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11-29-2012, 06:33 PM   #1
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First DSLR - Pentax K5 or K5II

Dear Pentax owners,

I have registered on these forums because after hours and hours of searching the web i find myself in a situation in that i need help making a decision and hopefully i can get an answer here from some experienced users here so thank you in advance.

Like the title reads i am about to purchase my first DSLR primarily to take pictures of my newly born son but also for those special occasions with family etc. It will be a purchase that im hoping will last me a few years and i know that its something that i will invest plenty of time in. I have compared every single camera in my price range and i am certain that the Pentax K5 with the 18-135mm lens is the perfect combination for me.

Even though its my first DSLR i am not unfamiliar with photography in general and have used my sisters one many times before (Nikon D3100). I understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings and will not be one of the people who uses the camera in auto mode. Taking pictures with the bokeh effect is something i find very appealing and am looking forward to exploring this further. I am from an IT background and will endeavour to learn every single feature and function of the camera i purchase, i usually read a manual several times until i understand every function and setting of the device.

My question is should i go for the regular K5 version or just the new K5II? The price difference is around $290 AUD more for the latter. Performance wise i read the difference between the two is a upgrade to the focus system which improved low light focus performance. Most of the family occasions that i will be taking photos for will be in restaurants with poor lighting. Actually the main reason for me even purchasing a DSLR is my complete dislike for using a flash and obviously a camera like this is 100 times better than any point and shoot variety or mobile camera which we currently use. So with that being said low light performance is one of the main reasons for this decision. Although the people being pictured will not be moving around it is important that i can take a photo and get proper focus in these dark environments (some of them are candle lit or just really dim lighting). How is the standard K5 in these situations? and have people with this camera experienced difficulties in these types of environments? Is it worth spending an extra $280 for the newer model basically is where i am getting stuck.

I was thinking with the money saved on the camera body i could put towards purchasing a prime lens with a large aperture to help in these low light situations and give nice bokeh effects but i am willing to spend the extra $$ if needed although it is stretching the budget further than i would have liked.

I appreciate any advice you can give me on this.

Thanks,
Max

11-29-2012, 06:40 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Have you seen our K-5 II/s review? In it, we talk about the improved AF.

Pentax K-5 II / IIs Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

Generally speaking, even the old K-5's AF is pretty good, and as long as you have the AF assist light on, you won't really notice a difference between the two cameras.

Is the K-5 available in a bundle with the 18-135mm over in Australia? If not, then it could be the case that the K-5 II 18-135mm bundle would be cheaper than the old K-5 plus the lens. But if it isn't, I'd recommend going for the K-5 classic and maybe adding a faster prime lens just as the DA 50mm F1.8 later on.

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11-29-2012, 07:32 PM   #3
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I was shooting a birthday party at a karaoke bar the other day and the lighting was really low - I was shooting iso 25600 f2.8 at 1/30th most of the night. Autofocus was not an option... I tried it with the focus assist and that would have been fine, but I hate the attention and related un-natural/uncomfortable looks and poses it produces. So I shot manual focus for 3 hours. I had a fun time, but it is a lot more work... So I have a k5iis on order now. I've been reading the difference in very low light AF is substantially better - I'm hoping that's true! But for you, I'd say get the k5ii - you won't get a second chance at these pictures! Congratulations and best wishes for your baby! Oh and the very quiet shutter is perfect for the situations you will be shooting in - my old cameras were just too loud and brought too much attention to themselves.
11-29-2012, 07:34 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply Adam.

I did read the reviews and they was very insightful, it was also what led me on this mission to find out if my specific scenarios will benefit from the new model or if the original K5 will handle them without hiccups. It seems to me that the one key difference between the two asides from the gapless lcd display is the auto focus improvement in low light situations, and seeing as i will be taking pictures in these low light situations it might be a deciding factor.

I assume the AF assist light can be used without the flash. If so will that added light (which usually blasts like a torch on the nikons) change the composition or white balance of the shot at all? Anyway its not a deal breaker in any case, but when it comes to touching up photos after they are taken i have absolutely no idea how, and its not something i really want to get into unless i wish to develop which i do only very occasionally.

