Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

Started Aug 29, 2012 | Discussions
Zmkis New Member • Posts: 4
Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

I'm interested buying my first DSLR. I am thinking Pentax K-5, Canon 650D or Nikon 5100. I don't care about video recording, only still images. Comparing the images i find Pentax's samples a bit better than the other 2. What would be your choice among these 3? And Pentax K-5 lens kit worths it?

Canon EOS Rebel T4i (EOS 650D / EOS Kiss X6i) Pentax K-5
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drummercam Contributing Member • Posts: 911
Re: Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

For the lowered price now, you cannot go wrong with a K-5. Be sure to get a weather resistant lens, 18-55 or 18-135, that matches the camera, for drizzle conditions

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loock Regular Member • Posts: 399
Re: Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

K-5 is in a different class of cameras, way above those 2 you mentioned.

K-5 is above Nikon D7000.

DA 18-55 WR is OK-ish resolution wise, but contrast is way to high to my taste.

DA 16-45 f 4 render nicer, and still very sharp.
DA 17-70 f 4 SDM is also OK, and AF is decent fast and silent.

Tamron 17- 50- f 2.8 price, is very tempting, but AF is slower.

DA 55-300 is the recommended affordable tele zoom, that render also nicer then DA 50-200

citrontokyo Contributing Member • Posts: 812
Re: Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

The k5 was my first DSLR and I love it. It's the perfect camera for learning.

Edit: And I'd go with the 18-135. I originally bought the 18-55, but later switched to the 18-135.

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Heie2 Contributing Member • Posts: 515
Re: Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

I learned on the K-7 as my first. While much poorer IQ, the body is 99% the same - and it was an amazing camera to learn on. With the price the K-5 is now, you will never regret that decision. And agreed with what was said above - the K-5 is a tier above the cameras you listed. It's the Best APS-C available right now (until it's successor attempts to retain the title). It has the HIGHEST IQ measured by DXO Mark, with only Full Frame and Medium Format cameras besting it (and only 8 total at that - of every camera they've tested).

I agree with the above "get the 18-135." Pair that with the DA 55-300, and if you want a fast prime and can splurge another $225, the brand new DA 50 f/1.8. All told, you will have an outSTANDING kit to learn on.

But if I had to pick just two lenses, the 18-135 as your WR kit and walk-about general purpose zoom, and the DA 50 f/1.8 as your low light prime, which would double for your portraits.

Best of luck, and again, the K-5, at it's current price (before they all disappear!) is the best value for money you can get.

-Heie
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NFR Forum Member • Posts: 77
Re: Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

A friend of mine bought a Canon 600D last summer as his first DSLR. I have been teaching him the basic functions of DSLRs and the little I know about photography.

The 600D feels much cheeper that the K-5 and it does not return as good pictures as the K-5. The interface of the K-5 is also much nicer (of course I don't tell him that, not to spoil his joy).

So, if the 650D is anything like the 600D (which I suspect) then the K-5 is a much better choice.

Njáll

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etoastw Regular Member • Posts: 432
What sort of photography do you want to do?

I guess it would be good to know what sort of photography you're interested in, and what experience you have; it might let people here give you more specific advice.

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jm_mac Senior Member • Posts: 2,043
Re: Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

I can't speak about the 650D (never owned it).

I owned a D5100 for about 6 months. This is the shortest length of time that I owned any DSLR. It wasn't a bad camera - in fact, it did have a lot of positive attributes. Small, light, accurate exposure, fast focusing, articulating screen, great sensor (same basic sensor as the K5, D7000). But it was no K5. The grip was not comfortable for me (this is a personal choice), the menu system was not intuitive (Pentax' menus are much more intuitive to me than Nikon's), not enough external controls (which means an operation that would require 1 or 2 button presses in the K5 may require 5 or 6 in the D5100), only one control wheel, small and narrow viewfinder, super slow and noisy video AF (which means video AF is almost for anything but static subjects), cheap build. It is nice for what it was - a slightly-higher-than-entry-level DSLR - but it was not a K5. In fact, it is not even a K30.

If these three cameras are really your choices, I would get the K5.

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asp1880 Regular Member • Posts: 355
Re: Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

Zmkis wrote:

And Pentax K-5 lens kit worths it?

The Pentax 18-55 WR kit lens is quite good. It's optically on par with the competition
but it's better mechanically:

  • weather resistant

  • non-rotating front element (enables use of polarizer filters)

  • comes with a petal-shaped lens hood

  • focus quick shift (you can grab and twist the focus ring to adjust focus anytime)

  • printed focus distance scale

The Nikon and Canon 18-55 kit lenses don't have any of those things.

