. They click quite audibly and cheaper in feel. But honestly, this is subjective to the user. It is important to note there is quite a bit of a difference. I also find the new 4 way buttons very annoying and too easy to bump.

- B-E-A-U-T-F-U-L display panel with excellent colors to choose from. Makes you want to just stare at the status screen. The display on the K3 is THEE Lamborghini of cameras, no doubt.

- Excellent live view shooting implementation, button placement, and functionality (minus the metering button and LCD on/off situation). Live view stays on when in live view, at all times, even when "menu diving" so when you are done with the menu , you are back into live view. With the K5, you have to turn live view on even if just change PASM modes. GREAT fix on the K3. If you shoot live view and don't care about the metering switch or turning on and off the LCD, YOU WILL LOVE the K3.

- Very nice AF button placement and much easier to use (especially with gloves on) than the K5

- IF you like a bigger size, the K3 feels a bit grippier and larger with more room for bigger hands (though little room remains for fingers between the lens and right side grip - it is tight on both cameras)

Tripoding with the K3 is a disaster: almost all of the time, tripod shooters need the shooting info displayed on the back LCD and need to turn it off and on quickly. Tripoding has really become frustrating work thanks to the new K3 menu design for the LCD and Metering functions.

- For reference, on the K5, hit the info button once, displays page 1 shooting info, hit it second time shows page 2, hit it a 3rd time, back LCD is off (the level is an opted 4th screen that can be changed in the menu...very nice implementation on the K5). One button, one task, quickly achieved on the K5.

The K3, turning on and off the LCD is menu based option.... it takes fidgeting through a menu to turn off the back LCD which makes NO sense at all.

- This next complaint is quite bothersome WHEN you cannot view the top LCD. To change metering, if you need the back LCD while on a Tripod and it was off while you shoot, you have to turn the rear LCD back on using the multi-click menu navigation, push the meter button and then select in the menu what metering you want, then navigate the menu and turn off the back LCD panel again. Otherwise, click on and off your live view to change or verify the setting of your metering. You can change the metering while your scene is displayed in live view, though. The 3 way selector for the metering used to be a switch under the mode dial which was always visible to change or verify in case your lighting conditions are in a rapidly changing state. Now what WAS the metering selection switch is a useless lock for the mode dial lock itself making it a redundant and trivial invention that replaces a VERY necessary switch (the metering function). This lock mechanism is nothing less than redundant; a lock for the lock!!! Wow. The mode dial lock button was easy enough to just push to change PASM modes. Also, the new lock for the lock moves too easily back and forth and is bumped into unknown positions. Not a smart change at all.

- I find the white balance a tad bit off for Daylight White Balance on the K3 vs the K5. The K3 has a bit of a yellow cast which requires post editing to correct at times, but especially on cloudy days. The K5 maintains overall a more balanced daylight white balance in all outdoor shooting conditions. This really came as a surprise to me hearing others state differently. This may be due to subjectivity from person to person or because
of varying conditions. BUT, with all the remarks about white balance, I find it important to share with you my findings favor the K5. In fact, DP Review also agrees that JPEG white balance and color saturation is a bit skewed and put this as a CON on the conclusion page of their review of the K3. So I am not the only one noticing the white balance variations.


FOR STILL SHOOTING OR SINGLE SHOT photography, focus accuracy is WAY down. It is particularly bad when focusing at near infinity to infinity targets. The K5 Mark one will stutter sometimes, but gets you a sharp photo, the K5ii is the greatest performer and hardly stutters. The K3 jumps on it and fires, but gets only 95-98% correct focus in PDAF and 50% in CDAF/Live View. The K5 gets tack sharp focus almost all the time IF you are one to take time to compose a still shot. Honestly, I will take accuracy over speed and megapixels any day. It seems the new focus system sacrificed accuracy for speed in order to accommodate a 27 point system to utilize tracking systems for action photography. So if you enjoy stills, the K5ii (and even K01 from my experience) focus much better in all conditions for single shots. I must report there is no Front Focus Tungsten issue like there is for the K5 (which you have to adjust for FF or just use live view) For low light, I still love using the K01 the most. I have also noted RAW files in Hi ISO are cleaner for the K01 and K5 than the K3, though not drastically different.

