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04-14-2015, 06:22 AM   #1
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Would I replace my Pentax kit with Pentax ?

>> Musings on

I was returning this morning from an unsuccessful outing and instead of concentrating on trying to get something worthwhile, I pondered the question: if I had all my Pentax kit stolen and I received an insurance cheque to replace it, would I buy the same kit, or maybe jump ship to another manufacturer ?

It seemed a trivial question, but it made my consider the value/worth of the choices I'd made in the past to get to where I am with the kit I currently own - two K3s; primes; 16-50 and a newly purchased Ricoh GR.

Would others start again or just replace ?

Like many I wish the K-3 was a little better at higher ISOs, but it IS very good for the sensor size. I wish many of my lenses' resolution was a little flatter across their aperture range. An option to bracket with shutter raised would be great. Having more mp might be nice at times, but not at the expense of DR and ISO performance. Etc. Etc.

But, then I thought about what I liked about the kit I have already.

# The ergonomics of the K3s just seem to work - with user settings, I rarely have to think, just tweak with a little exposure compensation at times and the most basic of other adjustments are necessary. So almost automatic, for most occasions.
# Having been lucky to be able to fund a second K3 body, has been a revelation when using primes. The 16-50 only comes out in the rain. Two primes and a little walking will compose most shots. The combination is lighter than a big FF and large lens, and possibly cheaper too.
# If I want to travel light one camera and a couple of tiny primes are an excellent option.
# Taking shots in the rain is not a worry with the 16-50 and other WR primes. Not worried about kit - makes taking shots more relaxing.
# Pentax equipment is supposed to be robust, though I'm lucky enough not to have tested this.
# etc etc.

Maybe I like the kit I've got as it does what I want, mostly, and I have little experience with other modern equipment from other manufacturers to compare. I've long given up reading the photography press on a regular basis as this just tempts and appears to be very biased in favour of a limited range of suppliers. Maybe, also. I rather like to take a contrarian view of things and Pentax fits this too.

I mentioned above I recently bought a Ricoh GR for its high quality in a tiny package to experiment with street photography. This is out of my comfort zone really, but I wanted to walk around without shouting CAMERA. First outing I approached this fisherman in his shed, interrupted his conversation and asked him to pose. Glad I did as I like this shot (low res version). Guess I would not have done it with a large FF and zoom.

In all, an unsuccessful outing this morning, but It did settle my "what would better equipment give me ?" aberration ...

>> Musings off

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04-14-2015, 06:41 AM   #2
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Probably a bit off topic, but it's funny that you don't want to scream "CAMERA" yet the huge watermark makes you scream "photographer"...

I find the dichotomy more intriguing than your kit dilemma.
04-14-2015, 07:24 AM   #3
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For the robustness thing there is a video by Heie out there showing how he covered a pair of cameras in dust and then washed them off in the shower. I am not sure which others you could do that with.
04-14-2015, 07:26 AM   #4
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In reading your post, I wonder if you have the best lenses for what you want to shoot and if you learned to use at best these lenses. For me, a strength of Pentax is the offer of outstanding prime lenses if high quality with IQ: the FA Limited, the DA* series, the DA Limited series for FL less than 100 mm typically. Combined with the backward compatibility giving access to a huge range of classic oldies.

Good glass (i.e. lens) is more important than the camera body. You get what you pay for.... and this true with the top Pentax prime lenses. For example, there is a good reason why the FA Limiteds (the three amigos) are so talked about at PF: Pentaxians love the 'three amigos' because they deliver outstanding IQ and they can deliver outstanding shots with the right photographer. Any photographer will tell you that you need to learn how to use best a lens and camera. Each camera+lens combo has specific sweet spots and you need to learn how to maximise your 'keeper rate'.

You do not need a new camera to take great shots. I continue to use my old K-7 camera body. Every Pentaxians will tell you that this body is not great at high ISO, and that is true. As an illustration my K-7 + FA31mm Ltd gives me a great combo which delivers superb photographs at low ISO (incl. compared to my K-3). Why? Because I combined a great lens with an extensive experience of this combo that I know how to use it.

