Any converted Pentax users here? Should I switch?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dan_tripp, May 3, 2010.

  1. I am a portrait and wedding photographer and have several Pentax cameras and lenses. I now have a 24inch iMac and now that I see larger images, I have noticed that my pics are not as great as I thought they were. When I zoom in 1:1 or 2:1 in Lightroom the faces always look blurry and the eyes are not sharp. I have a few question for the Nikon people here.
    1. When you zoom in on a picture in Lightroom or Photoshop to 100 or 200% how sharp and focused are your pictures? Can you provide examples?
    2. Any Pentax users convert to Nikon, if so, why and what are your results?
    3. I'm thinking about buying a Nikon but don't know which to purchase. I'm looking at the D90, D300, or the D700. The D700 is a big price jump, is there as big as jump in image quality?
    4. If I make the leap to Nikon, I will also want a backup body. Will a D5000 work as a backup and will the lenses work on all bodies?
    Thanks.
     
  2. I'm not a Pentax digital user now (I used their film DSLR's a ways back), but their recent DSLR releases are well regarded.
    To answer 3 and 4 however: there are lots of D90/D300s (APS-C/cropped frame) comparison threads here that you can check out. With the D300, you're pretty much paying for more autofocus points, autofocus speed, etc. The sensors perform very similarly. The D700 is full-frame so you're getting much more low-light, high-ISO performance, but all your stuff will cost more since you're buying full frame (FX) lenses.
    The D3000 is a great camera since it's portable and compact. It does *not* have an autofocus motor built in. So the only lenses that will autofocus on them are AF-S (Nikon), HSM (Sigma) designated lenses, and Tamron lenses with built in autofocus motors.
    If you get a D3000 as a backup camera, it may be good to choose between the D90 and the D300s. This way, all your cameras will be on cropped sensors, and your lenses will behave similarly. You should probably buy most of your lenses with HSM or AF-S designations so they autofocus on both... unless you're sure it's a lens that you will only use on the D90/D300 (or you're willing to manual focus).
     
  3. A bunch of questions. You need to think about this in terms of what you DO with your photos. Do you just view on screen? There's no difference to speak of between cameras in that case. Do you print really really huge all the time? Different issues. Do you crop in like crazy? Same.
    I shot Pentax when I shot film. My old MX was my favorite camera ever. When I went digital I dumped it all for Nikon. Is it worthwhile? Yes. Will you see a big difference in photos? It depends. Perhaps your images are blurry because you don't have your camera set up right or don't have sharpening right for your photos or perhaps there is a technique error. If you are printing up to 8 x 10, and you can't get a good image out of a Pentax DSLR, the problem may well not be the camera. Their lenses are excellent, and their cameras are capable.
    Can you post an example of a photo that isn't all you want it to be? Might help us.
    Also, if you zoom into 200%, you are doubling the sizes of pixels and viewing at a size that you will likely never print. I think your issues may well have nothing to do with camera quality necessarily, but more how you shoot.
    That said, I LOVE the way Nikons feel and work, and would never go back.
     
  4. Will the D700 have a sharper image or just better at high ISO?
     
  5. Dan, it's a bigger sensor, so there is better high ISO and probably a lot of other things that are better about the image. Also... the need for more expensive lenses potentially... certainly different ones.
    BUT... I am CONVINCED based on your OP that your challenges may not be directly a "replace the camera" problem.
    Can you post a sample or link to one?
     
  6. Here is one of my latest weddings.
    http://missionphotography.smugmug.com/Weddings/Kristin/11963398_T9KwM#847554552_D9xVg
     
  7. I think more examples are definitely in order. You should post at least 2 very specific examples, with 100% crops on the eyes, and give the shutter speed, aperture, and focal length. It may be a focus problem, a slow shutter problem, a shaky hands problem, or a depth of field problem. It might even be a JPG problem. I find that my in-camera JPG's are not as sharp as my raw files processed in the PC to high quality 8-bit JPGs. It is NOT likely to be a camera sensor problem or lens hardware problem (meaning that switching brands is probably not your solution).
     
  8. Dan -
    Are you sure your sharpness issues aren't from front/back-focus problems with individual lenses? Can you post examples of unsatisfactory sharpness? I am perfectly happy with the sharpness I get from my Nikon when shooting weddings, but I tested my main walk-around lens in a camera store before buying it there. I'd read too many posts from people who focused on the eyes and got the ears sharp instead, or whatever.
     
