Jumping ship

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by brad_n, Jan 27, 2010.

  1. I am sorry to announce that I am leaving the Pentax crowd and going to a Canon 7D. It was a difficult decision, especially given my investment in Pentax, and it was primarily driven by the availability of big bird lenses. I will be putting it all up for sale: K20, K10, DA*300, Sigma 50-500, (2) 540 FGZ flashes, Pentax 10-17, Pentax 18-85, Sigma 55-300 (?), battery grip Tamron 1.4x TC, Phoenix 2.x TC.
    I've always enjoyed this group. I have visited the "other" group, trying to decide what to buy, and it isn't the same. Pentax people are different: in a good way.
  2. Brad,
    Congrats on your new system. I hope to still see you here in the Pentax section from time to time. As far as Pentax people being different, I would have to agree, though most of the Nikon users I have met here on P.net are very cool and very nice. Sure you have some idiots, but you have them here as well...I am one of them ;-)
    Blessings and take care.
  3. Brad,
    We'll miss your herons :-(
    You gotta do what you gotta do, and when I saw those first high ISO samples from the 7D and read its specs, I knew it would be a big hit with the wildlife photography crowd. There are people who do great with wildlife and Pentax, like Marc Langille, but it seems to me like you have to put more effort to acquire the equipment, and then make some concessions in AF and other performance issues. It's just more hard work than it should be, especially when you can go to B&H and in one single order get yourself an awesome wildlife kit from Canon.
    Good luck, Brad!
  4. Brad, I had a look at the 7D and came to one conclusion. It does not fit my hands and the flash system is about the same as Pentax (in terms of exposure results). I see you have a grip in your kit and assume you like shooting that way.
    Try the camera with a grip before you buy. I think unless you have monkey hands (a long thumb), you'll find it very disappointing. It's a beautiful camera and in many ways a game changer. But to reach the rear dial (to adjust aperture) is nearly impossible in portrait mode with the grip. I have seem a number of posts on Canon forums with users complaining of this shape issue. As a wedding photographer who uses the camera in portrait mode more than 50% of the time, I could never live with the controls for the aperture. Plus the grip does not have a second e dial like both Pentax and Nikon do. Sorry but it's a terrible design.
    I have 2 second shooters that assist my photography business, one shoots a 7d and the other a Nikon D300s. In comparing flash results between the 3 systems, I'd buy the D300s in a heartbeat. The Canon is no better IMO than our system. Nikon is superior to both by a wide margin. In terms of higher ISO's and AF speed, there's not much difference between the 2 in the shots I've seen.
    So between those 2 issues I'd suggest you try before you buy another platform. Not suggesting you shouldn't move elsewhere just where.
    I agree with Javier and hope you drop by from time to time. Plus if you care to email me your gear list and prices, maybe there's something there I'd be interested in. ptz1961(at)hotmail.com
  5. I'm always amazed that the newest, latest and greatest is viewed as a "must have for my work" when the difference is so small, compared to what one has. I can see the need for a full-frame sensor on occasion but most of the crop sensors are pretty much equal. If you need better high-ISO performance the Pentax K-X is superb, in fact, dpreview claimed the K-X has the best high-ISO performance of any current APS-C-sized sensor.
    As far as lenses go, Pentax has a number of nice long lenses. And with an adapter, and number of lenses are available for use on nearly all cameras.
    Conversely, if you're going to invest in one of Canon's $5000 lenses, more power to ya. Those are superb lenses but only for the rich, professional or devoted. :)
  6. Best of luck, Brad.
    I fully support Brad. Let this be a lesson to all gear manufacturers. We are customers, not employees. Brand loyalty is built through providing the customer the best tools that can be had at competitive prices, not through some sheep like mentality of the customer. Pentax makes a fantastic product but there are glaring holes in the product line that are no secret to anyone. If Pentax makes the business decsion to ignore these holes they are actively telling customers to go somewhere else. Apparently Pentax believes their business model is sufficient that they don't need customers like Brad.
    I'm not saying Pentax is wrong. It's their train set and they can run it however they like. But Brad has only one single person to satisfy and that is himself. It's a shame Pentax gave away Brad's business to Canon. It's a shame Pentax doesn't believe sports shooters are a valuable customer base. It's a shame Pentax doesn't believe an affordable normal prime is worth making. Again, I don't run Pentax and I am thankfully not in a position to carry the responsibility of making Pentax profitable. Others are and they have to do what is best, which apparently is sending their current customer base to Canikon.
  7. Well said John. i could not agree more.
  8. Good luck Brad, I hope the move works out well for you. If you really need the long glass Canon and Nikon certainly have better options. People switch systems for a variety of reasons, some quite legitimate and others who think the grass is greener which ends with different problems. Each system has it strengths.
    A few years ago I sold two Canon digital bodies and five lenses and moved to Pentax. My reasons were SR, a better newer digital prime selection, value, a better travel system and better ergonomics. For me it's worked out well. My only real complaint with Pentax for socal and event shooting is the flash system and I'll agree with Peter I find it pretty much the same as my old Canon system which is to say inconsistent in digital TTL, so I pretty much just use manual flash. I've considered adding a Nikon for flash performance. If my shooting required longer faster glass, high FPS and the fastest possible autofocus I'd move. Likewise I know a two pros who moved from Canon from 1D and 5D's to Nikon D3's.
    I have a good friend a frequently shoot with who uses a 5d, 24-70 and 70-200 f/2.8 IS L's. The bulk and weight of that system would drive me nuts for social events and he frequently complains of it. The reality is we take pretty much the same images at an event; except my arms don't hurt at the end of the evening. I'll second Peter's comments do check out the ergonomics of the Canon closely before you buy. It's a very personal thing, but they just don't feel as "right"to me as Nikon or Pentax's. You might consider adding a few Canon pieces to see it they really are a good fit before selling off all your Pentax gear. That's what I did with my Canon gear before moving to Pentax.
    Good luck and I sincerely hope you make the best choice for you and your photography in what ever system you choose.
  9. Just out of curiousity, you've got the 300, 50-500 and 55-300. Is there something longer that you're missing that can't be achieved with the 500 and the 1.4 TC?
  10. good bye Brad.
  11. I hope it's not going to be much of a goodbye, because I'd expect you'd be right next door. You're just switching apartments. See you in the lobby. Good luck. J.
  12. Too bad you have to make this move, Brad. As a matter of fact, I thought about you and your beamer yesterday as I was shooting that hawk I actually tried to get the bird in the headlights but 1) it didn't seem to do any good and 2) it was awkward as hell trying to shoot dead ahead out the driver's side window ;~)
    Since I really don't know anything but Pentax, I can't comment on the wisdom of your decision but I've always found your posts thoughtful and thought-provoking and instructive so I'll miss your presence here.
  13. I agree, the 7D was Canon's coming out party. Well at least for my needs. Unfortunately, I've never liked Canon ergonomics, so the best camera for my needs that is non Pentax is a D300, however, as a main system, Nikon cameras are too big, too bulky, and cost more, with cost being the least important factor in comparison to the other two.
    Obviously the 7D also best Pentax in higher ISO IQ (comparing it to the K-7 since that is the only camera it compares with).
    I've always said, if you need really long lenses, or super fast cameras, Pentax isn't the brand for you.
    Fortunately, a lot of people don't need either of those, but the ones that do, will pretty much always be looking at Nikon and Canon to see what might fit their needs.
    Pentax has, and hopefully will continue to make big glass, but right now the 300mm F/4 is as long as it gets. That just doesn't cut it with birders or sports shooters of outdoor field sports. And with the lack of impressive high ISO of the K-7 indoor sports took a bit of a plataue or even step back. despite having enough options lens wise to shoot those sports.
    Good luck with the switch...and stop by every now and then, we'll miss the bird shots!
  14. BTW, I don't agree with John.
    The flip side is Canon doesn't compete with Pentax at all.
    The 7D and K-7 are not birds of a feather.
    Nor is the Canon lens system vs. the Pentax. As noted in the Nepal thread a few lines down. Pentax produces stuff Canon doesn't produce and you cannot replicate without building a Canonstein system of lens adapters, and 3rd party glass.
    Personally, I'm not going anywhere, and there are many like me. Pentax needs to not get caught up in becoming Canon. I'll say it twice, once softly and once screaming...
    You cannot take market share away from a market leader by emulating the leader.
    There is a simple reason for this, what compelling reason would I have to switch to "unknown" Pentax if they made a mirror lineup to Canon? Absolutely nothing.
    Now let me toss it the other way. Apple (whom I have absolutely no love for, but I do love what a mockery they have made of everyone else, including the brands I do like), produces relatively ho-hum products.
    I mean the iPhone doesn't have basic features, 3 years after it's release that even entry level smart phones have, yet Apple is making tons of money on a 10% computer market share, as well as a 15% world wide smart phone share. Despite really not improving it's hardware, it's OS, or even blowing it's competitors out of the water with superior anything it increased it's sales 100% in the 3rd year of the iPhone. The reason? Well they carved a niche, made a name for themselves, and didn't battle Microsoft and Windoze head on.
    Pentax can plug along at 5-10% world market share indefinitely, if it plays it's cards right. The idea that it can do anything whatsoever to steal significant market share from Canon and Nikon is foolish, but it can steal a percent or two here and there with significantly different products, and that alone is enough.
    But what Pentax CANNOT do is build a system it cannot sell. While Brad needs 600mm birding lenses, most of the people on this forum aren't buying a $5000 lens. The market for that is so small it's not worth the investment or production cost. Pentax needs to keep it's product line small and effecient, and sell lenses and cameras it's core consumers want and need.
    This is what struggling companies do. When Jon Rubinstein came to Apple in the mid 1990s, he went through, slashed everything on the drawing board and said, focus on a few high end products. He did the same thing at every struggling company he has turned around, and so far it's been a recipe for sucess.
    Pentax cannot get bogged down in having inventory sitting on shelves for years, in this economic market, and todays world, having stockpiles of inventory is a thing of the past. Most stores keep very little inventory on hand, and Pentax needs to keep it's product lines nimble enough to meet the needs of retailers and consumers.
  15. While I agree with Justin for the most part. (I smirk every time my wife curses her MacBook) there's no reason to dismiss the 3rd party lens option. Sigma has the superb 500mm f4.5 with matching 1.4 and 2x TC's that might be the best available from anyone. So long glass isn't the issue.
    The issue with AF has been getting better with the 2 new bodies and I suspect we will see another improvement in the next generation. The real issue is High ISO's. The K-7 did not address this. The newer KX has shown that they can do it and I assume the next models will be even better.
    So with an improvement in AF and another KX style (or better) High ISO flagship APSc body, they will be in far better position. In fact you'll see almost no one switch away and others coming to Pentax because of the excellent glass and SR. You'll see the forums over at PF slow down drastically from bitching about AF and ISO's. That's the only thing people really complain about there. Well DA* SDM but that's another issue.
    Pentax has focused the lens line-up in the area where the bulk of people shoot. Ultra wide to mid tele. The next lenses added to the line, have to be faster portrait length and mid tele (90 or 100mm and 135mm) followed by a 200 f2. I really think they need to add a 70 or 80mm -200mm f2.8 zoom as well. They are loosing far to much business to Sigma and Tamron with their versions. Make it WS and DA*II and they can have that market to themselves.
    But to build a 500 or 600mm fast lens is just not worth it. You are never going to snatch the pro sports and wildlife guys from the big 2. It is much too small a market for the hobby shooter, to make a $8000+ lens that might sell 50 copies world wide a year.
  16. Excellent analysis Justin.
    Pentax doesn't consciously want to lose any customers, but it cannot afford to keep every customer. Sony is big enough to subsidize losses from directly competing with Canon and Nikon. It would break Pentax in a very depressing way. By offering those multi-colored K-x bodies, Pentax is borrowing a page from the first iMac incarnations--which triggered the rebirth of Apple. That's not a bad template to use.
  17. Good points, Justin. But there's another truth in commerce: You don't get any market share by being slow to market and several generations behind the competition, either.
    Pentax has a good thing going. But there's justification for Pentax' univerally accepted image as the brand of High School kids and Old Farts. We Pentaxians know the image isn't true. Too bad nobody else seems to. The Kx was a step in the right direction. Pentax aren't idiots, I know that. They're just s-l-o-w and a little tone deaf.
    If you are going to have a limited product line, that product line needs to be special and it needs to be complete. The special part is there: in-body shake reduction, Limited series lenses, excellent build quality and bang for the buck. Great strategy so far. But I had to buy a Sigma to get a consumer grade 70-300. Name three Pentaxians who don't own one of those... It's not a big dollar item sitting on a shelf, it's the logical Kit Lens Part II. Who wouldn't buy a kit version 35/f2 for $150? It would be a loss leader but I'm sure they're making it back for every Limited lens they sell. The price of Limited lenses has just about doubled since I bought mine.
    Pentax is going to ride this in-body shake reduction horse until the horse dies of old age. VR and IS in lenses is getting to be the defacto standard for Canikon. The kit lenses come with it now. As the price drops and every lens sold has it Pentax won't seem so amazing anymore.
  18. I apologize for coming across like a Pentax hater. I'm far from that. I shill for Pentax every opportunity I get to anyone who will listen.
    My loyalty as a customer comes from being valued. Pentax is not a life choice.
  19. John is right about Pentax missing a hole in their overall system. I went with Nikon solely because of their recently introduced 35F1.8 DX (APC format) lens--which is a must have lens for me. But that hole is covered by the SIgma 30F1.4 lens, and imho a lineup of the Pentax Limited 21F3.2+Sigma 30F1.4+Pentax 77F1.8 is the best/most compact travel/street system there is. But the Limiteds are extremely expensive. A sprinkling of affordable primes wouldn't hurt as John points out.
  20. Yes true John W but look at those lines carefully. They don't cover all the bases either. If you were like me and wanted every lens to have VR or IS because I shoot weddings and need that advantage in some tricky shooting situations and a tripod or monopod is just not practical, then both of the big 2 are seriously behind. Neither has anything with SR below 85mm. The kit lenses don't count.
    But like my comment on the 70-200mm f2.8, I agree that making the 50-200mm kit lens into a 70-300mm would be a wise move.
  21. I agree that they need to fill out the line up to 300mm. By no means am I saying, its a perfect lineup. Like Peter and Jon said, I shouldn't have to use a sigma or tamron lens. And tokina lenses should be available in Pentax mount as well. Rebrand them if you have to but if a Tokina lens is made it should come in kmount. A 90mm f2 would be a great lens in the lineup, as would something like a 300mm 2.8. I don't see a 200mm f2, but if they could get a lens over 135mm atF2 and make it affordable they might sell a few.

