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07-13-2010, 10:52 PM   #1
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Brand Switch question

I joined this site for a few simple reasons... 1: I may be buying my first Pentax, so I figured I might as well join a Pentax forum and 2: I couldn't think of better place to ask this question....

I have been an avid Canon user, although I have to admit, I do like Nikon's picture quality a bit better when doing portraits. But recently I've been thinking more outside the box and I plan on getting a new DSLR in September. After a small amount of homework I have had the idea of getting the Pentax K-7. But I have to admit, I'm a bit nervous, because I know next to nothing about Pentax, other than I know that the name has been around for a while.

So I was wondering, Which Canon DSLR would be it's closest rival (to the K-7)? And how do they compare?

If it helps any, I like shooting the occasional model (indoors under controlled lighting) and quite a bit of night time shooting. I live on the beach so I am also curious about salt air and sand, how well would the K-7 handle those conditions?

Any help would be greatly appreciated....

07-14-2010, 12:27 AM   #2
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Like yourself, my K-7 was my first Pentax after some P&S Panasonic and Olympus. The K-7 is a semi-pro, with a great solid WR body. While I'm no expert in Canon,it would be closer to the 50D than the Rebels.

The K-7 is a great camera to use outdoor. Very solid and no worry to use on the bech. Off course I would wipe the camera afterwards to remove the salt and sand. From my experience, the main issue on the beach is any lens swap, especially if there is some wind.

The K-7 is a great camera and the price is now more reasonable. In addition, this forum is a great place with good advice.
07-14-2010, 01:15 AM   #3
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Thanks for your response. From what I can gather It does appear to be a great camera. I just can't get any unbiased opinions from my Nikon or Canon friends. lol... Each will swear by their brand.

Me, I'm a bit more realistic. I mean I love the Canon for outdoor stuff and the Nikon for Portraitures. And I will have about $2,000 to blow here soon and while I could easily put the money towards a lens for one of my other cameras, I would like something new. And I am really considering this K-7.

It has features I like, ie: it's weather resistant and I do enjoy the benefits of HDR and it would be great to have that ability in-camera. I noticed the lenses are fairly reasonably priced, which is another benefit to me.

I've read that the K-7's high ISO's are a bit more noisy when compared to some DSLR's, but The only time I ever go above 400 is if I'm shooting something like the Milky Way, which I will stack those with a median filter which illuminates most of the noise anyway.

I am curious also about it's pixel mapping. I thought I read something about it somewhere, but can't seem to find it now?
07-14-2010, 01:32 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
I've read that the K-7's high ISO's are a bit more noisy when compared to some DSLR's, but The only time I ever go above 400 is if I'm shooting something like the Milky Way, which I will stack those with a median filter which illuminates most of the noise anyway.

I am curious also about it's pixel mapping. I thought I read something about it somewhere, but can't seem to find it now?
On High ISO with the K-7, you should read some recent threads:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/106600-k-7-high-iso-success.html

Personnally, I have no issue with high ISO. I use Noiseware afterwards and the results is pretty good. The above thread suggests another approach that works fine also.

Pixel mapping is available with the K-7. See instruction manual p. 280.


07-14-2010, 05:31 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
...I just can't get any unbiased opinions from my Nikon or Canon friends. lol...
I wish you luck getting unbiased opinions from anyone on any subject.

It all boils down to which camera(s) have a feature set that comes closest to matching your needs. You can and should read reviews, solicit opinions, and do any and all research you can, preferably by handling the cameras you're interested in. In the end only you make the final decision, because only you can decide if the negatives are things you can live with or not.
07-14-2010, 05:54 AM   #6
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although this may be heracy, what cameras do you have now?

I have never understood people with a willingness to cast aside a complete system and make a wholesale change unless there is a good technical reason to do so.

For a pro, I can perhaps understand going away from pentax to perhaps nikon where some of the studio and flash support I understand is better, but even for a serious amature, my simple perspective is that all cameras at the level of the K7 in both nkion and canon have pros and cons, but all are capable of stellar images, and none of the cameras would be a limiting factor to a serious amature, all that would be required is a good understanding of each camera to achieve any shot needed.

Having said this, I hope you switch to pentax, the K7 is a good camera, and will serve you well.

