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01-28-2008, 09:31 AM   #1
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Thinking about returning to Pentax

This is my first post in this forum, however I’ve been following the “news and rumors” section of this site almost religiously for the past 3 months.

I learned photography back in the film days using a Pentax ME Super throughout college. Then I switched to digital in 2001 and bought the closest thing to a digital SLR I could afford at the time, a Canon Powershot G2. Anyway, it is way, way, way past time to upgrade and I really want to come back to Pentax, but I read this quote from the Marketing Director of Pentax Europe and I am now very put off by Pentax:
Will Pentax aim towards developing a full frame sensor? It is said Sony is preparing their own.

"Well, I am afraid to say that it is not the moment to answer that question (laughs), but I believe this is a very natural progression. The production of sensors is headed towards full-frame, and Pentax too will be present in this camp in one way or another."
Now I have no issues with full-frame, but currently Pentax has all but abandoned it in favor of APS-C. In fact they only have 3 full frame lenses currently in production. So that means any lens I buy could very well be obsolete in 6 years. Now I don’t want to start a full frame vs. cropped debate, that’s not what this is about. Cropped sensors are fine by me, I just simply want to be reassured that any lenses I buy now will still be usable with new bodies in 10 years. The problem comes in when I compare Pentax to Canon. Canon still produces some very, very good full frame lenses, and at decent prices. Which would obviously provide the assurance I want for future compatibility.

So with that in mind, when looking at the prices below can anyone make a case for me coming back to Pentax? My heart says come back, but my head says go with Canon to cover my ass.


Pentax K20D Kit, Pentax DA 18-55mm II: $1,000*
Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 SDM: $740
Pentax SMCP-FA 35mm f/2.0 AL: $300
Total: $2,040

Canon 450D: $600*
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM: $530
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM: $300
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L: $550
Total: $1,980

Canon 40D: $815
Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8: $315 (cropped sensor lens, but it is a very good one and I don’t mind gambling on 1)
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM: $300
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L: $550
Total: $1,980

*K20 and Canon 450D are estimated best deal internet prices based on the history of the K10D and 400D.

01-28-2008, 09:39 AM   #2
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They won't abandon the APS-C format, what the press release was referring to was the fact that all DSLR manufacturers are eventually going to have to go to a full frame camera at the top of their lineup. Pentax will eventually develop a huge fast full-frame camera geared toward working pro's, but it will cost thousands of dollars to get one. They won't be able to make a full frame camera at the entry level because no one who's looking for an entry level camera will be able to afford one.

APS-C is here to stay, and the great thing is that even if Pentax only makes pro level lenses in the full frame format in the future, full frame format lenses work great on APS-C cameras so you could get them and use them without issues. Get the K20D! One thing's for sure, it will beat the pants off those two canons you have listed. Pentax has millions of full frame lenses from the 35 mm days that are out there on the used market, a lot of them are as good or better than a lot of the cropped sensor glass out now so you can focus on that if you like as well. The FA* glass is amazing! The FA limited prime lenses are as well.

Welcome back to the Pentax users group, we've missed you!

SLC
01-28-2008, 09:40 AM   #3
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Personally I can't see Pentax coming up with a camera that would not be backwards compatible with all their lenses. That is what they brag about and that is one of the main attractions for Pentax. But what do I know.
01-28-2008, 09:49 AM   #4
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Is there any official documentation anywhere of Pentax stating that they have no plans to forgo the APS-C sensor for the foreseeable future? I'm not concerned about them only producing full frame lenses eventually; as you stated full frame lenses work great on cropped bodies. However I am worried about them dropping APS-C sensors in favor of full-frame in their "pro-sumer and professional" bodies. Then I would be stuck with entry level bodies if I wanted to continue using my stock of APS-C lenses that I'm sure to buy in the next few years.

...and thanks, glad to be here.

01-28-2008, 09:56 AM   #5
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Since you have in the cannon listings, a third party lens, then I think your selection chart is being somewhat restrictive to Pentax by only listing Pentax lenses.

In terms of my own experience, I atually don't care about the size of the sensor. I still shoot film from time to time, and my PZ-1 is the ultimate back up for my digital cameras (*istD and K10D at present).

