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08-30-2011, 09:32 PM   #1
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Another "What Should I Do?" Upgrade Thread

Since June '09, I my K20d has been my sole DSLR, and I have been thrilled with its performance. I decided the K-7 didn't offer enough to make me "need" it, but I cannot say the same about the K-5. Like many Pentaxians (I suspect,) I thought we would see the K-5's price drop, but the point at which it settled to date is above what I could afford. In my younger, single days I would have just said "charge it!", but of course, the economics of married life don't have the same rules. Even the arrival of our first child didn't convince mama that we need the best gear capturing those early achievements. I'm not quite sure why the price of "man toys" seem to have one too many zeroes at the end for wives to accept, but life is what it is.

Regardless, I recognize that the K-5 represents a sufficiently advanced camera that I do, indeed, need it. The high-ISO performance is key, because I really enjoy shooting without a flash. I have built a small but beloved set of lenses and have no plan to leave Pentax, regardless of rumors or facts about the future of the company. Their cameras and lenses suit my needs, and I'm happy. This week, however, my dear K20 (along with the battery grip and FA 31mm) suffered a fall. It was only about 18" from a table to the brick in front of my fireplace, but the camera and grip took the brunt of the fall. A piece of the camera's body broke off, but it seems to be functioning fine. I was able to tape the piece back on for now, which is good because without it, I can see a circuit board within. The grip's switch now doesn't have the positive "click" into the on position, so I guess the detent is stuck. It, too seems to be working fine. The lens got a scuff on the cap but seems to be unscathed. It has fallen twice and keeps on producing beautiful images. It is my most frequently used lens, and my second favorite after the DA 70mm.

This traumatic event (more so for me than the camera), however, made me realize that my K20 rig should finally, as soon as possible, be relegated to backup status with an eye toward replacing that as well. Ultimately, I would like to have two bodies, and my next purchase will almost certainly be a K-5. I know a new body is on the way, and unless it is also an earth-shattering advance, I'll likely keep my plan of buying last year's body after the next one is announced. I didn't think I'd have to wait for the K-3 to find a K-5 at a price I liked. Truth be told, I have no interest in switching to Nikon, but the price of the D7000 still makes me compare it to the K-5. It still makes me wonder "what would that and a FF body cost compared to two K-5s (or a -5 and a -3)?" Our compact Limited lenses and body-based SR still make Pentax my brand, and I doubt anything short of Pentax going away and those bodies being greatly surpassed will sway me to switch. Maybe if I had gone the zoom route rather than prime I'd feel differently, but the Limited primes are special to me. This is all a long way of asking, what should I do? Suddenly, my camera is a "scratch and dent" setup, but it works. I am saddened that the 31mm, the jewel of the lineup has taken a beating, but gear doesn't take good photos sitting in the safe.

I'm in no rush to buy another body. But with a new model on the way from Pentax, should I:

1. Look for a used K-5 here, right away. I know they're not too common, but they do pop up from time to time.
2. Look for a used K-5 here, once people start to sell them to finance their K-3 purchase (always seems like a great time to buy used bodies and lenses!)
3. Buy a new K-5 right away (if the price won't drop, but that seems improbable once the new body comes out) and sell the K20d/BG4 to help fund it, at whatever I can get for a "well-used" setup.
4. Wait to see what the K-3 offers, and at what price

I have no need to have the latest and greatest, especially since the K-5 is such an advance over the K20d. I must admit, I don't know what's rumored to be included in the K-3, I haven't been keeping up and have found that following rumors is kind of pointless anyway. After all, that's how I got to this point without a K-5 (due to the conventional wisdom that it would drop more than it has).

I won't worry about what would serve as my backup body, since my K20 seems fine, albeit a bit uglier than when I first got it. I'd be happier for years to come if the K-5 wasn't said to be so darn good in low light and if I hadn't been so careless as to let my camera fall. One option I didn't mention was to send the camera and grip in to see if I could get the body part replaced and the grip switch replaced. It probably wouldn't be cost effective, but it would make me feel like my K20 is ready for a much longer life. It has <10,000 clicks, so unless it starts to show performance issues, it's just a matter of cosmetics. Of course, I have owned my car since 2002, have 182,000 miles on it, it looks like hell, and I can't imagine ever wanting to buy a new one. Oddly though, having a camera that is reliable and high-performing is lot more important than a reliable car. I can't think of a "make or break" day for my car since I drove three hours to take the bar exam. Fortunately, I only had to take the exam once, but if something had gone wrong with my car, another exam would follow about six months later. Baby only takes his first steps once. Thanks for your thoughts.

