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Old 17-05-2009, 12:52 PM
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BerrieK
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Question Pentax DSLRs - Advice please

Hey all you very clever people!!

I was wondering if anyone had any experience or knowledge with Pentax DSLRs. My husband (Frank) would like one for his 40th birthday (for non-astronomy purposes) and is a Pentax man...cannot be swayed. He is looking at either

http://www.pentax.com.au/pentax/inde...D=3&modelID=52&

or

http://www.pentax.com.au/pentax/inde...D=3&modelID=61&

As I dont really know all that much about DSLRs I was hoping for some opinions / thoughts / advice from you guys. He's not a photography newby but has not had a DSLR before. I have suggested to him he might look at HDR capabilities. I favour the K20D model, partly due to the larger size sensor and 8bit Jpegs, but looking at all the scecs (which overwhelm me somewhat) am a little concerned that it is more than he will need. But then again technology and features are superceded so quickly 'these days'.

Thanks in advance

Kerrie

edit: he has a Tamron 28-200 lens that I bought hima few years ago that he thinks will interface with the pentax ok

Last edited by BerrieK; 17-05-2009 at 12:56 PM. Reason: extra info added
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Old 17-05-2009, 01:19 PM
dpastern (Dave Pastern)
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Pentax makes some great DSLRs imho - great performance, even better price. Accessories aren't as thorough as Nikon or Canon, and high ISO performance is not as good, nor is AF, but for the average person, it's hard to beat them imho. Pentax cameras are packed with features.

More information and reviews on Pentax cameras can be found here:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Pentax/

A detailed review on the Pentax K20D can be found here:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentaxk20d/

Some of the cons are I'd argue with - not everyone needs 20,000 fps (exaggeration, but you get what I mean), nor super duper high ISOs, nor super fast AF. Live view is still gimmicky imho, and semi useless even in the best of brands. As to WB (white balance), Canon's WB is awful, Nikon's is very good. Sony, I wouldn't touch with a barge pole. A very large barge pole. Make it a 250 parsec barge pole. Did I mention that I dislike Sony?

What does he primarily shoot? People? Landscape? Nature? Sports? General shooting? Does he intend to become more involved in photography? Does he require specialisted lenses (like Canon's excellent MPE-65 1-5x macro lens)? Has the megapixel bug blinded him? More is not necessarily better. There's an old UNIX saying:

less is more

it's very true imho.

Dave
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Old 17-05-2009, 05:22 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts Dave.

I had read that images from Pentax DSLRs at high ISO are quite noisy.

I see from the review you directed me to (and another I have read on photoreview.com.au) that the white balance isnt too crash hot, and I also notice that on colour checker tests the colour from the K20D is further off the mark than the Km model. Not sure how important the true colour is.

As to what Frank wants to photograph - his response is 'general stuff'. Years ago (film days) he liked to capture people shots and nature, with the occasional dapple at macro as well (extension tubes etc). I think that he really wants an 'all rounder', which is difficult, just like selecting an 'all rounder' telescope I guess.

I dont think that at present he requires specialist lenses, but as we all know the more you dabble into a hobby the more specialised toys we like to have.

Thanks, Kerrie
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Old 17-05-2009, 05:50 PM
Dennis
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Hi Kerrie

I purchased a Pentax *ist DS DSLR a few years ago (and a fine camera it is), as I had several manual Pentax K mount lenses from my film days. The Pentax was small, lightweight and had that indefinable “Pentax” quality about it that I have liked since owning my 1st 35mm film Pentax purchased in 1976.

I have since purchased a Canon 40D and have noticed that there are many, many more 3rd party lenses and accessories available for the Canon than there are for my Pentax.

So, if you don’t have a requirement to maintain compatibility with older (good quality) Pentax lenses, then I would weight up the advantages of the much larger range of accessories available for the Canon and Nikon DSLRs. It breaks my heart to write these words, as I have an attachment to Pentax from years of happy, trouble free use.

Other factors that may affect your decision may be technical, such as “anti shake” mechanisms, which I believe Pentax incorporate into the body of the camera on certain models, whereas Canon (IS) and Nikon (VR) implement them in each lens?

