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12-22-2021, 03:31 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Nikon vs Pentax discussion

A couple months ago I made the switch to Nikon F mount. My reasons were I felt my K3 and the lenses I had for it just couldn't keep up with my toddler, mainly the autofocus system. Selling off my Pentax gear allowed me to buy a gently used D750 and 4 lenses, and paired with the 50mm 1.8G lens my keeper rate has become insanely good. I also added a manual focus Nikkor 105mm f2.5 lens that is neat because Nikon has a lot of backward compatibility as did Pentax with old lenses. Then to cover my wide and tele ranges I picked up some plastic fantastic lenses at about $40 each that blow my mind optically (the Nikon 28-80mm f3.3-5.6 G and a Nikon 80-200 f4.5-5.6 D). There is basically zero purple fringing with any of these 4 lenses straight out of camera and uncorrected. The only Pentax lens I ever had that didn't do this was the FA 50mm f1.4 but it did have a glow wide open. The 77mm limited was unusable until f2.8 for me, which is crazy a lens that expensive is bested by such an old and budget friendly lenses. These Nikons are all sharp wide open too. There are other interesting things I noticed Nikon does, like the ability to reset the camera or formatting memory cards by holding a combination of buttons. It is weird that Nikon lenses screw on the other direction, that took getting used to. I don't love the Nikon menu layouts in the DSLRs (Pentax is superior there) but the custom menu option with Nikon is neat. If only you could add the minimum shutter change speed to that menu... And I like how both systems allow to customize buttons, but Pentax gave more freedom with e dial customization. I don't like how the front dial adjusts aperture on my Nikon and can't be switched to the back as far as I can tell. The build quality feel of a Pentax camera body was a little nicer too, but I'm shocked how my full frame weighs about the same as my K3 did. I loved the battery door on my K3, but the Pentax K30 inner door tab broke on me. The D750 battery door feels a bit too flimsy like the K30. The lens mounting/dismounting button Nikon uses seems way more robust than the K mount one though so maybe build quality is all a wash. The K3 has a quieter, more sophisticated shutter but I love the typewriter sound of the D750. Pentax screw drive autofocus is noticably louder than Nikon's screw drive autofocus. I love the minimum shutter speed you can select with Nikon, it bothered me a ton that Pentax didn't offer that on any of the bodies I used. But I hate the shooting mode dial Nikon used to switch to burst shooting or timer mode- it is a huge pain to consistently turn that thing while holding to lock button down!

Anyways, these are my observations so far, I may add some more later. I just thought I would start a thread for those who own or have owned both Pentax K and Nikon F mount to add any knowledge or observations they have had about using each system to help those who plan on moving to Pentax or Nikon to help weigh pros and cons of each. Hopefully F mount isn't "doomed" as it seems people are thinking mirrorless is slowly taking over but a pentaprism will always be #1 in my book!


Last edited by stillshot2; 12-22-2021 at 03:48 PM.
12-22-2021, 03:59 PM   #2
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Cost of lenses has been the major obstacle for me when considering F-mount. That said, there are multiple features of their high-end SLR cameras that are positively enlightened when compared to similar functions on Pentax. OTOH, their consumer line...


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(...would love to have a Df...)
12-22-2021, 04:09 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I have a buddy who shoots Nikon. We often seat and compare his D810 with my K1. He is always blown away by the built, ergonomics and overall balance of the K1. I'm impressed mostly at the options of the Nikon and the controls. I find the interface language of Nikon somewhat odd, as you mentioned: double button combinations etc. What really impresses me is the consistency and of the AF. The 24-70/2.8 would focus so fast that I thought it wasn't even working. I respect Nikon a great deal for what they have done, but I'm sticking with Pentax, even though there are some drawbacks. The Pentax is just too comfortable. My friend however is quite undecided, he's seriously thinking about switching and getting a K1. I don't want him to though, Its good to be able to compare with other brands.
12-22-2021, 04:13 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by shyrsio Quote
I have a buddy who shoots Nikon. We often seat and compare his D810 with my K1. He is always blown away by the built, ergonomics and overall balance of the K1. I'm impressed mostly at the options of the Nikon and the controls. I find the interface language of Nikon somewhat odd, as you mentioned: double button combinations etc. What really impresses me is the consistency and of the AF. The 24-70/2.8 would focus so fast that I thought it wasn't even working. I respect Nikon a great deal for what they have done, but I'm sticking with Pentax, even though there are some drawbacks. The Pentax is just too comfortable. My friend however is quite undecided, he's seriously thinking about switching and getting a K1. I don't want him to though, Its good to be able to compare with other brands.
Is he a good enough friend that you guys would trade cameras for a week or two?

