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Old Jan 2, 2009, 12:48 PM   #1
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I am moving from my olympus c-8080 and want a dslr. I have narrowed it down to 2 cameras. Any user help would be well appreciated. They both look great on paper. Thanks for any feed back
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 1:06 PM   #2
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The Pentax has a 14MP image sensor, while the Canon's is12MP.

The Pentax has sensor shift image stabilization, so any lenses, including 20+ year old used lenses, will be stabilized. Canon relies on optical image stabilization in some of it's lenses, which makes them bigger, heavier, and more expensive, and there are almost no stabilized lenses on the used market.

The Canon has a better autofocus system for sports/action /wildlife.

The Canon costs about 1/3 less.

What's important to you?
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 3:40 PM   #3
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The Pentax K20 offers weather sealing, while the Canon does not. TCav indicated, it also offers in-camera stabilization while you'd have to get stabilized lenses for the Canon.

One of the things that I use all the time and would hate to be without is the top monitor - the Canon doesn't have one.

The Canon is smaller and lighter than the K20 - that will be an advantage to some but disadvantage to others (I found the grip to be a bit cramped on the Canon, even for my smallish hands. But then, I own a K20 and am very comfortable with it).

The Canon offers scene modes while the K20 does not. I learned photography on a manual SLR so have never used scene modes but some people like them.

The highest ISO on the Canon is 1600, the K20 offers ISO 3200 (useable) and ISO 6400 (not useable unless a little overexposed or significantly reduced in size). This opinion based solely on my own K20.

The Canon has a pentamirror viewfinder while the Pentax has a pentaprism. The pentaprism is supposed to be better, but I thought the Canon's viewfinder was big enough and bright enough to not bother me. There are differences in magnification with the viewfinders (Canon .87x, Pentax .95x) but I thought that either one was useable. Since there are differences, make sure you check out both cameras and see if one suits you better than the other. After all, you'll spend a lot of time looking through the viewfinder - others may scoff, but I think it's a very important component.

The Canon can use any EOS lenses, but not the earlier manual Canon lenses. Pentax can use any Pentax lens ever made, though screw-mount lenses require an adaptor, and lenses will retain whatever capability they had new (i.e., a manual lens doesn't suddenly become auto focus/auto exposure). They don't lose capability - older auto exposure/manual focus lenses will work exactly the same way they did on a film camera. That can save you some money if you don't mind manual focus and buying used lenses. I'm still happily using a couple of lenses that are well over 25 years old, and that 50mm 1.4 lens is even stabilized.

This isn't an exhaustive list of differences, just some things that came to my mind. I shoot Pentax and have been completely satisfied with my K20, wouldn't change platforms. Right now it's such a good buy for a pretty advanced camera (there are pros that use this in a couple of different fields).
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 5:13 PM   #4
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Butcher,

What types of shots do you take?

Perhaps look at preferences in lenses. Does Pentax or Canon make any specific lens your interested in?

If you think about the type of photography you'd like to do, and the lenses you'd like to use, your selection may become more obvious.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 8:25 PM   #5
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Mostly I use macro, I like to follow insects and shoot a lot of flowers. I am becoming more interested in people and landscape. I like to be able to print at least 11x14 and wanted to go larger. I wil crop and blow up. I would most likely use the 18/55 and a macro. I was almost sold on the canon but saw that the k20d had dropped so much in price I tought It might be worth the extra bucks.
thanks
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 8:47 PM   #6
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Times are tough! I would save the bucks and go for the Canon XS.

Sarah Joyce
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 9:21 PM   #7
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The C8080 you have now creates images with a resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. The Canon XSi only does 30% better at 4272 x 2848, and the Pentax K20D only does 43% better at 4672 x 3104. Without cropping, your C8080 can give you 306 dpi on an 8 x 10 which is good. The Canon will only give you 259 dpi and eventhe Pentax will only give you 282 dpi on an 11 x 14. Don't get your hopes up. Without a doubt, a dSLR will give you more creative options and technical capabilities, but 11 x 14 might be tough.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 10:25 PM   #8
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With macro the AF advantage of the Canon becomes much less important. I find that AF can work against you sometimes when you start doing 1:1 macros - your depth of field becomes really small. I ended up selling my AF macro lens in favor of a (better) manual focus macro lens. And the pentaprism viewfinder might provide an advantage (though as I said earlier, I'm not sure it would make much difference, and there's always third market split screens you can buy, I assume the Canon has the ability to change the focus screen, like the Pentax does). If possible, try both cameras at a camera store using a macro lens and see if one or the other is easier to focus.

TCav has a very good point about the difference between 12 and 14 mp not being that much. Those pixels sure come in handy if you are cropping though (I've never printed anything larger than 8x10 so can't give you an opinion on printing larger than that). It was a big advantage for me when I went from 3872 x 2592 (the K10) to the 4672 x 3104 of the K20 for cropping, definitely a big plus. I don't think you should rule out the Canon solely on the mp, but if all things are otherwise equal for you, it might be a reason to choose the K20.
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Old Jan 2, 2009, 10:45 PM   #9
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If you want to print 11 x 14 and maintain photo quality (300 DPI), you'd need a minimum 16mp camera.

If you want to go larger. 16 x 20, you'd need a 36mp camera.

There's going to be loss somewhere along the way.

Either of those cams can do an 8 x 10 with some room for cropping.
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Old Jan 3, 2009, 3:16 AM   #10
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mtngal wrote:
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The Canon can use any EOS lenses, but not the earlier manual Canon lenses.* Pentax can use any Pentax lens ever made,
Although this is true, Canon have made over 100 million EF (EOS) lenses since 1987, and Pentax have not made close to that many in their whole history. In my experience 2nd-hand shops have lots of Canon and Nikon lenses for sale, and hardly any Pentax. YMMV.

Canon's biggest advantage is their extensive range of lenses, and that you would be buying into a system with a great deal of scope for future growth and upgrades.

The K20D on the other hand is already top of the Pentax range.

Just choosing between the two cameras I'd certainly go for the K20D, but if you are considering a longer-term view then the Canon may be a better bet.

My recommendation would be the Pentax,it is quite amazing value for money.
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