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11-23-2014, 04:01 PM   #1
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Lens or Camera?

There is a lot of discussion about the upcoming camera - what features will it have? Will it have tilt screen? Wifi and GPS? Will it be FF? Will it even be K-mount? How many people will switch brands for a different camera body?
But whenever someone asks about upgrading lenses or body, the recommendation is usually to upgrade lenses first.

So I wonder, is the "Pentax system" about lenses or cameras? Which are you more likely to buy? Which is lacking more? Because to me, even if Sony or Samsung make great new cameras, I want to use my K-mount glass. Adapters are a compromise, I would prefer to have full functionality. Looks like to me, the system is about glass first and foremost. Of course cameras are important, but without lenses, even a D810 or 5DIII is useless. What do you think?

11-23-2014, 04:41 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
There is a lot of discussion about the upcoming camera - what features will it have? Will it have tilt screen? Wifi and GPS? Will it be FF? Will it even be K-mount? How many people will switch brands for a different camera body?
But whenever someone asks about upgrading lenses or body, the recommendation is usually to upgrade lenses first.

So I wonder, is the "Pentax system" about lenses or cameras? Which are you more likely to buy? Which is lacking more? Because to me, even if Sony or Samsung make great new cameras, I want to use my K-mount glass. Adapters are a compromise, I would prefer to have full functionality. Looks like to me, the system is about glass first and foremost. Of course cameras are important, but without lenses, even a D810 or 5DIII is useless. What do you think?
Is it about lenses or cameras? It's about both. It's a 'system'... talk about the taste of the cake, not just the sugar or just the flour or just the eggs... camera lenses tend to last and span numerous generations of camera bodies.... whereas camera bodies are more 'wear out' components that are much more subject to wearing out or just becoming obsolete because of technological advances.

Long story short lenses are a much better 'investment'... you won't have to buy a new 31mm (or any other lens) once you hit a certain shutter count.

As for this whole thing about camera bodies and sensor sizes and such...yeah fine it would be great to have a FF... but I know that having a bigger sensor... heck even a Z.... that won't help me control my lighting better or create better composition.

All that said I would rather have great glass and make due with a camera body. Since I am not printing billboard size prints or trying to shoot something requiring ultra fast AF... neither of those apply to me... so the difference between many camera bodies (aside from the function and flow of it) is generally academic.

There are exceptions to this though because over the course of time sensor technology improves a lot. If I can shoot at ISO 3200 with little noticeable noise vs maxing an old camera out at ISO 1600 and having a grainy shot....that's a reason to upgrade...

Up to a point glass is far more attractive than camera bodies...at least to me...I could live with premium glass on an old body rather than having so so glass on a great body.
11-23-2014, 05:25 PM   #3
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Really, there's little difference from manufacturer to manufacturer when it comes to the bodies. Within a given price tier, they can basically do the same things. Nikon, Pentax, and Sony are even using the same sensors most of the time (Canon insists on making their own). There are some differences in features, of course, but for the most part, it's win-some, lose-some. For example, Nikon may not have in-body shake reduction but has more AF points than Pentax does.

It really is all about the lenses. Pentax lenses are of great quality but there are fewer choices. I'm ok with it. It makes the decision easier and a bit cheaper--not having a $1800 50mm lens that I can't ever justify buying is not a big loss to me. Still, there are some pretty glaring holes in the Pentax lineup that have been fixed by 3rd parties. The trouble is that those 3rd parties (of which only Sigma remains) can disappear at any time if sales aren't up to desire.
11-23-2014, 05:30 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
It really is all about the lenses. Pentax lenses are of great quality but there are fewer choices. I'm ok with it.
This is what I am leaning to the most. I dont think the FA 50mm f1.4 is that much worse than the really expensive 50mm lenses of other brands - and there is still the choice of premium lenses like DA* 55mm.
But like you said, I miss some primes between 21mm and 31mm. Especially on crop sensors, this should be well-covered. But prime lenses were a big part of why I chose to stick with Pentax.

11-23-2014, 05:56 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
This is what I am leaning to the most. I dont think the FA 50mm f1.4 is that much worse than the really expensive 50mm lenses of other brands - and there is still the choice of premium lenses like DA* 55mm.
But like you said, I miss some primes between 21mm and 31mm. Especially on crop sensors, this should be well-covered. But prime lenses were a big part of why I chose to stick with Pentax.
Fast wide angle lenses are the major deficiency. The missing fast 70-200 is also another, but there's been enough incarnations of those from Sigma and Tamron to fill in; Pentax is rumored to be fixing that. But there's no announcement of anything fast in the wide-angle category. It's why I got the Sigma 18-35. There's literally no combination of lenses that can approximate it.
11-23-2014, 05:59 PM   #6
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While camera bodies may not differ that much, there are difference. I think Pentax does a pretty good job with handling that is focussed towards a photographer (but arguably maybe not as friendly for first time users as some brands). Certainly when ever I have tried Nikon / Canon bodies (in similar price bracket to the K-5 / II at least), I prefer the ergonomics and usability of a Pentax. I have no doubt that given time you will get used to the quirks of any camera but for me Pentax have quickly felt at home.

