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11-26-2012, 07:44 AM   #16
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If ISO is a deciding factor, take a look at DxOMark's measurements. Using the 32dB mark as the "good" level, your Nikon D80 is just below that at ISO 100. The D7000 and Pentax K-30 are near there at ISO 200. On the other hand, the full-frame Nikon D600 is better than good at ISO 400, and just below the mark (37dB) at ISO 800. If I were already invested in Nikon, that's the camera I would buy, even though it is twice the price of the K-30. I am sticking with my K10D until Pentax releases a comparable camera. Since I already own Pentax lenses, I am waiting because I like the on-camera shake reduction and am hoping for a model without the anti-aliasing filter.

11-26-2012, 07:48 AM   #17
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It's funny, but a lot of the people who talk the most smack about Pentax are Pentax owners... I'm 100% happy with my Pentax gear. Absolutely LOVE it. I've handled Canon & Nikon bodies, and to me, the Pentax bodies just feel better. They feel solid, and the controls have a better tactile feel. Even with my old K-x bodies, (and my even older *ist DS) I get superb images. They work exactly the way I want them to.

And while some may carp about the lack of Pentax-mount lenses, I have about a dozen, ranging from 10 to 500mm, and I've had no trouble finding them at good prices on the used market.

That said, if you like your current glass, you might want to just check out a newer Nikon body. Easier than replacing all of your stuff, and probably lighter on the wallet.

Cheers & good luck,
Bobbo :-)
11-26-2012, 07:59 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZizZ^ Quote
In terms of image quality it's a notch better and it has image stabilization. D7000 has the better autofocus, 2 card slots, better video and a slightly large viewfinder and is alot cheaper atm of course

Oh well they are all great dslr's. And i consider a 18-200 and 35mm An investment. Anyway you loose money..
I guess I don't understand the cheaper comment. The K30 body with the 18-135 lens is 60 dollars more expensive than the D7000 alone. That means the D7000 is more expensive, right?
11-26-2012, 08:02 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I guess I don't understand the cheaper comment. The K30 body with the 18-135 lens is 60 dollars more expensive than the D7000 alone. That means the D7000 is more expensive, right?
Yeah you're right about that but i was comparing with the K5 II

11-26-2012, 08:55 AM - 4 Likes   #20
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Only blame yourself - you asked for this...

The K-30 is the only DSLR camera under $1000 that offers all the following:
  • complete weather sealing through the body
  • 100% viewfinder - the Canon/Nikon offerings are cropped
  • a penta PRISM viewfinder - the Canon/Nikon are pentamirror: much smaller and far less bright
  • focus peaking
  • AA battery compatibility - GREAT FOR TRAVEL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!!
  • image stabilization in EVERY lens you mount on it because it's in BODY. Canon/Nikon is in lens - 1) many lenses don't have stabilization 2) the ones that do are bigger and more expensive
  • TWO control dials
  • greatest selection (some would argue only selection) of affordable weather sealed lenses
  • the more compact system, both camera and lenses than the Canon/Nikon competition, especially when Limited lenses are used
  • max shutter speed is very high (K-30 is 1/6000s, max offered in any consumer camera is 1/8000s)
  • 6fps shutter speed (average from Canikon is 3-4fps, and new 5200 is 5 fps)
  • 9 cross type AF points (only the D5100, D5200 should have better AF in this price bracket, the 7D/D7000 as well naturally)
Also the image quality vies for best in class at and above its price point.
The best bang for your buck is without a doubt the K-30.

If you can afford the 18-135 WR (Weather Resistant - the only WR lens of this type offered by anyone), then I recommend getting it + the K-30 in a kit, otherwise the K-30 + 18-55 WR is a great starting point. The 18-135 is a great lens (despite some poor reviews by "professional" reviewers). I will let you judge - take a look at these and form your own opinion.

