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05-02-2020, 02:41 AM - 7 Likes   #1
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Further reflections on my K3, KP and the "new" Fuji X-T1 and not so new X-E2s.

Last year I posted a thread reflecting on my K3 and KP cameras. Since then I have acquired a Fujifilm X-T1 following an earlier purchase of a X-E2s, and so I think it suitable to reflect on how all 4 cameras fit my uses and the pros and cons relating to DSLR and mirrorless systems.This is not meant to be a review as such but a personal viewpoint which others may find interesting and maybe useful if contemplating a switch from their Pentax system to a mirrorless one. Before I start though please bear in mind I do nearly all of my processing in camera as it suits my needs, and any comment I may make about the nature of each camera's IQ especially re colours and B&W are probably not relevant to those who are more into their image processing via a computers.
Broadly to sum up my previous post about the K3 and KP I find the K3 more suitable for larger lenses, has better handling characteristics (for me) and build quality. The KP has better high ISO performance, is lighter and nicer to carry around (though not to use), and is more suited to smaller lenses. I have now inserted a Focusing Screen manual focus screen on the K3 which makes manual focusing fast primes much easier, so tend to use the K3 for my faster legacy glass and the KP for AF and slower lenses.
Early last year I picked up a X-E2s going cheap and added Fuji's 27mm pancake lens, a personal favourite FOV on crop sensors, as a good quality walk around camera. It is fast and light and fun to use if you are just out and about and want a camera just in case of you know you are going to be taking pictures but do not know of what. Experiments with adaptors and legacy glass though I found somewhat problematic - sometimes the IQ just wasn't there, sometimes focusing could be difficult and heavy glass on such a light body made a mockery of the whole point of the camera. There was enough promise though to encourage me to persist in the Fuji system so a bargain of an X-T1 and vertical grip followed early this year. The X-T 1 with its much larger EVF offers superior focusing with manual glass and slightly better handling overall compared to the X-E2s.
Now to compare the Pentax's to the Fuji's.....

Handling and Ease of Use:-
The mirrorless cameras are obviously lighter, even than the KP, so are nicer to carry around all day.
I find the traditional dials nice but offer no advantage over the KP or K3.
In the hand the K3 is my favourite with the X-T1 and X-E2s close behind. The KP is still nice though and the differences in this regard are minor to me between all 4 cameras. The biggest con of the mirrorless system is the number of times I have brought the camera up to my eye and been greeted by a blank dark rectangle because the damned thing has turned itself off! Very frustrating. Now I know this is probably due to me having grown up with film cameras, many of which were mechanical, and so I have never developed the muscle memory to turn a camera on before bringing it to my eye, but it is still an annoyance to me.
Manual focus lenses on the X-T1 are a joy to use, especially those cheap Chinese ones and smaller legacy standard primes. The various focus aids are very well implemented and as good as a traditional split image/microprism screen on a SLR.
One serious downside of the X-T1 is its lack of built in flash.
Speaking of flash, it is much easier to use manual off camera flash, something I do quite a lot of, with my Pentax cameras due to the optical view finder
As I do most of my processing in camera I find the Pentax system significantly better than Fuji's. Pentax offers more options and the menu system is easier to use.
On the whole I would call this section a draw between Pentax and Fuji.With one system being better in some regards than the other and vice versa but no clear winner. Which camera I use will be dictated by what I expect to do with it on any given task.

Image Quality:-
I will not compare resolution, as clearly the 16mp of the old Fujis is less than Pentax's 24mp. Newer models match these specs. When it comes to overall IQ there are significant differences. Broadly speaking Fuji wins on OOC black and white images whilst Pentax excels in colour ones. Both Fujis are equal in B&W, the KP next and the K3 quite a bit behind. The Pentax models are equal in colour images (apart from when your ISO creeps to 1600 and above when the KP has the clear edge) and the Fujis lag a bit behind. I often find the Fuji colour images require assistance from ones computer to get colour images just so. Not the case with Pentax.
High ISO. The KP is to my eyes the marginal winner, but the Fujis are still pretty good. The old K3 lags somewhat.

