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06-02-2015, 06:47 AM   #1
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Decisions, decisions...

Hi all,
I am buying a new DSRL but still cannot decide which one should I choose. I am considering either a Pentax K-3 or Nikon D7100. I need something, that will be a workhorse, a body, that will last for about 8 years or so. I am photographing pretty much everything, so there is not any specialization. If you people could help me decide, I mean in specs, these two cameras are pretty similar but the thing is, I really dont know, how is the pantax doing in terms of AF. Plus my one question, is the HD DA 55-300mm f/4,0-5,8 ED WR comparable to Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD? In other words, are there any good tele zoom lens for pentax around the prize tag at 450 USD?

Sorry for that quite chaotic post. I know it is a bit wierd to write here, on Pentax forum, about nikon but I dont know any better photography oriented forum than this Thanks alot for your answers.

06-02-2015, 07:29 AM   #2
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Between the Nikon D7000 and D7100, I liked the D7000 a lot more. Its a much more solidly built camera.
The Canon EOS 70D matches the D7100 in specs, but they're both plasticy-feeling cameras. I didn't feel safe taking either out of the studio.
I have since sold all my Nikon and Canon digital gear and bought a K-3.

If you are willing to spend enough money, you can get a Nikon kit that beats Pentax in specs and numbers. The D7100 doesn't do it. The D800 probably does.
06-02-2015, 07:35 AM   #3
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Well, I dont have that much. The D7100 or K-3 is the limit I can afford right now. But thanks for your reply. And if I may ask, how is the AF system working in your K-3? Is it a big differnce compared to the D7100 (D7000)?
06-02-2015, 07:39 AM   #4
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I do not think the image quality will be much different. So your decision should be based on ergonomics and features. Which camera feels better in your hands, which camera has a button layout that works for you, which menu system makes sense. The Pentax bodies, especially the k-5 and k-3 series, are built like tanks. Solid, reliable, weather resistant and just plain feel good to use. I've tried Nikon and Canon bodies and the comparable models just don't feel as well built. That's just me, your hands are different so another brand might feel better to you.

You are correct this is a Pentax forum but not all that much bias, most here are proud of their Pentax gear but realize there are other brands that work well.

You might consider getting the k-3II which has some new features and is just starting to hit the stores.

HD 55-300 is an excellent lens for the price, IMHO, better than the Tamron and it is WR. It is what you get in that price range with a Pentax label. If you can step up a bit the DA*60-250 is noticeably better but much bigger and more expensive.

K-3 autofocus is rock solid. On the k-5 I used to take 2 or 3 shots to make sure one was in focus. On the k-3 I don't bother, it's a waste of time, the k-3 locks reliably almost every shot. Now speed of AF is a different question and the speed of the lens enters into it as well. I suspect Pentax is a little slower. I did see one test against Nikon where the Nikon beat the Pentax in speed of achieving a lock but the Pentax achieved a good focus more reliably. It appeared the Nikon was optimized for a fast lock at the expense of accuracy. Tracking is another matter and at this point Pentax is definitely behind in that area though the k-3 made a big improvement.

06-02-2015, 07:55 AM   #5
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From somebody who's on;y handled the Nikon in the camera store, I can tell you that the autofocus on the K-3 is fine. I'm sure there are situations where autofocus on the 7100 beats out the K-3, but I think that's in very precise situations, I think 99% of the time the K-3 will suffice. I've never felt like I've missed pictures because of autofocus, granted I don't shoot sports, so I'm sure that someone else could talk to that better. What I would recommend is spend a lot of time looking into the features of each camera, look at the lens choices you have, and look at the pictures from each camera on Flickr, and decide from there. My opinion on the two cameras: Do you like prime lenses? Go with Pentax. Do you like high quality fast zooms? Go with Nikon. Do you want your camera to focus silently? SDM seems to be a pretty poor choice in engineering on Pentax's part, though my 18-135 with DC is great, Nikon should be better. Do you like vintage glass? Pentax has more options methinks, m42 lenses won't focus at infinity without corrective elements with Nikon, and pre 1975 lenses seem to have issues with Nikon cameras. Do you want a solid, rugged build to your camera and lenses? Pentax is far and away superior to anything else within their price range, and the 18-135 has an amazing build quality for a kit lens. Do you want third party support? We'll see in a year or two, but your options are getting smaller and smaller with Pentax.
06-02-2015, 07:57 AM   #6
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The Tamron and Pentax lenses are not in the same league. Tamron's 70-300 is a low budget lens, good for what it is, but you won't be happy with it on the K3. You can get the 55-300 green ring lens for VERY cheap right now. I saw a closeout on Woot for $180. Pentax Cameras & Lenses - Electronics.Woot

Skip the Tamron, it has issues with "purple fringing." Again, for what it is, it works well but the K3 will show every flaw.
06-02-2015, 08:00 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paulas Quote
Plus my one question, is the HD DA 55-300mm f/4,0-5,8 ED WR comparable to Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD? In other words, are there any good tele zoom lens for pentax around the prize tag at 450 USD?
Actually, the Tamron Di VC USD version is not available in Pentax mount. Their 70-300MM F/4-5.6 Di is the version available in Pentax mount.

I have the original, non-WR version of the Pentax 55-300 zoom. I would rate its image quality as good (especially at the price), but not great. For instance, my Pentax 12-24 and Sigma 17-50mm lenses are definitely sharper. However I wanted the additional reach and lower cost than the DA*60-250mm would provide.

