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Old Aug 30, 2005, 10:25 PM   #1
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I currently have a Pentax 35 mm camera with a 100-300 F5.6 zoom lens, a 50mm f1.4 lens and the 35-80 zoom that came with the MX-50.

I also have a Nikon 8800 that is a great camera but the shutter lag is driving me crazy, I am doing a lot of action shots like soccer and it's impossible.

From my studying I have learned that the Nikons seem to have the faster auto-focus system in the DSLR's and I would probably want a new lens for what I am trying to do anyway.

Is there enough of an advantage to the Nikon to make it worth it? Or should I go with the Pentax and be able to swap lens's and body's?

What about the D-100 is there any big advantage there?


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Old Aug 30, 2005, 10:37 PM   #2
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D70= much greater burst depth (actual speed is similar) more controls without having to go through menus, more current lenses, more flash choices, slightly better jpeg quality.

*ist ds= better viewfinder, more old (cheaper lenses), easier to carry anywhere, cheaper initial price, I llike the aa battery avaibility, and raw quality is as least as good -some of my shots with my m50 1.7 in raw are amazing.so.....

If cost and size are not an issue at all, go with the d70, if they are the ist ds is a great performer.




ps the autofocus is slightly slow in very low light with my *ist ds, but about as fast as my consumer film slrs from a couple years back (rebel ti) in mid to bright light.
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Old Aug 30, 2005, 10:42 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply!

So when you say burst depth you mean more shots in a row but not any faster?

And in normal light, like a soccer field in daylight autofocus speed should be about the same? I was looking at something that said the pentax autofocus is in the body versus the nikon having it in the lens.


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Old Aug 30, 2005, 10:49 PM   #4
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Edit == I was typing this long winded post at the same time the other posts were being made). So, the following does not take them into consideration:

Well, there are going to be pros and cons to either model (size, weight, cost, features, lens availabilty, etc.).

What are you planning to take photos of, in what conditions, and why do you think your existing lenses are not suitable (I'm not saying they are, I'm just curious how you came to that conclusion)?

You'll want to consider both focal length and lens brightness when shopping for lenses (as well as minor details like size, weight,image quality and cost). ;-)

Also, you need to be aware of differences in how your lenses will behave on a DSLR. Because the sensors used in these models are smaller than 35mm film, the entire image circle projected is not used. As a result, you have a crop factor (a.k.a., focal length multiplier) of 1.5x with the models you're considering.

For example, that 50mm f/1.4 lens would give you a 35mm equivalent focal length of 75mm on a D70 or *ist DS (50mm x 1.5 = 75mm). That 100-500mm would give you the same angle of view that you'd have with a 150-750mm lens on a 35mm camera.

That's great for bringing in distant subjects closer. The wide end is where it can be difficult (your 35-80mm lens would behave more like a 53-120mm lens on these models). So, you'd probably want to invest in something starting out wider as a supplement to what you already have if you go with a Pentax.

As for the D100, it does have a vertical grip available, along with a few more features. Chances are, it's more reliable compared to the D70, too (I don't recall reading any threads about things like BGLOD with this model). Google for it. It's my understanding that newercameras are not impacted though (Nikonapparently corrected the source of the problem during the D70 production run). ;-)

Nikon also has a newer D70s model out now.

The newer D70 (or D70s) is going to be faster, and has a larger buffer for more photos in a row before the camera slows down.Nikon also has a pretty decent flash system. I'd have to look back through the reviews to remember the rest of the differences.

There are some other models you may want to consider, too. In lower priced DSLR models, I'd also look at the Canon EOS-350D/Digital Rebel XT; as well as the new Konica-Minolta Maxxum 5D.

Nikon also has a lower priced model out now (D50), as does Pentax (*st DL, along withnewly announced *ist DS2).

In addition to giving more detail on what conditions you'll use one in more often, you may want to give users an idea of your budget. Of course, lens cost can add up quickly, too (depending on what your needs are).



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Old Aug 30, 2005, 11:07 PM   #5
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Hi Jim,

General photography but some moving sports, I have been shooting a lot of soccer lately. Because of that autofocus speed is pretty important. I am talking on an amateur level though not pro.

I have had decent results with the 100-300. From reading these boards and others I am getting the impression that a zoom lens with a fixed aperture like a 75-200 2.8 is a lot better for that kind of work. A LOT more expensive though.

