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01-15-2013, 06:17 AM   #1
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Plan of attack: Please evaluate my DSLR acquisition strategy

I have no gear on-hand to steer me in any direction maker wise, but I need to get a DSLR. I've done research and think the K-5iis is what I'd really enjoy using from an ergonomics/handling standpoint. The IQ is also a great improvement over my GH1 Lumix, so I'd definitely be moving up. It appears to me that the K-5(ii)(s) are the kings of APS-C, at least in what is important to me.

The problem is that I will be getting a FF at some time in the future. In some ways, now is not a terrible time to go straight to FF, but in other ways it seems it is. I hate the huge FFs currently on offer. They are too big and just handle terribly from what I can tell (in-store fiddling and online reviews, etc.). Although I shoot landscape, I still prefer to handhold most often and hate being "tied-down" with the tripod. I don't enjoy myself while using the tripod, so handling the camera for long periods is common for me, and it needs to feel comfortable in my hands.

But . . . the buts just keep coming! Am I just wasting my time, knowing that I really need to have a FF kit put together at some point? Why not start now??? Is Pentax going to pull the rug out from under me and not give me a 20~mp FF camera to love and hold, till death do us part? Would Pentax change their mount so any FF glass I acquired would be useless on a new full frame body? Would Pentax make a terrible handling FF camera that I'd hate as much as (I think) I hate what is now out there?

I'm sure others out there have faced this very same situation and I would love to hear any input you could give to help me move forward.

01-15-2013, 06:46 AM   #2
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You may have to compromise if every FF on the market is too large. Either reset your expectations to APS sensors or live with a large FF camera. Do not assume that the perfect FF is coming from Pentax or others.

How large do you plan to print? You might find that a good APS body and lens has enough resolution.

On the other hand, the Nikon D600 is a fairly compact FF with an excellent sensor.
01-15-2013, 07:05 AM - 1 Like   #3
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FF? I'm just wondering why you need an FF? Is it because of the crop factor? ISO capabilities? perhaps the megapixels?

I also wanted an FF before without knowing why. I stood there and told myself I would be needing an FF in the future, but why? is it because all the pros shoot with FF cameras? And then I realize "no", I wouldn't be needing an FF. I love my k7 and I love the k5. I love how small it is that I wouldn't be lazy to carry it around with me all the time. I love the build quality and the ISO performance(they say the k5II/s is up to par and much better than some of the entry level FF cameras the 2k stuff), I love the small primes that I can use like the DA15 and the 40xs. Coming from a 12.4mp k-r to a 14mp k7 and finally a 16mp k5/k01. I knew 16mp is enough for me.

So yes, I told myself that I won't be needing it. What I need is a new computer that would be able to process what I shoot much more faster and efficiently. What I need is a good software that would be able to make my shots the way I wanted it to be(There are also softwares that can enlarge photos without destroying them, so I'm thinking the mp thing is irrelevant now). What I need is a new glass and some flash. And that's what I'm getting. Owning an FF camera is expensive and is irrelevant to my shooting style. And me thinking that I need it made me forget what photography is all about. It's about the love of it and not the gear that you shoot with.

Cheers,
A

Last edited by kaiserz; 01-15-2013 at 07:14 AM.
01-15-2013, 07:13 AM   #4
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You may have already read the thread about the first day with the D600. I found it as a pretty reasonable read in terms of what these folks found in switching and their assessment of the D600 vs the K5...In the end its your decision. There really is no perfect camera and everything is a compromise to some degree.



01-15-2013, 07:41 AM - 1 Like   #5
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If you have to have FF, get a D600. For me, it's not enough of an improvement in IQ to be bothered switching, but you wouldn't be switching, so what's the issue? The last thing we need is another K-5 user going on and on about how much they need FF.

The lenses that work on Pentax FF cameras would be all the FA, the FA limiteds, the 50 or any film era lens, and those are very nice lenses for sure, but you'll miss out on a lot of great lenses if you just buy FA lenses for your APS-c camera.

If I were you I'd make up my mind what I'm doing before I buy my first piece of equipment. And waiting for Pentax to release an FF wouldn't be one of the choices. With the current state of FF cameras, the Canon 6D, the Nikon D600 and D800 there is absolutely no excuse for not going FF if that's what you want.
01-15-2013, 08:49 AM   #6
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Do you WANT a Full Frame camera, or do you NEED one?
Having looked around at the various options, pros and cons, I suspect many people feel they need one, but in normal use most enthusiasts will not really see a significant advantage.
Add to that the extra size and weight of full frame cameras and lenses to cart around with you.
You can of course still get plenty of FF lenses for the Pentax, so that needn't hold you back, whatever you decide.
01-15-2013, 09:40 AM   #7
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Went to dslr 2 1/2 years ago but wish I had done so 9 years ago when I decided to go to a good quality digital.When I first decided to go dslr my mind was set on full frame but after about 6 months of studying the pros and cons and money involved went with a Pentax K-x,moved to a K-5 a couple months ago.Made the right choice going with the aps c as I have found out that a FF wasn't needed.
01-15-2013, 10:52 AM   #8
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All input so far has been helpful. I wasn't aware of the "First Day" thread. Thanks for pointing that out.

