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12-10-2011, 04:12 PM   #1
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Should I wait for FF? Considering upgrade from my old SLR

I am looking at getting a DSLR. I still have my old trusted Pentax SF10 with 100-300 mm Tamron Lens. I've been looking at DSLRs for several years now and what frustrated me about them has been two main features: purple fringing, contrast in cloudy situations, and the noise under low light or high ISOs.

If I am going to invest that much money in a camera, I would like the camera to have great low light performance, ideally out of the box with a kit lens without having to fuss much with those impromptu pic opportunites . I may get a second 55 mm fast lens but primarily, I will use the standard typical 18-200 mm lens.

The cameras I have considered is the Canon 60D, Nikon 7000 and the Pentax K5. I am a bit of cheapo and I dont want to part with my old Tamron lens if I dont have to. If I do, then that changes the playing feel again. lol.

As far as feel goes, I prefer the K5 style because it's more rugged and smaller. However, only the Canon has the flip out LCD which I prefer, but it's slightly more prone to purple fringing from what I read. I dont mind waiting if I can get the features I want with improved (useful) technology. In the computer world, a computer or processor that is 2 years old is quite dated.

On the other hand, if I can get a stellar deal on any of the above DSLRs because of their "old" technology and the new DSLRs are their way then I might jus bite. Any suggestions? Thanks

12-10-2011, 04:39 PM   #2
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If you want best-in-class IQ and backwards-compatibility with tons of cheap but good lenses, don't hesitate going for the K-5, especially because its price is so low now. Talk of an FF is currently only in the rumors stage

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12-10-2011, 04:50 PM   #3
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Get the k5. Rumors are just that, rumors. By all means, a FF Pentax could come out next month... or next decade.
12-10-2011, 05:15 PM   #4
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Purple fringing is from the lens...

Anywho, just decide on what camera you want based on what you shoot. If the flippy screen its your priority then just go for it. if you want something small and rugged, go for the pentax. Don't worry about the supposed issues, just buy from a reliable source and return it if out turns out to be a defective copy

12-10-2011, 05:33 PM   #5
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A few things to think about.

1) I do not think high ISO should be a concern for you (particularly coming from film). When I was searching for a digital camera a few years ago, I got the Pentax k200D. At the time there were better digital cameras for low light shooting, but my research showed that the noise of the k200D was about equivalent to film grain. From what I have seen and heard, the k-5 (and any other modern DSLR) is light-years ahead of my k200D (makes me sad). My main point is that any modern DSLR should outperform film in low light conditions, and thus I do not think this should not be a huge factor against getting a DSLR.

2) I have very rarely noticed purple fringing in my own photography. I do not view it as a huge problem. I think that a lot of the talk about purple fringing is motivated by pixel peeping and controlled tests (where they try and induce purple fringing to compare lenses). I would not let purple fringing keep you from getting a DSLR, as I do not think you will notice it often.

3) By "contrast in cloudy situations," I believe you mean the dynamic range of the sensor. I have not shot much film (I am fairly young and just started in doing photography recently), but my understanding is that you can blow out highlights in film as well. New DSLR have a huge dynamic range that can be brought out in post processing if needed. In fact, I find no use for graduated ND filters, as I can just use edit a raw image to get the same effect.

4) This is my opinion about the benefits of full frame vs. the APS-C sensor. People often talk about the benefits of low light shooting with full frame cameras. I do not refute that full frame cameras have better low light performance, but do you need it. Go and look at some of the ISO 6400 photos that are coming out of the k-x, k-r, and k-5. They are good. A bit of extra noise reduction and they are very good. I believe the largest advantages of a full frame camera are the ability to achieve a shallower depth of field, and faster wide angel lenses (the detriment is larger telephoto lenses). The other advantage is that old lenses will operate as they were designed (i.e. the fast 50 will be a normal lens rather than a portrait length lens). In my opinion, only a few people need the added "benefit" of a full frame camera.

5) If you are thinking of getting the k-5, I would wait a bit. I believe there is the expectation that a new camera will be announced in February. If the announcement includes the k-5 successor, the price of the k-5 will probably drop. Since you have already waited several years, I would wait another few months for the better deal (or at least to see if there will be a better deal). Also, if you are going to pay $800-$1000, I would recommend purchasing at least one lens that can use the full capability of the camera. When I got my k200D, I just got the kit lens (I am assuming it has similar optical quality to your Tamron). I later got a k135mm (an old manual focus lens) and more recently a da40mm limited. The quality of both of these lenses are superior to the kit lens. I am assuming the difference is more pronounced with the k-5 (because of its better sensor). Anyway, just a recommendations based on my experience.

