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01-31-2010, 08:42 AM   #1
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Which system to choose? Pentax or Sony? Or...

Hello everyone. I am switching to DSLR from my Powershot G10. As I understand it I will be buying into a system, so here are my thoughts and preferences:
I like landscapes mostly. Some macro and maybe wildlife, but I can do with a slower system.
Nikon lenses seem too expensive - a friend says they are better than the rest, but I am not sure I do need perfect quality.
Budget is very loosely around 1000US, body and one lens to start.

I really love shooting with the Live view (probably because of the P&S) and Sony seems best for this (especially with the tilting LCDs), like A550. But A700 looks great too. Maybe I will learn to like the viewfinder but Live view is still quite useful.

Pentax looks extremely promising (looking mostly at K7), low price body, low price lenses (important for my wallet, but also I am going to lug the camera on long trips in the mountains, so there is some danger of accidentally braking it), sealed body and cold performance (again, mountains). What I am worried about is about the dxomark dynamic range of the K7 which seems pretty low compared to D90, A550, A700 etc. (I do admit I don't really understand all this so to what point is this rating relevant?)

Also there is the Samsung GX20. What about this camera?

Basically what are your thoughts about: which brand's bodies will give me the best experience (Live view and viewfinder, and dynamic range) and will allow me for a good range of lenses? I am really mostly hesitating between Sony and Pentax but feel free to add anything you deem relevant.
Thank you in advance.

01-31-2010, 09:02 AM   #2
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To get a Nikon or Canon with equivalent performance to the K-7, you would have to spend around $1500 or more for the body.

Nikon and Canon lenses are more expensive because for the most part they have image stabilization built into the lens and autofocus motors built in as well. Building things into the lens adds to complexity, parts, and thus cost. With Pentax, no lens has built in image stabilization (it's built into the body, the camera's sensor moves to adjust for camera shake), and most lenses don't have built in autofocus moters (they have a screw-drive that couples with a motor built into the camera body).

Nikon also uses motors built into the camera body, but they are moving to "AF-S" style, that is lenses with the motor built into the lens.

I would encourage you to go to a local camera shop if you can and try the cameras and lenses in your price range. Pick the one that makes the most sense to you.

I took my own advice about two weeks ago (after a year of saving my shekels and doing a lot of research), and came home with a Pentax K-7 with the 18-55 kit lens and 35 2.8 macro.

By the way, Pentax is also doing a mail in rebate program at this time. When you buy the K-7 with any lens, you can get $100 back, up to $500 if you buy 5 lenses.

I don't worry about all the ratings in reviews, they are for the most part irrelevant for taking photographs. They are mostly for people that worry about that stuff ("pixel peepers" as they are often called), not to photographers.

Good luck!
01-31-2010, 09:08 AM   #3
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This is a Pentax fórum, probably not the best place for unbiased answers for "Pentax or Sony/Canon/Nikon/whatever?" questions...
01-31-2010, 09:11 AM   #4
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How the hell are lenses low priced in our mount?

01-31-2010, 09:26 AM   #5
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Morning,

Welcome to the Forum! There are a number of folks here that have or have tried Sony, Canon and Nikon, and should be able to provide some additional information.

Since you are concerned about the prices of lenses - have you checked and compared the prices of Sony lenses? That said, lens prices are relative - Pentax has been raising its prices also. If this is a concern, I would suggest making a list of focal lengths that are of interest across the brands, and populate with prices. Its just not the price of the body. Also for Nikon lenses for apples to apples, you need the image stabilized ones.

The Samsung GX20 is a rebranded Pentax K20D (its weather sealed, slightly larger than the K7 - K7 replaced it)

Live view - Pentax does have on the K7 and K20 a live view capability. The mirror has to be up, but no articulating screen. In that dSLRs are larger and heavier, along with the lenses, live view is problematic in its use. First you need to hold the camera away from your body to focus on the screen, and this tends to create a unstable situation - induces motion. When the unit is on a tripod, then it becomes more useful (my opinion).

Hope that helps...
01-31-2010, 09:50 AM   #6
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Having had the "Others" I went back to Pentax for the body. I travel a lot and the weather resistance and build quality was too much of a plus. Had two Canons and one Nikon die. Actually went to a Minolta A2 which had the attributes of a DSLR with a super great non-removable lens, but they went out of business. Lens selection is a non issue as those available are every bit as good or better than the canakins. My last comment is in it's price range, Pentax has a brighter viewfinder.
01-31-2010, 10:22 AM   #7
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Just to say, I probably, nay, I wouldn't, buy any DSLR for the quality of its live view system. I concede that it has uses, particularly when doing macro work, but I can honestly say I've never used it in over a year of having my K20.

Like someone else has said, you really need to go and try these cameras out in person. I didn't get on with the ergonomics of the Nikon D80, but I know countless people that love it. I did fall in love with button placement on the K20, as well as its general ease of use, so you really have to try for yourself.
01-31-2010, 11:02 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
How the hell are lenses low priced in our mount?
Is $10~20 too much for you?

Or maybe $30~50?

