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01-27-2008, 12:59 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
Wow matix, that looks like an HDR! Beautiful colors!
Thanks PentaxPoke, I have to say, some of my best work has been done with the K10D with very little need for PP. What a lot of people seem to forget is, for many years users of film had their processing done by computerized developing and printing systems, controlled by the technician. I had a friend who did this for many years, and she invariably 'tweaked and adjusted' contrast, lighting and saturation to bring back a print from the dead.

Phil

01-27-2008, 01:05 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by christinelandon Quote
Phil, very impressive shot! Note, everyone, that he took it at f4! Imagine if he'd been able to use a tripod and f8-11...

Also concur with Skamaraju; the low-light AF and noise on my 2004-era Nikon was my biggest complaint with that system. That was the principal reason I bought a K10D to replace it.
Thanks Christine, I am fortunate to be a relatively stable 'duopod', that is I am not a 98lb young person.. has it's advantages. Honestly, I find the K10D is a breeze to shoot with in low light, and for the most part I can find some well lit contrasty piece of the image, or I will use MF. With the Sigma 10-20 though, the DOF is great and the lens very forgiving.

Phil
01-27-2008, 01:10 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
Phil,

Thank you so much for posting this. I would have thanked you for the effort no matter what conclusion you had drawn, but of course I'm especially delighted that you DO NOT seem to feel that you have to sell your Pentax gear and reinvest in Nikon. I found the account of your experience with the Nikon D300 to be informative and personally helpful.

Will
Thanks Will, I felt that the forum needed a reality check, too much emotion and it was getting to me. I used to shoot with a Nikon F401s, a great film camera and I loved it. Managed to sell it and all the gear immediately when I adopted digital 8 years ago, before the prices dropped. Before that I used Ricoh and Pentax SLR's going back to 1969.. will not mention how many before that!!

Phil
01-27-2008, 01:14 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Derridale Quote
Thanks from me too, Phil. Another Brisbaneite

I've been reading about the K20D, the 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, Live Preview, etc etc - but I'm not sure I can justify changing. Maybe if or when I decide to get a second body, then it would be K20D.

Mind you, if anybody wants to make me an offer I can't refuse for my K10D....
Well I would love to have a new 'Body' Pete, my mind is still good but my body it does protest somewhat...... Yes, the K20D is on the horizon, not sure if I will sell the K10D though, it is a great copy, and I have had zero problems.

The Pentax seems able to capture what my eye sees, can not get much better than than that eh?

Good to hear you are local, seems there is a few of us here, we should get together for coffee or whatever....

Phil

01-27-2008, 01:16 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by GWP Quote
Very good post Phil.

Kudos to you for taking the time & trouble to actually get off your butt and do your own homework. Admirable. Lets hope some others take your lead.

Your AF findings are something that are stated occasionally, but they seem to get dismissed as irrelevant by some that are more interested in the statistical data rather than what the machine (camera) actually does.

Thanks for the effort and thanks for posting.
Grant
Thanks Grant, we really should make time to finally get together.. work seems to keep closing in on me. Maybe when I get back from Hong Kong, hopefully to show some new toys

Phil
01-27-2008, 01:19 AM   #21
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Thanks to everyone who responded to my exercise, makes it worthwhile when your efforts are appreciated, comments are what forums are all about. Appreciate it.

Phil
01-27-2008, 06:39 AM   #22
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Phil, I have had similar thoughts, however drew a different conclusion.

I am in the fortunate position of knowing an owner of a D300, as well as plenty of good Nikkor lenses. He is also an employee of a local camera store. Going back about 3 weeks ago I got to handle the D300 and was impressed by its feel. It is quite a large camera, larger than a K10D for sure. It did feel funny to use without a grip though, after having all that extra 'meat' on the bottom of my K10D.

I fired off a couple of test shots with the Nikkor 50mm F1.8 in the store and was impressed by the speed of the AF, but it was by no means light years ahead of the K10D, especially considering I typically use a lens whos maximum aperture is 3.5.

The real test for me will be to use the D300 at the race track. This is what I shoot most, and what my business is. In doing what I do I've reached the limits of the Pentax AF system, it simply can't keep up. For the shots I do MF simply is not an option and I am finding myself sacrificing the perfect shot because I know, from the angle I'm trying to shoot, the K10D will not be able to handle it. Sure I am getting some good shots, but I'm sacrificing that shot simply because the hardware won't be able to do it.

