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12-22-2019, 06:27 PM   #1
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Quo Vadis?

Hey guys,

I am just interested in a few oppinions of yours on my thoughts. I know there will be no definit answer and if you dislike this, please feel absolutly free to ignore this thread.


Currently I own a K3-II which I mainly use with a Sigma 30/1.4 EX (I happened to get a very good copy which is nearly on par with the FA 31), a FA50/1.4 and a FA77, sometimes I also use the 16-85mm zoom. Although I own a few more lenses (da70, da18-55, F70-210), those are the ones I mainly use.

I am not too happy with my current lineup. Using my Pentax MX from time to time I come back to realise how much I actually miss full frame. Although the K1 M2 is currently available for very good prices there are things I miss on it. Mainly a bigger head display. During my shooting I rely on seing the AF mode, the AF-point-selection mode, iso, aperture and calculated shutter time, ev offset and free space on the cards. This is one of the most important things to me on a camera, I dont like using the big display on the back. Unfortunally, the K1 has a rather small lcd on top, which does not show a lot of those informations at once.


Let's assume I can get over that and be happy with a K1.
My current lense lineup would be rendered pretty useless. The FA50/1.4 is not really as good as I whish it to be, and on fullframe the outer parts are just not sharp enough for how I use it. Unfortunally, I don't really know which lens could compensate my needs here. I did own a FA43 before, but in the end I did not like it that much. I like its character, but for a standard lens I prefer a more neutral output. The new DFA50/1.4 seems to be very good, but in the end it is too heavy for me.

I would want another 30-35mm lens. The Sigma Art series seems to be great, but too heavy for daily use (when I carry my camera I most times also have a newborn and a toddler with me). In all honesty, I dont want to get a FA31. It is a great lense for sure, but it seems to be too expensive in my opinion and I would prefer getting some modern af and weather sealing. So in the end, I would propably end up getting either the DFA35 or the FA31, not being completly happy with the choise.

The FA77 could stay for portrait usage and I like its coverage without crop factor much more. I usually dont use this lens for anything where I am not in the mood to work with it. Quickshift in af would be great, but I can work without it and the noise and "slow" (man, for me it still feels fast on the k3-ii, remembering af on the ist*d and k10d) af are not too much of an issue at its usage. Also, I am just that used to that lense, that it always feels natural to work with.

A standard zoom with fast aperture is something I missed a lot on pentax. I shortly owned the 16-50, but didnt not really like it. The 24-70 just does not produce what I wish for either. The rendering, especially compared with the competition at sony or nikon, does not please me. I don't think it's a generally bad lense, but it is not the right one for me.

If I were forced to go to the K1 for some strange reason and could choose anything, I would propably go with a lot of double lenses, the compact one and the "good" one. Namely Sigma 35/1.4 art and Fa31, Fa50/1.4 and DFa50/1.4 and the Fa77 in combination with maybe the upcomming DFA85/1.4 (I jusdt assume it will be on par with the DFA50/1.4).

Than again, I would still miss a mirrorless small camera, where I could pack on of my primes on. I really like the Nikon Z cameras in that matter. They use smaller lenses, are rather compact and still can be used with all f-mount lenses if you wish to. Mirrorless for me will not be able to beat dslrs in the near future, I just love slr cameras too much for that, but for me its the perfect second body for family purposes and videos. Videos are another thing Pentax is not good at, which i find to be quite unfortunate.

So why would I want to stay with Pentax. Three reasons, I came to love the handling over the years, I do like the profesionall parts I get in a relativly cheap camera (1/8000 shutter speed and dual flash cards are the main two) and of course all the equipment I already own which is only usable with pentax (lenses, 4 flashes mainly).

Every time I invest into Pentax equipment I get a feeling this could be the last new modell Pentax produces.I am not too sure about the market value of that brand anymore.

