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08-18-2010, 01:23 PM   #1
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I'm thinking of switching to Nikon.. help (!?)

I own a K10D with it's kit lense and a bunch of manual glass (50 1.7, 28 2.8 and 80-200 3.5) which I use primarily when I'm feeling all old school shooting my ME Super.
I bought the 10 about a year ago and since then I've noticed the prices of Pentax glass rising steadily (remember how much the FA 50 cost a year ago?), and now they're starting to get so high I can't really afford any modern lenses, which I obviously want.
That K10D was my first (D)SLR and I chose Pentax for three reasons: generally affordable lenses, backwards compatibility with legacy glass and in-body shake reduction.

I want an upgrade for my kit lense and all I can look at now pricewise are the Sigma 18-50 2.8 and 17-70 2.8-4. Those are nice lenses, but I'd preferably get a 'proper' one. I've heard and seen some people in my vicinity having trouble with Sigma's quality control and/or durability. Pentax can't give me that, their 17-70 is 519. Don't even get me started on limiteds or DA* lenses.
Now, there's always the option of buying used, but over here the used market in the better Pentax glass is almost non-existant or still too expensive.
Before I bought the 10, I also borrowed a Nikon D70s with the 18-70 3.5-something along with it. I liked the body's ergonomics and intuitive lay out, I liked the lens for it's sharpness and AF speed, but his asking price was quite high. And I was already quite set on Pentax, perhaps a bit too much.

Other tidbits:
- Pentax bodies are generally quite small. My hands are large. Nikon bodies offer more space for my fingers. Obviously, I'm talking D90 or D300 here.
- The AF on my K10D sucks. A little bit. It nearly always hunts and it actually misses quite a few times. I loved how that D70s seemed to instantly click into focus.
- Although not a very big problem; but the metering on the 10 seems to be a bit lacking. I find myself overexposing half a stop or so most of the time. Nikon's metering seems more accurate to me.

Biggest issue is the glass though, that Nikon 18-70 can be found here for 150 second hand, a 50 1.4 for 250 new and that excellent 35 1.8 for under 200 new. And then there's the 85 1.8, Sigma's 10-20 which is way cheaper second hand in F-mount than in K-mount. I don't really see Pentax beat that anytime soon. And besides, I'm not knee deep in the K-mount system; it's just a DSLR and a kit lense. I'll be keeping the manual glass for my ME Super anyway.

Does anyone like to share his/her thoughts? I'd like to hear some feedback
I do know it's like asking a priest if it'd be wise to sell my soul to the devil, but still

08-18-2010, 01:54 PM   #2
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I didn't notice you mentioning anything about wanting video, so if you switch to Nikon I have two suggestions. I'm not a Nikon user so take these suggestions with a grain of salt.

1. Nikon D200. It's got the same sensor as your K10D I believe, but it's larger in size and it has faster autofocus. It's also about half as costly as a comparable D300 prices I have seen.

2. Nikon D300. It'll improve on everything that the D200 will plus it will give you much better high ISO performance than the D200 and K10D. Plus its AF performance and frame rate is about as good as you can get for a camera at or below $1,100.
08-18-2010, 08:27 PM   #3
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Welcome to the boat... having switched to Nikon, the only thing I miss are these damn LTD primes and the Auto-ISO that actually works... For the rest it's a different dimension usability-wise... much faster and much snappier AF, flash (especially in wireless mode), etc...

Unfortunately, some idiot at Hoya decided that Pentax can charge same amounts for lenses that big boys do... and by doing so, Pentax has lost the last remains of its appeal... You're right about the lens prices... A used Nikon 85/1.8 goes for around 350-400$... in comparison, a used FA 77/1.8 would cost anywhere from 650 to 850$ depending on the condition... nevermind the FA31.... 800-1000$ easy!!! Perhaps it s very special lens, but Nikon's 35/2 only made me 250$ poorer and I'm just as happy.... DA12-24 sells in average for 625-650$ on the marketplace... Tokina's version of that lens in Nikon mount sells for 350-375$.... and the list can go on forever... So in the essence, even if any Nikon's body is a bit costly to buy into, you'll get your money back in lenses... And if you're into old glass, all pro (D1-D3x) and semi-pro (D100-D300) bodies do meter beautifully with all AIS glass...

