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03-31-2010, 07:03 PM   #1
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D90? Can I jump ship?

After reading in another thread that a used Nikon D90 w/ 18-105VR could be had for under $1000, it got me thinking about jumping ship. Especially after reading in a different thread about Nikon's cheap primes (85, 50, and 30-35ish). [I'm way out of the loop on things like availability of Nikon glass.]

So I currently have a K10D with 20K actuations, the kit lens, FA50, Sigma 17-70, Vivitar A 70-200 f/4.5 MF non-Series1, Lensbaby 1.0, and a Travor grip.

Question 1, do you think I could get enough from the sale of that stuff to get a D90/18-105 and 50/1.8? Or nearly?

Question 2, would I be happy with the Nikon?

I shoot mostly candids of my kids, with a decent amount of f/1.4 and ISO1600. I shoot a lot of random stuff too, but it accounts for less than half of my shots. I also do product-type stuff Strobist style, which I love the dual dials for.

When I bought the K10, it was a really tough decision between it and the D80. I chose Pentax for the SR, weather-sealing, and cheaper lenses. Plus I usually root for the underdog. =) I also like the feeling of not having scene modes, and I love the X mode, but those are little things.

But the recent price hikes are really disconcerting. I feel I'll never be able to afford Pentax glass again, so if I'm just using Sigma/Tamron, why stick with Pentax? When Nikon has a much larger user/support base, and a much larger lens/accessory market, it looks pretty attractive.

My issues with the K10 that I'm hoping the D90 would improve/fix include low-light AF (granted, D90 has an AF-assist light) and wonky AE (I find I'm always bumping EV one way or the other).

I'm sorry... I have a feeling this is real rambly, but I'm tired and don't want to go re-read and edit. =)

Thanks in advance for the advice.

03-31-2010, 07:22 PM   #2
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1) I think you'd be somewhat close, but not there

2) Who knows. You should be able to find someone with a D90 in the area. Befriend them and handle it.

I handled a D90 for a while before I knew much about photography and it was nice and all, but I am quite happy with my K-x, particularly for SR and old MF lenses. The dual dials of the D90 and the K10D I used for a while were so much better than the K2000 I used, but the K-x improved a lot of usability with its single dial, imo.

If you want better high ISO and AF, try handling the K-x, which is on par with the D90 in that regard. Not sure if AE has improved, but DR mitigates it to some extent.

If you want to get into more Strobist-style stuff, then Nikon might make you really happy, in addition to the larger lens/accessory market.
03-31-2010, 07:29 PM   #3
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I keep looking at other systems but I've got a lot invested in Pentax so running two systems doesn't make much economical sense at the moment. I don't want to get rid of my Pentax gear because there's no need. I'm not sure if I would gain anything from FF and MF is too expensive (and not available to me yet).
The D90 would serve you well I think based on your requirements. Truth is, any current camera is going to do a good job, it's just the minor things like AF that you have to really think about what is best for you.
I think you should get at least in the parking lot (if not in the actual ballpark) if you sell your current gear. BTW, just checked on Amazon and brand new D90 and 18-105 is $1000 and change.

If you're thinking about changing, obviously sooner rather than later is going to be better because if you invest more in Pentax and still end up unhappy, you run the risk of just getting fed up with photography period and going for a P&S.
03-31-2010, 07:32 PM   #4
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I've long been of the opinion that the only reason to shoot Pentax is for the Pentax lenses, which I think are better than what is available from other brands.
If this isn't important to you, and you are shooting third party glass anyway, then whatever camera floats your boat, be it Nikon, Canon or whatever is what you should be basing your decision on.