I have seen much improvement in AF over my K10D (as would be expected). I have had no issues with it at all, but I have no way to compare it to the Nikon.
06-02-2015, 08:05 AM   #8
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Between the Nikon D7000, Canon 70D, and Pentax K-3, I was never able to create a situation where one camera would hunt in low light and another would not. They all seem to be about the same in that regard. Both the Nikon and Canon were faster to achieve auto-focus lock. The
Nikon D7000 is built like a Mercedes and makes great looking JPGs straight out of the camera, but I shoot RAW and didn't care to dig through the menus to change settings. There are cheap Nikon lenses and there are good Nikon lenses. I couldn't afford the good ones.

The Canon 70D has great specs and is light-weight (plasticky). The articulating touch screen seemed like a neat idea, but it was flimsy and frustrating to work with. Built in WiFi was also frustrating to use. The rotating selector wheel on the back didn't please me. Its a good "on a tripod in the studio" camera tethered to a computer. I went through ten lenses and found one that I really liked. Canon makes lots of lenses. Many seem to be on par with Pentax kit lenses. I never bought any L lenses.

The K-3 is solid and does what I want it to do. I have the DA Limiteds and a DA*50-135 and I couldn't be happier. I have no need to upgrade to a K-3ii or full-frame.

06-02-2015, 08:14 AM   #9
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maybe a used "Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro AF Lens for Pentax AF" would do the trick ^^ it has many good reviews and I believe them !

I've never shoot Nikon but I can say Pentax works wonder for me (check out my photos in my signature and see(critique) for yourself ).
Btw, K3 is awarded 'Best DSLR Expert' 2014 by the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) so you can't go wrong with it ^^
06-02-2015, 11:52 AM   #10
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My K-3 focuses very accurately but sometimes I feel it struggles with action shots and moving targets. I have no doubts that it could be my technique. Try looking into that between Nikon and Pentax. I am sincerely curious what you discover.
06-02-2015, 01:54 PM   #11
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Thank all of you very much. Your opinions have changed my view on the whole thing again. Hopefully tomorrow I will try out the K-3 in my own hands an tell how is it feeling. And as Dipsoid recomended I tried looking up some night photos on flickr and the D7100 is good, but in my opinion the K-3 is superb among APSC cameras. Thnaks again guys, more thoughts tommorow
06-02-2015, 02:46 PM   #12
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I will add a couple of other factors for you to consider (but please keep in mind that I haven't used Nikon).

1) I do a lot of of outdoor photography, so one of the main reasons I chose Pentax was because of the availability of highly weather-resistant camera bodies, lenses and flash. It was a good choice.
2) The Pentax K-3 feels a little smaller and lighter in my hands that similar cameras by Nikon and Canon.
3) If you are relatively new to advanced photography AND you benefit from "hands-on" instruction by teachers, you will get less help/support if you shoot Pentax - because most instructors aren't familiar with it. The area of instruction where the lack of knowledge (on the part of my instructors) was most noticeable (and problematic) related to flash photography and studio lighting.
4) This is more of a "gut reaction" than a reasoned conclusion based on evidence, but I believe that it is somewhat easier to get good, consistent results with flash using a Nikon than with Pentax. So if flash photography is your thing, you might want to get more input on Nikon versus Pentax from someone who is experienced with both systems.
5) Pentax has some wonderful lenses (and I love its weather-sealed, moderately priced zooms like the 18-135 and 55-300, which have quite good image quality). But there is a wider range of lenses for Nikon and at least some of them are going to be better-priced than Pentax.
6) Check out the reputations of the camera repair services that provide service under warranty for Pentax and Nikon where you live. In the USA right now, a number of Pentax users are rather unhappy with the contracted repair service (Precision Repair). The reported problems are significant enough that I am thinking twice about buying any new, expensive lenses - until I see whether or not the service is improved or the company is replaced.
06-02-2015, 08:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dipsoid Quote
I'm sure there are situations where autofocus on the 7100 beats out the K-3, but I think that's in very precise situations, I think 99% of the time the K-3 will suffice.
Definitely! The K-3 has very decent AF, but the Nikon is capable of predictive AF and is generally faster than the K-3.

Casting the AF bit aside, it comes down to handling and system-specific features. Image quality between the two cameras is essentially equivalent. Nikon has great flash integration. Pentax has IBIS and virtual AA filter. Both have excellent legacy lens support and attractive offerings for APS-C sensor.

Steve
06-03-2015, 09:42 AM   #14
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So today I went to the photography shop and wanted to try out the K-3 in my own hands, unfortunately they didnt have it in stock so I wasnt able to. But I actually had held the K-3 in my hands once, but only in powered off state, due to the lack of battery (it was in a showroom and all the cameras there havent had battery either). The body felt really more solid than the D7100 and in my opinon it has brighter and overall better viewfinder than the nikon as well. So my thoughts now are, do I even loose something when I choose the pentax over the nikon?
06-03-2015, 09:55 AM   #15
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You loose the privilege of telling everyone you see with a camera "I have a Nikon".

I also suspect there is a secret Nikon service whereby they download images into your camera so you don't actually have to use it to take any pictures.

In all seriousness, whatever "cooking" Nikon does to the straight-out-of-the-camera JPGs sure makes them look good.
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