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02-22-2009, 08:50 AM   #1
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Seeking opinions on switching systems (Pentax to Nikon)

My best friend recently got a nikon d90 and I am in love. She is able to get so many shots that I could never get with my k100d. I had been feeling frustrated and limited with my camera even before she got the d90 as my daughter has become a cheerleader and my camera REALLY struggles in the low/crappy light of school auditoriums and I have to either accept a lot of grain or motion blur. Examples Our family and friends also do a lot of evening activities and hanging out and the d90 captures those moments with ease. Last night she had her ISO at 2000 and the pics were bright and crisp and not at all grainy.

And I know that it's gimmicky and a bit of a controversial "issue" ...but it was pretty fun last night to be able to snap great photos, and then when someone was attempting to dance like Beyonce, be able to switch over to video and take a little movie The movie thing is NOT a deal breaker for me... but it is kind of fun!

I pondered going for the k20d so that I could keep my lenses... and I do love being a Pentaxian, but I have been told that the k20d won't make me happy and do what I want it to either. Looking at the ISO tests on DPreview and other sites seems to confirm this.

I know that none of us have crystal balls... but as I am no urgent rush to get new gear, do you think I should wait awhile and hope that Pentax comes out with a camera that makes me squeal

02-22-2009, 08:53 AM   #2
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I'd say make the switch, pm me with what you want for your lenses
02-22-2009, 08:55 AM   #3
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I'd stick it out and see happens in the future, esp if you have a lot of money in glass. Remember if you jump, the lenes are big money, esp if you want shake reduction.

I have a 20D and am very, very happy with it. Seems to be exceptable for me in low light, but then again I have fast glass. I'd offer more advice, but I don't have your body and only 10Ds and a 20D.
02-22-2009, 09:09 AM   #4
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Might be worth waiting for the PMA before taking a decision. It is only a couple of weeks away, and who knows what will be announced then...

02-22-2009, 09:42 AM   #5
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I looked into this a couple of years ago, when Pentax still had quite a poor set of lenses available. My conclusions were that Nikon was too expensive. I mostly use primes, and a similar set-up of primes that I have would cost more than my car. I do agree that it would be nice with better low light AF, but be careful, the grass is always greener. Read a bit on one of the Nikon forums and you will see they are also upset with low light AF performance ( I don't know specifically on the D90 though). I do believe AF is better than with Pentax, but if it is a major or minor difference, I am not sure. Picture quality with the K20D is great (even in dim light), and should not be any reason for you to switch. So if you mostly will shoot in dim lighting, and can afford the lenses you think you will need, go ahead and switch. If you think you will need lots of lenses, look at the price tags of those. Might be better to get a Kazeyes, and use manual focus in those dim lit situations.
02-22-2009, 09:50 AM   #6
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if u r not happy...

buy the d90 it's way faster than the k20d i've used in low light once but u'll not be happy with the iq at all believe me.
02-22-2009, 09:53 AM   #7
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Comparing a D90 to a K100d isn't the most balanced comparison in the world, and that's not even going into whether or not she had faster lenses.

I don't know how many lenses you have, or what kind, but you might consider renting a K20D and a faster lens for a weekend before you spend several hundred bucks switching systems.
02-22-2009, 10:02 AM   #8
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Wait it out for a couple more weeks. If PMA doesn't bring anything interesting from the Pentax camp, then you can switch to a Nikon D90 and be thoroughly underwhelmed by its image quality.

02-22-2009, 10:04 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by vitalsax Quote
buy the d90 it's way faster than the k20d i've used in low light once but u'll not be happy with the iq at all believe me.
Except that the K90 is recent vintage. Compare with the K30, not the K20. Like they said above, PMA is right around the corner.
02-22-2009, 10:19 AM   #10
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I own a D80 and the AF is just bewildering, it's so much more reliable and predictable. Fast, quiet and almost unflappable.

Good news ends there though, I just cannot get th ehang of the 10mp sony sensor, whilst the body is a great design the ergonomics take some time to master and the lack of IS is really, really brutal.
02-22-2009, 10:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by lapeen Quote
My best friend recently got a nikon d90 and I am in love. She is able to get so many shots that I could never get with my k100d. I had been feeling frustrated and limited with my camera even before she got the d90 as my daughter has become a cheerleader and my camera REALLY struggles in the low/crappy light of school auditoriums and I have to either accept a lot of grain or motion blur. Examples Our family and friends also do a lot of evening activities and hanging out and the d90 captures those moments with ease. Last night she had her ISO at 2000 and the pics were bright and crisp and not at all grainy.

