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Old Mar 19, 2007, 8:32 PM   #1
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I'm about to buy my first dSLR and I think that I've narrowed to the Nikon D40x (pending its release) and the Pentax K10d. I'd be using this camera for a broad range of photos, with the overwhelming majority being outdoors landscape, architecture, etc as I travel.

I like the Nikon because it's small and the D40 has such great reviews as a beginner camera for what I understand (with a great kit lens). I'd prefer the 10mp as I tend to crop a lot of images or blow them up bigger than A3 size (my photos are the main decorations in my underfurnished recent college grad apartment).

However, I am really very attracted to the Pentax because of its integral seals against dust, etc (very valuable when traveling in remote locales) and I would love the built-in anti-shake to give me versatility. I realize that it won't eliminate the need for a tripod by any means, but the ability to go without a tripod may make up for the size difference in many cases for me. I'm a little concerned though with dpreview and steve's reviews of the issues with the camera's sharpness controls (was this addressed with the firmware upgrade or is it something we can expect to be addressed?). And I haven't really heard anything about the kit lens.

Keep in mind that I have no lenses and will be starting with the kt lens and then likely searching for upgrade lenses (with value) in the near future (I understand the AF limitation with the D40 series). I'll probably be looking for a range of wide and tele lenses (and maybe a cheap macro to experiment - I've never done any macro photography).

so, in sum, here's what i want - camera suited to travel (small and rugged is ideal), with wide range of upgrade options (that won't break the bank) that won't be obsolete in 2-3 years and i can use to print large pictures. and i don't have any higher end editing software to rely on here.
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Old Mar 19, 2007, 8:54 PM   #2
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Both are fine cameras, but I would hesitate to put both in the same category. The K10D has a $200 edge over the D40x, so it's likely to have more features. Another perspective is that the K10D is the top of the line for Pentax, while the D40x is Nikon's low-ball dSLR offering. So, for a number of reasons, it's not very fair to compare the two head-to-head.

I have a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D, which also has the antishake feature which I like a lot. And since it's in the body, you only have to buy it once, unlike with Nikon.

Nikon is one of the world's best lens makers, but most of their best lenses won't work on the D40x, so I'd have to give the edge to the Pentax.

But it had a substantial head start.
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Old Mar 19, 2007, 9:23 PM   #3
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I'm with tcav on this. No real comparison between the 2 cameras. The d40x is a crippled camera because of the lack of motor as well as the reduction to the auto-focus system. The gain of the extra mp is extremely minor in comparison. If you are interested in the nikon system you should be considering the D80 instead. But if forced to choose between only the 2 cameras you listed, the Pentax is the easy winner. Normally I'd choose a nikon because of the huge array of lenses offered to that system. But with the d40x you lose that advantage. And yes you can manual focus with the other lenses. So if you don't mind manual focus then I think pentax still has the edge because of all the older MF pentax lenses out there you can still use on their DSLRs. So, if the d80 is too much money then go with the pentax.
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Old Mar 19, 2007, 9:25 PM   #4
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*I also realized that i called the nikon the n40 above, i apologize for the error.

i guess i should remain conscious of the [significant] price difference. being that i'm just starting out, would that $200 be better spent on other features that could bring the d40x up (ie, a versatile VRlens that i could use for low-light photos - maybe something to replace the kit lens) or would i be better off with the feature-rich k10d?

also, how significant of an advantage is the sealed casing? something that i'd be glad to have on a 2 week vacation to africa or something that would just simplify the cleaning after such a vacation?

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Old Mar 19, 2007, 9:28 PM   #5
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D80 is an interesting thing to consider then, but i think it loses the main advantage i found in the d40 which is size. seems like going with the k10 may be the thing to do. overall, i'm most concerned about getting the best pictures possible out of any system...
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Old Mar 19, 2007, 10:21 PM   #6
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Both camera choices have lens issues. With the D40x, you're going to be restricted quite a bit if you want AF capability, due to the lack of the in-camera focus motor. Note that non-AF-s lenses aren't completely out of the picture; they'll function as a manual lens. You'll have to purchase the more expensive lenses (mostly only available through Nikon) if you want AF capability. But with so many cheap non-AF-s lenses that don't work properly on the D40x, it's quite frustrating to know the extra hit your pocket will take. Thank goodness that most of the other accessories, like flashguns and others, work without much crippling.

