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12-30-2008, 07:36 PM   #1
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Overall K20d operation speed?

At this point in time i'm in a kind of dilemma as to should I continue investing in my current Pentax equipment, which isn't that large yet... Or switch the system before I'll have too much $$ invested in a system which cannot deliver...

That being said, i'm wondering if K20d is fast enough for any serious sport photography... Let's say I need to pull as many as possible fps at max resolution, in RAW format, at 1/800s... Where does K20 stands in this situation? Or perhaps it's successor...

12-30-2008, 07:50 PM   #2
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That isn't really Pentax's strong suit, although there are people who do it. If it were me I'd jump ship while I still could afford to.

Now if you're looking for a system where you can use 50 years' worth of beautiful prime lenses, you've come to the right place...
12-30-2008, 08:11 PM   #3
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I shoot a lot of mountain biking and some BMX. I'm pretty happy with Pentax for that, but for soccer and basketball I somtimes wish that it was faster.

I had a K100d and recently decided to stay with Pentax and upgrade to the K20d. I'm sure that I will appreciate the small fps gain ant the very big buffer gain.

Shooting raw: K100d 2.6fps - buffer full at 3 frames vs. K20d 3fps - buffer full at 14 frames
12-30-2008, 08:13 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Finn Quote
Now if you're looking for a system where you can use 50 years' worth of beautiful prime lenses, you've come to the right place...
That's one of the reasons why I have a Pentax camera and that's the biggest disappointment so far... As somebody else said in another thread, most old lenses are rubbish to begin with, but real gems are well known and cost a frighting fortune... The damn 85mm starred or FA makes me dizzy while Nikon's 85/1.8 goes for 300$ in sparkling brand new condition... And I don't give a damn what pixel peepers have to say about that...

Since I will have to get one of the higher-end Pentax bodies to keep up, I'm loosing another advantage I was really holding to - standard AA batteries... So at the end - what's the point?

12-30-2008, 10:33 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by alexeyga Quote
That's one of the reasons why I have a Pentax camera and that's the biggest disappointment so far... As somebody else said in another thread, most old lenses are rubbish to begin with, but real gems are well known and cost a frighting fortune... The damn 85mm starred or FA makes me dizzy while Nikon's 85/1.8 goes for 300$ in sparkling brand new condition... And I don't give a damn what pixel peepers have to say about that...

Since I will have to get one of the higher-end Pentax bodies to keep up, I'm loosing another advantage I was really holding to - standard AA batteries... So at the end - what's the point?
Ummmm...Those are some pretty interesting claims. The one about old lenses being rubbish, in particular. I suspect that you will get a few flames from that one.

The Nikon AF 85/1.8 D is a spectacular optical performer with reasonable build at a real decent price. Sounds a little bit like the Pentax FA 35/2 or FA 50/1.4. Add another $100+ and you can get a "*" or limited lens.

It sounds like you are in a bit of a catch-22. You want AA batteries in a higher-end body (> K200D ?), but none is made by any manufacturer.

So, I would re-phrase your closing comment...what is your point?

Steve

P.S. Out of curiosity, what are your "keeping up" with?

(Personally having spent less than $800 on lenses in my entire life...)

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-30-2008 at 11:11 PM.
12-30-2008, 10:42 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by alexeyga Quote
That's one of the reasons why I have a Pentax camera and that's the biggest disappointment so far... As somebody else said in another thread, most old lenses are rubbish to begin with, but real gems are well known and cost a frighting fortune... The damn 85mm starred or FA makes me dizzy while Nikon's 85/1.8 goes for 300$ in sparkling brand new condition... And I don't give a damn what pixel peepers have to say about that...

Since I will have to get one of the higher-end Pentax bodies to keep up, I'm loosing another advantage I was really holding to - standard AA batteries... So at the end - what's the point?
AA batteries? Yuck...no thanks. I have two batteries for the K20d and can easily shoot an entire day. I just rotate between the two. Why add to the landfill with AAs? Yes, there are rechargeable ones but they can be a pita and some gear don't like the lower voltage.

