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04-12-2008, 12:20 PM   #31
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Wow, thanks for the active thread. I'm not going to using a tripod, so I think image stabalization would be fairly important for my indoor low light portrait work. I appreciate all the comments although in some respect it hasn't made my decision any easier as there are so many different opinions on even what is important for my application. Unfortunately, I'm not experienced enough to have an opinion.

I did like the advice of trying out the cameras for myself and deciding which one I like better. I have sort of done this for the 30 minutes I was working with the salesman, and I did like the K200 way better than the XTi. To me the 40D and the K200 were both nice as far as the handling and feel.

If I try to aggregate and filter all the opinions I've received here and apply to them the type of photography I'll be doing (low light indoor portrait work) here's where I'm:

1. I don't plan on using a tripod so SR/VR/IS is important to me -- seems like Pentax wins here
2. Getting the best quality lenses without spending thousands is important to me -- the first lens I plan on buying is going to be a fast prime in the 50mm to 85mm range, I believe that will suit my indoor portrait needs best -- again seems like best bang for the buck goes to Pentax
3. It doesn't seem fps are even a concern when doing indoor portrait work.
4. It seems AF is important for low light work and it also seems everyone agrees Canon easily bests Pentax in AF ability

I'm really leaning in the direction of the Pentax here. I can get a K200 and the 50mm 1.4 for less than $850. It seems that would do really well for my needs. Since I haven't really done any work with SLR's I'm not even sure what having a "lesser" AF system would mean to me when taking photos. Can someone explain this to me? I assume, as your all owners, there is an effective way to shoot photos even though the AF isn't great.

One of my thoughts is that Canon is not going introduce IS into their dSLR bodies since they probably have so much invested into their IS lenses. Which in my opinion is the draw back of the Canon as applied to my specific needs. With that said, there isn't going to be a whole they can do to ever change that draw back for me as the evolution of the dSLR continues into the future. I'll be forced into expensive lenses to get the IS.

And, it seems to me that the biggest drawback of the Pentax, as applied to my specific needs, is the AF system. Which I'm hoping you'll tell me I'll be able to work just fine with it. To me though, there is at least hope that sometime down the evolutionary road of dSLR bodies, Pentax could fix this drawback and introduce a better AF system. Unlike Canon, which I'm not sure will really be able to ever address the one drawback for me (no IS in the body).

The biggest investment in a system is the lenses and it seems that investment would be significantly less in a Pentax system vs Canon when comparing the same quality lens w/IS.

So can I work with the "lesser" AF system in the Pentax for low light indoor portrait work? Am I missing anything obvious with my analysis as it applies to my needs?

Thanks

04-12-2008, 12:41 PM   #32
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I would go with the K200 and 35mm ltd macro. That is the perfect walkaround lens, can do close-focus, and will work ok as a portrait lens, although you have to get a bit close so DOF is a consideration.

Here is the reality of AF in low light on my K20d - it works almost all of the time. Some lenses will hunt, but more often than not I get the shot. The beauty of the modern DA lenses is that you can do a manual focus tweak without flicking any switches or anything. The Canon might be quicker and/or more accurate in low light. I can't say. All I care about is, "did I get the shot?"

Also realize that part of it is getting to know your camera and working with it. I set mine to single point focus and get very consistent results. I know that for what I do multi-point will likely get confused. And I don't care what brand it is...my Nikon couldn't read my mind, so I doubt a Canon will either.

As for shake reduction, here is a real world example:

with it off:


wth it on:


That is handheld, indoors available light. I never use flash or a tripod...just isn't the way I shoot. That also is using AF.
04-12-2008, 01:53 PM   #33
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Does Shake Reduction Work?

This image was taken with a Pentax-M 50mm, equivalent to 75mm on a FF camera. The shot is hand held, using the 'rule of thumb' a shutter speed of 1/75 of second should give you a sharp picture.

This shot was taken hand held at 1/6 of a second. I take a lot of shots in low light conditions like this one, and occasionally I'll shut of the SR by accident, and you end up with a lot of blurry photos.

I've since bought the FA 50mm that is Auto focus, in low light conditions, you need to aim the auto focus sensor to an area of high contrast to get a good lock. I can't comment on any other auto focus system in low light conditions, but it depends on how low of light your talking about.

The last shot was in a bar with the FA 50mm, I don't think it could have gotten any darker in there -- the room was lit with a red neon Budweiser sign.

Also, Pentax has this back focus problems in some colors of light, but really, you need to use your camera to understand its various strengths and weaknesses to accommodate for them.

Again, I really like my K10D, and don't regret the purchase. But I would only look at systems with in-body stabilization because I see how well it works.

