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06-27-2011, 12:38 AM   #1
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I have no camera and don't know which way to go

For various reasons right now I don't own any camera or lenses. I shoot landscape photographs and don't intend to print over 16x20". For the time being 8x10" will be the normal print size that I will do.

I've already owned a Canon 5D MKII with L glass and Sony A850 with Zeiss glass. My first DSLR however was a Pentax IstDs.

I will be buying two cameras, one for the landscape work and the other to film and photograph our trips for marketing reasons. It will also serve as a backup if the need arises. I don't really shoot wider than 35mm (on full frame) normally.

With all that said I'm looking at the following systems:

2x Pentax K5
Pentax 16-50mm /2.8
Pentax 35mm /2.8

Sony A850
Sony A33
Zeiss 24-70mm /2.8
Sony 30mm /2.8

Canon 5D MKII
Canon 550D
Canon 24-105mm /4
Sigma 30mm /1.4

Each system costs much the same with the Canon being the most expensive. My fiancee likes to shoot macro flower photographs which is why I have put macro lenses in there.

At the print sizes I've mentioned I really have to wonder if the full frame, high resolution cameras will really look any better than the Pentax K5.

Advantages to the Pentax are that we'd have two well built, light, small, weather resistant, video capable bodies which can share batteries, lenses and cards.

The Sony would have the best image quality of the bunch and is the cheapest of all three.

The Canon has video with full manual controls in both cameras and the widest array of lenses.

I'm sorry this is so long winded, but, it is what I've narrowed my choices down to and I feel somewhat stuck. I'd love to hear any ideas or thinking from other people which might help me make a decision.

06-27-2011, 01:42 AM   #2
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Personally, i would go with the sony if faced with that sort of situation. My reasoning for that is this: the zeiss 24-70mm shows the least amount of barrel distortion at it's widest angle of the three standard zooms and is a really sharp lens to boot, which is great for your intended use of landscape work. Also, the high resolution of the sony a850 means that if you do go and print at really large print sizes, you do not have to sacrifice too much dpi. Also, the sony a33 will probably be the most useful video camera to me, as it provides AF in movie mode and offers plenty of video controls and compression formats. To me, this means that its much more noob friendly video-wise since I'm not much of a video person

with that being said, my heart goes out to the k-5 setup, despite my brain saying otherwise. good luck with your decision!
06-27-2011, 02:26 AM   #3
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Not sure about the others, but the grip for the K5 can take AA batteries. Could be useful, especially if 'our trips' take you somewhere a bit remote. It seems AA batteries can be obtained just about anywhere. Ok, maybe not up the Amazon...

Two identical bodies makes sense - no faffing about with different controls, etc.

Bit of an inconsistancy in your various lens ranges, especially if you take crop factor into account.
06-27-2011, 04:45 AM   #4
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The K-5 should suffice resolution-wise, and is great for low ISO landscapes.
FF would be nice to have for those sweeping wide angle views, but you will be paying considerably more for what you could get in Pentax APS-C.
I wouldn't be swaying you one way or another here. You can't go wrong whichever way you go, but I've found the K-5 meeting up to the needs you're after, and could save you some dough you could put towards even more lenses.

06-27-2011, 05:59 AM   #5
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If video is important to you, I would not go with the Pentax.
06-27-2011, 06:15 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by pjtn Quote
For various reasons right now I don't own any camera or lenses. I shoot landscape photographs and don't intend to print over 16x20". For the time being 8x10" will be the normal print size that I will do.
Print size saves you, so your question is easy to answer, a CCD sensor K200D and DA 16-45mm, will cost you about $1000US or less, new.
Or K5 + FA 20-35mm F4 or FA 20mm or 24mm will do lot better if you can find any of these lenses.
06-27-2011, 07:00 AM   #7
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Nowadays, the main advantages of FF over HF / APS-C are thinner DOF and wider AOV at any specific focal length. But these qualities can be obtained with modern lenses on APS-C also, at lower cost. An additional advantage, of Canon anyway, is their professional services program, which Pentax and Sony can't match. I've read that Sony may not stay in the FF market; future support may be unavailable. That's too bad, because the A850 is the most affordable FF.

Image size is not an issue; K5 pictures can be printed to 16x20in with great resolution. You could verify this by test-shooting, assuming dealers of your candidate cameras are accessible to you. If you *needed* immense resolution for immense prints, the MF Pentax 645D is an option, beyond anything Canon or Nikon can offer. Alas, it costs rather more.

I would not approach this decision based on recommendations and specifications. Given the expense, I would test-shoot and -print the candidates, just as I test-drive autos before making a purchase.

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