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09-04-2016, 12:51 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by roti Quote
@vodoc, I am somewhat surpised to hear that Pentax image quality is second to none. What makes it better? It is my impression that many top professional photographers choose Canikon, rather than Pentax. So I expect their image quality to be the best. Yes, lower end models are stripped down and there's a lot of marketing involved there, but the sensons are the same. At most they are one generation older and/or smaller in size.
Disclaimer: I am 100% amateur and far from a photo expert, yet I have developed a decent eye for composition and reasonable technical skills. My actual photographs have not caught up to that ideal though!

IQ is part science and part art, as you know. Opinions on IQ can be highly subjective. My thoughts on Canikon are not up to date and are specific to my personal experience. In my case, I rarely fell in love with any of the images I captured on a Canon 350D back in the day. Immediately after switching to a Pentax K200D, I started to really appreciate the "look" of the photos. The subtle differences in colors, the 3D quality, that ineffable something that makes a photo "pop" without being garish or artificial. It's especially pronounced with Pentax prime lenses IME/IMHO. Take a look at various members' photos in the Galleries. You'll hopefully see what I mean.

Agreed, Canikon is an industry standard and Pentax-toting pros are not commonly seen. The analogy that's often cited is the story of Betamax versus VHS; the superior technology lost out to the superior marketing strategy. The K-5 added whole new levels of professional-level features and the K-3 series, more still. Now that Pentax has a FF camera in the K-1, there is more impetus than before for demanding pros to move in the Pentax direction.

You have certainly come to a place where we all dig Pentax, so there will be an inherent bias. In my case, due to a very busy life, I did very little shooting for a few years until a recent family vacation. I was even thinking of moving to Canikon to reinvigorate my interest in photography. Then I took the Pentaxes to Ireland and fell in love again. (The weather sealing certainly did not hurt.)

YMMV of course!

09-04-2016, 01:02 PM   #17
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Although the Pentax K mount goes back to the 1970s, there have been changes to it. Recently Pentax made another revision (KAF-4, adding electronic aperture coupling) and IIRC only the K-1, K-3ii and K-70 are compatible (maybe the KS-2 as well). There is only one KAF-4 lens at this time (a consumer level 55-300 zoom, and there is a well regarded KAF-2 lens with similar specs available), but more will come, and these lenses will only work on the new bodies. So if you are looking to switch to Pentax, a newer body will work with all lenses, even the newest ones. An older body, e.g. the K-3, K-5, K-5ii, K-50 models, will work with ALMOST all Pentax mount lenses. Such a body may still be a good way to get into Pentax cheaply, but be aware that at some point you'll want to update to a newer body (probably sooner than you otherwise would), and you won't be able to use that one lens.
09-04-2016, 01:48 PM - 1 Like   #18
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You would have several options. All have approx. 100% fov pentaprism viewfinders. All are weather sealed.

K-50 - $430 w/kit lens (discontinued)
  • 650g / 850g w/kit lens
  • 16.3 MP
K-S2 - $527 / $647 w/kit lens
  • 678g / 878g
  • 20 MP, AA filter-less
  • Articulating LCD
K-70 - $647 body only
  • 688g / 888g
  • 24 MP, AA filter-less
  • Articulating LCD
K-3 - $700 body only (discontinued)

  • 816g / 1016g
  • 24 MP, AA filter-less
  • Magnesium body
K-3 II - $847 body only
  • 799g / 999g
  • 24 MP, AA filter-less
  • Magnesium body
>What about the menu system and shooting modes?


For Pentax they are all very similar. All of these cameras have two control dials and a significant amount of customization available. The main differentiator of the K-3 is the magnesium body.


>I am a little bit skeptical about the shake reduction feature.


