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04-16-2010, 04:30 PM   #1
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Pentax K-7 vs canon T2i

Hi,
I am planning to buy my first DSLR in the next month or two and my two top choices right now are the K-7 and the Canon T2i.

I am not a professional photographer and barely an ametuer photographer, I have a baby and have been taking a lot of pictures lately and would like to have nicer prints, be able to make larger prints (greater than 8x10), and be able to shoot videos in 16:9 format. I think I have hit the limits of quality from my old point and shoot canon powershot so when going for a new camera it seems like a DSLR would be worth the money since my existing camera would still complement it instead of being totally replaced.

The T2i has a very compelling feature set but it seems like the build quality is lower than the K-7 and the value of the canon's marginal improvements in features (18 MP vs 15 MP and 1080p24 vs 720p30) seem to be balanced well by the pentax's better build quality, built-in image stabilization, and faster burst shooting. The thing that seems harder to quantify is the depth of the secondary market and accessory market for canon vs. pentax. Canon seems to have a much deeper secondary market and some very affordable accessories while the pentax market seems shallower and I am a bit confused about the lenses since they have so many different mount systems. I am also concerned about the AF because everything I have read sounds like the Pentax is slow to focus. My final concern with the K-7 compared to the T2i is the low light performance which sounds like it is poor.

I don't really believe that much in zoom and don't use it unless absolutely necessary (like at a sporting event or concert) so I am expecting that I would like to use a prime lens most of the time and save myself the bulk of the zoom lens unless needed. I see that the canon has some cheapo prime lenses to get you started and there are a number of places that rent lenses for canons which would make it easy to try before committing a lot of money on a lens. The pentax ones I have seen are all fairly expensive and there is much less rental outlets for the lenses.

The reviews I have read make it sound like the pentax is much less user friendly/more complex than the canon. Does anyone have experience with both systems have any insight into this? How easy is it for someone without any photography training to pickup a K-7 and run with it?

What about the AF and the low light? One review I saw said it can take up to a second to get an AF lock on still subjects.

When I read a something about "low light" how low are we talking about? Is it outside at night in a rural area without any lighting? Is it dusk? Is it outside on the street with just street lights and other ambient lights? Is it inside in a 12x12 room with a single lighting fixture/ceiling fan with 4 CFLs (like my nursery)?

Thanks

04-16-2010, 05:19 PM   #2
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I have not used Canon extensively and own the K20D not the K-7. However, I think I can answer at least some of your queries since I have been around the block a few times with such questions.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
The T2i has a very compelling feature set but it seems like the build quality is lower than the K-7 and the value of the canon's marginal improvements in features (18 MP vs 15 MP and 1080p24 vs 720p30) seem to be balanced well by the pentax's better build quality, built-in image stabilization, and faster burst shooting.
You don't beat Pentax for build quality at a lower price point. Anything but the pro level cameras from the other makes are distinctly less robust and will often lack weather-sealing and so on.

Built-in image stabilization, or Shake Reduction (SR) as Pentax calls it, is a huge advantage, and one of the reasons I chose Pentax. Other brands have it as well, but not the big two.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
The thing that seems harder to quantify is the depth of the secondary market and accessory market for canon vs. pentax.
Well, this is true, but what do you need? Make a list of what you need now and in the foreseeable future. Unless you are doing more than chasing babies I doubt that you will find any brand that cannot supply your gear.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
I am also concerned about the AF because everything I have read sounds like the Pentax is slow to focus.
My experience is that this is true, but then again I love manual focus. And I don't think the difference is nearly as great as people make it out to be. I have seen many mis-focused shots with all brands. The K-7 is a distinct improvement over previous models. I don't hear people bringing up the AF issue as much as with the K10D and K20D.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
My final concern with the K-7 compared to the T2i is the low light performance which sounds like it is poor.
I don't think it is poor, though other cameras do better.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
I see that the canon has some cheapo prime lenses to get you started and there are a number of places that rent lenses for canons which would make it easy to try before committing a lot of money on a lens. The pentax ones I have seen are all fairly expensive and there is much less rental outlets for the lenses.
True on both counts. But try to price Canon IS prime lenses and then the playing field is level. Below 100mm you won't find any at all, so that's advantage Pentax.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
The reviews I have read make it sound like the pentax is much less user friendly/more complex than the canon.
No way. In fact Pentax has the best ergonomics of any brand, IMO. It's got front and back dials which the Canon does not. The menu is dead easy to use and you can directly address options to change them. Of course it is a sophisticated camera with many features, so it might take some learning. But all you need to do at first is put it on Programmed mode and start shooting.

