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Old Jul 8, 2007, 10:03 AM   #1
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I'm looking at getting a dSLR. I have read great things about both, but probably a little more about the D80. I like Canon, but I don't like the size of the XTi, it is just too small for my hands. I also picked up the Sony and didn't like the feel at all.

I like everything about the K10D, image stabalization, weather resistance, and the dust removal. But a few of the reviews I have read say the D80 has better image quality, and it just seems like image quality should be the most important thing when buying a camera.

My budget will be about $2000. I have read great things about the D80 with the Nikon 18-200. For the Pentax I wouldn't know what lenses to get. I was thinking about the 16-45 or the kit lens (18-55), then the 50-200. I was also thinking about the 50 f/1.4. I will be using the camera a good amount indoors, pets and children, so I thought the 50 might not be a bad idea. I would like to get to at least 200, if not 300 with a lens on either. The other option for the Pentax would be a 18-200 or 18-250 Tamron. I just don't know what would be best.

The other reason to get the K10D is that right now I am have a pretty nice budget, but in a few months I am switching careers, and that won't be the case. The idea of having the image stabalization in the camera, and being able to buy cheaper lenses might help then.

Thanks for any help. I have already been convinced that I should go with one or the other 3 or 4 times each, so I'm hoping someone else can help me out.


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Old Jul 8, 2007, 10:42 AM   #2
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Both cameras take outstanding pictures (I have the K10 but would have probably been happy with a D80). One thing to remember about reviewers is that they have to say something to differentiate the cameras.

The reason I bought a Pentax camera (originally bought the DS, then upgraded to the K100 and the K10) had to do with ergonomics first, and second was budget. I still had a number of Pentax lenses purchased in the 1980's. I'm one of the people who finds SR very important (steadier people won't find it as big of a deal), so I was delighted when Pentax came out with SR in the camera body - I'm still using those old, 25+ year old lenses.

The Pentax kit lens is pretty good, and a great value - I'm still using mine for my wide angle needs. The 16-45 is a faster lens, but my personal opinion is that the 16-45 isn't worth the significantextra cost. The DA 50-200 lens has a good reputation as a sharp, bright lens and another good buy. It's also lighter than many other, older lenses in the same focal length. Just my opinion, but when I want something longer than 200, I want something quite a bit longer. So I ended up keeping my eye out for a used 300mm lens (Pentax has made several over the years, I ended up finding an A*300mm f4that fit my budget). I rarely feel a need for anything between 200 and 300. If you want something longer than 200mm, then I think getting something like the Sigma APO version of the 70-300 lens - I've seen many samples posted in the Pentax section with this lens, or the Tamron equivalent, rather than the Tamron 18-250 (in general, the more range a lens has the more compromises that a lens maker has had to make and so the lower quality). There are several other lenses you can get to fill in between the kit lens and the 70-300.

For a fast prime, you can get any of the various versions of the 50mm 1.4 or 1.7 lenses - they are all excellent with the main difference being the capability and age of the lens. I happen to have both the M 50mm 1.4 and M 50mm 1.7 (the 1.7 was given to me with a camera in 1980 and the 1.4 was bought by my father in 1981). My particular 1.4 is much softer wide open than my 1.7 is wide open (from f2 on they are the same). The used prices for these lenses is always under $100, and the M 1.7 often runs around $30 - a great buy if you don't mind manual focus/manual exposure (pricing goes up as you add capability up to the FA 50mm 1.4 which offers both auto focus and auto exposure).
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Old Jul 8, 2007, 12:51 PM   #3
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Both the Pentax K10D and the Nikon D80 are fine cameras. Aside from the Pentax having Shake Reduction in the body versus the Nikon having Vibration Reduction in the lenses, there isn't a lot that distinguishes them. I think you would be very pleased with either of them.

You did mention a couple of things that I want to comment on, though.

You mentioned the Pentax with a Tamron 18-200mm or 18-250mm. I have the Konica-Minolta 18-200 (a rebranded Tamrom) on my KM 5D. Initially, I was pleased with it's flexibility, but when I started paying closer attention to the images, I started looking elsewhere for lenses that could do better. The 18-200 has significant geometric distortion at the wide end, significant chromatic aberration at the long end, and is pretty soft throughout its range. I am nowloath to recommend any super-zooms, but itseems that the Tamron 18-250 is vastly superior to the 18-200 in all respects, though because of it's small maximum aperture, it performs poorly indoors and in low light.

