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08-30-2015, 11:44 AM - 4 Likes   #1
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Switchers: what brought you here!

Pentax, admittedly, is a niche player. As is, well, anybody else but Nikon and Canon. But Pentax seems a little more niche than the others. For converts from other systems, what has brought you here?

As for me, I spent 25 years in newspapers using primarily Nikon and Canon. Went small and light with m43 and wanted more, so went with a Pentax K5II in 2013 for a summer. Loved the IQ, the ergonomics, the 16-50 and 50-135, but the C-AF was lacking. The reach with the 50-135 was a bit short as well. I spent a lot of time at the pool as both my daughters were in swim team and the AF was OK, but not great, so ended up in the Nikon camp. The AF was fast, but the D7000 wasn't nearly as nice to use as the K5II. It was also so big (the whole kit) and I wouldn't take it with me. Shooting was a chore.

A pro friend bought into Sony and the A6000, and claimed it the greatest camera since who knows when. I jumped. AF was great, but the camera had no soul - and a horrible lens selection. Fuji called. I'd always wanted an X-Pro 1 since its introduction. Loved it, it slowed me down, IQ was brilliant and the Fuji 23 and X-Pro 1 blew the A6000 and Zeiss 24 away as far as IQ. But the photojournalist in me wanted a more versatile kit (even if I didn't really need it). The X-T1 called as I wanted some extra reach with the 55-200. Again, loved the IQ but the camera was slow and funky ... Olympus E-M1 time. If I was still a news photographer, the Oly kit would be my current choice. Small, light, great reach and more than adequate IQ. A kit like that would have saved my back from years of carrying a fully-loaded Domke bag. While, if I was honest with myself, the IQ is more than good enough for my needs, I kept getting drawn back to the Fuji files. For me, the Xtrans sensor is sublime. I gave the X-T1 another try. A few firmware upgrades and the camera had transformed into a much better machine. I added the 18, 35 and 55-200. Nice little kit, but while the camera was weather resistant, none of the lenses were. To upgrade I would need the 16-55 and 50-140. I never bought those, they are expensive and huge and I kept thinking of my old Pentax 50-135. Much smaller, half the price and optically close to the Fuji. Whatever weight the Fuji body saves, those lenses negate the size and weight savings. I didn't make any changes with the Fuji gear but was thinking of where to go ...

Then my daughter needed a new camera for her eighth-grade photography class. Pentax was my first thought - a used K20D and 18-55 for $150 beats anything Canikon could offer. And then I realized Pentax was an option for me, but this time with the 60-250 for the extra range I missed with my original 50-135. Fuji went for sale and my return to Pentax was complete with a K5II, 16-50 and 60-250. I can fit the Pentax kit in the same bag as my Fuji kit, and although it weighs a bit more, it isn't that much bigger and I an still carry it with me everywhere. I do want to add a K3II (the money wasn't there this time around) and Limiteds, but that is down the road ....

Pentax, in my mind, is the best bang for the buck for build quality, IQ and optical quality.

08-30-2015, 11:49 AM   #2
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Your local camera stores have done very well out of you, Jeff ... you must get an invite to all their Christmas parties. ☺

Welcome back.
08-30-2015, 11:59 AM   #3
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Autofocus. How many people will flock to Pentax, loving the feel and handling of the bodies, the lenses, but needed better focus?

That is the only thing that frustrates me with the K-3.

The coming full frame and next iteration of the apsc could be turnaround products for Pentax.

Last edited by derekkite; 08-30-2015 at 12:53 PM.
08-30-2015, 11:59 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Your local camera stores have done very well out of you, Jeff ... you must get an invite to all their Christmas parties. ☺

Welcome back.
Surprisingly, I've pretty much used the same pool of money. Carefully shopping for "bargains." Sadly, there are no camera stores in Tucson (ok, one teeny tiny one if you want to be technical).

08-30-2015, 01:29 PM   #5
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I use to be a Canon shooter, loved that 5D and the quality of the photos it took. But I was getting tired of the weight, size, cost of good quality lenses for it. I wanted something smaller & lighter that was weather proof and with build in shake reduction. I started looking around and at the time it was either a mirrorless camera or Pentax. I decided the Pentax met my requirements. I sold all my Canon gear then purchased the K-5 II and started a lens collection. I haven't regretted it at all. Now I have a K-S2 and will be selling the K-5 II.
08-30-2015, 02:11 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffryscott Quote
Pentax, admittedly, is a niche player. As is, well, anybody else but Nikon and Canon. But Pentax seems a little more niche than the others. For converts from other systems, what has brought you here?