I don't shoot sports, but the K20d will do burst pretty well. Most "real" sports shooters use Canon though - it is the gold standard. But enjoy the price of admission for good glass. And you have to like the look of the Canon files. Each brand has a bit of a vibe with their photos. Some prefer one over the other (and some don't see any difference).

What keeps me with Pentax are the limited primes. They are small and light (important for me) and can yield great results. Plus if you're willing to put up with more weight and shoot manual you can get a number of Zeiss or Voigtlander lenses. The other thing is the UI on the K20d. I find Canon and Nikon bodies to be harder to use and don't care for the button placement. But ymmv.

If you like the look of a Nikon 85 (have you shot one?), then just jump to Nikon. I will admit that I haven't shot a ton of Nikon glass, but I haven't seen anything that beats my 77ltd. That lens by itself is enough for me to keep a K20d around.
12-30-2008, 11:19 PM   #7
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Guys, keep the flames down... My topic wasn't about lenses, it's about K20's, thus today's Pentax top of the line body shooting speed capability...

AA-s? Well, personally I don't feel comfortable with proprietary batteries, wither it comes to my digital camera or an mp3-player... But that's me... I tend to put things in long perspective... For example I really don't feel like investing in DA-lenses, since the current trend is towards FF whether we want it or not... so eventually if Pentax wants to stay in business, they will have to move in... and all these fine pieces of DA and DA* glass will become... how to say it... useless? perhaps that's too harsh of a term... at lest these lenses will drop in value big time...

Sorry I didn't want to offend anybody by comparing el cheapo Nikon's 85/1.8 to our precious Limited... I'm after the 77Lim my-self to be honest... but again, this topic is not about lenses... And please, i've only brought it as an example...
12-30-2008, 11:32 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by alexeyga Quote
Guys, keep the flames down... My topic wasn't about lenses, it's about K20's, thus today's Pentax top of the line body shooting speed capability...

AA-s? Well, personally I don't feel comfortable with proprietary batteries, wither it comes to my digital camera or an mp3-player... But that's me... I tend to put things in long perspective... For example I really don't feel like investing in DA-lenses, since the current trend is towards FF whether we want it or not... so eventually if Pentax wants to stay in business, they will have to move in... and all these fine pieces of DA and DA* glass will become... how to say it... useless? perhaps that's too harsh of a term... at lest these lenses will drop in value big time...

Sorry I didn't want to offend anybody by comparing el cheapo Nikon's 85/1.8 to our precious Limited... I'm after the 77Lim my-self to be honest... but again, this topic is not about lenses... And please, i've only brought it as an example...
No flames, just trying to get a reality check. What precisely are you trying to shoot? And have you tried it with your current setup? A lot of people seem to buy what they think they need, when in reality they don't. Like FF...most people just don't need it. But many want it. For a variety of reasons.

I have no issue with proprietary batteries, but that is a personal thing. The problem is I think you'll have a tough time finding a FF body (or any high-end body) that uses AA so if that is an important feature then...

That to me is key. Identify what your "deal breaker" features are, then what your "nice to have" features are, then your "not a bid deal". Then match that to the best fit. And frankly I think that basing your choice around the glass isn't a bad thing to do, hence my reference to the Nikon 85 (which you brought up as an example). For instance a few years back when I got into dSLR I went with a Nikon D70 as I really like macro and found the Nikkor micro lenses to be to my liking. I eventually moved away from doing a lot of macro, and fell into Pentax for a variety of reasons. Thankfully my shooting style meshes perfectly with ltd primes, so while I'd like FF for a variety of reasons, it isn't a deal breaker for me. I can print 24"x36" with no problem out of my K20d (or out of my p&s for that matter) and that's plenty big for typical exhibitions I'll do.

