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04-28-2020, 09:25 AM   #1
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Moving from film to digital

I'm contemplating moving from film to digital. I know I'm late to the game, but I had a great amount trouble finally deciding to give up the Pentax LX. I of course want to stick with Pentax and am considering either a K-5 or a K-3. I don't think I'll be someone who wants to spend a great deal of time correcting images on a computer. I want a camera that will just take the best possible picture right out of the box. I will want to use some of my old glass so I need interchangeable focusing screens. I will be picking up some AF lenses as well. Most of the use will be outdoors, camping trips, vacations, wildlife, etc. But I also will use it at the grandson's sports games and sometimes they are indoors. Some of the indoor events are less than ideal lighting. Between these two of these cameras, which one would you chose and why?

04-28-2020, 09:47 AM   #2
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04-28-2020, 09:51 AM   #3
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I’d get a K-3ii because the resolution is higher and the sensor more capable in contrasty light. If you don’t want to spend time processing images then I assume you were a transparency (slide film) shooter and/or you dislike computers. Set the new camera to take JPG files, pick the exposure preset you like and carry on - but I have to say you’ll miss out on what the camera is capable of. Just my tuppence ha’penny.

And welcome to the forum and the digital side!
04-28-2020, 09:57 AM   #4
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Welcome!

When it comes to value for money, the sweet spot among your choices would be the K5 II or K5 IIS. From what I have seen on these pages, it was quite a worthwhile upgrade over the K5. Based on this, the only thing the K5 has going for it is a low price.

As for the K3 or K3 II, it is a trade off between features and budget. The former has a built-in flash. The latter has GPS with tracking for astro-photograpy and pixel shifting. That's the short version,anyway. The long version can be found elsewhere on this site.

04-28-2020, 10:02 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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I strongly suggest you do some research on the difference between film and digital. There are quite a few subtle differences that catch us old film guys by surprise when we make the move.

In particular review:
- the difference between APS-C and full frame formats. Your LX is a full frame camera and the k-5 and k-3 are APS-C formats. Your existing lenses will have a different angle of view on APS-C

- interchangeable focusing screens are not an option on digital. In some cases you can buy replacement screens that are better for manual focusing but changing them requires dissecting the camera. Do not expect it to be as easy to manually focus with digital they are built for auto focus.


- the process of 'developing' and printing images from digital versus film. Yes you can most certainly just shoot jpgs from the camera with good success, but you need to understand how to set up the camera. And if you want actual prints how do you make that happen.

- how to index and store (and backup) digital images. On film if the house catches fire you grab the box of negatives. What do you do when your computer hard drive dies?

Unless budget is your primary concern I would not consider the k-5 at this time. The k-3 or perhaps the even newer KP would be a better choice. Or you might consider a K-1 to keep the same format if you have a large investment in Pentax lenses. If not then consider getting a K-3 or KP with either the DA 18-135 or the DA 16-85. Your existing glass will all work on any modern Pentax body the same as they did on your LX.
04-28-2020, 10:22 AM - 2 Likes   #6
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Welcome.... for your manual lenses, a K-3 with live view , as opposed to focusing screen is great ,especially for macros. I've probably done more camping trips with a K-3 than any person alive.... its great camera for that.That being said my wife still uses a K-5 and does excellent work with it.

Some K-3 wildlife.












I borrowed my wife's K-5 for a couple of shots... because it was there.




A K-3 sunset


My K-01, similar to a K-5


A K-3 landscape




Honestly, to me this is a money decision. I've happily used both cameras, and the K-5 if cost is a concern is definitely up to any IQ standards you might have. The K-3 burst rate and buffer and AF are clearly superior, but IQ is similar despite the MP difference.

For indoor sports you're going to need the K-3 and a fast lens. Something like the Tamron 70-200 2.8. That's a whole different kettle of fish. I'm not sure you'd want to take that on right away, unless you're well schooled in focusing and waiting for the players to go to the right spot, and other old manual focus techniques.

The K-5 does have a better dynamic range rating for contrasty situations and sunsets, but the advantage is small. And both II versions are incrementally better.

As noted above, a K-3 with live view is your best bet for manual focusing especially when shooting on a tripod.

As noted above, the K-1 would actually be your preferred option. I did a 19 day canoe trip last summer, and the K-1 went, not the K-3. The superior dynamic range for the K-1 is worth more than me than the reach on the occasional wildlife image, my K-3 has become my birding wildlife and snapshot camera.

With demanding images like this, you can do a lot more with them, and get a lot more out of them. Even shooting jpeg, although learning to post process is recommended.)


And while it puts you at a disadvantage for wildlife.... it's still capable. It may be a bit harder to get a good image, but if you do, it's all good.




