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Old Mar 11, 2013, 9:24 AM   #1
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Default Better Camera vs Larger System

I'm looking into an entry/mid level DSLR and I'm very torn. Everything I read and see supports the fact that the Pentax K-30 is a better overall camera than the Nikon D5100/D5200 or the Canon T3i/T4i. The only thing missing that I'd really love to have is the articulating screen but I think I can sacrifice that for the increased IQ and better noise control.

My biggest concern is that Pentax worries me as a company and as a "system". Nikon and Canon seem to have all of the third party support. There's so many lenses available at all qualities and price points. Just look at the fast, wide-angle, cheap primes with AF for the Canon. At the same price, I'm looking at vintage primes with manual focus for the Pentax. Pentax seems like it could be a dying system, like the company could be non-existent 5 years from now.

Is this a legitimate concern? Ease my fears a little?
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Old Mar 11, 2013, 11:02 AM   #2
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I'm pretty sure that the Nikon D5200 outscores the Pentax K-30 in all departments in the DxO labs...
Better colour depth,wider dynamic range and better high iso noise performance... not that there's much between them...
So you CAN have the tilting screen AND better IQ...! Never mind a great overall spec and high resolution... and the access to a large "system" of accessories..
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cam...brand3)/Pentax

All said and done however,the K-30 is a nice bit of kit... and weather-sealed... which may or may not be of some benefit to you- as might be the 6fps frame rate...!
There are still plenty of third party accessories available for Pentax cameras- in addition to a whole host of old manual lenses which can still be used on the Pentax KAF2 mount...
With regards primes- Pentax's 50mm f/1.4 is about on a par price wise with Canon's variant- and Sigma offer a nice little 30mm f/1.4 which is less expensive still...

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Old Mar 11, 2013, 11:20 AM   #3
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I'm pretty sure that the Nikon D5200 outscores the Pentax K-30 in all departments in the DxO labs...
Better colour depth,wider dynamic range and better high iso noise performance... not that there's much between them...
So you CAN have the tilting screen AND better IQ...! Never mind a great overall spec and high resolution... and the access to a large "system" of accessories..
http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cam...brand3)/Pentax
I'm not so sure. Looking at the sample scene photos at dpreview (http://www.dpreview.com/previews/nikon-d5200/15) I think the Pentax looks better. There's alot of color noise, even at the lowest iso. Almost like a very mild false color moire throughout the grey tones. I'm not sure where that comes from but it makes the images look much worse when pixel peeking than the K-30. Also, the K-30 has sensor shift so stabilized lenses are less necessary, built-in focus motor (again makes for less expensive lenses), full range viewfinder, pentaprism, faster shutter, and cheaper because it's not brand new. I think overall, the K-30 seems like a better camera.
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Old Mar 11, 2013, 11:58 AM   #4
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The Pentax K-30 uses the same Sony 16MP image sensor as the Nikon D5100.

The objective test results at DxOMark show the K-30, D5100 and D5200 all with almost identical signal-to-noise results. It also shows that the D5100 has better dynamic range at low ISOs while the K-30 is better at high ISOs, though neither is as good as the D5200 throughout its ISO range.
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Old Mar 11, 2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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The Pentax K-30 uses the same Sony 16MP image sensor as the Nikon D5100.

The objective test results at DxOMark show the K-30, D5100 and D5200 all with almost identical signal-to-noise results. It also shows that the D5100 has better dynamic range at low ISOs while the K-30 is better at high ISOs, though neither is as good as the D5200 throughout its ISO range.
Then can you explain the color noise in the sample photos I linked to? Even at low ISO?
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Old Mar 11, 2013, 12:12 PM   #6
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The Pentax does have a pentaprism, which is brighter than pentamirrors like the one used in the Nikon, and it has the benefit of image stabilization in the body, but most OEM and third party lenses for the Nikon Mount have their own AF motors, so that's not as much a factor as it once was.

In addition, you can't really compare pixel-peeping a 24MP image to pixel-peeping a 16MP image. The greater resolution of the 24MP image means that individual pixels are 20% smaller, so errant pixels are less noticable.
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Old Mar 11, 2013, 12:16 PM   #7
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Then can you explain the color noise in the sample photos I linked to? Even at low ISO?
I can't, but I'm inclined to think that the difference (if one exists) isn't very significant, especially when weighed against the increased resolution of the 24MP sensor which, all by itself, has a way of reducing the impact of noise.
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Old Mar 11, 2013, 12:23 PM   #8
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Let me suggest a slightly different tack for you. My preference is always to consider what I want to shoot, find the best lenses for doing it, and get the best camera I can mount those lenses on. Thus, I would say that, by looking at the cameras first, you're looking for a solution to your problem exactly opposite to the way I would recommend.
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Old Mar 11, 2013, 1:13 PM   #9
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I can't, but I'm inclined to think that the difference (if one exists) isn't very significant, especially when weighed against the increased resolution of the 24MP sensor which, all by itself, has a way of reducing the impact of noise.
Unless it was a lens problem, I think it's pretty obvious that it exists from the test photos. Obviously in the full size image it's not extremely obvious, but the fact that it's there is still a bit of a concern. It's like saying that no one needs a 24MP over a 16MP because if the print is smaller, you don't notice that resolution difference. There's also a $200-$300 gap in price.

As far as your subject comment, I plan on shooting landscapes, tourist type stuff, and portraits/family photos of a future, yet-to-be-conceived child. I don't plan on shooting sports, birds (unless an occasional opportunity presents itself but it won't be long-distance birdwatching), or stuff like that. I'll probably stick with a mid-range zoom (18-55), a cheap enough tele-photo (50-200 ish), and some wide to mid angle fast primes in the future.

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I can't, but I'm inclined to think that the difference (if one exists) isn't very significant, especially when weighed against the increased resolution of the 24MP sensor which, all by itself, has a way of reducing the impact of noise.
Notice the warm shading, the color fringing, and the color noise...very strange compared to how clear the Pentax looks.

I guess my responses would make it seem like I'm already sold on the Pentax and asking for opinions is meaningless but to the contrary, as of now I'm leaning that way but I feel like their could be legitimate reasons to go Canikon. 24MP would be great, probably unnecessary but if noise was truly equal to 16MP than bigger is better honestly. If it comes at the cost of additional noise, then not really. Articulating LCD would be great. Easy support/aftermarket purchases...awesome. There's plenty of things to like. But it just seems like from the photo results I've seen, Pentax has it.
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Old Mar 11, 2013, 1:48 PM   #10
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Other than someone hear telling you - you have nothing to fear - Pentax will be around for the next 50 years, I'm not sure what you're after. No one knows the future. Right now, Canon and Nikon dominate the market - and they appear to be the only 2 companies where DSLRs are actually earning a profit. Pentax has been around for a long time but who knows what their current ownership will do?

As for lenses - it seems like you want to stick to inexpensive consumer zooms for your shooting needs. Pentax has those. You're not shooting action, so the Pentax focus tracking (as compared to Canon or Nkon) is not a factor - neither is the lack of super-telephoto lenses that compete with the 2 big players. The flash system seems to be a bit more glitchy in Pentax but that is probably a fairly minor point. So, Pentax current offering should meet your needs - especially since you already believe it offers the best picture quality. But not a single person can predict whether Pentax will be still making DSLRs 5 years from now.
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