  9. When I zoom in 1:1 or 2:1 in Lightroom the faces always look blurry and the eyes are not sharp.
    this is most likely more of a technique issue than an equipment issue. any modern DSLR is capable of sharp images.
    nikon makes great cameras, but pentax is pretty highly regarded, especially their k-x and k7. there are different strengths and weaknesses of both, so to some extent its an apples and oranges comparison.
    Will the D700 have a sharper image or just better at high ISO?
    this is kind of a loaded question. the d700 has more pixel density than an APS-C camera. so you might see a difference in IQ at larger print sizes. but image sharpness really comes down to lenses. a k7 with a 55/1.4 would probably produce sharper images than a d700 with a 24-120 VR.
    also, pentax currently has no FX bodies, so there's no equivalent K-mount camera to compare to the d700. in general, though, the K7 is a favorite with landscape and tripod shooters who shoot at base ISO or close to it and need a weather-sealed body.
    dan, you say you're a portrait and wedding photographer. for that application, the d700 is a better camera than anything pentax currently makes for available-light shots above ISO 800. but again,it comes down to lenses and overall budget. if you have 6 or 7 grand for a d700 body and some ace nikon lenses (85/1.4, 70-200 VR II, 24-70, 24/1.4) then switching might make sense. but this gets really expensive really quickly.
    OTOH, if you have a good collection of legacy pentax lenses, it might make more sense to buy a k7 and maybe augment that with some newer k-mount glass-- some fast primes, perhaps. pentax has some lenses that nikon doesnt make, but they may not be as widely available, so the product lines arent equivalent. you really have to weigh the benefits and drawbacks on a case by case basis.
    as far as a d5000 as a backup to a d700, not really a great idea. besides being different sensor formats, the d500 wont AF with lenses without a built in focus motor--which negates much of the advantage of, say, using a d700 with an 85/1.4. a d5000 makes a much better backup to a d300s, and a d300s or d90 makes a much better backup to a d700. besides AF compatibility with certain lenses, the issue here is the 1.5x DX crop which gives you more reach with longer lenses, but will also tack on an extra 50% to wide lenses. so not only would a 24-70 be a 36-105 on DX, but it wont balance very well on a d5000. the d700 and d300s have very similar button layouts and ergonomics, so from a working standpoint, this would be the best FX/DX combo one could get.
     
  10. By the way, if I can judge it by comparing to an image displayed on my 22" PC, 200% on a 24" Mac would be like looking at a print that's over ten feet wide. Isn't a 16" x 20" print good enough to go by?
     
  11. I took the liberty of looking at some of your other posts, Dan. And the few images I looked at on your link were quite nice (a little dark), but I don't have time to dig around all those images looking for problems. You mentioned "unedited" RAW images from camera. All DSLR images benefit from some sharpening and balancing in post (indeed, I think some of your images are on the dark side, and you will add noise in digital if you favor your darks). Also, some of your images seemed shot wide-open when they probably would have benefitted by stopping down to f4 or so.
    There are some really good reasons to switch, but "sharpness" is not one of them.. Their lens line-up is great (although Pentax has some I lust after, actually...) Nikon's CLS is fantastic for wedding photography and Nikon's high-ISO performance, even in the humble D5000 and D90, is just great. At normal viewing distance and even kinda close-up, from 200 up to ISO 1600 looks the same in a tested 11 x 14 print. 3200 only looks a tad worse, and 6400 is even useable for some things if you're not viewing close-up.
    But Nikon isn't going to be a magic bullet for everything. Fortunately, you seem eager and open to learn. That's the key! Hang onto it.
    Can you post just one single image with a 100% crop, or maybe two, that really shows some of what you're disappointed in?
     
  12. Seriously, 1000 photos? Please post 1 or 2 specific examples. From what I can tell from your online gallery, there is no sharpness problem that can be attributed to your equipment.
     
  13. Seriously, 1000 photos?​
    LOL, sorry Craig, I'm not at home, all I have is my iPhone. I'll post some when I get home.
     
  14. So, how bad is the focus? Sometimes just a little sharpening is needed to pull a file together. What MP is your camera. I think this is something most don't think about. Even a 12 mp camera at 100% on screen is nearly an 850x magnification on a monitor that resolves at 100 pixels/inch(about a 30x45 inch print). An 8x12 print is about 66x.
    You may need a better camera or lens, but if you have been in good shape until now and pleasing your customers, then consider that. Comparing files, assuming your talking raw files, is difficult unless everyone is setting their controls identically--just a little sharpening of a raw can go a long way.
     
  15. By the way, DxO does an incredible job processing raws in both the sharpening and noise categories. If I shot weddings, I think it would be a must program.
     
  16. When I zoom in 1:1 or 2:1 in Lightroom the faces always look blurry and the eyes are not sharp [emphasis added].​
    Before you invest in any new equipment, you need to think about what size blowup a one-to-one or 2X image really is on the screen of your computer. We're talking about a print that is literally feet wide. There are physical limits to resolution and contrast after all and any image is going to go "blurry" and unsharp at some scale.
    So, before spending $1000s on new equipment, first look at some pictures from a comparable Nikon camera and lens set up and see if they look any sharper really than you are getting from your Pentax. Maybe you just need a newer, more mega-pixels Pentax at most.
    Secondly, tie your camera down really tight, lock up the mirror, use remote trigger and see how much of your problem is from hand-holding--see what your own images look like when some of the variables are more controlled.
     
