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02-19-2014, 01:09 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Saville Quote
I have to ask, how much have you shot with Canon and Nikon? I've been shooting with both systems for about ten years now, and I have to say that the Pentax interface does not quite measure up to the level of customization yet intuitive organization that I am used to.
Just curious... how long have you been shooting with a Pentax system? I suppose if you shot with a Pentax for 10 years your opinion would be different.

When I play around with my wife's Lumix, my father's Nikon, and every Canon I can get my hands on at Best Buy (which is not small) I find the menus clumsy, crowded, and non-intuitive. The viewfinders are small, dim, and confusing. The manual focus features are crippled on purpose to discourage people from using old glass. Why do I think this? Because I'm a Pentax shooter and I learned the system.

You've been a Canon/Nikon shooter for 10 years. That's the system you learned.

02-19-2014, 01:32 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
Just curious... how long have you been shooting with a Pentax system? I suppose if you shot with a Pentax for 10 years your opinion would be different.

When I play around with my wife's Lumix, my father's Nikon, and every Canon I can get my hands on at Best Buy (which is not small) I find the menus clumsy, crowded, and non-intuitive. The viewfinders are small, dim, and confusing. The manual focus features are crippled on purpose to discourage people from using old glass. Why do I think this? Because I'm a Pentax shooter and I learned the system.

You've been a Canon/Nikon shooter for 10 years. That's the system you learned.
I think all of us are most comfortable with what we use all of the time and it is hard to sort out what is best versus what I am used to. I, personally, am always glad when I purchase a new Pentax, that the menus aren't changed a whole lot and I can find things easily. But if you aren't used to it, at best it will seem "different."

All reviews are biased to a certain extent, depending on off the reviewer is used to the brand or not. You just have to read between the lines and see if the things they like or don't like are actually a big deal or not.
02-19-2014, 02:02 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I think all of us are most comfortable with what we use all of the time and it is hard to sort out what is best versus what I am used to. I, personally, am always glad when I purchase a new Pentax, that the menus aren't changed a whole lot and I can find things easily. But if you aren't used to it, at best it will seem "different."

All reviews are biased to a certain extent, depending on off the reviewer is used to the brand or not. You just have to read between the lines and see if the things they like or don't like are actually a big deal or not.
QuoteOriginally posted by 6BQ5 Quote
Just curious... how long have you been shooting with a Pentax system? I suppose if you shot with a Pentax for 10 years your opinion would be different.

When I play around with my wife's Lumix, my father's Nikon, and every Canon I can get my hands on at Best Buy (which is not small) I find the menus clumsy, crowded, and non-intuitive. The viewfinders are small, dim, and confusing. The manual focus features are crippled on purpose to discourage people from using old glass. Why do I think this? Because I'm a Pentax shooter and I learned the system.

You've been a Canon/Nikon shooter for 10 years. That's the system you learned.
I may have been a Nikon *owner* for the past 10 years, however I've also spent that decade grabbing every other camera I possibly could, and getting to know every little detail of its interface. In fact that's kinda why I'm reviewing cameras in a relatively "official" capacity now. From day one, I tried out a lot of different systems. The only reason I stuck with Nikon this whole time is because I did in fact prefer the interface! Partly because of familiarity, yes, but also because there are in face specific advantages that I like. (And disadvantages that I'm willing to put up with, lol.... ;-)

But that sounds a little too pompous to say, as if I've tried everything under the sun and I'm trying to argue that one is definitively the best, LOL. That's just not true. However the fact is, I like to use every single feature a camera has. I like to memorize where it is in a menu, and be able to objectively assess which layouts are easier to use in one respect or another.

