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12-29-2010, 01:59 AM   #1
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K5 as a Nikon d300s/7000 alternative

Hi,

First and utmost - this is not an flame/troll-feeding topic, it`s just about helping people like me to evaluate possible shift of gears from one manufacturer to another.

I`m just a dude with a camera, randomly shooting weddings and parties, although I`m into street photography and nature as well...in short - I like to shoot everything.

Mine current gear is:

Nikon d80
Nikkor 18-200 3.5:5.6 VR
Nikkor 50 1.4
SB-800

But I`m completely unsatisfied by the low ISO on mine old`n`trustworthy D80, so I`m deciding about an upgrade. Candidates were used d300s, new d7000 and when I was drunk I almost ordered d2xs on ebay

Anyway, crawling around DPreview and other sites, I stumbled upon Pentax K5. Frankly saying I never was an Pentax admirer, nor I ever shoot with it - but I was quite intrigued by the possibilities and overall score given to this camera.

I am not brand-zealot or fanboy, and getting older, I learned to count mine cash as well . Don`t like to pay just for brand, I`d like to pay for functionality and features. And seems like Pentax is having nicely balance of those...

If you be so kind - could you pls answer mine questions below? This might help people who also consider an K5 and currently having some Nikon gear.

- K5 having cropped sensor as well? So, attaching 50mm lens to it will give me ~85mm zoom?
- Is there flash, that might give me same performance as mine current SB800? I don`t need all it`s bells and whistles, but power, reliability and performance is a must
- RAW files (or however they called in Pentax world) - what software could be used to process/batch process them? I like Capture NX2, but that`s something for Nikon
- What Nikon camera is direct competitor to K5? I saw comparisons with d300s, d7000 and even really good and expensive d7000...
- I have big hands - is k5 + grip is handy enough for people with sports background?
- Lenses - any good fast midrange, like Nikkor`s 17-55 2.8? What`s the story with lenses for k5 in general, compared to Nikon camp?
- "Stain problem" - should I worry about it?
- Should I really consider k5 as an upgrade path from d80 (I don`t mind jumping the ship and sell mine Nikon gear at all)?

Mine foto are located here, in case you ever wanted to gave them a look - Home | Nik Maslov foto gallery

Thanks,
Have a good NY!

NM

12-29-2010, 03:20 AM - 12 Likes   #2
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I recently made the switch from the D80 to the K5, so I'll chime in. For reference, my Nikon equipment was: D80 w/ grip, SB-600 flash, 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 VR, 50mm f/1.4, Macro 60mm f/2.8.

- K5 is a cropped sensor, with a factor of 1.5. So, 50mm will have the field of view of 75mm. That places the DA* 55mm f/1.4 at about 82.5mm, making it one of the current portrait lenses for Pentax (others being DA 70mm Limited and FA 77mm Limited).

- The Pentax equivalent of the SB-800 is the AF540FGZ. Check out the posts on bounce flash overexposure with the K5. It does happen; although I've managed it well enough. FWIW, in similar circumstances, my D80 underexposed. (Side note, I'm curious to see if the Highlight Correction feature will work with RAW in Lightroom, since that would be a BIG help.)

- The K5 can shoot either the Pentax RAW or the Adobe DNG RAW format. I use DNG, which can be processed in Lightroom, Photoshop, and Photoshop Elements. The latest versions of those can also work with the Pentax RAW from the K5. (Side note: if you like the control point feature of Capture NX, Nik Software (Nikon's partner in NX) makes a plug-in for Lightroom and Photoshop that give the same functionallity.

- The D300s is really getting old. Feature wise, it's above the D7000 (barely), but image-quality wise, the D7000 is better. I consider the K5 and D7000 to be very comparable, with the exception that the K5 has in-body stabilization. The D7000 has a better autofocus system and, arguably, a better flash metering (Nikon probably has the best flash system in the business).

