Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
04-04-2014, 04:33 AM - 4 Likes   #1
Pentaxian
DonThomaso's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Skåne, Sweden
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 422
K-5 vs D800 studio comparison

The last year or so I have mostly focused on model/portrait photography. I feel that the K-5 is a very capable all-rounder suitable for practically any kind of photography. A friend of mine shoots cars (not motorsport) and I got the opportunity to try out his D800 + battery grip + Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 G IF-ED VR II. For my studio work I usually work with the K-5 + D-BG4 and a combination of two lenses, usually the FA77 and the FA43 or DA40. FA77 for headshots and half-body, the 40/43 for full body.

That the image quality was to be better was expected, but I was more interested in the whole experience. Handling, focusing, post-processing... the whole package. Lets start with a few comparing pictures of the cameras.



Weight
The D800 & 70-200/2.8 combo is very much larger and heavier than the K-5. A more fair comparison would be a 85/1.4 on the D800 or a the DA* 50-135 on the K-5, but such combinations was not possible at this test (I have used the 50-135 before and preferred the FA77). A photosession takes around 30 minutes of active shooting, and the weight of the full frame combo was felt, both in handling and on the neck when adjusting light etc.

Handling
Since I have used the K-5 the last couple of years, I know it inside out. The D800 handling was no problem getting used to when it comes to physical switches, focusing etc.

Menu system
While the physical use of the D800 was easy to get used to, I find the Pentax layout and graphics more strait to the point and no-nonsense style. For example, setting the ISO below the base ISO of 100 on the D800 was a bit of a guessing game. The expanded range is called something like "ISO Low1" or "ISO High 2". Why not just tell me what ISO it is using? I had to go for ISO100 on the D800 since I was working with manual flashes and wanted to know the value. There is of course a period of getting used to a new menu system but I find the Pentax menus the best there is.



Post-processing
I was worried that the post processing would be a strain since the files are twice the size. I use Lightroom 4 and CS6 on a i5-2500K@4GHz/16GB RAM system/SSD(for OS, program, catalog). It was surprisingly little difference in post processing, editing the files was about the same speed. The only major difference was the export-speed from lightroom, taking significantly more time (probably twice). That said, it doesn't really matter to me if it takes 3 or 6 minutes to export a batch. The RAW-files where pretty similar too, needing roughly the same amount of sharpening, responded similarly to color changes etc. Other cameras I own or have tested respond very differently (eg. the X100s raw-files are more sharpened OOC and the Panasonic GF2 doesn't respond to color changes very well).



Image quality
This is the big thing. Is it worth the extra cash and weight? Preferences over menu system, lens selection etc may of course also play a part. Keep in mind that in these studio shots there are a solid background and both cameras can work on very low ISO. This comparison is for these conditions, I will try to make a similar comparison outdoors where ISO might get a little higher (mid range) and bokeh/DoF will be a factor.

The amount of detail the D800 produces are very impressive. Lenses are stopped down to around f/5.6 so they are performing very well. The amount of details in full body shots would be similar to half-body on the K-5. When coming in to headshots you simply get tons of fine details, also very clearly the umbrellas from the flashes in the eyes. I don't do any large prints (one a year maybe) so almost all images are being scaled down for the web or small print. Then you don't really need all those details, and the images looks very similar. I see a situation where you might get "lazy" and start cropping much more into the large files too.

Next is a few images so that you may compare the results for yourself. They are linked to the full sized final images. The models name is Lusi Dimitrova, the sets are called Fashion Animal and Doll. Note that the two sessions are not edited to be the perfect images for comparing, but as I wanted each set by itself. There are also a bit of fine grain added, images are cleaner strait from each camera.

Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 G IF-ED VR II @ 135mm. 1/125 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100.


Pentax K-5, SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited. 1/180 sec at f/5.6, ISO 80.


Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 G IF-ED VR II @ 70mm. 1/125 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100.


Pentax K-5, SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited. 1/180 sec at f/5.6, ISO 80.


Nikon D800, Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 G IF-ED VR II @ 105mm. 1/125 sec at f/5.6, ISO 100.


