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11-04-2007, 01:33 PM   #1
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Cheers from someone who can't decide!

Greetings everyone! Full disclosure: I don't own a Pentax dslr.

Now that I've learned that Nikkor lenses are not (ever!) weather-sealed, I am debating whether to leave the Nikon camp and get a system that I won't be afraid to take with me when it looks like rain. K10D and the new Oly E-3 are very, very tempting...

The E-3 seems a bit more 'pro' to me (which is good), but the 4/3 system and Zuiko lenses are also pricier too. The K10D is a combination of many, many compromises, but the final product seems to be just about right: a jack of all trades, but master of none. It's not the 'best' at anything, but it can do just about everything...which makes it sort of 'the best' in a different sort of way...

Anyway, my intention with joining this forum is to learn as much as I can about the strengths/weaknesses of the K10D and Pentax dslr system before I make a decision. If I join the Pentax camp, I'll obviously stay on and bug you even more!

Thanks in advance.

11-04-2007, 04:54 PM   #2
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The k10d is a combination of "many many" compromises? How so? I've certainly not found it to be thusly. Please elaborate.
11-05-2007, 07:25 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by JamesD Quote
The k10d is a combination of "many many" compromises? How so? I've certainly not found it to be thusly. Please elaborate.
Yeah, I should have qualified that statement a bit more before I posted it. Let me retroactively caveat it by saying that the K10D rules everything else AT THAT PRICE POINT. No competition. The compromises (for me, at least) are:

- When I eventually want to move beyond that price point, I want to buy into a system, learn it, expand it with lenses and then make the move to 'pro' equipment in that system line (think Nikon D70 to D3). That path currently does not exist for the Pentax line. The K10D is the top of its food chain. Sure, Pentax may introduce a 'pro' model eventually, but I want to minimize my risks now - today. I KNOW there are (and likely will be) pro upgrade paths for other systems.

- The lowest flash X sync in its class. Abysmal, really. I use fill flash in broad daylight a LOT. I usually need more than 1/180". My D70 does 1/500". This and the non-pro upgrade path may be the deal-breaker for me. I'm still trying to convince myself otherwise, but that would be... a compromise.

- Frame rate. 3 fps is good enough for me today, but it's certainly not a pro spec, and it's only a marginal prosumer spec in 4th quarter 2007.

- High ISO performance. This is obviously a very subjective measure, and reports vary wildly. Based on what I've read, the K10D is 'acceptable' (just) in this area. The general consensus (from neutral sources) is that ISO 800 is the edge of the K10D's acceptable envelope. 1600 may be asking too much on a regular basis. Now, before I get zinged for that, I have seen great, low-noise ISO 1600 images from the K10D. My gut feel is that those are exceptions (just the right conditions, settings, photographer, etc.) rather than the rule. The Nikon D3 (yes, at over 5x the price of the K10D), is a paradigm shift in high ISO performance and I feel will enable whole new ways of capturing images (just - not in the rain, I guess! ). The D3, 5D, EOS-1D, etc (pick a low-light performer) will not be in my upgrade path if I choose a K10D today.

- Autofocus. Two problems for me here: First, that incredibly annoying strobing flash AF assist in low light. Yes, I know that Canons do it too. Canon is not on my short list of contenders (Pentax is though). This is a really dumb 'feature' and I honestly think that I would lose quite a few shots because I'd be too embarrassed to use it. Second, AF speed. Again, the K10D seems to be 'acceptable' - but only just. The new SDM lenses are a big step in the right direction here (and are the only weather-sealed lenses anyway - so that's what I'll be buying).

- Some folks are annoyed that you have to shoot RAW in order to get the great image results from the K10D. This is NOT a compromise for me - I'm happy to shoot RAW.

- There's no live view. Some consider it silly. I don't. There are many examples I can think of where I wished I could have raised the camera over my head or held it down at my chest or feet, or wished I could zoom in 10x to check focus, etc. I do, however, feel that in order for live view to be the most practical, it needs an articulated LCD screen (Oly E-330, E-3, Panasonic L10). The Zigview adds this feature to all dslrs, but at almost $500, that's another...yep: compromise!

That's pretty much it. As I said, no real 'showstoppers' for me - just a bunch of compromises. It (K10D) is still on my (very, very) short list. Didn't mean to ruffle any feathers.
11-06-2007, 12:21 PM   #4
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I guess that answered the question?

Come to find out, the Olympus E-3 does the annoying flash-strobe-for-low-light-AF-assist too. Great. But it (allegedly) handles low light AF fairly well even without the ridiculous flash strobe. We'll see.