    Fast primes: you do realize pentax had a 35mm f2 that I bet was better at all apertures than your nikon. And then there is the little known 31mm which is an OK lens so I've heard.

    the Limiteds are expensive but dollar for dollar quite cost effective. Not to mention superior image rendering
  22. Justin is absolutely correct: Pentax is a different game than the Canikon world. That is what it is.
    "The Best Gear That Won't Bankrupt Us" should be the Pentax motto.
    Now that isn't to say Pentax doesn't have much to improve upon. A more intuitive flash system, faster fps, a higher flash sync speed, and better high-ISO performance are just a sample. And as loyal Pentaxians, we should never apologize for kicking Pentax in the ass when they need it.
    But Pentax doesn't need to stand on the sidelines of an NFL game, advertise on television, or sit in the hands of Annie Leibovitz for our validation.
    Want a perfect example of why Pentax has a nice niche for itself, that serves most of us here very nicely?
    My new Popular Photography has a blip about the new Nikon 300MM f/2.8 VR lens. I have no doubt that this lens is probably top in the class. As well it should; it's list cost is $5900. Let me say that again: $5900!!
    I'll be honest, I don't want to live in that neighborhood. I could fill my own neighborhood with a LOT of fine Pentax gear with that $5900.
    In my view, unless you are a true professional that insists on the latest and greatest gear, Canikon is a serious misappropriation of the LBA bank account.
  23. Great great points everyone. I'm a Pentaxian for a reason, too.
    I don't expect Pentax to be on the sidelines of NFL games or to chase Canikon around. I get what Pentax' niche is. (Me) But it's hard to believe Pentax wants to build their business around hobby photographers with a little disposable income. I've got my K20d, a couple of Limiteds, and some doodads. I don't beat my gear and there's no reason to expect me to replace it any time soon. That's no business plan. If it turns out, God help them, that I am in fact the target audience then they shouldn't be sending me to Sigma for inexpensive zooms. Not when, to Justin's point, Tokina's in K-mount should be a given. Hell, Tokina lenses in K-mount should cost fifteen percent less than in other mounts in order to draw people to the house brand.
    You would think wedding photographers would be flocking to Pentax. They aren't from what I read here on the Wedding forum. One would assume Pentax would think this is a market custom tailored for themselves. What's the hole in that system? Flash.. iso... possible full frame (I know, opinions vary), built in Pocket Wizard support...
    Maybe I'm being selfish. I want Pentax to wrangle in every pro photographer they can and sell trillions of cameras. That's how schlubs like me get to buy top notch quality gear at an affordable price.
  24. I think a DA*400/4, something along the lines of a quality 80-400/4.5-5.6, and a good 1.4x TC to go with would probably satisfy enough pentaxians to slow exodus. The body improvements will continue to come--continuing to slightly lag the big boys in speed but providing markedly better value seems a sound enough strategy to me.
    People like to knock K-7's high ISO performance, but frankly it's real close to K20D in absolute terms and was pretty much state of the art and competitive at time of release. Nikon D300 isn't dramatically better; so far, all I've seen that is APS-C and significantly better are the newer Canon 7D and K-x. I think it's fairly safe to expect the next generation of bodies from all makers to have 7D and K-x as their benchmarks to try and match...many will succeed.
    Anyway, good luck with your new equipment, Brad. Whether the grass is actually greener or not, sometimes we need to check it out ourselves to know for sure we're on the track that's best for us.
  25. John,

    I think we all want Pentax to succeed and prosper. But for them to “wrangle in every pro photographer they can and sell trillions of cameras” is a prescription for commercial suicide.

    Realize that for the professional market, unlike the retail consumer market, a camera brand is more than equipment and parts. It’s about solution design, high-touch service, honeying up key retail vendors, and multi-layer visibility and promotion.