As for me, I spent 25 years in newspapers using primarily Nikon and Canon. Went small and light with m43 and wanted more, so went with a Pentax K5II in 2013 for a summer. Loved the IQ, the ergonomics, the 16-50 and 50-135, but the C-AF was lacking. The reach with the 50-135 was a bit short as well. I spent a lot of time at the pool as both my daughters were in swim team and the AF was OK, but not great, so ended up in the Nikon camp. The AF was fast, but the D7000 wasn't nearly as nice to use as the K5II. It was also so big (the whole kit) and I wouldn't take it with me. Shooting was a chore.

A pro friend bought into Sony and the A6000, and claimed it the greatest camera since who knows when. I jumped. AF was great, but the camera had no soul - and a horrible lens selection. Fuji called. I'd always wanted an X-Pro 1 since its introduction. Loved it, it slowed me down, IQ was brilliant and the Fuji 23 and X-Pro 1 blew the A6000 and Zeiss 24 away as far as IQ. But the photojournalist in me wanted a more versatile kit (even if I didn't really need it). The X-T1 called as I wanted some extra reach with the 55-200. Again, loved the IQ but the camera was slow and funky ... Olympus E-M1 time. If I was still a news photographer, the Oly kit would be my current choice. Small, light, great reach and more than adequate IQ. A kit like that would have saved my back from years of carrying a fully-loaded Domke bag. While, if I was honest with myself, the IQ is more than good enough for my needs, I kept getting drawn back to the Fuji files. For me, the Xtrans sensor is sublime. I gave the X-T1 another try. A few firmware upgrades and the camera had transformed into a much better machine. I added the 18, 35 and 55-200. Nice little kit, but while the camera was weather resistant, none of the lenses were. To upgrade I would need the 16-55 and 50-140. I never bought those, they are expensive and huge and I kept thinking of my old Pentax 50-135. Much smaller, half the price and optically close to the Fuji. Whatever weight the Fuji body saves, those lenses negate the size and weight savings. I didn't make any changes with the Fuji gear but was thinking of where to go ...

Then my daughter needed a new camera for her eighth-grade photography class. Pentax was my first thought - a used K20D and 18-55 for $150 beats anything Canikon could offer. And then I realized Pentax was an option for me, but this time with the 60-250 for the extra range I missed with my original 50-135. Fuji went for sale and my return to Pentax was complete with a K5II, 16-50 and 60-250. I can fit the Pentax kit in the same bag as my Fuji kit, and although it weighs a bit more, it isn't that much bigger and I an still carry it with me everywhere. I do want to add a K3II (the money wasn't there this time around) and Limiteds, but that is down the road ....

Pentax, in my mind, is the best bang for the buck for build quality, IQ and optical quality.
Started with Pentax MX back in the days. After my beloved MX was stolen, based on a pro friend's recommendation, I went to Nikon (FM2, FE2, F3). When digital came out, I went to Fuji S1 then Canons for the rest of my ride until I bought a K5IIs package with the Three Amigos which overlapped with my Canon 6D. I sold the Canon gear and stayed with Pentax. Later upgraded to K3. Like you, I am not thrilled with the Pentax autofocus system. As I mentioned, I have the Three Amigos, the 16-45, Sigma 10-20, F50 2.8 macro and a bunch of M42 and a few Pentax 645 lenses. Overall, I am more than happy with the quality of the Pentax system images. The three Amigos are unmatched by Canon or Nikon. The SR is a major advantage, Pentax small primes are second to non in quality and workmanship. The only thing I am missing is a longer zoom and mid-range zoom. I am looking at the Tamron 70-200 as I can not justify Pentax 70-200 price.

Now that I shoot more nature and landscapes, I have become interested in the Sony FF offerings. I am waiting to see what Pentax has to offer in the FF arena before my final decision on the future of my FF system. After the switch to Pentax, I have invested in FA lenses in anticipation of a Pentax FF. If my work involved video, I would have ordered the Sony A7RII already as I know Pentax will most likely come up short in the video department of whatever the FF camera we see. Not being a video guy and wanting a lower price which I fully anticipate from an FF Pentax, I am going to wait a little longer before a final decision. One of the greatest advantages of the Sony FF mirrorless is the fact that it would allow me to use every single lens I already own Pentax or otherwise.

