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07-03-2011, 10:58 AM   #1
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Thinking of switching back to pentax from a canon

Or more specifically, running 2 systems to reap the benefits of both.


I was a long time pentax shooter, film, and then an ist DL- but sold my pentax kit and switched to a canon pro rig when I started to shoot assignments- I was gifted a canon 1dmk3 (lucky me I thought at the time)

Although the camera is great and it impresses clients with it's heft and image quality, i'm finding I only ever bring it out if i'm being paid to do so. So my personal photography has gone out the window as it's just no fun to carry it around unless there's a heavy lens on it to balance out the weight.

The problem with canon is that it's a system designed for full frame, the best of canon's lenses are huge, heavy, and expensive- canon and inconspicuous are words not heard together very often. Unlike pentax with it's LTD lenses, and comparatively small 50-135 telephoto

the problem with full frame is that you have to work so hard to make every image, you can get a better (in certain aspects) image out of a FF cam but you need more light (which can easily double the amount of lighting required for a shoot) and lack of depth of field hinders more often than helps






I am planning to get a second body that I can take with me everywhere (and I mean everywhere), get great shots (document my life and improve my general shooting awareness) and not get asked 'what paper i'm shooting for' every time i'm out and about with the camera. It would be nice if the second body was up to pro standard and could reliably be used on assignment, and if it could be used for video (we have access to 550d's for video but the more cameras we can have rolling the more coverage we can get).

I have limited the choice down to the fuji x100, an olympus pen (any model), 60d/600d/5dmk2 or pentax k5






The canons would probably be a logical option, but the 600d AF sucks in low light, the viewfinder is tiny, the shutter sound is annoying and the camera is ugly. Good IQ though, and lens compatibility. Wireless flash control, but feels uncomfortable in the hand

The 60d is a fine camera- maybe a little big for a takearound, but I used to take my DL everywhere so maybe the 1d has just killed my love for a d-slr. Also has wireless flash control and fits my hand like a glove

5dmk2- full frame (pro's and con's), 21mp (I am seeing the limitation of printing 10mp files as I work in advertising so my work is often printed poster size), great video but no 60fps. Big, heavy, pro looking. Could probably sell my 1d to use the 5d instead.

The x100 is small enough for me to take everywhere, and good looking enough to go with my hipster look (), but the lack of interchangeable lenses is killing me, I'm just not sure I like a 35mm focal length- and i'd like to be able to carry a 90mm around with me in my other pocket. The leica m8 was an option, until I saw the price, and it doesn't shoot video. The x100 does shoot video but with no manual focus during shooting (WTF) and only 720 (would be ok for 720 steadycam work though)

Pentax k5- 1080 video, great IQ, looks sexy, silent shutter, ltd lenses and 50-135, tiny wr macro lens. Most lenses not silent focus, no wide angle weather sealed lenses. Fits my hand. I've heard bad things about the live view display though- although it seemed ok to me.

Olympus pen- no viewfinder, too small, uncomfortable to hold, looks amateurish (could be a good thing). 2 lovely new zuiko lenses released with LTD level build quality. I'd really have to spend more time with this camera to see if I like it.






So my questions- I know pentax has always lagged behind in AF performance, but has anyone tested the k5 against a canon in low light? Because if it has similar performance to a 600d then it would be unacceptable to me.

As far as I can see the only weather sealed lenses are mostly bigger zooms, and there is no sealing on the LTD lenses, nor is there a sealed ultra wide zoom

video quality- how does the quality stack up against the canon's- I know there's no 60fps, but I can live with 25p instead of 24, and i've got plenty of HDD space so IQ is more important to me than a space eficient codec. How well does IS work in video?

Flash and flash sync- how does wireless flash work on the pentax system, is the pentax wireless flash system any good? (I currently use canon flashes but triggered manually using radio triggers, I planned on getting a e-ttl compatible trigger system but decided against it). Is the flash sync really only 1/180 on the k5? That seems slow, can you use high speed sync with pentax to shoot faster than 1/180?



