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09-13-2012, 10:54 PM   #1
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What would make a perfect Pentax APS-C DSLR for 2013?

Well, it seems that a lot of people were let down by the recent announcements of the k-5ii and the k-5iis.

So, lets take a minute to reflect on what really makes a camera great. This will be different for many people, there is no right answer. But, perhaps, after a week or two, we could get a consensus on what makes it into the top 5 factors of most people's 'perfect APS-C camera'.

I'm no pro, admittedly. This past summer I've shot two weddings, one engagement shoot, and four model shoots that I've received payment for. But, making enough to make a living, I ain't. I fit right into the niche of Advanced Ameture/ Enthusiast. And, that's exactly what my body is aimed at.

One last thing before we get started:
-This is a discussion, not an argument. Let's see if we can facilitate a dialogue with a meaningful outcome rather than stooping to Pentax is doomed!! or If I don't get a full-frame I'm swapping to Canikony type statements. The goal of this project is to find out what is the most important features for an APS-C DSLR to cater Pentax shooters' needs.

With that taken care of, here are my top 5 features that would help constitute my 'perfect' APS-C Pentax:

1) A large, flexible, optical viewfinder.
This is my number one most important feature. Honestly, the only strong draw I have toward full-frame is fuelled by my desire to be able to look through the viewfinder without having to compose the shot from the far end of a dark hallway. If any of you out there have ever shot with a k1000, you'll know what a big viewfinder is like to compose with. It's lovely! For my perfect APS-C DSLR, I'd like something in the ballpark of 100% coverage, with 75% magnification with a 35mm f1.4. (not a 50mm 1.4). A current K-5ii has a viewfinder with 100% coverage with 61% magnification at 35mm f1.4. To get a better Idea on how viewfinder magnification works in layman's terms, refer to: Stuff people don't understand about DSLRs

As for the flexible part of the viewfinder, I'd like to see a LCD overlay. Now, I'm not talking about an electronic viewfinder, I'm thinking more along the lines of what Canon implemented on their 7D. A viewfinder where, at the push of a button, you can overlay the image with autofocus points, or a grid, or nothing but a clean unmolested image. Choices are good. All that crud in the viewfinder can be heaven-sent or a hindrance depending on what you're shooting at that moment.

2) Light weight and small enough to take everywhere
Like I said before, I'm not a pro, but I can appreciate nice gear that is feature rich. But, that being said, I'm still not a pro. My photography is first and foremost a hobby pursued for the joy of photography. I carry my camera with me everywhere I go with a 50mm prime. Before I leave the house I pat my left pocket to make sure I've got my keys, my right pocket to make sure I've got my phone, my back pocket to make sure I've got my wallet, and my right hip to make sure I've got my camera hanging correctly. Trips made for the sole purpose of photography warrant me carrying a backpack with a few lenses, but for the day-to-day, it's just one body and one lens. I'd like to keep it light enough that I don't need to carry a camera purse, and small enough that I don't get people coming up to me and saying, "that's some big camera you've got there, eh?" like my buddy who shoots a Canon 1D MKii.

3) Well thought out ergonomics
Specifically: dual scroll wheels; a depth-of-field preview located on the on/off switch; having the D-pad within thumb reach both with and without the battery grip attached for easy autofocus point selection; and a dedicated iso button on the top panel as well as on the battery grip.

4) ISO performance
Usable levels of noise for up to 8x10 prints straight from the camera at iso 3200, with iso levels ranging from iso 50 up to something ungodly that I'll never use anyway... lets say 25,600.

5) Dynamic range
If it's like the K-5, I'm set. If better, that'd be icing on the cake.

Well, there you have it! My very own dream machine in APS-C. Please let me know what your top 5 features would be for your perfect Pentax APS-C dSLR, and at the end of a week or two, I'll compile the most recurring features and pass it onto Adam to see what he thinks. Who knows, maybe we could get the Spanish Pentax guys in on it like they were for the Full Frame Pledge, or even a UK Pentax user site.

Thanks in advance! Now spill your guts!

09-13-2012, 11:10 PM   #2
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To be honest, I'm very happy with what they currently have.
Hell, I'm happy with my *istDS (apart from the fact it's damaged)

The only things I would like are:

1: a focussing screen with either split prism or the fuzzy crystal things (or even better, both like my ME)

2: And I would also quite like if there were an option to have a needle/LED exposure gauge like the K1000 or the MZM in full manual.