Other things to Bear in Mind:-
Legacy glass. There is a huge range of legacy glass ready made for Pentax. No need to bother with adaptors! But with adaptors any legacy glass will work with the Fujis. Personally having tried adaptors out I am not a fan. Some lenses work really well - Minolta 40mm f2 in M mount, or one of my many 50-55mm macro lenses, spring to mind - but general I find them a PIA.
Cheap Chinese lenses are good quality and easy to use on the X-T1. This is a big advantage for this particular camera when it comes to wide angle lenses. No compromise lenses can be made relatively cheaply in shorter focal lengths because the flange distance is so short. For example I paid £120 for a 7Artisans 12mm lens, and there are no complaints about IQ. Try getting a cheapish 12mm lens for APSc DSLRs with decent IQ! The big EVF of the X-T1 lends itself to wide angle lenses, whereas the diminished in size optical finders of APSC DSLRs are not great for wide angle use.
Build Quality. All these cameras have decent build quality, but the Pentax ones certainly feel more robust.
AF - I have not spoken about AF. This is because the subjects I generally take do not require super fast and accurate continuous AF, being mostly static or slow moving. If high speed AF is your need I think you need to be looking elsewhere. Not at these four cameras. I find the AF on all of them perfectly adequate for my personal needs. Mind you I found the AF on my MZ5n back in the day perfectly adequate.

Conclusion:-
I would not exchange my Pentax cameras for a Fuji if I had to choose between systems. I would not change my K3 for a KP if I had to choose between cameras. This is purely personal and subjective choice. I love the feel and handling of the K3, even though it loses out to the other cameras in other respects. Fortunately I am lucky enough to be able to afford both Pentax and Fuji cameras, and being in this position I ultimately want both. So I tend to use Pentax for colour. The K3 for faster MF primes. The KP for AF and slower primes. I tend to use the X-T1 for experimenting with cheap Chinese glass and the X-E2s for general walk around snap shot use. If I had a need for faster continuous AF I would probably look elsewhere.

05-02-2020, 03:38 AM - 1 Like   #2
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...

I was studying Pentax / Fuji differences many times. So far, Pentax is the winner, mainly because price/value is better on Pentax side. With KP and limited lenses my system is pretty small and exceptional, with WR and AW lenses is my system pretty robust and resistant to harsh conditions. Pentax ergonomics is so much better (for me) - the only camera series I would consider on Fuji side is X-T? series and this series is much more expensive. Concerning AF - last year I did my last comparison (KP vs X-T30) and KP's AF system was much better in my conditions (AF-S, shooting agains sun etc.). Everybody's choice ... but I am so convinced that I recently bought 11-18/2,8 to get the best from my system.
05-02-2020, 04:38 AM   #3
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Fuji X easily win over Pentax autofocus, from X-T2 onward, quick and accurate, X-T1 and earlier models not. I much prefer the camera JPEG syles of Fuji, especially black & whites. Pentax B&W is botched, we have the choice between flat (low contrast) or bold monochrome that has way too much contrast that obliterate a lot of tone details. Taking a close look at Fuji GFX50R, feature set is rather basic (Pentax menu system is better), the Fuji is a metal box with a good sensor inside, with a basic contrast detect AF, no better than Pentax live view. No new lenses for the Pentaxes, Fuji releases new lenses more frequently and do a lot of online promotion (via sponsored reviews of Fuji equipment), Fuji advertise their GFX50 a lot, Ricoh are absent, silence for their 645z, there hasn't been a promotion of 645z for years already, while Fuji keeps hammering social media with their GFX50 series.
05-02-2020, 05:33 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Fuji X easily win over Pentax autofocus, from X-T2 onward, quick and accurate, X-T1 and earlier models not. I much prefer the camera JPEG syles of Fuji, especially black & whites. Pentax B&W is botched, we have the choice between flat (low contrast) or bold monochrome that has way too much contrast that obliterate a lot of tone details. Taking a close look at Fuji GFX50R, feature set is rather basic (Pentax menu system is better), the Fuji is a metal box with a good sensor inside, with a basic contrast detect AF, no better than Pentax live view. No new lenses for the Pentaxes, Fuji releases new lenses more frequently and do a lot of online promotion (via sponsored reviews of Fuji equipment), Fuji advertise their GFX50 a lot, Ricoh are absent, silence for their 645z, there hasn't been a promotion of 645z for years already, while Fuji keeps hammering social media with their GFX50 series.
In Europe Ricoh offers a € 2000,00 discount on a 645Z body or with 55mm F2.8. There are also promotions with the K-1 and at the moment the K70. Also a discount on 645 lenses and some DFA's.