If I was to use pentax as a casual system I would get:
k5 and use my 28mm for a while, then get
15 ltd
31 ltd
100mm wr
50-135 (maybe)

and the canon would fill in with
17-40 (wide angle wr zoom)
85mm portrait
150mm macro (if it won against the 100wr, could be replaced with a 135mm f2)
and maybe a wide angle tilt shift down the line if I shoot more architecture


My current lens line up is:
sigma 15-30 which was just sold to make way for a canon 17-40
canon 85mm 1.8
sigma 150mm macro 2.8 (which is also a potential sale item)


and some manual focus lenses
pentax 28mm f2.8 (tiny)
helios 44 58mm (just for fun really)
zeiss 135mm f3.5 (love how compact it is)

I have a gap in the 50mm range, and i'm looking for a 70-200- although the canon f4 is too slow, and the 2.8 too big

Canon lenses are so expensive that a pentax system could fill in those 2 lens gaps and provide better value for my shooting needs, I think my heart says pentax, but my professional requirements say canon...


I'm not sure if this makes any sense, I will try to condense it


Last edited by clark; 07-03-2011 at 11:30 AM.
07-03-2011, 11:38 AM   #2
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Pentax K-5 vs. Canon 600d AF speed

QuoteOriginally posted by clark Quote
So my questions- I know pentax has always lagged behind in AF performance, but has anyone tested the k5 against a canon in low light? Because if it has similar performance to a 600d then it would be unacceptable to me.
Popular Photography runs AF speed tests across several light levels. The K-5 is a little faster in bright light (EV6 and above) and somewhat slower in lower light. Some say that the Pentax AF is more accurate, but I don't really know about that.

Lab Test: Canon EOS Rebel T3i | Popular Photography
Pentax K-5 | Popular Photography

I assume those measurements are with the kit lens. Lens motors and focus throw has some impact on AF speed.

Regards,
--Anders.
07-03-2011, 11:46 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by asp1880 Quote
Popular Photography runs AF speed tests across several light levels. The K-5 is a little faster in bright light (EV6 and above) and somewhat slower in lower light. Some say that the Pentax AF is more accurate, but I don't really know about that.

Lab Test: Canon EOS Rebel T3i | Popular Photography
Pentax K-5 | Popular Photography

I assume those measurements are with the kit lens. Lens motors and focus throw has some impact on AF speed.

Regards,
--Anders.
Thanks- i've been spending so much time in my local camera store that I think I have overstayed my welcome. I'm moving house soon though so that will give me some more time to play with the camera in store so I can do a proper side by side test.


I'm also going to throw a gh2/g3 into the mix too
07-03-2011, 11:59 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by clark Quote

The problem with canon is that it's a system designed for full frame, the best of canon's lenses are huge, heavy, and expensive- canon and inconspicuous are words not heard together very often. Unlike pentax with it's LTD lenses, and comparatively small 50-135 telephoto

the problem with full frame is that you have to work so hard to make every image, you can get a better (in certain aspects) image out of a FF cam but you need more light (which can easily double the amount of lighting required for a shoot) and lack of depth of field hinders more often than helps

This is exactly what a professional photographer I know laments as well. He gets tired of dragging around the heavy Canon body and lenses. He does nature scenes (and is very good), but he also takes shots for our high school soccer teams and makes slideshows for the parents (very cool guy).

One day he noticed me taking shots of my son who is also on the team and asked me what I was using. I told him, ironically enough, that I was using a Pentax *istDL and a cheap, old manual focus 50-200 (a Kiron I got on Ebay for about $25!....actually not that bad of a lens for that price).....and he mentioned that he thought it must be difficult to manually focus and get a lot of good shots for soccer. I said it was, but that the low light issues of the DL and this lens was the bigger problem (I had to stop shooting at dusk because I couldn't get a fast enough shutter speed at the lower ISO's and the noise was too much at the higher end). He asked me to send some of my shots to him and he was impressed enough to ask me to help him out with shots for the slideshow.