1: would be to plain and simple make manual focus easier.
2: I would love even more, it would mean manual mode could be accessed by more people and help them to learn about how each setting interacts.
09-13-2012, 11:43 PM   #3
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Hey, your camera sounds pretty darn good to me.

Here's my (somewhat similar top 5)

1.) Accurate, speedy focusing

Tip top AF performance is essential, but I also want something that can be manually focused quickly and accurately without much pain and suffering. At minimum I'd like to have focus peaking, illuminated focus points, and a great viewfinder like you mentioned in the OP for manual focusing.

2.) Good ergonomics

Definitely 2 wheels and all the necessary buttons and switches so that I don't have to go digging in a menu. I'd prefer they be placed in a normal usable fashion that doesn't involve any strange contortions. I just want to be able to quickly change all the basics without having to remove the camera from shooting position. I like the way things are on the K20D.

3.) Flexible size

I'm a huge fan of the accessory grip on my K20D. It holds enough stuff that I can strap on the camera and go out for the day without anything else. I like the feel when shooting portrait. I would, however, like to keep it as a detachable element of the camera. There are times when I don't want big and scary, so I'd like to be able to strip it down and go small and light.

4.) Rock solid video performance

I'd love for the camera to handle video well enough to handle the general video tasks that might come up in documentary shooting. I'd like something that would allow me to record some people talking and maybe chase a plane or two for my aviation blog, but I definitely don't need some kind of 4k monster. Also, a stereo mic in port and headphone jack are essential, because great audio is important.

5.) Stellar still performance

While video fits firmly in the "nice to have" category, I'm definitely looking for something that is at the top of its game with stills. The main feature I want here is great low light performance up to a decent level (i.e., not topping out at 400; I'm looking for usable stuff from maybe 3200 or 6400).
09-13-2012, 11:52 PM   #4
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I have K5 and must say been quite happy with i do not need many things

1. Viewfinder. And I do agree both u guys 100% with ur thoughts about viewfinder, it is not good enough, MF is too difficult to see clear enough...I not do MF much using viewfinder cos result is most like not need to improve this...or change to FF body would solve his problem but i not like the size then so better have APSC...

2. AF. Relayability problems especially with dim light many lenses. AF is not good with moving objects also. I want AF that I can trust so i can focus on other things while taking photos.

3. Flash technology. Pentax flashes outdated long ago. Wireless tecnology, not good wireless P-TTL solution today. Pentax P-TTL with external flash not very good and precise as I would like to see.

4. Lens options are little limited. And Pentax lenses are too expensive, Sigma AF moustly not so good with Pentax and Tamron have no so many lenses to choose...but ok I can live with this

09-14-2012, 03:13 AM   #5
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As a happy K-5 owner I'm going to skip the K-5II, but I do have a list of features that could make me buy a new body sooner than the K-5 dies:
1.Faster x-sync than 1/180
I do a bit of strobist photography and this could help me.
2. Focus peaking
The biggest disappointment of the K-5II is that it doesn't feature one. I'd like to have it for manual lenses.
3. Hybrid viewfinder
Having this technology in a DSLR would rock my world. I prefer OVF over any EVF, but hybrid has advantages of both.
4. Canon-like controls over AF point selection
I don't like the dual function of my K-5's 4-way selector. Much prefer the joystick on Canon gear.
09-14-2012, 03:20 AM   #6
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What would make a perfect Pentax APS-C DSLR for 2013?

A full frame sensor!
09-14-2012, 04:36 AM   #7
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Some great stuff listed here already.
I would like to see
a) swivel or tiltable LCD screen
b) focus peaking
c) more AF points, placed in strategic positions. They should also be smaller.
d) big viewfinder
e) TAv mode and decent video mode
f) Uncrippled mounts
I think all of these are reasonable wishes and can be done. Many of the ones already suggested would also be great, like WR and better flash system and even better DR.
09-14-2012, 06:04 AM   #8
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Nice comments already.

I'm extremely happy with the overall performance of the K-5, so a few improvements I'd like to see would be high ISO from 6400 onwards, simply cus I don't have the fastest lenses.
And better AF.
I mean, I'm happy with both of those at the moment, but let's keep improving Pentax.