  17. Dan, your sharpness issues are technique related, not equipment related. Pentax gear will give you all the sharpness you could ever want.
    You have asked this same set of sharpness questions, in various forms, for nearly two years. You've received excellent, detailed answers in the Pentax forum showing you how to isolate your image quality issues. I suggest you need to spend time getting to know your present equipment in all its technical glory before you go Nikon shopping, hoping that it will cure your "focus issues" --- it won't.
    http://www.photo.net/pentax-camera-forum/00WKnk
    http://www.photo.net/pentax-camera-forum/00Rf9R
    http://www.photo.net/pentax-camera-forum/00QElI
    http://www.photo.net/pentax-camera-forum/00Q8Y9
     
  18. Zane, thanks for the reality check. You and everyone else on this forum is correct..even the guy at the camera store that I had to stop on my way home. My issue is mostly user error, but in my defense I am having some over-exposing issues with my Pentax K-7. I thought it was a lens, but it does it for several lenses. This started my quest with do I have the best equipment. I also had my question answered about zooming in Lightroom, that helps clear up a lot and I should not worry about the blurry zoom.
    I really appreciate everyone's honesty in equipment choice. At first I thought everyone was going to post that Nikon is the best, stay away from Pentax, but I really am surprised. You are a classy group.
    I have made my decision to keep my Pentax and purchase a K-x backup to match my lenses and always continue to improve my technique. I'm glad I have a new forum to read as well. You have a wealth of knowledge here.
    Again thanks everyone.
     
  19. Don't use these rediculious enlargements and your problem is solved.
    I'm left Pentax 30 years ago for Nikon and still happy with that decission. The decission was base on no improvements on Pentax cameras in these years.
    IMHO Pentax went wrong at the moment they fired Mr. Asahi.
     
  20. Over-exposing issues? find the compensation you need and then just leave it that way. (btw, I thought you had UNDER-exposing issues, by as much as a stop or so, when I looked at a few of your images on those threads, so check your monitor calibration, too.) On my D50, I had to leave it at -.3 or -.7 most of the time. With my D90, I pretty much leave it at 0, so each camera is different.
    Good luck!
     
  21. dan, if i'm correct, the pentax k-x doesnt have visible focus points. that could make a difference between blurry shorts and focused shots in some cases. too bad, because otherwise the k-x seems like a nice little package. i believe the K7 doesnt have this same issue. in any event, getting to know your camera a little better might resolve some of the user error issues. if you still find AF performance not to your liking, you may want to look at a K7 before switching systems altogether, especially if you are invested in pentax glass.
     
  22. also, i looked at some of the images you posted in your smugmug gallery, and didnt see any pattern of misfocus.i think there are definitely cameras out their with better AF systems than the K-X, but that body is certainly capable of taking good photos. it's got the same sensor as the d300 and d90 for one thing. for another, you would really only see a major resolution bump at pixel level with a 5dmkII, sony A900 or nikon D3x or similar 20+ MP sensor.
    IMO, you have plenty of good shots, and only a few are overexposed. a few are underexposed as well. but for most of them the exposure is perfect. so, yeah, you might want to recalibrate your monitor and not be so obsessive when it comes to pixel-peeping.
    1000+ images is a lot, especially because you are bracketing exposures quite a bit, and have multiple versions of basically the same shot. after all, you cant expect every shot to be a keeper. if you limited that gallery to, say, your 400 or 500 most brilliant shots, your personal sense of satisfaction (and your clients) might be elevated considerably. but just to sum up, while the k-x might not be the most ideal camera for weddings, the gear isnt the problem. in fact, i dont really see where there is a problem, other than possibly your expectations.
     
  23. Hey Dan - SOmanna gave us a heads up! :D
    At the 100 & 200 % level, I'm going to tell you what Matt tells me every time I am looking at 100% in Aperture and start griping about my sharpness issues - QUIT PIXEL PEEPING!!!!
    He & all above are right, it's just too close & too large to not be a little soft. Even when shooting w/ the DA*, I think it's too soft. But when I get the prints back, I'm very happy with the results, so I guess I need to shut up & listen to Matt, too.
     
  24. Maria - I think pixel peeping is fine for checking focus and lack of shake blur. Here's a 100% crop that I uploaded to my gallery to show what clarity can be obtained at pixel level.
    Dan needs to work on focusing and I think Eric is right that the lack of focus confirmation in the K-x doesn't make this job easier.
     
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Dan, I only took a quick look at your portfolio. You are certainly a fine wedding photographer, but I don't think you are at such a high level that your Pentax equipment is limiting your progress. While Nikon has some advantages over Pentax, such as FX-format cameras that have start-of-the-art high-ISO results, switching brands will be very costly.
    As others point out, I think you are better off staying with Pentax for now and futher improve your technique. If you indeed would like to switch brands some day, be prepared to budget for it. It can be a slower transition so that you use both brands during the interum.
     
  26. Dan, so I take it what I said at the end of this thread...
    http://www.photo.net/pentax-camera-forum/00WKnk
    ...you started wasn't the answer to the cause for your soft focused images?
    If so, then what is causing it?
     
