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07-08-2014, 09:02 PM   #1
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50D to K-5

Hello from the land of Canon.... where sensors don't get updates....

I bought my girlfriend a K1000.... thats a great little camera.

But the question at hand: Should I sell all my Canon gear (50D, 50 1.8 mk 1, just sold my 18-135STM), and move to the pentax K-5. My primary interest is wildlife (birds and whatever else I happen to see). I also do a little street and would like to get into landscape.

My concerns with pentax:
1) my 100-300L is old (came out in '87), but the optics are great. the resolution matches the pentax 55-300, with less CA and vignetting. but the AF is slow and no IS. Its not very useful for small BIFS. Will the pentax 55-300 (non WR version) let me down? How is the pentax AF tracking system? The fact that pentax is still making skew driven $400 lenses scares me. Is the CA on the 55-300 easy to fix in post?

2) What are things I need to know about using older pentax k mount primes? Do they require stop down metering? can I get a focusing screen for the K-5 that allows for easy manual focus that won't break the bank.

3) I have seen the ISO test charts for the K-5, and know it has 2 stops more DR, but are these differences I'll notice in the real world? Is ISO 6400 usable? 12,800?

My proposed Pentax kit sou be something like: K-5, 35 2.4 DA (perhaps the 35 f2 later on), 55-300 DA non-WR, 18-55 kit lens (to cover wide angle for now)

Thanks in advance for the help.
Venom

07-08-2014, 09:22 PM   #2
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Hello and welcome!

I don't regret my Pentax at all, it's a good system! The biggest thing I like is that SR is in the body, so when you buy glass there's no additional cost of adding on IS. You'll be fine using old manual lenses, though I recommend the A series if you'd like to have automatic aperture and matrix metering. The M and K can only use center and spot metering, and you have to use the green button for M mode or just use Av where the shutter gets adjusted automatically. You'd also have to manually set the aperture via the aperture ring.

The K-5 can go up to 6400 ISO just fine I believe, and the noise can be reduced in post.

Nice proposed kit, though you could save more on the body and perhaps get something better than the 18-55mm. The k-30 is a cheaper alternative to the k-5, featuring the same sensor and faster AF. However, it lacks a lot of more "professional" features such as an option for a battery grip, and various other things. The 35/2.4 AKA the "Plastic fantastic" is a highly regarded lens and quite cheap. I didn't like mine at first, but now it hasn't left my camera. The 55-300mm is a good lens, I have the DA L version which is the cheapest. They're all optically the same, with the DA L being plastic, the DA being metal and featuring quickshift and the DA WR being metal, weather resistant, and featuring quickshift as well as HD coating instead of SMC.

Last edited by Zealex; 07-08-2014 at 09:27 PM.
07-08-2014, 09:33 PM   #3
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1) Can't comment much, as I've attempted bird photos like once. But I will say that the AF system was updated after the K-5. Also the 55-300 is very well regarded around here.

2) Zealex spelled out manual lenses well. I would just add that pre-A lenses can't be used in Av mode, except when wide open. As for manual focusing screens, people either cut down a Canon EE-S or get a Katzeye.
07-08-2014, 09:34 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venom3300 Quote
Hello from the land of Canon.... where sensors don't get updates....

I bought my girlfriend a K1000.... thats a great little camera.

But the question at hand: Should I sell all my Canon gear (50D, 50 1.8 mk 1, just sold my 18-135STM), and move to the pentax K-5. My primary interest is wildlife (birds and whatever else I happen to see). I also do a little street and would like to get into landscape.

My concerns with pentax:
1) my 100-300L is old (came out in '87), but the optics are great. the resolution matches the pentax 55-300, with less CA and vignetting. but the AF is slow and no IS. Its not very useful for small BIFS. Will the pentax 55-300 (non WR version) let me down? How is the pentax AF tracking system? The fact that pentax is still making skew driven $400 lenses scares me. Is the CA on the 55-300 easy to fix in post?

2) What are things I need to know about using older pentax k mount primes? Do they require stop down metering? can I get a focusing screen for the K-5 that allows for easy manual focus that won't break the bank.

3) I have seen the ISO test charts for the K-5, and know it has 2 stops more DR, but are these differences I'll notice in the real world? Is ISO 6400 usable? 12,800?

