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11-13-2009, 04:55 PM   #1
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Possible Pentax K7 buyer

Hi guys looking for a little help.
I'm looking to move back to a more conventional SLR with either a 1.5 crop or full frame but my price range is probably looking at Nikon D300 level.
I've been pointed in the direction of the Pentax K7 as an alternative to a Sony A700 is this a similar level DSLR?
Also how easy us it to get lenses for a Pentax, is there a widely available range?

11-13-2009, 05:17 PM   #2
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I can't speak for the availability and prices in your neck of the woods, but in general there are a lot of choices. Maybe not as many as say Nikon or Canon, but more than enough. Without knowing what you typically shoot (subject wise), it is difficult to point you in a particular direction. The nice advantage with Pentax is that their DSLR's are backwards compatible with just about every lens they ever made - including the M42 screw mounts.

I would say that the K-7 is more comparable to the D300 than the A700, but all three are unique.
11-13-2009, 06:45 PM   #3
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You may want to check out the lens review database:

Pentax Lens Review Database - Main Index

The DA/DA*, DA L and D FA lenses are in production, as are the FA Limited lenses, so you are covered with "factory fresh" prime and zoom lenses plentiful from 10mm to 300mm.

Most of the other "film era lenses" (FA, F, A, M, K, and M42) are easy to find 2nd hand.

The expensive pro stuff like A* 400mm f/2.8, FA* 600mm f/4 and F/FA* 250-600mm f/5.6 are legendary but harder to find.
11-14-2009, 03:29 AM   #4
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Cheers guys it sounds a bit like I had with my Sony kit, the ability to use lenses from years back which was good as it was cheaper than buying new all the time!
My main type of photography is landscapes and architecture so I would be looking for a good wide angle lens and a good walkaround to start off with but I guess I could go for a Sigma 17-70 if there wasn't anything else better.

11-14-2009, 03:35 AM   #5
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Well if you do go with the K-7, a good choice in landscape lenses is the Pentax DA 16-45, or otherwise the Tamron 17-50. Any wider and you're looking at the more expensive Pentax DA 12-24, Tamron 10-24 or Sigma 10-20.
11-14-2009, 04:28 AM   #6
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Or the Pentax 17-70mm constant f4.
11-14-2009, 06:08 AM   #7
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One thing with the K7 (I am sure you know) is that it is weather sealed. The DA* lenses are all weather sealed as well. In addition there are a couple of cheaper weather sealed lenses (the kit lens and a 50-200). This is the real deal. My K20 deals better with rain/snow then I do. Just something to think about.
11-14-2009, 07:37 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
My K20 deals better with rain/snow then I do. Just something to think about.

Do you get much snow in India?

11-14-2009, 08:08 AM   #9
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Good Morning,

In absolute number terms (current production), both Canon and Nikon have more lenses. However, when you step back a bit and consider that Pentax has in body stabilization and both C and N have lens based stabilization systems, their advantage in shear numbers drops substantially to just about an equal offering, essentially you are normalizing the each companies current set of offerings - apples to apples. Neither C or N offer any wide angle or ultra wide angle that are stabilized. With the in body stabilization any lens mounted is automatically stabilized. This is probably not a large differentiation, in that wide angle lenses there is no large need - however it helps, especially in low light if you're caught without a tripod.

On the wide angle side - landscapes and architecture, Pentax compares very well, the 12-24 and the 10-17 (fisheye), 16-45, 17-70, 18-55 across the zooms with the 15, 21, 24, 35 and 40 in the primes. They may be slightly slower in speed than what is available from C & N, but for landscape work is should not matter.

Third party lenses from both Sigma and Tamron enlarge the selection even more. Tokina use to produce lenses in the Pentax mount, however since Pentax and Tokina collaborated on a couple lenses (10-17 FE, 12-24, etc.), Tokina has dropped the K mount because Pentax does not hold at least 5% of the market. However, they also have older K mount lenses that may be of interest.

When you consider the older lens that are no longer in production, the selection get even wider. The current K mount started around 1975 to the present. Prior to that was the M42, of which Pentax offers a conversion mount for about $30.

One area that Pentax is light in is special applications like tilt shift lenses and teleconverters. Pentax had a TS lens years ago, and occasionally you see them available - they do not last long on the market. There are also several third part lens vendors that offer TS lenses in the K mount. Teleconverters is another that Pentax has nothing in current production now, however there is third party coverage - however there has been some indications that Pentax will bring something out in the future. Pentax had a 1.4 and 1.7 years ago that can still be found - again however its a hunt.

