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06-07-2013, 09:33 AM   #1
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Trying out Pentax

I've been shooting as an ameture for the last 11years, and now professionally. I recently sold much of my Nikon gear, and was playing around with Canon for a while. I've always like Olympus offerings as well. I've used many cameras over the years, but never Pentax.

I'm really not a bran loyal sort, but find something that interests me our suits my need and try it out. My last set of cameras where D7000. Great camera, but wasn't thrilled with it for what ever reason, and left me wanting something a little different.

Anyway, looking at how cheaply nice used D7000's are going for made me rethink about getting another one again. Then I started reading about the K-5II and the K-5IIs version. I really liked the idea of it basically being a D7000 with cleaner images and in body image stabilization. Plus a K-5II can be had brand new for just a little more than a used D7000. I'm really liking the idea of it, just don't know which lenses to try with it yet. Never really explored the Pentax line up.

Looking forward to though!

06-07-2013, 09:55 AM   #2
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Any suggestions on fast lenses?

I don't want to break the bank, but need quality fast lenses.

Typically with my D7000 bodies I would use a 17-55mm f2.8 on one body, and use a 85mm f1.8 on the other.

I not expecting to find exact duplicates of these for the K-5II, but like to know what is suggested for something close to use as a fast work horse zoom, and a good fast portrait lens.

I'm open to all primes as well.
06-07-2013, 09:58 AM   #3
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Welcome.............the K-5 IIs with the 18-135 WR is a good all round starting place IMHO...............of course the 15mm Limited is a must have. Check out this thread here on the forum:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/86234-15mm-limited-controls-my-mind-club.html
06-07-2013, 10:14 AM   #4
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Bonjour from France and welcome to PF ... modern fast Pentax AF lenses or would MF and legacy glass be to your liking ... Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database - happy hunting, J

PS - Third party lenses ; Pentax Lenses by Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss, and more - Reviews and Specification Database - Pentax Lens Review Database

PPS - My current favorite combo = K-5 with a FA 77/1.8 Limited ... and sometimes with the D FA 100/2.8 Macro WR

06-07-2013, 10:36 AM   #5
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Wow, some nice responce time on this forum. Thanks for the advice.

I'm sure the 18-135 WR is a great lens, but not fast enough for my needs I think.

Also, yes that 15mm limited will be on my short list, and probably the 77 limited once I recoup some funds.

I would probably be happy with those two, but need something fast to fill the gap between a bit, probably third party from the looks of the of the Pentax road map. Something closer to what the Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 is. I thought Tokina or maybe it was Tamron/Sigma had something close in a K mount?
06-07-2013, 10:38 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by moresnowdays Quote
Typically with my D7000 bodies I would use a 17-55mm f2.8 on one body, and use a 85mm f1.8 on the other.
The Tamron 17-50/2.8 has a very good reputation.

There is also the Pentax 16-50/2.8 which has the advantage of being weather-sealed. Some love it, some hate it. I won't go into details for now...

In terms of portrait primes, I can fully recommend the FA 77/1.8. Not cheap, but one of the best AF lenses you can buy.
There is of course also the excellent FA* 85/1.4, but you'll only find it used, if at all.

If MF is an option, have a look at the Samyang 85/1.4. It is also sold under other brand names such as Rokinon, Bowers, etc. Impressive sharpness at f/1.4 already and an extremely smooth bokeh. Fantastic lens, AFAIC.
06-07-2013, 10:50 AM   #7
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Thanks, I'll look into that Tamron. Looks ideal at nice price.

As long as I'm here, there is always the K-5II vs K-5IIs debate. I know it has been gone over in a large number of reviews. To me, I'm thinking that I shouldn't bother with the K-5IIs and the moire issues, but I can't stop thinking that I have seen test photos in places like Dpreview, and it does make a jump in resolution.

What I haven't read anywhere yet, is if there a general consensus, or not, that moire is not worth worrying about because it is easily fixed in post?
06-07-2013, 11:45 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by moresnowdays Quote
Thanks, I'll look into that Tamron. Looks ideal at nice price.
I'll second the Tamron. I have that and the DA* 16-50 f2.8. The Tamron is smaller, lighter, and sharper at f2.8. Mine needed an AF adjustment of -6 though, but that's on Tamron.

Portraits? FA 77 1.8 and the DA 70 2.4 are great lenses. But perhaps you might take a gander at the DA* 50-135. There are lots of threads comparing the DA* 50-135 against fast portrait primes, and it stacks up really well. There are also a couple of DA* 50-135's on sale for great prices right now on the forums.

Good luck!

