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BenjaminXYZ Aug 15, 2006 11:04 AM

I am not sure whether can it hold the title as the best low light performer. In my mind it is currently a yes because it has the extra ISO 3200stop and the ISO 1600to be used in certain situationswith theanti-shake feature. However, I cannot be so sure since Ihave not thatmuch experience before. It is an exciting thoughtto imagineit with a fast F/1.8 or faster lens and see how it perform under dim indoor lighting conditions.

If I am not mistaken, the active CCD area of the Pentax cameras are bigger than all the other Canon 8 MP CMOS chips and 6 MP CCDs in the Nikon 6 MP dSLRs.

Images sensor sizes;

6.3 MP CCD on Pentax dSLRs: 23.5 x 15.7 mm = 368.95 mm (area).

6.3 MP CCD on Nikon dSLRs: 23.7 x 15.5 mm = 367.35 mm (area). Slightly smaller.

8.5 MP CMOS on Canon dSLRs (EOS-20D/20Da/30D): 22.5 x15.0 mm = 337.5 mm (area).

8.2 MP CMOS on the EOS-350D: 22.2 x 14.8 mm = 328.56 mm (area).

6.3 MP CMOSin the EOS-300D: 22.7 x 15.1 mm = 342.77 mm (area). Bigger than EOS-350D 8 MPCMOS.

You can do more comparisons with your favorite cameras at dpreview spec sheets. (I just choose a few examples here only).

Generally, larger image sensor areas promotesbroader dynamic range, larger photo sites, shallower dept of field with a given aperture, lower electronicnoises in images, and more sensitivities. (Not to say that the Pentax dSLRs are the winners here). However, this has always been the casewith digital cameras.

I believe I can get avery goodshallow dept of field by fitting a fast lens on the Pentax dSLRs due to the larger CCD. However, Iguess there might not be a discernibledifference between the Nikon, Canon and Pentax chips compared to the smaller 4/3 CCD system of the Olympus dSLRs.

I would like to know how does the noise performance of the Pentax dSLRs (Especially the K100D) compares to the 6 MP Nikons and 8 MP Canons in real life photographic situations. I guess the K100D A.S. (anti-shake)feature will pose some advantage inlow light shooting? How usefulthe A.S. feature actually is based on your experience? How many stops advantage does it provide?

As a side question;

Which fast prime or zoom lens would you recommend me to get with my budget of 900 USDs for a dSLR? (Preferably for the K100D). I am mainly concerned aboutcountering indoor low light situations with moving peoples & minute handheld vibrations; this has always been my biggest problem. (No tri-pod set up is convenient).

Thanks and regards.

I like some of thoseaffordable prime lens with large apertures>>>

Monza76 Aug 15, 2006 1:33 PM

Benjamin, This is not an area of absolutes, if you pardon the pun, it isn't all black and white.

Nikon - excellent firmware in Nikon D50 makes good use of the CCD, and the difference in area with the Pentax is truly negligable.

Canon - they have made the CMOS sensor (previously the sensor type used in cheap webcams) and made it into an excellent performer. Again the firmware makes the most of the CMOS output and Canon seems to be getting very low noise for the tiny photosites they use.

Pentax - basically the same CCD as Nikon, they coax another stop of ISO speed out of it and add the SR, both big items for low light. The noise is very well controlled but... Nikon D50 noise looks more like film grain while Pentax tends to have more colourd flecks. (again the difference is very little and the Pentax still has the 3200 for those times when any picture is better than none)

My vote is for Pentax because the image quality of all of these cameras is excellent and Pentax does have SR built in (costly lenses required for Nikon and Canon). The Nikon VR lenses and Canon IS lenses may be more effective but they are also far more expensive. The K100D costs less than a 350D and not much more than a D50 and has a hand holding advantage very close to those VR and IS lenses, for every Pentax mount lens out there.

One other disturbing point of the Canon system is that they offer small sensor and "full frame" models. Unsuspecting beginners may purchase a 350D and a batch of EF-S lenses hoping to some day move up to a 5D only to find that their lenses do not work on the 5D because EF-S lenses are only for small sensor cameras. Canon should have made all their lenses to cover the 35mm frame so there would never be a situation like this one. I appluad them for produceing the full frame cameras but must condemn them for the EF-S lenses. They may argue that the 5D is for a different market, but many of us start small and then move up, Canon has closed the door on these people. Sorry for the Rant, I think my opinion is based on the fact that Canon makes such great cameras but decides to separate their upper end customer from the consumer market. You can go out and buy a Nikon D2 model and still use all of your DX lenses because it still has the same size sensor and all lenses will cover that size.

Oops, of topic. I apologize for taking your bandwidth

BenjaminXYZ Aug 16, 2006 3:58 AM


I really appreciate your opinions and I think what you have said was mostly very true.

BTW, I thought the complete opposite! I was having the impression that the noise characteristics of the Pentax dSLRs are rather monochromic compared to the ones on the D50 and EOS 350D. The D50 has ratherhigh noise from the red channel as well as a more chroma mottled appearance. But it's noise levels overall seems to be the lowest among all (As stated by Philip Askey - dpreview).

This page does shows the D50 red channel noises>>>

ActuallyI am also curious to know whether can you turn off the noise reduction on Pentax dSLRs and also does the mirror lock up feature have a custom delay? Thanks thanks thanks! :-)

Monza76 Aug 16, 2006 10:05 AM

BenjaminXYZ wrote:

ActuallyI am also curious to know whether can you turn off the noise reduction on Pentax dSLRs and also does the mirror lock up feature have a custom delay? Thanks thanks thanks! :-)

Yes you can turn off the noise reduction, no you cannot set a custom delay for the mirror lockup (not a feature I have seen before).


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