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10-09-2016, 06:14 PM - 4 Likes   #1
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The Grass Is Greener? Some Thoughts Over Shooting With Nikon For The Last Month

For the last month and a half, I've been shooting with Nikon cameras. First, I shot with the D5100. Every time I picked it up, my first thought was, "This feels like a toy." I really didn't like it. The menu on the camera feels pretty counter-intuitive too. I thought, "It's got to be because it's a D5100". Then, I got the chance to shoot with a D7100 and while it feels better, it still feels like a toy. The menu isn't much better either. I have to admit that for the last two years, every time I grabbed my K-3, a part of me wished I would have started with Canon or Nikon because of "all the things I'm missing out on shooting with a Pentax". Wow. was I wrong.

I didn't switch to Nikon, I just became my school's Yearbook adviser and Nikon is what our school has purchased over the last few years (we only have two cameras a D5100 and a D7100). I really wanted to get to know the cameras, so I shelved my K-3 and my new K-1 for a month (shelving the K-1 hurt...)

Here is what I learned from shooting with Nikon.

Disclaimer: No scientific studies were conducted for this. This is from a purely user experience/enjoyment perspective.

Menu & Button Layout. The Pentax menu options and button layouts are so much better. So many times when using the Nikons I've asked, "Why can't I just do this?..." The Pentax layouts are just so much better.

Autofocus. The autofocus on the Nikons are not really better. My main reason for wanting to switch to Nikon was always because of better autofocus. Compared to my old Kr, - yes. Compared to the K-3 - no. The K-3 actually locks focus so much faster than the Nikon. Accuracy really seems to be dependent on the situation. When the subjects are moving, it's really about the same (maybe a slight edge on the Nikon). When the objects are still, the K-3 seems so much more accurate.

Comfort. Can't compare. The K-3 is so much more comfortable. The Nikon is lighter, but not a good lighter. It feels like a Fisher-Price lighter. Even people that don't know anything about cameras notice that the Pentax feels like more of a "pro" body. They always assume that the Pentax is my "pro" camera.

Image Quality. Same. Haven't really noticed any differences, but I haven't really tried comparing either. They both give me the opportunity to capture great images.

Overall Satisfaction. I wish third party support existed for Pentax the way it does for Canon/Nikon, but it's not enough to make me switch. I really am happy I stumbled upon that K-r review years ago and bought the K-r as my first camera. With the K-1 I really have nothing to whine about (but I'm sure I will.)

*I am not comparing the K-1 and all of it's awesome magic with any of the Nikons I've used. The K-1 is in a different class. All of these comparisons are based off my experience with the K-r and the K-3.

If anyone ever gets a chance to compare how green everyone else's grass is, I really recommend it. I'm sure if I shot with Nikon more, I'd get use to it, but I really don't know why I would want to. Pentax really does seem to be in a much better place than I previously believed and they are moving in such a better direction. I guess I could say, "Everything is coming up Millhouse." Can't wait to get back to my Pentax gear.

10-09-2016, 06:55 PM   #2
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I used to shoot Nikon. The bodies I shot were the D2x, D200 digital bodies and F100 and F6 film bodies.
While none of those models felt like toys I do agree that the intuitive factor is far better with Pentax. My K-3II feels just as robust as my F100 and F6 did. The D200 with the battery grip feels almost identical to the K-3 II with the battery grip. The D2x was more substantial though. It also cost five times more back then so it is not comparing apples to apples.
When it comes to the lower and mid cost bodies Pentax blows the competition away. My wife has the K-S2 and it feels far sturdier than a Nikon 5500 or Canon Rebel.
10-09-2016, 07:04 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote

Here is what I learned from shooting with Nikon.

Disclaimer: No scientific studies were conducted for this. This is from a purely user experience/enjoyment perspective.



Autofocus. The autofocus on the Nikons are not really better. My main reason for wanting to switch to Nikon was always because of better autofocus. Compared to my old Kr, - yes. Compared to the K-3 - no. The K-3 actually locks focus so much faster than the Nikon. Accuracy really seems to be dependent on the situation. When the subjects are moving, it's really about the same (maybe a slight edge on the Nikon). When the objects are still, the K-3 seems so much more accurate.

.
Which lenses did you use on each system in your comparison?
10-09-2016, 07:54 PM - 2 Likes   #4
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I've often wondered about all of this as to how an average photographer would judge the differences. I realize that you are very familiar with your Pentax Gear and that probably enters into how you feel about the differences but I'm glad you put your opinions to word, congratulations. I've read several reviews from so called "Pros" regarding the "archaic" Pentax Menu system, now you've put my mind at ease about that too. I'm now getting a feeling of photographic Superiority.......Wow!




QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
For the last month and a half, I've been shooting with Nikon cameras. First, I shot with the D5100. Every time I picked it up, my first thought was, "This feels like a toy." I really didn't like it. The menu on the camera feels pretty counter-intuitive too. I thought, "It's got to be because it's a D5100". Then, I got the chance to shoot with a D7100 and while it feels better, it still feels like a toy. The menu isn't much better either. I have to admit that for the last two years, every time I grabbed my K-3, a part of me wished I would have started with Canon or Nikon because of "all the things I'm missing out on shooting with a Pentax". Wow. was I wrong.

I didn't switch to Nikon, I just became my school's Yearbook adviser and Nikon is what our school has purchased over the last few years (we only have two cameras a D5100 and a D7100). I really wanted to get to know the cameras, so I shelved my K-3 and my new K-1 for a month (shelving the K-1 hurt...)

Here is what I learned from shooting with Nikon.

Disclaimer: No scientific studies were conducted for this. This is from a purely user experience/enjoyment perspective.

Menu & Button Layout. The Pentax menu options and button layouts are so much better. So many times when using the Nikons I've asked, "Why can't I just do this?..." The Pentax layouts are just so much better.

Autofocus. The autofocus on the Nikons are not really better. My main reason for wanting to switch to Nikon was always because of better autofocus. Compared to my old Kr, - yes. Compared to the K-3 - no. The K-3 actually locks focus so much faster than the Nikon. Accuracy really seems to be dependent on the situation. When the subjects are moving, it's really about the same (maybe a slight edge on the Nikon). When the objects are still, the K-3 seems so much more accurate.

Comfort. Can't compare. The K-3 is so much more comfortable. The Nikon is lighter, but not a good lighter. It feels like a Fisher-Price lighter. Even people that don't know anything about cameras notice that the Pentax feels like more of a "pro" body. They always assume that the Pentax is my "pro" camera.

Image Quality. Same. Haven't really noticed any differences, but I haven't really tried comparing either. They both give me the opportunity to capture great images.

Overall Satisfaction. I wish third party support existed for Pentax the way it does for Canon/Nikon, but it's not enough to make me switch. I really am happy I stumbled upon that K-r review years ago and bought the K-r as my first camera. With the K-1 I really have nothing to whine about (but I'm sure I will.)

*I am not comparing the K-1 and all of it's awesome magic with any of the Nikons I've used. The K-1 is in a different class. All of these comparisons are based off my experience with the K-r and the K-3.

If anyone ever gets a chance to compare how green everyone else's grass is, I really recommend it. I'm sure if I shot with Nikon more, I'd get use to it, but I really don't know why I would want to. Pentax really does seem to be in a much better place than I previously believed and they are moving in such a better direction. I guess I could say, "Everything is coming up Millhouse." Can't wait to get back to my Pentax gear.


10-09-2016, 08:09 PM   #5
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I compared the Nikon D7000 with the K-3, one in each hand, similar lenses and settings. They both hunt equally in low light. In scenes where AF was possible, the Nikon focus-confirmation beep happened a split second sooner. I compared both to the Canon 70D. It acted the same in the same low light situations. When AF was possible, it was the fastest to beep. There was never more than a slim fraction of a second between them. Tests were similar using center point. I still have the K-3 and use it every day for work. I sold the other two and bought all of the DA Limiteds. What won me over to Pentax? The menu system, dual card slots, and price / performance ratio. I loved that Nikon. It is built like a Mercedes. The Canon I have never missed.
10-09-2016, 09:12 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mee Quote
Which lenses did you use on each system in your comparison?
I wish I could say I shot with comparable lenses, but I didn't. On the K-3, I mostly shoot with the Sigma 17-50 2.8. On the D7100 I shot with a 35 1.8 and 50 1.8. The 35 is an amazing lens for its price. I wish Pentax had an equivalent.
10-09-2016, 10:40 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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I'd not saying it this way. Yesterday I was in the wild shooting with a guys having two D810 mounted on a 600 f4 and 200-400 f4. I had the K1 and DFA150-450...yes. We went through his photos and even within his keepers some where not in focus. His Nikon gear is better, sure, better AF, more reach and sharpness. However, three things I noticed:
- his gear is worth $25K, my Pentax gear is worth $4K
- his gear is so heavy that shooting handheld is not possible, mobility = zero.
- his autofocus is better but Pentax AF covers 99% of what his AF does, again sufficient in the situation
- last but not least, what made a good photo was essentially the light and framing, basically, when framing the same shot with a K1 or D810, there was no difference.

