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01-04-2008, 07:50 AM   #1
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What I miss (and don't miss) about my K10D

I recently sold my K10D and got an incredible deal on a new 5D ($1300). I knew before I made the switch that I would be gaining some features and sacrificing others. Now, two weeks into the switch, I'm much more clear on what those are.

What I love about the 5D:
- exceptional high ISO performance
- very narrow DOF (great for portraits, which is what I shoot)
- much faster AF than K10D
- better lens selection at focal lengths I shoot
- improved resolution

What I miss about my K10D:
- film-like rendering quality
- tonality and colors - especially skin tones
- TAv mode (brilliant)
- metering tends to protect highlights, which I liked (after I got used to it)

Looking at the list from a purely quantitative standpoint, it would seem I'm much happier with the 5D. That's true in some respects, of course. But I am REALLY missing that film-like quality of the Pentax RAW files and the much more natural rendering of skin tones in particular.

I have calibrated my 5D, tried different RAW converters and set up numerous develop presets in LR, but still have not been able to achieve the skin tones that came quite readily from the K10D.

Sigh. If only I could design my own camera. I know exactly what I want/need, and what I don't care about. Give me the body of a D300, the sensor of the 5D, the colors and rendering quality of a K10D with a dual K/EOS mount and I'd be happy

I'm of course going to give this more time to see if I can work out the skin tones issue. But since portraits are 95% of what I shoot these days, it's absolutely crucial. I admit that I am still keeping one eye on Pentax to see what they come up with on Jan. 24th. And several people have recommended the Fuji S5, for its accurate WB, excellent skin tones and high DR. But it seems strange to pay $1500 for an S5 when I paid $1300 for my 5D.

Anyhow, this isn't a troll or a "Go Canon" post at all... quite the contrary. I really did love my K10D and knew that I would miss certain things about it (and not others, like the poor AF speed!) Turns out I was right. I'd just really like to find a camera that meets my needs and be done with it.

01-04-2008, 08:08 AM   #2
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Well, for $1300 why not, right? You can always re-sell it and make enough to buy something else.

I'll admit that I don't like the 5D itself - I don't like the physical layout of the camera. I think the K10 gets it about right with the exception of the focus screen.

I've used a Fuji S5, and the sensor is indeed spectacular. I was floored by the incredible ISO 3200 on it, and that doesn't even touch the high DR (which I wasn't able to quantify). However, it is a slow camera, much slower than the K10D, and a little bit quirky to use. It isn't as fast/easy/feature-filled to use as the Nikon D200 (which shares the body) but the Fuji sensor is better. You're also stuck with the 46.5mm register distance - meaning that you can't adapt lenses from other manufacturers to it.
01-04-2008, 08:16 AM   #3
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Thanks for the info on the S5. I wasn't aware of some of the points you raised. Are you suggesting the S5 AF is actually slower than the K10D? I haven't read that anywhere. Does your observation come from personal experience? I guess it might depend on the lenses, too, because I was using the 43 & 77 on the K10D - admittedly two of the slowest AF lenses in the line-up.

One of the reasons I jumped at the $1300 deal was that I knew I could probably sell it for more than I bought it for on eBay or FredMiranda. Made me a little less hesitant to try it out.

I'm going to wait a few weeks and see what Pentax comes out with, then maybe try to rent or borrow an S5. I'm wary of jumping from one system to the next, so I will definitely need to "try before I buy" from now on.
01-04-2008, 08:23 AM   #4
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Thanks for posting

I shoot a lot of portraits as well and its the main reason I rejected the 5D after getting very frustrated trying to process sample RAW files from other people! With the K10D and Silkypix I need to make no colour adjustment at all.

Nor did it help that the ISO settings were not accurate (makes a mockery of a light meter when its 1/2 a stop more sensitive than it says) but the clincher was that I could afford 2 bodies and some nice glass for the price of a 5D.

But I dont get the DOF thing. In a studio I seldom shoot portraits at less than F5.6 and only when using wideangle lenses for full length shots. The lack of DOF on a closeup makes it look wierd. I dont know any pros that use extreme wide apertures either, unless there is a background thats very distracting or for special effects. Even then I would tend to use a tele lens to get the DOF.

The fact I can use faster F stops with more DOF I see as a major advantage most of the time, especially for natural light shots or gigs because it requires less critical focus.


QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
I recently sold my K10D and got an incredible deal on a new 5D ($1300). I knew before I made the switch that I would be gaining some features and sacrificing others. Now, two weeks into the switch, I'm much more clear on what those are.

