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05-14-2008, 07:46 AM   #1
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What should I do?

I had to sell all my Canon cameras and lenses in 2005 due to job loss. Sine then the price for many Canon L lenses has gone up. I have $1,800 to get a very basic setup. I am looking at two options.

1) Buy a Canon 40D and compromise by buying a Tameron 70-200 2.8 lens instead the Canon L glass I am used to.

or

2) Buy the K20D and the D*50-135. With this option I still get a system manufacturer lens and the image stabilization I used to when I owned the Canon 70-200 USM IS lens.

In general, it seems the "high end" Pentax lens are much cheaper then Canon lenses. With the lenses, is this going to be a huge loss in the quality I am used to? Am I going to get the K20D and be disgusted with the image results? There is so much that intrigues me about the Pentax, but I know the Canon system and I know what I am getting myself into there.

05-14-2008, 08:55 AM   #2
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I dont think you arre going to lose on quality. The 50-135 Pentax lens is very good and the K20D has some possibilities that can put to shame quite a few cameras. I have the K20D with the 50-135 and I am quite happy with what I get out of it. Just don't think I'm a hard core Pentaxian from my answer, when I was shooting film, I used to own Nikon. I switched to Pentax for the price/performance/feature ratio. You won't find anything that will match it anywhere.
05-14-2008, 08:58 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mconder Quote
I had to sell all my Canon cameras and lenses in 2005 due to job loss. Sine then the price for many Canon L lenses has gone up. I have $1,800 to get a very basic setup. I am looking at two options.

1) Buy a Canon 40D and compromise by buying a Tameron 70-200 2.8 lens instead the Canon L glass I am used to.

or

2) Buy the K20D and the D*50-135. With this option I still get a system manufacturer lens and the image stabilization I used to when I owned the Canon 70-200 USM IS lens.

In general, it seems the "high end" Pentax lens are much cheaper then Canon lenses. With the lenses, is this going to be a huge loss in the quality I am used to? Am I going to get the K20D and be disgusted with the image results? There is so much that intrigues me about the Pentax, but I know the Canon system and I know what I am getting myself into there.

if someone was to come up to me and proclaim that they can tell the difference in image quality between a 40D+ USM/IS lens and a pentax K20D and the 50-135*, i would call them a liar.

you are not going to be "disgusted", in fact you will be amazed as hit yourself over the head as to why you spent so much money with Canon in the first place.
05-14-2008, 08:58 AM   #4
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It depends on what you like to photograph the most. I would choose the pentax unless you do a lot of sports action shooting which is not a pentax strong suit.....Bob

05-14-2008, 09:00 AM   #5
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Before you buy, how about renting them first and find out yourself if the pentax system works for you. Or you might arrange a meeting with a forum member in your area, so you can have a test drive one of theirs?

After all, it is very difficult to believe in a system if you're thinking that you'd be digusted with the results from the beginning. Imperfections are everywhere, can you live with it?
05-14-2008, 09:02 AM   #6
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take into consideration that, if you choose the canon route and get the tammy, you have no IS....to my knowledge.

That is a huge plus for Pentax in my opinion. shake reduction built in. especially on long glass.

I'm going to agree with Gooshin too. I've shot with a 40D using the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM and I'd take my K10D with my (old) Sigma 70 - 300 anyday!
05-14-2008, 09:12 AM   #7
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Well, I don't have a 40D for comparison, but I used to own a Digital Rebel(original) w/kit lens and an EOS 10D w/28-105 USM. Both were purchased used in almost new condition from a liquidator and a private owner, respectively.

After awhile I started looking to expand my lens selection and upgrade to a higher resolution camera body, but since Canon equipment was marvelously expensive I felt for what I was getting, I wasn't sure that I wanted to continue with Canon. It wasn't that there was anything especially wrong with the Canon gear, I just wasn't sure I wasn't getting something for the extra money Canon charged. I looked at Nikon equipment and pretty much felt the same way about it. About this time Sony released the Alpha A100, and I had some old Maxxum lenses in the closet, so I could actually make money by selling the Canon gear I owned and buy a new Alpha A100 body and use my existing Maxxum mount lenses. So I did that, but I was never very happy with images shot above ISO400, and sometimes even at ISO400 I wasn't please. So I decided to upgrade when the A700 was announced. Then I saw the price on it, and decided that Canon, Nikon and Sony just aren't worth the extra money to me. So after three months I decided to sell the Sony since there wasn't any way for me to upgrade practically, and switch to Pentax(I had Pentax P3 body, 50mm and 135mm from awhile back) and see what they could do for me.

