Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon

Started Aug 6, 2013 | Discussions thread
Gary Martin
Gary Martin Veteran Member • Posts: 3,691
Re: Thinking of switching to Pentax from Canon

Look carefully before you leap. Some things a potential new DSLR buyer should know about Pentax are...

  • you'll have no full-frame upgrade path.
  • it's highly unlikely that you'll ever be able to borrow or share lenses with friends.
  • USA warranty support is from a third-party repair shop in Arizona.
  • retail prices on old-design, full-frame, non-digital lenses keep going up and up.
  • Premium DA* lenses use cheap micro-motors instead of ring-type ultrasonic motors.
  • used DA* lenses are often suspect due to worry of "Suddenly Doesn't Move" syndrome.
  • you get WR bodies and lenses but no WR external flash units (and the flash models are OLD)
  • you'll have a slimmer selection of third-party lenses (Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Zeiss, etc).
  • your third-party RAW image developer may be slow to support your camera body/lens.

On the plus side...

  • ergonomics and button functions are very good as is the unique-to-Pentax "TAv" mode.
  • the FA Limited and DA pancake lenses are nice.
  • Weather-Resistant bodies and lenses can be very handy to have.

Lacking a family budget that would allow for a prosumer class DSLR and a range of fast, quality lenses, in the alternative there are some attractive deals around on Micro Four-Thirds bodies and lenses. Smaller, lighter cameras and lenses aren't just easier to carry - they also attract less attention and disrupt the scene far less in terms of people's reactions and their awareness of your shooting.

If I didn't have so much invested in K-mount gear right now, Micro Four-Thirds is where I'd want to be. MFT gear doesn't fully take the place of a good DSLR kit in some situations but it is easy to use in ways and places that DSLR gear often isn't.

Choose wisely how you spend your money for the long-term by having a lens roadmap planned out in advance. If the camera system you're contemplating doesn't provide an attractive future roadmap for lens purchases, best to either wait or look elsewhere.

My two cents as a husband and a father of four.

Overall a good post, although shooting DNG RAW should be listed as a plus for Pentax as well.

In regards to Micro 4/3, I would like to offer a few counterpoints, as it's a system I've been studying for a while and have found several severe drawbacks that may or may not be a factor to the OP. First of all, especially after trying out an OMD for a bit, I *hated* the EVF. An optical viewfinder is still a really nice thing to have, and no EVF that I've ever used has come close. EVFs will get better of course, but they're definitely not there yet - and you'll never be able to frame a shot with the camera powered off. Secondly, I've found most mirrorless cameras to be not nearly as nice to hold and operate as smallish DSLRs like Pentax offers. Yes, they are lighter, but they don't feel good in the hand to me, and the controls can be fiddly. Lastly, I would point out that you CAN draw less attention and have a low profile just by using a Pentax DSLR with a smallish lens like a DA Limited; even better, use a colored version of any of the mid-range bodies (I used a white K-r with a DA21 very effectively that way), or something like a Yellow K-01 (which is what I use now in low-profile situations). How you conduct yourself will often have more effect in drawing attention than whether your camera is a few grams lighter. Just my opinions of course, YMMV.

 Gary Martin's gear list:Gary Martin's gear list
Ricoh GR II Pentax K-5 IIs Pentax K-1 Pentax smc DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited Pentax smc FA 50mm F1.4 +7 more
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