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Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-01-2008, 07:40 PM  
upgrade to the K20 or to the new D90
Posted By matix
Replies: 89
Views: 14,993
This indeed an interesting thread, and I think requires an educated and unambiguous answer if possible.

I owned a K10D and some great lenses for over a year, and then 8 months ago switched to the Nikon D300.

Why?

I made this decision for only a few reasons, what kind of photography I like to do, and what was bugging me the most. These are the facts.

The ONLY reason the K10D was not my perfect camera was:
  • Mediocre to abyssmal Low Light Focus

  • Lack of useful Focus Assist

  • Slow Focus generally

  • Mediocre Flash AF-360 and 540 reliability

  • Availability of certain Lenses at the time


Has the D300 and the SB-800 Flash resolved these issues? Yes! 100% to MY Satisfaction, others may see it differently.

Do I miss the K10D? Yes, and the great Pentax SR, and FA31 LTD lens and others, and the feel and simplicity of it, of course.. it is a great camera no question.

Am I totally happy with the D300 and has it replaced ALL the things I miss about the K10D? Not a chance. The Nikkor lens costs are similar or slightly more than the Pentax branded lenses especially if you want the best or equal to the Limiteds and VR (=SR).
The D300 camera was/is a lot of work to learn and sometimes use as it has way more flexibility and user setup options available, but it does, like a Pentax does, a fine job if you use it as a tool, not a crutch.

What it all boils down to is, YOU make the decision based on what YOU NEED or WANT to do with the tool you are selecting, no sense buying a power drill if you have no electricity to plug it into, or a small car if you have 8 kids.

Hello to all my friends here on Pentax Forums, I do drop in and keep in touch now and then.

Phil aka Matix
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 04-24-2008, 04:59 PM  
Spring Magazine Samples
Posted By matix
Replies: 62
Views: 9,018
Now that is exceptional... great shot Ben.

PHil
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 04-23-2008, 07:27 PM  
Can the Pentaxians save Pentax?
Posted By matix
Replies: 51
Views: 6,113
This thread sure beats the depressing rhetoric that was going on in a couple of other areas. Unfortunately in this day and age bad news or bad opinions seem to have more believability than the good. A result of our sensationalist low budget tv shows and negative news mentality maybe?.

The Pentax is a great marque, they make unique and very usable cameras and will survive in my opinion as a viable option for discerning hobbyists and enthusiasts and with pro's that can utilize the strengths and work around the weaknesses.

All cameras have these strengths and weaknesses in design, function and usability, this cannot be denied. All of us die-hard enthusiasts and serious hobbyist types pick the camera we want and use it, we can make it sing, we can work around the weirdness and quirkiness of the device, and sometimes convince ourselves that are not there, but they are!

This does not stop us getting great images BTW, I have thousands of keepers from my K10D, and recommended Pentax to several who purchased K10D's and various lenses.

I still recommend Pentax for those who ask and have the right needs and for whom I feel a Pentax is a good fit, as well I would recommend a Nikon, or Canon or Sony for others, even a P & S for many.

And myself? as much as I hated to do it, I had specific requirements that the K10D did not address to my satisfaction, so opted for a D300 Nikon a few months ago. Not a big deal, it solved my personal issues and perhaps created others.. I lost the intuitive interface, the green button and the FA31 Limited, but that is life.

Think about it, no car, tv, stereo or camera is really bad, or totally perfect, we buy what we need for what we do, end of story.

Recommend what is best for the user, no other criteria is honest or fair.

Phil
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 04-22-2008, 06:17 PM  
My Pentax Sponsorship Over...
Posted By matix
Replies: 156
Views: 22,852
Yes they can not see the future, IMHO they not only really dropped the ball, but then took it home with them when they were called on it, and now many of the players are hurting, they still want to play but their team mates and spectators are leaving... Come on Pentax, we were there for you when you asked for players, stand by your team and support their faith in the marque.

Without them you will not be in the play offs...

Phil
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 04-22-2008, 12:42 AM  
My Pentax Sponsorship Over...
Posted By matix
Replies: 156
Views: 22,852
Yeah Ben, I know.. and it is good to see, but I was just dropping in to say Hi... and caught the thread. I did make a change, to what some may call, 'the Dark Side..', but would never bad mouth the Pentax or the members. It has been at times painful to change but it is working out for me, so really cannot contribute here anymore except to say Hi.. so, Hi!

