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07-24-2008, 01:25 PM   #1
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Using the K10D and Sony A 700

After using the K10D for over a year and a half and the Sony A 700 for 2 months I've reach the following conclusions. Printing up to and including 18 inches by 12 inches is what I do so that is what I use to judge the cameras. The differences between brands is not one of IQ at moderate ISO numbers, but one of ergonomics, lens preference, and cost. Once the cameras are learned, the use is equally easy, different in approach, but both are excellent in ergonomics. The K10D feels a little more rugged and would prefer it in bad conditions.

I feel confident in saying if the same static scene is shot in RAW with any 10 to 14 MP DSLR at 640 or slower ISO, processed by one person to their liking, then printed to 18 X 12, there is nobody on this board that could identify which photo came from what camera. Needless to say, equivalent lenses would have to be used. The quality would be so close ranking them by a large group of people would produce no winners or losers.

The K10D and older prime lenses make shooting static scenes a true joy along with being very affordable. The Sony A 700 combined with old affordable Minolta AF zoom lenses has amazing low light focusing along with lightning fast AF tracking. Even though the A700 does a better job of controlling noise than the K10D when shooting in the 400-3200 range it is still unacceptable to me for most shots over ISO 800 when printing to 18 X 12. There are some shots that are the exception but very seldom.

I'm looking forward to either Sony or Pentax coming out with a FF low MP count body that is moderate in size to use for the times higher ISO settings or a wide angle is needed.. It would be a bonus if they could also include built in image stabilization. My guess is I'd have to have a body similar to the Nikon D3 to be satisfied with large prints at ISO 800-1600. Having different bodies for specific needs is, IMO, an extension of the idea of having different lenses. When a body costs between $1,000-$1,500 it's not much different than buying a quality lens.

Yes I'd rather see Pentax have a full selection of bodies to cover all types of situations but I don't see that happening in my lifetime. Even if Pentax comes out with a fast AF model the lack of affordable, fast, and quality zoom lenses like the old Minolta AF lenses would make switching away from the A 700 very costly. For now the K10D with 5 quality primes and the A 700 with 3 very good zooms suits me well.

My conclusion is if you want to print up to 18 X 12 and like to shoot static images the best “Bang for your buck” is the K10D with FF primes. If you want to shoot events/ action, or low light get an A 700 with some old Minolta zooms. If you want to shoot high ISO the only real choice is the Nikon D3.

Just my take on what works for me.

Ken


07-24-2008, 01:53 PM   #2
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Interesting comparisons.
The Sony A700 sounds more comparable to the K20D than the K10D, but your experience is still helpful to know.

I think a lot of us have got our antennae up for the new Pentax FF dSLR coming out
07-24-2008, 02:12 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
I feel confident in saying if the same static scene is shot in RAW with any 10 to 14 MP DSLR at 640 or slower ISO, processed by one person to their liking, then printed to 18 X 12, there is nobody on this board that could identify which photo came from what camera. Needless to say, equivalent lenses would have to be used. The quality would be so close ranking them by a large group of people would produce no winners or losers.


This truth needs to be stated again and again, I think. Only when it has become a cliche that the rest of us groan at hearing again, will it enter the mind space of the general populace so that buyers of new digital cameras will realize in advance that the difference between this camera and that camera is, in most cases, NOT going to be a striking difference in the quality of the results.


QuoteQuote:
My conclusion is if you want to print up to 18 X 12 and like to shoot static images the best “Bang for your buck” is the K10D with FF primes. If you want to shoot events/ action, or low light get an A 700 with some old Minolta zooms. If you want to shoot high ISO the only real choice is the Nikon D3.
Well, there's also the Canon 5D, and now the Nikon D700 (which is pretty much the same as the D3 but costs a lot less), and Canon's got a replacement for the 5D coming out very soon as well.

And if you don't want to to spend over $2000, may I modestly suggest that the K20D does a tolerably good job at higher ISOs. It's not as good at, say, 25,000 as the D3/D700, that's true, but as a rule, when things get THAT dark, I go to sleep anyway.

Will
07-24-2008, 02:53 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote


Well, there's also the Canon 5D, and now the Nikon D700 (which is pretty much the same as the D3 but costs a lot less), and Canon's got a replacement for the 5D coming out very soon as well.

And if you don't want to to spend over $2000, may I modestly suggest that the K20D does a tolerably good job at higher ISOs. It's not as good at, say, 25,000 as the D3/D700, that's true, but as a rule, when things get THAT dark, I go to sleep anyway.

Will
As usual you are right about the other FF that are available. I should have included them.

The high ISO performance on the K20D is a different issue. Yes it's better than the K10D and when printing to 18 X 12 my guess is the A 700 and K20D are within spitting distance of each other. That to me is unacceptable. They are both maximum ISO 800 cameras for my purposes. IMO it will take a FF body to comfortably shoot at 800-1600.

Ken

07-24-2008, 03:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by regken Quote
... The high ISO performance on the K20D is a different issue. Yes it's better than the K10D and when printing to 18 X 12 my guess is the A 700 and K20D are within spitting distance of each other. That to me is unacceptable. They are both maximum ISO 800 cameras for my purposes. IMO it will take a FF body to comfortably shoot at 800-1600.

Ken
I've just had some A3 sized prints done from a client's annual report photoshoot. Images were from the K20D, Oly E3 and there were a few from the A700. The resolution difference of the K20D was obvious compared to the A700. Personally I have found the low light ability of the K20D pretty impressive even at ISO1600. It is definitely miles ahead of the K10D.
07-24-2008, 03:37 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
Personally I have found the low light ability of the K20D pretty impressive even at ISO1600.
Impressive yes, acceptable no, to me. Not at 18 X 12.
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