Later on you will appreciate the fact that Pentax has some special modes that Canon does not. Plus full backwards lens compatibility.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
What about the AF and the low light? One review I saw said it can take up to a second to get an AF lock on still subjects.
All I know is that the K-7 is a big improvement on my K20D and I don't have problems except in those situations when I simply do not expect the camera to work. But I am a photographer and can focus for myself.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
When I read a something about "low light" how low are we talking about? Is it outside at night in a rural area without any lighting? Is it dusk? Is it outside on the street with just street lights and other ambient lights? Is it inside in a 12x12 room with a single lighting fixture/ceiling fan with 4 CFLs (like my nursery)?
Yes, all of those, I'd say.

One final comment. The Canon EOS 550D is a brand new camera whereas the K-7 is not. In this fast-changing world we can expect a successor to the K-7 that further incrementally improves the feature set and performance. Not that you should wait: if you need a camera now, get a camera now. But I am simply saying that newer cameras will often be better than older ones on a pure feature level.

But Pentax shoots very nice images with a high level of detail and has those beautiful primes... all of which are stabilised.
04-16-2010, 06:05 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
Hi,
I am planning to buy my first DSLR in the next month or two and my two top choices right now are the K-7 and the Canon T2i.

I am not a professional photographer and barely an ametuer photographer, I have a baby and have been taking a lot of pictures lately and would like to have nicer prints, be able to make larger prints (greater than 8x10), and be able to shoot videos in 16:9 format. I think I have hit the limits of quality from my old point and shoot canon powershot so when going for a new camera it seems like a DSLR would be worth the money since my existing camera would still complement it instead of being totally replaced.

The T2i has a very compelling feature set but it seems like the build quality is lower than the K-7 and the value of the canon's marginal improvements in features (18 MP vs 15 MP and 1080p24 vs 720p30) seem to be balanced well by the pentax's better build quality, built-in image stabilization, and faster burst shooting. The thing that seems harder to quantify is the depth of the secondary market and accessory market for canon vs. pentax. Canon seems to have a much deeper secondary market and some very affordable accessories while the pentax market seems shallower and I am a bit confused about the lenses since they have so many different mount systems. I am also concerned about the AF because everything I have read sounds like the Pentax is slow to focus. My final concern with the K-7 compared to the T2i is the low light performance which sounds like it is poor.

I don't really believe that much in zoom and don't use it unless absolutely necessary (like at a sporting event or concert) so I am expecting that I would like to use a prime lens most of the time and save myself the bulk of the zoom lens unless needed. I see that the canon has some cheapo prime lenses to get you started and there are a number of places that rent lenses for canons which would make it easy to try before committing a lot of money on a lens. The pentax ones I have seen are all fairly expensive and there is much less rental outlets for the lenses.

The reviews I have read make it sound like the pentax is much less user friendly/more complex than the canon. Does anyone have experience with both systems have any insight into this? How easy is it for someone without any photography training to pickup a K-7 and run with it?

What about the AF and the low light? One review I saw said it can take up to a second to get an AF lock on still subjects.

When I read a something about "low light" how low are we talking about? Is it outside at night in a rural area without any lighting? Is it dusk? Is it outside on the street with just street lights and other ambient lights? Is it inside in a 12x12 room with a single lighting fixture/ceiling fan with 4 CFLs (like my nursery)?

Thanks
First off, the first bit of advice that I'm going to give you comes from personal experience of owning nearly every Canon Rebel camera that has ever been made. Don't buy the T2i. Don't buy the newest model because in a year from now it'll be right there with the oldest (the original Rebel, they're kinda grouped all together until the XSi now), so look at the used cameras, if video is a must for you, then the T1i is all that you can get if you want to go Canon, if it's not, then I'd recommend the Rebel XTi, which is an incredible camera that can be had for less than $300 used now, giving you ample room to get some great lenses for your collection.

However, if you want to go with Pentax, then the new K-x costs less than the T2i and has so much more, I don't think you're really going to be happy with the K-7 just yet, maybe as a future upgrade though. The high ISO noise levels of the K-x will blow you away, and you'll probably never want to get rid of it. Remember though, the focus points don't light up in the K-x viewfinder like they do in Canon cameras, because there is no LED screen there, so if you're going to get the K-x (the K-7 has them, though) then you need to be ready for that, along with a smaller and low resolution LCD (most Canon cameras before the T1i had the same thing though). I would personally go with the K-x.
04-16-2010, 06:31 PM   #4
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I don't own a T2i, nor have I handled one, so I will just make a general comment to say that I do think the build quality of Rebel's is average at best. They're not horrible, but neither do they feel terribly sturdy.