Hope to see you around here, or somewhere... maybe in Paris, heading over next year for a while.

Phil, aka Matix
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 04-21-2008, 08:45 PM  
My Pentax Sponsorship Over...
Posted By matix
Replies: 156
Views: 22,852
Thanks for all the tips, tweaks and advice you so freely gave out during this phase of your professional life. It is rare that enthusiasts like myself get to rub shoulders with a true pro who is willing to tell it like it is, especially when we are asking for clarification of trade secrets.

I for one learned a lot from your work, and while I may never be in the same segment of the profession as yourself, I admired your skill and appreciated your candour. You added to the richness of the Pentax Forums mosaic of personalities.

Good luck Ben, and thanks

Phil
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 04-20-2008, 05:01 AM  
Magazine Review: K20D/SDM AF.C performance vs. 8 competitors (Good Info!)
Posted By matix
Replies: 141
Views: 42,441
As an old film Nikon user, F-401s and all the gear from the late 90's I had form, even so was a hard choice to move. The Pentax K10D was a fine camera, I have thousands of keeper images and had some great lenses including the FA31 L 1.8, and the DA* 50-135 2.8 but...

Low light focusing and speed of focus in general, price of HSM lenses because of demand and lack of accessories such as a ring flash frustrated me.

My penchant for low light macros, wild life and bird shots mixed with candids at functions under less than adequate ambient lighting etc, showed up the main weakness in what was an otherwise excellent camera. Sorry to see it go, but I sold it all and my complaint about the shortage and cost of lenses helped the sale, as I did not lose much in the process.

I now have a D300 and it is a lot to learn, the K10D was more intuitive, but the D300 offers more user control and presets, I have a lot to learn for sure. I have resolved the low light focusing, the fast focus I needed and while I miss the in camera SR, am learning to increase the shutter speed and ISO to compensate.

I have replaced some of my favourite lenses, the Sigma 10-20 EX, Tamron 18-250 Di and Tamron 90 Di Macro 2.8 and added a Sigma EX 30mm 1.4 in place of the FA31 (Not as good for sure but is 1/3 the price). Interesting note, the Tamron 18-250 Di I now have for the Nikon is internal HSM!!, that surprised me as the same lens for the Pentax was not, nor was the DA 18-250 rebadged Tamron. The great new Tamron 17-50 Di II 2.8, Sigma 10-20 EX and 30mm EX also are HSM internal focus motor design.

In place of the Sigma 50-500 Bigma, I have a Nikkor 80-400 VR ED, which is proving to be a fantastic lens, not HSM but way faster than the Pentax focus, and quiet on the Nikon. Nikon lenses are not cheap either, but there are alternatives and I am not hung up on a name.

Added to the mix, an SB-800 Flash and a Sigma EM-140 iTTL Ring Flash for the Tamron 90 Di II.

So all in all, while a traumatic change for sure, I feel comfortable with the lens group selected, and the entire changeover cost me $485 between the sale and purchase of the new gear.

In summary? Why? many personal reasons, my son is a Nikon user and has some neat lenses I can borrow, and the annoying and niggling issues that I could not resolve. I miss the Pentax group, some fine people here whom I regret leaving, but definitely my respect for Pentax and the Pentaxians will remain in force, and I enjoy dropping in to browse.

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-09-2008, 10:37 PM  
My First K20D Hands-on Impressions
Posted By matix
Replies: 72
Views: 7,945
Ha ha.... nice to see that the 'Brown Armed One' is still working his magic, and everyone is biting... Hi to everyone by the way.. miss you guys!!

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-10-2008, 01:20 AM  
I wish I could stay, but I have to go...
Posted By matix
Replies: 7
Views: 2,715
To everyone on the Pentax Forums, thank you for your friendship, company and advice over the past 14 months. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have to part with my Pentax gear, camera, lenses and etc.

All of my system is perfect, well looked after and used with care and affection, highly recommended to anyone that wants good quality Pentax gear they can trust.

Due to my committments at this time, I have it all listed on Ebay, under the listing name of WINDOZ

Thanks to everyone for your assistance, guidance and valued company during this time.

Long live Pentax, my first love.... not sure where I am going now, but this has been a rewarding experience not soon forgotten.

Thanks, Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-03-2008, 09:33 PM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
Gary, I have to agree with your comments.. I was very disappointed with the result, and the comments here have been fair for the most part on either side of the fence. I would feel really bad if it was my inexperience with the Nikon that caused the poor result, so much so I have requested a second evaluation.

