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01-17-2019, 01:16 PM - 7 Likes   #1
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Leaving Pentax

I'm not really quite sure why I'm writing this thread. A good portion of the people who read it will rebut everything with slightly better worded retakes on "You suck" and/or excuses for how I'm expecting too much or otherwise chide me on not using the gear in the way it "should be used." Maybe I'm hoping that Pentax brand managers or something will read this and see where they need to make some improvements if they hope to retain their customers. I don't know.

After 5 years with the brand and over 75,000 shutter clicks between my K-5IIs and K-1, I am leaving the Pentax system behind and moving over to Nikon.

I don't think Pentax is bad. I think the K-1 is an excellent camera and I've used it to make some wonderful images (or so I think, with some validation from my community lol) that have made me a mainstay in several cosplay communities across the country. The high quality images and colors I've been able to extract from it have wowed my models and satisfied them far beyond their expectations.

So what's the issue?

For me, it's two things. The biggest is the lack of progression the brand has shown. The K-1 has been out for coming-on three years now and aside from the three lenses released near launch (before K-1's date, actually), we've gotten one new lens for the camera in all that time.

We don't have a modern 35mm or a modern 85mm still. The latter of these is coming but we've been told that for years. I don't feel I can wait much longer. I love my 77--it's my favorite lens--but it doesn't have the resolving power of the lenses my peers are using and in a semi-competitive environment, falling behind is not terribly fun. The lack of a modern mid-wide angle is more distressing because the options at that focal length are the FA31, about which's volume distortion on the outer thirds of the frame I have complained about before and found unacceptable for my usages, and the FA35, which is....very middling. The performance of the 35 at a recent shoot was so disappointing I had to apologize to my models for the poor technical quality of the images it produced.

Photography is not a race but my work is displayed next to and amidst a sea of many others'. My peers on other systems have many more options and continually receive new updated tools. It doesn't make for a "spirit of photography" but they don't have to work as hard to make their gear do what they want and can chose from a much wider variety of options that offer different technical and aesthetic capabilities. I want my gear to work for me, not I work for it. I've been though pretty much every autofocus prime Pentax has made and there's simply nothing else to try out.


The second is the technical performance isn't going to cut it for much longer. Specifically, the autofocus is a big concern and I no longer feel I can rely on it as I need to. I've had a few notable failures that have been very disappointing and infuriating:

1) At my girlfriend's black belt test, the K-1 was unable to keep up with the motion and I got just a few usable images from this once-in-a-lifetime event.
2) We went to Disneyland and I just wanted to take a few snapshots of her in her costume. I had to take over 15 clicks before I got one in acceptable focus.
3) At f/3.5 from a few feet away, one of the best poses from a photoshoot turned out to be slightly out of focus, all copies of them. I do review as I shoot and the screen wasn't quite good enough to show this. I kept the shot as it was 85% ok, but it's going to show when the image is printed.

I've had issues before this, always shooting 8-10 of every pose I take to make sure one is good, but these kinda broke what remained of my confidence because I'm missing good moments.

It's been a good run with the brand but in the time I've owned it, I've been able to grow so much but the brand has remained stagnant. When everyone else can push forward with new technologies that enable them to do things easier and faster, Pentax is holding me to 2016's (and often before that) technical capabilities. I'm not the perfect photographer and there's much I can learn and do differently, but I've hit technical walls more than once and find myself limiting what I do based on what I can do versus what I want to do. And for that reason, it's time to move on to another system that offers far more than I can hope to do and try to grow with it instead of just past it.

01-17-2019, 01:21 PM - 3 Likes   #2
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good luck on your new path
01-17-2019, 01:38 PM - 3 Likes   #3
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I agree with three of your facts. "I don't think Pentax is bad" , "other systems have many more options" , and "autofocus is a big concern". So we do share some similar concerns. But I'm too old and have too much invested in my Pentax gear to dump it. Plus, I also use a m4/3 system now as much as my Pentax.
Get into a system you'll enjoy and feel more comfortable and satisfied with. Good luck.
01-17-2019, 01:40 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
The biggest is the lack of progression the brand has shown
This, unfortunately, is causing many others to jump ship as well. It's an area that seems to be more challenging for Ricoh than it should be, and it's slowly undermining the whole point of shooting with full frame to begin with (at least for pros).