What I love about the 5D:
- exceptional high ISO performance
- very narrow DOF (great for portraits, which is what I shoot)
- much faster AF than K10D
- better lens selection at focal lengths I shoot
- improved resolution

What I miss about my K10D:
- film-like rendering quality
- tonality and colors - especially skin tones
- TAv mode (brilliant)
- metering tends to protect highlights, which I liked (after I got used to it)

Looking at the list from a purely quantitative standpoint, it would seem I'm much happier with the 5D. That's true in some respects, of course. But I am REALLY missing that film-like quality of the Pentax RAW files and the much more natural rendering of skin tones in particular.

I have calibrated my 5D, tried different RAW converters and set up numerous develop presets in LR, but still have not been able to achieve the skin tones that came quite readily from the K10D.

Sigh. If only I could design my own camera. I know exactly what I want/need, and what I don't care about. Give me the body of a D300, the sensor of the 5D, the colors and rendering quality of a K10D with a dual K/EOS mount and I'd be happy

I'm of course going to give this more time to see if I can work out the skin tones issue. But since portraits are 95% of what I shoot these days, it's absolutely crucial. I admit that I am still keeping one eye on Pentax to see what they come up with on Jan. 24th. And several people have recommended the Fuji S5, for its accurate WB, excellent skin tones and high DR. But it seems strange to pay $1500 for an S5 when I paid $1300 for my 5D.

Anyhow, this isn't a troll or a "Go Canon" post at all... quite the contrary. I really did love my K10D and knew that I would miss certain things about it (and not others, like the poor AF speed!) Turns out I was right. I'd just really like to find a camera that meets my needs and be done with it.


01-04-2008, 08:35 AM   #5
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Well, I actually like the creative possibilities of very narrow DOF - even if I don't use them all of the time. I'm not shooting formal studio portraits, but more informal pics of my family/kids/friends and there are often times when the background is quite distracting. A telephoto isn't practical in that situation when I'm indoors and can't back up easily.

Still, some of your points are well-taken, especially regarding processing the 5D RAW files. I'm having the same experience, obviously.

I'm not sure what to do at this point because, as I said, I was very unhappy with the AF speed of the K10D with the lenses I wanted to use. I'm also disappointed with the lack of fast primes in the 85-135 EFL range. I know the DA55 is coming, at some point, but that could be more than a year away. What about a DA90/2 or DA85/1.8? This seems like a huge gap in Pentax's line-up.


QuoteOriginally posted by *isteve Quote
I shoot a lot of portraits as well and its the main reason I rejected the 5D after getting very frustrated trying to process sample RAW files from other people! With the K10D and Silkypix I need to make no colour adjustment at all.

Nor did it help that the ISO settings were not accurate (makes a mockery of a light meter when its 1/2 a stop more sensitive than it says) but the clincher was that I could afford 2 bodies and some nice glass for the price of a 5D.

But I dont get the DOF thing. In a studio I seldom shoot portraits at less than F5.6 and only when using wideangle lenses for full length shots. The lack of DOF on a closeup makes it look wierd. I dont know any pros that use extreme wide apertures either, unless there is a background thats very distracting or for special effects. Even then I would tend to use a tele lens to get the DOF.

The fact I can use faster F stops with more DOF I see as a major advantage most of the time, especially for natural light shots or gigs because it requires less critical focus.
01-04-2008, 08:47 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
Thanks for the info on the S5. I wasn't aware of some of the points you raised. Are you suggesting the S5 AF is actually slower than the K10D? I haven't read that anywhere. Does your observation come from personal experience? I guess it might depend on the lenses, too, because I was using the 43 & 77 on the K10D - admittedly two of the slowest AF lenses in the line-up.
The Fuji is slower in everything than the D200. It is absolutely slower than the K10D in processing time (startup, picture review, etc.) but I didn't do any scientific AF tests. I'm not much of an AF guy, so I'm the wrong person to ask about that anyway.

(Yes, it was from personal experience. A friend of mine has a D200 and S5 along with a slew of nifty lenses that I have used.)
01-04-2008, 09:01 AM   #7
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someone needs to explain depth of field here.

This is strictly a function of lens focal length and F Stop, and has nothing at all to do with the camera, except if you are atteppting to draw a comparionto the difference in sensor size, relitive to different focal lengths and subject distance to get the same image size on the sensor.

In that case, full frame may be something worth considering, but I am not sure it is worth it.

As an aside, the origonal post has one interesting point to consider. the 5D is a great camera, but (considering skin tones) takes lousy pictures. Why would anyone still consider this a great camera if they are not satisfied with the tonal quality of 95% of the images.
01-04-2008, 09:03 AM   #8
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I am totally confused by this thread.

You are taking photographs as a hobby of your family/kids/friends and your not happy with the K10D or any other camera. There are thousands of people, including professionals, who are taking fantastic, incredible pictures with the K10D and with the 5D. But you're not happy with the quality of your pictures.

