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Old Nov 24, 2006, 11:34 PM   #1
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I'm ready to by my first DSLR and I've narrowed the choice down to the KM5D or the K100D. I've eliminated everything else based on budget and wanting internal anti-shake as opposed to needing IS lenses. The fact that KM is out of business is not a factor for me, I'm happy buying a used camera and I plan to pick up used lenses regardless of which camera.

Myprimary criteria are shutter lag and low light performance. In studying various reviews I can't determine which one has the shorter unfocusedshutter lag (they appear to be the same pre-focused) or which oneperforms betterin low light. I realize that the unfocused shutter lag depends more on the scene than the camera, but all things being equal when shooting indoors which is better?

A secondary criteria is continuous shooting performance.

If there is negligible difference on all these, then I favor the K100D because it is slightly lighter and takes AA batteries. But are there strong opinions on other tie-breakers I should consider?

thanks, dave

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Old Nov 25, 2006, 12:02 AM   #2
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First of all, let me say that I'm biased since I shoot with a Maxxum 5D. :-)

I have not seen any controlled conditions tests in various light levels with a K100D yet (and light will have a big impact on Autofocus speeds).

But, Popphoto ran some tests comparing some of the popular entry level DSLR models (including the Pentax DS2) and the KM 5D runs circles around most of them for low light focus ability.

Here are their tests for the Pentax *st DS2 (not the newer K100D):

AF Speed: EV 12–7: 0.68–0.71 sec; EV 6–EV 3: 0.81–1.54 sec; EV 2–1: 1.71–2.20 sec; EV 0: 2.35 sec.


Here are their tests for the KM 5D:

AF Speed: EV 12: 0.32 sec; EV 10: 0.33 sec; EV 8: 0.41 sec; EV 6: 0.57 sec; EV 4: 0.59 sec; EV 2: 0.86 sec; EV 1: 0.87 sec; EV 0: 0.93 sec; EV -1: 1.85 sec.


Basically, the 5D was more than twice as fast in EV 0 light, and was still faster at EV -1 (only half the light the Pentax was able to focus in, since EV 0 is twice as bright as EV -1).

They said this about the Maxxum 5D (comparing the Konica Minolta 5D, Canon Rebel XT, Olympus Evolt E-500, Nikon D50 and Pentax *st DS2):

The 9-zone AF system is the fastest of this group and works down to EV –1, very dim light indeed"

(see the Control Section):


Now, I have seen reports from Pentax owners that the AF system in the K100D is much improved. So, I don't know how the newer K100D would compare in low light. Comparing the KM 5D to the Pentax *st DS2, it looks like the older Pentax would need around 8 times the light to get AF speeds as fast as the KM 5D (for example, EV 3 is 8 times as bright as EV 0).

Of course, most people don't try to shoot in light as low as they tested these cameras in either. Lens choice can also have a big impact on AF performance (and PopPhoto didn't specify the lenses used for the tests).

I can say that I've been quite pleased with the KM 5D in low light though (I've managed to lock focus in extremely low light with a 5D wearing a decent lens, with no flash assist needed).

The 5D also has much faster write speed to media (and that's compared to the newer K100D, too). See Steve's review conclusions for details.

You can shoot at 1 RAW frame per second *after* the camera's buffer is full with a KM 5D. That's a very fast interface to media.

With the Pentax K100D, it would take close to 4 times as long for each raw image to write to media with a full buffer (around 3.5 seconds per raw file with the Pentax K100D versus 1 second per raw file with the KM 5D).

Pentax K100D review conclusion

Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D review conclusion

So, if you plan on shooting in conditions where you'll fill up the buffer often, you may want to take write speed to media into consideration, especially if you want to shoot raw. If not, then it probably wouldn't make any difference to you.

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Old Nov 25, 2006, 8:28 AM   #3
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While the 5D is a great camera, bear in mind that you won't be getting any support for it anymore, as minolta has been taken over by sony, and the maxxum series are out of production now.
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Old Nov 25, 2006, 8:55 AM   #4
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TDN wrote:
While the 5D is a great camera, bear in mind that you won't be gettign any support for it anymore, as minolta has been taken ove by sony, and the maxxum series are out of production now.
Well, the poster did say this:

The fact that KM is out of business is not a factor for me, I'm happy buying a used camera and I plan to pick up used lenses regardless of which camera.
But, it is something I'd take into consideration.

These cameras are pretty hard to come by in new condition now. Adorama had some new Maxxum 5D kits at only $599 last week. But, they're sold out now (as is just about everyone else that's reputable).

Sony is handling warranty work for them, as part of their arrangement to acquire some of Konica Minolta's assets.

