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01-19-2014, 08:58 PM   #1
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Who would have thought that BB was the place for Pentax advice


After 7 years of being a DSLR owner, and only owning Pentax, I feel its time to explore my options. This is tough, as Pentax has been a worthy companion as my photography hobby has progressed. Nevertheless, high ISO performance (for low light non flash photography), autofocus quality, and a great lens selection (including from 3rd parties) are all now more important to me.

The decision is between the K3 (which just arrived on Friday) and the D610. each with its own pros and cons. The local camera stores have been horrible (rude, unhelpful, generally useless). For example, while San Jose Camera had a K3 on display, they refused to put a lens on it and instead suggested that "I look at my K5 which is basically the same". I decided to risk it and head over to the local Best Buy in Mountain View. Turns out the sales person is an accomplished photographer and a diehard Pentax user. Despite the fact that BB does not carry Pentax, I brought in my "just arrived" K3 and he answered all my questions as I compared it to the D610.

My decision is not made yet. I have decided to rent a D610 to give myself time to fairly evaluate both cameras. However, the fact that I am still considering Pentax is a testament to the great advice I received.

I believe that he is a participant on this site, so I figured this is a great place for me to say thank you!

01-19-2014, 09:13 PM   #2

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Let us know more information...

While I am sort of a gear junkie (I like nice stuff), I am more about the art of it all.

What kind of shooting do you want to do? What type of photography? These kinds of questions are far more important to your decision.

I can't speak for everyone but I am sure many will agree that we're more than happy to give information to help you make a best choice.

I can already tell you that you will spend substantially more money on other brands...(given that you compare apples to apples...)
01-19-2014, 09:29 PM   #3
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I love environmental portraits but I want to expand to other types of photography (not necessarily of people). I know that even my K5 (just sold) is sufficient for the artistic aspects of photography. However, I have kids, and life happens, and I also want to be able to capture the moment. While I have been studying lighting, I am not going to take my lighting equipment with me. For all of these reasons, AF capability, and ISO performance are more important to me than ever before. I have never found having a ton on equipment helped me be a better photographer. So far, Pentax has met me needs, although the DA 20-40 I just purchased with the K3 is a disappointment with the K3. It is a decent lens, but not $1k worth. Its better for outdoor work as you have to stop down pretty far to get decent sharpness and this requires raising the ISO for indoor work (which is not the K3's strong suit compared to the K5)

I have a modest kit now: K3 (K5 before), DA8 50-135, and DA 21 and 40 Limiteds. I want to explore and change. I am considering the following two kits:

K3 + FA 31mm (or 35mm 2.8), Sigma 18-35, and Pentax 50-135 (or Tamron 70-200)

D610 + Nikkor AF-s 50mm, Tamron or Nikon 70-200
01-19-2014, 09:35 PM   #4
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There are a couple of folks here on the forum that have gone over to the D6x0 and the D800/e. There are a couple of running threads on their views and what they have found/experienced.... - Here are a few that I found with a couple of minutes of searching - in no particular order.

01-19-2014, 11:09 PM   #5
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Excellent reading. Seems like I should consider the Pentax 60-250. Also, I particularly like the threads that focus on the art.
01-19-2014, 11:22 PM   #6
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Camera stores can be a bit snarky about people trying stuff. No wonder, when they're competing against the internet… So I tend to keep that in mind when being shown the mainstream choice by camera store staff. They often can't afford to offer the customer any choice - they want the minimum amount of stock and a decent turn over.
01-20-2014, 02:14 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by loganross Quote

I believe that he is a participant on this site, so I figured this is a great place for me to say thank you!
I wonder if this was Kryscendo. Here's a post by him originally from 24 Nov 2011:

QuoteOriginally posted by Kryscendo Quote
Sheesh, you guys need to do better with your threads. I work at Best Buy as a part time sales floor member. Being a photography major, they swiftly took me off the register and put me in with the cameras where I've been for the last 9 months or so. For as long as I have worked there, we did carry Pentax cameras on our website, as far as I recall.

I occasionally bring in my white Pentax K-r and put it in the display case to show off to people who are looking for a new camera. It looks quite fierce with the DA* 50-135mm and the 540FGZ flash on it compared to even the 7D or D7000. I don't do this under any special request from management- I just like having a camera I am familiar with should I need to demonstrate depth of field or something.

I also bring in my camera to help newbies broaden their camera catalogs. I mean, the K-r on can come with the 55-300mm lens for $799. That's still $50 less than the Canon T3i! We also sell the camera on the website- and yet our strongest advantage- in store demos and floor models- is forfeit since we don't have a camera to represent Pentax. As a bonus, it also sparks conversation like nothing else. When people see it and I tell them its mine, their opinion frankly turns from "Ugh, annoying salesman" to "Hotdog! I got a camera guru!" ^_^

Without getting into specifics I think I can give some very general feedback.

The first being Pentax/Ricoh needs to get cameras in stores. I've seen even end caps for mediocre cameras draw plenty and continued attention but even just having a lonely camera on a post will occasionally draw someone by and ask "What about this one?" Without presence though, how do people know what models to consider?