- Coming from the D80 w/ grip, I find the K5 w/ grip to be perfectly comfortable. The only gripe I have with the ergonomics is that the four-way buttons used to select the focus points also have other uses, and you have to use the OK button to toggle between them. They really should have made other dedicated buttons; trying to change the focus point and getting white balance selection instead is annoying.

- One of my main reason for switching to Pentax was their reasonably-priced DA* zooms (16-50mm f/2.8 and 50-135mm f/2.8). Nikon does not appear to have a desire to release similar lenses. They have the 17-55mm, but it is not worth the $1300 they want for it. The quality of the DA* zooms isn't quite as good as the top-of-the-line Nikon and Canon (24-70 f/2.8 and 70-200 f/2.8), but they are still very good and are less than half the price. Only real place where Pentax is lacking in lenses is for above 300mm, but I don't have the $$$ (correction...$$$$$$$) for those anyway.

- Whether the "stain problem" will be an issue for you really depends on you. Are you someone who is going to look for it and stress if you find it? In most real-world shots, you won't see the stains even if they are there (someone correct me if I'm wrong...but I believe that it shows up at f/16--f/22). I don't use those aperatures, since diffraction is already taking a heavy toll on the image quality. I have seen some posts regarding them showing up in macro shots (where cloning them out isn't really an option), but I haven't paid much attention. May need to, however, since I just got the 100mm WR macro for Christmas (wonderful lens, by the way).

- Should you consider the K5...definitely. Is it a no-brainer...no. The Nikon D7000 is, by all accounts and measurements, a very capable camera that can compete with the K5 in pretty much every specification (in-body stabilization being the notable exception).

In the end, I changed over to Pentax because I did not forsee Nikon releasing the kind of quality DX lenses that I wanted, and I was unwilling to pay the extremely high prices that they are asking for the top-of-the-line FX lenses.

The flash issue with the K5 is somewhat disappointing, and I am hoping for a firmware update (and/or for Lighroom to support Highlight Correction...fingers crossed). However, for me at least, the problem seems limited to low light (i.e., high ISO) and is typically correctable with flash compensation. (Note that under similar conditions, my Nikon tended to underexpose the scene...pick your poison I guess.) There have been only a couple scenes where the camera just completely failed to meter the flash correctly. Not sure why, but it overexposed every time (and I tried about a dozen shots). Changed positions and it worked fine. Something was obviously messing with the metering sensor with that specific scene. Bottom line is that if you only have one chance to get the shot, either dial in -1 to -1.5 EV in P-TTL mode (and push in post if needed) or use the flash's auto aperature mode.
12-29-2010, 07:22 AM   #3
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Its K-5 or D7000 as your options really. If you're going to stick with Nikon i would probably suggest you look at the d700 though. To swap to Pentax you'd probably not be doing it for the body alone, like above it would be for the lenses or the cost factors.
12-29-2010, 09:44 AM   #4
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love blockamon's post.

describe the situation extremely well.

12-29-2010, 11:03 AM   #5
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The big differentiators for the K-5 are:

-Smaller size, both of body and lenses
-In-body Shake Reduction. Very effective, and all lenses are stabilized.
-Superb, compact prime lenses.
-Weather sealing and outstanding build quality

If these factors are important to you, then you should be very happy with a K-5.

Rob
12-29-2010, 12:39 PM   #6
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blockamon's post is very good.

IMHO, I don't know about the 17-50 Pentax zoom cause i don't have it, but I believe the optics of the 50-135 to be superb from my experience - i would rate it right up there with some of the Pentax primes. I would guess that the SDM speed on that zoom, however, is probably not as good as Nikon

I've never had a Nikon VR lens in my hand, but recently had a sigma 120-400 HSM for a day, and the lens is designed to have OS. the volume of that lens is amazingly big compared to non os lenses, i think due to OS space requirements (comparable to Nikon's VR space requriements?). So i would say that some Nikon lens sizes are a disadvantage to some photographers. Obviously, NFL sport shooters aren't going to care particularly about size and weight of lenses, but the casual walkabout shooter or hiker might be more concerned.

