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07-16-2011, 05:53 PM   #1
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Own a K20D - second body options?

I've had my K20D for ~6 months now and just love it. I will never part with it if I don't have to.

I kind of have the itch for a K-5, but not that bad. I've been experimenting with higher ISO's with the K20D and have been fairly pleased.

I have myself on a strict "toy" budget which my photo gear falls under. I've just about used that up for this year buying my K20D and assorted lenses. Because of this, the K-5 is out of the question for this year. My plan would have been to buy a K-5 and keep my K20D as a backup.

Today I felt the need for a second body. I spend a lot of time with my Sigma 170-500 on a tripod down at the river. A couple times now, something will sneak up near or behind me where I don't have time or want to chance too much movement to take the unit off the tripod to get the shot. Also, I am working with too long a lens for anything close to me. If I had a second camera with a shorter lens at my side, I could have taken the shot.

So, my dilemma.....I just can't do the K-5 this year. So, I was looking at a used K-x as a second body. I read through the user manual and now have second thoughts. I feel now that I might be frustrated with the K-x as it seems it might be a step backward from the K20D as far as controls I am used to. I realize the high ISO performance would be a plus. But, I am so used to all the external controls.

My other option at this point is to pick up another K20D. This would be great as I wouldn't have to learn the new camera controls.

Then I think....do I really need a second body?

So I guess my questions are:
Do you have a second body and do you use it often?
Do you think I would be happier with a K-x or a second K20D?

Thanks for any opinions you can offer.

07-16-2011, 06:00 PM   #2
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I have a k20 and a kx. You can achieve great results with both, and they are different enough that they make a great team. Are there specific features of the k20 you feel like you will miss in the kx?

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
I've had my K20D for ~6 months now and just love it. I will never part with it if I don't have to.

I kind of have the itch for a K-5, but not that bad. I've been experimenting with higher ISO's with the K20D and have been fairly pleased.

I have myself on a strict "toy" budget which my photo gear falls under. I've just about used that up for this year buying my K20D and assorted lenses. Because of this, the K-5 is out of the question for this year. My plan would have been to buy a K-5 and keep my K20D as a backup.

Today I felt the need for a second body. I spend a lot of time with my Sigma 170-500 on a tripod down at the river. A couple times now, something will sneak up near or behind me where I don't have time or want to chance too much movement to take the unit off the tripod to get the shot. Also, I am working with too long a lens for anything close to me. If I had a second camera with a shorter lens at my side, I could have taken the shot.

So, my dilemma.....I just can't do the K-5 this year. So, I was looking at a used K-x as a second body. I read through the user manual and now have second thoughts. I feel now that I might be frustrated with the K-x as it seems it might be a step backward from the K20D as far as controls I am used to. I realize the high ISO performance would be a plus. But, I am so used to all the external controls.

My other option at this point is to pick up another K20D. This would be great as I wouldn't have to learn the new camera controls.

Then I think....do I really need a second body?

So I guess my questions are:
Do you have a second body and do you use it often?
Do you think I would be happier with a K-x or a second K20D?

Thanks for any opinions you can offer.
07-16-2011, 06:04 PM   #3
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The K-x would be a better choice since you already have a k20d. You'll be able to take advantage of it's superior high ISO performance and faster buffer. Cheaper choices are the K100D, K200D and the K10D. The k200d and k10d are also weather resistant, like your k20d, if that matters to you.
07-16-2011, 06:08 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by fuent104 Quote
I have a k20 and a kx. You can achieve great results with both, and they are different enough that they make a great team. Are there specific features of the k20 you feel like you will miss in the kx?
After browsing the K-x manual, the thing that stood out the most is that I didn't see "TaV" mode which I use a lot. With that, also not having the second control wheel to make those adjustments on the fly.

07-16-2011, 06:09 PM   #5
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Does anybody need a second camera? I think a pro needs a backup. For somebody not being paid I think it's more of a want. But what I think isn't that important. If it really makes your day better then I don't see why not.