03-31-2010, 07:33 PM   #5
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Eruditass Quote
If you want to get into more Strobist-style stuff, then Nikon might make you really happy, in addition to the larger lens/accessory market.
I don't think I can afford to get into CLS. Just give me more Sunpak 383s that I can set manually. Three's just not enough sometimes. =)
03-31-2010, 07:38 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
If you're thinking about changing, obviously sooner rather than later is going to be better because if you invest more in Pentax and still end up unhappy, you run the risk of just getting fed up with photography period and going for a P&S.
Ha! Actually I haven't had a P&S for a few years, and my P&Ses have always been superzooms. So a few months ago, I decided to spend a little on a Panasonic pocket camera to always have with me. And while I'm thankful to have it, cuz it's loads better than my phone cam... every time I use it, I wish I had brought my SLR. It does good video though.
03-31-2010, 07:44 PM   #7
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I think you should consider the cost of VR (stabilized) lenses for a Nikon system. Surely, you will want more than the 18-105, which is not what anyone would call a fast lens. With Pentax, SR comes in the camera at no additional cost and works with any lens that you may ever use. A K-x would seemingly meet most of your needs for less than $600, probably less than $300 net, if you sell your K10D. Also, you should explore the used market for Pentax lenses. There are plenty of good values available. Finally, bear in mind that the really good VR Nikon glass is quite expensive. It's the mediocre lenses that are affordable, just as it is with every brand.

Rob
03-31-2010, 08:38 PM   #8
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Sell the K10, buy a Kx, save yourself about $750 (with the money from the K10 sale) take the family on a nice vacation and shoot pics and movies of your family with your new Kx

03-31-2010, 08:39 PM   #9
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D90 is a good camera for sure. I'm sure you would be happy with it. Why not? And Nikon certainly does have lots of nice new primes at attractive price points.

But you might be surprised at how a newer Pentax like the K-7 or K-x could breath new life into your existing Pentax gear.
03-31-2010, 08:47 PM   #10
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get something "newer" that's imho only
03-31-2010, 08:54 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by lavascript Quote
After reading in another thread that a used Nikon D90 w/ 18-105VR could be had for under $1000
I do not know if American Express will have the same sale twice but American Express card holders are made privy to weekly specials and approximately 3 weeks ago they had a new D90 for 55% off ($500). The only catch was that there was only 10 available so I logged on at 8:45pm (i'm on pacific time, 11:45pm EST) and waited until 9:00/12:00 but I was not able to get one of the ten. So, to answer your question, if you can get a D90 at that price I would do it in a second but since you are already familar with Pentax I'd stay with the K10D. To me it seems like a lot of trouble selling the body and lenses and still having to pay some out of pocket to get a camera that in actuality is not much better than what you already have and also something that was mentioned already but, Pentax glass is second to none.
04-01-2010, 05:32 AM   #12
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Get a KX, same sensor as the D90, half the price (nearly) better high ISO. My KX blows away my wife's D90.

Go Go for the KX and spend the other $500 on a DA15 or a DA 35 or any DA limited. You know you want to.
04-01-2010, 05:35 AM   #13
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I cannot comment on the lens, but I would like to add a personal experience with the camera body.

About 6 months ago, I was tossing betwen buying a D90, a K-7 or a K-x. I tested all 3 cameras. Both D90 and K-7 cameras were about equally priced then and both are excellent cameras. They have nice image quality, and very good viewfinders for example. The K-7 had a slight edge over the D90 and K-x with the WR, while the K-x viewfinder was disappointing compared to the D90 and K-7.

At the end, the size, weight and shear bulk of the D90 detracted me, and I chose the K-7. I also wanted some solid continuous shooting performances.

Simply the compactness of the Pentax dSLRs is a major advantage in my opinion over the D90. Other might think differently.. But you cannot get it wrong with the D90, the K-7 or the K-x.
04-01-2010, 10:41 AM   #14
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Pentax glass was the only reason to buy Pentax...

I think Pentax dropped the ball in terms of pricing, product selection and target consumer.

Pricing:
With the price hikes, Pentax glass is no longer competitively priced to push people into buying a Pentax body.
If buying Tamron and Sigma, why get a Pentax body?

Product selection:
The K-7 is a great body with a sub-par sensor. The K-X is a great sensor in a crippled body. Auto-focus sucks in both (not as much as in the previous Pentax generation, but still sucks compared to any Nikon).

The flash offerings are abysmal - the 360FGZ is very well made, but doesn't swivel, the 540FGZ has all the features, but is cheaply made. Both cost more than comparable Nikons. Also, P-TTL is not a great flash system - Nikon runs circles around it.

