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10-31-2009, 03:07 PM   #1
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I'm so confused! (coming from 35mm)

After all kinds of research I cannot figure out which digital camera I want out of the Pentax line-up.

If its ok I'll list what I want in one and I would greatly appreciate help narrowing the list down.

Heres what I want:

Multiple exposure capability
Bulb setting
No less than 6mp
Preferably weather sealed
Good performance in daylight
SD card storage
Long battery life
Backwards compatibility with any pentax lens
Bright viewfinder...with split focusing microprism (available??)


And most of all..something durable as my ME or MX thats built like a tank

Thanks so much for your help.

10-31-2009, 03:48 PM   #2
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K20D . I have one and love it .
10-31-2009, 05:02 PM   #3
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I know that if I get something wrong - it will be corrected right away by the rest of the forum. So just addressing the Pentax camera line since the K100D (last 4 or so years), we have the K100D K10 K200D K20 K2000 K7 KX. Entry level models are K100D K200D K2000 and the KX. Advanced models are K10, K20 and K7.

All the models provide the following:
  • Multiple exposure capability
  • Bulb setting
  • No less than 6mp
  • Good performance in daylight
  • SD card storage
  • Long battery life
  • Backwards compatibility with any pentax lens
  • And most of all..something durable as my ME or MX thats built like a tank

The advanced models - K10, K20 and K7 provide:
  • Bright viewfinder...with split focusing microprism (available??)
  • Preferably weather sealed

Now on the - Bright viewfinder...with split focusing microprism (available??) - you can get an after market product called the katzeye that will provide this. The K10, K20 and K7 have the pentaprizm as opposed to the pentamirror found on the other models. Apparently for the later Pentax models the Katzeye is coming. The K7 has a 100% view pentaprizm and I think is the brightest of the entire line.

Katz Eye Focusing Screen for the Pentax K100D - Katz Eye Optics

Battery life - One person's excellent battery life is someone else's lousy battery life. I can get 400 to 600 shot on CRV3 batteries on my K100 and about 600 - 700 on my K20 using the Li Battery. Personally, I think that this is great. Your mileage will vary....

And most of all..something durable as my ME or MX thats built like a tank. Pentax cameras are probably built better than most, especially at the entry level. If you want the absolute best, then its the K7. The K-7 uses a stainless steel frame on a magnesium steel alloy body (shell), that is fully weather sealed with about 77 individual seals around all the openings.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/K7/ZURALLOYBODY-LG.JPG
http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/photo/pentax/k7.body.1.jpg

I have a K100 for the last 4 years and have recently acquired a K20. I like them both...

To tell you the truth, the K20 is built very well and was replaced by the K7. The K20 is now half the price of the K7, and Pentax might still be offering their extended 3 year warranty on the new ones while they last (and you can still find them). However, check with Pentax on the warranty offer...

hope that helps...

Last edited by interested_observer; 10-31-2009 at 05:15 PM.
10-31-2009, 05:06 PM   #4
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Agree with all the above, however if you want the best "bang for buck" then price wise its a no brainer....K20.

10-31-2009, 07:51 PM   #5
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K20D is a very fine semi-pro camera, especially for half the price of the current flagship K7. However IMHO, purest bang for buck right now would have to be the K200D which is available for < $400 as factory refurb with 1 year warranty, body only, from Bestbuy.com. It is weather sealed, has 10mp sensor, long battery life, especially with the optional battery grip. Gave mine a real workout today and love it!! It nailed some tough indoor shots that my non-IS Canon DSLR could not manage.

Truth be told, you will be thrilled with any of the choices from Pentax.
10-31-2009, 08:24 PM   #6
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So I think I'm fairly sold on the K10D, but from what I read, the only consistent complaint I saw was the camera's autofocus and high noise above 500 iso.


Can someone validate this for me? Just how bad is the noise?

Does the image stabilization interfere with panning shots? (read that the 110d does this) Can the Image Stablilization be turned off?


