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10-18-2011, 03:25 AM   #1
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I want to stay with Pentax, but which way to go?

Hello out there in the forum!

Having almost stopped with analog shooting some five years ago (if you are short in budget and have other hobbies too even some coins for film development are an issue) I decided to step into the digital world. My experience in short terms is that I have massive problems with those "shooting credit-cards" (yes, they have their market and are really fine to carry around all the time).

Besides money, my reasons for stopping analog were as follows:
  • I want some kind of quick response on the picture taken
  • possibility to re-take a shot on miss instead of spending half a film just to be on the safe side
  • to be honest, "refinement" is a lot of easier when material is already digital, since almost every conversion means a loss in quality
So my cornerstones are
  • a camera that is as I am used to
  • good to excellent point&shoot capabilities
  • the ability to control almost every part manually, preferrably without confirming "are you sure you wanna do that?"
  • "silent" shutter (something the SFX definitely lacks), specially for museum, opera, ...
  • high dynamic range
  • reasonable high ISO
  • all the above backed by a reasonable sensor-size
Talks with a friend (professional Nikonian) resulted in that I should have a one body with one lens combination, just to avoid dust entering into the body and settle on sensor surface. So I started searching that way, giving good bridge cameras a glance, but ending up with a K-r plus some 18-2xx lens as a first decision. The Pentax/Tamron 18-250 is no longer produced, the Tamron 18-270 is not availlable for Pentax, and the Sigma 18-250 OSM has not so good reviews and is quite expensive. So I hit the line at almost 1.000€, sigh. Canon as an alternative? Did not convince me, due to internal software. Nikon? Not really, at least not in my budget. Olympus? Sony alpha? At least the latter is an interesting technology (SLT), but again, not really.

Then I found this forum, with its excellent database, and discovered that the old glass I have does a real good job even on high-end body. A good reason to stay with Pentax. And, why not change lenses? When deciding to go for a shot, I mostly know what my mind is focussed at and can mount the lens that suits best in advance indoor, right?

So, my two alternative roadmaps are as follows:

a) get a K-r with 18-55 kit lens, use my Pentax F 80-200 for portrait / tele (due to crop a view angle like a 120-300), and having a decent normal / portrait / macro with my F 35-70 macro. Adding a good flash, and there we are. OK, not the fastest lenses, but with shake reduction and ISO play there can be some compensation.
b) bite the dust, get a K5 with 18-55 kit lens, use same glass, and strip off the flash, at least for the next year.

OK, lets have a look at the side effects, also in cost:

Filters (UV): should be identical
Power: backup power is considered a must. With K-r, a battery pack can be used, overprized in Germany, but on the other side you have AAs at hand, at least for the flash. With K5, only second accu is an option, since battery grip is not decided (cost, size, weight)
Frame rate: K-r is more than sufficient, so K5 is also
Correction: K-r has ability to enter 1 correction system-wide. If necessary, I would have to change correction values with each lens change. Some inconvenience, no real quick lens change then. K5 offers more.
Weather resistance: not really an issue, and if using non-WR lenses only of limited usage
Temperature: winters tend to be below zero, but camera could be held quite warm and only be taken out for the shot. Can be considered convenience in case of K5, right?

And now come the points where I am really stuck. As I will be going to take a lot of point&shoot (lets say ~70%), how does K5 perform in comparison to K-r? I think they do not differ very much when using Av / Tv, nor should they when handled completely manual. But how do the scene programs of the K-r correspond to the settings hidden under the terms HyperProgram and Green Mode on the K5? As far as I could read, both "classes" offer tons of customization. Is the difference betwenn SAFOX IX and IX+ that significant? Is the surrounding light sensor of the K5 that useful? It takes into account the light surrounding the body, but that may differ totally from what the sensor gets through the lens and might be misleading (consider shooting into a dim room from daylight outside, for instance). K5's shutter is butter, stated a user, but is that of the K-r that much louder?

Well, dear community, here is where I ask you. The glass stated above is there and will be used for a longer time onwards, so dont lead me to primes (I already know their pros and cons). Simply have a close look at my roadmaps, and preferrably out of own experience help me where I am stuck. This is nothing urgent (OK, if there comes up a really good offer, I could go for it, be it K-r or K5), but is intended to be a long lasting relationship. Other equipment (tripod, beanpack, ...) is present and will be used, and I dont want to carry "tons of gear" to have the best lens at hand (and the picture gone when finished mounting). And finally: Yes, I stated some things quite harsh, but only to clarify my personal preferences and definitely not to step on somebody's feet:

Now you know my opinions a little, and I am expecting yours. Thanks in advance for you taking that time.


