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05-09-2016, 03:19 PM   #1
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DSLR vs. Mirrorless

I just went through an intense round of camera shopping, and I looked at Olympus, I looked at Sony, I looked at Fujifilm, and I looked at Pentax. I finally settled on a new Pentax K-S2, and I got it a couple of days ago. Since lens prices are quite good now too, I went ahead and grabbed a 20-40mm Limited to go with it.

And now I am experiencing. . . uh. . . I don't know if "buyer's remorse" is the right term, but I'm definitely of two minds about it. I've been using mirrorless cameras for a while, and my old 35mm SLRs too, and I'm finding it much harder than I expected to go back to a DSLR.

Part of my mind is telling me: Don't be such an infant! This is a great camera. It looks good. It takes excellent photos. It's weather sealed, it has the articulated LCD screen, and it has one of the best optical viewfinders around. It works with all your old lenses, and that Limited lens is excellent too. It's also one of the smaller DSLRs around. Pentax is familiar territory, you already know how everything works. So give yourself some time to adapt, it'll do everything you could possibly ask.

The other part of my mind is telling me: Man, this thing is a boat anchor! Every time I pick it up, it feels like a freakin brick in my hand. I pick up my old 35mm SLR and it feels so right. I pick up this and it feels so wrong. Why should I have to "adapt" to this, when there are smaller and lighter cameras that can perform just as well?

I feel self-conscious about it, especially when the hefty "Limited" lens is mounted. It's not discreet. I can just imagine people seeing me and thinking, "Who is that guy walking around with that big-ass camera in his hand? Why is he here?"

I was taking some test shots today. I framed some random junk in the backyard, in the sunlight, and I snapped the photo. Everything seemed perfect. Then I reviewed the image on the LCD, and it was obviously over-exposed. Never mind why it was over-exposed. It's a mystery. The frustrating thing is, with an EVF it would have been obvious before I took the photo, and a touch of the EV comp dial would have remedied it. I want to shoot with confidence, not to be continually chimping or guessing whether the camera metered a scene sensibly.

So. . . On the one hand, I'm sure if I persevere I can make this camera work for me. But after all the research I put into it, this was not intended to be a "you can make it work" camera. There is some disappointment.

05-09-2016, 04:10 PM   #2
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Shots that don't always look good in the LCD view usually look just fine on the monitor. Pay attention to the shot, then review it after you download it. It will give you a better idea of the difference between the LCD and the true result.
05-09-2016, 04:39 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Back in the mid 1960s I went from Pentax (H1a) to the then new Canon FT, based on research of features and specs. Nice camera and results, but the shutter sound ended with a cheap and extended "ping." It bothered me so much I traded the entire 2 body kit towards one Leica that was a precise joy to shoot. I still use that Leica. I've continued to find that features and specs don't make a great product, if it isn't enjoyable to use. Decades ago a young engineer who worked for me saved and bought his dream car - a new Corvette. But he found it was no fun to drive, and sold it in less than a year.
Always try before you buy, and don't rationalize that you can learn to get along with it. (Likewise, never marry someone thinking you can change them!)
05-09-2016, 04:53 PM   #4
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You may want to try shooting in a partially automated mode, such as TAV. Then you can test with different Shutter and Aperture settings to create a good ISO result. Also, you may want to make sure your Highlight Correction (camera setting via menu) is on to help avoid blowout. You could also set your AF mode to AF.C, AF point to Spot, and AE metering method to Spot. A common setting you may want to start with could be Shutter 180 and Aperture F9 in TAV mode. Make sure your SR (Shake Reduction) feature is set to "On" in your camera. The images you get are going to be based on how you apply the camera features to accomodate the shooting conditions. I have a K-5IIS and a K-3II. One of the reasons I have these style cameras is due to the LCD panel on the top right of the camera, which provides the info display of Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO, and other. I have seen a lot of positive comments on the K-S2, but have never had one. The above information is just some methods suggested that have been successful for me. In reference to comments others may have made to you about your camera/lens setup, I have a Sigma 150-500 DG OS on my Pentax K-3II and I have heard numerous comments such as nice, beautiful, big, and so on, and I just listen knowing that my setup is for what I plan on doing, which is not necessarily anyone elses' concern. Most of the comments are very positive.

