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04-11-2016, 07:33 PM   #1
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Time for an upgrade?

Hello all,

I've been looking around at what Pentax has been putting out in more recent years (k-5iis/k3ii) and even what other brands have been doing and thinking that maybe my camera (k5) might be getting a little outdated in terms of specifications. I'm somewhat new in the world of photography, it started as a hobby, and now I'm doing work for my college's newspaper. I guess my question is whether or not my camera is considered obsolete in today's day and age as for what people are looking for in image quality and performance. I am happy with a decent amount of the pictures I take, but I can't help think that there's a better camera out there to do the job. I like to photograph sports, wildlife, and landscapes.



I should also add that the only lenses I own for it are the 18-55 wr and 50-200 wr. Maybe time for a new lens, too?

Last edited by arden_clark; 04-11-2016 at 07:43 PM.
04-11-2016, 07:47 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums! The K5 is still a great camera. If I were you my first step could be investing in some better faster glass. That is the best money I have spent when it comes to camera equipment.
04-11-2016, 07:55 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by arden_clark Quote
I should also add that the only lenses I own for it are the 18-55 wr and 50-200 wr. Maybe time for a new lens, too?
If would start by adding a new lens or two, or perhaps by replacing your current lenses entirely. A nice replacement for the 18-55mm would be the 16-85mm:
HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 Review - Introduction | Reviews

Since it's wider and sharper, you'd be able to get better quality landscapes with it. The Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 would be another option if you plan to shoot close-ups or portraits, or in low light, and don't need the weather sealing.

The HD 55-300mm is also a nice upgrade over the 50-200mm, and the added reach would be an improvement for sports:
HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR Review - Introduction | Reviews

You could also go a step further and grab the DA* 60-250mm, which is an amazing lens.

Finally, I'd recommend adding a prime. Perhaps the DA 35mm F2.4, since it offers a "normal" angle of view and would be great for everyday snaps:
Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4 AL Review - Introduction | Reviews

The sensor in the K-5 is very good by modern standards, though the K-3 certainly pulls ahead thanks to the increased resolution, lack of an AA filter, and new metering system. The only thing that's really starting to show its age in the K-5 is the live view and the AF, and while the K-3 has way more features in a number of areas, the K-5 remains a solid camera.

I'd be happy to offer more advice if you have any specific questions

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04-11-2016, 08:07 PM   #4

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This is such an opinionated subject..

I say your K-5 is not obsolete but decent improvements have been made that could really aid in your endeavors. That said, while I'm not a sports shooter, Pentax wouldn't be my first or second choice for sports shooting if I was..

Two very opposites in terms of lens and camera features desired (sports vs landscape).

Really sports is one of the more pricier types of photography imo. You'll want a body with strong focusing ability and mated to a long, fast lens (read: $$$). It is the same situation for wildlife/birders.

My advice would be to do some searching/research on what other news photographers are using in lens specs (focal lengths, speed) and go from there.

But I'm wondering if your equipment is really getting in your way or if you just have a hunger for new and updated?

04-11-2016, 08:29 PM   #5
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Your camera is fine, as others have stated you may want to upgrade your glass. Then concentrate on learning your craft. I shot for my school's newspaper eons ago using a Pentax K1000 that the school owned because I killed the shutter on my dad's Canon AE-1. If you are not familiar with the K1000, it is an all manual film camera. It forced me to learn photography. Learning to use the tools you have will make you a better photographer.
04-11-2016, 10:10 PM - 1 Like   #6
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My son is travelling in Asia at the moment with my old K5, and taking really stunning images for his blog. Check out The K5 is a seriously good tool. You need better glass.

He is carrying three lenses: DA 18-135, DA 55-300, DA 50 f1.8 (plastic fantastic). You could go a long way with that combination.
04-11-2016, 10:11 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by arden_clark Quote
Maybe time for a new lens, too?
While perhaps a little older than some of the new models the k-5 is still a very good camera and the sensor in it is well respected. In fact some folks have stuck with it as they prefer it over the k-3.

Your lenses are what I would look at updating first. If you have the budget a good upgrade would be either the DA 16-85 or the DA 18-135 with either the DA*60-250 or the DFA*70-200. Those are all lenses you would keep for years and use on other bodies as you upgrade.
04-11-2016, 11:22 PM   #8
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I am keeping my K-5 simply because I like the way the camera and sensor records images, colours etc. I like the look. In fact I may purchase a K-5II from the forum marketplace at some time simply to preserve the ability to use those sensors for my images. That is not to say I won’t go on with new cameras, I own the K-3 which is a great camera all round, and one day I'll go for the K-1 and perhaps an LX.

04-12-2016, 01:40 AM   #9

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I'm going to keep my K5 till it dies. I have no desire to upgrade. Others might disagree but 16 megapixels could be the sweet spot for APSC sensors.
04-12-2016, 02:24 AM   #10
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A camera is not outdated until your capabilities exceed the camera's, or your photography requirements have changed, and you really need some feature that it does not posses - say, you took up sports photography and needed more fps or better AF. Having imparted that gem of wisdom, I have to confess that I'm a sucker for the latest and greatest that the photography world has to offer.... My motto is, "if you want it, get it!"
04-12-2016, 05:21 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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after spending ten years buying/selling cameras/lenses, changing formats, chasing megapixels, etc etc etc, i spent the last two years shooting the decade old 6mp epson rd1 as my 'go to'. it literally has no features, it doesnt even buffer shots. ive never been more happy with both my shooting experience and my results. i would still be using it if my circumstances had not changed requiring me to have a more sturdy, weatherproofed rig, thus my turning to pentax.

at the end of my odyssey, my personal lesson was that i was running in place. unless you require something specific youre not getting, its not about general resolution or features or outdated-ness, its about how much enjoyment you get out of using the equipment and looking at your results. of course, thats just my lesson. yvmv.