Coming from film to APS-c it took me almost a year to understand why my FA 50 wasn't really like a 50, more like a 70. APS-c is actually like the 35mm half frame cameras. I was shocked to find out the APS_c (K-5, K-3, K-P) was a half sized sensor. They look like a 35mm camera but they aren't. They are 24mm cameras, that underhandedly use 35mm lenses. It usually doesn't make a huge difference, once you're used to it, but the first time you try using your 50mm for an indoor portrait it will definitely be a moment of confusion.

Last edited by normhead; 04-28-2020 at 11:03 AM.
04-28-2020, 11:06 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by StiffLegged Quote
I’d get a K-3ii because the resolution is higher and the sensor more capable in contrasty light. If you don’t want to spend time processing images then I assume you were a transparency (slide film) shooter and/or you dislike computers. Set the new camera to take JPG files, pick the exposure preset you like and carry on - but I have to say you’ll miss out on what the camera is capable of. Just my tuppence ha’penny.

And welcome to the forum and the digital side!
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I primarily shot transparencies and only printed the very few best ones. I'm not afraid of computers, I sit in front of one most of the day. I might change my mind about post processing once I move to digital, but right now it's not foremost in my mind.

---------- Post added 04-28-20 at 11:12 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I strongly suggest you do some research on the difference between film and digital. There are quite a few subtle differences that catch us old film guys by surprise when we make the move.

In particular review:
- the difference between APS-C and full frame formats. Your LX is a full frame camera and the k-5 and k-3 are APS-C formats. Your existing lenses will have a different angle of view on APS-C

- interchangeable focusing screens are not an option on digital. In some cases you can buy replacement screens that are better for manual focusing but changing them requires dissecting the camera. Do not expect it to be as easy to manually focus with digital they are built for auto focus.


- the process of 'developing' and printing images from digital versus film. Yes you can most certainly just shoot jpgs from the camera with good success, but you need to understand how to set up the camera. And if you want actual prints how do you make that happen.

- how to index and store (and backup) digital images. On film if the house catches fire you grab the box of negatives. What do you do when your computer hard drive dies?

Unless budget is your primary concern I would not consider the k-5 at this time. The k-3 or perhaps the even newer KP would be a better choice. Or you might consider a K-1 to keep the same format if you have a large investment in Pentax lenses. If not then consider getting a K-3 or KP with either the DA 18-135 or the DA 16-85. Your existing glass will all work on any modern Pentax body the same as they did on your LX.
I actually like the difference in view of the APS-C. As I understand it my current lenses will effectively be 1.5x longer. Like I said, I will buy some AF lenses and probably have to buy something wider, but that's cheaper than buying the really long stuff. As far as storage, I can setup cloud storage pretty easy.

---------- Post added 04-28-20 at 11:23 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Welcome.... for your manual lenses, a K-3 with live view , as opposed to focusing screen is great ,especially for macros. I've probably done more camping trips with a K-3 than any person alive.... its great camera for that.That being said my wife still uses a K-5 and does excellent work with it.

Some K-3 wildlife.












I borrowed my wife's K-5 for a couple of shots... because it was there.




A K-3 sunset


My K-01, similar to a K-5


A K-3 landscape




Honestly, to me this is a money decision. I've happily used both cameras, and the K-5 if cost is a concern is definitely up to any IQ standards you might have. The K-3 burst rate and buffer and AF are clearly superior, but IQ is similar despite the MP difference.

For indoor sports you're going to need the K-3 and a fast lens. Something like the Tamron 70-200 2.8. That's a whole different kettle of fish. I'm not sure you'd want to take that on right away, unless you're well schooled in focusing and waiting for the players to go to the right spot, and other old manual focus techniques.

The K-5 does have a better dynamic range rating for contrasty situations and sunsets, but the advantage is small. And both II versions are incrementally better.

As noted above, a K-3 with live view is your best bet for manual focusing especially when shooting on a tripod.

As noted above, the K-1 would actually be your preferred option. I did a 19 day canoe trip last summer, and the K-1 went, not the K-3. The superior dynamic range for the K-1 is worth more than me than the reach on the occasional wildlife image, my K-3 has become my birding wildlife and snapshot camera.

With demanding images like this, you can do a lot more with them, and get a lot more out of them. Even shooting jpeg, although learning to post process is recommended.)


And while it puts you at a disadvantage for wildlife.... it's still capable. It may be a bit harder to get a good image, but if you do, it's all good.




