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01-14-2013, 05:55 PM   #1
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Nikon D7000 or Pentax K-5II?

I am considering selling my Fuji gear. I currently have an x-pro1, x-e1 and the 35mm and 18mm lenses. I am definitely selling my x-e1 and 18mm because I really don't need a back-up body and the 18mm doesn't see enough use. I am getting frustrated with the fuji's focus capabilities though (both manual and auto). Besides that, I originally sold my dslr gear because I felt that it was getting too heavy and I didn't take my camera with me unless there was an event - and I still don't do that now that I own a smaller and lighter setup; so my original reason for switching is void. Gear acquisition syndrome, grass greener on the other side, etc.

To give you an idea of my shooting style; I am in love with the 50mm equivalent field of view and black and white, and most of the occassions where I take shots are in dark venues. As in, f/1.4 or f/2.0, ISO3200+ and 1/125 dark. I am very much impressed with the Fuji's high ISO capabilities and the 35mm f/1.4 is absolutely stunning. But that all counts for nothing if I can't get focus right; more than half my shots had mis-focused recently at a job shooting bartenders at a trade fair and that is simply unacceptable to me. Besides that, being able to set shutter speed only at full stops is becoming frustrating.

These 2 shots from my portfolio should give a good idea of the types of things I tend to photograph:

NK Flairtending 2013 - 4 B/W | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Project-X Haren B&W 1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

So, I am considering returning either to a Nikon D7000 (the camera I had before) or go to Pentax instead. I will most likely get a f/2.8 zoom regardless, but Nikon has a very affordable 35mm f/1.8 that I used to like - the Pentax equivalent is quite a bit slower at f/2.4. From my experience with the Nikon and judging from dpreview tests, I conclude that high ISO performance among these 3 cameras (fuji x-pro1, pentax k-5ii, nikon d7000) is equivalent for all intents and purposes - it looks like the Pentax has a slight advantage in RAW, but that advantage is neglible. The Pentax k-5ii is about 200 euros more expensive than the Nikon d7000, but the f/2.8 Pentax is about 200 euros cheaper second-hand so that evens the scales. Pentax also has the weather sealing advantage. But then the most important question: how does the Pentax k-5ii autofocus compare to the Nikon D7000's? As you can imagine, autofocus speed and accuracy are important to me - and if the Pentax is equal or better than the Nikon's then my choice is made.

Thanks.

01-14-2013, 06:24 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kasuras Quote
I am considering selling my Fuji gear. I currently have an x-pro1, x-e1 and the 35mm and 18mm lenses. I am definitely selling my x-e1 and 18mm because I really don't need a back-up body and the 18mm doesn't see enough use. I am getting frustrated with the fuji's focus capabilities though (both manual and auto). Besides that, I originally sold my dslr gear because I felt that it was getting too heavy and I didn't take my camera with me unless there was an event - and I still don't do that now that I own a smaller and lighter setup; so my original reason for switching is void. Gear acquisition syndrome, grass greener on the other side, etc.

To give you an idea of my shooting style; I am in love with the 50mm equivalent field of view and black and white, and most of the occassions where I take shots are in dark venues. As in, f/1.4 or f/2.0, ISO3200+ and 1/125 dark. I am very much impressed with the Fuji's high ISO capabilities and the 35mm f/1.4 is absolutely stunning. But that all counts for nothing if I can't get focus right; more than half my shots had mis-focused recently at a job shooting bartenders at a trade fair and that is simply unacceptable to me. Besides that, being able to set shutter speed only at full stops is becoming frustrating.

These 2 shots from my portfolio should give a good idea of the types of things I tend to photograph:

NK Flairtending 2013 - 4 B/W | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Project-X Haren B&W 1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

So, I am considering returning either to a Nikon D7000 (the camera I had before) or go to Pentax instead. I will most likely get a f/2.8 zoom regardless, but Nikon has a very affordable 35mm f/1.8 that I used to like - the Pentax equivalent is quite a bit slower at f/2.4. From my experience with the Nikon and judging from dpreview tests, I conclude that high ISO performance among these 3 cameras (fuji x-pro1, pentax k-5ii, nikon d7000) is equivalent for all intents and purposes - it looks like the Pentax has a slight advantage in RAW, but that advantage is neglible. The Pentax k-5ii is about 200 euros more expensive than the Nikon d7000, but the f/2.8 Pentax is about 200 euros cheaper second-hand so that evens the scales. Pentax also has the weather sealing advantage. But then the most important question: how does the Pentax k-5ii autofocus compare to the Nikon D7000's? As you can imagine, autofocus speed and accuracy are important to me - and if the Pentax is equal or better than the Nikon's then my choice is made.