If you're worried about "value" then digital electronics aren't a place to play. The bodies value drops quickly and goes down from there. Good glass is a little more stable, but everything changes. While FF is the "big thing" right now, it still is out of reach for typical consumers and will continue to be that way for a few years at least. The manufacturers want to differentiate market levels and sensor size is a good way. Plus they've spent a LOT of money developing the APS-optimized lenses so they don't want that investment to go into the toilet. I think that APS cameras will continue to evolve.

At this point it looks like 4 formats: small sensor (p&s), u4/3, APS, FF. Above that is MF and beyond but that has never been a consumer target. I don't see APS going anywhere anytime soon, and there will be workarounds for using APS glass on FF. What is funny is that all those film lenses that were "obsolete" now are suddenly not obsolete...though they lack automatic features that most consumers have come to expect, so only enthusiasts and masochists will be willing to use legacy glass on the new bodies.

The bottom line is that you have to separate real need from the desire to get the new, shiny toy. And that can be a challenging proposition. If you make your living shooting and need high iso performance or high FPS (which btw FF does *not* excel at), then you should buy the best system you can. If it is a hobby and you have the spare cash, then buy what makes you happy. But odds are a K20d can do what you need it to do...everything is a compromise.

12-30-2008, 11:36 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It sounds like you are in a bit of a catch-22. You want AA batteries in a higher-end body (> K200D ?), but none is made by any manufacturer.

So, I would re-phrase your closing comment...what is your point?

Steve

P.S. Out of curiosity, what are your "keeping up" with?

(Personally having spent less than $800 on lenses in my entire life...)
That's my point... Today I was just about to blew over 1K$ for really nice, big Sigma zoom that suits my goal, but i've choked since I'm not sure if even the most advanced (current) Pentax body can cut it... Do i have the right body for the tool?
12-30-2008, 11:38 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by alexeyga Quote
That being said, i'm wondering if K20d is fast enough for any serious sport photography... Let's say I need to pull as many as possible fps at max resolution, in RAW format, at 1/800s... Where does K20 stands in this situation? Or perhaps it's successor...
This guy shoots surfing for a living:

chasing light...
12-31-2008, 08:14 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by alexeyga Quote
At this point in time i'm in a kind of dilemma as to should I continue investing in my current Pentax equipment, which isn't that large yet... Or switch the system before I'll have too much $$ invested in a system which cannot deliver...

That being said, i'm wondering if K20d is fast enough for any serious sport photography... Let's say I need to pull as many as possible fps at max resolution, in RAW format, at 1/800s... Where does K20 stands in this situation? Or perhaps it's successor...

Serious sports photography. Canon, maybe Nikon, but it highly depends on your lens length requirements.

I'm a former Pentax user.
Former Canon user.
Current Nikon user.


Trust me --- there is *no* perfect system. End of story. My opinions, having used extensively the K200D, K20D, Canon 40D and Nikon D700 and D90:


Pentax - Slow FPS, slower AF. Lacks a 70-200mm F/2.8, which is pretty much the standard in sports lenses (for most things). 60-250 could probably suit you there, but I'm unsure on how fast it focuses. Still, the 3.0 FPS is very limiting. Combine that with a slower-than-most AF-C and you're going to get a lot of throwaway photos.

Canon - Fast AF, fast FPS. Some glass is expensive. Controls aren't as great as the K20D; some things are fairly non-intuitive on the body. Great selection of 70-200 lenses, from F/4 and no IS to F/2.8 and IS. No flash commander (moot point for sports, but just FYI). Lots of lenses don't include a lens hood.

Nikon - Good controls, almost good as K20D. Fast FPS and AF speed - AF is generally considered slightly better than Canon's. Great high ISO performance. Glass selection is more limited than Canon. Their only "sports" zoom is the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, which is $1500 (same as Canon's best 70-200mm, but Canon also give you 3 cheaper choices, Nikon only has the single lens). Battery grips can boost the FPS of some cameras.

Very long Nikon glass is ridiculously expensive - 500mm / 600mm lenses cost about $2500 *more* than the Canon variants.