Moving into the future Tokina (also owned by Hoya) has a superb 11-16/2.8 (a design extension to the 12-24) that folks are hoping that Pentax will offer.

Probably the best reference on Pentax lenses, both old and current is at http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/index.html

... so that is a quick overview - hope that it helps....

Last edited by interested_observer; 11-14-2009 at 01:41 PM.
11-14-2009, 12:21 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mike.P Quote
Do you get much snow in India?
I think that would be India --- na (in the Midwestern part of the US).
11-14-2009, 01:29 PM   #11
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Thanks again folks, will certainly be looking closely there seems to be a lot of good lenses, what is it like in low light?
11-15-2009, 11:47 AM   #12
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I thought that I would add this to the mix. Pentax has made some of the best lenses available. Their limited series (both F and DA* of 3 lenses each) are outstanding. I happened to run across an article (web article) on that topic from a few years ago. What is nice is that these lenses are still in production and readily available.

sm-02-05-02

The kit lenses are as good if not a bit better that rest. Having said that, still not a fan of the current plastic mount that they are selling with the current KX as a kit lens. I also picked up their FA J 75-300 when I needed a longer lens and my budget was very tight (I brown bagged a lot of lunches). Its a plastic lens - nothing to rave about, but it has served me well.

Low light - sub f2 lenses are essentially only available in the normal and short telephoto prime ranges. Basically, f1.8 up to 135, but nothing below 31, with a f1.2 in a 50. Zooms are available in the f2.8 range but nothing below that.

Zeiss (their ZK mount option) and Voigtlander (Cosina) offers manual lenses in the K mount, some of which are f2.8, f2 and faster. They also offer the M42 mount (Penta's pre K mount circa pre 1975) of which Pentax offers an K/M42 adapter plate for $30.

Welcome to Carl Zeiss Camera Lenses

LENSES
11-15-2009, 12:11 PM   #13
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Before I go out and get some chores done, I might add, and others will disagree - that I doubt that Pentax will go full frame anytime soon. If they were planning on it, then we would see more FA lenses rather than fewer. I do not think that they have the lens production capability to provide a lot of new FA lenses while supporting the DA line at the same time. Just my opinion....

That said, I did read a posting or two, that said that the DA lenses would support a 1.3 crop - however, I have not done the math on this aspect. If true, then Pentax could come out with a slightly larger 1.3 crop sensor (maintaining resolution with lower noise potential) and still use current DA lens production facilities with out any changes. This would make a lot of sense in terms of enhanced IQ, use of current production, while pushing the technical boundaries for a more advanced camera (meeting the FF market challenge), and maintaining a conservative financial posture.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/3644-who-wants-1-3...ed-sensor.html

Benjamin Kanarek is another professional photographer using Pentax.

hope that helps...
11-15-2009, 01:24 PM   #14
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It could be to save some cash on the body I could go for the K20 in the meantime, how does it compare to the K7?
11-15-2009, 02:24 PM   #15
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Back in April / May of this year, just before the K7 was released, I opted to buy a K20 rather than wait for the K7 to drop in price ($1200 for the K7 and $650 for the K20).

I am not the expert here, and hopefully a number of other posters will add in here, but the differences between K7 vs K20 is the following....
  • K7 is smaller and lighter
  • K7's AF is faster and more accurate across a range of lighting situations - especially low light - it uses a focus lamp - k20 does not
  • K7 has a better AWB
  • K7's ISO is about the same - A poster took DPReview's of the K7 and extracted some pretty good information
  • K7 has a better ability to customize its functionality
  • K7 has a 100% pentaprism vs the 95% pentaprism for the K20
  • K7 3" back monitor (920,000 pixel) vs K20 2.7 back monitor
  • K7 5+ FPS
  • K7 1/8000 sec exposure
  • K7 better dust removal system
  • K7 in camera HDR (although I like the external HDR utilities better)
  • both are weather sealed
  • K7 77 segment exposure k20 16 segment
  • K7 HD movie K20 none
  • K7 quieter shutter
... there is more and I am sure others will add in the rest

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentaxk7/ has a good comparison table

Another possibility is getting a K7 with a K20 as a backup.
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