My action plan for the minute is to wait until I can have a K20D in my hands. I've been told that I will be able to borrow the camera and take it to the race track and see if it performs how I need it to perform. If it doesn't meet my requirements I am prepared to entertain other options. Fortunately I don't have a huge investment in Pentax, enough, but not enough to discourage me from leaving. I did have plans of adding to my investment into the Pentax system in the next few weeks, but have put that on hold pending a play with a K20D.

I like Pentax, the way the cameras function and the images they produce, but I do not enjoy the battle to find lenses, or the paying of inflated costs because these are not available.

I look forward to handling a K20D and hope it is the camera I need it to be.

Sorry for hijacking your thread Phil, but I thought it best to post my thoughs here than make a new thread.

Adam.
01-27-2008, 07:20 AM   #23
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Something interesting for those that really want quicker AF on Pentax - I've read that AF is slower on Pentax is because it does a double check, as opposed to a single check on a Nikon (or Canon). Apparently the K20D will have an option to turn off this double check so you can have "Nikon style" focusing (single check). Who knows how will work out in the real world, but something to think about...

01-27-2008, 12:30 PM   #24
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"I fired off a couple of test shots with the Nikkor 50mm F1.8 in the store and was impressed by the speed of the AF, but it was by no means light years ahead of the K10D, especially considering I typically use a lens whos maximum aperture is 3.5." by Adam.

Phil was impressed as well with the speed of the N* AF but the real deal here is that although the N* indicates lock, the resulting images were not focused accurately when viewed, I am just wondering what good is it if it is impressive to hear and see the N* firing at will if the result are
substandard. There was another test done by a C* 40D and K10D owner and his conclusion was that the advantage of the C* is blown out of proportion, he's got more accurate shots with his K10 than his 40D. Just sharing my thoughts and I will take IQ anytime over FPS.

Cheers,

Rene

Last edited by Rener; 01-27-2008 at 12:41 PM. Reason: to quote Adam
01-27-2008, 01:01 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by jebidiam Quote
Something interesting for those that really want quicker AF on Pentax - I've read that AF is slower on Pentax is because it does a double check, as opposed to a single check on a Nikon (or Canon). Apparently the K20D will have an option to turn off this double check so you can have "Nikon style" focusing (single check).
This is intriguing. Is it true that Nikon doesn't do a double-check and Pentax does? And is it true that the K20D will give users the option to turn that double-check off? I've never heard anything like this.

Will
01-27-2008, 01:22 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by blwnhr Quote
Phil, I have had similar thoughts, however drew a different conclusion.

I am in the fortunate position of knowing an owner of a D300, as well as plenty of good Nikkor lenses. He is also an employee of a local camera store. Going back about 3 weeks ago I got to handle the D300 and was impressed by its feel. It is quite a large camera, larger than a K10D for sure. It did feel funny to use without a grip though, after having all that extra 'meat' on the bottom of my K10D.

I fired off a couple of test shots with the Nikkor 50mm F1.8 in the store and was impressed by the speed of the AF, but it was by no means light years ahead of the K10D, especially considering I typically use a lens whos maximum aperture is 3.5.

The real test for me will be to use the D300 at the race track. This is what I shoot most, and what my business is. In doing what I do I've reached the limits of the Pentax AF system, it simply can't keep up. For the shots I do MF simply is not an option and I am finding myself sacrificing the perfect shot because I know, from the angle I'm trying to shoot, the K10D will not be able to handle it. Sure I am getting some good shots, but I'm sacrificing that shot simply because the hardware won't be able to do it.

My action plan for the minute is to wait until I can have a K20D in my hands. I've been told that I will be able to borrow the camera and take it to the race track and see if it performs how I need it to perform. If it doesn't meet my requirements I am prepared to entertain other options. Fortunately I don't have a huge investment in Pentax, enough, but not enough to discourage me from leaving. I did have plans of adding to my investment into the Pentax system in the next few weeks, but have put that on hold pending a play with a K20D.

I like Pentax, the way the cameras function and the images they produce, but I do not enjoy the battle to find lenses, or the paying of inflated costs because these are not available.

I look forward to handling a K20D and hope it is the camera I need it to be.

Sorry for hijacking your thread Phil, but I thought it best to post my thoughs here than make a new thread.

Adam.
Hi Adam, I hear you for sure... I was the official track photographer at Melbourne Speedway many years ago, and know what it is like to shoot fast moving subjects. I got a lot of great shots, but blew a lot too... most out of focus. Of course back then I used B & W and did my own processing and printing.

