What makes Pentax special?

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
Jim Beverlin
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

I do not have the time to read all of the psots so this has probably been mentioned

Backwards compatability is what separates Pentax from the others.  Virtually all lenses can be used with current DSLRS.  I know with my 1st D I believe I cannot use SDM AF lenses and maybe some of the DA lenses.  But I have a fair amount of SMC-A lenses and they function perfectly on the 1st D, K-5 and K-01 as well as other Pentax DSLRs.  Even my latest find from a pawn shop is a, I believe, 1960 era Takumar manual aperature 135mm f3.5, M42 screw mount (you have to buy the M42 mount that couples with the k mount) that works perfectly in aperature priority (you manually have to set the aperature just like we did it back in the film days) and manual modes.  The machining on this lens puts the plastic wonders of today to shame.

That coupled with the small size, low weight and excellent ergonomics (many will take issue to this statement for the K-01) makes for the ideal DLSR.  Been with Pentax for over 30years and at a few months shy of being 69 I have no plans to change.

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zakaria
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

vjk2 wrote:

I had considered a Pentax when I first bought a DSLR, but for some reason went Olympus instead.

I'm looking at camera systems again. What makes Pentax special? I recall that they have APS-C + sensor shift shake compensation, right? So it's sorta like Olympus crossed with canon/nikon.

a small company with 3 mounts/Q+K+645d/.

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fakuryu
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

Must be those Limited line of lenses. I love my DA40 and DA70 Limiteds and I love my Q + 01 prime even more, its really fun shooting with that camera and the IQ to boot.

Maybe daring to be different and delivering the goods makes Pentax so attractive than Canikon.

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Escaping
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

There are camera companies which design cameras by engineers, others design cameras by the marketing department, others are pushed by accountants.

Pentax cameras are designed by photographers.

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cutterpup
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

Hi vjk2, I remember you from the olympus board.  Maybe my own DSLR wanderings will help you.  I had always used pentax for a film SLR.  I remember folks with much more money than I going for Canikons with 100% viewfinders and the IS and VR lenses when they first came out.

When I finally made the move to a DSLR I was torn.  Was it the time to make a canikon jump or stick with pentax?  Folks on these boards, including the canon and nikon boards guided my choice.  I was doing a lot of landscapes at the time and of the "entry level" cameras only pentax offered depth of field preview and a glass pentaprism. So it was pentax that I bought.

When about six years ago I devolped carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists.  To give them a rest I bought a used E410 and two kit lenses.  Then about two years ago (wrists had long since been operated on) I decided to upgrade my camera.  While trying to choose between pentax and olympus, an olympus E620 became avaliable to me very cheaply so my choice was made.

A few weeks ago I was giving serious thought to what I really wanted/needed in a camera system.  A week later my E620 started showing signs of impending self destruction.  Now choosing a new camer and/or system became more  than an exercise.

I chose the pentax K5.  For my money I am getting a weather/dust resistant body (the camera's not mine ), a glass pentaprism with 100% view,and  backwards compatability with older lenses..just like you have tried with your olympus, but with older pentax lenses you won't need an adaptor.  just read the review of the K5 and you will find a list of all of it's features.  You will also find a deeper system of lenses in pentax than olympus, with equal or better quality.

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rogerstpierre
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Re: What makes Canikon special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

Really... why would you buy a Canon or Nikon when Pentax is as we all know in this forum... a smart choice ?   Answer that question if you can, and you'll know what makes Pentax special

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Zvonimir Tosic
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Pentax is not for the faint hearted
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

They are the company that like to surprise you, not necessarily listen to you, or bother to answer or address anything. Because their marketing department is virtually non-existent and the company is run by engineers who happen to be photography enthusiasts.

Such personality really makes them special, and incredibly hard to deal with in certain matters. But they offer an incredible photography taking experience because their engineers are one of a kind.

Overall, they are not a company for the faint hearted

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solarider
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

"...the K-5 - arguably the best APS-C DSLR currently on the market." Richard Butler, DPreview 
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/pentax-k-30
..."personally I'd say that the K-5/K-7 design is one of the very best-handling DSLRs I've ever used - and that covers most of them." Andy Westlake, DPreview.com http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=40986779

On the Pentax APS-C lensline..." And let's make it clear from the outset that Pentax should be applauded for producing such a lens, to provide a genuine alternative to the wideangle zooms which are the only option in other manufacturers' lineups. This is indeed typical of the company's attitude towards primes in general; it makes arguably the best APS-C optimized set currently on the market, which counts as something of a selling point for the K system as a whole." Andy Westlake, DPreview - conclusions of DA 15 Limited review

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vjk2
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to solarider, 11 months ago

Hmm, alright, I might given them a shot...when I have the money to contemplate a camera upgrade.

Lately, I've been appreciating sensor-shift, and I've really started digging manual focus vintage lenses, ended up buying a number of adapters for Olympus.

And since I tend to shoot in low light situations and handheld more than anything, a large sensor + sensor shift might be ideal.

thx for responses.

