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05-22-2009, 01:03 PM   #31
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I've been using the Sigma 24-60 on my K20d for the past few months and I love it. It covers the range that I use the most so it stays on the camera most of the time. The lens has a really solid, satisfyingly well-built feel to it, like the K20d itself. (Something I find very lacking with Canon's low-end offerings, I have to say.) I should note that like seemingly quite a few others, I found focusing issues with the Sigma 24-60, though. It was either front-focusing or back-focusing; I don't recall which. One of the really nice features of the K20d (and I'm assuming the K-7) is the lens-specific focus calibration, which allows you to make adjustments for focus for individual lenses, which the camera will remember whenever that lens is attached. I did some testing, and in a matter of minutes had the adjustment dialed in and forgot about it.

I'll go along with what the others have said regarding the convenience of the front and rear dials. Their use is customizable in each mode, so you can set them up according to whatever works best for you. I most often shoot in SV mode, which is basically "ISO priority" mode. I use the rear dial to set ISO and the front dial for program shift. If I'm dealing with unusually tricky lighting situations, I'll go to manual mode, and if I'm shooting indoor sports with flash I'll go to shutter priority, but usually I stick with SV as it just feels the most intuitive to me for whatever reason.

The in-body stabilization system is a huge advantage of Pentax over Canon or Nikon, in my opinion. I do a lot of low-light shooting where stabilization, combined with nice high-ISO performance (to my taste, which favors detail over heavy noise reduction) makes the difference between getting the shot and not getting the shot, or at least the difference between a naturally lit shot and a shot with artificial looking flash. (I know there are techniques to use flash and get attractive results, but I'm not talking about a studio setup or even indoor shots where bounce flash is possible). To be able to take advantage of stabilization with any lens - old or new, cheap or expensive - is a great blessing.

Canon's primary advantages over Pentax, as I see it, have traditionally been faster AF and more frames per second, but the K-7 changes that a bit. The jury seems to be out on the AF (although it's reported to be improved over previous models) but FPS is definitely higher. AF performance, mainly in low light, is really the only area where I see much room for improvement in my K20d, for my purposes. FPS doesn't factor into my shooting.

05-22-2009, 01:44 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mann Quote
I'm guessing the K-7 will cost me more than the 50D, but I haven't seen any prices here yet.
B&H is already accepting pre-orders.
Expected date of release is July (as their site says).
It's around $1300 for the body of the K7.
The 50D being only offered cheaper by $100 less (also at B&H) body only.

Here's the link: pentax K7 | B&H Photo Video
05-22-2009, 03:43 PM   #33
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Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 macro.
05-23-2009, 01:42 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ian Tokeo Quote
[...]One of the really nice features of the K20d (and I'm assuming the K-7) is the lens-specific focus calibration, which allows you to make adjustments for focus for individual lenses, which the camera will remember whenever that lens is attached. I did some testing, and in a matter of minutes had the adjustment dialed in and forgot about it.
I don't fully understand. What kind of adjustments do you mean? Unfortunately, focus calibration sounds too vague for me.

QuoteQuote:
[...]I most often shoot in SV mode, which is basically "ISO priority" mode. I use the rear dial to set ISO and the front dial for program shift. If I'm dealing with unusually tricky lighting situations, I'll go to manual mode, and if I'm shooting indoor sports with flash I'll go to shutter priority, but usually I stick with SV as it just feels the most intuitive to me for whatever reason.
I was wondering about this ISO priority mode. I don't quite understand why anyone would use it, because it seems like it wouldn't allow you to control aperture and/or time.

05-23-2009, 01:47 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
B&H is already accepting pre-orders.
Expected date of release is July (as their site says).
It's around $1300 for the body of the K7.
The 50D being only offered cheaper by $100 less (also at B&H) body only.

Here's the link: pentax K7 | B&H Photo Video
July? Damn. I'm so impatient I can't wait. I never ordered at B&H, and I think they wouldn't ship to where I live (Europe). If July is their expected time, I guess it'd be pretty much the same world-wide, right?
05-23-2009, 01:50 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cosmo Quote
Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 macro.
I just checked him out and it looks like a nice piece of equipment. It's just that I'd like it to go 70. That'd leave me the 24-70 f/2.8 after all, which seems to have less magnification? Is there any lens available that can be both used as wide-angle zoom AND as 1:1 maco lens, or am I being too demanding here?
05-23-2009, 03:42 AM   #37
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Am I correct in understanding that the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5, mentioned by Arjen, has the most magnification of all the Sigmas discussed here? If so, I think I almost have a winner. Maybe I wouldn't need the constant f/2.8 after all, but... that still leaves me the problem of low-light indoor areas. Ahhh, I'm going insane! If the 17-70 had f/2.8 I'd get it in a heartbeat. Would the high ISO on the K-7 be sufficient to give good quality in a low-light setting?
05-23-2009, 08:25 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mann Quote
Am I correct in understanding that the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5, mentioned by Arjen, has the most magnification of all the Sigmas discussed here? If so, I think I almost have a winner. Maybe I wouldn't need the constant f/2.8 after all, but... that still leaves me the problem of low-light indoor areas. Ahhh, I'm going insane! If the 17-70 had f/2.8 I'd get it in a heartbeat. Would the high ISO on the K-7 be sufficient to give good quality in a low-light setting?
The Sigma 17-70's magnification is 1:2.3--almost life-size. With that feature, I find it to be the most versatile of all of my lenses.