E

06-07-2013, 12:19 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by moresnowdays Quote
What I haven't read anywhere yet, is if there a general consensus, or not, that moire is not worth worrying about because it is easily fixed in post?
I think the consensus among people who actually own the K-5 IIs is that moire is extremely rare, as in one out of many thousands of pictures, but it all depends on your shooting style. If you shoot nature, moire is a non-issue. Almost nothing in nature will trigger moire except possibly bird feathers. If you shoot models or architecture, it may be an issue once in a while.

Is it correctable? Usually. Is it easy? Not always. See post #11 in this thread:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/226999-k-5-iis-moi...otography.html

This is a 100% crop of the worst I've seen in anything I've taken with my K-5 IIs (which I've had since January):



It was easily fixed with the moire brush in Lightroom:



I've never seen testimony from a K-5 IIs owner saying, "This moire is terrible, it's not worth it, I wish I'd gone with the K-5 II instead."
06-07-2013, 12:43 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I concur with the 16-50 and the FA 77. I have both and they are both phenomenal. Like Class A said regarding the "some hate it some love it," it has without question become the staple of my photography and it's never failed me. And the FA 77 is, well...in my opinion one of the best portrait lenses ever made. If you don't need the weather sealing of the 16-50 though, then I would recommend the Sigma or Tamron 17-50 versions as they are a bit cheaper and apparently a bit sharper, but I've never complained about sharpness with the DA* 16-50. But yes, it sadly is quite a bit more expensive.

Anyway, to get an idea of what you are coming from with the D7000, this was my experience with that camera, which I used one day while in Afghanistan. I wrote this in the Fall of 2012:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I have used Pentax for over 3 years, and I started with my first DSLR as the K-7 after months of research - I wanted the best DSLR system for the avid outdoorsman that was compact as well. Pentax is well regarded as the "king" in this regard for a compact APS-C (no FF offering yet if that is important to you) system that is incredibly durable with class-leading image quality. I had the opportunity to shoot with a D7000 once in Afghanistan (I volunteered to go on mission as a 'combat camera' type during my free time) and these were my impressions posted a while ago:

I had the opportunity to "branch out" and evaluate Pentax's competition, and because this was not a demanding mission in terms of weather and dust sealing, I thought I would take up a friends offer to use his Nikon D7000. He is the PAO (Public Affairs Officer) for my battalion, which is basically the journalist/reporter/photographer of the unit, charged with documenting key events (reenlistments, VIP visits, ceremonies, etc). He had the body as his own personal camera, along with a few lenses that were TPE (Theater Provided Equipment), which means that they were provided by the Army to units during a deployment. Basically a 9-12month loan (depending on the length of the deployment), and if the equipment is still good, then the equipment gets passed on to the unit to replace the current one, and so on. Anyway, these are my first impressions and are by no means a comprehensive review.

AutoFocus: In bright daylight, it did not seem any snappier than my experiences with K-5/K-30, however I found that it seemed more decisive in its lock, but I do believe that this is just purely psychological because the OVF has a lot of activity occur very rapidly until AF locks with different AF points lighting up, which gives the impression of decisiveness. At least to me it did. I did not do any tracking, though, so I cannot comment, however I have no doubt that it will be superior to Pentax's current AF offerrings, again in continuously tracking moving subjects only, not actual speed in AF-S. I had no way to validate accuracy, but seemed no different than any Pentax I have used in bright light - very accurate. Did not experience any issues of inability to lock, false locks, or Back Focus/Front Focus.

AutoFocus Points: The greater amount of points (39 I believe) is definitely a plus and you can immediately see where the 11-point system currently implemented by Pentax is very limiting and dated. The one thing that I found to be superior on the Pentax, however, is that the points go further to the extremes of the frame, which can be a boon for some creative applications of depth of field isolation and composition as you can select your AF point on something to the extreme of the frame whereas the D7000's are more concentrated to the center. I have at times found myself putting the AF point in the far top/bottom of the frame. What I did like about the D7000's points, though, was that they are far easier to see in bright daylight because they are black and Pentax's are a red dot. In very low light I was assume the Pentax is far easier to see.

D7000 Body Ergonomics: I tried very, very hard to find a comfortable way to carry the D7000, and I must say, it is without question the most uncomfortable shooting experience I've ever had holding a DSLR. Granted I've only shot with a few DSLR's outside of a camera stand at the electronics store (D7000 and Canon Rebels). Also, it didn't seem to be too much larger than my Pentax's (not much more than the obvious), but the grip (on the body, not the additional grip attachment, which I did not get a chance to try) - just....awful. The Pentax K-5 is smaller, and yet the grip is "larger," "deeper," contoured, and ultimately far more comfortable due to the superior attention to detail to the ergonomics of that absolutely critical piece of the camera. If Pentax could get have gotten their bodies in stores side by side with the competition, the D7000 would never have been as successful as it is.

