Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon

Started Aug 6, 2013 | Discussions
McGooble
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Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
Aug 6, 2013

Hi, everyone.

I apologize in advance for the long post, but I've been thinking about this for quite a while.

I'm not officially a Pentax owner yet, but it seems like a definite possibility. Currently I use a Canon Rebel XS and have a 18-55 kit lens and the "nifty fifty" 50mm 1.8. I have been thinking of switching systems for a while now as I felt both Nikon and Pentax were much better in low noise, high ISO photography. I enjoy taking natural light photos, so this is a big emphasis for me if I end up upgrading. On the XS I feel that anything above ISO 400 gets a bit too noisy, too much detail starts to degrade. Everything I've read makes me think that Canons in general are noisier athigher ISO. Plus I hate the way the auto white balance renders incandescent light, even with the incandescent setting it is still far too orange, which seems to be a problem with all the Canons I've encountered. I take pictures in RAW+jpg, so I'm not adverse to touching things up in post, but if things look decent out of camea use the jpg.

In my research I ended up focusing on the Nikon D7000 and the Pentax K-30. Both seemed like excellent upgrades, having great high ISO performance, two control wheels and generally easier controls to help me develop my skills further. My father-in-law has a Nikon D60 and I've always admired then straight out of camera colors and contrast, so initially I was more geared towards Nikon. Their lens selection was also rather robust, so that was great too. I've been wanting a wider angle fast prime and Nikon's 35mm 1.8 is a lot cheaper than most wider primes.

Unfortunately the D7000 is also a bit out of my budget at the moment. Also I was talking to a local camera shop owner and he said that he wouldnt even carry them because they have back/front focusing issues that can't seem to be figured out. This guy knows what he's talking about too, since he repairs cameras as well he gets some insider knowledge from his colleagues in the warranty centers. So that was strike two against the D7000.

Then I started to wonder if I should consider the D5200. It had the same focusing system as the D7000 in addition to having an updated 24mp sensor. It seems pretty good, but it also seems more like a lateral upgrade since it would take some additional menu diving to change settings, same as my XS. One of my other goals if i upgraded was to get a camera that would help me grow as a photographer.

So that of course is where the k-30 comes in. I feel that for the price that it is a great deal for a better than entry level camera. It meets many of my criteria and has in body stabilization, which would be awesome to have even on a prime lens.

I do have some reservations however. As I said, I would love to get a wider fast prime (28 to 35mm and f1.4 to f2), but it seems the Pentax primes that fall in this category are much more expensive than Nikon's or are manual focus. While I wouldn't mind trying my hand at a manual focus lens (especially with focus peaking on the K-30), my main subject matter is my young children. They don't stay still long enough for a manual lens and I also prefer capturing them in a moment playing, etc. Also I have heard that the K-30's focusing can be a bit slow when compared to Nikon, not sure how much truth there is to that.

I had tried a Sigma 18-50mm 2.8 on my XS, but it seems that typical conditions in my house are still too dim for f2.8, so I really do need a faster lens. Of course with a higher ISO threshold that may be a different story. Typically my 50mm is on my camera 90% of the time so I'd really like a prime anyway. My next step if I stayed with Canon would be to get a Canon 28mm 1.8 or a Sigma 30mm 1.4, but I balk at spending $400-$450 on a lens.

Which brings me to my question. Do you guys think it would benefit me enough to switch systems? I don't have that much invested in Canon. Plus I could probably settle on the Pentax 50mm 1.8, since it just became sub $200. I might have to stagger my lens purchase though, at least until I sell my Canon gear. Not sure I could go back to having only the kit lens again. Other lens suggestions are welcome, but I don't have the cash to go buy any star lenses or anything. Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.

-Tony

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Tan68
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to McGooble, Aug 6, 2013

Well, as far as low light goes, I think the higher ISO performance of either the Nikon or Pentax will net you a gain versus the Canon. Even with the some slower Pentax 35. I admit I haven't studied Canon performance and this is only what I gather.

