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06-03-2012, 11:01 AM   #1
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Considering the K-5

I bought into the Canon system earlier this year with a 5DII and a few lenses. While I generally like the setup (huge viewfinder and ability for super shallow DOF is great), I have a few gripes and am considering adding a K-5 into the mix as a travel camera that can take a beating.

I am mostly interested in travel and landscape photography.

The 5DII with a zoom lens is pretty darn bulky to be hauling around when hiking and somewhat attention getting (not necessarily a good thing). I really can't imagine myself wanting to haul this body down to S. America or Europe in a backpack. The body isn't that well weather sealed and the build quality is decent but not great. Also, the dynamic range is lacking compared to the Sony sensors. I have a few other gripes with the Canon, but nothing that is a deal breaker. (And every system has its weaknesses).

I am considering the K-5 due to its small size and weather sealing...since I live in southern AK, this could come in very handy and is one of the reasons I'm looking at Pentax as opposed to a Rebel T2i or something along those lines. I figure I could pick up one or two versatile zooms and use it as my travel camera, and leave the 5DII at home for more of a studio camera. I guess ultimately, if I didn't feel a need for one of the systems, I'd sell the other.


So a few questions for the crowd:

1. The K-5 looks great on paper. I bought the 5DII sight unseen which was not a great idea (but there are no camera shops here in southern AK). Is there anyway to rent a K-5 online or similar so I can play with one before buying?

2. I am considering the 18-55 or 18-135 kits WR kits. My worry is that the 18-55 may not produce images up to my standards (amateur but hoping to turn professional). The 18-135 seems a tad better but I worry that the size of the setup would be getting too large. I am also considering a 35mm prime or a pancake of some sort. The later don't seem to have WR though--that is a big selling point for this system.

Perhaps this is just a "grass is greener" feeling and I should just pick up a small Rebel on the cheap. I don't have the cash to heavily invest in two systems, but figure the K-5 and one small, high quality lightweight zoom could be a lot of fun.

Thanks,
Shawn

06-03-2012, 11:27 AM   #2
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I used the 18-135 on a K-5 on a recent vacation trip and I did not regret that I left the heavy top notch glass at home. It was nice to travel light for a change. The lens is quite compact and produces excellent images for a super zoom. It is not an attention getter at all. I even used it successfully at night, handheld in available light. The high-ISO capability of the K-5 nicely made up for the slow speed of the lens.
06-03-2012, 11:29 AM   #3
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If you want weather sealing and exceptional IQ I'd look into getting a used DA* 16-50mm (the new price has recently gone up so I wouldn't recommend getting a new one); otherwise, the 18-135mm does a fairly good job. Unless you pixel-peep you really won't notice any issues with it after lens correction has been applied in-camera (or in post).

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06-03-2012, 11:40 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sb in ak Quote
I bought into the Canon system earlier this year with a 5DII and a few lenses. While I generally like the setup (huge viewfinder and ability for super shallow DOF is great), I have a few gripes and am considering adding a K-5 into the mix as a travel camera that can take a beating.
But, but, but, it's Full Frame! How could you even consider an APS-C

06-03-2012, 11:55 AM   #5
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Ha... I drank the FF koolaid and have really enjoyed it. If only they could stuff 35mm back into a small body again. I first shot with the K1000...that was a perfect size.
06-04-2012, 01:19 PM   #6
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Cameralensrentals.com-Pentax Bodies & Accessories

I rent from these guys a couple times a year, they're top-notch. There are others, too, I'm sure.
For your oudoors excursions they have a couple lenses which might be useful, too.

I just bought a 18-135 a couple months back for the WR and find it a nice little lens. I usually have the camera on evening dog walkies, and the 18-135 is a nice compromise. No, if I spot warblers way in the top of the trees I won't get the images the 55-300 can give, but for closer work, it's proving very useful. Its focus is quick, too, it seems to hunt less than some other lenses I've used - or it's just faster because of the internal motor.

