Steer me towards/away from a Pentax K5

Started Mar 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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SenorBeef Regular Member • Posts: 284
Steer me towards/away from a Pentax K5

Didn't want to post this to the Pentax forum because their opinions will be biased.

I want a semi-pro camera in the $1000-1500 range. I want something rugged, with good image quality, with good ergonomics. I mostly shoot landscapes but of course I want something that is versatile to do anything fairly well.

The reviews point me towards the Pentax K5, and I really like what I see. The controls look good, the ruggedness is very good, the compact layout is good, the dynamic range and low iso performance are unmatched amongst APS-C. The major downsides are that the autofocus isn't as good as canikon and the lens/accessory support isn't nearly as wide.

On the other hand, while Pentax may not have all of the specialty lenses you can find with Canon and Nikon, they do have most of the common lenses covered. I'm thinking about a Tamron 17-50 2.8, Pentax 55-300mm (which is regarded to be the best lens of that type from what I understand), and once I've had some time for the zooms to figure out which focal ranges I use most, a few primes. Pentax matches anyone on primes, at least on quality (not necesarily price). I think that would probably cover my lens needs pretty well.

Pentax is also pretty awesome for backwards compatability - I want to bargain hunt on ebay for 20+ year old lenses to see what I can find.

Their professional support (warranty, repair centers, lens rental, etc.) is pretty much bad to nonexistant, so that sucks. I get the impression that their flash systems are also pretty limited - I don't use flash much but I was thinking I might shoot some weddings on an amateur level so I may need some sort of flash solution. Pentax lenses also used to be considered pretty great value - but Hoya jacked up the prices so now they're still competitive, and high quality, they aren't quite the bargain they used to be.

What other factors should I be thinking of? I know the video lacks autofocus - I don't anticipate using a lot of SLR video, and if I do, I think I can work around it by getting some old manual focus lenses with the quality focus rings and using a large DOF.

I also don't know how the autofocus compares. Some people say it's fine, others say it's way behind Canon/Nikon in the same range. Probably 80% of my shots will be static subjects that aren't particularly difficult to focus, but I do want the option to shoot some sports or action.

The other issue is that Pentax was acquired by Ricoh recently and no one is quite sure what that means for the future. People seem confident that the K-mount will stick around (they used it on their K-01 mirrorless, and a significant chunk of the Pentax brand's value is the k-mount), and since Ricoh is bigger and more well funded than Hoya, some people think that means a bright future, but there's some uncertainty in there.

Other cameras I'd consider are things like the Canon 7D, Nikon D7000, maybe the Sony A57 if the price is right when it comes out, stuff in that sort of range. I really like the K5 more, it's just.... the other systems, especially Canon and Nikon, are a safer bet as far as support/accessories/etc. So I have to figure out if there's enough of an advantage in a Canon/Nikon ecosystem to offset the advantage the K5 has as a camera.

The K5 right now is $1000 on BH and Adorama, making it very attractive compared to the 7D and D7000, which are probably inferior cameras, but significantly more expensive. I mean, the difference can be K5 + Tamron 17-50 vs Nikon D7000, or K5 + Tamron 17-50 + 35mm 2.4 vs 7D.

 SenorBeef's gear list:SenorBeef's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED
Canon EOS 7D Nikon D7000 Pentax K-01 Pentax K-5 Pentax K-m (K2000) Sony SLT-A57
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