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10-12-2013, 02:21 PM   #1
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Tempted to upgrade back into Pentax

The first serious camera (bigger then a coin sized sensor) that I experienced and grown into photography was a Pentax K200D and I loved it ... to death ... literately unfortunately. I bought it used and after about a year of use it started giving me dead pixels in images, white spots, to the point that I couldn't ignored it anymore and I have to assume the it will die soon enough (by being useless). But I loved the IQ and the build quality and those logical menus but I did wanted to try the, newly by then, Micro Four Thirds so I got a Panasonic G1 that I still use it today after 3 years.

Now I do love the G1 for its size and weight (never had any wrists pain even after a hole day of holding it in hand, which couldn't be said the same for K200D) and the buttons count and layout (I never have to enter in Menu except for formatting the memory card). And having an tilt and swivel screen has made macro shots so much fun and painless. Some people can't get used to EVF but I loved it from the start and the "what you see is what you get" is very nice and useful and the only downside is the slowness in low light situation and that using in 3.5 FPS burst mode doesn't keep a live feed, but the size of that thing is huge (compared to entry level DSLR's). Now the only issue that I have, and it's the biggest one, is that of IQ (I do know it's the first generation of Panasonic's Micro Four Thirds sensor) where DR isn't that good, noise level are under control only up to ISO 400-800 but the worst of it is that shadow recovery is poor, barely get 1 EV before noise creeps in and that is an issue for me because I love doing night photography and sometimes I have to underexpose 0.3-0.5 EV to get a more shutter speed and/or keep ISO under 1600. And even a modest +50 sharpness in Lightroom brings a lot of noise even at ISO 100 in bright daylight.

Now K-5 / K-30 / K-5 II / K-5 IIs / K-50 / K-500 have the same sensor (more or less for the tiny improvements of each generation) and give about the same +4 EV DR and 3 to 4 extra stops High ISO performance compared to G1 so that would be a huge jump in IQ if I get any of these DSLR's.

But the reason I originally went for Pentax K200D and I would go back to Pentax is weather sealing (dust and splash proof) because where I, currently, live in the summer I go a lot on the beach and sand and sea water are in my thoughts all the time and the rest of the year I get torrential rain, specially in the winter about 5 days per week. So Pentax DA 18-135mm f 3.5-5.6 ED AL IF DC WR and Pentax DA 55-300mm f 4-5.8 ED WR is a must for me.

Now the dilemma that I have is keeping on the Micro Four Thirds path and upgrade to Olympus OM-D E-M5 or get the Pentax K-30. While I do love the size and weight of the Micro Four Thirds the cheapest weather proof camera is E-M5 and it's still more expensive (withe the kit lens) then half the Pentax DSLR's AND there are only a few and expensive weather proof lenses for Micro Four Thirds (and from what the Four Thirds system thought us it won't be a cheap to get a 28-300/400mm weather sealed system). I do find the Olympus 12-50mm f 3.5-6.3 a disappointment by design (not IQ) because of the shorter 50mm (compared to Pentax 18-135mm), the slow 6.3 aperture, more so coupled with the smaller Four Thirds sensor, forcing you to higher ISO, while the Olympus 12-40mm f 2.8 and Panasonic 12-35mm f 2.8 / 35-100mm f 2.8 very expensive (for my hobbyist needs). I wish Pentax/Panasonic/Olympus would come up with a 24/28-300/450mm equivalent weather proof lens like Nikon.

My first priorities are as fallows:
1) Weather proof (camera and lens)
2) Price (under 1K with weather proof lens)
3) IQ (good DR and at least usable ISO 6400)

As fallows the only two (viable options) are:
Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus 12-50mm f 3.5-5.6, Panasonic 100-300mm f 4-5.6, Panasonic 25mm f 1.7 and Olympus 60mm f 2.8 Macro = 2.5K Euros and 1.5 Kg weight in total.
Pentax K-30 with Pentax DA 18-135mm f 3.5-5.6, Pentax DA 55-300mm f 4-5.8, Pentax DA 35mm f 2.8 Macro, Pentax DA 100mm f 2.8 Macro = 2.2K Euros and 2 Kg weight in total.

So for less 300 euros I get 3 weather sealed lenses and 2 of them dedicated macro instead of just 2 lenses. I have an issue with the lack of macro lenses option on Micro Four Thirds (90mm and 120mm is not a lot of choices there is it ?) and even Four Thirds had only 2 lenses, 70mm and 100mm, so I won't be raising my hopes for an 50mm equivelent 1:1 macro lens or 200-300mm one either.

