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04-21-2010, 04:29 AM   #1
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SLR - Pentax/Canon/Nikon/Sony (HELP!)

I have been looking for months on buying a SLR camera. I have been reading all kinds of different reviews on the internet about a lot of different cameras. I am really leaning toward the Pentax K-7. I have read great things about this camera and also some bad things. I guess I don't know what to believe this stands true for almost any camera I been reading about.

Here is the Pentax K-7 package I was thinking about getting.
K-7
540 Flash
17-70mm lens
60-250mm lens
50-135mm lens

I am also looking at the Nikon D300s, Sony a550, Canon 7D.

The different things I will be photographing would be as follows:

Indoor stuff: birthdays, church events, weddings, receptions
Outdoor stuff: beach, buildings, zoo, parades

Does it make sense to go with the Pentax package I just listed above or should I consider one of the other cameras I am looking at.

I would appreciate any input on what I just wrote.

Thank you
Charles Conrad

04-21-2010, 05:35 AM   #2
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All are very good cameras..
You might one to check those brands lenses and accesories too
before you buy a camera. Choosing a system is IMO the most important decision to make before buying a camera.

Now on what you were thinking:
One of the biggest advantage you would notice on the K7 is the size and the price compared to the D300s and the 7D.
The current DSLR line up of Pentax are the K7 (w/c is the high end)
and the Kx (entry level). The only thing the K7 fall short compared w/ the Kx is the IQ at high iso. But if youre gonna be using flash it wont matter. The price of the K7 is right now is a bargain consiering it was 1300 last year..
For the lens i suggest you should make use of Kit lens first as to better understand what you might need especially for focal lengths and apertures.
04-21-2010, 05:39 AM   #3
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I'd say, the most important decision here is your investment in all the glass, more than the camera body.

In line with that remarkt: why not go for the DA*16-50mm f2.8 lens instead of the DA17-70mm f4?
It is faster, weather/dust sealed (all the other lenses are!) and wider.
Since I guess this will be the most used lens, sealing IMHO is important.

In my opinion, the choice is not: 7D versus D300s versus K-7, it is much more what system do you buy into?
This means that you should compare the brands not just for a camera body, but including the lenses that you've selected (Image Quality, Sealing etc).
Sony by the way is moving in a different direction than all the others, more targeted for the masses.
Quality in my interpretation with Sony means Full Frame. The 550 is not that impressive IMHO.
I find it different to make a system to system comparison between Pentax and Sony.

On the specific (other minus Sony) bodies you've mentioned: they are all very good camera's.

There are specific option and features differences that have been chewed on extensively here and in many other forums.
I'd say the strong points of Pentax against these competitors are:
- Size
- Price
- Body shake reduction
- Features (auto level, Sv and TAv modes, in camera processing options, HDR)
- Best environmental specs (resilience against dust, water, temperature)
- Auto white balance is best (specially in artificial light)

The weaker points of the K-7 here are:
- The Contineous AF mode is not so good as the others (Nikon is supposedly best)
- High ISO noise levels are higher

Because I think you should decide for a system, how do I perceive that?

The Pentax strong points for me are:
- All lenses produced ever can still be used on the latest camera's.
- In body SR
- Sharp, competitive priced high quality lenses

The weaker point of the Pentax system are:
- Less representation / shops selling Pentax
- Less choice of longer & faster lenses, no options > 300mm without TC.
- Less third party options (not that much less though)

Did you look into Olympus? They may well update their high level (E3/E30) camera's in the near future.

- Bert
04-21-2010, 05:47 AM   #4
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Thanks for the input. What you are both saying makes a lot of sense. You have helped me understand this a little better. I am curious on why you think the 16-50 is a better option then the 17-70? Is the f/2.8 versus the f/4 that much better?

Thanks again
Chuck

04-21-2010, 05:50 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by conradcjc Quote
Thanks for the input. What you are both saying makes a lot of sense. You have helped me understand this a little better. I am curious on why you think the 16-50 is a better option then the 17-70? Is the f/2.8 versus the f/4 that much better?

Thanks again
Chuck
It is 1 stop better *and* it is weather/dust sealed.

