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01-15-2009, 02:53 AM   #1
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wanting to come back from The Dark Side, help me out here.

my baby was a K10D with a sharp Tammy 28-75 2.8. sweeeet. needed a break, so gave it to my daughter.

then i played with a 40D and some nice glass. SOLD! so now i've got two 40Ds (i hate changing lenses), Tammy 70-200 2.8 - the 'cream' machine, 18-55 IS kit lens (freaking sharp everywhere, with great bokeh?? go figure) and a jewel of a lens, the 60 2.8 USM macro - no CA, no distortion, the match in sharpness for a 43 limited and bokeh, god, the bokeh and this thing is, well, it's perfect, everywhere - check photozone.de for their take on it as well, it makes everything 'art'.

and this is the tough bit, all lenses focus perfectly, not front, not back, but right on the money, super fast, every time. close to silently, and in any light. and they're perfectly centred.

and... the free software that comes with the cameras will correct CA, distortion and vignetting, even incorporating focus distance as well, to get dang near perfect correction.

now the 'but'... did a wedding, and my daughter backed up with the K10D and the tammy 28-75 2.8. and sh*t, her photo's colour and presence, straight out of Lightroom took some serious work to match with the 40D shots. had to use Contrast Colour Range in Nik Efex at 50% opacity and some brightness to get even remotely close... but it was depressing just how good the K10D did. and the K10D exposures had at least as much shadow detail available (so much for canons 14bit difference).

but... the one thing where the canon bagged the pentax. focus accuracy. shooting at ISO1600 (both cameras), in poor light, catching the bridal party leaving, there were about 30 shots each taken by the K10D and, one of the 40Ds. not one 40D shot was out of focus. the pentax on the other had got maybe 30% in focus. not user error, my daughter knows that camera better than anyone i've seen.

at this point. i'm thinking - do i get a K20D and a 31 limited? anyone else use this combo?

if i could get a guaranteed sharp, not front/back focusing, centred DA*16-50 2.8, i'd consider that instead. even though i also own DXO, i hate the CA issue, having been spoilt by lenses that just don't do CA no matter how stupid the user is.

in the end, i just miss the way the Pentax DSLR renders colours. really, really hard to put your finger on. and the prints are more film like, like an SD14 to some extent. i'd get an SD14 with a 30 1.4 Sigma lens, but ALL the Sigmas are such a lottery, that your chances of getting a sharp DA*16-50 look good. no offence to lucky sigma lens owners. but once you've bought four copies each, of two different expensive, premium grade sigma lenses, and they ALL suck, it colours you for life.

this is what a canon renders like, and it's still not right :-(



01-15-2009, 03:30 AM   #2
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This is an interesting view you have put forward here.

You are right about colour and contrast being a stronger point for pentax gear in relation to canon ones. However, Nikon sensors do render similar to pentax due to the sensor performance more on the same page. A lot of what you see are really due to the sensor difference in this regard.

With wedding shots, I would prefer Canon gear. This is simply due to the fact that canon colour is rather dull. Canon sensor dampens down highlight a lot, more forgiving for photojournalistic wedding photography. When it comes down to available light photography, the high ISO performance with bright primes really saves the day. Even with flash work, less skin details are often a good thing since the aim is to please the clients that are really after "everything sharp" kind of mentality. Pentax can perform but the autofocus hesistancy in the dark and erratic autoexposure does make the photography exercise in a hectic day more difficult. Yes, set the camera in M mode and use a flash to do the work. That would really produce monotonous mood for most shots. This is all due to the fact that Pentax metering and colour are more real life like thus more thought, thinking and planning are required in this fast paced style of wedding photography.

For a landscape trip, Pentax k20d is definitely the camera for me to use. Combing with Fa 31mm ltd, it is a dream combination. You can see some of my shots in my gallery

Fa 31mm ltd f1.8 gallery

I love Fa 31mm ltd not because of its sharpness or its bokeh quality. It is how this lens fits my need! I love the fact that Fa 31mm ltd underexposes at least 1 stop under Australian sun. This actually bring out the rich contrasty colour I love and allow me to retain that colour code for me to process later on. The lens looks so beautifully constructed and resembles the classic design of most german lenses. The best thing about this prime is "reliability" as most of the results from Fa 31mm ltd are predictable. I like to know when Fa 31mm ltd would perform badly and when it will perform well so I could utilise the lens professionally.

You see that I could talk about Fa 31mm ltd for ages. I know Fa 31mm ltd would perform badly when the scene is low contrast with homogeous colour code. This prime does not do yellow justice but tends to go dark brown instead. And there are just plenty more to say about this lens. Comparing to Canon 35mm f1.4 or 24mm f1.4, there are less to talk about comparing to pentax fa limited. Knowing pentax gear is more of a hobby and it is very enjoyable to get to try various good quality glasses. This legendary lens can have bad bokeh as long as I know when it will produce that and how do I avoid it etc.

So come back to pentax once in a while. Using various brands of camera gear really really helps to shape your style of photography too.

Hope this helps
01-15-2009, 03:32 AM   #3
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Hey! Can we see the k10D equivalents for comparison?
01-15-2009, 04:34 AM   #4
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I'm still new to slr and due to budget I started with k200d.
Two months later played with canon 400d, 450d and 40d and with one k20d that is now mine.