Last edited by Horst Laumer; 10-18-2011 at 05:21 AM. Reason: fixing typos
10-18-2011, 04:04 AM   #2
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The K-5 has a very quiet shutter sound, the K-r is rather loud. The difference is quite remarkable.

On the K-r scene modes: These do theiw work by altering the program line and the image finish tone.
The sports mode also engages hi-continuous drive mode and set autofocus to AF.C.
Some of the low light modes also set auto iso to 6400 and enable highlight protection.
You can replicate their effect completely by setting everything by hand on the K-5.

The K-r and K-5 differ in handling. You can work faster with the K-5 because it has more buttons and two control wheels.
The K-r has more settings in menus.

10-18-2011, 04:11 AM   #3
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First of all, welcome. The forum is a great place to ask questions and find out things. Of course, we are kind of biased towards Pentax, but I think you know that.

First of all, I don't think your friend is quite right about not wanting to change lenses. For a beginner that might be the case, but since you have been shooting for awhile, I don't think it is a problem to have several lenses that you use for different purposes. Your older lenses will work well on any of the Pentax SLRs out there. I change lenses all the time and every three or four months I use a rocket blower to get rid of a little dust from the sensor, but just by making sure you are careful where you change lenses, I wouldn't think that would be a problem.

I think the biggest differences between the K5 and Kr have to do with the build and the ease of accessibility of different functions. With the Kr, you have to use menus a lot more to access things, but most of the same things are there. Scene modes are pretty useless to me -- I primarily shoot in Av mode.

I think a Kr with the kit lens or, the DA 16-45 f4 would be a really good choice for you. With your other lenses, you would be pretty well set for awhile. You will be surprised in particular at the ability to shoot high iso with good results on the newest dSLRs. You may not need a flash for awhile if you are comfortable pushing the iso up a little bit.
10-18-2011, 05:18 AM   #4
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My two cents in addition to everything mentioned. While it does not matter to me, size does matter to a lot of people. I'm the kind of person that will take the larger size of the K-5 with it's better control layout over the compact size and menu diving. But not everyone is like me.

10-18-2011, 05:40 AM   #5
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If silent shutter is desirable, then definately K-5. The same for DR and ISO. K-5.
For the semi-automatic shooting modes, you can choose program line in P and that covers landscape, sports and portrait scene program. In addition you can define 5 user modes with any setting customized.

and don't be afraid of lens swapping. K-5 is really good in staying clean. I rotate around ~15 lenses and I had no need to clean the sensor during past yeaar
10-18-2011, 05:49 AM   #6
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First, thank you for your responses.

Being biased towards Pentax is not the worst thing happening. I am too, since I realized that my old glass is really useful and my old SFX could be used for dedicated b&w shooting with own processing.

Considering size, I truely stated my aversion against shooting credit-cards and additional size caused by a battery grip. I had the K-r in my fingers and it felt pretty good. Read about the advantages of the K5 with besides tec issues better grip. Well, both would suit my hands.

I think my main issues are a) can I trust the firmware for point&shoot (all other scenarios are out of doubt for me), which can be answered yes if I get an impression of what goes on behind the scenes for both bodies, and b) are the advantages and disadvantages of the K5 worth spending that more money, since it is roughly double the expense of a K-r here in Germany.

I am sure I will on the one hand try and get a K5 for grip & handling, just to get a feeling for it. Then I will regard both of them as simple tools for taking both, pictures and fotos. The decision will be a mixture of tool quality (is it good enough to adapt my behaviour to it?), convenience (the best tool is useless if it doesn't fit my hands or needs) and budget. Since it is not urgent your experience and guidance will lead to more time saving some bucks to spend, either for kit-only or for kit plus accessories. Lets all hope that no crashing fridge or something like that shortens my budget.

Thanks for your opinions.
10-18-2011, 06:46 AM   #7
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On changing lenses: I went to Kenya and Tanzania with my K-5 and a few lenses. Although I didn't change lenses in every situation (in some the risk was too great), I regularly did. I still have to clean my LowePro Inverse 100 AW because there is still some sand and dust inside it. The camera, however, is fine. Over there it was dusty on the outside, but clean on the inside.
10-18-2011, 07:27 AM   #8
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The requirement for ' point and shoot' confuses me. You appear to be an experienced user that would take advantage of manual or semi manual modes av tv or tav.
Is it because you want to be able to hand the camera to others to use?

10-18-2011, 07:49 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Good Morning Horst, and welcome to the Forum.

Since your SFX is capable of autofocus, I would be guessing that your lenses are FA - and autofocusing also. Your transition to either the Kr or K5 would be seamless. Three years ago I upgraded from the K100 to the K20. The first image I took, I was amazed at the lack of sound. To me the K20 was extremely quite. Now, everyone will laugh since the K20 sounds like a cow bell in comparison to the K5.

