Pentax as first DSLR?

Started Jul 17, 2013 | Discussions thread
Alex Sarbu Veteran Member • Posts: 8,932
Re: Pentax as first DSLR?

Ivan Gordeli wrote:

Alex Sarbu wrote:

Ivan Gordeli wrote:

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.

As I have said, IMHO you underestimate how good a 8-year old camera may be. All the technological advances that you correctly point out below, they do matter, sure. However in many cases they don't. Yes, the cameras are faster, but you may not need fast at all (for landscape work for instance). The resolution is higher, but you will only benefit from it if you print (very) large or evaluate at 100%. The AF may be better, though why would someone who uses MF all the time care?

Are you trying to build a specific scenario in which using the 8-year old camera makes sense? If you don't need this, if you don't need that...

My point is it all depends on the type of work you do and your style. For some applications and some people the older camera may be still as good if not better.

But most of all, we are not simply comparing 2 cameras of the same class. We compare 2 tools with different sensor size which implies quite different visual rendering of the subject. This difference is IMHO much more important than the difference in resolution etc.

Is it? In the paragraph above you were talking about "the type of work you do and your style". Now you're deciding this is important no matter what?

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.

Of course, though it may be not important in many situations.

But it may be important in others. How would you know it's not important, for the OP? And keep in mind you're on Pentax SLR Talk... not the best place to hype old Canon cameras

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.

I did not suggest to compare the 5D to 5D MkII. We/I were comparing 5D and a newer APS-C camera (Pentax K-30/K-50). The 5D viewfinder is still bigger than anything APS-C has to offer (I think Canon 7D has the best viewfinder among APS-C if I remember correctly - by a small margin). Yes the coverage is slightly less than 100%, it may not be important for some as much as the magnification and brightness.

That was to prove the technology is evolving in the DSLR world; which I did. The K-500/K-50/K-30, with their 7D-level viewfinders, for about $600... that's good progress, by the way.

As I have said before the parameters of the cameras are not everything that matters, though even if you compare the performance of 5D to K-30 you will find that the 5D sensor measures quite well compared to K-30 (better in some aspects, worse in others). So performance-wise you get a comparable sensor (a bit less resolution), much better viewfinder and FF-experience.

I don't know what's that "FF-experience". I remember the small format from the film days, but there was no magic behind it... magic only started with the medium format

I would go for a Pentax 135 DSLR though, just for the better viewfinder (sure, that won't be the only benefit). I'm in no hurry... but my eyes are not getting better. Of course, I'm not deluding myself into thinking that it would make me a better photographer.

AF is a more tricky point of course. I do not know how does the 5D AF compares to Pentax APS-C AF. I did however use a Canon 20D (even older than 5D). In regular use I have not noticed any serious drawbacks in AF compared to my Pentax K-5. Quite possible K-5 will outperform the 20D AF in some situations, but if you do not shoot in such situations why would you care? (Not to mention the K-5 AF has its own quirks in some situations).

I was arguing against UnexpressiveCanvas' claim that it's "way more advanced" (well, he believed Pentax was still using SAFOX II ) He obviously cared a lot.

Ignoring prices, the K-5 II is better from every point of view.

If we ignore the prices most of these suggestions and discussions are irrelevant of course. The whole idea of getting old is to save (or more precisely you can get an older and more advanced model for the same price as a newer and lesser model).

Cutting as you like? I'll repeat: the K-5 II is better than the K-7, from every point of view (except price). Your "best deal" K-7 is not a best deal anymore, as soon as you push that sensor a little bit. I know that sensor quite well, and I say it's well worth to go with the 16MP Sony one instead.

Now, is your "best deal" 5D as good as you think?

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

You can equally enjoy (if not more) and older and cheaper camera. I do still enjoy my friends Canon 20D (2004) immensely (and in some ways more than my beloved K-5) or the Sony F717 (2002) not to mention my Zorki-4 (1955) or FED (1937). I buy the camera to use, not to resell. And there are a some advantages in using an older/used camera (some of which I have pointed out in my previous comment).

Especially in this case, since FF gives you a totally new experience.

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.

The risk is not as high as you think it is IMHO. If you have experience buying used and knowledge about the camera and take the right precautions when buying, the chances of something going wrong are not that high. I personally think the chances of being in trouble are probably less than getting a brand new model with serious defects.

If you can easily afford to replace the camera if it breaks, the risk isn't high; but if you are on a tight budget... warranty becomes important.

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.

I can't afford a new FF body. Any camera will die someday. I'd rather have a $500 body die on me than a $2000 one. Of course it depends on how much you shoot. It will take me 18+ years to reach the number of actuations my shutter is rated for. Even if I buy an old camera with half of its resource gone, it is still 9+ years. In my practice (and also my friends experience) the camera was replaced for other reasons than failure due to malfunction. So I wouldn't worry about that.

How about people who don't need nor want a 135-format digital camera? They don't have to pay $2000 for one, and could get by using a $500-600 brand new APS-C DSLR.

And don't ever assume your camera will patiently wait for it's expected shutter MTBF. Because it's MTBF, and because that's not the only thing which can fail.


 Alex Sarbu's gear list:Alex Sarbu's gear list
Pentax K-5 IIs Pentax K-1 Pentax smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited Pentax smc DA 70mm F2.4 AL Limited Pentax smc DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited +6 more
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