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04-16-2010, 07:43 PM   #16
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How are Pentax sensors behind in high ISO?

04-16-2010, 08:01 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomw Quote
I have given this a good deal of thought and, for me, the jury is still out. Has Pentax made a DSLR that is worthy of its lenses, particularly the primes? I am inclined to believe that they need to worry less about affordability ( the k-x is the choice for people who are budget minded) and offer a DSLR that gives the rest of the brands a run for their money.
I believe that there are many in the Pentax camp who would pay the freight for such a DSLR. Perhaps, I am way off base; it won't be the first time.
I think this difficult to assess, because individuals have different expectations. IMO, the K7 is a great match for the Limited lenses; many of the same adjectives are used to describe them - great build, wonderful handling, etc. On paper, the K7's sensor lags behind the competition in terms of DR and SN/R, but does this have a real world effect?

Over the course of the few years I've been interested in the DSLR market, Pentax has had an approach to IQ that IMO takes great advantage of their better lenses. Compared with Canon, for example, comparable Pentax DSLRs have traditionally exhibited a little more noise, and also more detail retention. So in that regard the camera body is taking advantage of what the lens has to offer.

WRT "affordability", Pentax is so small that they need a great "cheap" camera just to keep themselves relevant in the consumer space. The K7 - and it's successor - needs the K-x (and it's successor) to do well. It would also help if Pentax had a good line of P&S cameras. Canon's entry-level DSLR success was built in large part on the success of their excellent Powershot digicams.

Another argument against your case that Pentax concentrates too much on "Affordability": last May, the "enthusiast/semi-pro" K7 was introduced; September brought the K-x; March brought us the 645D. Pentax's "premium" camera models outnumber the entry-level 2:1.
04-16-2010, 08:41 PM   #18
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Mr Wyatt, Again, I am not trading in my K20D for either Canon or Nikon, but that doesn't mean that I am blinded to seeing another POV. Here is what DPR said about ISO when it reviewed the Canon 7D: " Despite the highest nominal resolution of all APS-C DSLRs and therefore a very small pixel-pitch the EOS 7D performs very well in low light situations and manages to maintain a good balance between image detail and noise reduction up to very high sensitivities. It's visibly better than the EOS 50D and as good as it gets in the APS-C class (if you prefer the 7D or Nikon D300S in this respect is probably a matter of taste). If you require significantly better high ISO performance than the EOS 7D can provide, your only option is to move into the full-frame segment." Here is what DPR said about the K7 "At higher sensitivities the picture doesn't look quite so good. JPEG noise is visibly and measurably higher than on some of the direct competitors. At default settings the K-7 retains relatively good detail up to the highest ISO settings but shows fairly large amounts of both luminance and chroma noise. Increasing the in-camera reduction will add some pretty heavy detail blurring to the mix. Some rivals, especially the Nikon D300, deliver a better balanced mix of noise reduction and detail retention. However, when shooting in RAW the K-7's RAW noise is pretty much on the same level as the competition. Therefore, for maximum image quality in low light situations your best bet is shooting RAW and applying customized noise reduction in post processing. " Now, I believe that you mentioned that in shooting RAW things are pretty much equal and DPR says as much. However, you have taken an argumentative tone with me and I don't know why. You have as much as accused of making things up and you are quick to denigrate anything I offer. I am sorry if that is your nature. Just because one has a camera, it doesn't mean that they wouldn't like to see a better model, or certain features. And it certainly doesn't mean that they can't admit that other systems may do some things better. Why all the hostility?
04-16-2010, 09:52 PM   #19
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Let's see. You join PentaxForums. Then you ask the members, the overwhelming majority of whom own and use Pentax cameras, whether they think other brands are better than what they own and use. Then you compare more expensive cameras of other brands with Pentax machines. And you wonder why some of the reactions are hostile? Really?

Let me tell my story. I started shooting film long, long ago; and I moved to electric cams (analog and then digital) during the last generation. Over the decades I have owned and used many brands of fine cameras: German Kodak, Olympus, Minolta, Yashica, Graflex, Canon, Fujica, Sony, others. But never a Pentax.

When I analyzed the offerings before buying my first dSLR a couple years ago, I was biased towards Olympus, then Sony/Minolta. But I've trained as a systems analyst; I gathered data, crunched numbers, built spreadsheets, did cost-benefit analyses. I read the technical reviews of numerous dSLRs. But I also read the user ratings, and the complaints; and I cross-charted price vs features vs bitches-and-gripes. I noted which brands and models got the most complaints, the most comments about needing to upgrade soon. I looked at the data agnostically, and I chose Pentax. Pentax had the lenses I wanted, and a body (K20D) that looked like it would keep me happy longest.