I wouldn't worry about the K5 stain issue, just return it and get a new one, Pentax has committed to replacing them and all vendors we've heard of, Amazon, BH, Adorama are taking them back willingly. Just as Nikon apparently has found a way to fix the hot pixel issue recently, with firmware, apparently. Some K5's are also having a problem with AF in low light, an issue that isn't there on the K7, my K20, or K10. I assume there will be a firmware fix to that, but noone seems to know at the moment.

I think one can be happy with either camera system, or unhappy with either camra system if so inclined.
12-29-2010, 12:55 PM   #7
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Great reply by Blockamon's post.

I also have a K-5 and have stains in it, but i'll just wait for the answer from Pentax for Batch number recall regarding the sensor stains. So far i'm enjoying it in the snow.
12-29-2010, 10:08 PM   #8
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Oh, I will add that while I'm not one that likes tiny cameras and lenses (thus my use of the battery grip on the K5), I do appreciate the smaller size of the DA / DA* lenses. I recently bought a Tenba large photo satchel for when I didn't want to cart my full system around. I bought the large because it is billed as the one to use for a camera w/ grip; it is also intended to cary a 70-200 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8 on the camera and a flash.

With the smaller Pentax setup, I can pack in the K5 w/ grip, 16-50 f/2.8 on camera, 50-135 f/2.8, 55 f/1.4, 200 f/2.8, AF540 flash, and a Pro-T flash bracket. That's really more than I wanted for a "day pack", so I'm looking at the medium now.

All-in-all, I think that the Pentax DA lenses are "just right" size wise. They are large enough to use comfortably and fall to hand well, but are smaller and lighter the competition. In general, the DA lenses are supposed to have a good build quality, and I can personally attest that the DA* line is very nice. The new Macro 100mm WR is also VERY nice, with a metal lens barrel and focus ring that is very smooth. It's also quite compact (makes the Nikon 60mm macro seem chunky in comparison), even though it is a full-frame lens.

One final "intangible" with the K5 is the shutter/mirror sound. It is by far the quietest DSLR I have every heard. One review described it as "a stick of butter being hit with a tennis racket." If you ever need to be inconspicuous, the K5 won't let you down.

12-30-2010, 04:10 PM   #9
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Original Poster
Thanks a lot guys, especially blockamon! You made my day
12-30-2010, 11:48 PM   #10
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I would say the biggest asset of Pentax compared to Nikon (and all others, for that matter) is their lenses. No other brand has a lens line-up for APS-C that is as complete and consistently high-quality. With Nikon you'll sometimes have to A) make do with a lesser quality 'consumer-grade' lens, B) pay and carry more for an FX lens, or C) accept that what you want does not exist.

As an example, the DA15f4. You won't have to look far to find Pentax users who own and love this lens. It's small, and both optically and mechanically awesome. Now, for Nikon you can either buy a DX10-24mm zoom - which isn't as good or as small, or buy the huge FX14mmf2.8 - which is expensive and very big. Neither actually come close.

As for the bodies themselves it's in the details. On the one side there's a more sophisticated AF system and a better movie mode (D7000), on the other side there's weather sealing, more fps and in-body stabilisation (K-5). It depends on your own photography which better suits you.
12-31-2010, 02:43 AM   #11
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shutter/mirror sound

To anyone familiar with K5 and D7000.
How does shutter/mirror-slap of K5 compare with D7000 set to 'quiet' mode?
12-31-2010, 02:46 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by roka Quote
To anyone familiar with K5 and D7000.
How does shutter/mirror-slap of K5 compare with D7000 set to 'quiet' mode?
Youtube should be able to help you out there.
12-31-2010, 03:10 AM   #13
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I have no experience with Nikon gear, so I refrain from doing straight comparison btw bodies, brands, etc.. but before you switch, do your math: selling a body & lenses, and buying new lenses & body will cost a bit and much more than just getting a new body... On top of that, if you're happy with your lens & flash, why switch?