And I know that it's gimmicky and a bit of a controversial "issue" ...but it was pretty fun last night to be able to snap great photos, and then when someone was attempting to dance like Beyonce, be able to switch over to video and take a little movie The movie thing is NOT a deal breaker for me... but it is kind of fun!

I pondered going for the k20d so that I could keep my lenses... and I do love being a Pentaxian, but I have been told that the k20d won't make me happy and do what I want it to either. Looking at the ISO tests on DPreview and other sites seems to confirm this.

I know that none of us have crystal balls... but as I am no urgent rush to get new gear, do you think I should wait awhile and hope that Pentax comes out with a camera that makes me squeal
Pentax is now stuck in catch-up mode WRT camera body performance. I don't think there is a snowballs chance in hell that they are ever going to come out with a camera that will stack up against the performance numbers of the better Nikons and Canons.
Wait until PMA before you make a decision, but I suspect that you are going to be making a brand change.
02-22-2009, 10:36 AM   #12
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I believe Pentax knows their weakness and I honestly believe they are working on faster AF in low-light. They are a company that delivers great innovation and great prices. However, like any company, they must leave an upgrade path to lead the consumer into shelling out their bucks. They appear to already have a faster/better AF in the K-m/k2000, which leads me to believe we'll be seeing it in any new bodies.

If you're really bummed, why not just try the K-m and see if it suits your needs? (oh, and shoot RAW)

- Andrew
02-22-2009, 10:50 AM   #13
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You never really said what it is that the K100 wasn't actually doing well for you? From what you said, you're having trouble with AF performance and..... shutter speeds?

You also didn't mention which lenses you were using respectively in the auditorium. For example, if the D90 was using a 70-200 f2.8 lens, and you were using the 55-300 or something like that, then you bet the D90 is going to come up trumps in that situation.

There are some things you can do to improve the AF performance in poor lighting somewhat. First (and really important!) is set the camera to centre AF point only. The less decisions you force the AF to make the faster it gets. Second one is if you are using NiMH rechargables, try with Lithium AAs (e.g. Energiser Ultimate or similar), they're slightly higher voltage.

QuoteOriginally posted by lapeen Quote
I pondered going for the k20d so that I could keep my lenses... and I do love being a Pentaxian, but I have been told that the k20d won't make me happy and do what I want it to either. Looking at the ISO tests on DPreview and other sites seems to confirm this.
I think you're getting a little bit caught up in the 'conclusions' dpreview presents at the bottom of that page. Even ignore the graphs - look at the actual photos. They tell the real story about the D90. Nice, smooth increase in noise levels all the way to ISO 1600.

Shame the picture is a green smudge from ISO 100!
02-22-2009, 10:53 AM   #14
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Doesn't seem like you'll be happy until you've tried the D90 yourself. I'm sure it's a great camera and maybe you'll get the shots you want, or maybe you won't. However, you won't know for sure until you try it, so take the plunge.

BTW, here's a shot taken in a crappy elementary school auditorium with the ancient Pentax *ist DL, using the Tamron 18-250 lens. Not even close to the top of the line, or especially tuned for low light. (Same basic sensor, minus SR, as your K100D, though). This was shot at ISO 3200 and cleaned up in Lightroom 2. Not great art, but it was an action shot of a karate demonstration (the girl was moving). Yeah, there's noise, but I can still figure out what's going on in the shot.

02-22-2009, 11:00 AM   #15
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What lens are you using? I see most of your cheerleading shots are at f5.6 at 1/60th at 800 ISO. Have you thought about a faster lens (most of your shots seem between 24mm and 75 - maybe the tamron 28-75 f2.8 for approx $300 or used in the marketplace for mid $200- this lens also focuses faster than the 18-250 and 18-55), manual focus (maybe get a split prism screen f/ ebay - approx $30), and/or higher ISO w/ the help of a noise reduction program (I've heard that you can enter a profile for your cam at a given ISO so doing the processing becomes very routine when you batch process - approx $30-50). Also, it seems as though your white balance is a bit off... do you do manual white balance on site? I think this could help improve your pictures a bit... I did a car race with which needed lots of quick focus adjustment and since their moves were pretty predictable, I used manual focus - with practice, I did quite well (mazda grand prix : the moves of cheerleading are pretty linear so I'd think this might work for you too.

What lens is the on the D90?
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