PENTAX Photo Gallery - DA 18-135 WR

Here are some external reviewers of the camera:

EDITOR'S CHOICE at Photo Review:
The K-30 merits its EDITOR'S CHOICE rating for both its imaging performance and for the generous level of features it provides at an affordable price tag. It's an excellent camera for photo enthusiasts. The weather-sealed body is a genuine bonus; add in the 100% FOV pentaprism viewfinder, interchangeable focusing screens and high-resolution monitor and you have some valuable professional features at an RRP of only $899.

Buy this camera if:
  • You already own a suite of Pentax K-mount lenses.
  • You shoot mainly still photographs and enjoy working outdoors.
  • You want superior high-ISO performance and a high sensitivity range.
  • You would enjoy a camera with lots of creative in-camera adjustments.
Don’t buy this camera if:
  • You need a DSLR camera for recording movies.

From CrutchField Reviews

Fearlessness. There aren't many products in this world that claim to offer it as a selling feature. But it appears Pentax may have added it as a side benefit of buying the new K-30. After all, it resists sun, sand, rain, dust, dirt and wind. Plus, it's rated cold-proof all the way down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit. Just what locations would you shoot where this camera would be out of its element? Not many, I'm sure. Indeed, the Pentax K-30 is the feisty wolverine of cameras: solid, smart, and seemingly indestructible.

Plus, you'll have the confidence to take on almost any assignment. The Amazon backcountry? You're there. The national team ski jump trials? You're ready for the ice and slush. Desert dune buggy races? Child's play. It's good to be fearless.

If image quality with durability you can trust is your priority, then the Pentax K-30 is your winner, especially for the price.

I stand by Pentax's build quality and even have pushed it to the extremes myself. See here if you don't believe me (scroll down to posts 5 and 6 by me). Also, here is a montage of photos taken of and/or by Pentax DSLR's in adverse weather. Scrolls to posts 4 and 5.

If you were my best friend, I'd still make the same recommendation without any reservations. I've done it to three friends and they all love it. Here's one guy that I recommended it to on DPR:

Thread: FINALLY!!! K-30 + 18-135 IS HERE

Lastly, check out - I bet you can't find a smaller and more compact DSLR than the K-30. Some of the larger 4/3 ILC cameras are only a bit smaller.

Regarding weaknesses though, there are a few that you should be well aware of should they hinder your abilities as a photographer which only you can assess and deem.

- FLASH: agreed with prior responders that flash is not a strength of Pentax. But then what are you trying to do? This guy shoots Pentax, and this was with the 18-55 WR kit lens on a K-5 with 2 wireless flashes. He has also done 5 and 6 flash set ups with no issues. While Canon and Nikon (more Nikon) are superior than Pentax with their lighting systems, I don't think you will find something you can't find a third party or work around. I personally use a Metz 50 AF-1 flash and I have no complaints about it. Yonguo flashes are great - I recomment the YN560 MK II as a great full manual flash. I also have nothing but the highest praise for the Cactus v5's. So then that again brings the issue to light - unless you need super niche flash requirements, Pentax will most likely be perfectly capable assuming you know how to capitalize on its abilities.

- AUTOFOCUS: not the best in terms of speed, and this is a Pentax-wide "issue." I put issue in quotes because it is for some, and for others (most) it isn't. For me, speed is not critical (it sure is nice though!), but I need accuracy and low light focusing ability, which the K-5 II/s seem to have solved, and for which I am extremely excited for. But in daylight, unless you are shooting sports or birds in flight, you won't be hindered by the AF speed, and even then there are plenty of those whom make it work. DA* lens, although they are fitted with lens AF motors, they are very slow, and it is dependent on which you have. I find the DA* 50-135 to be slow, with the DA* 55 extremely slow at AF. But as they employed not as sport lenses, I really don't care. Models don't care about the difference between .02sec and .2sec either.