Last edited by konraDarnok; 04-14-2008 at 04:22 AM.
04-12-2008, 02:51 PM   #34
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I am a guy who hardly find quite some money to spend on hobby gears, and was a guy did not know anything about SLR - cheap P&S only. In Nov last year my cheapy P&S went into coma some times so I decided to shop for a better one for taking pictures of my kids in Christmas time. I bought a Canon S3 IS, loved it, but 2 weeks later it wouldn't come on, so I returned it and did some research, and asking on forums for advice for other cams. Then there were too many people told me if I want to get better pictures then I better go with DSLR, so I changed direction and looking for an inexpensive DSLR to buy.
However, with not much money in my pocket, I had to avoid anything that cost alot of money up front or/and in the long run.
In short, I ended up with a K10D kit for $609.
In the first month, I rarely got a decent image out of it, either from out of focus or incorrect WB or whatever cause. Despite that, I was never frustrated and blamed the K10D though, because I knew it was me not know how to do it right, and not master the camera yet. Then I looked at the bad images and see what I had done wrong and remembered to correct it next time. Now I got maybe 2 bads out of 30 pics (just by my careless).
I mainly taking indoor portraits of my 4 and 10 yrs old kids, so I needed an external flash (had to be cheap though) and I got a Promaster FTD 7000M ($70) and added one more later, now most of the time they are used as wirelessly bounce flashes, and triggered by a Nikon SB10 ($20) on the hot shoe. The lenses I used most for indoor portraits are the kit lens 18-55 and a cheap cheap cheap FA 28-80 Macro ($40).
I do not own any Star or Limited lens, only have inexpensive lenses and then cheap flashes, but now I am so happy with the images that my gears gave me. Never have a thought about P&S again.

Sorry for this long post, but I want to point out that an inexpensive tool might not be a bad design, it is just you don't want to find the best way to use it, and need to see if wether it is your fault before blaming your tools.

04-12-2008, 03:45 PM   #35
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Hi Striker,
Good Luck.
You have had plenty of advice so I'll keep this short.

Don't overlook using manual focus......you will surprise yourself how often you will choose this option particularly with good quality glass, indoors and portraits.

Cheers
Grant
04-12-2008, 04:16 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ken T Quote
In short, I ended up with a K10D kit for $609. ...
I do not own any Star or Limited lens, only have inexpensive lenses
If you only have the kit lens, you may want to have a look into DxO Supported Cameras & Lenses

It costs 99 (with the current dollar, at 169$ it is still a good deal). It may appear expensive to you but it is the most inexpensive way to overcome some of the shortcomings of the kit lens (typically rated at 3/5 where all other Pentax lenses rate at 4/5 and 5/5). Try out the demo. More expensive glass benefits less from this, of course.
04-12-2008, 04:33 PM   #37
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Hi Striker. I'm old school - bought a K100D because I have an old K1000 with old manual lenses and it fit the budget - the K1000 is fully manual and still works after bouncing along in a canoe and portage trails for almost 30 years. So I'm very Pentax biased........I would add to the discussion: 2 yr warranty on Pentax at least north of the border (what is the Canon?) and I prefer the K100/200 with AA batteries. I go into the woods/backpacking for 1-2 weeks and I like this flexibility. Assuming your kids will soon be living at the gym/rink/ball diamond/soccer pitch/etc. and perhaps taking that great outdoor trip of a lifetime .... the FA50 1.4 is great value for $ for indoors and the long kit lens is fine for outside. I like the ability to manually tweak the focus in AF mode on the kit lenses - one minor downside of my FA 50. Sure I'd like a 50-300 2.8 just and I would like 6.5-21 FPS for about the first three shots. For, most of my indoor sports shots, manual focus and it's the first shot that is the best. Old school. Finally - hand it to your better half and see how they like it for ease of use/feel. For indoors - consider ease/use of setting manual white balance. The day my K100D dies it will be another Pentax for me - likely the K20 or whatever is next - the higher ISO will see duty at the gym/sportsfield. If I get thirty years out of the K100D I'll be more than happy but suspect my number of frames taken has already exceded the K1000. Best of luck either way you choose. Ken.
04-12-2008, 04:49 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
If you only have the kit lens, you may want to have a look into DxO Supported Cameras & Lenses

It costs 99 (with the current dollar, at 169$ it is still a good deal). It may appear expensive to you but it is the most inexpensive way to overcome some of the shortcomings of the kit lens (typically rated at 3/5 where all other Pentax lenses rate at 4/5 and 5/5). Try out the demo. More expensive glass benefits less from this, of course.

Thanks alot Falconeye.
It looks good. I will try it.

04-12-2008, 05:55 PM   #39
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Hello striker, the AF issue in lowlight is like a sore thumb that is not really sore, it was really blown out of proportion. Why do you think some cameras have spot beam, it is there for low light, otherwise you will get images that you think your in focus but were in fact not focused. My 2 cents worth.