Except for the AF540 all the equipment you've listed is.
You can read on this forum how other user have (by accident) had their K-7 plus lens submerged (a few seconds but still) in water.
I've been making a lot of photos during night / rain etc. That would become a different matter with the 17-70 which is not sealed....

- Bert
04-21-2010, 05:56 AM   #6
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well the 16-50 is faster, better iq, and weather sealed.
04-21-2010, 06:19 AM   #7
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16-50 is WR but its SDM.. Id say Tamron 17-50 or the new Sigma 17-50
04-21-2010, 06:43 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by conradcjc Quote
I have been looking for months on buying a SLR camera. I have been reading all kinds of different reviews on the internet about a lot of different cameras. I am really leaning toward the Pentax K-7. I have read great things about this camera and also some bad things. I guess I don't know what to believe this stands true for almost any camera I been reading about.

Here is the Pentax K-7 package I was thinking about getting.
K-7
540 Flash
17-70mm lens
60-250mm lens
50-135mm lens

I am also looking at the Nikon D300s, Sony a550, Canon 7D.

The different things I will be photographing would be as follows:

Indoor stuff: birthdays, church events, weddings, receptions
Outdoor stuff: beach, buildings, zoo, parades

Does it make sense to go with the Pentax package I just listed above or should I consider one of the other cameras I am looking at.

I would appreciate any input on what I just wrote.

Thank you
Charles Conrad
All the camera makers can give you probably a comparable system, and regardless of what evern sales and marketing BS you hear, all deliver great pictures.

ALl I can recommend and remain unbiased, is to play with each in a store and pick the one that best suites youo, in terms of menus, size feel, balance with the lenses you pick etc.

On the lens side, I would offer perhaps some changes.

I see no reason to have both the 60-250 and the 50-135. for me, take the 50-135 and add a 300F4, or a longer zoom like a 100-300 or 27-200 F2.8 plus a TC.

the reason is there is too much overlap and if you have both the 50-135 and 60-250 the 60-250 will wind up being used probably only at the 250mm setting. as a result a dedicated 300 will give much better images, or a zoom plus tele that only marginally overlaps the 50-135.


the other shortcoming I can see, if you want to do churches etc, is that 17mm is not wide enough. I shoot a lot of churches, cathedrals, castles etc when I travel, and I find that my sigma 10-20 is on my camera when travelling for 60-70% of all shots. Maybe that is just me, but I find that an ultra wide zoom is a great travel lens. If you don't need the reach, again ditch the 60-250 and go ultra wide, either sigma 10-20 pentax 12-24 or the pentax 10-17 fisheye. It will fit your needs better.

04-21-2010, 07:55 AM   #9
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Do you know of teleconverters that work with pentax lenses on the K7 body that autofocus? Can you guide me in the right direction?

What teleconverter will work on the 70-200mm f/2.8 Tamron lens for a K7 body?

What do you think about the Sigma 120-400mm lens for the K7? Any thoughts on that lens?

Thank you

Last edited by conradcjc; 04-21-2010 at 08:03 AM.
04-21-2010, 08:10 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by conradcjc Quote
I have been looking for months on buying a SLR camera. I have been reading all kinds of different reviews on the internet about a lot of different cameras. I am really leaning toward the Pentax K-7. I have read great things about this camera and also some bad things. I guess I don't know what to believe this stands true for almost any camera I been reading about.

Here is the Pentax K-7 package I was thinking about getting.
K-7
540 Flash
17-70mm lens
60-250mm lens
50-135mm lens

I am also looking at the Nikon D300s, Sony a550, Canon 7D.

The different things I will be photographing would be as follows:

Indoor stuff: birthdays, church events, weddings, receptions
Outdoor stuff: beach, buildings, zoo, parades

Does it make sense to go with the Pentax package I just listed above or should I consider one of the other cameras I am looking at.

I would appreciate any input on what I just wrote.

Thank you
Charles Conrad
The K7 will handle your entire list, especially with that cache of lenses. What is it that you've read about the K7 that is keeping you from pulling the trigger? I'll guarantee that it isn't those lenses. As I'm sure others have stated, all the cameras will do the job as well. With all the quirks of each model aside, it will come down to more, which one you feel most comfortable using. At least that's the way it was with me after I went nutz reading reviews.

