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09-11-2015, 08:28 AM   #1
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Pentax DLSR newbie question

Hi Everyone, I am a long time lurker, but this is my first post in Pextax Forum.
Lately I have been reshuffling my gears and re-thinking which gear will give me the best compromise between IQ I am looking for vs Usability (as in pleasure to use).
Any insights or suggestions based on my situation below is appreciated (sorry for the long post, but i feel it's best to give some background).

I am not loyal to a particular brand and recently have had experiences with the following: Ricoh GR, Fuji XE1, Olympus EM1, Panasonic GF7, Sony A7ii
The one camera that i find best compromise is Ricoh GR and one that I intend to keep.
Now I am looking for a camera with lenses to cover normal (40-50ish) and short tele for portrait (75-100ish).

M4/3 is the perfect size and weight. Oly EM1 and Pana GF7 are a pleasure to use for different use cases. However, when it comes to portrait, I am always wanting more background blur, unless i use the 75mm (150mm equiv). However, i often find 75mm lens to be too long.

Sony A7ii + 55mm gives excellent result, but portrait lenses to get too big for my taste. I currently am playing with OM 100mm f2. Great lens, but heavy and large after you add the adapter.

So in my search, i keep an open option and was looking back at Fuji options namely with 23mm f1.4 and 56mm f1.2 lenses.
At the same time, I rediscovered Pentax 31mm and 77mm, which sounds like the perfect combo for my use case.

Here are some questions I would like to answer:
1. How does overall image quality compare between Fuji and Pentax?
2. On paper Pentax bodies are heavier than the mirrorless ones above, but i wonder if in use they are fine since the lenses I would use are fairly light.
3. I am a bit of a gear head and like to play with prof level cameras, so at this point, I am leaning toward K-3 and K-3II. Any insights appreciated. Devil's advocate for K-S2 are welcome as well
4. Since Pentax bodies are weather resistant, which 3rd lens should i get that is a. WR, b. inexpensive c. smallish for those few times that WR is useful

Alright, that's all for now.
Thank you in advance
Berhen

09-11-2015, 09:11 AM   #2
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Those two Pentax lenses are considered crown jewels of the lineup and are as good as any on the market. One thing to consider, though, is that Fujinons have for a very long time had a very distinctive rendering style of their own, which many people find highly desirable, so perhaps it would be useful to take a trip over to flickr and compare samples taken with the respective lenses on each system.

The Pentax bodies with their magnesium alloy chassis and mirrors are definitely heavier, which I personally prefer, as I find it feels more balanced in teh hand than most of the newer mirrorless options, particularly as you get into longer ranges

Both the K-3 and K-3II are wonderful cameras, but if money is no object and you won't miss the on-board flash, I'd go with the II, since it integrates 2 very cool features in the GPS/Astrotracer and the pixel shift superresolution. Wifi on both requires the additoin of the Pentax FluCard. The K-S2 has integrated Wifi and an articulated screen, and is significantly smaller and lighter, and is more of a medium entry level camera than the Pro-sumer grade K3 siblings. I question weather its weather resistance will be as robust as either of the higher level cmaeras, but I haven't seen any comparative testing, so take that with a grain of salt.

Most of the WR lenses are zooms and tend to be larger, but the recently rrleased 18-50mm collapsible lens does store down to a petite size. It is cheap, but bear in mind that it's a kit lens and won't have the quality of the higher-end * offerings. There is a 100mm macro prime that is WR that you might be interested in, but it might be a little too sharp and flat for portrait use. It can be found for around $400.
09-11-2015, 09:41 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bwidjaja Quote
M4/3 is the perfect size and weight. Oly EM1 and Pana GF7 are a pleasure to use for different use cases. However, when it comes to portrait, I am always wanting more background blur, unless i use the 75mm (150mm equiv). However, i often find 75mm lens to be too long.

Sony A7ii + 55mm gives excellent result, but portrait lenses to get too big for my taste. I currently am playing with OM 100mm f2. Great lens, but heavy and large after you add the adapter.

So in my search, i keep an open option and was looking back at Fuji options namely with 23mm f1.4 and 56mm f1.2 lenses. At the same time, I rediscovered Pentax 31mm and 77mm, which sounds like the perfect combo for my use case.

Here are some questions I would like to answer:
1. How does overall image quality compare between Fuji and Pentax?
2. On paper Pentax bodies are heavier than the mirrorless ones above, but i wonder if in use they are fine since the lenses I would use are fairly light.
3. I am a bit of a gear head and like to play with prof level cameras, so at this point, I am leaning toward K-3 and K-3II. Any insights appreciated. Devil's advocate for K-S2 are welcome as well
4. Since Pentax bodies are weather resistant, which 3rd lens should i get that is a. WR, b. inexpensive c. smallish for those few times that WR is useful
First - the camera database here may help. There is also a side by side comparison option that may help.

Second - M4/3 has limited low light (high ISO) performance - is that a consideration for you or not?