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spqr_ca
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From someone who switched away...
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

I switched to Nikon for full frame (D800) and and better lighting options (which I still really need to take advantage of). Though recent Pentax rumours are interesting, I'm still not convinced. Beyond that, though, Pentax meets or exceeds.

On ergonomics, I find them basically a match in comparison between the K-5 and D800. The D800 AF button is a little more convenient for a left eye dominant shooter like me, but that's about the only real difference. Both feel superb in the hand.

On image quality, I find them basically a match again. That's probably not much of a surprise, they're both using Sony sensors and making them perform better than Sony can.

On weather sealing, Pentax exceeds. If you want to shoot in almost anything nature has to offer, then you have to move Pentax very high on your list. It's a simple call when you look at the details.

On legacy support, Pentax exceeds. Clearly, Pentax reaches back way into its history for lens support and then manages to image stabilize them, not an option on the Nikon or Canon line. That's pretty darn useful, some of that old glass for the Pentax mount remain as some of the best ever made and you can often get them for a song.

So, from my perspective, Pentax is still a significant choice worth buying.

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Cosmo Not
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

Hello. I actually recently gave up my T3i and switched systems, to pentax. There were a few big reasons for me. The only two systems offering filterless DSLRs are nikon (D800/D7100) and Pentax (k5-IIs). Also wanting built in IS, Pentax was the better choice. Another reason is, while nikon has better AF tracking, I almost always use center point only, and my k5 is one of only 2 cameras capable of -3EV focusing. From what I have read they will offer focus peaking on all future models, which was useful on my rebel. Finally, the best selection of WS lenses. I looked at everything and Pentax offered the best of all except AF tracking. The only two reasons I would advise against pentax is for pro lvl tracking, or if you needed FF right now. Other than that Pentax seems the best option.

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Russell Evans
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to Cosmo Not, 11 months ago

Cosmo Not wrote:

From what I have read they will offer focus peaking on all future models, which was useful on my rebel.

Your T3i had focus peaking?

Edit: I looked it up, this is though Magic Lantern?

Thank you
Russell

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dragra
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Re: Pentax is not for the faint hearted
In reply to Zvonimir Tosic, 11 months ago

I guess what makes Pentax really special are their users, which are not attracted by the big names of Canon and Nikon.

I would roughly divide the Pentaxians into two groups:

1) The photoenthusiasts, who know everything about the Pentax specific benefits which have been named more than once in this thread. Many of these people are semiprofessionals and they like to play and experiment in their work. The only thing traditional about them is their preferred choice of black body finish.

2) The casual newbie or wanna-be-photoenthusiast. These people don't know much about Pentax in particular, they are simply attracted to it because they feel Pentax is different from Canon & Nikon. These users are non-conformistic individuals and they like their camera body in a unusual colour.

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Cosmo Not
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to Russell Evans, 11 months ago

Correct that is with ML.

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marike6
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Great DA prime lenses and the awesome Info menu
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

1) DA Limited Prime lenses

Pentax makes wonderful DA Limited and DA* prime lenses like the 31 1.8, 43 1.9, 40 2.8, 70 2.4 and 77 1.8.  These all metal primes lenses are excellent optically and mechanically.  And in world increasingly dominated by 18-200 super-zooms, these lenses are refreshingly simple, high quality optics.  They are not inexpensive, but a three lens kit consisting DA primes is quite a desirable thing, especially for traditionalists who are interested in high IQ, great build quality with engraved DOF scales, and small metal casings.

2) User Interface and Info Menu

And I'd have to say the Info menu on cameras like the K-5, K-30, K-01, Q, et al, is something else that makes Pentax kind of special.  Quick, one-touch access to most important shooting functions really makes shooting with Pentax cameras a great pleasure.  The Info menu means no slow menu diving, but Click and select with the Command Dial.  It's an extremely fast, and easy system that I wish more camera makers would emulate.

Lately more vendors like Canon are adding touch screens to cameras like the 600D / T4i.  And sadly (and puzzlingly) review sites like DPR are actually writing approvingly about Touch Screens on DSLRs and Mirrorless.  I don't understand this AT ALL as compared to the Pentax Info menu system, the touch LCD's are slow and fiddly to use and unless you are using a tripod, require two hands.

The last thing you want is to have to remove your hands from shooting position to change settings on a DSLR.   With a Touch LCD, it takes two hands to change settings, i.e., holding the camera with your right, and changing settings with your left hand.   With Pentax's Info menu, everything can be done with your right hand (thumb and command dial), which means you don't have to remove your left hand from underneath the lens barrel.  (Big fail for DPR and other review sites who applaud vendors for slow to operate and gimmicky Touch Screens, and big win for Pentax / Ricoh who build user interfaces that allow photographers to work quickly and efficiently).

Notice that other vendors, most notably Fujifilm with their X cameras like the X-Pro1, X-E1, have copied the Pentax Info screen and called it "Q" menu (Q as in Quick).

