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06-04-2022, 07:36 PM - 4 Likes   #1
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The impressions of a long time Pentax user after his first Nikon Experience

Out of curiosity I decided to purchase a Nikon camera and see how the experience compared to my Pentax KP and plethora of lenses.
I was able to find a Nikon D5300 reasonable cheap that I purchased. I knew that I could not use older AF lenses on my D5300 except in manual mode which somewhat bothered me. I do not have that worry with Pentax screw drive lenses. I know that a D7xxx series camera would solve that problem but more on that later.

The first thing I discovered is LBA is common across platforms. After a couple of months, I found myself with an AF-S 18-105mm, AF-P 70-300mm, AF-S 40mm micro, AF-S 18-55mm, and Sigma 17-50mm F2.8. After the intuitive and easy Pentax interface, I found that I am not a big fan of Nikon interface. It takes too long to change ISO and the flash settings are buried in the menu. Since light setting are important, I find it much easier to change my Pentax settings. On the flip side the Nikon autofocus was very snappy and I was pleased with the rate that I could focus and pull off shots on moving targets like the red shouldered Hawk in the picture.

Researching Nikon lenses, I kept seeing all these nice screw drive lenses that I wanted to try. So, I ended up adding an affordable D7000 to the collection. With this came more lenses in the form of a Sigma 135-400mm and a Sigma 70-210mm F2.8. Both these are screw drive and do not have Vibration reduction. Here is where I found out how spoiled I am from the Shake Reduction in my Pentax cameras. Without shake reduction in the body or lens you have to be uber sensitive to either keeping the camera still or bumping up your ISO to keep the shutter speed super high. Since one of my preferred subjects are birds, this is problematic. With the Nikon lenses that have VR (Vibration Reduction) that levels the playing field on shake reduction. With Pentax every lens gets VR from the camera body. For Nikon the list of VR lenses is nice but not as expansive as the choices you get with Pentax.

I know we brag on the durability of Pentax gear, but I have to give props to Nikon for building a durable product. One of my Nikons has a shutter count over 182,000.

In summary, I will keep using bother cameral brands as they both have their strengths. My Pentax is easier to use and has in body shake reduction. The Nikon has a stronger auto-focus. I hope this helps anyone wanting a perspective on the two brands.

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06-04-2022, 08:00 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by dronegeek Quote
Out of curiosity I decided to purchase a Nikon camera and see how the experience compared to my Pentax KP and plethora of lenses.
I was able to find a Nikon D5300 reasonable cheap that I purchased. I knew that I could not use older AF lenses on my D5300 except in manual mode which somewhat bothered me. I do not have that worry with Pentax screw drive lenses. I know that a D7xxx series camera would solve that problem but more on that later.

The first thing I discovered is LBA is common across platforms. After a couple of months, I found myself with an AF-S 18-105mm, AF-P 70-300mm, AF-S 40mm micro, AF-S 18-55mm, and Sigma 17-50mm F2.8. After the intuitive and easy Pentax interface, I found that I am not a big fan of Nikon interface. It takes too long to change ISO and the flash settings are buried in the menu. Since light setting are important, I find it much easier to change my Pentax settings. On the flip side the Nikon autofocus was very snappy and I was pleased with the rate that I could focus and pull off shots on moving targets like the red shouldered Hawk in the picture.

Researching Nikon lenses, I kept seeing all these nice screw drive lenses that I wanted to try. So, I ended up adding an affordable D7000 to the collection. With this came more lenses in the form of a Sigma 135-400mm and a Sigma 70-210mm F2.8. Both these are screw drive and do not have Vibration reduction. Here is where I found out how spoiled I am from the Shake Reduction in my Pentax cameras. Without shake reduction in the body or lens you have to be uber sensitive to either keeping the camera still or bumping up your ISO to keep the shutter speed super high. Since one of my preferred subjects are birds, this is problematic. With the Nikon lenses that have VR (Vibration Reduction) that levels the playing field on shake reduction. With Pentax every lens gets VR from the camera body. For Nikon the list of VR lenses is nice but not as expansive as the choices you get with Pentax.

I know we brag on the durability of Pentax gear, but I have to give props to Nikon for building a durable product. One of my Nikons has a shutter count over 182,000.

In summary, I will keep using bother cameral brands as they both have their strengths. My Pentax is easier to use and has in body shake reduction. The Nikon has a stronger auto-focus. I hope this helps anyone wanting a perspective on the two brands.
Nice write up. You make some very valid points regarding the autofocus of both brands. I think the gap between the two brands has been relegated to nonexistence when comparing the K-3 Mk III versus everything in the Nikon lineup except for the very very high end Nikon DSLRs. Mind you I am talking about DSLRs and not Mirrorless offerings from Nikon.
06-04-2022, 08:52 PM   #3
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Having used Nikons occasionally, I would say "Nikon gets you the picture" (AF is solid), and Pentax gives you everything else.