- METERING: regarding what Medium FormatPro said about metering, I can't specifically give personal anecdotal evidence to support this claim, but I can't help but disagree with him. I find the metering of Pentax to be extremely effective (my experience being the K-7, K-5, and K-30, with the latter two being the newest and most effective at it). I honestly can say that metering is outstanding on Pentax's recent DSLR offerings, and all the tests that I've seen give credence to Pentax's doing a great job, and this goes for eV and AWB as well. I group it here because he was very adamant about it being a weakness compared to Nikon, but my experience (and I would argue that of others) is very different from anything but excellent metering. Sometimes I notice a slight underexposure, but honestly I underexpose everything by -1/3-2/3 stop, sometimes -1 because the shadow recovery is so remarkable, allowing me to also ensure my highlights aren't blown.

- LENS AVAILABILITY: whenever there are discussions that deal with whether Pentax is a viable option, there is always the issue of lenses being brought up as a counter-argument to why anyone should consider Pentax. Unless very specific niche needs are required (Pentax answered the super telephoto complaint, albeit not very cheaply) then I would call bullshit on this claim, especially when you consider what third parties bring to the table. I am not a professional by any stretch of the means, however I would consider myself a very serious/advanced amateur. I am 100% confident that my photography "needs" (because is any of this really a need?) are far superior and more demanding to most people who even consider a DSLR. For the lenses that I own, see my signature. I also just ordered a Rokinon 8mm Fisheye (it was 33% off...couldn't turn that down...stupid LBA...I'm too young to have LBA dammit! ), and with a 55-300 that I haven't sold yet, that brings me to 10 lenses. And there are over 100 different lenses that I will never get my sandwich clamps on, so how is that limiting to me photographically? Again, like I said if the niche requirements were there (SUPER telephoto, FAST telephoto such as f/4 or f/2.8 above 300mm, tilt-shift), then I would recommend against Pentax.

- LENS PRICING: another complaint that seems to be ubiquitous is the pricing of Pentax lenses. While there are some lenses that should be priced far cheaper (DA 50 f/1.8 and the DA L 35 f/2.4 for example) I personally believe that as a whole, Pentax lenses are very competitive, especially when you are looking for premium lenses ala DFA 100mm Macro WR and the DA* line. Yes the DA*'s have been very expensive (and all of mine were purchased used), but even still, they are far cheaper than anything Canikon has to offer, and with some critical features. The Canikon's will be faster in AF, yes, but what I find to be critical is the weather sealing provided by DA*'s. Canikon doesn't have anything that holds a candle to the sealing of those lenses, especially when you consider the premiums (not just cost, but size as well) you have to pay should you want a Canikon offering that is sealed.

- VIDEO: Pentax does not have a very strong video program. Some outstanding videos have been produced using Pentax cameras. For examples search youtube for "Uncle Jack" and "The Wedding Speech." The former was filmed using a Pentax K-7 and the latter was with the K-01 - all with Pentax lenses as well. I would post links, but youtube is blocked for me (I am in Afghanistan as a deployed soldier).

- LACK OF FULL FRAME: this is brought up ad nauseum any and everytime an opportunity presents itself, and even during those when it's unwarranted. I personally have zero need for a FF camera as I find APS-C to be perfect. The image quality is oustanding (K-5/II/IIs are remarkable with the K-30 following quickly in tow), and so the only benefit I can possibly think of would be the shallower depth of field. I personally can't see why people fight tooth and nail for a FF to have that - with f/1.4 lenses I have more than plenty shallow DOF than I find practical and attractive. Hell f/4 on my 60-250 is often too shallow, so how would FF benefit me in that regard? And then there's the significant increase in size, weight, and cost of the system - no thank you. Like I said, the image quality is so outstanding by Pentax's current offerings that I think going to FF would actually be a detriment (for me) because of travel and adventure photography being my mainstays. Your mileage may vary, but I am confident you should find this gripe as trivial as I do.

