questionschallenge/advice: accessories for my new pentax…

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I would get a case/bag, but I will say I own a case and I only use it for storage when I am not using my camera. I hate carrying stuff around with me, but when I am out shooting I am also usually tramping through the woods and a camera bag is just one more thing I don't need. Since I don't use more than once lens I don't see a need for it except to protect the camera when I am not using it. I am certain if I had more lenses they would be carried in my knapsack somehow or in pockets depending on their size.

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You'll definitely need a memory card. Go with nothing smaller than about 4G. It takes SDHC cards, so this seemed like a good buy:

http://deals.woot.com/deals/details/f6fd4c3e-7133-4447-a08f-68f41ca5335f/a-data-8gb-sdhc-class-10-flash-memory-card-free-shipping

Also, if you're really going to learn to use it, you're going to want knowledge. Best book out there for learning the basics of SLR-style shooting:

http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-Photographs-Digital-Updated/dp/0817463003/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1272424047&sr=8-1

A fantastic book which will teach you the ins and outs of why there are all those settings on your SLR and when you might use them.

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@hobbit: Normally I would be right along with you in only needing a bag for storage. However, this camera is larger and heavier than I am accustomed to. I can't tuck it into my camelbak, jacket pocket, etc. Also, it will need more protection with some of the hiking & scrambling that we'll be doing this summer. I guess that I don't really want a traditional camera bag. I want one that will be hiking & travel friendly. I think that it will be safer to take my lumix on the bike.

@eneref: Does brand matter with the SDHC cards? It looks like I can buy them in up to 32G. Is bigger better?

Someone recommended that I get a lens filter?

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@glindagw: Brand generally doesn't matter as much as quality/speed. You want something that writes quickly enough to the camera so that your camera isn't limited by the speed of the memory (remember, it's going to be writing 14 Megapixel files, which aren't exactly tiny), and something that's reliable enough that you don't have to worry about it just not working right.

As for size, that's up to you. Bigger sizes will hold more pictures. But you always run the risk of all your eggs being in one basket as it were if there's a card failure of some kind. When I'm shooting, I generally limit myself to 100-200 pictures a card for those reasons.

Cards WILL eventually fail. They just do. They're only made to be used a certain number of times before you toss them and get a new one. For this reason alone, I don't know if I'd blow the VERY high price on the 32G cards right now as it just becomes a single point of failure.

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@glindagw: If you're going to be hiking with this, you might look at a camera backpack. Eventually, you will want to buy more lenses than just the kit lens, simply because you'll want something wider... or something more telephoto... or something sharper and with a wider aperture for portraits. Etc, etc. It's a slippery slope. ;)

But a smallish camera backpack or sling bag might be just right for you for hiking. Avoid LARGE sling bags. They just get too heavy and cause stress on a single shoulder.

Look at Lowepro's slingshot 100 bag:
http://products.lowepro.com/product/SlingShot-100-AW,2034,4.htm

Or their fastpack 100:
http://products.lowepro.com/product/Fastpack-100,2084,14.htm

As a good starting bag to hike with with your camera. Gives a little space for camera plus other stuff. But is small and light and easy to work with.

As you build your collection, you'll look at bigger bags. But for now, think small.

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@glindagw: Hope you enjoy your new DSLR!

Regarding the filter question, some people fit their lenses with UV filters. The UV part isn't really necessary, because modern lenses already have the necessary coatings on them.

Rather, it's an issue of protection: bump your camera on a rock while hiking, and the UV filter will take the impact instead of the lens. Kind of like insurance.

On the downside, inexpensive UV filters don't have as high quality glass as a good lens, so some argue that you're harming the quality of your pictures.

The filter would probably give you extra peace of mind when hiking and scrambling. You can probably leave it off the rest of the time if you notice a difference in your shots.

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@heymo: Thanks. I'm excited. I just received my shipping notification. Thanks for the feedback about the filters. You're right, I will feel better about having a little extra protection in some situations. I originally learned to shoot on an SLR but it's been a long time.

@eneref: Good call on the memory cards. You're right, I would rather not depend on one card for everything.

The lowepro's look really bulky. Are they comfortable to carry? This looks like a great bag for travel. I love that it has laptop space & a real hipbelt. I'm wondering if there is some sort of lighter weight case that I could use & toss into my daypack.

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@eneref: I love the book! This is my first DSLR, but not my first SLR. This book is offering a lot of great ideas & options. Thanks for the recommendation.