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04-23-2012, 11:59 AM   #1
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Canon Shooter On the Edge of Switching

Hi all!

I'm Mike from Boston, MA (USA). I've been a reader of the site now for a few weeks but I decided to register today. Iím hoping to get some advice/feedback from Pentax users. Hereís my storyÖ

I've been a Canon shooter for most of my life but I'm seriously considering selling everything and switching to Pentax. Am I crazy? Yeah, a bit...but I have my reasons. I've been an avid photographer for about 12 years now. I've had several paid jobs but I've decided that I enjoy photography much more as a hobby than a job. For me, stress and photography do not mix well. Anyway, I spend most of my time shooting on the street, traveling or shooting some type of still life photography. I really like my Canon kit (see below) except for two major issues, size and weight. I find myself leaving my kit at home more and more simply because I do not want to lug around my gear. It is a lovely kit and Iím lucky to have the gear that I do, but I like to travel light. How light you ask? Well, I just came back from an 8 day cruise and I managed to get everything into a carry-on bag.Yes, my wife and friends were impressed.


A few months back I saw a review on one of the Pentax Limited lenses and I was really blown away. I didnít think the laws of physics would allow for a lens that small to fit on a DSLR. In addition to the lenses, Iíve read several rave reviews about the K-5 and now that it has come down in price, it seems like it would be a solid option for me. I know I will be sacrificing on a few things by switching to a K-5 kit with Limited lenses (no full frame, no ultra fast glass, etc.), but I think I will quickly forget about them when I have an ultra-light and compact kit that I can take anywhere.

If youíve made it this far, Iíd just like to say thank you for your attention. Anyway, if you can offer any insight into the Pentax kit that Iíve listed below, or if youíve switched from Canon/Nikon and youíd like to share your experience, it would be greatly appreciated. And if you think Iím just a wuss that should suck it up and carry my gear, you can feel free you share your thoughts as well...all feedback is welcome

Current Gear
Canon 5D
Canon 17-40mm f/4L
Sigma 50mm f/1.4
Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS
Canon 580 EXII

Pentax Wishlist

K-5
DA 35mm Limited Macro or FA 43mm Limited
DA 15mm or DA 21 mm Limited
DA 70mm

04-23-2012, 12:10 PM   #2
Ole
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Welcome to the forum!

Also consider the FA 77mm limited. Although it is a full frame lens it is fairly compact and should fit your bill regarding compactness. I won't suggest the FA 31mm Limited if your objective is compactness, but you cannot beat it's creamy bokeh...

I recently went on a trip to the West Indies and took nothing but the K-5 and DA 18-135mm. I'm pretty happy with the results, even got good shots from an outdoors show at night - the K-5's high ISO capability made it possible to use this slow lens in poor light. Yes, it is a consumer zoom, nowhere near your 'L' Canon zoom in image quality, but if you want to travel light it gets the job done. And it is weather sealed like the K-5 so no worries about dust and rain showers! Just either shoot RAW or turn lens correction on in the camera. That takes care of vignetting which is the main flaw of that lens.
04-23-2012, 12:23 PM   #3
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Thanks Ole!

I love my L glass, but if I were to build another Canon kit, I would probably only have one L lens (17-40) and the rest would be non-L primes. L glass is great but it's also expensive. If I was making thousands of dollars a year on photography, L glass would be a no-brainer. But there are LOTS of good non-L Canon lenses (85mm f/1.8, 100m macro, 50mm f/1.4, etc.) that cost a fraction of the price of their L counterparts and perform EXTREMELY well. I've seem some amazing results from the Limited line of lenses and I think I would be relatively happy with their performance.

With all of that said, I think I'm going to rent a K-5 and a Limited lens or two this weekend from borrow lenses...I didn't know they carried Pentax gear until I looked about 5 minutes ago :-)
04-23-2012, 01:03 PM   #4
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Do consider that 18-135 for its weather-resistance. I've also found it's a pretty nice walkaround if you don't need the long reach (like during bird migration time).

I think you're making the same calculations which brought most of us to Pentax. I wanted to get back into more serious hobby photography, and the primes as well as the weather-resistance and the fact that Pentax makes its higher-line of cameras for people who want to control everything themselves, not live in "modes" brought me to the brand. I upgraded from a K-10 to a K-5 last year and couldn't be happier with it. Once I set up a fast-shooting User mode I'm using that more and more frequently (it's TAV with a lot of options turned off, continuous mode shoot).

That said, I have yet to spring for a pancake lens, though I did enjoy the DA21 I rented. It wasn't quite what I wanted for the purpose - the DA 35Macro seems better, I'm renting that next. For indoor and outdoor casual shooting - kind of a "rangefinder" effect, though, that 21mm was nice.

Oh, do take the opportunity to rent the 10-17mm fisheye at some point, too, that's a gem.

04-23-2012, 01:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for your thoughts TER-OR. If you don't mind me asking, where do you rent from? I was going to go with borrowlenses.com. I've never rented from a website before so I'm open to suggestions? I'm hoping to get make a decision this weekend after I get to spend some time with the K-5.

