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05-05-2013, 04:00 PM   #1
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K-01 vs K30 vs K-5

I'm new to the forum but an old time Pentax film shooter looking to enter the world of digital. I currently own and shoot with an ancient KX and PZ-1P. I enjoy the KX most due to it's manual focus and controls. Auto focus is nice on occasion but not always. Typically, I take my time in shooting. For example, I once spent several weeks monitoring a spider in the front yard before I got the perfect shot of it capturing a moth in it's web. I'm looking to continue shooting manual focus in digital the majority of the time. Some action shot but not very many. My current lenses kit include the following:

Pentax K 30mm - F2.8
Pentax M 50mm - F1.7
Sigma 135MM - F2.8 Pantel
Pentax FA 28-105mm F4-5.6
Pentax FA 80-320mm F4.5-5.6
Vivitar Series 1 90-180mm F4.5 Flat Field

Looking to use my current lens group, not invest in new glass. So, what are the pros and cons of each camera. I've done a lot of research but am still confused. Looking for the best bang for the buck and don't want to break the bank, so I'm focusing on these three.

05-05-2013, 04:11 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by onlineflyer Quote
I'm new to the forum but an old time Pentax film shooter looking to enter the world of digital. I currently own and shoot with an ancient KX and PZ-1P. I enjoy the KX most due to it's manual focus and controls. Auto focus is nice on occasion but not always. Typically, I take my time in shooting. For example, I once spent several weeks monitoring a spider in the front yard before I got the perfect shot of it capturing a moth in it's web. I'm looking to continue shooting manual focus in digital the majority of the time. Some action shot but not very many. My current lenses kit include the following:

Pentax K 30mm - F2.8
Pentax M 50mm - F1.7
Sigma 135MM - F2.8 Pantel
Pentax FA 28-105mm F4-5.6
Pentax FA 80-320mm F4.5-5.6
Vivitar Series 1 90-180mm F4.5 Flat Field

Looking to use my current lens group, not invest in new glass. So, what are the pros and cons of each camera. I've done a lot of research but am still confused. Looking for the best bang for the buck and don't want to break the bank, so I'm focusing on these three.
Get a K-30. I'm thinking you'll want the OVF and the focus peaking for manual lenses. To see a specs comparison, see the camera comparison page in the cameras dropdown, or our in-depth reviews / camera database.

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05-05-2013, 04:22 PM   #3
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Almost all of my lenses are MF. I just sold my K-5 and purchased a LNIB K-30. The main reason was the focus peaking. I loved my K-5 but since I don't shoot sports anymore the K-5 has been sitting on the shelf while I use my K-01 90% of the time.
05-05-2013, 04:33 PM   #4
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Setting aside technical advances, coming from film (spotmatics and then Nikon FM2), I found the K20D felt like a film camera. Later I got a Kx and while supposedly better DR and high iso peformance--my success rate (for theatre) is 1/3 of what I do on my K20D. I also mentor someone who has a K30, and trying it out I would find it even worse. My point is handling is most important--particularly if you are old school. Frankly w/o a viewing port (K30) I would be at a total loss. As regards the K-5 I don't care for the weight/form--but I prefer a larger camera. My feeling is (coming from older film camera) the K5 and K20D are the best options. But try out--2-3 exra stops of DR may not be what is important.

05-05-2013, 04:39 PM   #5
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Of course I meant K01 for w/o view port. Actually -for street shooting: with an old optical finder and a 20-28mm lens and zone focusing the K01 likely would be better than my current favorite--an (underwater) Nikonos III with 35mm lens. But that hardly makes it a generally useful camera.
05-05-2013, 05:43 PM   #6
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The K20D is a great camera, it just feels so solid and it takes great pictures. I will probably pick one up for my my 7-year old as he loves photography and he is always learning.
05-05-2013, 05:48 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by onlineflyer Quote
Pentax FA 28-105mm F4-5.6
Pentax FA 80-320mm F4.5-5.6
The Pentax K-01 would not work completely effectively with these two lenses; but in general not limited to these two lenses.