Cheers

Dennis
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Old 17-05-2009, 07:37 PM
dpastern (Dave Pastern)
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Kerrie,

most people do not need to be shooting at high ISOs. 3rd party software like Neat Image helps clean most of the noise up (you can grab a free copy of Neat Image basic as well, doesn't cost a cent). The free version only works on jpegs, the paid version on tiffs as well.

I wouldn't worry too much about the WB - there are ways to correct it both in RAW and in Photoshop. If you're worried about WB, go Nikon. Oh, and Canon sucks with flash. Has always sucked, and probably always will, Nikon kicks its butt totally.

For general stuff, the Pentax will be fine. There's enough accessories out there for the average person. Sure, Canon/Nikon have more, but do you really *intend* to buy it all? I doubt it, and if that's the case, it's a moot point imho.

DAve
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Old 17-05-2009, 10:58 PM
Karls48 (Karl)
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I had Pentax 100D super for about year or so. I found it easy to use and Im happy with it. Mind you Im not photographer and Pentax was an upgrade from small and cheap digital camera. Main advantages easy to use, any lenses with M42 tread can be used with M42 adaptor (no auto focus), anti shake and sensor-cleaning works for me, pic quality is good by my standards, good price.
Disadvantage it chews batteries very fast. For astro imagining it can be used only with external power adaptor. But it is easy to build one for it for about $20.
Most of accessories for astro use are just as easy to obtain as for any other brands.
From eBay. T adaptor about $10 (please note that although they are same diameter there is a difference in pitch between T tread and M42 tread. Screwing M42 to T tread will cause you major headache.). Acura timer is about $60. Right angle viewfinder adaptor is about $70.
I use my Pentax for astro imagining occasionally, but really I do prefer my GStar. All DSLRs are bulky and heavy and produce very large files.
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Old 18-05-2009, 10:30 AM
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Thanks guys for your thoughts and advice.

Cheers, Kerrie
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Old 18-05-2009, 11:00 AM
dpastern (Dave Pastern)
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M42 threads...haven't heard that in a while. My first SLR (Russian Zenit 12XP) used it...

Kerrie - I believe the canon EOS 40D and Nikon D90 are pretty closet competitors to the Pentax K20D, you can see a comparison chart here:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/comp...n_d90&show=all

I'm trying to find some pricing comparisons for you, but not having a lot of luck...

Dave

edit: after a bit of searching on fleabay, it seems that the RRP for the Pentax is around $1499, and the Canon and Nikon hover around the $2k mark. I'd liked to have grabbed body only price, but alas...why not give paxtons a call? (www.paxtons.com.au), they should be able to give you body only pricing I suspect on all 3 models.

Just an addendum - the Nikon (imho) has the best flash and WB, but at 15mp, noise is going to be an issue imho due to small pixel size. The 40D is better in this respect. Both have large LCD screens and live view, but the Nikon beats it as it has a high resolution 920k LCD screen, Canon has a much lower grade LCD screen. AF - pretty even. The Pentax, at 14.6mp is similar to the Nikon in noise respects, seems to be OK with WB too. Pentax' LCD screen is like Canon's - lower resolution. This can make a difference when chimping. Oh, and the Pentax has built in anti shake sensors, a bonus. Canon and Nikon both employ their anti shake systems in the lens, not in the camera body, which means you have to pay a price premium for the anti shake enabled lenses. Performance of Pentax' system seems pretty similar to Nikon & Canon from what I can see. Oh, and the Nikon has low def video capability (not hd as Nikon says lol).

Last edited by dpastern; 18-05-2009 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 18-05-2009, 11:43 AM
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OK dont get the pentax K20D - you cannot turn off the automatic dark subtraction, I had a DS version and I still own a Pentax K10D and love it. But at higher ISO it is very noisy. I either shoot it in ISO 400 or 800, and in full raw + jpeg mode so i can use either (also have a 16GB SDcard in it). I bought a battery grip for it that will allow you to keep the internal battery as well as use two more batteries and an external power supply. I love this camera and was going to upgrade to the K20D until i found out about the dark subs problem. But if you can get a canon 450D then get that
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Old 18-05-2009, 12:40 PM
dpastern (Dave Pastern)
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Now that's an interesting thought David, well spotted. Of course, if Kerrie's hubby isn't going to do any astro imaging, it's a moot point ;-)

Dave
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Old 18-05-2009, 01:35 PM
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Thanks again guys for the further info.