D7000 Body Construction/Weather Sealing/Ultimate Durability: I did not get a chance to test the weather sealing like I have thoroughly done so with Pentax (click on that link and scroll down to posts 4 and 5 by me), however except for the fact that it is advertised as such by Nikon, I honestly would not have guessed that it was weather sealed just by picking it up. The body is incredibly "plasticky" (whoever claims that it is just as "all-metal" as the K-5 is seriously off their rocker) for such a caliber of camera and one that claims to compete with the K-5. Also, were I the owner of the camera, I would NOT be comfortable using the camera in any situation that called for true weather/dust sealing. The rubber flaps on the ports were embarrassingly flimsy and lacking of any staying power. A drizzle, sure, but the things I have done with my Pentax's? Absolutely not.

Lenses: The lenses from Nikon that he had with him were the 18-55 VR kit lens, the 10-24, and the 24-120. The lenses were nice, not terribly large, but nothing about them impressed me. I know they are not Nikkor's best lenses, however they just weren't anything to write home about. It is clear that Pentax leads when it comes to kit lenses, especially when you factor in that the three kit lenses offered by Pentax (18-55, 50-200, 18-135) are weather sealed. But AF was snappy enough and I had no issues with any of them. Maybe it's because I am used to DA* quality as of late, however the construction of the lenses seemed incredibly cheap. I know Pentax has cheap lenses and "Plastic Fantastics," but these felt...I don't know - "adequate" is the best word I can describe them as. Also, most will complain about the lack of lenses from Pentax when asked to go that route. The reality is that most people will not have most than 5 lenses (I have 12 myself from 8mm to 500mm), and especially the very niche lenses like tilt-shift, Canon's MPE-65 Macro Lens (I admit I would love it in Pentax Mount), etc. It's a very empty argument for the 90% of prospective DSLR new-owners once someone dives deeper than the ubiquitous disdain for Pentax.

Menu System: I consider myself a very advanced DSLR photographer. Not necessarily an incredible photographer (I don't), but I understand the fundamentals and basic technicalities that elude my iPhone wielding generation. More importantly, however, I take to technology very easily and intuitively. Despite all that, I had an incredibly difficult time sifting through the menus to find critical options to change. After coming from Pentax's menu system (which I understand I am used to and will naturally find "more intuitive"), it seemed that there might be some logic to all the menu options were put individually on separate pieces of paper and then how they fell from a shaken bucket, is how they were organized. I don't mean to seem dramatic, but I absolutely could not find a single thing simple about it, and I tried. Hard. The D7000's menu system doesn't hold a candle to that of Pentax's.

RAW Conversion: I had no problem importing and processing the images in Lightroom 3.6. I only shoot RAW, so this was nice to see. I didn't expect to see any issues, but it was nice to validate that assumption. I found the RAW files just as easy to work with in LR as I did with my Pentax K-5's, and I was not in demanding enough situations to push the D7000 for optimal Image Quality regarding Dynamic Range, Noise, etc. I find Pentax in the better position with natively supporting Adobe's .DNG format, however for my purposes for this shoot, there was no issue with Nikon's RAW format.

*OVERALL*: I know I did not use the camera very extensively, however that first impression was all I needed to know that I made the right choice despite the sometimes nagging feelings of lacking any full frame upgrade path (do I really need one though? I can't find any legitimate reason to trump the portability and lack of sacrificing significant IQ by staying with Pentax's APS-C offerings), worldwide availability of accessories and services, etc. It is my assessment that unless continuous tracking AF on fast moving subjects is needed (which I have not tested personally, but every account speaks on behalf of Nikon's superiority here), then the Pentax K-5 family, especially the new II/IIs series, are far superior cameras by themselves, and then especially when you factor in the much, much more enjoyable shooting experience. I could probably go in depth more, but this is from simply one day of use, and what I remember from three weeks ago (I don't have the camera anymore).

I believe I was very objective in this assessment.

Lastly, that was in comparison to the K-5, which had to be replaced by the K-5 IIs after I had an accident and ruined it (my fault, not that camera's). The K-5 IIs is incredible, and I must say that I have yet to find moire in a single image yet. Not one. And the ones that I have seen seem trivial, frankly.

Hopefully this helps.

-Heie

Last edited by Heie; 06-07-2013 at 12:48 PM. Reason: typo
06-07-2013, 02:19 PM   #11
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Great assessment! Very insightful to say the least. I think your really confirming my suspicion that the moire is not much concern.

