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10-26-2011, 09:22 AM   #1
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K5 or Sony A77, or??

In the past, I've shot Sony/Minolta, Nikon and Pentax. Sony the longest (if you consider Minolta film as well), Nikon was *okay*, and really liked what Pentax offered.

Sold it all off a while back and lately have been shooting only Leica M9. I love the M9, and it meets 90% of my shooting needs and interests.

I am now wanting to pick up a dslr again for the other 10%…macro shooting, some portrait dabbling, and family snapshots/videos.

The kit I'm looking at is: APS-C (Leica does FF), 16-50mm 2.8 (general lens, like shallow DOF), and 100mm macro.

I'd love to hear comments on:

Pentax K-5 (leaning toward this, but older tech?)
Sony A77 (more resolution…too much?… untested for macro, etc., as it's so new)
Nikon D7000 (mostly ruled out…more pricey actually without a good 16-50 2.8 option)

Wildcard: NEX 5N or 7 be a better option (worried about macro capabilities)?

I like the weather sealing of Pentax and Sony. The costs for kits are approximately the same for these two. I like the ergonomics of the Pentax (I've used one prior) and size, but haven't been able to (and probably won't) handle the Sony. I worry about the future of Pentax, but wonder if the Sony is to new/cutting edge.

Any guidance or experience with these cameras in terms of image quality particularly in macro situations, would be great!!


10-26-2011, 09:41 AM   #2
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Well I just looked at the DPreview test for the A77 and I'm not so happy about that camera. So for performance I wouldn't put to much money in it.

With K-5 and a 100mm macro you have a nice set. If you have money to spend and can find a FA*200mm/f4 macro you would have a wonderful set.

I'm not a big fan for the 16-50mm.
10-26-2011, 09:54 AM   #3
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This is a Pentax forum so we might be a bit biased. For the record I was a long time Minolta film user and still have fond memories for those cameras. However, I'm a Pentax DSLR convert now and with the K5 (after the K10 & K20) really enjoy it. The DA*16-50 is my favorite lens (although I have many others). In my opinion it's a great kit. The other thing I've enjoyed about Pentax is the ability to buy cheaply and use older M42 and k-mount lenses. It gives one lots of options. Best of luck whatever you decide.
10-26-2011, 10:42 AM   #4
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Coming from a Leica M9, you might consider the Nex 5n with an adapter to use either Leica or Pentax lenses (or whatever lens you want for that matter). Since most macro work involves manual focus anyway, the focus peaking feature of the NEX might actually be better.

10-26-2011, 11:41 AM   #5
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For macro, look for a camera with a good implementation of Live View. A flip/twist screen also helps get unusual/low angles without craning your neck. With this in mind, in addition to the K-5, take a look at M43, particularly the GH2/G3. Both of these have good Live View modes, flip/twist screens, and no mirrors and thus no issues with vibration. The smaller sensor format of M43 can also help with deeper DOF and more magnification (2x) vs 1.5x for APS-c when compared to full-frame (35mm).
10-26-2011, 11:36 PM   #6
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I handled the Sony a77 for quite some time in the store the other day and just didn't gel with how it felt in my hand - it felt way to rubberized. giving almost a sticky feeling to it and with their 16-50 attached it felt very front heavy.

The K5 and D7000 felt better in my hand.

If size is not an issue you can pick up a 7D for next to nothing these days and Canon have some very good macro lenses.
10-27-2011, 03:12 AM   #7
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I still have my Leica M8 & 50 Lux plus Zeiss Biogon. It is a great combo but slow. The result if desirable cannot be replicated with a Cannikon. A voightlander on a Leica can produce better picture quality than the best Nikon Zoom in my opinion (I have both).

I acquired K5 plus FA 31 Ltd a month ago. After 2500 shots with just one lens, i am happy with the result. I have taken it overseas (and left my Leica combo at home) twice in a month and am learning to use DSLR again (not using one for 3 years). If you frequently print to a size of A0 or larger, then you will need Leica. It is also possible to get a poster print with K5 provided you keep the ISO around 80 with good light. Higher ISO shots are difficult to print to a large size without noticeable noise in a smaller sensor.

Autofocus is good with K5 but takes getting use to. It is not easy to use AF at f1.8, trying to focus on the eyes of your subject. Even though manual focus with M9 is slow, it is highly accurate at f1.4 with practice.