All I can say is that no camera interface is perfect. There are clear advantages and disadvantages in every interface, regardless of whether or not you are "used to" a system. For example I need to dig into a menu to change the Kelvin WB on pretty much every camera system EXCEPT Nikon. I love that about Nikon's advanced amateur and pro bodies. Just hold down the WB button and crank a command dial once. No amount of familiarity with another system's menu interface is going to make it easier than that. On the other hand, Nikon is pretty much the only system I know of that refuses to offer right-hand access to ISO. Which I really hate. Heck they have FOUR fully customizable buttons within reach of the right hand, and they don't put ISO control in those options. Why, I may never know.

So, pick your poison, at the end of the day. But my point is, you simply cannot blame it 100% on being used to this or that system. There are in fact advantages and disadvantages, that go BEYOND mere preference or familiarity.

All in all, I have to say that the K-3 has one of the most powerful and versatile interfaces I have ever seen, if not THE best versatility, ever. But that comes at a cost, and beginner friendliness (especially to anyone who has never owned a Pentax) is definitely harmed in this respect.

As I said in my previous reply, it's all fine and dandy if someone has been using a system for years. But I hope to reach beyond that with my review and my future advice-giving. I'd actually like to convince current Canon / Nikon owners that, if for example they're waiting patiently for a Nikon D400, they should give the K-3 a try etc. etc. You get what I mean, right?

=Matt=

Last edited by Matthew Saville; 02-19-2014 at 02:10 PM.
02-19-2014, 03:08 PM   #19
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I enjoyed your review Matt.
As far as WR lenses for Pentax, I would highly recommend you check out the DFA100 WR Macro, it is a lovely 1:1 macro with the metal build you liked in the DA15 and DA40.
Another excellent lens that is WR is the DA*300 telephoto, one of my favorites.

02-19-2014, 04:05 PM   #20
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Thanks for your measured responses, Matt. I read your review before all this started, and I didn't take exception to your comment about the Pentax menus - it's a point of view, an opinion, and everyone's entitled to their own opinions. I'm a long-term Pentax owner, so naturally I find their menu system OK to deal with, but the important thing to note is that each Pentax DSLR I've owned has had some improvement there, and, in IMHO, the K-3's is the best yet. However, that's not to say that future Pentax menu systems can't be improved on. My wife's Samsung EX-1 has a pretty good menu system that Pentax could take some cues from, but it isn't perfect, either.

All that aside, I thought the review was a very positive one, and an indication that Pentax as a brand is really back on form. Thanks again, Matt.
02-19-2014, 04:38 PM   #21
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I've had the K-3 since it first came out and I still have to think about the new AF and metering controls. I preferr the previous system and I want more than 3 user modes. 5 would be ideal.

Love the K-3. Now Ricoh needs to get to work on some glass and steal way a few Fuji lens designers.
02-19-2014, 06:18 PM   #22
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Hi Matthew,

thanks for your review and your responses here.

I found it odd that you never mentioned the in-body image stabilisation.
To me that's one of the big plus points for Pentax. Not only can it compensate rotational shake that no lens-based system will ever be able to do, it also works for every lens you have whether it is old, a small prime or a wide-angle. Finally, you pay for it only once.

QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Saville Quote
But my point is, you simply cannot blame it 100% on being used to this or that system.
I have a feeling you underestimate your familiarity with the other systems. See the following individual points:

QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Saville Quote
As I said in the review, I pride myself in being able to pick up any camera and make it "dance" within a few weeks.
This does not rhyme well with your comment in the review:
"Thus, even after a few weeks of use I find myself still clumsily hitting the wrong controls, or blindly hitting the toggle button two or three times to try and figure out which function the control pad is currently serving.
Either you haven't used the K-3 much in those weeks, or you have trouble to adapt to a different system.

I always have the four-way controller in AF-point mode. If I ever need to access one of the doubly assigned functions -- which is a rare occasion -- I change the mode, use the function, and change the mode back. I thus never have to wonder which mode I'm in. My fingers do the above automatically; I don't need to think about it.

Is it the fastest system imaginable? Perhaps not, but certainly there is absolutely no need to clumsily hit the wrong controls.

QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Saville Quote
Or being able to change kelvin temperature without going into a menu at all, that's another huge one.
I have an even faster approach: I never change the WB. I always shoot RAW and adjust WB in post. I'll tweak the WB anyhow so why waste time to get some approximation in-camera?

I grant you that the Nikon approach to changing the WB (press a button and turn a dial) is great, but I really, really don't want to change WB on the camera.

QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Saville Quote
Second is the lack of a customizable "my menu" which I have grown very, very used to.
I never missed not having a "my menu" system. There are so many controls on the camera that I rarely need to do any menu diving. And if I do, being able to use both dials for both broad and fine navigation gets me there quickly.

I also disabled the "status screen" so with one press of the "info" button, I get to a screen that allows me to change a lot of things directly.

I'll use a "my menu" system, but not having one is not a biggie for me at all.

QuoteOriginally posted by Matthew Saville Quote
1-click 100% zooming during playback does not know which AF point was selected, and that is unfortunate.
That would be a nice feature to have, I agree.

Last edited by Class A; 02-20-2014 at 06:33 AM.
02-19-2014, 09:13 PM - 1 Like   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Hi Matthew,

thanks for your review and your responses here.

I found it odd that you never managed the in-body image stabilisation.
Managed? Did you mean to say mentioned? I certainly enjoyed using the in-camera stabilization, though I didn't mention it very much in the review...

This is only a part 1, by the way, I still plan to take this bad boy out to the desert for some serious night photography. :-D

=Matt=

---------- Post added 02-19-14 at 08:43 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
I enjoyed your review Matt.
As far as WR lenses for Pentax, I would highly recommend you check out the DFA100 WR Macro, it is a lovely 1:1 macro with the metal build you liked in the DA15 and DA40.
Another excellent lens that is WR is the DA*300 telephoto, one of my favorites.
I'm more of an adventure landscape photographer, so I'm actually really wishing they had made a 12-24 f/4 with weather sealing. :-/

02-19-2014, 11:06 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
........This does not rhyme well with your comment in the review:
"Thus, even after a few weeks of use I find myself still clumsily hitting the wrong controls, or blindly hitting the toggle button two or three times to try and figure out which function the control pad is currently serving.
Either you haven't used the K-3 much in those weeks, or you have trouble to adapt to a different system.

I always have the four-way controller in AF-point mode. If I ever need to access one of the doubly assigned functions -- which is a rare occasion -- I change the mode, use the function, and change the mode back. I thus never have to wonder which mode I'm in. My fingers do the above automatically; I don't need to think about it.

Is it the fastest system imaginable? Perhaps not, but certainly there is absolutely no need to clumsily hit the wrong controls.......
The fact that I usually know a camera inside and out very quickly is both a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, it means the camera is simple to operate and easy to understand. On the other hand, it often means that the camera is TOO simple, and lacks certain customizations that I'd really prefer to have.

The K-3's interface is very advanced, and I would argue should be considered a challenge to fully use to its greatest potential if you are a new user who is used to any other camera system. Once again, this is a good thing and a bad thing. It will take longer for me to truly master it, but I'm fine with that. It is exciting to think that I can do certain things not before possible.

It is still my opinion however that certain aspects of the interface are not as well done as various other camera systems. Like I said, each system has strengths and weaknesses. I've actually been annoyed by many of Nikon's own recent changes, between the D700 and the D800, for example they did something similar to what Pentax did from the K-5 to the K-3: They took away a continuous / single AF option switch, letting it simply be AF / MF, so that you have to hit a separate button and turn a dial in order to designate continuous focusing instead of single. Possible to get used to? Sure. Better design? Not necessarily.

On that subject, I do indeed plan to try and get in the habit of always remembering to switch control back to AF, like you mentioned. Still, it's one more thing to remember when a separate joystick would make it much easier.