  27. Wow, again thanks for the great comments and suggestions. To clarify a few points, I already have the Pentax K-7. That is the camera I am having overexposure problems. The pics on my smugmug site are from 2 different cameras. (k-7 and k-200d). The over exposing problem is a severe problem, but I took it to the shop and they reset the settings and so far it seems to be better. Here is a thread of some examples: http://www.photo.net/pentax-camera-forum/00WLOC
    On the other hand, I agree 100% that my pics are under exposed. That is something I am trying to improve on.
     
  28. Hi Dan,
    Since Somanna rounded up the troops, here we go. My 2 cents. This past year I bought into a second system. I first bought a D700 and then a D300s. My needs where I was after the High ISO performance that I did get with the D700. My opinion is that if your shooting weddings for a living, this is a must. There is nothing like the confidence and results one gets at ISO 3200 and above, not to mention the low to virtually no light accurate fast auto focus speed...
    Having said this, the lenses are not expensive, they are ''very'' expensive....So if your going to switch, then go full frame and pick your lenses wisely. I am anxiously waiting for this to come in
    Now if your talking D300s, Then do not bother to switch. You will gain nothing over the K-7 except a 1/2 better ISO performance, but it would be on par with the K20D as far as ISO performance goes. It is too bad your not close to me so you can try out some of these cams.
    So if you switch, go the way of full frame or don't bother...Funny thing. I still prefer my K20D's over everything I have. Go figure. My wife and eldest daughter who have been a Nikon users from the very beginning uses my Nikon gear more than their own. (She has a D40, and D200)
    Sorry, I am not of much help.
     
  29. Why not rent another system? See how it performs. I think you're going to find that you're going to always be disappointed at 200%. But don't take my word for it, rent a Nikon or Canon APS-C, or even full frame, and compare. That's one way to find out.
    Pentax users love their RAW. No Pentax user is going to say Pentax AF is the fastest or the Pentax SDM system is the quickest. But I've never heard of Pentax portrait and scene shooters complaining in the least bit, especially not at RAW.
     
  30. Just a thought out of left field...have you considered a short but intense workshop with a top-level wedding pro? I've seen people transformed after this. It would only cost maybe a few hundred dollars but maybe...just maybe...save you thousands if you switch.
     
  31. I looked only at the dressing pix. Generally I'd agree with folks who've suggested working on your technique rather than worrying about upgrading right now.
    I'm not seeing any problems with sharpness. The main problems are mis-focusing and some motion blur. There's some high ISO noise too but that's easy to fix in editing. You can eliminate the chroma noise (color splotches) with minimal NR applied to luminance noise to preserve detail.
    Regarding the focus error, I see several photos were the sharpest focus is on the clothing rather than on the faces and eyes. But the fabric is well resolved, so it's not a "sharpness" problem. On photos that are properly focused I see good resolution of eyebrows, eye lashes, eyes, etc. (And maybe a little too sharp for skin blemishes, but that's easily fixed in editing as well.)
    Regarding the motion blur, that's a problem anytime we're shooting below 1/125th. Sometimes that's unavoidable. I can't reliably handhold steadily below 1/125th and even if I could, subject motion blur would occasionally be a problem with candid photos of people.
    There are a couple of advantages a high end Nikon or Canon might offer:
    1. Lower noise at higher ISO's.
    2. Less risk of motion blur. Higher ISO's let you use faster shutter speeds.
    But unless your budget can handle a jump to a Nikon D700 or D3-series, I don't see anything a Nikon could offer that you're not already getting with your Pentax gear, other, perhaps, that a slight advantage in low light autofocusing.
    Also, Canon has packed a lot of value into their 5D Mk II for high ISO, low noise performance where available light shooting is preferred or necessary. If you don't need the advantages Nikon offers with the D700 in AF capability, weather resistance, and overall build, the 5D is an excellent value.
     
  32. Hi Dan,
    I just checked some of the photos on your link and I noticed a lot of them are very high ISO some as high as 1600. Hence when you look at your photos at original size they have a lot of noise. This much noice will certainly not help in having a sharp crisp image when viewed at 1:1.
    I am also a wedding photographer and try and keep my ISO as low as possible to give me the best possible image. I will shoot as low as ISO100 whenever I can. See my images at www.mccoshphotography.com
    I have a Nikon D90 that I upgraded from a Nikon D70S and before that a Pentex ME super film camera. I went for Nikon and not a Pentax digital because I always wanted a Nikon and when better time is there to chance all your gear than when you move to digital from film.
    Happy shooting
    John
     
  33. I'm still thinking about that new pie-in-the-sky Pentax digital medium format system that is supposed to be selling now in Japan for under $10K, but that doesn't mean that I have to shoot Pentax at 35mm. The lenses are not interchangeable, after all. Pentax makes a solid DSLR or two, however, so what's the rush to switch?
    Will I ever be able to afford medium format digital? If so, it will only be with Pentax. Mamiya is vying for Hasselblad-league prices. Even with Pentax, I have to think about preferred funding sources: Brinks truck, convenience store, or simple highway robbery. The options are not encouraging right now.
    I'll definitely keep my existing 35mm system.
    --Lannie
     
