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Old Sep 23, 2010, 9:57 AM   #1
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Default Full Frame Pentax DSLR- is it necessary ?

I've struggled with this one. I know many Pentax DSLR owners would like Pentax to bring out a full frame, rather then the cropped frame we have now.

I've got an aging K10D and a newer KM (K2000) that I use and when I look at some of my favourite pix I've taken with this equipment, I'm really hard pressed to rationalize getting a full frame, like say a Canon 5D Mk. 11...although I wouldn't mind one. My wife says and she's probably right...bigger toys for her boy.

I enlarge my photos (those that I like) to 8 X 10 and I don't think I'm bragging, but the clarity, etc. on these pictures IMHO is outstanding.

Again it's not me, it's the cropped sensor and the equipment that surround it.

I have to admit I don't enlarge to 16 X 20...never had...just 8 X 10 and 11 X 14.

I also think that perhaps the lens quality has more to do with the final picture quality then perhaps...cropped sensor vs FF.

The lens in particular that I'm talking about is my Pentax 12-24mm...it's something else in my humble opinion.

Opinions....do we Pentaxians need a full frame ...or are the Pentax DSLR sensor's...from K10D to K5 just fine, thank you ?

And....if we really want a larger sensor...we can wait for the arrival of the Pentax 645 on these shores. Budget, though is another issue.
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 10:13 AM   #2
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An outsiders view:
It's unlikely you'll see one. From my point of view, the vast majority of Pentaxians are very budget conscious. They balk at expensive lenses and balk at expensive cameras. I don't think Pentax would sell enough of them, and enough expensive lenses to go with them to make it a profitable business venture. "budget" and "full frame" just don't go hand-in-hand right now. This isn't a knock on Pentaxians. And full-frame would require a commitment to newer full-frame lenses - including zooms. Lenses that are going to be expensive to make. Who, then, is going to buy them?
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 10:39 AM   #3
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My take on FF is that up to 8x10, image quality is more than fine with the APSC (DX) sensor, and as I mentioned in my Manitou Falls post, my Pentax cameras hold highlights far better than the D700 Nikon. Above 8x10 the FF sensor starts to show more detail, but there are PP programs that can keep the APSC sensor right up there in the larger sizes.

Where the FF shines, is in digital noise, that is almost gone up to ISO 1600 and beyond, at least with the D700, since it has the same amount of pixels as my K20D, but they are twice as large. It also seems to have greater DR than the smaller sensor does, which is a nice plus for the kind of photography I do, so I don't have to resort to HDR to get full tonal coverage.

On the down side, the FF cameras are very expensive and very heavy, not to mention the FF lenses to go with them, which are out of control price wise if you purchase the best lenses available. Some of the high prices are because Nikon and Canon don't have built in IS/VR in the camera body and putting that in the lens raises the price of each lens quite a bit.

I would love it if Pentax made a FF camera, since most of my lenses are FF anyway and I would get back the wide angle view I use to have with film. It doesn't seem out of the question for Pentax to make a FF camera, even price wise, since the 645D they just released is around $12,000, they should be able to come in way under that like Nikon and Canon do.

Although then Pentax would have to start making some FF lenses to go with the camera instead of the line up they have now, but a FF Pentax with SR, I would jump at that.

Tom

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Old Sep 23, 2010, 11:32 AM   #4
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Pentax really don't need to produce a FF. The FF market is well covered by Canikon and let's face it that is a very small market as far as amateurs go, and a large and mature market for pro shooters who have all the lenses they require, to choose from already.

Pentax should stick to what they do best, great cropped DSLR's for the mass market and excellent, and affordable, lenses to go on them.
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 11:40 AM   #5
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I took a full frame Tokina lens to THK (the US distributor) for repair and received this statement on the estimate sheet:

"This unit was designed for film cameras. Digital cameras require a different optical formula than that of film cameras, and you will not get the same performance from a lens designed for film on a digital camera. Therefore, some problems might be experienced even after repairing the lens, such as front or rear focusing issues, these cannot be corrected."

Pentax owes its present success in large part to the backwards compatibility of Pentax mount lenses, and most recent Pentax lens production has been geared to APS-C. My understanding has been that the difference between old FF lenses and their FF "digital" replacements was principally a matter of different coatings. I have to wonder if the THK statement is correct, or merely a "CYA" precaution. On the other hand, I wonder if it could be possible that the portions of the larger image circle on "film" FF lenses would contain edge defects that would be cut out by the smaller APS-C image circle, and that the THK/Tokina statement is geared more to lenses used on FF digital bodies. Sony, on the other hand, has made only FF lenses for their APS-C cameras, indicating their commitment to produce FF cameras as well as APS-C, so does this mean their newer lenses are better corrected to accommodate both, or does it throw cold water on the THK statement? Or should one avoid Tokina lenses on the used market for Pentax (there are none currently in production)?
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 12:24 PM   #6
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Well my Pentax 200mm f/4 M lens comes to mind here, on my film cameras it was a so so lens, that got soft at the edges and I rarely used it. On my Pentax DSLR's, that use only the center of the lens, it does a very nice job and it becomes a light weight street photography lens that produces very sharp images.

Recent reviews give it a 8-9 on a scale of 10 on a digital SLR, but I would not give it higher than a 6 on my film cameras. This just goes to show that FF cameras require a extremely high quality lens to get the same IQ we are use to with the APSC sensor on current Pentax DSLR's.