I have only heard good things about Pentax's image stabilization. Perhaps more importantly lenses without VR built in can be smaller, lighter, and cheaper. For example the Tamron 17-50mm F/2.8 for Pentax vs. your version with VR (VC):
  • $499 (INT $237) vs. $649 (INT $370)
  • 74 x 84mm vs. 80 x 94mm
  • 430g vs. 570g
  • I've read that the VC version is optically inferior
09-04-2016, 02:13 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by wielandrew Quote
  • I've read that the VC version is optically inferior
Yes, the non VC is apparently better. I was planning to sell mine and getting the non-VC one, before thinking about buying a new camera body. See here: Tamron SP AF 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di II LD IF Lens Image Quality

09-04-2016, 02:18 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cthulhugan Quote
Such a body may still be a good way to get into Pentax cheaply, but be aware that at some point you'll want to update to a newer body
You are taking to photographers, everyone wants to upgrade to a newer body as soon as it hits the market . I've had a K-5 for 3 years, it was reduced in price because the K-5ii was being released. Sure, I'd love to have a K-3, or a K-1, but the K-5 is more than adequate for producing high-quality pictures. I have yet to outgrow its capabilities.

As for professionals and Pentax, I agree that a lot of it has to do with marketing. "All the Professionals use Canikon" is taken as universal truth, but take a look at the the photographs that results from using a Pentax, you can't tell the difference. That's part of the point, a good camera (and lens) only makes a good photographer a better photographer. Pentax offers cameras for every level of user, and with its lens compatibility across the brand, including third parties, it will be a long time before you can't find a lens to suit your needs.
Pentax offers the fully manual settings and functions I prefer, at high quality, and affordably.

The proof of the camera is in the shooting, so rent or borrow a Pentax DSLR and a few lenses and try it out on your own.
09-04-2016, 02:32 PM   #21
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It is acknowledged that Pentax does not have the density of AF points that other manufacturers put in their cameras, and there is a claimed deficit in continuous AF tracking of objects moving rapidly towards and away. This is said to be why Pentax is generally not favoured by sports photographers. To what extent this might be mitigated by good photographic technique is a matter for debate.

The problem with in-body stabilisation in mirrorless, as I understand it, is that because the sensor has to move left and right or up and down at the very least to do its stabilisation thing, one requires a bit of excess image circle around the sensor, and it's difficult to do this in a short-flange mount (ETA and maintain acceptable sharpness and lack of distortion at the edges) without pulling some very clever optical tricks which make the lens very expensive to make, or without cheating in software (e.g. you need auto vignetting correction even to get a good basic image).

Pentax's image circle is sufficiently large and the distance from mount flange to sensor so long, that there is plenty of wriggle room for APS-C stabilisation to play with - in fact, the APS-C image circle is SO large that some lenses technically rated as DA only (designed for crop) were found to be usable on full frame even before the K-1 came out, whether mirrorless with adapters or with older Pentax film cameras that have the required electronics to read and control the DA lenses.

I don't own a K-1 myself yet, so I can't tell how many of these just-good-enough (or in some cases more than just-good-enough) lenses handle with the full-frame shake reduction turned on, but it would seem that the "older" mount with its longer flange distance actually confers an advantage (or perhaps a not-disadvantage) in this respect.

Fuji, it seems, recognised the issues that a very short flange distance would force on them when trying to install shake reduction and determined not to go there; Pentax discovered that it was eminently possible with what they had and ran with it, and with the Pentax strong suit being in legacy lens support, this was all the more reason to try. No, it will not work miracles, and you still have the issue of motion blur at very low shutter speeds, but it is enough for me that I can hand hold a lens up to three shutter speeds slower than I otherwise might (the K-1 will manage five, I believe) and get a result which for my purposes is acceptable.
09-04-2016, 03:53 PM   #22
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roti get the K3II. You will not regret it. Don't worry about the autofocus. Frankly I find all the talk about what autofocus system is better a lot of nonsense. The K3II has everything you are looking for and a lot more. No other brand comes close to the K3II for price and features.

There are a lot of old Pentax lenses you can get fairly cheaply that do an outstanding job for portraiture. The SMC A-50 ƒ1.4 is an excellent portrait lenses. Take a look at the lens database here at Pentaxforums to see what you have to choose from. Every lenses Pentax has made for the last 60 years can be used on the K3II and take advantage of the shake reduction system.
09-04-2016, 04:02 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rico Quote
There are a lot of old Pentax lenses you can get fairly cheaply that do an outstanding job for portraiture...
Why not buy a brand new lens and help Pentax rise?
To the OP: the suggestions you received about cameras are good, but disregard all notions about buying old lenses. Buy best possible new lenses you can, preferably of Pentax design, because you will get amazing quality. Any of the DA Limiteds is a great choice, and DA20-40 is excellent all-round lens that far surpasses any kit lens. Get K70, DA20-40, then some good semi-telephoto in the future, say DA70/2.4 and resist buying old lenses.
Save on camera body, but that difference put in lenses. Pentax needs buyers of new lenses, and your purchase will help Pentax team deliver more. Don't worry, you will never regret buying a good Pentax lens.