Thanks.
The D7000 has faster AF and many more points, meaning it will perform much better for continuous shooting, but the K-5 II can focus in less light (-3 Ev according to the specs, and even though that's a bit optimistic, I've gotten it to focus on things that both the 7D and D7000 count not lock on to, with all AF assist lights off of course). In low light, the K-5 II's AF isn't lightning-fast or anything, but it is very decisive. There is little that it cannot focus on.

The Nikon 35mm DX is a steal compared to the Pentax 35mm F2.4 (IMO), but there's a catch. Pentax has a 31mm F1.8 which has absolutely stunning bokeh and rendition. If you do decide to go for the Pentax, then I strongly recommend that you try out this lens:
SMC Pentax-FA 31mm F1.8 AL Limited Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

I'm sure you won't regret it! Maybe you'll even fall in love with it

Adam
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01-14-2013, 06:41 PM   #3
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If you venture into prime lenses the big advantage of Pentax is the in-body image stabilization. This means that all lenses, also inexpensive manual focus film era lenses, will benefit from image stabilazation. You won't get that with Nikon or Canon, although the latter brand does have quite a few prime lenses with built-in stabilazation. But they are relatively expensive.
01-14-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
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K-5II for the primes and the SR.

01-14-2013, 08:31 PM   #5
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Budget?

...another consideration is your budget. The Nikon 35mm F1.8 G can be found used for around $160, while the Pentax 31mm 1.8 Limited is several times that. (Used D7K's are also selling for just over $700 now also). You cant go wrong with either system, but there may be a cost benefit w/ the Nikon platform based upon your stated shooting objectives.


(..and I'm a former Nikonian drawn over to Pentax by the allure of Limited primes and WR lenses)
01-15-2013, 03:03 PM   #6
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I had not taken the in body image stabilization into account, that's a good point.
The 35/1.8 is indeed much cheaper than the Pentax 31/1.8. On the other hand,I have heard good things about the Sigma 35/1.4 and 30/1.4 and especially the latter is substantially cheaper. A little more expensive than the Nikon 35/1.8 but that's something I can overcome.

A difficult decision, and I haven't really made a choice yet.
01-15-2013, 03:07 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kasuras Quote
I had not taken the in body image stabilization into account, that's a good point.
The 35/1.8 is indeed much cheaper than the Pentax 31/1.8. On the other hand,I have heard good things about the Sigma 35/1.4 and 30/1.4 and especially the latter is substantially cheaper. A little more expensive than the Nikon 35/1.8 but that's something I can overcome.

A difficult decision, and I haven't really made a choice yet.
The new Sigma 35mm F1.4 sounds like it will be a real gem- we'll be reviewing it once it comes out.

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01-17-2013, 01:19 PM   #8
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That is a tough choice. I know, because I've had both too and had to decide which one to stick with. I went with the K-5 which I recently upgraded to a K-5 IIs. This is an awesome choice for the type of images that I do because AF matters little for landscapes and architecture. I take my time to frame and so half-a-second more of AF does not matter much.

If AF was important to me, I would go with the D7000, easily. It is much faster, even than the K-5 IIs which is more sensitive but slower. Also, I find the AF speed very consistent on the Nikon. With the K-5 and K-5 IIs, it is fast on one lens, slow another and very slow on yet another. With bright quality lenses on top of that.

Honestly I would not even look at budget. Sure you have to afford it but the only thing that can happen is that you buy something less than idea just to save a few $$$ and then you'll regret it. You're getting into a system of cameras, lenses and maybe flashes, so the choice better be the right one to start with.

- Itai

01-17-2013, 01:48 PM   #9
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I had a hard time over this, but I bought a K-5 because that's the one I wanted... It just felt right and interested me more even though the Nikon is a wonderful camera and arguably the 'smarter' choice. When I bought my first dSLR, I purchased a 400D over a Olympus E-410. I still regret that as I really wanted the Oly, so I wasn't going to let that happen again.
01-21-2013, 11:26 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kasuras Quote
I had not taken the in body image stabilization into account, that's a good point.
The 35/1.8 is indeed much cheaper than the Pentax 31/1.8. On the other hand,I have heard good things about the Sigma 35/1.4 and 30/1.4 and especially the latter is substantially cheaper. A little more expensive than the Nikon 35/1.8 but that's something I can overcome.

A difficult decision, and I haven't really made a choice yet.
Trade-offs !

I looked at your links to your photo's and you aren't shooting sports. If you were shooting sports you will need the slightly faster auto focus of the D7000 WITH a VR lens. By the sounds of it you just need better low light auto focus.