Last edited by TER-OR; 06-04-2012 at 01:29 PM.
06-04-2012, 01:59 PM   #7
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Thanks for the link! I am also considering the 35mm or 21mm primes. Nice and compact. No WR though and would certainly be less versatile.
06-04-2012, 02:09 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sb in ak Quote
I really can't imagine myself wanting to haul this body down to S. America or Europe in a backpack.
Gave me a good laught !

You know, Europe is more or less like America. Different culture but same level of wealth.

QuoteOriginally posted by sb in ak Quote
My worry is that the 18-55 may not produce images up to my standards
If you tried the Canon 18-55/ 17-85, then the Pentax 18-55 will be a step up in IQ. For me the Canon Kit lens are among the worst lens i've ever tried.


For the rest i can't tell. Except that a T2i feel like a toy compared to the K5 (in build quality).

06-04-2012, 04:02 PM   #9
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If you want small and weather sealed you should also look at the Olympus OMD EM5 + 12-50 zoom. I'd choose between that and a K-5+18-135. It's an IQ vs size trade off, cost is probably very close.

In an ideal world I'd like a FF DSLR for when I need the "ultimate" performance & IQ, and a OMD like camera for travel or when portability is king. However in the meantime a K-5 is the ideal 1 camera solution as it splits the difference fairly well between those 2 categories.
06-04-2012, 04:23 PM   #10
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On my trip to Niagara Falls I took the 35 and 21 in a very small rubber lined pelican case. With the 18-135 on the camera you have a very light WP kit. Except of course you can't use the 35 and 21 in moisture. That's the way I'd go, the DA35 2.4 is cheap, the 21 not so much.

Images here.

And here.

Another solution would be the DA* 16-50, but, then you probably want at least a 100 WR macro for a telephoto. To me the 18-135 is by far the best option for what you described. I haven't checked the DA* 16-50 against all focal lengths, but at 16 mm, compared to a 15 ltd, I found it wanting. To me, it's too expensive to not want on the camera for your best shots. I bought the 18-135 knowing it was coming off the camera for my best shots. Or to be precise, take the shot with your 18-135, then switch to an appropriate prime if you have time. That way, you can't lose. ANd as stated, the 18-135 has produced it's disappointments, but every now and then it knocks your socks off too.

QuoteQuote:
In an ideal world I'd like a FF DSLR for when I need the "ultimate" performance & IQ,
Excluding the D800 or D3x, the K-5 is the "ultimate performance and IQ", and definitely the ultimate performance for $1000. At least for daylight landscape photography.

Last edited by normhead; 06-04-2012 at 04:32 PM.
06-04-2012, 06:52 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by aurele Quote
Gave me a good laught !

You know, Europe is more or less like America. Different culture but same level of wealth.
My concern was more with the size and weight of the camera than it getting stolen. If there is anything I've learned from my travels its that I need to downsize. Life just gets a lot less stressful that way.

I owned the 18-55 Canon kit for a few years when I had a 20D. I got some decent photos with it under the right conditions, but it wasn't great. Really, really cheapo build too.
06-04-2012, 08:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by sb in ak Quote
My concern was more with the size and weight of the camera than it getting stolen.
I can understand your concern. I travel to Asia (Seoul, Singapore and Malaysia) with a K5 and FA31 (not WR).
During hiking, the survival kit and the essentials are more important and i have to carry them. K5 is a joy in IQ, size and weight and never a burden like the Cannikon. I have thoroughly enjoyed my trips.
I never need other lenses (that's just me).

I am sure you can do the same with DA35 and DA21.

All the best!
06-04-2012, 10:22 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by sb in ak Quote
The 18-135 seems a tad better but I worry that the size of the setup would be getting too large. I am also considering a 35mm prime or a pancake of some sort.
If you intend to pick a lens only, DA18-135 WR is quite sure the best for travelling! I think DA18-250 is also very good but non-WR that should be your great concern.

If more budget is allowed, it is suggested to buy one more lens wider than 18mm, e.g. DA14 or DA15Limited, that can supplement for 1)much better IQ than DA18-135 in wide end; 2)producing a grant effect.
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