Decision help--Pentax, Nikon

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SRose
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Decision help--Pentax, Nikon
9 months ago

I've been shooting with a K10D for, well, a long time. And I've been in need of an upgrade for quite a while--my autofocus has actually been broken for a few years, and the repair is more expensive than the camera is worth (I have by necessity become quite proficient at manual focusing, to the point where I really enjoy having the control). There are plenty of reasons to upgrade--autofocus is the least of it.  Anyway, I have people who want sessions with me, who are waiting for me to get this figured out, so there's now a time crunch. Couples, families, little ones. I enjoy sunset backlighting and indoor window light. Bright, dark, I'm an ambient light sort of girl. And well, I thought upgrading my camera would be easy--K5II, right? So I got one, and I liked it well enough, but then I realized just how much money I was about to invest into a system without any thought for the other options, and I quite frankly didn't love the K5II enough to keep it blindly like that.

So I got a Nikon D7000 and a Canon 60D (no contest with that one. I should've gotten a 7D for comparison's sake, but my credit card has its limits. Still, much as I enjoyed the 7D layout when I handled it in the store I don't think its low light performance is up to snuff for the sort of work I like to do.)

Here's what I liked about the K5II: Low light performance was beyond stellar, especially compared to the D7000, which is also known for decent low light performance. I love that there's a focus confirmation beep even while using manual lenses, and from what I understand this is brand specific to Pentax (Nikon seems to have a little light for focus confirmation, but it's subtle and I have to say I'm a fan of the beep). The controls all seem under my fingers, right where they ought to be, save the green button which is--come on!--a bit of an uncomfortable stretch for my small hands. I do like the grip--the way it rests in my hand is very comfortable and secure feeling. I also actually liked the video performance over the competition, probably because of the in-body SR, because I wasn't using stabilized lenses for the big two, but possibly also because I was using my lovely Pentax 50/1.7M. (That lens is kind of incredible, and I have yet to find a lens that matches it for color reproduction and sharpness and just that extra indefinable something. I've tried the Nikon 50/1.4g and the Canon 50/1.8 and neither holds a candle to it. If anyone knows of other lenses with a bit 'o magic in them like this one, please tell me! The Sigma 50/1.4 does seem to come close, and oh the creamy bokeh, but I worry about it's reliability. I digress. Next conversation will be lenses please, okay?) I took some shots using the K5II and the Sigma 50/1.4 that exemplify absolutely everything I want in my work. And this is a bitty thing, but that K5II shutter click has such a lovely sound to it. Here's what I don't like about Pentax--no full frame, no support in local shops anywhere in four states around me, no lenses or bodies to be found except online. I am worried that moving into the world of working pro with this camera is going to be a bad idea for that reason alone. And one more thing: I don't like using the camera as much as I like using the Nikon. Yeah, I'm sure it'd grow on me. I can adapt to anything. I bought the K10D sight unseen and got used to it, grew with it, etc.  And honestly the perks of the K5II over the D7000 are a great fit for me. But the tactile and visual part of making photographs is important, and after holding the Nikon D7000 in my hands, I can't seem to bring myself to want the K5II, no matter how good it is for me. The heart wants what it wants, I guess.

Here's what I don't like about the D7000: the lack of shake reduction, the higher noise levels at high ISO's, and the placement of the ISO button (also the aforementioned lack of focus confirmation beep for manual only lenses, but I can learn to trust myself because I'm pretty good with manual focus after all that practice). It's fast, it's got dual card slots, it's got a good forward track to full frame (and damn I like those upper level Nikons that even get the ISO button up in the right spot!). And did I mention Nikon is everywhere? I'm not one to be swayed to trends, or to do things just because everyone else is doing them, and I've always rooted for the underdog.  I WANT Pentax to suceed, but I feel like I need to weigh my own professional success here, and I'm not sure Pentax is going to be the wisest move.  Am I wrong here?  Service, rentals, lenses, support--the big two have all of that readily available everywhere.  Pentax, four states around me, it's pretty much a wasteland.  Every female photographer I know seems to shoot with Nikon, which could be a good reason to go with it since teaming up and swapping lenses could be a thing in the future. But I do tend to shoot solo, and I'm not all that interested in weddings, so maybe that's a moot point for me anyway?

I don't want to jump ship on Pentax, so I guess I just want to make sure I'm thinking of all the angles first. I like to be thorough.  Are any of you using your K5II's professionally? Should I be too? Can you talk me into it? Thanks in advance, and please go easy on me.  I'm new here.

Canon EOS 60D Canon EOS 7D Nikon D7000 Pentax K10D Pentax K-5
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