Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
09-26-2012, 06:33 PM - 2 Likes   #1
Veteran Member
mysticcowboy's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: port townsend, wa
Photos: Albums
Posts: 968
Thoughts on APS-C cameras

Pentax has been a conservative company. It seldom offers cutting edge tech, rather it focuses on building with proven technologies and constructing more control rich cameras with very high build quality. When buying a Pentax camera we can generally be assured of getting a quality product that will function well and hold up under continued use. I admire these qualities and have gotten a lot of use out of my Pentax cameras. The K-5 I'm currently using consistently produces good images an is a piece of gear that I rely on.

That said, I've give considerable thought to where the camera industry is headed. My conclusions may be totally off target or even delusional. I don't have a crystal ball or connections in the industry. Here goes.

It's quite possible that APS-C sensor DSLRs are becoming dinosaurs doomed to extinction. Originally the crop sensor was introduced because full frame sensors for 35mm equivalent cameras were too expensive and temperamental for regular production. So, we got crop sensors and full frame lens mounts. That gives the worst of both worlds. It means that the cameras are bigger and heavier than necessary for the sensor size but don't offer the image quality, depth of field, and pixel number advantages of full frame cameras. We still use many lenses that cover full frame sensors, which increases both the size and weight of the lenses.

Sony, Samsung and Fujifilm have all produced APS-C interchangeable lens cameras (ILC) that produce high image quality in considerably smaller and lighter bodies than those of APS-C DSLRS. The cameras aren't DSLRs, even though some of them look as if they are. They offer interchangeable lenses without the penta-mirrors or prisms that DSLRs require. Some offer electronic viewfinders (EVF), some only live view screens. Currently the EVFs don't provide the same quality image preview as an optical viewfinder, but they are getting close. With video, the lack of mirrors and prism's greatly simplify the cameras and offer decided advantages.

Are APS-C sensors even necessary for image quality? The newest micro four thirds cameras from Olympus and Panasonic come very, very close to the best APS-C sensor cameras in image quality while offering smaller and lighter bodies and lenses. With lenses, smaller usually means less expensive, too. They are also arguably better video cameras than DSLRs of any size.

All this gets me to wondering if APS-C sensor DSLRs will even be relevant in 3-5 years. Viewfinder style non-DSLR cameras are convenient and the lens selection for these cameras are growing quickly, more quickly than Pentax is expanding its aging and limited lens line. I'll offer more thoughts on lenses in the next installment.

With roughly equivalent lenses, Pentax 35mm f/2.4 on the K-5 and Sigma 30mm f/2.8 on the NEX, I can't see any image quality difference between the cameras, even when pixel peeping the images at 100% in Lightroom. Guess which camera gets taken when I'm doing street or tourist shooting? The NEX at less than half the weight of the K-5 comes along. Is the 5n as versatile as the K-5? No. Is it good enough for a lot of shooting? Absolutely. Obviously, your mileage will vary. With two systems I have to wonder where to invest my limited funds for new lenses. I'm wondering if the new NEX 6 will give me enough functionality to sell the K-5. It may not be there yet, but maybe next NEX 7 or the Fujifilm X-E1 will. Fujifilm is certainly putting out a number of quality lenses quickly, and its non-Bayer array sensors produce great photos. Zeiss and Schneider have committed to offering lenses for both platforms as have Sigma and Tamron for the NEX cameras, so there should be quality lenses available within the next year or two, even if Sony has its head shoved up where it doesn't belong when it comes to lens production for the NEX camera line.

What has Pentax done with ILC, non-DSLRs? We've gotten the very cute but photographically irrelevant Q system. We've gotten the K-01, which totally misses the point of smaller and lighter, as well as being an ergonomic mess. That its autofocus system is a couple of generations behind the competition and that it lacks the ability to add an EVF make it an oddity at worst and a very small niche camera at best. This camera does not appear to be designed by or for photographers. That Pentax, with its limited resources has invested in two clearly non-mainstream ILC cameras and hasn't appreciably updated its flagship K-5 gives me serious doubts viability about the company's strategic plans, or lack thereof.

09-26-2012, 06:44 PM - 1 Like   #2
Site Supporter
psychdoc's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bham
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 942
QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
I'm wondering if the new NEX 6 will give me enough functionality to sell the K-5. It may not be there yet, but maybe next NEX 7 or the Fujifilm X-E1 will.