Regards,
--Anders.

OP Zmkis New Member • Posts: 4
Re: Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

Thanks all for the replies.

Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 13,240
Re: Pentax K-5 as 1st DSLR?

Zmkis wrote:

I'm interested buying my first DSLR. I am thinking Pentax K-5, Canon 650D or Nikon 5100. I don't care about video recording, only still images. Comparing the images i find Pentax's samples a bit better than the other 2. What would be your choice among these 3?

The K-5 should produce slightly better photos than the others but, in practice, it's unlikely you'd ever see a real difference.

What's really more important than minor differences in image quality is how well you like using the camera. It's a simple fact of life that if you don't enjoy the camera you won't use it so much; and if it stays at home its potential IQ is meaningless. Put very crudely there are two styles of DSLR: relatively simple ones with choice of scene modes and a single control dial, with a lot of shooting controls submerged in menus; and more complex ones with two control dials and direct access buttons for a lot of shooting paramneters.

Which of these suits you is very much an individual thing: many of the photographically best and most experienced members of this forum use the simpler style of camera. Others (and I'm one of them) find the simpler cameras frustrating. The more complex cameras need more knowledge of basic photographic techniques before you start.

Of the three cameras you mention the Canon and Nikon are the simpler type; the K-5 is the complex type. To answer your question, I personally would choose the K-5 because I like to have a lot of direct control when shooting: but think very hard about how you will want to work before following either choice.

And Pentax K-5 lens kit worth it?

Definitely; just make sure it is the newest WR version. Bought as a kit with the body it's so cheap that it's almost a sin not to buy it.

Despite what some others have suggested, I'd resist the urge to buy any other lens until you've used the kit lens for a few months. It takes quite a while to develop you're own style of working and to discover what focal lengths best suit you. You might discover that you want a workhorse, go anywhere lens like the 18-135; but you might decide that what you really want is something rather wider than 18mm; or something faster like a constant f/2.8 zoom; or a macro lens; or ...?

Unless you already know you have a specific need/desire for a particular style of lens I recommend hanging on to your cash until you've worked out what you need.

-- hide signature --

Gerry

First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006
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miles green
miles green Veteran Member • Posts: 6,309
I'd bet a star lens that you've never held these 3 cameras side by side!

The Canon 650D and Nikon D5100 are entry-level dslrs. The K5 is a semi-pro camera, definitely a class or two above the other two. It's like comparing a BMW with a Fiat and a Seat!

The main differences are not so much the sensor / resolution, etc, it's ergonomics, ruggedness and construction quality. In Canonland, the K5's construction quality is only surpassed by the 1D series, and at Nikon by the D700/800. (i donno about the 5Diii, but the K5 is definitely better built than the 5Dii)

Let me summarize:

The K5 has a weatherproofed metal construction for ruggedness. It has in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The viewfinder is a bright pentaprism, not a horrid pentamirror, so you can see what you're doing. It can fire 7 frames per second for 23 raw frames, and that with a quiet damped mirror. It has at least half a dozen buttons more than the other 2 cameras, for easy access to the camera settings, including a second dial and programmable buttons. It can accept a vertical grip..... etc...

Btw, these features are not bells and whistes for advanced users. You'll use them and apreciate them from the beginning.

I'm even getting into the IQ advantages. I'll just note that the dynamic range of the canon is significantly less - for beginners it means the Pentax and Nikon will be much more forgiving regarding exposure errors

For what it's worth, here is the dslr comparison from this site (Sure it's with the 600D, but that doesn't change anything at regarding what i said above).

http://www.dpreview.com/products/compare/side-by-side?products=canon_eos600d&products=nikon_d5100&products=pentax_k5

Zmkis wrote:

I'm interested buying my first DSLR. I am thinking Pentax K-5, Canon 650D or Nikon 5100. I don't care about video recording, only still images. Comparing the images i find Pentax's samples a bit better than the other 2. What would be your choice among these 3? And Pentax K-5 lens kit worths it?

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Miles Green
Pentaxian with chronic LBA
Corfu, Greece

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torrent999 Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: I'd bet a star lens that you've never held these 3 cameras side by side!

Don't forget that in buying a K5 you are also buying into the Pentax ecosystem. That comes with positives and negatives.