I would not even try it with the K10d and AF. Back then the only way was to focus on a particulay spot on the track, wait for the cars to come into frame and hope youir DOF was sufficient to get the shot in focus. I also did a lot of night races, using a big old Metz flash with wet cell battery, 202 model I think from memory.

My night vision was a heck of a lot better then too, and focusing was a lot easier with the split image on the camera of the time.

I was using a Ricoh TLS 401 SLR at the time, and it did well with a 50mm 2,8 for the action shots. The Pentax would definitely not be able to handle Single AF or Continuous AF in this application.

It would be nice, but no camera can be everything to everyone. We certainly do not have the range of Pentax lenses, what is there is really good thought. Other makes, Sigma and Tamron have some winners, and I have no hang ups on Brand, but support what ever works for me. Hope the test you do works, that is what it is all about, good luck with it.

Thanks, Phil
01-27-2008, 04:22 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by blwnhr Quote
My action plan for the minute is to wait until I can have a K20D in my hands. I've been told that I will be able to borrow the camera and take it to the race track and see if it performs how I need it to perform. If it doesn't meet my requirements I am prepared to entertain other options. Fortunately I don't have a huge investment in Pentax, enough, but not enough to discourage me from leaving. I did have plans of adding to my investment into the Pentax system in the next few weeks, but have put that on hold pending a play with a K20D.
Very very very interested to hear your conclusion once you've managed to do this. Please remember to let us know. What sort of race track are you talking about, cars, horses, wombats?
01-27-2008, 05:47 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
What sort of race track are you talking about, cars, horses, wombats?
Yes, I too, would like to hear about your findings, especially if it's a wombat race track.

Will
01-27-2008, 06:24 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by jebidiam Quote
Apparently the K20D will have an option to turn off this double check so you can have "Nikon style" focusing (single check). Who knows how will work out in the real world, but something to think about...
Chris in his review of the K20D mentioned this. This is the exact reason why I am waiting for a play with the K20D to see if this improves it to a reasonable speed. Don't get me wrong, for static stuff the Pentax is spot on, but for my staple shooting diet of motor & field sports it just can't hack the pace.

QuoteOriginally posted by OPTMEKX& Quote
Phil was impressed as well with the speed of the N* AF but the real deal here is that although the N* indicates lock, the resulting images were not focused accurately when viewed, I am just wondering what good is it if it is impressive to hear and see the N* firing at will if the result are substandard.

There was another test done by a C* 40D and K10D owner and his conclusion was that the advantage of the C* is blown out of proportion, he's got more accurate shots with his K10 than his 40D. Just sharing my thoughts and I will take IQ anytime over FPS.
I think it is entirely dependent on what you're shooting. I was shooting at f/1.8 and the focus was spot on, which is always tricky at such a large aperture. From my experience using Canon gear (30D and 40D with 70-200 f/2.8, 300 f/2.8 L-series) the focus has always been spot on. With the K10D I have to pick the point I want it to focus on or it will be all over the show. The Canon on the other hand was left in the Pentax equivalent of Auto focus point and it was bang on every time.

I am just thankful that I am in a position where I can try the D300, 30D, 40D and hopefully the K20D in the exact conditions I will be using it.

QuoteOriginally posted by matix Quote
I would not even try it with the K10d and AF. Back then the only way was to focus on a particulay spot on the track, wait for the cars to come into frame and hope youir DOF was sufficient to get the shot in focus.
The issue is, for the type of motorsport I'm shooting the cars can be at any position on the track and this renders MF useless. Basically 80% of my shooting is motorsport, the 'other two' can do what I need them to do, so I need to entertain that option.

QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
Very very very interested to hear your conclusion once you've managed to do this. Please remember to let us know. What sort of race track are you talking about, cars, horses, wombats?
I will be certain to let everyone know, and will do my best to post some samples to back up my findings.

Motorsport is what I shoot, check out my gallery for examples of what I do.
01-31-2008, 03:41 PM   #30
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i have never had a problem with k10d af...probably only if the subject run towards the camera that 's the only real difficult fr the af system to stay there in continuos, but also the new can has this problem. tonight i tried the autofocus in a dark street, i was inside the car waitnig for my grandma), and the focus locked all the time after 1 sec and with the stabiizer i could shot at 1 sec and have moderately sharp photo.
I think the most importat thing is KOW YOUR CAMERA...i knw that in poor light the af system fight more to lock, so i use only the central focus and lock where is a littel contrast in the scene and then recompose or shoot.