Then I bought a K-r and two kit lens......and now have very good AF (and with the SR I can get by using a monopod instead of using a tripod with a ball head). I get very consistent results using AF-C and can now use higher ISO's with great results......and I still send him the shots. I am sure he is amazed at how much of an improvement the K-r is from the DL (though I still have that DL and use it for low ISO landscapes) and wishes he had something smaller for his soccer shots. He says he doesn't even want to shoot much anymore with his current set up. I am so happy I bought the K-r.....it was the best purchase on any product I have ever made.

07-03-2011, 03:13 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by clark Quote
Flash and flash sync- how does wireless flash work on the pentax system, is the pentax wireless flash system any good? (I currently use canon flashes but triggered manually using radio triggers, I planned on getting a e-ttl compatible trigger system but decided against it). Is the flash sync really only 1/180 on the k5? That seems slow, can you use high speed sync with pentax to shoot faster than 1/180?
I have a K200d and a AF360 flash. The sync speed on the K200d is also 1/180, but the flash have an option to use high speed sync, so I can use any shutter speed, so I think the K5 must be capable too. It have wireless sync too, but can't recall at the moment if it's on wireless it can do the high speed sync or not.

I think if you want a new camera for your personal photos, that can be carried anywhere and fit in your pocket, maybe just a point & shoot is sufficient. A Pentax WP-1 for instance, don't have one, but it looks very versatile.

For me, the main problem switchig systems (not that i have changed, i'm a lifetime pentax user) or using two different systems, is the interfaces. Specialy canon v/s other brands, the wheels and shutter are in a very strange position (for me at least, playing with friend's canons and nikons) but if your main goal is to have a very compact and low cost lenses system (note the diference between "low cost" and "cheap") the K5 is a very good way to achieve that goal.

Your professional needs say canon (you have one). For my personal life I would listen to my heart
07-03-2011, 04:29 PM   #6
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I understand what you are saying completely. It is the reason why so many photographers end up getting a small camera (EVIL, etc) as a second system, when their primary gear is so big. I would say that the K5 is significantly better with regard to auto focus than preceding Pentax cameras, but still probably lags behind Canon in lower light settings.

SDM lenses do tend to lag a bit more.

Flash sync is 1/180 second. The one thing that helps is that base iso on the K5 is 80 and so that gets you an extra half stop compared to cameras that have base iso of 100.

Video looks really good, but there are no manual settings for video, unlike Canon. I actually prefer the uncompressed Pentax files over the H.264 files so many cameras use to record video.
07-03-2011, 05:45 PM   #7
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Personally, I would wait. The K5 & Kr are great cameras, but they seem to have some quality control problems. If you really want back into the smaller bodies of the Pentax system soon, then I guess you'll just have to purchase some lenses, a body, thoroughly examine and exchange them if you find any problems.

There's also the big question about Ricoh's future direction now that they own Pentax. I wonder what will happen with the K5 and Kr replacements that are probably in development now. Perhaps they might order them scrapped altogether and start afresh on the K3(?) and Ks(?) body? Perhaps they might just let them go and put more of their ideas into the next model? Maybe they'll concentrate on the 645D MKII or even start development on a full frame body? Who outside of Pentax technical development knows for sure. It might be better to wait and see where they're going before you invest in Pentax all over again. Until they bring up some specific plans, things are uncertain.

One thing's for sure, they need a wider selection of lenses especially at the tele and super tele end.
07-03-2011, 08:19 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ccd333 Quote
Then I bought a K-r and two kit lens......and now have very good AF (and with the SR I can get by using a monopod instead of using a tripod with a ball head). I get very consistent results using AF-C and can now use higher ISO's with great results......and I still send him the shots. I am sure he is amazed at how much of an improvement the K-r is from the DL (though I still have that DL and use it for low ISO landscapes) and wishes he had something smaller for his soccer shots. He says he doesn't even want to shoot much anymore with his current set up. I am so happy I bought the K-r.....it was the best purchase on any product I have ever made.
The KR- i'll have to add that to my list as well, a great price- although as I understand it, it doesn't have the silent shutter of the k7/k5?

