Pentax K10D

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by tripanfal, Dec 2, 2007.

  1. I have searched but have not seen many people using this for weddings. Most
    lean toward the 5D/D300. (for entry level bodies) I read the low light
    capabilities on the D300 is impressive.

    I'm thinking dollar for dollar the K10D would be a fine wedding camera. The
    only drawback being low light (no flash in church)...but it has in camera SR.

    With a fast prime and SR, I wonder if ISO 400/800 would suffice in most

    I also read the AF is not as fast.

    Are these things one can work with, considering the price? 2 bodies can be
    bought for the price of one 5D.

    I keep thinking my wedding photographer (11 years ago) used manual focus meduim
    format,as did most I assume. He managed to muddle through... :)

    I'm not thinking of doing this for a living, but I was looking to upgrade my
    Pentax DL and it occured to me there was not many wedding photographers using
    this camera.
  2. The K10D is a very fine camera indeed and perfectly capable of being used to shoot weedings. I used it to shoot this wedding:

    I have a decent amount of experience with general photography and event photography, but that was my first wedding. I say this so that you will understand that most of the failings you might see there should probably be blamed on me, rather than the camera. The client, by the way, is very happy.

    Most of that wedding was shot with two bodies: a K10D and an older *ist DS. During the wedding ceremony, the K10D had a new Pentax DA* 50-135 f/2.8 SDM lens, and the *ist DS (which lacks shake reduction) had a Sigma 18-50 f/2.8. At the reception, I moved the Sigma lens to the K10D. For a very few shots, I also used a Pentax 50mm f/1.4, Pentax 16-45 f/4 or a Sigma 10-20. The new Pentax DA* 16-50 f/2.8 might be nicer than my Sigma counterpart but I haven't seen any compelling evidence of that and it's considerably more expensive. I am happy with the Sigma and do not plan to buy the Pentax.

    With good fast lenses, I think the low-light performance of the K10D is fine, perfectly acceptable. By the way, note that many of the shots in that gallery were taken at ISO-E 800 or above. One of the great features of the K10D is a TAv mode. I like to shoot full manual most of the time, but when the light gets low, I switch from M to TAv. In TAv I can set the aperture (for depth of field) and the shutter speed, and the camera will automatically pick the lowest ISO-E that makes an acceptable exposure. It's a very nice feature.

    Auto-focus in low-light is NOT something I would describe as a strength of the K10D, but I can tell you that it's not a major problem, either. I shoot a lot of indoor sports in badly lit school gyms with my K10D, usually with an f/2.8 lens (sometimes with the Pentax FA 50 f/1.4). Occasionally the camera struggles to focus, but I've learned how to deal with this and I think I'm pretty successful. I seldom miss a shot now, in fact, I can't remember when I missed a shot in the last couple of months.

    The biggest problem with a Pentax system for weddings is the fact that the Pentax flash system is weak. I have a couple of Pentax AF 540 FGZ units. They okay, and if you know their strengths and weaknesses, you can make 'em work just fine. But P-TTL (which you're forced to use on the K10D) has some problems, especially causing some subjects to blink in every shot. The Pentax units don't have as high a guide number as flash units for other makes of camera. And they don't have the +2 FEC, either, which can be nice when you're shooting backlit formals. There are ways to deal with these weaknesses, for example, using more than one flash and taking advantage of the fairly nice wireless capability of the K10D.

    I myself go back and forth and back again on the issue of full-frame cameras. My current position -- the one I'm currently willing to bet $10 on -- is that full-frame DSLRs don't make a ton of sense in the long run. I'm certainly not going to be buying a Nikon D3 ($5000!!) and I'm not even tempted by the Canon 5D. I would consider buying a Nikon D300 if I came into a few thousand spare dollars sometime soon. But the rumors are that Pentax has something nice coming next year (possible a model called K20D) and I will probably hold on for a few more months and at least see what's announced before I consider my options. I am trying now to do this as a serious business (not as my only source of income, but as a significant part of my working time). I'd be willing to spend a few thousand more to switch systems if I really thought it was worth it. I have no doubt whatever that the Nikon D300 is a boffo camera. But the Pentax K10D is terrific, solidly built, terrific ergonomics, really a delight to shoot with. My Pentax lenses are excellent, too. The moral is, DSLR buyers these days have lots of really good choices. I would not buy a four-thirds system camera to shoot weddings, but I'm sure somebody's doing it and making it work.

    By the way, there are not many folks shooting weddings with Pentax systems, simply because there aren't nearly as many people shooting ANYTHING with Pentax gear as there are Nikon and Canon. But Pentax is by no means a fringe brand. I know a number of wedding photographers are active over at, in fact, we were talking about creating a sub-forum over there specifically for wedding shooters, but it hasn't happened so far.
  3. The 5d really is considered a high end amateur and pro line camera, not an entry level, although lots of non pros do buy this camera because the pricing is excellent for a full frame camera.

    The price and features of the D300 looks impressive for sure. It is not full frame though, but the D3 is. The Pentax bodies are also not full frame. Many profesional photographers are not concerned if the camera is full frame or not, therefore many pros are doing wonderful work without the need of a full framed camera.

    Best advice I can give you is rent some systems, make a few enlargements around 16X20 or bigger and compare the Pentax, Canon, and Nikon systems. If you don't need to make enlargements over 8X10's and don't plan on doing weddings as a career, then why spend the extra money; perhaps stay with the less expensive Pentax camera.
  4. The rumor is that the K20D will be announced in late January, in time for the big photo show in early February. Should see some interesting lenses too. We might also see a Canon 5D replacement. Since this is a slow time for weddings anyway, I think I would wait to see what's going to be offered.