You also mentioned that you would be using the camera indoors but that you wanted to go out to at least 200mm. For indoors, you'll need either a fast lens (a lens with a large aperture, or numerically smaller f-number) or a good flash.

For fast lenses, both the Pentax and the Nikon have many choices available.

For flash, both the K10D and the D80 have built-in flash, but these are more for occasional use and can drain the camera's battery pretty quickly. For accessory flashes, Nikon has an interesting technology that Pentax doesn't. Nikon's SB-800 AF Speedlight (and possibly others) can adjust the width of the flash to the focal length of the lens. This means that the flash will zoom out when the lens zooms out, and zoom in when the lens zooms in, it won't illuminate areas not within the resulting image, and will provide a brighter flash when the lens is zoomed out and the camera has focused on a distant subject. I may be wrong, but I don't think Pentax has anything that compares.

In addition, as to telephotos for indoor and low-light work, you'll need a fast telephoto lens as well, and that is mostly the domain of Nikon and Canon. Pentax maxes out at a 77mm f/1.8, and beyond that, relies on Sigma for its offerings.

As mtngalhas pointed out, there are good reasons for going with Pentax, but there are also good reasons for going with Nikon. You've got a head-start on a number of people that come to his forum, in that, you've already handled the cameras and have established opinions about what cameras you want. Your decision will consist mainly of filtering through the minutiae.

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Old Jul 8, 2007, 10:01 PM   #4
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TCav wrote:
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For flash, both the K10D and the D80 have built-in flash, but these are more for occasional use and can drain the camera's battery pretty quickly. For accessory flashes, Nikon has an interesting technology that Pentax doesn't. Nikon's SB-800 AF Speedlight (and possibly others) can adjust the width of the flash to the focal length of the lens. This means that the flash will zoom out when the lens zooms out, and zoom in when the lens zooms in, it won't illuminate areas not within the resulting image, and will provide a brighter flash when the lens is zoomed out and the camera has focused on a distant subject. I may be wrong, but I don't think Pentax has anything that compares.
Sure they have. Both the FGZ 360 and 540 have that zooming feature, as does the Sigma EF-500

Flashes for Pentax are just the same as with other brands: expensive.

I have a Pentax, and enjoy it very much. Especially the (full) metering with older lenses is a dream. (even M42 screwmount lenses! Think Zeiss glass...)

But I can understand your doubts about the K10D vs. the D80.

Nikon do make excellent cameras. They've always offered a very high quality package.

If your gut feeling is steering you towards the D80, I'd say go for it...

Both the cameras you selected are excellent value for their money.
My choice would be easy and I'd go for the older lenses...I've come to love my old buckets.
However, if you don't intend to buy older glass, I'd say they're pretty much equal, and the choice is entirely up to what you think is best...


Either way: have fun with your new camera!

Tom
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Old Jul 8, 2007, 10:57 PM   #5
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To answer a couple things that were mentioned, for indoor use right now I am not looking at the 200-300 range, I just thought the 50 f/1.4 would be nice for that. Outdoors is where I would want the longer reach, and not really anything in motion.At this time I have no plans for indoor sports or anything like that.

Right now I am actually leaning toward the K10D, it just seems to offer a lot more for the price, especially if people say the differences in image quality aren't that great.

Thanks for the responses so far. I actually went and priced out a K10D at B&H with the kit lens, 50-200, and the 50, plus a tripod, bag, flash, 2x4gig sd cards, it came out to just over $2000. Can anyone recommend where to buy online? I am actually living in Korea for the next 6 months, but have an APO address, so shipping isn't that bad, I think the order I looked at had $80 for shipping. I think when I decide for sure on which camera I will ask some more questions in the specific forums, like what flash, what bag, tripod, etc.

By the way my experience with film slr cameras was an old fully manual pentax that was a hand me down from my dad while I was in college with a 50 and I think a 70-210, and a canon EOS630 (I think that was the number) that I picked up used in college that only had the kit lense. They both went missing out of my car around 1999. Since then it has been an olympus, sony, and canon digital point and shoot cameras.
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Old Jul 8, 2007, 11:42 PM   #6
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Too bad that the 70-210 is gone - I had an F version of that lens that was my favorite for a long time, until it died (not repairable).

I've ordered a number of things fromB&H and have found them wonderful to deal with (in fact, I've got something non-camera related coming Tuesday from them). I've also heard good things about Adorama and buydig (same as Beach Camera).

