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06-30-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
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Concerns about quality/reliability

I am starting to worry about the quality control and dependability of the K-5. I read through this forum and see a seemingly never ending roll of problems and break-downs with this camera.

My own K-5 has dust behind the back screen and for some reason I can't guess at, the lens release button has dropped off. These are such common problems that both the tape to re-seal the screen and the lens release button are on back order with Pentax and they tell me they can't guess when the parts might become available...

I bought this camera first for image quality and I cannot find any fault there - it is an amazing camera in the image-making department. Four days after I bought it, it saved my butt by shooting an assignment under 6 low-energy florescent lights (the same as you might have at home) at 3200 and 6400 ISO. Brilliant.

Next, I bought it for its size and ergonomics. No problem there, it feels like an extension of my hand and I can carry it all day with no worries. Perfect.

Finally, but certainly not least, I bought it for its toughness, water and dust resistance and wide temperature tolerance. Here, we have a problem, or maybe, many problems.

I am now faced with having to make a decision about how I can use this camera. Can I take it and a spare on assignment in the middle east? Will the lens release pop off again, or dust get into the body...? Will it lock-up for no good reason?

I have used many different cameras (Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Voightlander and I even had a Spotmatic back in the day...) and while this one, the K-5, is easily near the top of my all time favourite list, I do not know if I can trust it under demanding (professional) circumstances.

There are no handy repair shops in the back country of Iraq, or on the West Bank (2 upcoming assignment locations), nor can I afford to ship my camera off for long weeks while the local service centre waits for parts from Pentax...

This little dream-come-true camera... is it just a dream?

06-30-2011, 12:37 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Well for such a trip and assignment it is good to take two camera body's. To be honest, I'm probably the only user on this forum who just trust's the K-5 and would not doubt about starting on this trip with 2 K-5's and some DA* lenses.
06-30-2011, 12:48 PM   #3
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No you are not the only one, I would do exactly the same thing. And I am sure there are more.
06-30-2011, 01:02 PM   #4
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In all internet forums, the ratio of bitchers to praisers is incredibly high. Those who have perfectly working K-5s are unlikely to be trumpeting it on here. If it wasn't for lunch hour, I wouldn't be on here either. Oh, my October 2010 K-5 is still and has always functioned perfectly.

Jack

06-30-2011, 02:07 PM   #5
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Indeed, not just a vocal minority phenomenon, but since it's part of human nature to complain about our disappointments, you're sure to find a plethora of negativity regarding Pentax gear in general here.

The K-5, and other cameras, are far from being perfect or 100% reliable, but I can also say my own has been a consistent performer from the start. In the unlikely event that yours freezes/locks up, it'd be worth repairing, particularly when under warranty.
06-30-2011, 02:19 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Well for such a trip and assignment it is good to take two camera body's. To be honest, I'm probably the only user on this forum who just trust's the K-5 and would not doubt about starting on this trip with 2 K-5's and some DA* lenses.
Me, too! Happily.
06-30-2011, 03:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ronpyke Quote
There are no handy repair shops in the back country of Iraq, or on the West Bank (2 upcoming assignment locations)
Well it is tricky to take your camera to such dusty and sandy places.



Is it anything like this overthere?
06-30-2011, 03:47 PM   #8
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I have had mine since Nov 2010. Not a problem of any sort. Have used it very consistently.

I agree, the negative comments come to the fore, whereas the positive comments are not the quick to speak out, but just go out and happily get their shots.
All camera makes have problems arise here and there, and I personally do not believe Pentax is anymore than any other.

# I was going to comment about that photo, but it seems to have disappeared. NOT!
Interesting photo, I must say, forget about the sand, it may be worth it.


Last edited by Bramela; 06-30-2011 at 03:58 PM.
06-30-2011, 04:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Well it is tricky to take your camera to such dusty and sandy places.
Ron, that is some nice sand on those cheeks, or maybe some nice cheeks covered with sand...
06-30-2011, 09:22 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for your replies and the sample picture too! I am not sure if I will run across this particular tribe, but if I do I will be sure to take many pictures!

I don't want anyone to misunderstand me, I LOVE my K-5 and have been happily investing in the Pentax line since I got mine at the end of March, I will also say that it has never failed to get the pictures I need. But, it now has two faults that have breached its seals and I am now using an M42 mount K-5 until a new button can be mounted. Not a huge problem while I am home, but I would not want to have to lug 6 lenses on a job when I could carry 2 with one on each of two bodies. I am also hesitating to buy my second body... perhaps I should go down range and think of the bodies as expendable... But to lose that sensor... No, I want the K-5 to work!

