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Old Sep 21, 2012, 6:52 AM   #11
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FF may not be for everyone but as some here know I recently bought a D800 and some lenses ... OMG, I could kick myself I didn't do this earlier.

For birding the D800 and the Sigma 500mm I'm using now have elevated the IQ two levels above my DA*300 and AFA x1.7 and my enjoyment of birding and photographing birds to new elevations too.

I really hope that Pentax bring out a FF camera, there are many lenses in their arsenal that can be used on FF (there is a dedicated thread on PF which surprises many people with the lenses that make the cut) I think it's around 12-15 either still in production, from 3rd party manufacturers (more if they can be persuaded to sell some current models in PK mount too) or recently retired but could easily be re-introduced, more than enough to launch a FF camera. I would love to use my 43 and 77 on a FF Pentax digital camera !

Something like the newly launched D600 would be perfect.
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 11:37 AM   #12
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It seems that 2012 is the year of full frame. More FF models are being introduced and almost every class of camera seems to be moving up a notch (or even two) in terms of sensor size. Given all this, I suspect Pentax may very well come up with a FF camera - probably sometime in 2013.

But I doubt that I'll be among those buying one. There are a few things at work here. First, I'm perfectly happy with 16mp and APS-C and really don't require more. Second, it's a matter of diminishing returns. The cheapest FF DSLRs are listing at $2,100. The new updated K-5 runs almost $1,000 less. A 24mp FF camera gives me the same pixel size and pitch as a 16mp APS-C camera. And, as good as APS-C cameras are now, do I need FF at that price? Methinks not.

Then there's the matter of lenses. As you can see in my signature below, I have a pretty nice collection of Pentax glass (and one Sigma prime). How many of those lenses will work without issue on a FF camera? Maybe three: The Sigma 28mm, the DA 50mm and the D FA 100mm. I would have to buy at least a few more FF lenses - at today's prices. I couldn't build the lens collection I have now if I had to pay the current rate.

Since I don't make my living in photography, I don't think FF makes sense for me. At least not until the price of a FF body drops below $1,000. I'm not holding my breath. But I am shooting with and enjoying my K-5 and current lenses.

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Old Sep 21, 2012, 3:24 PM   #13
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It seems that 2012 is the year of full frame. More FF models are being introduced and almost every class of camera seems to be moving up a notch (or even two) in terms of sensor size. Given all this, I suspect Pentax may very well come up with a FF camera - probably sometime in 2013.In my case...do I want a FF...yes ! Do I need an FF ? Well...when I examine things closely...no, not really. Part of me I realize is that I just like to have...stuff. More stuff is always better. I think I'm the classic case of the big boys like their toys syndrome. But I'm getting to be an older boy now...60's...and I need to cut back on my stuff.

But I doubt that I'll be among those buying one. There are a few things at work here. First, I'm perfectly happy with 16mp and APS-C and really don't require more. Second, it's a matter of diminishing returns. The cheapest FF DSLRs are listing at $2,100. The new updated K-5 runs almost $1,000 less. A 24mp FF camera gives me the same pixel size and pitch as a 16mp APS-C camera. And, as good as APS-C cameras are now, do I need FF at that price? Methinks not.Methinks you're right. I look at some of the photos I take with my 10 MP, 5 year old K10D and 70 mm Limited...or my K-5 with my 12-24...I can't imagine how the photos can get much clearer or better....better in terms of what the cameras/lenses do...not my skill level or lack thereof. Maybe my eyes are going as I age.

Then there's the matter of lenses. As you can see in my signature below, I have a pretty nice collection of Pentax glass (and one Sigma prime). How many of those lenses will work without issue on a FF camera? Maybe three: The Sigma 28mm, the DA 50mm and the D FA 100mm. I would have to buy at least a few more FF lenses - at today's prices. I couldn't build the lens collection I have now if I had to pay the current rate.I've considered this too. I don't want to start over again...I've got around 8-9 digital Pentax lenses...only a few would work with FF.

