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10-09-2008, 09:55 PM   #1
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Parting ways after all these years

Let me start by saying that I'm not sure I've ever really had a brand loyalty for anything in life except Pentax, but unfortunately I see that day coming to an end. I just wish they made what I need. Every time I've done a major upgrade of Pentax gear I go through that whole line of thought... "should I change over to Canon or Nikon"? The answer is always a mix of economics and emotion, I think. I've been shooting Pentax my whole life. My dad had a Spotmatic, I had a K1000 etc etc. The backwards compatibility means that there always seems to be an economic argument to make for sticking with the brand while the familiarity of Pentax provides that emotional pull.

But now... after 30 years of being a purely Pentax family it looks like I'm finally going to have to "partially" part ways. The lack of a Pro model in the lineup is finally starting to cost me of my means to support myself. Those Pro features may only truly be necessary 5-10% of the time but when they are not there I find myself embarrassed and trying defend my choice of equipment.

I'll be getting into a Canon 1D or a Nikon D3 in the coming days or weeks. I will keep the Pentax for travel and backup but it will no longer be my primary equipment for major events. I look forward to Pentax one day introducing a professional camera that will allow me once again to be a pure "pentaxian" but until that day happens I clearly need a "plan B"

10-09-2008, 10:20 PM   #2
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That's a shame but you do what you have to do. You say you're keeping the Pentax so it's not really a parting of the waves. I'd say it was just a case of improving your flexibility.
10-09-2008, 11:09 PM   #3
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Out of curiosity (wife's in the market for a Nikon), what situations account for the 5-10% of the time that pro features are required, and what are those pro features that Pentax lacks?
10-09-2008, 11:21 PM   #4
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Hey Kunik,

I think a lot of us followed Pentax along their slow meandering path, part sentimental and familiarity, part economic, and a large part backward compatibility (perhaps great marketing by Pentax, maybe an anchor-like curse with future growth issues). I have had a few Pentax cameras SLR & DSLR’s (K1000, *ist-DL, K10, and now the K20). I do love the K20 and have not found any limitations with the body so far....... but, I am disappointed with the lack of semi pro & pro glass. I wonder if the bulk of the Pentax consumer base, be accustomed to having wide access to cheaper, used , or economical glass is not part of the problem. (hang on before the pitch forks come out good forum members) I got into a flame season the other day here on the forum (unfortunate) when I put forward some criticism on a certain Pentax lens (one that seems to strike a love affair with its owners because it offers reasonable image quality for under $200). The problem is the lens is 17 years old and has been surpassed by the competition in every feature. When I suggested that Pentax is putting out a new replacement lens I was met with objections and stone wall defiance against anything that could challenge the 17 year old lens. My point is, if Pentax wants to attract semi & pro users it has to offer a top end product line. Lenses under $500 are nice for attracting the entry level user (an important product line), but there has to be tools for the users that want to take the next step, or require a quality level to support their craft / profession. The same argument can be applied for full frame DSLR’s.
I am glad that you are at least keeping the Pentax as a back up system. It is good that you have posted this thread so that Pentax and others know that many users want to see new product development across the product line. Good luck with your new gear, hope you keep active on this forum.

10-09-2008, 11:40 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcdsgn Quote
Out of curiosity (wife's in the market for a Nikon), what situations account for the 5-10% of the time that pro features are required, and what are those pro features that Pentax lacks?
Most of my photography is now sports and these are my problems

Primarily 4 things (in order)

1. Focus speed/accuracy. Of course everyone knows you can take an in focus picture at a sporting event with a Pentax but you can get more in-focus shots with a MarkIII or a D3. Imagine you are shooting the head-on shots of a 100meter race AND you want more than one picture AND you want the shots at F2.8 (so only one runner is in focus) you pretty much can't do that with a Pentax. I use this extreme example (I saw some great shots of Bolt winning the 100m at the Olympics like this) whereas in my case I'm looking more at percentage of out-of-focus shots compared to the higher end equipment.
-- note this is not my picture... its just linked to a shot floating on the internet--


2. FPS!! This is what is still holding me up on my decision between Nikon and Canon. the Canon has insane 10fps. I do know 3-4fps is not enough. I don't know if 5-6fps is enough for me. These differences matter in situations like a collision on a field of play (getting that facial expression at the moment when some guys foot is connecting with another guys face is a fleeting moment)

3. High ISO. Although the K20 is much improved it is not in the same league as the Mark III or the D3

4. Lens availability. I need a long lens that is not 15lb. The Canon 500mm F4 weighs almost half of what the Pentax 600mm weighs. I've seen the new roadmap that indicates a "super tele" is in the works. I'd love to know what they have in store but if they're not going to tell me I can't wait around for it.