Concerning Auto focus, you will hear compliment after compliment about "Tracking" in autofocus. Yet very few (if anyone) has really commented pinpoint accuracy and consistency for stills shooting. BUT, DP Review severely down graded the score for Auto Focus Accuracy for the K3 vs the K5 which is rated very high. In addition, Pentax Forums In Depth Review (and Administrator "Adam") has constantly remarked that the K3 really only shoots well with SDM/DC based lenses, and is more "picky" about the lenses used with it. Additionally comments in those resources also state that screw driven lenses may suffer a bit, and that 3rd party lenses may not work well.

Now, just in my experience, I tripoded the K3 with a perfectly functioning Tamron 28-75 lens that is dead accurate on my 2 K5's. This Tamron 28-75 was calibrated February 2014 and I have shot perfectly all year with this thing. I shot a test seen with CDAF/Live view, and shots were mostly correct testing at 28mm, 40mm, 60mm, and 75mm on the K3 (in the test seen, not real world shooting which was worse). I then shot in PDAF/OVF. I did 3 shots each focal length. Results were very consistent. In PDAF the K3 focused a little Front Focus at 28mm, more FF at 40, worse at 60mm, and FF at 75 to where there was no focus at all. I tried adjusting AF fine tune, but already you can tell if in order to compensate 75mm, 28mm would be way off, and it was. When 75mm was accurate, 28mm was then Back Focused (BF). The focus changed so radically the 28-75 was completely unusable on the K3.

To be fair, and report honestly, I did not have these problems with my DA35mm, DA50mm, DA16-45, or DA40mm in PDAF/OVF shooting. However, in Live View/CDAF, focus was so inconsistent for any lens in Real World conditions that in each shot foreground blur/bokeh and background blur/bokeh would exchange a bit, and the center focus was only tack sharp in few instances. It appears that speed has been implemented at the cost of accuracy.

TO NOTE further, I tripod every test scenario, shoot the same setting 3 times, recompose between all shots, and use single point focus, not multi point in order to pinpoint a clearly obvious target. I also compare between cameras just for reference to make certain results are consistent. Every time, the K5 in CDAF was 90%+ accurate, the K3 under 50% and this is for all lenses used.

KEEP in mind, all my lenses are screw driven. My conclusion is the change to a faster motor and faster focusing system has lead to inconsistency. I have made this known to Pentax and a reply was made to me "that given the new mechanical nature of the screw drive system, it is a possibility that this may contribute to less accurate results".

ALSO keep in mind, with SDM/DC motor systems in Pentax, shooting in PDAF/OVF has reportedly resulted in dead accurate and amazing results.


The K3 has become a "fidgety" camera to use for tripod shooters. The changes from the K5/k5ii are not all that small, they are quite intrusive to the work of Tripod Shooters, but not so much sports shooters who don't need to turn on and off the back LCD and also change metering on demand. None the less, there is some "getting used to" in a variety of settings changes. The K5 is very streamlined in this regard and the K3 more challenging and menu/multi button driven. The only real improvement from the K5 to the K3 is faster Live View shot to shot times, 27 points, a slightly faster focusing system for tracking/sports shooting, (though arguably less accurate), and a better LCD panel with a push to 24MP from 16MP which does NOT yield a better image if you view each yielding photograph in their native resolutions. The 24MP does allow for the larger print at native resolutions, just not a better looking print. Honestly, with the better focusing of the K5 for stills shooting, coupled with my efforts in post editing, I am able to get more consistent results and sharper images with the K5 than the K3.