Any lens that has an aperature that "dips below" f4.5-f5.0 (generally) will have issues with the Pentax K-01 autofocus. Sure it's adaptable to, but some might also miss a pic over it.
05-05-2013, 07:04 PM   #8
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Since the K30 seems to be pretty well liked--perhaps I should say what/why I did not care for it. The little I used it I found the following two problems. And BTW except for one AF lens all my lenses are K (and some takumars)--and principally I use K (pre A) lenses.

1. (Like my K-x) one cannot use exposure compensation in manual mode--and with most of my lenses that is the only mode available (as in your case). This is a big deal when doing rapid photo's in changing light (e.g., stage/theatre photos)--not likely a deal breaker for you.

And if you decide to put in a split screen focusing screen (I strongly suggest a replacement screen--either all mat or with split screen--for mat the ist-d mat screen with grid is excellent)--then the spot metering will be off by 2-3 e.v. for slower than f/3.5 (about) lenses, and all pre-A lenses (don't meter full open). This is very tough to work around in my stage/theatre work.

2. (And maybe this is my lack of detailed knowledge) every time I turned the camera on the display would blast me with light. It's been several months but I believe it was when turning on (and I change lenses a lot)--but what ever it was it was very annoying! And looking through the manual I could not find a way to stop it. (If I used it in my theatre work it would be totally unacceptable.)

I also did not care for the small form factor and light weight--but that is more dependent on individual taste--but coming from a (film) K-x you may also feel as I do.

05-05-2013, 09:23 PM   #9
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I suggest a K-5 with a 18-55 WR. Since you don't use AF much the tungsten problems won't affect you much.

On the other hand, have you actually looked through a viewfinder of an APSC DSLR? They are quite a bit smaller than those of 35mm film cameras. And you'll need to buy a replacement focusing screen too.
05-05-2013, 10:39 PM   #10
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I suggest you not get any new lenses at first. Actually before buying the K20D I spoke w/ Pentax rep at NYC camera show and he strongly suggested my 28mm f3.5, 50mm f/1.4, 200mm f/4 takumar lenses would be fine to start with, and hold off with buying more--and that was good advice. Compared to these you have all K lenses!

After some use you will likely need a wider FL (the 30mm will be a good all around lens to start with). Personally the water resistant attribute is overstated. In 50+ years of backpacking and canoeing I never needed it. If the camera was to sit in the bottom of the canoe in water--it was my Nikonos III--and my SLR was in a plastic bag. But this was rare exception (tough trip/lots of portaging/...). Usually I did not take the Nikonos and the SLR was in my pack or around my neck.
05-05-2013, 10:58 PM   #11
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As suggested by Adam, get the K30.

Its the better camera over the K5 unless you need very fast handling (ie. more buttons); mag alloy body; exposure bracketing via IR remote or timer
K30 is better in CDAF speed, focus peaking, lighter, improved PDAF module, a bit faster processing

Focus peaking works well if you shoot MF and shoot slow.


My impressions of the K30 is here :
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-30/218715-pentax-k30-out-about-user-review.html
05-06-2013, 02:13 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
As suggested by Adam, get the K30.

Its the better camera over the K5 unless you need very fast handling (ie. more buttons); mag alloy body; exposure bracketing via IR remote or timer
K30 is better in CDAF speed, focus peaking, lighter, improved PDAF module, a bit faster processing

Focus peaking works well if you shoot MF and shoot slow.


My impressions of the K30 is here :
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-30/218715-pentax-k30-out-about-user-review.html
pinholecam, are you a Pentax salesman? If not, you sure should be. Great write-up and terrific pictures. You convinced me! I just ordered a K-30 with the 18-55 kit lens. Wasn't planning on a new lens but it was a deal I couldn't refuse. I hope to learn a lot from the forum and post some photos in the future.
05-09-2013, 11:25 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
Since the K30 seems to be pretty well liked--perhaps I should say what/why I did not care for it. The little I used it I found the following two problems. And BTW except for one AF lens all my lenses are K (and some takumars)--and principally I use K (pre A) lenses.