That said, I do own a K7. I will tell you that it is a very solid camera. I felt like the K10/20 were solid, this is more so. Its ergonomics are really good, although I would definitely recommend a grip with it. I really don't know the quality of the high iso from the T2i, but the K7 can comfortably shoot to iso 1600 and even iso 3200 if you don't print too big. Auto focus is quite a bit zippier than with past cameras. Definitely depends on the lens as well. Stick a DA 40 or 70 on it and I doubt there is much quicker focusing combo out there. Video is pretty intuitive. I think the T2i gives you more control, but I think the K7 works quite well. Shake reduction on the sensor tends to smooth out motions a lot more in video than IS in the lens. Not sure why.

As far as accessories goes, there are enough. Tamron, Sigma both make their lenses for K mount as well and offer some nice glass to supplement some pretty stellar offerings from Pentax.

I guess I would say that I have two, quite active kids and I have no trouble keeping up with them with my K7. Good luck!





Just a couple of photos of my kids at the playground the other day.

04-16-2010, 09:14 PM   #5
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Let me start off and say thank you for fielding some of these questions.
QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I have not used Canon extensively and own the K20D not the K-7. However, I think I can answer at least some of your queries since I have been around the block a few times with such questions.



You don't beat Pentax for build quality at a lower price point. Anything but the pro level cameras from the other makes are distinctly less robust and will often lack weather-sealing and so on.

Built-in image stabilization, or Shake Reduction (SR) as Pentax calls it, is a huge advantage, and one of the reasons I chose Pentax. Other brands have it as well, but not the big two.
I do see the built-in IS/SR as one of the best points about the pentax over the canons because it seems like it should make lenses more affordable and it does seem like pentax really pours it on with the build quality even at the midrange and that is something I can appreciate even though I don't think I would necessarily be in a situation where weather sealing would come into play.
QuoteQuote:
Well, this is true, but what do you need? Make a list of what you need now and in the foreseeable future. Unless you are doing more than chasing babies I doubt that you will find any brand that cannot supply your gear.
I was thinking a kit lens for the zoom and a nice prime lens would be enough to get me started and take care of my needs for a good long while. What would you recommend for baby chasing. I kind of wanted to get a game plan as far as that goes so that I could estimate my camera expenses before I start down the path to perdition. I am just very confused by the half dozen or so different lines of lenses from pentax not to mention third parties like sigma. Is there a website or something that shows which camera a lens is compatible with?
QuoteQuote:
I don't think it (low light) is poor, though other cameras do better.
Is this something that can be cleaned up in post processing? I have written some scripts for gimp to clean up the shots my camera takes and it does a fairly good job cleaning up indoor shots taken around my house and a few other more common areas where I shoot. To be honest this wasn't my greatest concern because it does feel like something that is "fixable."
QuoteQuote:
One final comment. The Canon EOS 550D is a brand new camera whereas the K-7 is not. In this fast-changing world we can expect a successor to the K-7 that further incrementally improves the feature set and performance. Not that you should wait: if you need a camera now, get a camera now. But I am simply saying that newer cameras will often be better than older ones on a pure feature level.

But Pentax shoots very nice images with a high level of detail and has those beautiful primes... all of which are stabilised.
The main reason I feel like I have outgrown my point is shoot is because it does not shoot video in 16:9 aspect so the videos I have taken so far feel like they are dated and will be really dated when watched 10-20 years from now. And because it is difficult to get a good print 8x10 or larger with only 8 MP, 8x10 comes out nice if the shot was perfectly framed and perfectly level but as soon as you need to rotate and crop I am shot down to 5x7 prints.

I am shying away from the K-x because with only 12 MP because it would bring me up to the next print size (11x14) but it would still face the same problem. with 15 MP k-7 I'm hoping that I might be able to pull of a 12x18 with a great shot and feel comfortable that even with some cropping any shot would come out nicely on either 11x14 or 8x10.

As far as the T1i goes, I think that the screen and other features make the T2i worth the extra $150 bucks.
04-16-2010, 09:54 PM   #6
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The T2i has got better features.

The K-7 is better physically.
04-16-2010, 09:56 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
The main reason I feel like I have outgrown my point is shoot is because it does not shoot video in 16:9 aspect so the videos I have taken so far feel like they are dated and will be really dated when watched 10-20 years from now. And because it is difficult to get a good print 8x10 or larger with only 8 MP, 8x10 comes out nice if the shot was perfectly framed and perfectly level but as soon as you need to rotate and crop I am shot down to 5x7 prints.