I now can't understand why people buy anything else. I handled a Nikon D40 (before buying the Samsung GX-1S) and, much like the Digital Rebel, the Nikon puts me in mind of the disposable 35mm cameras they sell in the drugstore. It seemed overprice for what I was getting, much like the same complaint I have against Sony and Canon. Not that there's anything technically inferior about the other brands, but it seems like I get more for my(evershrinking) photo hobby budget with Pentax/Samsung.

I bought a Samsung GX-1S(basically the same as an *ist DS I think) on sale. I later caught the K100D on sale and added it to my camera bag since it had shake reduction. In my opinion these two 6MP models were better made and more fully featured than anything in their price range and produce excellent images. Yes, they are 6MP, but the images look great, so I don't care.

Finally I decided to upgrade to the K10D. It had been on my mind for awhile to upgrade, and then the price dropped a short time ago(before it rose again to almost the price when it was released two years or so ago) so I decided it was time. It meant that I had to sell the GX-1S to raise some money to add to what I already had to spend, and as much as I liked the GX-1S and wish I still had it sometime, I like the K10D more and it was worth the sacrifice. The images I get from the K10D are certainly as good or better(most of the time better in my opinion) than anything I could get out of anything else I've owned. And I could afford it, which made it even better. I've added an AF360 flash(which again, I think provides more features than anything else in its price slot), and finally a DA* 16-50, which is FANTASTIC. I personally think, and it's only my opinion, that you can't get a better value from anyone in the DSLR market right now. I don't think I'm necessarily a "fan-boy", I won't tell you that the K10D is "better" than the 40D or D200 or D300, but I think it's capable of producing images that are as good, and is a better value. The K20D might be different story, I believe I could make a case that it is better than the 40D, A700 and at least the D200, and maybe the D300.

Frankly the K10D produces images that are really limited only by my incompetence(which may be considerable). And I'm definitely pleased with Pentax products quality as well as the value. Since I bought the K10D, I've never looked at Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic and wished I could get something else. Which is something I did frequently do when I owned Canon and Sony. (Okay well maybe I've LOOKED at the DMC-L1, just because it's classy).

Now I also should say that I have always been interested in post processing to make my images look better, so I don't expect any camera to produce a .jpeg that will meet what I want, and this is one of the most common criticisms you will hear about Pentax. The funny thing is, I do occasionally shoot .jpegs for newsletter use, etc., and I can't find anything much to complain about with in-camera jpegs, so while this is not an issue for me, this may or may not be an issue for you. The other complaint is that Pentax isn't a "PRO" brand, whatever the definition of that is. My answer is, I don't care. I could just barely afford the excellent Pentax gear I have now, and couldn't have afforded it at all from Canon, Nikon and Sony.

Also before plunking down your entire budget, you might look at a K200D and either the DA* 50-135 or if you really wanted to cover your bases to start off, a K200D, DA16-45, and Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 APO(the images I get from mine are great and if you like the feel of a well made lens this one has it). Not as spendy, you could even buy some useful accessories such as a battery grip and flash unit to round out your gear bag.

Last edited by brothereye; 05-14-2008 at 09:22 AM.
05-14-2008, 10:00 AM   #8
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K20D with 50-135

I had the Canon 20D with the 24-105 f/4 IS L and the 70-200 f/2.8 IS L

I now have the Pentax K20D and among many lenses, the 50-135 f/2.8

I would absolutely say, that in my usage, this wonderful 50-135 lens gives me as good images as my L 70-200. It only lacks in that extra reach. But in image quality, I prefer the 50-135 over either the 70-200 when I am outdoors, such as at the zoo or beach. And I prefer the 50-135 even more (way more, actually) when indoors shooting models and portraits over the Canon 24-105 L. I am very happy with the K20D, and it was this lens, in combo with the camera, that made me happy I switched.

Not sure what I'll wind up doing about zoom over 135mm. Probably pick up the Tamron 70-200 or Pentax 60-250. (don't need the IS expense, now that I have the Pentax SR) Either way, it'll cost me way, way less than the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS L.

This 50-135 outshines my L lenses, and is easily just as nice in most cases as the Canon 85 prime.

I had some old Pentax Manual lenses from back when I had a film-based Pentax MX. So very happy to take these out and have them serviced and cleaned and back on my camera with a nice surprise in image quality and a certain presence of image and color I have found lacking in my digital photography up to this date.