1. (Like my K-x) one cannot use exposure compensation in manual mode--and with most of my lenses that is the only mode available (as in your case). This is a big deal when doing rapid photo's in changing light (e.g., stage/theatre photos)--not likely a deal breaker for you.

And if you decide to put in a split screen focusing screen (I strongly suggest a replacement screen--either all mat or with split screen--for mat the ist-d mat screen with grid is excellent)--then the spot metering will be off by 2-3 e.v. for slower than f/3.5 (about) lenses, and all pre-A lenses (don't meter full open). This is very tough to work around in my stage/theatre work.

2. (And maybe this is my lack of detailed knowledge) every time I turned the camera on the display would blast me with light. It's been several months but I believe it was when turning on (and I change lenses a lot)--but what ever it was it was very annoying! And looking through the manual I could not find a way to stop it. (If I used it in my theatre work it would be totally unacceptable.)

I also did not care for the small form factor and light weight--but that is more dependent on individual taste--but coming from a (film) K-x you may also feel as I do.
1. The front wheel will do the same as EC, changing the shutter speed as metered by the green button on a K lens by 1/3 stop each click.

2. Turn the LCD off. The K-30 is quite usable without it being on during shooting, just use the VF info line for basic information. You will get the screen come up once at switch on asking for the focal length of a manual lens but you can stop it by disabling SR. It will also come on if you change ISO or WB during shooting so you would need those set first. You would also need to disable instant review. It may also help, if keeping the same lens on, to let the camera power-save rather than turning it off manually, then you could keep SR on as you won't get asked for the FL each time you wake it up with a half-shutter press. Do all that and the screen never comes on unless you want it to.
05-09-2013, 12:40 PM   #14
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RE: Steve B work around for K30.

1. The front dial can adjust on each shot--that's how I normally use M mode--I adjust each shot individually: when I have the time and each situation is different.
But I am taking hundreds of pictures using 2 cameras during the theater production! It need it to be on all shots. e.g., If I am metering the brightest zone--I need to do +3 e.v. on all shots.

2. For theatre work I change lenses a lot (I generally prefer fast primes) and need SI. (ISO 1600 and SI have transformed the process--from tungsten slide ISO 320 and no SI.)

So it seems to me that neither would help me. But that's why I clarified my problems with the K30--because it really depends on what the application is.

For me these are significant limitations that don't exist on the K20d--and I would presume not on the K5. But that is what are the hallmarks of a professional camera--it doesn't limit you by: "yes you can do this and no you cannot do that."
05-09-2013, 02:23 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
RE: Steve B work around for K30.

1. The front dial can adjust on each shot--that's how I normally use M mode--I adjust each shot individually: when I have the time and each situation is different.
But I am taking hundreds of pictures using 2 cameras during the theater production! It need it to be on all shots. e.g., If I am metering the brightest zone--I need to do +3 e.v. on all shots.

2. For theatre work I change lenses a lot (I generally prefer fast primes) and need SI. (ISO 1600 and SI have transformed the process--from tungsten slide ISO 320 and no SI.)

So it seems to me that neither would help me. But that's why I clarified my problems with the K30--because it really depends on what the application is.

For me these are significant limitations that don't exist on the K20d--and I would presume not on the K5. But that is what are the hallmarks of a professional camera--it doesn't limit you by: "yes you can do this and no you cannot do that."
1. Can't see the problem. The K-30 doesn't have to be 'green buttoned' every shot. Meter, add a few clicks of front dial and shoot away.

2. Don't the K-5 and K20d have to have each MF lens FL entered on the LCD at each power up or lens change also?
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