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11-14-2009, 09:51 AM   #1
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Professional looking to switch to Pentax K-7. Guidence and suggestions please.

I am currently using both Nikon dSLR and Nikon 35mm formats. The dSLR, a Nikon D200 is getting a bit old in the tooth and is showing signs of wear and what appear to be metering issues. She has done a good job since purchase but just over 110k clicks is ensuring a long slow painful death. My Nikon 35mm is a trusty old F80/N80, which sees more action than the dSLR but this approach is starting to wear thick and an upgrade is in the works.

I have many times demo'ed an Olympus E-3, which is an extremely useful camera. Their lenses are superb and I have almost very nearlly bought into the 4/3rd standard. Upon Pentax releasing the K-7 I saw new hope for a company which has been a backbone of the photography industry for years. I used a Pentax in my University days. Therefore I am considering their new K-7 (2 of them actually) and the following lenses:

DA* 16-50, 50-150, 300 and a selection of Limited series lenses for portrait and studio work. I am also interested in a 2x and 1.4x teleconverter, do Pentax make these?

Basically the guidence I am looking for is not the technical jargon which ofen overlooks the actually quality of a camera. What I am looking for is real world experience. How does the camera meter, does it under expose? Over expose? How does it favor the white balance (warm / cold)?

I use my cameras for (in this priority) landscapes, aviation, portraits. I know, of old, that some Pentax lenses have been specifically designed for portrait photograhy in mind and reproduce next to real life skin tones. How do these lenses perform on the Pentax dSLR line? Again, real world samples if possible.

I really appreciate your help. It is going to be a ~$10,000 investment so naturally I have to be sure to be sure. The equipment will need to work with D-Lite strobes using a wireless hook up.

Kind Regards,

Dan.

11-14-2009, 03:21 PM   #2
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Cool, welcome back to Pentax and hope you'll end up on this side again.

With about a year on a K20D, just one DA* lens and a couple of limited primes, I don't know enough to provide guidance to a pro but a lot of others here do. I will be on the sidelines to read in as well, especially about lighting if anyone chooses to cover that.
11-14-2009, 04:08 PM   #3
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Well, considering exposure, I'd say that it meters quite right... Neither under- nor over-exposed... Of course, the occasionnal overexposure does occur (for instance, in backlit situations where only slim crescents are lighted), but every camera would fall for this.

WB is a non-question for me (RAW), but it seems to 1) do a good job, and 2) be fairly customizable...

If AF and low-light are not of great importance for you, the K20 could be interesting, too... It has a slightly better ergonomic (IMHO), and a way better price point!
11-14-2009, 04:23 PM   #4
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Have you had a chance to look through the PPG?

PENTAX Photo Gallery

-

In terms of AWB, the K-7 goes for a slightly cooler temp than other brands' cameras.

11-14-2009, 05:10 PM   #5
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16-50, 50-135, and 300 sounds like a beautiful set-up. But if you ever grab yourself the set of FA Limited's, you'll never regret anything.
11-14-2009, 07:05 PM   #6
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When I'm out with nothing particular in mind, I use the 16-50 and 50-135. Both are way above average and will deliver outstanding results just about all the time.

When I'm inside, I tend to rely on the FA Ltd lenses. The FA 77 Ltd is a superb portrait lens, and I'll supplement it with either the FA 43 Ltd or FA 31 Ltd for full body shots, depending about the space available.

I also use (to a lesser degree) the DA 14 2.8 and DA 12-24, and they are both sharper than a razor blade. Of the lenses you named, the only one I don't have is the DA* 300, but that's mainly because I almost never use that focal, but I tried it and found it to be an impressive lens.

As for the bodies, I have a K20D and a K-7, and for high ISO, I prefer the K20D. But, for regular use, the K-7 is an impressive camera. The metering is very accurate, the camera is comfortable in your hand, and very responsive. The white balance is much better than the K20D, and wireless flash is a lot more predictable with Pentax dedicated flashes.

Although I shout RAW, I always try to get the white balance right in camera, since you can't be 100% sure you are going to get it right in post when accuracy of color is required for the customer. Close enough is not always "close enough".

I personally don't think you are going to regret your choice, but if you use it for work, I think you should try to put your hand on a K-7 to get a feel for the ergonomics first. I worked with the K10D/K20D combo for two years, and still find the ergonomics of the K10D/K20D better than the K-7, except for the grip. Maybe after using the K-7 for two years, that will change, but...