I would never go with a Canon camera, I just hate its usage. I did own a Nikon D1 quite some years ago and actually liked it quite a bit. So I am thinking about switching to Nikon.

What would be my prefered setup? A K3-ii like K1 (despite that useless gps), reworked fa77 and fa31 (sealing and af), a 50/1.4 lens that is somewhere between the fa and dfa in terms of size and image quality, a different 24-70 and a compact mirrorless k-mount compatible body.

It is strange, I came to Pentax, knowing their bodys are not as "modern" as the other brands (esp the sluggish af back in the k10d days) but really liked the lenses and basically it is the complete opposite now. I like the bodys but got the feeling that other brands surpassed Pentax in lens design. Not in quality, but quantitive of state of the art lenses. Also it really hurts to know that neither Tamron nor Sigma plan on building new Pentax lenses. Sigmas new lenses mostly seem to be really good.

So what to do? I really dont know and would love to get some input, your personal oppinions.

12-22-2019, 06:40 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by WorksAsIntended Quote
Unfortunally, the K1 has a rather small lcd on top, which does not show a lot of those informations at once.
A non issue. Plenty of info in the viewfinder , or use the rear LCD. Top lcd is pointless these days.

QuoteOriginally posted by WorksAsIntended Quote
The FA50/1.4 is not really as good as I wish it to be
The FA 50mm 1.7 is a preferred lens by many over the 1.4. Sell or swap the 1.4 for a 1.7. The 1.4 still commands a higher price.

I don't know what you actually want the FA 50mm 1.4 to be, but I cannot believe you fail to take good pictures with it. What the hell do you shoot ? Have a look on the K1 picture thread. I took a few train pictures exclusively with the FA 50 1.4 yesterday and posted them on that thread. I suspect you have read a few test reviews of the FA50 1.4 and see that on "the bench" it is weak at the edges wide open. So are most lenses.


QuoteOriginally posted by WorksAsIntended Quote
The new DFA50/1.4 seems to be very good, but in the end it is too heavy for me
You need to make your mind up. The DFA 50 1.4 is the sharpest lens I have ever used wide open. It has many other qualities too, and is the very latest tech. But it is too heavy you say ? I fear you are searching for reasons not to take pictures. Nothing you posted here makes any sense at all. A good photo is envisaged; captured; and post-processed by the photographer. The equipment is is at the back of the queue.

Last edited by pschlute; 12-22-2019 at 06:49 PM.
12-22-2019, 07:05 PM   #3
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Lots of FA* lenses out there also! 28-70 F/2.8, 60-200 F/2.8, The FA* 85, and all the new DFAs. The K1 is so brilliant if frame rate is not your main priority. SO much resolution available! I love my KP and K-5IIs but since I picked up a K1 here in the forums, they are feeling neglected. The K1 feels that good when being used. The FA77 is nice too! FInd a nice used K1 or new K1 Mk II and go for it.
12-22-2019, 07:21 PM - 1 Like   #4
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It sounds to me that you are interested in individual pieces of equipment more than photography. The only thing you mention that you shoot is portraits, do you shoot them for a living? Do you shoot enough of them to have a dedicated lens for portraits? I think you need to look at what you actually shoot and then compare the pros and cons of the different systems you have an interest in. I'm not sure you should make any decisions on equipment until you decide what you shoot the most, and why certain gear would serve you better. I know you are looking for help, but I think the best help you can have is to look at your usage, do some research, and also do some analysis on your own equipment and skills. If you can do that, I think you'll be happy with whatever you choose, if not you'll still be searching. I feel that you don't have a clear path to what you really want and need, if you don't analyze yourself and your photography, you may waste a lot of money switching systems and still be where you are now.

And remember, sometimes what you tend to shoot a lot of, can change, so just go with it.

12-22-2019, 08:09 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by WorksAsIntended Quote
I am not too happy with my current lineup. Using my Pentax MX from time to time I come back to realise how much I actually miss full frame.