This time with the camera properly set up. To be fair, the camera was taken out of the box, the salesperson looked it over and put in a battery, I purchased a card and tried out several lenses I was familiar with. My experience with both Sigma and Tamron on the Pentax has been excellent, so I would not place any import on the non Nikkor lenses having any effect in this.

This time I will take more time, and also take my Nikon wielding son with me, with his lenses and expertise to review again. While I love my K10D, and certainly the lenses are equal to anything else out there, I do want to be fair in this.

I find the K10D a perfect fit for me with a few major exceptions; Low Light Focus, Continuous Focus and External Flash Effectiveness. These to me are rather critical to my photographic preferences, and after 45 plus years of extensive experience with many cameras, I need to resolve them one way or the other.

I will be back to you all later this week...... thanks for the responses.

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-30-2008, 12:27 AM  
K20D and the Online Pentaxian Community (essay)
Posted By matix
Replies: 20
Views: 4,260
Nah, you done good boy!! If that outline of civilized procedure had come from the forum moderator, it would have been accepted and considered as reasonable. I reviewed the content and it made sense to me, well thought out and spot on.

Whether or not the squeaky wheels want to accept it as constructive or not, well that is the way of it. But like it or not, IMHO it was and is a good guideline for approprate behaviour when dealing with others in a forum such as this, if you are that way inclined.

Keep up the good work, constructive critique is always welcome in my opinion, none of us are without fault in being too quick to make emotional comment, without considering that it may hurt feelings, or be taken the wrong way.

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-27-2008, 01:22 PM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
Hi Adam, I hear you for sure... I was the official track photographer at Melbourne Speedway many years ago, and know what it is like to shoot fast moving subjects. I got a lot of great shots, but blew a lot too... most out of focus. Of course back then I used B & W and did my own processing and printing.

I would not even try it with the K10d and AF. Back then the only way was to focus on a particulay spot on the track, wait for the cars to come into frame and hope youir DOF was sufficient to get the shot in focus. I also did a lot of night races, using a big old Metz flash with wet cell battery, 202 model I think from memory.

My night vision was a heck of a lot better then too, and focusing was a lot easier with the split image on the camera of the time.

I was using a Ricoh TLS 401 SLR at the time, and it did well with a 50mm 2,8 for the action shots. The Pentax would definitely not be able to handle Single AF or Continuous AF in this application.

It would be nice, but no camera can be everything to everyone. We certainly do not have the range of Pentax lenses, what is there is really good thought. Other makes, Sigma and Tamron have some winners, and I have no hang ups on Brand, but support what ever works for me. Hope the test you do works, that is what it is all about, good luck with it.

Thanks, Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-27-2008, 01:19 AM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
Thanks to everyone who responded to my exercise, makes it worthwhile when your efforts are appreciated, comments are what forums are all about. Appreciate it.

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-27-2008, 01:16 AM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
Thanks Grant, we really should make time to finally get together.. work seems to keep closing in on me. Maybe when I get back from Hong Kong, hopefully to show some new toys :D

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-27-2008, 01:14 AM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
Well I would love to have a new 'Body' Pete, my mind is still good but my body it does protest somewhat...... Yes, the K20D is on the horizon, not sure if I will sell the K10D though, it is a great copy, and I have had zero problems.

The Pentax seems able to capture what my eye sees, can not get much better than than that eh?

Good to hear you are local, seems there is a few of us here, we should get together for coffee or whatever....

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-27-2008, 01:10 AM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
Thanks Will, I felt that the forum needed a reality check, too much emotion and it was getting to me. I used to shoot with a Nikon F401s, a great film camera and I loved it. Managed to sell it and all the gear immediately when I adopted digital 8 years ago, before the prices dropped. Before that I used Ricoh and Pentax SLR's going back to 1969.. will not mention how many before that!!

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-27-2008, 01:05 AM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
Thanks Christine, I am fortunate to be a relatively stable 'duopod', that is I am not a 98lb young person..;) has it's advantages. Honestly, I find the K10D is a breeze to shoot with in low light, and for the most part I can find some well lit contrasty piece of the image, or I will use MF. With the Sigma 10-20 though, the DOF is great and the lens very forgiving.

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-27-2008, 12:59 AM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
Thanks PentaxPoke, I have to say, some of my best work has been done with the K10D with very little need for PP. What a lot of people seem to forget is, for many years users of film had their processing done by computerized developing and printing systems, controlled by the technician. I had a friend who did this for many years, and she invariably 'tweaked and adjusted' contrast, lighting and saturation to bring back a print from the dead.

