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Old Oct 19, 2010, 7:58 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
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Originally Posted by lesmore49 View Post
I used to watch (my cable provider changed and I think I lost the channel) an excellent car show and one of the hosts would ask...after testing a particularly desirable you really need this car....or just want it !

Invariably he decided that he really didn't 'need' it...but he sure wanted it.

I've thought about this dilemma over the years...even back to my film days.

I've got a K10D that I bought....almost to the day...three years ago and a KM (K2000) that I bought about a year and a half ago. The two of them were bought new.

I like them both and both (touch wood ) have been dead reliable.

Recently I helped a friend buy a new KX and I went through the manual and the camera with her...showing all the features.

Was I impressed....the KX has lot's of features on my K10D....but also on the KM, which was the predecessor of the KX.

Technology marches on and waits for no one, I suppose.

Anyways back to my original K10D (and KM), although they may be obsolete, take wonderful pictures.

The KM is nice lightweight camera body and my old K10D is a veritable tank...tough as nails, doesn't flinch even in the toughest conditions.

But after reading about the latest and greatest in the Pentax line, the K-5..I would love to have this camera body.

But aside from higher ISO, faster and more precise AF........which I seem to be doing ok with the slower two, that I have I really need a Pentax K-5 ?

I don't really need it.....I just want it.....boy would I like to have one.

But after thinking about it a lot....I know the prudent course of action is to keep on using the K10D and KM....until they die...until it would be more expensive to fix then what either camera body would be worth.

Ever find yourself in this situation ? How did you address it ?
To the generic question of whether I need a new body -- the one I have is now closing in on 61 years old and has been showing signs of wear for quite some time. . . but I think you're talking photographically. . .

My answer to how I address the introduction of new camera bodies -- I'm single and have narrowed a wide range of relatively expensive interests of earlier years (relatively high level catch and release fishing, very high performance motorcycles, contemporary firearms) down to digital photography. I am unabashedly self indulgent, and have a talent for rationalization. -- I buy the new body if there is any real advantage to the photography that I like to do. . .

As a birder, this has been relatively easy. Each generation has provided an advance in AF speed and handling, both of which are helpful in shooting birds, and a Pentax birder needs all the help he can get in these areas. . . I have been able to work around the AF speed issue largely with the help of the 1.7x AFA, learning about my quarry's behavior, and really learning the fine points of getting the most out of the gear that I have.

The K10 was a step up in handling and AF speed from the DS. The higher resolution sensor allowed greater cropping capability and the proprietary Li Ion battery gave me a more consistently fast AF motor for focusing. The two e-dial system and increased number of controls allowed for faster changes in settings like Ev comp and ISO which are important to me as I shoot in extremes of lighting conditions from shot to shot. The step back in high ISO performance became more of a handicap as I added TCs to get more reach, but the addition of SR helped mitigate this.

The K20 was another step up in AF speed and accuracy especially. Further increases in high ISO performance and resolution aided in allowing even greater cropping latitude and faster shutter speeds with my increased use of light robbing TCs. Improved AF C performance made BIF continuous strings considerably more successful.

The K-7 gave me a lighter and smaller body. AF was again improved for accuracy and speed, and it was significantly more sensitive in lower light conditions. I don't shoot birds in low light situations, but this helped me with better performance with my TC combos. My two main birding lens TC combos have max effective apertures of f6.7 and f7.7, and the K-7 focus more surely and faste at these slow apertures.

Faster frame rates are sometimes useful, but the more important aspects of this change in shutter/mirror speed is shorter VF blackout periods. This allows me more time to watch a bird and try to anticipate the best pose. A few milliseconds of extra time might not seem like much, but it's significant. Of course this is also helpful in tracking a BIF. The 77 zone metering is more accurate in more situations, and the Auto WB almost eliminates WB worries. I've rarely felt the need to set a custom WB. The added color sensitive AF sensor has helped in shooting indoors, and the AF assist light is much better than the very intrusive strobe. Low light AF sensitivity mentioned before in a different context is a big help. The high res LCD was a surprisingly pleasing addition. I chimp a lot, and this is a great feature. . .

The Info screen is incredibly helpful to me. I can keep the Auto ISO setting selected, and change max ISO setting with the push of a button and a crank of the rear e-dial. The ISO button is not nearly as useful as it changes the ISO setting from Auto to fixed, and Auto ISO is a very useful feature when shooting birds where one lands in a bright sunlit area, the next on a shaded branch surrounded by leafy branches, and the next lands on a bare branch in front of a bright clear sky. I keep the rear dial to change aperture, the front to change Ev comp, and the Info Screen to change max ISO.

The K-5 will add more flexibility. Usable ISO to 6400 and maybe higher without destroying detail will give me at least two stops more leeway. Higher resolution will allow even more cropping latitude, faster more sensitive AF sensors could only help, and as a jpeg shooter, being able to program the RAW button to a two shot exposure bracket should help me dial in exposures in difficult lighting more quickly. Having 5 "User" settings should help for quickly choosing the right settings for the different situations that I find myself in.

The very high ISO will encourage me to take the camera everywhere and shoot everything at any time of day, indoors or out. When I got my first film SLR (a Honeywell Spotmatic, BTW) the first thing I did was load it with Tri-X and shoot with my Super Takumar 50 f1.4 wide open indoors everywhere I went. The K-7 with the FA 50/1.4 at 6400 in B/W mode is a kick. The K-5 with the FA 50/1.4 at ISO 25600 or maybe even 51200 (and SR!!) in color should be worth a couple of thousand exposures by itself.

Back to what I would do if I were you -- would it hurt much to supplant the Km with the Kx or Kr? Both the Km and K10 have the 10MP Sony CCD, not the best high ISO sensor. A Kx would be inexpensive, have essentially the same feature set, but give you about 4 stops of extra usable ISO sensitivity for low light shooting if you choose to do so. For me, this makes the kit lenses useful indoor available light glass -- sounds like a lot of fun. . .

Do you need it -- probably not, but I think you'd really like it. I shoot for fun. Would the greater capability to shoot in more situations with better results increase your fun factor? . . . and how much is that worth?

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