K5 is smaller than Nikon or Canon. It is a fraction larger than Leica M but weighs about the same. FA 31 is about the same size as 50 Lux.
If you are planning to get A77 and use Zeiss, you may as well get a Zeiss ZM for your Leica and save your money on A77. I don't have A77 but expect bigger noise problem with higher MPx in a cropped sensor.

I am very happy with my K5 and prime combo.
These are my photos from 10 days ago with K5 plus 31 Ltd..

All the best with your selection...

Last edited by Bestzoom; 10-27-2011 at 03:30 AM.
10-27-2011, 03:30 AM   #8
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With your interests, I think there is no question that more of a traditional SLR (versus Sony's pellicle mirror variety) would probably be better. I own a K5 with both the DA *16-50 and the D FA 100mm WR macro and both are excellent lenses. The 100mm macro in particular is a small, all metal build lens that is a joy to use.

10-27-2011, 03:33 AM   #9
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10-27-2011, 09:10 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the advice so far...fairly balanced and good points.

Emotionally, the Pentax appeals to me more, and I may be leaning that way. Tough choices...

10-27-2011, 10:53 AM   #11
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NEX7 also seems like a good idea to explore since they have Leica adapters and it's an APS-C sensor.

For your stated requirements (family snapshots, portraits, macro), any of the 3 SLRs you mentioned will probably work fine. The Sony will do better at video, followed by the D7000, then the K-5 for manual controls (locking aperture or shutter speed). For Macro, you typically want more DOF, so the NEX7 will probably work fine.
The Sony/K-5 also have built-in shake reduction so it works w/ all lenses...another big point in their favor.
The point in Nikon's favor is easy rentals, so if you're using it for pro work, it's essential.

But can't your M9 do all your requirements except video? I thought they had a macro lens?
10-27-2011, 11:02 AM   #12
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The NEX 7 is an interesting (as is 5N) alternative, but macro options are limited (the 30mm only?).

For about $4K one can get a 90mm 1:3 macro for Leica, and it requires a kludgey adapter...not really the best use of the M9. To my understanding, that's the only option there.

10-27-2011, 11:02 AM   #13
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With their production facilities destroyed, there may not be many Sony nor Nikon dSLRs in the near-future pipeline.
10-28-2011, 07:25 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffnesh Quote
For about $4K one can get a 90mm 1:3 macro for Leica, and it requires a kludgey adapter...not really the best use of the M9. To my understanding, that's the only option there.
Ouch. Now I see why you want another system...heck, you could buy a D7000 *and* a K5 w/ extremely good manual focus macro lenses for both for that cost :-O
Does the Sony have a good selection of macro lenses?
The Bokina and Kiron (both manual focus) are available on the used market for Nikon and Pentax and are both excellent...
10-28-2011, 07:55 AM   #15

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Unless you can still get them from existing stock. (probably so for D7K)
SLTs, NEX and Nikon APS-C are all underwater now, it the rumors about the factories in Thailand being hit by the floods is accurate.
Sony’s Sensor Manufacturing Plant Hit Hard by Thailand Floods

A77 has more resolution but poorer high ISO performance based on DPR.
Nice bright condition performance though.
You need to be comfortable with EVF too.
They are nice for MF with the ability to zoom in or peaking mode.
However, gain goes up a lot in lower lit places, so it becomes harder to make out manual focusing in such situations (ie. EVF becomes grainy)
Since its an EVF and has a refresh rate will mean that you will have some lag tracking fast subjects.
There is also the need to turn it on, even just to check if a picture is work taking. (ie. can't just bring camera up and peer thru viewfinder to check if subject has photo potential, since it will be black if not turned on)
If you are ok with EVF (and the A77 has the best one to date), then its a pretty nice camera.

NEX are wonderful if you use them for MF legacy lenses and esp so for RF lenses. Peaking feature is nice for MF, though they only bring the user into the ball bark of focus rather than always being tack accurate. Native lenses for the time being are slow, big as APS-C other offerings and not too great in performance. Very ugly contraption IMHO with the large native lenses.

K5 is a great buy right now. MF is fine with properly aligned VF (and/or focusing screen) or else focusing with LV works too, but I'd say its not as convenient as the mirrorless cameras.
The K5 is well built and weather sealed. Built smaller than anything in its class. Low light performance is better than D7K and A77.
AF is fast and responsive.
I certainly won't say its older tech.
Anyway, older tech is more 'sturdy' tech

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