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04-18-2009, 02:38 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by brumby Quote
I would agree that the D300 is superior to the K20D. I would not agree that it "smokes" it by any means. The areas of superiority I have found after examining both would be:
  1. Better viewfinder
  2. Better rear LCD screen
  3. Better low light/high ISO
  4. OK, better AF, but not as much better as everybody seems to think it is


True but...K20:
  1. in body stabilizator (you stabilize ALL lenses)
  2. f2.8 and sealed high quality lenses (DA*) at "abordable" price
  3. Better colour reproduction (in my opinion)
  4. Lighter and smaller


04-18-2009, 03:09 PM   #32
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The selection seems a bit distorted, I would suggest trying to price the following combos to give an accurate figure

Pentax K20D
Sigma 10-20mm EX DC
Pentax SMC-DA* 16-50mm F2.8
Pentax SMC-DA* 50-135mm F2.8
Pentax SMC-DA* 55mm F1.4
Pentax SMC-FA Limited 77mm F1.8
Pentax SMC-DA* 200mm F2.8

Nikon D300
Sigma 10-20mm EX DC
Tokina 16-50mm F2.8 ATX Pro
Tokina 50-135mm F2.8 ATX Pro
Nikkor 50mm F1.4
Nikkor 85mm F1.8
Nikkor 200mm F2.8

You might be pleasantly surprised
04-19-2009, 10:17 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by kenyee Quote
landscape - pentax (weathersealing)
wildlife - nikon (longer lens, especially on the used market)
portrait - pentax (primes)
indoor photography - nikon (better flash system)
street photography - nikon (faster AF)

Looks like you've got nearly a tie
I think kenyee's analysis pretty much sums it up. I'd also add that for indoor & low-light handheld photography, in-body IS is nice to have on the Pentax.

Since AF speed doesn't appear to be an issue for you, the Pentax is a good choice. The K20D also has a better CMOS sensor than the D300.

But you're buying a system. Long-term (5 years+) I have a feeling Nikon will always offer a better system than Pentax simply because they have more market share, more consumers, and more potential for profit.

Pentax currently has such little market share that it's doubtful they'll make the $$$ignificant investment required to catch up.

Don't get me wrong, the K20D is the best sub-$1000 camera out there (AF and FPS nonwithstanding) and Pentax limited primes are without peer. But if you're truly talking "system" then Nikon will be the better long-term choice.

For example, if you wanted to expand your system you could use the D700 for wides, street, and indoor photography. Keep the D300 where you need the pixel density (wildlife). What choice do you have with Pentax?
04-19-2009, 02:05 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by brumby Quote
Hi Guys (and Gals)

I am NOT trying to bash Pentax here. If anybody has read it that way, I can only say that I regret them having done so. It was not my intention. If anything, I'm bashing myself for not taking the opportunity to get into a Pentax system when prices were lower.

With Pentax, I have the opportunity to make use of in camera stabilisation. That's a REAL bonus. With Nikon, I can probably use higher ISOs with a more success. That's also a bonus. A wash? Maybe, maybe not.

Please note that the Nikon lens which does have VR is the tele-zoom, where it is a bigger bonus that at wide/normal focal lengths.

At any rate, my long ago experience with (film) SLR cameras was at a time when the only stabilisation available came from steady hands or a beanbag/monopod/tripod.

I like Pentax because they make cameras for photographers and because their selection of good prime glass is unequalled. I also like them because, like Nikon, they are primarily an optics company. I have, BTW, a pair of Pentax 8 x 42 SP binoculars which are superb - unequalled by any other company in my experience at the price level. And yes, I also like Pentax because they are "different" Hell, I've got a top loading CD player, that's bizarre in this day and age.

I like Nikon because their viewfinder/LCD is the best in the business, because they are also primarily an optics company, and because they resisted the "pixel wars" with the D300/D700 and instead chose to optimise the low light/AF/speed aspects of their cameras. Canon lost me completely when they upped the 5D II pixel count above 20m without doing anything to improve their AF and stuck in an HD video camera. If that's the route they're going in, I don't want to know.