Let's assume I can get over that and be happy with a K1.
My current lense lineup would be rendered pretty useless.

So why would I want to stay with Pentax. Three reasons, I came to love the handling over the years, I do like the profesionall parts I get in a relativly cheap camera (1/8000 shutter speed and dual flash cards are the main two) and of course all the equipment I already own which is only usable with pentax (lenses, 4 flashes mainly).

I would never go with a Canon camera, I just hate its usage. I did own a Nikon D1 quite some years ago and actually liked it quite a bit. So I am thinking about switching to Nikon.

What would be my prefered setup? A K3-ii like K1 (despite that useless gps), reworked fa77 and fa31 (sealing and af), a 50/1.4 lens that is somewhere between the fa and dfa in terms of size and image quality, a different 24-70 and a compact mirrorless k-mount compatible body.

So what to do?
IMO based on what you wrote, a Pentax K1 makes the most sense. I agree with much of your sentiments on mirrorless and although the Nikon D850 is a top class camera, you're actually getting a better camera for less with the K1. The details on the lenses you'll have to work out with your needs and tastes, but primes really keep the quality up and the weight down.
12-22-2019, 08:26 PM   #6
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I am in agreement with ramseybuckeye. What your photographic interests are should direct your thinking, but also your mode of operation should be considered. Do you get out into nature much, or mainly indoor activity? If outdoors, do you go on foot for distances or lengths of time? Is WR important? Your equipment so far doesn't reflect that, except for the DA 16-85mm, and going very far on foot doesn't sound like it would be too often with small kids, though I recently went through the woods on a 2-mile walk with a buddy and his two little boys- 2 yrs. 8 months and just 8 months old in a stroller. Do you have it in mind to expand your interests, and to what? If indoors do you use flash?

Your F 70-210 and you FA 77mm are fine lenses for either FF or APS-C. Maybe what you are experiencing with your old Pentax film camera is the bigger VF. As to your objections to both the FA 50mm f/1.4 and the new DFA 50mm lens, I think the best way to address both objections is look for a perfect copy of the F 50mm f/1.7 which can deliver fine results even wide open, and is quite small and light. For your FF body you'd need a shorter zoom lens to go with your tele zoom lens, so the DFA 28-105mm would make a lot of sense. I also suggest the new version, the FA HD 35mm f/2 for its versatility and excellent performance.

But what is it you look for in FF that is not being delivered with APS-C? That FA 35mm would be a good alternative on APS-C to a good 50mm on FF if that is what you are after.

Since I would presume you'll be taking a lot of kid pics, APS-C gives more reach for framing while being farther back with a smaller lens.

The new Pentax APS-C flagship might or might not be interesting. I am biding my time as well, just considering a FF body for certain uses only, but am being patient as to the next FF design Pentax will come up with at this point, since the K-1 basically is mid-point in its run.

One thing to understand is the smaller top LCD is to make room for the new controls system. Once you've got a chance to make use of these over a period of time, you might find it worth putting up with less top-window info.

Last edited by mikesbike; 12-22-2019 at 08:35 PM.
12-23-2019, 01:14 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pschlute Quote
A non issue. Plenty of info in the viewfinder , or use the rear LCD. Top lcd is pointless these days.



The FA 50mm 1.7 is a preferred lens by many over the 1.4. Sell or swap the 1.4 for a 1.7. The 1.4 still commands a higher price.

I don't know what you actually want the FA 50mm 1.4 to be, but I cannot believe you fail to take good pictures with it. What the hell do you shoot ? Have a look on the K1 picture thread. I took a few train pictures exclusively with the FA 50 1.4 yesterday and posted them on that thread. I suspect you have read a few test reviews of the FA50 1.4 and see that on "the bench" it is weak at the edges wide open. So are most lenses.