    Today, infrastructure support and service is provided by the big two for 135mm formats, and the top brands in the medium-format market. In the old days, Pentax may have done some of this for the medium-format market. That’s the historical professional market for the brand. To expect the same for the APS-C cameras is unreasonable. We’ll see how the 645D plays out. Rolling out this product with weak on-demand support will constitute the “hole in the system.”

    From what I’ve been told, Pentax always straddled the line between advanced hobbyists and professional photo-journalists and event shooters--along with some VARs like Lester Dine fulfilling a key dental market.

    Some of this still applies today. My perception is that working pros using Pentax gear are very knowledgeable and persistent at solving problems creatively--Mis summarized it perfectly above, “It's just more hard work than it should be.”
  26. Good luck Brad! I'd be interested in the equipment list too.
    As for the 'State of the Pentax Union', Here's my take. I think Pentax is on the up-swing. There seems to be a low level buzz about Pentax. There are always rumors, but now I'm hearing people in the industry saying 'stay tuned' there is good stuff ahead from Pentax. From the sound of it, there will be a push in the professional market. Probably the same segments they used to service back in the day. Wedding and portrait photographers for sure and also some of the nature guys too (many a National Geographic was shot with Pentax). It seems fairly certain that the 645D is really going to happen. It also seems that something else is afoot too. Is it FF? Nobody is saying. What they are saying is that they can't say anything owing to non-disclosures. That fact may say more than anything else. So, I'm staying tuned...
  27. Hi Brad,
    Please email me about your equipment. I imagine the Canon af speed alone should be fun for you, best of luck!
  28. ME that's very true. I was reading in Professional Photographer UK that Canon had a room (they do this at every big show apparently) in the back of this fashion show the writer was working. It was the typical European catwalk event. Big pit of 180 photographers all shooting one of the big 2 brands. In this back room were technicians, support people and spare gear available for free loan should your camera or lens have an issue. Each shooter had his camera cleaned and any adjustments done before entering the pit. Same service afterward.
    Imagine the infrastructure cost of doing that. And mostly all to maintain an image at the top of the food chain. From the article, it's done at every major show worldwide. Now if they do that at an event that very few see on TV, they must do it for major football games, [the other type] football games, Baseball, Golf, Basketball, Tennis, Olympics and so on.
    I've often read that the pro segment costs them money and even though the gear is very expensive, plus the service fees to be in the pro "club", it comes nowhere near what it costs to support the shooters. It's all there to keep the brands in the public eye and leave an impression that you have to shoot canon or Nikon to be good. One of the reasons the 70-200f4 is white. So you can look like the big guys.
    Small brands are never going to risk that investment first (and it would have to be there first before the gear is even sold) on the prayer that they will take a large chunk of the Pro market away just so the camera brand is seen at the sidelines of the Superbowl.
  29. stemked