Mostly, all changes seem to be trade-offs and not improvements (except for the nice LCD panel)

All in all, I cannot justify the K3 for anything other than larger print sizes and improved action photography. If you are a stills shooter, the K5 is a much smoother functioning camera with shooting modes at your fingertips, quicker and easier to use functions, with more accurate focusing. Live view focusing speeds are only very slightly slower on a K5 (though buffering is very slow for shot to shot times in live view). Yet the K5 feels smoother and more accurate as opposed to the K3 which quickly jolts and leaves you to wonder if it even focused accurately. Additionally, the K3 jumps quickly and never zooms in the focus point of your subjects leaving you to guess at what was focused upon. The K5 smoothly zooms in the target and you can verify the focus point. The K3 live view advantage only lies in write times allowing near instantaneous shot to shot times, many of which will not be perfectly focused of course. It would have been in Pentax's best interest to speed up shot to shot times of the K5 in this K3, but use the K5 focus method of more softly zooming in on a target and capturing with accuracy rather than speed. After all, who shoots sports or action in live view??? It would have made sense to design live view around those who shoot in live view; those who shoot in low light or static subjects that need to SEE and VERIFY what is being focused on and get accurate results. The cost to K5 shooters is suffering the slow live view shot to shot times due to waiting on the LCD to be viewable after each shot.


I REALLY wanted to pay some compliments to the K3. If you are coming from any camera other than a K5ii/K5iis the K3 is a very formidable camera that just feels AWESOME to use. In design (minus my 2 gripes of the metering switch and LCD on/off switching) the K3 is the ultimate camera. It feels better to hold than a K5 in my opinion, and its speed of operation is incredibly snappy and almost robotic. The larger OVF helps too, though only a little, but feels great to use. Its focusing feels decisive, but this is where all the compliments end. LESS focus accuracy is the trade off for decisive and quick focusing and is not acceptable in my book, and it broke the deal for me.

Also, the K3 froze on 2 occasions requiring me to remove and reinstall the battery. It would not even power down, it just got stuck on the status screen and did not respond. This is a very common complaint even after installing firmware updates. For this reason and for the inconsistent focusing, I returned the K3 defective. I lost sleep for 2 nights over that decision, no joking. I love Pentax, and this was just a real let down for me. Thus I found it important to report my experience and hope these issues are more expressed by others having the same problems so Pentax/Ricoh will make some changes or fix the K3. I then will jump at any chance to buy one!!!

Bottom line: the tradeoffs of the K3 to the K5 were not worth it for my style of shooting. I since have purchased a K5iis and have not looked back. I do look forward to an improved K3 someday = )


The K3 is more for the photographic "skeet shooter", wanting to hit moving targets.

The K5 is dog slow in Live View, but as a stills shooter, I feel I capture more of "what I came for" with the K5. I can just sit back, enjoy the view, and shoot something that "ain't movin' ". I find the K5 a more "relaxing and sure footed" experience. And heck, with the slow write times of the K5 in live view, I find there is more time to have a few extra sips of beer between shots!!!

I hope you find what works best for you.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2014
I have owned several APS-C cameras in my life and, by far, this is the best I've owned. The color reproduction is amazing and the feature set is pretty fantastic as well. I switched from a mirrorless back to this DSLR because the AF was so slow. This camera blows it away. That being said, several people 'in the know' say the Pentax SAFOX AF engine falls behind Canon and Nikon. I haven't noticed that whatsoever.

With ISOs higher than 3200 it gets a little noisy (as do most). Anything after 6400, to a pixel-peeper, becomes much less usable. But with some post-processing in any of the major software titles or dedicated plugins and they're fine.

I bought this with hesitation because I'd never owned a Pentax before. As soon as I pulled it out of the box, the feel alone made me realize this was the camera for me. It feels amazingly well-built and solid.

Color reproduction.
Legacy Pentax lenses!
In-body image stabilization for ALL lenses.
The 'Limited' lenses from Pentax are phenomenal.
No AA filter.
Weather resistant.
Solidly built and feels amazing in-hand.