Cheers,

Rene
04-12-2008, 07:31 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by striker Quote
Thanks for the thoughtful response. I'm curious about the K10D vs the K200, I hadn't heard about the K10D but after your suggestion I looked it up. It looks like the K10D was the flagship Pentax until the new K20? But now the new K200 is basically the same as the K10D? Is there nothing else different about the K200? It looks like the K10D has similar controls as the K20D, which others have stated is better than on the K200. If I go Pentax, I'd probably go with the K10D then.
It's a little weird. The K200D is strongly based on the K10D, but has some features removed and others added.

Unfortunately the K200D is currently priced where the K10D used to be, and the K20D higher. If the K20D were priced where the K10D was when I bought it last summer, I would say to go for that model without a doubt.

I came within a day of buying an XTi, until I saw that it was missing a lot of critical features for a camera in its price range, such as spot metering. (What, no spot metering in a camera over $500? Are you kidding me?) Nikon was out for philosophical reasons (I'm a big Linux/Open-Source guy, and Nikon's response to the NEF encryption fiasco was simply unacceptable.)

So I started looking at Pentax again, having previously owned a PZ-70. I didn't have to look for very long before I ordered my K10D. I haven't regretted it since then. In my price range (sub-$1000), the K10D blew away anything else available.

Can you wait on your purchase for a while? Initially Pentax claimed they would be holding the retail price of the new cameras at their release levels for a while, but many retailers (including reputable ones like Amazon) have already dropped prices $120 below that original price. You might want to see where prices go in 2-3 months on the K20D.
04-12-2008, 08:34 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entropy Quote
It's a little weird. The K200D is strongly based on the K10D, but has some features removed and others added.

Unfortunately the K200D is currently priced where the K10D used to be, and the K20D higher. If the K20D were priced where the K10D was when I bought it last summer, I would say to go for that model without a doubt.

I came within a day of buying an XTi, until I saw that it was missing a lot of critical features for a camera in its price range, such as spot metering. (What, no spot metering in a camera over $500? Are you kidding me?) Nikon was out for philosophical reasons (I'm a big Linux/Open-Source guy, and Nikon's response to the NEF encryption fiasco was simply unacceptable.)

So I started looking at Pentax again, having previously owned a PZ-70. I didn't have to look for very long before I ordered my K10D. I haven't regretted it since then. In my price range (sub-$1000), the K10D blew away anything else available.

Can you wait on your purchase for a while? Initially Pentax claimed they would be holding the retail price of the new cameras at their release levels for a while, but many retailers (including reputable ones like Amazon) have already dropped prices $120 below that original price. You might want to see where prices go in 2-3 months on the K20D.
Thanks for the tip. I may be holding off just to save up the cash.
04-12-2008, 08:55 PM   #42
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Thanks so much everyone for your input. As I've been sitting on the dSLR sideline for the last 2+ years itching to jump in, I was always planning on getting a Canon. I can say that I've now changed my thinking from the last 2 years in the course of three days. Four days ago I didn't even know Pentax was making a dSLR. Weird. But the shake reduction built in to the body, the quality of the primes, and the price of obtaining a whole system is just too good to ignore. Plus, it really seems that Pentax is building a lot of momentum recently.

I want to do low light portrait work indoors and assumed the 50mm 1.4 was the best choice for me. After reading some of the lens reviews, it seems maybe the 40mm F2.8 is the better option. Any thoughts? You guys have been so great thanks.
04-12-2008, 10:03 PM   #43
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I love my FA 77 ltd for portrait. I'd gladly shoot a 43 ltd as well. Many here think the 70 is on par with the 77, but the FA lenses are absolute porn...beautiful.



77 on left, 35 on right


mmm, lens porn

advantage to 21/35/40/70 is quick shift for manual focus tweaks on the fly. 31/43/77 you have to flip the switch on the body to manual to do that. For portraits using my 77 it isn't an issue...AF is excellent and if I feel like I'm having a tough time I just flick to manual and go that route.
04-13-2008, 03:10 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by striker Quote
I want to do low light portrait work indoors and assumed the 50mm 1.4 was the best choice for me. After reading some of the lens reviews, it seems maybe the 40mm F2.8 is the better option. Any thoughts? You guys have been so great thanks.
40mm f/2.8 is best if you want the smallest lightest lens you've ever seen. It looks just like a body cap. With such a short lens your camera becomes very portable, almost like a p&s. Fits nicely into a large pocket.

If size isn't a concern get the 50mm f/1.4 (or, if you want the best of the best, the 77mm f/1.8).
04-13-2008, 04:33 AM   #45
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Most Pentax DA lenses (and all SDM lenses, of course) provide "quick shift focus", allowing to focus manually during AF. Even the kit lens has it.

I think this is called "Full Time Manual" with C*n*n, and only available on their USM lenses (if I remeber right).

The kit lens, by the way, is pretty good anyway.
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