There is both a K5 and K5ii being bundle with 18-135mm lens in Australia which makes the decision all the more harder! This is the site i plan on purchasing one of them from. The price for the K5 is actually really good for us here as they are usually much cheaper internationally but not in this case. With international purchases the shipping costs are very expensive.

Pentax K5 Digital SLR Camera with Pentax 18-135mm WR Lens - Digital Camera Warehouse

Pentax K5 II Digital SLR Camera + 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] DC WR Lens - Digital Camera Warehouse

Im leaning more towards the K5 now but am still worried that the low light photography might be an issue. Im hoping someone will be able to put my mind at ease so i can just purchase the damn thing and enjoy it!

Max


11-29-2012, 07:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Maxashh Quote
I assume the AF assist light can be used without the flash. If so will that added light (which usually blasts like a torch on the nikons) change the composition or white balance of the shot at all? Anyway its not a deal breaker in any case, but when it comes to touching up photos after they are taken i have absolutely no idea how, and its not something i really want to get into unless i wish to develop which i do only very occasionally.
Pentax's light is green and not as harsh as the Nikon light, which I'm personally not a fan of either. And yeah, it's independent of the flash.

For everyday family photography, I think you'll be more than fine with the K-5. You don't really need a II unless you for some reason can't use the AF assist light or your subject is really far away and the ambient light is below EV 0 (which is rare, you'll need flash anyway then).

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11-29-2012, 07:44 PM   #6
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I'm going to say the K5 II. I really think the main weakness of the original K5 is low light focus. Even when it isn't terribly dark, it tends to hunt quite a bit. Mine are pretty accurate once I find a point of contrast, but that sometimes takes Awhile.
11-29-2012, 07:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Maxashh Quote
Taking pictures with the bokeh effect is something i find very appealing and am looking forward to exploring this further.
QuoteOriginally posted by Maxashh Quote
Most of the family occasions that i will be taking photos for will be in restaurants with poor lighting.
I would NOT buy the 18-135, if you are looking for bokeh and low light shooting. You will need a much faster lens.

Get the original K5 and the Tamron 28-75 if you just want one lens and a relatively cheap combo.

If you are going to photograph large family groups, get the Tamron 17-50 for that and and one of the fast 50 mm focal length lenses for better bokeh. The sigma 17-50 if you want to spend more money and dont mind carrying something larger. The 18-135 lens is fine as a travel lens and will take nice people pics outdoors but not so much in restaurants and low light. I use it for travel. If you like the convenience of it, then the other option is to pair it with a fast 50 instead for low light and bokeh.

Remember, spend more money on the lens and less on the camera!

Last edited by psychdoc; 11-29-2012 at 08:00 PM.
11-29-2012, 10:05 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies all. Even though i am no closer on deciding which camera to go with i am learning plenty.

Phychdoc, appreciate the advice on the lenses. I know that is a whole other aspect to photography that will require so much learning and research to make the right choices. I was leaning towards the 18-135 purely because its an all purpose lens like you mentioned but for my indoor photos i was thinking about getting the SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited which has gotten some awesome reviews on this website. Even though the aperture is not as large as the 50mm ones, it seems to have good low light performance and bokeh. What do you think about this particular one for my specific situations?

I have used a prime lens before and it can be annoying for getting more than 2 people in the photo. I think the Tameron 17-50 you mentioned might be a good idea as well. I can see this becoming an expensive hobby...


11-30-2012, 05:15 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Maxashh Quote
i was thinking about getting the SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited which has gotten some awesome reviews on this website. Even though the aperture is not as large as the 50mm ones, it seems to have good low light performance and bokeh. What do you think about this particular one for my specific situations?

I have used a prime lens before and it can be annoying for getting more than 2 people in the photo. I think the Tameron 17-50 you mentioned might be a good idea as well. I can see this becoming an expensive hobby...
I cant stress enough that the camera should be secondary to the lens.