In regards to the autofocus problems in low light..again how bad..really?

Also in manual mode with an auto lens..I am assuming the front wheel controls apeture and the back wheel is the shutter? I loved this feature on a Nikon D200 I used. I found it a very natural place place to put these controls... it wasn't too big a jump from my film cameras so if this is true with the K10D thats a real plus for me.


Bear in mind that I want a semi-pro/pro camera for a decent price and this one seems to have the best bang for the buck for what I want in a camera. I am not at all interested in scene modes or anything like that..just a solid camera that isn't going to put me in a homeless shelter. I can barely afford to develop film as it is



Really appreciate all the help so far. I just joined this forum and I must say I am really happy that I did so!
10-31-2009, 09:31 PM   #7
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Just buy refurb K20D or GX20. They are very cheap in USA.
10-31-2009, 09:34 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Raptorman Quote
And most of all..something durable as my ME or MX thats built like a tank
As a fellow MV and MX owner and someone who thinks the M-class Pentax bodies were the height of camera-dom, the only current Pentax body that comes close to the solid build and feel, and compact dimensions, of something like the MX is the K7.

Magnesium alloy shell over stainless steel chassis - you can feel it. It feels really solid and precisely made. And in design terms it's a classic Pentax.

It also meets all your other specs. It's a no-brainer for someone moving up from a MX.

10-31-2009, 09:47 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
As a fellow MV and MX owner and someone who thinks the M-class Pentax bodies were the height of camera-dom, the only current Pentax body that comes close to the solid build and feel, and compact dimensions, of something like the MX is the K7.

Magnesium alloy shell over stainless steel chassis - you can feel it. It feels really solid and precisely made. And in design terms it's a classic Pentax.

It also meets all your other specs. It's a no-brainer for someone moving up from a MX.

How about a K20D? Is that comparable in quality?
10-31-2009, 10:18 PM   #10
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Oh yeah, in build quality the K20D is also very solid. But the K7 is metal over metal, and is physically more compact, with all the features of the K20D. It's the modern day MX.
10-31-2009, 10:49 PM   #11
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I've been using Pentax since 1982 when I bought my ME Super. Digital bodies are not very good for viewfinder quality, but the K7 is getting closer. I've had the K10d and now have the K20d and K7 and the high ISO shows no grain through 800 and at time 1600. The problem with digital is that folks want ISO 6400 to match ISO 100. There are camera than can do better at ISO but they fall short in other areas. (I left Canon to come back to Pentax)

My K20d is better with FA ltd lenses and my K7 is better with Takumars and SMC (K) lenses. Autofocus is better with the K7 but the k10d/k20d is OK too. I prefer manual focus regardless as I like to control the shot.

The K20d is a step up from the K10d....the reviews were hard on it but I was impressed. You should be able to find one at a reasonable price now.....but if you find a K10d at a very good price, I think you would be happy. They take rechargeable batteries...so if it is older the battery might be going, but very very good battery life with the ones I've had. You can take it on a few shoots without worry of running out of juice.

These cameras speak normal language (aperture etc). My favorite lens is a 1958 Takumar and I can use a screw mount adapter (only use an actual Pentax adapter), set the aperture on the lens, and I can control the rest....just like film. Most everything can be shut off....shake reduction, focus, etc.

K7 with a screw mount SMC Tak 85....

11-01-2009, 05:25 AM   #12
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The price differential between the (now discontinued) K20 and K7 is shrinking. The K7 currently is selling at about 1030 on Amazon, while from what I can tell, the K20 seems to be selling in the 750 range (new), although Amazon, B and H and Adorama don't have it in stock any more.

I definitely would consider the K7 at this point if the differences in handling and build make a difference (image quality seems pretty similar).
11-01-2009, 05:39 AM   #13
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The K7 is absolutely marvelous. I had only held it for a brief second in a camera store before I'd made my decision to buy it.

