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03-30-2013, 12:47 PM   #1
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Upgrade K7 or Get New Lens?

I know there have been several similar threads. I think I've read them all and I am still confused. I have a K7, but have often been frustrated by the low light (hi ISO) capabilities and the AF. I've tried the micro AF adjustment with mixed results. I also have a collection of Pentax lenses DA 10-17, DA 35AL, FA 50, DA 16-45, DA 50-200) that while not the best, represents real money.
I'm intrigued by the smaller size of mirror less systems, but much of what I read seems to indicate a DSLR is the better option.

I'm curious what you would do. Invest in a new camera (K5iis or K30)? New lenses (DA 15, DA 100 macro)? Consider mirror less (NEX)? Do nothing and just take more photographs? Too many options... Since I know people will ask I like to shoot landscapes, family photos, and some activities my kids are involved with indoors in gyms. Thanks in advance.

03-30-2013, 01:07 PM   #2
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1. Have an experienced photographer friend check the camera+most used lens(s) out.
2. Make sure it's not something simple like AF picking what it wants to focus on.
3. And if all is well--a better camera will not make a difference. Nor will more lenses. Technique and judgement will.
03-30-2013, 01:38 PM   #3
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If you want better high ISO then a newer camera will help, k-5, k-5II, k-30 or k-01. AF is supposed to be improved in k-5II but unless you are using AFC a lot I'm not sure you will see a big difference. Technique and practice will help here. No AF system can automatically pick what you want to focus on.

A mirrorless option that you might want to consider is the k-01. Uses all of the lens you already have, uses roughly the same sensor as k-30 / k-5 and is relatively small at least compared to dslrs. At current pricing (Around $300 +/-) you can't beat it.

You have a pretty good selection of lenses, so unless you are prepared to spend a lot of money on 'pro' level DA* and limiteds I don't think you will see much improvement by adding there.
03-30-2013, 01:57 PM   #4
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I've always bought glass over bodies, but your happy with your current lenses, so I guess it's the body route for you.

03-30-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
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I have a K-7 and I like to shoot in low light. Yeh, that does not sound right.... but it works with the right lenses. I have also a K-01 which share the same sensor with the K-5 and K-5ii.

+True the K-01/K-5 sensor gives better results at high ISO (above ISO1600) than the K-7.

+True the K-7 can be setup with agressive High-ISO noise reduction and the results are decent.

+But the real truth is that a fast lens beats them all. I have now several fast lenses: f1.4 (VL58mm, CZ85mm), f1.7 (FA50mm), f1.8 (FA31mm, FA77mm). And these lenses give me excellent results. In very low light, the best results are achieved with MF. And MF lenses are the best in dealing with MF

I have been several low light situations (sunset, evening school dance) when I saw all Canikons guys stopping to shoot, and I was the only one getting decent results wtih my K-7.

So at the end:
- If you are frustrated with the K-7, consider the K-01 for a better sensor at hgih ISO.
- If you want to improve your shots in low light, get a high-quality fast lens, and get a decent NR software.

Hope that the comment may help.
03-30-2013, 02:22 PM   #6
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hcc have you shot the night sky much with your K-7?


I've only got one remotely fast lens for my K-7... FA 35mm f2 ... it did indeed help a bit..
03-30-2013, 02:34 PM   #7
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Since the OP has an fa50 which is one of Pentaxes fastest lenses I would say might be time for a new body. I would be tempted to just hold off and see what is going to happen with full frame before pulling the trigger on anything. At the very least a FF is going to drive down prices on the K-5 or people will be getting rid of K-5 for full frame.

Buy a new len or save your money.
03-30-2013, 02:40 PM   #8
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Thanks for the input so far. To be honest the most important thing for me is to just get out and shoot more often. I probably should experiment more with the fast FA50.