I have 3 prime lenses but I don't use them as much anymore. The 40mm lens is not that wide for indoor shots but it depends on what you are trying to capture. Its probably better for you to buy the 18-135 then and start taking pics and when indoor see what focal length you are using the most and then buy a prime lens based on that.

If I were to start fresh with buying again, and if I had the money, I would buy the 18-135 for travel/general purpose and the tamron 17-50 for wide angle and the pentax 50-135 for telephoto and one prime lens that is like 1.4 or 1.8 and leave it there. I personally wound up with the these lenses but also the 28-75. The 17-50 is sometimes too wide, that is, it causes distortion when shooting people that wide. While with the 28-75 lens you are much safer with that aspect.

It can be an expensive hobby, yes...
11-30-2012, 05:26 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Maxashh Quote
Thanks for the replies all. Even though i am no closer on deciding which camera to go with i am learning plenty.

Phychdoc, appreciate the advice on the lenses. I know that is a whole other aspect to photography that will require so much learning and research to make the right choices. I was leaning towards the 18-135 purely because its an all purpose lens like you mentioned but for my indoor photos i was thinking about getting the SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited which has gotten some awesome reviews on this website. Even though the aperture is not as large as the 50mm ones, it seems to have good low light performance and bokeh. What do you think about this particular one for my specific situations?

I have used a prime lens before and it can be annoying for getting more than 2 people in the photo. I think the Tameron 17-50 you mentioned might be a good idea as well. I can see this becoming an expensive hobby...
The issue with primes, of course, is that they are one focal length. For a walk around, relatively cheap prime, I would actually recommend the DA 35 f2.4. In the US, it sells for a little under 200 dollars and it is nice and sharp. When most people think of primes, they think of longer focal lengths (mainly 50s), but those will give you a fairly narrow angle of view on a K5 and feel to me to me to be more portrait-lenses/head and shoulders in an indoor setting.

The DA 40 is nice too, but I think I would choose the DA 35 over it for the little bit wider field of view and a little faster aperture.
11-30-2012, 07:08 AM   #11
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Just get the K-5II. It is hell a lot better than the K-5 as far as focusing is concerned. The 18-55mm WR kit lens is quite ok as a starter lens but underrated while the 18-135mm is more versatile as a one lens option. The zoom lenses may not have a very wide max aperture but one can always increase the ISO if light levels are low to compensate for low shutter speeds.
11-30-2012, 11:41 AM   #12
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I haven't used the K-5II, so can't help you with that choice beyond telling you that I am very happy with my K-5.

When it comes to lenses I'll add my vote for the DA 35 f2.4 - it's reasonably fast and very good for the price. If I should start from scratch now, I'd probably get myself a 18-135 as a travel/allround lens, then add a DA 35 f2.4 for the sharpness and bigger aperture.

And a DA 15 Limited for when 18mm just isn't wide enough (or maybe a Sigma 8-16 for when 15mm just isn't wide enough!)... and a DA 55-300 for wildlife.

Good luck with your choice!
11-30-2012, 02:10 PM   #13
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I learned long ago that if you buy something with plans to "upgrade" later it costs you more in the long run as you lose evertime you "trade up." By the time I got out of college I bought a Leica and 3 Leica lenses - and they lasted me for over 40 years. I still use the lenses on my digital M9 - so yes: especially get the lenses you want.
Caveat: My daughter-in-law has a Nikon D7000, and several Nikon lenses. But she got only lenses for the DX (APS size) sensor. Now she wants a D600 full-frame; and has no full-frame lenses. At least consider FA lenses when they are alternatives, as maybe Pentax will eventually go full frame.
12-01-2012, 03:14 PM   #14
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K-5II for the even better AF
18-135 for the versatility
DA 35 for a little bokeh

Pete
12-01-2012, 07:15 PM   #15
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DO NOT write off the 18 135. I tested it against DA*16 50 and find that at widest fl and f3.5 the humble 18 135 has superb centre sharpness. The k5iis makes all lens better and more loveable. The bokeh is decent.
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