Since I don't make my living in photography, I don't think FF makes sense for me. At least not until the price of a FF body drops below $1,000. I'm not holding my breath. But I am shooting with and enjoying my K-5 and current lenses.
Same here...also my K10D and little K-m. My ASP-C system gives me everything I want at this point.
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 5:45 PM   #14
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A 24mp FF camera gives me the same pixel size and pitch as a 16mp APS-C camera
Hi Biro,

Though I generally agree with your post, I feel compelled to make one correction. A Nikon FF sensor is 35.9 x 24mm while a Pentax APS-C sensor is 23.7 x 15.7mm, or a tad less than 1/2 the area. Someone on a another forum calculated the actual MP of an APS-C sensor at the 36.3MP D800 pixel density, and it came out something like 15.5 MP, so it would take an even higher resolution FF sensor to give you the same pixel density as the K-5.

It's really a minor point, but, to me at least points to what a nice combination of resolution and sensitivity at a reasonably affordable price I have with my K-5 for my level and purposes in photography. I'm leaning towards getting a K-5 II for the newer sensor and the new SAFOX X AF sensor, but will wait to see what differences these will really make.

Scott
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 7:20 PM   #15
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Hi Biro,

Though I generally agree with your post, I feel compelled to make one correction. A Nikon FF sensor is 35.9 x 24mm while a Pentax APS-C sensor is 23.7 x 15.7mm, or a tad less than 1/2 the area. Someone on a another forum calculated the actual MP of an APS-C sensor at the 36.3MP D800 pixel density, and it came out something like 15.5 MP, so it would take an even higher resolution FF sensor to give you the same pixel density as the K-5.

It's really a minor point, but, to me at least points to what a nice combination of resolution and sensitivity at a reasonably affordable price I have with my K-5 for my level and purposes in photography. I'm leaning towards getting a K-5 II for the newer sensor and the new SAFOX X AF sensor, but will wait to see what differences these will really make.

Scott

I'm not arguing the pixel density here, but I do question whether the overall IQ is comparable. The pictures I have seen of some full frames trump all of pentax images on 1:1 crops. THey're sharper, and just overall clearer when using same glass.

I don't have any comparisons handy but I've done a lot of research to draw my yearn of FF. It's not due to larger numbers on paper, but 1:1 cropped pics I've seen with stellar results.
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Old Sep 22, 2012, 7:20 AM   #16
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I'm not arguing the pixel density here, but I do question whether the overall IQ is comparable. The pictures I have seen of some full frames trump all of pentax images on 1:1 crops. THey're sharper, and just overall clearer when using same glass.

I don't have any comparisons handy but I've done a lot of research to draw my yearn of FF. It's not due to larger numbers on paper, but 1:1 cropped pics I've seen with stellar results.
I agree with this.

I'm not the one to explain the scientific theory (Wikipedia does a good job) behind greater pixel size (not density), size of the Airy Disk (and how many pixels it covers) and how they improve the IQ quality - but they do and to me at least it is clearly visible on screen (though maybe not on a forum website where it's not possible to show full resolution).

One thing I am sure of though, I can seriously crop into my D800 RAW files and extract print quality bird images at 1:1 which is definitely not possible with my K5 RAW files.
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Nikon : D800, D600, Sigma 500/4.5, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 - 35/2.0, Nikkor 85/1.8G, Sigma 50/1.4. Nikon x1.4 TC, Sigma x2.0 TC

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Old Sep 22, 2012, 5:05 PM   #17
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I am not suggesting that FF IQ is not better than APS-C. The only relevant argument in the decision for anyone is whether the individual needs or can use it in their photography, and if it is cost or form factor effective for them. In my case, I can't get any significant gain, considering my current goals, most effects of the change would be neutral or negative. Don't forget that I'm speaking as an avowed amateur. Even if I could make significant income from photography, I choose not to -- it would make my hobby into a job, and I refuse to let that happen.