Shameless plug, but I do have a very nice 35mm and 85mm F1.4 G listed on the Marketplace at the moment, if you decide to finalize the transition


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01-17-2019, 01:41 PM - 3 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
I'm not really quite sure why I'm writing this thread. A good portion of the people who read it will rebut everything with slightly better worded retakes on "You suck" and/or excuses for how I'm expecting too much or otherwise chide me on not using the gear in the way it "should be used." Maybe I'm hoping that Pentax brand managers or something will read this and see where they need to make some improvements if they hope to retain their customers. I don't know.

After 5 years with the brand and over 75,000 shutter clicks between my K-5IIs and K-1, I am leaving the Pentax system behind and moving over to Nikon.

I don't think Pentax is bad. I think the K-1 is an excellent camera and I've used it to make some wonderful images (or so I think, with some validation from my community lol) that have made me a mainstay in several cosplay communities across the country. The high quality images and colors I've been able to extract from it have wowed my models and satisfied them far beyond their expectations.

So what's the issue?

For me, it's two things. The biggest is the lack of progression the brand has shown. The K-1 has been out for coming-on three years now and aside from the three lenses released near launch (before K-1's date, actually), we've gotten one new lens for the camera in all that time.

We don't have a modern 35mm or a modern 85mm still. The latter of these is coming but we've been told that for years. I don't feel I can wait much longer. I love my 77--it's my favorite lens--but it doesn't have the resolving power of the lenses my peers are using and in a semi-competitive environment, falling behind is not terribly fun. The lack of a modern mid-wide angle is more distressing because the options at that focal length are the FA31, about which's volume distortion on the outer thirds of the frame I have complained about before and found unacceptable for my usages, and the FA35, which is....very middling. The performance of the 35 at a recent shoot was so disappointing I had to apologize to my models for the poor technical quality of the images it produced.

Photography is not a race but my work is displayed next to and amidst a sea of many others'. My peers on other systems have many more options and continually receive new updated tools. It doesn't make for a "spirit of photography" but they don't have to work as hard to make their gear do what they want and can chose from a much wider variety of options that offer different technical and aesthetic capabilities. I want my gear to work for me, not I work for it. I've been though pretty much every autofocus prime Pentax has made and there's simply nothing else to try out.


The second is the technical performance isn't going to cut it for much longer. Specifically, the autofocus is a big concern and I no longer feel I can rely on it as I need to. I've had a few notable failures that have been very disappointing and infuriating:

1) At my girlfriend's black belt test, the K-1 was unable to keep up with the motion and I got just a few usable images from this once-in-a-lifetime event.
2) We went to Disneyland and I just wanted to take a few snapshots of her in her costume. I had to take over 15 clicks before I got one in acceptable focus.
3) At f/3.5 from a few feet away, one of the best poses from a photoshoot turned out to be slightly out of focus, all copies of them. I do review as I shoot and the screen wasn't quite good enough to show this. I kept the shot as it was 85% ok, but it's going to show when the image is printed.

I've had issues before this, always shooting 8-10 of every pose I take to make sure one is good, but these kinda broke what remained of my confidence because I'm missing good moments.

It's been a good run with the brand but in the time I've owned it, I've been able to grow so much but the brand has remained stagnant. When everyone else can push forward with new technologies that enable them to do things easier and faster, Pentax is holding me to 2016's (and often before that) technical capabilities. I'm not the perfect photographer and there's much I can learn and do differently, but I've hit technical walls more than once and find myself limiting what I do based on what I can do versus what I want to do. And for that reason, it's time to move on to another system that offers far more than I can hope to do and try to grow with it instead of just past it.
Good luck with Nikon, especially if you think that will fulfill what is missing by using Pentax --Just one query: did you ever consider the K-1 Mark ii upgrade for your K-1 and/or updated firmware--there is a differential. The cost would have been significantly less than the purchase of a new professional kit. Having said that, I use manual focus a lot and use several legacy prime lenses that offer me as much or more than my old Canon or my present Leica kit does on many occasions.