As far as body choice goes... this is really up to your needs and your wallet.... D200, D90 and D300 are all very good, but D200 is getting really outdated and it's usable high iso tops out at 800... although I have some very nice shots at 1600, they did require a lot of PPing...

For the rest, if you know what you're doing, the outcome is about the same... it's just often easier with Nikon... Because if your pics suck with Pentax, there's no camera or lens in the world that could change that.... At the end of the day, it's what on the picture that counts, not the hardware it was made with....

Last edited by alexeyga; 08-18-2010 at 08:38 PM.
08-18-2010, 10:10 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by alexeyga Quote
So in the essence, even if any Nikon's body is a bit costly to buy into, you'll get your money back in lenses...
Well, not just 'a bit costly'... I for one prefer to have a collection of more expensive glass--especially if we are talking limiteds--and to be able to upgrade to cheaper bodies. Glass is (can be) forever. But one can easily build a nice collection of cheap old Pentax primes.

Now, to the OP: if you feel like switching to Nikon, by all means do it! Carefully consider your reasons, make a reasoned decision, and act. It's as simple as that. You don't owe Pentax or the Pentax Community anything. (I've always wondered about the meaning of asking for help on PF in case of a switch temptation..."I do know it's like asking a priest if it'd be wise to sell my soul to the devil, but still"--no, it's absolutely not like asking a priest to...)


Last edited by causey; 08-19-2010 at 11:25 AM.
08-18-2010, 11:09 PM   #5
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Quality Nikon zooms, as in constant aperture ones, are not exactly cheap. Something to be aware of before jumping ship.
08-18-2010, 11:22 PM   #6
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I own both the K10D and the D200. This is how it happened:

I was pissed with the extreme price increase of Pentax lenses. I was pissed Pentax now wanted me to shell out hundereds more for DA* lenses that had decentered elements, and failing SDM motors. I was pissed that the FA ltds jumped from 2 grand for the set, to just over $3,000. This all happened overnight. I was also choked that if I wanted to buy FF zoom lenses, with the plan to use them when Pentax finally releases a FF camera, I needed to buy third party.

So my eye started to wander.

First i thought I might go Canon. So I bought an EOS-1n to see if I liked the ergonomics of Canon. I don't mind that big wheel on the back at all.

Then on a whim (drinking while surfing ebay), I bought an F100 at a great price. Wow. What a camera. Blows away the EOS-1n and my PZ-1p. The autofocus is faster in low light then my K10D. Thats right the F100 autofocus is better then the K10D. If only they made a digital like the F100. Hey look, they do, and it's called the D200.

So I bought a used D200, and sold the EOS-1n. The D200 blew my away with it's matrix metering. FAR better then the K10D. Far more acurate. far less chimping of the histogram. I had stopped using matrix metering on my K10D, as I never knew what I was ging to get. I use either spot and lock the exposure, or I use center weighted average. But with the D200, I seldome ever take it out of matrix.

Then there is the onboard flash. I know nobody should ever use the onboard flash. But wait, the D200's flash works really well. leaves the K10D in the dust. Autofocus is better, I think it is more acurate. And I really like how auto ISO is implimented. I like the info in the viewfinder, with the D200, I can see what mode I am shooting in.

The K10D does have better High ISO, better menu setup, better direct ISO control, better customization, and it can use M42 lenses. And don't forget the in body SR. The K10D is a good camera, it has alot going for it.

The K10D is not the reason I am bailing from Pentax, I jumping because of the prices of basic lenses, and the lack of plans for a FF camera.
08-19-2010, 12:23 AM   #7
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+1 what causey said. You know very well the strongpoints of pentax. If those are not enough offset for you jumping ship, then do it, better than feel frustrated on the long run.

and yes, the really good Nikon zooms are damn expensive, so beware if you go in that direction. Word is that the SDM issues seems resolved and the SDM glass is on par with pro glass of canikon at lower prices. You might want to check the canon offering for that matter, the f4 L glass is sensibly cheaper and the quality is top notch.

good luck with your decision!
08-19-2010, 05:49 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
Glass is (can be) forever. But one can easily build a nice collection of cheap old Pentax primes.
Well... at one pint I had to realize that in photography, like in anything else, nothing is obsolete... and, what's most important, nothing is really forever... Even that old glass that are built like a tank and are virtually indestructible, do get filled with dust and mold over time... So rather than waist my time fetishising some gear, i'd rather use it to shreds...