Cost -- Even an entry level FF Pentax would cost about 50% more than the flagship APS-C assuming current pricing levels.

Viewfinder -- Although most of my lenses cover FF, I'd lose the crop factor -- even with the much larger viewfinder, the subject image would be smaller because of the expanded FOV, so it would be harder to visually confirm critical focus.

IQ -- though the color depth and DR are greater with FF, these are really relatively meaningless for me -- I don't use the full range of either of these that I get in APS-C, so more is irrelevant. It's like having a car that has a top speed of 100mph, but you drive it at 55mph speed limit or less -- it's there, but so what?

There might indeed be a case for additional headroom for PP. The progression from 6 to 10, 14, and now 16 MP in Pentax DSLRs has shown me that the ability and ease of manipulating the image for final viewing has increased with every progression. I have no doubt that FF would offer another increase, but I'm a pretty dedicated jpeg shooter, and choose not to use the full potential to manipulate the images in RAW that I already have, so this for me, is another "speed limit" issue.

Physical size -- My health and strength are diminishing -- the best I can possibly do is put this on temporary hold with a lot of work -- I just can't physically manage the longer lenses that I'd need to get the same kind of shots that I like. My 300/2.8 +1.7x AFA gives me 510mm f4.8. I could use the same lens combo on a Pentax FF, but I'd lose the crop factor, so I'd have a 510mm FOV compared to a 780mm FOV.

If I went to another brand camera, I could use a Sigma EX 500 f4.5, but it would cost me another $5000 and instead of being able to focus to 6 feet, I'd have to shoot at a minimum of 13 feet, and I'd lose the crop factor. The lens, pretty lightweight for the specs at 7lbs, is not much heavier than my 300/2.8s, but is a lot bulkier to carry.

The Sigma EX 800/5.6 would be more equivalent on FF, but it's over 10 lbs, MFD of @ 23 feet, and costs @ $8K. Give me back about 40 years and a fully functional ticker, and this might be a possibility.

With either of these FF alternatives, I'd also have to add support gear -- a high end CF tripod with a gimbal to handle the heavy glass. Call it another $1000 in cost (though I already have these) and I'd be forced to carry this additional burden of at least 8 lbs (which I now avoid as much as possible).

This year, my K-5 and FA* 300 f4.5 + 1.7x AFA have gotten the call more often than not, and I've added the Q and an adapter for the long shots. This 510mm setup is handholdable for me down to about 1/125 sec, so I can use it this way in most daylight situations.

I can get away with a very light support combo with these. I obtained a Fotopro MGC 584N CF travel tripod + Vanguard ABH 120K ball head, and mount my Wimberley Sidekick on these. The whole combo weighs 4lbs 6 oz, under half of my full sized CF legs and Manfrotto 468MG ball head alone weigh. The lightweight set is very stable and can support the K-5 + FA* 300/2.8 + TCs adequately, even with legs fully extended, but the big setup is better, but not by much.

. . . but I'm just one person with unique needs and conditions. . . What about the OP? -- I'm one who thinks that Pentax can do fine without a FF.

At present APS-C cameras (don't forget the MILCs) outsell FF by a huge margin. These sales determine the amount of R&D that will be invested by sensor mfgs into further development of the sensors for the respective formats, so the development of APS-C sensors significantly outpaces that of FF, and as long as this differential in market share exists, this will remain the case. For the foreseeable future, we'll continue to get relatively rapid development in APS-C sensors. I feel that will this progression will easily be enough for me and a lot of other people.

As far as the future of Pentas, I feel that Pentax is positioning itself to offer the best compact APS-C DSLRs in their respective classes. The K30, with 100% pentaprism, one of the best sensors, dual e-dials, WR, SR, competitive AF, burst rate, and video performance, puts it at the top of the entry level class for features. The K-5 IIs with best in class sensor unhampered by AA filter, at least competitive AF and burst rate, superior build quality, WR, in body stabilization, backward compatibility in lenses, etc, is arguably the best in compact semi pro APS-C DSLRs.

