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12-22-2012, 09:59 PM   #1
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Seeking unbiased opinions

A friend of mine is seeking some help in choice of DSLRs. It is his first foray into the world of DSLRs or possibly ILCs. I am only familiar with Pentax. Its what I am comfortable with. Many of you are better versed with other brands, having migrated back and forth some. So, here are my questions....

1. What drives some people to go for ILCs v/s SLRs? Viewfinders matter to some more than others, I guess, as does form factor. Anything else...?
2. I believe Pentax or Canikon make excellent products. Are lenses priced better one way or another for comparable qualities?
3. I don't believe the richness of the range of K- and M42 mount lenses will matter to him.

Your experiences, views, etc are all welcoome. Thank you in advance.....

12-22-2012, 10:10 PM   #2
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I take it by ILC you mean MILC. SLRs are ILCs by definition but if he's keen on something mirrorless, then he's looking at something like the NEX or K-01 that'll have all the great features of an SLR just without the size and weight. The slight decrease in speed and responsiveness with the MILCs of the current generation shouldn't both most users but where it's critical (sports, weddings etc) there is a significant advantage having a fast SLR like the K-5, D300s, 60D or even K-r (if extra customisation versatility and weather sealing aren't essential features).

Pentax is generally speaking a financially savvy brand to invest in as their lenses are a little less outlandish in pricing compared to the great glass of Canon and Nikon (the consumer level glass is cheap and comparable with Pentax's kit lenses but don't have great IQ).

He can start off with the two kit lenses on a K-01, K-r or K-5 (DA 18-55 and 55-300) then decide for himself which of the more expensive lenses he should go for based on his focal length preferences. I'd even go so far as to say that he should buy a DA 35/2.4 or DA 50/1.8 to get a feel for what primes can do above and beyond kit zooms. These lenses are significantly cheaper than the more solidly built Limited series lenses, but have just about all the image quality of Limited lenses.
12-22-2012, 10:35 PM   #3
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Pentax is a smaller company than Canon or Nikon and has fewer models in production. That said all manufacturers offer a range in quality, but Pentax is limited to only 2 models for DSLR plus the k-01 in MILC. And the Q of course. So Canon and Nikon will have models positioned both above and below the Pentax ones. IMHO Pentax does not currently have an entry level camera or any 'pro' models. But aside from that I think you can find a model in all three lines that would be suitable. There are no 'bad' cameras out there, the competition is stiff.

I think the most differentiating factor is the ergonomics which do differ rather dramatically between lines. I like the way Pentax feels, but someone else might like a different camera. The important thing is that the camera fit your hand and be comfortable. You will use it more and get better results.

The most obvious difference between MILC and DSLR is the viewfinder. If your friend is used to cell phone cameras or P&S cameras he might be more comfortable with a MILC. But if he is used to a viewfinder then the DSLR is the way to go.
12-22-2012, 11:11 PM   #4
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Talking about all brands in general...one of the disadvantages of MILC's (except the K-01) is the rather limited choice in (native) lenses. This might or might not matter to your friend, depending on what he wants to achieve with photography.

Apart from the EVF vs OVF topic, one of the other differences is the build quality of both the body and lenses. DSLR bodies and lenses are generally a lot more rugged and robust than MILC bodies and (specially) MILC lenses. The manual focus on the "focus by wire" MILC lenses is not a really adequate way to focus, I think. Again, depending on the application, this might or might not matter.

If somebody is really interested in photography for the long term, I would definitely recommend a DSLR...if you're after taking shots here and there, a MILC is more than enough.

12-23-2012, 01:13 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I think the most differentiating factor is the ergonomics which do differ rather dramatically between lines. I like the way Pentax feels, but someone else might like a different camera. The important thing is that the camera fit your hand and be comfortable. You will use it more and get better results.
Exactly. All DSLRs these days are very good at a minimum. Unless your friend has very specific shooting requirements (architecture, sports) then all brands will serve him well. What matters is the physical fit and the mental ease of navigation through all those menus and screens. It's your job as knowledgeable friend to purge the advertising and marketing hoo ha from his consciousness and allow him to trust his own experience handling a camera. Unfortunately Pentax has a minute retail presence, so most likely it will be hard to get something in his hands immediately (unless you are lucky enough to have a retailer nearby). Perhaps he is patient and can deal with testing models ordered online.