With the K10D, most lenses will function as designed, sometimes requiring some quirky adjustments to function. For example, manual lenses require a special option to be enabled, or lenses with an aperture ring don't work properly unless in the 'A' position. The problem with Pentax is not just lens choice; it's more of lens availability. It's noticeably harder to find popular lenses in Pentax mount if you shop only B&M stores. However, with the K10D and K100D gaining momentum, more lenses are starting to show up, not just from Pentax (see the PMA 2007 announcements). Also note the accessory department is a bit slim at the moment as well, but is also growing.

Both cameras are quite capable. I myself went the Pentax route to start my DSLR life (*ist DL), and am moving to the newer models. Like some others said, it's not really fair to compare the D40x with the K10D. If you're going to compare a Nikon camera w/ the Pentax K10D, compare it to at least the D80.

If I were in your shoes at this point, I would consider if I need lots of immediate lens/accessories choices, weather sealing, and/or image stabilization. It's debatable (and has been feverishly beaten to death already), but IQ with these two cameras isn't too significant. So consider those 3 factors, and that should help you decide with path to take.

I wish I had the opportunity to choose between the D80 and K10D, but my wallet is too empty.
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Old Mar 19, 2007, 11:48 PM   #7
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Illuminati wrote:
With the K10D, most lenses will function as designed, sometimes requiring some quirky adjustments to function. For example, manual lenses require a special option to be enabled, or lenses with an aperture ring don't work properly unless in the 'A' position. The problem with Pentax is not just lens choice; it's more of lens availability.
Yeah searching for Pentax AF (let alone older manual) lenses only yields a 150 choices... oh DARN!!!! (Most in stock and avail)

No with K10D ANY LENS EVER made for Pentax 35mm SLRwill work just fine with a K10D (yes the old M42 screws require an adapte)..... but anyone in their right mind would think a manual lens would work AE/AF.... of course not but the 10Dwil stil deall with all of them.... And the AE's (A lenses) with work as modern lenses do you just have to manually focus.

And some of that old Pentax glass outshines much modern stuff.... though wsith tghe popularity of the K 100 and 10 RAPIDLY disappearing on the used market.... or almost as expensive as modern AF equivalents.

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Old Mar 20, 2007, 12:39 AM   #8
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I just don't quite "get" the D40x, where I can certainly see a niche that the D40 fills. If I were looking for a first dSLR now, I'd have a hard time trying to decide between the D40 and the K100. The only thing I can assume is that Nikon is assuming that 10 mp cameras are now the normal entry level (more on that when it finally gets released). I'll be sorry to see that - I really like the 6 mp sensor.

TheK10 is well beyond a beginners camera - it has many ways of fine-tuning adjustments, and a couple of unique mode options (not scene modes). It is much more like the D80 than the D40x, and one you might never outgrow.

I happen to love mine (I own both the K10 and the K100, and plan on keeping both). As far as the image quality and the reviews, Steve got it pretty much right - my guess is that Pentax decided to give the photographer more control of post processing their pictures, and its much harder to remove sharpening (I've never managed decent results) than it is to add sharpening. I'm personally very happy with the quality I get from my K10 (take a look at some of the examples that several people have posted under the Pentax part of this board - there are some outstanding examples). Photoshop Elements can do pretty much anything you want (there are other options that others use, including a free one).

At the moment, new Pentax lenses are in short supply (I think Pentax got caught off-guard by the popularity of the K10 and K100) but they are in the process of releasing several new, top quality lenses. Or you can do what I did, which was to learn about used lenses and buy cheaper,older lenses on ebay or in pawn shops/photo shows (and to be honest, I have several lenses that I had bought 25+ years ago that I use quite often). There are a number of third party lenses, like Tamron and Sigma, that come in Pentax mounts.

The Pentax kit lens is one of the better ones - I happen to use mine for wide-angle stuff still.

Best thing to do is go handle a K10 and decide if it is too big/heavy for you. Then you'll have a better idea whether you'll want to wait for the D40x to come out or not.

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