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06-28-2012, 01:41 PM   #1
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Two weeks with the K-5 and 5D Mark II

I have been shooting with the Canon 5D Mark II for awhile with the 24-105L as my main lens. I started to realize that the setup was pretty bulky and that if I wanted to do much lightweight traveling (ie, hit Europe or SE Asia with a backpack) this was going to be a burden to haul around. No to mention the 5DII isn't built quite as well as I'd like. I am mostly interested in landscape/nature random walkaround photography with some interest in learning portrait photography. I am not a "pro" so to speak, but I have some aspirations and demand high quality.

A few months back I posted about the K-5 and finally succumbed two weeks ago and got one and a DA21 Ltd. The more I looked at the limited primes, the more I loved them. I just got one lens to start with, and the DA21 seemed like a versatile, high quality place to start.

In the long run, I really cannot see myself affording two camera systems and a good selection of high quality lenses and accessories for both and still have money to do anything. For the moment I feel incredibly lucky having two cameras I love, but one is going to have to go.

The problem is that I love both and they both seem to have their strengths and weaknesses. The 5DII files seem crisper and the added resolution and ability to get really thin DOF is super nice. This isn't really completely fair because I only have one lens to test them against and the K-5 has lower resolution. Unless there is DOF involved, the files don't look too different zoomed out on my computer screen. Upon some examination zoomed out the 5DII seems somewhat crisper but the colors are bit punchy on the K-5 and the shadows seem to have a bit more depth to them.

The pros to the K-5 are many. Better build, better weather sealing, and the limited primes make for a very small, lightweight setup. I love shooting with it but I have less confidence with it right now than with the 5DII that I am going to get nice files that I can make large prints from.

I am tempted to buy one of the super sharp FA primes....like the FA43 or FA77 and see how that stacks up (if my budget can handle it). The DA21 is versatile but isn't known as one of the sharpest Ltds from what I've read. Ideally, I'd like to travel with a 3-prime setup and maybe have the 18-55WR as a bad weather/lazy backup. The DA21, FA43 and FA77 set seems appealing. The plus to getting FA lenses is that if Pentax comes out with a killer compact FF, they will be usable. If I sold the 5DII and its lenses, I would have the cash to get a nice set of Pentax glass and still have money left over to put into my travel budget. I am just worried I will be selling myself short by parting with a FF camera that produces fantastic files.

Any advice from anyone else who has used the 5D series and K-5?


Last edited by sb in ak; 06-28-2012 at 01:48 PM.
06-28-2012, 01:59 PM   #2
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Crappy shot of the 5DII and K-5 next to each other. (Used the Macbook camera).

K-5 with DA21 w/hood, 5DII with 24-105L w/hood). Not really fair due to the big zoom vs. prime. I have a 50mm prime for the 5DII but it's much larger than the pentax pancakes.
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06-28-2012, 02:24 PM   #3
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K5

I switched completely from Canon 5DMKII with several lenses to the Pentax K5 and mostly FA primes, couple of f2.8 zooms. No looking back, the 31 and 43 FA Ltds are fantastic.
06-28-2012, 02:28 PM   #4
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I use both the K5 and the 5DII. When I have to travel by air, I use the K5 and the DA15, FA 31 or 43 and the FA 77. (Yes, I'm waiting for a FF Pentax body.) It's just more compact and, so, easier to get through airport security as hand luggage. And, IMHO, one doesn't really sacrifice that much in image quality.

06-28-2012, 02:29 PM   #5
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Yeah that is a huge difference. Depending on what you like you can opt for the FA31mm. You only need two lenses to cover about everything you want to catch on a holiday. Something wide and something short-tele and the rest is just a foodstep away.
06-28-2012, 03:10 PM   #6
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Novice on crispness

QuoteOriginally posted by sb in ak Quote
...the 5DII seems somewhat crisper...
Don't know what crispness is, but using the alternative to ordinary sharpening called local contrast enhancement, I get all the ...crispness?... necessary with the K-5.

With an old Super Takumar 55/1.8:
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06-28-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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I guess when I say "crisper" I mean sharper with a bit more detail. This is mostly zooming in on the screen and I wonder if it would really make a difference on a large print. Some of this certainly has to do with the 5DII resolution, though I feel that the DA21 isn't as sharp as it could be.