Wait for the iPhone 8...
09-26-2012, 07:02 PM   #3
Veteran Member
mysticcowboy's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: port townsend, wa
Photos: Albums
Posts: 968
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
Wait for the iPhone 8...
Will the iPhone save the world?
09-26-2012, 07:11 PM - 2 Likes   #4
Pentaxian
Nick Siebers's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Madison, WI
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,139
Will my k5 take good pictures in 3-5 years? Yes. Will my *ist DS take good pictures in 3-5 years? I hope so! Will they be photographically relevant? Enough for me.

09-26-2012, 07:33 PM - 1 Like   #5
Inactive Account




Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: North Carolina
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,720
QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
Will my k5 take good pictures in 3-5 years? Yes. Will my *ist DS take good pictures in 3-5 years? I hope so! Will they be photographically relevant? Enough for me.
So many people seem to forget this, they seem to think all of their past photos were terrible because there is something new on the market. A large majority of your audience will never know or care if a good shot was taken with a D4 or a *istD, they just see the shot for what it is. I am planning on upgrading as soon as I sell something, most likely to a K5, but my K100D is still a very fine camera and I will continue to use it.

I have a digital photo frame cycling through some of my favorite shots in my living room, people comment on them all the time, do they care that I took them with an old body that is only 6mp while using 40 year old glass? Not in the least.
09-26-2012, 07:40 PM   #6
Pentaxian
redrockcoulee's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Medicine Hat
Posts: 2,097
On the other hand APS-C sensors might not become irrelevant in the near future. In 2002 there were predictions that film would be gone in less than ten years and yet although there are some losses it still exists along side full frame and cropped sensor digital cameras. This year three different 110 films were introduced, something I would never have predicted. Fuji also introduced APS-C cameras this fall and a medium format film cameras a couple of year ago. Whole Plate film size cameras were all over eighty years old at the start of this century but now at least four companies make new ones and film is made for them by both Kodak and Ilford.

I am bringing up film formats as indications that just because a format or media is not at the cutting edge, the most popular or the most talked about does not make it irrelevant or for it to disappear. My guess if you questioned most first time buyers of entry and mid priced dslrs, bridge or compact cameras they could not give you the size of the sensor. Use the camera you feel like it at the time and be happy with it. My uneducated guess is in five years APS-C cameras will be better than they are now, the mirrorless cameras will be improved , FF cameras will be improved and a larger share of the market , point and shoots will still be around and not totally replaced by camera phones and film will still be available for those who want to use it. But there still will not be an affordable full frame (56 by 56) digital back for the V system Hasselblad.
09-26-2012, 07:45 PM   #7
Pentaxian
calsan's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Perth, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,367
Plus everyone forgets that if they want to have shake reduction built into the camera, then their old FA lenses won't work anymore, because their image circle is too close to the edge of the 35mm frame.
Buy a DA15 limited and cheer up!
09-26-2012, 07:54 PM   #8
Veteran Member




Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 698
QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
Is the 5n as versatile as the K-5? No. Is it good enough for a lot of shooting? Absolutely. Obviously, your mileage will vary. With two systems I have to wonder where to invest my limited funds for new lenses.
Several thoughts - first, do you have a specific question?. I perceive it is about investing in a format (not just a system, or a maker) that may become outdated in just a few years. I share the same thoughts and, I think, concerns that you have. But, however, lucky you that you are able to have two systems now! Good thought-provoking note you have penned there. I have absolutely no technical or market crystal ball, but this is how I frame up the issues:

1. Will DSLR's (mirror that reflexes) continue to exist? My guess is that as EVF's and live view continue to progress, at some point most of the market will learn to do without the OVF and mirrors. So makers will stop making these kinds of cameras. But I think that may take some time yet. If one buys a current DSLR, it will have depreciated 90% or more by the time that DSLR's cease being made. As long as the camera has an eye-level view finder of any kind that is good, then I think I will be just as happy. The items below are more relevant for me.

2. Will APS-C, as a sensor size, continue to exist? I think so; I hope so. For me and for many, I believe it is the "perfect" format regarding cost, size, and performance. I bet that is true for many users. Even many of the mirrorless cameras now use APS-C sized sensors. Between makers using APS-C, lenses, and bodies, there seems to be a tremendous "infrastructure" built up around APS-C. I think there will always be a performance difference between sensor sizes. Whatever sensor performance improvements any one sensor size achieves, this improvement can be applied to any other sensor size. Even the best M4/3 sensors are now at about the level of performance of the K-7's sensor, and that performance is less than what I will tolerate for my next body upgrade. Is it great for many applications? Yes, sure. But APS-C is better; APS-C currently passes (barely) my minimum threshold of performance, M4/3 does not. On the higher side (full frame), even at the "cheap" price of $2200, the full frame sensor will have to come WAY down (to, say, $1200) to get within my striking range. And even at that price, you'd still have a very big body with likely very big lenses. Practically speaking, I just don't see how full frame could EVER be the deal for me.

