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02-05-2012, 10:43 AM   #1
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Help With New Camera Decision

It is high time I upgrade my aging Canon 400D. I primarily shoot landscapes so dynamic range is important. I was hoping to pick up a smaller mirrorless system. Ideally, something with great DR, smallish size, good glass, IBIS (bonus), and decent bracketing since I do a good amount of HDR.

Not a fan of the Sony (small body, large lenses, and not many lens choices). IQ is great though. Panny's sensors are OK but don't match Sonys, especially for dynamic range so IQ is the issue here.

The soon to be announced OM-D is interesting but I think the GX1 sensor is going to hold it back in terms of DR and overall IQ. Oly's tweaks could convince me otherwise. Everything else looks pretty decent though.

The X-Pro 1, from what I gather, is going to have great IQ. My hunch would be that it beats the K-5. The big price and crappy +-1 EV AEB sucks.

The K-01, lacks a viewfinder and some key features (ie. AEB 3 frames at 1/2 EV???) I would normally use.

This led me to the K-5 as an option. It is priced well now and will fit my needs. The only real drawback I see is that it's not as small as I was hoping for and, due to it's age, will probably be replaced this year by something better. Perhaps picking up a used one and then upgrading later in the year to the K-5 replacement or K-01's replacemet with EVF?

Thoughts?

02-05-2012, 11:16 AM   #2
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I think especially now, you will probably be getting the most from your money if you get a K5. I saw a used one in the markterplace for around 850, this is insanely good value. Personally, i think the K5 has almost no weakness as a camera, it does everything well. The K5 is already the smallest fully function dslr in the market, if you take a look at camerasize, the fuji is about as tall, wider, but thiner. The om-d will probably be much smaller still, but i dont believe you will get the benefits of weather sealing. The K5 handles DR amazing well at its lowest iso 80 setting, something both the fuji and om-d lacks, so im not quite ready to say that the fuji will have better DR performance than the K5. A replacement will likely come around during photokina, so you can upgrade when the time is ready. Just my 2 cents. Hope this helps..
02-05-2012, 11:28 AM   #3
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Even if a replacement camera comes out soon, you would get more value getting a K5 with all it's great perfomance and IQ now and looking for some great glass to go with it. You don't have to upgrade your body every time something new comes out, and investing in good glass will do more for IQ than switching from a K5 (or any camera body for that matter) to it's replacement but having cheap glass. The DR you can squeeze out of the K5 RAW files is crazy, you have to see it to believe it.
I doubt anything short of medium format will outdo it by much anytime soon, especially in the current price bracket of the K5.
02-05-2012, 11:35 AM   #4
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+1 on the k-5, simply amazing value at this point. Yes, it will be replaced eventually, maybe even this year. So what, the new camera will be much more expensive than k-5 is now. If the replacement is so much better you have to have it then fine, if not wait until the price comes down.

And K-01 recently announced uses same sensor so that is an indication to me that Pentax thinks there is still life in that hardware.

02-05-2012, 11:43 AM   #5
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I am tending to agree with you both. The OM-D is reported to be weather sealed but I don't think its DR is going to be there and it starts at an ISO of 200? Not loving that...
02-05-2012, 11:48 AM   #6
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I just upgraded from my K20 to the K5 and received it the other day. Szie wise it is small compared to my K20 - which is really not all that large - when compared to the much larger Canon and Nikon upper tier bodies. It reminds me of my K100 in terms of its physical size. I too do landscapes and the K20 is wonderful. The K5 is even better - for all the reasons that Eagle pointed out. One additional item is that according to DxO, the K5's dynamic range is the best of any APS-C sensor, and equals a full frame sensor. For what is on the market, right at this instant - I really do not think that you can do better than a K5. Now, that also begs the question of glass for the K5. The 31Ltd, or 35Ltd, or 21Ltd for landscapes should be adequate - actually probably match Canon's L glass.

Price - now I just acquired a new one for $749 (announced 16 months ago at $1,700), however it might have been a pricing error, that the store went ahead and honored - I don't know. I am just very pleased (actually doing handstands) that I was able to acquire one for that price. I was thinking that anything under $900 - maybe $850 may be able to be seen as the K5 goes out of inventory as its replacement is announced. I had also acquired my K20 at the end of its model run for $650 (announced 16 months earlier at ~$1,300). I have had the K20 for 3 years now. So, for a K5, these next few months is going to be the best time to acquire one. Now, I had somewhat decided to possibly bypass the K5. The price was holding firm at the $1K level, and its replacement has not really been announced. My K20 is as solid as a rock, dependable and does a wonderful job. I had saved the funds for its replacement - had it sitting in an envelope in my desk drawer. One morning, I just happened to see a posting here about the K5's price on a web site. I just happened to click, and saw the price. Made an instant decision - picked up the phone and ordered. The price was way beyond good, and the store delivered. So, you do have to look, and be patient, evaluate and be prepared to pull the trigger.