QuoteOriginally posted by Warpig Quote
I have a K200d and a AF360 flash. The sync speed on the K200d is also 1/180, but the flash have an option to use high speed sync, so I can use any shutter speed, so I think the K5 must be capable too. It have wireless sync too, but can't recall at the moment if it's on wireless it can do the high speed sync or not.

I think if you want a new camera for your personal photos, that can be carried anywhere and fit in your pocket, maybe just a point & shoot is sufficient. A Pentax WP-1 for instance, don't have one, but it looks very versatile.

For me, the main problem switchig systems (not that i have changed, i'm a lifetime pentax user) or using two different systems, is the interfaces. Specialy canon v/s other brands, the wheels and shutter are in a very strange position (for me at least, playing with friend's canons and nikons) but if your main goal is to have a very compact and low cost lenses system (note the diference between "low cost" and "cheap") the K5 is a very good way to achieve that goal.

Your professional needs say canon (you have one). For my personal life I would listen to my heart
I think m4/3 is the minimum sensor size i'd like to go, in fact that would be quite nice to shoot full frame 5d and m4/3, would make focal length calculation a snap
After looking at the price of a 31ltd it doesn't seem so 'low cost' anymore, and no silent motor. I'd really need to handle one to see how it feels during manual focus, i'm sure it's lovely. If this would be be incognito setup, i'd really need it to be totally silent, or at least inaudiable from 5 feet away.

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote

Video looks really good, but there are no manual settings for video, unlike Canon. I actually prefer the uncompressed Pentax files over the H.264 files so many cameras use to record video.
No manual settings? Is there not a workaround though?

QuoteOriginally posted by HawaiianOnline Quote
There's also the big question about Ricoh's future direction now that they own Pentax. I wonder what will happen with the K5 and Kr replacements that are probably in development now.
Excellent point
well i'm in no hurry to purchase now as i'm flat broke and will be for a while I guess. I really hope they stick with the k5/k7 body, I love it, and it looks so elegant

I would say that they need a small WR wide angle lens to sit under the 16-50, maybe tokina could license them their 11-16 f2.8?

07-03-2011, 11:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by clark Quote
The KR- i'll have to add that to my list as well, a great price- although as I understand it, it doesn't have the silent shutter of the k7/k5?

No it does not. I rather like the positive sound feedback, but for museums, weddings, etc. might not be so good. Though I will say it's quite a bit quieter than my DL and somewhat quieter than the K-x.
07-04-2011, 12:50 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by clark Quote
Or more specifically, running 2 systems to reap the benefits of both.


I was a long time pentax shooter, film, and then an ist DL- but sold my pentax kit and switched to a canon pro rig when I started to shoot assignments- I was gifted a canon 1dmk3 (lucky me I thought at the time)

Although the camera is great and it impresses clients with it's heft and image quality, i'm finding I only ever bring it out if i'm being paid to do so. So my personal photography has gone out the window as it's just no fun to carry it around unless there's a heavy lens on it to balance out the weight.

The problem with canon is that it's a system designed for full frame, the best of canon's lenses are huge, heavy, and expensive- canon and inconspicuous are words not heard together very often. Unlike pentax with it's LTD lenses, and comparatively small 50-135 telephoto

the problem with full frame is that you have to work so hard to make every image, you can get a better (in certain aspects) image out of a FF cam but you need more light (which can easily double the amount of lighting required for a shoot) and lack of depth of field hinders more often than helps






I am planning to get a second body that I can take with me everywhere (and I mean everywhere), get great shots (document my life and improve my general shooting awareness) and not get asked 'what paper i'm shooting for' every time i'm out and about with the camera. It would be nice if the second body was up to pro standard and could reliably be used on assignment, and if it could be used for video (we have access to 550d's for video but the more cameras we can have rolling the more coverage we can get).