    stemked Moderator

    Pity that the 3rd partys (Sigma/Tamron/Tokina) dumped their 400mm f5.6s. The Sigma APO verson with the 77mm filters was a very nice lens, and it would seem to me that a lot of them were sold. It's a relatively light lens for its focal length and gives VERY acceptable shots even with a 1.4X TC (the older version was even lighter, but somewhat delicate). Coupled to the ability to use these lenses with very improved higher ISOs on the new digitals I would think that the lenses would sell well. Sigma and Tamron have now gone to heavy zooms as their answer in this range. Anyway, if they couldn't maintain a decent 400mm f5.6 in their line when they already had the lenses tooled I suppose it maybe too much to ask Pentax to make one from scratch.
    I am always pretty shocked to see the prices a few of the rarer A or FA lenses on e**Y. I have to be careful now that my wife doesn't see how valuable my old lenses are or I suppose she is going to sneak behind my back and sell them as a 'better investment' than any of our stocks.
  30. FWIW, I've read that the SSM-equipped Sony/Minolta lenses make the Canon and Nikon AF speed look quite pedestrian. I hope to be able to afford one some day.
  31. Justin wrote: Fast primes: you do realize pentax had a 35mm f2 that I bet was better at all apertures than your nikon. And then there is the little known 31mm which is an OK lens so I've heard.​
    I have complained about this numerous times on all forums, and I will continue to do so. This is the situation that pissed me off most about Pentax and almost cost them losing my money. I was waiting FOREVER for Pentax to release, or at least announce, a fastish affordable normal prime, like a DA 28mm f/2 or f/1.8. I don't need it to be Limited or DA*. In fact, I'd rather it weren't either of those because I wanted to afford it (although I would have splashed out for a $400 Ltd version). This lens never came, and the roadmapped DA* 30mm disappeared off the map. I came very close to purchasing either a Sigma 28mm f/1.8 or 30mm f/1.4. This --> ] [ close. Luckily for Pentax, Bill Gates decided to offer 25% cashback for a while, and I found a reputable New York store on eBay selling the 31 Ltd for a good price (in relative terms). It was still a large investment for me, even after cashback, but I now had my normal fastish prime (albeit a little longer than I preferred).
    Many people can't afford to spend $965 on a normal prime, especially Pentax users, who tend to be money-conscious. Don't get me wrong, the 31 Ltd is a fantastic piece of glass and would cost more than that if it were in another brand's skin, but the point is that we should have an alternative available for those who can't spend that kind of money. Nikon has that popular 35mm f/1.8 DX for $200 (although that's too long for me on a cropped sensor), Canon has a full-frame 28mm f/1.8 EF for $460 that's a lot smaller than the Sigma version, and Pentax has...nothing in production that's affordable and reasonably fast below 50mm...and nothing affordable and reasonably fast above 50mm either (the DA 70mm f/2.4 is not fast, sorry). Where's the affordable 90mm f/1.8? (Canon's 85mm f1.8 is $370, for pete's sake and Nikon's $450). How about an affordable, compact DA 135mm f/2.8 (which Canikon don't have) and a pricier DA* 135mm f/1.8?
    Yes, Pentax have to be different to Canikon in order to stay alive...but not offering an affordable fast standard prime is not the best way to be different. Not having affordable, fast portrait lenses isn't going to help either.
  32. A lot of interesting and valid posts in this thread. It is customary that I always enter late to say something after Mis has posted, so here I go with a few facts as I see them. In other words, they are opinions. :)
    Pentax is simply not a brand for professionals because of their lack of a support network and their lack of market penetration. This was finally stated a couple of posts above. It's a Catch 22 for them, but a reality they had better be aware of.
    Nonetheless, there are three things Pentax have done right. First is the FA Limited series of lenses, some of the best produced by any company at any time in photographic history. But the subsequent DA series sacrificed speed for even smaller size, which is not to everyone's taste. And the special rendering of the FA cousins is also not present. Perhaps they are just as sharp, but I don't see the "magic" that made the FA43 as good as any Leica. (And not coincidentally the only Pentax lens to ever be released for that system.)
    Point two: Pentax has feature-packed small cameras with great ergonomics. When I was looking to get into DSLRs it was between Olympus and Pentax for this reason. I simply think Canon's are horrid and Nikons have made some choices I cannot stand. Both are too large for someone who wants to have their camera with them at all times. No-one has smaller weather-sealed bodies than Pentax. And when you throw SR into the mix it is a home run.
    Point three: price. A few years ago one could assemble a first-class Pentax system for very little when compared with the big two. This is a big advantage in the hobby market where it is disposable income and not investment income driving the show.
    But this is all ancient news. The FA Limiteds are fading into history. I do not think any newer lens has matched their quality, their beauty, the way they feel in the hand. (Though the DA Limiteds try.) So too all the body advantages of Pentax have been well established. Newer models have done little to improve what was available from the 6 MP DSLRs. The old bugaboos of AF speed and accuracy, ISO performance, flash accuracy and so on still haunt the line. And of course the lack of long glass, a teleconverter, etc.
    Finally, there was last year's price increase. Before, an FA Limited was pricey but worth it. Now they are just astronomical. Even the FA50 doubled in price, so there are no cheap entry-level primes. There are no really fast digital primes. And, yes, a real hole at 28mm. Used prices have also gone up steadily, to the point where bargains are impossible to find.
    I have not recommended Pentax to anyone since the price increase. Not that I have changed my mind about my gear... it rocks. Though I was late to the party I am damned glad I bought in when I did.
    I wonder: who will be the new Pentax? Maybe it will be Pentax themselves. Or maybe we have seen the end to the type of thinking that delivers quality and ergonomics at an affordable price.
  33. It is customary that I always enter late to say something after Mis has posted​
    I didn't realise that was our custom, Robin. I quite like it :) And I agree with everything you've said.
    Just to make it clear, I don't think Pentax should try to appeal to professional photographers (as people perceive professional photographers: Guys with big cameras and lenses clicking furiously away). But, and this is a big but, they should produce a system that could be used by some professional photographers if they so wished.
    If anyone wants me to expand on that, I will.
  34. Oh, and for the record (on the subject of Pentax going for the pros):
    GOLDEN, CO. (January 31, 2008)…PENTAX Imaging Company has announced a PENTAX Professional Services program (PPS) to support professional photographers with several services and benefits. Designed exclusively to support PENTAX products for the working pro, membership is complimentary and limited to working professional photographers.
    Known for superior photography products including the K series of digital SLR camera bodies that are compatible with every PENTAX lens ever made, PENTAX systems allow lens interchangeability for a multitude of photographic options. PENTAX will continue to release new and exciting lenses including super fast, special purpose, impressive zoom ranges, and telephoto lenses that will incorporate the new SDM (Supersonic Drive Motor) technology for ultra fast and quiet auto-focusing.
    Benefits to members of the new PPS program include:
    · 72 hour rush turnaround on most PENTAX digital SLR repairs. (Repair charges may be incurred depending on existing or extended warranty programs.)
    · Short-term equipment loans that allow photographers to evaluate equipment prior to an actual purchase and/or borrow unique or limited availability lenses for one-time shoots.
    · Direct access to dedicated customer service representatives in PENTAX headquarters to answer technical questions, arrange product loans, or monitor equipment through the repair process to make sure the repair process is timely.
    PPS membership is limited to PENTAX professional photographers who derive 51 percent or more of their annual income from photography. Membership may be obtained by completing a PENTAX Professional Service program application. Interested photographers are asked to complete the application, provide an original signature and mail it to the address listed on the form (fax or e-mail copies of this application will not be accepted). PENTAX will notify new members about acceptance within 2-3 weeks. At the time of acceptance, PENTAX will provide more information about rush repair servicing, short-term product loans, and a list of the contact information for PPS customer service representatives who will be able to assist with any aspect of the PPS program, products and services.
    For more information about the PENTAX Professional Services program including an application, e-mail customer.followup@pentax.com or call 1-800-877-0155 (press “0” and ask to speak to PENTAX Professional Services).
  35. Misrerererere, that ''press'' release is a couple of years old. But in typical pentax fashion, nobody knows or few people know anyway.
  36. The application has been sitting on my desk at work for a while--keeps getting buried by things due yesterday. It's a rather nice presentation. You have to have your professional documentation in order. There are some legitimate benefits, like lens borrowing and quicker repair turnaround. On the phone, the folks administering the program are very customer oriented.
    A couple of times a year I accompany a visiting shooter with a borrowed $6000 Canon lens (like that lovely stabilized 500mm) scout shooting locations in Seattle and Puget Sound. It costs to join the Canon program and there are some income requirements for "higher" levels of service.
  37. John Wilson wrote:
    Best of luck, Brad.
    I fully support Brad. Let this be a lesson to all gear manufacturers. We are customers, not employees. Brand loyalty is built through providing the customer the best tools that can be had at competitive prices, not through some sheep like mentality of the customer. Pentax makes a fantastic product but there are glaring holes in the product line that are no secret to anyone. If Pentax makes the business decsion to ignore these holes they are actively telling customers to go somewhere else. Apparently Pentax believes their business model is sufficient that they don't need customers like Brad.​
    John is right. Little things like the SDM TC, weather proof 24mm prime for me, Reps in stores, A service center instead of the corner garage, and a K-7 with the Nikon / Sony 12mp sensor.
  38. How about an affordable, compact DA 135mm f/2.8 (which Canikon don't have) and a pricier DA* 135mm f/1.8?​
    Uhhh humm, you do have an affordable 135mm 2.8. It's called the 50-135mm. unless you want to be really small (and it's fine if you do, I have no problem with that). Yeah, if it was really small like Rose's 135mm she was loaning out, I would look at it, but couldn't justify it. The 50-135mm is the only lens i need at that length.
    Other than size, I can't see a major advantage to a 135mm 2.8 prime. Actually I'd rather see a 180mm or 150mm f/2 (f2.4 whatever) if it was possible based on cost/sales price point. Something that came close to replicating a 200mm f/2 or if possible gives a littler more reach like a faster crop factored 300mm.
    While I wouldn't buy a 90mm anymore (i have the 90mm Voigtlander), I would have snapped one up if it came as a limited around f/3.2 (or faster) before the Voigtlander. I spent a decent penny on the 90 VL, so a Limited version probably wasn't out of my realm of possibilities.
    As far as Javier's complaint with the TC...probably the most damning point of the whole thread.
    I couldn't agree more. I think a really high quality SDM 1.4X TC would be amazing paired with the 200mm f/2.8.
    Heck, cut us a deal. Sell the TC and 200mm as a package.
    Believe me, I expect IF a 1.4X ever materializes, it will cost about $400-500. Which is still cheaper than buying the 300mm F/4 and takes up less space, but I am doubtful it's gonna be something everyone has in their bag from day 1.
  39. Canon and Nikon both have stabilized 17-55/2.8 zooms... FWIW.
  40. I'm sorry that I haven't been here in the fray: my computer bit the dust and I've mostly just been waiting for Dell to send me a new one. I didn't mean for this to turn into a general bitch session, but I guess that is inevitable.
    I did not want to trash Pentax because I really have loved my Pentax system and there is plenty to be said, both good and bad, about Canon and Nikon. Someone asked what I needed beyond the DA*300 and the Sigma 50-500. The DA*300 is a superb lens and I wish there was a Canon adapter for it. The Sigma 50-500 does not, I am sorry to say, produce the quality of images that you can crop the hell out of and still get a good photo. Before I bought the 7D, I did some bird shots with the 100-400 and the Canon, mostly the lens I think, blew the Pentax-Sigma away. As soon as I auction off all my 35, 4x5, DSLR camera gear and some other stuff, I hope to find a used 500 to complete my starter system.
    I wanted to go with the D300s but when you look at the prices of the really big lenses, Nikons are several thousand dollars more.
    I think the Pentax ergonomics blow away both Nikon and Canon. That said, I do not like the trend towards smaller that the K7 shows us. Canon has a disaster called a "M-Fn" or multi-function button. Translation: If you've tried everything else, try this one last button. I like Pentax's use of two e-dials much better. The 7D with battery pack is much heavier than the K20D plus grip.
    The Canon AF, especially on SDM lenses, is much, much faster.
    Well, I have to finish putting my computer together, then I'll be able to start shooting again.
    Thanks to everyone for the well-wishes.
  41. Brad good luck with the new gear and has been said before, don't be a stranger.
    I didn't think this was a bitch session at all but actually a very good discussion and letter to Pentax. I hope they are reading.
  42. I thought it was more of a "critique" than a "bitch" session :)
    Like Brad says, all brands have strengths and weaknesses. We need to choose accordingly.
  43. I didn't think anyone was bitching. I am sure Canon and Nikon users could put together a list of complaints as well.
    I think most of us are generally happy with our system, or we wouldn't be here.
  44. I'm not saying Pentax is wrong. It's their train set and they can run it however they like. But Brad has only one single person to satisfy and that is himself. It's a shame Pentax gave away Brad's business to Canon. It's a shame Pentax doesn't believe sports shooters are a valuable customer base.
    I have to agree with the original poster's decision to shift away from Pentax owing to his professional requirements. It's very difficult to work with the K and M Pentax long lenses above 400mm and digital viewfinders. This is a major reason why a new Pentax lens at 400mm or more is needed with autofocus and full AE capabilities. Many are doing very good work with the DA 300mm and converters but for some others, myself included, thiis focal length is inadequate for serious bird photography.
  45. Hi Folks.
    I too did not see this as a bitch session in anyway shape or form. In fact, I thought it was a pretty nice conversation....Having said, that, this is one of things I appreciate the most about P.net. The people here atleast in the Pentax forum are some of the nicest, most respectful you will find any place...I would never even consider having this type of conversation at PF....
    As far as Nikon Goes, I agree with Justin. Having spent more and more times lurking in Nikon Forums, you should read the bitch sessions going on there. Things like the Nikon D700's that are dying and such and all the missed focused captures people are getting...EVERY camera manufacture has problems. All of them do...Even Leica...
    The main reason I bought into a second system is for the high iso performance that is important to me. Notice I said bought into. I am NOT going away from Pentax because they ''IMO'' have the best street cam shooting set up. The K20D with the little primes is unbeatable...
  46. I'll say it again. There doesn't need to be 3,4,5 different long lenses in any line up. Just a good 300mm and a 500 or 600mm. IMHO there's zero benefit to having a 400mm f5.6. I'd rather use a 300mm f4 with a 1.4 TC, it's more flexible. We have a top tier 500mm available to us. The Sigma 500mm f4.5 and it has 2 matched TC's which will work with it. I suspect that if Pentax built a 500 or 600mm in the same speed, it would be 30-50% more money.
    The only issue is AF speed and ISO that is now dissipating. The K-7 and KX have improved the AF speed over the K20D and the KX has shown it can take great High ISO shots. 12Mp is enough for cropping if need be. Heck the D3s is only 12Mp.
    I'm not contradicting what I said before. I want more of both in the next body. AF needs to be improved to at least match the big 2. But I tested a D700s against the K-7 and the gap is closing. ISO needs to be better in the next top tier body, the KX shows it can be done.
    But to suggest we have no long glass of excellent quality is simply wrong. What I read between the lines every time I read or post to this comment; I see this: "I want a 500mm f4.5 at $2000.00." Well that ain't never gonna happen. Don't forget as well that Sigma has the 300mm f2.8, add the 2x EX TC to that and you have an excellent 600mm f5.6 lens.
    If you look at the Canon 600mm f4, it is nearly double the Sigma 500mm f4.5 and both will have SR/IS. So where's the problem?
    Finally, note that both Tamron and Tokina don't make long glass. There's a reason for that. There's no point. The market is much too small and the cost of limited line lenses, much too high. It's not worth doing. Lots of forum posters complain of the lack of long glass but few will ever buy the top tier lenses they can get now.
    I'd much rather Pentax spend R&D money on SDM, ISO, AF and a couple other things in the next generation. Skip the long lenses that will cost a fortune and sit on the shelf.
  47. Peter,
    Spot on...I don't think the gap is that bad.
    The K-7 is a landscape shooters dream IMO. It's a beautiful camera with really useful features, that lacks really one thing...high ISO.
    I think if they put the K-x sensor into the K-7 they would have a hell of a camera.
    for me, I like the K-7, but I don't have the needs of many at high ISO. on the flip side, I do need a rugged body and a compact body, the K-7 is a winner to me.
    As far as the long lenses, you nailed it. True some people will never buy a Sigma lens out of principal. But most who WON'T buy a sigma lens are not going to drop double on a Pentax model. I enjoy my Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 mounted to my Nikon bodies.
    I would venture to say, out of all the people complaining about lack of long fast glass, only about 3-5% would actually buy a $3000-4000 lens (or more).
    It's one thing to want to see it in a lineup, it's another to be able to sell enough of them to justify production.
    I think if Pentax could give us a 300mm f/2.8 and a good TC most people, pro or amateur would be happy. heck, if they could give us a good TC with the existing lenses, most people would be happy.
  48. Not to be much of a tag-teamer, however, I’m finding myself agreeing with Peter Z here. Lenses beyond 300mm represent a huge cost for a manufacturer. Proportionally the cost would be higher for Pentax too.
    As noted prior, once you get beyond, say, $2500 for a piece of gear--especially a lens used on once-in-a-lifetime adventures--it becomes more than a retail transaction. The expectations are too high. Pentax would have to offer alignment services, and host seminars on how to use the whole system (camera+lens+whatever) to take better wildlife photographs, preferably hosted at regional wildlife rehab centers or community zoos. Then you gotta sponsor the shooter/teachers. That costs money.

