Pentax Dilemma

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by simon_hickie|1, Nov 8, 2010.

  1. Hi All. Here's the problem. I currently use three cameras: Canon Powershot A570IS compact; Panasonic G1 + 14-45mm kit lens; Nikon D300 + 16-85mm VR lens. I shoot a wide variety of subjects - my photo.net portfolio is typical of what I do - minus the family and pet shots which I keep for personal consumption. I either project digitally at my local camera club, print to a maximum of 16 x 12 inches (the maximum you can go & keep the frame size within local federation size limits) or view on screen. I have shot weddings in the past and would like to do more wedding and event photography.
    I have a rather bad back which limits what I can carry around and really need a 1 body 1 lens solution that gives me the quality I need for prints (my preferred lab prints at 402dpi so I have to interpolate anyway). For digital projector or computer screen display, I see no significant differences between any of the above 3. Currently the G1 gets most use due to its low weight but the lenses are limited. The D300 combination delivers sufficient image quality for my needs but weighs in at a total of 1.4kg. I cannot carry a tripod so image stabilisation is essential.
    I see two body choices in the Pentax arena: the K-r and the K5. The ideal lens would appear to be the 18-135mm with either body. I expect the K5 to fall into budget by the spring (currently shipping just below £1000). The K-r + 18-135mm saves me 0.4kg over the Nikon setup and the K5 + the same lens just below 0.3kg. The weights don't sound like a lot but when walking can be limited to a few hundred yards they become important. Accurate and reliable metering is also important to me and in this area the D300 is outstanding.
    I'm not one to switch systems lightly, but have been pondering Pentax for some time, having been a one time ME Super user and currently owing a Super A, 50mm f1.7 (possibly defective though) and 40mm f2.8 pancake MF lenses as well as some legacy Pentacon M42 lenses.
    Summary: I suspect either the K-r or the K5 will deliver the IQ I am looking for. Either body represents a decent weight saving. I need effective image stabilisation (mainly for longer focal lengths), reliable metering, decent dynamic range (I've seen the thread on the DXO results for the K5) and a one lens solution that hits into the 100mm area. The 18-135mm lens looks to be the obvious choice. If my back improves, I'd like to start shooting weddings again and pick up some event photography (with some faster glass added to the one lens walkabout kit).
    Advice and guidance welcome - particularly from those with experience of both Nikon & Pentax systems.
     
  2. Don't worry about reliability of the meters. They are all reliable now
     
  3. Simon,
    I feel you. I herniated two disc in my back in 10th grade while weight lifting. I had surgery at 23 after almost 10 years of increasing and constant pain. Per the surgeon I was lucky to just have a little nerve damage in my toe...some people are wearing a brace for life following nerve impingement like that. So I definitely understand saving .3kg here and there, it adds up.
    It's really tough to say with the metering, Nikon has mystique when it comes to it's famed 1000 and then 2000px color matrix meter, but honestly I never found it infallible or significantly better than Pentax in normal scenes. Perhaps it does a better job on the fly in really tough scenes. I never had a dedicated Nikon CLS flash system, so I cannot comment on if it was better, but Pentax true weak area is wireless flash and a lot of people complain of the P-TTL flash consistency. It's seems of late fewer people complain of the same issues with Nikon.

    Overall though, Pentax metering has always been accurate for me, if any brands are better I'd venture they are marginally so. I noted in a previous thread that Pentax knows a little about metering, they did make some very highly acclaimed spot meters, and they also brought that know how into their SLR spot metering which is tight and accurate.
    If the K-5 is like the K-7 vs. K-x than the K-5 will give you significantly better SR...about 1.5 stops more. Then again, pentax might have improved the K-r SR by giving it the k-7/K-5 SR. I haven't seen if they did, but it looks like they really boosted the k-r quite a bit so I'm thinking they went for broke with it, throwing all the bells and whistles in. Of course this is minus the K-5 build and sealing and a few other things that might make the K-5 compelling, but the K-x wasn't poorly built by any means.
    You might have noticed the indexing tab thread. While Pentax does offer basic backwards compatibility, Nikon does go a step further with the D300 and D7000. Not sure if this matters but it's a possible point you might want to look at.
     
  4. Thanks Justin. It is indeed something of a dilemma. The new Nikon D7000 saves me about 5oz (in old money), offers dual card slots (important if I shoot weddings again) and means I can keep my speedlights. D7000 prices are now below K5 prices in the UK too. I have no MF Nikon lenses but may add a MF macro lens in the future. For now, I think I'll keep to my mantra 'If in doubt, don't!".
     
