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07-09-2009, 01:47 PM   #1
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Even if $ is no real issue, it's not easy to replicate a Pentax system.

I have the opportunity to be some what frivolous with my next purchase of a DSLR, a macro lens and a flash. Could stretch it up to 4k. (Then I can sell most of my Pentax stuff and get another ~ 1,800 k), so a total of ~5.8k. This system will have to include a ring flash and a ~100mm macro.

I have everything I want in the Pentax system, but I wouldn't mind improved high iso performance and better low light and tracking AF. I know Pentaxian's may deny but the Canon 5D MKII and Nikon D700 FF camera's will do a better job than the K-7 in both aspects. Nikon has a better flash system as well. I want a relatively compact system, so no D3, D3X, 1D, 1Ds.

But, it is down right impossible to find quality glasses with SR in either system. There are no SR replacements for DA21, F28, FA43, FA77 and F135. Even if iso is 2-3 stops better, SR gets the 2-3 stops back and it is even playing field again. Nikon doesn't have any decent mid-telephoto that is sub 2k with SR. Also, 300mm is 450mm in the APS-C pentax, and the cropped DX format in the D700 is 5mp. The 5D MKII doesn't have a built-in flash, so not really compact in real life indoor use. So, as better as they are in iso performance, and AF, the systems just doesn't come close to what I can do with pentax.

So, even though I have a budget of up to 4k and even the desire to switch systems to improve iso and AF, I just can't find a compact system that is clearly better than the Pentax K7 and my list of lenses.

07-09-2009, 01:57 PM   #2
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You must be one'a them there "Fanboys". EVERYBODY knows that *any* CaNikon system is better than *any* Pentax system, for *any* purpose. The advertisements all say so. And you should get over that juvenile obsession with prime lenses, my friend. We all know that Serious Photographers Only Use Zoom Lenses. If your Pentax system is working better for you than a random CaNikon system you might pick, YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG!

So learn how to take pictures, doggonit, and you'll suddenly understand why you SHOULDN'T USE PENTAX!
07-09-2009, 02:04 PM   #3
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No need for that.
I see no indication of the OP being a fanboy - a few relatively objective observations coming to the conclusion that FOR HIM, switching systems will not give him any REAL benefits.

But, so what if the 5D and D700 trump the K-7 in AF? FF cams should not be compared with DX cams (broken record repetition...)

A 300mm lens on a FF cam gives you 300mm reach with FF FOV.
A 300mm lens on a DX camera still gives you 300mm reach, but a DX cropped image. The 450mm equivalent is a misnoma.

There's always the option of building up your lens arsenal - the most important in any system..
Though, with those kinds of funds, you could even go with a digital MF setup...
07-09-2009, 02:11 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
No need for that.
Sorry - I thought it was over-the-top enough not to need <sarcasm> tags.

07-09-2009, 03:08 PM   #5
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I definitely read the sarcasm without the warning.

Also, I am aware of the cropped sensor reach being the same....it just takes so many words to describe the cropped sensor thingy. At the end cropping the D700 image to the DX format leaves a 5mp image, where as the cropped image in the K-7 is what 15 MP ?, even my K10D is 10 MP.

A digital MF system for the cash ?, no way....even a MF digital camera alone costs more than my budget. Not to mention that I don't want a much larger body (not even the D3's).

I am being serious with my observation though. I am not brand loyal at all for any system. After saying all this I might still go with a dual system.

I really love the flash system and the AF performance and the stellar iso performance of the Nikon D700, the ~12MP giving not much chance of cropping with longer glass and the lack of sanely priced Nikon long glasses, and no VR version of normal primes may force me to go with canon, if I decide on a two system approach. I know Nikon has telephoto VR lenses like the 300/2.8, 400/2.8, 400 F4, 500F4 and 600 F4 but they are all insanely expensive. There are no sub $2k VR lens longer than 200 and yet be equal to or faster than F4. There is absolutely no wide angle to normal Nikon lenses faster than F4and having SR/VR (never mind even f2.8....my pentax primes are what F1.9, f1.8 f2.8 and f3.2 wide-normal lenses) . Only consumer grade slow zooms in this range has VR in Nikon.

5D MkII with the 24-105 F4L IS and the 300mm F4L IS will be an excellent system with SR. May be even add the 24mm f1.4L or 35mm f1.4L for a fast wide angle, and the 85 1.8 for normal FOV will give me the speed I have with my pentax primes and the FOV, but still no SR/IS here . Also, I will miss the built-in flash.