QuoteOriginally posted by Larrymc Quote
Mind you I am talking about DSLRs and not Mirrorless offerings from Nikon.
People say that mirrorless AF is better than DSLR, but they are talking about frame coverage, face/eye detection, and generalization such as "better AF of mirrorless" propagates in consumer forums, is just not true. The D850 and D500 very easily outperform a Z7 when shooting dynamic sport images. Only stacked sensor mirrorless such as in Z9, R3 can rival high-end DSLR AF. It's just because in a mirrorless camera AF tracking can only be as fast as image sensor readout speed, and on a Z7 we're talking about 7 to 10 frames per second, on a D850 PDAF readout is > 100 phase sensor readouts par second, it's not even comparable.
06-04-2022, 10:00 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by dronegeek Quote
Nikon D5300
The D5300 was one of the first cheaper models that use carbon fiber reinforced polymers in their camera bodies[COLOR="Silver"]

---------- Post added 06-04-2022 at 10:01 PM ----------

06-04-2022, 10:34 PM - 7 Likes   #5
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I shot Nikon film cameras for years, I have a very complete collection of bodies and lenses. When I finally decided to get back into photography, naturally I got a Nikon to capitalize on my lens collection. I always loved the intuitive ease of use of my Nikon stuff.

Then I bought a D750.

It's nice, don't get me wrong, but soon after my Nikon purchase I picked up a K1 II, primarily for the astrotracer function. As a result, I spent a great deal more time playing with and learning the Pentax body, figuring I already knew how to operate a Nikon. The Pentax turned out to be a wonderfully intuitive design and interface, I had NO trouble AT ALL figuring it out even without reading a manual. I naturally assumed that my Nikon was similar, because of my previous experiences with the brand.

BOY WAS I WRONG!

As compared to the now several Pentax bodies I own, the Nikon is obtuse. Buttons and controls just aren't as easy to find or use, settings are buried in menus, etc, etc. Pentax has it all freaking over Nikon in this regard at least, and this is coming from a long time Nikon fan. In fact, for film bodies I still prefer Nikon over Pentax. Now, when I get the Nikon out to use it, usually within 3 minutes you'll hear "What the %@$#! did this *@#&%*! Nikon do NOW!!??

It's not always a happy time...

Don't get me wrong, I like the Nikon. I like Canon for that matter. I like them ALL. They are all great tools for doing what they do, and most of them do it well, even if we ARE able to quibble about some esoteric little thing that maybe could have been designed better. So I don't particularly like product bashing. In this case, I'm just saying that Pentax deserves kudos for an incredibly intuitive user interface AS COMPARED WITH the competition. I think it's also noteworthy to mention that Pentax also ALLOWS you control over things that the others automate without your input. I know I've found several things I the D750 that I have absolutely no control over that I CAN change in the K1 II. To Nikon's credit, the automation does a pretty good job, but once you are spoiled to having your settings have settings, it's kinda hard to go back.

In my humble opinion, if someone OBJECTIVELY compared a similar Nikon and Pentax, setting for setting, feature for feature, Pentax SHOULD win hands down. I've noticed there seem to be many little "features" that the online reviewers always overlook, and in some cases outright get wrong. It has always struck me that many of these "reviews" are actually quite biased, or are inadvertently biased due to the author's unfamiliarity with what they are reviewing (one would think if you were going to publish a technical review, you would do enough experimentation and research to be a genuine expert on the thing you are reviewing and about to pronounce judgement on).

I guess my point is this: I don't have a horse in this race; I don't really care if Pentax is "the best", or if that honor truly belongs to some other manufacturer. I'm about as objective as it comes in this matter, and I genuinely think all brands have something to offer. But as the OP pointed out, in an interface showdown between Nikon and Pentax, Nikon looses. It's not horrible, but Pentax deserves some recognition here for thoughtful design.

My 2 worth.
06-05-2022, 07:09 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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Another thing I noticed about the ecosystem that I forgot to mention. In researching Nikon lenses, I found nothing so far that is even close to the wonderful lens reviews here on the Forums. I am so appreciative that if I find a lens I am thinking about purchasing that I can come here for excellent reviews with real world applications. Thanks to all who review.
06-20-2022, 04:36 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dronegeek Quote
Another thing I noticed about the ecosystem that I forgot to mention. In researching Nikon lenses, I found nothing so far that is even close to the wonderful lens reviews here on the Forums. I am so appreciative that if I find a lens I am thinking about purchasing that I can come here for excellent reviews with real world applications. Thanks to all who review.
Very true. I was surprised that the Nikon forum was so poor considering the number of Nikon users. I look at the Nikon forum all the time...film cameras haven't had a post since May. I see more Nikon discussion here than on the Nikon forum.