Anyway, you will be buying into a system, of course. etc. etc. I don't think I would ever have a use for most of the lenses Nikon offers. That isn't what 'system' means to me as much as having the few lenses I like and being satisfied with those. That is my personal system. And I have bought into that.

You have selected some lenses to compare and that is the right thing to do.

So, maybe the D7000 doesn't seem like a good deal now. I know nothing of its focus problems. People will say Pentax has challenges as well. However, I think Nikon is a generally good choice and would go with them if I weren't with Pentax. I guess I mean try to think beyond the 7000... How is the D7100 faring? Or do you just dislike it not having the AA filter?

Sounds like you aren't too happy with Canon. They have seemed static but this may be changing with the 70D. But you have made a decision about how Canon operates, from your perspective. Try to develop a feel for the philosophy of Pentax/Nikon or where you think they place emphasis. An easy one: If growing means full frame to you (I don't mean 'gee, that's nice some day', but a plan/goal) then Nikon might be best.

PS

I am with you on the 28 being a good focal length. I just don't use 28/35 much :^)

For the faster lenses, Nikon will be a better choice. The ISO performance of the K30 may adequately offset the difference in speed for your use, but faster is faster, as you know.  If a little less fast is fast enough, that is good enough, if you know what I mean.  Depending on print/view size and cropping, I would imagine a well exposed shot at ISO 1600 will be acceptable.

As far as my take on lens philosophy, Pentax seems to be smaller and not as fast. Most of the primes are small, DA (DX for Nikon), screw drive, and no image stabilization in-lens (it is in-camera). I am not against screw drive; I think it allows a smaller lens. I am mostly satisfied with the speed of the lenses. As you may have noticed, most are not inexpensive.

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Tan68
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to McGooble, Aug 6, 2013

For your Canon and incandescent light, you could make you a custom white balance. I don't know if your camera lets you store one..? But, take a picture of something neutral in your lights and use your PP software to set WB. Record the result and just plop that on when ever you take pictures lit similarly.

Better to be satisfied with what the camera does, but might help some...

A 'gray card' is good but you could try paper. Nothing glossy and don't overexpose it / clip highlights. Try to not have any other color reflections on it. For instance someone sitting next to a lamp, holding your paper, wearing a red t-shirt, reflecting red light on the paper. etc.

I don't know about the K30, but some Pentax cameras have two incandescent settings.  The K5 does.  One is intended to correct well.  One is intended to leave a little warm lamp glow.  The warm incandescent setting can be good for sunsets...  I think I am remembering this correctly.  If this is not some thing I have made up in my head, try your (maybe undesired) warm incandescent setting for a sunset with your Canon...

I am sure I will be corrected if I have misremembered this.

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LightBug
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to McGooble, Aug 6, 2013

If you don't want to spend a lot of money on lenses, you could scour the used lens market on craigslist, that's how I bought most of my lenses.  Pentax has many manual focus fast primes that are affordable.

I think Pentax's strength lies in its well featured bodies that has shake reduction built in.  So F2.8 may be fast enough given in-body SR.  For any system, you may also think about investing in a flash to bounce off of ceilings and walls to give you some decent diffused light instead of investing in really expensive fast lenses.

Joey

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Zvonimir Tosic
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Maybe you are not a customer for a DSLR
In reply to McGooble, Aug 6, 2013

Shake Reduction compensates for "slower" apertures. You can consider that and I know it does work for many Pentax users.

Your Canon and non-IS lens on it won't allow you good shutter speeds even if you have an f1.4 lens — Pentax K-30 plus an f/2.8 lens will outperform that Canon combo handheld in low light.

So I think you should thoroughly explore Pentax system before jumping into conclusions about lens "speeds" because Canon and Nikon users often come with such prejudices and think of Pentax lenses as "slow" — it's the whole system that matters. Their systems are actually slower.

But from your writing above, and considering that you basically want top performing, fast aperture, low noise system but with no investment in anything — especially in lenses — with all due respect, I think you are not the kind of customer for a DSLR.

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fakuryu
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In reply to McGooble, Aug 6, 2013

McGooble wrote:

Hi, everyone.

