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04-03-2012, 10:22 AM   #1
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K-5 too much camera for me?

I have been reading and reading through posts and have continually convinced myself that I need the next level (whatever that means) camera. I have finally stopped just short of a full frame camera and am now completely questioning my logic that got me here.

My canon rebel xti is tired and my lenses have mostly been dropped thanks to when the kids were younger. Thankfully I hadn't really invested a lot of money in them. I use the camera to photograph the kids; whether at a family get together or at a sporting event. I have always used my camera in full auto mode, but I am ready to start experimenting. I bought a book to learn more and have spent a lot of time looking at pictures on this site and seeing what settings are used in different situations.

I was originally deciding between Canon d60 and Nikon d7000. The Nikon is out since it is nearly impossible to get on short notice (I am ready to buy now) from a reputable site and the Canon doesn't excite me, though the price is right and it is probably a great camera and well beyond my skill level at this point. I have never touched a K-5, and it wouldn't be easy if I wanted to, but it just appeals to me. The size, the weather sealing, and just being different from the crowd of Canon/Nikon users (again, not really a good reason) are appealing to me.. I never see myself buying more than 3 or 4 lenses, so not to worried about the selection there. I was considering buying the body and the 18-135 to get started and then add from there once I figure out what focal lengths I am taking my pictures. Of course, then I start thinking that I am over thinking this and that I am not really going to notice a difference in what I could take from my current camera with a cheap kit lens to what I could take with a K-5 and a slightly better lens. So then I find myself considering the new K-01 or the Olympus OMD EM5... Am I really going to notice the 1/2 stop difference or whatever it is by going mirror less??

I am that guy who over researches and buys things with features I don't necessarily need because I read something on the Internet. So, I am just looking for some solid advice as to what fits my current needs and to what I can hopefully grow with. Lastly, I feel like I am looking for something to take quality photos that can focus quickly and track well when chasing my kids on the field.

Thank you for your help! I look forward to using the site more once I finally make my purchase!

04-03-2012, 10:51 AM   #2
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In general, a better camera doesn't require greater skills to use. A K-5 is as easy to use as a K-R, for example, just as a Canon 5DII is as easy to operate as a 60D.

The difference is a better camera gives you more possibilities in terms of control and is usually nicer to use.
04-03-2012, 10:52 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Squirrel Quote
I have always used my camera in full auto mode, but I am ready to start experimenting.
Maybe you should start experimenting in non-auto mode with your current camera for a while.

QuoteOriginally posted by Squirrel Quote
I am over thinking this and that I am not really going to notice a difference in what I could take from my current camera with a cheap kit lens to what I could take with a K-5 and a slightly better lens.
You are likely to be disappointed if these are the only reasons for changing cameras. If I were you I would just upgrade the lens to a 17-50 f2.8 lens [tamron, sigma or canon] and join a local photo club or go around with someone who is a good photographer or take some photo classes. Consider borrowing this book from the library-Understanding exposure by Peterson.

If after doing these things you come to a more better reason for upgrading like needing to shoot at higher ISO's, needing more manual controls etc by all means change your camera.

Best of luck!
04-03-2012, 10:55 AM   #4
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I would highly recommend you try really hard to get some hands-on time with a K-5 somewhere. This way you will likely know very quickly if its the right camera for you.

04-03-2012, 11:13 AM   #5
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I appreciate the replies! I did think about upgrading the glass for my Canon, but haven't yet for two reasons. 1. The canon has been dropped numerous times over the years and the picture quality seems to have suffered. Many of my photos seem washed out if that makes sense. 2. Investing in new glass would make it smart to stay with Canon for when I upgrade the camera and I wasn't sure I was comfortable with that. And I guess I should add that it is just fun to get something new...

@pyschdoc: thanks for the book recommendation; I will check it out.

For my canon, I am stuck with a Sigma 100-300 that errors out most of the time I try to shoot anything. So, I need to do something, whether new glass or new camera. Would love to have something other than my phone for Easter...
04-03-2012, 11:53 AM   #6
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Just do it! By a K5, You wil love it, and it wil inspire you to experiment. Photo interest are going up and down, but wit a camera like this, it get longer betveen the down :-)
04-03-2012, 11:53 AM   #7
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If I matched my buying habits to my skill levels - I would never own anything cool. Life is short - try to enjoy it!

