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Old Mar 6, 2009, 9:13 AM   #51
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My last film camera came from B&H, along with at least 2 digital cameras and a number of accessories and lenses. They are excellent to work with- they answer their phones, give you great advice and are really helpful, as is Adorama (I've bought a couple of items from them on-line but have never actually talked to them).

I've also bought from buydig (which is also Beach Camera). They seem to be fine, though their on-line ordering does not reflect real time inventory. I ordered a lens about a week before a rebate ended - they were shown as in-stock when I pushed the button. Their policy is to process your order in 2 days, and when I didn't receive a tracking number in that timeframe, I emailed themasking for status. They answered with the bad news that it was back-ordered (I had already checked their website and the lens wasn't even listed any more). I emailed them back cancelling the order, and they responded within 6 hours (their stated response time for email is 24 hours) with the cancellation, and my credit card number had never been charged. I thought this was good service, and I later ordered a different lens from them without incident. I'd be happy to deal with them again, though if it were something I had to have right away, I'd call B&H or Adorama.

As far as choosing one camera over the other - I'd definitely want to handle both cameras before buying.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 11:17 AM   #52
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JohnG wrote:
The reality is for non action work you would probably never know the difference between photos from either camera.

I expect you are right about that. I do occasionally shoot motorcycle racing, and went to the MotoGP race at Indianapolis last year and the K100d struggles with both focus and frame rate. From what I understand the K20 is not much better.

On the other hand we caught the tail end of Hurricane Ike and it blew and rained most of the weekend. That would have been a good time to have a weatherproofed camera... such as a K20d.... ugh

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Old Mar 6, 2009, 11:36 AM   #53
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Hey trevor if one camera did everything there would only be one camera :G

It's a matter of determining which features are going to benefit you MOST of the time. Buy the equipment based upon the 95%, not the 5%. I have a pro grade camera and there are situations it does a bad job. Not the least of which is the fact it's very large and it doesn't have a built in flash. We all have to make trade-offs. But look at you shooting needs objectively. For example - the motoGP race - are you going to have a quality lens mounted and have a good shooting position to get a quality shot anyway? On the flip side - are you going to have weather sealed lenses? If not, you've got risk there. And, remember, weather sealing doesn't mean waterproof. Look at the sidelines of a pro football game in the rain - those cameras/lenses are weather sealed but the pros still have rain gear on the equipment. I would NEVER take an unprotected camera out in a hurricane. Mine is sealed and I still use rain gear. So don't give sealing more credit than it should get. It's designed to protect from light rain not driving downpours.
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Old Mar 6, 2009, 4:09 PM   #54
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dcstrom wrote:
What about BH Photo then? Pentax setup would cost me $1200 ($80 more) and Nikon kit would be $1160 ($140 more than Broadway). So price difference is negligible. That doesn't help me! ;-)

Nothing but good experiences with B&H for me although their pricing is not always as competitive. Also would recommend Adorama, Willoughby's. My best recommended source however remains Amazon.com for their competitive pricing and 30 day return policy. I believe B&H and Adorama's return window is limited to 7 (may be 14?) days. Just a caution: Amazon's 30 day return policy is for items that they sell. There are items from Amazon that are sold by folks such as Adorama. In the latter case, Adorama's return policy would apply. FYI, I purchased my K20D and a pair of DA* lenses through Amazon.com.
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Old Mar 15, 2009, 5:28 PM   #55
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I have both, the K20D and the Nikon D90
I use them as totally different types of camera.
The K20D for the old-school-type of shooting (all manual) and the Nikon as a compact on steroids (I know this doesn't do the D90 the justice it deserves, but it does it so well).
The Nikon does allmost everything better, but using it doesn't give you the same level of "pleasure" as shooting with the Pentax.
So, if it's all about the quality of your pictures try the D90. It realy is a great GREAT toy. Just don't sell your Pentax (yet) beacause it is a great (not perfect) camera.

Pardon my grammar/English.
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Old Mar 15, 2009, 7:01 PM   #56
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Thanks all for your comments.

I got the K20d, with Pentax 18-250 lens.

My thinking has been that, as JohnG mentioned, I should get the camera that works for 95% of what I shoot. The motorcycle racing I shoot occasionally would be less than 5%. Anyway, went back and looked at some old slides of GP races from the 80's. Shot with a SuperA and Tamron 300 so no fancy autofocus or anything, they are pretty good I have to say ;-). They were all slow shutter speed (so plenty of motion blur) and prefocused. I don't know how much better the D90 would be for this kind of shooting with it's faster autofocus, but if I had to use the K20 on manual prefocus to get these kind of shots, that wouldn't be a drama.