I apologize in advance for the long post, but I've been thinking about this for quite a while.

I'm not officially a Pentax owner yet, but it seems like a definite possibility. Currently I use a Canon Rebel XS and have a 18-55 kit lens and the "nifty fifty" 50mm 1.8. I have been thinking of switching systems for a while now as I felt both Nikon and Pentax were much better in low noise, high ISO photography. I enjoy taking natural light photos, so this is a big emphasis for me if I end up upgrading. On the XS I feel that anything above ISO 400 gets a bit too noisy, too much detail starts to degrade. Everything I've read makes me think that Canons in general are noisier athigher ISO. Plus I hate the way the auto white balance renders incandescent light, even with the incandescent setting it is still far too orange, which seems to be a problem with all the Canons I've encountered. I take pictures in RAW+jpg, so I'm not adverse to touching things up in post, but if things look decent out of camea use the jpg.

In my research I ended up focusing on the Nikon D7000 and the Pentax K-30. Both seemed like excellent upgrades, having great high ISO performance, two control wheels and generally easier controls to help me develop my skills further. My father-in-law has a Nikon D60 and I've always admired then straight out of camera colors and contrast, so initially I was more geared towards Nikon. Their lens selection was also rather robust, so that was great too. I've been wanting a wider angle fast prime and Nikon's 35mm 1.8 is a lot cheaper than most wider primes.

Unfortunately the D7000 is also a bit out of my budget at the moment. Also I was talking to a local camera shop owner and he said that he wouldnt even carry them because they have back/front focusing issues that can't seem to be figured out. This guy knows what he's talking about too, since he repairs cameras as well he gets some insider knowledge from his colleagues in the warranty centers. So that was strike two against the D7000.

Then I started to wonder if I should consider the D5200. It had the same focusing system as the D7000 in addition to having an updated 24mp sensor. It seems pretty good, but it also seems more like a lateral upgrade since it would take some additional menu diving to change settings, same as my XS. One of my other goals if i upgraded was to get a camera that would help me grow as a photographer.

So that of course is where the k-30 comes in. I feel that for the price that it is a great deal for a better than entry level camera. It meets many of my criteria and has in body stabilization, which would be awesome to have even on a prime lens.

I do have some reservations however. As I said, I would love to get a wider fast prime (28 to 35mm and f1.4 to f2), but it seems the Pentax primes that fall in this category are much more expensive than Nikon's or are manual focus. While I wouldn't mind trying my hand at a manual focus lens (especially with focus peaking on the K-30), my main subject matter is my young children. They don't stay still long enough for a manual lens and I also prefer capturing them in a moment playing, etc. Also I have heard that the K-30's focusing can be a bit slow when compared to Nikon, not sure how much truth there is to that.

I had tried a Sigma 18-50mm 2.8 on my XS, but it seems that typical conditions in my house are still too dim for f2.8, so I really do need a faster lens. Of course with a higher ISO threshold that may be a different story. Typically my 50mm is on my camera 90% of the time so I'd really like a prime anyway. My next step if I stayed with Canon would be to get a Canon 28mm 1.8 or a Sigma 30mm 1.4, but I balk at spending $400-$450 on a lens.

Which brings me to my question. Do you guys think it would benefit me enough to switch systems? I don't have that much invested in Canon. Plus I could probably settle on the Pentax 50mm 1.8, since it just became sub $200. I might have to stagger my lens purchase though, at least until I sell my Canon gear. Not sure I could go back to having only the kit lens again. Other lens suggestions are welcome, but I don't have the cash to go buy any star lenses or anything. Any advice you can give will be greatly appreciated.

-Tony

Looks like you are not yet heavily invested in any system as of yet. Why not wait and see what the 70D could offer with those new tech and sensor.

But for your immediate needs if you do switch, the K30 + 50mm F1.8 is a good choice and has a very usable up to ISO3200

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robbo d
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to LightBug, Aug 6, 2013

I did the exact same thing several years ago and I had the 450D......is that the XS?. I actually liked the feel and AF of the Canon, so not prejudiced in any way, but I did a lot of low light work and purchased the kx which is also a handy performer in Low light compared to what I had.