    I think most of us would like to have multiple 400-500-600mm lenses available. When confronted with the real-world costs how many would be able to purchase one? As Peter says, one could cobble together a long-range solution, however as Mis says, it’s harder than with other brands. To me, that’s probably good enough for the Pentax platform right now.

    I was out on a leisure shoot two weekends ago with a group. A fellow shooter had a Canon stabilized L 500mm lens. It was fun to see her hoist the 13lbs up and capture a pileated woodpecker. But I’d have a hard time rationalizing the $6500 cost unless it was a business expense—and that implies a whole bunch of other acceptable costs that come with that territory.

    The pro wildlife market is just not a space for Pentax even though we want it to be. At the beginning of this year I joined the Nature Photographers Network, to get feedback from some of the world’s best nature photographers. I invite you to check out the editor's picks of 2009 , especially the wildlife ones taken with long lenses. They’re amazing and taken with the usual suspects.

    Now I’m not saying that it’s impossible to shoot sports and birds with a Pentax camera. Many of those shots were taken with lenses under 300mm. But I think it helps to be honest with oneself about the level quality we want to live with.

    I’m perfectly satisfied shooting fine art with a Pentax DA 70mm Ltd, and professional events with a DA* 50-135mm. And for youth sports and birds I’m quite OK with the consumer-level Bigma. When on a longer birding venture I’ll hedge my bet with a TC + the fine A* 200mm f 2.8. If I had the DA* 300mm, I’d take that too—but I don’t because it’s one too many expenses for me.

    That said, if sports and wildlife was my livelihood, or all I photographed avocationally, then I’d simply purchase a better tool made by another company. It's the picture that counts.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  49. That brings up a very valid point Michael. Not only learning to shoot with a long lens, which is quite different than walking through the woods with a 200mm in your hands.
    it becomes more than a retail transaction​
    You also have to consider other expenses. with a long lens. Some type of proper case to carry that beast and the right tripod with most likely a Gimbal head like a Wimberley with a new set of legs that can support the whole thing. It's going to be a challenge to get this for under $1000.00
    I remember Marc Langille's posts on his used 250-600mm new-to-him lens. The head and leg assembly was more than $1000 and Dave Hollander has also dropped about that much after trying to do it for less and realizing you just can't cut corners on a lens that is that heavy and will vibrate in even the slightest breeze.
  50. This is my first post in quite a while.
    Good luck Brad with your new purchase. I'm sure the 7D + lenses will help you express yourself creatively in ways pentax cameras may be restricting. Also, email me if you are planning to sell some of your equipment.
    I often hear comparisons between Pentax and Apple's business strategy, but where I feel Pentax could still learn something from Apple is the way they hype up their products prior to launch. The ipod/iphone/ipad are obvious examples, but they also made a pretty big deal when introducing multitouch keypads 3 years ago. Apple have also been releasing products in a timely manner, and the long trail of rumours that date back to when I was a freshman about a 'soon on the shelves' 645 only hurt the company's image.
    I am very impressed with the improvements in their current line up: AF Speed and Continuous Shooting Rate. ISO performance will invariably increase with later models, but, I don't find myself shooting above 1600 that often anyway.
    What I am happiest about is their marketing. I would like a red camera, and since all dslrs out there right now can technically meet my requirements, why shouldn't colour be THE deciding factor?
    I've also started seeing pentax equipment at more places recently, but their presence is still small. A year and a half ago, I bought a Canon 1000D in Singapore, because I couldn't find Pentax in any of the stores I went to (although the day after buying my camera, I walked into a store that did have the K200D, isn't that a case of Murphy's Law?). I don't remember seeing Pentax gear being on display in futureshop (its a Canadian electronics chain store to those who are in warmer climates) three years ago when I was shopping for laptops. Back then, they pretty much only had Canon equipment, and some Nikon, but their dslr aisle had a big Canon logo behind all the display cameras and lenses. Last week, I walked in to buy a laptop there again and saw the K-x siting there along with a couple of Sony models, two Nikons and an Oly. There's another store, Japan Camera, in a very busy mall in Montreal (the Eaton Center) which gives Pentax a lot of shelf space. However, Astral (or Black's elsewhere in Canada) didn't have any Pentax equipment on display in their Eaton Center store.
    I hope that Pentax will make sound marketing decisions and stay in competition. That can only be good for us consumers, regardless of what letters are displayed on our cameras.
  51. As some of you know, I was one of those crazy dudes that shelled out $4200.00 for the Sigma 500F/4.5 and the 1.4 matching TC. I have used it only handful of times in the past two years and have been trying to sell it now for the past few months. While many want it, few can justify that kind of expense.. My main reason for using it so little is the weight. I suppose if I where still 25 years old or so, I could schlep it around. It is a trully amazing lens, but very impracticable unless you have some big guns. The gimbal tripod that was required is another small fortune...So my go too long lens set up is my 100-300F/4.0 sigma and matching TC's...So the long lens is not an issue for Pentax....BUT this brings up another point. In order to use those Long lenses, you need to be able to shoot at ISO's up around the 1600 Range and usually this is not a problem for the K20D, but I would never even think about ISO 1600 with the K-7....''IMO''....
    Now, I have been looking at Long glass for my Nikons and I am trying to decide if I want to sell Daniel or Claire. ;-)
  52. Javier,
    I have to disagree with only 1 thing. The idea you 'need' ISO 1600 to shoot long lenses is false. No doubt it can be helpful, but it isn't necessary.
    Remember, back in the days of film, people did create some beautiful wildlife shots and even landscapes with very long lenses, and they were mostly using 50-200ISO film. Sure they might be pushing it a few stops, but rarely did they push to 1600 or more.
    So in that respect I have to disagree. As the digital age has evolved, we have become jaded to the need for high ISO. That isn't to say the fact that high ISO has become a defacto standard should be ignored. if everyone else has it and you don't, you are at a disadvantage.
    I think with the digital revolution people expect both longer and wider lenses. my guess is most people back in the days of film were very happy with a lens that hit 210-300mm, and a lens that hit 20-24mm on the wide end. It seems with the digital era underway, people expect lenses closer to 15mm (in 35mm terms), and as long as 500-600mm in (in 35mm terms). All of this could be the result of the super zoom digital compacts that many people grew up on. Afterall, back in the days of film, most point and shoots had modest zoom ratios. since most people get a start on something besides an SLR, this would make sense to some degree.
  53. Justin, It is fine to agree to disagree. Having said that, in my limited birding experience and shooting at the horse track, I have found that the min shutter I need to freeze the motion is 1/1000 and usually even higher than that. I have tried it with shake reduction on and off and the results are the same. Infact, I am not sure that the shake reduction even works at those shutter speeds. For sure the shake reduction works wonders at slow shutter speeds.
    As far as film goes, I think that film is much more forgiving than digital. Now in saying that, I have not used a lens longer than 200MM on film, so I don't really know.
  54. I think we are living in the golden age when it comes to photography, we have companies offering equipment and value that has not been seen for some time. Take pentax K7 we have a semi pro cropped sensor camera with robust amount of personal control in a package that really is a disposable cost when compared to high end cameras, also take a look at the k20d now $900 can. I damaged my first k10d which was a right off, it hurt but if it would have been a flagship canon, It would have ended my picture taking for sometime. I do not see any real advantage from one system to an other when it comes to cropped sensors most are on equal ground you really have to dig hard to find any weakness in image quality from all the major brands, I think what sets cameras apart is the personal controls and weather seals that body has and which sets pentax ahead of the game. As far as pentax lacking in long glass yes they have drop the ball but third party companies have picked up this slack and have come along way when it comes to quality of their products. My favorite big prime is the sigma 300 2.8 DG with the crop factor its more like a 500mm I don’t know how many ever try packing a prime 500 with body around you do not get very far. I have fallen in love with the 300mm fatma and using a 1.4 conv and 2 conv I can just about shoot anything anywhere(wildlife). With the combined cost of under $6000 including body its just about disposable (with a few tears). For the cost I have no hesitation to take the rig out into the outback with mud, sand, snow, cold and rain. I have seen many leave equipment behind because of he fear of damage, I have to tell you, the image quality of a photo taken with flagship canikon camera from inside the backpack left at home is horrid. A quick list of my body count
    Ist ds many times repairing the shell with JB wield, finally killed in action winter 2006
    Fall 2007 first k10d joined Jack & Jill at the bottom of the hill
    Fall 2008 second K10d did not like the tailgate of the pickup truck
    Winter 2009 K20d , Found out that the 20d is allergic to plastic clips on cheap straps in cold weather ( broke the strap) landed on pavement camera survived but the 28mm 2.8 did not make it (heart broken). Add note on the fatma 300 its FF compatible so it works perfect on my FF pentax body also the boken of the lens is unmatched in the prime 300 category
    One of my recent photos taken the K7 with the fatma 2 conv
    Special notes: tripod, mirror lockup and bean bag @ F 4.5 1/13sec iso200 this was a very low light photo ½ hour before sunrise with overcast supplying an almost shadow less lighting No PS just processed in camera.
  55. I forgot to mention the best big prime glass and cheapest is made by wolverine and they are a damn good boot, so get out and start walking.
  56. My Perfect system for bird brains
  57. Nice, both the eagle and the bluebird! I have tried to get a decent shot on one of those bluebirds for years but they are so skittish that I can never get ready and/or close enough before they split.
    So what TC's do you guys like? Are there any that clearly stand above or below the rest? Taking some moon photos the other night I decided I still want a little more reach with my 55-300.
  58. Matt,
    This newer thread covers TCs. I have found that TCs work significantly better with prime lenses rather than zooms. There's little magic here: the better the quality of the prime lens, the better the performance of the TC.
  59. Michael is absolutely right about this, Matt
    There's little magic here: the better the quality of the prime lens, the better the performance of the TC.​
    and the stronger the magnification the more critical the quality of the lens becomes. I have seen impressive results from the 55-300 & the Tamron 1.4x TC but I'd be wary of pushing beyond that. Let me pass on the mantra I'm learning: "Get close."
    I just caught up on the extended discussion. I'll just say that Marc Languille and others have convinced me that it's possible to do high quality wildlife photography with existing Pentax gear: whether I can do it remains to be seen but I'm having fun trying.
    It would be cool if (after they resolve the SDM issues) Pentax brought out a top notch fast weather-sealed 500mm & appropriate TC's. It may well be too late as far as I'm concerned but having that option out there could be important in a marketing sense. At this point, however, I'm more interested in the successor to the K-7, hoping for an even bigger & brighter viewfinder and continued improvement in high ISO performance.
  60. "I'm always amazed that the newest, latest and greatest is viewed as a "must have for my work" when the difference is so small,
    compared to what one has."