SInce I still shoot film, for me I have always bought lenses that are full frame, because I want them to work on both bodies.

With the exception of the sigma 10-20, which is not full frame, all the other lenses I own are full frame, even though I have bought the Sigma 70-200 F2.8 and Tamron 28-75 f2.8 since changing to digital. My *istD came with a ff18-35 which I used mostly on film for ultra wide, until I bought the 10-20.

Look at where you are going personally, as others have said, pentax will probably follow Nikon at some time to a pro full frame camera, but not any time soon, and probably not with current lenses. Look at Nikon, they have ASP-C only lenses and came out with a FF camera, Canon makes two complete lines of lenses.

Aftermarket makers have both FF and ASP-C lenses (at least Sigma and Tamron)
01-28-2008, 09:58 AM   #6
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you wont see a K20D WITH lens for 1000 dollars, not within this year.

and the Canon will most definetly NOT cost 600 dollars either.

also, you're choosing one of pentax finest long zooms vs average canon junk,

replace the DA* with the 50-200 for a fair comparrison

OR

replace the Canon 70-200 f4 with the USM/VR 70-200 f2.8... the ones that retail for about 1500, if you want to maintain the quality comparison.
01-28-2008, 10:00 AM   #7
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Keep in mind that what we refer to a "camera body" today, is rapidly becoming an imaging computer attached to a light focusing device (lens). In the future the hardware items (body and lens) will be maipulated by software in ways that will produce truly wonderful results. Not to worry. Soon the sensor's physical size will be irrelevant.

Enjoy the season...
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Michael
01-28-2008, 10:09 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
Not to worry. Soon the sensor's physical size will be irrelevant.
it may be irrelevant in the 25mm range +, since almost any focal length after 25mm can be had with any apc lens


its the wide angle stuff that the cropped sensors will never tackle, and why people out there still shoot film for architecture.

01-28-2008, 10:10 AM   #9
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I hope this comes across correctly, but it seems maybe you are comparing apples and oranges with the camera and the lenses. For instance, the 450/XSI is a step below the K20D in a number of ways and may be considered by most as more of a consumer/low end model versus the K20D which is more mid level, or "Prosumer" I think the term has been coined.
Also, the lenses...why not chose the K20D ($1000) with the 18-250 lens ($450) and the 50mm 1.4 ($200) and have a wonderful package at about $1650?

Just my 2 cents worth.

Jason
01-28-2008, 10:12 AM   #10
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As far as including the Tamron lens with Canon, and no 3rd party lenses with Pentax...that was just one option. I mainly want to stick with glass from the the camera manufacturer I choose. I'm not really basing the decision on 3rd party glass. If that were the case I would choose Canikon without even blinking an eye just due to availability and less waiting.

And I do disagree on price...I imagine someone such as Preferred Photo will undercut B&H, Wolf Camera, and the other more popular stores. The Rebel XTI can be had for $460 currently for example (given, its long in the tooth). I don't mind waiting 6 months for the price to drop if necessary. I've shot with a 4 mexapixel G2 for almost 8 years now; a few more months wont hurt.

And like I said originally; I don't care about sensor size either. APS-C is fine by me. What I am not fine with is buying tons of APS-C lenses in the next two years then not having a prosumer body to use them with in 5-10 years.


amd @Michaelina2...

oh trust me, i totally agree there. Hell, I've shot at 4 megapixel's for years now. I've had to use every Photoshop trick in the book to get the results I want.
01-28-2008, 10:17 AM   #11
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There's an article here: British Journal of Photography - Asian alliance on class-beating digital SLR

(thanks jeffkrol for the link)

Quote: "And what of Pentax’ digital medium format camera? Publicly, Onada re-iterated the line Pentax has been peddling since news of Hoya’s proposed ‘merger’ first broke in 2005 – that ‘it’s too early to say’. He said that the company had been concentrating on ‘core business’, which apparently means medium format is on the back-burner.

However, in an interview with BJP, Onada revealed just how close Pentax had come to launching the 645 AFD. ‘Before the Hoya deal went through we were actually quite ready. We were very much prepared for a launch. But one of the key issues was with distribution. You need huge resources to launch across many countries.’