But when I look at what's coming out now from Pentax in the way of glass, I start to wonder. The new Pentax 60-250 f4 DA Zoom is being priced for future delivery in Australia at $2850. The Nikkor 70-200 2.8 VR is $2750.

It makes me stop and think, mainly because I'm so used to seeing Pentax lenses for about half the price of their Nikon equivalents, I suppose.
I am not under the impression, that you tried to bash any company at all. I can understand your notions and shuffling of ideas and thoughts. I guess, that at the end of the day, nobody can take the final buying decision away from you.

But perhaps some thoughts may be of help:
1. I think, the K20 delivers very good noise behaviour up to ISO 1600. Noise becomes more noticeable in extended dark areas, especially from ISO 3200 or above. ISO 6400 is virtually only a last ressort, if you need to document something.

2. BUT the K20 retains more detail in the images at high ISO, which means, it has less agressive noise reduction than most other cameras (that's always the Pentax philosophy). You can always reduce noise in post-processing, but you can't bring back details, which were not recorded.

3. The LCD screen is always a hotly discussed thing. Yes, the K20 only has 2.7 inches diameter. BUT the resolution is basically the same as the Nikon screen. There is only a marketing difference: most manufactureres quote the total pixel count of the LCDs, aka the sum of the red, green and blue pixels, wheras Pentax gives the number for the total of the triplets, aka only one third, of what other quote - but it is exactly the same resolution...

4. These are just a few notions. I personally find Pentax cameras to be more useable, aways found Nikon's menues to complicated. That is a matter of personal preference, but I am more photog than computer nerd.

5. Nikon has the bigger system and especially an advantage in having a slightly faster AF system, longer lenses (as you noted) and a bit better flash control. Only this last point would concern myself, if I relied on comnplicated flash set-ups. I don't. If I really need elaborated lighting, I use studio flash... Otherwise P-TTL or using the flash in Auto-mode gives good results, albeit with more manual tweaking, than Nikon's system might afford.

6. I cannot comment on your Australian situation. But over here, Pentax delivers simply better glass at price tags, where I could usually only get consumer grade lenses from Nikon. That is the decisive point for me. And if Pentax currently lacks in some focal lengthes, the used market is really vast. I often buy from the US or Hongkong and despite shipping and 19% VAT and nearly 7% customs on top, these used lenses are mostly bargains.

All in all I think, there is some Nikon mythology out there. I can understand that, because this is part of Nikon's very successful marketing strategy (a field, where Pentax is lacking...) But this mythology is not always founded in facts.

So far my notions. What I really think is: you should buy into the system which makes you FEEL better. The buying of Camera gear is, quite as with most other tools for artists or artisans, is only partly a question of facts and sensibilty. The probably bigger role is emotional. If you don't feel good with the gear in your hand, you won't take good pictures. If you feel better, more confident, you will take better images, even with inferior gear.

Ben

04-19-2009, 02:07 PM   #35
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I shoot both the D300 and a used *ist D I picked up last year (so that I could buy the DA70...) and honestly, I kind of regret spending 1200 on the D300 when I did... yes, it's an awesome machine, speedy, great at high ISO, fast AF.... BUT we've just never hit it off.

So, basically, if it were ME, I'd save myself a few quid, buy the K20D and spend the money saved on the lovely Pentax lenses.

As it stands, I am contemplating selling the D300 and retrospectively taking my own advice

Good luck with your deicision! :0)
04-19-2009, 08:13 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
3. The LCD screen is always a hotly discussed thing. Yes, the K20 only has 2.7 inches diameter. BUT the resolution is basically the same as the Nikon screen. There is only a marketing difference: most manufactureres quote the total pixel count of the LCDs, aka the sum of the red, green and blue pixels, wheras Pentax gives the number for the total of the triplets, aka only one third, of what other quote - but it is exactly the same resolution...
Careful, this isn't true. Pentax specifies the screen in the same units as everyone else: the current cameras have a ~230k dot screen, where each dot is one color. The ~920k dot competitors are full-resolution VGA. It's a big and visible difference, although it may not matter for your uses.
04-20-2009, 02:21 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quension Quote
Careful, this isn't true. Pentax specifies the screen in the same units as everyone else: the current cameras have a ~230k dot screen, where each dot is one color. The ~920k dot competitors are full-resolution VGA. It's a big and visible difference, although it may not matter for your uses.
I am careful - and my notion is correct.