As i've said, I do really miss the Limited primes, but for me, it's not worth the limitations of Pentax bodies.... especially at the price that Pentax is charging... especially not with all the QC problems that Pentax is having... I had to go through 3 k7 bodies before finding one that had a more or less accurate AF... all the others were gone south out of the box, beyond any available adjustment....

QuoteOriginally posted by kytra Quote
You might want to check the canon offering for that matter, the f4 L glass is sensibly cheaper and the quality is top notch.

good luck with your decision!
Besides one major problem with Canons, which is ergonomics (after getting used to Pentax)... there's another one... white color of good lenses... For somebody it might be an advantage... but personally I hate it and I do tend to visit places where shooting with a white lens would be like waving with a flag "steal me!!!!! please!!!!"

Cheers...


Last edited by alexeyga; 08-19-2010 at 05:59 AM.
08-19-2010, 10:19 AM   #9
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First, that Nikon 18-70 is not really an improvement over the Pentax 18-55. It's a decent lens but not enough to change cameras for.

Secondly, while I think my D40X and lens set is a wonderful camera kit (my wife likes it as well) I can't recommend a person who already owns DSLR gear of another brand buy into Nikon without making a serious step up the Nikon ladder. The D200/D300 recommendation is a good one. Nikon is finally offering a line of excellent F4 zooms but they are quite expensive. It's my opinion the 16-85VR is the starting point for Nikon's high quality DX zooms.

Finally, price increases will eventually hit everyone, not just Pentax. Buy now while you can, I guess.

PS: The F100 was more or less a smaller F5 at the time and its reputation is well earned. They sell for peanuts today.
08-19-2010, 11:18 AM   #10
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Thank you all for the replies so far.
I'm not going to quote anything, as that would turn this post into one of monstrous proportions

Anyways, some general things I want to get out.

About Canon: I don't like them and I never will I guess. To me, even their higher end bodies like the 50D and 5D Mk. II are rather uncomfortable and the controls are immensely cumbersome. The L lenses are pieces of art though.

About constant aperture lenses: They're (still) too expensive for me anyway, and I don't see the point in hauling around those heavy lenses and shooting them at f/6.3-f/8 anyway. If I need the speed I'll grab a fast prime. If I'd go Nikon the first two things I'd get would be the 50 1.4G and 35 1.8G, that's for sure.

Body wise I'd probably be going with a D200 then, they're about as much as my K10D would bring in second hand. *Although right now, there's a D300 with a 50 1.4G and an SB800 flash available for 500 asking price locally *. A D80, perhaps D90 also fall into that category, but I don't those would feel as much as a step up as the D200 would. And after I'd have acquired some glass and the D300 has dropped in price a bit I'd upgrade to that. It's ISO performance delivers about the same possibilities as Pentax's shake reduction can.
Speaking of shake reduction; that is probably by far the feature on my K10D I've used the most. That and my SMC-M 50 1.7, due to lack of an affordable 50mm with AF.
08-19-2010, 01:00 PM   #11
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I went through a very similar ordeal several months ago when I faced a specific job. And though my reasons weren't quite as defined as your own, I found myself facing the very same hurdles with respect to cost of ownership. The results are now, that I own a D700 that I can't afford to keep and so I'm waiting for Pentax's new bodies to decide if I'm now going to commit to a new mount.

For what it's worth, I still think Pentax has a cost advantages with respect to glass. Though I may just feel this way because I purchased our lenses prior to the price hikes. Either way... I think Pentax has to make good this year because there seems to be a significant amount of prosumer shooters who are looking at other solutions. Which is quite sad to see considering what Pentax has on the table in terms of technology.

Having said all that, based on what you've written, I see no shame in changing systems whatsoever.
08-19-2010, 01:17 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lauke_101 Quote