Anyway the K-5 renders an image better: produces a better 3D effect; better coloration; it has sensor based stabilization; operates down to -10 degrees Celsius; better weather sealing rated to a monsoonal downpour (I spoke to a Nikonian working at a store who lost his $7000-8000 D3 to water getting in. Despite that, he bought a D800 & D800E - gotta admire that dedication. I walked away rolling my eye's ! lol).

I've used non VR lenses on a Nikon and its horrible, I'll never buy another camera without a stabilized sensor - its like the stone age ! (This is my personal experience, I don't know about other peoples experiences, perhaps they got by okay with high ISO's). But me, NEVER AGAIN ! (I have K-5 and Sony A65)

When I bought my K-5, for fun I asked the sales person how it compares in its class, and she said the K-5 outperforms the 7D in high ISO, and mentioned the D7000's sensor pattern has a problem with rendering green - like green grass - not sure if it still has that problem or if it matters to you when shooting in black and white.

As for Lenses:
The Nikon 35mm DX f/1.8 is very low in resolution according to Photozones test - an MTF peak center resolution of 2173 @f/1.8 and @10megapixels. Even if you go with the Nikon D7000, your best bet is to go Sigma, either the 30mm f/1,4 (Photozone MTF peak center 2453), or the new Sigma-A 35mm 1.4 which "Lenstip" claims is the best 35mm and out resolves everything in its class that's twice the price!

If you go with a K-5, the Pentax FA 31 f/1.8 - according Photozone - has an MTF peak center resolution of 2345@f/4 @10megapixels, and is claimed by many to be one of the best Pentax lenses. But at over $1000, it aint cheap. The Pentax DA 35 f/2 has a peak center resolution of 2336 @f/4 @ 10megapixels. The Sigma models above are also a viable alternative or even the Pentax FA 43mm f/1.9 is the highest resolution Pentax prime (according to the data on Photozone).

In a nutshell, these are some lenses for your consideration, I would suggest you take a look at the Pentax Forums user reviews of these lenses to get an idea of their characteristics.

Also checkout Photozone and Lenstip's descriptions of those lenses characteristics also. I personally avoid DXO's lens reviews or any other source that do not publish MTF data - so's I can dissect it ! lol

That being said, Photozone and Lenstip have a clear and obvious bias toward Canon and Nikon. I spent months analyzing/cataloging and tabling Photozones tests - for my own interest. In all honesty there's something dodgy about a few things. The first I discovered is that if a third party lens out resolves a legendary Canon lens, it isn't published in the full frame tests directly against a legendary lens - similar with the Nikon tests. They give glowing remarks mostly to Canon and Nikon. The Nikon 10 and 16 megapixel tests do not correlate/concur with the percentile increase in border to center resolution. In other words, there is a massive difference between center and border resolution in 16 mp tests, and that quantified as a percentage is no where near similar to the quantified percentage between center and borders in the 10 mp tests. Its as if there is a hole in the middle of the anti-aliasing filter in Nikon 16mp tests! This has been done because Pentax annihilated Nikon in the 10mp tests. Cross check resolution at DP review or Image Resources image samples - Nikon 85mm and Pentax 50mm macro (similar MTF) - K-5 out resolves Nikon D7000 IMO. So this is an honest warning about Photozones tests, believe me I spent months analyzing them without bias. This research also caused me to go Pentax.

Go to a shop, spend time testing out D7000 and K-5 try the lenses you're interested in and compare.

Just remember: If you go Pentax you'll have stabilization on fish-eye, wide-angle and prime lenses ! Check and mate !

Good luck with it !
01-25-2013, 10:50 AM   #11
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And auto focus during video recording is available in the D7000, not in the K-5.
03-13-2013, 08:42 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by loyah1 Quote
And auto focus during video recording is available in the D7000, not in the K-5.
That's not really useful.
OP, let us know how did you decide
03-13-2013, 10:00 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kasuras Quote
Nikon D7000 or Pentax K-5II?
You also ought to ask the same question over on the Nikon forum and see what they are saying to it.

I bet you wont get the same unbiased opinions discussing the merits of both systems that you've had so far, let us know.
03-13-2013, 01:23 PM   #14
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Noone has suggested the Pentax FA 35/2 yet. That's an obvious alternative and it's still available as new.

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03-13-2013, 02:49 PM   #15
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Fuji has just now got its act together for auto focus in the new X100s. This huge step forward will flow through to it's other bodies in the next iteration. Seems like you might be jumping ship at the wrong time???
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