    William pointed out the K10D's problems, primarily slower AF, limited flash options, and more noise at high ISO. I agree that they are not too significant for occasional wedding use. If you are going into this to change your life I would suggest moving upscale, but that doesn't sound like what you want to do anyway. In-body IS would be nice, and would likely save you money in the future. All cameras are a compromise of one sort or another. Pentax is no exception.
  5. As a Pentax user myself, 3 things come to my mind instantly. 1) SR is no direct replacement of high ISO because you still need higher shutter speed to freeze action. As the shutter speed drops to certain range, even tiny movement from the people will look blurry on the shots. For that you need higher shutter speed, which can be achieved by either higher iso, larger aperture (but shallower DOF as trade-off), or both. And however you may try to find excuse, 5D has far less noise than K10D at iso1600. 2) Only DA* lenses have silent AF. If you need AF, none of the Pentax primes have quiet AF. 3) None of the Pentax DSLRs have quiet shutter/mirror. Imagine you were in the middle of wedding and the environment was very quiet. Would you be comfortable with a noisy camera shot after shot? I am not saying K10D cannot get the job done, but you have to know what you are getting yourself into. And if one can afford a 5D system for wedding, why torture yourself with unneceassily limitations?
  6. I started with the K10D for events and ended up having to buy a 5D. I still use the K10D for travel and theoretically it is a really nice camera for event photography. In reality though I find I need high ISOs and much faster AF in low light situations than I found the K10D capable of. For me 640 ISO on the K10D is just barely acceptable but on the 5D I have no qualms in using 1250 ISO... I also find the Canon flash system to work better for me.
  7. Great info, Thanks for the responses. Like I said, I'm looking to upgrade my DL, and I have some good Pentax glass. I was asked to do a wedding, but I politely declined mainly due to lack of gear. It got me wondering about Pentax and weddings. Thanks again for your input.
  8. The straight dope.. The K10D has a 22-bit AD Converter and produces 12-bit RAW files. The other cameras you mentioned have only a 12-bit or 14-bit AD Converter and produce either 12-bit or 14-bit RAW files.. If gradation and dynamic range are important to you, the K10D easily beats 'em all. (be sure to update to firmware version 1.30 before shooting) Another note - the K10D has less noise at high ISO than either of those cameras you mentioned - Confirmed by DxO Labs. It's key to have good glass, good technique and, the latest firmware. Also, you need (it's a must) the AF 540 FGZ flash. High ISO shots with fill flash are stunning. Lastly, unless you own a very high-end monitor like an Eizo and use an equally high-end editing program, you will NOT see the advantage of even 12-bit as 99% of LCD's are only 8-bit capable so, you don't see the extra detail and fine gradation - ALSO, most printers are only 8-bits. There are professional grade printers capable of 16-bit though - check with your processor. A final mention - Please see the below graphic from Pentax - it puts things into perspective.. And, please visit the Pentax professional photo galleries - You are a professional, no need to look at hokey samples on the net.. [​IMG]
  9. trw


    Borrow one. Experiment. I don't know what Leah F's expectations are, but I just threw my K10d up to 1600iso and shot a few test shots just to see what it would do. The results were way better than I'd expected.
  10. Christopher,

    I have the istDL and had the K10 Pentax is not ideal for weddings. The glass you talk about is very limited and outdated. Pentax lacks an 80-200 f2.8 and the limited series lenses although very excellent for portraits are to slow to focus for weddings.

    I found issues with the K10 focusing in low light often it either FF or BF on the subject. I had to use a 135mm f2.8 lens that was over 15 years old.

    The bottom line for me was that there is nothing Pentax has that would take the place of investing in Canon or Nikon system.
  11. Thanks Jonathan.

    Not being a wedding photographer, I have a strange question I guess.

    The Pentax system is slower to focus than Nikon and Canon, but isin't it still faster than the manual focus cameras used ten years ago, or the 2 Rapid Omega wedding cameras I have on my shelf that were used widely before that?

    Is lightning fast AF necessary? sure it makes it easier, but is it that crucial?

    I wonder how it stacks up to a popular wedding camera 4-5 years ago, such as the Fuji S2. I remember reading at the time the AF in low light was a little slow. I wonder how The K10D compares?

    I get the feeling sometimes that if it's not the latest and greatest, it's not good enough.

    I do agree that having great tools make it much easier to get a job done, but a 1/2" socket wrench from Sears will take off the same bolt a 1/2" Snap-On socket will, and cost 1/4 the price.

    When will it be good enough? When every pro can affored a RED camera, will the forums be full of how inadequate the D3 was?
  12. I shot a couple weddings with nothing more than an *ist D, Tokina 28-70 f2.8, 50mm f2, 135mm f4, a 35mm f3.5, and a bounce flash. The first 5 weddings on this page were all shot with that gear:
    I found it to be a pretty capable camera, but it does have some significant low light limitations, and the lens selection is also limited.
    That being said, now that I have a 5D, 30D, and a whole selection of Canon glass, the Pentax seems hopelessly obsolete. I still take it out from time to time when I want a really small dSLR, though.
  13. I believe I read that Pentax was coming out with a 70-200 f/2.8 early next year, along with a couple others that some think are crucial.

    Nikon and Canon have cameras that focus slower than Nikon and Canon too. Doesn't stop people from buying and liking them.
  14. I sold my Nikon pro gear to buy into Pentax (got a couple of K10Ds)when I realized that in a while Pentax would release a camera similar to the D300 for much less. I could not be happier. I have shot weddings and portraits with no problems. Their selection of primes is great, the 16-50mm F2.8 is the perfect wedding lens. The 50-135mm F2.8 is next on my list. Having said that, if I did not have bills to pay and stomachs to fill, I would have a couple of Nikon D3s sitting around.

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