What am I missing here?

01-04-2008, 09:08 AM   #9
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Lowell, I was drawing a comparison between how the sensor size relative to different focal lengths and subject distances affects DOF given the same image size on a sensor. I do prefer FF for this reason.

Joe, I never said I wasn't happy with the quality of the K10D or 5D images. I've made wonderful images with both cameras. And yes, I'm not a pro - but I'm not exactly a rank amateur either. I do ocassionally take a paid gig, and I sell fine art prints as well (the other 5% of what I shoot). I've also made great pictures with a $15 Holga and a $5 Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim. So, yes, I'm aware that "it's not the camera".

The camera is just a tool... and I happen to be very particular about my tools. I'm not saying that's a good or bad quality - it's just how I am. I'd like to choose a tool that feels and works best for me. Nothing wrong with that, IMO.
01-04-2008, 09:33 AM   #10
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Thanks for the post explaining how you feel about the two cameras after using the 5D for a couple of weeks. I've been wondering about the 5D myself for a while. I'd really prefer to get a Nikon D3, but that probably won't happen until I win the Texas lottery....

QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
What I love about the 5D:
- exceptional high ISO performance
- very narrow DOF (great for portraits, which is what I shoot)
- much faster AF than K10D
- better lens selection at focal lengths I shoot
- improved resolution
Only two of these items really matter to me: better high ISO performance, and faster auto-focus.

But I am not sure that it's going to be necessary to go full-frame to get these benefits. I see high-ISO performance improving with CCD sensors, even as the pixel res gets higher. I remember in the early 1990s hearing engineers in the computer journals explain why the PowerPC chip with its RISC processor would inevitably beat the pants off the chips that Intel was producing. Well, it didn't happen. Intel kept getting faster and faster, and the PowerPC chip kept getting hotter and hotter. Why? I suspect it had something to do with the fact that Intel had a bigger presence in the market place and so could afford greater R&D. I expect the same to be true about the CCD sensor. I shot film for 30 years. I still shoot film occasionally with a Nikon SLR. But I'm totally committed to digital now and don't see any advantage to full-frame sensors -- if the smaller sensors can match them in terms of performance and noise.



QuoteQuote:
Anyhow, this isn't a troll or a "Go Canon" post at all... quite the contrary. I really did love my K10D and knew that I would miss certain things about it (and not others, like the poor AF speed!) Turns out I was right. I'd just really like to find a camera that meets my needs and be done with it.
Heh, like that's going to happen!

I appreciate your coming back here to share your experience, as it is helpful to those of us who don't consider ourselves married to Pentax. That said, I too am waiting eagerly to see what is announced later this month!

Will
01-04-2008, 09:37 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
I'm not sure what to do at this point because, as I said, I was very unhappy with the AF speed of the K10D with the lenses I wanted to use. I'm also disappointed with the lack of fast primes in the 85-135 EFL range. I know the DA55 is coming, at some point, but that could be more than a year away. What about a DA90/2 or DA85/1.8? This seems like a huge gap in Pentax's line-up.
Sorry to read about your dissatifaction with the Canon 5D. I was also unhappy with my Pentax system based on a K10D and various Pentax lenses. I was looking for for better AF speed for sports/action use, better low light focusing and noise performance, and more reliable flash performance. I was considering both Canon (either a 5D or a 30D) and Nikon. I ended up getting a Nikon system based on the D80 and four Nikon lenses. It was a tough decision, but I went with the Nikon due to better ergonomics in the camera body design and what I though was a more natural, less "plasticky" look of the images.

I think the Nikon gives very good results using the Nikon Capture NX RAW converter with color balance and skin tones that are nearly as good as the Pentax. Whether you will like it as much as the Pentax and better than the Canon is something that you will need to test for yourself. Be sure to try the Capture NX converter as it gives noticably better results as compared with the Adobe converter (IMHO). The D300 body should give better high ISO performance and better AF speed and accuracy than your 5D, and it costs a bit less. Of course, it is a 16x24mm sensor so you have to use shorter focal length lenses, but for me that really isn't an issue. If you want a 24x36mm sensor in a Nikon body, then be prepared to shell out $5,000.

Another option is the Fuji S5 that is reported to give excellent results for portraits (as mentioned in another post). I decided to go with the less expensive D80 to save money and for the faster handling and frame rates for sports/action use. My savings on the body was invested in better lenses that will probably have a longer useful life (as digital bodies quickly become obsolete).

