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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

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Welcome to the world of...

"What kind of camera is that? ... Do they still make cameras?"
and
"What kind of camera is that? ... who?"
and
"What kind of camera is that? ... why didn't you get a Nikon/Canon?"
and
"What kind of camera is that? ... I started with Pentax many moons ago.."

interesting choice, again, welcome (back?) to the club. I too am curious about which lenses you're going to start living with - I was surprised that Pentax's Limited lens line wasn't a % factor in your decision above. the original 21/40/70 pancake trio made my brand choice for me, haven't looked back since (the 15 f/4 is fun) and the K-5 just made all these primes even better.

Beg to ask however, here in the U.S, Nikon's new D7000 is famously cheaper than the K-5, with the same sensor, nikons' acclaimed ergonomics in a small body, and a still manufactured AF 24mm F2.8 smallish enough to be your elusive 35mm-e. Even with your discount, the price must've been comparable. Why not enjoy the benefits of joining one of the 'big two'?

Congratulations for the new toy, Mike! I have nothing to add regarding a wide-ish normal (I too think the DA21 or a used FA24 are your best options), but surely you'll also want one of those mentioned in this article: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/columns/sm-02-05-02.shtml

;-)

Your weighted reasons in light of your recent lament about how to choose a DLSR (http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2007/07/choosing-a-new-.html). No word about the viewfinder? No exercise with a Leica for one year http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2009/05/why-it-has-to-be-a-leica.html?
And -on top of it, you buy a DSLR only shortly after setting up a darkroom in the basement?

Well, you lack direction, don't you?

You really ought to give the the DA 21mm f3.2 a fair chance to win the spot on your K-5. The lens speed should be more than adequate on the K-5, given the high ISO performance of that camera.

The angle of view is so close to the 35mm "traditional" that you should be comfortable with it. I had fears that it would be "feel" more like a 28mm equivalent (which is to say, wide), but it does not, at least to me.

A truly great lens, and it is readily available.

If you really do want a 24mm, the (old) Sigma Super-Wide II (f2.8) is very nice, and available in the manual focus "A" version for reasonable money. I don't use mine much though, as I prefer the Pentax 21mm to it. There is an AF version as well, but quite rare.

- Mike

I'm saving and waiting for the K-5, to upgrade my K20. Do I need a K-5? No, the K20 has been the perfect DSLR for me. Do I lust over, drool and dream of a K-5. Yes....January, I think. I'd like the pentax kit with the 18-135, hopefully that'll be out and maybe even slightly cheaper by then.

My only photo purchases this 2010 year were the da 15/4 limited, which is just a fantastic little gem, and a panasonic LX-5, which I've enjoyed as a great compact, but just doesn't replace what I get with my DSLR.

I happen to have a 31mm, which I love dearly, but no longer have a Pentax body to shoot it on, and I'm not planning on getting one. I'd be happy to lend it to you to play with, and then if you wish to buy it we could work out a good price, or your could send it back.

I like seeing my well loved gear go to good homes. :)

`yoshi

I think the FA31 would be a good lens to do your one year, one lens challenge with. It's just weird enough of a focal length that it makes you think each time before you take a shot; which, while annoying, generally leads to better results. It's also awesome optically, so it has that going for it.

I use it on film sometimes and I think to myself "Yes, this is the perfect focal length on full frame." But alas, a 46 mm f/1.8 will have to do.

I don't know if you like to shoot JPEG or RAW, but I think the big thing the Pentax DA21 f/3.2 has going for it is if you shoot JPEG, the camera can correct the lens distortion for you. Software can do this, too, of course and for all lenses, but it's an annoying extra step. This is important because distortion is one of the negative aspects of the DA21.

For another wide option, shots from the DA15 f/4 also remind me a lot of those cool Leica 21 mm shots I've seen, albeit at f/4.

"...so, what were the reasons for not going the Olympus E-5 route?"

Just lenses. Olympus has some fantastic lenses, and if I were going with an all-in-one zoom I'd get the 14-54 and be happy. But the lack of primes and the lack of options in general is too much of a limitation for me, and from the pace and schedule of recent releases it looks like Olympus is never going to be filling in the line with small primes. Or at least that I'd get frustrated waiting.

