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12-07-2010, 01:06 PM   #1
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Can the K5 save me from jumping ship?

I shoot a lot of sports with my k10 and FA* 300/2.8 and the focus is driving me nuts. I am on the verge of selling all my Pentax gear and switching to Nikon. The 300/2.8 is such a great piece of glass, but if i rarely get a sharp photo what good is it? The k5 is suppose to have a better AF system. Is better AF with the higher fps enough to keep me from jumping ships? I'm planning on renting a k5 before i make any crazy decisions, but i wanted to see what y'all have to say.

12-07-2010, 01:19 PM   #2
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K-5 AF Speed test in "machine gun mode"

Looking good.
12-07-2010, 01:21 PM   #3
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The K5 is much improved over the K10. I suspect that it still isn't up to speed compared to the better Nikon's though.
There is a reason why the top sports guys use Nikons and Canons.
I am interested in your feedback when you've had a chance to use the K5 in a sports situation.
12-07-2010, 01:25 PM   #4
mel
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I shot a K-r at a U19 boys soccer game, along with my K20D and K-7. The K-r did much better than the K20D. Different lenses but still. I imagine the K-5, from all the reports, would be leagues better than the K10D. My K-7 is much better than my K10D was.

12-07-2010, 01:58 PM   #5
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I recently upgraded from a K10D to a K5. I would say that autofocus is much improved. I haven't tested it out with sports but I'm very pleased with the autofocus improvement.

This is my experience. I mostly shoot pix of my kids and they can move a lot. When I have it on AFC and focus on their eyes, at a semi portrait distance, with a FA35 at f/2, >90% of my shots are in focus. So I'm happy with the autofocus. Also the AF micro adjust is awesome for really shallow DOF.
12-07-2010, 03:40 PM   #6
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As a sports shooter who added Canon for that purpose, I think that there are really two parts to your question over the longer term.

1. Can the K-5 keep you from jumping ship?

2. Will longer faster lenses exist to take advantage of the faster capabilities of the K-5?


RE: No. 1--I've not used the K-5 (yet) but I'm willing to believe that it is significantly faster than any Pentax predecessor. I doubt if it is quite at the AF and FPS speed of my Canon 7D, but that may not be a firm requirement to you. I also don't think the Pentax AF system is as configurable as the Canon (or Nikon) one is. Until one uses a complete AF system in various venues, its value is unappreciated.

That all said, I would think the Pentax AF system is up to snuff for most sports coverage.

RE: No 2--That's the other equally important part of the equation. If your fast 300mm lens is all you need, then you should be very happy (provided the K-5's possible defects get fixed fast).

My needs are for longer focal lengths as well as zooms, and the selection in K-mount is too slim. A minimum 400mm is necessary for soccer, and it helps with baseball and wildlife too. Though I doubt it will happen, I wish Pentax would make a 100-400mm f4-4.5 zoom lens. I'm also aiming for a fast 500mm with USM-type quiet focusing in the long term.

Renting a K-5 seems prudent and hopefully your needs will be met well. While I'm sure your 300mm f2.8 lens is outstanding, I've seen amazing shots taken with the Nikon and Canon mount equivalents. To me it's the whole system that matters.

M
12-07-2010, 03:44 PM   #7
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I have owned the K10D and still own the K20D and now have a K5 and I can tell ya that the autofocus on the K5 is light years beyond both and if it is slower than Nikon or Canon there is no way you could possibly discern it without electronically timing it in thousandths of a second.
12-07-2010, 04:56 PM   #8
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If you can only afford one camera and you want to shoot sport, I'd jump. I am in the same position myself.
As Miguel said it's not only the cameras' focus system that is not quite there, it's also the lack of suitable glass, not even a basic simple 1.4x TC which I believe you'll find in every sport shooters' bag.

I'm in a slightly better position than you though as I have the K-7, and I am waiting for the NIkon D400 to be released.