If I knew that Pentax (or Samsung) was going to produce an APS-H camera (which I think would be even better than FF) with 6FPS and a new Autofous system as well as producing a nice new SDM Super-tele at 500 F4 then I would be happy to stick with Pentax for all my needs. But for now I think I'm leaning towards a MarkIII.
10-10-2008, 12:10 AM   #6
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As a follow-up to my own post and to give you a clearer idea of exactly why I'm making the move now...
there is another thread I started on catch-in-focus where I explained some problems i was having with the Pentax focus system in general. The real problem with it was that I was out on a shoot with a new company who will be looking over my photos to determine whether my photos were any good. A condition was that I was not allowed to delete any photos that I took throughout the day (~2000). At the end of the day I am hoping that I shot over 75% whereas the guys shooting MarkIII's were shooting 95%. Right now i am waiting for the call back to find out if they will let me continue to work with them. If they do allow me to continue to work with them I'll be greatful but I can't risk another repeat performance of hit-and-miss focusing
10-10-2008, 12:36 AM   #7
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If you looked at the shots of the photographers from the Olympics, I think N outnumbered C IIRC.
Don't know if that's any help in your decision making.

Bummer that you're in this dilemma.

It's a shame those guys didn't go for quality over quantity, I'm sure Pentax fares better in those circumstances.
10-10-2008, 12:54 AM   #8
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If it were my choice, I'd go Canon. The idea of buying into a system that changes enough of the mount to make your glass almost useless every couple of years is beyond me. I have no idea why anyone supports Nikon. I was at a seminar recently with 65 Semi and Pro shooters. The Nikon guys all complained to each other about having to replace favourite lenses when upgrading bodies recently.

I'd like to see anyone shoot 95% accurate out of 2000 photos. I assume you are saying focus only. Not exposure, composition and subject as well. Consistently having a hit rate of 95% is not sustainable from any photographer with any system. I read a story recently from 4 long time pros that shot for National Geographic. They would fire off 20,000 frames on a project and want 40-50 images for the completed subject. There were lots of great shots that were never used but the hit rate in total was nowhere close to 50%.

10-10-2008, 03:31 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote
If it were my choice, I'd go Canon. The idea of buying into a system that changes enough of the mount to make your glass almost useless every couple of years is beyond me. I have no idea why anyone supports Nikon. I was at a seminar recently with 65 Semi and Pro shooters. The Nikon guys all complained to each other about having to replace favourite lenses when upgrading bodies recently.
Could you explain what changes you're referring to with the lens mount? I thought Nikon was supposed to be better about compatibility than Canon. I think Nikon FF cameras can still use the DX crop lenses, whereas Canon FF cameras can not use EFS crop lenses. Nikon cameras can't use the old non-ai lenses without conversion, but Canon can't use the old FD lenses.
10-10-2008, 04:22 AM   #10
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I honestly have not done any research (as I'm perfectly happy with my Pentax gear and have no plans to switch) on the lens mounts so I'm not qualified to dissect both brands. I guess I should have make my comment clearer that it was anecdotal. Only making a comment from what I've recently heard and read. For example I understand (maybe I'm wrong) that people upgrading from the Nikon D300 to D700 have lost metering ability with their older AF glass.
10-10-2008, 04:25 AM   #11
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I'd agree that if you are shooting sports primarily and it is a means of supporting yourself, you should indeed have one of the other systems (Canon 1D or Nikon D3). With the full frame viewing and the FPS (9 and 10 fps respectively), you'd be selling yourself short trying to get that out of a K20D. You dont need me to point out the cost of the other bodies alone are 4-5x the price of a K20D and the lenses are another story all together...a very very expensive story! I think Canon and Nikon do a great job in the sports photography market.

