Pentax as first DSLR?

Started Jul 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
Holger Bargen Senior Member • Posts: 2,461
Re: Pentax as first DSLR?

Hi yardcoyote,

I just want to give you my impression regarding the FF/APS-C discussion.

I shoot for many years fullfram - with my Pentax ME - later Super A and MZ5N.

If I think back and think about my experiences with my K5 I definitively would say: I do not want to go back!

Resolution of the chip working in the K5 is so high that I am sure I would not see any difference in a Picture taken with it compared to a Picture to a picture taken with a FUJI Velvia 100 ASA (the film I used for the last couple of years with my FF cameras). I do not need more resolution.

If you compare both sensor formats, you will notice, that the main difference is, that for APS-C everything is shifted by the cropping factor (for Pentax: 1.5x). Aperture, focal length, limit of diffraction - everything is just shifted - you just have to find out from your basic understanding of photography, into which direction things are shifted. For your practical work you will find the difference most visible if you use your aperture wide opened: with your APS-C your deepness of field is 1.5x deeper than with FF. If you would like to do Portrait shoots with low Budget zooms you may would like to have a smaller DOF - but if I use my old Tamron 180mm at f=2.5 to take photos of my children I will have to close aperture as even with APS-C DOF is to small for my needs.

Since a long time I prefer to shoot landscape and macro objects. Sometimes my family - but never professional portrait photography. So for my needs a deeper deepness of field is a great advantage - and I find it with my APS-C system. Sometimes I do birds photography. My 400mm lens became a 600 mm lens - which is rather nice.

If you use the Pentax lenses designed for APS-C you will find that your gear is more compact - you do not have to carry with you tons of glass.

In theory a bigger sensor should be able to produce higher resolution. Yes, that is true. If you compare the Nikon 800E with the Pentax K5iis you´ll maybe find a breath more resolution in the Nikon FF camera with nearly twice MP.

At my work I had the chance to compare photographs form Canon 5D MarkII and Pentax K5. Even though the Canon is FF and has a higher MP number the Pentax APS-C produces nearly similar resolution. If you are doing PixelPeeping the details in the photographs from the Pentax are more sharp but you see the Pixel a little bit more early whereas the Canon were more on the soft side but not with any more details visible.

My impression is that processing the JPG by the camera or your postprocessing of the RAW files has more influence on the look of your pictures than the question if you use FF or APS-C. Both Systems are able to provied you with brilliant RAWs for your photographic work.

You told that you want more from a DSLR than from your 14MP Point-and shoot.

You definitively will get more from a DSLR - even if you would use an old Pentax K10D with 10 MP!

Most point and shoot cameras have such a small sensor that it ist impossible to resolve the full 14 MP - I believe that everything above 10MP on a point and shoot is nothing but marketing. And the second problem (if your camera would resolve the 14 MP in cleár detail) is that it is hardly possible to design such a small lens that would deliver the resolution you would need for 14 MP on such a tiny sensor.

If I look back to my old FF film cameras and then look to my Pentax K5 - what is the main difference (besides the advantages or disadvantages of digtial technology)?

I would say that I used my Pentax K10D like my film Pentax cameras - but my K5 is different. The high quality of high ISO pictures opened a door into another world for me. I can do handheld photographs where I had to use a tripod or flash before and I can close my aperture for macro photos which (togehter with the Advantage of APS-C) allows an enormous deepness of field.

As a conclusion I can say: There is nothing I miss today from my FF days but the new techonogies offer things I would not like to give back if I would be forced to use my old cameras.

Best regards


 Holger Bargen's gear list:Holger Bargen's gear list
Pentax K-5 Pentax K-S1 Pentax K-1 Pentax smc DA 55-300mm F4.0-5.8 ED Sigma 70mm F2.8 EX DG Macro +5 more
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