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12-31-2013, 02:52 PM   #16
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I started with pentax in 1978 with a film k1000 that lasted me through 2005 with only 1! trip to the repair shop for a loose shutter mechanism screw.

that's why I went with pentax digital and a k10 in 2005. also, I thought I got better value for my dollar in terms of features and access to decent lenses that didn't cost an arm and a kidney.

8 years later, I now say a lot depends on your shooting style and plans for using the camera, what lenses you want and what your budget is.

if you are new to photography, go cheap, get a used camera and a couple lenses and figure out what excites you, because over the next 30 years you are going to spend 10s of thousands of dollars, become bitter and jaded because no system fits your EXACT needs and the manufacturers are constantly changing the game on you to leech more money from your bank account.

here's my breakdown of the 3 main choices as far as i'm concerned with NO added bonus for a million manual focus lenses at dirt cheap prices. (If I wanted to use manual focus I'd still be shooting film):

Canon: A hundred different cameras, a thousand diff lenses and a new gadget every 20 mins. Nothing on this planet can touch L Glass for IQ but you need an AMEX Black card to kit yourself. Their bodies aren't bad, but other choices are actually better. It's their L Glass that makes them a player

Nikon: Probably the company I'd go with if I could start over again with the knowledge I have now AND the budget. Best bodies on the market as far as im concerned (can we say 800e?) and their high end glass is very close to Canon in PRICE and IQ. I think their native lens lineup is a little better than Canon's in terms of diversity.

What you lack from Canon and Nikon in lenses, you can get from a full range of Sigma (or Tamron lens support)

Bottom line though: Canikon with cost you a ton of money to get the most out of their systems 3K for body to start and easily 2-3 PER lens which means at least triple what a full Pentax kit might cost you. Is it a case of diminishing returns? So that brings me to....

Pentax: Pentax has always been the best bang for the buck manufacturer, but they aren't a pro line at this time. Maybe that will change in the future, but as it stands now, serious sport photogs, or wildlife photogs DON'T shoot Pentax. Hopefully the K3 is the start of a change, but I have been frustrated for a few years now with AF speed and accuracy when shooting anything moving in a complex environment. Landscape work has been great, but the availability of lenses has been a frustration. I much prefer the F and FA series lenses over anything DA(*) but they are tough to come by and Sigma/Tamron don't offer full support with their lens lineup. (Can we say 120-300 f2.8?)

I don't regret going with Pentax, because it's probably saved me 30k in lens costs over the last few years, (LBA being what it is) but as my photography has advanced into the "semi-pro" arena, I'm placing more and more demands on my equipment and Pentax is falling a tad short. I can overcome most of it, but I'm not sure why I need to work that hard. And when a 5 year in the planning trip to Yellowstone yields too many important misses because of AF errors, I've lost a little bit of my brand loyalty. I've got 10k invested in the best glass I can get for Pentax, so I'm not going anywhere, but as the saying goes.... knowing what I know now, would I do it again.... the answer is: I'm not so sure


Last edited by nomadkng; 12-31-2013 at 03:00 PM.
12-31-2013, 03:01 PM   #17
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Affordable WR and SR are the primary reasons I stay with Pentax. The down side is, you don't always get the most advance features, or newest 3rd party lenses right away. Being a tech geek that used to annoy me but I have learned I can't treat photo gear like other tech gears.

As first DSLR, you can't go wrong with any brand although I think Pentax gives you the most photography features. But you may get stuck with Pentax thereafter because it just feels right in the hands!
12-31-2013, 03:33 PM   #18
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K-30 vs D5100 vs T4i
12-31-2013, 04:07 PM   #19
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Exciting time for you, Eyes!


We consumers are blessed for choice ATM. You'll enjoy whatever you get. One thing handy in Pentax to hand holding shooters is in-camera shake reduction.

12-31-2013, 06:44 PM   #20
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Why I went with Pentax:

1) Best lens backward-compatibility. You can use any Pentax mount lens made in the last 50 years on it.

2) Superior build quality and feel

3) Ergonomics

4) Price-to-performance ratio

5) Built-in shake reduction

As already mentioned, there's certainly nothing wrong with the other brands, either. They're all fine cameras. Good luck & happy 2014!
12-31-2013, 11:24 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheEyesHaveIt Quote
Hi all,

I'd like to get myself a DSLR and the Pentax line is pretty appealing, but what are the reasons you all feel it is better than Canon or Nikon? For Pentax, I like the weather proofing (not sure if I'll ever need it but it provides peace of mind), the bodies tend to be a tad bit smaller, seems better priced. But Canon and Nikon are more "established" - easier to get deals on or get 2nd hand or sell later, good reputations for image quality, etc.