05-02-2020, 06:22 AM   #5
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This is a nice balanced thoughtful thread.
05-02-2020, 06:29 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Thanks for sharing.

Your experience with the XE2 matches my experience dabbling with an XE1. Very fun camera, capable of lovely OOC images, but I was quite disappointed when using adapted glass. Even lenses I love on Pentax (the Limiteds) were’t very good on the Fuji. But I was unwilling to buy a lot of Fuji lenses and run two systems, so the Fuji left and I kept the Pentax gear.

I’ve always dabbled in other brands. Buying used and selling them for what I paid, has given me a moderated perspective on Pentax - your post reminds me of that.

Pentax is rarely as “desperately far behind” as some internet wonks would like you to believe. And in so many important ways (image quality, handling, build quality, lens choices) Pentax offers more than any other camera maker. It’s why I’m still here.
05-02-2020, 06:30 AM   #7
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Thanks for the post. I have been looking at the Fujifilm XE2 lately. The limitations of my Samsung NX100 is holding me back (I believe) and I need want something better. The XE2 is getting old but that also means that it's dropping in price. There is a body on offer in my valley for about $200 - very tempting. Maybe when lockdown is over.

One consideration holding me back is that I don't want to get into a thrird lens mount. I am already invested in Pentax K and Samsung NX. The thing is - there is some really nice glass in X mount. And the LBA rabbit hole goes very deep. Perhaps a Samsung NX300 would serve me better.
05-02-2020, 07:14 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
Thanks for the post. I have been looking at the Fujifilm XE2 lately. The limitations of my Samsung NX100 is holding me back (I believe) and I need want something better. The XE2 is getting old but that also means that it's dropping in price. There is a body on offer in my valley for about $200 - very tempting. Maybe when lockdown is over.

One consideration holding me back is that I don't want to get into a thrird lens mount. I am already invested in Pentax K and Samsung NX. The thing is - there is some really nice glass in X mount. And the LBA rabbit hole goes very deep. Perhaps a Samsung NX300 would serve me better.
My first digital camera was a Fuji. I bought it because I did not enjoy the film camera's I had from Pentax. Mainly because the photolabs delivered poor quality. The Fuji brought back the joy. As a follow up I bought the Samsung GX-10, because I was able than to use my Pentax lenses. But the GX10 was very heavy so I bought an NX100. I still use it, because it is such a good camera. And in many ways it is, well, a small mirrorless Pentax sibling. This is what a Ricoh/Pentax Mirrorless should have been. I do not think that an NX300 will serve you better. Actually an NX100 has it all, put the 30mm lens on it and you get stellar results. Funny enough the NX100 handles very well with the 18-200mm attached to it, with the 50-200 it does not. If you want another Samsung NX perhaps the NX500 is a real step upwards. But for all of them: you sometimes need a lens with OIS in it. I'd rather sell my Ricoh/Pentaxes than say goodbye to the NX100. Unfortunately investing in the NX system is not wise. Samsung put a stop to further developing the NX line, which is a shame.

