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08-10-2012, 07:26 PM   #1
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K-30 vs d5100

Okay you guys...Im totally at a loss here. Im asking this here becasue I feel like a lot of you (from just reading threads) tend to actually LOOK into the specs of the CAMERA and not just the name itself..which a lot of Nikon people I have asked about tend to do..

I have held both the cameras, shot photos with both..and I am in LOVE with both..But I am totally stuck as to which one to choose. I have only been able to test them out at my locals stores (which is a PITA) I need to make up my mind in the next few days..I am leaving for California next WEEK and need to have a camera in hand for this trip.

I am mostly taking photos of my Daughter (19 months) and my travels. We travel a lot visiting breweries around the country . I am hoping that someone with more experience in this could help me out.

The pentax is literally felt like an extension of my arm I love the pentaprism and the fact that what I SEE when taking a photo is what I get. Love how fast it shoots.

The D5100..I loved the flip out screen. The color depth was great. The image quality was stunning(as was the K30)

I have been doing a ton of research online..probably too much...any help would be MUCH appreciated

08-10-2012, 08:07 PM   #2
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The 5100 is a stellar camera and the price is great. But a few caveats - the Nikon VR lenses are a lot more money than their standard ones (no worries with Pentax - in body SR). The k30 is weather sealed. I'll take 100% viewfinder over a swivel digital screen (though the swivel is pretty cool).
08-10-2012, 08:14 PM   #3
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I believe that the k-30, being a pretty big competitor of the k-5 right now, is competing with the D7000 in terms of image quality and function. The D5100 is just too old at this time. Either wait for the D5200 to compare with the k-30, or go with the k-30.
08-10-2012, 09:08 PM   #4
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Nearly any modern DSLR is capable (in the right hands) of taking stunning images compared to only a few years ago. As you saw, the IQ of both is acceptable to you at least on the tests you saw. Might be different blown up 300% but really who cares? The deciding factor for me is: how does it feel? If the Pentax feels like an "extension of your arm" then what are you waiting for? The tool that fits your hand is the one that will get used the most, true whether that's a hammer or a camera. If the only thing holding you back is the flip out screen, unless you are really into macro with a tripod and weird viewpoints you will not miss it. Seriously, how often would you use that?

With the exception of the flip out screen I think the k-30 meets or exceeds in all the specs. But like I said, the most important thing is how it fits, you won't go wrong with either, but which one would you prefer to use all day?

08-10-2012, 09:24 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Remember that you are not only buying a camera, but a system.

Nikon system can get expensive fast, but lenses, flashes, accesories, etc. are easier to find than Pentax (depending on where you live)

Lenses: Nikon may have a wider selection of current lenses and there is some backwards compatibilty. Pentax is backwards compatible to pretty much any lens made for over half a century. Both offer GREAT quality lenses. Third party lenses are offered for both, but Nikon is more popular.

SR: Nikon stabilization is in the lens. Stabilized lenses are more expensive.
Pentax has in-body stabilization. This means stabilization with ANY lens. For me this is a big deal.

Image quality: Both are excellent.

Weather sealing: The Pentax is Weather sealed, the Nikon I believe is not.

Flash system: Nikon's flash system / metering / TTL is superb. I have not tried the K30 but I believe Nikon still has the edge in flash systems.

Movie capabilities: I have no idea how they compare.

Ease of use? Honestly, the one you buy is the one you'll be familiar with.

A great viewfinder vs a flip LCD panel.... A matter of personal choice.

The Pentax community is friendly

Both are very capable tools.
At the end, you can't go wrong with either one.
Good luck!
08-10-2012, 09:30 PM   #6
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K30 is essentially a K5, K5 is rated above the 5100 in most areas, the K30 is weather proofed with a weather proofed kit lenses...i believe the 5100 isn't.

5100 does better video but DSLRs are imo still cameras then video if needed *for now*

If you can get past "camera status", the Pentax is the one i would say is the better of the two.

That said my DSLR is a Canon and my only modern Pentax is a Q
08-10-2012, 10:44 PM   #7
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If you're stomping about vineyards, odds are you could well drop the camera, or get caught in a rainstorm, or otherwise wind up in the muck in which case the weather sealing of the K-30 would far outstrip just about any other comparison.

Last edited by Sagitta; 08-10-2012 at 10:49 PM.
08-10-2012, 11:58 PM - 1 Like   #8
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You want specs? Let's get technical.

The Pentax K-30 uses a brighter and large pentaprism viewfinder that gives 100% view which gives a huge edge over the D5100 with the inferior pentamirror.