03-30-2013, 03:04 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by BobInGA Quote
Thanks for the input so far. To be honest the most important thing for me is to just get out and shoot more often. I probably should experiment more with the fast FA50.
I was in the same boat as you - I haven't been happy with noise over 800 ISO with my K-7 (nor my previous cameras) so two weeks ago I bought a K-5 on clearance from the local distributor. I have yet to do side by shots with the K-7 and K-5 (both came with the 18-55mm WR) but I hope I see an improvement.
03-30-2013, 03:19 PM   #10
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Seems like you got some fine lenses already. If you really feel you need better high ISO, go for K-5 (or K-30). I felt ISO 2000 was highest I could go with K-7, with K-5 it's easily ISO 6400. Also the better dynamic range of K-5 cannot be ignored as it is much more forgiving for underexposed shots (when RAW is used). For indoor sports I would go for Sigma 50-150/2.8 HSM if you can find one. K-5 and this Sigma can easily deliver professional quality images even in low light. I have shot thousands and thousands of shots with it and it can always be trusted. I wouldn't buy K-5II/s as with that price you may buy used K-5 and 50-150/2.8.

If you do not need the "extreme" low light capability, K-7 can deliver excellent images. In that case I wouldn't buy new body but maybe invest in some new lenses that I feel I would need and like to use. Or buy some cheap mirrorless camera to go with it with some pancake lens. Something you can take always with you when you feel you don't want to carry the DSLR and which is fun to use. And which maybe others in family likes to use also. Be it NEX, NX, m4/3 or whatever. Just do whatever floats your boat.

Last edited by jpyykonen; 03-30-2013 at 11:40 PM.
03-30-2013, 03:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Conqueror Quote
hcc have you shot the night sky much with your K-7?
Conqueror: No, I do not shot the sky usually, but I had a few good shots of city skylight on tripod at night with my K-7.

There were a few threads by PF members using the K20D for sky shots and you may find the threads worthwhile reading. You may read also with interest the followiog stories,,

Personally, I usually shoot hand-held, and most of my low-light shooting is at dusk and dawn. Usually the light is so low that AF does not work and I prefer to shoot MF in these situations (even handheld).

Hope that the info will help.

Last edited by hcc; 03-30-2013 at 04:22 PM.
03-30-2013, 04:32 PM   #12
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There's nothing really wrong with the lenses you have. I jumped from the K10D to the K5 so I have no experience with the bodies between them. I can say that the high ISO capability of the K5 is pretty impressive and if you do a lot of low light shooting, I would say a camera body upgrade will be a good choice. You could buy some faster lenses I suppose but you're moving into expensive glass territory and a K5 or K30 body will cost you less. I've had good results with the K5 up to ISO 12800.
03-30-2013, 04:56 PM   #13
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Reading the review on here - I don't think the K5ii (non-s) warrants the extra $$$ or over the K-5 mk1. Especially not when that money can go on the glass.

I've been thinking about the same things. Glass or upgrade K-7.

I've just gone for the DA 15mm. As buying a new body won't get me a wide angle lens (which I'm lacking). The K-5 mk1 or mk2 bodies can only go down in price or sell out completely the incase of mk1. But the k-30 will also be an option for a superior sensor for a while.

Glass however could go up in price. It hasn't gone down here. Its only stayed same price or gone up.

I see you have the DA 16-45mm which isn't fast or WR and is overlapped by your DA 10-17 and DA 35mm... perhaps that's a candidate to be sold in favour of DA* 16-50mm 2.8 (which gives WR) or Tamron 17-50mm 2.8. Both gain you speed and seem reasonable at portraits. I have no experience of any of the lenses in this paragraph I just wrote though!

I pretty much shoot everything on my FA 35mm f2 now. I see the 18-55m WR as a backup lens. I anticipate once I have the 15mm DA, these 3 will be the travel kit. With the 18-55mm WR only coming out if conditions are bad.

The 16-50mm DA* looks very interesting for extreme trips IMO. Where you are limited by weight and/or space and possibly in an extreme environment. Theres a good review on here where that was the case and he was using a K-7.

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