As Nikon expressedly writes, that their "920,000" pixel monitor has "VGA resolution", that simply boils down to app. 300,000 full colour pixels (Nikon counts, as I wrote in my post, all single colour cells). That is a bit more, than the 230,000 full colour pixels of the Pentax monitor. On the other hand the Pentax monitors are a bit smaller, so that at the end of the day the resolution (dots per inch) is about the same or at least insignificant. Also, at least on the K20 you gain the advantage of some basic colour adjustment for the monitor.

Ben
04-20-2009, 03:27 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
QuoteOriginally posted by Quension Quote
Pentax specifies the screen in the same units as everyone else: the current cameras have a ~230k dot screen, where each dot is one color. The ~920k dot competitors are full-resolution VGA.
As Nikon expressedly writes, that their "920,000" pixel monitor has "VGA resolution", that simply boils down to app. 300,000 full colour pixels (Nikon counts, as I wrote in my post, all single colour cells). That is a bit more, than the 230,000 full colour pixels of the Pentax monitor.
Well, yes, whether it's 640x480 VGA or not depends on dimensions and use case; but the LCDs on cameras are specified in terms of individual color dots, not displayable pixels. Pentax's 230k dot screens display 76k pixels in a 320x240 staggered grid, just like the 230k dot screens of other brands. I know this because I'm staring at one of them right now, have counted the grid, and compared it with other known-spec LCDs I have nearby. Where are you getting the idea that they're higher resolution than they are?

QuoteQuote:
Also, at least on the K20 you gain the advantage of some basic colour adjustment for the monitor.
I often come across relatively small but useful touches like this and wonder why other manufacturers don't seem to have the same polish.

04-20-2009, 03:48 AM   #39
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Ben, that is a well laid out, thoughtful and most helpful post. Thank you.

The LCD screen thing is not a huge concern. I have looked through both viewfinders - using similar lenses - and the D300 is definitely better. The D700 is better still, but that's a whole other story. Having said that, I haven't had a chance to do any serious comparison between the D300 and K20D. I don't know too many DSLR shooters and the ones I do know all have Nikon or Canon bodies. It is getting increasingly hard around here to even find a Pentax body in a shop, so it's hard to compare directly.

I must admit to being a bit miffed at the HUGE jump in Pentax lens prices here over the past few months. Even with that, it is true that Pentax does have a better selection of prime glass (my main concern) than does Nikon. It is also true that Nikon's "pro" grade glass is VERY expensive.

With all the talk about an upgrade to the K20D on here and elsewhere, and with the persistent rumours of a D300 replacement soon, I might just wait a little while and see what actually happens.

The other alternative is to start to look actively for used Pentax glass. Specifically

12-24 DA Zoom
35 DA Macro
70 DA or (preferably) 77 Ltd

A telephoto or telephoto zoom can wait.
04-20-2009, 07:52 AM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by brumby Quote
With all the talk about an upgrade to the K20D on here and elsewhere, and with the persistent rumours of a D300 replacement soon, I might just wait a little while and see what actually happens.

The other alternative is to start to look actively for used Pentax glass. Specifically

12-24 DA Zoom
35 DA Macro
70 DA or (preferably) 77 Ltd

A telephoto or telephoto zoom can wait.
The rumours about the new Pentax body are just that. The only official announcement so far voiced by Pentax states, that there will be a new announcement in the summer. Firstly "summer" is not really such a tight deadline, and an "announcement" does not make a product on the dealer shelves. I would guess, that even if that announcement is made somewhere in July/August, the real product would only show up just in time for Christmas - if Pentax once sticks to sensible marketing dates...