M
12-23-2012, 02:19 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I have m4/3, Canon FF and Pentax.
Have access to NEX thru a friend.

MILCs are highly viable for the layman.
Aps-c based ones have lenses the size of most dslr ones.
M4/3 has small lenses in general.

Price/quality/build are all commensurate.
Canikon cheap lenses offer competitive o/p at the cost of poorer build and no SR

Bottom line for me.
Aps-c in the form of K30, K5 is what I've decided as the 'sweet spot' (price, o/p, mp, features, performance, dof control, size) for now.
All the various systems are about balance and trade-offs.
Yours may be different from mine.

I see no wrong with recommeding a K30.
Its a camera with a feature set and performance that is unheard of before.
12-23-2012, 03:51 AM   #7
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For someone starting off the versatility of the k-30 and either the 18-135 or the 18-55+55-300 is hard to beat. There are some deals out there on older canikon models right now but the excellent ergonomics of pentax plus the well organized software menu on the cameras is unparalleled.
12-23-2012, 05:16 AM   #8
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About Dslr's and MILC's well it used to be about sizes and sensor size too, but now you got full-frame MILC's out there, so i would say that the viewfinder and the size/bulk are the main deciding factor.
In my experience Canikon offers more lenses and some cheaper primes but when you go to premium glass their prices are way higher than pentax's. If he's going to stay in the lower gama of lenses then the prices are comparable thanks in part to third party offerings.
He should think in terms of system, wich is difficult when you are starting out, and what kind of photography you want to do. Is it trekking/outdoors? is it birds/wildlife? is it flash photography? is it starting as a hobby or there are intentions of spending more and more time and being more "serious" about it? what's the fields he likes, the type of photography he feels pleased with? is he into very shallow depth of field?
All this questions can help him look at wich brand will offer the more convenient setup...that said he can always do anything in photography with any brand, and there's also a budget concern, how much money is he willing to spend in the particular system?

I think pentax is a great system, it offers very capable bodies at very good price points ( and on "older" bodies, incredible deals! look at the k5 prices right now), once you get really into it premium glass is cheaper than Canikon's, and the gaps the system has are easily filled with third party lenses.
The cons? it's flash sync of 1/160, it's autofocus system, and i think that's it...
So before comiting to a system you should seat down with him and figure out what are his fields of interest and how much money he is willing to put into it IN THE LONG TERM.
If it's just a dslr to explore and see...then pentax is hard to beat...or at least it was when i got my Kx and the alternatives where the 1000d,the d60 or the d3000.

12-23-2012, 05:55 AM   #9
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You should ask your friend what e wants to do with his camera, and whether he would be willing to sell it all and start over in 2 years as his experience changes.

That will take him off gaurd a little, but if the answer is no, of for an slr not an ILC.
12-23-2012, 09:17 AM   #10
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If he is just getting into photography, I would suggest getting something used. You can pick up a very good two or three versions back setup with lenses for $400 or less. They work well and will give him the opportunity to learn a couple of things. 1. whether he really likes this stuff and would get value from spending multiple $K on equipment, 2, he would learn what really is important to him. Every piece of equipment will drive you nuts in some fashion, and everyone will be driven nuts in a different way. Let him find out, then he can purchase what he wants with knowledge.

I went from point and shoot to a refurb Oly E420 with 2 lenses, batteries etc. for less than $600. 10mpx, pretty good lenses and a nice handling body. You can get this setup for quite a bit less now. It works well and I learned that I wanted direct coupled manual focus lenses, a preference for solidly built bodies, a larger sensor, more dynamic range, and a body where I didn't need to look at a menu or info screen to change settings on the fly. Every time I pick up a Canon EOS rebel line I cherish the solid Oly and Pentax bodies.