Nikon D700 with in-body stabilization and the K-mount will be perfect for me

Last edited by pcarfan; 07-09-2009 at 03:23 PM.
07-09-2009, 04:39 PM   #6
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I think this is a fair observation. Pentax lenses can be somewhat cheaper than nikon/canon equivalent. For instance, the DA 14mm/2.8 is selling for A$900ish and the Canon 14mm/f2.8 (full frame though) is selling for A$2500ish or something.
07-09-2009, 04:45 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by raider Quote
I think this is a fair observation. Pentax lenses can be somewhat cheaper than nikon/canon equivalent. For instance, the DA 14mm/2.8 is selling for A$900ish and the Canon 14mm/f2.8 (full frame though) is selling for A$2500ish or something.
But, my point is, irrelevant of the price, do they offer SR/IS/VR/OS or what ever it is called in each system ?

So, yes the nikon/canon offers better iso performance, but the lack of in body SR will force me to boost the iso to get a suitable shutter speed and thus nullify the better iso performance. So, at the end we are left with no advantage. The 2-3 stops advantage in iso is nullified by the 2-3 stop SR performance.
07-09-2009, 06:08 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
So, even though I have a budget of up to 4k and even the desire to switch systems to improve iso and AF, I just can't find a compact system that is clearly better than the Pentax K7 and my list of lenses.
Look used. There's quite a bit of interesting used nikon glass from people who have too much money want want the latest and greatest. I almost went dual system when the D200 was down to $600...

As for the SR, get a D700 and crank up the ISO...sports shooters seem to like it, though I don't know why they wouldn't prefer APS-C for the 1.5x multiplier...

07-09-2009, 06:17 PM   #9
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When debating stabilization vs high ISO, keep in mind that stabilization only gets you so far if the subject isn't still.

Ash: I doubt the 5D trumps the K-7 by any real amount, it's the weakest performer of the Canon bodies when it comes to AF. Compare the K-7 to a 50D instead, and the 50D will probably walk all over it as far as speed, tracking, and low light focusing.

As for why people use a D700 for sports, well, you got me there. If you really need the reach I'd much rather opt for the D300. In fact, I got the 50D because my 1Ds2, good as it is, requires reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally long glass for what I want to do. Far cheaper to get a $1k body for birding than a $5-10k lens!

As to OP's point, there's a time and place for a Pentax system, just like there is for a "CaNikon" one, or a point and shoot, or a 4x5... you just have to pick the tool that fits your needs. No one system is unequivocally "better" than another.
07-09-2009, 06:49 PM   #10
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Good point about moving objects and iso.

Yeah, I've looked at both Canon and Nikon system exhaustively. The nikon 24-70 is ~1,800 and doesn't have VR. There are no VR mid-normal lenses in Nikon and even the non VR lenses that are any good is over 1.5k. IQ of the K20D IMO looks better than the 50D, so is the iso performance.

D700 clearly is a superior body in every respect, but the lenses really let you down. canon is all over the place with their body, wish they can put them together better.

I seriously did look at a two system possibility to get that extra bit of iso performance and AF ability with decent lenses. Unless I spend about 10k for a serious body and some serious lenses, I am just unable to put a system together.

It looks like, when I am ready for the body, it will be the K-7.....damn, that D700 is sweeeeeet.
07-09-2009, 06:50 PM   #11
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I agree with everything you wrote. I just came over from the Canon lineup. I find I like the resulting images with the K20D and am just waiting for the K7 to drop and maybe even get one firmware update before buying into the game.

I was just handling my 40D and Sigma 24-60...my all time best-est more favorite lens every but I digress...and as much as I LOBE that combo, it does not come close to why I enjoy the K20D and any of the three lenses I have (well two are here, my 50-135 is still on back order...sniff...the other thing i find is even though the 40D fits my hand perfectly, almost, the K20D just now feels better in my hand.

I too could have spent in the same ballpark as you with a max around $5k, but I kept it reasonable in the event I hated the system. I was considering the 5D but, to be honest, it was the unique and interesting images from the Pentax which attracted me, irrespective of FF or not I like the Pentax images better.

I am willing to lose a bit on the AF tracking, which on even the 40D is better than the K20D...everything has it's trade-off points. I'm hoping to feel up to going out on Friday (I guess that's tomorrow, huh?) or this weekend and spend the day shooting at one of out CA Missions with the 35ltd and the 77ltd. I expect it to be quite interesting. Or I might head down the coast to Santa Barbara and also visit my fav thrift shops as well as do some shooting.

I find the SR in the K20D to be fine in getting me down to about 1/5th (or 2-3 stops consistently) with the 35ltd mounted. I have to shoot 3-4 shots just to cover my rear end on camera wiggle but that too is fine. I can't ask for better than that. I think there are a few canon lenses which us the newer IS and give a very consistent 3-4 (trending more toward 4) stops of leeway. One is a cheap EF-S mount but it can't mount on a FF as EF-S is crop only...which makes zero sense to me.