At the end of the day, we went for dinner and reviewed our photos. While we agreed that Pentax lens offering is rather limited, K1 photos are as good as D810 photos.
At the end of the day, switching to Nikon came to my mind, but heck, I wouldn't spend $25K to get a few of the images marginally better, honestly, that thing is more of the marketing sirens effect. If I'd spend on a D810 and Nikon 600f4 I'd have buyer remorse. While Nikon long gear is probably one of the best out there, I'd say that you don't get any return on the 80% part of the spending. Either you have plenty of money or you have to have lost realism for spending $25K on Nikon gear while you could shoot excellent photos for a lot less. What happened is that everything is improving, even the consumer gear, the DFA150450 is of the last generation product from Pentax, and it's pretty good in terms of usability and since iso noise is getting better on the latest camera, having F4 long lens makes less difference.

The bottom line: you get as good images with Pentax as Nikon because good images require good framing and good lighting, in other words, in those conditions, the difference between Pentax and Nikon is definitely not worth the money.
10-09-2016, 10:47 PM - 4 Likes   #8
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I actually shoot 3 systems. Pentax K1/K5, Nikon D800E, and Canon 5DMark3. My K1 is currently my main camera.

I have the DA16-50 and 50-135 for Pentax.
70-200 and 24-70 for Nikon
and 35mm and 85mm for Canon.

I am not a hardware expert, so you can take my opinion on these systems to be as accurate as someone who walks around, picks 3 brand, and had to decide which one is better. That is to say, my opinion is extremely accurate

Autofocus.
Lets get this out of the way : Pentax AF is not as accurate, or as fast as the other two systems. No, I didn't measure it by micro seconds. I measured it by how many times I get extremely frustrated after I get home and look at the images and they are off. In fact, I am now shooting K1 with manual lenses only. Live view with manual lenses and focus peaking results in a lot more keepers.

Ergonomics.
If i have to rate ergonomics, Pentax would be first, canon would be second, nikon would be third. It just works for my hand. And I carry these for a whole wedding, so....12 hours sometimes. I can tell you if i have to shoot fuji or sony for weddings i will probably cry because of the lack of grip.

Button placement.
Pentax would be first, nikon and canon second.
I am not an expert on these machines, as I have pointed out before. I use them to take pictures, so I am not aware of a gazillion things that these things come included with. So how do i rate this? I rate it in the way that I can pick a camera, and figure out how to use it without a manual. immediately. And in this case, pentax comes first. The buttons make sense. I don't know how many times I've had to look up the Nikon manual because i accidentally switched a setting that i did not know existed and it was doing things that i did not want it to do.

Flash system.
Canon first, Nikon, then pentax. I love the ease of use of Canon's system. The menu make sense. I never had to open the manual for it. Nikon is the worst. Even though I love the commander function of nikon, but the flash is unnecessarily complicated. Pentax? Well...the exposure is always off. So i hate pentax's flash system.

Images.
Pentax first, canon then Nikon. I love pentax and canon's images. Straight out of the camera, they look like they have character. The colours just works for me. Pentax is typically more yellow/red, canon more red, and nikon more green. The nikon images are the ones most.....neutral. Boring. When i have a high fashion editorial shoot, i grab the nikon. For everything else, i put the nikon aside.
Also, in regards to dynamic range, I have a lot more confidence in recovering highlights from Canon than from nikon, which I rather recover shadows from. Pentax K1 is an allstar, and I can recover both highlights and shadows, and noise really nicely. I guess its the age of the technology.

Thats basically how i view these systems. Again, i am not an expert...but i think thats why I am accurate .

Feel free to view my work to see the images i have taken with these cameras : Bottling and Capturing Images – Just For You!


Last edited by D4rknezz; 10-10-2016 at 11:29 AM.
10-09-2016, 10:54 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
Pentax? Well...the exposure is always off. So i hate pentax's flash system.
Artful critique there.


Last edited by Digitalis; 10-09-2016 at 11:52 PM.
10-10-2016, 12:35 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
I actually shoot 3 systems. Pentax K1/K5, Nikon D800E, and Canon 5DMark3. My K1 is currently my main camera.

I have the DA16-50 and 50-135 for Pentax.
70-200 and 24-70 for Nikon
and 35mm and 85mm for Canon.

I am not a hardware expert, so you can take my opinion on these systems to be as accurate as someone who walks around, picks 3 brand, and had to decide which one is better. That is to say, my opinion is extremely accurate

Autofocus.
Lets get this out of the way : Pentax AF is not as accurate, or as fast as the other two systems. No, I didn't measure it by micro seconds. I measured it by how many times I get extremely frustrated after I get home and look at the images and they are off. In fact, I am now shooting K1 with manual lenses only. Live view with manual lenses and focus peaking results in a lot more keepers.