Mike

"Beg to ask however, here in the U.S, Nikon's new D7000 is famously cheaper than the K-5, with the same sensor, Nikon's acclaimed ergonomics in a small body, and a still manufactured AF 24mm F2.8 smallish enough to be your elusive 35mm-e. Even with your discount, the price must've been comparable. Why not enjoy the benefits of joining one of the 'big two'?"

Bigger camera, no weatherproofing, no discount*, no in-body IS. Plus, Gordon just got one, so he'll be writing about it, either on this site or his own.

Mike

*The utility of the reviewer's discount actually isn't its effect on overall price. It's that it allows us to try/own something for six months or a year and then sell it on and not incur a loss. I'll be able to sell the K-5 a year from now and lose nothing, but if I bought a D7000 now with no discount, the same would not be true for it. FOR ME this has never been the major factor in camera choice, but it's one more thing to think about all the same.

Congrats on the new camera, Mike. It seems like an APS-C gem. However, I can't help by wonder why you didn't just wait for a deal on the A850 to pair with that Minolta 35/2 of yours??

[email protected] wrote:
Forgive me for saying that I would chose a lens line first and body second, and that really only leaves 2 choices, Nikon and Canon.

Sorry, but if you value small lightweight stabilized primes, Nikon and Canon are actually non-starters.

"And -on top of it, you buy a DSLR only shortly after setting up a darkroom in the basement? Well, you lack direction, don't you?"

As I've repeatedly explained, the purpose of the darkroom is to make a final portfolio (and prints for sale and exhibition) from the 50,000 or so 35mm Tri-X negatives I shot during the twenty years from 1980 to 2000.

I usually have to explain this to people who assume I am "going back to film" and abandoning digital. I repeat, yet again: not the case.

Mike

I have to agree with Glenn Brown, choose the lens line then the body,but since you did not, congrats on your choice, and good shooting.

Hello Mike,
congrats also from me. I've tried one last week. The K-5 is a pleasure. Can't wait to read about your experiences.

XebastYan.

Have you thought about getting your eye done in another country, to save money, just a thought.

"Forgive me for saying that I would chose a lens line first and body second, and that really only leaves 2 choices, Nikon and Canon."

Surely you're joking. Seriously, do you have any idea of how many lenses fit on the K bayonet? Any idea at all?

Mike,why do you need to use your bad eye for focusing? I've always used my left eye for looking through finders, so it's obviously possible, even if I sometimes press a button with my nose.

One thing that you and other potential Pentax adopters should keep in mind is that the right hand grip area on the K-5 or K-7 body is smaller than you might think. The indent forces your index finger over the shutter, the next two fingers grip the camera, and your pinky finger is left hanging. That's no problem with their smaller lenses (of which there are many) but with the larger ones you should consider adding the accessory battery grip. You not only get a larger, more secure gripping area, you gain the ability to use rechargeable AA batteries and a duplicate set of controls for vertical shots. Although you lose some portability, the combination is still smaller than behemoths like the Canon EOS 1D or Nikon D3.

21/3.2. Just get it.

Then get a few more Limiteds: 70/2.4, 15/4....

Enjoy.

Nifty...

I'm more interested in the pictures you will take then what lens/s you use.

Congrats all the same!

Mike, consider the Sigma Super-Wide II 24mm f/2.8 for your 35mm equiv needs. It's a great lens, and relatively cheap. The only real problem is flare. It was also sold under the Quantaray name and can be had cheaper that way. :)

I just recently acquired a converted Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 and Nikkor 28mm f/2.8 (the CRC version), which are filling this gap for me, but if you need AF they're not much of a solution.

Hi Mike:

I'm surprised you didn't opt for a Sony 850. Although I'm a big Pentax fan (and owner), I am reluctant to invest in APS-C limited (no pun intended) lenses. If I already had a Minolta 35mm, I would have been inclined to purchase a Sony 850 for a few hundred more.

Mike, you helped sell me on the GF1 + 20mm combo and I haven't been disappointed. Thanks. Meanwhile, on the DSLR front, I've been dreaming about upgrading from my 40D. My impression is that IQ with the 7D would not be significantly different, and thus I'm considering either the 5D Mk II or the K-5. Price would be roughly equivalent for me, as I already own some quality EF lenses but would have to invest in a nice prime for the K-5. The size and weight of the K-5 really appeal, as I like to shoot street and travel. Looking forward to your impressions (and I welcome the opinions of TOP fans as well).