So all you need to do to be happy (since you come from Canon and L lenses specifically) is to only use really decent lenses with your K20D and you'll be happy. (the DA* zooms, the DA Ltd primes, the FA Ltd primes, Zeiss primes, certain select K, M and some FA primes or zooms)

Use a cheaper kit-quality lens (pentax or 3rd party), even for a short-bit and you'll be sad, wishing you still had your canon and "L". Get by with less lenses until you can get the best (still much cheaper than Canon) and you'll never look back in regret.

So as you build, well, right away you can pick up some decent M lenses for not that much money to supplement the 50-135, and as you build you can get some really nice lenses when you can afford them. I'd put the FA77 or DA70 up there way past the Canon 85. (the FA77 for portraits, the DA70 outdoors) The FA 31 way way way past the Canon 35L. Canon doesn't really have anything either in the DA40 or FA43 range or quality as well. I haven't purchased or even tried out the new *200 and *300 primes, I hope to soon.

So the camera functionality and customizability and image quality, combined with this 50-135 zoom, I have everything now with this setup that I had with Canon, and better. With the FA and DA primes I bought I have even a better setup than I had or even could have with the Canon. And for me to be able to use some of my favorite old primes was the deal maker for me.

Best of luck with whatever you do.

05-15-2008, 06:01 AM   #9
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I will also point out that the DA* lens reviews I've read in PopPhoto have generally depicted them as top-line gear(e.g. the review of the DA* 200 2.8 says something like "the best distortion control measured since the DXO tests started" that isn't verbatim but you can read the review online I think), as far as I can tell they're as good as anything else out there with similar specs. And while they're only a little less expensive, still, they are a little less expensive. A $700US or $800US lens is still an expensive lens, despite the fact that it's $200 less than something similar from competing companies. It is funny if you read DPreview's lens tests for 18-55 and 16-45 though, if you compare their reviews of Pentax lenses to similar Canon, Nikon and Sony lenses, you'll notice that the Pentax lenses equal or exceed the competition in all the categorical scores, but their overall score is lower than the similar Canon and Nikon lenses. Don't get me wrong though, the folks at DPreview are entitled to their opinions, so I'm not on any anti-DPreview crusade or anything. It's just a little amusing, if you think about it.
05-15-2008, 08:31 AM   #10
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Thanks for the advice. I just placed the order for a K20D and DA*50-135mm.
05-15-2008, 09:20 AM   #11
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Like I said, I've been happy with my decision. Keep in mind, it isn't that I think the Canon, Nikon, and Sony gear isn't any good, it was just that I feel that I get equipment that is at least as good for my use(maybe better in some cases), but is a better value from Pentax.

Some math I did from when I considered upgrading or switching:

I could purchase a Sony A700(body only, announced but not released): cost roughly $1400. If I had actually had 1400 USD to spend(I didn't), I could have at the time purchased: 1 Pentax K10D(roughly $700), 1 DA* 16-50 f2.8(roughly $700).

Had I decided to switch to Nikon I could have spent about $1700 for a D200(body only). If I had $1700 USD to spend, I could have purchased: 1 Pentax K10D, 1 DA* 16-50 f2.8, 1 D-BG2 battery grip, 1 D-LI50 spare battery and 1 AF360FGZ.

Had I decided to buy Canon, I could have purchased a 30D(or waited for the announced 40D) for about $1200-$1300(body only). For the same money, I could buy: 1 K10D, 1 DA 16-45, 1 D-BG2, 1 D-LI50.

While I didn't have the the money to buy a full Pentax kit at once, the costs of just trying to graduate up to something a bit more capable than the basic entry level camera and couple of lenses I was able to buy from Canon/Nikon/Sony was sobering.

I sold the gear I had at the time, and bought a GX-1S, and then built and upgraded a Pentax based system from there. And like I said, I've never looked back and wished I could have bought the Nikon or the Canon or the Sony(something I did when I owned Canon and Sony).

Frankly, if you need or feel like you need more than 3fps(I don't) or a full-frame sensor body(I don't), you probably would be happier or better suited with something else. But if it's just great images you're looking for, from solid equipment that is a good value, I think you'll be pleased with a Pentax.

Last edited by brothereye; 05-15-2008 at 09:32 AM.
05-15-2008, 12:21 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mconder Quote
Thanks for the advice. I just placed the order for a K20D and DA*50-135mm.
You will love this combination. They seem to be made for each other. I've gotten some of my best shots with this combination.
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