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01-01-2012, 11:40 AM   #46
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
Since they're *your* specific conditions, there's really only one way to find out.
You surely have friends w/ Nikon gear that's similar to what you'd want to use? Find a K-5 rental, invite them over and do a real test in *your* conditions. Seems like the obvious thing to do...
I agree with Kenyee, Create a short list and rent them. When finished you can post a comparision review. Maybe there are a few Pentax k-5 users in your area that can help?

I would love to see a shoot out, under the conditions that you specified.

01-01-2012, 11:42 AM - 1 Like   #47
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Axl,

In general, if accurate and quick AF lock for moving subjects in low-light is a big concern, it's hard for anyone out there to beat the Nikon D300/D700. I suspect that the D7000 probably matches the D300 in everything but tracking, but I haven't used a D7000 enough to know first-hand if that's the case.

Folks like Simon can take great kid shots with any camera + lens, but head-to-head, your money might be better spent on Nikon if you want to acquire the best, least frustrating AF system. It pains me to say that because I generally prefer Pentax lenses and Pentax in general, but I can't deny what I've experienced myself, and what I hear about low-light AF issues with the K-5, coming from folks who know what they're doing.

My experience:

K20D vs. D80: D80 shows better, faster AF in every circumstance, although tracking was only a little better with the D80
K20D vs. D90: Even larger gap
K-7 vs. D90: Almost no real difference from the above comparison - K-7 maybe fared a little better than the K20D.
K20D vs. D700 (almost same AF as D300): The gap widens, especially in low-light, and especially with tracking.

I haven't played with the K-5 enough to add it to this list with any assurance, but it would be very odd to me if it all of a sudden reversed this trend, especially when it's AF module is a tweaked SAFOX and it's focus crosshairs and lines are relatively large.... and from what I've been reading here, dpreview, and the Online Photographer, the one real issue with the K-5, besides QC issues, which happen to any camera, is low-light AF lock. The main issue you're trying to fix.

I'll repeat what a few others have said - if there is any way you can compare AF performance on a Nikon vs a K-5, that would really help. It's hard to line up equipment like that though. But try to get your hands on a D300 or D7000 (or even D90) if at all possible to give it a try.

I took this last night - I had been shooting some snow ith the K20D + DA15ltd in the dark, lit by the back deck light, and it just wouldn't lock, maybe 1 out of 4 shots would even fire. I grabbed the D700 + $70 Sigma 24 f/2.8 and brought it out into the snow for a series of shots - all of which locked on the target immediately. It's not apples to apples, but Nikon just seems to consistently have more apples in the barrel when it comes to AF.



If AF isn't an issue for your photography, K-5 is top-tier in aps-c. And for static shots where you can bracket focus, or kick into MF, and Pentax camera combined with a Pentax lens will make any photog happy

K20D + DA35ltd, last night in Minneapolis




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01-01-2012, 11:50 AM   #48
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Wanted to add: Renting would also help with checking the menu structure and ergonomics of the camera. I use my Pentax more because it just handles better. You might have better performance from Canon but the menu and dial layout drove me nuts.
01-01-2012, 12:05 PM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by gidion27 Quote
I agree with Kenyee, Create a short list and rent them. When finished you can post a comparision review. Maybe there are a few Pentax k-5 users in your area that can help?

I would love to see a shoot out, under the conditions that you specified.
I see what you 2 are saying but the issue is with Nikon here. I only have one "friend" that has D90 in UK and that's not really camera I'm looking at. And there is other guy I know shoots D700, but he's back home in my country. I keep seeing his shots that he does for my sister of her son and most of the time I'm in awe...
I could rent/borrow K-5 but trying Nikon elsewhere than in shop is an issue...

01-01-2012, 12:55 PM   #50
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Very interesting tread, I too would like to upgrade (k-r), I have friends who has top tier canons, and closer friends who has their d90 and d7000 and once I played with their cameras the first thing that popped in my mind was (I might switch to nikon). Right now I'm also undecided, I'm planning to get a used k20d or a used k7 and decide what I want to do from there. And I also feel your pain on the AF hunting, I too doesnt have the that much sunlight here in my area (for now) so what I do is just go burst mode, and then adjust my ISO to get a faster shutter speed and cross my fingers that I would get a keeper.