Coming from film to APS-c it took me almost a year to understand why my FA 50 wasn't really like a 50, more like a 70. APS-c is actually like the 35mm half frame cameras. I was shocked to find out the APS_c (K-5, K-3, K-P) was a half sized sensor. They look like a 35mm camera but they aren't. They are 24mm cameras, that underhandedly use 35mm lenses. It usually doesn't make a huge difference, once you're used to it, but the first time you try using your 50mm for an indoor portrait it will definitely be a moment of confusion.
First off, those are some magnificent photos. I am very familiar with how to use manual cameras. I can often take better pictures with my LX than my wife does with her Canon T2i even at games. I wish I could say a K-1 is in the budget, but it's not currently. From your images I would say either camera would do the job, but based on your recommendation, I'm leaning toward the K-3. As far as understanding the lens differences, I understand that my 50mm F1.4 will now become an excellent fast portrait lens, not the primary normal view lens it once was.
04-28-2020, 11:33 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bgm1956 Quote
. . . I actually like the difference in view of the APS-C. As I understand it my current lenses will effectively be 1.5x longer. . . . .
the focal length doesn't change of course

it is what they call the equivalent field of view


QuoteQuote:
The Crop Factor Unmasked
Field of View vs Focal Length on various formats
By PF Staff in Articles and Tips on Jul 23, 2014

Below we provide a table listing focal lengths with equivalent Field of View (FoV) across several sensor sizes. The actual diagonal field of view (in degrees) is shown on the far right. Click the table to enlarge.
Read more at: Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com

04-28-2020, 11:34 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by bgm1956 Quote
Thanks for the reply. Yes, I primarily shot transparencies and only printed the very few best ones. I'm not afraid of computers, I sit in front of one most of the day. I might change my mind about post processing once I move to digital, but right now it's not foremost in my mind.

---------- Post added 04-28-20 at 11:12 AM ----------


I actually like the difference in view of the APS-C. As I understand it my current lenses will effectively be 1.5x longer. Like I said, I will buy some AF lenses and probably have to buy something wider, but that's cheaper than buying the really long stuff. As far as storage, I can setup cloud storage pretty easy.

---------- Post added 04-28-20 at 11:23 AM ----------


First off, those are some magnificent photos. I am very familiar with how to use manual cameras. I can often take better pictures with my LX than my wife does with her Canon T2i even at games. I wish I could say a K-1 is in the budget, but it's not currently. From your images I would say either camera would do the job, but based on your recommendation, I'm leaning toward the K-3. As far as understanding the lens differences, I understand that my 50mm F1.4 will now become an excellent fast portrait lens, not the primary normal view lens it once was.
Well then, you're way ahead of me when I went digital.
Good luck. Going forward. Those manual focussing action techniques will still make a difference when you shoot digital.
04-28-2020, 11:46 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bgm1956 Quote
I actually like the difference in view of the APS-C. As I understand it my current lenses will effectively be 1.5x longer. Like I said, I will buy some AF lenses and probably have to buy something wider, but that's cheaper than buying the really long stuff. As far as storage, I can setup cloud storage pretty easy.
All good then! You have a better handle on digital than I did when I moved. And yes your lenses will have an angle of view on APS-C that will be the same as a lens that is 1.5x longer. The focal length doesn't change, just the angle of view. The K-3 is an excellent camera, I still use my K-3II as well as the K-1. Note that the K-3 has a built in flash and the K-3II has the built in GPS, and no flash. I think there were some other minor changes but that is the big one. I greatly prefer having the GPS as I geotag all images but that's just me.
04-28-2020, 11:46 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bgm1956 Quote
From your images I would say either camera would do the job,
I did this test based on the 3840x2160 images I display on my 4k TV, people can't even tell the difference in a blind test.
Full frame or APS-c, you be the judge. - PentaxForums.com

We all think we can but, I had to look at my notes when I gave the answers. I took them, and I couldn't tell the difference.

Every time I think, "If I do "this" I'll be able to tell the difference. And every time it turns out Im wrong. People say if you print big enough you can tell the difference, but no one knows how big before that's true and what percentage of the time it would be true. I have a 42x30 K-3 print on my wall, and it looks great,

the last time I decided on criteria, how natural the father detail in birds looked, the first three images I picked out to be examples of how the K-1 was better, the first three images I picked were K-3 images, and I gave up, again.

Last edited by normhead; 04-28-2020 at 11:55 AM.
04-28-2020, 12:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
All good then! You have a better handle on digital than I did when I moved. And yes your lenses will have an angle of view on APS-C that will be the same as a lens that is 1.5x longer. The focal length doesn't change, just the angle of view. The K-3 is an excellent camera, I still use my K-3II as well as the K-1. Note that the K-3 has a built in flash and the K-3II has the built in GPS, and no flash. I think there were some other minor changes but that is the big one. I greatly prefer having the GPS as I geotag all images but that's just me.
Either would work for me. I have an excellent hot shoe flash and a SunPak handle flash both TTL unless they have changed the interface somehow.
04-28-2020, 12:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I did this test based on the 3840x2160 images I display on my 4k TV, people can't even tell the difference in a blind test.
Full frame or APS-c, you be the judge. - PentaxForums.com

We all think we can but, I had to look at my notes when I gave the answers. I took them, and I couldn't tell the difference.