I think the Canon 18mp sensor struggles compared to Nikon and Pentax, but the upgrade in the 70D may be improved?? But that could be out of range in $$$ terms.

I will echo others in saying that good used and some special deal new Pentax primes can be found at a good price. I also believe that the k30 and even a f2.8 will surpass your expectations.

The use of manual focus legacy film lenses on the k30 may be of interest to you, with focus peaking and they offer good value also.

It sounds like your upgrading your whole kit, so doesnt matter which brand so long as you get the 'strengths' your after. It does sound like a classic Pentax or Nikon situation to me.

Not sure why its been mentioned that your not a candidate for a DSLR.....it seems that anything less will not yield the low light requirements............

A couple of the Pentax zooms, 12-24 and 10-17 are very very good, but again a scout around for 'low mileage - second hand' examples that may fit your budget.

Good luck, the K30 is at some very good prices right now and represents excellent value. I havent researched Nikon lately, just something about them that didn't feel right in my hand....dont know why?? just a very personal preference.......

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emem
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Re: Maybe you are not a customer for a DSLR
In reply to Zvonimir Tosic, Aug 6, 2013

Zvonimir Tosic wrote:

Shake Reduction compensates for "slower" apertures. You can consider that and I know it does work for many Pentax users.

Your Canon and non-IS lens on it won't allow you good shutter speeds even if you have an f1.4 lens — Pentax K-30 plus an f/2.8 lens will outperform that Canon combo handheld in low light.

So I think you should thoroughly explore Pentax system before jumping into conclusions about lens "speeds" because Canon and Nikon users often come with such prejudices and think of Pentax lenses as "slow" — it's the whole system that matters. Their systems are actually slower.

But from your writing above, and considering that you basically want top performing, fast aperture, low noise system but with no investment in anything — especially in lenses — with all due respect, I think you are not the kind of customer for a DSLR.

.............. another pearler from Zvonimir. Do you actually try to insult people or does it just come naturally?

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ozdean
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Re: Maybe you are not a customer for a DSLR
In reply to emem, Aug 6, 2013

Yes a little brash?

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klavrack
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to McGooble, Aug 6, 2013

Unless there are major reasons to the contrary, I'd tend to advise folks to stick with the system they've become familiar with.  That said, the K-30 can open up some interesting areas of photography that its competitors are weaker at, namely, macro and legacy lenses, due to the in-body stabilization and focus peaking.  I agree with others here that a DA 35mm/2.4 with stabilization should work as well as a faster but unstabilized lens.  Video is another factor--not a Pentax strong suit if that's important to you.

I've always got to remind myself that the limitations of my equipment are insignificant compared to the limitations of my skill and knowledge.  For 99% of what most folks shoot, the differences between these cameras will be undetectable.

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Tan68
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Re: Maybe you are not a customer for a DSLR
In reply to Zvonimir Tosic, Aug 6, 2013

Zvonimir Tosic wrote:

Shake Reduction compensates for "slower" apertures. You can consider that and I know it does work for many Pentax users.

Somewhat, SR compensates for slower apertures. It can be said to compensate for slower apertures, with regard to motion blur, if the subject is static. For children, not too practical. For bairn, a faster shutter, SR or not, is needed. This means more light (...faster lens) or more digital manipulation (^ ISO).

Your Canon and non-IS lens on it won't allow you good shutter speeds even if you have an f1.4 lens — Pentax K-30 plus an f/2.8 lens will outperform that Canon combo handheld in low light.

This is two stops different. I do believe the Pentax will have better noise characteristics than the Canon. To say the Pentax at f2.8 outperforms the Canon at f1.4 is pushing the envelope. Perhaps the Pentax at ISO 1600 would perform equally to the Canon at ISO 400... Would it outperform it ? edit: if you count SR with an appropriate scene, an argument could be made for 'outperforms'. However, SR will be of limited use for moving child pictures; there is a point where the shutter can be no slower, SR or not.  For static child pictures, I agree 'outperforms' is likely.  Robitussin should not be part of a photographers kit  :^|

So I think you should thoroughly explore Pentax system before jumping into conclusions about lens "speeds" because Canon and Nikon users often come with such prejudices and think of Pentax lenses as "slow" — it's the whole system that matters. Their systems are actually slower.

