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Old Jan 31, 2007, 2:44 AM   #1
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I`m thinking of buying a new DSLR and i`m hesitating between the Pentax K10 and the Nikon D80.

At the moment i have a Nikon D50 and the reasons for my upgrade are :

- D50 pics are too soft straight out of the camera , i`d like them to be sharper ,too
sensitive to high & low contrasty pics.

- I love to take B&W pics and i`d like a camera that can do this straight out of the
camera with personal settings (contrast..filters...)

- better iso


I`m use to Nikon and i pretty sure that the Nikon D80 is excellent but what is making me hesitate is all these new features from the Pentax :

- Anti Dust System

- Stabilisation (sensor) therefore compatible for all lenses.


But are my pics going to be as good on the Pentax ?

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Old Jan 31, 2007, 8:22 AM   #2
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Just my opinion (I ownboth aPentax K10 and K100), you should be looking at upgrading your lenses, not necessarily your camera. Just my experience with the Pentax line of cameras is that (all camera settings being equal) softness comes from three main sources - the ability of the lens you are using, focus errors, or camera shake. I assume that you've already checked your camera settings and have experimented with in-camera sharpening settings, so that leaves lens capability, focus errors and camera shake. Focus errors could be either the camera or the lens - have you tested the camera/lens combination with a chart to see how accurate it is (easy thing to eliminate, only takes a bit of time to do). If the problem is your camera's focus point, then either get it fixed or get the D80. If the problem is the lens, not the camera, then replace the lens, not the camera.

I don't think you'll gain anything from an ISO point of view by going with either of the two 10 mp cameras - I have both the K10 and the K100 and the 6 mp K100 has less noise at 1600 ISO than the K10 does (one of several reasons why I'm happy keeping both cameras).

I'm not sure you would gain or lose much as far as contrast goes by changing systems- digital sensors of all sorts have dynamic range restrictions. I haven't seen a huge difference in dynamic range between the cameras when I've looked at sample pictures.

The anti dust system is nice, but not the end-all (my opinion). I just haven't had a big problem with dust that a hand air-blower hasn't handled (I've owned a DS as well as the K100).

Now if the problem is hand shake, then the Pentax will be a much cheaper solution - the in-camera SR really does work for me. I went from being OK but not great with a 200mm lens, to handholdling (in good light) a 300mm f4 lens. So if that is your biggest problem then go for the Pentax.
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Old Jan 31, 2007, 2:46 PM   #3
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IMO you'd be better off learning how to use your current camera, the reasons you're giving for an upgrade don't make any sense to me.
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Old Jan 31, 2007, 3:05 PM   #4
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I'm going to agree with peripatetic on this one.

The D50 has sharper than average "straight from the camera" photos for a DSLR.

As for contrast, when you crank it up, you tend to lose some Dynamic Range. So, there are pros and cons to models that have more contrast in their images.

That's best done in post processing if you like a contrasty look (dial back the contrast settings in the camera and boost it later using better tools).

If you're not aware of it, your D50 even has a custom tone curves feature. So, you can go well beyond the controls you have in most other models by loading custom curves.

For example, the "White Wedding Curve" from fotogenetic is popular with some Nikon users that have tried it.

Custom tone curves are designed to do something similar to using the curves function in an editor (where you may want to boost the mid tones without changing the highlights or shadows, etc.). So, they can give you a bit more flexibility in how the camera processes the jpeg images, over and above what you'd get using just settings like Exposure Compensation or Contrast alone. With a Nikon DSLR like your D50, you can load a custom tone curve into the camera that it will use to process the images.

I think this is probably the most underused feature of Nikon DSLR models (I rarely see the ability of Nikon models to use Custom Tone Curves discussed in the forums).

Another way to get a little more Dynamic Range is to shoot in raw and convert using ACR (Adobe Camera Raw). YMMV, depending on the image and raw converter used. But, ACR typically does a bit better job in retaining highlight detail compared to most other raw converters. If you're not shooting raw already, try a few raw converters and see if you find one that does what you want. Many have trial versions available.