My 5 cents...

04-14-2015, 07:32 AM   #5
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Yup Wolfeye, you have a valid point. I'd just lifted it from elsewhere and didn't think about its re-use here. I just had a musing and an entertaining snap that seemed to back-up my flexibility argument of Pentax/Ricoh kit.

Reminder to myself: must check posts more carefully, but ,hey, posts can become rather dull when we make no mistakes ...
04-14-2015, 07:49 AM   #6
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I would stay with Pentax as well, but my lens choices would be different than the first time around. I shoot outdoors most of the time, often in brutal cold, rain and snow. Pentax features suit my shooting style. I freakin' love the K-3.

I added a Sony a6000 and three really nice primes as a second system, but a few months down the road, I'm thinking it was wrong move. I should have gotten the Pentax lenses I wanted instead.
04-14-2015, 08:05 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
if I had all my Pentax kit stolen and I received an insurance cheque to replace it, would I buy the same kit,
...to start this LBA story once again from 0?
04-14-2015, 08:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
Reminder to myself: must check posts more carefully, but ,hey, posts can become rather dull when we make no mistakes ...
I know I'd be a lot quieter.. whether for good or ill only the rest of you can say.

QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
# Pentax equipment is supposed to be robust, though I'm lucky enough not to have tested this.
# etc etc.
And in fact you have tested it, and no issues = highest marks!

I've been cheating toward Samsung lately, but I really miss the 5:II series of -3ev focusing. Others have it now and are blowing their oversize horns, but Pentax had it a year ahead of the 5-digit dSLR names (I'm making Ricoh not count so I can continue to dislike 5-digit camera names ). Samsung's NX1 has weather seals, but the only sealed lenses thus far are $1k+ 1-kilogram f/2.8 zooms.. not my favorite carry items. As to rugged the NX300 feels tough enough but even a 1-foot drop would scare me. So Pentax will not vanish from my kit, I'm certain!


Last edited by jimr-pdx; 04-14-2015 at 08:38 AM.
04-14-2015, 08:47 AM   #9
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it would be a tough call since I basically have 2 complete kits, my primary and my backup that my GF uses. It's handy to have a completely redundant second set of lenses with you at all times and have someone else carrying them for you....lol

that would no longer be a luxury if I went with my first instinct of "no, I'd go Nikon and the D810"..... BUT that may completely change with the Pentax FF to be released end of this year. I might hold onto that insurance money pending the K-whatever FF specs....

I could always rent a body and lens or 2 for a week here and there in the meantime.
04-14-2015, 08:53 AM   #10
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.... you need a GR with SR. :P (image is blurry)

just kidding!

Get whatever you like if you can afford it!
04-14-2015, 08:59 AM   #11
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Other than some 49mm filters that I have had since Spotmatic days and the 28mm 2.8 that I do not carry in my bag I would replace everything with basically what I have now. I do not count the 17-28FE and two other zooms as I do not carry them with me and they are going to appear in the Marketplace some time soon. I guess the insurance may mean a K3 rather than the K5iis and HD instead of SMC if insurance is replacement value.

If I had to pay for it myself, I think I would buy esentially what I have now as well. I am happy with my kit as it now stands.If my wife kit was the one lost I think she would upgrade from the K5 to the K5ii otherwise she likes what she has as well. Our film Pentax replacement would be not very important considering the replacement cost.

Happy with what I have now with our Pentax system, our Hasselblads and our Holgas. Either we built up to what we want or we are easy to please.
04-14-2015, 09:02 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
if I had all my Pentax kit stolen and I received an insurance cheque to replace it, would I buy the same kit, or maybe jump ship to another manufacturer ?
I think that is a valid question and one that should be asked occasionally. Particularly if we are photographers first and gear fans second.

I am quite happy with Pentax but if all my gear were gone I would seriously evaluate other brands: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and maybe Samsung. They all have features that are attractive in various ways. I might go so far as to rent a couple of bodies I particularly liked to get a first hand look though mostly the major brands are on the shelf at retailers.