On the negative side:
=============

AF is usually not as fast on Pentax especially tracking moving subjects. Its not a huge difference, but if for example you are very keen on sports photography you may need to consider this.

On the lens side Pentax doesn't have quite the same range of AF zooms, especially long ones, as the other brands. However, it is well known for good primes.

Similarly as a minor brand you don't get the same amount of random widgets and accessories from 3rd parties.

Your friends are less likely to have pentax, so borrowing lenses etc might not be so easy. The same applies to rental.

On the plus side:
===========

You definitely get more in camera bang for buck. The K5 is a premium camera yet it price matches nearer canikons 2nd level cameras.

Support for manual focus and legacy lenses is unsurpassed. On all pentax dslrs you REALLY can use any Pentax fit lens since the 60s. And you get much better compatability with those lenses, Pentax A lenses essentially work the same as modern lenses with the exception of focus (naturally), and you even get help there with catch in focus. THIS IS A GREAT BONUS FOR A BEGINNER! You get to play with fantastic lenses on the cheap.

To get this on Nikon you have to get a D7000 level of camera, and the cameras below don't even support older AF lenses!

In the end you really need to try them out..

miles green
miles green Veteran Member • Posts: 6,309
Re: I'd bet a star lens that you've never held these 3 cameras side by side!

torrent999 wrote:

Don't forget that in buying a K5 you are also buying into the Pentax ecosystem. That comes with positives and negatives.

On the negative side:

AF is usually not as fast on Pentax especially tracking moving subjects. Its not a huge difference, but if for example you are very keen on sports photography you may need to consider this.

Agreed.

Though the K5 has been tested to equal the D7000 and 60D in AF tracking speed. In other words, the K5 tracks decently. If you want to photograph kids running towards you, high-speed sports, or wildlife and BIFs, you're better off with Canon or Nikon, Canon offering the most options. In any case, this will be on a different budget, and both camera body and lens will need to be upgraded from either 650D or D5100 and kit lens...

By the way, do the 650D or D5100 have focus micro-adjustment? I believe not. This is another must-have in my book. Pentax's entry-level Kr has it.

On the lens side Pentax doesn't have quite the same range of AF zooms, especially long ones, as the other brands. However, it is well known for good primes.

Also true. 300mm is Pentax's current limit, though they have announced the 560mm. There's the bigma... Canikon are the only options for 7000$+ telephoto lens.

One of the reasons i love Pentax is the limited primes. You get a ton of quality in a tiny package. Nobody else has 8 compact quality autofocus primes to choose from.

Similarly as a minor brand you don't get the same amount of random widgets and accessories from 3rd parties.

Think underwater housings, software for astrophotography... For tethering options, go Canon, as i've heard that Nikon has a different SDK (Standard Developer's Kit) for every camera, so they're a pain to support.

Your friends are less likely to have pentax, so borrowing lenses etc might not be so easy. The same applies to rental.

Yes. Fortunately, none of my photography friends want to borrow my wonderful lens collection!

The thing is that all the issues above are for advanced users with a specific shooting agenda. The OP said he was looking for his first dslr, so i think it's safe to assume that all this is not really pertinent. Except maybe the kids running? If so, get a Canon 7D. Or maybe a used Nikon D700?

On the plus side:
===========

You definitely get more in camera bang for buck. The K5 is a premium camera yet it price matches nearer canikons 2nd level cameras.

Support for manual focus and legacy lenses is unsurpassed. On all pentax dslrs you REALLY can use any Pentax fit lens since the 60s. And you get much better compatability with those lenses, Pentax A lenses essentially work the same as modern lenses with the exception of focus (naturally), and you even get help there with catch in focus. THIS IS A GREAT BONUS FOR A BEGINNER! You get to play with fantastic lenses on the cheap.

Very true! I have 3 manual Pentax lens and an M42 and i use them very often. They are stellar performers.

To get this on Nikon you have to get a D7000 level of camera, and the cameras below don't even support older AF lenses!

In the end you really need to try them out..

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Miles Green
Pentaxian with chronic LBA
Corfu, Greece

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torrent999 Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: I'd bet a star lens that you've never held these 3 cameras side by side!

One point I forgot to mention though I hope the OP has picked it up from other posts, is that the K5 is such a good camera that by the time they outgrow it they'd probably be on their 3rd upgrade body if they went another route. When you look at it from the money side it's almost a no brained (provided you don't encounter the specific Pentax "weaknesses " mentioned, in which case you'll have lost nothing anyway!). So go for the K5 you wont regret it!

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