I guess I would like to keep my pentax lens's but I don't want to kick myself down the road. I feel kind of burned by the 8800 the shutter lag is maddening and I don't want to make that mistake twice.

My budgt for the body is roughly 6-800.

I also have Photoshop CS2 so I can handle raw images


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Old Aug 31, 2005, 12:35 AM   #6
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disalex wrote:
Quote:
General photography but some moving sports, I have been shooting a lot of soccer lately. Because of that autofocus speed is pretty important. I am talking on an amateur level though not pro.

I have had decent results with the 100-300. From reading these boards and others I am getting the impression that a zoom lens with a fixed aperture like a 75-200 2.8 is a lot better for that kind of work. A LOT more expensive though.
Well, in good light during the day, you probably wouldn't need f/2.8 from a shutter speed perspective (you've got higher ISO speeds if you need them). You may not want to lug around a lens this heavy much either. Of course, higher ISO speeds means higher noise levels.

A brighter lens can improve focus speedconsiderably (especially compared to an f/5.6 lens). That's pretty slow (dim) for many uses, and you may get some focus hunting in less than optimum lighting.

How well does it work on your 35mm in the conditions you're shooting in? I'd try it to see if it is acceptable or not (and that should give a rough idea of how it will perform on a model like the *st DS from an AF speed perspective). I'm assuming that it's an f/4.5-5.6 lens (you said f/5.6, but it's probably brighter on theshorter end).

There are some lens survey databases around that may give us an idea of how users perceive it's performance.

If it's the Pentax SMC-FA/F 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6, it's not exactly the highest quality, fastest focusing lens around from what users think of it (but there are worse lenses, and these things are always subjective). It rates as very slow in the AF department, and relatively low optical quality (especially at the longer end) in user opinion databases.

I see these lenses in excellent condtion for under $100 now. You'll probably need to spend at least4 to 5 times that much for a bright (f/2.8 )telephoto zoom in the 70-200mm range (used).

Interestingly, I don't see much in the way of bright zooms in this range for Pentax, looking through some of the dealers selling used equipment (even in 3rd party lenses). So, it looks like they may be harder to come byfor Pentax.

In this focal range (70 or 80 to 200mm), I see no f/2.8 lenses for Pentax in the used department at KEH.com right now (and only 1 at B&H, a Tokina 80-200mm f/2.8 for $479). Of course, availability in their useddepartmentchanges often. I haven't checked Ebay. If you're not shooting at night, you may want to look at lenses with a constant f/4 aperture (losing 1 stop from f/2.8 ), too.

Keep in mind that you'd be starting out at around 150mm with your 100-300 (35mm equivalent focal length). So, that could be too long, depending on how close you are to the action and what you're trying to capture. If you're further away, you may really appreciate the 1.5x crop factor.


Quote:
I guess I would like to keep my pentax lens's but I don't want to kick myself down the road. I feel kind of burned by the 8800 the shutter lag is maddening and I don't want to make that mistake twice.
Yep... I'd consider the system you want to go with carefully. Otherwise, you'll need to start from scratch again later with new lenses. That may not be a bad thing, though. People do it all the time (sell their existing equipement andbuy into a different brand).

No crystal ball here. So, I don't know what the future holds for these manufacturers. You can bet that technology won't be standing still, though.

Quote:
My budgt for the body is roughly 6-800.

I also have Photoshop CS2 so I can handle raw images

If you want to shoot inraw, make sure to consider buffer sizes. Most models won't buffer many photos this way (because the files arevery large). Also look at write times to media (how long it takes to flush the buffer). Steve covers this type of thing in each camera's review conclusion section here.

Also, consider future compatibility if you want to use PSCS2. For example, one thing you may want to consider is that Nikon is now encrypting metadata related towhite balance with some new models (D2HS, D2X, D50). As a result of this encryption, Adobe announced that it would not support the as shot white balance from the D2X (apparently over concerns that if they decrypt it, they could be violating the Digital Millenium Copyright Act).

They don't support the D50 at all yet . But, theyprobably will with future versions of ACR (Adobe Camera Raw), except for the white balance (which impacts color accuracy in different lighting).

