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08-07-2014, 05:10 AM   #1
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$2000 - my upgrade decision, thoughts?

Hi, I have been using Pentax for only a few years now and I love the value provided. I started and learned photography on my K-X and then "upgraded" to a K20D which I love even more (an older sensor/camera, but with better handling and more significant features IMO), and since I have gotten pretty invested in that system. I consider myself semi-pro hobbyist, I do paid portrait and event photography on the side for a couple hundred dollars most weekends, but I mostly just do it for myself because I really enjoy it. I crave going up to full frame mostly for the viewfinder, field of view and depth of field, but I want to moreso just for the joy of shooting (street photography, going on night walks, indoor lifestyle shots) as opposed to paid or commercial work.

I am treating myself and have about $2000 I'd like to spend on a new body finally and I was originally considering finally biting the bullet and going Canikon for full frame, maybe a D600 (I like Nikon a lot) for about $1300 and a midrange lens to go with it. I have four Pentax lenses, so obviously I'm very reluctant to go to a new system where I can't use most of my current gear so I feel like it was a pricey investment without as much immediate return for me, especially since I don't want to sell what I currently have so instead I am considering this:

Getting both a Pentax K-3, and a used Canon 5D and 50mm lens.

Ever since I have played with one, and also seen results online and publications, I just feel like there is something special about the way the Canon 5D and 5DmkII render images (not as much the mkiii for some reason). I don't know what it is, maybe I'm crazy and its placebo, and that's probably true, but for some reason I just love the way those cameras render their pictures even with slightly slower glass, I just think they are beautiful and there is a certain special quality that I seem to normally be able to identify. So instead of dropping 2000 on a D600 and a $700-800 dollar lens, I think I will upgrade to the K-3 for about $1000, which I think is the best APS-C camera on the market and one of the best DSLRs right now PERIOD, and then pick up a second-hand 5D and a nifty 50 (probably the 50mm f1.8) to play with for about 600-700 total. Thoughts on this? Did anyone do something similar before?

08-07-2014, 06:16 AM   #2
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The K3 is actually better on paper than the 5d mkii in many regards. But if it is the full frame look you are going for and like the images the 5d mkii produces, then it's up to you. By the way I hear from many people that the Canon 50mm 1.8 has very poor build quality, and having held and used one, I wasn't too impressed either.
08-07-2014, 06:45 AM   #3
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Another option would be a Sony A7 with a Pentax adapter. Looks like you have a couple of FF lenses already. You'll lose autofocus and optical viewfinder, but I've been looking at them pretty hard myself and I'm impressed with the EVF. It's also much smaller than a 5D or a D610, so less conspicuous for street photography.
08-07-2014, 07:21 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jrpower10 Quote
Another option would be a Sony A7 with a Pentax adapter. Looks like you have a couple of FF lenses already. You'll lose autofocus and optical viewfinder, but I've been looking at them pretty hard myself and I'm impressed with the EVF. It's also much smaller than a 5D or a D610, so less conspicuous for street photography.
I'm interested in this thread, and particularly jrpower10's comment on the Sony A7. Without knowing much, what I read suggests it is a very good, sharp camera and the prospect of keeping my investment in FA and older lenses via an adapter is appealing. And, if I'm not mistaken, Zeiss is making glass for the Sony (Lord, help me keep my lens obsession at bay!). I'd welcome any suggestions on where to go to explore this Sony/Pentax idea more fully. Thanks.

08-07-2014, 07:23 AM - 1 Like   #5
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I would just wait till end of September to see what pentax pulls out of it's hat.
08-07-2014, 07:27 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by brandonbpm Quote
...Getting both a Pentax K-3, and a used Canon 5D and 50mm lens....
Interesting choice. I've held off getting a Canon 6D because I like most of the Pentax stuff I have, and don't want to open a can of worms by running 2 systems.

QuoteOriginally posted by brandonbpm Quote
... I crave going up to full frame mostly for the viewfinder, field of view and depth of field, but I want to moreso just for the joy of shooting (street photography, going on night walks, indoor lifestyle shots) as opposed to paid or commercial work. ...
I don't think FF will have any more "joy" than APS-C.