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-26-2008, 10:58 PM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
Thanks Snowcat, all the PP that was done was to enhance the brightness and very basic sharpening. I can post the original if you would like, apart from being a bit darker it is exactly the same.

I use ACDSee Pro2, and occasionaly Paint Shop Pro 12, the exif says Picassa, but that is just what I use for copying from the cards and storage on the HDD.

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-26-2008, 05:20 PM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
Chickenhawk, you hit the nail on the head. I did up a spreadsheet to compare my existing lenses for Pentax, with equivilent lenses for the Nikon. Apart from the Sigma and Tamron lenses which should be the same but with a different mount, and in a few cases with HDM, I could not find many 'Superb' or even 'Great' lenses.

I talked to several Nikon users, including my son with his D70S who should be unbiased :), and they all said that the Pentax primes are the best, and Nikon has little to compare in this area.

Nikon has many more lenses, but many seem to be 'Also Ran' models that do not stand out from the crowd like the FA-31 1.8, or the other classic Primes. The DA* lenses for example, if a Nikkor came close, were much more expensive. The Nikkor 80-400 VR, not a particularly high end lens, was $2,500

And them there is the problemw with the fact that a Non VR (Vibration Reduction) version of any lens for the D300 or any Nikon, is not as versatile as the equivilent K mount or Pentax lens with SR. I tried many low light shots with the Sigma lenses, and they suffered at 1/50th or even up to 1/125th. SR does work, or I hold the Pentax steadier.

I was in Melbourne on Dec 29th past, my son and I were in St Pauls Cathedral with our cameras, respectully we did not drag around tripods or flashes, all hand held or leaning on pillars etc. The lighting was really poor, lots of shadows and The result was, he had ONE or TWO keeper out of 30 or so shots using the Tokina 10-17 (same as the DA 10-17), I only kept the best of the best.. 75% of 22 shots were ok. That has to mean something...

Example: K10D, Sigma 10-20 at 10mm, 1/15 Sec at F4, 800 Iso.



So to add to my test notes as the OP... MORE is not always BETTER.

I am pre ordering my K20D asap....

Phil
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-25-2008, 08:41 PM  
Keep the K10D/K20D or go to D300 - A hands on test.
Posted By matix
Replies: 59
Views: 19,740
First of all let me say, this is really not a knee jerk reaction following the news and specs of the K20D, but a niggling thought I have had for a few months now. My son has a D70S and does well with it, and I am not particularly happy with the low light auto focus of the K10D and my assorted lenses.

Please do not start on about the 'who needs AF anyway, real photographers do it manually...' BS, if the camera can not see the object good enough to focus with it's technology, then my 'Mature' eyes and lack of split image viewfinder sure as heck can not do a good job in low light either dammit! My opinion, we have AF, it should work......

Moving right along, I read up on, talked to and studied all the pros and cons of a move, and with all the Pentax compatible gear I have, it would have hurt, a lot, but I had to ask.

So, today I took myself to my favourite camera shop in Brisbane where I bought my K10D 14 months ago, and was given a new D300 and copies of all the Nikkor and Sigma lenses they had, and told to have at it. Here is my report, for what it is worth, subjective of course and not terribly technical. I shot off 30 or so images on a new CF card so I could take them an evaluate them for my needs, and the followig are my comments for what they are worth.

Look and Feel:
  • The D300 looks and handles well, very similar to the K10D in weight, a few grams heavier without a lens, more with a typical Nikkor VR lens of course.

  • Had a nice feel to the right hand grip, felt a bit more secure than the K10, but also bigger.

  • The LCD screen is brilliant, clear and bright and huge by comparison, reviewing of images was great.

  • Live View of course, nice to have as I had it with the Sony R1 and DSC-7xx and 8xx and I miss it for low level an overhead shots, macros etc, BUT I do not think the fixed live view would be as good as being able to tilt or swivel when needed, but it is there if you need it.


Auto Focus, Accuracy and Response
  • A mixed bag here, yes it indicated focus, and the focus assist on the low light dark areas the K10D would not even try for, all I could say was WOW... I wish!! Nowhere near as fast as the Olympus E-3 I tried a couple of weeks ago, but the object had to be almost in total darkness with no contrast to defeat the focus indicator.