In any event, this discovery about the Oly gives the K10D back a few points in its favor in my evaluation. My short list (not in any order):

1. Stay with Nikon and live with high prices and without stabilization on every lens. Hope that rain doesn't ruin my investment because Nikon won't cover water damage.

2. Get the K10D and live with the shorcomings mentioned above. Use extra $$ to buy more glass! Sleep easy at night knowing that the rain forecast for tomorrow won't impact my shooting at all. Live with fact that I must avoid dimly-lit museums that don't allow flash. Don't fret over future 'pro' upgrades and just be thankful when the K20D comes out. Pray like crazy that it has a decent flash x-sync and maybe even a dedicated AF assist lamp (not likely, I know).

3. Get the Olympus E-3 and live with its 4/3 shortcomings AND pay more $$. No extra glass for a while. A LOOOONG while (have you SEEN the prices on those Zuiko lenses??). Don't worry about the rain. When I go to dimly-lit museums, pray that the AF will work without raising the flash (which I will not do). Think of creative ways to use (and justify) the live-view that I paid such a premium for. Don't even THINK about upgrades because when the replacement for the E-3 comes out, we'll all be driving spaceships and have pet sharks with laser beams attached to their heads.

11-06-2007, 12:44 PM   #5
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I think you're making this way too hard for yourself. In my own case, I did a bit of research, read some reviews (and discovered that they varied wildly depending upon the reviewers' biases) and then did the most important thing... went to the camera stores, took along my memory cards (I had both a compact flash and an SD) and handled them. I took pictures with them and played around with them. I discovered for myself how they responded... how they felt in my hands in terms of where buttons were situated... where things were buried in menus. Then I went home and examined the images.

THEN... I decided to face some realities:

- I'm not a professional, I never will be a professional, I don't want to be a professional, I have no aspirations to pretend I am a professional

- my budget allows for certain things... yearly trips to our favorite locales (i.e. Maui, the Big Island)... home renovations (i.e. just put in a new kitchen, dining room, eight windows, slider costing in excess of $50k)... saving for our next vehicle (hopefully in two years' time) and of course... a decent camera

I chose (not others... not reviewers... not forum members... no one but ME) the Pentax k10d and I'm glad I did. It feels right... makes great images (and so far with only the kit lens) and has allowed me to get ready to purchase the 18-250mm Pentax when it is shortly released (since it does not cost an arm and a leg).

My decision was relatively painless. I'm not waiting for some possible future gang-buster new camera. I'm enjoying the Pentax right now. It's just an awesome camera and I love handling it.

I wish you well but I suspect you are not through with your own hell of indecision.

All the best to you.
11-07-2007, 06:12 AM   #6
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Thanks for the well-wishes, but I hardly consider my situation a 'hell of indecision.' Jeesh. I'm just trying to decide between three camera systems, not doubting the authenticity of my father's ghost, whose death I promised to avenge by killing the king (Hamlet). Me thinks you must've had a pretty easy life - vacationing in Hawaii and all that! Hey - just joking, just joking... lighten up, Francis.

Anyway, friend, it seems that you and I are... different! Gasp! I know, I know... We share the same 'real life' responsibilities like house, car, family, etc., but my 'vacation' for this year looks like it might be an all-expenses paid one year trip to beautiful Afghanistan! Woohoo! The seeming durability of the K10D figures prominently here.

Plus, while I certainly respect your decision to not be a pro (I wish more people would decide the same!), I DO want to be a professional photographer one day. Serioiusly. That being said, I think that taking some time now to read up on a handful of cameras before buying into a system will be much, much better than ending up a few years from now with a bunch of glass from a system that doesn't fit my needs because I failed to the research before hand. You gotta pay now - or pay later.

Nikon is always a safe bet for a pro (there's a long, clear, historical pro upgrade path), and I love the feel of my D70, but I'm really turned off by the lack of 'real' whole-system weather sealing and no image stabilization for every lens. The Pentax and Olympus lie on the opposite side of that fence. I am sitting squarely on TOP of the fence right now.

Peace out, and thanks again!
11-07-2007, 10:56 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by cvicisso Quote
I guess that answered the question?
[snip]
Live with fact that I must avoid dimly-lit museums that don't allow flash. Don't fret over future 'pro' upgrades and just be thankful when the K20D comes out. Pray like crazy that it has a decent flash x-sync and maybe even a dedicated AF assist lamp (not likely, I know).
I fully expect to be able to take non-flash photos in any museum and/or public aquarium with the K10D hand held, thanks to Shake Reduction, which is available even on the DA 12-24/4. I can use high speed sinc with the AF540FGZ above 1/180 sec. I am going to test this very very carefully to find out how much range I will lose. Starting with a guide number of 54 in meters at ISO 100 sounds good to me.