--------------------------------------

My suggestion -- It depends.


First, you didn't mention sports. I'm going to go with the "basic" 70-200mm range guess here.

For more lens availability, Canon. They have 4 lenses in this range:

70-200mm f/4 (about $550)
70-200mm F/2.8 (about $1000)
70 - 200mm F/4 IS (about $1000 also )
70 -200mm F/2.8 IS (about $1500)

A canon 40D or 50D will push out about 6.3 FPS and do pretty good.


Or..

Pay a bit more for a Nikon D300 with their only 70-200mm , which is f/2.8 and VR, $1500. Native speed is 6PFS. Buy the battery grip and EL4(?) battery to push the D300 to 8FPS I believe.

D300 body is about 200-300 more than the 50D body, but has a more sophisticated AF system that performs a bit better than the XXD series from Canon.

Edit -- You'll also have to pay if you want to keep Nikon's custom editing software, around $125. Pentax and Canon give this to you for free.
12-31-2008, 08:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by alexeyga Quote
That's my point... Today I was just about to blew over 1K$ for really nice, big Sigma zoom that suits my goal, but i've choked since I'm not sure if even the most advanced (current) Pentax body can cut it... Do i have the right body for the tool?
Thanks for the clarification.

There are a few users on this site that shoot action sports (surfing, mountain biking/bmx, motorsport, and car racing) with Pentax. There is also a cadre of wildlife and bird photographers. There are also a few that do team sports such as American football. From what I have seen, they get pretty good (actually excellent) results.

Having given credit to these users, I would refer to cputeq's comments above and bow to conventional wisdom and suggest that some time with the Canon or Nikon product might be in order before you invest heavily in glass. The K20D is a great body, but I would not expect it to be much faster in actual use than the K100D, K110D, or K200D that you are currently using. (I assume you have something like that based on your AA battery comment.)

For me personally; I really like my kit, but I don't generally do action shooting. If I did, I would likely have gone with a different product.

Edit: I forgot to add that there is more to getting good sports/action photos than AF speed and FPS. There is a limit to what you can do with the "spray and pray" approach. Even at 12 FPS, you can still miss the shot that a good eye, experience, and good reflexes will get you with a single shutter stroke.

Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-31-2008 at 08:43 PM.
12-31-2008, 10:05 PM   #13
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QuoteQuote:
Edit: I forgot to add that there is more to getting good sports/action photos than AF speed and FPS. There is a limit to what you can do with the "spray and pray" approach. Even at 12 FPS, you can still miss the shot that a good eye, experience, and good reflexes will get you with a single shutter stroke.
Very true, but machine gunning shots is pretty much the best approach -- there's a reason the "top" cameras from N and C do a ridiculous amount of FPS.

It's not so much about getting "the" shot, it's about getting the "best" version of a shot. When you have 8 slightly different poses of a certain play compared to just 3, it gives you a lot more selection as to choosing the exact composition you want.

Granted, experience in shooting a particular sport counts for a TON, and I'm sure a pro with 3 FPS could beat an amatuer with 6 fps, but give the pro 6/8/12 FPS and he (or she) is going to have a lot more latitude in which shots they can present -- many times a machine gunned series yeilds gems that would have been impossible to time (facial expressions, body movements, dust/dirt spray, etc).
01-01-2009, 02:58 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by alexeyga Quote
(snip) That being said, i'm wondering if K20d is fast enough for any serious sport photography... (snip)

Photographers decades ago were doing "serious" sports photography long before modern auto-focus, motor-drive, cameras with high-speed shutter mechanisms, so obviously something faster than the K10D/K20D, or any other so-called slow camera, is much more of a preference than a true necessity. And only you can decide whether a preference for pure speed is more important to you than any other factors.

stewart
01-01-2009, 03:39 AM   #15
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The K2000 has the highest frame rate doesn't it? It also takes AA's IIRC.
Of course you lose weather sealing on the body but I imagine you would use some kind of extra protection, one of those watertight bags or something.
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