Mike, congrats. Good choice.

But here's the lens you *really* need:

---> http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/86234-15mm-limited-controls-my-mind.html

:)

Congratulations on your decision Mike, hope you get to find a couple of decisive moments with the K-5. You'll be able to dust off your Super Takumar 50 and take it out to play once more :), the look through the viewfinder might be a bit smaller than you remember but the silken focus ring will still be there as will the contrast, detail, bokeh, colours, sharpness and all that good stuff!


Forgive me for saying that I would chose a lens line first and body second, and that really only leaves 2 choices, Nikon and Canon.
-----------------------
I couldn't agree more with this methodology - and this is precisely why I chose Pentax.

Mike - you did well by choosing and buying before announcing the fact. I have enjoyed using all these Pentax prime lenses for a couple of years now, IN PARTICULAR the 35 DA that you recommended so highly. It is not a focal length equivalent that comes naturally to me, but the lens is so good that I rarely take it off the camera.

Congratulations, the K-5 was recently my chice as well and it is great camera. The shutter is even quieter than K-7 and the speed and reliability is comforting.
I use Sigma 24mm in Canon mount and I'm not totally happy. The FA31 is supoosed to be better. Too bad Pentax stopped manufacturing the FA*24 lens.

Now you see, I've finally sprung for a D700, which are now as cheap as they'll ever be, with the added bonus of a $300 trade-in from Nikon Australia. I would have bought one (and some lenses etc) through your links Mike, but Nikon have a really wonderful system in place whereby they won't honour warranty on equipment bought out of your country of residence. Unless you actually happen to buy it when you're there - ie, go crazy on a visit to Japan, it's ok; order same gear from a shop in Japan while you're at home in Buttecrack, Nevada (in my case, Sugartown, Queensland) and it's all coolsville.

So, Messers Amazon and B&H (as well yr. good self) have to miss out on my hard-earned, and I have to bow slavishly to Nikon-san's 1950's trade policies. Sorry 'bout that.

But books are still good.

Mike,

The FA*24 might be exactly what you want for you K-5.

Out of production, but resonably easy to find and a very very nice littlee lens.

Hi Mike,
While not the fastest lens around, Zeiss still shows the PK mount 2.8/25 ZK in their price sheet. And focusing manually is very good exercise. (I rep Zeiss in Northern California)

Wonderful Mike. I notice someone here suggested you get the DA35 Macro on the basis of your own review !!!! Can you trust this author. I cannot afford the K5 but muddle along with the K200D ... love it but there is envy .. and one day I may follow you ... after the price drop!!!

I also was unaware of the amazon thing re reserving and will amend my ways. BTW with Amazoon is it only photgraphic stuff ???

As I mentioned to you under a seperate cover e-mail, my giving days are over for a bit. As to the K-5, C$1600.00 is an expensive body. Disposed of my D90 and all things digital including my Fujifilm HC-10 and have
returned to my F100 with an 18-105 lens and a Canon 580IS for digitals as needed. Also have my Pentax Espio 105 as well.

Yes, a new digital something would be nice too however need versus want versus enjoyment all came into play. Those items aren't talking to each other any more either. And until the
manufacturers stop chasing the consumer toys mislabelled as cameras to go wrong in the future, they won't be seeing my money either!

Enjoy your K-5, for it too will be outdated and aged, much faster than you ever imagined, sadly.

I've been using a K-7 with 31/1.8 FA Limited for a while and it's perfection in alloy.

....and again me ;): It's amazing. I think you are the first Pentax Buyer who got 132 tips on which lens to buy in 24 hours.
I think i have another one, too.
Cosina Cosinon Wide 24mm/1:2.8, manual Focus, manual aperture, very good imagequality, "old school" manufactured. Rarely on ebay in k-mount, if so: cheap.
Groove on.

XebastYan

I'm flattered that I helped to convince you! You're going to really like this camera, it's just a joy to use.

"BTW with Amazon is it only photographic stuff???"

Tom,
No, it's virtually everything. There are a few exceptions, but almost.

Mike

Surely the number one reason to own a Pentax body is that you can now use Pentax lenses... the best there are in the market. Buy the FA Limiteds and never look back.

Mike -- I settled on a K-5 just the other day, and I'm just sending it through its paces. A few random thoughts:

The high(er) ISOs are impressive, and a number of the "extras" (fast, easy focussing in live view, who knew? plus the electronic levels) are a treat, and helpful in photographing interiors and job sites.