12-07-2010, 04:58 PM   #9
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It's not just AF speed that Pentax lacks, it's customisation, as Miguel said. Nikon you can choose centre, 9, 15, or 30 points (or something like that). You can have colour taken into account for tracking as well and it will track across focus points, and so on.
12-07-2010, 05:02 PM   #10
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Here are some sports/action samples from Flickr:

Flickr: Discussing Samples - Sports/Action in Pentax K-5 Fan Club

That said, you'd have to really like something about Pentax if sports/action is your primary subject....
12-07-2010, 05:12 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
Here are some sports/action samples from Flickr:
Nice, but I can thousands of Pentax sports shots on my own website too! Doesn't mean anything really though as I may have more or better if I had used another brand. Yes you can shoot sport with Pentax (unless you want a Pentax lens longer than 300mm of course or a top quality f2.8 zoom longer than 135mm ), but yes, I believe it's easier and better with C or N.
12-07-2010, 05:24 PM   #12
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My personal opinion... Jump.
Pentax's main draw (well, the main marketing gimmick) is being able to use the millions of existing lenses -- that being millions of old moldy rotting lenses left unused in the basement for the past forty years that wont even sell on eBay.

They are finally making some fine lenses again, but SDM was not up to expectations. I notice no focus improvement over the K7 or the K10. DC lenses are supposed to be much better. I hope they get a wide offering soon, but there is no way I can afford to replace my SDM lenses with DC versions anytime soon... assuming they ever do come out.

The K5 is very likely a great camera body for sports, but that with the one lens that has DC won't get you very far in the sports arena when competing against a Nikon D3s. The K5 sensor is fantastic, but the D3s full frame is still a bit better. (although perhaps not enough to warrant an additional $4K)

I shoot some sports, but not enough to make the $12K switch worthwhile (what I figured I need for all new body and lenses). I'm sure I could take a percentage of great shots with Pentax, but could I do better with top-of-the-line Nikon equipment? Probably.

If you're doing this to make money, drop the extra four-plus grand and get a camera body that fits your requirements.


The K5 is a leap beyond the K10D that I had been using, and I'm quite happy with what it has been able to do.
I was sadly disappointed in the K7. I am quite happy with the K5.
12-07-2010, 05:28 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
Nice, but I can thousands of Pentax sports shots on my own website too! Doesn't mean anything really though as I may have more or better if I had used another brand. Yes you can shoot sport with Pentax (unless you want a Pentax lens longer than 300mm of course or a top quality f2.8 zoom longer than 135mm ), but yes, I believe it's easier and better with C or N.
You must have missed the second part of my post then )

QuoteQuote:
That said, you'd have to really like something about Pentax if sports/action is your primary subject....
I just wanted to show current Pentax owners how improved the K-5 is with sports/action compared to their current cameras. I'd be foolish to claim that it's up there with Canon and Nikon.

I should know, I switched from Nikon last year, and the one thing I really miss is good AF. Thankfully, sports/action isn't my only subject. Still, on more than one occasion I've second guessed my switch to Pentax, but one quick look at the cost to build a Nikon kit equivalent to my Pentax kit convinced me to wait a little longer. Thankfully the K-5 seems good enough for my needs. Now I've just got to win the lottery...

You've captured some nice action shots with the K-7. IIRC you had a rugby shot in the pouring rain that was great. It will be sad to see you go.
12-07-2010, 05:29 PM - 1 Like   #14
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While I agree with much of your post, I'll also post a defense of JohnM's site by saying that the multi-sequence shots communicate the capabilities of the K-5 much better than a single nice shot. And I like them all.

It's not too challenging to cherry pick a single superior sports image, even those taken using only manual focus. The reality-based test is a camera+lens' ability to consistently freeze close-in action sharply over the cycle of 1000 shots. If a K-5 and a Sigma 100-300mm f4 can do that sufficiently then hooray!

I do appreciate JohnM's showcase for K-5 action shots. One can go to Sportsshooter or the Nature Photographers Network for killer shots, but they are 99% Nikon or Canon. Pentax examples are rare birds indeed. So thanks Johnmflores for the service to the community.

M
12-07-2010, 05:43 PM   #15
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I just switched from the D700 to the K-5. The D700 AF is somewhat quicker and much more accurate than the K-5. It should be though, for $1000 more. I don't rely on AF so much, so it doesn't bother me, but I can see why the sports guys prefer Nikon (or Canon).
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