    Oh, man.

    The 7D at ISO 25600 looks better than anything Pentax has at ISO 1600. One could save a lot of money by shooting at high ISO
    speeds with a used, slow, long lens as opposed to a fast lens. Not to mention the increased possibilities.

    Pentax makes great stuff but the differences are vast between any of their offerings and Canon's 7D.
  61. The 7D at ISO 25600 looks better than anything Pentax has at ISO 1600.​
    So, Andrew, do you have any shots that you can post directly to back up this statement, perhaps some that you took personally?
  62. Michael E, Seriously [​IMG]
  63. I am kind of in the reverse position, wanting to jump ship to Pentax. I used Pentax in my film days but shifted to Canon in the 1990s for its AF, USM lenses and better metering. Pentax's SR in the body, weather sealing and the size and build quality of the K7 would make a really attractive travel package for me, not to mention access to those limited primes.
    However, Canon's AF with ring USM lenses simply leaves Pentax for dead as does the IQ of cameras like the FF 5D which can now be had second hand for around $1100. Pentax's very sad SDM micro motor DA* lenses just tells me Pentax is not catching up, rather it is falling further behind.
  64. Here is the deal. Back in the days of the 40D vs the K10D, the claims were 2 stops better. but the reality was maybe 1/2 stop, and at times I would say in real world shooting and proper processing more like 1/3 stop.
    Then, came the K20D, and again the call was 2 stops difference between the D300 and K20D, when in fact, it was more like 1/2 stop at best.
    The K-7 was a push, meaning it was about as good as the prior models, and some might argue slightly less capable. However, the K-x seems to do quite a bit better.
    I would say if the K-x 12MP sensor was in he K-7s that the difference in Canons 7D and Pentax K-7 would be marginal at best. However, the K-7 is smaller, equally well built (possibly better built), and cost less. I won't toss in ergonomics, because each person has their own ideas of what is ideal ergonomics, but since Pentax and Nikon share similar ergonomics, I'd venture to say that Pentax is pretty decent for a large portion of photographers.
  65. I'd agree Justin. As I have literally thousands of wedding phptos on this very computer taken with a 40D, 7D and a D300s along with my own from the same events. These were taken by my 'second shooters' at various weddings this past year.
    The 40D wasn't any better than the K20D and only noticeable because the metering is about +1Ev by default. So indoors it appears cleaner but at the sacrifice of blown highlights. But overall the rendering from that camera IMO is lousy. Flat and dead looking images that needed lots of PP help.
    The 7D is a nice camera in many respects but I'd also like to see this high ISO claim. From the 700 images or so I have here, I'd say the camera is about 1 stop better than the K20D in terms of noise control with poor indoor light. So for any critical work, 3200 would be pushing it with this body.
  66. Just as a note Peter, Andrew appears to own Nikon gear from his posting history (if any gear at all).
    I am very doubtful he will be able to produce any evidence of his claim.
    Nice to have some actual data from someone who has compared enough images shot in the same conditions.
    Marketing is a powerful thing, it's not whether the Pentax sensors are as good (if not better in circumstances) but it's the Canikon marketing machine that simply squashes Pentax, rather than image quality.
  67. Justin
    Its not marketing. Canon and Nikon simply offer a better range of lenses and bodies. Sure you can do most things with Pentax that you can do with Canon and Nikon, but people value options.
    While most people don't buy expensive tilt *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* lenses, super telephotos, f1.2 primes, etc no one knows what the future holds and it is better to be in a system where one has those options than where they simply don't exist.
    It is the choice that Nikon and Canon offer that kills Pentax. Pentax survives for two reasons. It is cheaper at the entry level, which gets some cash constrained buyers in and it offers some niche products such as expensive pancake primes that a small percentage of the market wants. Much of Pentax's mid range product offers worse value than Canon.
  68. Geoff this is the interesting conundrum. As my work photography has grown over the last couple of years, I've gotten to know the pros in my market as well as met many at seminars and PPOC events in this region. (Professional Photographers of Canada).
    What I find really interesting is that many if not the vast majority of these shooters are not lens collectors. They will have 4-6 lenses in their kit, Often with backups of each important lens. They typically shoot with only 2 favourite lenses. It's the serious hobby shooters that own 10, 20 + lenses. I hazard a guess that even those shooters only use 3-4 favourites most of the time.
    For me, the most important lenses are 4. A good, fast wide zoom, A good, fast mid to long zoom, a fast 28mm and a fast 50mm. Now this isn't a wildlife kit of course. But I've read many blogs or web sites of some serious pro wildlife shooters and they will only have 1 or 2 long lenses paired with a wide zoom. So these people will go to a 3 week trip to Africa or somewhere with 3 lenses and a TC. Both types of shooters are much more interested in a simple kit that they have a completely intimate understanding of how each lens will render an image.
    So although choice is important for all of us. If I look at the Pentax lens line, It's in very good shape. There are a couple of lenses I'd love for my shooting. Maybe a 20mm f1.8, a very fast 90-100mm and/or a 135-150mm f1.8 or f2. Then as I said before, if I was in the market, I'd buy a Sigma 500mm for my long needs. I simple don't see a lens issue with the line, other than a mid prime that is fast. Plus when it comes to top quality shorter primes, we have the best line in the business.
    So I disagree that the lens line is a big issue. Every line has holes. Look at all the Canon and Nikon lenses under 100mm that are missing VR and IS. Both lines (and the kit lens does not count) are missing stabilization under 100mm. This segment of any line is the most used and probably in the most need of stabilized glass. You might buy an f1.2 whatever, but do you shoot wide open? Maybe 10=20% of the time for creative work. You buy the fast glass for focus assist and because it's generally the sharper lenses. Not having VR or IS is a huge issue in my book for these.
  69. Much of Pentax's mid range product offers worse value than Canon.​
    IMO the K-x and the K-7x will change that.
    In fact Pentax offers the opportunity to stand out from the crowd. There is a little poetry in holding a Limited lens, there is a little smile when one sees the Canikons "big guns" flashed around, hell it even feels good to be the underdog that can overthrow the so-callled "leaders" in terms of the general feel of taking pictures, not only the final results may them be counted in mega pixels, pics/second or high ISO.
    An analogy that comes to mind could be that of the British-style sport cars and German-style sport cars. Each has it's own feeling and benefits. Anyway, it is a good thing that we have so many high quality choices nowadays.
  70. Peter
    Have you asked the professionals in your area why they don't shoot Pentax? As I said much of Canon's mid range products are better value. Canon has a 24 f2.8, 28 f1.8, 35 f2, 50 f1.8 and f1.4, 85 f1.8, 100 f2 mostly priced between $100 and $400. Pentax has its limiteds which are mostly slower and more expensive, though nicely built. From what I have seen the Canon primes are just as good optically.
    And just because one rarely shoots at f1.8 or f2 doesn't mean that it is not useful to be able to do so.
    Not being able to do that 10 to 20 per cent of wide open shots just rules out Pentax for me. Photography is not about the averages, it is about the exceptions.
  71. Geoff, I bet if you asked shooters in many markets, you'd get the same responses I get. They often learned on Pentax but when it came time to switch from film to Digital, Pentax was a couple years behind and had no cameras to sell. So they bought into a brand that had DSLR's. Pentax dropped the ball in a huge way. I stuck with my LX, PZ-1p and 6x7. So I still had my lenses to make the move to the *istD.
    So once these shooters made the investment in glass for their needs, they weren't going to dump $10,000+ in gear for sentimental reasons.
    Let me just wave the flag a little and not as a fan boy. I was in a competition with 200 submissions for the cover shot of the regional (4 provinces) bridal magazine. I posted about this a month or so ago. Well of all those submissions a Pentax camera took the shot that placed second and the publisher liked the shot so much, it's going full size on the back cover.
    Now looking at the lenses you mention
    24mm f2.8 - Who cares. It's 2.8 and most zooms of high quality can cover this equally well.
    28mm f1.8 - Pentax 31mm or Sigma 28mm f1.8 (which I own and use with great results regularly).
    35mm f2 - Lots of FA's around still and again close enough to the 31mm that you can have better. But I think they should have left the FA in the line even with the 35mm macro.
    50mm f1.8 - FA50mm f1.4 or 55mm f1.4 or 43mm f1.8 (the superior lens of the bunch)
    85mm f1.8 - FA77mm f1.8.
    100mm f2 - I already said this is a hole where we could use a lens around 90-100mm.
    Lets take the Canon 50mm f1.8 vs the 43mm or 50mm. I've used all 3 quite a bit. The Canon is the worst of the 3 and frankly not much better than the kit lens near it's widest apertures. It surprised me and not worth a cent more than they charge for it. I'd pay the premium to get a lens that takes a good shot.
    Most of the time, above 20mm, the difference between a 43mm and a 50mm is minor. Make a step forward or back as needed to get the framing you want. With Ultra wides, that 1-2mm is huge. But all 3 lines have that well covered.
    Look, you have your position. I respect that, I have mine and we will have to agree to disagree.
    I counter that the lens line is not a problem now. Had you asked me this 3 years ago. I'd say you were right. But not now. If you want to create shallow DOF shots with a Pentax prime, there are plenty of fast options available. Again with Sigma to compliment most of the line, there's no issue.
    I never said that you could not take shallow DOF shots with a Pentax. Lets take the 31mm or 43mm. Both fast, both render incredible images and both can take fantastic shallow DOF shots.
    I noticed that with your lens list, you ignored the SR vs lack of VR/IS on any of that list. To me that why I wouldn't switch to either line. To have a low light capable lens to use in a bar, party reception or whatever and be handicapped by 3 stops is senseless. I've just taken a sharp, fast lens, cranked up the ISO to get a decent shutter speed and lost any advantage I might have had.