I don't have any regret since for me k20d is the camera to go concerning quality, feel etc.
Pair one k20d with good glass and for sure you will forget 40d really fast

Just my 2 cents.

01-15-2009, 04:51 AM   #5
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123K10D > I had a really good copy of the 16-50 but sold it for the DA Ltds. That thing was sharp wide open and boy it gave good color. You've gotta try its SDM AF first though, I found it to be quite slower than my old Nikon system, but good enough. The 31 and 77 with K20D will make an awesome wedding kit.

My co-photographer is a canon shooter and it IS faster. I'm thinking though, what was the lighting in that situation where you couldn't get in focus? Was it tungsten? If so it might just be messing with your AF like a number of reports out there. Happens to a number of cameras of different brands.
01-15-2009, 06:13 AM   #6
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Couple of comments here...

Having 14-bit RAWs does not give you any more dynamic range inherently, just gives you more "steps" from lowest to highest.

Also, curious if you use Lightroom 2.2 with the camera profiles. I found that this made a huge difference in getting a good basic RAW conversion for my 1Ds II. The K20D RAW files were fine before profiles, but the Canon ones really did need some love to get them to look good. After upgrading to 2.2 though using the "Adobe standard" or "Camera faithful" profiles usually gets me very close to what I need.

Here's an example I posted yesterday in the photo post, this is just converted with a standard profile in 2.2 and no monkeying around with colors or contrast:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/46909-portrait.html
01-15-2009, 06:28 AM   #7
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Pingflood has a good point, you can use the right profile and it can make all the difference in your photos. Less working on colors.

It's sort of why I don't really care about how brand A has nicer color than brand B etc. because once you "calibrate" your RAW files with the right tweaks and profiles it can be negligible.

Try out Lightroom with the different camera profiles. There's a tool there for tweaking your RAW files.
01-15-2009, 08:14 AM   #8
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Your kit lens might have been kicked by the Tamron 28-75 as well. Sounds like you have a good copy of it that's sharp and contrasty (unlike me where I got 3 bad copies in a row and gave up on it :-)
Try replacing your 18-55 kit lens with a Tamron 17-50/2.8 or a Canon 17-55/2.8 and you should do better.

The %focused AF performance you saw between the 40D and K10D images is what folks still gripe about, so you might want to revisit Pentax when the K30D is released. That upper right photo you posted looks out of focus or has camera shake?

Pentax does have more realistic color rendering than most other cameras instead of the somewhat technicolor Sony/Canon default renderings.

And I'd second the request to see your daughter's K10D photos to see how they compared with yours from that day :-)

01-15-2009, 08:53 AM   #9
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Funny you say Canon is flat, I find they boost reds quite a bit and Nikon is the king of "flat" but they do have wonderful flash WB for caucasian skin.

IMHO Pentax DA lenses have the best colour I have seen, neautral to slightly cool but punchy without having to go nuts with the contrast slider in pp. In saying that, Pentax needs to get someone in to look at their fringing issues, so many of th elenses have cyan/magenta/purple fringing that is hard to remove.

Having just bought a D80 to play with, yes the AF is well .... agricultural.
01-15-2009, 09:06 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
Having just bought a D80 to play with, yes the AF is well .... agricultural.
You should try the AF of the D300 and higher models.. man those AF systems are fantastic. A learning curve though but amazingly capable once learned.
01-15-2009, 09:33 AM   #11
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I have gone from Pentax, to Canon (VERY briefly), to Nikon andnow back to Pentax (joint with Nikon.

I found that I hated the Canon 20D skin tones, too red. Nikons do an excellen job of skin tone for me, which is why I stayed with Nikon. But now I also shoot Pentax for the primes
01-15-2009, 09:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by soccerjoe5 Quote
You should try the AF of the D300 and higher models.. man those AF systems are fantastic. A learning curve though but amazingly capable once learned.

Sorry i mean the Pentax AF is agricultural compared to the D80.
01-15-2009, 11:59 AM   #13
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Aah I see. But oh well, AF isn't EVERYTHING. Pentax's AF isn't blistering fast but fast enough for my needs.

Back to topic: I think the K20D + 31 would be an excellent combo for you to try. The 16-50 is great but that 31 is just amazing.
01-15-2009, 05:59 PM   #14
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roentarre, you legend

thanks to all, but especially to roentarre. that perspective on the 31 limited was the kind of distilled, practical insight i was hoping to hear.

seriously thinking of putting a 31 limited on the 40D. it'll be manual focus, but with focus confirmation. i just don't think i can sacrifice the option of focus speed and accuracy (on other lenses of course). and sometimes, 6.5 frames per second has it's place, especially when you're trying to catch a key shot where everyone in a group needs to be looking good.

using Lightroom 2.2 with the new Adobe colour profiles for the 40D, set to Faithful. Zero sharpening and zero noise reduction, gives a decent starting point. but DPP (canon speak for their free software) gives the best results. but the tif output from DPP is really restricted as far as recovery in CS4 goes, which is weird.

there's never a perfect compromise is there? guess that's why they call it a compromise ;-)
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