I dumped my older Canon gear last year from a general lack of use - and interest - and desire to spend the money on another new hobby (guitars)...All the while knowing I would eventually want to replace it with something new. Once I decided I would indeed use a new system (primarily for the kid - swimming), I did all the research you did...got hepped up with the idea of MILC and esp. the NEx7 for a bit (thankfully it was delayed), then gladly went for the K-5 and a couple affordable lenses. Trying and comparing the K-5 to all the other choices (at B&H) one day just sealed the deal on what I already suspected - it is great!

Granted that E-M5 is a sexy camera, and is, or would be, VERY high on my list if I didn't already get the Pentax (I may likely get one for my daughter as a grad gift), I think overall the K-5 is a better system due to the lens choices (and the interface is near perfect). Working around DOF and lens speed can be quite annoying when moving indoors and you have to compromise (with that said I JUST opened a new 55-300 'cause I really didn't want to spend $1250-$2000 on a 60-250 f/4...(took a quick handheld of my bud here at work @200mm 1/10 shutter and its crystal- sweet!)). With Pentax you can choose from several quality lens combinations @ several pricepoints to build a kit that will let you get good range and usage coverage: macro, portraits, teles, zooms, wide-angle, etc. - i.e. numerous choices on how you get to where you want to be, when YOU want to get there!

Now that it is getting warm I intend to actually go out and take more photos - and to have some fun. vacation, parties, kids, wildlife, nature, etc. etc. All with the option to choose to grow & learn & enjoy without having my equipment dissappoint me.

The K-5 is built right, is plenty compact if you want it to be (or add BG4), has numerous quality lenses to choose from across all pricepoints, and has plenty of features to like - and grow into. It's a hell of a value.

Last edited by jmg257; 04-03-2012 at 12:52 PM.
04-03-2012, 05:45 PM   #8
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Again, thanks for the comments! I found a local store that is basically a satellite store for a larger store in Boston that will ship a K-5 from the Boston store so I can go in and check it out. Not going to be able to do it before Easter like I was hoping, but oh well. I almost paid for it and had it shipped to the house, but they didn't have the 18-135 I was hoping for, so I figure I might as well wait and get my hands on it in the store before buying it.

@jmg257: glad to hear you the 55-300 is capable. It would be nice to have that kind of range shooting outside sports; though I am guessing it is a little slow.

04-03-2012, 08:08 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Squirrel Quote
current needs and to what I can hopefully grow with.
When the K-5 was calling me last month my thought was I'd rather grow into the camera than grow out of it.
04-03-2012, 08:20 PM   #10
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I can't speak highly enough of the K-5. It is well built, weather proof, ergonomically excellent and it performs superbly.

From what you say you are looking for, it would be an excellent choice. The idea of buying it with a 18-135 before investing in more expensive glass (which I bet you will) is perfectly sound.

Just. Do. It.
04-03-2012, 08:37 PM   #11
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Try it, you'll like it.

I sat on the sidelines of the digital revolution for nearly a decade. Every digital camera I touched was either way over-priced or felt like cheap crap.
The first time I ever held a Pentax K-5 in my hands was the day I bought my first DSLR.
04-04-2012, 12:38 AM   #12
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I have a book suggestion too. This is the textbook from my first photography class. This book changed my life. Some of the info is a little dated since later editions have been released but all the stuff on composition and exposure is still very relevant. The book was $150 (college textbook prices suck). Now you can pick it up on the super cheap.

Photography by Barbara London 2005, Paperback, Illustrated 9780130282712 | eBay
04-04-2012, 02:09 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Squirrel Quote
am that guy who over researches and buys things with features I don't necessarily need because I read something on the Internet. So, I am just looking for some solid advice as to what fits my current needs and to what I can hopefully grow with. Lastly, I feel like I am looking for something to take quality photos that can focus quickly and track well when chasing my kids on the field.
Squirrel, I am very like you with the internet research, with the added issue that I am an Engineer, and so like to know all the technical fine detail. Like you I researched all sorts of stuff, and seriously looked at a whole range of DSLRs and Mirrorless Camera's. Cut to the chase - last month I brought a K-5, I also have a 55-300, and will get to that with comments below.