---------- Post added 02-19-14 at 10:33 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
......I have an even faster approach: I never change the WB. I always shoot RAW and adjust WB in post. I'll tweak the WB anyhow so why waste time to get some approximation in-camera?

I grant you that the Nikon approach to changing the WB (press a button and turn a dial) is great, but I really, really don't want to change WB on the camera.....
Workflow-ing 10,000+ images per week as a studio really, really dictates nailing as many settings in-camera as possible, unfortunately. I wish I could just leave my camera in AWB 100% of the time since I do indeed shoot RAW, but that's not an option. ;-)

By the way, after continuing to use the K-3 over the past few days I think I have drawn my final conclusion: Can it replace my full-frame Nikon system as a high-end professional wedding setup? Not cold turkey, that's for sure. I will however be consolidating my Nikon gear over the next year or so for my day job, (weddings) ...and saving up for a K-3 to begin using for my hobby. (adventures and landscapes, which I would love to replace weddings with in the long run) I do suspect that, once I knew the camera like the back of my hand, I could definitely accomplish any type of work with a K-3 or two.

=Matt=
02-20-2014, 06:06 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by starbase218 Quote

[/COLOR]Btw, the 15mm and 40mm Limiteds are small, but comparing them to 16mm f/2 and even 60mm f/2.8 lenses respectively is apples and oranges. The 40mm f/2.8 would be a non-macro 60mm f/4 in fullframe. The 15/4... well let's not even go there. Also, the K-3 may be good at low-light, but the latest fullframe cameras will be better. So if that 15mm f/4 is all you need on APS-C, compare it to something like a 24mm f/5.6 on fullframe, which would be 3 stops slower (smaller?) than that 16mm f/2.

There is a size advantage to the Pentax system, but these are hardly fair examples.

This is only relevant for DOF wide open and nothing else. Most people buy lenses due to speed, not absolute DOF wide open. A 2.8 lens is a 2.8 lens regardless of format. Shooting at F:2.8 is not the same as shooting at F:4 as it gives different exposure regardless of what format you comparing with. Hence, it is not equivalent. (and I won't mention that the "equvalent" lenses after this method won't have the same DOF range, the same close focusing distance or the same maximum magnification).

Treating aperture without regard to exposure give wrong results for photographic purposes as the two are intertwined. Having to increase the ISO of the larger format negate one of the main reasons for using the larger format in the first place as its reduces the formats noise advantage - photographers tend to use their camera to their best advantage regardless of what format they are using. Ie using the lowest ISO value wherever they can get away with it. No one buy or use their cameras to comply with the "law" of DOF wide open equivalence.

Different formats give different DOF charcteristics and there are no way around it, and there are no reason why it shoudn't. What DOF characteristic is the "right" one is purely subjective and using one as a reference is a biased opinion and not a truth. DOF wide open is simply just one parametre and its not one that trumphs the others by any objective measure.
Equivalent lenses have the same angle of view and the same speed and this is indeed what the manufacturers put on their lenses and in the technical specifications (for a reason). The format dictates the DOF characteristics.

Last edited by Pål Jensen; 02-20-2014 at 09:55 AM.
02-20-2014, 06:39 AM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
This is only relevant for DOF wide open and nothing else. Most people buy lenses due to speed, not absolute DOF wide open. A 2.8 lens is a 2.8 lens regardless of format. Shooting at F:2.8 is not the same as shooting at F:4 as it gives different exposure regardless of what format you comparing with. Hence, it is not equivalent. (and I won't mention that the "equvalent" lenses after this method won't have the same DOF range, the same close focusing distance or the same maximum magnification).

Treating aperture without regard of exposure give wrong results for photographic purposes as the two are intertwined. Having to increase the ISO of the larger format negate one of the main reasons for using the larger format in the first place as its reduces the formats noise advantage - photographers tend to use their camera to their best advantage regardless of what format they are using. Ie using the lowest ISO value wherever they can get away with it. No one buy or use their cameras to comply with the "law" of DOF wide open equivalence.

