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11-24-2009, 06:58 AM   #1
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decisions on purchase - image stability priority

I'm seriously considering K-x, 2 lens kit with the 55-300. My biggest issue in photography life is that I have a tremor in my left hand. It's pretty significant - or, significant enough to wreck most of my pictures without IS. So, it has to be the first thing I consider. Money the very very close second.

I've read such conflicting info regarding in-body vs in-lens IS. So, I'm wondering if people have experience with each/both/this particular set up (k-x with these 2 lenses) and can give me any advice.

I also can't seem to find much about the 55-300 itself. Wondering how fast the auto-focus is on it or if it's irritatingly slow (for action/sports pics).

I have a Pentax-M 70-200 (I think it's 70) but the deal with the 300 is good and I'd love to have the 300 range and auto-focus.

My other option is a Canon Rebel XT that a friend would sell to me for $350 (basically new - it was her 2nd camera and she's moving up to a better 1st camera) but to buy an IS lens to get the range I want would add up to about the same as the K-x with both.

Obviously, posting on a Pentax forum will offer bias but that's ok. Any input would be [U]greatly[U] appreciated.

11-24-2009, 07:29 AM   #2
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Image stabilization can only correct for "so much". I think you should try the camera with the intended lens to see what results you can get. My wife has cerebral palsy, and the shake reduction doesn't cut it for her. The only camera she can decently use is an Optio MX4. It has a grip she can hold properly, and the camera is light enough not to exacerbate her spasticity. Good luck!
11-24-2009, 07:42 AM   #3
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I agree with Flyer. I've tried the VR and IS systems and see no real world difference between them and the Pentax version. That is until you consider the costs. Pentax (or Sony) are going to be much cheaper over the long run.

Maybe you should consider a K20D, possibly used here from our marketplace. The going rate is around $550 and it will give you the SR and fantastic IQ. Only real issue is the body is bigger but the weight is similar.

I can not comment on the 55-300mm for sports etc but logically it's not going to be the sports shooters first choice as it's a slow max aperture lens. But it is light and very qood IQ. In good daylight, it should do a good job.
11-24-2009, 07:57 AM   #4
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I second Flyer. The current image stabilization systems can correct only so much and not every type of vibration. I, my self have not the steadiest hands and thus I tend to use short exposures when I don't have tripod (or monopod) at hand.

The other thing you should consider is if your tremor results better images with light of heavy equipment. That you can evaluate by testing different weight equipments. In some cases heavier equipment changes the vibration frequency so, that you get better pictures, in other cases lighter unit results better.

Anyway I hope you can find a good solution that fits your interests and needs.

11-24-2009, 09:48 AM   #5
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My hands are not all that steady but the SR in the K10D certainly helps. It isn't a constant issue but can cause problems at times. I almost always have a monopod with me, even if I don't use it. The advantage of the Pentax is that any lens you use will have SR. For sports shooting with a long lens you are likely to be using a tripod or monopod anyhow. One of my daughters has a Rebel and it is a decent camera but she doesn't have any IS lenses so I can't say if they work better than in body SR or not. The prices for those Canon lenses are certainly up there, much more than Pentax. For me, the Pentax in body SR gets me by. I wish they had such a thing for stick welders......
11-24-2009, 10:19 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jorf Quote
I also can't seem to find much about the 55-300 itself. Wondering how fast the auto-focus is on it or if it's irritatingly slow (for action/sports pics).
Depends on what you're comparing it to. It's not as fast as the 50-200 by all accounts, but probably comparable to or perhaps faster than the various third party 70-300's, which would presumably be your other alternatives, and probbly faster than most superzoom P&S cameras. BTW, there is a good review on the 55-300 on photozone.de, but it focusing in IQ, not focus speed. Lots of previous threads on this lens on this site - and if the built-in search doens't find them, try Google with siteentaxforums.com.
11-24-2009, 03:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
My hands are not all that steady but the SR in the K10D certainly helps. It isn't a constant issue but can cause problems at times. I almost always have a monopod with me, even if I don't use it. The advantage of the Pentax is that any lens you use will have SR. For sports shooting with a long lens you are likely to be using a tripod or monopod anyhow. One of my daughters has a Rebel and it is a decent camera but she doesn't have any IS lenses so I can't say if they work better than in body SR or not. The prices for those Canon lenses are certainly up there, much more than Pentax. For me, the Pentax in body SR gets me by. I wish they had such a thing for stick welders......
You need to try a MIG welder, lot easier to control a wire-feed gun than a rod.

Cheers, Mike.

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 11-24-2009 at 04:01 PM.
11-24-2009, 03:59 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
My hands are not all that steady but the SR in the K10D certainly helps. It isn't a constant issue but can cause problems at times. I almost always have a monopod with me, even if I don't use it. The advantage of the Pentax is that any lens you use will have SR. For sports shooting with a long lens you are likely to be using a tripod or monopod anyhow. One of my daughters has a Rebel and it is a decent camera but she doesn't have any IS lenses so I can't say if they work better than in body SR or not. The prices for those Canon lenses are certainly up there, much more than Pentax. For me, the Pentax in body SR gets me by. I wish they had such a thing for stick welders......
I can only speak from my experience, there are lots of high quality K-mount primes out there (fleabay) at reasonable price. And the SR feature on the Pentax body really helps and I constantly gain 2 to 3 stops without worrying about image blur. That is an advantage over any Canikon bodies.

11-24-2009, 04:00 PM   #9
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The 55-300 has a pretty long focus travel, making it fairly "slow" to focus. I would not consider it a good choice for sports/action shooting in anything but good light.