I did buy a couple of my lenses Canon lenses used, but to be honest Canon shooters think that their lens after a year of use as well as being out of warranty are worth 95% of MSRP, not current retail, but MSRP...and the scary part is there are dolts who pay the fare to have that 'perception of value' because it costs more. Canon makes some great glass, but if HoyaTax would reconsider their pricing model and the K7 represents a move to truly higher end crop bodies that, to me, are so close to FF results that I see no reason to need a FF for a long while, but a more conservative price model could seduce a LOT of hobby shooters as well as some semi-pro folks...and as they start to show how well the HoyaTax body and lenses deliver, can only garner more interest from users of the "Big Two".

I have zero regrets except in the area of flashes...I have to buy the 540 vs the 360 because I NEED the swivel head for many shots. I was FINE with my 380EX II plus other thrift shop flashes off camera. Still, given the built in ability to wirelessly control the Pentax flashes is a HUGE savings which somewhat justifies just going with the more spendy HoyaTax flashes.

Sorry, that was a LOT longer than I intended...d'oh!!
07-09-2009, 06:56 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote

As for why people use a D700 for sports, well, you got me there. If you really need the reach I'd much rather opt for the D300. In fact, I got the 50D because my 1Ds2, good as it is, requires reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally long glass for what I want to do. Far cheaper to get a $1k body for birding than a $5-10k lens!
My solution to that for my 40D was a Sigma 100-300 f/4 as it is far sharper than the Canon 400 f/5.6. If I added a 1.4x it was easily the equal with the bonus of zoom flexibility. I am actually considering not the 100-300 but really going nuts and getting the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 with a Kenko or Sigma 1.4x TC for when I need it...both are supurb. And if I watch I can find the first between $850-$1000 and around $1200 for the 120-300. A lot of cash, you bet, but still cheaper than the other options with IQ eual to most primes costing 2x-3x more.
07-09-2009, 07:16 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by brecklundin Quote
My solution to that for my 40D was a Sigma 100-300 f/4 as it is far sharper than the Canon 400 f/5.6. If I added a 1.4x it was easily the equal with the bonus of zoom flexibility. I am actually considering not the 100-300 but really going nuts and getting the Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 with a Kenko or Sigma 1.4x TC for when I need it...both are supurb. And if I watch I can find the first between $850-$1000 and around $1200 for the 120-300. A lot of cash, you bet, but still cheaper than the other options with IQ eual to most primes costing 2x-3x more.
How about the Canon 300mmL F4 IS lens and a telecoverter. Photozone gives good results, better than even the sigma 100-300 at 300 and better wiuth the 1.4TC. I think this lens on the 50D would be awesome for nature shots.

http://photozone.de/canon-eos/172-canon-ef-300mm-f4-usm-l-is-test-report--review

Sigma 120-300/2.8 is $$$$$
07-09-2009, 07:30 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
How about the Canon 300mmL F4 IS lens and a telecoverter. Photozone gives good results, better than even the sigma 100-300 at 300 and better wiuth the 1.4TC. I think this lens on the 50D would be awesome for nature shots.

Canon EF 300mm f/4 USM L IS - Test Report / Review

Sigma 120-300/2.8 is $$$$$
I prefer the flexibility of the zoom and the 300L is kinda useless on a K20D or K7, right? hehehehe....

And really the 120-300 is not that expensive, about $1200-$1800 used or around $2300 retail. For the results it gives, it is a best buy, even if expensive. Plus remember the 120-300 is a full stop faster than the Canon or even the Pentax 300mm which are both f/4.

Having used the 100-300 for so long, I could have justified keeping the 40D just for it and the 24-60. But I just don't want to deal with two systems. Last year when I was deciding on the 40D it came down to the K20D vs. the 40D. And the only thing which swayed me was the far better Live View on the 40D. Even then the IQ of the K20D was my preference over the 40D...I just like it better and could not tell you why I like it, but I do. I think because the images seem more 'creative' or better yet, less cookie cutter in appearence, each shot seems unique and I like variety. And that could easily just be me, still overall I prefer the images even over the 5D MkII...

Last edited by brecklundin; 07-09-2009 at 07:43 PM.
07-09-2009, 09:51 PM   #15
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If your absolute sticking point is IS/VR/whatever, then you're better off sticking with a brand that offers in-camera stabilization, because neither Canon nor Nikon will fill your need there. But if you're right about being able to use ISO 2-3 stops higher on Canon/Nikon and that equalizes the loss of 2-3 stops stabilization with Pentax, I would take the higher ISO all things considered. Having a higher usable max ISO allows you more flexibility than stabilization. They might cancel each other out in terms of handholdability, but you can't freeze motion with image stabilization while a higher ISO would afford you a higher shutter speed that might be enough to freeze motion.
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