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View Poll Results: If I could do it all again, I'd (still) go for:
Pentax! 8875.86%
Canon 86.90%
Nikon 1815.52%
Sony 21.72%
Other   00%
Voters: 116. You may not vote on this poll

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10-19-2014, 07:18 PM - 1 Like   #16
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I'm in a stage of life where, as a friend of the parents of the bride or groom, I attend as many as a dozen weddings a year. I always watch the photographers because at a point fairly soon I'll need to hire them - twice!

The most professional acting photographer team I've seen - the one selected by the parents who are discerning and don;t fall for the hipster trendy name - is two late-40's men who wear dark suits, polished shoes, white shirt with a tie and no camera bag. One uses a medium zoom, the other long zoom with off-camera radio trigger flash on umbrella stands (when flash is permitted - they work with what they're given). The guy with the medium zoom steps out of a pew, makes one snap of a proceeding or receding person and sits back down. ONE SNAP!! Their gear works perfectly and faultlessly.

Their group shots and set shots are fast, precise, correctly lit and - again - ONE SHOT per set. In place of the zooms one shooter uses a normal and one a wide. That's 4 lenses TOTAL!!

For the candids they use on-camera flash and are well-positioned in advance of the capture. For dance shots they use a small step stool to get above the crowd.

They use an assistant / apprentice who doesn't shoot, but keeps people moving and ready for the next pose or setup.

FWIW they use Nikon, which they've apparently been using since film. They're nowhere near the most expensive in town but they're efficient, they do traditional work and they have an absolutely rock solid reputation.

Gear almost doesn't matter.

10-19-2014, 07:51 PM - 1 Like   #17
Zav
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That's professionalism. Both in the way they present themselves, smart and blending in and in the way they behave.

Regarding the pro who move on to the full frame, some do come back to APS-C or u4/3, usually for weight reasons.
10-20-2014, 05:57 AM - 2 Likes   #18
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I am reminded of the story of a man who takes his son to a gallery opening. He asks the photographer what brand of camera he uses. "I use a Leica" the photographer responds. The man turns to his son and says, "I'm going to buy you a Leica so you can take pictures like that."
10-20-2014, 08:52 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
I would say that almost every modern DSLR is capable of professional quality photographs. Every manufacturer has some excellent lenses in their line up. There are some gaps in the Pentax catalog but that may not even matter depending on your needs. If you are getting good results and are satisfied with what you are using, then stay with it. If what you are using isn't working out, then by all means look at moving on. If you aren't sure or don't know what you need, then you should really hold off on buying anything. Learn how to get the best out of what you are using.
Best advice in the thread so far. Fact is, you can get professional quality images with the K-500 and just about any other past or present Pentax DSLR. I know a very skilled professional photographer whose main camera is still a 10 year old Canon DSLR.

10-20-2014, 09:02 AM   #20
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Since you haven't articulated what kind of shooting requirements you have, recommending a specific solution is silly. In many cases the brand of gear has little to do with your work or your quality of work.

What do you need?

M
10-20-2014, 09:10 AM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rayn Quote
So now I'm considering either staying with the Pentax and getting the K-3, or switching brands and going for the Nikon D7100 (or Canon 70D). I would love to stay with Pentax, but only if it really is a viable option for the long run.

The K-3 is an amazing camera. We all know that. Compared to the D7100 or the 70D, it's the best APS-C camera out there ATM. But a camera body is only a small part of the equation, and the more I looked into (semi)pro work with Pentax, the more worried I became. Here are my concerns, perhaps you can help:

1. Lenses - After looking for the lenses I would need right now, and those I might need in the future, I was surprised to find just how few modern AF lenses there are for the k-mount. It's not that there are no quality f2.8 silent zoom lenses for Pentax, but the choices are so few and most are very expensive. It appears Canikon has a lot more choice with a much wider price range, especially used. Am I wrong?
I think you're wrong. Switching systems to go to the D7100 is a bad move IMO. What lenses do you want? The 50-135 is a nice lens but AF is a bit slow. Perhaps you'd be interested in this?

18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art Refurbished | Sigma Corporation of America



QuoteQuote:
2. Auto-Focus - Although I understand the K-3 has a much improved AF compared to other Pentax cameras, from what I've read online, most still agree the D7100 AF is better. Is there a significant difference and does the K-3's AF work for time-critical work such as weddings?
Weddings are time critical but I think even the K-5 is 'good enough' for many/most uses. You will be giving up a bit here, though, you're correct.

The 'bigger deal' IMO is that the action-stuff in weddings requires just one lens... i.e. a zoom, because you don't have time to switch lenses all the time.


QuoteQuote:
Full Frame - I know Pentax is developing a FF camera. But IMO, it would not be wise to rely on it until it's out. Also, I have no plans to go FF. However, I've heard a lot of photographers eventually take the plunge, and most of them never go back. In your experience, is FF still necessary for pro photography?
Absolutely not-necessary. FF stuff makes life easier in my view - a little lighter or quite a bit faster, almost always better AF, etc. But you don't need it on day 1.