Last edited by Uluru; 09-04-2016 at 04:08 PM.
09-04-2016, 04:37 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Uluru Quote
Why not buy a brand new lens and help Pentax rise?
To the OP: the suggestions you received about cameras are good, but disregard all notions about buying old lenses. Buy best possible new lenses you can, preferably of Pentax design, because you will get amazing quality. Any of the DA Limiteds is a great choice, and DA20-40 is excellent all-round lens that far surpasses any kit lens. Get K70, DA20-40, then some good semi-telephoto in the future, say DA70/2.4 and resist buying old lenses.
Save on camera body, but that difference put in lenses. Pentax needs buyers of new lenses, and your purchase will help Pentax team deliver more. Don't worry, you will never regret buying a good Pentax lens.
Because the OP is on a budget. The OP stated at the beginning of this thread that they do not want a flip screen so uluru why are you suggesting they get a K-70?

No where did I say only get old lenses and it is rather ignorant to suggest to disregard the old lenses.
09-04-2016, 05:19 PM   #25
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K-3II (24 mp) or K-5IIS (16 mp), K-3II for most detail and more developed AF. Both take excellent images and are nicely styled/featured.
09-04-2016, 05:25 PM - 5 Likes   #26
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I figure that I might as well add a few comments....
  • Autofocus - Canon and Nikon undoubtedly have the best fastest autofocus and tracking. Pentax's autofocus is a tad bit slower, but it does lock accurately. The autofocus has been under constant improvement for quite a while. In its latest version in the K1 - it's said to lock very fast, and it tracking has been criticized as not as good as with C&N. However, there are a number of threads showing the AF locking on speeding dirt bikes just fine. The reviewers always have to find something to harshly criticize with Pentax. Here is an article from a German magazine that did an analysis of Pentax's AF system. The bottom line was that it was a bit slower, but more accurate in terms of lock. Also, Pentax has two types of AF - screw drive and AF motors. All Pentax bodies support both systems. Also, Pentax has two types of AF lock - phase detection and contrast detection and all CMOS sensor bodies support both. Phase detection is done via a separate sensor in the body and is done via the viewfinder, while Contrast Detection is done on the sensor and is used with liveview.
  • Shake Reduction - SR is one of the items that drew me to stay with Pentax when switching to digital 10 years ago. I have gone from the K100D, K20, K5 and now with the K5IIs, there has been no problems - it just works and works well. It works on all the lenses. There have been really no SR problems reported over the years. If you don't want it - just turn it off. Any camera brand is going to setup the discussion in terms that what they offer or have is the best. Fuji is unable to fit image stabilization into their body. Sony, Olympus and Pentax have it and it is well proven.
  • Image Quality - To be honest, everyone's image quality is excellent. You really have to take a technical approach and start splitting hairs, but there are differences. Canon produces their own sensors. They do a good job, but they lag behind in dynamic range. This makes a large difference in the details within shadows. That is born out and shown in the DXO measurements. Nikon uses Sony sensors as does Pentax. In models where both Nikon and Pentax use the same sensor (Nikon D7000 Pentax K5, Nikon D800/D810 and Pentax K1), Pentax has shown that they have been able to squeeze additional performance out of the sensor at a lower level of noise. Here is a Noise DB site. Just compare the Pentax K1 to the Nikon D810 - same sensor. Pentax has half the noise. Pentax has also pioneered super-resolution along with Olympus. Pentax uses pixel shifting to achieve a level of super resolution with their K3II and K1. The second link is a good review of pixel shifting and the results you can achieve with it. That is where the claim of "second to none" comes from. But, take a look for yourself - use the third link to compare like images across various camera bodies. Let your own eyes decide.
  • Modes, capabilities and functionalities - Pentax includes a lot more capabilities in to all of their models than what Canon does. Both Canon and Nikon makes you move up in their lines to get additional capabilities. For the most part Pentax does not do this - at least to the extreme level that C&N does it.
  • Professionals - Ok, yes there are professionals shooting Pentax - but not to the extent that you will find in C&N. There are professional photographers right here on the Forum. Canon owns about 50% of the camera market and Nikon owns something over 30%. Professionals tend to migrate where they are supported. Canon has a professional service department that will lend out and repair on a couple days notice. Pentax really does not have a professional support organization to compare. Also, you can get Canon or Nikon equipment just about anywhere. Pentax not so much other than over the web / mail order. That is what is going to drive professional use along with lenses. Canon has the largest selection of lenses bar none, followed by Nikon. Canon and Nikon has the best flash system bar none along with tethering and tethering support. Pentax covers all the major bases, but not to the extent of the other two. Professional photographers choose the other C&N based on support and selection - just not ONLY on image quality. Another aspect with pros is a full frame sensor. Pentax has delivered there with the K1 earlier this year. That is the one area that the professional shooters gravitated towards. Pentax has the 645 Medium Format, that attracted a lot of attention and use, but the full frame is where the professional photographer needs are.
  • Menu Systems - This in my opinion is pretty much personal preference based on what you are used to. Canon shooters hate Pentax's menu system - because they are different. I have read that since pros prefer Canon, that makes Pentax's menus garbage. Personally, I somewhat disagree. Once you are use to the menus, they are easy to use, and on the K5, K3, K1 camera systems - the control buttons relieve the use of the menus a great deal. Pentax menu systems are all very similar. What varies across models are the number of direct user control buttons that let you bypass the menus for the vast majority of shooting.
_________________