I hope this helps a bit, and good luck with your decisions.
12-10-2011, 05:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hmm Quote
Should I wait for FF?
Not sure what your title means since you seem to be talking about the K-5. And if you really are a bit of a cheapo then waiting for the mythical Pentax full frame camera will likely set you back at least $2,500, more likely $3,000. That's if it ever materializes. And sticking that Tamron on it would be a waste of money in my opinion. Sort of like buying a Ferrari and then putting cheap re-tread tires on it. High end cameras require high end glass to achieve their potential.

The K-5 lists at $1,500 but is available for under $1,200 and if you are careful maybe under $1,000. Cyber Monday deals were $995.00. Any possible successor will probably be introduced at around $1,500. So you can get a K-5 now for $1,000 or a possibly better camera in 3 or 4 months for $1,500. That's your call. If it were me I would get the K-5 and take that extra cash and invest in a good lens. Bodies come and go, glass lasts forever.

If you want flip up lcd then go get a camera that has it. I would not let owning that Tamron keep me from changing brands, you are not heavily invested in Pentax. Put the SF10 and lens on ebay and buy what suits you.
12-10-2011, 06:27 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hmm Quote
I am looking at getting a DSLR. I still have my old trusted Pentax SF10...
As far as feel goes, I prefer the K5 style because it's more rugged and smaller. However, only the Canon has the flip out LCD which I prefer...

So, you've handled a K-5? If you haven't tried out a K-5, or any other APS-C dslr, I'd suggest you try one back to back with your SF10 - to see if you can tolerate the constricted APS-C viewfinder.

If you don't mind the cramped VF, have you considered buying a used Pentax dslr? I recently bought a nice, used K10D for under $300 from keh.com. With a used camera you could cheaply find out what features you really want if / when you buy a new one.

Last edited by .a.t.; 12-10-2011 at 06:49 PM.
12-10-2011, 07:13 PM   #8
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All thumbs hit the nail on the head. Forget film, that's ridiculous these days. Buy a used camera (K10/K20) for cheap, shoot with that tamron for a week or two (by then you'll buy something else, once you are taking hundreds of shots a week). Start upgrading, and by the time you are ready, the K5 will be cheaper. Meantime, you're improving your skills.

12-10-2011, 08:17 PM   #9
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Fantastic advice everyone. Thank you!

I really steer clear from buying used. In theory that's very practical advice for most people. When it comes to used and even new electronics, I tend to have less than average results ie. product tends to be defective.

With DSLRs, I would have no idea is something defective in the body or electronics especially nowadays considering how much of the DSLR is actually electronics.

Ideally, I'd like a DSLR that would require as little (if any) post processing if possible. I will wait then to see how the pricing is with the K5 in the months to come. Too bad, I was kinda hoping to spoil myself for Christmas, lol.

So Tamron lens' isn't very good these days? How about Sigma? I have always wanted a fast lens. Is there a good fast lens that fits the bill nicely in terms of price/performance ratio?
12-10-2011, 09:18 PM   #10
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Buy a K5 now from a dealer with a no-questions return+refund policy. If Pentax-Ricoh announces some new FF gear soon, you can reconsider. But I don't expect FF soon.
12-10-2011, 10:12 PM   #11
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While it's nice to have the 'best camera' you will pay a lot more for the last few percent improvement. But technique is more important to the end result.
A shot taken with a circular polarizer on an APS camera will work out better than a shot taken on a high end full frame camera and expensive glass but no polarizer. The same is true with using a tripod - a sharper photo taken on a tripod will look better and indeed effectively have more resolution due to less blur. The 'boring' things like tripods, flashes and filters are more important to the end result than how many millimeters wide the sensor is or isn't.
12-10-2011, 11:13 PM   #12
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Digital images require post-processing, period, just as film does after you shoot it. (You can get rid of purple-fringing that way.) That's the "darkroom" phase of photography now, and it is just as important as it was in the days of trays full of chemicals and timers and special lights. If you want to get it to be "minimal", then spend some time at the beginning finding a default way to process your images that works well most of time with your software and camera combo (contrast, curves settings, etc.) Or make a few for basic lighting differences (one for outdoor day, one for indoor, one for night, etc).