06-21-2022, 01:22 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I tried a Nikon D5x00 camera and absolutely hated it. One control wheel, not easy to change simple settings, weird colour of the jpegs, lens release button in the wrong place...

I put up with some of these Nikon oddities (ie poor design decisions) in my F801Ss in order to get the 1/8000s but that DSLR is just horrible to use.
06-27-2022, 09:15 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Nikon, no, but oh those new Canons....

Long been fascinated by Nikon, probably because 50-plus years ago my better-off girlfriend was able to afford a Nikkormat SLR and I could only handle a Mamiya 500. Decades of Nikon-lust followed, though the girlfriend and I split. But a couple years ago, with a little more disposable income in my life, I tried renting a D7200 and a D750 for a few days each. I mostly shoot landscapes, selling the work in galleries, but do some wildlife and a smaller number of portraits and events.

Short version: Both Nikons were very capable cameras that I could live with if I had to. Both had nice quick autofocus, something Pentax has only recently heard of. But neither one made my heart beat any faster, and it would take so much time and energy to learn a new system that is quite different from Pentax that I kind of lost the infatuation. Also: IBIS! And all those little niceties, like the green button, built-in DNG files, pixel-shift resolution, etc. Top of the line image quality. And weather sealing that actually works!

To make matters worse, I have been shooting a lot more wildlife lately, which now means Canon mirrorless. Yes, you can get wildlife photos with Pentax gear --- and I have --- but the autofocus in the new R3/5/6/7 cameras is freaking magic, and Canon has (finally!) closed the image quality gap. So now I'm shooting with an R5 (wildlife, landscape, portraits, events -- a real do it all camera), a 6D2 (backup), and a pair of KPs (hiking and travel). Why is life never simple?
06-29-2022, 06:39 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Can't really comment on Nikon camera reliability since I do not routinely repair them, but judging by the number of Nikon lenses I have had to repair which use what is laughingly called 'engineering plastic' , they are not particularly durable, with some of the plastic rings deteriorating over time and actually becoming very brittle.This applies to lenses which can hardly be considered budget-priced. I have not encountered this with Pentax lenses, even though they have used plastic for many years.
I also worry about the way the VR in Nikon lenses is constructed since the suspended element is very loosely mounted by design, and is prone to misalignment if the lens suffers any knocks. The Pentax body-mounted anti-shake system seems much better engineered.For many years I have also been concerned that having spent a fortune of using serious computer power to design modern optics , many manufactuers then mount the moving element groups in assemblies suspended by at best two suspension points, and sometimes only one. I realise this is intended to make AF as friction-free-and hence fast-as possible, but the consequence is the elements are rarely ideally centred as they would have been in a metal-engineered lens using at least three mounting points for the element group. Which would probably explain the variations between samples!
07-23-2022, 08:20 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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I have been using Nikon and Pentax side by side for about 45 years. With digital, I can jump from one to the other without even looking !
07-23-2022, 10:17 PM   #12
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On the subject of comparing Nikon to Pentax, here's my take:


# Older lenses. I really like the jewel like quality of older Pentax lenses. They have much better construction than the relative lower quality build of older Nikkor lenses. This is from a guy who's repaired lots of both types of lenses (just today I did CLA jobs on a Takumar 55/1.8 and a Nikkor 105/2.5). As far as their optical quality goes, both are at about the same level, very good, but not great.


# Newer lenses. The lower and mid-priced models from both Nikkor and Pentax are relatively comparable in construction and IQ. The most expensive lenses from both companies are outstanding; but Nikkor offers so many more options that for those of us who want/need a wider variety of lenses, Nikkor's wide selection clearly tips the scale in their favor. For example, I just bought a Nikkor 200mm f/2 VR lens (6.5 pounds/3kg of bokeh straight-from-Heaven); Pentax offers nothing like it.


# Camera bodies. As far as bodies go, I've owned over a dozen APS-C and full frame digital camera bodies from each company. I like the Pentax DSLR bodies better than the Nikon DSLR bodies. However, I greatly prefer the latest Nikon mirrorless full frame bodies to the Pentax K1s that I've owned.

.

Last edited by Fenwoodian; 07-24-2022 at 12:35 AM.
07-24-2022, 04:11 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tonyzoc Quote
Very true. I was surprised that the Nikon forum was so poor considering the number of Nikon users. I look at the Nikon forum all the time...film cameras haven't had a post since May. I see more Nikon discussion here than on the Nikon forum.
I have recently paid attention to the Nikon Forum.

My sense is that Adam has attracted a much smaller percentage of Nikon users than of Pentax users.
Nikon users have more places to go - we have only this place.
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