I very well may have learned that the camera sits mostly in a cupboard and spending $1000-3000 on gear was a waste.

There is no question that the older electronic gear is not as good in many ways compared to the latest versions. But let's face it, the improvements are marginal. Essentially we find that with newer gear there is a potential of getting a shot where otherwise we couldn't, or we can put into an output format that we otherwise couldn't. That is if we have the skill to use the gear we have to it's limits.
12-23-2012, 07:25 PM   #11
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I thank you all for your wonderfully thoughtful, thought provoking, and above all, prompt messages. What a pleasure to be a part of this Pentax community. I will summarize all, and present my discussion accordingly. Have a great holiday....
12-23-2012, 08:26 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by subidoc Quote
A friend of mine is seeking some help in choice of DSLRs. It is his first foray into the world of DSLRs or possibly ILCs. I am only familiar with Pentax. Its what I am comfortable with. Many of you are better versed with other brands, having migrated back and forth some. So, here are my questions....

1. What drives some people to go for ILCs v/s SLRs? Viewfinders matter to some more than others, I guess, as does form factor. Anything else...?
2. I believe Pentax or Canikon make excellent products. Are lenses priced better one way or another for comparable qualities?
3. I don't believe the richness of the range of K- and M42 mount lenses will matter to him.

Your experiences, views, etc are all welcoome. Thank you in advance.....
Seeking unbiased opinion? Not possible at "Pentax Forums".
To be honest, I try and discourage people from buying Pentax. <gasp>

Why?

As a die-hard Pentaxian, I would never expect anyone else to have the passion and love for the products that I have. I would never expect anyone to follow me into the obsession I have for Pentax.

Ironically, it never works, as people that genuinely talk to me about my cameras and what drives my photography seem to think I make a case for buying Pentax.

What?

It's funny, but I don't quote absolute technical specifications. I don't talk about various model lines and other gobly-gook.

I talk about a camera(s) that I have taken with me since 1981, to almost every special place I have ever gone to. I talk about the memories and the imagery the cameras have helped me form.

Somehow, my passion for Pentax seems to be enough, and people end up buying one.

If folks start to compare and contrast Canikony cameras to me, I just nodd and say, yep, you're right. You *need* to go and buy one of those.

Besides, with near zero retail presence for Pentax, you really have to want one, and go out of your way to get one.

I suppose it's part of what makes a Pentax a Pentax.
12-24-2012, 12:09 AM   #13
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I have tried some of the other guys cameras and am still pretty biased towards Pentax. I find Pentax DSLR's very easy to get up and running with. I don't care for Canon's at all. Nikon is better but still over complicated with their menus. My decisions towards Pentax was the overall operating feel of the camera. I think just about any DSLR choice is going to produce great photos once you learn how to use it and at least in my experience, I got up and running with my Pentax K10D very quickly. It was my first DSLR coming from film SLR's. I liked it much better than my daughters Nikon D200. She likes the Nikon better and she also had a Canon Rebel (an early model). I fell in love with the K10D the minute I picked it up in the store which brings up a point I feel I should make. Have your friend go to a brick and mortar store and handle a few cameras. Let him compare those with your Pentax. Looking at pictures and reading specs online isn't going to be very useful to a noob who has never owned a DSLR. Would you buy a car model you have never seen or test driven?
12-24-2012, 04:04 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
.... Have your friend go to a brick and mortar store and handle a few cameras. Let him compare those with your Pentax. Looking at pictures and reading specs online isn't going to be very useful to a noob who has never owned a DSLR. Would you buy a car model you have never seen or test driven?
Very valid point. That was one of my first recommendations to him. We recently had a store open up in our area that does actually carry Pentax (no kidding). Needless to say, Canikon, Sigma and Tamron have greater counter real estate. They carry Zeiss too... of course no K-mount there.

Again, all points made above are invaluable perspectives..... Thank you, again!
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