Last edited by rbelyell; 04-12-2016 at 05:27 AM.
04-12-2016, 05:40 AM   #12
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Since it's wider and sharper, you'd be able to get better quality landscapes with it. The Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 would be another option if you plan to shoot close-ups or portraits, or in low light, and don't need the weather sealing.

You could also go a step further and grab the DA* 60-250mm, which is an amazing lens.

Finally, I'd recommend adding a prime. Perhaps the DA 35mm F2.4, since it offers a "normal" angle of view and would be great for everyday snaps:
Pentax-DA 35mm F2.4 AL Review - Introduction | Reviews

In my own experience, cameras upgraded first with little attention paid to the glass used with them yields buyers remorse. I would look for new/used good glass as your camera is still very much a good camera.

I would add that the sigma 17-50 F2.8 is a fantastic lens as well. Plus the constant 2.8 aperture makes low light shooting much easier with proper technique.

I would also and the fantastic plastic DA L 50mm F1.8. This lens is both cheap and has great image quality.
04-12-2016, 05:42 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by arden_clark Quote
Hello all,

I like to photograph sports, wildlife, and landscapes.

I should also add that the only lenses I own for it are the 18-55 wr and 50-200 wr. Maybe time for a new lens, too?

Lenses first. Your K5 is capable of far more than those lenses. You're about to take the next step in photography - away from the basic kit.

I would ask yourself the essential question - what do you want to do first?

Landscape is probably the easiest with your current kit. The 18-55 is pretty good stopped down a bit and managing your settings.

That leaves wildlife and sports - these have overlap. Are you unhappy with your reach, and want longer lenses? Are you unhappy with their speed and focus performance, and want lenses with wider apertures and perhaps internal focus motors? The 70-200 lenses are likely the best for action right now, but they don't have an extreme reach you might want for birding, for example.

Then you can start looking into macro lenses if that's interesting. The forum is good for research - you can look at the images from others and learn what they're using.

I upgraded from the K5 to the K3II - I wanted the in-body GPS and removal of AA filter, for my field macro work. My images with the K5 were good, very good a lot of the time. The camera didn't let me down. It's amazingly rugged for a precision instrument.
04-12-2016, 06:34 AM   #14
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I'm still shooting my K-5 mainly for landscape and love it, although I will likely upgrade to K-1 for the larger pixel dimensions unless a 645Z lands on my lap for the same price or less. I make art prints; with newspaper work, you don't need that much resolution. With a grain or two of salt, the K-5 cameras still have the widest dynamic range of the Pentax DSLRs at DxOMark by 0.7 of a stop, which can be important in landscape work. With wildlife, sports and news photography, however, a faster and more accurate autofocus system maybe more important to you. This time with a few lumps of salt, DxOMark rates the K-5 as a better sports camera than the K-3 II, but not as good as the K-3. (Sports ratings are based on based on "Low-Light ISO." Lastly, how much video work do you need to do for your college newspaper? Do you think this will become more important to you as you go forward with your career? If so, is the K-5 video sufficient for now? If not, you may need to upgrade on the latter two points (low ISO and video performance). Otherwise, I'd follow the advice above on lenses as you see fit.
04-12-2016, 06:35 AM   #15

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I am in the same situation as you (except the lenses) and I have been searching for a replacement for my old K-5.

When the K-5II and K-5IIs came, I was disappointed with too little new features. Better AF and removed of AA-filter was tempting but not enough to defend the price difference between selling the K-5 and buying a K-5IIs. Then K-3 came and I was at first tempted by higher resolution and larger viewfinder, but after a while I still think its too little for an upgrade and I discovered some drawbacks on high ISO performance. Then the K-3II came to save the day, and while I like the GPS and astrotracer, the lack of built in flash is annoying, and the camera still have drawbacks on noise, compared to K-5. Both K-3 models also lack ISO 80, as the K-5 series have. I would also like a modern camera to have built in Wifi (not the slow Eyefinity card). Then the development of a FF camera was announced and now its here. I'm impressed by its features, but the price is a major drawback and I'm not fully satisfied with the sensor they choose. I find myself waiting for better options yet another time. The cheaper K-S2, K-50 and K-30 have been tempting options mostly because of the price, but I don't like that they miss 14 bit raw and a few other high end features like WR (K-S1) and 1/8000s shutter speed and so on.

All in all I think the K-5 still is a fantastic camera, even though there is things I would like improved. I can still discover or rediscover features that I love with it. Like catch-in-focus and composition adjustment function that I recently started to use.

I guess I'll be saving up for a black Friday offer on K-1 or just wait for something new.


Have in mind that I have a very different lens collection then you. If I where you, I would start exploring those options. Large aperture lenses (DA35, DA40, DA50, DA70), macro lenses (D-FA100), a manual fisheye lens and maybe a couple of old manual primes with large aperture. Many of those lenses are much fun for little money. I think primes are a nice way to complement zooms.

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