Anyway I was planning on gettin an external flash (metz 50) would the flash help me out in a crappy light situation? thanks guys.
01-01-2012, 02:38 PM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
Axl,

In general, if accurate and quick AF lock for moving subjects in low-light is a big concern, it's hard for anyone out there to beat the Nikon D300/D700. I suspect that the D7000 probably matches the D300 in everything but tracking, but I haven't used a D7000 enough to know first-hand if that's the case.

Folks like Simon can take great kid shots with any camera + lens, but head-to-head, your money might be better spent on Nikon if you want to acquire the best, least frustrating AF system. It pains me to say that because I generally prefer Pentax lenses and Pentax in general, but I can't deny what I've experienced myself, and what I hear about low-light AF issues with the K-5, coming from folks who know what they're doing.

My experience:

K20D vs. D80: D80 shows better, faster AF in every circumstance, although tracking was only a little better with the D80
K20D vs. D90: Even larger gap
K-7 vs. D90: Almost no real difference from the above comparison - K-7 maybe fared a little better than the K20D.
K20D vs. D700 (almost same AF as D300): The gap widens, especially in low-light, and especially with tracking.

I haven't played with the K-5 enough to add it to this list with any assurance, but it would be very odd to me if it all of a sudden reversed this trend, especially when it's AF module is a tweaked SAFOX and it's focus crosshairs and lines are relatively large.... and from what I've been reading here, dpreview, and the Online Photographer, the one real issue with the K-5, besides QC issues, which happen to any camera, is low-light AF lock. The main issue you're trying to fix.

I'll repeat what a few others have said - if there is any way you can compare AF performance on a Nikon vs a K-5, that would really help. It's hard to line up equipment like that though. But try to get your hands on a D300 or D7000 (or even D90) if at all possible to give it a try.

I took this last night - I had been shooting some snow ith the K20D + DA15ltd in the dark, lit by the back deck light, and it just wouldn't lock, maybe 1 out of 4 shots would even fire. I grabbed the D700 + $70 Sigma 24 f/2.8 and brought it out into the snow for a series of shots - all of which locked on the target immediately. It's not apples to apples, but Nikon just seems to consistently have more apples in the barrel when it comes to AF.



If AF isn't an issue for your photography, K-5 is top-tier in aps-c. And for static shots where you can bracket focus, or kick into MF, and Pentax camera combined with a Pentax lens will make any photog happy

K20D + DA35ltd, last night in Minneapolis




.
Thanks Jay,

Appreciate you chiming in.
Thanks for the comparisons of different generations of the AF system.
I'm well aware of qualities of K-5 and it was my #1 candidate for upgrade, as I really like the Pentax glass. But at the same time the light in here even in the middle of the day is so terrible (the example I posted is from the middle of the day, the boy is less than 2 meters from window! And still it metered 1/40 @ f1.4 ISO2000, and that's just about as bright as it gets here these days) that my f2.8 is pretty much useless (it locks focus and maybe faster than DA*55 but with K-7's ISO it's pretty much unusable as even at ISO2500 it meters around 1/30) the DA*55 can deliver acceptable shots but AF struggles, and FA*24 is pretty much on the mark with ISO pushed as much as possible on K-7.

Better AF would definitely make my life easier. I'm not saying I'm not getting keepers these days, far from truth (JJ Photo Gallery by Peter at pbase.com) but if I spend on new body I don't want it to be partial upgrade only...
01-01-2012, 02:49 PM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by kaiserz Quote
Anyway I was planning on gettin an external flash (metz 50) would the flash help me out in a crappy light situation? thanks guys.
From my point of view, yes and no.
I have a lot of shots with bounced flash, that enables to get shots at 1/180 so definitely no issues with movement there, and the ISO stays down (max 400). Note I use flash on low (manual) settings between 1/8th and 1/32th of power not to "blind" my little one.
But even with AF assist lamp on the flash the AF can be a bit of a pain in the backside.
But in general, the situation with external flash improves dramatically:

31ltd, wide open, ISO200


DA*55, f2.8, ISO200


FA*24, f3.5, ISO400


all with AF500FTZ on manual settings, bounce of the ceiling/walls
01-01-2012, 03:51 PM   #53
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Peter, I can also vouch for the D7000 being accurate and swift in its AF response - you will of course have to invest significantly more in the lenses that will make this happen with the camera. However in support of the K-5, I too have found it highly accurate, albeit slightly slower due to some low-light focus hunting, but certainly not as often as with the K20D or K-7. What I have found disconcerting with the K-5 is the very low light AF inaccuracy - it's as if the K-5 wants to commit to a focus lock without being certain of the right focus distance, thereby consistently front-focusing, quite badly. But I haven't found this to be a deal breaker in suggesting the K-5 to prospective buyers - it's a small application for most, and one easily amenable to manual focusing anyway, particularly for stationary subject at around infinity focus.