12-22-2021, 04:59 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by stillshot2 Quote
The 77mm limited was unusable until f2.8 for me, which is crazy a lens that expensive is bested by such an old and budget friendly lenses.
Sounds like your copy of the 77 is either substandard or needs AF adjustment. Pentax 77 | Wide-open | Soft? - PentaxForums.com

That said, yes Nikon glass is known for being very sharp.
12-22-2021, 05:52 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Heretic!
But seriously use what helps to get the job done. Personally I find Pentax AF to be up to the task for the stationary objects I shoot.
It's also good to get different views from people who use other equipment which informs our possible choice in the future. But for now Pentax provides more than I need.
12-22-2021, 06:00 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I am a long time Nikon fan, having film bodies such as an F2, EM, FG, F801S, F501 (have a couple of these), and some other sundry bodies and point and shoots. I quit shooting for many years, and when I more recently decided to get back into it, bought a D750 to take advantage of my considerable investment in F-mount glass. At first, the D750 impressed me, and honestly it still does, but then I got a K1 II for astro photography. The more I used the Pentax, the more I wished the D750 was more like my K1 II. I now have the K1 II, a K3 II, K5 IIs, and a K01. Bottom line, ALL are impressive in their own way. Nikon's menu system and overall user interface is OK, but clumsy compared to Pentax. I give Pentax the highest marks for UI over anything else I have looked at. I rate Nikon #2 in this regard, but that's not to say it's a BAD interface. I have to give it to the D750, at 24 megapixels, it's EASILY right there with the K1 II's 36mp for image quality, and in some situations may surpass it. I also have all the lenses the OP mentioned, except for the 80-200 (I'm currently using a Tamron 70-200 F2.8 for that slot). His observation on lenses is right on the money, down to the Nikon screw drive autofocus being quieter.

In my humble opinion, I think Pentax provides more bang for buck, feature for feature, but a D750 is an awesome and very desirable camera. I have a complete kit for it, attempting to match my K1 II outfit lens for lens (or lens type/focal length) so whichever camera bag I grab, I have the same equipment for a shoot. I'm pleased with both.

---------- Post added 12-22-21 at 06:07 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by stillshot2 Quote
And I like how both systems allow to customize buttons, but Pentax gave more freedom with e dial customization. I don't like how the front dial adjusts aperture on my Nikon and can't be switched to the back as far as I can tell.
I also have a D750, and wanted it to have aperture control on thumbwheel. Not just because I shoot Pentax as well, but because I simply find it more intuitive. Off the top of my head I can't tell you where in the menu to change it, but I was able to do it. It's one of those Nikon-esque menus that isn't as obvious as it should be, but once you find it, it made sense. At any rate, this CAN be done.

12-22-2021, 06:27 PM - 1 Like   #8
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K-3 and D750 are not the same class of camera... a comparison with a K-1 would probably be better...
12-22-2021, 06:40 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by VariousThingsAndStuf Quote
I am a long time Nikon fan, having film bodies such as an F2, EM, FG, F801S, F501 (have a couple of these), and some other sundry bodies and point and shoots. I quit shooting for many years, and when I more recently decided to get back into it, bought a D750 to take advantage of my considerable investment in F-mount glass. At first, the D750 impressed me, and honestly it still does, but then I got a K1 II for astro photography. The more I used the Pentax, the more I wished the D750 was more like my K1 II. I now have the K1 II, a K3 II, K5 IIs, and a K01. Bottom line, ALL are impressive in their own way. Nikon's menu system and overall user interface is OK, but clumsy compared to Pentax. I give Pentax the highest marks for UI over anything else I have looked at. I rate Nikon #2 in this regard, but that's not to say it's a BAD interface. I have to give it to the D750, at 24 megapixels, it's EASILY right there with the K1 II's 36mp for image quality, and in some situations may surpass it. I also have all the lenses the OP mentioned, except for the 80-200 (I'm currently using a Tamron 70-200 F2.8 for that slot). His observation on lenses is right on the money, down to the Nikon screw drive autofocus being quieter.

In my humble opinion, I think Pentax provides more bang for buck, feature for feature, but a D750 is an awesome and very desirable camera. I have a complete kit for it, attempting to match my K1 II outfit lens for lens (or lens type/focal length) so whichever camera bag I grab, I have the same equipment for a shoot. I'm pleased with both.