Ben
04-20-2009, 07:58 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Quension Quote
Well, yes, whether it's 640x480 VGA or not depends on dimensions and use case; but the LCDs on cameras are specified in terms of individual color dots, not displayable pixels. Pentax's 230k dot screens display 76k pixels in a 320x240 staggered grid, just like the 230k dot screens of other brands. I know this because I'm staring at one of them right now, have counted the grid, and compared it with other known-spec LCDs I have nearby. Where are you getting the idea that they're higher resolution than they are?

I often come across relatively small but useful touches like this and wonder why other manufacturers don't seem to have the same polish.
Pentax, for once, does not claim a higher resolution. They give the real pixel count where three single colour cells constitute a pixel. This is the definition, which to my knowledge was and is always applied by monitor manufacturers, whether it be CRT or LCD or whatever.

Nikon on the other hand states these 920,000 pixels, which is the count of the individual RGB cells, not the image forming full pixel. That is, why the reluctantly also state, they reach VGA resolution. Only this latter number is comparable to the Pentax pixel count and the established numbers, monitor manufacturers claim.

By the way, this is not my personal invention, it was brought to my attention by several reviews in German camera magazines, where ( a rare occasion) the reviewer scrutinized the manufacturer's claims and (also a rare occasion) emphasized the importance of the "real" pixel count as used by Pentax. They even publish now the real pixel counts for Nikon and Canon and that meets exactly my numbers.

EDIT: The single colour pixel count you refer to in digital cameras does usually not apply to the LCD screen, but only to the CCD/CMOS sensor. And even there we have seen a hot debate when the Foveon sensor came onto the market...

Ben
04-20-2009, 06:43 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
Pentax, for once, does not claim a higher resolution. They give the real pixel count where three single colour cells constitute a pixel.
Again, where are you seeing this? All of the Pentax literature I can find is specifying it in dots, not pixels.

QuoteQuote:
This is the definition, which to my knowledge was and is always applied by monitor manufacturers, whether it be CRT or LCD or whatever.
Computer monitors are specified in pixels (although they use WxH instead of total count), and DPI-type figures for them are based on whole pixels (despite dot pitch referring to RGB segments), but for whatever reason the digital camera world is specifying them in terms of RGB dots. It might be because there are some interesting sub-pixel rendering tricks you can do, and not all of them use RGB source material (variants of YUV are common), but most likely it's just a marketing thing.

The embedded panel manufacturers are still specifying WxH pixels, of course, but not the camera makers using them.

QuoteQuote:
Nikon on the other hand states these 920,000 pixels, which is the count of the individual RGB cells, not the image forming full pixel. That is, why the reluctantly also state, they reach VGA resolution.
These are the same numbers used by everyone else in the industry: Canon, Olympus, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, etc. The "VGA" part isn't reluctance -- it's a relatively new achievement for cost-effective displays at these sizes.

QuoteQuote:
By the way, this is not my personal invention, it was brought to my attention by several reviews in German camera magazines, where ( a rare occasion) the reviewer scrutinized the manufacturer's claims and (also a rare occasion) emphasized the importance of the "real" pixel count as used by Pentax. They even publish now the real pixel counts for Nikon and Canon and that meets exactly my numbers.
Did they actually measure the panels, or are they just arguing terminology? It's a pain to do because of the size, but simply counting the pixels is fairly straightforward. The LCD in front of me that Pentax specifies as having 230k dots most definitely does not display 230k pixels.

Just comparing a current Pentax camera with one of the 920k competitors side by side would make this obvious, which is something I'd expect a reviewer to do. At these sizes, VGA dimensions display more like paper than monitor, and the difference is rather striking.

QuoteQuote:
EDIT: The single colour pixel count you refer to in digital cameras does usually not apply to the LCD screen, but only to the CCD/CMOS sensor. And even there we have seen a hot debate when the Foveon sensor came onto the market...
I use "photosite" when talking about the sensors on that level, but yeah, it's kind of a lost cause given the marketing.
04-20-2009, 08:58 PM   #43
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1 pixel = 3 subpixels, i.e. R+G+B.

