Why use Pentax?

Started Mar 18, 2013 | Questions thread
Mike Hiran
Contributing MemberPosts: 766Gear list
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Re: Why use Pentax?
In reply to audiobomber, Mar 20, 2013

why do people choose Pentax over big hitters like Nikon and Canon?

1, apart from kit lens, Pentax lenses are generally more expensive than Canon counterpart, and slightly weaker in optical performance (for example 16-50 vs canon 17-55). It can be a difficult comparison because pentax goes its way to not make comparable lenses. For example it does not make a 70-200 F2.8 but a 50-135 F2.8. In the end however, I still feel for the same money, Canon lenses are better. It appears to me that pentax price their bodies very aggressively and hope to make a profit on lens sales. Personally I feel it would not work out for me.

The above is just a bunch of generalities, with one specific example. It's true that the Pentax 16-50 doesn't fare well at current pricing. But where are the reasonably priced WR lenses from other makers? Hint, there are none.

Why criticize Pentax for having a 50-135mm f2.8? You should criticize Nikon, Sony and Canon for not having one. A 70-300mm 2.8 is a full-frame lens. On APS-C, it's too long for traditional portrait, and too short for real telephoto. Pentax has APS-C versions of traditional lenses, like the 50-135, and the DA*55 f1.4 portrait lens instead of an 85mm. They should be congratulated for not just following the herd.

2, Pentax is not exactly known for industry leading AF. Personally speaking, one of the biggest reason of buying SLR over mirrorless is for the AF. I want the ability to shoot action, wild life and BIF. Canon just seem more established in that area.

Yes, the pricier Canons and Nikon have better tracking, but the D7000, 60D and lower are very comparable to Pentax. I've only seen AF results from two test labs. In both, Pentax bodies were comparable to the competition. The 7D, D300S and FF's did better than the K-5. Note that the K-5 II and IIs currently have the best low-light AF out of all the APS-C bodies.

3, Many people, myself included, would like to leave the option of going FF open. FF price falling is inevitable, FF will always provide better IQ and more DOF options. with canon, one can have a FF upgrade path; with pentax, one is stuck with aps-c.

Pentax FF is coming, as per recent Pentax interviews.

4, IBIS has its strength, it should make stablised lenses cheaper (since all lenses are stablised), but that does not appear to be the case with pentax (refer to point 1). on the other hand IBIS does not stablise OVF, it makes tracking using long lenses more difficult than ILIS. For this reason I would prefer Canon lenses.

You can't get Canon or Nikon stabilized primes below 100mm. Personally I like that IBIS does not stabilize the view. I need to know if I'm shaking, and settle down rather than rely on the SR.

5, pentax accessories appear to be quite expensive and 3rd party offerings is much more limited than canon.

Ebay.

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Dan

Well argued.  Of course the parts that make Pentax such a joy to use is the ergonomics, user interface, and weather seals.  When you use a well crafted tool that is thoughtfully put together, it's easier to get in the zone.  And when things start clicking (no pun intended), that's when photography is so rewarding.

As the owner of lensrentals, who has access to great cameras all the time, wrote:

"The Pentax system reaffirmed what I’d already thought during limited use. The menus and features must have been designed by photographers, not programmers, and they were completely intuitive for me. There were little things with the Pentax system that I absolutely loved, like the ability to map out hot or dead pixels from the menu. There are some mirrorless systems that let you do that, too, and I find it a bit insulting that the other SLRs require a trip to the factory for that, especially since hot pixels are something likely to occur outside of the warranty period."

The writers of dpreview have echoed the same praises for Pentax.  If you haven't tried a Pentax, you owe it to yourself to do so.

 Mike Hiran's gear list:Mike Hiran's gear list
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