A few small niggles that I have are:
The memory card door. A bit of a pain getting the card out at times, and seems like too much pressure can be put on the door.
I'd like the inclusion of the SR switch on the body.
And, if I'm honest, I might be one of few who wouldn't mind a bigger body, K10 all over again.

09-14-2012, 06:37 AM   #9

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USB 3.0 for faster download.
Tethering support including liveview.
Improved manual focus: peaking, larger viewfinder, or split screen.
Built-in O-GPS1.
Dual memory cards.
Automatic lens focus adjustment. Put the camera on a tripod, then pick a menu item and the camera switches between phase and contrast AF modes to measure front or back focus.
Incremental improvements to the great K5. Even better DR. Less noise at high ISO.
09-14-2012, 08:46 AM   #10
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The great thing is that the K-5 is an outstanding base to build on. Outside of the AF and flash systems, I think updates necessary are either incremental or inexpensive to do.

1) Better, faster AF
I would like to have an advanced focus system that I have more confidence in. I do take a decent amount of sports pictures, so a leap ahead in AF-C performance is a must for me. Also, having one focus point in the camera that is very small for more accurate performance would be very helpful. In portraits, it would be nice to know that it is actually focused on an eye instead of the nose.
2) Better, faster AF
This is so important to me that I do mention it twice. By far the biggest improvement necessary.
3) Improved flash system
The Pentax flash system is antiquated and is long overdue for an update. Please raise the flash synch speed to at least 1/250. I know a lot of people don’t understand the need for this, but as a flash user, it would help a great deal. The current HSS system is no answer to what I need. I think Pentax could make a lot of money from existing users on new flash units where at least some of the improvements could be utilized by the existing bodies as well. Too many updates necessary to go into detail. One thing Pentax, even if you don’t make upgrades here, could you please, please, please just do one simple thing for us? Just allow us to override a setting in the menu that would allow a flash to fire with a shutter speed greater than the synch speed. We understand we might get black bars in the image, but please just let me have the choice to deal with that. This should be simple and not too much to ask. Please.
4) Manual control over video
There are many things that could be done to take a step up in video performance, but if they could at least just allow manual controls during video, that would be great. I have hit times where I would love to use the video function, but not knowing what the camera is doing regarding the settings makes things very difficult.
5) Tethering
Some form of tethering is necessary. This should not be that hard.

Other nice to haves:
User customizable warnings in the viewfinder. I would appreciate it if we were allowed to make certain override settings smack you in the face in the viewfinder. For me, the biggest one I forget about is exposure compensation. If I could make that indicator bold red flashing font in the viewfinder, that would help me.
Larger LCD
Focus Peaking
Wi-fi add on ability. I say wifi, but I actually mean wireless communication in whatever form makes most sense. The ability to communicate with phone apps, tablets, computers, would be great. I saw that the Nikon D600 has this capability.
09-14-2012, 09:18 AM - 1 Like   #11
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What would make a perfect Pentax APS-C DSLR for 2013?

Nothing. No matter what they did, someone will complain about it and thus it would not be perfect.
09-14-2012, 12:47 PM   #12
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Original Poster
Good stuff so far. Keep 'em coming!
Good point, Tom. Nothing can really said to be 'perfect', especially when applied to a large group.
But, with that being said, what are the top 5 things that you would like to see in your personal vision of a Pentax APS-C dSLR?
09-14-2012, 04:26 PM   #13
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taking on noise

I would love the camera to take on noise as good as LightRoom 4 can do! Just making perfect jpg images strait out of the camera.
09-14-2012, 04:29 PM   #14
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All I want is better image quality....
09-14-2012, 06:42 PM   #15
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For me the best APS-C DSLR for 2013 for Pentax will be...

A K-5IIs + the K-30's new features e.g.

16mp K-5 sensor
SAFOX Xi+ with around 21 AF points, 1 double-cross for center
better SR - like OM-D, 5-axis
rest of K-5 IIs features including body
K-30 video features and the rest
new grip that incorporates GPS or another card slot, same compatibility as DBG-4 (could be called "DBG-4 II"? lol)

beyond that I don't see any much else. An upgrade to the flash system would be a miraculous addition but to be realistic I don't think P-R can do that now.

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