  34. Dan, Dan, Dan!! Sit down, take a deep breath. I may be able to help you. :)
    I'm a Pentax user myself. Every year I go through one or two periods of crisis where I wake up in the middle of the night thinking I should sell all my Pentax gear and switch to Nikon. I find myself spending hours looking for deals on Nikon bodies and lenses online.
    Fortunately, each year (so far), I have managed to snap out of it. I snap out of it for two key reasons.
    1. I am quite sure that having a Nikon would not improve my photos.
    2. I am quite sure that, if I switched to Nikon, I would soon be waking in the middle of the night a few times a year and thinking perhaps I should have switched to Canon (or Sony) instead.
    3. Replacing my Pentax cameras and lenses with Nikon equivalents would cost me thousands and thousands of dollars.
    Note that, if I switched, I would not be replacing my K10D/K20D with a couple of Nikon D3's!
    Why do I keep going through these crises? When I'm not in crisis, the answer is obvious. We live in a consumerist culture. We are constantly assailed by marketing that prompts us to think that a new product is going to change our lives. It's important to fight this culture. You've got to look at your camera equipment without sentimentality.
    *
    I now have a 24inch iMac and now that I see larger images, I have noticed that my pics are not as great as I thought they were. When I zoom in 1:1 or 2:1 in Lightroom the faces always look blurry and the eyes are not sharp.​
    Hardly a fair test. The real test should be looking at a good print.
    But my real question for you is, what lenses are you using with your Pentax bodies? Mediocre lenses on a Nikon D3 will produce mediocre photos. Use good lenses on your Pentax bodies and you'll start to realize the grass is actually pretty green on your side of the fence, after all.
    Here is a quick photo I took today of my dog Ruthie.
    [​IMG]
    It's not a prize winner, but hey, it's a quickie snapshot of my dog taken this evening on my front porch while we were waiting for the power in our house to come back on. You should assume that the photo is somewhat degraded by being posted online. For starters this is a low-res export. Even so, it's a pretty sharp photo. And I did NO capture sharpening in Lightroom at all, in other words, I did nothing in post to make the photo sharper than it was out of my camera. Indeed, I did virtually no post-processing on the image. I increased the blacks slider to 15 (to set the black point) and added just a touch of clarity.
    Now, consider a couple of other things. This photo was taken with a Pentax K10D - in other words, an OLD Pentax DSLR (10 MP). Lens used was the Pentax 40 f/2.8 Limited. The photo was taken at ISO 400, f/2.8 and a shutter speed of 1/8th sec, handheld. In-body shake reduction, baby!
    There's nothing magic about this. Certainly nothing magic about Pentax. I could easily have taken the same photo with Nikon, or Canon, or Sony, or Olympus gear, although for this particular shot, I do think shake reduction was a help.
    If you aren't impressed with my little doggy picture, visit pentaxforums.com and poke around in the galleries there or just search the Internet. There's a wealth of proof available that Pentax cameras and lenses CAN take sharp, beautiful images, when well used.
    *
    3. I'm thinking about buying a Nikon but don't know which to purchase. I'm looking at the D90, D300, or the D700. The D700 is a big price jump, is there as big as jump in image quality?​
    I think there's a huge misunderstanding here. You seem to think that more expensive cameras take better pictures. THEY DON'T. The main advantage of more expensive bodies is that they take pictures better. There's a big difference between one and the other. There are of course some image quality advantages to certain cameras, for certain kinds of shooting. Some cameras do better in low light, at higher ISO; some cameras auto-focus faster; other cameras have a faster burst rate; etc. But these things are mostly marginal matters. Let's assume good lighting, competent photographers and high-quality lenses: You won't be able to distinguish photos taken in those circumstances by almost any of the current line of DSLRs, whether it's a Pentax K-x, a Canon 50D, a Nikon D90 or D700.
    So why buy more expensive cameras? The Pentax K-7 doesn't take better photos than the lowly K-x; but the K-7 is weather sealed, and has markedly superior ergonomics, starting with two e-dials, hyperprogram and hypermanual modes, a vastly superior review screen, etc. The same compares to more expensive cameras from other makers. If you trade, say, a Pentax K-7 in order to switch to a Nikon D90, you're making a largely lateral trade and getting virtually nothing in the bargain. If you switch to a more expensive Nikon camera, you're mainly getting some advantages—possibly significant to you—in the camera as a tool to work with, but not so much in the image quality of the output.
    I'm definitely NOT trying to dissuade you from spending your money to switch to Nikon. Indeed, if you do decide to sell your Pentax gear, please contact me privately. If you have anything interesting I might be willing to help you out with a purchase.
    But if you switch, switch for a really good reason. Don't switch because you have not figured out how to take sharp photos with the equipment you're got now. Keep trying: It's possible. If you really try, and you just can't succeed, then something is wrong, but it's not the brand of camera. Perhaps you're got bad lenses, or you've got a lens with auto-focusing issues, or something else I can't think of.
    Good luck.
    Will
     
  35. For several years, I shot with a P30t. Either the mirror or the focus screen was a little off, causing a slight error in focusing. It would reach infinity focus by the screen just a hair before the lens would hit the built-in stop. At most apertures, this was not a problem. I got some excellent shots with that thing. I'm sorry I sold it.
     