That said, if your current DSLR body has the features you actually need (but maybe missing some "it would be nice" features), you are probably better off buying more glass.
LBA calls but then I find I get out shoot more after buying something new, so maybe its all part of the journey.
11-23-2014, 06:07 PM   #7
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I agree with Alamo 5000 that it's about both lens and camera. As the old movie song says, "You can't have one without the other." On the one hand, the lens is central because if you don't have good glass it doesn't matter how good the camera body is because you aren't going to get a great image. On the other hand, the camera is also central. If you look at the best shots online, you will generally see that they are taken with better bodies. You can certainly get great images with cheaper bodies, but the best bodies have the potential to capture better images because they generally have more high end features. These features allow the photographer to capture imagines that don't always turn out great on cheaper bodies. There is also the intangible pleasure of taking a shot with a great photographic machine, which the Pentax flagships over the years have consistently been.
11-23-2014, 06:19 PM   #8
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I understand the idea of "the system" and that body and lens go hand in hand. They are equally important, right? Well, if that's the case then lenses are first among equals. Pick the lenses you like and find the best body to go with them. Ultimately you will give up the body and upgrade the body but you'll keep your lenses.

11-23-2014, 07:41 PM   #9
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You got to have a camera and a lens.
11-23-2014, 07:57 PM   #10
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I have a collection of lenses and I want a body to use them on. Lenses first. Obviously, you need both... But. For me, the lenses are the things that are fun to use. I guess I would say I am dedicated to the K-mount. My next camera body is going to have a K-mount, and I don't really care if it says Pentax or Ricoh (or something else) on the front. For nostalgic purposes, obviously, I would prefer PENTAX, and I don't really want to have to use an adapter, but considering pretty much all of my lenses are manual-everything anyway, I guess it wouldn't really matter... I just had my K1000 CLA'ed by Eric Hendrickson this year... I guess I could just go back to that if K-mount DSLRs disappear. :-)
11-23-2014, 08:23 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by severalsnakes Quote
I have a collection of lenses and I want a body to use them on. Lenses first. Obviously, you need both... But. For me, the lenses are the things that are fun to use. I guess I would say I am dedicated to the K-mount. My next camera body is going to have a K-mount, and I don't really care if it says Pentax or Ricoh (or something else) on the front. For nostalgic purposes, obviously, I would prefer PENTAX, and I don't really want to have to use an adapter, but considering pretty much all of my lenses are manual-everything anyway, I guess it wouldn't really matter... I just had my K1000 CLA'ed by Eric Hendrickson this year... I guess I could just go back to that if K-mount DSLRs disappear. :-)
Exactly! The lenses are the heart of a camera system. The best lenses will usually improve your photos more than a new camera. Newer cameras mainly offer better speed, more convenience and, occasionally some extra resolution.
11-23-2014, 08:32 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mikesul Quote
Exactly! The lenses are the heart of a camera system. The best lenses will usually improve your photos more than a new camera. Newer cameras mainly offer better speed, more convenience and, occasionally some extra resolution.

This is true when you are talking about Gen1 vs Gen2...but if you jump big like Gen1 to like Gen5 there will be much larger differences. With camera bodies improvements however are much more incremental. Yet they happen relatively fast.

On the other hand the science of light and optics is pretty stable. Light has been acting the same way forever, hence when you get good lenses technology is much harder to 'improve' them. You might get a new lens coating or this or that, but in general the optics are the optics. Lenses are much less susceptible to the fast pace of tech improvements.
11-23-2014, 11:48 PM   #13
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I love my Pentax lenses. As long as I can connect them to something that takes pictures, I'm keeping them. For now, its a K-3 and a K-50.
11-26-2014, 04:51 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by severalsnakes Quote
I have a collection of lenses and I want a body to use them on. Lenses first.
I agree with this! And this is why I don't want to move to Sony, and I don't want Pentax to "replace" the K-mount
11-26-2014, 05:41 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I agree with this! And this is why I don't want to move to Sony, and I don't want Pentax to "replace" the K-mount
For sure! The lenses last a long time and should always be a main consideration in choosing a camera system. I tried really hard to keep my A6000 which is a wonderful little camera but the Pentax lenses (and Pentax DSLR ergonomics to a lesser extent) kept me with Pentax.
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