Tom
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 2:36 PM   #7
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While I wouldn't mind a Pentax FF (up till today I have a total of 1, that is one, APS-C lens and 11 high quality FF lenses) I don't believe it's coming and I don't think it's needed for the reasons mentioned in previous posts.
I believe more in leaps forwards in sensor technology. That is still a relatively new technology altogether. Compare a 1920 grammophone, a 1950 ditto and the most advanced just before the breakthrough of the CD laser technology. Then compare the CD with the DVD and now BlueRay. I'm looking forwards to some great experiences in a future not too far away. The question is wether our lenses will be obsolete by then...

Kjell

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Old Sep 23, 2010, 3:20 PM   #8
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As all here I've looked over to the other side and wondered would I want a ff.
If you asked me that 2 years ago I would have said yes, because the ff camera has better low light performance.

Then the Kx appeared and changed the game. It had great high iso performance so I decided to wait for what would come after the K7.

Do I still want it, ... no, I don't see a reason for it anymore, not after seeing some K-5 results at high iso.

Would I get it if Pentax made one ?

I really doubt it, now my 100mm macro lens is 150mm, my 300mm tele acts as a 450mm, and my 10mm wide angle is wide enough at 15mm.

just my 5c
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Old Sep 23, 2010, 5:43 PM   #9
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Hi Les,

I've always felt that Pentax would be best served by staying out of the 36x24mm sensor DSLR body game.

I don't think that anyone's mentioned that with the size of the chip disks that are practical to mfg, that 36x24mm sensor chips involve considerably more waste per disk, so they're much more expensive to make. . . Some would argue that the economy of scale would cause a drastic reduction of price to manufacture, and that taking the APS-C DSLR as a model, 36x24 chips would come down drastically in price as time went on.

36x24 (I don't like the term Full Frame since it's rather meaningless so I'll make it 135 format) only makes up about 5% of the DSLR market, and has held pretty steady. Economy of scale doesn't work without a drastically growing market with increased numbers of units sold, so there is no analog to the Canon Rebel that changed the DSLR market forever. Sony tried marketing the A850, starting at $2000 , with the hopes that this would be the "Rebel" of the 135 format, and I could be mistaken, but I don't think that it's even been a modest success, if it can be called a success at all.

Pentax isn't known for it's leading edge performance specs, has a small user base, and has a lens lineup that's totally aimed at APS-C format bodies, even though some DA series lenses are suitable for 135 sized sensors. Let's say they made a D700/5D Mk* equivalent body -- who would buy it? -- Probably the best bet would be the vocal minority of current Pentax users who keep clamoring for a FF Pentax, which means about 5% of Pentax's 5% market share would even consider it. . . and it would have to be priced at the A850 level as Pentaxians are "budget conscious" as John euphemistically called it (I'd say "cheap", but that's just me. . .).

This is a rant, and my posts are always wordy, so let me defend my "cheap" statement. . . Nikon or Canon announce a new mid level or high level body at mid level and high level intro prices respectively, and users start plonking down their cash on preorders without even knowing the specs. Pentax announces a new model with mid level features and an entry level + price, and the fora fill up with posts speculating about how long it will take the prices to drop to entry level so they can buy it. I'm not knocking frugality (in fact, I take pride in the fact that I can be downright cheap), but this very nature in its user base is what prevents Pentax from taking a big chance in a fragile economic cycle. You can't have it both ways. . .

. . . So we need a body that's comparable to Nikon and Canon in features and quality -- at a price at which even a huge electronics company that makes the sensor chips can't sell a 135 format camera. To me that doesn't sound like a good proposition.

If the price came in at CaNikon levels, many of the "frugal" who clamor for a "FF" Pentax would complain about the price as we have just seen with the D7000 vs K-5 intros. If it were a lower spec at a lower price like the Sony, they'd complain that it's just not good enough and start shopping a D700 or 5D Mk*. . . Without a full 135 lens lineup and pro level service and rental support, Pentax can't compete for the professional photographer, so won't likely gain converts from the CaNikon camp. . .Pentax can't win, IMO.

I don't think that the upgrade path argument pans out either. I doubt that a really significant percentage of DSLR users really think about system upgrade path past the semi-pro ($1K-$2K) class body level. I know that I didn't, and after 6 years and putting some very significant $$$ into high-end glass, I still don't. How many Rebel buyers do you really think are looking at getting a 1Ds Mk* at some time in the future? In reality, how many 30D buyers realistically thought that a 1D Mk* would be their next camera at over 4 times the price? I think that most entry level enthusiasts think one level at most, and if they buy the mid level to start, they are thinking the new and improved replacement in a few years at the same price level as their next camera, not one that is 2x or 3x the price. . . And anyway, now Pentax has the 645D to give it "street cred" as a serious camera mfg. . .

Personally, I'm in with APS-C, but I'm a birder and the narrower FOV helps me since I shoot tele almost all the time. If I were a wide shooter, I'd be in for the IQ and wider FOV that 135 format would give me. Since it now looks like we can get usable ISO 3200, and maybe even 6400 from a high res, high performance APS-C, 135 format with its inherent greater expense and larger bodies doesn't hold any appeal to me. I must admit that I was almost drawn in by the high ISO thing. . .but the Kx high ISO performance brought me back to reality, and I'm better now. . .

Let me end on a Off Topic subject -- How many times is it mentioned that Pentax has always chased Nikon and Canon in performance, and comparatively how many times will it be mentioned that Nikon and Canon now seem to be chasing Pentax in making feature packed compact bodies??? Size is such a high priority factor in P&S cameras, but DSLRs are just supposed to be Big???

Pentax APS-C Fanboy Rant over. . .

Scott

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Old Sep 23, 2010, 6:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Pentax APS-C Fanboy Rant over. . .


But it is all so true and all so obvious . . . :
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