I was very surprised that the K-01 was announced at $750, which may indicate that the K5 may get that low again - I don't know, and I somewhat doubt it - but who knows. I might also add, that the price usually dips as the inventory is cleared out, then jumps back up - as the few stores that still have new stock, raise the price. The K7 (the K5 predecessor is going for $1,000+ new, and it sold at its low at around ~$750 +/-, but that was a bit over a year ago).

That is what I forgot to do - here is a physical size comparison....Before I forget, here are a couple of items to consider. Pentax offers a $20 2 year extended warranty (total of 3 years) - B&H carries them. And, if I was going to get a K5, I wanted to get one with at least a month or so before inventory ran out - so that if something was not right, I could return it and get another - as opposed to sending it to be serviced. This was just my thinking. .... and the last thing - my unit arrived with manufacturing date of 11/24/2011 and a image count of 0 (according to PhotoMe). So, I think that Pentax has the K5 manufacturing on all cylinders now - with all the bugs worked out (knock on wood).


Last edited by interested_observer; 02-05-2012 at 12:20 PM.
02-05-2012, 11:57 AM   #7
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Like said the dynamic range of the K5 is great and the bracketing options are enough.
I mostly used 5 photos with 2 ev in between, because of the great dynamic range this spacing isn't a problem at all.
Als the bracketing can be set to automaticly take all the shots with one press on the shutter release so you don't need to count the shots any more.

As for the size, i think you should try it out in the shop first and see it in real life.
The camera is quite small for what is inside and the ergonomics are also good, something the smaller camera often lacks.
02-05-2012, 11:58 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
And K-01 recently announced uses same sensor so that is an indication to me that Pentax thinks there is still life in that hardware.
Pentax say its a different sensor though...

02-05-2012, 01:00 PM   #9
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I am exactly where the OP is - need a new camera, own no legacy glass for any particular brand, and I want a small camera.
I have been holding off for a few months to see the new mirrorless cameras to be announced - and they are all big disappointments, one way or another (I am still waiting for the Oly announcement to see if there will be a last minute surprise there before I pick a K-5 up).

My plan-B was to get a used DSLR for now until someone comes up with a decent mirrorless, and I got turned on to Pentax because of it's great support for shooting with old manual lenses (I can get a decent prime plus 2 zooms for about $150), and that would tie me over until photokina. At first I thought to get a used K-7, but considering the price difference between a used K-7 and a new K-5 is less than a Fuji lens, I am going to get a new K-5 (reading up on issues has scared me off used K-5s).

Here are my own justifications for a new K-5, now (as opposed to waiting). Maybe they will help you too.
(they may be wrong, because I only know what I read about on the internet. I am sure people will correct me):
- it's the smallest serious DSLR on the market
- it's the only weather sealed camera in its price range
- other than not having a FF sensor, it lacks no functionality at all. Period. (well, there is the tethering, which I don't really care about much)
- great manual focus assistance allows you to get great old manual lenses for peanuts
- great old lenses are mostly FF coverage, so if you upgrade the body when they come up with one, the lenses are not wasted
- it feels like Pentax put everything they could put on the camera without saying things like "if you want AEL lock, buy the next model up"
- on the same vein - it *is* the flagship camera, so there is no model up (well, not without spending $10K). Not something one can say for any other brands.

So, unless some last minute surprise in the mirrorless land pops up. I will be getting one in a week or two.
02-05-2012, 01:18 PM   #10
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atekant- get yourself a K-5. At the moment, Pentax's mirrorless option is a sidegrade at best, plus it's not weather-sealed and some of the pro-level features have been removed (i.e. numerous external buttons).

Pentax K-5 Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

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02-05-2012, 01:37 PM   #11
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Adam - yes the K-01 is DOA for me with no viewfinder (I seriously wonder if anyone designing it ever tried holding a 1.5lb weight (if not 2 with some lenses) at arms length at eye level and keep it steady.

OTOH, I have to thank the K-01 for turning my attention to Pentax and then realizing what a great machine the K-5 is. So maybe they did plan it that way, and the K-5 is an upsell from the mirrorless. It worked in my case.
02-05-2012, 01:44 PM   #12
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Well, it's great to hear that their marketing worked, for a change! I personally do think that the K-01 will be successful among amateurs that want to get better pictures, though. I don't think anyone will plan on using it with heavy glass, unless of course the lens itself has a tripod mount.

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02-05-2012, 02:50 PM   #13
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The only 'drawbacks' to the K-5 are if you plan to do serious video work; relative to some of the latest stuff it cannot do the manual control, and lacks the one-button video option. I'm not a video person (yet) so this is not relevant to me. For still shooting it's second to none in the aps-c world, and I feel it has the most features per cubic inch of any camera.

The only thing a new model can introduce above a K-5 right now is focus peaking and more video control. I cannot think of any game-changing item that would degrade the K-5 as it stands; of course game-changers tend to come out of left field in this business, but I don't know of any right now. That's why I grabbed a K-5 before the price drop ended.. which of course was extended instead but I'm OK with that!
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