To me, the Ltd are the reasons to move to Pentax, but that's a relatively expensive reason. For some others, it's Shake-Reduction & weather-sealing... See what is important to you... I see that the 16-50 & 50-135 are mentioned - they exist for Nikon, in a cheaper, not weather-sealed Tokina version... DA12-24 ditto...

To answer more directly what I can answer...
- K5 having cropped sensor as well? So, attaching 50mm lens to it will give me ~85mm zoom?
[Eljaco] Yes - but 50*1.5 = 75 angle of view, not 85

- RAW files (or however they called in Pentax world) - what software could be used to process/batch process them? I like Capture NX2, but that`s something for Nikon
[Eljaco] Personally i'll favor Lightroom 3, but they are cheaper alternatives: DxO 6.5, Bible Pro, Silypix, etc.. Just like for Nikon or Canon or Sony... in fact

- What Nikon camera is direct competitor to K5? I saw comparisons with d300s, d7000 and even really good and expensive d7000...
[Eljaco] To me the K5 sits in between D7000 & D300s... If you decide to keep Nikon, consider a D300, shouldn't be much different from a D300s IQ wise... & cheaper (compare the feature set, and see if the differences are important enough for you...).

- I have big hands - is k5 + grip is handy enough for people with sports background?
[Eljaco] We can't decide for you, so go and try it. The best camera is often the one you feel comfortable using and that you'll want to bring with you anywhere you go...

- Lenses - any good fast midrange, like Nikkor`s 17-55 2.8? What`s the story with lenses for k5 in general, compared to Nikon camp?
[Eljaco] I answered - on the new and still produced market, Nikon will have a larger range, but they will not the well-thought "crop" lens product range, and no limited. Ltd are the real Pentax deal.
In the range you mention, DA*16-50, Sigma 18-50 & Tamron 17-50 - from I read , I believe the Nikkor might be the best (as usual by a slight margin), but also the most expensive...

- "Stain problem" - should I worry about it?
[Eljaco] No. Worst case, you'll exchange your body, Pentax will cover that.

- Should I really consider k5 as an upgrade path from d80 (I don`t mind jumping the ship and sell mine Nikon gear at all)?
[Eljaco] It'll definetely be an upgrade, just like the D90, D7000, D300 or D300s...

I'd be you - i'll stay with Nikon. But then I'm a Pentax Ltd user, and I wouldn't switch the other way
12-31-2010, 06:06 PM   #14
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K-7 vs D7000 "Quiet" Mode shutter sound

The D7000 shutter sound in the "quiet"mode is *almost* the same as the Pentax K-7, however, I found the Nikon mode extremely irritating since the mirror stays up until you release the shutter button. This can lead to missed photos since you can't see until the mirror is returned.

Also, the build quality of the D7000 is nowhere near up to the Pentax K7/K5 standards since it is only half mag alloy (top and back only) and the only "weatherproof" lenses in the Canikon lens lineups are the seriously expensive pro lenses - and even then no one know just how weatherproof they really are since there is no disclosure by the big 2.

The D7000 image quality is indeed impressive, and unfortunately we don't stock the K-5 at the store where I work (yet) so I haven't had a chance to play with one yet. That is probably a good thing, because I already want one pretty bad, it would be hard to have one on the shelf taunting me all the time!

Dave
01-04-2011, 03:23 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kevinschoenmakers Quote
I would say the biggest asset of Pentax compared to Nikon (and all others, for that matter) is their lenses. No other brand has a lens line-up for APS-C that is as complete and consistently high-quality.
And yet Pentax's lack of lenses, in particular a 70-200/f2.8 and a 1.4x tc, is one reason I'm looking at going to Nikon! I believe it's quite an incomplete line up.
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