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03-09-2011, 12:51 PM   #1
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Compare D700 + Primes to K5 + Primes

Hi,

I had a K10d a while back, but got rid of it because the AF wasn't reliable enough. After a few different cameras, I ended up with a D700 and a bunch of primes. Generally, I've been very happy with the Nikon for the last 2 years. However, as my kids are getting more mobile, the size and weight of my camera kit is becoming burdensome.

To reduce size, I purchased a D7000. It's a nice camera, changing the camera along didn't change my overall kit size and weight much. So, aside from video and slightly more resolution, I didn't see any real advantage of going with the D7000.

So, I'm back here on the pentax forum. Looking at the K5 with the limited primes. The K5 (onces the issues are ironed out) seems to have resolved the AF issues of the K10D and has excellent IQ.

I have the following lens for my D700 and am looking to replace these pentax lenses:

24 2.8 -> 15 4.0
35 2.0 -> 21 3.2
50 1.4D -> 31 1.8
85 1.4D -> 55 1.4 or 43 1.9 (I like the size of this better, but quite different in FL)
132 2.0DC -> 77 1.8 (I prefer this size, but I like the 135 FL) or FA* 85 1.4 (127mm FL, but is a little bigger than I would like)

What are my expectations in the differences of IQ between the D700 kit and K5 kit for each focal length? For the 55 1.4 or 43 1.9 which would you recommend? Also for the 77 1.8 and 85 1.4, which would you recommend?

Thanks in advance.

03-09-2011, 01:38 PM   #2
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Are you not going to miss the shallow DOF offered by the FF camera?
I would.
But anyway I suggest you to try before you buy and not to sell the d700 until you are sure you want to keep the K-5 instead.

For the lenses - I liked both the FA43 and DA*55 but depends what you want it for. DA*55 is a lot better for portraits, FA43 is great for general photography except closeup. Better copy of FA50 could perhaps do as well but I personally didn't like this one.

Regarding the long one I chose FA*85 as I do not mind the size that much and I wanted the lens for portraits only. It is still great as general telephoto lens, and focuses very fast on K-5. I was easily shooting seagulls passing around me with it.
The FA77 features the FREE so it should be even better for general telephoto use but I'm not sure about its focus speed. DFA100WR could do as well if you are willing to sacrifice thin DOF. Or Tamron 90 would yield exactly 135mm eq.
03-09-2011, 02:16 PM   #3
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I've owned most of those Nikon lenses and all but one of the Pentax lenses (not the DA*55). In my opinion you're not going to see any big difference in IQ, beyond the change in DoF that elho mentioned (but you can still get plenty shallow DoF from APS-C). The K-5 sensor tends to fringe a bit more than the D700's, but the resolving power is amazing and the dynamic range/high-ISO capability are as good as you've heard (and maybe as good as the D700).

As for your direct conversions:

24 2.8 -> 15 4.0
I never really loved the 24 on my D700 (preferred the Quantaray/Sigma 24/2.8, actually), and I similarly haven't fully warmed up to the 15 Ltd (though I've gotten some great shots with it). The 15 is slightly wider and, I think, a bit more rectilinear. AF is fast and relatively accurate. DoF is deeper, of course. Center sharpness is great but it loses a bit toward the edges.

35 2.0 -> 21 3.2
The 35/2 is an underrated gem in Nikonland, IMO. I never loved the 21 Ltd. when I owned it but it's a pretty good lens, with excellent center sharpness. It does have more distortion than the 35/2, so be ready for that. Typical Ltd. color and rendering, and of course super small. Once again, much deeper DoF.

50 1.4D -> 31 1.8
No contest here. The 31 Ltd wipes the floor with the 50/1.4D in terms of sharpness, color, and that special magic. Of course, it's also three times as expensive, so it ought to. It's the biggest and heaviest of the Ltds but I don't think it's much heavier than the 50/1.4.

85 1.4D -> 55 1.4 or 43 1.9 (I like the size of this better, but quite different in FL)
The 43 isn't really comparable here, but it's one of my very favorite Limiteds, so I'm going to urge you to try it. I have a hard time taking it off my K-5. Then again, I've also heard excellent things (and seen excellent results) from the DA*55, but of course it's much larger.