In comparison to Canon RAW, I have found in the past Pentax's RAW to be a touch more forgiving, both in terms of detail and color. Still evaluating the K-5's output, but I am optimistic about the reports of a good dynamic range.

I get that the DA21 is a great lens ... I just don't like mine. I can't get it to click for me. I don't think the focal length's the problem ... I just don't "get" this lens. Not the most helpful critique, I know. Maybe I've got to live a year with it on; of course now the K-5 makes its relative slowless less of a problem/excuse.

Yes you "need" a DSLR/looking forward to your impressions.

>>@Nigel - Pentax has had microadjust for the last 3 generations of cameras, since the K20. I believe it's standard for pretty much everyone now.<<

But not for the Canon 60D - which was one of Michael's potential choices.
(& I'm aware the Pentax has the feature, as I own one.)

I love gear discussions!=)
I too chose my camera based on lens lineup. So I got a pentax 2 years ago after selling my canon.... though a 27 1.8 would be nice.

look forward to the review mike... and the discussion that follows=D

Mike:

I tried (lent by a friend) the 31mm limited for two weeks in a K20. It's perhaps the best lens I've tried in my life. Unfortunately, I put aside the idea do buy a Pentax considering the K-7 high ISO behaviour. I bought at the time the Canon 7D instead. I have a Zeiss 28mm and Canon 17-40mm L, 35mm 1.4 L, 50mm 1.2 L and 55-200 (which I use very rarely: at f8 and up to 150mm is pretty decent, and it is LIGHT).
The only lenses I think that could be (perhaps) in the Pentax 31mm Limited league would be the 35mm L and the 50mm L.
Buy the 31, 45mm effective is not so difficult to adapt, specially considering that the 31mm is a "chef d'oeuvre"...

How very, very interesting. Pentax seems to have hit the sweet spot in just about every respect with this camera. Fabulous IQ, good enough sensor size, great and rugged build quality, weatherproofing, quiet shutter, great lens range, (despite your lament about the lack of a walk around lens), in-body IS, fantastic mount compatability, HD video, 100% VF coverage, great control layout... the list just goes on and on. Sure, I'd like a pellicle mirror, but this will do.

This just seems so right at last. Grail shaped, in fact. I'm a 40D owner with a couple of lenses, and a Fuji S100fs for travelling, but I think the Canon is going to go. It's very good, but I can never find the right button when I want it. Even after four years of use, I can still get into a bamboozled state with the controls. The Fuji has been nice, but I've lost too many shots with AF problems and I'm very disappointed with the lens coma issue. It's very obvious.

I can't fault the Pentax. I'm excited and I think Pentax will sell a few of these. I'm switching too, Mike. I still have a film Z-70 body with a Sigma 28-80 AF lens, plus a 50mm f1.7 Pentax A MF lens from when I owned a Super A. Sure, they won't be up to modern standards, but at least they'll get me on the road. Thanks, Pentax! I'll definitely buy new AF DA lenses, including those delicious Limiteds, but I can buy this body and get back into the system without a huge initial outlay. That's rare. Bravo! And the Zeiss lenses in K mount. Wow!

Not a huge fan of the Sigma 24/1.8. I had a 4/3 mount version for my Olympus bodies and didn't find it to be very satisfying. The two issues i had with it were:

1. Struggled to autofocus in low light. One would think that the bright f/1.8 max aperture would help with that, but not quite...

2. Significant flare / ghosting in backlight conditions or bright daylight with the sun anywhere near the frame.

Upon further reflection, i thought if this lens doesn't like low light indoors or bright daylight outdoors, what's left? For use on overcast days only? I promptly sold it after that revelation ;)

Sample pics of said flare / ghosting:

http://scpublicgallery.smugmug.com/Equipment-Tests/Sigma-2418-pics/14285127_fSorW

No filters were used on the lens, btw.

"Bigger camera, no weatherproofing, no discount*, no in-body IS. Plus, Gordon just got one, so he'll be writing about it, either on this site or his own."

I was surprised to confirm that the D7000 is about the same size of the K-5, only a fraction taller, which is the only dimension I wouldn't mind because it lets the pinky finger on the grip instead of under it. It's also advertised as weather-sealed with a mostly magnesium body. (no idea why I'm defending a Nikon)

Gordon Lewis got a D7000? I know he'd been using the K-7 for a while, is he not happy with the system anymore? Seems like the K-5 cured the only problem with that camera.