Nikon has some good prime lenses that are in the focal range you want. The Nikkor AF-D 85mm f1.8 is reported to be quite good and reasonably priced, and the AF-D 85mm f1.4 will give you super-shallow DOF (if you're willing to pay the price). Nikon also makes special "DC" portrait lenses in both a 105mm f2 and a 135mm f2. These lenses have a "Defocus Control" that allow you to selectly add additional "defocus" to either the foreground or background, while keeping the subject in sharp focus. You might find these lenses useful for your needs. There are reviews on the Popular Photography and Photozone Web sites. There is also a Carl Zeiss 85mm f1.4 that is highly regarded. It is manual focus and you will need a D200 or higher for in-camera metering and aperture priority exposure mode.

For portrait use, I actually prefer my Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f2.8 VR that has the shake reduction feature, and gives great results wide open at all focal lengths. Nothing beats the framing convenience of a zoom. But at 3.2 lbs and over $1600, you pay a price with this lens. I also have the Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8 G VR lens and it is an outstanding lens. While it certainly can be used for portrait work, I usually reserve it for landscape work in the field and, of course, macro use. There are rumors that Nikon will announce some new prime lense with AF-S (and possibly VR) at the end of January, but this (like all product rumors) is just unfounded speculation at this point in time.

With the Pentax system, I preferred the DA* 50-135mm f2.8 for portrait use. It gives great results and the SDM focusing is better than the screw-drive system. It replaced my FA 77mm f1.8 Limited and my FA 135mm f2.8 and was an improvement for portrait use, even with the loss of over 1 stop of speed as compared to the 77mm Limited.
01-04-2008, 09:52 AM   #12
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Joe_M, I think Switters was bumbed about the K10D's AF speed (or lack there of). To tell the truth, I can understand that. I recently shot a birthday party and the 77mm got some awesome shots, but I lost a lot because of the slow focus speed. I got about 90 good shots (maybe half a dozen where really good) out of 300. I also like to use the DA* 50-135mm but it's frustrating listening to the SDM motor warble between a couple of different focus options before finally settling in focus a second or so later.

The shots you do get really sell you on a K10D. The shots you loose make you sometimes think about looking at something different.
01-04-2008, 10:20 AM   #13
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Yep, the AF speed was the main reason I switched.

Gary, don't get me wrong. There are MANY things I love about the 5D - I listed them above. Using a FF viewfinder after shooting with 1.5x crops is a huge difference, and can't be overstated (especially for MF). The resolution, the AF, the narrow DOF possibilities, the high ISO performance. I just wish the colors were better.

I haven't given up on further calibration to get the results I'm after. The reason I reported back here is because, as Will suggested, I know there are others on the forum who have similar likes/dislikes to me about the K10D and have entertained similar notions about switching to another system. I'm hoping my experience is somehow useful to others. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything.
01-04-2008, 11:46 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=switters;145609]Lowell, I was drawing a comparison between how the sensor size relative to different focal lengths and subject distances affects DOF given the same image size on a sensor. I do prefer FF for this reason.
QUOTE]


No problem, the question is, is the benefit from full frame more or less important than skin tones? Only you can decide this.
01-04-2008, 11:58 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by switters Quote
Gary, don't get me wrong. There are MANY things I love about the 5D - I listed them above. Using a FF viewfinder after shooting with 1.5x crops is a huge difference, and can't be overstated (especially for MF). The resolution, the AF, the narrow DOF possibilities, the high ISO performance. I just wish the colors were better.

I haven't given up on further calibration to get the results I'm after. The reason I reported back here is because, as Will suggested, I know there are others on the forum who have similar likes/dislikes to me about the K10D and have entertained similar notions about switching to another system. I'm hoping my experience is somehow useful to others. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything.
I understand. I have posted my experience here so that others may benefit from them. Everyone has different needs and it can be difficult to sort out what works best. When I used Pentax I didn't consider myself a "Pentaxian" and I certainly don't consider myself a "Nikonian." What I have now seems to be the best solution for my needs, but it isn't the best for every user and application.

My main interest in photography has always been landscape and travel photography, and the Pentax system was great for that. In the past, I couldn't care less about AF speed, didn't need long & fast lenses and flash was mostly for an occasional macro shot. But now I need to photograph other things (such as kids' sports and event photography) and that places different demands on the equipment. I would have liked to keep the Pentax gear for some uses, and would even like to try a Canon 5D for landscape photography, but I can't afford to have multiple systems with overlapping capabilities.

I have seen some fine images from Canon 5D cameras (including portraits with good color balance), so you might continue to experiment with RAW converters. You might post some inquiries on some Canon forums for ideas. If that doesn't pan out, you definitely should rent an alternative system for a day before you go through the pain of switching again. You can definitely rent Nikon bodies and lenses. I haven't seen a Fujifilm S5 for rent around here, but I haven't really looked for one either.
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