In my research I was looking for an APS-C, high IQ, interchangeable lens, relatively small camera (as I travel a lot).

As part of my research I was reading Luminous Landscape as we have some stunning landscapes near where I live and I enjoy photographing them. I saw several articles by Sean Reid, Reid Reviews which made sense to me, and in the end I subscribed to his review site - it is about USD $30, and well worth it. Sean has a very measured and in-depth review of the K-5, some mirror less and various other cameras including the Fuji X-Pro1.

One particular article on his review site was called 'Seeing your Subject' and was a look at using Optical View Finders verses Electronic View Finders. I found once I thought about it - it was a key issue for me. I really like using Optical View Finders. Once I made that decision, the field narrowed very quickly - Range finders, DSLRs, Fuji X-Pro 1.

The second article that had a large influence on my thinking was one by Thom Hogan on lens selection - lens availability is really important - I didn't want to be waiting for 3 years for 'roadmap' lenses to arrive. This is where Sony NEX and Fuji X-Pro 1 have issues - their current lens selection is limited. m4/3 and DSLR systems have much more mature lens selection - and Pentax K mount has lenses going back to the 1960's that still mount and are very usable on the digital bodies. Nikon also do to for that matter.

My selection criteria - with optical finder, good (and affordable) lens range, smaller size for travel, great IQ etc left me looking at the Fuji X-Pro 1, Pentax K-5 and Nikon D7000. The Fuji is only just available, and more expensive than the other two, with a much more limited lens range.

In the end the Pentax small primes, smaller body, and weather sealing (really useful when traveling - in a place for one day and it is raining) swung it to the K-5 for me.

I am very happy with the K-5 - it is a superb little camera, great price for what it is, fantastic IQ, meters old lens (cheap and fun to play with), very small with primes attached, and I have found it relatively intuitive and easy to use. I previously had a Nikon D200 - and the K-5 is way easier to learn/use than the Nikon. It is also significantly smaller and less bulky too.

In the end you need to work out your own selection criteria and deal breakers - the Optical View Finder vs Electronic View Finder was one of the key ones for me.

With regard to the 55-300 and your comment regarding speed - please remember that this type of lens tends to get used outdoors, especially at the long end - so low light (mostly) should be less of an issue. The K-5 had shake reduction that gives you a couple of stops straight up, the K-5 also has high usable ISO that also gives you more range - so.....please bear that all in mind when considering how you would use the 55-300. it is a very nice lens for the price.

I hope all this helps

Ross
04-04-2012, 03:39 AM   #14
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I would heartily recommend the K5. The thing that may help you break out of auto mode is Pentax's hyperprogram. You set the camera to P and then if you move the front dial, it puts you in Tv mode (letting you adjust the shutter speed) and if you move the back dial, you are in Av mode (letting you adjust the aperture). If you really mess up the settings, you just hit the green button and it will take you back.

In point of fact, the green button is really helpful in a lot of situations and something that I don't think Nikon/Canon cameras offer.

My brother recently bought a D7000 and that is a really nice camera, as well, but for me personally (I am quite biased) I like the feel of the K5 and its features a lot better.
04-04-2012, 06:49 AM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
@jmg257: glad to hear you the 55-300 is capable. It would be nice to have that kind of range shooting outside sports; though I am guessing it is a little slow.
I don't think it will be too slow for outdoor sports...usually LOTS of light! I will be trying to use it indoors in pools though. I have used the 18-135 successfully enough, and the 55-300 is 1stop faster in the 100mm range and doesn't step up to 5.6 till around 200, so I think, while not ideal, it'll be OK...a nice thing about the K-5's abilities at High ISO! A couple 2.8 zooms or tele primes would be nice of course...maybe next time, but the good looking 60-250 f4 is only 1 stop faster for (now) like 5 or 6x the price! Then there are those iffy SDM motors...

Besides the 18-135 I bought with the body, I later grabbed a 70mm for portraits of the team and to take advantage of the extra speed around the pool. Along with the new 55-300 I also ordered a 100mm Macro D FA (darn pricing change pushed me)...with these 4 lenses there are plenty of things I can do with the system. Come on warm weather!

Last edited by jmg257; 04-04-2012 at 09:15 AM.
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