01-01-2012, 03:59 PM   #54
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axl, having read your posts in this and other threads I have a feeling you've been considering to switch brands for quite some time now. And I also suspect that no matter what you end up doing now, in the long run you won't feel content until you've switched (most likely to Nikon). Life is short, go ahead.
01-01-2012, 04:20 PM   #55
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Don't discard Canon as well. 7D has great AF system, it locks and track very well, lens USM focus drive is very fast. If you get a chance try this combo, your frustration with Pentax AF issues will just grow even more .
01-01-2012, 05:26 PM   #56
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
I could rent/borrow K-5 but trying Nikon elsewhere than in shop is an issue...
If you can rent the K-5 I would just do that and not worry about Canon and Nikon till you have tried it. The K-5 might surprice you and might be just what you wanted. Just run it trhough its paces at home and all your current problems might be a thing from the past.

Will nikon or Canon be faster... sure they probably are with the right lenses... If AF speed is all you worry about go for it but at one point you might want to shoot photos of your kids in the rain. At that stage you might want to go back to Pentax.

I used to shoot Canon 1d mark 2 and 7d's with Canon L glass
  1. Weather proof.
  2. Very fast AF
  3. Sharp
  4. HEAVY AND CUMBERSOME
but yes a very nice set up. It was however heavy for shooting kids and therefore I used it 0nly on special trips. For my kids photos I mainly used an Olympus Pen E-p3) camera and a Nikon 35TI (point and shoot)
E-p3 fast af and very handy compact body and compact lenses.
35tI For film
01-01-2012, 05:39 PM   #57
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AF speed and decisiveness has significantly improved on the K5 and Kr.
Those who don't have one should try it out to see for themselves. Basing on K7, K20 etc just isn't a good comparison anymore.


In fact AF speed is pretty good on my G3 (and by extension EPL3 if I can believe what I read on most reviews and forums).


Axl, I've found AF assist with the flash to be even slower than relying on on-camera AF assist.
I shoot more often with a wireless trigger which 'gets round' this problem.
I'm on a Metz48 with old flash firmware though.
01-01-2012, 07:52 PM   #58
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
I see what you 2 are saying but the issue is with Nikon here. I only have one "friend" that has D90 in UK and that's not really camera I'm looking at. And there is other guy I know shoots D700, but he's back home in my country. I keep seeing his shots that he does for my sister of her son and most of the time I'm in awe...
I could rent/borrow K-5 but trying Nikon elsewhere than in shop is an issue...
You're in *London*. It's a massive city (yes, I've been there...like NYC big! )
Post in one of the Nikon forums and ask if you could take some shots w/ someone's D7000 w/ the lens you're most likely to use w/ it most of the time. Invite them over for dinner and talk gear a bit.
Do the same w/ the K-5...see if anyone here or on one of the other Pentax forums will let you try it for a bit w/ the lens you use most of the time.
Load up some SD cards and make a comparison.

One thing I do like about Nikon's lenses is they're ridiculously sharp even wide open. Pentax's limited are smaller, but do need to be stopped down slightly to get equivalent sharpness IMHO. The Nikon lenses are ridiculously expensive though

p.s., forgot to ask...are you running AF-C w/ focus via the AF button on the back? That gets rid of the low-light hunting for me (basically gives an approximation like what Nikon's AF system does sometimes), but doesn't get rid of the issue of the big AF points locking on stuff they like better.

Last edited by kenyee; 01-01-2012 at 07:57 PM. Reason: added AF-C question
01-01-2012, 08:57 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
I haven't played with the K-5 enough to add it to this list with any assurance, but it would be very odd to me if it all of a sudden reversed this trend, especially when it's AF module is a tweaked SAFOX and it's focus crosshairs and lines are relatively large....
I've read many times that people observed quite a jump in AF performance from K-7 to K-5. I don't think it is fair to call the K-5's AF a tweaked version of the K-7's. The AF optics are rather different (more light sensitive). Probably in combination the increased sensitivity and software changes allow the K-5 to more often lock without that last little bit of hesitation the K-7 often shows.