Pentax K-5, SMC Pentax-FA 77mm F1.8 Limited. 1/180 sec at f/5.6, ISO 80.


04-04-2014, 05:49 AM   #2
Pentaxian
carrrlangas's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Joensuu (Finland)
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,752
This is awesome work, rhanks for sharing this really appreciate it.
04-04-2014, 06:11 AM   #3
Pentaxian
normhead's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 25,877
Great images, I kept forgetting I was comparing cameras... I like the camera that took the shot of her in the frilly black dress. But seriously, from here it looks like both cameras did great, the Nikon pictures have so much more texture and detail in the subject matter it's hard to make any kind of comparison, not to mention that she seems more engaged in the Nikon images. I think I'm ready to start a thread on, "when shooting models, do you get better images if you have a bigger camera?", or "does size matter?"

Last edited by normhead; 04-04-2014 at 06:28 AM.
04-04-2014, 07:51 AM   #4
Pentaxian
Na Horuk's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Slovenia, probably
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 10,875
QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I think I'm ready to start a thread on, "when shooting models, do you get better images if you have a bigger camera?", or "does size matter?"
The size of the instrument might have a psychological effect on the subject, but its more complex than just "bigger means more engaged." It really depends on the subject and context. In this case there might also be a bigger difference because the subject/model saw both cameras being used, so she might have notions that one is more serious than the other. If she would only see one camera and lens during a photoshoot, there would also be no "difference" (she wouldn't be more or less engaged due to the size, but might be due to other factors). The distance between subject and photographer is also important, as is the lens used. And it depends on how the subject/model perceives things. A more shy model might feel more comfortable around a smaller camera with bigger working distance, while another model might enjoy a large 85mm f1.4 at MFD. Then there is also the whole chemistry between model and photographer.

04-04-2014, 08:19 AM   #5
Pentaxian
normhead's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Near Algonquin Park
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 25,877
QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
The size of the instrument might have a psychological effect on the subject, but its more complex than just "bigger means more engaged." It really depends on the subject and context. In this case there might also be a bigger difference because the subject/model saw both cameras being used, so she might have notions that one is more serious than the other. If she would only see one camera and lens during a photoshoot, there would also be no "difference" (she wouldn't be more or less engaged due to the size, but might be due to other factors). The distance between subject and photographer is also important, as is the lens used. And it depends on how the subject/model perceives things. A more shy model might feel more comfortable around a smaller camera with bigger working distance, while another model might enjoy a large 85mm f1.4 at MFD. Then there is also the whole chemistry between model and photographer.
Ya, and whether the Photographer's demeanour was different because he liked one camera better than the other. You could write a whole essay on these photos that has nothing to do with the cameras involved, including whether or not the photographer was subconsciously pushing one brand or another, the dynamic between the model and photographers, the model's identification with the clothes in each image,

But I do really enjoy the images.., I'd rather do that than write an essay.
04-04-2014, 08:46 AM   #6
Forum Member




Join Date: Jan 2008
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 85
I think there is quite a big difference in the colour/WB of these shots, the Nikon shots look warmer to me.
04-04-2014, 08:53 AM   #7
Pentaxian
JinDesu's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: New York City
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,626
QuoteOriginally posted by mille19 Quote
I think there is quite a big difference in the colour/WB of these shots, the Nikon shots look warmer to me.
I think that's just post processing per the photog's preference. The Nikon shots seem to be showing sepia tones, and the they are both showing lots of added fine grain at base ISOs (as the OP mentioned).
04-04-2014, 09:14 AM   #8
Veteran Member
jsherman999's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 8,228
QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I think I'm ready to start a thread on, "when shooting models, do you get better images if you have a bigger camera?", or "does size matter?"
With non-models, in my experience smaller is better in terms of a realistic, non 'deer-in-headlights' response. Pro models may have that swapped.