As for coming out of the woodwork just to complain - not my intention at all. I am looking for someone with experience using these cameras in a similar situation. These are new cameras - I want/need to know if they can survive the extremes of the real world. I am not a war photographer, but 50 degree (120 f) daytime temperatures and the unavoidable bumps and knocks associated with travel and daily use... does anyone have experience with this?

To give you an idea of my use level of the camera - I have now taken roughly 50,000 shots with my K-5 in 3 months. I tend to use my cameras heavily both as tools for work and as a hobby.

I am not here to complain, I am here to try to get answers.
06-30-2011, 10:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ronpyke Quote
Thanks everyone for your replies and the sample picture too! I am not sure if I will run across this particular tribe, but if I do I will be sure to take many pictures!

I don't want anyone to misunderstand me, I LOVE my K-5 and have been happily investing in the Pentax line since I got mine at the end of March, I will also say that it has never failed to get the pictures I need. But, it now has two faults that have breached its seals and I am now using an M42 mount K-5 until a new button can be mounted. Not a huge problem while I am home, but I would not want to have to lug 6 lenses on a job when I could carry 2 with one on each of two bodies. I am also hesitating to buy my second body... perhaps I should go down range and think of the bodies as expendable... But to lose that sensor... No, I want the K-5 to work!

As for coming out of the woodwork just to complain - not my intention at all. I am looking for someone with experience using these cameras in a similar situation. These are new cameras - I want/need to know if they can survive the extremes of the real world. I am not a war photographer, but 50 degree (120 f) daytime temperatures and the unavoidable bumps and knocks associated with travel and daily use... does anyone have experience with this?

To give you an idea of my use level of the camera - I have now taken roughly 50,000 shots with my K-5 in 3 months. I tend to use my cameras heavily both as tools for work and as a hobby.

I am not here to complain, I am here to try to get answers.
If you just need to change the lens, I think someone found that they could unmount the lens by actuating the button with a safety pin or something.
06-30-2011, 10:58 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ronpyke Quote
As for coming out of the woodwork just to complain - not my intention at all. I am looking for someone with experience using these cameras in a similar situation. These are new cameras - I want/need to know if they can survive the extremes of the real world. I am not a war photographer, but 50 degree (120 f) daytime temperatures and the unavoidable bumps and knocks associated with travel and daily use... does anyone have experience with this?
Not sure it's really comparable, but I've done some jeep travels in Crete's backcountry last month (with temps over 40 degrees in the shades), and I had more to complain about dust and heat for myself than for the K-5.
I only had the 16-45mm (not sealed) on the body, the whole thing changed colour because of the dust it ate, but it still worked flawlessly.

Imho if you're a bit careful when changing lenses in a sandstorm, you have nothing to worry about.

My 2 ˘.
06-30-2011, 11:05 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZEPsikopat Quote
Not sure it's really comparable, but I've done some jeep travels in Crete's backcountry last month (with temps over 40 degrees in the shades), and I had more to complain about dust and heat for myself than for the K-5.
I only had the 16-45mm (not sealed) on the body, the whole thing changed colour because of the dust it ate, but it still worked flawlessly.

Imho if you're a bit careful when changing lenses in a sandstorm, you have nothing to worry about.

My 2 ˘.
How? Stick it in a plastic bag or something while changing lenses? (curious)
06-30-2011, 11:15 PM   #14
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Yeah, I would say plastic bag to put into the freezer or even these plastic raincoats you can buy at Disneyworld or the Niagara Falls (the semi-transparent, overpriced crap you can find for cheaper into a 7-11).

I really doubt you can prevent all the dust to enter, even with this kind of system. But it must be worth a try. Personnaly I went back into the jeep when I needed to change lenses.
07-01-2011, 01:32 AM   #15
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Cameras are like any other tools, they can break. Cars break, toasters break, microwaves break, radios break, and so on and so forth.

This stuff is built in assembly lines, within a certain tolerance for "errors", say 1%. So, if Pentax builds say 100,000 K5s a year, statistically it means that 1000 cameras will be faulty. Maybe you will read 1000 posts questioning Pentax's quality control, and will never read the 99,000 owners of K5s who never had a problem.
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