The widest len in your signature is only 18mm. Get a wider field of view with a Tamron 10-24, Sigma 10-20, if you like fisheye views Pentax 10-17, or other alternatives.

A larger, brighter viewfinder is a good reason for wanting FF, but stepping up to a newer Pentax body above will greatly improve your low-light autofocus and make manual focus less necessary. A used K-5ii or new K-3; I prefer the K-3 extra resolution and burst speed for telephoto action, but your stated requirements will be just as well met by the less expensive K-5ii.

Used K-5ii approx $500. Wide-angle approx $500. That leaves maybe $900 leftover, or $400 if you pick a K-3 instead of the K-5ii. Don't spend all your money at once - use the new camera and lens - then decide whether you want to add another lens, a tripod for night walks, or perhaps a Ricoh GR or Sony RX100 for street photography.

Last edited by DeadJohn; 08-07-2014 at 07:33 AM.
08-07-2014, 07:35 AM   #7
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Deadjohn brings up another good street photography option. I have a Sony RX100 M2 and it is a fantastic camera that fits in your pocket and goes everywhere. It's my go-with-me-everywhere camera. Also waiting till after Photokina is probably prudent. I'm holding up on the Sony A7R till we see if Pentax comes out with something. I'm not terribly hopeful, but waiting another couple of months on hte off chance seems worth it.
08-07-2014, 07:51 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by brandonbpm Quote
18-55mm kit lens
50-200mm telephoto zoom
Pentax-M 50mm f1.7
Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Macro
Looking at this I would say your investment isn't so large. It also isn't yet at the top of your options to work. It isn't wide angle you are looking for since the 50mm on the 5D isn't so wide. Actually that is about the same angle you can get with the Pentax FA 31mm/f1.8 Ltd. on a K-3. Wich I would recommend you to buy. The budget is spend and you will have some wonderfull camera/lens combo in your hands.

08-07-2014, 08:31 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by brandonbpm Quote
Hi, I have been using Pentax for only a few years now and I love the value provided. I started and learned photography on my K-X and then "upgraded" to a K20D which I love even more (an older sensor/camera, but with better handling and more significant features IMO), and since I have gotten pretty invested in that system. I consider myself semi-pro hobbyist, I do paid portrait and event photography on the side for a couple hundred dollars most weekends, but I mostly just do it for myself because I really enjoy it. I crave going up to full frame mostly for the viewfinder, field of view and depth of field, but I want to moreso just for the joy of shooting (street photography, going on night walks, indoor lifestyle shots) as opposed to paid or commercial work.

I am treating myself and have about $2000 I'd like to spend on a new body finally and I was originally considering finally biting the bullet and going Canikon for full frame, maybe a D600 (I like Nikon a lot) for about $1300 and a midrange lens to go with it. I have four Pentax lenses, so obviously I'm very reluctant to go to a new system where I can't use most of my current gear so I feel like it was a pricey investment without as much immediate return for me, especially since I don't want to sell what I currently have so instead I am considering this:

Getting both a Pentax K-3, and a used Canon 5D and 50mm lens.

Ever since I have played with one, and also seen results online and publications, I just feel like there is something special about the way the Canon 5D and 5DmkII render images (not as much the mkiii for some reason). I don't know what it is, maybe I'm crazy and its placebo, and that's probably true, but for some reason I just love the way those cameras render their pictures even with slightly slower glass, I just think they are beautiful and there is a certain special quality that I seem to normally be able to identify. So instead of dropping 2000 on a D600 and a $700-800 dollar lens, I think I will upgrade to the K-3 for about $1000, which I think is the best APS-C camera on the market and one of the best DSLRs right now PERIOD, and then pick up a second-hand 5D and a nifty 50 (probably the 50mm f1.8) to play with for about 600-700 total. Thoughts on this? Did anyone do something similar before?
Same situation here.... my wife approved the money. I don't know where to put the money to.. my thinking:
1. Buy a GR and shoot along with P67 (forgot about FF);
2. Buy a 6D/5DII + Sigma 50 (sell my K5 and keep K5IIs), and start investing in Canon prime lenses...;
3. Buy a Sigma 18-35 f1.8 (a relatively fast glass that comparable to FF f2.8) and continue w/ K5,K5IIs.