05-02-2020, 08:41 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Quote
My first digital camera was a Fuji. I bought it because I did not enjoy the film camera's I had from Pentax. Mainly because the photolabs delivered poor quality. The Fuji brought back the joy. As a follow up I bought the Samsung GX-10, because I was able than to use my Pentax lenses. But the GX10 was very heavy so I bought an NX100. I still use it, because it is such a good camera. And in many ways it is, well, a small mirrorless Pentax sibling. This is what a Ricoh/Pentax Mirrorless should have been. I do not think that an NX300 will serve you better. Actually an NX100 has it all, put the 30mm lens on it and you get stellar results. Funny enough the NX100 handles very well with the 18-200mm attached to it, with the 50-200 it does not. If you want another Samsung NX perhaps the NX500 is a real step upwards. But for all of them: you sometimes need a lens with OIS in it. I'd rather sell my Ricoh/Pentaxes than say goodbye to the NX100. Unfortunately investing in the NX system is not wise. Samsung put a stop to further developing the NX line, which is a shame.
I do have an NX1, which is just wonderful. It's just a bit heavy for taking with me everywhere, as I do with my NX100. The NX1 is a big step up from the NX100. My biggest hassles with the NX100 are low light and dynamic range. The NX500 packs the same sensor as the NX1. It is on my radar, but they are scarce in my valley. The few that do turn up are from sellers who dropped in from a parallel universe, sadly. They paid top money and want a return on that investment. The fact that Samsung has orphaned their camera line is not known to them either. Prices on the NX300 are more realistic, but perhaps an NX500 will turn up.
05-02-2020, 10:12 AM   #10
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Nice balanced opinion piece! I do have to say that there are some nice 11 and 12mm lenses available these days for Pentax from Irix and Samyang, although they are not autofocus of course. I was talking Fuji today with another gentleman trying to get some good images of Warblers. He loved his and even with a 100-400 on it, he still felt it was "right sized." I dislike EVFs and the idea of only a few hundred images per battery, but as they say at the track, "horses for courses!" And of course, the best camera is the one you have with you right at the moment it is needed.
05-02-2020, 11:58 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by richard0170 Quote
In the hand the K3 is my favourite with the X-T1 and X-E2s close behind. The KP is still nice though and the differences in this regard are minor to me between all 4 cameras.
Thank you for your in-depth report. I can identify with the differences you cite, although I have not used any of the Fuji products, just a looking-over. I enjoy my KP on a regular basis these days, although I still occasionally use my K-5 IIs, no doubt the difference in handling being similar to that with your K-3. As you say, differences are minor. The KP is indeed especially nice with small lenses. But I appreciate the robust size of my K-5 IIs and its additional dedicated on-body controls, as this design is better by a small margin for certain situations, and it does balance better for all-around handling with larger lenses. It is lighter than the K-3, but heavier than the KP. For me, the KP rather compensates for dropping a couple of handy dedicated on-body controls with its sophisticated new control system, new features, and programable buttons. The pull-out rear screen can be very useful also- a very nice feature, unexpected in a compact but robust metal design.

I like the interchangeable grips. The smallest is great with small lenses, like the compact DA 20-40mm, or the very compact 15mm, 21mm, 40mm, or 70mm Limiteds. The form of the KP in this setup is to me quite similar to what you mention, your old MZ5n- over here the ZX-5n, one of several film bodies I still have sitting on a shelf. With the largest supplied grip, for me the KP is still fine up to and including the DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, but for lenses of larger size, I just throw on the battery grip which makes quite a difference. The weight is then similar to the K-3. For me, the control systems of the Fuji products I examined were not in the same league as with my Pentax models. And I am definitely with you regarding the lack of a built-in flash. These can be of great value for many situations that arise, that can be successfully handled without having to carry a flash unit around all the time "just in case".