Cheers, Mike.
11-25-2009, 07:39 PM   #10
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A sturdy tripod would be your friend.
You can rely on them to keep your camera steady for your shots much more than your hands.
Only problem would be carrying it around with you.
11-26-2009, 10:28 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jorf Quote
I'm seriously considering K-x, 2 lens kit with the 55-300. My biggest issue in photography life is that I have a tremor in my left hand. It's pretty significant - or, significant enough to wreck most of my pictures without IS. So, it has to be the first thing I consider. Money the very very close second.
As flyer said: image stabilization (of any kind) can only correct so much.



QuoteQuote:
I've read such conflicting info regarding in-body vs in-lens IS. So, I'm wondering if people have experience with each/both/this particular set up (k-x with these 2 lenses) and can give me any advice.
I don't have personal experience with lens-based image stabilization. I have however read a great deal about it. It took a long time, but Canon and/or Nikon eventually came up with some research showing that lens-based IS is slightly superior to body-based IS in some situations. I've now read a number of similar reports. It is clear to me that the advantage of lens-based image stabilization is small - so small that, in my judgment, it's not worth the money.

You are right to worry about Pentax bias in this forum. But be aware that Canon and Nikon are biased, too. They made a mistake in their DSLR lines by not introducing body-based IS years ago. Now they've sold IS/VR lenses to millions of photographers at a premium, and it's going to be a bit embarrassing for them to introduce a body that makes all those lenses obsolete.


QuoteQuote:
I also can't seem to find much about the 55-300 itself. Wondering how fast the auto-focus is on it or if it's irritatingly slow (for action/sports pics).

I have a Pentax-M 70-200 (I think it's 70) but the deal with the 300 is good and I'd love to have the 300 range and auto-focus.
Do keep in mind that, the longer the focal length, the more important lens stability is.

QuoteQuote:
My other option is a Canon Rebel XT that a friend would sell to me for $350 (basically new - it was her 2nd camera and she's moving up to a better 1st camera) but to buy an IS lens to get the range I want would add up to about the same as the K-x with both.
You could buy a used Pentax K10D for about that same price. You'd get a better camera: shake reduction in the body, weather-sealing, and many other advantages. The K10D is a significantly better tool than the XT.


Let me suggest that you consider another solution: Start using a good tripod, and use a remote shutter cable. A tripod will cost you some money, but not necessarily a lot. You can get a decent one (say, a SLIK or Manfrotto) for not too much more than $100. Then you can buy, say, a new K20D (still available, for about $700) or for that matter a used Nikon, Canon, or other brand camera and don't worry after that about image stabilization at all.

Remember that for about the first 100 years of photography's history, most photos were taken with a tripod. Certainly true for just about all of the 19th century. In the 20th century, Eugene Atget used a tripod for everything. I'm not sure whether Andre Kertesz used a tripod all the time. The appearance of the Leica 35mm rangefinder made candid street photography possible for guys like Brassai, and then of course Cartier-Bresson and others. When the greatest child photographer of all time, Jean-Henri Lartigue, got his first camera, the tripod was taller than he was and he climbed on a stool to take pictures. Somehow he managed to take FANTASTIC photos. I love Lartigue.

In short, get a tripod. I don't use my tripods very much, but I would probably be a better photographer if I did. And with a tripod, your tremor won't matter at all.

Will


p.s. Sorry, I didn't notice that Ash had already suggested a tripod. Well, I agree with him.

Last edited by WMBP; 11-26-2009 at 10:31 AM. Reason: added the postscript
11-28-2009, 08:08 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
You need to try a MIG welder, lot easier to control a wire-feed gun than a rod.

Cheers, Mike.
We have one of those at work too but not very high amperage for some of the stuff we need to do on the trucks. I 'd like a good one but its out of the shop budget for now.

A monopod is probably the easiest and most convenient was to stabilize the camera when beyond the limits of of the SR. I use a Trekpod which doubles as a hiking stick. It is a necessary accessory no matter which brand camera you use. Any sporting event I go to, nearly every photographer will have a tripod or monopod when he is shooting the action with a long lens.
11-29-2009, 05:06 PM   #13
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Using your definition of significant (i..e. wrecks most pictures without IS), I too have a significant tremor (in both hands) from a genetic condition. I find photography fascinating but haven't been able to actively enjoy it until I bought a Kx recently. I would say I was in a very similar position to you where IS and money were the top priorities for me.

From the limited experience I had trying out Canon DSLRs in the shops, I didn't find their lens-based IS to be noticeably superior to the body-based IS in the Kx. So for me it was a pretty easy decision to get the Kx because of the premium you will be continuously paying for IS lenses with the Canon.

I got the 2 lens kit but with the 50-200mm lens so I can't comment on the 55-300mm lens. However, using the Kx at 200mm, the IS does its job well enough that in situations where a "normal person" wouldn't need a tripod I don't need one either. I get the occasional blurred shot still but overall am very happy (ecstatic actually) with my purchase. I was even fooling around yesterday taking shots of a running creek with the shutter speed at 1/2 sec trying to create shots with the blurred running water look and was able to get some decent shots which I was pleasantly surprised by.

A tripod is still right at the top of my things to buy list, but that's only to open up more options for shots. In a nutshell, personally, where good IS and money were both important criteria in my decision, I went with the Pentax Kx and am very happy with my choice.
11-30-2009, 12:53 AM   #14
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Not actually having yet got my hands on my K-x I probably should not comment

BUT

I will

Having had 2 bad elbow injuries I'm left with a tremor at times and also can't cope with anything heavy.

I was allowed to try an *istD with some lenses [ it probably being the nearest thing in size to the K-x ] and found this

No problem with the 18-55 mm kit lens - the 55-200 - I was conscious of the extra weight and the bigger lens [ 55-300 ] was a definite no-no

One of the reasons I bought the K-x was because I knew I needed some form of image stabilisation.
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