On the issue of low light shooting, depending on what you want to shoot, a good tripod and cable release might be an option. Since the K7 isn't out yet, it's hard to say if it's actually going to be any better at noise control than the K20; all I know for sure is that the noise control on the K20 is better than the the K10 that I used to have. I've taken it up as far as 1600 with decent results. Another option you might want to consider if you have the money is to have both the Sigma 17-70 and a Tamron 28-75. Both would be used for different types of lighting situations.

Something else you might want to consider is going ahead and getting a K20 now, as they're such a good deal. With the release of a new body, there's always going to be some kinks to be worked out, plus you'll be paying a premium to be one of the early adopters. Once it's been out for a while and everybody can see how it really stacks up against the K20, you'll know for yourself whether or not the upgrade is worth it. Of course by then, most of the bugs found in the early production bodies will have been worked out and the price will come down a bit. At that point, if you decide that you really do want the K7, then you can either keep the K20 as a second body or sell it and get most of what you originally paid for it back to put towards the K7.

Another advantage of getting the K20 is that since a new one is about half the price of a preorder K7, that will be more money you can put towards building a quality lens collection.

BTW, I'm not a big fan of video in DSLRs, either. If I want to shoot video, then my husband has a perfectly good camcorder that I can use.

HTH,
Heather

05-23-2009, 09:53 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mann Quote
I don't fully understand. What kind of adjustments do you mean? Unfortunately, focus calibration sounds too vague for me.
What this means is if a lens front focuses or back focuses, you can make an adjustment in the camera that applies only to that lens. My Sigma 24-60 had that problem. I could have sent the lens back for adjustment, but instead I was able to make a setting in the camera so that when that lens is mounted, the camera automatically adjusts for the error in focusing. I now get perfectly focused photos with that lens. There is an item in one of the menus in the camera to make this adjustment, such as +1, +2, -1, -2, etc. It took a little trial and error, taking test photos with incremental adjustments to get to the point where the camera now focuses exactly where it's supposed to with this particular lens attached, but now whenever this lens is mounted the camera recognizes it and automatically applies the focus compensation. When I take the Sigma off and put on my Pentax 50-200, which does not have any focus problems, the camera does not apply any compensation.


QuoteOriginally posted by Mann Quote
I was wondering about this ISO priority mode. I don't quite understand why anyone would use it, because it seems like it wouldn't allow you to control aperture and/or time.
It's basically program mode with the rear wheel giving instant access to ISO. I use the rear wheel to set ISO, and the camera chooses aperture and time for the correct exposure. If I don't like the setting the camera has chosen, I use the front wheel for program shift - turn it one way and the aperture increases and time decreases, turn it the other way and aperture decreases and time increases. I know I'm in the minority, but this mode just seems most convenient for my way of thinking about exposure. I don't like auto ISO as I like to have instant control of ISO under my thumb, and then keep that consistent over a range of shots, and this mode lets me do that easily.
05-23-2009, 02:57 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mann Quote
July? Damn. I'm so impatient I can't wait. I never ordered at B&H, and I think they wouldn't ship to where I live (Europe). If July is their expected time, I guess it'd be pretty much the same world-wide, right?
I haven't lived in Europe but you can check B&H and contact them or try to order and see if they do ship in Europe or how much they would charge for shipping..but with this type of a purchase it usually is free shipping.

I would think that it would be all the same release date worldwide.
05-23-2009, 03:03 PM   #41
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Focus calibration for each lens is a feature that is only offered by Pentax (I think)..'coz I haven't read about it on the Canikon brands.
K10D and K20D can do this but is somewhat limited in the number of lenses in the K10D (you also have to backtrack on the firmware if firmware is updated..only for the K10D).
This is another great feature aside from the weathersealing and in-body shake reduction.
There will be other features that are usually not mentioned heavily on the specs of the camera on camera reviews.
I bet you there will be more on the K7 for sure!
05-24-2009, 03:52 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by hwblanks Quote
The Sigma 17-70's magnification is 1:2.3--almost life-size. With that feature, I find it to be the most versatile of all of my lenses.
This verification means much. I would be able to get closer to a subject with it than with the 24-70.