Yet another way to get more Dynamic Range is to blend exposures (one exposed for the shadows and one exposed for the highlights). Some people do the same thing with one raw file (use the sliders to create one image from it exposed properly for shadows and then convert it again with the sliders set to correctly expose the highlights, then merge the two images into one).

Here is a tutorial on Exposure Blending:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...blending.shtml

As for sharpness, much of what you see from a point and shoot model is an optical illusion. Most sharpening algorithms are designed to increase contrast at edge transitions. That can lead to unwanted halos and other artifacts. Your best bet is to sharpen later using USM if you want a sharper looking photo than the camera's settings allow you to produce.

Technique (focus point, aperture setting which impacts depth of field, shutter speed which can influence blur) and lens choice (optical quality, and much more) can also play a big role.

I'd try to figure out what you can do to improve the results from your current camera before switching. Otherwise, you may be "jumping out of the frying pan into the fire".

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Old Jan 31, 2007, 3:34 PM   #5
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make it three.

I agree with Peripatetic and Jim. If you want quality photos, your brain and good post processing software is better than any computer algorithm for sharpness or B&W conversions. DSLRs are NOT point and shoot cameras. The reason they're better than the digicams in every respect accept size is they provide the photographer more control. Yes they have auto mode and prefab modes like portrait/scenic/sports but you're not going to get the most out of your camera by sticking to these modes. A computer cannot compete with the human brain.

As for better ISO performance, the D80 is slightly better but not significantly so.

It's your money, but for the stated reasons it seems like a waste of money. You can save a lot of money by investing your time in learning post processing and learning proper exposure techniques to protect the dynamic range or to artificially increase the range using a blended exposure.


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Old Jan 31, 2007, 5:19 PM   #6
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I have the D50 and I agree with the people above...

Here's what I would do:
1) Shoot RAW and edit them yourself. Getting sharp image is easy with PP. Also, you get to control what to sharpen. For example, I tend to avoid sharpening blue skies.

2) Get better lens. What lens do you have now? What do you shoot the most. I currently have the 18-200VR, and very happy with it. Future lenses on my list are 105VR F/2.8, 17-55 F/2.8or 28-70 F/2.8 and 70-200VR F/2.8... all of which are very sharp.


I think, the higher model cameras are more likely made for pros, who are assumed to do more PP than being satisfied with in-camera results. So getting a higher model, may actually work against you. The D50 has had the reputation of having a good out-of-camera image.


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Old Jan 31, 2007, 5:30 PM   #7
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Rey-

What software are you using to develop your raw images?

MT/Sarah
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Old Jan 31, 2007, 10:51 PM   #8
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mtclimber wrote:
Quote:
Rey-

What software are you using to develop your raw images?

MT/Sarah
I use rawshooter essential 2006

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Old Jan 31, 2007, 10:54 PM   #9
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rey wrote:
Quote:
I have the D50 and I agree with the people above...

Here's what I would do:
1) Shoot RAW and edit them yourself. Getting sharp image is easy with PP. Also, you get to control what to sharpen. For example, I tend to avoid sharpening blue skies.

2) Get better lens. What lens do you have now? What do you shoot the most. I currently have the 18-200VR, and very happy with it. Future lenses on my list are 105VR F/2.8, 17-55 F/2.8or 28-70 F/2.8 and 70-200VR F/2.8... all of which are very sharp.


I think, the higher model cameras are more likely made for pros, who are assumed to do more PP than being satisfied with in-camera results. So getting a higher model, may actually work against you. The D50 has had the reputation of having a good out-of-camera image.

My lenses are : Nikkor 18-200mm VR
Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D
Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro
Tokina 12-24mm f/4

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Old Jan 31, 2007, 11:58 PM   #10
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How about posting a sample pic or two?

You'll probably get some good feedback that way as to whether there's anything unusual with your camera/results, or if there's any tips anyone can give to get better results. And try to make sure you don't use an editor that strips the exif data when you post.

ps. those all should be good lenses. Most will still be soft wide open, but if you're shooting at around f5.6-f11.0 they should all generally be sharp.

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