I am like you in preferring to get satisfactory results right out of the camera without having to bother with post processing, except for certain shots where I'll shoot RAW+JPEG for this option. I find the KP is especially good in this regard. Just be sure to implement "Fine Sharpening" in the Custom Image menus, especially in the most often-used "Bright" category, but I do so in the "Natural" category as well, to get optimum fine detail in OOC images. I recommend doing likewise with your K-3.

Last edited by mikesbike; 05-02-2020 at 12:04 PM.
05-02-2020, 06:32 PM   #12
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Here is a really great article on using old lenses on mirrorless cameras. His argument is that even old lenses that are not sharp or even damaged lenses can make great lenses on mirrorless cameras.

Antique and Veteran Photography - Melbourne (South) - Dead Lens Project

Like he says, "It’s not about picking up a lens and expecting it to be sharp and giving accurate colour rendition. It’s all about picking up a challenged piece of glass and learning to work within its limits which, if you think about it, it what photography SHOULD be all about. And best of all, the results are unpredictable and possibly unique to each lens".
05-03-2020, 01:39 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Theov39 Quote
Here is a really great article on using old lenses on mirrorless cameras. His argument is that even old lenses that are not sharp or even damaged lenses can make great lenses on mirrorless cameras.
Yes,and many of the M/L forums have sections with many threads about adapting the old film era lenses.The prices of the old stuff has risen sharply in some places,mind you bargains can still be found at garage sales and OpShops.

---------- Post added 05-03-20 at 07:42 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
Prices on the NX300 are more realistic, but perhaps an NX500 will turn up.
The 500 is worth the wait,same sensor but next gen processor.

---------- Post added 05-03-20 at 07:45 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
I have been looking at the Fujifilm XE2 lately.
X-E2S is a better camera as its got a much better EVF.
05-03-2020, 01:52 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
The limitations of my Samsung NX100 is holding me back (I believe) and I need want something better.
One consideration holding me back is that I don't want to get into a thrird lens mount. I am already invested in Pentax K and Samsung NX. Perhaps a Samsung NX300 would serve me better.

As another NX user I'd suggest not investing further in an obsolescent and unsupported system, irrespective of how well it performs. Sell what you do have whilst there's still a semblance of value and use the cash on something more current, be that Pentax or otherwise


Just my tuppence worth, good luck
05-03-2020, 05:20 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by kypfer Quote
As another NX user I'd suggest not investing further in an obsolescent and unsupported system, irrespective of how well it performs. Sell what you do have whilst there's still a semblance of value and use the cash on something more current, be that Pentax or otherwise


Just my tuppence worth, good luck
Here's the thing - I got into the NX system because of a rock bottom price deal on an NX1 with 16-50/2-2.8 and 50-150/2.8 lenses. The body has an issue with the mechanical shutter that can not be fixed because Samsung does not supply spares anymore, but I can live with that. I am now holding out for a similar deal on another Samsung body, hehehe. Unfortunately, most NX1 and NX500 sellers are living in cloud cuckoo land and unaware of what happens to a broken Samsung camera or lens. How or where do you even begin to negotiate when the asking price is five to ten times what you are willing or able to pay?

With the above in mind, I am considering getting into Fujifilm. The XE2 looks nice, but its abilities at high ISO is unknown to me. I like low light photography. My Pentax Kx is surprisingly capable, but the Samsung NX1 is in a different league. It should be since it is a later generation, but the BSI sensor secret sauce recipe makes for tasty results.

As for Pentax, if I am going to be paying top dollar I want mirrorless. Focus peaking with an EVF makes it easy to keep using my collection of classic glass. With the economic realities of today that is unlikely to happen soon. In the meantime, if a Pentax K5 II or K3 turns up at a low, low price I would be tempted. So many choices, but there is no real urgency. Not with two Pentax bodies and two Samsung bodies.
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