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09-14-2014, 08:23 AM   #1
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Newbie Entertaining Pentax

Hello. I am fairly new to the serious photography world. I have always had a passion for pictures. I am an artist at heart and am really drawn to the emotion and stories that a photo can tell. I've been taking a lot of pictures lately and I am beginning to recognize and appreciate my eye for it. I am now at the point that I want to seriously pursue it and possibly take it on as a profession. I am starting at the basics. I have a standard SLR camera and a bunch of point and shoots. I am looking to invest in my first DSLR camera and I am interested in finding the best bang for my dollar. I am interested primarily in portrait photography. I love people, find them fascinating. Everywhere I look, I am always hearing how I need to go with a Canon. However, I am very much drawn to Pentax. From what I have seen, the quality is on par (and sometimes even better). So I joined this forum to hear from all of you. I am interested in your opinions and feelings about the camera wars and how Pentax seems to be overlooked.

I have a few questions for anyone who might be kind enough to answer. One of them being: Do you find it hard to find Pentax compatible products? (Outside of buying Pentax brand everything). Secondly, your opinions on MP. A lot of the cameras don't boast the big megapixels that Nikon and some Canon do. I read somewhere that a pixel in a Pentax is actually larger than in other brands. I don't know if that is something i should believe or buy into. Can anyone offer any knowledge regarding that. I always thought a pixel is a pixel and a MP is a MP. It's all universal. And finally, any feedback on Pentax customer service. I would like to know your experience dealing with customer service.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I would truly appreciate any knowledge you have to share. As you know, serious photography is quite an investment and I hesitate spending money on anything I am unsure of.

09-14-2014, 09:01 AM - 1 Like   #2
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As far as image quality almost any current DSLR will be fine. Pentax and Nikon often use the same Sony sensors, Canon uses their own but it is generally thought they are a little behind. Still, not likely distinguishable at any normal print size.

My suggestion is to set a budget and then try to actually handle and use several brands, borrow, rent or go to a store. The ergonomics are very different and one brand might fit your hand better than another. That and having the buttons and controls positioned to work for you is far more important than the megapixels or just about anything else. A camera that feels good and is a pleasure to use gets used, one that is heavy or awkward ends up staying at home.

QuoteOriginally posted by BeckyShee Quote
Do you find it hard to find Pentax compatible products? (Outside of buying Pentax brand everything).
Depends on what you want? Very large (600mm) lenses? yes hard to find. Anything a regular photographer might need, no, easy to find. Do you have anything in particular you need?

QuoteOriginally posted by BeckyShee Quote
Secondly, your opinions on MP. A lot of the cameras don't boast the big megapixels that Nikon and some Canon do.
Not sure what you mean, unless you are talking FF cameras, they are all about the same. There are 16mp sensors and now 24mp sensors. There are also starting to be 36mp sensors as well. Pick the one that delivers what you need for what you want to do. 16mp has been the standard for a long time, though 24mp is starting to be the sweet spot. 36mm is available in the excellent Nikon D800 but that is a big heavy camera. I would suggest either 16 or 24 will be just fine unless you need to print wall size.
09-14-2014, 10:22 AM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by BeckyShee Quote

And finally, any feedback on Pentax customer service. I would like to know your experience dealing with customer service.
.
Right now Pemtax service is in disarray, they recently changed from one facility to another and haven't caught up yet. Seems the former facit=lity apparently let things pile up when they found out they would be ending their contract, and the new facility was not ready. I think when they get that straightened out they will get back to normal, which they say is about a two week turnaround. However if you are going into photography as a profession, they do better, the following is from the "Community" forum on the Ricoh USA website, posted earlier this year:

Yes, our PPS (PENTAX Professional Services) program is a convenient way for professional photographers to work with and evaluate the latest PENTAX photo gear. Anyone deriving more than 50% of their yearly income from photography is welcome to apply for membership. Once accepted, members can check out PENTAX camera equipment as well as enjoy expedited product repair services.

The PPS application contains information on the program as well as an outline of the benefits to members. To request an application, just contact our Customer Service Department at 1 800 234-0276 (U.S. only) with an email or mailing address and mention you are interested in the PPS program. The completed application can be mailed back to the address on the form or scanned and emailed back as attachments. Please let me know if you have any questions about the program or our products and thanks for the question.


Pentax has a lot of advantages over other brands in camera features for the price, and a good lens lineup, although it will never be good enough for many people on this forum. Pentax is short on budget lenses and the could have a better offering of long telephotos and faster lenses.. I f you're interested in prortraits I would look at the lenses you may want and compare those. But since you probably don't know, look on places like Pentax Photo Gallery and see photos you like and check what lenses were used, do the same on Flickr for other brands, and Pentax too. A few features that are advantageous are in camera stabilization, in camera level, and weather sealing on most cameras and some lenses. Some of the other brands have some of these features too, but usually at a much higher price.

Pentax uses Sony sensors, as does Sony and Nikon. Somehow Pentax usually has better image quality on the same sensors.
09-14-2014, 11:22 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Hello and welcome.