The WG1 merits attention. There is a fuji and two olympus cameras that compete in the waterproof arena but have lukewarm reviews. The WG1 has pretty stellar reviews, and not just on

The Pentax Optios are carried from time to time on the website but totally fly under everyone's radar since nobody knows about them.

Hardly anyone comes into my Best Buy for binoculars. I think I had one person casually inquire about carrying some, but we just don't. It could very well be a regional thing, though.

We occasionally get refurbished Pentax cameras on our website for very cheap. We had a K100 not too long ago IIRC. It was going for $250. Seems like now we have a refurbished K2000 for the same price. In white none the less! This is one of my favorite parts of periodically checking our website. You can find gems like that!

We have a pretty good collection of Pentax lenses on our site including some DA Limited lenses as well as most of the DA*'s. Funnily enough, we don't seem to carry the Pentax flashes.

Best Buy also has free photography handouts. One of them is a magazine called "First Glimpse" and has some basic info on what to look for in electronics. The camera section has nice break downs in chart form of different cameras by class. The charts are not comprehensive though since they can only fit so many models on the page in any given issue so some models rotate, but I have seen the Pentax K-r and K-5 both get featured and be put side by side with the T3i, D5100, D7000 etc.

Why do I do this though? Why bring in several thousands of dollars worth of gear at a part time job. Simple. I'm dedicated. I want to help people find the right camera so it doesn't become another dust collecting trinket in their closet. I want people to come back to the store and show me a memory card full of vacation photos and dramatic sunsets. I want people to thank me for not just being another salesman.

In this regard, I think Pentax makes DSLRs with the right stuff. Stabilized sensor so no more choosing between a $200 telephoto and $600 stabilized telephoto for a beginner. Neat and clean interface that isn't confusing to the novice. Heck, even the choice of colors for added personality. Mind you, these aren't features I cram down people's throats. I show them the D5100 interface and how to navigate. Then show them something like how to get shallow depth of field on my camera (mostly because we aren't tethered by the security things) and they start pawing at the screen, "Whoah, its so simple to use!" Simply put, given the chance, these things sell themselves.

That being said, despite choosing Pentax for my own shooting and being a fan, I cannot and do not default to the K-r or K-5. I hear the customer's needs and find solutions. Every single time. The biggest concerns I see and have myself regarding the Pentax cameras are that finding lenses and equipment for rental can be a hassle since there is less market penetration. Another thing is that video capabilities are lacking. These things are nothing new. I also don't trample over familiarity if they had a previous camera from another manufacturer.

This all being said. I love my job. I really do. I get to meet interesting people, excite them on what excites me, and help them appreciate photography just a little bit more than they used to.
Going back to your original point - remember some critical things. In-Body Image Stabilization (Nikon has not one stabilized prime under 105mm, yet even fisheyes are stabilized with Pentax), lenses will be far larger and far more expensive for FF as opposed to APS-C. Namely more expensive, especially when talking fast zooms. Weather Sealing - Nikon doesn't have the array of weather sealing, and even then, I have toyed with Nikon bodies a little via my friends, and I always wonder if the weather sealing is in name only - the look/feel don't exude confidence like the K-5/K-3 do (except the D4, which of course is an entirely different animal). If you are a fan of the Limited series, Nikon has nothing like it except Zeiss/Leica offerings at 5x the price. Ergonomics - well Pentax holds this field in spades across the entire photographic industry. Focus peaking.

Yes, the Nikon system has its advantages in some regards (flash, 3rd party support), but the Pentax also has so much to offer its unreal, and we forget about that often because this lens hasn't been released for Pentax by Sigma yet and that auto extension tube kit isn't available in K mount.

There's a few things I'd love to see for Pentax - the Canon 1-5x Super Macro lens would be amazing, and I wouldn't mind hearing about the Sigma 18-35 on a K-3 every now and then since the summer when the Canon mount was released and the Fall for Nikon. But that's not enough for me to ditch all the other benefits of the K-mount ecosystem that Canon/Nikon FF can't even hold a candle to, as they pertain to me and my photography.

It would be a shame to have to pay good money (for the system swap) in order to realize that the same holds true for you, especially if the more niche items (Nikon CLS type strobist control, super fast/long telephoto lenses, etc.) are not needed.

01-20-2014, 03:53 AM   #8
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Remember something about Nikon: their bodies are far louder when the shutter is released(I got bounced from a church for sbooting with a D3x).and the 610 has far less mirror/shutter dampening than the K7/5/3 does.


01-20-2014, 09:03 AM   #9
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I just ordered a K-3 from B&H to add to my D800 travel kit. I will be using the K-3 primarily for telephoto shots. A two-body system is a great luxury and I was hoping for Nikon to delivery a crop sensor pro-camera (i.e. the D400) but after having rented the Pentax 60-250mm, I realized that while Nikon "may" eventually release a pro-level DX body, the will never release a lightweight, small, pro-level DX telephoto zoom the likes of the Pentax 60-250mm. So I now have a mixed brand system. Not ideal, but Pentax delivered whereas Nikon did not and thus Pentax gets my hard-earned dollars. I think the D610 would be a nice compliment to the K-3 (and vice versa of course).