The Pentax K-30 is weather-sealed while the D5100 is not which gives you the edge of shooting out in the rain and snow. Only Nikon's highest-end and priciest lenses are weather-sealed while Pentax makes weather-sealed lenses ranging from the cheaper more affordable WR to the higher-end DA*'s.

Pentax and Nikon both allow usage of old legacy lenses, however the Pentax K-30 has in-body shake reduction while the D5100 relies on the lens for that, in which the majority of and if not all old legacy glass does not have optical stabilization built into them; Thus allowing the Pentax K-30 to reduce image blur with old manual focus lenses.

The Pentax K-30 has focus peaking, allowing you to manually focus any lens with ultimate precision, while the D5100 does not have such a feature.

The Pentax K-30 has focus points that 9 of them contain cross-types which the Nikon only has 1 cross-type focus points.

The Pentax K-30 allows a maximum of 12,800 un-expanded ISO range over the D5100's 6,400 maximum un-expanded ISO, allowing you to shoot at a higher ISO settings.

The Pentax K-30 uses the same sensor as the K-5 which surpasses the same sensor used in the Nikon D7000 due to the Pentax K-5's Prime II processor being able to support the Sony's Exmor sensor better than the Nikon D7000 can, and the K-5's sensor is praised for being the best in high ISO image quality output in it's class which rivals full frame cameras such as the Canon 5D Mark II. The Pentax K-30 uses a newer and more advanced Prime M processor over the Prime II.

The Pentax K-30 has a maximum shutterspeed of 1/6000s compared to the D5100's 1/4000s, allowing better image blur control with correspondence of settings with Aperture and ISO.

The Pentax K-30 allows a maximum frames per second shooting of 6 compared to the D5100's 4.

The Pentax K-30 looks cooler than the Nikon D5100.

Have fun and hope you are happy with your decision whether going Nikon D5100 or Pentax K-30.

Last edited by LeDave; 08-11-2012 at 12:19 AM.
08-11-2012, 12:23 AM   #9
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From my personal POV, it's mainly between Nikon's better flash system and availability of lenses vs. Pentax's image stabilisation of all lenses and general ruggedness/WR. I also believe Pentax can work out cheaper for a basic but high image quality system. Nikon's cheap f/1.8 primes for instance are a bit brighter than Pentax but they're very poor wide open whereas the Pentax 35/2.4 is good wide open and behaves more like f2.2 anyway PLUS it's image stabilised. I can use a cheap but really nice Sigma 17-70 and that's stabilised. The one thing I would love to see though would be a direct head to head AF shootout between the K-30 and D5100. I also so want to buy a K-30, but with me I only change cameras every 5yrs+ so it has to be a choice I won't regret - research continues!

Doh! Having read the next post I now remember why I discounted the D5100 ages ago - No internal AF motor rules out cheap primes. It would have to be a D7000 if I were to buy a Nikon, and that pushes the price up.

Last edited by SteveB; 08-11-2012 at 12:47 AM. Reason: mistake
08-11-2012, 12:33 AM   #10
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I would say try to line up which lenses you might want to get down the road... And see on which SYSTEM are available, price and quality. Will you buy lenses used or new ??

Like ismaelg said you are buying a system, and just to add, cameras are outdated/upgraded very fast but lenses and accessories are another story.. And here you have to evaluate what you will want to get later..

Now talking about the D5100 IMO is not worth considering this one because the lack of internal motor for AF drive and this will rule out a lot of good legacy glass. the shake reduction having it on the lenses is a much more pleasant because you actually see the reduction, and not just wonder.

Nikon CLS (wireless flash) is awesome. and used/third market for Nikon has a lot to offer. If you are thinking on going with Nikon only things starts to be interesting once you get to the D90 and up (D300,D300s,D7000,etc...) Which btw I have a brand new D90 with kit lens for sale very cheap..

But on the other hand D5100 vs K-30 talking about only camera body, the K-30 is for sure a smarter/better buy. Has everything you can wish on a sub $1000+ camera it has a lot of features only found on higher price cameras (example: Nikon D7000 - Canon 7D).

If you don't think getting a lot of lenses and plan to stay on only a basic/travel kit, lets say (18-55 or 18-135, maybe a prime 50mm F1.4-F1.8, and something on the telephoto side 55-200) K-30 I think will be the way to go.. you will have access to those zoom lenses weather resistant cheaper than going with other system.

Good luck, whatever you buy you will not regret !
a good picture is gonna be taken on whatever camera you get, on the right hands.
08-11-2012, 12:51 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Remember that you are not only buying a camera, but a system.
If you develop an interest for photography, you will find that the costs/expanses of lenses far exceed the price of the camera. In my case, my few lenses altogether cost more than 8 times a new K-5 body. Ultimately the camera body is expandible but the lenses are not.