Tech evaluations are not conclusive. I've seen many technological products that get rave lab reviews, yet fail in real-world reviews, the user ratings, the gripe lists. Remember the order of importance of the factors that make a good photo:
1) the photographer
2) the subject
3) the light
4) the lens
5) the camera
Cameras are the LEAST important, LEAST significant of the component elements of photography. A camera is a box upon which to hang lenses, no more, no less.

04-16-2010, 11:54 PM   #20
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I can make some amazing photos with the Pentax K100D (or I did when I had one) because I had a good lens on it and I knew how to use it. I think that people who think that Pentax is "behind the times" are stuck in the loop of the other brands wanting them to always upgrade something that really doesn't even need to be there. I mean really, if you think about it, all of the things that you think that Pentax is missing weren't even around five years ago, and all the other brands are just now developing them.

It's kind of silly to just want to buy a new camera because it has live view, or can take video, when the most important thing that you should remember that is the camera is the thing that you use to learn how to take some great photos.
04-17-2010, 12:09 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomw Quote
What I am saying is that for a few more money., I believe they could deliver a better AF, better high ISO results, and better low light capability.
maybe they can't yet. I imagine the algorithms and circuitry for this is pretty complex (esp AF-C). Just maybe, they don't have the ability to deliver Nikon and Canon like AF at any price. Bet they're working on it though!
04-17-2010, 12:38 AM   #22
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@tomw,

if you don't care about Pentax glass, you may think that D300s or 7D are better cameras. Some reviews seem to think so.

However, if you look at absolute numbers of difference (std.-deviation of luminance aka noise, AF.S speed, AF.S accuracy, AF.C speed, resolution, etc.) you'll see that differences are marginal really. And for some, the K-7 is actually best. 7D in particular is reported to have trouble to deliver its resolution.

By marginal I mean, almost exactly the same when looked back at in ten years time. Which is why I say that if you care about Pentax glass, all three cameras are equal.

E.g., when looked back at in ten years time, phase detect AF will be obsolete anyway (contrast being faster and more importantly, being much more accurate) and the noise performance will be something like 31%, 33% and 34% resp. of the then valid benchmarks. Who cares?


They are also equal in a sense that the quality of your photography won't depend on it. Don't forget that grass is always greener on the other side of the fence ...
04-17-2010, 04:32 AM   #23
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The only thing I agree with you on is that Pentax needs to work on their jpeg engine. The K7 is a good camera that shoots well in RAW, but for some reason, its jpegs just really get lousy at high iso. As Falk says, in most situations, auto focus and image quality are pretty comparable.

The biggest question is, does the bottom feed the top, or the top feed the bottom. I personally think Pentax/Hoya is going in the right direction, getting a solid base of customers in with the Kx. Once they have a good base, then they need to make certain that those folks have upgrade options. We have already seen that after the release of the kx, K7 sales jumped.

The idea of making an upper end camera when you have a miniscule customer base is that the number of people willing to buy it is also small. Most photographers buying a D300s or a 7D are moving up from another camera -- they are not switching brands.

Where Pentax really needs to work is on their upper end lenses. SDM is not the answer. I don't care whether they use it on lower end lenses, but upper end should have ring motors -- faster speed. They also need some longer lenses -- there is really nothing readily available longer than 300 mm in their line up (sure you can get Sigmas, but there should be a Pentax option out there).

04-17-2010, 07:28 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomw Quote
You have listed many attributes that make Pentax a good choice; one reason I have stayed with K20D. Some how or other, some have got the impression that I am anti-Pentax camera bodies and that I prefer Canon or Nikon. Let's start with my original post. I am asking a simple question and I stand by it. I don't care if any other brand has bodies that do justice to their lens line up, I only care about Pentax since I own Pentax primes. I know for a fact that the Canon 7D has faster AF and shhots more fps, but I wouldn't get it for those reason over my K20D. I know that Nikon's D300s is better at high ISO; again I wouldn't choose it. I also know that sensor technology is critical. And, I know that Pentax has, recently, focused on value. Though, this has not been the case with their lenses, which are no longer value priced. What I am saying is that for a few more money., I believe they could deliver a better AF, better high ISO results, and better low light capability. What's the use of having a f1.8 lens if it has to wait on the sensor? I am prepared to upgrade from my K20D when Pentax addresses these and a few other issues that many besides myself would like to see. I will gladly pay the extra money. Now, how is that anti-Pentax?