I have heard grand things about the FA31. I'd love to try one; man they are expensive though. About the same price as the 24-105L.
06-28-2012, 04:39 PM   #8
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Well, I used to have a DA21, and it is not the crispest of lenses, although it does pretty well stopped down a few clicks. The FA43 is definitely a bit better, as is the DA40, for that matter. No experience with Canon, so can't be more helpful.

06-28-2012, 04:41 PM   #9
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The 21 is my soft and dreamy lens... there's just nothing all that sharp about it.

Some DA 21 images...





DA* 60-250



FA 50 1.7



DA 35 2.4



The 21 takes great images, but not if you're looking for sharp.

Last edited by normhead; 06-28-2012 at 04:55 PM.
06-28-2012, 04:50 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The 21 is my soft and dreamy lens... there's just nothing all that sharp about it.



The 21 takes great images, but not if you're looking for sharp.

I have gotten some shots with the DA21 that I've been pretty happy with, and sharpness ain't everything. The DA21 has very good color and contrast. My main problem right now is probably that I am lacking other options should the opportunity arise where I want tack sharpness. Thanks for posting the images. Perhaps I will try to rent one of the FA primes and see where I want to go from here.

Last edited by sb in ak; 06-28-2012 at 04:51 PM. Reason: grammar
06-28-2012, 06:16 PM   #11
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ive had a similar experience with the da21 i used to own. It had a great focal length for my day-to-day snapshots, great colors, great build, great size. In the end though, I got rid of it because I needed more sharpness out of it for when I did in-studio work. If I did a lot more street photography, this would've been the lens that would be glued to my k-5. Alas, all I shoot are people and events, so that position is currently taken by the DA*55 and the tamron 17-50

I've used a friend's 5d mk2 before with the 24-104. To be honest, I wasn't all that impressed by the files. There was nothing from it that I couldn't pull out of my K-5 aside from the few extra megapixels and shallower DoF, which don't really matter towards my current shooting style. I'd give up a few megapixels and extra shallow DoF any day for better the build, handling, dynamic range, colors, etc that the K-5 offers me.

I guess in the end, it comes down to what you shoot and how you want to shoot and process the images. For what I'm shooting a lot of now, the k-5 suits me just fine (better lowlight af would be nice though )

Last edited by adpo; 06-28-2012 at 08:57 PM.
06-28-2012, 07:20 PM   #12
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Thanks for the very insightful replies. At this point, I think I will ultimately sell the 5DII setup before too long. I love it and the files--except when you need that extra bit of DR--but I think the K5 would prove a lot more fun to shoot when traveling, backpacking, etc. Plus, it is a joy to use and an elegant piece of equipment. And as they say, the best camera is the one you bring. And I just can't see myself with both systems financially.

Before I make any rash decisions, I will try to pick up a real sharp FA and go from there.

To be honest, improvement with my photography really has more to do with honing my skill at this point rather than the choice of equipment anyway. If I really need the extra MP, Pentax will probably have a K-5 replacement soon enough.

-Shawn
06-28-2012, 07:36 PM   #13
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I have a DA21 that I use with my K5, I find it to be a perfect hiking combination. Wide enough for the campfire and for landscape shots. But not so wide that pictures of your hiking buddy look weird. I have a FA 43mm as well and I really really love it. There is just something about the images it produces, they have something else.

But... Everyone raves constantly about the FA31, and on the APS-C sensor it works out to about a 50mm standard lens, and I think it is probably well worth the money. If you use it a lot, it pays for itself pretty quickly through your enjoyment!
06-28-2012, 08:22 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by sb in ak Quote
Crappy shot of the 5DII and K-5 next to each other. (Used the Macbook camera).

K-5 with DA21 w/hood, 5DII with 24-105L w/hood). Not really fair due to the big zoom vs. prime. I have a 50mm prime for the 5DII but it's much larger than the pentax pancakes.
Backwards too.
06-29-2012, 03:37 AM   #15
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Why don't you rent a couple of lenses (FA limiteds or something else) for the K5 and try them out. I have used Camera Lens Rental.com and they do any excellent job. I do highly recommend the FA 77 and the DA *55 -- some of the sharpest lenses out there for any brand of camera.
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