Good lenses are expansive but "a good lens is worth every penny". Some even consider a lens as a form of investment. Camera bodies come and go, with a new body every 12 to 18 months. A good lens is still a good lens 5 years later, and its value will not drop. I suggest that you think of what you want to shoot. Then look at the available lenses and compare the prices. As mentioned before, a great asset of Pentax dSLRs is the backward compatibility with the Pentax lenses.

Food for thought...

Last edited by hcc; 08-11-2012 at 01:38 AM.
08-11-2012, 01:18 AM   #12

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5100D? Is there any contest?
.......Next better player......

1. More silent focusing lenses
2. Better branding
3. Better Flash system for wireless applications (only IF you are using expensive Nikon flashes for all the flashes)

1. Need lenses with AF motor (that rules out a significant chuck of the the good or good/cheap lenses) ; not to mention that it can be a hassle when upgrading.
2. Sensor performance is not on par with K30
3. Flash commander system is great, but you need all your flashes to be the expensive Nikon ones.
4. No in camera shake reduction

1. Weather sealed
2. Smaller lenses (a joy to use and carry)
3. On camera shake reduction
4. Available cheap weather sealed lenses to make use of that camera weather seal
5. Better sensor (still the best out there for APS-C)
6. Supports use of legacy lenses (in other words, buy a cheap manual lens for those areas of photography you only have marginal interest in and save money that way)
7. Looks cooler

The Pentax flash system is pretty fine. Used with set ISO and not auto ISO, there is usually no problem at all.
The Nikon is only better for its flash command/control system, but that is costly (needing all Nikon branded flashes)
The typical strobist uses a mish mash of flashes and rather cheap radio flash triggers anyway.

Last edited by pinholecam; 08-11-2012 at 04:02 AM.
08-11-2012, 02:22 AM   #13
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Weather sealing is more than just protection against rain. It lets you use it confidently outdoors in all conditions without sucking in dust and so on. So if you ever plan to use your camera outdoors, then the choice is easy.
However, there's no 18-270 lenses for Pentax available new, which seems a disadvantage when starting out. But as we all progress, we tend to use shorter zooms and then eventually primes whenever possible.
Pentax has some nice primes that you won't find elsewhere - within two years of getting your first Pentax I'm pretty sure you'll be posting your shots on the "DA 15 limited controls my mind" thread.

Also, as a newbie, don't be dismayed when your photos with your lovely new DSLR are significantly worse than the photos you've been taking with your compact camera or mobile phone. You didn't buy a dud - don't start searching the internet for what's wrong with your camera.
The reason the photos are blurry, out of focus, under or over exposed and tilted to the left by 5 degrees is because DSLRs let you make the decisions about exposure, focus and so on... But this is the fun part and why it's an addictive hobby.

Last edited by calsan; 08-11-2012 at 03:04 AM.
08-11-2012, 03:39 AM - 1 Like   #14
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Truthfully, while there are a lot of different things that others have mentioned, the two big things to me for the K30 would be the better viewfinder (100 percent pentaprism) and two control wheels. I just would not buy a camera that doesn't offer these two things and with Nikon, that would push me into the D7000 range. I just really feel that when it comes to making photographs, those two things really make a huge difference when it comes to framing, quick control changes, etc Particularly since the K30 offers Tav mode which is an awfully nice feature...
08-11-2012, 05:03 AM - 1 Like   #15
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K30 is better than D5100

The reviews above are all really informative. I have a D5100 and a K-R. I would go for the k30 now if I was in the market for a 16mp APS-C camera for all the reasons listed above except the following: The issue about old lenses being used on the Pentax, with built in image stabilisation is a red herring. Modern Nikon VR lenses with focusing motors are way nicer to use than anything on a Pentax camera - the VR is better than the built in stabilisation of Pentax (hey, I use both brands so I am making a user based comparison) and the silence of the built in motor is fabulous - this is really worthwhile if you are into birdwatching. It is worth the price premium.

The other thing that would make me hesitate is Pentax's reputation for designed in problems that you get stuck with - remember the shuuter induced blur at 1/60s on the KX, the tungsten light misfocusing problem on the K-R and some other issue on the K5 that a lot of users complained about? Who's to say that the K30 won't follow in those footsteps. The D5100 on the other hand hasn't had a single issue.

But I do like the way Pentax fits in my hand and the menu layout is so much more sensible than Nikon's.

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