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09-20-2014, 01:48 AM   #1
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Thinking of going Pentax. Convince me (or otherwise)

Hello, Pentax people. Something about the K-30 is drawing me towards it and, frankly, if it had an input connection for an external mic I'd already be all over it.

Most people on the forum are obviously Pentax nuts but many seem to have experience with other brands. So, I'm looking for advice:

Why should amcg01 go Pentax?

Typical photography: indoor low-light, music festivals, holidays (usually outdoors - from the West of Ireland to the odd ski trip), pets, family. And I've also always loved doing night shots in low light.

Typical video: don't take a lot of video apart from at festivals, where I sometimes have to record things to put up on Youtube on behalf of a band (perhaps twice a year).

Candidates: Pentax K30, Canon 100D, Nikon D3200.
I've visited a camera shop to hold and play with the above cameras and, to my eye, they all have different strengths. Prices are from, none of which I can beat in the outlets near me (unfortunately).

K30 (350):
- built like a tank, which is tremendously appealing to us. Ireland is not the driest of places, and even indoors not having to worry about it getting a cup of tea spilled over it would be... a good thing.
- viewfinder felt really, really nice to use
- no external mic jack
- fairly heavy (naturally, given the tank-like construction)

100D (389):
- Size (good). Tiniest DSLR I've ever seen.
- Size (bad?). I have small hands for a man and, although the small size and lightness was very appealing, got to wondering if the size was almost too small?
- Has continuous AF in video
- Has touchscreen

D3200 (330):
- felt more "solid" than the Canon, not as much as the Pentax but very decent in the hand
(note - have played with the D3300 as well. While the lighter weight is a good thing I'm not sure it's worth the price difference, especially now that the D3200 comes with the same, lighter kit lens)

- Between us both we really don't have time to be enthusiasts - we want a solid, go-to camera that will take great shots time after time and for many years, as well as giving me the ability to "dive into" the settings a bit when necessary. My wife will definitely always use the camera in full Auto mode.

- Re. lens availability, am aware that there are more Canon/Nikon lenses out there but I don't see us expanding our lens selection by that much. The only lens investment I could foresee would be a discreet fixed (prime) lens just as I would have used when I first started taking photos with a bog-standard 35mm film camera.

Truly appreciate any advice that you might have to offer. Suffering from absolute decision paralysis at this stage.

09-20-2014, 02:41 AM   #2
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Here are 10 areas in which Pentax excels over the competition:
Why Pentax Isn't Doomed - Articles and Tips |

If these advantages are important, then I'd say go for a K-30.

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09-20-2014, 03:32 AM   #3
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Personally I like the logical layout of the option menus. Everytime I try a Canon or Nikon I am baffled by their clunky counterparts.
However that is a subjective thing , although I found nearly every setting I needed in the K-30 as well as my previous Samsungs (EX1, NV3) without the need of a manual. Some of my Canikon friends have no clue either about their menus, but arent very dedicated photogs either.

Oh, and my last night shot with a K-30 and the DA 18-135 for some more motivation :

09-20-2014, 03:44 AM   #4
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Hey, welcome! I think the K-30 is a great choice. When it comes to competition, Pentax is usually best bang for buck. Canikon becomes a sensible choice when you want to spend over 1600 on the camera alone.
But do keep in mind that the lens is very important! If you want low light photography, you will need lenses with low f-number, like f2.8 or as low as f1.4. So buy a DA 35mm f2.4 or DA 50mm f1.8 (or FA 50mm f1.4) along with the camera. These lenses will give you top notch sharp photos and are not bad even in low light.
Another good thing about Pentax is that the camera will accept any K-mount lens, even those made in the 1970s. You can get nice deals for lenses that are optically excellent. Of course, some were made before AF was invented, so you have to focus manually. Still, in many situations that's not really a drawback.

Finally, WR is a great feature, but the camera and lens both need to be WR. So if you buy a camera with a kit lens, make sure the kit lens is WR version. This is basically the main reason why people buy the kit lens - its the cheapest WR lens, and its good to have it on hand, even if you prefer to use your better lenses.

Oh, and one more thing that people like about Pentax. The community. Not quite as toxic as some others Just ignore our obsession with "full frame"

09-20-2014, 04:28 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I have owned all three brands. I sold the Canon & Nikon to buy another Pentax (K-3). I loved the Canon 70D, but to me it seemed delicate and breakable. If I only needed a tripod camera for shooting indoors in the studio, the Canon could have stayed. The Nikon D7000 is a solid performer and built like a Mercedes Benz, but the layout and menu system was like going back to Windows 95 after using an iMac for a while. Both of those cameras were beat by a Pentax K-50, a camera supposedly not even in their class. I only bought the K-50 because I wanted an inexpensive WR camera to use old Pentax manual-focus lenses on, but that little camera won my heart and pushed the others out. Now I keep two camera bags, one for the K-50 and one for the K-3.
09-20-2014, 04:33 AM   #6
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Just tried to read your post with an irish accent....
I failed)))
Sorry for the offtopic stuff)))
09-20-2014, 04:55 AM   #7
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If you are considering a K30 you might wish to consider a Pentax K50. I would buy from SRS Microsystems, impeccable service and a two year warranty.
09-20-2014, 05:02 AM   #8
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I have Pentax and Nikon . With Pentax being the major work horse here. If you want just to use it as a Point and shoot then I would say either the K-30 or D3200. would work fine. I have the K-30 and have used the D3200. If you are going to be adding some lenses to the lineup then The K-30 would be the pick. Pentax lenses tend to run cheaper than the others especially on the used market. For me that ,weather sealing , and size. The K-30 has just enough weight and size to help steady it and the lens while hand held. SR in body helps too. You do not have to buy special lenses to get shake reduction since it is in the body instead of the lens.