However, Jay you are of course correct when you criticise the remaining low-light AF bug of the K-5. Despite many positive reports after the respective firmware update, I believe that Pentax only addressed some of the symptoms partially and that a fundamental issue / bug still remains.

That's why I personally will wait and see what the K-5's successor will look like.

Peter, I hope you also can afford the patience to see what the K-5 successor will look like. The price of the K-5 won't rise in the meantime. Given that the K-5's contrast detect AF is significantly faster, you may even use it for those tricky low-light situations when the PDAF system will end up giving you FFed shots. I guess it remains unknown how well the K-5 will perform in your circumstances. It's PDAF may not play up at all.

As for the alternative to switch systems, I'd really think hard about it before going that route. You are working with a tight budget and unless you are lucky, switching systems is expensive and Nikon is not know as a budget brand. They have a number of cheap lenses but are those the ones you'll be happy with?

I personally think that Sigma produces some great lenses, but in the past you've been a critic of Sigma coatings. Won't you miss your SMC coatings after having switched to Nikon?

Finally, try to understand well what you are getting yourself into. The D7000, for example, seems to be plagued with a hot pixel problem. Whether there are more problems like this, whether they have been addressed, whether they matter to you, all that I'd try to clarify before switching systems. Not everything we take for granted with our Pentax cameras will be a non-issue with other systems.

P.S.: I know this is off-topic but since you posted a good example:
QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
as example:
Look at the bokeh at the top right of the image. This is why I'm not a fan of the 55/1.4. I don't like the lines in the bokeh. While overall, it looks fuzzy, it still has a busy character. Not saying everyone has to take issue with the 55's bokeh, just explaining what bothers me about it. When I see your shots with the 31mm I go "Nice!", when I see 55mm shots most of the time (not always) I go "Yeah, nah".

Last edited by Class A; 01-01-2012 at 09:22 PM.
01-02-2012, 12:21 AM   #60
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You are pointing to some good points indeed. Going with Nikon I would have to settle for Sigma lenses on most ocasions as the Nikon equivalents are just too expensive in UK. And as you said, I'm not a huge fan of Sigma's coatings...well spotted.
Yes switching would be expensive or I'd have to settle for 2nd hand body and mid tier lenses...
The problem is I'm growing inpatiently fed up. I love SMC Pentax lenses, no doubt there, but the last Pentax body I liked was K10D. I had 3 of them and they all developed faults! That was the reason for never buying K20D as I was afraid the mirror related focus shift issues would reappear again as the mirror box of K10 and K20 is the same. With K-7...well, as I said, I never liked the strong AA filter. Per pixel sharpness is horrid compared to K10, the noise is only better at ISO1250 and above. Yes, esposure and AF are steps up. But I still think of K10D so much more than K-7. I was looking forward to upgrading to K-5 but once all sorts of threads started to appear (front focus in low light, stains on sensor, similar focus inconsitency to older bodies, QC issues...) I decided to wait. Than my son was born and my shooting enviroment changed drastically and all the shortcomings of then current set up were becoming more and more obvious. I tried to offset some by adjusting my gear. I sold 2 FA ltds (although I came back to 43 3 more times) because as beautiful as they were, their AF on K-7 was too loud and slow, I got some more FA series lenses that focus much faster than Ltds (FA100 and FA*28-70) and I got DA*55 which is SDM so I had no issues when my son was asleep. IQ wise? I always prefered K50/1.2 to DA* but lately even with split prism I couldn't focus it so I sold it, the FA*s a great as was the FA macro. Issues? F2.8 is too slow for my shooting conditions, and DA* on K-7 can't focus when the kid is moving. The focus is just so insecure it'lll keep adjusting and redjusting and stuttering and eventually I'd be getting flashing green hexagon. It might as well just that my inabilities to cope with certain situations are to blame because obviously there are....ah, let's not go there

Anyway, as I said before. If I spend money on new body, I want to make sure it'll help me get more shots I want. And if I'll have to change systems for it then so be it. It's the shots that matter, not loyalty to a brand...
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