  36. Dan, when you focus, are you using single, centre point, or all the sensors?
     
  37. You seem to think that more expensive cameras take better pictures. THEY DON'T. The main advantage of more expensive bodies is that they take pictures better.
    Amen to that... very well put.
     
  38. "You seem to think that more expensive cameras take better pictures. THEY DON'T. The main advantage of more expensive bodies is that they take pictures better."
    But isn't that the point the OP was making, that he thinks another camera might take pictures better! I think that is why most people SHOULD upgrade, is when the camera isn't doing what they need it to do. The problem is generally the confusion between being able to take better pictures and a camera that will take pictures better--so there is the resultant equipment chase with, amazingly, no improvement in the results!
    There are certainly lenses and camera combos that won't reliably shoot in focus photographs--I have been there with that one. The camera I had that issue with wasn't a pro camera and I didn't really care, it was a utilitarian piece of equipment that filled a specific need very nicely. But it certainly wasn't a camera I was going to use on a job.
    And that is the point of it all, does the current equipment meet the needs? Maybe, maybe not. Bottom line is to weigh everything in perspective, including the money to switch, and maybe rent what you think you want and test it out--does it get better results?
    Bottom line, only the OP can really answer the question because aside from what the equipment can or can't do, the psychological impact of working with gear you trust versus that you don't is reason enough to switch--if it really gives you that trust. (and then just get a Canon....)
     
  39. I always thought that the way an image displays on screen is due to screen resolution, pixels displayed on screen, and the graphics card your computer is using. Just because it does not look sharp at 200-300% does not mean it will not print sharp. Monitors display everything at 72 ppi, regardless of wether you are zooming in or out. Depending on your graphics card, the transition of zooming in and out becomes smoother or choppy. It's why gamers want the fastest card out there, because they understand that framerate is smoother and pixels get drawn quicker on screen, creating the illusion that it looks more real. I don't think it matters wether you are shooting Nikon, Pentax, or another. More megapixels will just mean you can zoom in further, but displayed at 100% 6-8mp looks just like anything higher than 12mp.
     
  40. The problem is generally the confusion between being able to take better pictures and a camera that will take pictures better--so there is the resultant equipment chase with, amazingly, no improvement in the results! --John A​
    Don't you think, John, that we also simply want too much new equipment because we have all these grand plans about what we are going to be shooting or doing with our photos? I think that we amateurs in particular tend to overbuy because we think that photography is going to play a larger and larger role in our lives--even that we might "go pro" someday. It almost never does work out that way, and, when it does, it can be with disastrous results--going pro is almost never the panacea that it was expected to be.
    Another problem is simply the fixation with gear qua gear. It has been said that human beings are the only animal that make ends of its means. I think that this often happens in photography. The tool ceases to be merely a means to take a photo and comes to be revered in and of itself--a classic case of what sociologist Robert K. Merton called the "displacement of goals." Soon one is no longer a photographer, amateur or otherwise. One has become a de facto collector.
    In any case, I doubt that many of us really think that we will get better in our photographic technique with new equipment. We typically know better than that. We simply overestimate what marginal improvement there might be with more resolution, better auto-focus, better low light and high ISO capabilities, etc. They do not in most cases have much effect at all because most of our shots do not require such fancy cameras or such enormous files.
    Whatever its source, overbuying is or can become a sickness of sorts.
    --Lannie
     
  41. John A writes: "But isn't that the point the OP was making, that he thinks another camera might take pictures better! I think that is why most people SHOULD upgrade, is when the camera isn't doing what they need it to do. "
    The OP's complaint was that he can't take sharp pictures with his current Pentax cameras. My response to that specific complaint is, either (a) he's doing something wrong, or (b) there's a defect in the equipment he's using, or (c) both. The problem—at least with sharpness—is not Pentax. As I happens, I'm a Pentax photographer myself, and since we're a minority, I'm perhaps a bit zealous in my defense of the brand. But, while zealous, I'm not a zealot. I would have given just about the same answer if the OP was complaining about Nikon or Canon or Sony.
    Will
     
  42. Bottom line Lannie, I think what you quoted from me and what you said are not far off. Yes, people kind of end up being collectors of equipment, but in most cases it starts out as a belief that I will be a better photographer if I get this or that. And then soon, it is I am better because I have better equipment--ala the Leica necklaces we see so many times worn but never used!
    In this case, the OP is a pro at some level and equipment is important to a pro. But then so is learning to make great images and understanding what is needed to do a certain job or kind of job.
    I had one MF system that was great until I needed it to perform with extremely large scans--optically, it just fell apart. As a pro, and an on-going need to make these large scans (client was actually happy with the scans), I changed camera systems and the results were amazingly better at those magnifications. I still have the other camera system, but have no reason to use it since I now have one that is better and maybe the best camera ergonomics I have ever experienced in that format--and psychologically, I have full confidence in the product it puts out whereas I will always have doubts about the other.
    But as I pointed out earlier as have others, that is the bane of the digital camera. In general, we are seeing images much larger than ever before and quite honestly, larger than the lenses were ever designed to create. Most don't deliver images beyond the lens capabilities, but in the past, we judged that by the print that we made, now we do it by looking at a screen that sees things beyond practical reality for most.
    (and just a comment to Rafael, there is a big difference looking at a 100% view from a 6mp camera and a 21mp camera, your "great" lenses can get much less "good" at that resolution!)
    Note to William: I wasn't attacking anyone's cameras, only that it is sometimes the equipment, regardless of make. If it is, you switch, but you be sure it IS the equipment!
     