I am shying away from the K-x because with only 12 MP because it would bring me up to the next print size (11x14) but it would still face the same problem. with 15 MP k-7 I'm hoping that I might be able to pull of a 12x18 with a great shot and feel comfortable that even with some cropping any shot would come out nicely on either 11x14 or 8x10.

As far as the T1i goes, I think that the screen and other features make the T2i worth the extra $150 bucks.
Without getting into which camera you should buy, I'll point out that 6mp is ample for 8x10 prints.

I have 13x19" prints from my previous camera, the 10mp K2000, hanging on the walls of a couple of local business.

To get good prints, it's as much about the preparation of the image as it is the resolution.
04-16-2010, 11:45 PM   #8
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Various factors come into play when making/taking photographs. In order of importance, they are:

1) the photographer
2) the subject
3) the light
4) the lens
5) the camera

A camera is a box upon which you hang lenses. Everything else is more critical.

I've been shooting for decades; when choosing my first dSLR a couple years ago, I first decided on the lenses I wanted -- and only Pentax had what was most important to me, at a price I could afford. Then I looked at bodies, at tech reviews, but especially at user ratings. Pentax had fewer gripes per dollar. Features are nice, WHEN THEY WORK. Camera bodies are nice, WHEN THEY LAST. Tech evaluations do not equal real-world experience.

It's too easy to be swayed by marketing of camera features. People buy a camera, and then it's OMFG! WHAT AM I GONNA DO NOW? WHAT LENSES SHOULD I BUY? Approach from the other direction. What sorts of pictures do you want to make/take? What lenses will help you do that? What body supports those lenses, and can you afford it, and will you be happy with it for some time?

Too many of those non-Pentax user reports include desires to upgrade as soon as possible. That's the Canikon disease: a crippled cam that leaves the user unsatisfied, driven to buy the Next Best Thing. I can't afford to upgrade. I expect my K20D to keep me happy for a few more years. I suggest you read the user reviews at DpReview.Com before spending money. Good luck.

04-16-2010, 11:51 PM   #9
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The Rebel series cameras after the Rebel XTi are really horrible in build quality. They just feel so plastic and cheap and like they're going to break. I have the XTi right now, which I think is the last really good one, but after that they just go downhill.

The Pentax K-x however probably (never used one) feels just as sturdy and strong as every other Pentax DSLR, so there's another point for Pentax.
04-17-2010, 12:48 AM   #10
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The intended usage of your camera will have an impact on your best choice. If you want to shoot outdoor, and intend to take your camera often outdoor, the weather resistance (WR) of the K-7 is a muist. There are numerous testimonies of Pentaxians on the robustness and WR of the K-7.

4 months ago, I hesitated between the 500D (T1i) and the K-7. I chose the K-7 for its WR features, superb viewfinder and excellent continuous shooting because these are important for my usage.

Last but not the least, I strongly recommend that you go to a store and physically try the camera. You do not want to be disappointed by the camera fit in your hand, its size and its weight.

Hope that the comment will help....
04-17-2010, 04:45 AM   #11
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Assuming you bought the K7, I would get it with the weather sealed kit. Light weight package and the cheapest way to get that coverage weather sealed. I would then add the DA 40mm. Finally, I would get an external flash with a swivel feature. I have a Metz that does this, but Pentax makes one. I think even some cheap Vivitars have this option.

That is where I would start and then add lenses/equipment as you need it. Eventually when your kid is playing sports, you'll want a 70-200 f2.8 lens, but you'll have some time to save for that...
04-17-2010, 05:12 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
I was thinking a kit lens for the zoom and a nice prime lens would be enough to get me started and take care of my needs for a good long while.
I agree. Get yourself something like a fast 50 to go with the kit and then just take pictures for a few months... or a year. Only then will you learn the camera, the lenses, the limitations, etc. Too many people rush into buying lenses without knowing why. This can be gratifying in the short term but one runs the risk of becoming jaded... and broke!

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
What would you recommend for baby chasing.
My babies are of the four-legged variety -- I need to be able to respond quickly. I hate zooms for that. It is enough to think about composition, light, exposure, focus etc. without also needing to pull or push on a zoom ring. Also, primes tend to be faster in terms of light so you can get better shots inside or in poor light.

I use the FA43 which is incredible but has the limit of not-so-near close focus. The DA35 gives more width and can focus anywhere, but is not great for manual focus and is slower. The FA31 is excellent but larger and so expensive you may not want to have babies crashing into it. There are lots of choices and lots of threads to read up on.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
I am just very confused by the half dozen or so different lines of lenses from pentax not to mention third parties like sigma. Is there a website or something that shows which camera a lens is compatible with?
They all work. That is the beauty of Pentax. All older lenses work with newer bodies. The only possible problem is if you have an old body from before SDM and buy an SDM lens. But if you are buying a new body there is no issue at all.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
Is this something that can be cleaned up in post processing?
I own NoiseNinja but you know what? I don't bother using it any more. I like the noise from the camera as it is quite natural. One can shoot at high ISO and get great images so long as your exposure is correct.