Now on to your questions:
1) No idea the one Fuji I used was P&S and seemed about the same as Pentax in quality.
2) No idea what your tolerance level is. I recently switched from the K50 to the K3 and found the difference in size a non-issue despite my concerns that it would bother me.
3) KS-2 is smaller than the K3/K3II. The KS-1 is even smaller. I like a built in flash and do not do astrophotography and don't want GPS tagging in my pictures so the K3 was my choice vs. the K3II the difference in price helped that decision. The KS-1 can be had for a steal, it offers a lot of nice features but lacks WR and lacks the ability to control a remote P-TTL flash using the onboard flash. The KS2 has the same limitations other than WR. The K3ii likewise has the same limits as the KS2 in that respect. However if size is a major priority - look at the KS-1 or KS-2 (need the articulating screen? KS-2 is your only option).
4) Assuming you go with a WR body then the following options apply:
18-50 DC - small kit lens available with the KS2 - cheap, slightly lower IQ than the 18-55 WR, collapses to tiny size, Silent focus.
18-55 WR - Larger than the 18-50, but small lens. Good IQ but nothing stellar. Not prime results, also noisy.
18-135 DC - larger than the 18-55. Silent focus, good IQ, soft corners above 70-80mm.
16-85 DC - larger than the 18-135, better IQ.
HD 20-40 Limited, reasonably small prime-like lens with f/2.8 on the 20mm end and f/4 on the 40mm end. Prime level results should be expected.

Lens reviews here.
09-11-2015, 10:57 AM   #4
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@DCshooter, is K-S2 really that much lighter? Last I looked they may be about 150g or so difference. I would be more concerned about the grip height which I found in EM1 and A7ii (ended up adding base plate).
Also, between K3 and K3II, there seems to be only $100 difference new at B&H. Of course the K3 comes with vertical grip, but not sure i need that now and probably wont get much selling it.

@UncleVanya. To be honest, the articulating screen of K-S2 is tempting since I am spoiled with the mirrorless cameras. Between K3 and K3II, I also do not need astrophotography or GPS, but is that all the difference is for ~$150 more?

09-11-2015, 11:20 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by bwidjaja Quote
@UncleVanya. To be honest, the articulating screen of K-S2 is tempting since I am spoiled with the mirrorless cameras. Between K3 and K3II, I also do not need astrophotography or GPS, but is that all the difference is for ~$150 more?
With the K3II you also get the pixel shift capability which is great for static shots "in the studio". You LOSE the ability to control off camera P-TTL flashes with that handy pop-up flash. You would have to add an AF360FGZ on camera to control either another AF360FGZ or AF540FGZ. With the K3 you can control either of these off camera with the built in pop-up flash. Note that the K3/K3II models do not have an articulating screen. Several members have both K3's and KS2's and often shoot the KS2 - both cameras produce stellar photos.

---------- Post added 09-11-15 at 02:23 PM ----------

KS2 vs. K3
Size (W x H x D) 122 x 91 x 72.5 mm (4.8 x 3.6 x 2.85 in.) 131.5 x 100 x 77.5 mm
Weight 678 g (23.9 oz) with battery 715 g (800 g with battery and SD card)

Compare cameras here.

KS1 vs. K3
Size (W x H x D) 120 x 92.5 x 69.5 mm (4.75 x 3.65 x 2.75 in.) 131.5 x 100 x 77.5 mm
Weight 558 g (19.7 oz) 715 g (800 g with battery and SD card)
09-11-2015, 12:23 PM   #6
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I have the K3...I like the on board flash, it makes an excellent subject in the sun fill in, or subject between setting sun fill in...I've just taken some pretty dang nice photos of a flower framed in the setting sun and used the flash at -2 to give it some light but not blown out with a flash at +/- 0. I have a K-30, which was given to my 6 year old when I got the K3, I gave him a 18-55, nothing special optically, but not complete crap, and bought him a DA L 50-200 WR for $100 so he can join daddy when it rains. That lens isn't a home run either but not a ground out. I haven't seen a single Pentax lens that is complete garbage ever. I love my 18-135, and the two plastic fantastic's with hoods are great, I also really enjoy my Tamron 90mm 1:1 macro, very comparable to the 100mm Pentax minus the WR, which I would have bought, but at the time I was shooting a K-x, another good buy at the time and my intro into DSLR's.
09-11-2015, 03:39 PM   #7
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Continuing the thought process here.
Built in flash is not critical as i am used to EM1 and A7II.
Weight between KS2 and K3 is not huge relatively speaking since they are both already hefty to start with.

Pricing is interesting; they are not so different. Kind of surprising (in a good way) coming from mirrorless where prices start high and drop significantly in a matter of few months.
KS2 body @ B&H - $500
K3 @ ebay - $620
KS2 kit @ Costco - $650 including 18-50 and 55-200
K3 @ B&H - $750 including grip
K3II @ B&H - $850
09-11-2015, 04:30 PM   #8
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Came back to Pentax from Fuji and Olympus. Pentax offers a lot of bang for the buck. While the Limiteds don't have the speed of the Fuji's, the 15 and 70 (the two I'm most interested in, so I have better ideas on pricing) can be found used for the price of one Fuji lens. For someone on a budget, but with high expectations, Pentax offers a lot.

I added up the weight of my "wish list" gear and/or acquired gear and, using WR zooms and body (Pentax K5II, 16-50, 50-135 vs XT-1, 16-55, 50-140) and Pentax was only 20 or so grams heavier (and I could buy the entire kit for less than just the Fuji 50-140). I love the Fuji gear, but not the cost.

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