  43. I will re-iterate the OP should actually rent some Canon or Nikon equipment and see for themselves. Heck, I'm sure there are enough Nikon and Canon owners who would let the OP borrow or at least let them take some test shots in their presence.
    Talk will do little.
     
  44. Bryan Smith: "I will re-iterate the OP should actually rent [or borrow] some Canon or Nikon equipment and see for themselves."
    Yes, excellent idea.
    But I also think the OP, for his own sake and the sake of his pocketbook, should try to figure out what he can't get his current gear to do what others with the same gear are able to do, i.e. take sharp photos.
    I have a close friend who had a bad experience with a Nikon camera. When it came time to buy a new camera, he simply didn't consider Nikon at all, he bought a Canon instead. Now, he's free to do that. He's an amateur and didn't have an investment in lenses and accessories. And I actually think he had an itch to try something new and different. I completely understand. But I'm quite sure that the problem he had with his older Nikon camera wasn't Nikon's fault. And I think pros (even part-time ones, or perhaps especially the part-time ones!) should be less sentimental about their gear.
     
  45. "But I also think the OP, for his own sake and the sake of his pocketbook, should try to figure out what he can't get his current gear to do what others with the same gear are able to do, i.e. take sharp photos."
    But that is the problem and why comparisons are good. I rarely trust someone else's opinion of what is sharp, I have read too many reviews, seen the examples they post as good and am left scratching my head! When you go out and test other equipment, you have something you did to compare, then you see. You may not like the other equipment any better, but you get perspective--you may have the best equipment available or nearly so. You may also just discover that there really is something better to be had--that is why you compare.
     
  46. William -- I think the OP is much different than a novice striving for amateur status.
    Although in the case of the latter, this is one area where I love Pentax, entry-level. The standard features are extensive, not talking about expert controls, but actual, standard features (that many other entry-levels leave out). TIPA just gave the K-x the entry-level award for 2010. And Europe is hardly where Pentax is cheaper. Here in the US, the K-x + 18-55 + 55-300 is now merely $679 shipped from Amazon itself.
    In the case of the OP, I think he should get both a Pentaxian and a pair of Nikonian and Canonians around him, and show him how to shoot with all the equipment selection. From that, he can decide for himself. That would be most ideal.
     
  47. John, I don't think you and I are disagreeing. I think it's valuable to know what other cameras are doing. I pay attention to Canon and Nikon just out of professional curiosity. And I quite agree that, before one sells all one's brand X gear and switches to brand Y, one ought to give brand Y a hands-on try and confirm that the switch is a good idea. I'm with you 100% on that.
    I'm just saying is that you don't help yourself if you compare your broken or defective or misused brand-X camera to a new brand-Y camera. I don't think the OP has responded to my question about what lenses he has been using, or to someone else's good question about focusing mode (center-point, multi-point). If he's shooting with a consumer-grade zoom lens, at high ISO, using bad camera-holding technique and not focusing well, it may be hard for him to make any fair comparison with another camera, whether it's from the same brand or another.
    I think we all have to look first to what others do with our gear—the gear we have now. That sets the standard that we can hope to meet. And there's absolutely no shortage of evidence that brilliant, gorgeous tack-sharp photos are being taken daily using just about every brand and every model of DSLR on the market. If somebody says, "I have a Nikon D40 and it doesn't take sharp pictures!" I don't suggest that they rent a Pentax or Canon or Sony and try something different. I suggest that they figure out what is wrong with their D40 or their lens or the way they're taking pictures. If somebody says, "I have a Nikon D40 and I need to take photos in the rain," or "I have tried using M mode but I find it hard to adjust the aperture because I have to push 2 buttons at the same time," or "I would like to be able to autofocus using some of my old lenses," etc., THEN I think it's safe to say it's time for them to consider a different camera with the features they require—weather-sealing, or two e-dials, or support for older lenses.
     
  48. William, you certainly are making some good points but I think you are missing mine. The OP apparently isn't a novice. He is having issues with two cameras and may in fact have bad technique, but that may be presumptuous on our part to make that assumption.
    My point really, to be more blunt, is that your decision that you get sharp images with certain equipment does not mean I will think the equipment can get sharp images or that your images are acceptably sharp to me--my review example as a case in point. But, assuming I know what I am doing, if "I" go and compare then it is me, working in my way whether flawed or not, that will use my standards of what a sharp image is to compare. (When comparing, you should shoot both cameras in the same setting or you don't have a comparison really.) I don't automatically get better technique because I try another brand or that might be reason enough to change!
    I think there are a lot of good points throughout here, but at some point the only way to know is to compare!
     
