E-3 to K5iis

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
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SirSeth
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E-3 to K5iis
4 months ago

For the curiosity of some, I want to relate my experience of my partial move to Pentax.

Here are the practical reasons why I made this move after 10 years with Olympus:

  • I borrowed an E-M1 for a month and it made me itch for higher ISO/DR than my E-1/E-3. 
  • However, the E-M1 + adapter + grip was not in my budget.
  • The Pentax K5iis was killer bargain at $699. Class leading IQ. No AA filter. Small sealed body that just feels right--same ethos that led me to buy the E-1 in 2004. 
  • Pentax makes some lenses I really want to buy in the future: 100mm macro, (or Tamron 90), 300mm f4, 600mm f5.6, and a couple limited primes. 
  • I already had 3 Tamron Adaptall-2 lenses that would work on the Pentax: 35-70mm, 90, 300.
  • I wanted to move forward with an OVF DSLR as my main system for larger lenses. 
  • Pentax hasn't watered down their APS-C line so as not to compete with a low budget FF model. (And I hope it stays like that). 

Here are some psychological reasons for the switch:

  • Using one system for ages makes people stupid on forums. We are all perspective limited and when I really use another system it helps me become less bias, stupid, and fanboyish. 
  • I knew I would be trading one systems warts for another's warts, but I was sick of Olympus warts. Besides, I'm keeping the E-1, 11-22mm, and 50-200mm.
  • The price on the K5iis made it cheap to try--not cheaper in the long run if I buy a bunch of Pentax mount glass, but affordable right now to get into better IQ. I sold my E-330, E-3, 14-54mm v1, and 40-150mm v1 to make the move. 
  • I'm pretty sure Olympus 4/3rds equipment isn't going to spike in price. Selling Olympus equipment is really hard now. I worked hard to sell my E-3 + 14-54mm + 32gb Extreme card for ~$385. It makes me want to move. Olympus ditched 4/3rds which really sent equipment prices on a downward spiral. This puts me in a sour mood because getting similar quality glass in another system is very expensive. ($3500 for me). 

Pentax experience: Well, the K5iis is brilliant and here's why.

  •  TAV mode should be on all cameras. It makes front dial shutter priority, and rare dial aperture priority. (You can set the range of auto ISO that is selected for the other parameter). 
  • It's smaller than either my E-1 or E-3, but has a larger sensor. 
  • The "s" version is without the anti-alias filter. Results are really sharp. 
  • High ISO is stunning. It's leagues ahead of the E-3, but maybe just a tad better than the E-M1 (not sure there). 
  • Most K-mount lenses fit Pentax without adapters. Many manual lenses have A-mode so the camera can control the aperture via the rear control wheel rather than aperture ring. That means no stop down metering so the viewfinder doesn't go dark when selecting a smaller aperture (larger f-number). For what it's worth, the EVF in the E-M1 gains up so that stop down metering doesn't inhibit manual focus. It's very nice on both the E-M1 and Pentax with A-mount lenses. The E-1/E-330/E-3 became harder to manual focus as you stop down. 
  • Ergonomics, menus, and controls are very intuitive. 
  • Raw (DNG) have a lot of room to stretch. Very pliable.

Here are the warts.

  • Lenses are expensive. I do have some nice Sigma/Tamron options. The new Art series lenses in the Sigma line are very nice. 
  • Many Pentax lenses have iffy SDM (AF motors). They tend to go bad and require a SDM and control board replacement. This makes buying used without warranty a sizable risk. 
  • RAW files are extremely neutral. Flat line neutral. You have to process them a lot to get the best out of them. Maybe I'll learn to tweak the camera, but Olympus JPG and RAW files are much nicer out of the camera imo. 
  • No tilt swivel screen. (Though the screen is excellent). 
  • No auto-focus--oh wait, I only have manual focus lenses for the K5iis so far.
  • Their weather resistant 1.4x is like $800. That's ridiculous. 
  • I believe the 5-axis IS of the E-M1 to be superior to SR of the K5iis. 

I'll post some shots from the K5iis in this thread a bit later if you are interested.  I just hiked some Yellowstone back country. The E-1 + 11-22mm on my hip and the K5iis + Tamron 300mm f2.8 + 1.4x adaptall-2 on my shoulder.  I'll be keeping my E-1 + 11-22mm + 50-200mm (that last one needs repair anyhow). Hope to add a dedicated walk around and macro to the Pentax before the year is out.

Cheers,

Seth

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 SirSeth's gear list:SirSeth's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-3 Olympus PEN E-PL2 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD Olympus Zuiko Digital 11-22mm 1:2.8-3.5 +4 more
Olympus E-3 Pentax K-5
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