Overall - Sony's a great camera, but if you want to do weddings, and were switching systems, I would exclude Sony from the discussion. No flashes, no fast zooms... not for you.

Last edited by ElJamoquio; 10-20-2014 at 09:18 AM.
10-20-2014, 10:20 AM - 4 Likes   #22
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What I don't gett in all of this discussion is that we shot weddings and other events with manual focus, film cameras that may or may not have integral metering.

No auto exposure, auto focus, very limited ISO range etc. what stops you from turning pro, is NOT equipment. It is the approximately 150-200mm between your ears.
10-20-2014, 10:35 AM   #23
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I've seen some pretty poor wedding pics from the 60's. Honestly, on average, they're a lot better now (assuming you're paying a decent photographer).

10-20-2014, 10:54 AM   #24
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I guess it depends on how much one is invested in a system. I would stick with Pentax myself just because I am used to the cameras, and I feel like we are at a point where brand doesn't really matter that much.

Pentax's APS/C sensors are pretty much equal to others (hecks it's just a software difference for a few cameras).

The biggest issue I suppose could be auto-focus speed, but that will only matter if you are shooting the types of things where focus speed was critical (sports or wildlife).

While lens selection may not be great, I do find that the lenses that are available for Pentax are quite good and generally better at their price point. I also generally like that Pentax brand lenses are lighter than their counterparts from third parties or Canikon, etc.

Lens speed doesn't both me much. I'm not sure it is terribly smart to shoot a whole lot at wide open (and narrow depth of field) in most situations except perhaps if you're doing portrait photography, at which point one could probably get a fast prime or limited.

Ultimately, the key thing is buying what you think will work for you. As I mentioned earlier, I don't think brand matters much, so you might as well give yourself peace of mind and buy the brand you want to. Photography is really about what you do and your skill, and if you always have a second guess in your mind, you may hamper your results anyway.
10-20-2014, 11:10 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rayn Quote
I understand this may be a delicate subject for some of you. I also know this has been asked to death, but I'm currently at a crossroads and I could really use your input.

After weeks of research, comparing cameras, features and looking at sample images, I've bought a K-500, my 1st DSLR - and fell in love with photography. That was a year ago. Since then I bought a few lenses/flashes/etc., spent every free moment studying about photography and did a few friendly payed photo shoots. I'm by no means a great photographer yet, but I hope with time and practice I will eventually be able to get great photos on a consistent basis. I'm also planning to take some more payed work soon.
What I've realized while working with the K-500 over the last year is this: The K-500 is an amazing camera, Pentax is an amazing brand, but for pro work I need more. Better lenses, better AF and ISO performance, to name a few.

I'm now at a (very rare) point when I have some money to invest into photography, so I want to do everything in my power to make sure I make the right choice.
My initial plan was to buy a K-3, keep the lenses/flashes I've got and the K-500 as a backup camera, buy 1-2 quality zooms for weddings and events, and take it from there.. However, after researching potential lenses, flashes and general features I would need now or might need in the future, I became more than a bit worried, especially after doing some research on Canikon cameras and comparing them to the Pentax lineup.

So now I'm considering either staying with the Pentax and getting the K-3, or switching brands and going for the Nikon D7100 (or Canon 70D). I would love to stay with Pentax, but only if it really is a viable option for the long run.

The K-3 is an amazing camera. We all know that. Compared to the D7100 or the 70D, it's the best APS-C camera out there ATM. But a camera body is only a small part of the equation, and the more I looked into (semi)pro work with Pentax, the more worried I became. Here are my concerns, perhaps you can help:

1. Lenses - After looking for the lenses I would need right now, and those I might need in the future, I was surprised to find just how few modern AF lenses there are for the k-mount. It's not that there are no quality f2.8 silent zoom lenses for Pentax, but the choices are so few and most are very expensive. It appears Canikon has a lot more choice with a much wider price range, especially used. Am I wrong?

2. Auto-Focus - Although I understand the K-3 has a much improved AF compared to other Pentax cameras, from what I've read online, most still agree the D7100 AF is better. Is there a significant difference and does the K-3's AF work for time-critical work such as weddings?

3. Flash - So far I've been using mostly on-camera flash (Metz 48 AF-1) and I've been very pleased with the results. However, when doing studio/portrait/group shots, the Pentax Flash system is widely considered limited. What exactly are the limitations of the system compared to Nikon?

4. Full Frame - I know Pentax is developing a FF camera. But IMO, it would not be wise to rely on it until it's out. Also, I have no plans to go FF. However, I've heard a lot of photographers eventually take the plunge, and most of them never go back. In your experience, is FF still necessary for pro photography?


As you can see, I've done quite a bit of research on this, as I want to make sure I make the right call: Commit to the Pentax brand or switch while I still have a chance. Ironically, doing all this research made me even more unsure of what to do. I understand my biggest problem is the fact I have no real world experience with either of the 3 mid-range DSLR's mentioned here, but as I can not rent/borrow them, I have to rely on other user's experience/expertise.