As this Forum's credo states: Friendly discussion here. Anyone who berates a member or a site supporter for changing kits is acting in a juvenile fashion. You have the freedom of choice and of usage of course. Nikon is another iconic brand with strengths as well as weaknesses. Personally, I feel the pros of Pentax defeat any of its respective cons.

Thanks for letting us know. I mean if you're going to keep some/all of your Pentax equipment while transitioning to Nikon, maybe you can snap some side-by-side photos for comparison. Nikon certainly is great for sports and movement, but I have to say the Pentax K-1 ii is no slouch either. Perhaps one day you will return...
01-17-2019, 01:50 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Well, that should not be a problem. If Nikon is what you think will solve it for you, then that is the key.

I have love for my Pentax gear and while limiteds are great as FA 35 is, they are showing their age. And they are special and great. But modern, no. I have DFA15-30 and DFA*70-200 for ’more serious’ work. Would love to have DFA*50 to get best out of my gear as I have seen with my 2 other premium zooms to happen. But I’m waiting for 85. But still 70-200 almost makes up for that lens..

Regardless. Good luck with Nikon. Should you learn that well when your girlfriend get her DAN worked out.
01-17-2019, 01:54 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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My only complaint with your exit comments is that I recall the FA 31 discussions and never felt like this was an FA 31 issue vs. a 31mm issue. Any 31mm will behave that way - the FA 31 doesn't have unusual characteristics in this respect. The FA 35 is a very sharp lens with good edge to edge sharpness - so again I am very surprised by the comment that it didn't cut it. I would love to see some side by side shots of the FA 31/FA 35 with the new equipment and what they offer - it is certainly possible I'm missing something I don't realize I'm missing. In any case - Nikon is another challenged company these days - I hope it all works out for you.
01-17-2019, 01:59 PM - 2 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote

After 5 years with the brand and over 75,000 shutter clicks between my K-5IIs and K-1, I am leaving the Pentax system...
May I ask why should I (or anyone) care?

Good Luck, and Have a Great Life! M

01-17-2019, 02:02 PM - 8 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Michaelina2 Quote
May I ask why should I (or anyone) care?

Good Luck, and Have a Great Life! M
I think it is helpful to have exit interviews - learning why people leave helps others make decisions to stay or leave but also helps underscore perceptions about where other brands may be advantaged.
01-17-2019, 02:07 PM - 3 Likes   #10
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please remember MadMathMind

should you choose to return

you will be welcomed

and there is a thread or two where you could still post photos should you want to

plus you are free to comment on threads as well
01-17-2019, 02:08 PM - 14 Likes   #11
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Some 8 years ago, after being told by one of the important member of a local PPO that upgrading my silly k5 would be the first thing i should do on my road to professional wedding photography, i bought a D800E. Later on, to marry that one decision with another, i also bought a Canon 5K Mark 2. So i've been shooting with those two cameras during my professional outings.

I bought a K1 just for the heck of it, but i didn't really use it much. As with any labour of love turning professional work, i am getting tired of my work. I was not getting better, i was not improving, the 2 systems i carry to my wedding jobs gives me tons of headache in post later. Nikon's images are easily the sharpest, but the raw was lifeless, flat, uninspiring. Canon's images are a bit more reddish, the primes i have for it gives great result....but it looks like every other wedding photographer's work out there.