I do weddings and portraits occasionally, and my only fear is getting a great shot only to find it ruined by moire showing up in the dress. I think it would be a small chance, and easy to clean up if it did happen. However unlikely, still worry a little of happening at that one make it or break it time. Maybe I should just get on of each, then I have a common back up.
06-07-2013, 02:57 PM   #12
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I'll just say welcome to the forum, it seems like you've already been inundated with advice and suggestions.
06-07-2013, 09:49 PM   #13
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K-5 II vs K-5 IIs

QuoteOriginally posted by moresnowdays Quote
As long as I'm here, there is always the K-5II vs K-5IIs debate. I know it has been gone over in a large number of reviews. To me, I'm thinking that I shouldn't bother with the K-5IIs and the moire issues, but I can't stop thinking that I have seen test photos in places like Dpreview, and it does make a jump in resolution.
Many K-5 IIs shooters claim they don't have false colour / moiré issues but DPReview managed to create a lot of moiré examples. Their review is lacking in other ways (they score the D7100 higher in many disciplines where it definitely does not deserve to be scored higher, e.g., "build quality"), but at least they demonstrate that moiré can become an issue if one is able to take an image that is sharp at the pixel level.

I concur with the assessment by Imaging-Resource:
"Even then, a touch of unsharp masking on both images will often leave the K-5 II's result near-indistinguishable from that shot with the K-5 IIs.

For some purposes, that little extra sharpness might be worthwhile, but for my money it's simply not worth the risk of a hard-to-remove artifact in a once-in-a-lifetime shot. The slight reduction in sharpness is one I'm willing to make, for the peace of mind it brings.
"
06-07-2013, 10:16 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
"Even then, a touch of unsharp masking on both images will often leave the K-5 II's result near-indistinguishable from that shot with the K-5 IIs."
Unsharp mask can only emphasize detail that's already there. With the AA filter, you are losing some detail. I agree that it's not much, but think of it this way: the price of your "peace of mind" - knowing that you won't get moire on maybe one or two out of many thousands of images - is a small amount of image quality on every single picture you take.
06-08-2013, 01:08 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
Unsharp mask can only emphasize detail that's already there.
Acuteness -- i.e., whether or not something "looks sharp" -- depends on both detail and micro contrast.

Sharpening techniques, such as unsharp mask, can increase the micro contrast and hence will make images look sharper.

With respect to the presence of detail, it is not possible to record detail beyond what the sensor supports. A Bayer-Array sensor without a Bayer-AA-filter attempts to record spatial information through individual colour sensels. This only works if the source is monochrome (and you exploit that in the demosaicing process) or the colour changes in the images are not too high-frequency.

In other words, either the colour detail in the image is low enough so that a sensor with a filter can record it adequately, or it is higher and then a filterless sensor will only record spurious detail, i.e., false detail.

QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
With the AA filter, you are losing some detail.
Please note that a Bayer-AA-filter is not a low-pass filter. It does not blur an image like a defocused lens would.
The "filter" is a dual-layer, bifringent crystal. You can think of it as multiplying the image four times, exactly as needed to cover all four colour sensels of a Bayer-filter fragment.
This is not unlike using a beam-splitter to then record the different colour channels separately.

Again, the detail that is "lost" is detail that cannot be recorded with the given colour resolution anyway.

Appropriate deconvolution sharpening can perfectly restore all the crispness of an image that has been captured with a Bayer-AA-filter, as long as there are no other sources of blur. This type of sharpening does not simply increase micro-contrast, but undoes the "blurring", like a motion-deblurring filter undoes the smearing of motion blur.

QuoteOriginally posted by scratchpaddy Quote
I agree that it's not much, but think of it this way: the price of your "peace of mind" - knowing that you won't get moire on maybe one or two out of many thousands of images - is a small amount of image quality on every single picture you take.
Sure, this is a valid way of looking at it.

However, I think it is debatable what the real quality increase is that forgoing a Bayer-AA-filter brings.

Please note that the absence of moiré in an image taken by the K-5 IIs only means one ore more of three things:
  1. There wasn't any detail in the scene that the K-5 II could not have fully captured as well.
  2. The lens -- through aberration and/or diffraction -- blurred the image so that a K-5 II could have captured the image equally well.
  3. The photographer's capturing technique introduced blur to the extent that the K-5 II could have captured the scene equally well.
It is only in cases 2. & 3., i.e., when the image has received some level of gratuitous blur and there is a high-detailed scene that using a K-5 IIs is of advantage.

With excellent capture techniques, both models can capture the same amount of (colour) detail.
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