They (the all mighty blinking Internet) say that Olympus OM-D E-M5 is very close in IQ to that of Pentax K-5 and the technology might be advance to give Micro Four Third's lack of size sensor a close performance to APS-C a run for the money that maybe one day it could just drop APS-C out of existence (just useless speculation here). And some of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 features are really awesome, like Live Bulb (for Night and Astrophotography), Live View Exposure Simulation (the nature of mirrorless design), semi-useful improvised Focus Peaking, Tilt Touch Screen, best in existence IBIS EVER ... but Pentax also has some really impressive features like: Astrotracking with GPS, almost 3 EV shadow recovery, usable (in my opinion) 12800 ISO, AA batteries option, build in time lapse ability, fully featured Focus Peaking, -2 EV focusing ability.

I even thought about Nikon D7000 with 18-300mm f 3.5-5.6 but only those two weight 1.5 Kg but adding Nikon 40mm f 2.8 Macro and Tamron 90mm f 2.8 Macro totals at 2K Euros but with a total of 2.5 Kg. And Nikon's splash proofing doesn't even come close to that of "Sand eating Pentax"
or "Water Dunking Olympus"
.

Should I start investing fully into Micro Four Third lenses and wait for Olympus OM-D E-M5 to get cheaper? Or should I jump back to DSLR with either Pentax K-30 / K-50?

10-12-2013, 04:05 PM   #2
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10-12-2013, 04:16 PM   #3
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These days, the camera technology has advanced so much that the differences in output are becoming too small to worry about. It now comes down to ergonomics and lens preferences. As you are on a Pentax forum, you will get biased advice, and indeed for weather sealing, the K-50 is an excellent and relatively lightweight APS-C choice. The u4/3 system isn't bad either, and the OM-D certainly made some waves with its petite structure. In the end, you have to hold the camera in your hands, test out its performance and be happy with its lens system for you to choose what's best for you.
10-12-2013, 04:32 PM   #4
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I agree with Ash 100%, at this point there is not enough difference in IQ to make much difference unless you are pixel peeping, printing huge or doing some other specific task. The feel, build and ergonomics are what should make the decision.

Pentax excels in ergonomics and usability of menus / buttons. It has very good weather sealing and a good complement of lenses that are also WR.

However, you specifically said:
You like the small size of m4/3
You don't mind the EVF
You like the articulated screen

And those are things you are not going to get with Pentax. I would look long and hard at m4/3 options before making a change based on what you have noted. Not trying to drive you away from Pentax, it is a wonderful system and just got a whole lot better with the addition of the k-3 but m4/3 has advantages too. You need to draw a T-chart and write down the pluses of each system and then compare.

Good luck with your choice.

10-12-2013, 04:58 PM   #5
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Just to chime in, I wouldn't expect to see a lot of difference between APS-c and 4/3. I wouldn't expect to see a difference between APS-c and FF. But i would expect to see a difference between 4/3 and FF. If APS-c is comfortable quality for you, I'd expect you to be able to "get by" on 4/3. If FF is comfortable, I'd expect you could get by on APS-c but not on 4/3. Ergonomics and weight are important factors, but ultimately, you have to be comfortable with the IQ you're getting. And that's completely personal.
10-12-2013, 05:20 PM   #6
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One comment, the DFA 100 WR is pretty pricey, but it's a nice WR macro. Budget a few more $$ for the WR lens. The 55-300 WR is a new lens, and is a little more expensive also, but if WR is important to you, it's the way to go there also.

Also, if you have the 100 Macro, the 35 is less useful. It's not a general macro lens, but does excel at getting into places a longer macro won't fit (like under a flower). You also didn't pick anything fast with your Pentax system. I love the Sigma 30/1.4. The Sigma 35 1.4 is excellent as well, but big and heavy and quite expensive, and of course the FA31 is a gem, but at the long end of the price scale!
10-12-2013, 06:12 PM   #7
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As has been posted before, this really comes down to a personal preference. What is really most important to you, and also what do you want to do? If both of thoes point to the same selection - you have a winner. If they point in different directions - that is where things get a bit more difficult. In the end, you really can't go wrong - since they are both excellent camera systems. There are a number of web sites that you can use to compare various aspects of the two.Here is a guy who owns Lens Rentals (who is also an medical doctor), and this is how he went about selecting a camera to buy.So, what does all of this actually boil down to? Probably going out and holding / using each camera, looking at the lenses, checking the savings account, holding your breath and coming to a decision.

10-13-2013, 04:28 AM   #8
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I got to hold both cameras a few months back (Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Pentax K-5) and although E-M5 is a little smaller (about the same in all dimensions except depth) only the, almost, half weight of K-5's feels different but K-5 was more comfortable to hold, more so with a heavier lens.

I like to travel a lot and on foot, that being the reason why size and weight is important to me. I broke my right arm a few years back and it hasn't been so good ever since and my back problems are getting worse and worse. It's not a life style choice to go for a smaller/compact system. But the biggest issue that I have is the uncertain launch of lenses that might make it better, for me, in the Micro Four Thirds system (like a general weather proof zoom and wide(ish) angle close focus/macro capabilities) compared to Pentax's 7 standard to cheap to premium to all-around weather sealed zooms. Getting into a system and hoping that they might release lenses that you like or need is not that of a good idea.