VGA = 640x480 = 307,200 pixels.

3X VGA = 1024x900 = 921,600 pixels.

If the manufacturer is claiming "VGA" resolution, and at the same time claiming anything more than ~300K pixels, they're cheating!
04-21-2009, 03:04 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by OregonJim Quote
1 pixel = 3 subpixels, i.e. R+G+B.

VGA = 640x480 = 307,200 pixels.

3X VGA = 1024x900 = 921,600 pixels.

If the manufacturer is claiming "VGA" resolution, and at the same time claiming anything more than ~300K pixels, they're cheating!
Thanks Jim - that's what I tried to explain in my probably too long posts...

Ben
04-21-2009, 03:58 AM   #45
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shock horror,

the time has come when people should buy lenses in UK!?!

It's for the first time ever in 10+ years that UK is indeed the cheapest...

Here are some UK prices - do the ~ x2.1 to get to Aus$ or x1.5 for USD (but this also includes VAT @ 15%)

K20D- 519
12-14- 519
35mm LTD- 279!!
70f2.4-319
55-300-195!

All that for ~ 1850

You can also cut 150 there if you went for Pentax fit Sigma 10-20mm instead...

in AUD that would be about 3800, so you save about 25%... and that is with UK VAT included... if you take out VAT that all would be a cool AUD3300...

prices taken from here
Pentax K20D Digital SLR Cameras - Digital SLR Cameras - SRS Microsystems



QuoteOriginally posted by brumby Quote
Ok, I expected the input about the difference of the lenses, especially at the long end. I agree that the more apt comparison would be the Nikon 70-300 with the Pentax 55-300 instead of the superior Pentax 200mm prime lens.

Of course, a Nikon "afficionado" would point out that the K20D should not be compared with the D300 but with the D90. I happen to disagree.

Please remember that these are Australian best prices and let's see if we can be more scientific:

Body: - $1000 advantage Pentax - unless one compares with the D90
Pentax K20D - $1230
Nikon D90 - $1315
Nikon D300 - $2250

Wide Angle (Zoom) - not much in it
Sigma 10-20 - $830 (HSM - fast AF - available on Nikon mount but not on Pentax)
Nikon 12-24 - $1395
Pentax 10-17 - $820
Pentax 12-24 - $1000

"Normal" - price advantage Nikon - selection advantage Pentax
Nikon 35 f 1.8G - $430
Nikon 35 f 2 D - $540
Pentax 35 f2 FA (can't find a new Aussie price)
Pentax 40 f2.8 Pancake - $465
Pentax 35 f2.8 DA Macro - $1170 (price has DOUBLED in three months)
Pentax 31 f1.8 Limited - $1490


"Portrait" - slight advantage Pentax
Nikon 85 f1.4 - $1595
Nikon 85 f1.8 - $625
Pentax 70 f2.4 Pancake- $580
Pentax 77 f1.8 Limited - $1100

Telephoto (Zoom) - nothing in it
Nikon 55-200 f4.5-5.6 - $345
Nikon 70-300 f4.5-5.6 VR - $800
Pentax 50-200 f4-5.6 - $330
Pentax 55-300 f4-5.8 - $670

I am aware that I can and probably would get many of these lenses from the US, where prices are comparatively much cheaper even when taking the exchange rate and shipping into consideration. I am also aware that many used Pentax lenses come up for sale here. Problem is that the majority of them are marked for sale in CONUS (Continental US) only. Again, I'm writing this from the perspective of an Aussie whose access to good glass - new and especially used - is comparatively limited

Finally, I am aware that the disparity in prices between Nikon (and Canon) and Pentax glass, at least here in Australia and I hazard to guess in many other places outside the US, is not what it used to be.

This is not a complaint, merely an observation. I should have got off my duff and done the deal on Pentax six-nine months ago - when prices were much more in favour of Pentax - but I didn't.
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