Personally I would go for a K-x instead of a 2nd K20d. fuent is right, they're different enough that you can use them in different ways. The K-x has different strengths, and it's smaller so might be taken more places. You might discover you enjoy the simplicity.
07-16-2011, 06:43 PM   #6
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InlawBiker: I use a second body quite often. It comes in handy.

Stormtech: Why not get a little cheaper K10D? That way the other body will already be very familiar.
07-17-2011, 05:54 AM   #7
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A K10D would be a good idea also.

Controls all the same, plus interchangeable batteries, grip, etc.

Thanks for all the input - decisions....decisions.....
07-17-2011, 08:11 AM   #8
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Things to Think About

QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
A K10D would be a good idea also.

Controls all the same, plus interchangeable batteries, grip, etc.

Thanks for all the input - decisions....decisions.....
I recently went through the same process, but I was moving from the K20 (which i really liked in most ways) to the k5.

I found that differences in the control layouts and menus between the K20 and the K5 were impossible to overcome when switching between bodies. Either I just got used to the K5 layout and made mistakes when using reaching for the K20, or old K20 habits had me reaching for the wrong buttons on the K5 (I had a k10 and all of the previous models but the D, which were pretty similar).

So, do not under-estimate the impact of the user interface.

While I liked the K10 in many ways, and consider it the best Pentax camera in IQ (at base ISO) until the K5 came along, it really does have some issues at higher ISO, and is a bit quirky in focusing. Depending upon how you shoot, VPN can be an issue as well.

The K10 is also a CCD and while I liked some things about the rendering of the K10, it is quite different than K20 in my experience.

Why not just find another good used K20? They do not cost that much more than a K10, and while high ISO isn't close to the K5, you already know how to process K20 shots and will not have to think about any aspect of using one camera or the other.

Good luck with your decision.

Ray

07-17-2011, 09:08 AM   #9
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Thanks you for your insight Ray.

That is exactly my line of thinking also.

Over the past few months, I've gotten pretty good at using all the controls on my K20D on the fly. The last thing I want to do is to fumble around when timing is critical. This is why the idea of a K10D was a possibility in that the control layout is the same.

So my choices in my mind now are another K20D or a K-x.

I am listening when fuent104 & kenafein say about the K20D and K-x being a good team. I suppose the way I want to use the second body, that I could setup the K-x ahead of time to be able to just "point & shoot" with it handheld.

Thanks for all the input!
07-17-2011, 10:21 AM   #10
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Well folks, I pulled the trigger on a used K-x.

Pros:

Embrace the newer technology
High ISO performance
Smaller size means taking it with me on the road more often
Compliments my K20D rather than being redundant

Cons:

Different controls
Probably won't get as nice images at lower ISO's

But the deal maker was....
My wife is stuck at home (partially disabled). We live in a beautiful location with tons of wildlife right at our doorstep.

When we first got married (18 years ago) she had a nice Canon SLR setup. I kind of took over her camera at that point and she seemed to just not have an interest in it.

Today, I asked her if she would like a camera so we could pursue this hobby together. I was telling her about getting a second body, but she just said that it is your hobby and do what you want. She is intimidated by my K20D w/grip - I guess the sheer size of it and all the buttons/controls is a lot to take in.

So I got to thinking that if I had the K-x at the house and showed her how to use it, she might pick it up. Well, at lunch today, I told her that I decided to go for the K-x (the smaller/simpler one to her). Then she says...."well maybe I would like to start taking pictures again, and also we could do this together".

That did it for me!

Thanks again - all your input was a great help in making my decision. I am looking forward to working with the newer technology and the best part is that I will be sharing my hobby with my wife.
07-17-2011, 10:57 AM   #11
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stormtech, i love hearing stories like that. I hope you two have many great times together with your cameras.
07-17-2011, 01:02 PM   #12
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I have a K20D and K-x. As others have mentioned, each has strengths:

I like the K-x for
- small size
- AA batteries (AA capability has been a lifesaver for me once or twice)
- 2/3 stop higher sensitivity
- better live view
- higher frames per second
- movie mode
- better programming
- better white balance in tungsten light
- more capable auto-focus in low light

