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10-06-2020, 04:31 PM   #1
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New Pentax KP vs. used Nikon D800

I am upgrading my camera, and just about to order KP, when I came across a used Nikon D800 (50 000 shutter actuations) for the price of a new D-70. Has anyone used both? I really like the idea of the full frame on D800, but Pentax has image stabilization going for it. Which camera, in your opinion, would have better IQ overall? That's going to be my only camera.

10-06-2020, 04:47 PM - 3 Likes   #2
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Difficult choice.
1) D800 is from 2012 I think so much older sensor
2) D800 is much bigger and heavier
3) D800 is full frame. What lenses will you need to buy to support a full frame camera?
4) D800 is a Nikon. You do realize you are asking this question on a Pentax forum?
5) D800 has 50k actuations. I do not know what shutter life is on that camera but possibly rated for 200k so 1/4 of its life gone.

Really only you can make this decision. Image quality I would say the KP would edge out the D800, KP has an excellent sensor. Personally I would get the KP but then I am already well invested in Pentax glass.
10-06-2020, 04:56 PM   #3
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IF you are here I suspect you have some Pentax compatible glass, so if that is the case, Go KP. It is more modern and has great low light capability as well as 5 axis SR.
10-06-2020, 05:01 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
1) D800 is from 2012 I think so much older sensor
That's the core of my hesitance Would FF from 2012 outperform APS-C from 2017?
QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
2) D800 is much bigger and heavier
3) D800 is full frame. What lenses will you need to buy to support a full frame camera?
I would be stuck with much more expensive FF lenses. This is indeed a factor, but I am willing to bite it.
QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
4) D800 is a Nikon. You do realize you are asking this question on a Pentax forum?
I have been emotionally attached to Pentax for 25 years, but I do not have that many great lenses. The only lens I would really miss is FA 50/2.8 macro.
QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
5) D800 has 50k actuations. I do not know what shutter life is on that camera but possibly rated for 200k so 1/4 of its life gone.
I do not think I would be able to use up the remaining 150 000 in my life time I am not a pro in any sense.

10-06-2020, 05:02 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I'm assuming you are a current pentax user.

Do you already have any Nikon lenses ?

For what it is worth you can compare IQ on dpreview. Just select the desired cameras. Seems to me that the KP is better at handling noise at high iso's.

Benchmark Performance: Nikon D810 review: Digital Photography Review
10-06-2020, 05:06 PM - 5 Likes   #6
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mmmm..... if you are considering those 2.... then you should get a lightly use K1.
10-06-2020, 05:23 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by noelpolar Quote
mmmm..... if you are considering those 2.... then you should get a lightly use K1.
I'm not sure there are very many lightly used K-1's in the 600 $ range.
10-06-2020, 05:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxxoid Quote
I do not think I would be able to use up the remaining 150 000 in my life time I am not a pro in any sense.
Don't have to be, just trying to give you a sense of how much the camera was used. And many amateurs use lots of exposures for astro or focus stacking.

May I suggest you try to handle both cameras? These days trying to determine a purchase on image quality is just nit picking. There is no real world difference for most of us in any of the recent cameras. Well, 2012 might be getting a little old. Anyway, decide which camera fits in your hand better, which controls are easier to use and which menus are easier. Hint: KP wins.

The allure of full frame is strong, but I think it has been conclusively proven by several people on this forum that for most people you really will not be able to see the difference. And one of the true advantages of full frame is that the larger sensor gains about 1 stop in better noise and dynamic range. But in this case that isn't true because the newer sensor in the KP trounces the D800.

As noted above if you already have full frame Pentax lenses consider a used K-1. I think that is a better camera than the D800 and its full frame.

10-06-2020, 05:31 PM   #9
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Hello,

A big part of that equation is lenses. Do you have good lenses for either one?
Is stabilization important to you?
Is the D800 weather sealed? Is that important to you?
Is size and weight important to you?
Is autofocus critical for you? I don't have experience with D800 but I've read it is great, but I have no idea how it compares to KP.
Is flash exposure critical? In my very little experience with some friend's Nikons, that is one of the few things I like about it.
Is high ISO important to you? I think the KP may have the upper hand there.
Is frames per second important? The KP is 7 the D800 is 4.
New vs used? Do you know the story behind those 50,000 clicks?
If it was my personal choice, based on these question the KP would win, but what is important to me may not be for you.
Remember that the body will dictate the system: lenses, flashes, accessories, etc.