04-04-2014, 09:39 AM   #9
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 7,103
I'm not knocking your good work but this sort of comparison is like really old news. I'd get the 85/1.8G and 58/1.4G and use that instead of the 70-200/2.8 for portraiture. Why nicer handling setup.
04-04-2014, 11:33 AM   #10
Senior Member
Ameiji's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: North Caucasus
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 205
That's surprising, I thought the difference would be more prominent. But the light on Nikon shots is much softer, less reflections on skin, very nice photos.
04-04-2014, 03:55 PM   #11
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Perrineville, NJ
Posts: 1,365
QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I think I'm ready to start a thread on, "when shooting models, do you get better images if you have a bigger camera?", or "does size matter?"
I think that an experienced model may know that FF Nikon users tend to be compensating. The OP excepted, I'm sure.
04-04-2014, 10:04 PM   #12
Pentaxian
ScooterMaxi Jim's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 1,501
Difficult to judge as the color temp, contrast and exposures are not remotely comparable. It would be interesting to see how the 645 would compare in this kind of studio situation.
04-05-2014, 12:42 AM - 1 Like   #13
Pentaxian
DonThomaso's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Skåne, Sweden
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 422
Original Poster
Like initially stated, these pictures were not made with comparison first in mind, but just to get an overall feeling of the whole process with the different systems. My friend doesn't have any primes ("only" 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8), and I have no similar zooms. Also the editing was definitely not made the same, but to a style that fitted the theme.

The suggested topics of "when shooting models, do you get better images if you have a bigger camera?", or "does size matter?" are a bit interesting and I can give my view on that. I have been shooting with models for about a year, some are beginners, some has a bit of experience. Maybe a total of 20 different models, most of them on more than one occasion.

It is my experience that they don't care what gear you are using. Most will have no or little experience in photography themselves, more than snapshots that is. No clue of apertures, shutter speeds etc. The more experienced will have some understanding of lighting. You will have to work with the model and let them know if they need to change the pose in some way or if you are doing a full-body shot, half body etc. No one has asked anything about gear, and neither beginners or experienced seem to make any difference if you use a large zoom or small prime, battery grip or not.. I've even used the K-01 with it's non-intimidating looks. No difference.

What they do care about is the pictures and more specifically how they look (mostly their pose and expression). It may be a point of conflict where I will look on other things as well, like composition, background etc. A model will look briefly on your previous work, but working with the model as you shoot, giving instructions when needed, showing pictures at the back of the camera etc is where the focus is. It is how you present yourself, the way you give instructions, the pace of your work and so on that will make the model comfortable and make them perform their best. The more visible gear will be things like big reflectors, which is always a fun thing to deploy
04-05-2014, 06:31 AM   #14
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2012
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,728
QuoteOriginally posted by Ameiji Quote
That's surprising, I thought the difference would be more prominent. But the light on Nikon shots is much softer, less reflections on skin, very nice photos.
My reaction was the Nikon photos appear more "film-like" to me.
04-05-2014, 11:12 AM   #15
Veteran Member
FrankC's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2011
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 318
The PP makes it difficult to get a real understanding on the difference in performance between the two DSLRs. As is, the Pentax images are over saturated, skin tones are awful and the overall tonality seems harsh compared to the Nikon. Obviously these aren't how either of these cameras necessarily render skin tones, but if all I had to compare were these images, then I'd have to say that the Pentax is unusable and should be avoided at all costs. Fortunately, I know better as proven by the work of others like Bill Gekas.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
beginners, bit, camera, care, comparison, d800, dslr, experience, f/5.6, f2.8, gear, images, instructions, iso, k-5, model, models, nikon, pentax, photography, pictures, pose, sec
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
K-5 II vs. K-5 IIs Sharpness Comparison deadwolfbones Pentax K-5 103 04-23-2013 06:45 PM
K-5 ii vs K-5 iis comparison with higher sharpness in K-5 ii kataria0 Pentax K-5 62 12-22-2012 10:12 PM
K-5 vs K-5 IIs Comparison Request Thread Adam Pentax K-5 41 11-05-2012 06:37 PM
The last post (hopefully) D800 vs K-5 normhead Pentax DSLR Discussion 31 10-28-2012 06:55 AM
Stop Sign: K-5 vs K-5 IIs Comparison Shots Adam Pentax K-5 14 10-28-2012 06:10 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:25 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top