QuoteQuote:
On the issue of low light shooting, depending on what you want to shoot, a good tripod and cable release might be an option. Since the K7 isn't out yet, it's hard to say if it's actually going to be any better at noise control than the K20; all I know for sure is that the noise control on the K20 is better than the the K10 that I used to have. I've taken it up as far as 1600 with decent results. Another option you might want to consider if you have the money is to have both the Sigma 17-70 and a Tamron 28-75. Both would be used for different types of lighting situations.
Shouldn't the K-7 be better anyway? It's true it's harder to tell right now, but if it's not better, why develop and release it? I have a gut feeling they wouldn't want to make an upgrade that performs less than the previous version.

I never liked tripods, but maybe I should get one anyway. It would help me shoot that fountain I've been wanting to get at. Okay, a tripod would help in low light, but that would then leave the f/2.8-4.5 still. Having the capability to use f/2.8 is just so fine. Getting two lenses of roughly the same nature is not an option for me.

QuoteQuote:
Something else you might want to consider is going ahead and getting a K20 now, as they're such a good deal. With the release of a new body, there's always going to be some kinks to be worked out, plus you'll be paying a premium to be one of the early adopters. Once it's been out for a while and everybody can see how it really stacks up against the K20, you'll know for yourself whether or not the upgrade is worth it. Of course by then, most of the bugs found in the early production bodies will have been worked out and the price will come down a bit. At that point, if you decide that you really do want the K7, then you can either keep the K20 as a second body or sell it and get most of what you originally paid for it back to put towards the K7.

Another advantage of getting the K20 is that since a new one is about half the price of a preorder K7, that will be more money you can put towards building a quality lens collection.
That's actually a good idea, to get the K20D now, but I'd prefer to get one camera body and be done with it for years. I think I'd be sorry if I'd get the K20D and later wish I waited for the K-7. Or what about the rumors I've read, that there's going to be a K30D? Probably not, but I think I'd be sorry as well if I'd get a K-7 after which a "K30D" type would come out. I shouldn't read the rumors section

Thanks.
05-24-2009, 03:58 AM   #43
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Thanks, guys. My knowledge base has grown a bit more.

My head is now so full of options, I don't know anymore. Lemme put it this way: suppose I get the K-7 (or K20D) which is sealed, which two lenses, as versatile as possible, would enable me to do decent macro, wide-angle and telephotos, while they are both weather-sealed, and the non-telelens has constant f/2.8?
05-24-2009, 05:38 AM   #44
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That's not quite possible. You could go with the DA*16-5omm f2.8 for the wide end. Gives you WS, Close up (not macro) and f2.8. Then for a mid tele lens the DA*50-135mm f2.8 but that's not terribly long but has the f2.8 and WS. Or look at either the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 Macro. Not WS but a very nice lens with close up ability. I have the older version of this and I use it all the time. A favourite lens. Or the other choice would be DA*60-250mm f4. WS and a nice length/range to match the wide angle, WS but f4 (1 stop). That might not be an issue because much long shooting is done in decent light and I have an older FA*300mm f4.5 that is sharp, with no real issues for tele shooting in any light.

So my vote would be
-DA*16-50mm f2.8
-DA*60-250mm f4 or
Sigma 70-200mm Macro f2.8

That would make a smoking, 2 lens kit. Btw, if you get a K20D now with the low prices we'll see in the coming weeks, you'd still be able to sell it in a year for a decent price and have a fun summer of shooting. One just sold here on the marketplace for around $650 and there will be more shortly I bet. Plus if the deal is good enough and you can afford it, having a second body is a huge plus IMO.

But then again mid July isn't too long to wait.

decisions, decisions.......
05-24-2009, 08:09 AM   #45
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Yes, you said it: decisions, decisions.

Those two DA* lenses you mentioned seem quite stunning.... and unfortunately expensive. If I had the money at the moment, I'd get the K20D and both of them lenses not even in a heartbeat, but in half of a blink of an eye. Of course, it's the upcoming K-7 that complicates it too, but the video mode pisses me off and turns me off, and as earlier said the smaller body size (but I can live with the latter). Because of that, I'm starting to lean towards the K20D again. The idea of paying for something I won't use pisses me off, but then again the improvements are there.

I think I should cut corners anyway and compromise a bit. Maybe you could use your experience/expertise to advise me again to get the best out of it. Those DA* lenses are high-end and will have to wait for a more suitable time. What would be a similar setup in mid-range at max, possibly excluding weather resistance, but including non-rotating lenses and petal-shaped hoods, where the non-telelens has f/2.8?

If I get a telelens, I'd at least want it to go to 300mm, where the wider starting point doesn't matter much to me.
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