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10-11-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
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Pentax - best bang for your buck? Is it still true?

Hello,

It is my first post, so as a glad Pentax user, I'm happy to join Pentax community

I started photography about a year, so I consider myself a newbie. Even though spending large amounts of time studying photography books, watching online tutorials, seminars (B&H photo was really helpfull at this) and other material gave significant results. I feel how I can get better and better results everytime I go out to shoot. As time went by, I felt how photography turned from "hobby" into "main priority, my passion, my ultimate goal". Now I can tell 100% that photography is the thing, I want to do in life (even though I'm in the middle of my law studies at the moment, but knowing law is always handy, right?).

So becoming a professional photographer became my goal. Such decisions always brings a lot questions, one can't simply answer by himself.

Back that year ago, when I was deciding which system to choose, Pentax looked like the best bang for your buck for the starter like me. The gear I got, was Pentax K-r and the 70mm Ltd lens. I was extremely happy back then and I am still now, as this simple kit delivers really decent results. Also, as you can tell from the lens I use - my passion is portraiture.

Now even though i have very sentimental feelings for my Pentax gear, the new lens pricing policy and quite sad new at photokina, left me confused.

My main questions is:
Is Pentax gear still considered the best bang for your buck? Considering the recent tempting news from the other major DSLR manufacturers.
As I am going to specialize in portraits and weddings, looking into future, is it worth investing as much as 6,000$ into Pentax? Considering, small bodies/lenses aren't that much important (even though really awesome). I know it used to be worth it, but how about now?

Thanks!

10-11-2012, 06:54 PM   #2
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Welcome to pentax forums.
Pentax for portrait = WIN
Pentax for weddings = fail.
Pentax AF is lacking. Pick up a top of the line K-5/ii and an aps-c pro body Nikon or Canon and test out AF lock speed and accuracy.
Pentax glass is awesome in other aspects(color rendition/ contrast)
Good luck.
10-11-2012, 07:52 PM   #3
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Yes, I would say that Pentax is definitely best bang for your buck in regards to DSLRs. By the way, I know my body sure likes carrying my Pentax around a whole lot better than my FF Nikon.

There's some Pentax glass that is just stellar... Like the DA* 55, FA 31, 41, 77, etc. If Pentax nails the AF with it's new cameras, then it will be very competitive in most all regards. The way it sits right now, Pentax is ahead of the game on some things, like DR, but that's not as big of a selling point as some other things.
10-11-2012, 08:41 PM   #4
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In terms of cameras definitely yes. For example, The K30 is the best bang for the buck camera out there, easily beating anything from Canikon in its price range. Yes, in some aspects such as AF they are behind, but when taken as a whole, Pentax cameras are really hard to beat.

The lenses are a mixed bag in my opinion. Some of the lenses such as the FA and DA Limiteds are superb optically and have fantastic build quality, although they are starting to show their age. Other lenses are massively overpriced and really can't compare to their Canikon counterparts. This is going to get me in trouble but I'll say it anyway. I think a lot of the Pentax glass isn't quite at the level of the Canikon equivalents. Although the top stuff is still excellent, it probably isn't quite at the level of the top stuff offered by Nikon or Canon.

If I was recommending a system to someone who I though would one day go professional, I would recommend they go with Nikon or Canon, if for no other reason than getting gear, accessories, and support is so much easier. This is not to say you couldn't do it with Pentax, it would just be harder. For someone who is interested in photography in general and has no ambition of one day going pro, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Pentax. Even with the insane pricing fluctuations, if you are patient, diligent and a bit lucky, you can build a very good kit for a lower price than you could with Nikon and Canon.

10-11-2012, 09:21 PM   #5
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Good time to ask the question when you have not invested too much money.

For portraiture you will be able to put together a very good kit using pentax. Some of us would prefer the quality of the colour produced by pentax glass over any of the others. My pentax glass makes me look like a winner with my clients.

However if you intend to specialize canon or Nikon will provide a wider range of glass for professionals who usually spend big bucks and don't need to worry about the cost.

My opinion is that you get together a very interesting kit using pentax. But you could choose a couple of expensive canon/nikon zooms instead of a series of gorgeous pentax primes (my bias)

You will find that the K5 will make a great pentax lens look totally stunning.
10-11-2012, 10:53 PM   #6
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Ponosby is dead on with his comment. You watch and read the internet experts and you'd think that photography wasn't possible before 2002. Sure, the march of technology makes things technically easier to accomplish, but trust me, photographers have been making stunningly fantastic wedding photographs for longer than anyone that's registered to this site has been alive.

Bang for the buck though needs to be constrained by the format. In the APS-C world, yes Pentax is going to be the best bang for the buck, if image quality is your guage. In full-frame 35mm Pentax isn't a player, and its really a toss-up between Canon and Nikon - with Canon having a slight edge on lens choices and Nikon having the edge on camera specs.

That's my take anyway, for what it's worth.
10-12-2012, 12:40 AM   #7
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Quick price comparison:

Bodies:

Pentax K-30: 499
Canon 60D: 705
Nikon D7000: 699
Sony A65: 685

Pentax K-5IIs: 949
Canon 7D: 1069
Nikon D300s: 1109
Sony A77: 959

Fast zoom:

Pentax 16-50mm F2.8 DA*: 879
Canon EF-S 17-55mm F2.8: 769
Nikon 17-55mm F2.8 G DX: 1049
Sony 16-50mm F2.8 DT: 559

The K-30 price is frankly amazing (and seems to have come down a lot). The two Nikon bodies are now quite old - Nikon seem not to care about APS-C so much. Indeed, given the price of the D300s, I'd pony up the extra 500 for a D600. Sony are a bit more expensive than Pentax (negligible at the upper level) but a lot more feature rich.