08-30-2011, 10:07 PM   #2
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Sorry to hear about your mishap with the K20D, but if it works I would continue to use it. I also have a K20D and looking to upgrade to a K-5 but I am going to stay at least 2 generations behind before I upgrade to a K-5. I don't imagine a K-3 would be improved on the scale that K-5 did over the K-7, but I am sure the price will come down a little bit more. High ISO capability would be great to have but you can still tweak your K20D to get the most out of it; set the ISO to the highest that your are comfortable with, underexpose by 1 stop to gain higher shutter speed (bring it back in PP), shoot wide open or nearly wide open. Your limited primes are no slouch wide open, if you can get shutter speeds in the range of 1/100-1/200 sec you should be able to capture/chronicle your child's growth in most ambient light situations.

08-30-2011, 11:55 PM   #3
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I'm not going to be much help here but I have to say that I can relate to the K20d story. In 2009 I dropped mine about a foot an a half from the back seat of my car with my Pentax flash attached. Damage was a broken flash foot (which I subsequently replaced myself) and a twisted top on the K20d where the pop up flash would not stop popping up with out a piece of tape on it. I decided to send that to CHRIS for repairs. $200+ later and about 4 weeks or so, my K20d return as good as new with even a cleaned sensor. I still have the K20d today and still use it. I'm glad I got it repaired.

I did buy a K5 this year and I have to say that it really is the camera I was waiting for. I picked up a used one this spring by the way from another member. My K20d went from my prime camera to the back up or secondary camera after the K5 arrived. Honestly having these two as my working set is what I need for now and for some time to come. I was very excited when the K7 came out and thought that that would be the next one but I waited for what came next - the K5. It was worth it.
08-31-2011, 01:29 AM   #4
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I bought my K20D (my first dSLR) when it was Pentax's latest-and-greatest, a month before Hoya bought Pentax. I was brand-agnostic then, maybe leaning historically towards Sony or Olympus or Nikon. But I bought Pentax because 1) the DA10-17 was/is unmatched, and 2) Pentax got fewer user gripes than did comparable Canikonympus's. I got the K20D rather than something cheaper just because it WAS Pentax's latest-and-greatest, so I wouldn't feel impelled to 'upgrade' anytime soon. And that strategy worked. The latest+greatest satisfies the longest.

My recommendation: Wait for the K3. You'll be happier longer.

08-31-2011, 04:44 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Glarus Quote
Regardless, I recognize that the K-5 represents a sufficiently advanced camera that I do, indeed, need it.
Sorry...but this is a "want"...not a "need". There's nothing wrong with wanting a new camera, but it sounds like you have more important priorities right now. Remember that 99% of the most cherished family photos were probably taken with gear that most of us on this board would consider Brownies, Instamatics, cellphones, P&S digitals, etc...
08-31-2011, 06:26 AM   #6
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Thank goodness that FA31 was OK !!
I would be more upset if the lens was damaged !!
08-31-2011, 06:41 AM   #7
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I love my K20D, it has been a great camera, dependable and excellent in almost every respect .Is it "good enough for me"...absolutely!

However, since I got my K5 I can't recall even touching the K20D. Is there really that much difference? Yes, unfortunately for your desires and "wants".....there is. It is not just another new camera, it is a Game Changer. If you shoot some low light, but hate flash.......the K5 will get you as close to that goal as anything out there. This is not good news for a budget........but it is great news if you want to bust your budget and, after using the K5, not even feel bad about the expense.

I wish I could tell you the K5 is "no big deal"....but that just wouldn't be honest.
Best Regards!
08-31-2011, 06:55 AM   #8

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Lucky you that your K20D gives you a push in the right direction. If you don't plan on letting the next camera falling down, you can buy new with warrenty (doesn't cover falling down), otherwise a second hand if there are. I don't think that waiting for K-3 is very important maybe for yourself, but K-5's will be more available then.

09-02-2011, 07:43 PM   #9
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"The price of the Pentax K-5 has been reduced to $1199 at trusted retailers thanks to Pentax's new $300 instant rebate. This is currently the MSRP, so there will be no more 'click to view price' links for the time-being!" - Adam

It's amazing how powerful a psychological effect $74 and a promotion have. Suddenly we're at a price that looks right to me, and I'm not sure I'll be waiting much longer. Thanks to all of you who offered your advice.

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