Pentax as first DSLR?

Started Jul 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
Alex Sarbu Veteran Member • Posts: 8,851
Re: Pentax as first DSLR?

Ivan Gordeli wrote:

vjk2 wrote:

Yeah, used gear on a whole is always kind of a hassle and often is just too much to bother. Like, for relatively simple and durable devices like ipods or something, with few moving parts, there isn't really any problem with used, but with moving parts, there's just so much that can go wrong.

And I mean, you're talking about a camera that was last made in 2005 vs a camera made in 2012/2013. If you want full-frame, save up and get a 2013 full-frame.

I was following this discussion with great interest and like to chip in my opinion.

1. old vs. new

I think getting an older (used) body may be a very good decision. Even though I went for the new body myself I now think I should have done otherwise. Of course it makes sense only if the older body is a better deal.

You have a point; but please be aware that I'm talking specifically about a 8 year-old camera.

the advantages of getting old:

  • costs much less
  • you are less worried about protecting it (it is already used, and you do not loose that much anyway) - this point may be quite significant depending on your personality. For me it was huge. When I had a used-purchased-on-evil-bay camera I would get it out and shoot way more often and with more peace of mind than with the cameras I have purchased brand-new.
  • a lot more is known about it (you can pick those models that stood the test of time and you also have more user-feedback to judge or to find workarounds to any problems)
  • you can get a more "professional"/top-of-the-line body (for less) than if you buy new (this point is discussed in detail below)

advantages of getting new:

  • better tech/specs (which is not everything though - see below)
  • warranty

I also think that Alex and vjk2 overestimate the advantages of the new tech. You know, the core components (shutter, viewfinder, lenses, AF- the later to a smaller extent) have been perfected long ago and higher-end models feature better shutters, viewfinders and AF systems than lower-end ones ...

I don't overestimate anything. First, the electronics (including sensor) plays a significant role; but you don't mention them.

Second, it's a mistake to assume the optical/mechanical components "were perfected long ago". The shutter is more durable from the 5DMkII (150000 frames MTBF). The viewfinder is progressively better, 5DMkIII having a 100% one. Canon is launching new, better lenses all the time. AF definitely is more advanced on the latest model.

The original 5D's mirror could not even stay glued in place; if that's being perfected... (of course, Canon fixed that). OTOH, the 5DMkIII's mirror is good for 6fps and AFAIK they tend to stay in place.

I do have some experience using the latest (and slightly lower-end) model alongside a completely outdated by your standards (7 years older) (slightly higher-end) model with twice less megapixels, the older model still produced by far better results (with more effort on users part though), so I do not buy 100% the idea that the tech has improved so much there is no sense going for the older models.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that the older model is better than anything new, however in my experience a certain advanced older model was better than a much newer (and less-advanced) one.

It would help to say which models, and how were you using them... thanks.

[I did some (brief) analysis into how the price of the models falls with age and it looks that there is a sweet spot - some older model which is a better deal than the newer ones as well as the even-older ones. For instance in the top-of-the-line Pentax dSLRs (K10D, K20D, K-7, K-5, K-5 II) the best deal right now seems to be the K-7. The sweet spot means that you can buy the camera and resell it with almost no loss even if you resell it after using it for some time.]

I don't like the K-7's sensor, with its high shadow noise and inability to cope with small underexposures. Ignoring prices, the K-5 II is better from every point of view.

Money are not as important as being able to enjoy using those tools. Are you buying cameras to resell them, or to use them?

2. professional/top-of-the-line vs. lower-end model:

There are advantages in the top-of-the-line/more pro-oriented cameras that go beyond the on-paper specs.

I think what Alex is missing is that there is more than just on-paper raw sensor data and features that define the camera. There are small things that make the "professional" camera and even without being a pro I can feel it when I hold a more professional camera in hand and shoot with it.

Please be aware that we weren't talking about professional cameras.

3. Full Frame vs APS-C

The popular opinion now among the APS-C users is that APS-C has become better than FF in a sense that there is no reason to go for a FF. Interesting though that among even smaller sensor users the opinion is that their tools have also surpassed the dSLR in just about everything, and then you have cell-phone users who "know" that the difference between the cell-phone cameras and dSLRs is negligible. It is kind of obvious all these opinions do miss something important.
First of all FF and APS-C are intrinsically different (no better or worse, just different). And one may be better than the other in certain situations.

That's a discussion maybe for Open Talk? And FTR, I made no claim that APS-C is better than FF. Just that my APS-C DSLR has higher resolution (as in resolved detail) than a very old FF one... and that's a fact.

Unfortunately I do not have a link to a nice compilation of FF advantages and it will take me too much time to compile such a list myself. One obvious one is that the FF gives you more control over the Negative space and anyone with background in the Art should know how important this is. This one example is just to show that there is indeed more than just tech advantages (which may be present as well).

I do not wish to engage in such discussions here, so I'll refrain from commenting.

If I were to buy a new camera right now I would have most probably purchased the 5D as Unexpresivecanvas is recommending. I didn't because at the time I was buying my dSLR it was still way too expensive.

If you buy it because you like it so much, OK. It might be worth the risk.

If you buy it because you can't afford a newer FF body and want to keep it for a while, be prepared for when it will die.

The biggest drawback of the Full Frame to me is the much bigger size and weight, not the "outdated" tech (which is not that outdated IMHO).

P.S.: I do not agree with everything Unexpresivecanvas has said, though I find the spirit of his recommendation quite valid.

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