Every time I think, "If I do "this" I'll be able to tell the difference. And every time it turns out Im wrong. People say if you print big enough you can tell the difference, but no one knows how big before that's true and what percentage of the time it would be true. I have a 42x30 K-3 print on my wall, and it looks great,

the last time I decided on criteria, how natural the father detail in birds looked, the first three images I picked out to be examples of how the K-1 was better, the first three images I picked were K-3 images, and I gave up, again.
Thanks for the info, you have been very helpful.
04-28-2020, 12:26 PM   #14
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Welcome to the forum bgm1956; glad you joined us.

Plenty of people still shoot film and love it. I shot film for over 30 years, but once I made the transition to digital I never looked back. My first serious digital camera was a K10D. Then a couple years later I got a K-5IIs, which I love. Apet-Sure's Album: Nature-K5IIs - PentaxForums.com I found I could set the the ISO (ASA) as high as 1600 and still not get objectionable levels of noise (similar to film grain). That may sound high coming from film, but these days newer cameras can go much higher. I recently picked up a used KP, and have the ISO set to top out at 6400 right now. (A PF member recently posted an image of a vase/pot shot with their KP set at 10,000; it was amazingly good!) This high-ISO capability would be quite useful for sports photography.

One of the biggest things I noticed about the KP was how accurate the colors are. Apet-Sure's Album: Nature-KP - PentaxForums.com My beloved K-5IIs is wondering why I'm ignoring it.

I could definitely recommend a K-5 II or IIs. The IQ is very good and they are still highly regarded cameras. I've never used a K-3 but plenty of people swear by them. You'll get 24 megapixels instead of the K-5's 16MP, so better resolution in your images. Here's a spec comparison:
Pentax K-5 II vs. Pentax K-3 vs. Pentax KP - Pentax Camera Comparison - PentaxForums.com

As others have said, one of the biggest adjustments for me was the change in field-of-view for any focal length lens going from FF (35mm) to APS-c format. On a 35mm camera a 50mm lens gives you a 'normal' FOV. To get the same FOV on APS-c cameras you need a 30-35mm-ish lens. A 50mm is slightly telephoto. It will give you the same FOV as a 75mm lens on a 35mm camera.

You'll love digital cameras ability to adjust white balance settings. No more 82A or 80B screw-on filters. You just set WB to daylight, cloudy, tungsten, etc., or just use auto white balance and let the camera decide. AWB on modern cameras is pretty darn good.

There are so many other advantages of digital over film. Digital cameras are so adjustable/customizable that the manuals are 3/4" thick. Don't let that intimidate you though. With modern Pentax cameras you can always set them to 'Green' mode and just point and shoot. The camera makes all the decisions. On the other hand, if you want to make 99 tweaks, you can.

Whatever camera you end up getting, it will be a grand adventure!
04-28-2020, 12:28 PM   #15
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My film time was with a Pentax MX (after my kids time with a Beiretta and a separate light meter). https://www.flickr.com/photos/lincsranger64/4579094470
When i started digital it was first with the Fuji Finepix 602z, just because Pentax didn't go digital in that time.

My first digital Pentax was the K100, sold it a year later and bought a K200 and later the K7. I was always used to use manual focus (what else with the MK ), but was really unable to use manual focus with the K100, K200 and the K7 because of the much smaller viewfinder. It was a huge step back from the superb pentaprism of the MX to these the camera's.
I wear -3.5 eyeglases, and the setting of the viewfinder is from +2.5 to -2.5.So i had to clcik an extra -2 lens on my viewfinder to use it without my glasses. But i still couldn't manage. I always hated that and it was really really frustrating.

I know the auto focus is great with Pentax, but i love manual focus.

That was the main reason i finally took the (expensive) step and bought a K1-II. What a huge relief, i finally can use my favorite manual focus again and all my manual glass. I am extremely happy and feel at home again with my favorite brand Pentax. But i also found out if you haven't used manual focus for so many years, you have to train yourself again in manual.

A (very) long story short, make sure you get you're hands on a K3 or K5 or whatever Pentax just to try it out if you can get used to the smaller viewfinder if you want to keep using manual focus and you're manual glas.

Last edited by Sakura; 04-28-2020 at 02:22 PM. Reason: typo
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