    One final point. My fun lenses are Takumars. Yes you can adapt them to other platforms. But if you want a 40 year old lens with SR to go and have some shallow DOF shots? Buy an SMC Tak 50mm. Still one of the best lenses ever built.
  72. Canon 28 f1.8 USM= $459
    Canon 35 f2 = $299
    Pentax 31 f1.8 = $1299
    Canon 50 f1.8 = $99
    Canon 50 f1.4 USM = $349
    Pentax 55 f1.4 SDM = $799
    Canon 85 f1.8 USM = $379
    Pentax 77 f1.8 = $1049
    All of these lenses are reviewed and tested on photozone and the conclusion I come to is that the Canons perform about the same as Pentax, sometime a tiny bit better, sometimes a tiny bit worse but the differences are splitting hairs.
    I rest my case.
  73. Well I'm glad you feel better. As I said, we can agree to disagree. Of course many Pentax shooters have been disappointed with some lenses recent price increases. But at the risk of beating the dead horse. There's always Sigma on a budget.
    If Pentax isn't your cup of tea, buy whatever suits your needs and budget.
  74. Hmmm...just checked B&H and Adorama:
    • Pentax 31 Ltd (an all metal lens, not plastic): $965.
    • Pentax FA 50mm f/1.4 (which you didn't list): $360 (available for $200 until 6 months ago).
    • Pentax 77 Ltd (an all metal lens, not plastic): $785.
  75. Geoff,
    I gotta disagree, again, your points are more marketing related.
    It's like the ads, "we have more white lenses on the sidelines than anyone else."
    While this is true, it's irrelevant to most people, but the mere fact of it sells cameras.
    Choices are good, but the fact is hobbyist and semi pros (semi pros being stock shooters, and freelancers doing photography on the side, rather than as a core source of income) actually spend more money on gear and have higher margins than professionals.
    As Peter noted most pros don't own a stable of lenses, quite the opposite. Most independent pros I have worked with were cheap bastards with taped up cameras, lenses, and a camera (or two) that is at least a generation old. Photography isn't about finding the lens with the best bokeh, or even creativity, it's purely about getting shots that pay the car and mortgage. That is not to say pros (independent or otherwise) don't also shoot for fun, but I have noticed many don't use the same gear for hobby.
    Hobbyist, amateurs, semi pros, can be tricked into believing they need more or should want more. They also tend to collect more, and they of course buy more.
    And Geoff, I really don't see where Canon compares to Pentax in many areas. There cameras are either huge or cheaply made, they make no compact lenses that aren't consumer junk, and 95% of Canon shooters don't own a lens that they can't get in current Pentax, or as a current Pentax variant (new with warranty). Pentax kit lenses have consistently won the kit lens shootout, and the weather sealed kit lenses again give value far beyond Canon. As far as build, stop by your local walmart, Canon Rebel + Kit lens feels like a non working mockup, but in fact it is a real live camera.
    The problem I see is you are fixated on a Canon equivalent, but as stated above, IF Pentax were to fight head to head with Canon it would be gone.
    What they need to do is fill the niche, and just keep plugging along. Yep, this isn't going to please you, or some disgruntled Canon shooter thrilled to death with his Canon options but tired of being jerked around by Canon.
    As far as metal vs plastic. I admit I am biased towards metal, but gotta say, my 35mm f/2 was on par with anything Canon makes optically, and physically it was a very solid lens, it's actually the only lens I regret selling. However, I do love my 43mm Limited I bought with it, and I really can't justify two lenses so close together.
    That said, almost every Pentax mount lens I own, Pentax or not, is metal or high end poly. My Sigma EX lenses are physically as good of lenses as I have seen built, no wobble or play anywhere in the mechanisms, I am fairly certain they are poly carb. To me it is more about tolerances and optics than the choice of material.
    Even my old 28-70mm f/4, which when I bought it back in 1998 I'd have not guessed it would still be going strong in 2010. One of the best optics I own, zoom or prime. Sure enough it's plastic and still holding it's tolerances. My only complaint about that lens is the rotating front element. If not for that, I'd consider it one of the best compact zooms I have ever used.
  76. None of the lenses I listed, perhaps with the exception of the Canon 50 f1.8, I would regard as consumer junk.
    Have you ever handled a Canon 85 f1.8 USM? It has a better build than Sigma EXs of which I have owned three - upgraded them all over time for Canon Ls which are better again.
    Sure I agree with your points about the rebels and kit lenses, but that is one of the reasons I was hoping to jump ship to Pentax - the K7 is a body that really appeals to me. The trouble is that recreating my lens lineup in Pentax looks mostly like a downgrade to me.
  77. I didn't say the Ls were consumer junk, or the non Ls were, just that the light and small lenses Canon makes were consumer junk. You know like the "pastic fantastic 50".
    I have Nikkors, Pentax *, Limiteds, Pentax 645, M42 Taks, Voigtlander and Sigmas side by side, and I cannot pick a build that is superior. Actually, my old M42s are clearly the best built of the bunch, and then I'd obviously go with the Limiteds just because of the all metal build. I have a feeling you upgraded the Sigmas for more than shoddy build. I've got 3 EX lenses, and all of them are built like tanks. All but 1 was bought new, but all are at least 3 years old. No complaints.
    I have not handled a 85mm 1.8 that I can recall. I have no desire too. If I were to sell off all my Pentax stuff I'd build out my Nikon kit some more. I do visit B&H a few times a year, and I play with all the cameras, as well as see the camera lineup at Best Buy and such. Canon never interest me from an ergonomic standpoint, and I see nothing convincing that says their lenses are better than Nikon. So I have a fall back option.
    I am, however, not a Canon hater. I have always praised Canons compacts are top tier cameras. The G series was always very good, if not great, and I've owned 2 G series, and an A series. The old A series offered incredible control, and the S90 is a G11 in a smaller body (which makes me wonder if there is any reason at all to buy a G11)! I just don't like Canon SLRs, and I've been pounded with the 2 stop superiority thing for so long (which according to Andrew is now like 4 stops) that my anti Canon bias is largely a flinch mechanism.
    Anyway, of the brands left, all can produce great results, but all won't suit everyone. I'm glad you like Pentax as an option, it just seems like it isn't in the cards.
    You might be better off looking at Olympus if you stay below ISO 800, they have an interesting lens lineup, and the Micro 4/3s is interesting, but still too pricey, no optical VF, lots of issues I don't like. The K-7 now is superior to the E-3 but prior to the K-7, I always thought the E-1/E-3 were the leaders in the sub $1750 camera war.
  79. Long, supertelephoto lens line up is a Canon strength. And thats real supertelephoto lenses, not extra reach telephotos via crop~magic math.
    In Canon & Nikon forums people routinely post crisp birds in flight images instead of just posting images of birds sitting on a tree limb & looking pretty.
    I have no regrets adding Canon and Nikon to my Pentax kit. I've always been impressed with gear owners who first cash out and then move to another brand. Thesedays we're lucky that we can recover most our prior equiptment costs. But you have to sell it all to recover the outlay.
    I've been selling off my 8 year Pentax accumulation. Kinda sad to see things go, but I'm happy to recover most of the initial outlay, though after the fact, after I bought into Canikon Systems.
    Out and about, I've run into more people who used to shoot Pentax than people who still shoot Pentax. I've yet to come across a current Pentax shooter in the wild. I'll likely run into my first Pentaxians in the wilds once I've sold off all my pentax gear ;^)
    Thesedays, If I wanted a Better~Than~Pentax offers in 2010 Birds~n~Flight shooter kit I'd pick:
    Canon 7D & 400mm 5.6L
    If I needed image stabilization across a very handy range and at best bang for buck cost:
    24-105mm f4 IS
    Then if I wanted a third highly regarded lens to round out the kit:
    70-200mm f4 IS
    Then if I added a future purchase full frame to this kit, guess what, all three lenses are made for full frame !
    Me? I added Canon and Nikon for full frame and specific lenses I choose that complimented my needs, wants & desires. Though I do consider the Canon 400mm 5.6L from time to time, and its a heck of a deal for $1,209 at B&H thesedays. Down from $1,329 X~Mas 2009. Instead my next lens purchase once all the Pentax gear has found new homes is Canon 17mm Tilt & Shift.
    A Pentaxian in 2010 will most likely wait another half decade for Pentax to provide full frame digital, an optimized for digital sensors & speedy autofocus 400mm f5.6, and a ultrawide tilt shift lens. Heck its been 5 years since the 18mp 645D was announced at Tokyo Photo Imaging Expo set to launch "soon" Anybody here own a 645D ???
    March 17th 2005 Kodak~Pentax 645D announcement:
  80. I am sure Brad has made the correct decision for his own photography needs. But I must address some of the other comments here.
    Three years ago I awoke from a long point-and-shoot coma and bought my first digital SLR. Pentax were the only firm to offer a small body with great ergonomics and in-body stabilisation... and for a great price. Canon, on the other hand, wanted to sell me a piece of plastic in the hopes of getting me to upgrade to the next piece of plastic and so on up to a decent camera. That is not an ethos I can live with. (Nor could I afford their decent cameras.)
    Pentax seemed to be based on the way of the tortoise, slow and thoughtful. They are rarely first to adopt newer technologies but instead allow backwards compatibility with any old lens. This attracted me not because I had older glass (I didn't) but because of what it said about the firm. Besides, I am happy with manual focus and one aperture mode, though I have no issue with newer tech that serves a photographic purpose.
    And then there were the lenses. I was lucky enough to make the right decision -- I bought the FA43 Limited soon after the K100DS. I really don't care if Photozone measures this to be only as good as a Canon lens. (Though, by the way, you cannot compare their tests across different sensors.) The lens is simply a joy to use! It brings back the spirit and love of photography. It makes me want to find someone interesting and take their photo. And that's what it's all about, folks!
    Even if Pentax made only the FA Limited lenses and a single body, they would have the camera system for me. I feel the same way that Leica users do about their single body and Summilux. (In fact I believe my system is in many ways better and is certainly much cheaper.)
    And here's a picture.