At the mid-level, best value is K-30 by far. At the higher level, A77 can't be beat.

When it comes to glass, Pentax is struggling to provide value. It's not just the high grade stuff either - the DA 50mm F1.8 is by far the most expensive in its class.
10-12-2012, 01:10 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by top-quark Quote
... When it comes to glass, Pentax is struggling to provide value. It's not just the high grade stuff either - the DA 50mm F1.8 is by far the most expensive in its class.
I was really disappointed at the price point of the new DA 50/1.8 ... especially when compared to its competition. J

10-12-2012, 02:22 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ponosby Britt Quote
Its not the gear, its you.
  1. It is about both, photographer and gear, obviously.
  2. He is what he is, but has a choice over his gear.
I agree with others that Pentax definitely has the edge in terms of value for money when it comes to cameras but that recent price hikes for lenses mean that the same cannot be said for all the Pentax lenses.

However,
  1. there are still some reasonably priced lenses available, in particular if you phone retailers rather than going by online prices.
  2. there are many affordable gems in the used market and the in-body image stabilisation makes them all stabilised no matter how old they are.
  3. if you like the idea of shooting with small primes, Pentax is very hard to avoid.
  4. there is rocking good third-party glass available for the Pentax K-mount that often is a great alternative to overpriced Pentax models.
10-12-2012, 03:54 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apapukas Quote
...I started photography about a year, so I consider myself a newbie.
...photography is the thing, I want to do in life (even though I'm in the middle of my law studies at the moment, but knowing law is always handy, right?).
...So becoming a professional photographer became my goal.
...The gear I got, was Pentax K-r and the 70mm Ltd lens.
...the new lens pricing policy and quite sad new at photokina, left me confused.
...As I am going to specialize in portraits and weddings, looking into future, is it worth investing as much as 6,000$ into Pentax?
I am always extremely amazed at these questions and no less amazed at the answers! So here we have a (student) start-up with a 1-year history in photography, using a one-body-one-lens kit asking about a $6K investment and questioning pricing policy and "sad" Photokina news.

Am I really the only one who finds this odd?

The last guy waltzing in here not even 4 months ago doing a "Oh my god I want to be a professional, I'm so happy, I bought a K-5 and many lenses, I sold some of my lenses because they suck, Photokina news sucks, how can I not use a FF camera, Pentax sucks, sold off all my equipment" just left a week ago!

Shouldn't the real answer be: "Go find out about photography, post some shots on this forum and learn how to handle light, composition and processing and we'll talk afterwards" ?
10-12-2012, 04:45 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
I am always extremely amazed at these questions and no less amazed at the answers! So here we have a (student) start-up with a 1-year history in photography, using a one-body-one-lens kit asking about a $6K investment and questioning pricing policy and "sad" Photokina news.

Am I really the only one who finds this odd?

The last guy waltzing in here not even 4 months ago doing a "Oh my god I want to be a professional, I'm so happy, I bought a K-5 and many lenses, I sold some of my lenses because they suck, Photokina news sucks, how can I not use a FF camera, Pentax sucks, sold off all my equipment" just left a week ago!

Shouldn't the real answer be: "Go find out about photography, post some shots on this forum and learn how to handle light, composition and processing and we'll talk afterwards" ?
My main question was related to Pentax value looking at the long perspective. I believe it is very important to ask these questions before I get much deeper in one or another system. The 6.000$ is just for example, to evaluate which brand can offer the the "best bang" for this price. It is not the money I'm going to spend at the moment, as it wouldn't be wise.
10-12-2012, 05:22 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apapukas Quote
My main question was related to Pentax value looking at the long perspective. I believe it is very important to ask these questions before I get much deeper in one or another system. The 6.000$ is just for example, to evaluate which brand can offer the the "best bang" for this price. It is not the money I'm going to spend at the moment, as it wouldn't be wise.
Go find out about photography, post some shots on this forum and learn how to handle light, composition and processing and we'll talk afterwards!

You've got a few hundred dollars invested in a camera+lens that will depreciate, as all cameras do, very quickly. Two to three years from now the real value will be next to nothing and you should have no issue switching to any brand you like without breaking the bank.

As long as you don't really know what you mean by "bang for the buck" in a photography sense of the expression to begin with, I wouldn't worry about it!
10-12-2012, 05:30 AM   #13
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I bought into Pentax in 2008 because they did have the best bang for the buck ratio back then. The backwards compatibility and inbody SR more then made up for the higher cost of a Pentax body. Lenses were "cheap" because they didn't have their own motor or own stabilistion. It gave me the feeling the other brands were ripping off their customers by forcing them to buy seperate motors and stabilisation for each and every lens. So Pentax was the sweetest deal back then.

But then the lens prices of Pentax started rising. Currently a new DA 15 ltd is $1450,- here in the Netherlands! So now it's exactly the other way round.

After buying 8 brand new Pentax lenses in the good pricing period, my LBA came to a complete standstill now. I can't justify buying any Pentax lenses with these prices.
10-12-2012, 06:44 PM   #14
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I was just going through DxO lens ratings and that Tamron 28-75 would seem to be an absolutely stellar performer. I wonder if they're still made in a Pentax mount.
10-12-2012, 11:02 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ponosby Britt Quote
How many lenses do you need? I made the beach shot in 2009 with a K-10 and a Tamron 28-75. Printed it today for an Exhibit entry at 16x24. The portrait is from a street fair last August, same lens on a K-5. I could make a living with just the Tamron.
Then what's the point in an ILC? If you're going with just one lens anyway, get a nice bridgecam. You'll never have a dirty sensor! And sorry for assuming that Pentax actually wants to sell the products they make.
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