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05-05-2015, 10:22 AM   #1
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Questions about Pentax DSLRs before I purchase

Hello Pentaxforums,

I've been reading threads here for a little bit and decided to register to ask a few questions. It seems like, in most cases, people answer here helpfully and honestly (which is great).

I've been troubling myself with choosing a DSLR or mirrorless APS-C sized camera and have purchased and resold several second-hand models to try them out (because I'm very cheap). I haven't found any recent Pentax models at a good price yet so I haven't been able to get any first-hand experience. I really like the prospect of having a weather-sealed camera with a great viewfinder, so I'm considering a Pentax.

My questions are:
Are there any models with clean HDMI output? I have heard the K-3 doesn't have it. I know the K-50 has no HDMI at all. Does anyone know if the K-S2 does?

Is the shake reduction during video really as bad as it looks on youtube? I've seen some pretty goofy looking clips coming from Pentax cameras that make me think it's possibly unusable in video mode. The nikons and canons that I've tried have optical image stabilization and it worked pretty well for video.

I have heard people say the auto-focus in pentax cameras is not comparable to Nikon & Canon, even on these forums. I would like to be able to shoot fast moving subjects (kids, sports thing, animals) from time to time if possible.

I have heard people talk about weather sealing on cameras like the canon 70D and D7000-7200, does it compare to Pentax's?

I'm mostly concerned with the technology at this phase because I'm trying to buy the most camera, and the most useful camera, for the money. I tried asking the same type of questions on another forum and got answers mostly like "you need to learn how to take pictures better, anyone worth anything can take award winning photos with a webcam from 1999". I'm not a professional photographer, an amateur photographer, an artist, or an enthusiast. I just want to be able to record a good video or picture when required. I'm trusting your experience so thanks for your help.



05-05-2015, 10:50 AM   #2
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If you're willing to give up water resistance, and you're a Costco member, there's an insane deal on a mirrorless job at the link.
http://www.costco.com/.product.100160949.html
05-05-2015, 11:03 AM   #3
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I turn off SR on my k3 for video and it works great. Try to hold the camera still, this applies whether you have a SR system or not!

I purchased my first pentax just after christmas, coming from an Olympus micro four thirds. The pentax system is pretty sweet, and being able to use the older lenses is really nice. I'm excited about the upcoming full frame camera, I can interchange a lot of my pentax lenses between the two. Coming from the m43 system, it's definitely bigger, but low light performance is noticeably better (and it was already pretty good with the olympus!)

The autofocus system is pretty good, I imagine it's a little better with the Nikon dslrs but I seriously can't complain, the K3 treats me very well.

I can't speak to Nikon or Canon, never tried one. I imagine they're pretty great too, the offerings today are all pretty fantastic.

I'd try to get a K3 if you can, it's a nice camera.

Alternatively, the olympus em5 is a nice camera and you can probably find it used for a good price and the m43 system has cheap adapters to use just about any other system's lenses.
05-05-2015, 11:10 AM   #4
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From what I've read, if you compare similar price points the autofocus in cameras are pretty similar. You can't compare $5K cameras with $5C cameras...or is that $5M if I'm to stay Roman?

What I like about traditional DSLRs over mirrorless is the ability to separate focus and exposure. I'm not sure the mirrorless camreas can be put into exposure priority and just keep snapping pictures very quickly as focus continues to track. If video is very important, you'll really need to do some research to figure out what's best for you.

05-05-2015, 11:38 AM   #5
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong but believe the K5 model had really good video capability. It is still a nice camera and should be quite affordable used.
05-05-2015, 11:50 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
t I like about traditional DSLRs over mirrorless is the ability to separate focus and exposure. I'm not sure the mirrorless camreas can be put into exposure priority and just keep snapping pictures very quickly as focus continues to track. If vide
TER-OR- I understand your point on autofocus. I'm not looking for D4S performance; I just want to avoid getting only 1/10 shots in focus if I fire off a long burst. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by the exposure priority part. For what it's worth, I understood from reading that there's very little difference in the practical functionality of mirrorless cameras vs DSLRs.

Doctor X - Yes, that's a pretty great looking deal. I hear lenses can be expensive for Sony E-mount, but I'm probably not going to put a bunch of money into lenses on a system like that anyway. I just happen to have a family member with a costco account also.

TedW - Is that the one I've heard has a mechanical image stabilization system as opposed to an electronic one?

Bobbotron - I've been watching out for a K-3. It does look excellent. There's also K-50s on sale at the Microcenter near by, but it not as nice looking.


Here's what I tried so far by the way:
Nikon D3300 - by far my favorite image quality of what I tried. Great battery life but it's iffy on durability. I didn't have any problem with a single control dial.
Canon SL1 - I didn't like this one. Even with a touch screen it was just kind of a pain to use. Image quality was worse than the D3300 in like conditions.
Canon T5i - Pretty much the same as the SL1, but the tilting screen was convenient.
None of them seemed particularly great or durable, but all functioned much better than any point and shoot I've used. I actually have a canon T3 sitting here right now that I got pretty cheaply and that's a world ahead of the family camera.
05-05-2015, 12:02 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ComradeTao Quote
Are there any models with clean HDMI output? I have heard the K-3 doesn't have it. I know the K-50 has no HDMI at all. Does anyone know if the K-S2 does?
Unfortunately the HDMI output is just what you see on the LCD screen, but yes, the K-S2 does have HDMI.