So Pentax, like Ricoh with it's GR series, knows how to design cameras and User Interfaces for photographers.

Anyway, IMHO, it's the DA prime lenses, and UI features like the Info menu that have a big impact on usability that makes Pentax special and a joy to shoot with.

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moji
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

The Pentaxians!

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mistermejia
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What???
In reply to marike6, 11 months ago

marike6 wrote:

1) DA Limited Prime lenses

Pentax makes wonderful DA Limited and DA* prime lenses like the 31 1.8, 43 1.9, 40 2.8, 70 2.4 and 77 1.8.  These all metal primes lenses are excellent optically and mechanically.  And in world increasingly dominated by 18-200 super-zooms, these lenses are refreshingly simple, high quality optics.  They are not inexpensive, but a three lens kit consisting DA primes is quite a desirable thing, especially for traditionalists who are interested in high IQ, great build quality with engraved DOF scales, and small metal casings.

2) User Interface and Info Menu

And I'd have to say the Info menu on cameras like the K-5, K-30, K-01, Q, et al, is something else that makes Pentax kind of special.  Quick, one-touch access to most important shooting functions really makes shooting with Pentax cameras a great pleasure.  The Info menu means no slow menu diving, but Click and select with the Command Dial.  It's an extremely fast, and easy system that I wish more camera makers would emulate.

Lately more vendors like Canon are adding touch screens to cameras like the 600D / T4i.  And sadly (and puzzlingly) review sites like DPR are actually writing approvingly about Touch Screens on DSLRs and Mirrorless.  I don't understand this AT ALL as compared to the Pentax Info menu system, the touch LCD's are slow and fiddly to use and unless you are using a tripod, require two hands.

The last thing you want is to have to remove your hands from shooting position to change settings on a DSLR.   With a Touch LCD, it takes two hands to change settings, i.e., holding the camera with your right, and changing settings with your left hand.   With Pentax's Info menu, everything can be done with your right hand (thumb and command dial), which means you don't have to remove your left hand from underneath the lens barrel.  (Big fail for DPR and other review sites who applaud vendors for slow to operate and gimmicky Touch Screens, and big win for Pentax / Ricoh who build user interfaces that allow photographers to work quickly and efficiently).

Notice that other vendors, most notably Fujifilm with their X cameras like the X-Pro1, X-E1, have copied the Pentax Info screen and called it "Q" menu (Q as in Quick).

So Pentax, like Ricoh with it's GR series, knows how to design cameras and User Interfaces for photographers.

Anyway, IMHO, it's the DA prime lenses, and UI features like the Info menu that have a big impact on usability that makes Pentax special and a joy to shoot with.

Jesus Christ!  I just checked the price for the 31mm 1.8 in Amazon and that thing alone cost $1100 dollars???  Man!  That IS expensive, this MUST be pro lenses for sure.  My plastic Nikon 35 1.8 gives me outstanding IQ for only $199.  Pentax is definitely probably not for me since i couldn't afford this prices at all, and i don't go out shooting under the rain anyway.

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AllBrands
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

What is "special" to me about Pentax for potential new buyers is...

  • you'll have no full-frame upgrade path.
  • it's highly unlikely that you'll ever be able to borrow or share lenses with friends.
  • USA warranty support is from a third-party repair shop in Arizona.
  • retail prices on old-design, full-frame, non-digital lenses keep going up and up.
  • DA* lenses use cheap micro-motors instead of ring-type ultrasonic motors.
  • used DA* lenses are always suspect due to worry of "Suddenly Doesn't Move" syndrome.
  • you get WR bodies and lenses but no WR external flash units (and the flash models are OLD)
  • you'll have a slim selection of third-party lenses (Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Zeiss, etc).
  • your third-party RAW image developer may be slow to support your camera body.

On the plus side...

  • the FA Limited and DA pancake lenses are nice.
  • Weather-Resistant bodies and lenses can be nice.
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awaldram
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Re: What???
In reply to mistermejia, 11 months ago

mistermejia wrote:

Jesus Christ!  I just checked the price for the 31mm 1.8 in Amazon and that thing alone cost $1100 dollars???  Man!  That IS expensive, this MUST be pro lenses for sure.  My plastic Nikon 35 1.8 gives me outstanding IQ for only $199.

As does the all plastic 35mm DAL @ $199 so not sure of your point.?

Pentax is definitely probably not for me since i couldn't afford this prices at all, and i don't go out shooting under the rain anyway.

I'm sure the Nikon af-s 24mm f1.4 @ $2000 has great IQ as well ! hey you could buy two 31 limited for that

Guess Nikon isn't for you either eh ?

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Petroglyph
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Re: What makes Pentax special?
In reply to vjk2, 11 months ago

Pentax seems to get the most out of a given sensor.  Best noise performance and most dynamic range for a given sensor than other brands.  I don't know how, but I imagine they have something in the camera's processing software where they aren't cutting any corners.  Some of their engineers seem to really know what they are doing in camera design.

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