Not really. A slower lens is always slower. This is the 'it is what it is yet it aint what it aint' principal. Depending on the subject, SR may make an acceptable difference. Depending on the artistic intent, a smaller aperture may be acceptable. However, if a faster lens is desired, nothing really makes up for a slower lens. Not even a 'boca app' on an iPhone :^)

But from your writing above, and considering that you basically want top performing, fast aperture, low noise system but with no investment in anything — especially in lenses — with all due respect, I think you are not the kind of customer for a DSLR.

Mmm. He wants to not spend a lot on lenses. He has a 50/1.8 and would like a reasonably priced 35. Not really asking for the moon here, yeah? Both reasonable lenses can be had for Nikon. For Pentax, the 35 comes in an f2.4 flavor.

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ASR45
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In reply to ozdean, Aug 6, 2013

Yes im watching the same players, lets be civil i say this time and time again, if you have nothing to offer the OP, dont bother insulting him/her, same names keep popping up, i am watching closely how this develops.

I dont want to have words again, you know who you are.

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JNR
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to klavrack, Aug 6, 2013

I'm somewhat in Canon (one body, five lenses), but mostly in Pentax. I think the original post does provide a cogent argument for moving from Canon to Pentax. Pentax is weak in some areas (most notably flash, video and sports photography), but is superior for mid-range dSLRs in overall operational design, image quality, build, and the ability to get good optics at reasonable prices (especially if you are willing to try vintage MF lenses). You can't do better than K mount on a tight budget if you are mostly interested in fast glass.

I think the Nikon 5100 is an especially good deal, but a lot of users of the 5100/5200 series are frustrated with the extensive menu diving and logistics of the camera (big and somewhat clumsy, as well as somewhat marginal build quality). Keep in mind, that you have to move up to the 7000 series or higher to utilize the full complement of Nikon lenses. However, image quality is nearly on par with the K-30, and video is considerably better. I haven't been impressed with the low light capabilities of the 24mp sensors (5200), but that isn't a universal opinion.

The idea of waiting for something "better" is a never-ending saga. Anything that Canon comes up with that vastly improves on the poor low light performance of current models is going to be costly, and take years to drop into the lower-priced models.

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Tan68
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to JNR, Aug 6, 2013

JNR wrote:

... a lot of users of the 5100/5200 series are frustrated with the extensive menu diving

I bet those are the people that bought the 5100 for the sensor only and 'bang for the unit-of-currency' versus a more 'prosumer' camera.  Not the typical mid-range consumer and no doubt some are frustrated with the interface  :^)

... haven't been impressed with the low light capabilities of the 24mp sensors (5200), but that isn't a universal opinion.

Looking at pixel level, maybe less capable..?  For same print/view size as the apple-to-apple, the 24 MP is probably about the same as 16 MP for low(er) light.  ~Same with benefits being more useable resolution in good light, etc.  However, I haven't actually played with a 24 MP file, either...

Good post.

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JNR
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to Tan68, Aug 6, 2013

Tan68 wrote:

JNR wrote:

... a lot of users of the 5100/5200 series are frustrated with the extensive menu diving

I bet those are the people that bought the 5100 for the sensor only and 'bang for the unit-of-currency' versus a more 'prosumer' camera. Not the typical mid-range consumer and no doubt some are frustrated with the interface :^)

I'm thinking mostly of a friend who has lots of experience from the film days, and some experience with a prosumer unit. I recommended the 5100 to him thinking he would step of his shooting activities, but he hasn't done that. Yes, he got a great deal with the consumer pair kit lenses - but really is resisting learning the ins and outs of the camera. He had a nice Nikon flash already, and was certainly predisposed to go with Nikon. But, I suspect, the K-30 would have been a better fit based on size, his outdoor/travel activities, and a superior interface (especially so for learning).