- LACK OF PENTAX PRESENCE AND SUPPORT: another issue is the lack of presence around the world, especially in Central and South American, African, East European, and West Asian countries. If you are in those countries, it will be extremely difficult to get replacement parts and/or new lenses/cameras. You can forget about going to the local camera shop and trying them out before you buy. Even in America that is very rare when compared to finding Canon and Nikon support and presence. I have lived in Germany (via military base) and currently in Afghanistan, and have had no issue being sent gear (including my DA* 60-250 to Afghanistan...undamaged) to either location. I research enough and dliberately that I don't need to see things in person - I am very confident in my decisions regarding online purchases. My first DSLR was a Pentax K-7 kitted with the DA 18-55 WR, and I bought it online after only ever touching a Canon Rebel. I am ok with Pentax being an mostly online presence, however for the health of the company, I recognize this is an issue and needs to be remedied via marketing and distribution (which are both very subpar, the former moreso, although there have been positive glimpses of it recently).

But do you have those needs and feel stifled under those "constraints?" Only you can answer that question, and if the answer is no, then in my opinion you will be hurting yourself by not very seriously considering Pentax. I am a stills only shooter (I think Pentax should shock the world with a true shooter's Full Frame - no video, just imaging in a FF DSLR body, but release it at $1200), and as such the video issue doesn't bother me. I am excited to explore the hell out of strobism once I get back from Afghanistan, and after seeing what others have created with Pentax and strobes, it will take me years before I can honestly say "Pentax is hindering my abilities as a strobist." If you haven't stopped by the link above that brings you to my testimonial of how I have abused my equipment, then I encourage you to visit - Pentax is truly the best sealed system there is, especially for the price.

Yes a lot can and will change in 15-20 years, and Pentax may sink and I may be forced to either abandon photography, stay with a 20 year old camera (the K-5/K-30), or choose either Canon or Nikon. But all staying equal, right now I would choose Pentax and I've never regretted or felt hindered by that choice.


Last edited by Heie; 11-26-2012 at 09:08 AM. Reason: typo
11-26-2012, 09:04 AM   #21
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Nice one!!
11-26-2012, 09:14 AM   #22
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I agree with almost everything Heie says and he has the images to back up his claim about Pentax being good in the worst of conditions. That being said, people have been photographing in combat conditions for many many decades without what we would call nowadays weather resistance. But if WR gives you piece of mind, then Pentax offers the most of it for the cheapest. Then again, people claim to stick with Pentax for the limiteds and they aren't WR, so there's that.
11-26-2012, 10:07 AM   #23
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Pentax cameras have excellent ergonomics although I haven't handled the new K 30. I think Pentax rules the industry with lens compatibility. They all work and will meter although the metering may be a little off on occasion using non "A" lenses. Shake reduction works on any lens you can mount on the camera. You will get weather sealing on your camera body, a feature that will cost you $500 more with the other guys. You will loose a little if you shoot a lot of flash. Pentax lags a bit with their flash and Nikon has the best out there although you pay through the nose for it. Even with the higher pricing of Pentax lenses recently, the top of the line Pentax lenses cost considerably less compared to Nikon's high end lenses and Pentax glass can stand up to anybodies. A lot has been covered in other posts so I'm not going to be long and redundant. The best thing you can do is find a camera store that stocks Pentax and Nikon and handle both. I know that's a difficult thing to do these days.

A quick thing, I'll add. My daughter shoots with a Nikon D200. I know it's a little older but I used it at times along with the K10D I owned (and still do) and always preferred the overall handling and operation of the Pentax. Last but not least, you will have a smaller and lighter overall package, something you will notice after a day of carrying your gear.