With a Pentax camera around my neck, I am the odd man out in my pro photographer friend gatherings. They are all curious as to why I switched from Canon until they see the images that come out of my K3 and the FA limited lenses. Then they all start marveling at the quality and compactness of the K3 and "Leica like" quality of the lenses at Pentax prices. Now, if that is not a winning combo, then I don't know what is!
08-30-2015, 03:39 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffryscott Quote
Switchers: what brought you here!
Sand!!!

Nikon F3 dust seals weren't as good as LX ones.
08-30-2015, 04:44 PM   #8
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I never switched away from Pentax but when I went digital I did look around. Honestly it's the very high quality gear in a small package that keeps me here.

08-30-2015, 04:52 PM   #9
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I had a nikon, but I never liked it, the menu was hard to find anything and it was getting old, everything above 400iso was so noisy, so I just started looking around. I had a pentax k1000 and thought, wouldn't it be neat if I could use my old lenses and then I found out I could! after reading about the wr and some other things, I didnt even consider nikon or canon anymore.
08-30-2015, 07:04 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffryscott Quote
Pentax, admittedly, is a niche player. As is, well, anybody else but Nikon and Canon. But Pentax seems a little more niche than the others. For converts from other systems, what has brought you here?

As for me, I spent 25 years in newspapers using primarily Nikon and Canon. Went small and light with m43 and wanted more, so went with a Pentax K5II in 2013 for a summer. Loved the IQ, the ergonomics, the 16-50 and 50-135, but the C-AF was lacking. The reach with the 50-135 was a bit short as well. I spent a lot of time at the pool as both my daughters were in swim team and the AF was OK, but not great, so ended up in the Nikon camp. The AF was fast, but the D7000 wasn't nearly as nice to use as the K5II. It was also so big (the whole kit) and I wouldn't take it with me. Shooting was a chore.

A pro friend bought into Sony and the A6000, and claimed it the greatest camera since who knows when. I jumped. AF was great, but the camera had no soul - and a horrible lens selection. Fuji called. I'd always wanted an X-Pro 1 since its introduction. Loved it, it slowed me down, IQ was brilliant and the Fuji 23 and X-Pro 1 blew the A6000 and Zeiss 24 away as far as IQ. But the photojournalist in me wanted a more versatile kit (even if I didn't really need it). The X-T1 called as I wanted some extra reach with the 55-200. Again, loved the IQ but the camera was slow and funky ... Olympus E-M1 time. If I was still a news photographer, the Oly kit would be my current choice. Small, light, great reach and more than adequate IQ. A kit like that would have saved my back from years of carrying a fully-loaded Domke bag. While, if I was honest with myself, the IQ is more than good enough for my needs, I kept getting drawn back to the Fuji files. For me, the Xtrans sensor is sublime. I gave the X-T1 another try. A few firmware upgrades and the camera had transformed into a much better machine. I added the 18, 35 and 55-200. Nice little kit, but while the camera was weather resistant, none of the lenses were. To upgrade I would need the 16-55 and 50-140. I never bought those, they are expensive and huge and I kept thinking of my old Pentax 50-135. Much smaller, half the price and optically close to the Fuji. Whatever weight the Fuji body saves, those lenses negate the size and weight savings. I didn't make any changes with the Fuji gear but was thinking of where to go ...

Then my daughter needed a new camera for her eighth-grade photography class. Pentax was my first thought - a used K20D and 18-55 for $150 beats anything Canikon could offer. And then I realized Pentax was an option for me, but this time with the 60-250 for the extra range I missed with my original 50-135. Fuji went for sale and my return to Pentax was complete with a K5II, 16-50 and 60-250. I can fit the Pentax kit in the same bag as my Fuji kit, and although it weighs a bit more, it isn't that much bigger and I an still carry it with me everywhere. I do want to add a K3II (the money wasn't there this time around) and Limiteds, but that is down the road ....