  49. "...a pair of Nikonian and Canonians..."​
    They don't come in pairs. They come in camps, usually opposing camps armed for combat. And they're called Nikonistas and Canonites. Pity the poor Pentaxicostal who tries to get unbiased info from either.
     
  50. Lex -- I wasn't thinking the USA v. USSR type (plus a leading industrial, but non-power, in the middle), but one Pentaxian, one Nikonian and one Canonian with equivalent equipment to existing Pentax, and showing the OP how to use them effectively. Yes, I know, it's "I have a dream ..." type.
     
  51. dan, i misread your comments. you did say you were using a K7 and plan to purchase a K-X. my bad.
    but this is a bit confusing:
    The over exposing problem is a severe problem, but I took it to the shop and they reset the settings and so far it seems to be better...On the other hand, I agree 100% that my pics are under exposed​
    so your pics are both overexposed and underexposed? maybe an external light meter might help here.
     
  52. Dan,
    It seems other have put your mind at ease, which is good to hear.
    I also shoot with a K-7, and am a recent convert to Pentax (formerly a Canon guy for 15 years). In my experience, the multi-segment metering mode is fairly accurate, except for low-light and backlit situations. In these two instances, I have found the meter to regularly overexpose by as much as 1-stop. My workaround is to switch to spot metering mode, and use the AE lock to set the exposure. YMMV.
    Keep in mind this is not a Pentax-specific issue, but one which affects most if not all built-in meters.
    I'd stick with Pentax if I were in a similar situation. I've found it to be a very capable tool for my work.
     
  53. For those of you that are not used to using Smugmug (where his link to his photos are held) Link to Photos If you hold your mouse pointer over the photo on the right a flyout menu from the right will apear. The bottom icon Photo Info will show you Information on the camera setting, unfortunitly it looks like Pentax dosn't record the lens that was in use or the focusing mode. You are also able to view the photos at original size here.
     
  54. Pentax does indeed record the lens in use, the focusing mode, and a boatload of other info. But it's all done in codes that some programs can't properly understand. Lightroom for example correctly recognizes most of my lenses in its lens database, but not all of them, and sometimes it will just tell me something like "Sigma or Tamron 17-70 zoom lens". And in any case, must of the EXIF info can be stripped out on upload or at a variety of other points. I believe Facebook routinely strips this info out.
     
  55. Fair call. On further checking Smugmug doesn’t display this information either for my Nikon gear. I should have checked before rushing into my previous post. There does seem to be a few issues here which applies to all brands off camera's.

    1) A lot of Dan's shots are taking with the lens wide open F2.8 in aperture priority mode. I appreciate Dan you are trying to shoot with the existing light. However some of your shots have quite a high shutter speed where as if you were to set up your camera with Shutter priority mode and set the shutter at the slowest speed that will give you sharp hand held images you will then have the fastest aperture possible for the light situation on each photo.

    2) I also note that a lot of your photos are taking with a high ISO some at 1600 which when viewed at 1:1 makes for a lot of noise which gives the impression of a soft image. I appreciate lowering the ISO will affect point 1.

    Maybe sometimes there just isn't enough light to produce clean crisp sharp images with hand held shots. Either use a tripod or a fill in flash would help. Knowing what focusing mode would help also does the software that comes with Pentax display the focus point used for each photo. If it does looking through these might help. First thing I would do is set your camera up on a tripod and take test shots at different Apertures / Shutter speeds keep the camera on the lowest possible ISO setting and then check your results and make sure there isn't any issues with either your camera or lens. if you have more than one lens do this test for each one.

    Hope this helps.
    John
     
  56. Josh -- Pentax records extensive information. The lens compatibility on newer Pentax bodies are unmatched by anyone, and records a massive amount of information, even on older lenses (and prompts for focal and other things for SR when using completely manual, non-A, lenses). Countless details come through. Just check out my Flickr shots (user: thebs).
    Otherwise, I agree with you on #1 and #2. I don't like to shoot in f/2.8 with my f/2.8 DA*/D-FA lenses, maybe f/3.2-3.5 with the DA* 200 or D-FA 100 Macro WR. I'll stop down the shutter before bumping the ISO, but I try to take care of lighting. I use 5500K CFB and/or a pair of AF-360FGZ flashes when shooting stationary.
     
  57. In your examples, you zoom to %200 percent. Of course they must be blurred
     
  58. I didn't read completely through this long thread, but it does occur to me that any bride worth her salt is going to Google you before hiring you to shoot her wedding-- and is likely find this thread. (Or perhaps, the other photographer who is competitively bidding against you will point it out.)
    Sorry, but even if it's just a matter or perception or technique, it seems you've painted yourself into a corner where you now really do need to not only swap systems, but crow about the sharpness improvement as much as you've kvetched about your substandard results.
     

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