... haven't been impressed with the low light capabilities of the 24mp sensors (5200), but that isn't a universal opinion.

Looking at pixel level, maybe less capable..? For same print/view size as the apple-to-apple, the 24 MP is probably about the same as 16 MP for low(er) light. ~Same with benefits being more useable resolution in good light, etc. However, I haven't actually played with a 24 MP file, either...

No doubt you are right about that. If you are a Pentax shooter - possibly restricted to 300mm and want to do birding, that's a strong argument for getting a 24mp sensor into the stable. But not much of a case for the higher density sensor beyond that.

By the way, my best birding shots come with a 85mm f/1.4 on a Q! You can really move around easily with that set up (although finding the bird can be tough, especially if you go any longer).

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pc35photolab
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to McGooble, Aug 6, 2013

I purchased a K-30 several months ago and really enjoy using it.  I used a Canon A-1 during the film camera era and liked that camera too (and Canon lenses), so I don't have anything against Canon.  But when digital cameras came on the scene I chose Pentax.  The K-30, in my opinion, is a bargain compared to other DSLR bodies.  The savings also let's me spend a little more on quality lenses.  My interests are primarily wildlife and landscape.  I don't care much about video.  For me the quality of the lens is at least as important as the quality of the camera body.  Stick an average lens on any camera body and you will probably be unhappy with image quality if that is important to you.  So, my next purchase will be a $1300 Pentax lens, slightly less than the cost of the K-30 plus the two lenses I have now.

What makes the K-30 fun for me are all the features and abilities it offers.  I've never owned a camera with these capabilities.  Some features I am still learning to use.  A few I haven't gotten to yet.  Probably by the time I have mastered this camera there will be new and better DSLRs on the market but I won't care.  As long as the camera and lenses meet my wants and needs that is fine.

I think one can find systems from Nikon, Canon, or Pentax that will meet your requirements.  Nikon may cost a little more.  Nikon and Canon offer more lens selections than Pentax.  There are a few Sigma and Tamron lenses that are not available in Pentax mount.  Focus on your wants and needs, do the research, and pick.

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AllBrands
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to McGooble, Aug 7, 2013

Look carefully before you leap. Some things a potential new DSLR buyer should know about Pentax are...

  • 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.
  • Premium DA* lenses use cheap micro-motors instead of ring-type ultrasonic motors.
  • used DA* lenses are often 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 slimmer selection of third-party lenses (Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Zeiss, etc).
  • your third-party RAW image developer may be slow to support your camera body/lens.

On the plus side...

  • ergonomics and button functions are very good as is the unique-to-Pentax "TAv" mode.
  • the FA Limited and DA pancake lenses are nice.
  • Weather-Resistant bodies and lenses can be very handy to have.

Lacking a family budget that would allow for a prosumer class DSLR and a range of fast, quality lenses, in the alternative there are some attractive deals around on Micro Four-Thirds bodies and lenses. Smaller, lighter cameras and lenses aren't just easier to carry - they also attract less attention and disrupt the scene far less in terms of people's reactions and their awareness of your shooting.

If I didn't have so much invested in K-mount gear right now, Micro Four-Thirds is where I'd want to be.  MFT gear doesn't fully take the place of a good DSLR kit in some situations but it is easy to use in ways and places that DSLR gear often isn't.

Choose wisely how you spend your money for the long-term by having a lens roadmap planned out in advance.  If the camera system you're contemplating doesn't provide an attractive future roadmap for lens purchases, best to either wait or look elsewhere.

My two cents as a husband and a father of four.

 AllBrands's gear list:AllBrands's gear list
Canon PowerShot SD550 Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS Olympus E-420 Pentax K-7 Olympus PEN E-PM1 +10 more
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Gary Martin
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to AllBrands, Aug 7, 2013

Look carefully before you leap. Some things a potential new DSLR buyer should know about Pentax are...

  • 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.
  • Premium DA* lenses use cheap micro-motors instead of ring-type ultrasonic motors.
  • used DA* lenses are often 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 slimmer selection of third-party lenses (Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Zeiss, etc).
  • your third-party RAW image developer may be slow to support your camera body/lens.