I too am on a fixed budget. I just retired last Friday - 2 days ago now. I tend to buy the model that is being phased out, and skip at least one generation or perhaps two. Buying at the end of the model run, reduces the price a great deal. I shoot landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, night and astro. Ambient low level lighting - darkness, with long exposures. The tripod with a good head is my friend. I use a K5IIs and have not out grown it in the slightest. A K1 would be nice for the astro work since that would provide at least one extra stop in light gathering ability (larger sensor), among a few other things - like super resolution and the tilt screen. However right now I have skipped over the K3 and K3II. They offer additional capabilities - more resolution and super resolution. I don't know what I will do going forward, however right now I am not compelled to do anything other than go out and shoot with what I have.

Some additional thoughts....
  • Philosophy - Both Canon and Nikon are marketing machines. For whatever reason, Pentax cares little about marketing and tends to go the technical / engineering route. For example, let's take images right out of the camera. Let's start with RAW images. The reviewers, will say - wow! they are so sharp. Well Canon and Nikon pre-cook their RAW images a bit with some extra processing in the camera (they just don't tell you) - especially sharpening, so that they get that reaction from the reviewers. Thus, C&N are better image processors? better sensors? better images? Pentax does very little of that, since they want to preserve and deliver the most image detail possible to the photographer. By sharpening too early in the processing flow, you destroy some of the information (sharpening is the last step you want to do in processing). Same thing with the JPGs. Just about everyone else has much more processing in their JPG engines than Pentax. So out of the camera they look great. Pentax does the minimum in order to preserve detail. The photographer can process to taste and produce better output with better detail.

Last edited by interested_observer; 09-04-2016 at 06:41 PM.
09-04-2016, 05:46 PM - 1 Like   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by roti Quote
I am a little bit skeptical about the shake reduction feature. It's a nice to have, but does it come with a compromise? Fuji does not have in body image stabilization because it is incompatible with the lens mount (there is no space for the sensor to shift without compromising image quality, see here: “Our highest priority is always image quality”. Interview with Takashi Ueno and Shusuke Kozaki from Fujifilm Japan. | FUJI LOVE). How does Pentax do it, especially since they are using an old lens mount design? Fuji made a brand new mount and decided not to have in body stabilization. Pentax may have forced it into the body to have a competitive advantage over Canikon. In addition to that, stabilisation will help only partially in poor light conditions.