Overall, I don't think you'll be ashamed of the results you can get with the K-7.
11-14-2009, 07:54 PM   #7
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Why change systems if you're already invested in Nikon? Besides an aging body, are there other reasons why you want to switch?
11-14-2009, 08:26 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by King_Boru Quote
I am currently using both Nikon dSLR and Nikon 35mm formats. The dSLR, a Nikon D200 is getting a bit old in the tooth and is showing signs of wear and what appear to be metering issues. She has done a good job since purchase but just over 110k clicks is ensuring a long slow painful death. My Nikon 35mm is a trusty old F80/N80, which sees more action than the dSLR but this approach is starting to wear thick and an upgrade is in the works.

I have many times demo'ed an Olympus E-3, which is an extremely useful camera. Their lenses are superb and I have almost very nearlly bought into the 4/3rd standard. Upon Pentax releasing the K-7 I saw new hope for a company which has been a backbone of the photography industry for years. I used a Pentax in my University days. Therefore I am considering their new K-7 (2 of them actually) and the following lenses:

DA* 16-50, 50-150, 300 and a selection of Limited series lenses for portrait and studio work. I am also interested in a 2x and 1.4x teleconverter, do Pentax make these?

Basically the guidence I am looking for is not the technical jargon which ofen overlooks the actually quality of a camera. What I am looking for is real world experience. How does the camera meter, does it under expose? Over expose? How does it favor the white balance (warm / cold)?

I use my cameras for (in this priority) landscapes, aviation, portraits. I know, of old, that some Pentax lenses have been specifically designed for portrait photograhy in mind and reproduce next to real life skin tones. How do these lenses perform on the Pentax dSLR line? Again, real world samples if possible.

I really appreciate your help. It is going to be a ~$10,000 investment so naturally I have to be sure to be sure. The equipment will need to work with D-Lite strobes using a wireless hook up.

Kind Regards,

Dan.
The only place where the K-7 falls down is it's AF isn't perfect. It needs more focus points and it needs to be faster if it is going to compete with the big boys.
Having said that, it is fast enough most of the time.
I'm not entirely happy with the focus point layout, as it doesn't fit my way of shooting. I'd like a couple more focus points in the top outside row for vertical portraiture, and I'd like more precise AF points in the outside rows.

OK, thats all I can find to say wrong about the K-7. It's a joy to shoot with in every other way.
All the Pentax Limited lenses are excellent. If you want good portrait lenses, the DA*55 and 70 and 77 mm lenses are all better than you can imagine until you've shot with them.
I find my K-7 is a bit warm, and a bit saturated when using the canned Lightroom settings, but setting up a default profile isn't a biggie, and the discerning photographer is going to do it no matter what camera he's shooting with.
The K-7 exposure is very good, and answers every concern I've ever had with Pentax metering.
Having said this, I haven't any experience with TTL flash control with the K-7. I don't use TTL flash.
I had the pleasure of using the 16-60 and 50-135 lenses just prior to their release, and found them to be superb. I'm not a zoom lens kind of guy, so I never did buy them, but were I into zooms, I certainly would have one of each.
Overall, one should still be buying into Pentax for the lenses, but the K-7 is good enough most of the time.
Were I shooting pro sports, I wouldn't consider Pentax suitable, but I am primarily a portrait, studio and landscape shooter, and for that, the lenses are superb, and the K-7 is sufficient.

11-15-2009, 01:00 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by krypticide Quote
Why change systems if you're already invested in Nikon? Besides an aging body, are there other reasons why you want to switch?
Its a good question and one which I have been asked numerous times. My range of Nikon lenses are of the older AF-Dn and AF-D variants. The optics lack dSLR coatings, AFS, VR and a few more features. The main issue using these lenses on a Nikon dSLR body is fringing. Although the photographs publish in various magazines and sell to clients it is starting to become an issue which may result in loss of work.

Now, to replace my Nikon lenses with newer models such as the AFSII 70-200 VR, 300 VR, 500 VR will cost in excess of $20,000 including a couple of new camera bodies and various items. $11,000 dollars for a 500 VR is absolutely nuts. The older models were never that expensive. Nikon, as well as Canon are charging a premium for the name brand, the optics themselves are just as good as any other brands top of the line. It just seems that prices are driven by the fanboyism found on the net.