I think picking your DSLR line is a delicate choice to make. Camera body is one thing, but once you start investing in lenses you are somewhat stuck with the brand. Especially if you don't make a living off it. For me it was a bit accidental to end up with Pentax, but one I haven't regretted yet. I did a lot of research back then and liked what Pentax offered. The underdog image has always been appealing to me, and I like how they seem to save on PR to offer a good bang for your buck.
Brand lenses are well priced for good quality. And their cameras give you features you otherwise pay dearly for with Canon or Nikon.

I'm too new and not experienced enough to really judge. But I believe lenses like their 50mm f1.8 for portrait, or the 35mm f2.4 are great glasses for so little money.

As for MP... it got stupid when it turned into a race. For computer chips it once was GHz, who could boast the fastest ones? Until it finally dawned that it didn't matter all that much and GHz actually went down again. Same with MP. Too many of those on too small a sensor could actually harm image quality, but manufacturers kept at it because it was a great marketing instrument. You shouldn't go just by the numbers on the packaging, but check if they really make sense.

09-14-2014, 12:38 PM   #5
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I've never had a problem with pentax support (in uk at least).

To be honest, depending on your budget, I'd probably advise investing in lenses first and foremost, and mega pixels in a second dslr a few years down the road. The k-50 or k-30 are good allround cameras, so you might as well look towards one of those. The k-5iis would be the next step up...

I'm not too keen on zoom lenses (just too dull IMHO), so I'd be looking at primes if I were you (and this is one area pentax excel in). You can't go wrong with the da 35mm or da 50mm plastic fantastics, but if you can afford it, skip them and jump straight onto one of the limited lenses (the 35mm macro is the best allrounder, followed closely by the da 40). Whilst the plastics are great value, the limiteds have a lot more pixie dust in the images they create!

It's worth looking for second hand da lenses. The limiteds especially are built like tanks, so I've never come across a bad one yet (touch wood!).

The only real gaps in the pentax lineup are low cost wide angle and extreme telephoto lenses really. I ended up splurging on the 15 and 21 limiteds, which whilst being a touch pricey, are worth every penny....

Sigma and Samyang have pretty decent lens selections for pentax, and tamron offer a few as well, so you're not going to find it hard to get what you need. Mind you, once you've tried a limited lens, you are unlikely to want anything else....
09-14-2014, 12:54 PM   #6
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Bonjour from France and welcome to PF, Becky ... Hope to see some images soon. Salut, J
09-14-2014, 01:22 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forum, once you start going down the pro route, you get the equipment that gets the job done, brand becomes less important.
09-14-2014, 07:00 PM   #8
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Most of it has already been said. I like Pentax for a number of reasons but one real advantage is that it has "in body" shake reduction. That gives you shake reduction even when you use old screw mount lenses (such as Carl Zeiss) with an adapter. Those old lenses tend to be comparatively cheap and are great for portraiture. Plus they make you stand out in a crowd! Good luck with your decision.

09-15-2014, 07:44 AM   #9
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For portraiture you should also consider flash capability. If you plan on using aftermarket flash controllers, that decision can be postponed. If you plan to use the flash controllers in the camera I've read Pentax lags a bit in this department. This doesn't mean they don't work, but the other brands have done a bit more.

What Pentax does bring though, is compatibility with older lenses and the ability for the photographer to easily control the necessary parameters. IMHO Pentax considered that many people would be using manual mode and semi-manual modes (like A mode) with manual focus lenses. The other brands seem to presume you'll be using the newest lenses exclusively. This doesn't mean you can't use the manual lenses on the other brands, but it's just easier with Pentax.

Some of the differences you see in images from different manufacturers is how their camera's image processing engines produce JPG images. Cannon and Nikon seem to oversaturate a bit by default, making their images a bit more punchy and vibrant. I don't care for this, and I have tried setting those image preferences in the camera. I generally prefer to use the RAW images now, and do my own processing - often a minor exposure and contrast adjustment.

The best bang for your dollar right now is a used K5 series or K5II series camera, from what I can see. That's if you want the former flagship instead of the mid-range K30 or K50. If you're going to do more technical work, go with the flagships.
09-15-2014, 08:03 AM   #10
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Welcome!

From my standpoint, Pentax offers some nice lenses, good value camera bodies and excellent ergonomics. The biggest negative is that you end up doing a lot of your shopping for gear on line, as local shops (are there still local shops) don't necessarily carry much (if any) Pentax gear.

I think the most important things are to find a camera body that feels comfortable to you. The biggest two negatives of Canon to me are sensor tech (they seem to really lag behind current Sony sensors) and ergonomics. I just don't find APS-C Canon camera bodies comfortable to use and shoot, unlike Pentax and Nikon.

Good luck on your decision.
09-16-2014, 02:22 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Hi and welcome to the forum, lots of people to help with all sorts of info. I just recently took possession of a 18-135mm WR and a 55-300mmWR lens and just taking a few practise shots with them I am suitably impressed. I will get a chance to use them properly soon when we take our grandkids on a cruise holiday. Which ever lens you go for I think you'll find with the Pentax camera and a good piece of glass you' get a good image. Hope to see some images soon.
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