One other advantage is this Forum . Where the number of folks here that can help when you have a question is huge. I have not seen any question asked that could not be answered by someone here. Even on other brands

09-20-2014, 05:39 AM   #9
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I like the weather sealing, better body construction and in body image stabilization. If you aren't interested in really long, fast lenses (300mm f2.8, 600mm f4) most of the other bases will be covered pretty well with a Pentax set up.

Good luck!
09-20-2014, 06:41 AM   #10
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I think it's a tough call.

Besides the post that Adam linked, I like this one too:

The Nikon has an interesting Guide feature that'll guide you through the typical settings for different scenarios. It's nothing you can't get from a book, but it's nice to have on the spot. If it were the D3000 and D3100, I'd recommend against it because the high ISO performance on those weren't very good. I think the D3200 and D3300 have improved significantly.

I like to think the Canon 100D is more akin to the Pentax K-01 and K-S1. People either love or hate the Pentax variants for its design, but the Canon looks more traditional and I don't see too many complaints about it. Go figure... High ISO performance wise, it doesn't look like it does as well as the Pentax or Nikon. I'd scratch out the 100D for that reason.

Lens wise, the Nikon and Pentax systems have comparable entry level prime lenses at similar price points. The common ones to start with are 35mm and 50mm. The Nikon 35mm has a silent focusing motor which is really nice. But you want what you don't have, so I wish I have silent autofocus sometimes.

Other things to consider: If you decide to go down the older and used lens route, then the amount of lenses and lens compatibility should be considered. All Pentax lenses are compatible, back to lenses from the 1960's and 1970's, provided you use an adaptor for those really old lenses. For the other systems, you have to consider the mount because mirror can hit the lens.

Judging from what you wrote, you said you'd be all over the Pentax if it had an external mic jack, however, you said you won't take videos very much. I don't know if I'd let this hold me back. Also judging from what you said, for low light perfomance, I'd want low noise at high ISO (scratch the Canon 100d), shake reduction (Pentax has it in-body), and large aperture (it'll depend on what lens you get).

I think it'll come down to how it feels in the hand. You usually get more bang for the buck with Pentax. So would you trade in-body shake reduction, weather sealing, good ergonomics, and good build quality for guide mode and silent drive lens?

---------- Post added 09-20-14 at 09:45 AM ----------

Pardon my grammerrr. Typing and editing on a small screen is tough. Rereading my post is a bit painful.
09-20-2014, 06:47 AM   #11
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it is your choice after all
do your own research
I was using Pentax for years and still love it
no plans to go anywhere else
09-20-2014, 08:46 AM   #12
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Thanks for the replies - highly appreciated.
09-20-2014, 09:57 AM   #13
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The sensor is awesome. You can work around poor low-light sensors sometimes, but starting with a better sensor helps a lot.

Two control dials are far superior to one in any non-auto shooting situation.

The viewfinder is awesome.

If you didn't say anything about video, I'd just stop there.
09-21-2014, 11:36 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by amcg01 Quote
Hello, Pentax people. Something about the K-30 is drawing me towards it and, frankly, if it had an input connection for an external mic I'd already be all over it.
Typical video: don't take a lot of video apart from at festivals, where I sometimes have to record things to put up on Youtube on behalf of a band (perhaps twice a year).

Truly appreciate any advice that you might have to offer. Suffering from absolute decision paralysis at this stage.
If video is your main source the Canon would do because of the focus. But if you're serious about video you probably wont be recording the audio with the camera anyway. I've worked as a videographer using Canon video cameras like the GL1 (it's been about 7 years now). For anything where the audio is really important you'll be synching the audio and video on a timeline in PP.

Everything else the K-30 wins hands down. And as somebody else mentioned, the K-50 is basically the same camera with a couple of improvements. Over here you can actually get the K-50 cheaper, than the few remaining K-30s. I really haven't done any video with the K-30. just messing around with it. One thing it does have built in in an intervalometer, handy for time lapse movies, the Canon and Nikon may or may not have that feature. In fact, I've had my K-30 and 18-135WR on a tripod sitting in the rain for 30 minutes doing a short time lapse. It's nice having that weather sealed body and lens (in case you don't know. all Pentax lenses are not weather resistant, they need to have the *, WR, or AW designation) I do a lot of outdoor shooting and don't like to be controlled by the weather.
09-21-2014, 12:00 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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Thanks for all the replies (and the PM). A K-30 has been ordered (although for some reason slipped 20 onto the price since yesterday).

Funnily enough, one of the clinching arguments arrived not through advice from anybody else (internet or otherwise), but rather when I was transcribing an interview earlier today. I was typing while speeding up / rewinding on my trusty Olympus voice recorder. I realised that the controls on it are so good that I don't even have to look at it - my fingers know exactly what to do. It's a tool. It's built for one thing. And it performs.

I realised that when choosing a camera the bottom line is that I wanted something to do one thing well - take excellent photos while lasting for years. Video? If it becomes important then I'll deal with it when it becomes so. Ergo, the K-30 wins.

P.S. the biggest selling point for my wife? Showing her the video of Pentax WR cameras being brought through the sand and water trial in Afghanistan.
- "I like that, it means you won't have to tell me to be careful all the time".
Hmm... perhaps that wasn't such a good idea :-)

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