TomW,
I understand what you are trying to say, I just think your passionate approach got in your way. Some Pentax primes are the best glass out there. You wanted to know why Pentax hasn't taken a MARKETING approach in that way. Pentax is all over the map when it comes to marketing. In fact I don't really even know if they know what their niche is. One thing we do know is that they can produce these wonderful prime lenses. If they too it apon themselves to build on that and present a body worthy of their prime glass, perhaps the market would stand up and notice. ghillindy1@yahoo.com
04-17-2010, 07:37 AM   #25
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I kind of wish though that Pentax was a bit more clued in about what people actually want from their cameras. I mean the K-7 - no remote assistant, mandatory NR above 30s - both silly amateurish oversights that they really ought to address.
04-17-2010, 07:47 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
I kind of wish though that Pentax was a bit more clued in about what people actually want from their cameras. I mean the K-7 - no remote assistant, mandatory NR above 30s - both silly amateurish oversights that they really ought to address.
when I saw the remote application that canon gives with all their cameras, I must admit, id love to have that. even if id never use it. neat stuff.
04-17-2010, 08:41 AM   #27
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I don't understand what the point of the OP is here. I own the K20D and the K-7. The K-7 is a better camera than the K20D in regards to AF, high ISO and low light capabilities. Then there is the better ergonomics better viewfinder better LCD etc etc.

Pentax did exactly what the OP is claiming Pentax didn't do in that Pentax made a better camera in the K-7 over the K20D exactly in regards to what the OP wants.
04-17-2010, 12:58 PM   #28
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Regarding the assertion that the 7d & 300s are somehow better than the K-7, I think it's a wash; ultimately, no two complex tools are universally equivalent in any field, and comparing different tools from different manufacturers at similar price-points and market echelons is almost always going to yield the same results: each tool is going to have different strengths and weaknesses relative to the others, but ultimately they'll be totally interchangeable for the job at hand. No-one says that 3 fully-loaded mid-level sedans all need heated seats; one might have a power moon-roof, another heated seats, and yet another a kickin' sound system. What they will share are similar controls, power, capacity, etcetera.

This is exactly the same case with the high-end APS-C camera market — they're all in the same league insofar as the output they're able to deliver, and any differences are so marginal as to be hair-splitting... I don't buy that an experienced photographer would be prevented from producing top-quality images from any of the three cameras being compared under 95% of shooting situations. That last 5% is why some people, with specific needs, are going to pick one camera over another.

Someone needing light-weight / weather sealing / quiet shutter / great primes: Pentax K-7 (and yes, the sensor is plenty good for these lenses)
Someone needing af speed / robust flash system / specific lenses (thinking tilt-shift here) / marginally better High ISO: Nikon D300s
Someone needing great remote software / great video / massive-ugly-marshmallow-camera: Canon 7D

Ultimately it's down to specific features for specific needs, and down to nothing more than personal preference and price point for the vast majority of generalists.
04-17-2010, 01:33 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by tomw Quote
I have given this a good deal of thought and, for me, the jury is still out. Has Pentax made a DSLR that is worthy of its lenses, particularly the primes? I am inclined to believe that they need to worry less about affordability ( the k-x is the choice for people who are budget minded) and offer a DSLR that gives the rest of the brands a run for their money.
I believe that there are many in the Pentax camp who would pay the freight for such a DSLR. Perhaps, I am way off base; it won't be the first time.
Pentax DSLRs had always been pretty competitive in pricing. It depends on what type of shooting you're most into. There are other factors involved amongst different brands but it's not really something pricing can make up for.
04-18-2010, 08:07 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rico Quote
I don't understand what the point of the OP is here. I own the K20D and the K-7. The K-7 is a better camera than the K20D in regards to AF, high ISO and low light capabilities. Then there is the better ergonomics better viewfinder better LCD etc etc.

Pentax did exactly what the OP is claiming Pentax didn't do in that Pentax made a better camera in the K-7 over the K20D exactly in regards to what the OP wants.
I'm not totally sure I understand the point, either. I tend to skip upgrades in electronics anyway. I probably would not have purchased a K20d if it hadn't gotten so cheap when the K7 came out and didn't use all the K10d accessories. I don't know if I will get a K7. This is not because it isn't a great camera, but because the four bodies I have do a great (though not perfect) job, and I'm not keen on getting new batts, screens and grips.

To some extent, Pentax lenses have always been ahead of the bodies. Back in the late 70s and early 80s though much of their glass was second to none, the top of the line body was the MX. The MX was really was not in the same league for features with the better bodies from a number of other manufacturers. Nonetheless, I am a big fan of the MX, and I have owned several of them. It did what I needed it to do; it was compact and at a good price. That seems to be the Pentax way then and now.

IMHO, the K-x is the biggest home run Pentax has hit in decades. The image quality, the price, the size, the handling and the features are about as good a balance as you will get. It and the K-7 have carved out for the digital age the compact quality that the M-series film bodies did 30 years ago.
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