Different formats give different DOF charcteristics and there are no way around it, and there are no reason why it shoudn't. What DOF characteristic is the "right" one is purely subjective and using one as a reference is a biased opinion and not a truth. DOF wide open is simply just one parametre and its not one that trumphs the others by any objective measure.
Equivalent lenses have the same angle of view and the same speed and this is indeed what the manufacturers put on their lenses and in the technical specifications (for a reason). The format dictates the DOF characteristics.
I just think too much is made of wide apertures with wide angles. As long as a lens is pretty sharp at f5.6 (as the DA 15 is), then it is adequate for most purposes. Certainly if you do a lot of in door wide angle work, you want a wider aperture, but for landscapes, a DA 15 limited is about perfect and if it had a wider aperture -- was a bigger lens with more glass in it -- it would probably lose some of the flare resistance that it features.

I do think the benefit of a full frame camera is that you can usually choose to shoot with less depth of field and have better dynamic range/noise profile. The thing that is over blown is that I have seen a lot more photos "spoiled" by too little depth of field than by too much depth of field.
02-20-2014, 08:03 AM   #27
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Rondec, it's interesting that you mention too little DOF spoiling more pictures than too much. When I shot with a Nikon D3X and the Nikkor 14-24 f2.8 lens I found the lens had to be stopped down to at least 5.6-8 to get the DOF I nedded for large churches so That most of the statues, columns, etc was sharp. It is much easier with the K5IIs and K3 and a sigma 8-16 at 5.6-8 because of the increased DOF from the shorter focal lengths and the SR allowing a slower shutter speed. Since the subject is stationary, this is a superior and smaller/lighter package for me. And the K3 is a better sensor than the X was, but it is a few hears old now also.

David
02-20-2014, 09:54 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote

I do think the benefit of a full frame camera is that you can usually choose to shoot with less depth of field and have better dynamic range/noise profile. The thing that is over blown is that I have seen a lot more photos "spoiled" by too little depth of field than by too much depth of field.
...but on the other hand APS let you shoot with more DOF. And in adition give you more DOF at the same shutterspeed and ISO. So the whole thing boils down to what you want. Whats best is purely subjective. So the concept that an APS lens must have the same DOF as an FF lens wide open to be comparable isn't true...
02-20-2014, 10:03 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
...but on the other hand APS let you shoot with more DOF. And in adition give you more DOF at the same shutterspeed and ISO. So the whole thing boils down to what you want. Whats best is purely subjective. So the concept that an APS lens must have the same DOF as an FF lens wide open to be comparable isn't true...
You are right, but assuming that iso 400 on APS-C will be roughly equivalent to iso 800 on full frame, you can stop down on full frame to get equivalent depth of field without penalty.
02-20-2014, 02:51 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
This is only relevant for DOF wide open and nothing else. Most people buy lenses due to speed, not absolute DOF wide open. A 2.8 lens is a 2.8 lens regardless of format. Shooting at F:2.8 is not the same as shooting at F:4 as it gives different exposure regardless of what format you comparing with. Hence, it is not equivalent. (and I won't mention that the "equvalent" lenses after this method won't have the same DOF range, the same close focusing distance or the same maximum magnification).

Treating aperture without regard to exposure give wrong results for photographic purposes as the two are intertwined. Having to increase the ISO of the larger format negate one of the main reasons for using the larger format in the first place as its reduces the formats noise advantage - photographers tend to use their camera to their best advantage regardless of what format they are using. Ie using the lowest ISO value wherever they can get away with it. No one buy or use their cameras to comply with the "law" of DOF wide open equivalence.