Target consumer:
The K-X is targeted to first-time dSLR users, who most likely just want better pictures of their kids. The Pentax auto-focus will leave them disappointed.

K-7 is targeted to pros, but the Pentax ecosystem is not good enough for those whose livelihood depends on it, AF sucks for action, lack of tethering sucks for studio.

Some will say that the in-body SR is a great deal - it's not IMHO. It saves you an f-stop and doesn't help with moving subjects anyway. SR mostly helps for shooting static subjects with long lens. You don't always need stabilized lens. People always compare with Nikon VR lenses to give Pentax a pricing advantage, but the reality is that you don't need all your lenses to be VR, you can certainly do without for short and medium lenses.

Weather sealed body - do you shoot in the rain without protection? It's nice to know it's there, but would you choose your system based on that ? Some people would, for the majority WS is irrelevant (like 4 wheel drive on SUVs in Florida).

All in all, I think Pentax have been focusing on the wrong features to carve themselves a niche. I'm afraid the Pentax system is becoming less compelling for the average consumer (such as me).
04-01-2010, 06:43 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stanjo Quote
I think Pentax dropped the ball in terms of pricing, product selection and target consumer.

Pricing:
With the price hikes, Pentax glass is no longer competitively priced to push people into buying a Pentax body.
If buying Tamron and Sigma, why get a Pentax body?

Product selection:
The K-7 is a great body with a sub-par sensor. The K-X is a great sensor in a crippled body. Auto-focus sucks in both (not as much as in the previous Pentax generation, but still sucks compared to any Nikon).

The flash offerings are abysmal - the 360FGZ is very well made, but doesn't swivel, the 540FGZ has all the features, but is cheaply made. Both cost more than comparable Nikons. Also, P-TTL is not a great flash system - Nikon runs circles around it.

Target consumer:
The K-X is targeted to first-time dSLR users, who most likely just want better pictures of their kids. The Pentax auto-focus will leave them disappointed.

K-7 is targeted to pros, but the Pentax ecosystem is not good enough for those whose livelihood depends on it, AF sucks for action, lack of tethering sucks for studio.

Some will say that the in-body SR is a great deal - it's not IMHO. It saves you an f-stop and doesn't help with moving subjects anyway. SR mostly helps for shooting static subjects with long lens. You don't always need stabilized lens. People always compare with Nikon VR lenses to give Pentax a pricing advantage, but the reality is that you don't need all your lenses to be VR, you can certainly do without for short and medium lenses.

Weather sealed body - do you shoot in the rain without protection? It's nice to know it's there, but would you choose your system based on that ? Some people would, for the majority WS is irrelevant (like 4 wheel drive on SUVs in Florida).

All in all, I think Pentax have been focusing on the wrong features to carve themselves a niche. I'm afraid the Pentax system is becoming less compelling for the average consumer (such as me).
For the OP, I think you will be happy with any of the cameras mentioned in this thread. In real life shooting, the differences are actually a lot smaller than the similarities.

For me, the biggest differences between Pentax and other brands are (1) weather sealing -- this is the real deal. I have lost a camera in a thunderstorm. I have comfortably shot with the K10/20 without any concern or problem in heavy weather. (2) size -- I personally like the smaller size the Pentax espouses better than the behemoth's that the other brands bring out for their top of the line cameras. (3)SR -- arguing about lens/body is SR is fairly futile. The only thing I will say is that I do use SR on a regular basis when shooting with fast primes. It really helps a lot in the right situation. (4) Nikon lens prices aren't exactly cheap when looking at the upper end glass. I don't think I can afford a 70-200 f2.8 VR I or VR II. I can afford a DA * 50-135. (5) Nikon does have definite advantage in shooting flash, but this is generally in settings where multiple flashes are in play. The K7 actually does quite well with my Metz 58 -- quite a bit better than the K20 did.

Hate to come across as such a fan boy, but I do think that Pentax has some great cameras that really fit my shooting style well. As to whether or not the D90 is a better fit for you, try one and see.
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