3. Will k-mount continue to exist? My guess is yes. Even if P-R changes their investment so much that the Pentax name goes away (like Minolta in Sony), I believe they will continue with the K-mount.

I concur that camera developments are moving very quickly and that what one invests in could become obsolete and unsupported. However, I am going to invest in both more Pentax bodies and lenses, and enjoy the ride. I feel that Pentax, K-mount, DSLR's, and lenses for APS-C will be viable for "long enough". Thanks.

09-26-2012, 08:11 PM   #9
Pentaxian
calsan's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Perth, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,367
Most of the time, I can't tell the difference between a photo taken on APS or FF or M/43rds - or even some P&S cameras, but I can tell if the photo was incorrectly exposed, out of focus or just plain boring. I can tell the difference between all these formats and MF cameras especially for architecture or portraits. MF just looks REAL in a way that 35mm does not, so I think Pentax has it right to pursue MF. Besides, I for one am not looking forward to seeing 35-70 f/3.5-5.6 kit lenses again.
09-26-2012, 08:14 PM   #10
Veteran Member




Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Denver
Photos: Albums
Posts: 570
I'm optimistic that 2013 and 2014 will be years that Pentax makes big strides with a new FF camera, new FF lenses, new AF, and new flash system. I think that if Pentax offers the qualities that photographers want from a DSLR system they will be viable. I don't see APS-C going away because it will always be able to be a more affordable alternative. Though I can see APS-C gaining more presence in the MILC and high-end fixed lens compacts.

A smaller camera than a DSLR but with good physical controls, since I truly hate menu diving just to change the damn exposure settings, would be nice but I don't want a smaller camera system as I'm not interested in moving down, or even sideways, in sensor size. If I'm going to be putting down serious cash on lenses as well as aiming for the widest functionality coupled with the highest IQ, then a 35mm FF sensor is the most logical next step as far as I'm concerned.
09-26-2012, 08:23 PM - 1 Like   #11
Veteran Member
causey's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Arlington, VA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,758
QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
All this gets me to wondering if APS-C sensor DSLRs will even be relevant in 3-5 years.
I'm a hobbyist. APS-C = lighter body, lighter lenses, less expenses. Besides, I find it hard to distinguish pics taken with a K-5 from pics taken with full frames cameras (well, maybe not with a D800). There are lots of positives of shooting a FF, but these benefits don't outweigh what for me constitutes the APS-C advantage. I bet APS-C is going to be relevant for me in 5 years. I bet my K-x is going to be relevant in 5 years, because I intend to use it even if I'm certainly going to buy a K30 or K-5II.
Would I like to see a Pentax FF? Absolutely. A FF would improve the image of the brand and the strength of Pentax's name. At some point in the future I might be interested in buying one, but not now.
People like me are many. We are many
09-26-2012, 08:24 PM   #12
Veteran Member
mysticcowboy's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: port townsend, wa
Photos: Albums
Posts: 968
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by GlennG Quote
Several thoughts - first, do you have a specific question?. I perceive it is about investing in a format (not just a system, or a maker) that may become outdated in just a few years. I share the same thoughts and, I think, concerns that you have. But, however, lucky you that you are able to have two systems now! Good thought-provoking note you have penned there. I have absolutely no technical or market crystal ball, but this is how I frame up the issues:

1. Will DSLR's (mirror that reflexes) continue to exist? My guess is that as EVF's and live view continue to progress, at some point most of the market will learn to do without the OVF and mirrors. So makers will stop making these kinds of cameras. But I think that may take some time yet. If one buys a current DSLR, it will have depreciated 90% or more by the time that DSLR's cease being made. As long as the camera has an eye-level view finder of any kind that is good, then I think I will be just as happy. The items below are more relevant for me.