It doesn't sound like you are "parting ways", just adding more to your arsenal Have fun!!

Selling anything off?

Jason
10-10-2008, 07:23 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Peter Zack Quote

I'd like to see anyone shoot 95% accurate out of 2000 photos. I assume you are saying focus only. Not exposure, composition and subject as well. Consistently having a hit rate of 95% is not sustainable from any photographer with any system. I read a story recently from 4 long time pros that shot for National Geographic. They would fire off 20,000 frames on a project and want 40-50 images for the completed subject. There were lots of great shots that were never used but the hit rate in total was nowhere close to 50%.
its not so hard in the circumstances i was in (or it should not be). Its not like I was shooting an NFL game with completely random setups and constantly changing exposures. I was taking 1000 photos exactly the same and then another 1000 in a different location. Once you get the fist one dialed in for exposure and framing a monkey could sit there and pull the trigger. All I needed was a camera that could constantly lock on to someone moving in a straight line at a steady 8mph towards me. It was one of those situations where every time a shot was out of focus i was left scratching my head wondering why? In defense of Pentax I will say that I think it fared as well as the guy shooting the Canon 40D. But that guy was actually a 1D user who was on his backup camera for the day and his job was not at risk.
10-10-2008, 08:13 AM   #13
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w/o pro-grade AF, lenses and support it's hard to compete
even if pentax do release a new body at PMA next year, how much can they improve the AF with limited resources and without the expertise of Canon and Nikon who have been tweaking it for a long time.
10-10-2008, 09:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by kunik Quote
Let me start by saying that I'm not sure I've ever really had a brand loyalty for anything in life except Pentax, but unfortunately I see that day coming to an end. I just wish they made what I need. Every time I've done a major upgrade of Pentax gear I go through that whole line of thought... "should I change over to Canon or Nikon"? The answer is always a mix of economics and emotion, I think. I've been shooting Pentax my whole life. My dad had a Spotmatic, I had a K1000 etc etc. The backwards compatibility means that there always seems to be an economic argument to make for sticking with the brand while the familiarity of Pentax provides that emotional pull.

But now... after 30 years of being a purely Pentax family it looks like I'm finally going to have to "partially" part ways. The lack of a Pro model in the lineup is finally starting to cost me of my means to support myself. Those Pro features may only truly be necessary 5-10% of the time but when they are not there I find myself embarrassed and trying defend my choice of equipment.

I'll be getting into a Canon 1D or a Nikon D3 in the coming days or weeks. I will keep the Pentax for travel and backup but it will no longer be my primary equipment for major events. I look forward to Pentax one day introducing a professional camera that will allow me once again to be a pure "pentaxian" but until that day happens I clearly need a "plan B"
Funny, I just noticed the EXIF in some professionally shot jewelery pieces that were sent out. To my surprise the EXIF showed them being shot w/ a K10.... Until today I had assumed they were done by some high end Canon/Nikon (shows my cynicism regardless of Ben ).
Apparently you are not in the product shot market..
Good luck with whatever you buy......
10-10-2008, 12:32 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kunik Quote
In defense of Pentax I will say that I think it fared as well as the guy shooting the Canon 40D. But that guy was actually a 1D user who was on his backup camera for the day and his job was not at risk.
If you can, you should borrow the D3 and 1DmkIII and see how well the D3 does; you also might want to consider the D300 for the extra reach it gives you. The standard for sports has been the 1D for predictive autofocus. I still remember a Canon guy in the DPR canon forums griping about the broken 1DmkIII AF because it wouldn't get all the images of a baseball base runner coming down the line (he was at 1st base) in focus...he expected *all* of them in focus and had previously used a 1DmkII. I'd be amazed if 60% were in focus

But as others have said, if you're getting paid for this, by all means, go to a D300 or 1DmkIII for sports. I would without much thought except maybe a comparison to see how far along Nikon has come w/ the D300/D3...
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