If Pentax would make a more "standard" or "closer like to the competition" mirrorless K-Mount camera (I don't know why I fell so dirty saying this) with things like built in EVF or add-on EVF and articulated screen (it can be weather proofed, just look at Panasonic GH3, Olympus E-3/5, Olympus OM-D E-M1/5, Sony A77/99) the choice would me much easier ... but then again so would for Micro Four Thirds if Olympus OM-D E-M1 would be more cheaper and had a lens option like 12-120mm f 3.5-5.6 dust and splash proof ... but this is just useless rumbling so I might just as was stop there.

So back to our ducks, I know that I will get biased opinions to Pentax here but I heard that pentaxforums members are the loveliest photography group on the internet so why the hell not.

10-13-2013, 04:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
One comment, the DFA 100 WR is pretty pricey, but it's a nice WR macro. Budget a few more $$ for the WR lens. The 55-300 WR is a new lens, and is a little more expensive also, but if WR is important to you, it's the way to go there also.

Also, if you have the 100 Macro, the 35 is less useful. It's not a general macro lens, but does excel at getting into places a longer macro won't fit (like under a flower). You also didn't pick anything fast with your Pentax system. I love the Sigma 30/1.4. The Sigma 35 1.4 is excellent as well, but big and heavy and quite expensive, and of course the FA31 is a gem, but at the long end of the price scale!
The reason I mentioned Pentax D-FA 100mm f 2.8 Macro WR is because of the weather sealing (I love to take macro shots of water drops on things) and of the extra 15mm equivalent reach compared to Tamron SP 90mm f 2.8 Macro, and it's 100 Euro more expensive then the competition. And still 25 Euro cheaper then Olympus 60mm f 2.8 Macro ... and 300 Euro cheaper then Panasonic Leica 45mm f 2.8 Macro.

The reason I chose the Pentax 35mm f 2.8 Macro Limited is because I like the 50mm equivalent perspective, and the nice price and the small size of that thing I would say is a must have for anyone (or go for Pentax 35mm f 2.4 if you don't want the macro capabilities). For portrait I prefer 75-135mm quivalent and since I don't to that much portraits the 50mm f 1.8 legacy would do just fine. Now if I would have money to invest in a fast(ish) lens it would be a Sigma 20mm f 1.8 for Astrophotography and Night/Landscape use ... plus a very wonderful close focus capability that no other lenses have (other then Sigmas 24 and 28mm f 1.8).
10-13-2013, 01:25 PM   #10
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Just to throw another option in there. If compactness is what you are more keen on, the Pentax Q system is excellent, and the Q7 boasting now a sensor of very good quality for the pixels it produces with the tiny lenses. Definitely worth considering.
10-13-2013, 02:30 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by L0n3Gr3yW0lf Quote
....

If Pentax would make a more "standard" or "closer like to the competition" mirrorless K-Mount camera (I don't know why I fell so dirty saying this) with things like built in EVF or add-on EVF and articulated screen (it can be weather proofed, just look at Panasonic GH3, Olympus E-3/5, Olympus OM-D E-M1/5, Sony A77/99) the choice would me much easier ... but then again so would for Micro Four Thirds if Olympus OM-D E-M1 would be more cheaper and had a lens option like 12-120mm f 3.5-5.6 dust and splash proof ... but this is just useless rumbling so I might just as was stop there.

....
What's your opinion of the Panasonic GX7?
10-13-2013, 03:32 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by IchabodCrane Quote
What's your opinion of the Panasonic GX7?
I think it's a really nice camera, specialy for street photography, and that tilting EVF is just a marvel. But I do have a few issue with it: Panasonic's sensor can't seem to be as good as Sony's (like the ones in Olympus OM-D E-M1/5 and E-P5), IBIS is 2 axes so not really a performer like Pentax's or Olympus's (the true masters of IBIS) and the lack of splash and dust proof protection
10-13-2013, 03:34 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Just to throw another option in there. If compactness is what you are more keen on, the Pentax Q system is excellent, and the Q7 boasting now a sensor of very good quality for the pixels it produces with the tiny lenses. Definitely worth considering.
I did, and more then a couple of times but the lack of lenses can't make me use it as main/only system. But I might buy it (after the price lowers) for extreme telephoto abilities from the crop factor for macro at a large distance and astrophotography
10-14-2013, 06:56 AM   #14
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i can totally relate!

Hi,
I just went through very much the same debate myself. For me, Pentax won. I suppose I could have waited another month for the improved K-3, but between the head-to-head reviews and price considerations, I jumped early and got the year old K-5 II and a couple of lenses for around the price of an EM1 body.
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