I like the K20D for
- far superior controls (dual wheels, metering & AF buttons, User and TAv modes)
- weather resistance
- I prefer the look of K20 images below ISO 3200 (colour, detail, texture)
- better white balance in daylight
- more consistent metering
- larger size & battery grip (balances larger lenses and flash better)

Some people value the K-x advantages more, and I can understand that, but I consider the K20D my main camera. The K20D advantages are more important to my style of shooting. For a serious outing, I take the K20D. If the shooting will strictly be low light and flash isn't allowed or won't work, I bring the K-x instead. I also carry the K-x when size matters. It fits in a small fanny pack with a DA 40 and DA 15mm, whereas the K20D needs a real camera bag.

I will always own two bodies. On an extended trip or critical gig, I bring a backup body in case of trouble. I shot a wedding, and used the K20D with grip, flash and camera bracket. I used the K-x with fast primes. Sometimes I use the K-x with the 55-300, and the K20D with a 16-45mm. The K-x sensitivity is an advantage with long lenses, and it tends to keep shutter speeds higher than the K20D.

I would not trade my two body system for a K-5. I did buy a K-5, intending to sell the K-x. Unfortunately the K-5 was a dud and I didn't feel it added enough to try another. I'm hoping Pentax will release a mirrorless APS-C that will mount my lenses to replace the K-x. Hopefully with K-5 sensor or better, and smaller than the K-x. HTH.

Last edited by audiobomber; 07-17-2011 at 03:14 PM.
07-17-2011, 01:17 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Well folks, I pulled the trigger on a used K-x.

I am looking forward to working with the newer technology and the best part is that I will be sharing my hobby with my wife.
Congratulation! I posted my response before I saw this.

It sounds to me like you made the right choice, for all the right reasons (size, ISO performance, simpler controls, sharing your hobby). When I bought the K-x, I gave my wife my K100D Super and an 18-250mm. It's a great camera, she can shoot with me when it suits her, and I don't have to share if I want to carry two bodies.

Regarding controls, I make mistakes on the K-x, not on the K20D. The K-x controls are not intuitive, but the menus are better than the K20D menus. You need the menus more often on the K-x, but it works well in P mode. I suggest you teach your wife the focus and recompose method with AF-S and forget about auto AF select.
07-17-2011, 02:25 PM   #14
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I have two K-5's. Handy to this that they have the exact same controll's. I use them for events and sportsregistration's. I use a Sun-Sniper to have one body aside and one on my neck. Or I have one on a monopod. Using two body's also asks for some organisation for yourself to handle them.

Difficult one, I think a K-x would bring something new, but when the budget is good enough then a K-r or a K-5 would bring some new future's. Or a K-7 since that has the same sensor as your K20D, but is a fine piece of equipement.
07-17-2011, 03:23 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by InlawBiker Quote
Does anybody need a second camera? I think a pro needs a backup. For somebody not being paid I think it's more of a want. But what I think isn't that important. If it really makes your day better then I don't see why not.
In my experience the need for a second body is dependent on what you're using it for. I do a lot of surf photography which necessitates the use of a fairly long lens. However, sometimes things happen on the beach that are fairly interesting. There will be very little to no time to switch lenses, so a second body with a wide zoom can be useful. For birds and skittish wildlife, a similar situation can occur especially when something literally pops out of the bush right next to you and that long lens suddenly becomes useless unless you want a picture of an eye or an ear. The other situation that I've found a second body useful for is situations where you would not want to change lenses, like in gusty wind conditions where's there's no convenient place to switch. It really depends on what you're doing.

Personally, I'd want to use a second body that has a similar control setup to my primary if just to reduce confusion. I have a K-5 and use my K-7 as my second. I also have a K10D that's been converted to IR only use. As a result, it does not see as much use as the K-5 and K-7 does. However, when I'm doing landscapes, I often just use the K-5 for color, and the K10D for IR. I have to remind myself where the menu button is on both bodies. I also have to remind myself that there's no ISO button on the K10D although I don't often change ISO on that body.
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