132 2.0DC -> 77 1.8 (I prefer this size, but I like the 135 FL) or FA* 85 1.4 (127mm FL, but is a little bigger than I would like)
The 77/1.8 can't be denied. One of the sharpest lenses out there, and with some of the best bokeh (though even it can't match the DC lenses for pure creaminess). Small, lightweight, relatively quick to focus. Big thumbs up from me.
03-09-2011, 03:17 PM   #4
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I see that you wanted a smaller camera set. if that were the case, the DA LTD's and FA LTD's would be a good choice. but anyways I want to add up other lenses that weren't mentioned for consideration. FA35/2 is somewhat Nikon-ish in terms of IQ performance if you like that kind of effect. DFA 100/2.8 WR macro is also light and smaller and maybe a longer telephoto alternative.

personally, I would have this kind of line-up instead.

15/4

FA31

FA43

FA77

and

DFA 100 WR macro

I'm skipping the 21 because of the FA31 and DA 15 focal length difference.

03-09-2011, 03:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the replies.

I would lose a bit on the DoF, but that's a double edged sword. Since, I'm chasing my kids around, it's quite difficult to get them in focus if I'm shooting wide open on the D700. For the most part, I use the 50 1.4 and 85 1.4 and use 2.8-4 on most pictures. If the 31 1.8 and 55 1.4 is sharp wide open, I think I can live it the change in DoF.

Deadwolf - can you comment on how your lenses are wide open versus the Nikons stop down one stop?
03-09-2011, 03:19 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by charleychen Quote
Hi,

I had a K10d a while back, but got rid of it because the AF wasn't reliable enough. After a few different cameras, I ended up with a D700 and a bunch of primes. Generally, I've been very happy with the Nikon for the last 2 years. However, as my kids are getting more mobile, the size and weight of my camera kit is becoming burdensome.

To reduce size, I purchased a D7000. It's a nice camera, changing the camera along didn't change my overall kit size and weight much. So, aside from video and slightly more resolution, I didn't see any real advantage of going with the D7000.

So, I'm back here on the pentax forum. Looking at the K5 with the limited primes. The K5 (onces the issues are ironed out) seems to have resolved the AF issues of the K10D and has excellent IQ.

I have the following lens for my D700 and am looking to replace these pentax lenses:

24 2.8 -> 15 4.0
35 2.0 -> 21 3.2
50 1.4D -> 31 1.8
85 1.4D -> 55 1.4 or 43 1.9 (I like the size of this better, but quite different in FL)
132 2.0DC -> 77 1.8 (I prefer this size, but I like the 135 FL) or FA* 85 1.4 (127mm FL, but is a little bigger than I would like)

What are my expectations in the differences of IQ between the D700 kit and K5 kit for each focal length? For the 55 1.4 or 43 1.9 which would you recommend? Also for the 77 1.8 and 85 1.4, which would you recommend?

Thanks in advance.
I would go with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 over the 55mm Pentax. I would also take a look at the Sigma 85mm f/1.4. That will get you closer to the 135mm FL.
All of the Nikon reviews I have seen for the Sigma 85mm place it between the D & G Nikon models in terms of quality.
03-09-2011, 03:26 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Winder Quote
I would go with the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 over the 55mm Pentax. I would also take a look at the Sigma 85mm f/1.4. That will get you closer to the 135mm FL.
All of the Nikon reviews I have seen for the Sigma 85mm place it between the D & G Nikon models in terms of quality.
How does the Sigma 50 1.4 compare to the DA* 55? Isn't the Sigma a big lens? From the specs, it looks like it's about 1/2 thicker.
03-09-2011, 03:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by deadwolfbones Quote
35 2.0 -> 21 3.2
The 35/2 is an underrated gem in Nikonland, IMO. I never loved the 21 Ltd. when I owned it but it's a pretty good lens, with excellent center sharpness. It does have more distortion than the 35/2, so be ready for that. Typical Ltd. color and rendering, and of course super small. Once again, much deeper DoF.
Try to find an FA20/2.8 instead, as I did. Or maybe try the FA*24/2 (but that's one I haven't used).

All three FA Ltds are great for size with IQ.