01-20-2014, 12:40 PM   #10
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I have also been in this same situation. But last week I went with the K-3. I'm now glad I did. Nikon has had so many quality problems with their full frames. And did the D610 really fix the dirty sensor problem? Also I figured that I'm saving a couple of thousand in both the body and the future lenses I get. And now I can use my old Pentax lenses, even though they are kit lenses and marginal second party lenses.
01-20-2014, 11:17 PM   #11
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Thanks for all of the info. While I am not fully decided, I am leaning Pentax since this has been my system of choice for years now. I decided to step away from the internet for a while and evaluate 4 days of images (party event, outdoors, indoors w/ natural light, and indoors via flash). I have been taking these primarily with the DA20-40 and the Sigma Art 35mm 1.4, however I took some with the the DA 35 2.8. By forcing myself to follow my normal workflow through completion of raw image development using Silkypix Pro, I am now better able to judge (vs just looking at tons of picks on my camera).

The bottom line is that the Sigma is a really solid lens with awesome sharpness, bokeh, and dimensionality. 1.4 means that the AF system has a lot of light to work with. You pay for this greatness in size and weight. That alone is not that big of a deal, but I also find that huge cameras intimidate people and you are less likely to capture life The DA 20-40 is holding its own. It does exhibit that Pentax character in the images it produces. The bokeh is very nice, and it can be sharp and exhibit dimensionality, but not in every single image. This lens seems to have a gradually increasing sweet spot as you go from the upper 20s to 40mm. regarding noise, the 20-40/K3/Silkypix combo has resulted in some outstanding images (even with 1600 or 3200 ISO).

Not sure what my ultimate kit would look like. I prefer a smaller kit. Until now, my kit has been the 21mm, the 40mm, and the 50-135mm. Now it looks like I will be considering some combination of the 20-40mm, the 31mm, and/or the Sigma 18-31mm, plus a zoom.
01-20-2014, 11:34 PM   #12
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David and Karen,
I find the K3 shutter much louder than the Nikon D610 and it has a metallic "shwing" to it

I followed and very much appreciated your posts about your own experience. The Nikon AF is clearly superior, but I haven't found much else when looking at the D610........except the virtues of its full frame sensor (but that's not a "Nikon" benefit, its a "full frame" benefit). Frankly, I am happy with the picture quality from the K3 so far, except for the difficulty I am having with blown highlights (which is something I have never experienced with my Pentax system before). Nevertheless, I am generally able to rectify this when developing raw in Silkypix (by dropping the exposure slightly and using the dodging tool to raise the shadows).

I am still going to check out the D610. The shots I took at the store were really impressive. The funny thing is, the Nikon 50mm 1.8 is a really nice lens, yet its only $200.00. Thus, I am looking at a $1,300 Pentax Camera plus a $1,000.00 Pentax lens vs a $,2000 Nikon Camera plus a $200 Nikon lens Its really a wash. To really judge, I need to get the Nikon in my hands, shoot for a few days, learn its operation, features and options, and then follow my regular workflow. Only then will I know

Thanks for your note. I am not sure if its the same person, but it could be him. No need to sell me on Pentax, I have been sold for the last 7 years My issue is that working in the tech industry, I know that time waits for no company. I want the best image quality in a reliable machine that is straight forward to use, so that I can focus on the photographs themselves. What led me to say it was time to consider another company was the AF experience I have had with the K5 and DA* 50-135mm. Frankly, its lousy. Its fine for general use of people posing for pictures. But when you want to capture life, as it moves, its an epic failure. A recent event was the last straw. So, I decided that I was going to consider other brands as well as Pentax. The K3 seems to have better AF, but I don't know ifs its now good enough as I haven't tested the K3 with a different telephoto.
01-28-2014, 02:47 PM   #13
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Hey there, Folks. Kryscendo here (David in real world) and while I do work full time still at Best Buy, mostly slinging DSLRs, I live and work in the suburbs of Chicago, so unless Brad, that is you, I don't believe I was the representative you spoke with.

Funny how tight knit but also passionate us Pentaxians are, however!
01-30-2014, 06:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by loganross Quote
For example, while San Jose Camera had a K3 on display, they refused to put a lens on it and instead suggested that "I look at my K5 which is basically the same".
Wow. Sorry about that. That's really unlike my experience with them. I went there a few weeks ago and asked to check out the K-3 and the guy threw the DA* 55 on it and just left me with it for like twenty minutes.

QuoteOriginally posted by loganross Quote
My decision is not made yet. I have decided to rent a D610 to give myself time to fairly evaluate both cameras. However, the fact that I am still considering Pentax is a testament to the great advice I received.
I have never owned the D610, but I have played around with it. I do not like the ergonomics, especially compared to the K-3. Also, from what I understand, the autofocus on the D610 is really inferior.

Hope this helps.

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