My only problem with 5DII is ... it uses CF instead of SDHC (hate that I will need to buy CF to use it!).
I just not sure if I want to leave Pentax.
08-07-2014, 10:26 AM   #10
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What kind of 600-700 dollar lens do you need for the D600? The primes are cheap, and will really show what full frame can do.

And honestly 4 lenses arent that much of a reason to keep yourself from switch brands. If you need FF, pentax doesnt have it period. I kept my K10D just to run the DA 40, because no other manufacturer offers anything quite like it.

I was in a similar, but not exactly the same position as you. I want to upgrade but I know I need the DOF control of FF, so switching to nikon was just something that needs to be done. You sound like you still have options. In the past I did entertain the idea of buying a 5D + 50mm alongside the pentax stuff, but I realized the AF just wouldnt be adequate for my use (yours might differ), and juggling two brands in a wedding would be a huge liability.

Just as a food for thought, I have basically replaced 35/2 and 50mm/1.4 with 28-75/2.8 on FF (not the same size I know, but matters little in a wedding). I got the 85/1.8 for the bokeh stuff, and the extra DOF control really helps.

Both 5D and 5D mkii have good rendering, I dont think it's just placebo. IMO they are indeed capable of higher highs than both K-x and K20D. However I don't think K-3 will lose anything to the 5D / 5Dii other than DOF . In fact I think the K-3 is more than capable of besting them. K-3 rendering with good glass is wonderful as well.

IMO rather than asking, what should I buy next, you should ask yourself, what is limiting you and what do you want to explore? If I'm in your shoes honeslty I'd grab some new lenses that you dont have yet (10-20mm, 10-17mm FE, a 35mm prime, any of the DA / FA limiteds). Keep some of the money in savings until you know what is limiting you.

You also talked about joy of shooting, Throughout all my time doing photography I actually enjoyed myself most using an ME Super + M40/2.8 and Takumar 50mm.... so perhaps pick up some film?

Last edited by Andi Lo; 08-07-2014 at 10:43 AM.
08-07-2014, 10:31 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Looking at this I would say your investment isn't so large. It also isn't yet at the top of your options to work. It isn't wide angle you are looking for since the 50mm on the 5D isn't so wide. Actually that is about the same angle you can get with the Pentax FA 31mm/f1.8 Ltd. on a K-3. Wich I would recommend you to buy. The budget is spend and you will have some wonderfull camera/lens combo in your hands.
Thanks for the suggestion! I actually hadn't update my sig, but earlier this year I picked up a Pentax 100mm f2.8 WR Macro that was pretty pricey for my wallet lol, I hardly ever use the 50-200mm in my sig and honestly I forgot I had it because I don't keep it in either of my camera bags.

If I do decide to just go wider in the Pentax realm, any good prime glass suggestions wider than the 31? I don't often do "landscape" but it would be nice to have something like a 28mm equivalent that isn't the 18-55 kit.
08-07-2014, 10:47 AM   #12
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Then the sigma 18-35mm. Or the DA 21mm/f3.2 Ltd. wich is also excellent.

The 100mm macro is a good lens
08-07-2014, 10:59 AM   #13
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I got some used Canon bodies recently and some new lenses (not available for Pentax). I have no particular interest in FF other than it was cheap way to make the 17mm TSE like another lens for 1/4 the cost. Weeding out some of the Pentax gear to pay for it.

Oh yeah, the 50 1.8 was $105, so you are not getting Limited build.
08-07-2014, 11:08 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
What kind of 600-700 dollar lens do you need for the D600? The primes are cheap, and will really show what full frame can do.

And honestly 4 lenses arent that much of a reason to keep yourself from switch brands. If you need FF, pentax doesnt have it period. I kept my K10D just to run the DA 40, because no other manufacturer offers anything quite like it.