I sold my FA77 to get an FA*85, and I'm glad I did - it was worth it. But the FA77 is so much smaller and lighter - You can put it in your pocket. And it's nearly as good for most shooting.

I really like my DA15.

So, get all of the smaller ones, except the DA21 if you have a choice (it's really small, yet has "interesting" (sometimes good, but generally quirky) rendering). Then consider adding the DA*55, since it's so good, yet different from the FA43.

03-09-2011, 04:19 PM   #9
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Interesting thinking here.
I never shot Nikon but have few of the lenses you are thinking of and tried some others too, so I'll chime in if I may...

77 - it's FOV is different enough on APSC from 85 to notice. I used to own M85 and focal length wise I felt slightly more at home with 85. But since FA85 (the only Pentax AF 85) is much bigger, 77 makes a lot of sense. IQ wise it's one fantastic lens. It has a lot of character and if you get correct exposure the shots coming out of it are stunning. Sharpness, colours, contrast and OOF rendering are top notch right from wide open. If you are after small lens in this segment I'd definitely recommend it. You may want to have a look at DA70 too but you are loosing even more DOF (not necesrelly disatvantage in your case) and with hood on it's not so much smaller. Of course you are gaining AF speed and it's about the half the weight of 77...

43 vs 55 - no contest here IMO. Too very different lenses IMO. 55 was designed as specialised APSC portrait lens. It has SDM, rounded blades, WR and is practically stop faster. Trade off? Size. 55 is more than 2x the size of 43. AF is just about the same on both (on K10D it was..) 43 on the other hand is a true normal FF lens. On APSC it's kind of neither here nor there FOV IMO but I love it. It's terrific general purpose lens. Really small, has nice hood arangement, and is thus very unobtrusive. Beautifully finished and feels like propper workhorse. The DOF is of course much bigger than 55/1.4 but 43 has better (smoother) OOF rendering (IMO) and I prefer the colours too. Also 43 gets very often noted as lens with one of the best "3D pop" and I definitelly agree on that one. Contrary to some opinions I'd say it's very sharp wide open (definitely sharper than 31, any 50/1.4). If you have budget get both. They are different enough to have them IMO.

31 - my most temperamental lens lens. AF is not most reliable (at least on my copy) and beyond 2m wide open the lens looses bit of the sharpness IMO. But if you get it right with this one, you'll be rewarded by possibly the best OOF rendering of any Pentax AF lens under 100mm IMO. If you won't like it you can always sell it (there is always few folks after it). It's the biggest of Ltds but matches the K-7/5 bodies perfectly.

For the 35mm replacement I'd second the notion for FA*24. Apparently there are bad copies out there but if you get good one oh boy is it worth it. Possibly the most contrasty lens I've used. AF is super fast and 9/10 accurate. It's sharp wide open but produces "glow" (wide open, it's gone by f2.8) around your subjects which tends to soften the image a bit (this is very similar to my experience with M85/2). It has quite some CAs but that's fixable in PPing. Body is just about the same height as 31Ltd but bit fatter. Of course the hood makes it look large and on grip-less K-7/5 body it feels tad large but still comfortable. It's OOF can be bit busy, I'd say the lens is as "picky" with the background as 43Ltd, but definetly no rival to 31... It has fantastic colour rendition and less distortion than 21Ltd. Definitely lens worth thinking of if you are after specific FOV (which you are).

Hope this helps...
Regards
03-09-2011, 07:57 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by charleychen Quote
Deadwolf - can you comment on how your lenses are wide open versus the Nikons stop down one stop?
It really depends on the lens. The 31 and 43 can be a little soft wide open, while the 77 is tack sharp from the get-go. The 15 is sharp in the center at f/4 and gets sharper toward the edges as you stop down.

The thing about the D700 sensor is that it's just magic. Literally every lens I've shot on that camera produces amazing photos, and I know they all haven't been amazing lenses.
03-09-2011, 11:34 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Others have given a good rundown already on the lens comparisons, and especially Ben, who has both cameras in question (and much of the glass. )

I think you'll find that the Pentax Limiteds are truly special lenses - they combine size, IQ, and price into an unbeatable package. But if you look at the whole system with regards to low-light kid shooting... it's going to be hard to beat your D700. Extremely fast, accurate focus, still about a stop difference in high-ISO performance... the D700 was designed for low-light shooting.

