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03-28-2011, 01:55 PM   #1
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Moving from film to digital - help!

I almost took the leap from film to digital when the K-7 came out but waited for the K5. I still shoot film and have been with Pentax for about 30 years, so some of my questions may seem stupid to you long-time digital shooters, but here it goes. I have read threads in this forum for a long time and I am, of course, concerned with the sensor stain and ff issues. Trying to learn the digital system will be very time consuming for me and I donít want to have to also try to figure out stain and focusing issues. So Iím wondering if I should wait a bit to be assured those problems are completely addressed before buying. I plan on ordering from Amazon because of their 30 day return policy over B&H 14 days, although I order all my film and tapes through B&H.
In the dpreview it was mentioned under the Con heading that the K-5 had problems with jaggies in fine detail diagonal lines. Are there any comments on that observation?
I have a Tokina 28-70 2.8 lens Iíve had for a long time and really like. My longer zooms I donít care for and plan on replacing. Do you suggest also replacing my Tokina or will I be okay with that? Please make lens suggestions. I donít want anything cheaply made. I plan on between $200 and $800 for each lens.
Here is a list of other things I think I need but Iím not sure:
Extra battery, Sensor cleaner (make recommendation), lots of SD cards (recommendations), new flash (recommendations).
I plan on shooting RAW and Iím wondering what the differences are between PEF and DNG and what most people prefer. Any other information I need to help in my decision is appreciated.

03-28-2011, 02:22 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jool Quote
I almost took the leap from film to digital when the K-7 came out but waited for the K5. I still shoot film and have been with Pentax for about 30 years, so some of my questions may seem stupid to you long-time digital shooters, but here it goes. I have read threads in this forum for a long time and I am, of course, concerned with the sensor stain and ff issues. Trying to learn the digital system will be very time consuming for me and I donít want to have to also try to figure out stain and focusing issues. So Iím wondering if I should wait a bit to be assured those problems are completely addressed before buying. I plan on ordering from Amazon because of their 30 day return policy over B&H 14 days, although I order all my film and tapes through B&H.
In the dpreview it was mentioned under the Con heading that the K-5 had problems with jaggies in fine detail diagonal lines. Are there any comments on that observation?
I have a Tokina 28-70 2.8 lens Iíve had for a long time and really like. My longer zooms I donít care for and plan on replacing. Do you suggest also replacing my Tokina or will I be okay with that? Please make lens suggestions. I donít want anything cheaply made. I plan on between $200 and $800 for each lens.
Here is a list of other things I think I need but Iím not sure:
Extra battery, Sensor cleaner (make recommendation), lots of SD cards (recommendations), new flash (recommendations).
I plan on shooting RAW and Iím wondering what the differences are between PEF and DNG and what most people prefer. Any other information I need to help in my decision is appreciated.
First of all, I think we are safely past any niggling problems that may keep you from buying now. I personally would order from B&H, but Amazon seems fine, too. Can't comment on diagonal jaggies except to say that I have never noticed anything like that.
I would keep that Tokina as it gives you some frame of reference in that you know what it was capable of on film. You can always replace it later if you decide to. Are you open to buying primarily primes or do you want to stick to zooms?
An extra battery is never a bad idea, but battery life is definitely a K5 strength. I would skip the sensor cleaner until you know you need one. I've been shooting digital for about 6 years and have never had to clean a sensor to the point where I had to touch it with something. Bulb blower is your friend, if it ever even comes to that.
I buy only SanDisk SD cards because they are quality pieces that have never let me down. I prefer the Extreme III's (or better) and also prefer to go no bigger than 8gig, but that's a personal thing.
The flash will depend on lots of your personal variables. I prefer Metz but they are by no means the only game in town.
I think you are making the right decision to shoot raw as I think it makes it so much easier to exploit what makes shooting digital so great(others will disagree). I prefer DNG for easy compatibility reasons, but there's nothing inherently wrong with PEF as far as I know (I've never shot it).
03-28-2011, 03:05 PM   #3
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Good suggestions already made. I'd recommend that you get at least one lens, like the DA 18-55 WR lens. Why? Well the water resistance for one. It's a good lens too and it would give you an idea of how the whole thing is intended to function.

Sensor cleaning is a learned skill and will be needed at some point, particularly if you change lenses a lot, particularly in the field. I do and routinely clean my K10/K20. I've gone through a number of tools to do this. Personally this is the most effective device - for me.
Amazon.com: Pentax 39357 Image Sensor Cleaning Kit; O-ICK1: Electronics

I've also have this system.
Amazon.com: Delkin SensorScope System Complete Digital Slr Sensor Cleaning System: Camera & Photo
Which I've been told is what the pro's use. But of it, the really useful part is the lighted sensor scope itself. You can buy that separately. Given that it tends to cost $40-70 per cleaning if I let someone else do it. The outlay of this has been well worth it. The first time is the roughest by the way!