About constant aperture lenses: They're (still) too expensive for me anyway, and I don't see the point in hauling around those heavy lenses and shooting them at f/6.3-f/8 anyway. If I need the speed I'll grab a fast prime. If I'd go Nikon the first two things I'd get would be the 50 1.4G and 35 1.8G, that's for sure.
No need to run after the G-glass... AF-D 50/1.4 sells for about 150$ less and the G-version doesn't quite perform 150$ better.... if money are tight, Nikon's 50/1.8 ~100$ is a bargain. Had one... it's ridiculously sharp, focuses fast... though bokeh is kinda harsh... 35/1.8 on the other hand is great as well, although I opted for the AF 35/2 instead... b.t.w. AF-D 50/1.4 is smaller than the 35/1.8... just a sidenote...
08-20-2010, 12:08 AM   #13
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@Alex: As far as tests (dpreview, photozone etc.) go the 50 1.4G performed quite a bit better wide open compared to the D. Anyways, they both cost exactly the same over here (around 240 if I remember right, which is fine by me budget wise).
And as far as size goes, as long as my primes aren't as humongous as the Sigma 50 1.4 I'll be happy

Had a good nights sleep over the tought of switching by the way and I think this is what I'll do:
1. Keep the K10D until the D300 can be had second hand for around 500. It's about 700-800 now, which is a bit of a stretch considering I also need some glass right away.
2. Don't buy any new lenses in K-mount, instead perhaps try to already score some Nikon glass if prices are attractive.
3. Sell off the 10, grab the Nikon and happily shoot a ton of pics. Hopefully never to feel the need to switch systems again
4. Stay active on pentaxforums, because it's a nice place
08-20-2010, 05:02 AM   #14
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Alex, you make an excellent point in your first post, and option 3 in your last one seems reasonable. Pentax offers SR which is the only thing I can think of that could make you reconsider Pentax, but if you can have either the D90 or D300 and those fine Nikon glasses within your budget and if that would cost less than some sigma zooms (or at least not much more), I would go that route.
08-20-2010, 06:07 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lauke_101 Quote
@Alex: As far as tests (dpreview, photozone etc.) go the 50 1.4G performed quite a bit better wide open compared to the D. Anyways, they both cost exactly the same over here (around €240 if I remember right, which is fine by me budget wise).
You've got to decide what do you need the lens for.... if you're planning to mostly shoot test charts, than go for the G hands down... In real life G-version is slower to focus, even though it's a notch sharper wide open... That being said, here, on the used market they are 250-275$ and 400-450$ respectively....


QuoteOriginally posted by Lauke_101 Quote
4. Stay active on pentaxforums, because it's a nice place
You have no idea how nice of a place it is.... FM is a bunch of gear trolls... just unbelievable.... But Nikon-Cafes is even worse... it's like a small, ultra-conservative, christian community... It's more of a club for people of certain life-views, with a level of knowledge rarely exceeding a user's manual and what the salesman has told 'em... Not to mention that the level of politeness should never exceed what's allowed in any self-respecting church...

QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
Alex, you make an excellent point in your first post, and option 3 in your last one seems reasonable. Pentax offers SR which is the only thing I can think of that could make you reconsider Pentax, but if you can have either the D90 or D300 and those fine Nikon glasses within your budget and if that would cost less than some sigma zooms (or at least not much more), I would go that route.
When I first switched I really missed the SR, and I still do at times when I'm short of light.... but knowing the limitations of SR (the fact that it's virtually useless above 1/120th...) makes it less of a hassle...

Funny enough, I had to learn the hard way that no VR-system can replace the good, old, fat, fast lens... I'm doing a fair amount of sports at a great distance... and to get some nice freeze-action shots you need to shoot at 1/500th at least... So as nice and versatile of a lens as 70-300VR is, it's slow... in order to keep ISO under control i had to shoot at ~1/120th-1/250th... which VR handles just fine, but... no freezing there... blurring for the most part... Not to mention that it's quite soft on DX at 300mm.... Thus I ended up unloading the 70-300 and getting the old ED AF 300/4 instead... which owned it's younger zoomy and VR-ed brother doggy style, even wide open... And when there's enough light to shoot the 70-300 at 1/500th... there's certainly more than enough light to shoot the 300/4 at 1/1000th... Though now i'm giggling with the idea of unloading the 300/4 and picking up the Sigma's 100-300/4... Unless Nikon will finally release the updated 80-400VR with, at least, a reasonably fast AF....

D90 b.t.w. is great... I wanted to downgrade while waiting for the upcoming announcements, so it has been about 2 months since i've unloaded the D300s and picked up the D90... Still haven't figured out why I didn't get one right away.... My keeper rate is about the same but due to slower FPS I actually use less memory cards and I waist less time selecting the good ones....

Last edited by alexeyga; 08-20-2010 at 06:46 AM.
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