What makes Pentax special?

Started May 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
marike6 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,088
Great DA prime lenses and the awesome Info menu

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.

 marike6's gear list:marike6's gear list
Nikon Coolpix P330 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 Nikon D800 Fujifilm X-E1 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH +7 more
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