Adobe has it's own Auto White Balance algorithms. So, that may suffice for most uses. Some users are pretty upset over Nikon's new policies though (mostly pros that want to set the White Balance to match the lighting, so that they don't have to tweak it later when they convert the files or use Nikon's plugins to do it). Of course, Nikon wants to sell Nikon Capture (it's proprietary software) for this purpose.

The D70 is not impacted (the metadata related to white balance in it's raw files is not encrypted). But, it remains to be seen what will happen with future models. It's only white balance in some models now (but what's next?). Hopefully, user outrage over it will give Nikon some pause over doing anything further to impact users (but I wouldn't count on it since they recently reported record profits). The only reason I can see to encrypt this information is to stifle competition.

Personally, I've decided that I won't be buying any Nikon gear unless they reverse their encryption policy. I probably shouldn't cut off my nose to spite my face. But, this encryption really rubs me the wrong way. I'm probably selling my Nkon 35mm gear soon, too (tobuy stuff for another brand).

I've already started buying some Minolta lenses over the past couple of months, and will probably buy a Konica-Minolta DSLR soon.

For sports use, Nikon does have faster Autofocus compared to the Pentax models (Pentax modelsare relatively slow compared to competing DSLR modelsaccording to most tests I've seen). But, most DSLR models are going to be muchfaster compared to non-DSLR models like your 8800.

Nikon also offers lenses with AF-S (their Silent Wave Motor feature for faster and quieter Autofocus). Sigma has a similiar feature called HSM (Hypersonic Motor). But, this feature is not often available in mounts other than Nikon or Canon. Canon has USM (Ultrasonic Motor). All of these work on the same principal (Nikon's AF-S, Sigma's HSM, Canon's USM).

Again, you may not really need it though (many users get by fine without it, and focus speed can be quite good with some lenses, despite the lack of more sophisticated focus motors in lens bodies).

I'd make sure to try out cameras you are considering in a store (ditto for lenses). You want to make sure you're comfortable with the camera you select (not only from a speed perspective, but from an ergonomics perspective).
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Old Aug 31, 2005, 1:51 AM   #7
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Wow Jim! What a great post. You have covered almost every issue that has been floating through my head as I do my research.

That is exactly the lens in question. I have used it on the 35mm and I do notice a lot of hunting and slow AF. I have certainly missed some shots that way. When it does work the picture quality is fine for what I am doing. I have always believed it is all about the glass and I am sure I will want to move on from that lens. The financial issue is if I go with the Nikon I have to do it right away, with the Pentax I could start with that lens and then wait.

Looking at Steve's conclusions he says this about the Nikon:

Shutter lag, the time delay between depressing the shutter and capturing an image, was less than 1/10 second when pre-focused. Autofocus shutter lag ranged between 2/10 and 4/10 second

the D70s lived-up to Nikon's promise of 3 frames per second, capturing 10 images in 2.9 seconds; subsequent shots were taken at 4/10 second intervals. The D70s' buffer performance is improved from the D70, taking about 3 seconds to flush a full buffer of JPEG Large Fine images to the CF memory card

About the Pentax:

Shutter lag, the delay between depressing the shutter and capturing the image, was 1/10 second when pre-focused, and 3/10 second including autofocus time for a high-contrast subject.

Continuous Shooting mode captured nine shots in three seconds, with subsequent shots at a rate of one every 6/10 second as the camera is processing the contents of the buffer. It required ~7 seconds to write a buffer full of JPEG images to SD card before being ready to capture the next burst

So to my eye those numbers look awfully close, the biggest difference is the time to flush the buffer

In the end I suppose it will come down to budget. I could buy the Pentax and save for a really good lens or go with the Nikon and have to spring for lens's immediately.




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Old Aug 31, 2005, 2:32 AM   #8
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disalex wrote:
Quote:
That is exactly the lens in question. I have used it on the 35mm and I do notice a lot of hunting and slow AF. I have certainly missed some shots that way. When it does work the picture quality is fine for what I am doing. I have always believed it is all about the glass and I am sure I will want to move on from that lens. The financial issue is if I go with the Nikon I have to do it right away, with the Pentax I could start with that lens and then wait.
There are pros and cons to either approach. I've noticed that lenses are in shorter supply in Pentax mount looking through used listings. They tend to be a bit higher priced in Pentax mount, too (especially brighter primes).