As for WR, I personally don't consider this as an application limiting point, to me WR is insurance for when my primary protection fails, I don't consider WR as the primary protection. You should always protect the camera and lenses against the environment.

Salty air and the beach (sand) is not really an issue for any camera until you open it. WR does nothing in that event/.
07-14-2010, 06:17 AM - 1 Like   #7
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Frankly, all brands can produce excellent photos. Better glass, bigger sensor (the high-ISO issue), and how it feels are the best criteria.

Once you dial in the interrelated sensor size and price, then you could pretty much pick the brand that has the best ergonomics and control layout for you and go.

If you need a specific lens selection, then you have more limitations.

About the only reason I would switch from Pentax is for a Nikon FF system. I was never comfortable with Canon's or Sony's ergonomics and controls, but they are good cameras. I think Oly's Zuiko glass is the best across the range, but the real differences are almost too difficult to notice. I just never saw 4/3 as being sustainable, and M4/3 has too many ISO/DR compromises for my taste. You pay a bit more for some quality Nikon glass, bu their warranty is the best.

It's best not to try for unbiased, but rather agnostic viewpoints. Dollar for dollar there is little to differentiate the brands. Each has their plus and minus aspects.

Again, they can all take excellent photos.
07-14-2010, 08:18 AM   #8
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On thing to consider is Pentax's compatibility with their legacy glass and their onboard shake reduction.. I understand nikon and sony are similar in this case. However, with the sensor-based shake reduction all of the 30 year old glass is stabilized. Also while Pentax doesn't have a current lens line-up nearly as big as the other two, generally it is cheaper. Because the shake reduction is onboard and not in the lens, the lens itself will not be as heavy or as expensive.

07-14-2010, 09:29 AM   #9
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Personally, I don't think there's enough technical differences between brands - at the same general price point.

A number of years ago i was looking for my first DSLR. What I did was go to a large camera store where they had the three main brands (N, C, P) and I simply spent a lot of time handling each one. I almost immediately ruled out C because of the ergomatics (just didn't fit my hands/fingers comfortably) - it was more of a toss-up between N and P. The legacy glass is what tipped the scales in Pentax's favor - I still had several old Pentax lenses and could use them.

However, in your case, you have "legacy" C lenses - you might give some thought to simply investing your $$'s in some serious C lenses - such as the L series. For you, might be a more cost efficient way to go.
07-14-2010, 11:41 AM   #10
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Thanks for the responses. AS for what I currently have... I have a Nikon D90, Canon A1 and a Canon T1i. I did have the nikon D300 but it was stolen. I am looking for a good all around camera I guess? The Canon's (this is all editorial) seem to perform the best outdoors especially with action shots. They seem to do well there. The Nikon's I think do a much better job when shooting portraits. The images just seem to turn out more pleasing to me for whatever reason. Herein is one of my problems. I am carrying around two cameras all the time. I prefer to have one all around good camera.

I'm not sure yet what the K-7 is capable of supporting in the studio? ie: strobe flash, etc. But with a decent 2.8 or 1.4 f-stop lens I can always shoot under constant lighting. So I am willing to compromise if the portrait quality is at least in between that of Nikon and Canon.

The WR is a selling point with me, because even if you never do a lens switch on the beach, on a windy day sand can, will and does creep its way into the lens and body. Plus it would be nice to not have to worry about a little light rain, which I worry about with my other cameras. Now Canon and Nikon both have great weather proofing, but at a higher cost.
I picked up a decent 50mm prime lens with a 1.4 f-stop and weather sealed (although with out a WR camera what was the point) for canon a while back for $1,800, Looking through Pentax's lenses I could have gotten one much cheaper, so that is a bonus that helps lean me towards Pentax.

At just over 5fps it's not super speedy, but it leads me to believe it may do a decent job with action shots, say at a dirt bike race or sporting event. But that's one of the things I need to find out from current users to be sure.

The noise at the higher ISO's I can live with because anytime I ever shoot above 400 I can almost guarantee that I will be stacking in photoshop and that gets rid of most noise better than any NR software and it keeps the detail and sharpness.