You need to make your mind up. The DFA 50 1.4 is the sharpest lens I have ever used wide open. It has many other qualities too, and is the very latest tech. But it is too heavy you say ? I fear you are searching for reasons not to take pictures. Nothing you posted here makes any sense at all. A good photo is envisaged; captured; and post-processed by the photographer. The equipment is is at the back of the queue.
I did not expect that heat comming up.
I am taking pictures for 30 years now, I dont't look for any reason not to. Optimising the equipment from time to time enables me to not think about the equiptment during shoots.
The top lcd may be pointless for you, for me it is not. Information in the viewfinder are not very good to see for me and even these days the back display is to much dependent on non reflective environments. I did own a Pentax Kx as small body and this was the reason I never really used it.
I did not look at any tests to find anything else than what I already exprieced, the FA 50 is not very sharp outside the center, in a way I can see it in fullscreen mode on my 32 inch monitor, in addition to prints a common way to view pictures for me.
The DFA 50 surely is a great lense, but some compromise between the fa and dfa is what I am looking for, as I wrote before. I did own a 50 1.7 many years back and do not remember it being significantly sharper than the Fa50 1.4.


To answer one question that came up a couple of times: I shoot pretty much everything despite tele (sports, animals), astro and heavy landscapes. Street photographie, documentary, studio, symetries, portrait and of course family pictures. I am not a professionell user, but a quite heavy one nevertheless and my digital cameras all had a 100 000+ shutzer count.

---------- Post added 12-23-19 at 01:17 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
Lots of FA* lenses out there also! 28-70 F/2.8, 60-200 F/2.8, The FA* 85, and all the new DFAs. The K1 is so brilliant if frame rate is not your main priority. SO much resolution available! I love my KP and K-5IIs but since I picked up a K1 here in the forums, they are feeling neglected. The K1 feels that good when being used. The FA77 is nice too! FInd a nice used K1 or new K1 Mk II and go for it.
The 80-200 is nothing I am aiming for, also I would prefer the modern 70-200 if I needed a fast tele. I do t use tele too often and the 70-210 is sufficiant for me.
The Fa* standard zoom is a great lense considering its age, but it still is not as crystal clear as modern lenses get imo.
I agree on the FA77 though.

---------- Post added 12-23-19 at 01:22 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
It sounds to me that you are interested in individual pieces of equipment more than photography. The only thing you mention that you shoot is portraits, do you shoot them for a living? Do you shoot enough of them to have a dedicated lens for portraits? I think you need to look at what you actually shoot and then compare the pros and cons of the different systems you have an interest in. I'm not sure you should make any decisions on equipment until you decide what you shoot the most, and why certain gear would serve you better. I know you are looking for help, but I think the best help you can have is to look at your usage, do some research, and also do some analysis on your own equipment and skills. If you can do that, I think you'll be happy with whatever you choose, if not you'll still be searching. I feel that you don't have a clear path to what you really want and need, if you don't analyze yourself and your photography, you may waste a lot of money switching systems and still be where you are now.

And remember, sometimes what you tend to shoot a lot of, can change, so just go with it.
I dont shoot for a living and yes, I shoot enough portraitto dedicate the Fa77. The reason I talk about equipment here is that I am confident and settled with my shooting and just want to get the equipment that suites it the most to not get in the way but be "invisible" during shooting.
I know exactly what I want, and I wrote it before, it just does not exist like that for Pentax and also not perfectly for others.
After this techy post it might sound different, but in general I use the equipment and do not think about it, just like any other tool I regulary use.

---------- Post added 12-23-19 at 01:25 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
IMO based on what you wrote, a Pentax K1 makes the most sense. I agree with much of your sentiments on mirrorless and although the Nikon D850 is a top class camera, you're actually getting a better camera for less with the K1. The details on the lenses you'll have to work out with your needs and tastes, but primes really keep the quality up and the weight down.
The K1 surely has good qualities, no doubt about that.
Modern primes often dont keep the weight down, just look at the dfa 50. For me lenses heavier than about 500g feel heavy in usage to me. If I go with the family, I would not want to carty heavier equip, if I do a full shoot, I take heavier stuff too.