I was in a similar, but not exactly the same position as you. I want to upgrade but I know I need the DOF control of FF, so switching to nikon was just something that needs to be done. You sound like you still have options. In the past I did entertain the idea of buying a 5D + 50mm alongside the pentax stuff, but I realized the AF just wouldnt be adequate for my use (yours might differ), and juggling two brands in a wedding would be a huge liability.

Just as a food for thought, I have basically replaced 35/2 and 50mm/1.4 with 28-75/2.8 on FF (not the same size I know, but matters little in a wedding). I got the 85/1.8 for the bokeh stuff, and the extra DOF control really helps.

Both 5D and 5D mkii have good rendering, I dont think it's just placebo. IMO they are indeed capable of higher highs than both K-x and K20D. However I don't think K-3 will lose anything to the 5D / 5Dii other than DOF . In fact I think the K-3 is more than capable of besting them. K-3 rendering with good glass is wonderful as well.

IMO rather than asking, what should I buy next, you should ask yourself, what is limiting you and what do you want to explore? If I'm in your shoes honeslty I'd grab some new lenses that you dont have yet (10-20mm, 10-17mm FE, a 35mm prime, any of the DA / FA limiteds). Keep some of the money in savings until you know what is limiting you.

You also talked about joy of shooting, Throughout all my time doing photography I actually enjoyed myself most using an ME Super + M40/2.8 and Takumar 50mm.... so perhaps pick up some film?
Thanks for this post! It very helpful. When I said joy of shooting, I mostly meant recapturing that feeling of walking around with my uncles old Minolta film SLR and a 50mm f2 prime. I loved the big, bright viewfinder, and to me there is something that just "feels right" about walking around composing with a 50mm on full frame. I can't explain it, and I imagine 35mm on a crop feels similar, but it doesn't have that warm fuzzy feeling for me. Also, I'm admittedly a bokeh whore, so the extra reach in terms of shallow DOF would be very important to me.

As for lenses on full frame, I would eventually want to get a fast 50 for walk arounds, a 85mm f1.4 for portraits and general bokeh porn and a wide angle for events and the rare landscape on full frame. Another small factor for me and a switch is tethering with lightroom, since I have a Mac and the old pentax tethering utilities don't work, and I don't like having to boot into windows partition for using PKTether, so if I go Canikon, might as well cover the full frame base Pentax doesn't currently have. I'm pretty positive I want to go full frame just for my own personal use and preference, and no, I'm not a "full-frame elitist" or anything like that (some of us forget many people have been shooting on medium format or 6x7, 8x10 and other large formats all their lives), it just seems to suit me better. Pentax in a very short time has earned a very special place in my heart, so I don't know if I want to move away from them quickly or slowly.

This Sony DSLR with an adapter option is also a slightly intriguing option, but the idea of electronic vs optical viewfinder turns me off at first mention, but I admit I haven't tried it and don't know much about it.
08-07-2014, 11:52 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by brandonbpm Quote
As for lenses on full frame, I would eventually want to get a fast 50 for walk arounds, a 85mm f1.4 for portraits and general bokeh porn and a wide angle for events and the rare landscape on full frame. Another small factor for me and a switch is tethering with lightroom, since I have a Mac and the old pentax tethering utilities don't work, and I don't like having to boot into windows partition for using PKTether, so if I go Canikon, might as well cover the full frame base Pentax doesn't currently have. I'm pretty positive I want to go full frame just for my own personal use and preference, and no, I'm not a "full-frame elitist" or anything like that (some of us forget many people have been shooting on medium format or 6x7, 8x10 and other large formats all their lives), it just seems to suit me better. Pentax in a very short time has earned a very special place in my heart, so I don't know if I want to move away from them quickly or slowly.
I see no harm in staying with Pentax for your crop camera and trying on full frame on another brand. I think a 5D will work to start in FF and should be easy to sell and upgrade to a newer 5D or 6D in the future. I would personally start with the 5dmk2 but that will really kill your budget.

With 2k you could go nicer body and a moderately priced 50, or you could get the original a 50mm and something wide. I think you would be quite set with the new 16-35 f4 IS to cover the wide end.

Last edited by johnsey; 08-07-2014 at 03:20 PM.
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