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Old Sep 25, 2007, 12:50 PM   #1
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Hi All,

Long time reader on here, but first time posting. I'm looking to make the jump into the dSLR field and I'm at a loss of what kind of camera to get. To give a uick background, I've been using digital P&S for about 9 years now, and I've always gone with Canon. I shoot a variety of pictures, but mainly landscapes, people, wildlife, cityscapes, etc. At the moment I have an S2 IS, but I'm ready to upgrade. However,I do not like the Rebel lineup at all. It feels flimsy and terrible in my hand.

I believe I have narrowed my choices down to two cameras (possibly three). The Nikon D40, Pentax K100d, or K100d Super. Is the Super worth getting over the regular K100d? I don't feel like I need anything more than 6MP, as I will not be doing enlargements on a regular basis. I like the Nikon as a well known established brand, and I really like the feel of it in my hand. The Pentax grabbed my attention with the fact that it has AntiShake built in and the backwards lens compatibility. I've seen sample pictures from both and both look great. On my S2, my IS comes in handy ALL THE TIME, so I think this would make me lean more towards the Pentax.

Any thoughts or input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old Sep 25, 2007, 2:20 PM   #2
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All three cameras are quite good. But there are a few major differences.

As you mentioned, the Pentax dSLRs have AntiShake in the body, while Nikon puts it in the lenses, which makes Nikon's Vibration Reduction (VR)lenses bigger, heavier, and more expensive.

Also, the Nikon D40 doesn't have its own autofocus motor, so it will only autofocus with about 1/3 of Nikon's lenses andabout 1/3 of Sigma's, and won't work with any of Tamron's or Tokina's.

But if you can find what you're looking for in any of the three, I think you'll be happy with it
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Old Sep 25, 2007, 5:05 PM   #3
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If you plan on shooting mostly JPG or shooting a lot of action, I believe the Nikon has more advantages. If you mostly shoot RAW, do a lot of long telephoto shooting, need lenses that aren't available for the D40, or have or can cheaply get used Pentax glass (and don't mind manual focus), I think Pentax has more advantages.

I consider the Nikon D40 to be a more general purpose camera that does most things relatively well with some limitations that are much more a drawback to more professional shooters than to the typical consumer.

The Pentax cameras I consider to be geared more toward the photography student type, particularly those on a budget (though it's not as easy to get good deals on used Pentax lenses now-a-days).

I don't know if the Super is worth the extra money as I haven't seen a direct comparison between it and the original K100D. If it has the improved anti-shake of the K10D I'd think it's worth the extra money, but from what I've read it still has the limited buffer of the K100D which is probably it's biggest weakness (can only hold 3 RAW images or 7 JPGs, and takes 10 seconds to empty).
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Old Sep 25, 2007, 5:19 PM   #4
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As far as the K100 vs. K100 Super question: the biggest advantage of the K100 Super is that it supports SDM - Pentax's new in-lens focus motor that is only available on 2 very new lenses (the DA*50-135 and the DA*16-50). If you want a really quiet focusing lens, and plan to get one of these expensive lenses right away, it might be worth spending the extra money. However, these lenses work fine on the K100 - they have the ability to focus using the in-camera motor so if you are just contemplating them for the future, save your money and get the K100. I have one of these lenses and while it takes outstanding pictures with the K100, it's so nice to use it on the K10 - you can barely hear the lens focus.

The Super adds the dust removal system from the K10, but (my opinion, I have both the K10 and the K100) it isn't worth paying extra for it. I think it is far more important to practice good lens-changing procedures and buy a hand air blower - I've had dust on the K10 that didn't come off with the anti dust mechanism but did come off easily with a few puffs of the rocket air.

Biggest thing is to choose a camera that feels good in your hands. Both the Pentax and the Nikon take excellent pictures.
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Old Sep 25, 2007, 7:19 PM   #5
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Corpsy wrote:
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If you plan on shooting mostly JPG or shooting a lot of action, I believe the Nikon has more advantages. (Emphasis mine. -TCav)
The Pentax dSLRs have an 11 point autofocus system, while the Nikon has only 3 autofocus points. It would seem to me that a Pentax would be better for action shots. If you believe there are other considerations, I'd be pleased if you'd elaborate.
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Old Sep 25, 2007, 7:25 PM   #6
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That was something that I liked about the Pentax. Any of the 11 points can be selected manually as well if I was told. This is something the Nikon cannot do.
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Old Sep 25, 2007, 9:14 PM   #7
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TCav wrote:
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Corpsy wrote:
Quote:
If you plan on shooting mostly JPG or shooting a lot of action, I believe the Nikon has more advantages. (Emphasis mine. -TCav)
The Pentax dSLRs have an 11 point autofocus system, while the Nikon has only 3 autofocus points. It would seem to me that a Pentax would be better for action shots. If you believe there are other considerations, I'd be pleased if you'd elaborate.
I'm not a professional action shooter so I really don't understand how all the focus points work together, but I find that when using area focus the K100D can take a few seconds to focus on a scene. I do best with action when using center focus (of course I shoot most of my action shots with a manual focus lens so I don't have much choice). If those focus points do provide some kind of advantage, I believe they'd be negated by these points:

The K100D, as I mentioned, has a very limited buffer. I double-checked Steve's review to see if my info is accurate, and according to him when shooting continuously the camera will capture 5 JPGs in 1.5 seconds, then each subsequent shot takes 8/10 seconds. It takes 10 seconds for the camera to fully empty it's buffer. As far as I know there is no limit to how many shots the D40 can take continuously at full speed when shooting JPG.

A lot of action shooting is done at high ISO, and the K100D doesn't do any noise reduction. The D40 does decent noise reduction so the JPGs out of the camera will look cleaner than from the K100D.
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Old Sep 25, 2007, 9:18 PM   #8
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Thank you.
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Old Sep 25, 2007, 9:35 PM   #9
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To be honest, the buffer of 5 JPGs really does not bother me as I do not take many action shots at all. So when you say the camera does no noise reduction, does this mean that pictures are going to look granier? Just trying to understand.
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Old Sep 25, 2007, 9:37 PM   #10
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rdb4198 wrote:
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So when you say the camera does no noise reduction, does this mean that pictures are going to look granier?
At higher ISO settings, and depending on the subject, yes.
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