My proposed Pentax kit sou be something like: K-5, 35 2.4 DA (perhaps the 35 f2 later on), 55-300 DA non-WR, 18-55 kit lens (to cover wide angle for now)

Thanks in advance for the help.
Venom
1. The DA 55-300 is IMHO the best Pentax lens for the price in this class. Better than L glass, I don't know nor can I say, but the DA 55-300 is a good one.
2. Older K-mount lenses as in film lenses...(in order from most recent to older) FA, F, and A lenses do not require stop down metering unless you use them with their aperture rings. Earlier than that K, M, M42, will require stop down metering but the magic Pentax green button makes this a snap. Older glass is fun to use and definitely a Pentax plus.
3. The K-5 was for Pentax a brake through camera and the 16mb Sony sensor in it is excellent. I've gotten very usable results at 6400 and 12,800ISO and consider my usable range easily to 6400.

As far as starting kit goes, that looks fine. If you do get the 18-55 lens get the WR version just to have a WR version with the body. You will soon out grow the kit lens though. Not going to recommend anymore lenses as that will come with use. This site does have many excellent reviews of lenses here. Check them out.

07-08-2014, 09:36 PM   #5
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The 18-135 might be a better investment than the 18-55. It is said to have better IQ, and is generally more desirable than the 18-55.
07-08-2014, 09:59 PM   #6
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yeah the 18-55 would just be until I could afford a wide prime. I've already outgrown it haha.

I appreciate the recommendation of the K-30, but I have big hands and really enjoy a larger grip. I also like having more detected controls, and the larger RAW buffer is important to me for wild life.

How do you cut down the EE-S without making a mess of it?

I guess I am a bit scarred of the unknown. I know my camera and lenses. These would be uncharted waters.Zealex did you own a canon before?
07-08-2014, 10:28 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venom3300 Quote
Should I sell all my Canon gear (50D, 50 1.8 mk 1, just sold my 18-135STM), and move to the pentax K-5. My primary interest is wildlife (birds and whatever else I happen to see). I also do a little street and would like to get into landscape.
I transitioned from Pentax to Canon about six years ago; at first for sports and wildlife shooting. Then I appreciated the whole EOS system and my Pentax usage faded. I held onto Pentax lenses (the glass has very good optics and the size and weight for the small primes truly makes the system special) with the hope that they could produce a camera and system that would rival the Canon 7D I have been using. So, I purchased the K-3 but found the camera significantly lacking for my sports and wildlife shooting requirements--especially both AF performance and a functioning infrastructure of long prime and telephoto lenses.

Perhaps you should post a few typical bird and wildlife images you have shot so I can better gauge your style. There is also a budget factor here--with all brands you have to ante up the bucks to do a decent job with birds and sports.
Without seeing your stuff, I'd say that your bird shooting tools will be inferior, in general, if you use a Pentax K-5. The Canon 7D, which is now available new for $1000 and used for $750-ish, outperforms the Pentax K-3 AF-wise, especially tracking.

There is also the matter of lenses. Besides a Sigma zoom, you won't be able to reach 400-500mm, and in my experience the Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 is superior, plus you can get them in good used condition for around $950 US. Also, third-party lens maker support for Pentax is shriveling up by the month. You cannot get the bargain new Tamron 150-600mm f4.5-6.3 in K-mount. The lens originally had AF issues with some Canon bodies (and I returned mine) but they have issued a firmware and (maybe hardware) fix. Judging from new example images, the lens performs excellently for the $1069 cost. My new copy arrives in less than 24 hours, so I look forward to testing it out all over again.

My advice to you is to sell your 50D and either get a 7D cheap or wait until September when the rumored 7D MK2 is released (maybe). Though the sensor is aging (and Canon shooters can out-complain anyone about this), the camera's very advanced capabilities for wildlife outweighs that--plus thousands of others (and I) have sold plenty of landscape and wildlife images using the 7D. In the real-world scope of successful photography it's a non-issue. Then get the Tamron. For non-teles, you've got many choices in both zooms and primes and you needn't spend a lot of money on "L" level glass for excellent results. Consider the non-VC Tamron 17-50mm f2.8, or the newer Canon EF 28mm f2.8 IS which optically is a real treat. Alternatively you can find Tokina EOS versions of several excellent Pentax DA* and Ltd. lenses for about half the price of what Pentax charges. The Tokina macro 35mm DX f2.8 is excellent optically and bombproof in build quality.

Sorry for appearing to answer your question with what some may perceive as a unhappy response, but this is my personal experience and I've been shooting for 45 years. Pentax has a lot of strengths, but sports and birds ain't some of them.