He was equally reluctant to say when Pentax might introduce a pro-level DSLR, saying it didn’t have the ‘resources or the desire’ to compete with Canon and Nikon at this point. However, he did say that Pentax’ eventual ambition is to have three levels of camera, with one a higher-end model."


You will never get a firm, cast in stone answer to this question. market conditions change so fast that a company would be foolish to get caught on one course without options to change directions to meet new demands and competing pressures.

That being said, I bet any FF sensor will have a way to artificially crop the image to compensate for the 2 styles of lens. But as posted above, any FF sensor body will be in MKIII price range territory and that's really way over the needs of the even serious hobbiest or semi pro.

My guess would be the 3 levels will be Cropped sensor is 1st level, FF is second level and 645D will be 3rd level.

Buy FA, FA* A and 3rd party FF glass and be happy.

BTW. The 450 is being trashed for IQ on the Canon forums and I don't think is in the same league as the others.
01-28-2008, 10:18 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jasvox Quote
I hope this comes across correctly, but it seems maybe you are comparing apples and oranges with the camera and the lenses. For instance, the 450/XSI is a step below the K20D in a number of ways and may be considered by most as more of a consumer/low end model versus the K20D which is more mid level, or "Prosumer" I think the term has been coined.
Also, the lenses...why not chose the K20D ($1000) with the 18-250 lens ($450) and the 50mm 1.4 ($200) and have a wonderful package at about $1650?

Just my 2 cents worth.

Jason
Well, I listed the 450D and the 40D, the 40D is a direct competitor to the K20D and it can currently be had for $815 USD. The 450D is just something else to think about. It truly does sound impressive based on the raw specs.

As far as the 18-250....hope I don't offend anyone, but I cringe when I see lenses like that. The super zooms just aren't my thing. In most cases they are quiet slow, and the distortion on the low end makes them almost unusable below 35mm. In fact I'm pondering an all prime set up with the DA-21, DA-40, and DA-70.
01-28-2008, 10:21 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
That being said, I bet any FF sensor will have a way to artificially crop the image to compensate for the 2 styles of lens.
That is an option I haven't thought about. You could have very well eased my apprehension with that. Thanks.
01-28-2008, 10:32 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gooshin Quote
also, you're choosing one of pentax finest long zooms vs average canon junk,

replace the DA* with the 50-200 for a fair comparrison
Again, don't mean to offend, but every Canon lens I listed there is far from junk. There is only one non-L lens in the list, and even it is an all time classic lens. Every other lens is full weather sealed, and made very high quality. One of the things I like about their lens selection is the fact that they have an F4 pro-grade and an F2.8 pro-grade lens range. The F4 range is obviously much smaller and cheaper, but the quality is still there and when shooting F4 or higher the images are almost indistinguishable. Pentax and especially Nikon should really follow suit on that one.

That said, the Pentax 50-135 DA* is by all accounts a great lens, and Canon doesn't make an exact equivalent to it. They have the 70-200mm f 2.8, but that is a longer lens, so again, apples to oranges. But that 50-135 is one of the main reasons I'm considering Pentax, I would rather have the extra stop then the extended range of the 70-200 f.4.
01-28-2008, 10:32 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Art Vandelay II Quote
Well, I listed the 450D and the 40D, the 40D is a direct competitor to the K20D and it can currently be had for $815 USD. The 450D is just something else to think about. It truly does sound impressive based on the raw specs.

As far as the 18-250....hope I don't offend anyone, but I cringe when I see lenses like that. The super zooms just aren't my thing. In most cases they are quiet slow, and the distortion on the low end makes them almost unusable below 35mm. In fact I'm pondering an all prime set up with the DA-21, DA-40, and DA-70.
the 40D is not a competitor for the K20D

the 30D was a competitior for the K10D, the 40D was just a slightly upgraded 30D, so really the 40D was simply a better deal for those thinking of pentax/canon at the time (which is only a couple of months ago)

the K20D has way more IQ power and a list of features that easily overshadow the 40D

especialy for the hobbyist/semi-pro
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