With either the K7 or K20 you can do absolutely no wrong.
11-01-2009, 05:49 AM   #14
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*ist D or *ist DS has everything you're looking for except weather sealing & can be had for $200 - $250. Sleeper bargain of the group, especially if manual lenses are your forte.
11-01-2009, 10:46 AM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
How about a K20D? Is that comparable in quality?
The K20 has the internal metal frame but not the metal shell. That said, its still head and shoulders beyond all of the other entry and semi-pro bodies.


QuoteQuote:
So I think I'm fairly sold on the K10D, but from what I read, the only consistent complaint I saw was the camera's autofocus and high noise above 500 iso. Can someone validate this for me? Just how bad is the noise?
The K7 does have much better autofocus as compared to the K100, K10, and K20. When it hunts excessively or does not lock on, just flip to manual, focus and take the shot.

On the noise above ISO 500 - here are some links. Scroll down and decide. Acceptable to me, may be noisy to you. Note that ISO 500 is not that fast. I have had very good results up to ISO 1600 on the K20 - a bit noisy, however still very usable - but software can clean that up. Depending on your tastes, ISO 800 is the threshold that most Pentax shooters use. I, personally like to stay at ISO 100 to 200, and will slow the shutter speed so at to stay at f5.6 or f8, hence my 30 second exposures.

DCRP Review: Pentax K10D
Digital Camera Resource Page Review: Pentax K20D
Pentax K-7 Review | Digital Camera Resource Page

QuoteQuote:
In regards to the autofocus problems in low light..again how bad..really?
It uses contrast detection to determine focus lock, so you need some difference in contrast for it to lock. In low light, this may not happen to the camera's satisfaction. In this case, flip the switch to manual, focus and shoot.

QuoteQuote:
Also in manual mode with an auto lens..I am assuming the front wheel controls aperture and the back wheel is the shutter? I loved this feature on a Nikon D200 I used. I found it a very natural place place to put these controls... it wasn't too big a jump from my film cameras so if this is true with the K10D thats a real plus for me.
In program (P) mode yes. - see the green button explanation... The assignment varies slightly going from mode to mode (Sv, Av, Tv, TAv, ... ), but its consistent (it does make sense). The K20 has the same control features as the k10 for the front/rear wheels.

K20D : Digital SLR Cameras : PENTAX

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/60081-usage-green-button.html

QuoteQuote:
Does the image stabilization interfere with panning shots? (read that the 110d does this) Can the Image Stablilization be turned off?
The image stabilization can be turned off. The IS or SR as Pentax call is, is tuned for short term noisy movements, as opposed to long term panning movements. Years ago when it first came out, there was a famous pair of pictures - a guy was sitting on a lawnmower taking a picture - SR on, and SR off. There was a large difference.

The K20 is essentially a large refinement of the K10 at the advanced or semi-pro level.
The K200 is essentially a K10 stuffed into a K100 body using the simplified entry level user's interface.

I have the K100 and the K20. For what its worth, the K20 would be just fine for the rest of my life. I probably will never out grow it, nor will my skills ever get to the point of exceeding the camera. The minor annoyances is autofocus in low light (switch to manual) or go to the K7 (which is much better). I also like the smaller body (really like my K100), and that is solved by the K7. The K7 has better white balance, but I can fix this with post processing - so I never bother resetting this on the camera (lazy) for the shot. The only other annoyance for me - since I do a lot of low light night photography, is the black frame subtraction (you take the 30 second image, and then it takes another 30 second image with out opening the shutter to map the noise on the sensor, then subtracts the two, resulting in the final picture. The down side is a 30 second image is now 60 seconds.) None of this is a deal breaker for me, as there will always be something - life is not perfect. Bottom line - Pentax makes a heck of a camera and the glass is as good as anyone else - if not better (at least for my type of photography - I have not been limited).


Last edited by interested_observer; 11-01-2009 at 03:50 PM.
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