Pentax, in my mind, is the best bang for the buck for build quality, IQ and optical quality.
Ha, this sounds like me... My first "real camera" was a K-5, nearly every brand out there with a kr, kx, k30,k50 and k3 in between (including selling my sony a7ii for a pair of Nikon d750s) and I am back with a ks2 with kit 18-50, 50-200 and the amazing 100macro wr as my outside camera(can not say I fully trust Nikon "weather sealed" jargon as they in no way back it up---at all, unlike Pentax that I fully trust and have on several occasions put to the test and passes successful with flying colors, just can't beat literally not having to worry about your gear in the rain, around and "fountains" with your kids, or the occasional slip/slide into a creek-- I will own a Pentax line of gear as long as I am shooting, until I can't anymore ... Bring on the FF so I can trade out my nikons :-)
08-31-2015, 06:56 AM   #11
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The death of Sony A-mount. Especially since Sony doesn't admit it, but wants to shove there A7 cameras to everyone instead.
08-31-2015, 08:27 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffryscott Quote
Switchers: what brought you here!
When did that happen? ~20 years ago, I was primary a Minolta shooter. Then came the A-mount, and all suddenly I found my beloved MC/MD lenses would not be supported anymore! So I knew I had tho switch. A few years later, when the time came, I found Canon did same thing: they moved forward and left the users behind.
So the decision was between Nikon and Pentax. Well, that was an easy decision, since I had started to collect some nice M42 lenses, and they won't go on Nikon.
I used Nikon for a short while for some paid projects, but sold everything right after the projects were done. Pentax is my OWN CAMERA since then. I added NEX system a few years ago, but it won't replace Pentax, even after I had spent maybe more $ in E-system. I originally just wanted to use NEX as digital film for Minolta lenses.
It is hard to say why, maybe color, maybe the concept of making photo gear small and light-weight rather than huge and heavy, maybe the feeling in my hand and the manual system, maybe as a shooter from film era so I don't care AF and shooting speed that much, or maybe just because I have too many PK lenses...I will stay.
08-31-2015, 09:43 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by btnapa Quote
... The only thing I am missing is a longer zoom and mid-range zoom. I am looking at the Tamron 70-200 as I can not justify Pentax 70-200 price...
Since you have the three amigos (of which I am quite jealous) I'm assuming you mean a 70-200 f/2.8, which I can see being a bit pricy. In the meantime, you might want to pick up a cheap Pentax 50-200 to fill in the hole. Unless you do most of your shooting in low light the 50-200 is pretty versatile.

I snagged a DA 50-200 WR for less than $80 eBay and it's pretty impressive for such a small lens. (I think it's about the size of an 18-55 kit lens, perhaps slightly bigger) You can get the non-WR and DA-L versions even cheaper too. The 50mm at the wide end makes it much more useful than an older Sigma 70-300 I used to use. The IQ is also better up to 200mm so I can crop to make it a 'fake 300mm' and it's just about as good as my older Sigma but 1/3 the size and easier to carry.

And if I eventually save up enough for a nice f/2.8 zoom, I'll still hang onto my 50-200 for when I need WR.
08-31-2015, 10:21 AM - 5 Likes   #14
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Originally Nikon then to Pentax. I honestly swithed because I was given a lot of stuff from my grandfather. So i was with Pentax for a while. I got the itch to try mirrorless, so I went all in with Fuji and the X-T1. Sizewise it was awesome. IQ was great. But the price was a bit high and i just didnt like the way Fuji handled. Too many eccentricities. I have heard it is a lot better after the latest firmware though.
So i switched to Canon to give full frame a shot with the 6D. The IQ was fantastic. I shoot a lot in the 1600-6400 ISO range. Honestly, rhis is where Canon sensors shine. A lot of people on the internet talk down about Canon sensors but it is only true up to ISO 800 that they laf behind. Anything above and they are highly competitive. I am not a landscape shooter and i like to shoot things in poor light that move (my toddler) and this is where the Canon shines.
Buuuuut... decent Canon lenses are big and $$$. There is no incentive for me to lug around huge glass since i dont get paid to do so. People that bitch and moan about the size of the Pentax 16-85 should really lug around the 24-105L for an afternoon. Or even more striking, the 100mm L macro vs the Pentax 100mm macro!
So with the K-3 and my smaller set of lenses i do lose some high ISO performance and but i gain a lot smaller kit that is cheaper.

The key with choosing the right camera eco system is to be true to yourself. They ALL have compromises (i have been in enough that i know this first hand). If i was a wedding photographer or a sports shooter I would go Canon. If i was landscape shooter, i would get a D810. If i was a street shooter, i would get an Olympus. Pentax I consider a jack of all trades, but not really a master of any. But that is not a slight of Pentax in anyway, it is a compliment.

Last edited by cali92rs; 08-31-2015 at 11:55 AM.
08-31-2015, 05:03 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheOneAndOnlyJH Quote
I'm assuming you mean a 70-200 f/2.8
And if I eventually save up enough for a nice f/2.8 zoom, I'll still hang onto my 50-200 for when I need WR.
Thank you for the heads up. Yes I am looking for a fast zoom in the 70-200 range. Pentax is too much $$$ as I do not shoot paid jobs that much anymore. I am reading a lot of good things about the Tamron so I am going to give it a try. Thanks again.
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