I have limited the choice down to the fuji x100, an olympus pen (any model), 60d/600d/5dmk2 or pentax k5






The canons would probably be a logical option, but the 600d AF sucks in low light, the viewfinder is tiny, the shutter sound is annoying and the camera is ugly. Good IQ though, and lens compatibility. Wireless flash control, but feels uncomfortable in the hand

The 60d is a fine camera- maybe a little big for a takearound, but I used to take my DL everywhere so maybe the 1d has just killed my love for a d-slr. Also has wireless flash control and fits my hand like a glove

5dmk2- full frame (pro's and con's), 21mp (I am seeing the limitation of printing 10mp files as I work in advertising so my work is often printed poster size), great video but no 60fps. Big, heavy, pro looking. Could probably sell my 1d to use the 5d instead.

The x100 is small enough for me to take everywhere, and good looking enough to go with my hipster look (), but the lack of interchangeable lenses is killing me, I'm just not sure I like a 35mm focal length- and i'd like to be able to carry a 90mm around with me in my other pocket. The leica m8 was an option, until I saw the price, and it doesn't shoot video. The x100 does shoot video but with no manual focus during shooting (WTF) and only 720 (would be ok for 720 steadycam work though)

Pentax k5- 1080 video, great IQ, looks sexy, silent shutter, ltd lenses and 50-135, tiny wr macro lens. Most lenses not silent focus, no wide angle weather sealed lenses. Fits my hand. I've heard bad things about the live view display though- although it seemed ok to me.

Olympus pen- no viewfinder, too small, uncomfortable to hold, looks amateurish (could be a good thing). 2 lovely new zuiko lenses released with LTD level build quality. I'd really have to spend more time with this camera to see if I like it.






So my questions- I know pentax has always lagged behind in AF performance, but has anyone tested the k5 against a canon in low light? Because if it has similar performance to a 600d then it would be unacceptable to me.

As far as I can see the only weather sealed lenses are mostly bigger zooms, and there is no sealing on the LTD lenses, nor is there a sealed ultra wide zoom

video quality- how does the quality stack up against the canon's- I know there's no 60fps, but I can live with 25p instead of 24, and i've got plenty of HDD space so IQ is more important to me than a space eficient codec. How well does IS work in video?

Flash and flash sync- how does wireless flash work on the pentax system, is the pentax wireless flash system any good? (I currently use canon flashes but triggered manually using radio triggers, I planned on getting a e-ttl compatible trigger system but decided against it). Is the flash sync really only 1/180 on the k5? That seems slow, can you use high speed sync with pentax to shoot faster than 1/180?



If I was to use pentax as a casual system I would get:
k5 and use my 28mm for a while, then get
15 ltd
31 ltd
100mm wr
50-135 (maybe)

and the canon would fill in with
17-40 (wide angle wr zoom)
85mm portrait
150mm macro (if it won against the 100wr, could be replaced with a 135mm f2)
and maybe a wide angle tilt shift down the line if I shoot more architecture


My current lens line up is:
sigma 15-30 which was just sold to make way for a canon 17-40
canon 85mm 1.8
sigma 150mm macro 2.8 (which is also a potential sale item)


and some manual focus lenses
pentax 28mm f2.8 (tiny)
helios 44 58mm (just for fun really)
zeiss 135mm f3.5 (love how compact it is)

I have a gap in the 50mm range, and i'm looking for a 70-200- although the canon f4 is too slow, and the 2.8 too big

Canon lenses are so expensive that a pentax system could fill in those 2 lens gaps and provide better value for my shooting needs, I think my heart says pentax, but my professional requirements say canon...


I'm not sure if this makes any sense, I will try to condense it

You are really way over thinking this. If size is your main concern then the new EP-3 would be my choice. Test shot appear to be better than the K-7, but not on the K-5 level. Buy a m4/3 adapter and keep using all your MF glass.

K-5 is a great camera, but if you are coming from Canon you will find the AF somewhat frustrating. The center AF point is the size of a golf ball and grabs everything in that area, but what you want to focus on. VF on the 1D3 is significantly better.

Just buy a 7D and some glass.... Or wait a couple of months for the 7DII to roll out this Spring.
07-04-2011, 01:18 AM   #11
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This might prove an interesting read for you:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/non-pentax-cameras-canon-nikon-etc/150566...omparison.html

If you want the video performance, stick to canon. Otherwise, I'd say that the Pentax can definitely do a solid job
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