But here is a tie breaker: This forum!

Best of luck in your decision!

Thanks,
10-06-2020, 05:38 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Well, 2012 might be getting a little old.
This is my experience trying "vintage digital" cameras for fun (Pentax K10D, Ricoh GR digital). They're old, and while image quality is just fine for my needs (especially when those needs are adjusted to the camera), the age shows in many other aspects like the menu system, convenience features and connectivity, which are lacking.


QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
But in this case that isn't true because the newer sensor in the KP trounces the D800.
I fully agree feel in hand should matter more than image quality, because all somewhat recent cameras with large sensors have good image quality. But I guess to show how little sensors are improving these days, I found this, apparently the sensor in the d800 is still competitive, not as good as the k1 but not far behind even in high iso performance Pentax K-1 vs Nikon D800 vs
10-06-2020, 05:49 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
apparently the sensor in the d800 is still competitive, not as good as the k1 but not far behind even in high iso performance
I believe you are correct on that, however I suspect the KP might be a little better or at least as good as either despite being APS-C.

Tough choice and why I think my decison would be based on the handling of the camera rather than image quality. All of these cameras are better than I am.

Back before the K-1 came out I decided that having a FF camera would make me a better photographer. I tried both Canon and Nikon and even had a Nikon in my cart at Costco. But every time I picked one of them up it just felt awkward. Ultimately I decided a camera I liked using was better than a 'better' full frame one that I didn't like. The K-1 was announced about a year later and I am very, very glad I waited.
10-06-2020, 06:08 PM - 1 Like   #12
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It all comes down to lenses... and good Nikon lenses don't come cheap.
10-06-2020, 06:24 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxxoid Quote
Which camera, in your opinion, would have better IQ overall?
That depends on what you mean by IQ. Is IQ the amount of detail your camera captures? If so, the D800 is better, because it has larger sensor and more MP. But it's not necessarily better by leaps and bounds. (The difference is about as great as between the KP and the K-1). If you define image quality as ISO or DR performance, then again the D800 is better, though not by a huge margin. And if you define IQ on the basis on "rendering" (bokeh, "presence," color, "life-like" presentation of detail, etc.), that is going to come down to lenses and personal taste. I would personally not consider the D800 unless I had some professional caliber Nikon (or better yet, Zeiss) glass to go with it. I've seen pictures taken with Nikon FF cameras combined with mediocre Nikon glass (like the 24-120 f3.5-5.6) and I haven't impressed at all. The KP combined with just about any current DA lens (except the kit lenses) will give you better looking images, irrespective of issues related to detail, ISO performance, or DR performance, all of which tend to be over-rated when it comes to real IQ in any case.
10-06-2020, 06:25 PM   #14
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Have a look at this comparison tool.

Studio shot comparison: Digital Photography Review

I admit I was surprised at the results. Up to about ISO 800, the D800 was better in terms of noise. Moving up in ISO, the KP tied and started to move ahead above ISO 6,400. The D800 seemed to have more accurate color rendition across the board, especially when comparing the sketch drawings to the full image.

So I guess is comes down to your preferences. If you are shooting in good light and low to moderate ISO's, I'd go with the D800. If you need better high ISO performance, then the KP would be the one. If you shoot a mix, then I think it would come down to the balance of other factors. I personally hate the ergonomics of the KP and the shutter button location. That alone is almost enough for me to go with the D800.

Or do like me and go with at a K3 II. :P
10-06-2020, 06:49 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Used d800 for years at my previous job, it's a great camera. I believe it's the same sensor as in K-1, so image quality won't be an issue, I'd imagine it'd be better than any apsc camera. Plus nikon bayonet will give you access to a ton of lenses, native and third party.

Af, features, size, convenience, lens size, lens prices - all gonna be better with KP.

Edit: we used that camera for food photography, portraits and interiors, so it was mainly shot at low iso. I don't remember how it performed at high iso. K-1 does really well with the same sensor, so maybe it'll be just fine.
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