Do you need either of these right away? No, but you will down the line.

As far as going from film to digital, which is a whole different discussion, I can say briefly that the new elements to deal with in digital are white balance and noise. White balance generally is handled by the film you buy, but in digital you have to decide at some point what it is to be. Noise (grain in film) is a choice you make by your setting of the ISO (where with film you make that choice with each roll of film and with each image in digital). To me each shot is a balancing act between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. You may know all of this but that's one clear difference. If you are already scanning your film images and processing them digitally that would be the thing that's most similar. If not there area a lot of new skills you will need to learn for post processing your images.

As far a raw format goes. There 'used' to be some difference between compaction of PEF and DGN files. I've read that this is no longer an issue one way or the other. I've been shooting in PEF for two years now and it's all just fine. For that matter DGN was just fine too. Pick one when you start shooting raw.

Suggestion here, is to keep is simple at first. Learn your camera, shoot in jpeg, on like P mode until you get it down. Or just work in M mode at first if you like. After things become clear go for it.

Best of luck.
03-28-2011, 03:22 PM   #4
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1. Welcome aboard and to the club (once you have the K5)!

2. Keep and use whatever lenses you have. That is One advantage of Pentax over the other brands. You Know, the lenses will work.

3. Don't worry about cleaning until you have to do it. I'll echo the recommendation for the O-ICK1. This may give you some guidance. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-camera-articles/121739-those-...ml#post1259109

4. I do quite nicely with a single class 10 8Gb card (Sandisk) but I don't do Video. Your needs may vary.

5. The main difference between PEF and DNG is the software required to read them. If you want to use Photoshop for instance, you'll be chasing updates for software when you 'upgrade' the camera. In Practice, there is little difference but I seem to prefer the PEF.

6. As for lens recommendations (Aside from #2), Decide what it is you need and fill that gap with the lens. If any of your lenses are a PK/R(icoh) mount, be aware of them possibly getting stuck on the camera (google ricoh pin).

7. I don't know wth DPR is talking about with jaggie lines. Maybe if you blow your 10th generation JPG photos up to 400% and look at them with a magnifying glass under special lighting you might find them (can you tell what I think of some of these professional reviews?). Otherwise, don't worry about it.

8. Enjoy your new camera and show us some photos from a film shooters perspective.



03-28-2011, 04:26 PM   #5
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As others have mentioned, while there appears some similarities between shooting film and digital, in reality there are more variables to consider.

Due to the difference in sensor size in relation to film, the first thing you'll notice is all your lenses are not as wide as before due to the 1.5x crop factor. The image circle of your lenses are now projected onto a smaller sensor compared to 35mm film. So your current 28-70mm lens will now show an angle of view of approx 42-105mm in 35mm film terms. So it is recommended that you start off with at least the bundled 18-55mm kit lens.

Secondly, in terms of exposure response, film has a different sensitivity curve compared to digital. The highlights and shadows are compressed which appears to give film more dynamic range and more latitude. With digital's flat response from shadows to highlights, one has to be more precise in determining exposure, particularly to avoid loss of detail in the highlights. Fortunately, the K-5's very wide dynamic range is a big step over previous Pentax models but it does mean that you'll need some thought to get exposure right and to know how to post process your digital images.

Several new variables also come into play when using digital, namely the choice of white balance to shoot your images, the choice of ISO to use and the corresponding effect it has on noise and dynamic range. Shake Reduction will allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds and lower the threshold of handholdability, something absent in the past.

You will also find the immediate feedback that digital offers from the rear LCD will change the way you shoot. Typically, you'll shoot more with digital. This brings up an issue of how to sort through and catalog your growing collection of images and the need to post process to bring out the best out of your images. You'll quickly discover the need to delete.

I would recommend some prior reading and recommend Michael Freeman's excellent series of books, in particular the recent The Exposure Field Guide: The Essential Handbook to Getting the Perfect Exposure in Photography; Any Subject, Anywhere and The DSLR Field Guide: The essential guide to getting the most from your camera
as a good starting point.
03-28-2011, 04:46 PM   #6
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I would get the K5, the kit lens, a decent memory card and the Magic Lantern book for the K5. Digital is just like film...just different. The kit lens is good...not great...but worth having.

Take it slow and enjoy!