Great choice Mike I know you are going to love it!

I look forward to to you comments once you have had your K5 for a week or so.

Fletcher Leeds UK

@illdefined:

The D7000 is about the same width at 132mm to the K-5's 131mm, but both taller (105mm to 97mm) and deeper (77mm to 73mm). If you look at the DPReview size comparison you can see just how different the actual size is as the D7000's top deck is much higher than the K-5's (the K-5's prism is set much higher on the overall body, the D7000 is comparably neckless).

What is most notable though is that like most Nikon bodies it's chunky, which also shows up in the 110g (roughly 1/4lb) weight difference between the two. The Pentax is not all that significantly smaller but it feels smaller when using it.

It's got basic weather sealing, like the D300 (to a great extent the D7000 is a downsized D300 with a new sensor) but lacks the card and battery door sealing of the K-5. No cleaning the D7000 under a tap, but it will stand up to splashes and light rain just fine (as do the D300 and D700).

Your blog is an excellent resource. I am an amateur but interested in the Pentax K-5 as well. My worries would be whether or not Pentax is a wholesome company with the ability to survive the future. You are a professional with many resources available to you which are not available to me. For that reason I would think it would make more sense for me to buy the equivalent camera from a more substantial company i.e. Canon or Nikon.


It seems that there is more availability and service for the common John Doe than Pentax eventhough Pentax may make a better product. Your thoughts Ctein?

What Nikon and Canon cameras will the K-5 sensor find it way into? Is it only a matter of time, i.e. waiting for Nikon or Canon or in your opinion will the K-5 always be a superior product?

I was looking at the pricing on the Pentax DA lenses and they are by no means cheap but when compared to the nearest equivalent of Canon or Nikon I would estimate they are perhaps 2/3's the cost. Is that a fairly accurate estimate?

I love the idea of image stabilazation in the body saving money on not paying for IS in every lense you purchase, not to mention weight saved. Do you think Pentax will be offering more in their DA lense line up for the K-5 like the 50mm everyone is talking about which is lacking?

Your comments would be greatly appreciated,
Thank you,
Mick

I absolutely LOVE my Sony A900, but if not for Sony I think I'd be much more interested in that K-5. I am sure you'll love it.

"I absolutely LOVE my Sony A900, but if not for Sony I think I'd be much more interested in that K-5. I am sure you'll love it."

[Holding hands over ears and going "wah-wah-wah-wah-wah"...] I'm not listening!

Ever since I committed to buying the K-5 I can't stop thinking about the A900...[just keep repeating to myself, "cameras don't matter, it's not the camera, cameras don't matter..."].

Mike

@ Adam Maas

"The D7000 is about the same width at 132mm to the K-5's 131mm, but both taller (105mm to 97mm) and deeper (77mm to 73mm). If you look at the DPReview size comparison you can see just how different the actual size is as the D7000's top deck is much higher than the K-5's (the K-5's prism is set much higher on the overall body, the D7000 is comparably neckless)."

right, like i said, its about the same size (mm) only taller, allowing the pinky finger to stay on the camera instead of under it. not a bad thing. and the small depth change is a little arbitrary, it could just be a deeper grip for example.

"What is most notable though is that like most Nikon bodies it's chunky, which also shows up in the 110g (roughly 1/4lb) weight difference between the two. The Pentax is not all that significantly smaller but it feels smaller when using it."

where do you see that? i noted on dpreview the weight difference being only 40grams. 780g vs the K-5's 740g

"It's got basic weather sealing, like the D300 (to a great extent the D7000 is a downsized D300 with a new sensor) but lacks the card and battery door sealing of the K-5. No cleaning the D7000 under a tap, but it will stand up to splashes and light rain just fine (as do the D300 and D700)."

i was always under the impression the D300 and D700 were considered 'professional' in their weather sealing?

Congrats Mike, I'm sure you'll love the K-5. It is on my wishlist as well. BTW, the Sony A900 would have been my first choice as well, if cost were no obstacle.

Regarding Sigma lenses, I think you are being wise to give them a chance. They do some amazing lenses nowadays and it pains me that they still have to fight a reputation from days long gone.

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