11-26-2012, 10:13 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by jcdoss Quote
Too early to tell if I made the right decision, but I'm liking it so far.
If I could change two things about the K30, as far as ergonomics, it would be 1) Move the AEL button to somewhere other than under my face, and 2) Make the screen touch sensitive. Some menus, and definitely live view, would respond much more quickly to a touch screen, even if it bumps the price up a little. It's a fun camera to work with, but I haven't made any images with it that's worth a crap so far. A few are on my flickr site if you want to make fun.
11-26-2012, 10:49 AM   #25
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Pentax has the largest selection of APS-C lenses of any of the manufacturers, although it is true that it has the smallest selection of "full-frame" lenses (larger and heavier than dedicated APS-C lenses).
11-26-2012, 10:56 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by pete-tarmigan Quote
Pentax has the largest selection of APS-C lenses of any of the manufacturers, although it is true that it has the smallest selection of "full-frame" lenses (larger and heavier than dedicated APS-C lenses).
Full frame lenses work awesome on DX bodies.

the official number is like 169 nikon lenses vs 90 Pentax lenses vs 162 Canon lenses.
11-26-2012, 12:45 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by ZizZ^ Quote
Full frame lenses work awesome on DX bodies.

the official number is like 169 nikon lenses vs 90 Pentax lenses vs 162 Canon lenses.
Although there is some redundancy in the list for Nikon and canon -- many lenses are present twice, with VR/IS and without it. Several lenses cover very similar ranges, as well.

I just don't see a whole lot of gaps in Pentax's line up in the 12 to 300mm range.

Last edited by Rondec; 11-26-2012 at 08:00 PM.
11-26-2012, 04:47 PM   #28
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Ok. I have read all the responses so here is my take. I have shot Pentax for 30 years so, I am biased, but think about the following. In today's market place the difference between cameras and IQ is a question of who releases what new sensor first, and this is a matter of months to wait for the next technology, so forget it. Lenses, for what any serious amateur needs are sufficient for all makers, flash, Pentax is likely the weakest as an overall system. Ergonomics, I would sat Pentax wins hands down,

For any user if the overall system has what you need, unless you plan to venture into an area where one makers product clearly shines above all others then go with what you feel suits your needs . Don't change systems just because noise at high ISP now exceeds what it did years ago, update the body. Don't waste money switching systems unless thereis something that really puts you off the performance of your present system. Makers love people who switch systems because they spend more than they need to.
11-26-2012, 06:57 PM   #29
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I would second Lowell Goudge's post above. After decades of shooting Pentax, I bought a Canon dSLR with three of Canon's best lenses. Boy, did it hurt financially. I just got tired of waiting for Pentax to make what I NEED: a quality dSLR with flip out screen; and a camera that communicates reliably with its dedicated flash system.

So I took the plunge into Canon. It was either that or go around for another year or two muttering about not being able to take those low, awkward shots that I love so much. I will always have a Pentax body to support my Pentax lenses. But, honestly, how the camera handles is irrelevant to me: I am flexible, I have a brain, and I am a pretty fast learner. Photography is all about light: a camera body is little more than a mount for good glass and a flash system. At least, that's the way I look at it.

Unless you have an overwhelming reason for switching systems, don't do it. If you do it, at least make sure that the new system won't constrain what you might want to do in the near future. If I were you, I would stay with Nikon.
11-26-2012, 07:52 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Golaboots Quote

I've just registered and am looking for some advice regarding switching over to Pentax.

Presently I have a Nikon D80 and have been mostly pleased with it, although poor metering and high iso noise have finally got the better of me and I'm looking to upgrade.
The Pentax K-30 looks great, it seems to have image quality equivalent to the Nikon D7000 but costs way less, only a bit more than a second hand D90 (which is a bit older)

The things I like most about my Nikon are the Pentaprism finder, cheap 35mm f1.8 prime and the Nikon wireless flash system.
How would I get on with Pentax on this front, obviously the finder is ok, are there any normal fash primes that are 160 like the nikon? Does the K-30 have wireless flash?

If I sell my Nikkor 18-200 and 35mm I'd probably get circa 425 or so for them. What lenses woudl you recommend for the K-30 in that price range? Second hand is fine.
I understand that Pentax is great for backward compatibility, will most lenses meter on the K30? Are there any old AF gems out there?

Any advice greatfully received.
Every lens is stabilized Need I say more?

Even with the D800 you can't get any stabilized primes under 100mm...

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