---------- Post added 12-23-19 at 01:35 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
I am in agreement with ramseybuckeye. What your photographic interests are should direct your thinking, but also your mode of operation should be considered. Do you get out into nature much, or mainly indoor activity? If outdoors, do you go on foot for distances or lengths of time? Is WR important? Your equipment so far doesn't reflect that, except for the DA 16-85mm, and going very far on foot doesn't sound like it would be too often with small kids, though I recently went through the woods on a 2-mile walk with a buddy and his two little boys- 2 yrs. 8 months and just 8 months old in a stroller. Do you have it in mind to expand your interests, and to what? If indoors do you use flash?

Your F 70-210 and you FA 77mm are fine lenses for either FF or APS-C. Maybe what you are experiencing with your old Pentax film camera is the bigger VF. As to your objections to both the FA 50mm f/1.4 and the new DFA 50mm lens, I think the best way to address both objections is look for a perfect copy of the F 50mm f/1.7 which can deliver fine results even wide open, and is quite small and light. For your FF body you'd need a shorter zoom lens to go with your tele zoom lens, so the DFA 28-105mm would make a lot of sense. I also suggest the new version, the FA HD 35mm f/2 for its versatility and excellent performance.

But what is it you look for in FF that is not being delivered with APS-C? That FA 35mm would be a good alternative on APS-C to a good 50mm on FF if that is what you are after.

Since I would presume you'll be taking a lot of kid pics, APS-C gives more reach for framing while being farther back with a smaller lens.

The new Pentax APS-C flagship might or might not be interesting. I am biding my time as well, just considering a FF body for certain uses only, but am being patient as to the next FF design Pentax will come up with at this point, since the K-1 basically is mid-point in its run.

One thing to understand is the smaller top LCD is to make room for the new controls system. Once you've got a chance to make use of these over a period of time, you might find it worth putting up with less top-window info.
Yes, I use flashes inddors, both studio and compact. I dont consider wr necessary, but surely nice to have.
I do both, small walks with family, thats what a mirrorless would be great for, but also I take a mininal equipment on brevets (500km+ bike tours). I often also do shoots dedicated to being shoots where I dont mind heavier equipment that much.
I am not too kean about the new dial. In the end I dont use much of that. Aperture on thumb, Iso on index finger, af button and ev+/- access are the only things I need rather fast. I prefer the simplified controls, like the Nikon D1 had.
I never use anything else but aperture peiority or manual mode, I dont consider a direct access button for wifi in the only positions I can use during having the camera on the eye something usefull. +/-, ael, af are the only ones I need to have access during having the camera up. Flash settings for me are ok to change in the quick access menu.

12-23-2019, 02:00 AM   #8
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If your current Pentax APS-C setup and your options for transitioning into Pentax FF don't make you happy for the reasons you stated, you should perhaps move to Nikon mirrorless or whatever your heart desires.

Just be prepared for two things:
  • Switching systems will lose you a lot of money and will likely give you a less complete and flexible kit in the short term before you gain much.
  • Some of the hipper brands out there have the built-in obsolescence game down to a science.
12-23-2019, 02:22 AM   #9
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Mirrorless is only an option for a second body for me.
I know that changing the system is rather expensive.
About flexibility, IF I change, I will propably get the stuff I want rather completly, which will be even more expensive.
Is build in obsilescence a thing with prosumer series? If I think back to my old D1, I would be confident for it to outlast my lenses.
12-23-2019, 02:40 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by WorksAsIntended Quote
Mirrorless is only an option for a second body for me.
I know that changing the system is rather expensive.
About flexibility, IF I change, I will propably get the stuff I want rather completly, which will be even more expensive.
Is build in obsilescence a thing with prosumer series? If I think back to my old D1, I would be confident for it to outlast my lenses.