I do not want to be offensive, but I doubt if I could be satisfied with a K-S2 model due to my needs (features, structure), that is why I have the K-3II.

Happy shooting.


Last edited by C_Jones; 05-09-2016 at 05:00 PM.
05-09-2016, 04:56 PM   #5
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I have just sold a bunch of mirrorless gear and coming back to the DSLR - I'm still keeping a Sony A7ii around with some of the better glass.

However, for paid work and getting the job done, I find myself gravitating these days back to DSLR and the optical viewfinder. I've noticed that my compositions have actually improved and that has encouraged me to take it out more.

The reality is that the size and weight advantages of a quarter frame mu43 come with tradeoffs that you need to consider with respect to DOF control. The EM1 is a fantastic camera - one of my favorites and the best mirrorless body around today IMHO.

Put some good glass out front to make up for the loss of DOF control and the size starts getting bigger again. There is no free lunch here.

The reality is that good fast glass size is not negated by going mirrorless. Actually the K1 limited FA primes are probably smaller /lighter than the Sony/Olympus equivalents while achieving Leica like IQ.

Likewise putting the 16-55mm F2.8 Fuji out front of the XT1 is probably as large as the K3ii and 16-50 equivalent.

My K1 is noticeably heavier than my A7rii/A7ii - however for me, it's a 'good' heavier as the ergonomics are comfortable so I will take it out and shoot it more and the primes that I use tend to be lighter and give me a rendering that I much prefer.

I've shot street with a medium format RB67 (no joke) and it has not stopped me getting great shots - more often than not it's a psychological thing.

I've had somebody tell me (from the front) that the K1 with 43mm limited was dainty!

My advice would buy whatever gets you out there shooting irrespective of whether mirrorless/mirrored.
05-09-2016, 05:03 PM   #6
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KS2
Dimensions - Height-91mm
Dimensions - Width 122.5mm
Dimensions - Depth 72.5mm
Weight- Approx. 678g (Including dedicated battery and 1x SD Memory Card, or equivalent approx 1.5 lbs), approx. 618g (body only)

Sony a7R II
Dimensions - Height 95.7
Dimensions - Width 126.9
Dimensions - Depth 60.3
Weight- 625 g with battery and memory card ( or equivalent roughly 1.4 lbs)

To me there really doesn't appear to be all that much difference in either size nor weight, with the Pentax actually smaller in two of the three dimensions. The KS2 is certainly not something I'd consider a "brick". If anything I think it might be a little too small IMHO. I sometimes press a rear button unintentionally.

As for the overexposure do you have the camera settings enabled to highlight blown-out areas in the Live View before you take the shot? If not look on the third menu screen >Live View> Highlight Alert.

After 60 years I'm over the "buyer's remorse". There will always be something out there that you think might be better, if not when you first buy it then within a really short time of doing so. I've thoroughly enjoyed my KS2 and the quality of the images have exceeded my initial expectations. Is there something else I could have bought instead and been just as happy with. Maybe. Know what? I don't care. I'm happy with what I have. Second guessing doesn't make me happier.

I suspect once you start shooting with your new Pentax on a regular basis your satisfaction index will go up.

Last edited by gatorguy; 05-09-2016 at 05:41 PM.
05-09-2016, 05:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tony Belding Quote

So. . . On the one hand, I'm sure if I persevere I can make this camera work for me. But after all the research I put into it, this was not intended to be a "you can make it work" camera. There is some disappointment.

That's a great combination you have there, Tony. The camera is small for a DSLR, has the flippy screen, and your lens is a WR Limited.


Embrace it! :-)


If you want to use it for your 'serious' photography but would like something small and discrete for street or candid photography, supplement it with an X30 or similar.
05-09-2016, 05:39 PM   #8
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I have both a k-3 and a m43 Panasonic gx7. They are very different. I understand how being used to one vs the other could be very difficult to adjust to.

Add for the size, the gx7 I have is dramatically thinner, and food in a belt pouch with a lens that my k-3 body wouldn't.