2. Will APS-C, as a sensor size, continue to exist? I think so; I hope so. For me and for many, I believe it is the "perfect" format regarding cost, size, and performance. I bet that is true for many users. Even many of the mirrorless cameras now use APS-C sized sensors. Between makers using APS-C, lenses, and bodies, there seems to be a tremendous "infrastructure" built up around APS-C. I think there will always be a performance difference between sensor sizes. Whatever sensor performance improvements any one sensor size achieves, this improvement can be applied to any other sensor size. Even the best M4/3 sensors are now at about the level of performance of the K-7's sensor, and that performance is less than what I will tolerate for my next body upgrade. Is it great for many applications? Yes, sure. But APS-C is better; APS-C currently passes (barely) my minimum threshold of performance, M4/3 does not. On the higher side (full frame), even at the "cheap" price of $2200, the full frame sensor will have to come WAY down (to, say, $1200) to get within my striking range. And even at that price, you'd still have a very big body with likely very big lenses. Practically speaking, I just don't see how full frame could EVER be the deal for me.

3. Will k-mount continue to exist? My guess is yes. Even if P-R changes their investment so much that the Pentax name goes away (like Minolta in Sony), I believe they will continue with the K-mount.

I concur that camera developments are moving very quickly and that what one invests in could become obsolete and unsupported. However, I am going to invest in both more Pentax bodies and lenses, and enjoy the ride. I feel that Pentax, K-mount, DSLR's, and lenses for APS-C will be viable for "long enough". Thanks.
I have two systems because the Sony was sent as a review copy. I didn't expect to like the camera as much as I do, and have even bought new lenses. It's the experience with the NEX system that has me wondering if the traditional DSLR will be replaced with something mechanically simpler, which should mean less expensive.

You point about investing in systems is exactly at the base of my considerations. I'm looking at a couple of new lenses. Where do I want to invest $3000? I am sometimes hitting the limits of what I can do with a crop sensor. Most of the the time I'm good with the size. I'm not knocking Pentax, just wondering out loud. Writing things down helps me get clearer and I thought that my musings might be useful for someone.
09-26-2012, 08:25 PM   #13
Pentaxian
twitch's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 4,571
The APSC DSLR is on the way out, but it’s the SLR in the DSLR APSC that is heading for extinction, not APSC. APSC & m4/3s will rule the “general photography" high IQ world in mirrorless bodies. 1-inch sensors will rule the compact world in a few years, the Sony RX100 is bascially a camera from the future we can buy now . DSLRs with FF chips will continue to be the extreme IQ & sports cameras for quite a while yet. Eventually FF’s will also make their way into high end mirrorless under $2k.

Where does it leave K-mount? I'm not so optimistic. As for mirrorless; I don't know whether E, X or m/3s mount will "win", but I think at least 2 of the 3 will outlast K-mount.
09-26-2012, 08:46 PM   #14
Veteran Member
mysticcowboy's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: port townsend, wa
Photos: Albums
Posts: 968
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
Will my k5 take good pictures in 3-5 years? Yes. Will my *ist DS take good pictures in 3-5 years? I hope so! Will they be photographically relevant? Enough for me.
My 50 year old Kodak Brownie camera can still make good pictures. Is it what I want to build a system on?
09-26-2012, 09:05 PM   #15
Pentaxian
Nick Siebers's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Madison, WI
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,139
QuoteOriginally posted by mysticcowboy Quote
My 50 year old Kodak Brownie camera can still make good pictures. Is it what I want to build a system on?
You know better than I do. If good pictures are what you are after, and you get good pictures out of the Brownie, it seems you could do worse! ;-)

Now, camera bodies WILL devalue, that is certain. Almost every make, every model, Pentax included with (almost) all the rest. Lenses may lose some or even most of their resale value, in a worst case scenario, but they will remain usable for a long time into the future. As an investment, sure, a purchase in Pentax could go bad. But tools will remain.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
aps-c, camera, cameras, dslr, dslrs, image, k-5, lenses, nex, pentax, photography, quality
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
How about APS-H ? Livanz Pentax DSLR Discussion 62 09-29-2014 12:54 AM
PENTAX Introduces New K-5 II & K-5 IIs DSLR Cameras Versatile cameras feature newly d Adam Homepage & Official Pentax News 18 09-13-2012 07:14 AM
For Sale - Sold: 2 SF1 Cameras & 2 ZX30 Cameras w/ manuals Only SF1s Left Docrwm Sold Items 9 07-21-2012 07:08 AM
Thoughts: K30D, APS-H, Ultrawide lenses jfsavage Pentax News and Rumors 59 02-16-2009 10:51 AM
My thoughts on new cameras JCSullivan Pentax News and Rumors 10 01-26-2008 10:28 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:05 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top