Different formats give different DOF charcteristics and there are no way around it, and there are no reason why it shoudn't. What DOF characteristic is the "right" one is purely subjective and using one as a reference is a biased opinion and not a truth. DOF wide open is simply just one parametre and its not one that trumphs the others by any objective measure.
Equivalent lenses have the same angle of view and the same speed and this is indeed what the manufacturers put on their lenses and in the technical specifications (for a reason). The format dictates the DOF characteristics.
All of this, I agree with, however it still misses the point of my displaying those two lenses side by side in my review. My point was not to compare full-frame against crop sensor lenses, nor was it my intention to get bummed out about either the size of the f/2 prime, or the aperture speed of the f/4 prime.

My point, you might say, was "hey, look at the incredibly wide variety of options that I have at my disposal when using the Pentax system instead of any other!"

I suppose I could slap the legendary old Nikon 20mm f/4 AIS on a Nikon D600 and come close to what the K-3 offers, but all I'm talking about is how awesome the options are on Pentax. (Although I must admit, I really wish Tokina had made their 11-16 2.8 for the Pentax mount, and unfortunately it is probably going to take forever for Rokinon to make their new 10mm f/2.8 in a Pentax mount...)

=Matt=

---------- Post added 02-20-14 at 01:53 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I just think too much is made of wide apertures with wide angles. As long as a lens is pretty sharp at f5.6 (as the DA 15 is), then it is adequate for most purposes. Certainly if you do a lot of in door wide angle work, you want a wider aperture, but for landscapes, a DA 15 limited is about perfect and if it had a wider aperture -- was a bigger lens with more glass in it -- it would probably lose some of the flare resistance that it features.

I do think the benefit of a full frame camera is that you can usually choose to shoot with less depth of field and have better dynamic range/noise profile. The thing that is over blown is that I have seen a lot more photos "spoiled" by too little depth of field than by too much depth of field.
This used to be true for landscape photography in general, however nowadays landscape photographers often spend half their time exposing the milky way at night, LOL. At least, that's how I roll, and one of the major reasons why I'm excited about the K-3 and the O-GPS1! (or is it OGPS-1?)

As I mentioned in my previous reply, it is for this reason that I'm very happy Rokinon has announced their new 10mm f/2.8 that is dedicated to crop sensors will be made in the Pentax mount. I just hope it doesn't take forever!

=Matt=

---------- Post added 02-20-14 at 01:57 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Pål Jensen Quote
...but on the other hand APS let you shoot with more DOF. And in adition give you more DOF at the same shutterspeed and ISO. So the whole thing boils down to what you want. Whats best is purely subjective. So the concept that an APS lens must have the same DOF as an FF lens wide open to be comparable isn't true...
Unfortunately in my experience diffraction plays into this as well, and especially with the latest 24 MP 1.5x crop sensors I have tested. (the K-3 is my third version of this sensor I've tested, I've also played with two similar Nikon 24 MP crop cameras) Simply put, I cannot go to f/16 unless I really am ready to sacrifice per-pixel detail. The lack of an AA filter helps to recoup a little bit of lost detail, or you might say that the lack of an AA filter just makes my images that much sharper at optimal apertures that I notice a lack of acuity at f/16 more than I normally would. But either way, I rarely go above f/10 if I'm trying to achieve the most sharpness. Whereas on full-frame I freely go to f/16 all the time. Heck with a camera like the Df at "just" 16 MP full-frame, I've even shot a few incredibly sharp images at f/22!

=Matt=

---------- Post added 02-20-14 at 02:00 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
You are right, but assuming that iso 400 on APS-C will be roughly equivalent to iso 800 on full frame, you can stop down on full frame to get equivalent depth of field without penalty.
This used to be true, but nowadays I'm really not seeing much of a difference between ISO performance until ISO 1600-3200, and even then it's totally great on cameras like the K-3 still. Heck, I've shot the K-3 at ISO 6400 / 12800 for some pretty decent star exposures actually.

In short, the quality gap is almost nil between APS-C and FF for any user who doesn't seriously push the envelope. Besides, I'd rather have the more compact body that saves size and weight yet doesn't compromise on robust construction or weather sealing. :-D

=Matt=
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