You never know, a little camera hijacking is not out of the question so I do appreciate the dark subs and noise problems info.

Cheers, Kerrie
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Old 18-05-2009, 09:16 PM
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Regular lenses for film are not quite perfect for digital due to the location of the rear nodal point. Film does not care about the direction of the light rays, but digital is an issue. Digital lens design is better adapted for a digital. A great fun lens, and my "standard" lens is the Pentax 10-17mm fisheye zoom which gives 180 degree to 75 degree (28mm equivalent.) Obtained mine pretty cheaply on the old ebay. Noticed one on ebay coming up tomorrow morning in the USA. I have a K10D , which is great for non astro stuff.
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Old 20-05-2009, 05:22 PM
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Kerrie.....I've got mixed thoughts on this...as I was a dedicated Pentax user for over 30 years.

To this day, older Pentax/Takumar lenses (I still have a swag of them...and they can be picked up very cheaply on E-Bay or occasionally at Cash Converters) are simply beautiful pieces of glass and easily hold their own with any Nikon or Canon L-series lenses (L=Luxury=$$$$)

Sadly Pentax has not really addressed noise reduction very well. You would do much better to look at Canon.
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Old 20-05-2009, 07:22 PM
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Hmmm, I know how Mr Ward feels.

When I was looking for a dual purpose dslr (astro and general) I went looking at pentax to go with my many pentax film SLR's (K1000, me super, mx and mz50 and many lenses). But the reality for me is that the canon product was substantially better suited to my needs. Low noise, software support and Liveview sold me.

Liveview is sooooo handy for astrophotography... I couldn't do without it.

Maybe you could put a Pentax sticker on the canon......

Brett
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Old 21-05-2009, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bert View Post
Hmmm, I know how Mr Ward feels.



Maybe you could put a Pentax sticker on the canon......

Brett

hehehe, cheeky!

Brett and Peter thanks for your advice and experience.

Kerrie
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Old 21-05-2009, 09:02 PM
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Hello Kerrie,

I have a K200D with the Pentax 18-55 mm lens, an older AF Sigma telephoto, and a 50mm manual lens from the film days (as well as a T-ring adapter).

Good points about the K200D - weatherproof body. (So much peace of mind). Very easy to use, the buttons all make sense and the "help" screen on the camera back is in "Big" print. I'm now hitting 50 so that really helps. Price cannot be beaten - possibly the lowest price in its class. Batteries are really meant to be Energiser Lithiums - not cheap, the Eneloop batteries may be an alternative but I haven't yet tried. But you get a heap of pics out of a set of batteries so that's nice (I've gotten more than 800). Lenses are available and good, every lens back to 1974 will at least fit. Note there is some issue with some older Sigma lenses on Pentax KA mounts. See Wiki for the details.

Bad points for astro use.
No live view. For focusing this is essential.
No remote assistant. This lets you work a bit away from the mount, and is really helpful.
The body is "thick" and requires low profile adapters to work on my LX90, else it bangs into the mount when in high alt settings.
IR filter is built in, and there isn't much call for removing it for H-alpha etc.
Heavy body - this can be balanced out with counterweights but you know, less is more.

My take - I love this SLR. Great for pix around home. Fast and easy to use. Still working out whether it's an astro cam or not.

Regards,
Tony Barry

Last edited by tonybarry; 21-05-2009 at 09:06 PM. Reason: [SPELLING]
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Old 22-05-2009, 05:33 AM
Dennis
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Have a look at the “soon-to-be-released” Pentax K-7. It looks a very promising camera!

Cheers

Dennis
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Old 22-05-2009, 09:53 PM
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Oooh Dennis that looks interesting. Thanks for that.

What to do what to do ....

I'll have to wait for a review of the K-7 with some testing.

Kerrie
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