Would love to get your thoughts. Thank you in advance!
Sealing
Size
Weight
Ergonomics: handling/grip/button layout/controls (Canon being worst, Nikon is a bit better, then Sony, and then Pentax. Olympus and Panasonic are too all over the place, it really depends on the specific camera)
Functionality (Canikon, especially Canon likes to cripple entry level cameras so that you have a reason to buy a more expensive Canon in a year)
Build quality (Canon really feels cheap, Nikon is in between)
Viewfinder size and quality (Canikon offer portholes, hard to see much)
Shake reduction in the body
01-01-2014, 12:37 AM   #22
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You really can't go wrong with any of the brands - they are all fine cameras. Why I choose Pentax - I had an old Spotmatic from 1970 that I liked and I could use its lens. However, that was not the deciding factor. I knew going in that what ever I was going to choose - what ever system was going to be good enough. I was not going to go hopping around.
  • Lenses and In Body Stabilization (IBS) - These two go together. This was my primary influence. With IBS, I could use any lens. Plus the lenses could be smaller and simpler, less to break and go wrong.
  • Screwdrive Auto Focus - This provides simpler and cheaper lenses. Less to go wrong, and the lenses are where the majrity of your investment is. Canon and Nikon have the motors in the lenses (along with in lens stabilization) increased complexity, more to go wrong - thus lenses when they break are a problem. Canon and Nikon both have faster AF that tracks. Pentax is more accurate on locking - and getting better now on speed and tracking. I like landscapes and they rarely move - well except in California.
  • Manual Lenses - Pentax has much better support and backwards compatibility. Canon does have a shorter registration distance and that is an inherent advantage. Pentax has focus confirmation across any lens along with light metering support - Canon and Nikon do not.
  • Lens Selection - Pentax does have a limited lens selection, however it had everything that I (and probably most folks) will want. There is always Sigma and Tamron, too. So, I did not look on this as a limitation. Also, if you just consider the stabilized lenses from Nikon and Canon compared to Pentax in a raw count, the three are pretty equal. Yes, for specialty lenses (tilt/shifts, long telephotos, very fast apertures, wide selection of zooms) Canon and Nikon offer these, while Pentax really does not. How many folks are going to drop $2k to $10K on a lens - my wife would just shoot me.
  • APS-C Sensor Size - I really doubted that I was going to spring large dollars for a full size sensor. The crop sensor is more than adequate. It is not for some, but for most it is.
  • Flash - Canon and Nikon wins hands down, but I don't do flash - so its a moot point for me.

01-01-2014, 03:39 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by grhazelton Quote
Let's also remember that Pentax DSLRs generally have superior, that is to say, larger and brighter viewfinders than corresponding Canikon models, many of which are like looking through a rectangular tube, and many of which use mirrors rather than a proper pentaprism, as is intended by the gods of the SLR.
This right here
My SIL has a 1100D, it feels like you are holding a thin plastic hollow shell and looking into the viewfinder is like looking into a tube. I handed her my K5 and said look through the viewfinder - her response 'wow'. I have also handled/used friends and family's D3000 - similar experience.

If you can handle the Pentax at the same time as the C/N offerings it becomes an easy choice. I didn't *need* WR but it sure came in handy when I was standing next to the official WRC photographer in the rain at the WRC in 2011. At the beach? imagine all that salt air getting inside your camera! Not gonna happen with Pentax! HyperProgram - winning, TAv - winning, Sv - winning... So many things that don't reach the brochure blurbs are significant when it comes to operating the camera.

01-01-2014, 07:53 AM   #24
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Make a shortlist from all 3 manufacturers and go try to handhold them in the flesh at the same time. Camera`s are a tool that need to fit your hand and mind.
01-01-2014, 08:29 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben78 Quote
This right here
My SIL has a 1100D, it feels like you are holding a thin plastic hollow shell and looking into the viewfinder is like looking into a tube. I handed her my K5 and said look through the viewfinder - her response 'wow'. I have also handled/used friends and family's D3000 - similar experience.

If you can handle the Pentax at the same time as the C/N offerings it becomes an easy choice. I didn't *need* WR but it sure came in handy when I was standing next to the official WRC photographer in the rain at the WRC in 2011. At the beach? imagine all that salt air getting inside your camera! Not gonna happen with Pentax! HyperProgram - winning, TAv - winning, Sv - winning... So many things that don't reach the brochure blurbs are significant when it comes to operating the camera.
I absolutely agree with you. The problem is that there are so few retail stores that carry Pentax it is very difficult to actually find one out in the wild in order to touch one, let alone compare. Apparently, it is getting better now with Ricoh out actually pushing and supporting the brand. I think that I read here on the forum that there were 7 stores in the entire US that carried them. I actually think that there are more, but even going as high - let's say a 100, they are pretty thin in coverage.

01-01-2014, 08:57 AM   #26
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With me, it came down to which one felt better in my hand. The local camera store had Sony, Canon, Nikon and Pentax all in stock. The staff all had their views on either Canon or Nikon being superior due to lens selection, but strongly suggested I purchase the one that "felt" and fit my hand best. If you don't like the feel of your camera, you won't take it with you and it will be less than useful.


A friend bought a Nikon at the same time, and now wishes he would have bought a Pentax, as we cruise through the second hand stores and pawn shops and I can pick up "M" lenses for $20 - $50. He covets the Ltd lenses and weather sealing as well.


In short, the Pentax fit my hand the best (originally a KX now a K5) and the Ltd lenses are jewels and so satisfying to use.