---------- Post added 12-22-21 at 06:07 PM ----------



I also have a D750, and wanted it to have aperture control on thumbwheel. Not just because I shoot Pentax as well, but because I simply find it more intuitive. Off the top of my head I can't tell you where in the menu to change it, but I was able to do it. It's one of those Nikon-esque menus that isn't as obvious as it should be, but once you find it, it made sense. At any rate, this CAN be done.
To Various- My intuition tells me that the aperture is in the lens, and that's in front of the shutter, so why have the dials the opposite way round?
12-22-2021, 06:58 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I'm just not talking about a K-3 vs a D-750. What about a K-3iii vs a D750? That would interest me. But bottom line, both are more than I want to pay for a body. I use shake reduction every time I go out, I use pixel shift whenever possible. And I'm pretty sure K-3iii hardware will be incorporated into the next K-1 series camera. Pentax is not a company for the impatient.

QuoteQuote:
it's EASILY right there with the K1 II's 36mp for image quality, and in some situations may surpass it
]

I could say the same for my K-3, it is except when it's not. I've posted K-3 vs K-1 images where people couldn't tell the difference. I've compared D750 IQ to K-3 IQ and the difference is barely discernable. So I can't entertain this observation.

But I've seen examples of K-1 vs D850 where the K-1 surpassed the D850, under controlled tests in Imaging Resources with the aid of Pixels shift. My guess would be the a K-3iii with pixels shift would easily pass a D 750 in IQ for those images and be comparable for the others.

We've had lots of folks switch to Nikon, we've had some switch back. It seems to be an extremely personal decision and some end up regretting it. Who knows where not the scale any individual might fall. The problem with even asking the question is that most compare older Pentax equipment to newer Nikon gear. Not many people with K-3iiis seem to be ruminating about switching to Nikon.

That's my 2 cents worth. If you paid 3 cents for it, you paid too much.

Last edited by normhead; 12-22-2021 at 07:11 PM.
12-22-2021, 08:46 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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A friend of mine shot a D750, made lots of beautiful images. At the time I bought my K1 he ditched FF and went back to APSC only. I personally felt like my image quality improved a lot when I jumped to FF. Looking back at the progress in my own images I think it had more to do with me trying harder to improve, maybe as a way to justify the money I had spent. There are times when I am really glad I have the extra bit of DR and noise advantage from the K1, but a lot of the time I can't tell. I started occasionally shooting my K1 in APSC mode because I had an 18-135mm and it was my only WR lens. The images turned out fantastic and you wouldn't know it was 15mp crop mode. That's all down to my composition skills having improved. This summer I carried 2 cameras around Banff, K3 and K1. Some places I shot with both. I can't even tell which images come from which body unless I look at the filename.

Comparing across brands I would have gone Nikon if Pentax cameras didn't feel so nice in my hands. Every Pentax body I have bought was in person at a store where I could handle them, and I did compare with the competition. Canon has never had any appeal for me, Nikon was a close second to Pentax. Image quality wise all the comparisons are splitting hairs. Real world shooting it's basically impossible to tell what image was shot with what brand, lens, or format unless shooting exactly the same shot side by side and doing extreme comparisons to find irrelevant differences. Good light, good subject, good composition = good picture.
12-22-2021, 09:13 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Sounds like your copy of the 77 is either substandard or needs AF adjustment. Pentax 77 | Wide-open | Soft? - PentaxForums.com

That said, yes Nikon glass is known for being very sharp.
QuoteOriginally posted by luftfluss Quote
Sounds like your copy of the 77 is either substandard or needs AF adjustment.
It was definitely sharp wide open, but any subject of high contrast would get such a noticeable purple fringe it's either ruin the image or I'd be working on it too long in post and it still wouldn't come out great

QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
K-3 and D750 are not the same class of camera... a comparison with a K-1 would probably be better...
I get the D750 was much more expensive at launch and sadly I don't have a K-1 to compare but since the D750 is only a year newer in age and they are both advanced cameras I think it is a pretty fair comparison, especially since the major reason the higher cost of the D750 is because larger sensors drive up the cost exponentially. And to be honest the K-3 actually could pull sharper photos at base iso since it had no AA filter and was exceptional with stationary subjects, it was only until my busy toddler came around that I had to look for better autofocus otherwise I'd still probably be with the same gear

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatridger Quote
My intuition tells me that the aperture is in the lens, and that's in front of the shutter, so why have the dials the opposite way round?
That is a good thought, using that logic I think I would keep them the way you describe except my thumb rests on the rear dial better than my index finger rests on the front dial so I may have to look harder for the menu to switch them (as another user pointed out to me in a private message that it can be done).
12-23-2021, 06:00 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I used rented Nikon Z6 for one week as I like to check out new stuff and often rent some when I have oportunity.