I say that I need FF. I can produce good images even with my GH1, but there are definite limitations. I thought all FF were completely out of my budget, but with stretching and planning I can probably pull it off (I didn't know how inexpensive a d600 was, and the d800 either, really). I would just wait longer, but the limits of my current camera are straining me, mostly notably in DR, which is probably the biggest factor for needing to do something sooner rather than later. The K5 would definitely fix that problem, and improve things greatly across the board.

A big reason for FF also is for bigger prints. I'm not really dissatisfied with ~19 inch prints with my current setup, but will be printing images larger ~24, ~36 sometimes, and occasionally perhaps larger (or I'd at least like a chance to). Even though I may not start printing that large very soon, the images I capture now will have the ability to be nicely printed at those sizes when I can/do. This is the reason for the dilemma. For what I'm actually doing right now, today, I can live and be very, very happy with a K5; no question. What I can't do is stay pat. And what I don't want to do is get going in one system and then have to change later.

So, for right now the K5 makes sense. But, considering the bigger picture, a D600 may make more sense.

Normhead, your advice about not waiting to see what Pentax is going to do is probably exactly right. I hope my local camera shop has a D600 I can hold (if they don't I'll completely give up on them, I think).

01-15-2013, 11:00 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by brntoki Quote
All input so far has been helpful. I wasn't aware of the "First Day" thread. Thanks for pointing that out.

I say that I need FF. I can produce good images even with my GH1, but there are definite limitations. I thought all FF were completely out of my budget, but with stretching and planning I can probably pull it off (I didn't know how inexpensive a d600 was, and the d800 either, really). I would just wait longer, but the limits of my current camera are straining me, mostly notably in DR, which is probably the biggest factor for needing to do something sooner rather than later. The K5 would definitely fix that problem, and improve things greatly across the board.
ok so far, nothing suprizing, the K5 in any form is an excellent camera with good dynamic range and image quality.
QuoteQuote:

A big reason for FF also is for bigger prints. I'm not really dissatisfied with ~19 inch prints with my current setup, but will be printing images larger ~24, ~36 sometimes, and occasionally perhaps larger (or I'd at least like a chance to). Even though I may not start printing that large very soon, the images I capture now will have the ability to be nicely printed at those sizes when I can/do. This is the reason for the dilemma. For what I'm actually doing right now, today, I can live and be very, very happy with a K5; no question. What I can't do is stay pat. And what I don't want to do is get going in one system and then have to change later.
ok here's where the wheels fall off the bigger prints argument. a full frame camera has a lower pixel density than the APS C cameras, therefore, in terms of ultimate enlargement, if you scale only by pixels, you can actually make the same size images with both. i'm not sure this is a valid argument. to really get bigger prints you need to go medium format. Sure you can spread the image over a bigger sensor with FF bit this is not the same as resolution
QuoteQuote:

So, for right now the K5 makes sense. But, considering the bigger picture, a D600 may make more sense.

Normhead, your advice about not waiting to see what Pentax is going to do is probably exactly right. I hope my local camera shop has a D600 I can hold (if they don't I'll completely give up on them, I think).
it is hard to say whether you really need FF or not. if you want it , go and get it, but then you are more likely headed to canon or nikon. just remember, though, if you start getting lenses, for full frame, you have to start buying them with your APS C body otherwise, going full frame later has you replacing all your lenses any way. If this is the case, then you have nothing to loose starting with pentax, because the FF glass would all be a replacement anyway
01-15-2013, 11:10 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by brntoki Quote
...I shoot landscape, I still prefer to handhold most often and hate being "tied-down" with the tripod.
Learning to love using a tripod will give you better picture quality for landscapes than worrying about how to upgrade from Lumix to APSC vs FF. The best landscapes are shot in the kind of light that makes a tripod a necessity rather than an option...I am not sure how you are going to use a FF camera/handheld/shoot landscapes/at large print sizes...