QuoteOriginally posted by ComradeTao Quote
I have heard people talk about weather sealing on cameras like the canon 70D and D7000-7200, does it compare to Pentax's?
Yes, it's comparable but it isn't advertised as much. Pentax has more weather-sealed consumer lenses than Canon/Nikon but the overall number of sealed lenses is about the same.

QuoteOriginally posted by ComradeTao Quote
I have heard people say the auto-focus in pentax cameras is not comparable to Nikon & Canon, even on these forums. I would like to be able to shoot fast moving subjects (kids, sports thing, animals) from time to time if possible.
Modern Pentax cameras can focus in extremely low light (-3EV) and those capabilities continue to be best-in-class. Nikon has only recently caught up with its latest AF system.

In terms of action shooting, the competition is still ahead in terms of AF point density, tracking algorithms, and lens motor speed. But that's not to say all 3 brands won't get the job done given the right lens and technique.

In live view, I find the performance of Pentax cameras to be better than Nikon cameras, though each brand does things a little differently.

QuoteOriginally posted by ComradeTao Quote
Is the shake reduction during video really as bad as it looks on youtube? I've seen some pretty goofy looking clips coming from Pentax cameras that make me think it's possibly unusable in video mode. The nikons and canons that I've tried have optical image stabilization and it worked pretty well for video.
Other than the K-5 and K-7, modern Pentax DSLRs have electronic video stabilization which has indeed received a bit of criticism. In-lens stabilization is the way to go for video. If you're lucky, you can find a used Sigma 17-50 OS or 70-200mm OS with in-lens stabilization for Pentax

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05-05-2015, 12:04 PM   #8
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Expousure (or trigger) priority fires the shutter whether you have focus or not. Focus priority won't let you fire the shutter unless you have focus. I think this only applies in AF.S mode, though. AF.C probably defaults to exposure priority, but I'm not certain about that. Of course the camera doesn't know exactly where you want to focus, just that it has focus on one or more points.

For subjects in motion you want to look at the predictive autofocus, and how best to operate your focus points. Certainly the newer models in any line will likely be better. Pentax has mostly improved with every release, I'm not sure that's the case with the Canon T line, but I haven't seriously researched them since deciding on Pentax.

05-05-2015, 12:18 PM   #9
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Adam - Thanks for the information. It doesn't seem like sigma lenses are too expensive if you look on ebay. The strange thing is it seems to be only about 50-60% of what it costs on amazon. It makes me concerned about the legitimacy of the ad/product.

TER-OR - I get what you're saying and I have heard of that. Understood.
05-05-2015, 12:23 PM   #10
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BTW Comrade Tao, We'd like to welcome you to the Pentax Forum! You'll find great people here, willing to share their knowledge & ideas with others.
05-05-2015, 02:44 PM   #11
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I went through the same struggle a year ago when I bought my K-3. The canon had better video but fell short in most other ways. So it came down to the 7100 or K-3. A year later I'm happy with the K-3 but I'm pretty sure the 7100 would have been fine also. What I wish I had done was buy a good lens and tripod and hang whatever camera I could afford off the back. Live and learn.
05-05-2015, 03:55 PM   #12
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You might be able to rent a K-3 or other model to try out. Cheap way to take a test run.
05-06-2015, 12:01 PM   #13
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Despite the good advice here and even more research, I'm still no closer to a confident decision.

I've got a D3300 sitting in front of me now and I know it's a good camera but my OCD-ness shouts at me because it lacks:
weather sealing
micro focus adjustment
depth of field preview (except in live view)
weaker autofocus

But according to the internets, the kit lens is a lot better than what I would have if I ran out to buy the $450 microcenter K-50 kit.

I guess someone just has to make a weather sealed, perfectly sharp, indestructible, self-adjusting, 8k video shooting, touch screen/touch everywhere, 8000 point auto-focusing camera for $26 for me to be confident.

Wingincamera - I think a K-3 would be out of my price range if I bought it. But I've been looking around for Pentax cameras in my area (CLE, OH). Renting one isn't out of the question, but not likely happening.
05-06-2015, 01:21 PM   #14
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The second and third generation Pentax 18-55 is well-regarded as a kit lens, that won't let you down. Video of course, is still a primary issue - but how much better is the D3300? If video is important, then look for a camera optimized for that - don't compromise too much with your biggest priority.

If WR is important for you, it's important. If you think you'll need it, then get a camera with it. It took me a while to get a WR lens, but it has been a good margin of comfort, and I've been caught in the rain a few times, and have taken the camera with 18-135 on walks many days with threat of rain.
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