So not a DSLR vs DSLR comparision, but as Pentax vs Nikon newest (then) I found I found it sort of mixed bag. There are things I liked more on Nikon, some that I liked more on Pentax.


Cons of Nikon:
- EVF (never got used to it)
- overall size and weight
- lens optical quality. Not that they were bad, quite the opposite. Nikon lenses are too good for all uses other then plane spotting for me. They are too perfect, too clinical. I felt as I was peeking where I was not supposed too
- feel in hand - build quality is ok, I suppose on pair with Pentax. But it felt more modern and delicate, K-3 Mk III in comparison feel like a russian tank. And I liked it more


Pros of Nikon:
- LV (or backscreen) for composition. Experience was far superior to Pentax. Lots of options, the screen and layout was more readable. It was as much fun to use as OVF was on Pentax
- user experience - I liked the button layout far more then on K-3 Mk III. Everything felt more in place and easier to find and use then with Pentax


All in all if I had enough money I would probably get Z6 while keeping K-3 Mk III, but then I do not have and I feel that Pentax offers better set of compromises then Nikon.
12-23-2021, 10:03 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatridger Quote
To Various- My intuition tells me that the aperture is in the lens, and that's in front of the shutter, so why have the dials the opposite way round?
Good question! And to be honest, it's just a personal thing I guess, has nothing to do with the mechanicals. I find when I'm gripping a camera, it's uncomfortable to manipulate the front wheel. I guess I feel more secure with my fingers firmly planted out front, palming the side, and a portion of my thumb moving that little wheel in the back. I more often than not shoot aperture priority, so with only one control that needs moved, I have, from the time aperture rings became "obsolete", liked using the thumb wheel for that control. Your mileage may vary...😁

---------- Post added 12-23-21 at 10:08 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by vector Quote
Comparing across brands I would have gone Nikon if Pentax cameras didn't feel so nice in my hands. Every Pentax body I have bought was in person at a store where I could handle them, and I did compare with the competition. Canon has never had any appeal for me, Nikon was a close second to Pentax. Image quality wise all the comparisons are splitting hairs. Real world shooting it's basically impossible to tell what image was shot with what brand, lens, or format unless shooting exactly the same shot side by side and doing extreme comparisons to find irrelevant differences. Good light, good subject, good composition = good picture.
AGREE COMPLETELY with everything here.🤗

---------- Post added 12-23-21 at 10:18 AM ----------

Update: I just tried to find the menu setting for that wheel reversal craziness, and found yet another thing that frustrates me with my D750. I just ASSUMED that since Pentax had TAv and Sensitivity priority modes, my Nikon did as well. THEN I FOUND OUT 😒. As much as I do like Nikon stuff in general, every time I go to USE that crazy thing, I end up looking all over for settings it just plain doesn't HAVE compared to the Pentax. I think my new go-to mode is going to be TAv: lock in an iso range that provides quality, set a shutter that does what I need and get a depth of field I like and have at it. I see this will not be possible with the Nikon. By the way, if you are laughing that I'm just now realizing this, bear in mind I'm only just getting back into things, and I've spent the last 18 months curating a collection of equipment, not necessarily USING it lol. That's for 2022...🙄
12-23-2021, 10:51 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stillshot2 Quote
it was only until my busy toddler came around that I had to look for better autofocus
During the toddler years with my kids I was still mostly shooting variable aperture zooms - we had a sigma 18-125mm on a Pentax K100D super. By all measures the AF was not great, but with smaller apertures we never had any trouble getting pictures of the kids running around and if we wanted shallow depth of field we just shot at the long end of the zoom. We also shot with flash all the time indoors. Later I got a K5 and switched to shooting fast aperture primes only in available light. The quality of my images and my keeper rate took a huge dive even though I was learning a ton and getting better overall as a photographer. My kids are a lot bigger now so it's easier but I also still shoot mostly fast primes. I don't rely on available light anymore, I use flash most of the time indoors. My image quality is way up and my keeper rate even for my kids moving around is really good. My point is that there are a lot of factors that go into photographing difficult subjects like toddlers, but I don't think it's necessary to switch brands for better AF as the only way to solve the problem. A little more depth of field and choosing lenses and focal lengths that make it easier goes a long way, as does proper lighting. For the most part these are going to be snapshots so full frame on an f1.4 prime is really overkill. I don't know if what I just shared resonates at all, your challenges and circumstances could be very different than what I was doing. I am happy for you that it worked out, the D750 is a great camera.

Last edited by vector; 12-23-2021 at 11:00 AM.
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