If, indeed, FF is the future of DSLRs, then that means Canon and Nikon will gradually desert the format, starting at the high end since entry level FF would replace the high end APS-C models first since these classes of cameras would be in direct competition. Sony is pushing their SLTs, and advanced as they are becoming, they're still not DSLRs. Pentax could essentially have the high end APS-C DSLR market to themselves.

Sure, advanced shooters who want more will migrate to Canon, Nikon, or Sony to get the benefits of FF. Those who value DOF control and shooting wide will be the first, but a great majority of current and future DSLR photographers will not be willing to spend the money for a FF DSLR, and their upgrade path will effectively end at either the advanced entry level or semi pro APS-C level. There will also always be a segment of very advanced shooters who want a more compact system, and if Canon and Nikon do not offer advanced truly compact FF DSLRs, then the only alternative for either group would be to migrate to Pentax. My guess is that there will be many more of these than those who migrate to from Pentax to FF.

If Pentax were to offer an entry level FF, this would satisfy the vocal Pentaxian FF advocates for about a month, and then they'd start demanding a higher spec'd model. . . and so on. If they bought into a Pentax FF, and that's a big if, then many would still eventually jump ship when a more advanced model and/or more suitable lenses did not appear on their schedule. "Upgrade path" is the carrot in front of the donkey. Buy into that game, and it never ends.

There is no way that Pentax could produce a model competitive with the mid and high end Canons and Nikons. World wide Professional support networks would be prohibitively expensive, and that alone would separate Pentax very negatively, even if they could produce a model with all the features and performance needed by pro photogs.

There are overwhelmingly more people at lower levels than those who aspire to the top. I'd go with the numbers. . .

Scott
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Old Sep 22, 2012, 5:37 PM   #18
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Thats a good analysis Scott and probably very accurate consideration for current Pentax/ricoh team.

If Pentax were to delve into FF, I hope what youre saying insn't true. In my opinion, the jump from the K5 to the 640D is just too big as it is. A small advancement into an 'entry level FF DSLR' would indeed not solve the current demand- At all..

I think their best camera placement would be a mid range FF costing about 3-4,000. This would fit beautifully in between the K5 and 645D and still offer pentaxians an advanced APSC camera, full frame, and medium format, without it taking away from their current market share.

I dont think Pentax would want to come out with a product that negates from their current product line-up. As far as attracting new customers, I think something along the lines of the D800E would a great add to the lineup.
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Old Sep 22, 2012, 6:16 PM   #19
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Scott, I think one thing in your analysis needs correcting, and that is the part about the viewfinder. The finder on 35mm must be larger in order to view the larger image projected to the sensor, so you don't lose anything. Comparing my 35mm film VF to APS-C size on my digital, I find the 35mm seems much larger and brighter, making MF much easier. That was actually my biggest disappointment with the camera. Compared to other APS-C digitals, though, I like the Pentax better. I added a magnifier to the VF in order to use MF lenses, and it does help.

brian
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Old Sep 22, 2012, 7:59 PM   #20
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Scott, I think one thing in your analysis needs correcting, and that is the part about the viewfinder. The finder on 35mm must be larger in order to view the larger image projected to the sensor, so you don't lose anything. Comparing my 35mm film VF to APS-C size on my digital, I find the 35mm seems much larger and brighter, making MF much easier. That was actually my biggest disappointment with the camera. Compared to other APS-C digitals, though, I like the Pentax better. I added a magnifier to the VF in order to use MF lenses, and it does help.
Hi Brian,

My point was that the larger VF would not help because I'd lose the crop factor magnification given the same lens on either camera, so the subject size would actually be 30% smaller within the viewfinder. I rarely use MF lenses, but also use the VF magnifier to make visual focus confirmation easier.

Scott
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