I am an old film guy too.
03-28-2011, 04:59 PM   #7
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For me the true joy of the Pentax system lies with its primes. It sounds like you are looking for good quality glass, and the primes offer that in abundance. Which lengths to go for, of course, depends on your shooting needs. There are plenty of threads on this site extolling the virtues of the various primes - they are unique, and each has its own character (my favorite is the FA 77mm 1.8 - its a magnificent lens). Digital will also bring TAv into your world of options. The K5 in particular allows you to set exactly what aperture and shutter speed you need for a specific shot, and ISO takes care of itself (within reason).
03-28-2011, 05:15 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jool Quote
In the dpreview it was mentioned under the Con heading that the K-5 had problems with jaggies in fine detail diagonal lines. Are there any comments on that observation?
Yes.

Stop reading reviews. Half of these people don't know what they are talking about. None of them mentioned the K-5s front focus issues in low light, yet many real users found ti straight away.


Complete nonsense about aliasing ( jaggies ) on diagonals as well.

PEF and DNG are exactly the same image quality. PEFs are slightly smaller as I think they don't contain such a large embedded jpg preview image.

03-28-2011, 05:17 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Spotmatic Quote
and the Magic Lantern book for the K5.
Unfortunately, according to another thread here, there is no such thing and no plans to produce one.
03-28-2011, 07:14 PM   #10
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I made the leap last year, from 35mm film to, well, 6x4,5 film and the K-x. The 645 factor is amazing, still love it. But I also like playing with the K-x and an increasing line of Takumars.
Contrary to the advice given above, I do not recommend the kit lens. It's bland. Value for money, certainly, and amazing at that, but that's it. I bought the 4/16-45mm which feels cheap and is cheap, too, but far better. Would not touch the 16-50mm because of the reported problems myself, even if it's just a minority no doubt.
Ultimately, however, the primes are highly desirable, depending on your style of course. I would love the K-5, but settled for the K-x because it left more room for lenses.
03-28-2011, 07:50 PM   #11
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Jool, welcome to the digital world.
For lenses check out the lens database on this forum. Lots of good stuff there and you can map out your prepared route to glass heaven. What the forum's marketplace and ebay and see if you can get a match for your desired glass.
Selection of RAW files? As was said above, using PEF can mean waiting for software upgrades when you upgrade your camera. However that is not an issue if you buy camera now and up-to-date software now. (As example of software issues, I use PS Elements 5 - I know, really old, - which will not recognise PEFs out of the K5, but it does recognise DNGs)
For SD cards stick with the recognised brands, go for class 10, and unless you are videoing you don't need too big a card. 16GB card will hold 330+ images shooting both RAW and JPG.
Go for the K5 without a worry - and for you over in the States, B&H have them for $1299!!!!!
03-29-2011, 07:21 PM   #12
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Thanks so much for all the information. I've had computer problems the last couple of days so that has consumed my time and it made me think maybe I don't want to go digital, film is safe from computer failures. Anyway, I know I will get over this scare of relying too much on computers and hating the digital world right now when I get it up and running again.
The K-5 will not be for professional use and I have used primarily zooms, so I'd like to stick with them. It seems like there are less choices now than years ago. I may just try my Tokina for a time while I'm looking for lenses. The ones that look like possibilities are the Pentax 16-45 4.0 and the Sigma 17-70 2.8-4. For a longer zoom it looks to be even more limited.
It seems split between users that prefer DNG and PEF. I wish there was more of a preference so I didn't have to think about which one to go with. It does seem from what was said that the DNG may be more compatible with various software. Thanks again for your help.
03-29-2011, 10:11 PM   #13
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You're over thinking it, You'll be fine

the K-5 has the most filmic qualities of any digital camera I've seen.
03-30-2011, 03:26 AM   #14
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I would say get a K200D first, I've acquired brand new one from ebay for 500$ including shipping. This is the camera I moved from film to digital, and it served very well on the transition process, Why K200D is for you and not the K-5? Here are my reasons for you.

1-Easier to handle and use. Lot less complicated setups and controls.
2-Easier to learn
3-Lot cheaper
4-SR is perfect, also SR button is under your right thumb.
5-Has no known issues, if you get a problematic K-5 (stain AF, FF issues) that will make your desire to learn digital will be damaged in the waiting period(s).
6-CCD sensor will give you film-like colors than a CMOS sensor.

Lenses:

I'd recommend DA 16-45 and DA 50-300 as all purpose reliable lenses.

Wish you best luck on your decision.
03-30-2011, 04:13 AM   #15
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Get over the digital jitters. You can store images 'in the cloud'. Google Drop Box.

I would get the K5 body because of the dynamic range of sensor.

You have shot enough film to know what lenses you need. That said, the DA Limiteds are excellent.

Take your time selecting post processing software. Most of them offer a 30 day trial period.
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