BUT - so far I'm a little underwhelmed by the K20. Been raining all weekend so haven't had a chance to get out with it, so just looking at interior low-light shots so far. I'm comparing to the K100, and obviously it takes crisper images and the metering seems like it might be a bit better. However noise at high ISO seems about the same, and what's worse is that autofocus (with the same lens on both cameras) seems to hunt for focus on the K20, and sometimes doesn't find it at all. I know I can use the flash strobe to help, but the K100 doesn't need it. Or is there something different that means I'm not comparing apples to apples? Or is there some adjustment I need to make on the K20?

Other reasons for deciding on the K20d

* weather sealing, and overall probably a bit more rugged than Nikon? Camera travels with me on motorcycle trips (the K100 has probably done 30,000 miles with 100% reliablity). This is another reason I want to minimize the number of lenses I carry.

* price - D90 with (close) equivalent 18-200 lens comes out about $400 more.

* already have some Pentax lenses (although don't know that they'd get used much if I have the 18-250)

* 3 yr warranty (although Amazon has a deal at the moment to extend the Nikon warranty to 3yrs, for $40, so it's a bit of a non-issue)

So I guess I have a bit more testing to do before I'm 100% happy with my decision. Also I haven't laid my hands on a D90 yet. Robert likes the ergonomics and menu system of the K20 far more than the Nikon. Maybe if I handle one and feel the same I'll feel a little happier with the K20!


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Old Mar 28, 2009, 11:54 AM   #57
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Just in case anyone is reading this thread to help them decide between the D90 vs. K20D . . .

I was just reading around the web & found the following post that finally helps me make sense why I like the output of my Pentax K100D better than my Nikon D70s.


Basically the difference between the Pentax K100D RAW mode & Nikon D70s RAW mode is that the Pentax K100D is uncompressed (so slower, but quality is not squished down) and my Nikon D70s' RAW mode is compressed. (So faster, but quality is squished down) And according to the post above, it looses it in the high end.

Now, most people wouldn't notice it on a regular basis. But, then again, I immediately saw it and was always unhappy with the highlights (especially in the eyes) from the Nikon D70s as soon as I got it.

My understanding is that the D90 only has compressed RAW mode, not both (like the higher end Nikons)

So, for me, if I were looking at a Nikon, I'd probably would by-pass the D90 & look at a used D200 or D300. Then again, I'll probably just make sure the K200D (which is a more realistic next camera for me) still has the uncompressed RAW mode. <grin>

Take care,

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Old Dec 5, 2010, 4:53 PM   #58
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Default focus

Originally Posted by Robert Barnett View Post
The in lens stabilazation was about on par with the in body of the Pentax. No improvement but no worse. This surprised me I expected the in lens to be a bit better. It wasn't.
Unless the copy of my K20D is flawed, the sensor shift image stabilization does not make a noticeable difference. I've tested it on a 70-210 lens at max focal length with IS on and off, and across several sample images taken at 1/15 there was virtually no difference in the amount of blur.

I have experienced and seen the difference made with Nikon's VR and Canon's IS lenses and it is a very noticeable effect.

That's one of the few things I hold against my own K20D.
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Old Dec 5, 2010, 6:14 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by Paulmeister View Post
Unless the copy of my K20D is flawed, the sensor shift image stabilization does not make a noticeable difference. I've tested it on a 70-210 lens at max focal length with IS on and off, and across several sample images taken at 1/15 there was virtually no difference in the amount of blur.

You do realize that 1/15 second at 210mm on that camera is way too slow (even with stabilization), right?

The "rule of thumb" for hand holding a camera without a tripod is to make sure shutter speeds are 1/focal length of faster. The longer the focal length, the more blur you'll see from camera shake.

When using a camera with an APS-C size sensor, you should use the 35mm equivalent focal length (focal length you'd need for the same angle of view), which would be around 320mm for that lens (since you multiply the focal length by 1.52x to see the focal length that would give you the same angle of view on a 35mm camera). Most users just round it to 1.5x

So, without a tripod, it would be a good idea to use shutter speeds that are faster than 1/320 second when zoomed in all the way with that lens.

Stabilization systems are usually going to give you about a 2 stop improvement. So, instead of keeping shutter speeds faster than 1/320 second, expect to be able to use shutter speeds of around 1/80 second instead.

Even with stabilization, a shutter speed of 1/15 second is way too slow for the long end of that lens, unless you are very steady at holding a camera, with practiced breathing and "trigger finger" skills to reduce camera movement, making sure that you're smoothly pressing the shutter button to reduce in camera vibration, then releasing at after the shutter has opened and closed.

I would not expect to see sharp photos trying to shoot at 1/15 second at the 200mm end of a lens without a tripod, stabilization or not.
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Old Dec 5, 2010, 6:25 PM   #60
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most stablisation system both in lens and in camera claim (not sure how accurate these claims are but ususally more experianced testers than me seems to back them up) a 4 stop advantage

will give it a try tomorrow see what my k-7 can achieve at 210mm or there abouts with shakre reduction see if i can get a useable image from 1/15th - pretty sure though that 1/80th should be easy
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