M
07-08-2014, 11:09 PM   #8
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^ that is what I was afraid I might here, and makes me thing I should hold on and wait for canon to catch up in high ISO.

My 50D doesn't have the advanced 19AF system of the 7D and the 100-300L is slow focusing due to its motor, so I wonder if i would actually notice a difference in AF speed.

The lack of long glass in Pentax is shocking. I was looking around for affordable 300mm glass and there isn't much there. I really wish tamron made the 70-300VC for pentax.

Couple of my shots:
ISO 6400



07-08-2014, 11:32 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venom3300 Quote
My 50D doesn't have the advanced 19AF system of the 7D and the 100-300L is slow focusing due to its motor, so I wonder if i would actually notice a difference in AF speed.
Your 50D, while capable, is a couple steps behind both the 7D and the 70D. The 7D also has dual processors which matters when shooting action. The 100-300L is ancient. Period. Though the 100-400L was originally designed in 1998, it is still a really good reasonably priced lens that will be a significant upgrade over the 100-300L. Rumors also abound that a MK2 version will be released (finally!) with the new 7D version. Which means prices on new older product will be a lot lower.

That all said, in my opinion a Pentax K-5II and a DA* 300mm lens should capture herons in flight (which are easy pickins' really) and stationary songbirds without too much of a sweat. It's the smaller, irregularly patterned objects that require configurable predictive AF where Canon and Nikon shine. So, think it all over . . .

Also I rarely feel the need to shoot above ISO 800-1600 in sunny weather. Having a shutter around 1/1000 is key of course. I'll hit ISO 6400 for sports events played under mediocre lights outside or for indoor sports with a faster lens. I don't recommend the 7D for above iSO 3200; these days I prefer to use the 5DMK3 for almost everything (except long range birds of course) and it's good to ISO 12,800 for sports.

M

Last edited by Miguel; 07-08-2014 at 11:37 PM.
07-08-2014, 11:54 PM   #10
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In all honesty, the 100-400L is not in my near future due to college, trying to save for a ring etc. Thats why I picked up a 100-300L on the cheap- ancient but good glass.

I think sticking with canon may be better long term... once the 7DII comes out and then drops in price to my range.

But I think the K-5 and 300DA are a more immediate upgrade. I just hope pentax doesn't fade away if i invest in them.

Decisions, decisions...
07-09-2014, 12:02 AM   #11
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Regarding the focus screen, there are lots more threads on this forum about it but - lots of people have bought a screen from focussingscreens.com (or something like that). This includes me. I've had an EE-S screen for my K-r and my K-5 II and both times service and the screen have been excellent. They cost around 100 USD and are well worth it.

---------- Post added 07-09-14 at 08:03 AM ----------

actual link here Focusing Screen
07-09-2014, 03:10 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venom3300 Quote
In all honesty, the 100-400L is not in my near future due to college, trying to save for a ring etc. Thats why I picked up a 100-300L on the cheap- ancient but good glass.

I think sticking with canon may be better long term... once the 7DII comes out and then drops in price to my range.

But I think the K-5 and 300DA are a more immediate upgrade. I just hope pentax doesn't fade away if i invest in them.

Decisions, decisions...
I don't think Pentax is going anywhere. At present, I think you would be more satisfied with the K5 and a DA 55-300, although if you had the opportunity to upgrade to the DA *300 in the future, it is an optically superior lens. Biggest thing with the K5 is going to be the ability to use high iso, hopefully giving you better shutter speeds than on the 50D. My experience with the 55-300 has been good, in particular in decent light.



07-09-2014, 03:35 PM   #13
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Welcome, I take it running both systems is not an option, just think you could have double the CBA & LBA.
07-09-2014, 10:36 PM   #14
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the more i think about it, the closer I am to switching. people keep saying canon has the lens advantage but my end goal is a 300 f4 lens and pentax has that.... its just hard to pack up my gear and see it leave though haha

somebody sell me on it!

is the grip comfortable on the K-5? i refuse to go back and be cramped like i was on the rebel series...
07-09-2014, 11:38 PM   #15
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a revised proposed pentax kit: K-5, 16-45 DA* (appealing for landscape interests), 35 f 2.4, 55-300DA*

---------- Post added 07-09-14 at 11:42 PM ----------

or possibly the tamron 17-50 2.8 instead of the 16-45 f4
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