However, it sounds like you really only want one lens right now (somthing to handle your soccer games). Since you already have some Pentax lenses, that may be a way to approach it (buy a better lens later when budget permits), provided you are happy with the model otherwise.

On the other hand, you could always buy an inexpensive used lens for another mount, then replace it later when budget permits, too. I'd also check out the lenses graded as "Budget" at KEH.com if you go that route. They tend to be very conservative with their lens ratings (and they are guaranteed to work with a 60 day warranty). So, you may be able to get a cheap "temporary" lens to tide you over.

Quote:

[snip]

So to my eye those numbers look awfully close, the biggest difference is the time to flush the buffer
Autofocus times will vary a lot, depending on the conditions, lens, and subject. So, don't assume that the times you see will be the ones you get. AF can be slower. Of course, there is always Manual Focus if conditions are such that AF is not reliable enough. ;-)

Also, since you mentioned shooting raw, buffer flush times will be much longer. Even with a Sandisk Extreme III SD card, after a burst of 5 raw images, you'll need to wait about 15 seconds before you can take another 5 shot burst with the Pentax.

For most users, JPEG would probably be a better way to go for sports (more images in a burst, faster flush times).

Quote:
In the end I suppose it will come down to budget. I could buy the Pentax and save for a really good lens or go with the Nikon and have to spring for lens's immediately.
Try them out in a store. Also, look at the used lens market and see what lenses are selling for to help make a better long term decision in a system.

Good sources for used lenses are http://www.keh.com , http://www.bhphotovideo.com , http://www.adorama.com and of course, http://www.ebay.com

A good source of lens performance is http://www.photodo.com (make sure to see 3rd party lenses from Sigma, Tamron and Tokina, too). The ratings there are based on MTF tests (which are not subjective) versus user opinions.

However, you want to take user opinions into consideration, too. MTF tests never tell the whole story. You'll want user opinions on things like color, contrast, af speed, ergonomics, build quality, and resistance to flare. Make sure to test drive lenses you consider in a store, too (there can be a big difference between how they work -- zoom mechanism, focus ring/design, etc.).

A good source for user opinions is the Lens Performance Survey database you'll find at http://www.photozone.de (and the Lenses forums here, too). You'll see dedicatedforums for Nikon and Canon lenses here (but many third party lenses are discussed, too).
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Old Aug 31, 2005, 9:02 AM   #9
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I hate having to agree with JimC all the time since I own both Minolta and Pentax 35mm equipment, I like the Pentax equipment more than the Minolta BUT for the type of photography you are doing the KM 5D or 7D are ideal. There is a huge 70-210mm f4 lens which is available everywhere at a decent price, it is not the fastest focusing but it is a constant aperture zoom with enough mass to make hand holding with anti-shake a usable option for sports.

Budget wise the Pentax makes more sense because you already have lenses, but an f5.6 zoom is going to be slow focusing anyway unless the light is very good.At leastyou do not have to contend with quality issues with used lenses.

I am still leaning toward Pentax myself, but I do not photograph any sports so I do not require the advantages of anti-shake as much.

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Old Aug 31, 2005, 9:47 AM   #10
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I was trying not to push the Minolta too much (other than my mentionthat I plan on buying KM DSLR, and suggesting you add the 5D to your list).

But, Ira has a very good point. WithKonica-Minolta's DSLR offering (7D and new 5D), you'd have the benefits of antishake with every lens. This would give you about a 2 stop advantage compared to system withoutstabilization for reducing blur from camera shake (which is magnified as more zoom is used).

It sounds like your budget is going to be cutting it pretty close. But, the new 5D is shipping in the U.S. now at $799 for the body only and $899 for a kit including an 18-70mm f/3-5.5.6 lens.

Some online vendors are selling the body for about $700 now (approximately $100 off), or the kit with lens for about $800, and the used market is full of lenses at bargain prices. I'm not sure how long that's going to last, though (since Konica-Minolta will have an initial production of 50,000 units per month with the 5D, there are going to be a lot of new Konica-Minolta DSLR owners combing the used lens market soon).

That's one of the reasons I started buying Minolta lenses first, even though I haven't bought a Konica-Minolta DSLR body yet (to get my lenses before the "feeding frenzy" starts). :-)

I suspect that's why Pentax lenses seem to be in shorter supply in the used market now. These little Pentax models are such good values that a lot of users have bought them (as well as buying up a lot of the used lens supply).


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