I did take a look at the 18-135 and I think that would be a good travel lens if I didn't want to take lots of primes. I also like the fact that it is weather sealed.

Another point I forgot to mention is the use of old glass. I like the fact that I can use old glass with the K-5 without the need for adapters. There are a lot of really nice manual focus lenses out there and I have no problem having to manually focus a few lenses.
04-23-2012, 03:48 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum, other place for Pentax rentals, /www.cameralensrentals.com/
Never used them but heard good things about them.
04-24-2012, 12:43 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
Welcome to the forum, other place for Pentax rentals, /www.cameralensrentals.com/
Never used them but heard good things about them.
Well, for a start they have an FA*28-70 for rent, so that can't be a bad thing! The prices look pretty attractive, too. That's a great service for anyone in the USA who wants to try out a lens before they buy, or who doesn't want to invest in or risk their own gear for some assignment.
04-24-2012, 01:39 AM   #8
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Welcome to the forum.

Are you interested in the 35mm for its macro abilities or the focal length? If macro is not essential, I'd strongly suggest to try the 43mm. The FA Ltd lenses are truly special.

The K-5 is a great camera but most of the time it is the lens that makes an image special or not.

I have the 77/1.8 Ltd and it is a gem of a lens. One day I'll hopefully add the 43/1.9 and the 31/1.8 to my kit.

P.S.: The DA 70mm is a very nice lens. I'd go for the 77/1.8 instead anytime, but it is bigger (though small for what it is) and more expensive.

The 15mm, you are interested in, has many followers. It has its own "The 15Ltd controls my mind" (or similar) thread on this forum.

04-24-2012, 01:48 AM   #9
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Welcome to the forum Mike. It's always interesting to read the reasons why someone is switching. I bought my first camera (P30) at 20 years of age (46 now), and bought Pentax on the suggestion of older and wiser brother, himself a Nikonite. I've stuck with the brand ever since. I suppose I just like something a little different to what everyone else is carrying.
Pentax stuff works well, just look at the photos on this and other Pentax sites. And the K5, like my K7, is a beautiful thing to hold. That's a good list of gear you've got there on your Pentax wishlist. But if you want more options, just type "Pentax lens" into the search bar on ebay, and sit back for a few hours.

Regards
04-24-2012, 03:19 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
Welcome to the forum, other place for Pentax rentals, /www.cameralensrentals.com/
Never used them but heard good things about them.
I have rented lenses from these guys (not a camera body) and they did an excellent job with wonderful service.
04-24-2012, 05:46 AM   #11
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I also rent from Cameralensrentals. They're very good.

Last summer when I was travelling and they couldn't deliver because somehow UPS kept coming when my wife was away from home, they called me to try to clear everything up. Fortunately I had built a few extra days into the rental time so another day wasn't a problem.
04-24-2012, 05:48 AM   #12
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Welcome to PF

I think your list is fine.

DA15ltd; DA35ltd macro; DA70ltd is well rounded in focal length options.

If you don't mind a lens the size of a Canon 50/1.4, the FA31ltd is very good though costly.
The cheap DA35/2.4 is a viable option over the DA35ltd-macro too.
I prefer the FA77ltd to the DA70ltd, but thats just me, though I do lust for the DA70 size sometimes.
04-24-2012, 06:08 AM   #13
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Welcome to the Forum. It's a balanced kit, personally i would opt for a 4 lens kit (15/31/43/77) The DA LTD series are very good lenses, but there is just something in the FA LTD rendering that appeals to me more (the elusive pixie dust people will mention) , In fact I am in the midst of saving for the FA trio, but I will stick with my DA14 for the wide as the 15 just isn't different enough for me to swap out for it. A little larger than the DA LTD kit but still very compact and lightweight.
04-24-2012, 10:58 AM   #14
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Thanks for the feedback all! I will definitely check out www.cameralensrentals.com/.

The FA 43mm caught my eye right out of the gate as this is pretty fast and would give me a focal equivalent close enough to 50mm.

I could probably swing the FA 43mm and FA77mm right out of the gate if I decide to liquidate my Canon kit. Image quality is always my #1 priority but I'm also going for compact/light. I'm going to do some more digging on lenses to if I can find size comparisons of the FA 77 vs DA70. I was set on renting the DA70 but most people have told me to go for the FA77 so I'll see if I can include one in my rental kit.

Thanks again for all of the help/advice.
04-24-2012, 11:03 AM   #15
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Shalom, Mike.

You see, Pentax has nothing to offer instead of your two excellent f/4 zooms. There are some f/4 lenses, but IMHO they don't compare with the two you have. Otherwise Pentax is cool. May be you can start slow and buy yourself one or two primes from your list and a Pentax to Canon adapter (I heard such things do exist). Then you can try them on your camera without having to sustain the logistics of system switch. If you indeed like what you see, you can go further into Pentax land. If not, you can always sell your Pentax lenses and the adapter with minimal loss of money.
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