I also have a trial version of DxO installed on my computer, which will correct the sensor quirks, and eliminate noise at high ISOs. The reviews I have seen on the digital noise seem to point to Pentax not softening the image capture in favour of sharpness, on the grounds that there are any number of fine programs out there that can correct the noise.

Just my take, and I am not a professional per se, although I have earned a lot of camera and film $$$ taking weddings and children.
11-08-2007, 08:05 AM   #8
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I like the way you think. You really are a die-hard Pentaxian.

11-08-2007, 09:16 PM   #9
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Is there not some type of camera condom available for Nikon to protect your camera from a rain forest STD (that's "Shucks, too damp")?

That would just leave you with the stabilization issue.
11-09-2007, 06:33 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by cvicisso Quote
When I go to dimly-lit museums, pray that the AF will work without raising the flash (which I will not do).
If you're shooting museum objects rather than people, this shouldn't be a problem since you'll have plenty of time to manually focus. (The camera will indicate when it thinks you're in focus, too, so you don't just have to trust your eyes.)
11-09-2007, 07:05 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Is there not some type of camera condom available for Nikon to protect your camera from a rain forest STD (that's "Shucks, too damp")?

That would just leave you with the stabilization issue.
Yeah, I've seen various rain rigs - and thy seem to have varying degrees of awkwardness. Since I already have a D70, this would obviously be the least expensive short-term solution. But nothing is as slick as having a system like the K10D or E-3 that you don't have to cover up (obviously), and most of those rainjackets seem pretty limiting as far as getting to buttons on the body to make adjustments or the zoom/focus rings.

Sigh... yes, 'the stabilization' issue would remain... I really don't see why Nikon doesn't offer more lenses in the low-standard zoom range with VR? Baffling. But anyway, I digress, this is a Pentax forum.

Thanks for the suggestion!
11-09-2007, 07:17 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
I fully expect to be able to take non-flash photos in any museum and/or public aquarium with the K10D hand held, thanks to Shake Reduction, which is available even on the DA 12-24/4. I can use high speed sinc with the AF540FGZ above 1/180 sec. I am going to test this very very carefully to find out how much range I will lose. Starting with a guide number of 54 in meters at ISO 100 sounds good to me.

I also have a trial version of DxO installed on my computer, which will correct the sensor quirks, and eliminate noise at high ISOs. The reviews I have seen on the digital noise seem to point to Pentax not softening the image capture in favour of sharpness, on the grounds that there are any number of fine programs out there that can correct the noise.

Just my take, and I am not a professional per se, although I have earned a lot of camera and film $$$ taking weddings and children.
Yes, shake reduction on every lens is one of the big things pulling me towards the K10D (and the E3). But the low-light museum issue is a little more complicated (and admitedly, only a teensy weensy fraction of anything I'll ever be shooting anyway). In museums (or other places - some church wedding ceremonies?) where flash is not permitted at all, I would not be able to raise the - eh - flash in order to assist the autofocus. The DA 12-24 that you mention has a [relatively tiny] f/4 aperture, which would/could really be pushing the envelope for the AF system in very low/poor light - regardless of whether you have shake reduction or not. The shake reduction reduces hand motion blur, but I would also be concerned with out-of-focus blur in this situation.

I've never used high speed sync, but from what I've read, it's a marginal fix and ONLY for fill flash in daylight (no good at bouncing or off-camera side flash indoors for example).
11-09-2007, 07:42 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattdm Quote
If you're shooting museum objects rather than people, this shouldn't be a problem since you'll have plenty of time to manually focus. (The camera will indicate when it thinks you're in focus, too, so you don't just have to trust your eyes.)
Thanks - good advice. Maybe I've gotten a bit spoiled with my built-in AF assist lamp? But jeesh - it's almost 2008! Shouldn't we expect to be able to AUTO-focus in common lighting conditions (read: low) without having to resort to a disco strobe light? Or worse - manually focusing as you suggest. My cheap little pocket digicam has an AF assist light. It actually works, and it's very unimposing/non-annoying.

Another question I just thought of: On the K10D, if I want to take an available-light photo (no flash) in low light, but need the AF-assist in order to get good focus (maybe a moving target for example - so manually focussing is not an option), can I use the K10D's AF assist (flash raised - strobed to assist the AF), but NOT fire the flash for the exposure? In other words, I need to raise the flash so that I can focus, but I don't want it to fire for the exposure. Is that possible?
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