QuoteOriginally posted by matix Quote
First of all let me say, this is really not a knee jerk reaction following the news and specs of the K20D, but a niggling thought I have had for a few months now. My son has a D70S and does well with it, and I am not particularly happy with the low light auto focus of the K10D and my assorted lenses.

Please do not start on about the 'who needs AF anyway, real photographers do it manually...' BS, if the camera can not see the object good enough to focus with it's technology, then my 'Mature' eyes and lack of split image viewfinder sure as heck can not do a good job in low light either dammit! My opinion, we have AF, it should work......

Moving right along, I read up on, talked to and studied all the pros and cons of a move, and with all the Pentax compatible gear I have, it would have hurt, a lot, but I had to ask.

So, today I took myself to my favourite camera shop in Brisbane where I bought my K10D 14 months ago, and was given a new D300 and copies of all the Nikkor and Sigma lenses they had, and told to have at it. Here is my report, for what it is worth, subjective of course and not terribly technical. I shot off 30 or so images on a new CF card so I could take them an evaluate them for my needs, and the followig are my comments for what they are worth.

Look and Feel:
  • The D300 looks and handles well, very similar to the K10D in weight, a few grams heavier without a lens, more with a typical Nikkor VR lens of course.
  • Had a nice feel to the right hand grip, felt a bit more secure than the K10, but also bigger.
  • The LCD screen is brilliant, clear and bright and huge by comparison, reviewing of images was great.
  • Live View of course, nice to have as I had it with the Sony R1 and DSC-7xx and 8xx and I miss it for low level an overhead shots, macros etc, BUT I do not think the fixed live view would be as good as being able to tilt or swivel when needed, but it is there if you need it.

Auto Focus, Accuracy and Response
  • A mixed bag here, yes it indicated focus, and the focus assist on the low light dark areas the K10D would not even try for, all I could say was WOW... I wish!! Nowhere near as fast as the Olympus E-3 I tried a couple of weeks ago, but the object had to be almost in total darkness with no contrast to defeat the focus indicator.
  • Tried the K10D on the same objects, same lighting and the AF gave up while still being relatively light, but we all know this, right?

What really got me on this AF test was, 75% of the test shots in very low light with the D300, where it indicated a focus lock, WERE NOT IN FOCUS WHEN THE IMAGE WAS VIEWED??

The K10D may have sounded like it was sawing firewood while hunting for enough contrast to focus on, but dammit when it said YES and beeped, it WAS IN FOCUS when the image was viewed later.

I complain the the K10D loses me many candid shots because of poor low light focus, the D300 lost me more in my simple, grab it and use it test!!. Maybe in fairness if I spent time with it I could have gotten better, but that was not the objective of this test. Much of my shooting is Grab and Shoot, if I had time to prepare, compose, adjust, focus and capture, then there never is a problem.

Cost of Ownership of Camera and Lenses
  • Well this was not really a surprise, a K10D body right now would cost around $1,100 on a good day, best deal I could grind was $2,599 for the D300 Body. Australian dollars of course. The Grip and Battery, Flash etc were also 40-50% more expensive as well.
  • Lens pricing? Sigma, Tamron etc would be the same, but Sigma has HSM for a few of their popular lenses, 18-200, 10-20, 50-500 Bigma I tried and they were nice and quiet.
  • Nikkor lenses are as costly, or much more expensive than closest equivilent Pentax glass, and there are many grades or quality levels I found.
  • Currently I have 7 Lenses including DA* 50-135, FA 31 Limited, Tamron 18-250, Tamron 90 DI Macro, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 17-70, Sigma 50-500 Bigma and a few older lenses, covering pretty much everything I need or will need
  • SUMMARY OF INVESTMENT: The D300 would cost around $1,500 more for the body, and the lenses an additional $2,000. This extra mainly would be to get a close equivilent for the FA31 Limited (I have not at this time found a comparable Nikkor lens for this beauty) and the DA* 50-135.

MY DECISION:

The answer? No reason to change. Apart from the investment in a new platform, the D300 in a hands on test did not have the advantages in AF I was looking for, and I have learned to use the K10D now, realistically it is in it's own way, a better camera for my needs and I am now looking forward to another year with what I have, and maybe an upgrade to a second body (K20D) later in the year.

Please note, the objective of this exercise was to satisfy my questions, no pixel peeping needed, not wild techy analysis of the specifications, good or bad, I just needed to know if I could solve MY problem. We sometimes get excited over a change, without considering all the implications involved, I for one am very happy with my Pentax, and the range of lenses and accessories I have.

Thanks, Phil
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