  5. Hi Simon,
    If you are going to be shooting weddings sometime in the future, I would suggest sticking with Nikon. I have used Pentax cameras every since I started photography, but just found out what I was missing several weeks ago. A friend wanted me to help him shoot a weekend conference that was all indoors. I brought my Pentax k10d with 70-200mm 2.8 for close shots, and borrowed a Nikon d700 with a 28-70mm 2.8 for wide shots. As you can probably imagine, I only used the d700 throughout most of the conference. The differences that I found were that the meter was right on all the time while the pentax would have been underexposed. I had set the white balance on the d700 to auto, and never had to change it, and the max ISO I went to was 1600 which ended up looking like about iso 400 on the pentax. One major thing that I noticed was while on the Nikon I would shoot at f/4, 1/60, at ISO 800 for a correct exposure, the Pentax had to be at f/2.8, 1/45, and iso 800 for the same shot.
    I know the d700 is a heavy camera as it equals the pentax k10d plus the 70-200mm 2.8 lens. However, I think you would be more happy with the color from the Nikon line. With Pentax it is really hard to get the color to be right on. I'm not sure if Pentax has fixed the color in its newer cameras, but the k20 seems to shift yellow towards the green hue and green towards the yellow.
    As for dynamic range, I compared shots between the Pentax K10d, K20d, and Nikon D700. The K10d, has about 2 stops less than the d700 while the K20d has about 2.5 stops less due to the amount of megapixels and their size. I shot the test shots in RAW and converted the Nikon files to .dng and compared each image in adobe camera raw with the same settings for each shot.
    I've never tried a Nikon d300, but if it's anything like the d700, it will be hard to beat with anything other than another Nikon.
    -Jon
     
  6. Hi Jon. Thanks for the advice and the benefit of your experience. The D300 metering and colour are excellent with very little post processing needed. I believe them to be on a par with the D700. It's looking very much as though I need my back to be fixed & to stick with the D300!
     
  7. Simon,
    just as a note, while I think you should stick with what you have, I don't agree with Jon.
    Here is why?

    He's comparing a mid 2006 camera to a 2009 camera that cost $2000 more. I think it would be perfectly fair to compare the D7000 to the K-5 and see where the chips fall, but I'm doubtful they will be overwhelmingly in either direction.
    As far as the DR statement, I think he's wrong. The K10D definitely holds it's own against the competition there. As a matter of fact, based on DXO test, it would appear (for some unknown reason) APS-C cameras actually do quite well in DR vs full frame cameras. And the Pentax K10D definitely compares well to the D300.
    So as always, I'll concede autofocus, but I'm not quite ready to agree with Jon's statements on the IQ!
     
  8. Hi Justin. Thanks for the added info. I suspect IQ between D7000 & K5 will be similar. The big thing in favour of keeping the D300 is its outstandingly accurate & consistent metering. I'll hold fire I think and hope the back improves (disk rupture L4/L5 if that means anything!)
     
  9. Same thing for me (plus L5/S1, what a b!tch when dealing with multiple nerve distributions in terms of pain and numbness). Do the physical therapy (physio therapy or something on that side of the pond, I believe) and see where it goes, sometimes it is largely controllable with therapy alone unless there is severe impingment. Surgery is always an option, but back surgeries are tricky in terms of outcome. A lot of times, even if they remove the disk fragments people get a post laminectomy syndrome, which is essentially an inflamation of the surgical site that feels similar to what you had going on prior to surgery only without the impingement. Not to mention that once the disk is ruptured it cannot be closed (well, there is a controversial method to seal it by essentially burning it closed, but I don't even know if they do it anymore), so even post surgically more disk material can impinge the nerve root in the future. Good news is the material tends to desicate over 6 months and stop impinging the nerve root.
    Good luck with the spine and the camera gear!
     
  10. OK, so the DR is 12 stops on the d700 while the DR on the k10 is 11.6 stops. When I took a picture that included blue sky with white clouds, and shade as well as some areas in sun, the sky was clipped beyond repair and the shadows were a lot darker than what I got on the d700. All the settings were exactly the same on each camera. For the k20, with 11.1 stops DR, the sky was even worse and the shadows were a little darker than the k10d. I did over shoot on my estimates compared to DXO, but there was a huge difference between the cameras.
    I'm really wondering how Pentax gets 14.1 stops DR out of the k5 where the pixel size is the smallest of any of the pentax cameras! Compared to the d700 again, the pixels are almost half the size of the full-frame.
    -Jon
     

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