The screen and EVF will reflect exposure but not always accurately on the gx7. The real outcome is best seen on a monitor. This applies to the ks2 as well.

I feel for you, not easy to decide if this is just an adjustment period or a mistake.

05-09-2016, 06:27 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
T

If you want to use it for your 'serious' photography but would like something small and discrete for street or candid photography, supplement it with an X30 or similar.
...or Ricoh GR II? Not ever used one but I've seen others mention it's street cred.
05-09-2016, 08:52 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by gatorguy Quote
...or Ricoh GR II? Not ever used one but I've seen others mention it's street cred.

Yep, would be very nice!
05-09-2016, 10:14 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gatorguy Quote
To me there really doesn't appear to be all that much difference in either size nor weight, with the Pentax actually smaller in two of the three dimensions. The KS2 is certainly not something I'd consider a "brick". If anything I think it might be a little too small IMHO.
ks2 is indeed small for a dslr, but he's referring to the grip, where it's a brick in the hand, like all dslrs.

the only place i see the ks2 possibly winning a handling comparison is going to be with the shutter button, which really sucks on my a7r.

ks2 is a good bargain for a dslr, but a more realistic comparison... you could spend ~$99 extra for an a6000, over a ks2, and come out ahead in many ways... 24mp vs. 20mp, wysiwyg, 1080p60, etc.

being able to have wysiwyg in the shade of an evf beats lcd in bright light every time; it's one of the big reasons why i'll never buy another dslr.
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05-09-2016, 10:46 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by osv Quote
ks2 is indeed small for a dslr, but he's referring to the grip, where it's a brick in the hand, like all dslrs.
Yes. This.

It's just gradually been dawning on me that I don't hold a camera like most other people. I never got used to tightly wrapping my hand around the side of a DSLR like a pistol grip. Even though I got my first DSLR years ago (the K100D), it never felt good to me. Whenever a reviewer tut-tuts over a camera's insufficient grip, or they insist that an accessory grip is a "must-have" item, then I can usually bet I'll like the standard grip on that camera.

Case in point: I liked the way the K-01 felt in my hand.

I suspect I might have liked the grip on the K-S1 that so many complained about. But the swivel screen and weather seals lured me away from that.
05-10-2016, 01:08 AM   #13
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Just find a mirrorless that you like, I'm not fond of the bigger cameras but I have 3.I mainly use mirrorless unless theres a call for weathersealing.
Instead of mirrorless versus dslr, substitute the V for +.It works for me and the adapters around are getting better and better.If you want to cover all bases with just one setup, I'd like to find that camera!
05-10-2016, 02:33 AM   #14
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Each one differs on what they like. There are a few points perhaps to make. First of all, when you consider mirrorless versus SLR, you need to include glass with the body. If you include most any zoom, the size difference between mirrorless and SLR cameras tends to equalize. This is particularly true when shooting fast zooms, but even with super zooms, the size difference is small. Going a step further, I find the ergonomics of SLRs to be more comfortable for shooting, particularly with longer lenses than those of the mirrorless cameras I have handled. The chunkier grip, after you are used to it, feels better in the hand.

As for the EVF versus OVF discussion, it isn't winnable by either side. If you are having trouble with overexposure, turn on your highlight protection and shoot in P mode (P mode is nice anyway because it is so easy to jump into either Av or Tv mode from it).

Be that as it may, I hope things work out for you. It is frustrating if your gear doesn't perform the way you want and it seems like you have invested a lot of effort and thought into your decision.

Good luck!
05-10-2016, 06:24 AM   #15
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When you say it looked overexposed on the LCD, it's based on what ? The picture itself ? The histogram ? The hihlight alert flashing all over the picture ?

If the histogram is fine, the exposure is fine. The camera cannot guess that you want an underexposed picture... If you shot in Raw or Raw+, you can easily correct the exposure afterward with in body raw development... It only takes a few seconds. And if you're rather using LR, PS or similar tools for PP, you simply adjust exposure to your liking from the raw. As long as there's no burnt highlights in the raw file, there's no problem.
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