You also seem to join a society as other Pentax users will come up and talk to you in the sea on Canon/Nikon users.


Good luck on your choice.
01-01-2014, 03:06 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I absolutely agree with you. The problem is that there are so few retail stores that carry Pentax it is very difficult to actually find one out in the wild in order to touch one, let alone compare. Apparently, it is getting better now with Ricoh out actually pushing and supporting the brand. I think that I read here on the forum that there were 7 stores in the entire US that carried them. I actually think that there are more, but even going as high - let's say a 100, they are pretty thin in coverage.

Tell me about it, I live in a town of 50,000 people, major regional centre and there is only big box stores here, none of them sell Pentax. I can't even get film processed here any more!!!

I bought my *ist DS at a camera store here, as well as my FA50 and FA100 but that store closed a few years ago now. I bought my K5 mailorder from one of the major online retailers in Australia - based on my DS experience I knew the K5 would feel good and be a great tool.

Makes it very hard to see the brand gain traction out there - and it is vitally important to have new purchasers selecting Pentax at least some of the time, after all the entrenched don't get lens development and potential for FF options if there aren't newbies helping to fund it!
01-01-2014, 03:16 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben78 Quote
Tell me about it, I live in a town of 50,000 people, major regional centre and there is only big box stores here, none of them sell Pentax. I can't even get film processed here any more!!!
Syracuse, NY is three times that size. The greater metropolitan area has, depending on which demographer you ask, between 500,000 and 700,000 people (The US Census Bureau says 660,000). There are 2 camera stores, neither of which carry Pentax. The one store that did, an independent discount department store, stopped carrying them years ago. There is still 1 place to get film developed locally though, many places will still gladly send film out for you for a nice markup...
01-01-2014, 03:47 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheEyesHaveIt Quote
Hi all,

I'd like to get myself a DSLR and the Pentax line is pretty appealing, but what are the reasons you all feel it is better than Canon or Nikon? For Pentax, I like the weather proofing (not sure if I'll ever need it but it provides peace of mind), the bodies tend to be a tad bit smaller, seems better priced. But Canon and Nikon are more "established" - easier to get deals on or get 2nd hand or sell later, good reputations for image quality, etc.

Would love to get your thoughts. Thank you in advance!
If you are serious about the question I will give you a serious answer because I was in that very boat.

It all depends on you. It depends on how good you want to be and if you really are going to stick with photography or not.

If you are starting out as a rank amateur knowing very little/next to nothing about photography you will find yourself doing a great deal of trial and error.

For example I started out being absolutely enamored by long lenses. A little over a year in and I am frothing to get a 31mm. I started out wanting all zoom lenses and now I shoot only primes (except one lens I am hanging onto which is my 70-200mm, my only long lens). I didn't think having a flash was a big deal at first, but now I got one for Christmas and I am kicking myself for not knowing better earlier.

With all that said, the camera you want will have all 100% manual controls. I don't want to say everything else is secondary, but for a learner having manual mode is vital to the learning experience (This is my opinion and others may differ in theirs)...

I bought all my stuff before they had MAP pricing but all the buying and trying stuff can get expensive. I would say don't buy new lenses at first. On the forum here you can find good used lenses from very honest people. If you have questions people here are super friendly to answer you directly and honestly. That said, don't scrimp on lenses. If you do, six months up the road you will wish you had chosen better and spent the money up front on highly recommended stuff.

Now all that said, with Pentax you will be able to get in and get started and employ all the same photography principals you would regardless of your brand of choice...and you will be able to do it at a much lower cost overall cost. And yes, once you know your way around things you will be able to go into other brands if you like. But at least at that time you (hopefully) will know more about what you really like and value.

Pentax lags in their AF system when compared to Canon and Nikon (at least in my experience with the latter), that said depending on what you are doing it might not matter one bit if a Nikon can AF .3 seconds faster than a Pentax and be silent in the process. You will pay double and even triple for similar quality in other brands...so is it worth it to pay $1500 more for a lens that has a silent AF that is .3 seconds faster if you are finding you like to shoot landscapes?

Other brands may have a broader array of lenses (again, my own opinion), but then again it all depends on what you want to do.

All that being said, you won't go wrong with Pentax...

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all start out with nothing but the best of the best of lenses on the best of the best full framed sensor cameras...If I was a Saudi Prince I would have all of the systems to be honest and the best of the best in way of lenses for each one...

But I would say this to us normal folks...photography isn't cheap and in general your gear will decline in value over time (except some lenses if they are well cared for)...especially if you actually use the stuff.

On your first car you aren't going to go out and worry about the paddle shifters on the steering column, the latest anti lock braking system, if you should get the V10 or the V12, or if it's worth it to get a 200mph top speed vs a 210mph top speed.

I won't say the other brands are bad, I will though say you will pay a lot more and get less, once you take into account the entire spectrum of stuff you will want/like to have and try.

After using Pentax for a year and a half... even if I won powerball tomorrow I would pick up some Nikon and Canon gear, but I would also have all that I wanted in the way of Pentax as well.
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