You can get a bag full of high quality Pentax prime lenses for dirt cheap. The OP could have excellent lenses that fill most or all of his needs and a brand new Pentax DSLR within his $1000 budget.

01-31-2010, 11:42 AM   #9
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List the features you want, 3 lenses you would like, and compare/price the cameras/lenses you are interested in. Then hold them in your hand. Your selection will be much easier. If weather sealed is a main priority, Pentax K7 or K20D with WR lenses gets my vote over Sony.

Last edited by ivoire; 01-31-2010 at 11:50 AM.
01-31-2010, 11:49 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike Cash Quote
Is $10~20 too much for you?

Or maybe $30~50?

You can get a bag full of high quality Pentax prime lenses for dirt cheap. The OP could have excellent lenses that fill most or all of his needs and a brand new Pentax DSLR within his $1000 budget.
I meant modern lenses, not futsing around with stop down metering, aperture rings, M adapters and other nuisances that inhibit actually taking photos unles syou've got oodles of time.
01-31-2010, 12:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
I meant modern lenses, not futsing around with stop down metering, aperture rings, M adapters and other nuisances that inhibit actually taking photos unles syou've got oodles of time.
I find manual lenses easier now as I'm deciding what the shot should look like and not letting the camera guess. It's easy and fast once you get the hang of it.
01-31-2010, 01:23 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ivoire Quote
List the features you want, 3 lenses you would like, and compare/price the cameras/lenses you are interested in. Then hold them in your hand. Your selection will be much easier. If weather sealed is a main priority, Pentax K7 or K20D with WR lenses gets my vote over Sony.
I think, this is sound advice.

One word though, about LiveView. I don't want to diminish the LiveView feature, whic has its applications, even with a DSLR. it is useful if you want unusual shooting angles (from the ground up or from the camera over head), but otherwise it very much contradicts the advantages of a (D)SLR. Using LV means, to hold the camera with arms extended somewhat. This is a very uncomfortable (DSLRs weight much more than a P&S) and counterproductive position, as it increases camera shake and leads much easier to blurred images, than the look through the real viewfinder.

So, despite using LV from time to time myself, I would not rate it at all as an decisive feature on a DSLR. That is at least my opinion.

Ben
01-31-2010, 02:50 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Atkins Quote
Hello everyone. I am switching to DSLR from my Powershot G10. As I understand it I will be buying into a system, so here are my thoughts and preferences:
I like landscapes mostly. Some macro and maybe wildlife, but I can do with a slower system.
Nikon lenses seem too expensive - a friend says they are better than the rest, but I am not sure I do need perfect quality.
Budget is very loosely around 1000US, body and one lens to start.

I really love shooting with the Live view (probably because of the P&S) and Sony seems best for this (especially with the tilting LCDs), like A550. But A700 looks great too. Maybe I will learn to like the viewfinder but Live view is still quite useful.

Pentax looks extremely promising (looking mostly at K7), low price body, low price lenses (important for my wallet, but also I am going to lug the camera on long trips in the mountains, so there is some danger of accidentally braking it), sealed body and cold performance (again, mountains). What I am worried about is about the dxomark dynamic range of the K7 which seems pretty low compared to D90, A550, A700 etc. (I do admit I don't really understand all this so to what point is this rating relevant?)

Also there is the Samsung GX20. What about this camera?

Basically what are your thoughts about: which brand's bodies will give me the best experience (Live view and viewfinder, and dynamic range) and will allow me for a good range of lenses? I am really mostly hesitating between Sony and Pentax but feel free to add anything you deem relevant.
Thank you in advance.
As both a former Nikon shooter, and someone who works with Nikon generated files on a regular basis, I can assure you that your friend os wrong about Nikon lenses being better than Pentax lenses.
The DXO information is irrelevant. Any DSLR camera made has ample dynamic range for landscape photography.
DXO is just proving how totally useless these sorts of tests have become.
01-31-2010, 04:43 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
I meant modern lenses, not futsing around with stop down metering, aperture rings, M adapters and other nuisances that inhibit actually taking photos unles syou've got oodles of time.
If you will read my post again you perhaps notice that my remarks addressed the needs of the original poster.

I like landscapes mostly. Some macro and maybe wildlife, but I can do with a slower system.

It is regrettable that you have such a mistaken conception of the older gear. I shoot with it extensively and don't find it time-consuming or burdensome. But if you do, then by all means keep shelling out the shekels for new stuff. You'll have lots of company for carping about the prices and quality control issues.
01-31-2010, 04:52 PM   #15
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Since you mention live view is important to you, I'd steer clear of Sony. They put a secondary sensor in the viewfinder to get fast live view and fast AF in live view, but the downside they don't mention is the fact that their live view only shows about 90% of the image you capture, so you are loosing about 10% of the pixels while composing in live view. If you have a 12 meg camera, you are loosing roughly 1.2 meg. In my book, that's unacceptable, since I use live view for it's framing accuracy when the optical viewfinder is not practical, like macro or tripod work. Unfortunately, there is no free lunch.
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