  • Tried the K10D on the same objects, same lighting and the AF gave up while still being relatively light, but we all know this, right?


What really got me on this AF test was, 75% of the test shots in very low light with the D300, where it indicated a focus lock, WERE NOT IN FOCUS WHEN THE IMAGE WAS VIEWED??

The K10D may have sounded like it was sawing firewood while hunting for enough contrast to focus on, but dammit when it said YES and beeped, it WAS IN FOCUS when the image was viewed later.

I complain the the K10D loses me many candid shots because of poor low light focus, the D300 lost me more in my simple, grab it and use it test!!. Maybe in fairness if I spent time with it I could have gotten better, but that was not the objective of this test. Much of my shooting is Grab and Shoot, if I had time to prepare, compose, adjust, focus and capture, then there never is a problem.

Cost of Ownership of Camera and Lenses
  • Well this was not really a surprise, a K10D body right now would cost around $1,100 on a good day, best deal I could grind was $2,599 for the D300 Body. Australian dollars of course. The Grip and Battery, Flash etc were also 40-50% more expensive as well.

  • Lens pricing? Sigma, Tamron etc would be the same, but Sigma has HSM for a few of their popular lenses, 18-200, 10-20, 50-500 Bigma I tried and they were nice and quiet.

  • Nikkor lenses are as costly, or much more expensive than closest equivilent Pentax glass, and there are many grades or quality levels I found.

  • Currently I have 7 Lenses including DA* 50-135, FA 31 Limited, Tamron 18-250, Tamron 90 DI Macro, Sigma 10-20, Sigma 17-70, Sigma 50-500 Bigma and a few older lenses, covering pretty much everything I need or will need

  • SUMMARY OF INVESTMENT: The D300 would cost around $1,500 more for the body, and the lenses an additional $2,000. This extra mainly would be to get a close equivilent for the FA31 Limited (I have not at this time found a comparable Nikkor lens for this beauty) and the DA* 50-135.


MY DECISION:

The answer? No reason to change. Apart from the investment in a new platform, the D300 in a hands on test did not have the advantages in AF I was looking for, and I have learned to use the K10D now, realistically it is in it's own way, a better camera for my needs and I am now looking forward to another year with what I have, and maybe an upgrade to a second body (K20D) later in the year.

Please note, the objective of this exercise was to satisfy my questions, no pixel peeping needed, not wild techy analysis of the specifications, good or bad, I just needed to know if I could solve MY problem. We sometimes get excited over a change, without considering all the implications involved, I for one am very happy with my Pentax, and the range of lenses and accessories I have.

Thanks, Phil
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-25-2008, 05:29 AM  
things are getting ugly around here...
Posted By matix
Replies: 48
Views: 6,886
You are right Jas, many people are missing the point totally, these are exciting developments... yes I would have liked more accurate low light AF, but otherwise my K10D is still the camera it was 3 days ago, and it will be the same in another year. I will upgrade in 6 months maybe, when the bugs are out of the firmware... it is software after all.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-20-2008, 10:30 PM  
Used lens buying frenzy continues in Australia
Posted By matix
Replies: 32
Views: 4,684
Well it is certainly what they ASK, there is some room for negotiation in retail stores, but not usually from online stores, but yes... that is a reasonable sample of pricing. That is why I buy most of my lenses from off shore, there is no reason to pay those prices.. but I guess comparitively speaking, they are close to pricing in many parts of the UK and Europe. The US and Canada, and Japan have the best pricing I have found.

Someone in the pipeline is making the extra bucks, but it is not the consumer or as I understand the retailer. Try and ask why, and many reasons are given, most if not all of them totally unreasonable.

Matix
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-20-2008, 07:06 PM  
Used lens buying frenzy continues in Australia
Posted By matix
Replies: 32
Views: 4,684
Camera Warehouse online in Australia has this same lens for $699 AUD, such a deal. Based on that price the buyer did well at $426.50 AUD. Seems the high prices are not limited to ebay, imagine paying $699 for it.

Sigma 50mm F2.8 EX DG | Camera-Warehouse

Matix
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-18-2008, 07:33 PM  
Recommended Camera Stores in Hong Kong
Posted By matix
Replies: 7
Views: 7,175
Thanks everyone, those are some really good hints and advice. I will be sure to take them on board and do my window shopping in the right places. Who knows, LBA may strike me, and if it does I want to be in the right place.

Thanks again, will update everyone when I get back.

Phil
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