ISO 6400 and above are noisier than competing bodies, but fixable.
Lack of recognition of a Pentax vs. Canon or Nikon.
Not as many new lenses as competitors.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2013
Have been shooting with the K-5 for 3-4 years. Always pleased with the images, but the speed and consistency of the autofocus was a bit lacking. The K-3 addresses those two issues with clearly superior performance. The accuracy of overall exposure, both using the matrix mode and with bounce flash, also is vastly improved by comparison. Altogether a worthy upgrade that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys photography. If you are looking for a camera that holds your hand with gimicky "scene" modes, this one is not for you. If you know your way around a camera, this is the one to get.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2014
I've been a Pentax user for a few years. My previous cameras were the K-7 and K-01. The K-3 is leaps and bounds ahead of both.

The autofocus is always spot-on. I've taken about 200 shots so far; the AF hasn't missed one. Many of these were in low-light. I haven't tried the continuous AF on moving subjects, yet.

The detail capture is stellar. Kudos to Pentax/Ricoh for removing the AA filter.

High ISO and noise: I was impressed. The amount of noise with extreme ISO levels (12,800 - 25,600) at 100% is about the same as the last generation of APS-C cameras. But here's the catch: you have way more pixels to work with, so the noise performance is actually great. If you were to downsize a high-ISO image from the K-3 and compare it to a high-ISO image from last generation, the K-3 would look significantly better. (Though it already looks really good before you even clean it up.)

Body: I haven't really tested this camera yet, but it seems to be built as tough as the previous top-end Pentax DSLRs. I put my K-7 through all kinds of abuse: rain, snow, the tropics, and a minor chemical accident. 20,000 shots and a few years later - still works like the day I got it (the 18-55 WR kit lens, too).

The ergonomics have not changed a lot, but the K-3 seems slightly more comfortable to hold and easy to operate (thanks to a couple of button layout changes) than the K-7. YMMV.

-----The 18-135 lens----

The bundled lens is a mixed bag.

The build quality and autofocus are excellent. The zoom range is very useful. The sharpness in the center of the image is good. But the border sharpness is a huge letdown. I believe the trusty (and cheaper) old 18-55 WR has better border sharpness, which makes a difference in landscape photography (at least if you are pixel-peeper or plan on printing big poster-size prints).

If you're after excellent image quality with weather-sealing, better look to the DA* 16-50. Or save yourself some money and buy the DA 18-55 WR if you only need good image quality. I would only recommend the 18-135 bundle if you want the versatility of a wide-to-telephoto zoom and you're willing to give up image quality around the edges of the frame.
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57 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2013
I have had this model for about a week now I have used it in several situations where I would use my older canons and it has performed superior to them. I don't mean older rebels either I used to own a canon 7D and a 5Dmark II with F2.8 lenses. so far where I would use ISO 4000 with my canon w/F2.8 I used ISO 800 at F4.0. My new lenses should be coming in soon I'm going with Sigma lenses for this camera. it's a little smaller so it's taken some getting used to. I think when I get a battery grip I will be fine with it. still learning the buttons since it was a big risk and a big change. I will update this several more times as I take pictures for a high school and junior high school sports. next update should be in a couple of weeks as basketball season is starting up soon.
update 12/14/13 the time since my first review has been great. This camera has exceeded my expectations. I have since been using the sigma 50mm that's been working great. I used the 50mm for two basketball games in a wrestling tournament. the camera performed really well. I kept the lens set to F2.8 which had me at ISO 3200 and shutter speed of 1/500 inside a dimly lit high school gym. All the recent sports pictures on my website are from this camera and the sigma 50mm. [...]
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2014
I would have to say that this camera doesn't get the attention it deserves. I went from owning a Canon 70D & Nikon 7100 to this beauty; I was totally amazed by the results I was getting. This camera is packed with really neat features I recommend reading the owners manual before operating the camera. When it comes to lenses I recommend getting the 18-135mm & 50mm f1.8 you can upgrade to better lenses later on.

Build quality is top notch, you can just tell the camera is rugged, it can withstand water, oil, sand, & dust. To be honest I do not miss the articulated screen from Canon or all the big huff people give Nikon.

I would give this camera a chance, you'll have nothing to loose if not satisfied just return it. Make sure you buy from Amazon or BH Photo.
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