So... in your (non)professional opinion, can a Pentax K-3 be used effectively for proffesional work?

P.S. I apologize for the long post, but this is what happens when one tries to condense 2 months worth of research into a single post
To Answer
1/lenses:- pentax has a much better aps-c range of lenses and they are all stabilised! For weddings the pentax16-50/2.8 or sigma 18-35/1.8 are arguably the best in class for portraiture. although canon 17-55/2.8 is very good also. Pentax also has the superb 50-135. nikon forces you to by 2k FF lenses. Pentax FA limiteds are like zeiss with autofocus at a third of the price!

2/AF:- Pentax has caught up nearly with the K-3 in terms of tracking AF and exceeds the competition in low light. Pentax AF is a bit slower but can also be more accurate as a consequence.

3/Flash:- Pentax is slightly behind but with the new Catus V6 system you now have an off camera wireless trigger system that pentax used to lack(and way cheaper).

4/FF:- If you don't want FF then stay away from canon and nikon. They don't support APS-C. Consider Fuji instead. Canon APS-c lenses cant be used on their FF cameras in many cases as they hit the mirror. Pentax and Nikon mounts are compatible.
10-20-2014, 12:11 PM - 2 Likes   #26
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I guess to me, the K3 is probably about the best APS-C camera out there for overall performance (from a still photography standpoint). We'll see if the 7D Mk II passes it up -- probably will from certain standpoints, but Canon sensors lag Sony's quite a bit.

The reasons to go with Nikon or Canon are (1) if you feel like there is a particular lens that isn't obtainable in the Pentax line up -- a 300mm f2.8, 135 f2, etc or (2) if you are planning to go full frame. Pentax may release a full frame camera in the future, I think it is likely, but no one knows when or specs or anything like that.

As far as professional gear, there is no such thing. There are professionals who use gear and there are companies that provide professional support, but otherwise, it is just gear.
10-20-2014, 12:43 PM - 1 Like   #27
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You can use any system you want to use. There were (maybe still are) a couple of National Geographic photographers who were/are using Olympus. I know someone who has shot a couple of smaller, casual wedding with a Fuji X-T1. There are a couple of professional landscape photographers using the Sony A7r. There are a lot of people using somewhat limited systems for professional work. Pentax is not a limited as any of those.

There are certain types of photography that become easier with different systems, but you can do most things with Pentax. It just might be a little more work.
10-20-2014, 01:24 PM - 1 Like   #28
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I'm happy and making some money with my K-3 (and K-5 as backup). I shoot bike, running, and ski races without much AF trouble (although the shots do take planning and you need to know the limitations of whatever gear you are using and leverage the strengths).

I'd love a MF system too and Pentax seems like a logical choice in that market as well. Not sure if I ever will take that plunge but it's fun to dream.
I'm not primarily a wedding shooter but have done a few. AF has not been a problem with my K-5 for wedding purposes. I haven't done one since getting the K-3.

I'd also like a smaller lighter system with a APS-C sensor and nice glass for those long self-powered treks. For this I've considered a Fuji X system camera since Pentax doesn't offer anything like this (the Q has too small of a sensor, the K-01 isn't that much smaller than a SLR).

For landscape photography I think the K-3 is tough to beat without going for a bigger sensor. Even then it will give most systems a run for their money and APS-C keeps the gear reasonably sized for carrying long distances.
10-20-2014, 01:34 PM   #29
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1- From the standpoint of weddings and portraiture, our go-to lenses are the 50-135, 16-50, and 15 Limited. So three lenses, two bodies. The 50-135 in particular is well worth the price of admission, and when evaluating the price of Pentax zooms I think it's important to compare against the stabilized versions of the competition's offerings.


2- Autofocus can be a challenge with the K-5 in certain situations, namely tracking and low-light, but I've never really used anyone else's stuff or had a chance to test-drive the K-3. So far it hasn't been a deal-breaker. It can be overcome with proper technique and a knowledge of your gear's strengths and limitations.


3- I'm a fan of manual flash and use it almost exclusively. In that situation the playing field is pretty level.


4- If a full-frame offering were to materialize I would definitely give it some serious consideration. But for me the increase in image quality would have to justify the weight and price penalties of FF. I would much rather have two high-end APS-C bodies vs. one FF body with no backup. Most importantly, the income of the business would need to be sufficient to justify an upgrade to a different brand or system.
10-20-2014, 02:14 PM   #30
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Another difference to keep in mind (pro versus hobbyist) is the number of lenses. I would bet if you took a poll of real working photogs and hobbyists and got the average number of lenses owned you would see a dramatic difference.

A working photographer buys the gear they need which for weddings would be wide angle zoom 24-70 and longer zoom 70-200 plus maybe a prime portrait lens ~85mm. That's all you need, and that's all you spend money on. Do the math to get the APS-C equivalents.

A hobbyist buys all kinds of gear some to use, some to try, some to collect, some just because they can. Financial return on gear investment is not an issue.
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