It's more than nice to have! And if you don't want to use it, you can just turn it off... As to why Fuji hasn't choose to use IBIS, their talk about lo IQ is BS... Because Fuji isn't able to dit doesn't mean it's not possible to fo it. Pentax, but also Sony and Olympus use IBIS and their IQ are not exactly second rate.



QuoteOriginally posted by roti Quote
@vodoc, I am somewhat surpised to hear that Pentax image quality is second to none. What makes it better? It is my impression that many top professional photographers choose Canikon, rather than Pentax. So I expect their image quality to be the best. Yes, lower end models are stripped down and there's a lot of marketing involved there, but the sensons are the same. At most they are one generation older and/or smaller in size.

For one thing, and as you have noted, the pro with Canon don't use the same gear as the one you're looking at. And there's a world in features, built quality and general performance between a high end pro model (and pro lenses) and and entry level one with consumer-level lenses. With a budget of 1000$, you're far away from what a pro uses (often more than 10 000$ in gear). The pro choose Canon because, mostly, they can find (buy or rent) almost any lens needed for a job, even if a highly specialized one is needed. For example, if you're on assignement to shoot a documentary on lions in Africa, you may absolutely need this 10 000$ Canon telephoto lens. But the reason a pro choose this is probably not really relevant if you're a hobbyist on a budget... And the last reason is the Canon Professional Service (aka CPS). If you're a pro, it is really great to know that you can get your gear repaired in a matter of hours or get a loaner to do your job. If you're not a pro, you can't use this service and, again, the reason why a pro choose Canon has nothing to do with the reality of the amateur photgrapher on a budget... This big advantage for a professional isn't one for an amateur since it doesn't have access to this pro service. It's somewhat like saying that because pro car drivers drive Ferrari and Mercedes, these should be the best buy for the everyday commuter on a budget.... The pros needs and goals are quite different than the ones of the non pros.


QuoteOriginally posted by roti Quote
What Pentax would you reccomend for me?
What are your general views and oppinions on Pentax as a brand? What's keeping you with Pentax, and what annoys you?

I would recommend a K-S2 or K-70. If you really want the best IQ, K-70 and its high resolution mode is unmatched at this price point.


What keep me with Pentax is quite simple: it offers me what I want at a decent price. More to the point, with Canon and Nikon I would have to buy at least a 80D or a D7xxx just to get dual wheel control. Which is for me a basic feature needed on any serious camera. And IBIS is just great. Having all lenses stabilized is really useful. And not asking myself everytime I buy a lens if I take the stabilised version or the cheaper non stabilsed one is something I really like...


What annoys me is the lack of cheap flash and radio flash trigger. Although many people pointed the AF as a downside, I must say that for me it hasn't been a problem and has proved itself good enough in everyday use. But I'm not doing sports or action photography...
09-04-2016, 06:22 PM - 6 Likes   #28
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Lots of stuff here...... anyway.... I'd recommend a K3II...... very rugged camera, still current, fixed screen etc. slightly heavier then you may have hoped, but quite compact. You will find it a revelation once accustomed to it over your Canon. Focusing etc with it is great for a $1k camera. Get a modern zoom such as 16-85 or if size matters the 20-40. After a while, I'd recommend exploring some of the small limited primes..... you may fall for them.... lots here have....same for older lenses.

Pentax IBIS is a great and reliable feature.... anybody that says different is plain ignorant....or is a lier.

Shot a couple of days ago with an old lens.... a quick hand held back yard snap..... dime a dozen shot.




Typical K3 travel snap...with DA21


Last edited by noelpolar; 09-04-2016 at 08:45 PM.
09-04-2016, 07:07 PM   #29
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Shake reduction works. It works really well, and our works on every lens. Handheld I have dozens of shots with a 200mm lens shot at 1/30th sec without problems.

Old lenses are fantastic, but so are new ones. Both have strengths and weaknesses. I encourage comparison of old lenses it is enlightening.


Nikon's 'Worst' and 'Best' Zoom Lenses Compared
09-04-2016, 07:40 PM - 1 Like   #30
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I would take the "AF is not the best" with a pinch of salt. Usually people do this comment thinking about the flagship models where Nikon and Canon AF is better than Pentax AF. However on the entry level market, I don't think it is always the case.
And shake reduction works pretty well.
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