As far as camera bags, I have Lowepro's Slingshot 200 and love it. It's amazing just how much stuff you can put in one, and carry comfortably.
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Old Jul 9, 2007, 4:04 AM   #7
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Mcclure wrote:
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Right now I am actually leaning toward the K10D, it just seems to offer a lot more for the price, especially if people say the differences in image quality aren't that great.
And that is a key consideration, given overall quaility much the same..... for the price difference you might even afford an extra lens.

Now if you said you had a Nikon film SLR, and lens investment.... I'd say stick there.

But after 6 months with the K10D, no regrets at all, and especially with regular firmware upgrades, and new things not just minor special situation fixes added frequently (C&N rarely/never do) the thing just keeps surprising me.

And though due to its popularity, used lenses are escalating in price fast.... there is some marvelous old Pentax glass out there.

And you might not think much of VR/SR, but if you are reasonably stable it is an amazing aid for low light shooting handheld.... which on Nikon you would have to pay for over and over again and only the NEWEST lenses.... vs on the Pentax 10D, ANY even and antique ..... the SR still works.

I only actually have three NEW lenses for my K10D..... the other 6 or so are mostly wonderful old A lenses, still full AE just MF. I love my old A f/1.4 50mm

And have noted on the Pentax forums here reccently got a MODERN FA 1.4 50mm
I have by comparison other than the convenience of AF been a bit disappointing.... not that it is BAD.... but that old lens was real sweat... as expensive in its day.... but gotten for less than half the price used. And for things one (at least I) would shoot with a 50mm MF is not that much a hinderance, especially since the 10D AF system still confirms when it sees focus even with a MF lens.... and on the 10D you can even set it so you can even take the shot until it does.

Oh and I in no way mean to imply Pentax doesn't make good lenses any more.... just compared to the older A seemed noticeable better wide open... and many swear by the just slightly slower FA f/1.7 But at the same time old glass is worse either not true either, oten as good sometimes better... especially for the price.... though as noted that is climimg fast with the blossoming of the Pentax K's and only so many old lenses out there.

And living in a humid/often sudden rainy/dusty/sandy maybe even salt sea spray at times environment the 10D's weather sealing is a big plus too. Now that rainy seaqson has begun it has been it rain several times, with no ill effect.... just when not shooting keep lens down and let the camera back take it..... though new line of Pentax lenses are also suppsed to be weather sealed. I have had fine luck though just doing that and wiping them with a T-shirttail before retracking them..
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Old Jul 9, 2007, 7:16 AM   #8
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I went out to the electronics market in Seoul today to make sure I liked the Pentax feel more than the D80, but found something very interesting. I saw probably 50-75 camera shops and no one had the K10D, and only a couple had the Samsung version. After looking at the Samsung I think the bodies are a little different, but it still felt the best of the ones I looked at. I checked out the Nikon, Canon, and Sony also. Every place I looked had Canon and Nikon cameras. I really thought more places would have the Samsung, being that Samsung is everywhere in Korea. Not sure if anyone has ever been to the electronics market in Seoul, but it is pretty crazy the number of shops all selling the same stuff. It's hard to explain the layout, but I really did probably go past at least 50 shops selling SLR cameras. Everyone I talked said they had the K10D but not on display.

The differences I noticed in the bodies were on the part held by the left hand, there isn't the grip feel. Also the buttons are all in the same place from what I could tell, but some are different shapes.

So I think I have made up my mind on the K10D, and I also got approval from the wife to buy a camera (much easier than picking the camera actually), so now I just need to find the place and everything I want to pick up with the camera.

Thanks for all the responses. I think I will do a little more research and then make a post in the Pentax forum with what I'm thinking about ordering.
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Old Jul 9, 2007, 11:03 AM   #9
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Since you have an APO address, can't you use AAFES?
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Old Jul 9, 2007, 6:51 PM   #10
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I can shop at AAFES, but on base they only have the D40, XTi, and A100. They had the D80 for a while, but not anymore. Also they don't carry any lenses, or anything other than just the cameras, and a few small bags. I also worry sometimes if they are imports or the US version. I picked up a Trek mountain bike, and later found out that it was not a model sold in the US, with a camera I would be worried about the warranty, since after I move back in 6 months I won't be able to go to an AAFES store anymore. Also the prices at AAFES are pretty poor, the tax break is nice, but doesn't make up for the price. When I looked at B&H I won't be paying taxes anyway.
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