Ergonomics.
If i have to rate ergonomics, Pentax would be first, canon would be second, nikon would be third. It just works for my hand. And I carry these for a whole wedding, so....12 hours sometimes. I can tell you if i have to shoot fuji or sony for weddings i will probably cry because of the lack of grip.

Button placement.
Pentax would be first, nikon and canon second.
I am not an expert on these machines, as I have pointed out before. I use them to take pictures, so I am not aware of a gazillion things that these things come included with. So how do i rate this? I rate it in the way that I can pick a camera, and figure out how to use it without a manual. immediately. And in this case, pentax comes first. The buttons make sense. I don't know how many times I've had to look up the Nikon manual because i accidentally switched a setting that i did not know existed and it was doing things that i did not want it to do.

Flash system.
Canon first, Nikon, then pentax. I love the ease of use of Canon's system. The menu make sense. I never had to open the manual for it. Nikon is the worst. Even though I love the commander function of nikon, but the flash is unnecessarily complicated. Pentax? Well...the exposure is always off. So i hate pentax's flash system.

Images.
Pentax first, canon then Nikon. I love pentax and canon's images. Straight out of the camera, they look like they have character. The colours just works for me. Pentax is typically more yellow/red, canon more red, and nikon more green. The nikon images are the ones most.....neutral. Boring. When i have a high fashion editorial shoot, i grab the nikon. For everything else, i put the nikon aside.

Thats basically how i view these systems. Again, i am not an expert...but i think thats why I am accurate .

Feel free to view my work to see the images i have taken with these cameras : Bottling and Capturing Images Just For You!
Your two Pentax DA* lenses are obviously not speed demons, so they are not directly comparable to the more expensive FF lenses. Also, are you sure your pair are calibrated and don't suffer from SDM problem?
10-10-2016, 09:42 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by reivax Quote
I wish I could say I shot with comparable lenses, but I didn't. On the K-3, I mostly shoot with the Sigma 17-50 2.8. On the D7100 I shot with a 35 1.8 and 50 1.8. The 35 is an amazing lens for its price. I wish Pentax had an equivalent.
Pentax has an equivalent, the DA 35/2.4. Not as fast as the f/1.8 but is just as sharp. If you include the DA 35/2.8 Limited Macro then you have two equivalents.
10-10-2016, 10:36 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sterby Quote
Pentax has an equivalent, the DA 35/2.4. Not as fast as the f/1.8 but is just as sharp. If you include the DA 35/2.8 Limited Macro then you have two equivalents.
And the FA35 f2, which is still available new in some markets. Lovely lens, not cheap though....
10-10-2016, 10:54 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by LightBug Quote
Your two Pentax DA* lenses are obviously not speed demons, so they are not directly comparable to the more expensive FF lenses. Also, are you sure your pair are calibrated and don't suffer from SDM problem?

No, of course not. As I said, I am not a reviewer - I don't get brand new copies of a specific focal range for purposes of review. I am the average photog needing lenses that covers all of my bases for weddings. I don't have a perfect test. Instead, i have a non perfect test over the years of owning these brands.

Digitalis was being sarcastic about my review, but i was being serious. ^_^. I put in more than 3000 frames across the 3 different brands each wedding from the exact same extreme lighting condition and situation, so I get exposed to a lot of non keepers from my cameras. For example, strong sunny highlights on the bride's face and dress, while the groom is in the shadows with his black suit. >_< I can tell which ones always miss focus, or which ones always have the weird colours or which ones struggles in low lighting, or which ones somehow overexposes or underexposes in a variety of circumstances. And I learn to work with them. Grab pentax, switch to manual focus. Grab nikon , ready for accurate but boring looking pictures. Grab Canon, keep switching the damn lenses because I am using primes.

Last edited by D4rknezz; 10-10-2016 at 11:32 AM.
10-10-2016, 11:57 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by StephenHampshire Quote
And the FA35 f2, which is still available new in some markets. Lovely lens, not cheap though....
The FA 35/2 and the DA 35/2.4 are identical in optics, the DA has a limited aperture due to sharpness on digital.
10-10-2016, 12:18 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
Grab pentax, switch to manual focus. Grab nikon , ready for accurate but boring looking pictures. Grab Canon, keep switching the damn lenses because I am using primes.
Yes, I'm sure your experience is real, but I'm just suggesting exploring possible calibration and SDM issue that could improve your Pentax shooting experience.
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