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12-09-2010, 01:22 PM   #1
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Pondering an upgrade from K100D

I've been shooting with my K100D since 2007. I think I'm finally ready for an upgrade, and I see a plethora of options, but I could use some help settling on a path.

Here is what is important to me:

(1) Faster AF, particularly in low light. Let's face it: for all its charms and virtue, the K100d has pretty slow AF, and in low light (i.e., natural light shots of my kids in my house), it is almost worthless. This is my most important consideration.

(2) More megapixels. I never print above 8x11, but I want the freedom to crop. Considering I shoot often at higher isos (800-1600 is very frequent), I'm pretty limited with how much I can crop. Any upgrade option will give me enough MPs, however.

(3) Good high iso jpegs. The high iso of the K100d is sufficient for my needs, but who wouldn't want better high iso if is available. I shoot 800 without hesitation with the K100d, and don't think much about going to 1600. An increase in this deparment would be good, but I could live with an upgrade that was a lateral move.

(4) I want video, but for the right price, I could live without it.

(5) Better viewfinder. Would appreciate the better viewfinder of the K20D, K7, K5 variety, but not essential or terribly important. I pretty much suck at manual focusing, and I don't think a better viewfinder will make all that much difference, but maybe I'm wrong.

(6) External controls. k100d is my only DSLR, and I have no idea if I will appreciate the better control scheme/handling of the enthusiast models. Probably, but I won't miss what I've never had.

(7) Top LCD/Focus indicators: I suspect I wouldn't care if these were missing.

Financially, I can swing a k20D, KX, KR, or K7 now or in the very near future. As much as I'd love a K5 (would tick all my boxes and keep me content for something like ever), I can't justify the price right now.

Specific questions:

(1) does the KX improve significantly on the K100d focusing speed, particularly in low light? No AF assist lamp makes me leery of this one. How much faster is the AF in the K7 and KR, over the K100d?

(2) does K7 have equal high iso performance to the K100d? I know this topic has been discussed ad naseum, but I can't seem to find a direct high iso comparison between these two models. If they are high iso equals, I'd be tempted to grab a used K7. I shoot about 50% RAW and 50% jpeg. I know the K7 does high iso better in RAW, but I don't want to lose the ability to shoot a useable 1600 jpeg. I rarely shoot below F/2.8.

Thanks for reading my longwinded post, and thanks for your thoughts!

12-09-2010, 01:42 PM   #2
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External controls are nice but not exactly necessary, imho. Top LCD is something that i really miss from K100d, but most people seems to not care that much. I'd say I'm in the minority. Upgrading the viewfinder is better with the O-ME or KPS rather than the jump to pentaprism, but of course having both would be best.

Specific questions:

1. K-r~K-7>K-x. K-x AF IS a significant improvement from K100d though, even without the AF assist. (I have both)

2. Just basing on how people usually say K-7 is only slightly worse than K20d, I'd say K-7 is a little better than K100D. Someone that jumped from these two specific models could probably chime in more though. K-x vs K100d is no contest though. K-x can make K100d cry at high ISOs.

I'd say get either the K-7 or K-x right now, K-x if you really want high ISO (usable up to 2500, and up to 6400 in the right conditions), K-7 if you really want to know how it feels to use a camera that handles like real pro tool

PS. Do you have a rather big-bodied favourite lens? My 28-75 does not balance all that well on the K-x. That lens felt like it was made to mate with the K100d. I suspect this is much better with K-7.

PS2. I like the K100d colors and ergo WAYYY better than K-x. I went with the K-x because I need the high ISO and couldn't afford a K-7 (it's not giving me enough high ISO anyway)

Last edited by Andi Lo; 12-09-2010 at 01:49 PM.
12-09-2010, 01:57 PM   #3
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I would suggest (as I always would) get the best you can afford. I Loved using my K7, I really did, but there were some places where it just couldn't get the job done, particularly in your natural light family criteria. Those are very well documented on the web as well as here at PF (and the other place too). What I would suggest you do is continue saving the dimes. At some point in the not too distant (time-wise) the K5 is going to be available for what you have to spend.

12-09-2010, 02:05 PM   #4
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I upgraded from the *ist DS to the K-7, so starting from the same sensor as the K100D.

I did some side-by-side AF testing in low light. The K-7 is at least twice as fast (perceived, not precisely measured) even in light that doesn't activate the assist lamp. The DS was not as accurate either. AF on the DS was bad enough to rarely use it, on the K-7 I use it a lot. I haven't chased a kid around with it, but it's definitely better.

High ISO, my opinion after some testing is that the K-7 is one stop better initially, and responds better to even basic NR software, so maybe another stop there too. The JPEG engine in the camera does way better with high ISO than the DS, but the DS had a below-average JPEG engine to begin with. Again, a feature that I avoided on the DS, now actually using on the K-7. My findings seem to be a bit below the forum consensus.

I bought the K-7 over K-x because of the controls and extras. I don't think they are desperately needed. I didn't want to read about someone using a wired remote and think "damn, don't have that." It's tough to decide what price premium the extras are worth. It took me a while to adapt to the second wheel. I bet I could do without the top LCD, and I've never used focus indicators.

The viewfinder difference is not big enough to notice back to back, every time I try. Video works I guess; still waiting for an idea of what to shoot.

Hope that helps.

12-09-2010, 02:07 PM   #5
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Andi -- what do you mean you like the K100d colors more than the KX? You mean the colors it produces in images, presumably? How so?

My most used lenses are small -- a DA 40 2.8 and a 50A 1.7.

Jeff -- saving my dimes for the K5 is the most reasonable thing to do, but its also the hardest, especially when I miss great shot after great shot because the AF sucks! I appreciate the encouragement, though!
12-09-2010, 02:29 PM   #6
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The classic Sony 6Mp CCD sensor renders a special quality in the colours that we haven't seen since. Perhaps the K-5's 16Mp CMOS sensor does well in that regard, but there's a touch of colour magic those old CCD sensors have.

You want high speed AF and good ISO 1600 results, the K-5 or K-r are the way to go. The K-r will do better than the K-7 but of course not have the top LCD and extra e-dial. The K-r may not be a noticeable upgrade in extra features to the K100D but if they're not important to you then the K-r should do the job for you. Otherwise the K-5 is the only other logical choice as the K-7's high ISO performance is not a great deal better than that of your K100D.

Last edited by Ash; 12-09-2010 at 07:07 PM.
12-09-2010, 02:44 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
The classic Sony 6Mp CCD sensor renders a special quality in the colours that we haven't seen since. Perhaps the K-5's 16Mp CMOS sensor does well I'm those regard, but there's a touch of colour magic those old CCD sensors have.
Ash already described it quite well here. K-x just can't produce the colors that my k100d renders. I'm sure that it can be photoshopped to be similar, but the K100d requires less work to get to those 'special' colors.

I've used K-x, K10d, and K100d. I've grown to like the K-x colors but I still like K100d colors best. K100d + pentax lenses is just magic. K10d is the most filmlike of the three. So far I'm really impressed with the K-5 colors though (exact opposite of my initial reaction to K-x colors).

Don't get me wrong though, the colors are still nice, it's just not the k100d that I know and love for two years+. Whether this matters or not depends on your workflow imo.

Last edited by Andi Lo; 12-09-2010 at 02:51 PM.
12-09-2010, 05:35 PM   #8
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Thanks for clarifying, Andi. I do love the keepers I get from my K100d -- the IQ (when I nail the shot) has never been the issue. Its nailing the shot that is becoming frustrating!

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