Then i saw my old work - and realized i was better then. i was better when the photos were labour of love. When the camera was imperfect, but i was pushed to produce...*I* made pictures that was decidedly, mine, and not the camera. I dug out the K1, and now its my main camera in weddings. I wield Canon as my second camera. My assistant uses the Nikon. I don't have great lenses for the K1, but thats okay. I spent the money and got myself some great manual lenses. Yeap, old manual lenses....in a wedding. With their imperfections, glare, colour cast, weird depth of field.

The result speaks for itself.
In every wedding, the Canon gets the most keeper, with images ready to go right after crop. The Nikon comes second with raw images needing teasing so that the colour is more warm, and the highlights and shadows more pronounced. The pentax? With its manual lenses and inability of the old lenses to trigger ttl wirelessly...i get quite a lot less keepers. But each of them I treasure - these are pictures that i feel, has more personality.



Soo...maybe see you later
01-17-2019, 02:09 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MadMathMind Quote
Leaving Pentax
Pentax business is like "chicken & eggs". The brand Pentax has been bad mouth for as long as twenty years, most of the time, people using C&N brands liked to bash Pentax because it was cool. The other thing is Pentax has been playing lens mount compatibility for very long, lens mount backward compatibility is a double edge sword, customer buy only new camera model and keep using their old lenses, so it's nice thing for existing customers but somehow impact how much money Pentax could make. In the meantime C & N have changed their mounts in such as way that customers had to spend $$$ on new lenses. So, what happened is that the Pentax customers who were having a too small budget stayed with Pentax, and the Pentax customer with bigger budget moved to C & N. Lastly, the sales of Pentax K1 to customers using their old glass also prevent Ricoh to break even on newly designed lenses. A lot of customers purchased a K1 only , and eventually the DFA28-105 and nothing else, using old M, F and FA glass. If C & N would have designed the K1, they would have remove the screw drive so that customers must buy new lenses if they want to use their full frame camera. Evidence of Pentax difficulty to break even on lenses is the rebadge of 2 tamron lenses and Tokina partnership for the DFA*50. Other brands do deliver on gear overall performance, but they do make their customers pay big $$$. Most recently is the change of lens mounts for all mirrorless model, clearly a business case of how to milk customers' cash.

So , by leaving Pentax, you make sure, like the ones who left before you, that the ones who stay will get less and less.


QuoteOriginally posted by D4rknezz Quote
Then i saw my old work - and realized i was better then. i was better when the photos were labour of love. When the camera was imperfect, but i was pushed to produce...*I* made pictures that was decidedly, mine, and not the camera.
The model expression in front of the camera make a lot more difference that the brand of camera. There are awesome models photographs taken with compact cameras , crappy AF and a flash.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 01-17-2019 at 02:30 PM.
01-17-2019, 02:13 PM - 3 Likes   #13
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There might be better wives somewhere out there (over the rainbow), but I prefer to stay with mine.
01-17-2019, 02:16 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
good luck on your new path
Many thanks! <3

QuoteOriginally posted by zman Quote
I agree with three of your facts. "I don't think Pentax is bad" , "other systems have many more options" , and "autofocus is a big concern". So we do share some similar concerns. But I'm too old and have too much invested in my Pentax gear to dump it. Plus, I also use a m4/3 system now as much as my Pentax.
Get into a system you'll enjoy and feel more comfortable and satisfied with. Good luck.
One factor in helping me switch is I have so many Pentax lenses I just don't use enough because I don't shoot the kinds of photos where they are needed very often. At this point, I'm shooting all people with my kit. It's stuff like the UWA FA*24 (which I liked but only used a handful of times in the past two years), the 150-500, etc. Those generated a lot of extra dollars for the transition to make the initial out-of-pocket cost not as bad. I will have less capability at the onset in that regard but a 35/50/85 combo has covered me with Pentax for 98% of my shots of the past years, so I'm ok with that.

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
This, unfortunately, is causing many others to jump ship as well. It's an area that seems to be more challenging for Ricoh than it should be, and it's slowly undermining the whole point of shooting with full frame to begin with (at least for pros).