I know it's hard sometimes for most to give un biased opinions, but for me having been shooting off and on for two decades and using both Canon and Nikon without falling into a that dedicated diehard brand loyalty, that plague some otherwise great photographers, I can easily tell you the short comings of each camera and usually with some confidence guide a person towards the best overall camera for a given situation. So I am sure others can too? (I'm not a 'great" photog by any means, but I do have experience)

This is what it boils down to for me.... I shoot some models in studio, and I do the occasional event shoot, like a band performance in a local bar or nightclub, or most recently, a local personalities achievement award ceremony. Both of which have tricky and poor lighting. A high aperture lens helps out here, but I still have to have a good camera to back up that glass. I also shoot long exposures at night overlooking bodies of water, like the ocean, canals, rivers or streams. And most recently I've been trying to get good shots of the Milky Way (a fun challenge). I do some sennior portraits outside during the day as well as some sporting events, like motocross, car races and the occasional ball game. as well as some candid shooting. I shoot the occasional bracketed shots for HDR, when conditions warrant the need. And finally I shoot Lightning any chance I get.

Too get good results from all this, I have to carry two cameras with me, a Nikon and a Canon. I have been comparing various other camera makers, like Sony, Olympus, Leica (which I wish I could afford), Sigma, and even Samsung, which I can easily rate the quality of each camera that I have had the opportunity to use, but other than the P&S Pentax's I don't really know anyone or have spoken to anyone who owns a Pentax DSLR, so I can't judge then completely. I have to wait almost a Month before the only store (Bestbuy) around here that carries the K-7 will have one in stock for me to actually hold in my hand, so I am trying to get as much info as possible in advance.

Judging from some pics I've seen that were taken with the K-7 I am pleased with their results, but what are some peoples best features about the camera? What are some things that you don't like about the camera? Reading the feature list of the camera, it has all the things I want, need and enjoy, but how does it perform in the real world? Once I hear the good and the bad, I can have the opportunity to think about the pros and cons and then once I finally hold it in my hands, filled with the knowledge I've gathered, I will either walk out of the store without the camera or with the camera in tow.
Hope this helps clarify what I'm asking and sorry for being long winded.... It's a fault. but When I spend money I spend a lot, but I don't spend a dime without some amount of research.

Thanks again.... I really do appreciate it!

Last edited by nemopaice; 07-14-2010 at 11:45 AM. Reason: minor errors
07-14-2010, 12:23 PM   #11
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looking at what you have, the canon A1 and its lenses are orphans, as they are not supported by anything, except you can get an optically corrected adaptor to allow use of canon FD mount lenses on pentax cameras.

either the nikon or canon dslrs you have are not that bad, so unless there is really good cause to change I don't get it.

yes I love pentax, and the ergnomics I think are the best of all brands, and have gotten better with each new body, but any of these cameras should serve you well.

I think you need to decide for yourself what you want to achieve.

Personally, although many hit pentax for poor flash support, compared to nikon, and poor fps compared to canon, as well as poor AF speed compared to both, I have never found these to be limiting factors.

What I do find a little limiting is that pentax does not offer equivelent "professional" long fast telephotos. If you are truely into sports and nature this can be a factor because you are left to play on the used lens market. But as a big pluss, you get Vibration reduction or what ever each maker calls it in body. Big advantage to pentax and the K7 has let me shoot all the way down to 1/40 with a 500mm lens. Do a search on my posts and you will see a 100% crop of a heron shot at 1/40
07-14-2010, 12:49 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
Thanks for the responses. AS for what I currently have... I have a Nikon D90, Canon A1 and a Canon T1i. I did have the nikon D300 but it was stolen. I am looking for a good all around camera I guess? The Canon's (this is all editorial) seem to perform the best outdoors especially with action shots. They seem to do well there. The Nikon's I think do a much better job when shooting portraits. The images just seem to turn out more pleasing to me for whatever reason. Herein is one of my problems. I am carrying around two cameras all the time. I prefer to have one all around good camera.
To a large degree the final image can be adjusted to meet your personal preference in post-processing. This could be tedious, but most good RAW converters will give you fairly automatic tools or you can make some presets and apply them however it pleases you. This should be taken into consideration.

QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
I'm not sure yet what the K-7 is capable of supporting in the studio? ie: strobe flash, etc. But with a decent 2.8 or 1.4 f-stop lens I can always shoot under constant lighting. So I am willing to compromise if the portrait quality is at least in between that of Nikon and Canon.
Ofcourse will the K7 work easily with studioflash - just as a Canon or Nikon will do. You should just be aware, that not all readio triggers work smoothly with Pentax DSLRs, for whatever reason. But you have numerous choices for triggering studio flash and sure find something, that works with the K7 nicely. I use my K10 and K20 with strobes all the time and so do some other here.

QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
The WR is a selling point with me, because even if you never do a lens switch on the beach, on a windy day sand can, will and does creep its way into the lens and body. Plus it would be nice to not have to worry about a little light rain, which I worry about with my other cameras. Now Canon and Nikon both have great weather proofing, but at a higher cost.
I picked up a decent 50mm prime lens with a 1.4 f-stop and weather sealed (although with out a WR camera what was the point) for canon a while back for $1,800, Looking through Pentax's lenses I could have gotten one much cheaper, so that is a bonus that helps lean me towards Pentax.
The Pentax FA 50/1.4 or even the new DA 55/1.4 are both much cheaper, than your Canon find. The old FA is not WR by the way. But in reality I have never encountered problems, even with unsealed cameras, when using them on the beach or in rain. A bit common sense is better, than WR, I think.

QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
At just over 5fps it's not super speedy, but it leads me to believe it may do a decent job with action shots, say at a dirt bike race or sporting event. But that's one of the things I need to find out from current users to be sure.
5fps were the gold standard for a couple of decades for motor driven film SLRs. It wasn't too slow for sports in those days and it isn't too slow today. The only limiting factor with all Pentax DSLRs is the AF speed, especially if you use tracking AF (AF-C). The K7 is sure much better than my older modells, but you should read or better: try yourself, whether the AF is up to your needs, if shooting action is a main occupation for you.

QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
The noise at the higher ISO's I can live with because anytime I ever shoot above 400 I can almost guarantee that I will be stacking in photoshop and that gets rid of most noise better than any NR software and it keeps the detail and sharpness.
Noise at high ISO is also fairly subjective. I have seen very good images from the K20 at ISO2000, and poor ones at ISO 1200. And noise-wide the K7 seems to be as good as the K20 at worst, but probably performs even better. I think, you are very right, that this will not be a limiting factor in reality.

QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
This is what it boils down to for me.... I shoot some models in studio, and I do the occasional event shoot, like a band performance in a local bar or nightclub, or most recently, a local personalities achievement award ceremony. Both of which have tricky and poor lighting. A high aperture lens helps out here, but I still have to have a good camera to back up that glass. I also shoot long exposures at night overlooking bodies of water, like the ocean, canals, rivers or streams. And most recently I've been trying to get good shots of the Milky Way (a fun challenge). I do some sennior portraits outside during the day as well as some sporting events, like motocross, car races and the occasional ball game. as well as some candid shooting. I shoot the occasional bracketed shots for HDR, when conditions warrant the need. And finally I shoot Lightning any chance I get.
I cannot see problems with event photography. Many here in the forum use their Pentaxes for events, like photographing stage performances or weddings or school events etc.

An important factor here is the choice of lighting equipment, i.e. hot shoe flash or something else. This is a much more important factor than the camera.

QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
Too get good results from all this, I have to carry two cameras with me, a Nikon and a Canon. I have been comparing various other camera makers, like Sony, Olympus, Leica (which I wish I could afford), Sigma, and even Samsung, which I can easily rate the quality of each camera that I have had the opportunity to use, but other than the P&S Pentax's I don't really know anyone or have spoken to anyone who owns a Pentax DSLR, so I can't judge then completely. I have to wait almost a Month before the only store (Bestbuy) around here that carries the K-7 will have one in stock for me to actually hold in my hand, so I am trying to get as much info as possible in advance.
I am convinced you should try the K7 before you buy. If you consider the differences between Nikon and Canon as pronounced as you obviously do, you should only invest in a third system, if you are assured by own experience, that it meets your expectations. Otherwise you may find yourself carrying three cameras around.

QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
Judging from some pics I've seen that were taken with the K-7 I am pleased with their results, but what are some peoples best features about the camera? What are some things that you don't like about the camera? Reading the feature list of the camera, it has all the things I want, need and enjoy, but how does it perform in the real world? Once I hear the good and the bad, I can have the opportunity to think about the pros and cons and then once I finally hold it in my hands, filled with the knowledge I've gathered, I will either walk out of the store without the camera or with the camera in tow.
Hope this helps clarify what I'm asking and sorry for being long winded.... It's a fault. but When I spend money I spend a lot, but I don't spend a dime without some amount of research.
I cannot really comment on the K7. Having the K20, the differences to the K7 are certainly there and quite alluring (higher fps, quieter operations, faster AF and some other smaller things), but the differences weren't big enough for me (especially in the final image quality) to buy another body. The next Pentax will sure find its way to my home, though…

Ben
07-14-2010, 12:51 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by nemopaice Quote
The Canon's (this is all editorial) seem to perform the best outdoors especially with action shots. They seem to do well there. The Nikon's I think do a much better job when shooting portraits.
In what way does the Nikon *not* do as well outdoors or the Canon portraits? Seems most likely the difference is in the lenses, not the camera. Get an appropriate lens for the Nikon and it should just as well outdoors. Get an appropriate portrait lens for the Canon and it should do just as well with portraits. In both cases, that's provided you know how to operate the cameras to get the most out of them - it's possible the default settings happen to lead to more pleasing results out of the box on one camera than another in a given setting. But it's *way* easier to change a camera setting or tweak something in PP than to change camera systems!

QuoteQuote:
Too get good results from all this, I have to carry two cameras with me, a Nikon and a Canon.
I maintain that's not true. Many professionals shoot everything you describe and more using just one camera - and about as many use Canon as Nikon. If thousands of pros can get professional quality results from either of the two cameras you own, there's no real reason you couldn't either.

Of course, that's equally true of the K-7.

Only difference that would really matter in some settings is burst performance (frames per second, buffer size) - that could be reason for certain shooters, like someone who does a lot of sports, to reject the lower performing cameras. But any camera that has good enough burst performance will certainly be more than good enough for portraits or anything else on your list. The idea that you'd need a separate camera system for any one of those things makes no sense. I guess to a lesser extent flash support could be a limiting factor for semi-serious portraiture, but not with the Canon and Nikon models you mention.
07-14-2010, 05:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella:
I maintain that's not true. Many professionals shoot everything you describe and more using just one camera - and about as many use Canon as Nikon. If thousands of pros can get professional quality results from either of the two cameras you own, there's no real reason you couldn't either.
Sure they do, but having worked around many professionals, I know that straight out of camera using identical lenses, there is a big difference in the shots. We have to remember that even the very best professionals tend to do some PP and we almost never get the opportunity to see these shots before they have been worked on. And the PP may just be a slightest tonal correction, but there is still a difference. If there wasn't then there would be no need for more than one type of sensor or metering system. those two things alone can and does make a world of difference on pictures straight out of camera. That's why some camera's tend to over or under expose, regardless of what the histogram on the camera states. Heck the cheapest Leica is better than most other high end Nikons or Canons. There are even Pro's using cell phone cameras to show their skill, it's not all camera, and I am aware of that as well.

Having said that, I probably could be satisfied with The Canon 5D Mark II or the Nikon D3, or better still the Leica S2 (check that one out). But I barely get by doing what I love, taking pictures. And I also recently decided to go to college and get a degree in Psychology. I am not a wealthy person by no means, so I am looking to get something that will at the very least give me a middle ground between the two... granted I need to get ahold of a K-7 and try it out

On my budget there are two cameras I am trying to decide between (which I should have stated in the beginning... That's my fault and I apologize) they are the K-7 and the Olympus Evolt E-3. I can pick up the E-3 for the same price as the K-7. Both of these cameras have gotten great reviews lately and by a few sites, are rated among the top ten DSLR's on the 2010 market Professional DSLR 2010 - TopTenREVIEWS

Everything said here has given me a lot to consider. Thank you all soooo much. Any ideas between these two cameras?
07-14-2010, 06:49 PM   #15
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Considering you already have high end bodies and lenses to match -

buy yourself the K-X and some primes. The K-X has better high ISO performance than the K7 and the price difference allows you to grab a lens for pretty much free.

Unless you are building a weather resistant kit, you could make Pentax your light and fun carry arround system.
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