There are lighter carbon fiber tripods that are quite small when folded: See the Sirui TX series tripods that fold to the size of a water bottle and is quite light.
01-15-2013, 11:57 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
ok here's where the wheels fall off the bigger prints argument. a full frame camera has a lower pixel density than the APS C cameras, therefore, in terms of ultimate enlargement, if you scale only by pixels, you can actually make the same size images with both. i'm not sure this is a valid argument. to really get bigger prints you need to go medium format. Sure you can spread the image over a bigger sensor with FF bit this is not the same as resolution
Please enlighten me here. I understand the idea that pixels don't equal resolution as such, but a 6016 x 4016 image prints to roughly 16 inches @360 dpi natively (Epson printer prefers this res.), while a 4926 x 3264 image prints to roughly 13 inches @ 360 dpi natively. I can of course print at a lower dpi (around 300) and get the same size output with the 16mp image, but to say they are the same quality is not true. Now, at what point the resolution difference becomes noticeable (not to mention actually detrimental/limiting), is another question. Let me know further thoughts on this and if you have any experience with printing larger images,etc. I'll consider this more as perhaps I am wrong about there being that much of a difference.

QuoteQuote:
it is hard to say whether you really need FF or not. if you want it , go and get it, but then you are more likely headed to canon or nikon. just remember, though, if you start getting lenses, for full frame, you have to start buying them with your APS C body otherwise, going full frame later has you replacing all your lenses any way. If this is the case, then you have nothing to loose starting with pentax, because the FF glass would all be a replacement anyway
If I get a K-5 I'll build a kit with primarily FA and older mf film lenses.
01-15-2013, 12:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
Learning to love using a tripod will give you better picture quality for landscapes than worrying about how to upgrade from Lumix to APSC vs FF. The best landscapes are shot in the kind of light that makes a tripod a necessity rather than an option...I am not sure how you are going to use a FF camera/handheld/shoot landscapes/at large print sizes...

There are lighter carbon fiber tripods that are quite small when folded: See the Sirui TX series tripods that fold to the size of a water bottle and is quite light.
I do use a tripod sometimes, but I more often than not shoot in "bad" landscape light (by choice, not necessity). This is a big reason for needing better dynamic range. I often place open sun in the frame, and taming the exposure to compensate means bringing up the underexposed areas, which, with my GH1, can look really bad (but not always).

Anyway, your point is well taken, and a lighter tripod is something I've been considering.
01-15-2013, 01:23 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by brntoki Quote
Please enlighten me here. I understand the idea that pixels don't equal resolution as such, but a 6016 x 4016 image prints to roughly 16 inches @360 dpi natively (Epson printer prefers this res.), while a 4926 x 3264 image prints to roughly 13 inches @ 360 dpi natively. I can of course print at a lower dpi (around 300) and get the same size output with the 16mp image, but to say they are the same quality is not true. Now, at what point the resolution difference becomes noticeable (not to mention actually detrimental/limiting), is another question. Let me know further thoughts on this and if you have any experience with printing larger images,etc. I'll consider this more as perhaps I am wrong about there being that much of a difference.



If I get a K-5 I'll build a kit with primarily FA and older mf film lenses.
just to point out, a 24 MP camera is not necessairly full frame,. the nikon 5200 is APS-C. so what do you want, resolution , mega pixels or full frame, as they do not appear to be the same thing.

a 24 MP aps-c sensor would likely be porrer high iso and noise and lower DR than the K5 for example.

most full frame cameras are considerably lower megapixles than this,.
01-15-2013, 01:32 PM   #14
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Try renting

The difference between image quality in full frame and crop cameras is subtle these days, at best. And, as previously pointed out, you need to use great technique (top lenses, solid tripod, correct aperture and exposure) to see it.

I print 20x30 regularly -- several prints a week. With careful shooting, the K-5IIs makes slightly, but noticeably, better images than my Canon 1Ds, which, in turn, was slightly better than the original K-5. That all makes sense. The 1Ds has a weak AA filter, which compensates for the fact it has lower sensor resolution than the old K-5. Take the AA filter off the K-5 and the higher sensor resolution shines.

My suggestion is to rent a K-5IIs and a sharp lens (like the 31 Ltd) and shoot with it for a week, and then rent the FF camera of your dreams with a top lens and do the same thing. (Or rent them together!)

A couple hundred dollars in rental fees could save you much more. Plus, think of the fun you'd have.
01-15-2013, 01:58 PM   #15
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One small consideration. It depends on where you live and if you care or don't about equipment trade-ins at, say, a camera pro shop. I will give you an example. At the pro shop in my city, Pentax's presents has all but disappeared. I went to trade in some Pentax lenses for a Zeiss lens in another mount. One lens I was trading in was a Zeiss 85/1.4 in a Pentax mount. They were not interested in the lens much and told me if it was in a Canon or Nikon mount I would get more money for it.

There are some advantages to owning the more popular cameras such as Canon and Nikon when it comes to finding accessories in camera stores, lens rentals, etc. You need to decide if that is a benefit or not.
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