Alternatively, if you are going to be a jpeg shooter, then get the in-camera post-processing settings to your liking so all the PP happens in-camera, but it is really the same thing. (You just have less options in-camera -- if you use different lenses and you want to get the best out of each of them, you really need to do PP on the computer with some lens profiles -- with digital, you can make lenses perform better than is possible with film because you can apply corrections to some of their flaws (like fringing).
12-11-2011, 12:28 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hmm Quote
So Tamron lens' isn't very good these days?
Tamron makes some excellent lenses. So does Sigma. Here is a link to the Tamron lens database with user reviews. Your 100-300mm is not rated very highly, nor does it have great specs, it is an economy level long zoom. And remember each manufacturer has lenses aimed at different markets and price points, some are really good and expensive, some not so good but cheaper. But my point really was that if you only have that single Tamron in Pentax mount you really are not heavily invested in Pentax gear and can choose which ever DSLR fits what you want.

On the one hand you state you are looking for a good deal and are a bit of a cheapo and then on the other you ask if you should wait for full frame. Sorry, but that seems a contradiction to me. Full frame in DSLR is very expensive, used mostly by professionals who make a living at this, usually accompanied by glass that costs more than the camera, and unfortunately non-existent in Pentax mount despite all of the wishful thinking that goes on.

If you are looking for a good DSLR that can produce good images without a lot of input from you then look at the Pentax entry level camera, the k-r or its probable replacement. If you want a solid semi-pro or enthusiast level camera with complete manual controls then the K-5 is where you want to be. But it is an APS-C camera not full frame and the smaller sensor does affect your lenses if you are used to the field of view shown in a full frame camera. And if you really want full frame, either look to Nikon or Canon or be prepared to wait to see if Pentax ever releases such a thing. And be prepared to invest multi-thousands in good glass or you would have been just as well off with a much cheaper camera.
12-11-2011, 08:29 AM   #14
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I am going to play devils advocate for a second. Why do you want a DSLR. In my mind there are a few reasons to get a DSLR. These include greater control over depth of field (being able to blur the background, most other cameras do not have large sensors), an optical viewfinder, and the ability to use multiple lenses.

From what you have been saying, I get the impression that the use of multiple lenses is not very important to you (you have stated suing the Tamron, and they you do not want to spend a ton of money). I am unsure how important the control of depth of field is for you, but it will be decently difficult to get nice blurred backgrounds with your Tamron lens at shorter focal lengths (like 24mm-50mm). At longer focal lengths you may have more control over depth of field. Is a see-through-the-lens optical viewfinder important to you?

There are some nice compact cameras coming out that have very good image quality. The Fuji x-10 is one you should take a peak at. It is compact, has an optical viewfinder (but the viewfinder is not see-through-the-lens), and it seems to have very good image quality. In my opinion, its only downfall is that it has a small sensor, and thus will not give you very much control over depth of field.

Anyway, I just thought I would play devils advocate. There are some nice compact cameras out that can produce good very image quality, and that give you full manual control over your pictures. They have both advantages and disadvantages over a DSLR.
12-11-2011, 12:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kswier Quote
I am going to play devils advocate for a second. Why do you want a DSLR. In my mind there are a few reasons to get a DSLR. These include greater control over depth of field (being able to blur the background, most other cameras do not have large sensors), an optical viewfinder, and the ability to use multiple lenses.

From what you have been saying, I get the impression that the use of multiple lenses is not very important to you (you have stated suing the Tamron, and they you do not want to spend a ton of money). I am unsure how important the control of depth of field is for you, but it will be decently difficult to get nice blurred backgrounds with your Tamron lens at shorter focal lengths (like 24mm-50mm). At longer focal lengths you may have more control over depth of field. Is a see-through-the-lens optical viewfinder important to you?

There are some nice compact cameras coming out that have very good image quality. The Fuji x-10 is one you should take a peak at. It is compact, has an optical viewfinder (but the viewfinder is not see-through-the-lens), and it seems to have very good image quality. In my opinion, its only downfall is that it has a small sensor, and thus will not give you very much control over depth of field.

Anyway, I just thought I would play devils advocate. There are some nice compact cameras out that can produce good very image quality, and that give you full manual control over your pictures. They have both advantages and disadvantages over a DSLR.
Yeah, I was thinking the same. If you don't want to do post, and you don't need or want to fiddle with all the "full-control" options of a DSLR, just get a good P&S or other compact that has the features you want. (Do your research and don't just look at the specs -- big difference in quality among models and brands.) My second camera is a Canon S90 P&S (they are up to S100 now I think) -- I can take it anywhere, it generates RAW images if I want so I can still do "pro" processing on the results, it was "only" a few hundred bucks -- it's great for what it is. (It does irk me in a strange way because the most popular image by far that we sell in our web photo shop was taken with this little Canon rather than my more expensive and full-featured Pentax DSLR.)
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