Well, that built-in obsolescence remark was mostly an oblique dig at Sony and their product policy -- given that I wasn't sure how you felt about mirrorless. To be sure, the "game" works best with buyers who are strongly specs-motivated. (I'm not trying to suggest you necessarily are.)
12-23-2019, 02:46 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Given the apparent precarious state of the Ďseriousí camera market, Iíd be thinking more than twice about changing systems. I agree with Peter that equipment is at the back of the queue when visualising, capturing and processing a photo (but not on the uselessness of a top LCD which I use a lot). I donít have any kind of urge to go to 35mm frame even though I put film through my K2 as well as using my K-3II, which continues to impress me after more than four years. Format to me is less important than visualising a picture, especially when wall prints I get from the APS-c are pleasingly sharp at 60x40cm, the largest Iíve had anything printed. I donít feel limited (pun, sorry) by the lenses or cameras I use and have certainly never considered changing systems on that basis.

Cameras and lenses are tools and these days by and large, itís possible to take great pictures with any make - my sister-in-law has recently been shortlisted in the Street Photography section of the British photographic Society awards, and she uses a Canon 7DII fitted with my brotherís old Pentax M28/f2.8 - so looking at other systems may just be Ďgrass is greenerí syndrome. If you truly are limited (sorry again) by Pentax gear then by all means spend a load of cash and change, but I doubt that youíll see a night-and-day difference.
12-23-2019, 03:02 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by WorksAsIntended Quote
So I am thinking about switching to Nikon.

If you believe it's mainly the (Pentax) gear what's limiting you, then go ahead.
12-23-2019, 03:28 AM   #13
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I do agree on many points you made. I do not actually think I will make much better pictures with better equipment, the general quality of my pictures today is not superior to what I did in the late 90s, although the cameras got much better. But I do have a better hit rate than I used to have, just thinking about the af systel improvements over the years should make this obvious.
At our current state, better equipment makes it easier to shoot great pictures, but the greatness did not change.
The K3ii is a camera I really like, I dont miss much about it.
Fullframe for me is not interesting because it has a possibly higher resolution but a different angle for the lenses. For example: I prefer the perspective given by the Fa77 on FF over the cropped one.
The second really important thing is the bigger viewfinder helping to use mf (I also use a classic focusing screen).
12-23-2019, 03:59 AM   #14
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If you want to go mirrorless, you would be able to use your Pentax glass with a Nikon Z50, Z6 or Z7 and an adapter. Just be sure to get an adapter that will operate the diaphragm for lenses without an aperture ring. This is a hit and miss affair as you don't know what the actual aperture is, but it should tide you over while shopping for Nikon glass. Don't expect a Nikon Z with any sort of lens attached to be particularly compact, though. The body may be smaller, but physics say that the lens size is what it it is.

If you really want an optical viewfinder, stick to Pentax or budget for replacing all your current lenses when you go Nikon. Nikon DSLRs and Pentax lenses do not play nice. Canon and Pentax work better, but for full frame you need to butcher the aperture levers on the lenses to make space for the camera mirror. They will never work properly on a Pentax body after that.

Any of the adapted scenarios will be an all manual affair - diaphragm and focus. Automated adapters might be possible but the market just isn't there.

Last edited by Wasp; 12-23-2019 at 04:10 AM.
12-23-2019, 05:05 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I have terrible eyesight (myopia AND astigmatism - night driving is fun) to the point that I can't use any camera without glasses; I think you will be happy to hear that the K-1's viewfinder info is so good that I have never looked at the top LCD unless on a tripod to confirm settings.

Regarding the new control dial, I also shoot either Aperture priority (with good light), TAv for bad light and Manual for, well, manual lenses. I find the third wheel a stroke of genius: in Manual I have the exposure triangle all in dials, while in the Auto modes (I use Av or TAv depending on available light levels) I have the two manual sides + EV compensation.
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