I never found the scene modes on my K100 to be particularly useful in any way. Since you are use to the SFX you will just use the green mode or the P mode when you want to "Point & Shoot".

In reality either camera body will do you fine. However, I would think with your experience the K5 would provide a more satisfying experience.

If you are going to take pictures in doors, and want quite without a tripod, the high ISO of the K5 with the better DR would probably be better, however the Kr would not be bad either. The K5 would be a bit more capable.

One thing is that digital cameras now days, are not longer film cameras that you just use and use forever (sorry to say). They are essentially computers with lenses attached. Rather than getting the best film available - its getting a new sensor (with a body attached). With the ISO selectable and a good sensor you will be set, but as I have found with my K20, 3 years down the road, the K5 comes out with even a better sensor.

Hope that helps a bit...

10-18-2011, 08:51 PM   #10
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How silent do you want the "silent" shutter? My Canon point & shoot camera is no where as good as my Pentax SLR, but it also makes NO noise when shooting. This is a boon in a quite room, for candid photos, etc.

For silent, there are SLRs with no mirrors.
10-19-2011, 02:51 AM   #11
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An even cheaper option would be to just get a second hand (slightly heavier) K20 body and wait for newer and better models.
10-19-2011, 03:05 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
The requirement for ' point and shoot' confuses me. You appear to be an experienced user that would take advantage of manual or semi manual modes av tv or tav.
Is it because you want to be able to hand the camera to others to use?
Oh oh, I think that the term "point&shoot" really confused, so some clarification on MY understanding, since for me there are several scenarios I would call P&S.

Walk around, camera off (set to Program mode in terms of SFX). See something, grab camera & switch on is one, have VF before my glasses & adjust frame (when using zoom) is second, half depress of shutter is third, fire. Ideally. Sure I have to wait for the camera to "boot", the AF to catch focus, ... but I expect this to happen reasonably quick. When in other shooting moods (freeze movements, for instance) I have the presets done I regard useful. But still I expect the camera to make the best out of it within the limits resulting from my presets, firmware & lens and environment. There definitely will be garbage, may it be due to my presets or due to other facts. So, thats what I call it P&S, maybe more precise "capturing the moment", since there rarely is a second chance. And that is the reason why I want to know (as much as possible in advance) whats going on behind the scene, then being able to elaborate "OK, was my fault" and learn of it. It should also be possible to stop down the lens with the left, fiddle with ISO settings with the right and still have the camera detect and react "correctly".

There are situations when I shoot "just for give away", so quite a good jpeg engine is needed (daily press does not fiddle with raws), but this can be achieved for a single shot either in-body or in quick post-processing. On the other hand, sometimes I shoot on the catwalk and need the images to appear on a website a week later. Since having a normal job there is not much time for postprocessing. And just before you ask (since my SFX is definitely not digital), yes there is a 5MP zoom box at hand that does a good job. But it has its limitations, and there are times when I say "If I only had ...".

Opposite to my P&S is composing an image. Then I have the time to fiddle around, to experiment, to adjust settings, ... and then I dont mind (partial) garbage.

And, to be honest, there is a lot of exciting shooting situations between these two extremes.

So I am looking for a tool that is capable of doing reasonable jpegs for almost immediate use as well as "simply" collect raw material (may it be raw or jpeg). For the latter there will definitely be the time for PP. My conclusion up to now is that I would go fine with either K-r or K5. Lets see where I end up.

So far
10-21-2011, 07:00 PM   #13
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There are fixed lens cameras that are more "point&shoot" than a SLR. Also, some higher priced models shoot JPEG and RAW. They are smaller than a SLR, so may be easier to quickly pull out and use.

Also, look at the smaller mirror-less cameras with inter-changeable lenses.

A full SLR is not always the best option.
10-22-2011, 11:27 AM   #14
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I find the K-5 to be very quick in the situation you describe as point and shoot. For street shooting I can walk around with it switched on as I have it set to sleep in one minute. If I see something I can hit the shutter button to wake it up as I bring it up to my eye. It focuses very quickly and it can take the shot as soon as I am ready.
The JPEG engine is very good, it produces excellent results. (Confession, I don't shoot RAW - yet.)
10-22-2011, 12:24 PM   #15
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For shooting at the opera and other venues that you are looking for a quiet shutter sound the K-5 is probably hard to beat, the chirp of a T2i and the hard snap of any Nikon and even the K-r's actuation are all audibly much louder than the K-5. I would use old glass + K-5, I also have an older Vivitar 2800 flash that works just fine on my K-5. Modes like TAv mode make point and shoot a snap with any AF lens, so both K-r and K-5 are probably very similar for P&S operation.

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