Service information from Sony:

Effective April 1, 2006, Sony Electronics will be providing service and repair of certain Konica-Minolta products in the United States. Sony is pleased to provide existing Konica-Minolta customers an excellent customer service experience. All terms and conditions of the Konica-Minolta products' limited warranty continue to apply.
Sony Support for Konica Minolta Cameras, Lenses and Accessories

They're using a third party company to service KM DSLR models now (Precision Camera). Some of their technicians were trained by KM during the transition. Unfortunately, service left something to be desired initially based on reports I've seen.

Parts availability was also an issue up until recently. But, what Sony was doing if a camera was unrepairable because they didn't have parts is offering a pro-rated buyback (pro-rating the camera over 7 years). If it failed during the first 12 months, they were offering to refund the full purchase price (as long as you have your original receipt, which could be a problem buying used). After that, it was pro-rated. So, I can't expect anymore from them.

Lately, the parts bottleneck seems to have been mostly solved, though (most cameras are being repaired now from recent reports I've seen).

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Old Nov 25, 2006, 10:11 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback Jim.

With regards to 5D repairs, are you warning me that it will not be so easy if I need them or is there reason to be specially worried about needing repairs. I guess I was assuming that DSLRs are not inherently more prone to breakdown than digital P&S and that abuse is far the more likely cause of problems. I realize that the K100D hasn't been out as long, but in generaldo digital KMs have a worse workmanship/durability record than digital Pentax?

I've been looking at both for awhile and have pretty much given up on finding a new 5D from a reputable seller; I'm always too late with the online deal postings. :sad: If I go with 5D, my thought is to get a used one from an original owner (as opposed to a professional reseller). So I guess I'm also assuming that DSLRs are like many electronics and ifbroken/defective out of the box, you'll know it quick and if not, then it should last a long time.

Perhaps a better question is: If you had to choose between a new-in-box 5D and a one-year-old gently used one (which is essentially proven not to be a lemon?), which one would you take? Assume cost is the same.

thanks, dave

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Old Nov 25, 2006, 10:25 AM   #6
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I'd get a new one. But, you are probably not going to be able to find a new one. Most vendors sold out months ago. Adorama apparently found a stash of them and had some 5D kits for only $599 recently. But, they sold out last week.

If you see one advertised as new elsewhere in the U.S, it's probably one of the scam artists around (or it's not a model intended for sale in the U.S.). So, be very careful shopping.

I have seen a few sporadic reports of people finding them at Circuit City and Ritz/Wolf camera stores (even though the web sites showed them out of stock months ago). So, you might get lucky and find one. But, given the amount of Christmas shopping going on right now, that's probably unlikely.

As for failures, I've seen my share of reports about an odd quirk with them. What tends to happen over time is if you let the cameras sit for a few days, the first shot will sometimes lock up the camera. Power it down and back off, and it works fine again (until you let it sit for a day or two). This usually doesn't start until thousands of shots and months into a camera's life when it does occur.

Mine started doing it, too (but, it stopped).

According to KM's diagnostics, the shutter mechanism is at fault. It's got something to do with too much pressure being sensed somewhere.

Some users have sent their cameras in and had their shutter mechanisms replaced.

My theory:

The shutter mechanism is probably binding a little bit when the camera hasn't been used in a while, and temperature probably plays a role, too (expansion and contraction of the parts).

That's the most common report you see (let the camera sit for a day or day and it will sometimes lock up on the first photo requiring a power cycle with a dark frame for the image taken. Then, it works fine again until the camera has been sitting unused for a while (usually 1 or more days).

I think it's a combination of problems.

Chances are, the error is being generated because of a voltage/current monitor somewhere that assumes the change is due to a shutter mechanism binding. That makes sense, because of it's a bit "stiff", it's going to pull more current.

So, any electrical problem is going to complicate it (for example, dirty contacts, battery with borderline voltage, etc.).

When I see this issue come up, my advise is this (and some users say that it didn't work for them)

Clean all of your contacts (battery, battery contacts in the camera (use a Pencil eraser or Q-tip with a touch of alcohol if nothing else to get the ones in the bottom of the battery compartment), battery contacts, lens contacts, lens mount contacts on camera).

Then, set your camera to manual exposure, using a relatively fast shutter speed shooting jpeg in contiinuous mode and fill up a larger card with images. This should have the effect of heating up the shutter mechanism a bit and help to loosen it up (similar to breaking in a new firearm, so that it's not binding as much).

Then, see if the problem goes away. It did for me. I originally assumed that cleaning all contacts fixed it. But, it may have been a combination of things I did. In any event, I haven't had a lockup since February, and it was doing it every time I let the camera sit for a day or two before then.

Of course, many users have never seen the issue (I've seen reports of users with many thousands of shots on their 5D's with no issues at all). So, you can't tell if it will crop up or not later down the road.

Personally, I'm not worried about it with my 5D. It's working just fine now (and even if it did lock up on the first shot after sitting for a few days, it wouldn't be a big deal to me). Mine hasn't had a lockup since February (after a thorough cleaning).

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