Shameless plug, but I do have a very nice 35mm and 85mm F1.4 G listed on the Marketplace at the moment, if you decide to finalize the transition
I thought heavily about those lenses but decided to try out the new Tamron's in those focal lengths. With VC and rave reviews, I'm excited about them!

QuoteOriginally posted by Merv-O Quote
Good luck with Nikon, especially if you think that will fulfill what is missing by using Pentax --Just one query: did you ever consider the K-1 Mark ii upgrade for your K-1 and/or updated firmware--there is a differential. The cost would have been significantly less than the purchase of a new professional kit.

Thanks for letting us know. I mean if you're going to keep some/all of your Pentax equipment while transitioning to Nikon, maybe you can snap some side-by-side photos for comparison. Nikon certainly is great for sports and movement, but I have to say the Pentax K-1 ii is no slouch either. Perhaps one day you will return...
I did very much consider the Mark II. I also was interested in the new 50mm. Two reasons why that ended up not being enough:

1) I go out to shoot every weekend or nearly so and the time lost to sending in the camera for the operation was too much a sacrifice. Heck, my mode dial has been stuck for months and the battery grip's shutter stopped working a year ago but I'm using the stuff so often that the minor inconveniences weren't worth the 3-5 weeks I might have to wait to have them repaired. The difficulty of repairs (i.e., one shop only) was another big factor in my decision, although I didn't mention it in the OP.

2) The cost of these upgrades was going to be about $1500 (selling my old DA*55 and replacing it with the new one to offset the cost) and this didn't solve my issues with the wide angle lenses. The net cost to switch systems is going to be about $2k or so (I did this estimate before as well) and I found that the slightly increased cost offered a much better chance I'd resolve my issues.

QuoteOriginally posted by repaap Quote
Well, that should not be a problem. If Nikon is what you think will solve it for you, then that is the key.

I have love for my Pentax gear and while limiteds are great as FA 35 is, they are showing their age. And they are special and great. But modern, no. I have DFA15-30 and DFA*70-200 for ’more serious’ work. Would love to have DFA*50 to get best out of my gear as I have seen with my 2 other premium zooms to happen. But I’m waiting for 85. But still 70-200 almost makes up for that lens..

Regardless. Good luck with Nikon. Should you learn that well when your girlfriend get her DAN worked out.
One thing I did pick up here and will stick with is a love for primes. This forum and Pentax did make me love the primes (to the point where people say I hate zooms-- I don't! I just don't think they are for me).

And thanks for the well wishes. She is working on her DAN, but I have some time to learn how to work this crazy 850.

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The FA 35 is a very sharp lens with good edge to edge sharpness - so again I am very surprised by the comment that it didn't cut it. I would love to see some side by side shots of the FA 31/FA 35 with the new equipment and what they offer - it is certainly possible I'm missing something I don't realize I'm missing. In any case - Nikon is another challenged company these days - I hope it all works out for you.
Where I've found the FA35 lacking is its fantastic purple fringing (it does come out, for the most part, but oh boy does it go wild with the purples) and its contrast and color in some lighting can really fail. It was a beach shoot where what I got from it was just....middling. Really, it just comes down to that it's just "good." It's not great. I don't expect it to be given its modest price, but there's just no higher option at that focal length beyond it.

QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
My only complaint with your exit comments is that I recall the FA 31 discussions and never felt like this was an FA 31 issue vs. a 31mm issue. Any 31mm will behave that way - the FA 31 doesn't have unusual characteristics in this respect.
Really, the core of the issue breaks down to this: the 31 didn't suit my personal needs, whether that's inherent to the focal length or the lens itself, and the only other option is the FA35 (see above). Now I've got lots more choices I can reject.

Last edited by MadMathMind; 01-17-2019 at 02:24 PM.
01-17-2019, 02:20 PM   #15
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Thanks for the 31 and 35 clarifications. I haven't shot my 35 in those circumstances so I'm unaware of the purple fringing but that isn't surprising.
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