Therefore changing systems can become an option. I am by no means brand specific but to be honest, Nikon is driving me up the bend. Everything seems too, well, etched.

I have looked at the K7 in person and ran a few demo shots using a 300 DA*. The results were fantastic. I never shot at f/2.8 (well, maybe sometimes) using my Nikon variants so losing a stop won't matter. Now, that lens costs $1600. I soon realized that I could re-buy the focal lenghts already in my bag for less than $10,000 (excluding the 500, althought not entirely, Sigma have a good one) whilst maintaining 2 camera bodies.

I have yet to try a Limited lens, although I am very anxious to test one out in my studio.

Last edited by King_Boru; 11-15-2009 at 01:17 PM.
11-15-2009, 10:36 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by King_Boru Quote
Its a good question and one which I have been asked numerous times. My range of Nikon lenses are of the older AF-Dn and AF-D variants. The optics lack dSLR coatings, AFS, VR and a few more features. The main issue using these lenses on a Nikon dSLR body is fringing. Although the photographs publish in various magazines and sell to clients it is starting to become an issue which may result in loss of work.

Now, to replace my Nikon lenses with newer models such as the AFSII 70-200 VR, 300 VR, 500 VR will cost in excess of $20,000 including a couple of new camera bodies and various items. $11,000 dollars for a 500 VR is absolutely nuts. The older models were never that expensive. Nikon, as well as Canon are charging a premium for the name brand, the optics themselves are just as good as any other brands top of the line. It just seems that prices are driven by the fanboyism found on the net.

Therefore changing systems can become an option. I am by no means brand specific but to be honest, Nikon is driving me up the bend. Everything seems too, well, etched.

I have looked at the K7 in person and ran a few demo shots using a 300 DA*. The results were fantastic. I never shot at f/2.8 (well, maybe sometimes) using my Nikon variants so losing a stop won't matter. Now, that lens costs $1600. I soon realized that I could re-buy the focal lenghts already in my bag for less than $10,000 (excluding the 500, althought not entirely, Sigma have a good one) whilst maintaining 2 camera bodies.

I have yet to try a Limited lens, although I am very anxious to test one out in my studio.
If quality prime lens and good detailed images are what you are looking for, then I think Pentax is definitely a good choice for you. Pentax has done a great job on the DA*300 and DA*200 which in many tests exceed it's legendary FA* ancestors.
11-16-2009, 01:43 AM   #11
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Well, I think that as long as you don't need blistering FPS for sports, I don't see any reason why you shouldn't get into the Pentax system. To me, the only downside to Pentax is the slower max FPS, old AF tracking system (though I don't know how much improved the K-7 is), and no full frame (in case you need that extra minimum DOF).

I think you will enjoy the lenses, particularly the primes, and the small, rugged, weatherproof bodies.
11-16-2009, 01:52 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by King_Boru Quote
I have yet to try a Limited lens, although I am very anxious to test one out in my studio.
I think you'll like them a lot. Have you had a look at the descriptions in the lens database yet?
11-16-2009, 02:10 AM   #13
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I was just thinking... if you want the camera system for landscapes, portraits and aviation (in flight?), maybe it would be worth waiting for the 645D.
11-16-2009, 05:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by AdrianN Quote
I was just thinking... if you want the camera system for landscapes, portraits and aviation (in flight?), maybe it would be worth waiting for the 645D.
Yes, but the OP seemed to indicate that he wanted to spend less than $10,000.
11-16-2009, 08:35 AM   #15
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I think for that kind of investment, I'd have to drop a couple hundred at:

CameraLensRentals.com - Canon, Nikon and Pentax Lens Rentals

K-7 for a week is $119

Then pick up a prime set for another hundredish:

Pentax 31mm f/1.8 Limited (Black) smcP-FA $45
Pentax 43mm f/1.9 Limited (Black) smcP-FA $28
Pentax 77mm f/1.8 Limited (Black) smcP-FA $36
Pentax 200mm f/2.8 ED(IF) SDM smc P-DA* $42

Then try out the zooms:
Pentax 50-135mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM smcP-DA $54
Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) SDM smcP-DA $36

I doubt you'll want to send them back, and doubt even more you can really thoroughly test that many lenses in a week, but if you did try it out, risking $400 against the kind of investment you're talking about sounds pretty reasonable to me.
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