    K20D with FA77 in available light, 1100 ISO (but noise added deliberately).
  81. Oh, and here's a bird:
    K20D with DA 55-300m, just to prove I am sometimes a birder and use zoom lenses. :)
  82. just wanted to say that the cheap canons don't really compare to the Pentax limiteds in contrast, color (IMO of course) and build quality. the usm on the 28mm and 50mm are really nice compared to pentax, but the 28mm 1.8 doesn't resolve all that well and the 50mm 1.4 AF has a history of breaking down (my AF functioned fine though).
    I love L lenses (the 24Lv1 is probably my favorite lens because of it's speed and angle), but while they are faster they are a lot bigger...what I'm getting at is, saying one system is better than the other is a bit ridiculous. There are always trade-offs.
  83. what I'm getting at is, saying one system is better than the other is a bit ridiculous. There are always trade-offs.​
    Well said Russel, and I think what most of us are trying to say.
  84. In Canon & Nikon forums people routinely post crisp birds in flight images instead of just posting images of birds sitting on a tree limb & looking pretty.​
    That is a very strong statement, I wonder if the Pentaxians on the forum care to answer the challenge. Seems like you are saying Canon and Nikon birders are better? Or is it just that the gear they have creates better images? Maybe you can post a crisp bird in flight shot to show them what they should be striving for?
    I'm probably not the only one who is sad you are selling off the Pentax gear though, your photos will be missed in the Photo of the Week threads, hopefully someone will fill the void.
  85. That is a very strong statement. . .​
    It’s an unserious statement at best, Justin. About as legitimate as one implying that professionals don’t use Pentax equipment.
    Oy vey!
    This thread was interesting, but I think we’re now dealing with the limits of some folks’ rhetorical skills more than any insightful analysis of the differences between camera platforms.
  86. I have to agree, Michael, but I hope you agree w/ ME that Javi's troll pic was the funniest thing you've seen on the forum in a while. (well, maybe just this thread, but still...)
  87. 7D images of Bird in flight, shot from a boat:
    I could post other links, but whats the point? Theres Art Morris Birds as Art site that has hundreds of birds in flight images from both Canon and Nikon gear owners. I've never seen a Pentax image at his site. Its an observation I've made in reading various canon and nikon gear forums where people routinely post their birds in flight captures, not just images of birds sitting pretty.
    The original poster wants a Canon 7D, he says he wants Big Bird lenses, so people point out the joy of using Pentax Limited lenses and the joys of owning Sigma lenses to him. Anyone notice he already owns Sigma lenses?
    I find threads like this in Canon and Nikon forums, I'm leaving one brand for another. No big deal, no impassioned pleas by the brand faithful. When Nikon finally added full frame dslrs alot of ex Nikon shooters who had moved over to canon then went back home to Nikon. No big deal. Thesedays its much more common to find photograhers who own both Canon and Nikon. For me its worthwhile to me to own both brands as each has its pluses. Canon has the edge over Nikon on supertelephoto lens selection and price, ect. Nikon has the edge over Canon on ultrawide glass, flash options, ect.
    Justin, you added Nikon gear to your Pentax tools kit. Wasn't there a Limited lens, or a Sigma lens you could have bought instead of adding Nikon gear to your Pentax Kit?
    Let's revisit what Original poster said in his 1st post:
    I am sorry to announce that I am leaving the Pentax crowd and going to a Canon 7D. It was a difficult decision, especially given my investment in Pentax, and it was primarily driven by the availability of big bird lenses. I will be putting it all up for sale: K20, K10, DA*300, Sigma 50-500, (2) 540 FGZ flashes, Pentax 10-17, Pentax 18-85, Sigma 55-300 (?), battery grip Tamron 1.4x TC, Phoenix 2.x TC.
    I've always enjoyed this group. I have visited the "other" group, trying to decide what to buy, and it isn't the same. Pentax people are different: in a good way.
  88. 7D images of Bird in flight, shot from a boat:
    I thought you could post some you have taken since you have the requisite gear.
    It seems like shooting birds in flight with Canon gear is about as hard as cutting a skirt steak with a surgical scalpel, based on your initial post on the subject. I was hoping you could head out the back door and get a few shots for us?
    It's always nice to see some first hand examples from the people making the statements, those are the people whom I tend to place value in their expertise.
    Photography is an interesting thing, while theoretical knowledge is helpful, ultimately the image is what speaks. In an internet age, it's really not hard to let the image speak.
    **I'm going to lock this thread, it's obviously degraded to the point that it no longer has to do with actual discussion and can only digress with the infiltration of uninterested parties.**

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