04-21-2010, 08:17 AM   #11
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I am not sure what is keeping me from pulling the trigger. I guess I would like to do a hands on test but don't live anywhere close to a camera shop with SLR cameras. Let me ask you this. I know everyone RAVES about that 60-250mm f/4 lens. How far is the reach of the 250 would it be good enough for what I am doing? I probably won't want to take pictures of birds or planes. I guess if I wanted to then I would need something more then 250.

Thanks
04-21-2010, 08:23 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by conradcjc Quote
I am not sure what is keeping me from pulling the trigger. I guess I would like to do a hands on test but don't live anywhere close to a camera shop with SLR cameras. Let me ask you this. I know everyone RAVES about that 60-250mm f/4 lens. How far is the reach of the 250 would it be good enough for what I am doing? I probably won't want to take pictures of birds or planes. I guess if I wanted to then I would need something more then 250.

Thanks
Depending upon the balance of cost versus usage, there is the 55-300mm option:
Pro:
- 300mm instead of 250mm
- Costs a fraction!
- Much smaller
- Much lighter
Con:
- Less sharp / IQ
- A little slower
- Not sealed
- No SDM
- No quickshift manual focus

You can easlily buy a 55-300mm plus 12-24mm for the cost of one 60-250mm here.
It may sound stupid, but I've got both the 60-250mm and the 55-300mm....

- Bert
04-21-2010, 08:28 AM   #13
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Bert,

How do you like that 60-250mm? Are the pictures amazing? Is it good for the outdoor stuff I want to do as listed above.

Do you know if you can put a teleconverter on the Pentax 300mm? If so which one works the best?

Thanks
Chuck

Last edited by conradcjc; 04-21-2010 at 08:46 AM.
04-21-2010, 08:47 AM   #14
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Chuck,

One thing you might want to consider for your zoo/wildlife type photographs is an older, manual focus lens. With the in body stabilization of the K7 and all the older, super telephoto lenses out there that can be adapted and/or retrofitted to a Pentax K mount, this might be something to investigate.

Many Pentax users have taken older Nikon telephotos (400mm f/3.5, 500mm f/4 etc.) and had them retrofitted to be mounted onto a Pentax DSLR. Add a Pentax 1.7 AF converter and you could really be in business for wildlife photography with AF assist.

Yuri
04-21-2010, 08:51 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by conradcjc Quote
I am not sure what is keeping me from pulling the trigger. I guess I would like to do a hands on test but don't live anywhere close to a camera shop with SLR cameras. Let me ask you this. I know everyone RAVES about that 60-250mm f/4 lens. How far is the reach of the 250 would it be good enough for what I am doing? I probably won't want to take pictures of birds or planes. I guess if I wanted to then I would need something more then 250.

Thanks
Unfortunately these days putting your hands on a Pentax DSLR is difficult to do (in a store) even if there was one nearby. All I can say about it is, when I bought my first K10d, they were available everywhere and I compared all of them for fit and feel. In addition to the K mount legacy, that made my decision. You can go Daffy Duck crazy reading reviews and be more confused than ever. As I'm sure you've found out, Ask a Pentax guy, he'll tell you to get the Pentax. Ask a Nikon guy, Nikon. At the end of the day, pick the features that are important to you (like In camera stabilization), find the camera that fits that list as perfectly as possible, buy the camera and enjoy it. Since you are starting fresh also consider the prices of equivalent lenses. Be sure to factor in Pentax's Shake Reduction into that compare.

After waiting months to see what the 60-250 even looked like I bought a different lens. I decided to go Prime and bought the DA*300. I skipped past the 200 because I didn't think it long enough for when I wanted the Reach. At the time I also had the 50-135 and figured I would some day aquire the Pentax F1.7x AF TC. That took awhile to realize but I can now go from 12mm to 500mm and a maximum aperture of f6.8. I guess if the lens is a fit for you will depend on the Nature you want to shoot. I'm sure the 60-250 is quite capable of catching both birds and planes, though you say that isn't your intent. Do be aware that it's a huge lens (by comparison) and will take some getting use to.

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