For all practical purposes there will be no discernible image quality differences between brands using equal quality glass. Unless you are pushing out on the edges of possibility anything made today is going to produce superb images.
So the deciding factors (for me) would be:
  • Ergonomics. How does the camera feel in my hand. Am I comfortable holding it and using it for hours
  • Ease of use. Menu organization, button layout, number of buttons and wheels.
  • Features. A few things I look for are at least 5 shot bracketing, the basic shooting modes, weather resistance, wired remote port, GPS support
  • Glass. I don't need a huge line up, though I have far more lenses than I should. But the brand I choose should have the basics I need.
  • Support. Are repairs going to get done quickly and correctly. Is the company going to be there in 5 - 10 years. Is the mount going to be there in 5 - 10 years.


I've tried Canon and Nikon bodies (in stores) and have not found them to fit me as well as Pentax. I am sure that is partly familiarity and I would get used to them eventually but I do like the way Pentax feels. I like the Panasonic bodies and features but I'm not sure I would like the EVF. There are a few things I wish Pentax did that is not currently available but then other brands have features missing as well. I wish Pentax had some glass in it's line up that is not there at this time, but nothing I cannot live with.


So all in all I think I would stay with Pentax, but only after a thorough and complete evaluation of the other options.
04-14-2015, 09:09 AM   #13
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Given how I have to know everything.. it would take months of research.

My guess is if everything was stolen I'd end up with a new K-3, an F DA 150-450, my Sigma 8-18, DFA 100 WR , an FA 50.17 and maybe the 16-85 and HD TC and a 31 ltd if I could afford it. SO much more is available now than when I bought my *ist... but, I'd definitely look at Nikon to see how they stack up. I've talked to too many people who've switched from Canon to Nikon for the extra dynamic range in landscape to consider a Canon system. But everyone I know who shoots like me, most have already switched to Nikon. It would certainly offer me a lot more options. OK, someone shoot me now....
04-14-2015, 09:20 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
OK, someone shoot me now....
No shooting, I have a number of friends who are landscape photographers, one in particular who is quite successful, that have moved to Nikon from Canon. One noted that he started with Pentax film, went to Canon for digital and stuck with them for years. Finally traded his 5D mkII for a D810 and is very, very happy with the move. Would he have looked at Pentax if they had a similar camera at the time? Maybe, he is quite nostalgic about his Pentax gear, still has a full LX kit. But for him the only thing that matters is getting the shot he wants. The brand is unimportant, and he proved that by dumping a bunch of L glass and replacing it with another brand because he was not happy with the results. And he is not a "have to have the latest gear" kind of guy. He is good enough he was really pushing the limits of his Canon gear.
04-14-2015, 09:45 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
No shooting, I have a number of friends who are landscape photographers, one in particular who is quite successful, that have moved to Nikon from Canon. One noted that he started with Pentax film, went to Canon for digital and stuck with them for years. Finally traded his 5D mkII for a D810 and is very, very happy with the move. Would he have looked at Pentax if they had a similar camera at the time? Maybe, he is quite nostalgic about his Pentax gear, still has a full LX kit. But for him the only thing that matters is getting the shot he wants. The brand is unimportant, and he proved that by dumping a bunch of L glass and replacing it with another brand because he was not happy with the results. And he is not a "have to have the latest gear" kind of guy. He is good enough he was really pushing the limits of his Canon gear.
Ya, my buddies were the same... you don't want to say "any camera is good enough" to these guys.... the guys who switch Canon to Nikon almost to a man have easier lives because of the extended Dynamic Range... the difference between Pentax and Nikon is less... but starting from scratch, still worth looking in to.

It does beg the question... will there ever be a time again when someone chooses a Pentax over a Nikon simply on specifications. During the hey day of the K-5 you could buy Pentax knowing you were getting the best of something....the D7100 came out a year before the K-3 and now the D7200 with extended dynamic range is out. It seems to go back and forth between these two companies, based on who released the latest sensor last. Nikon does it first, Pentax a year later usually with improved specs. do you want new and incomplete or wait a year for a more accomplished version. They could almost both be divisions of the same company.
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