On the plus side...

  • ergonomics and button functions are very good as is the unique-to-Pentax "TAv" mode.
  • the FA Limited and DA pancake lenses are nice.
  • Weather-Resistant bodies and lenses can be very handy to have.

Lacking a family budget that would allow for a prosumer class DSLR and a range of fast, quality lenses, in the alternative there are some attractive deals around on Micro Four-Thirds bodies and lenses. Smaller, lighter cameras and lenses aren't just easier to carry - they also attract less attention and disrupt the scene far less in terms of people's reactions and their awareness of your shooting.

If I didn't have so much invested in K-mount gear right now, Micro Four-Thirds is where I'd want to be. MFT gear doesn't fully take the place of a good DSLR kit in some situations but it is easy to use in ways and places that DSLR gear often isn't.

Choose wisely how you spend your money for the long-term by having a lens roadmap planned out in advance. If the camera system you're contemplating doesn't provide an attractive future roadmap for lens purchases, best to either wait or look elsewhere.

My two cents as a husband and a father of four.

Overall a good post, although shooting DNG RAW should be listed as a plus for Pentax as well.

In regards to Micro 4/3, I would like to offer a few counterpoints, as it's a system I've been studying for a while and have found several severe drawbacks that may or may not be a factor to the OP. First of all, especially after trying out an OMD for a bit, I *hated* the EVF. An optical viewfinder is still a really nice thing to have, and no EVF that I've ever used has come close. EVFs will get better of course, but they're definitely not there yet - and you'll never be able to frame a shot with the camera powered off. Secondly, I've found most mirrorless cameras to be not nearly as nice to hold and operate as smallish DSLRs like Pentax offers. Yes, they are lighter, but they don't feel good in the hand to me, and the controls can be fiddly. Lastly, I would point out that you CAN draw less attention and have a low profile just by using a Pentax DSLR with a smallish lens like a DA Limited; even better, use a colored version of any of the mid-range bodies (I used a white K-r with a DA21 very effectively that way), or something like a Yellow K-01 (which is what I use now in low-profile situations). How you conduct yourself will often have more effect in drawing attention than whether your camera is a few grams lighter. Just my opinions of course, YMMV.

 Gary Martin's gear list:Gary Martin's gear list
Pentax K-30 Pentax K-01 Pentax smc DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited Pentax smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited Pentax smc DA 40mm F2.8 Limited +7 more
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leopold
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to McGooble, Aug 7, 2013

Hi,

i own both Canon and Pentax gear, i have the 7D and T3i as well as a Pentax K20D and K-01.

I would say that if you want the best high ISO performance at a good price the Pentax K30 is hard to beat (it has essantially the same sensor as in the K-01), it's weather sealed as a bonus.

The Canon DSLR sensors are more noisy and needs more PP for NR than the Pentax and you need to expose your shot more cautiously if you want the best out of the sensors.

We don't know yet the performance of the 70D, so it's hard to comment. As for lenses Canon certainly have more choices especially in the Zooms and long Pro L lenses.

The 50mm/1.8 and Da35mm/2.4 are good choices.

 leopold's gear list:leopold's gear list
Fujifilm X-E1 Canon EOS 7D Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM +3 more
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BobK77
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Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon
In reply to JNR, Aug 7, 2013

JNR wrote:

I'm somewhat in Canon (one body, five lenses), but mostly in Pentax. I think the original post does provide a cogent argument for moving from Canon to Pentax. Pentax is weak in some areas (most notably flash, video and sports photography), but is superior for mid-range dSLRs in overall operational design, image quality, build, and the ability to get good optics at reasonable prices (especially if you are willing to try vintage MF lenses). You can't do better than K mount on a tight budget if you are mostly interested in fast glass.

Hi can you elaborate about sport photography? I am in the same boat and was looking at
K-30/K5-II/ Sigma 50-150 HMS as a sport set up.

Thanks

 BobK77's gear list:BobK77's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX10 Nikon D5200 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO OS HSM | C Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO DG Macro
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