QuoteOriginally posted by mikemike Quote
I am shying away from the K-x because with only 12 MP because it would bring me up to the next print size (11x14) but it would still face the same problem. with 15 MP k-7 I'm hoping that I might be able to pull of a 12x18 with a great shot and feel comfortable that even with some cropping any shot would come out nicely on either 11x14 or 8x10.
There is no noticeable difference between 12MP and 15MP. In fact there is no noticeable difference between my 6MP Pentax and 15MP 99% of the time. In order to get distinctly better than 12MP think about doubling to 24MP!

I have used 6MP images and cropped them in half on A3 posters with no problem at all. So that's a full bleed A2. They look fantastic, or so everyone says.

EDIT: Er, sorry, not sure about imperial measures. They are so annoying!
04-17-2010, 07:35 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Various factors come into play when making/taking photographs. In order of importance, they are:

1) the photographer
2) the subject
3) the light
4) the lens
5) the camera
The first two are pretty much fixed variables. I could take some photography classes, but time is my most limited resource at the moment and for the foreseeable future.
Lighting is another issue that it seems like it is difficult to control because I don't have the space or time and I don't know that I have the stomach to spend money on some fancy lights. Although going from point and shoot to DSLR should give me more options as far as lighting that is built into the camera goes and maybe I should research this before I make the jump.
I've seen that the lens makes a world of difference but it won't do much good on an incompatible camera. The camera and lens are also the most expensive decision to make so it kind of sucks the air out of the room when it comes time to make a decision on these.

QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
I agree. Get yourself something like a fast 50 to go with the kit and then just take pictures for a few months... or a year. Only then will you learn the camera, the lenses, the limitations, etc. Too many people rush into buying lenses without knowing why. This can be gratifying in the short term but one runs the risk of becoming jaded... and broke!

My babies are of the four-legged variety -- I need to be able to respond quickly. I hate zooms for that. It is enough to think about composition, light, exposure, focus etc. without also needing to pull or push on a zoom ring. Also, primes tend to be faster in terms of light so you can get better shots inside or in poor light.

I use the FA43 which is incredible but has the limit of not-so-near close focus. The DA35 gives more width and can focus anywhere, but is not great for manual focus and is slower. The FA31 is excellent but larger and so expensive you may not want to have babies crashing into it. There are lots of choices and lots of threads to read up on.

They all work. That is the beauty of Pentax. All older lenses work with newer bodies. The only possible problem is if you have an old body from before SDM and buy an SDM lens. But if you are buying a new body there is no issue at all.

I own NoiseNinja but you know what? I don't bother using it any more. I like the noise from the camera as it is quite natural. One can shoot at high ISO and get great images so long as your exposure is correct.

There is no noticeable difference between 12MP and 15MP. In fact there is no noticeable difference between my 6MP Pentax and 15MP 99% of the time. In order to get distinctly better than 12MP think about doubling to 24MP!

I have used 6MP images and cropped them in half on A3 posters with no problem at all. So that's a full bleed A2. They look fantastic, or so everyone says.

EDIT: Er, sorry, not sure about imperial measures. They are so annoying!
I've got the 4 legged fur babies too

So it sounds like something in the 35-50 mm range. I will go take a look in the lens forum.

As far as prints go, I try to aim for at least 200 ppi for prints but ideally 300+. I hate wasting money and don't even want to find out how upset I would be if sent something out for a $10-20 print and it came back pixelated. Maybe I am just jaded by my experience with point and shoot cameras. But it does seem that not all MP are created equally especially when you step up sensor sizes. I have printed out a couple of pictures from my camera phone (3 MP) and seriously questioned whether it was worth the $.10 for a 4x6.
04-17-2010, 07:55 AM   #14
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The T2i in Canon is still the Rebel series, which is the beginner dslr tier camera, whereas the K-7 is the mid-tier camera (comparable to 50D or 7D). Aside from the price point which is similar at this point, they are targeted for different groups of users. Don't know if you mind, but some people do..

Last edited by aleonx3; 04-17-2010 at 08:50 AM.
04-17-2010, 08:06 AM   #15
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I'll also point out that the resolution of the T2i is high enough that diffraction will become a major headache... only the very best lenses would be about to get the most out of an over stuffed sensor like that.
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