That said, it's a larger camera that costs around $1000 more than the K-5. It should perform better, and if you realize that, you'll be OK.

Regarding the 77ltd - a magical lens, but slow to lock focus on my K20D. Undoubtedly somewhat quicker on the K-5, but it's still going to be slow compared to any lens on that D700. Same with the 31 and 43. I've found the FA limited frustrating to use for kid captures because of that.... But when they lock, it's fantastic.

Re the 24 vs. 15 - I owned the Nikon 24 and 28, but never got a chance to shoot them on the D700 (only the D90.) On the D90, I found them both very ordinary. My Tamron 17-50 2.8 actually outperformed both of them. On my D700, I shoot the 20 f/2.8D, and I love it, a much better lens than the Nikon 24 and 28 - but still not as good as the Pentax 15ltd. The 15 has better contrast, is sharper, better colors, much better flare resistance - but it's an f/4 lens, and on aps-c you'll be losing about 2 stops of DOF control there vs. the 24 2.8 on FF. But if as you say you're looking for more DOF, that won't matter to you much.

Here are some kid snaps with the 15:
















.
The thing about the 15, and the the other Limiteds - they can come with you anywhere, easily, so you end up getting shots you would have missed with the D700, because you didn't want to lug it around. (I think you get that ) Indoors, low-light, at home, nothing beats the D700... But in any type of casual walkabout situation, short trip, even a supposedly non-photographic errand - that K-5 + 15/31/42/21, etc will often be there with you just at the perfect time.


.

Last edited by jsherman999; 03-09-2011 at 11:40 PM.
03-10-2011, 08:55 AM   #12
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Jay, how can you make shots like this look so good?? I'm beginning to think "The Jsherman shots control my mind now"

....ok i digress. back to the topic.
I'm also a prodigal son back with the K-5 after a year's fling with D700. The D700 would be so heavy, no matter what prime you put on it.
Beauty of K-5 is in the small size and the nice quiet shutter.
03-10-2011, 09:32 AM   #13
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Thanks for the replies and pictures (they are great). You definitely has a point about not lugging theD700 around. In addition to the weight, a D700 with the 85 1.4 sticks out like a sore thumb at the park.

I think I'll need to give the K5 a try. I priced a K5 kit and the thing that surprised me is how much the K5 kit would cost. It cost just as much as D700 kit. I am using used prices for comparison.
03-10-2011, 03:46 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by charleychen Quote
It cost just as much as D700 kit. I am using used prices for comparison.
You didn't pick the cheapest lenses... On the contrary. Try one lens for start and the perhaps you will be tempted to add onother one.
03-10-2011, 06:30 PM   #15
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I think you're really going to notice the AF speed and flexibility difference moving to Pentax from a D700. The Pentax has no predictive AF, so isn't quite as good for moving subjects.

But I have two kids who move pretty fast, and for the most part I do just fine

I'm going to second elho_cid's recommendation for the 100 Macro WR for the longer prime. It focuses very fast, especially for a macro, and it's not much larger than a kit lens. It's very well built, very sharp and black, so it doesn't stick out. And it's really cool looking.

I've had every lens you've mentioned at one point or another but I've sold most of my Pentax stuff to build a Sony FF system. I still have the DA*55, FA 77 and 100 WR, which are unlike anything available on any other system and still my favourite 3 lenses.

Of course, so are all those other primes, for better or for worse.

The DA21, I always felt was a bit too in-between--it didn't really replace a 35, but wasn't an ultra wide either.

The 43 I didn't like the look of wide open (actually I don't like the 55 wide open either, same kind of problem), but has amazing rendering stopped down. Of all the lenses I've sold, this one hurt the most. But the DA*55 took over for it as my go-to lens.

The 31 wasn't consistent with focusing as others have mentioned, but again, beautiful colours, contrast and sharpness when it hit.

When I sold the 43 and 31, I purchased a cheap DA L 35/2.4 which does a decent job. Nice FOV, fast, accurate focusing, nice rendering wide open. Doesn't have the colours or contrast of the FA limiteds, but it was under $200. Of course, I have a whole other system, or I wouldn't have sold those beauties!
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