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ravenmore 12-25-08 08:30 AM

Pentax K20d
 
Another thread for photo buffs.

Backstory - I was laid off from my IT job. I've pretty decided I hate working in IT and have no motivation to go back to it. My degree is in photography, and I worked as a professional photographer and photo assistant for a couple of years after college before getting into IT. I'm thinking of going back to photography. I have already done a job at my old half day rate, and have an idea for a niche market. The rub is I currently have no gear, lol. I sold my Nikon D80 because I was unhappy with the high ISO performance. Before I could make the switch I was laid off. Perfect timing.

So, I've been looking at cameras again. I was going to go with the Canon D50, put the Pentax K20 keeps grabbing my attention. Why? It's less expensive, sealed against water/dust/moisture, has image stabilization built into the body (so you have image stabilization with all lenses - unlike Canon/Nikon), is 14 megapixel, and has more flexible bracketing settings (nice for what I plan on doing).

Thoughts, tips, experiences, or suggestions?

lodi781 12-25-08 09:04 AM

Raven,
I use a k10d. Love it for the same reason you mentioned above. The 20d uses the same sensor as the 10d, so you may want to wait for the 30d to come out( could be a while). Pentax is also slow on getting there lenses out, but when they do, they rock. Pentax was just bought by Hoya, so there in a transitional stage, but should be for the better. Low light performance is good with the k10d, I never go over iso800 with it though, but I here Nikon has the best low light sensors, i wouldn't know , I never shot with nikon.

I love my camera, but as a pro, you'll need to use after market lenses until pentax gets there whole line out, oh, and no pro DSLR as of yet...Hope this helps

ravenmore 12-25-08 09:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lodi781 (Post 8075540)
Raven,
I use a k10d. Love it for the same reason you mentioned above. The 20d uses the same sensor as the 10d, so you may want to wait for the 30d to come out( could be a while). Pentax is also slow on getting there lenses out, but when they do, they rock. Pentax was just bought by Hoya, so there in a transitional stage, but should be for the better. Low light performance is good with the k10d, I never go over iso800 with it though, but I here Nikon has the best low light sensors, i wouldn't know , I never shot with nikon.

I love my camera, but as a pro, you'll need to use after market lenses until pentax gets there whole line out, oh, and no pro DSLR as of yet...Hope this helps

Thanks Lodi. So it's been holding up well for you and you're pretty happy with it? Any sample pics? :)

Actually I do think the k20 uses a different sensor - when I was reading reviews I seem to recall some blurb about them going to a different brand sensor from the k10 - I think it may have been on dpreview.com. I'd have to go back and look. When I first started shooting my first two cameras were Pentax. Pentax lenses are way underrated IMO. They have some beautiful glass. Another plus is I can use all the old manual lenses with the k20 - including the screw mount stuff with an adapter. Great thing is I'll have image stabilization even with those lenses, unlike Canon or Nikon. The lens I'd likely start with though is this one. Its had some good reviews. I'd likely get that and a 50mm 1.8 (cheap, fast, and sharp - should be a staple in everyone's bag). I think initially instead of having two bodies (you really need a backup - it uber sucks when you don't and you need it. Have learned that lesson the hard way) I'll go with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3. That's an incredible little compact camera. Fully manual controls, a hot shoe, and a f2.0 - 2.8 optically stabilized lens. The samples on dpreview were stunning. I think it did better at ISO 1600 than my Nikon D80 did.

lodi781 12-25-08 11:30 AM

here's some shots.....
P-da100mm macro
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...candjess12.jpg
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...781/drive4.jpg
pentax 10-17 fisheye
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...sealharbor.jpg

penatx 12-24 wide with a polarizer
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...ine/shore2.jpg
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...8/parade12.jpg
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...08/parade6.jpg

x136 12-25-08 11:32 AM

The Canon x0D cameras are excellent, of course, but the Pentax line of SLRs sounds pretty nice, as well. The fact that you could use a 30-year-old lens (Pentax has been using the same-ish mount since they moved up from screw-mount lenses in the mid 70s, and even older screw-mount lenses can be used with an adapter) with image stabilization is pretty cool.

Check out the reviews and comparisons on Digital Photography Review, Digital Camera Resource Page, and Ken Rockwell, if you haven't.

lodi781 12-25-08 11:36 AM

Fisheye
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...1/PPG/op22.jpg
Kit 18-55
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...G/IMGP0901.jpg
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8.../kentfalls.jpg
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...G/IMGP0908.jpg


Yes, I am very happy with it. The weather sealing is great, nice, solid body, has the feel of a pro body, not a toy like the xti and xts. Very happy with the glass, just wish there was more to choose from, but i'm willing to stay with pentax and deal with the slow R&D because of the quality and price. I'm no pro, but I do want to get there, and I feel confident in pentaxes equipment....

ravenmore 12-25-08 11:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lodi781 (Post 8076018)
Fisheye
http://i54.photobucket.com/albums/g8...1/PPG/op22.jpg
I'm no pro, but I do want to get there, and I feel confident in pentaxes equipment....

Some of the most successful pro's I worked for business wise were very mediocre photographers (I hate to say that because the couple in particular I'm thinking about were very nice people. They were competent and consistant however). Your work is already every bit as good or better quality wise IMO. They just had an incredible knack for business. On the flip side, one of the best photographers I ever met was a complete train wreck of a human being and someone I wouldn't trust any farther than I could throw him, but he could take a $100 POS camera off of the used camera shelf and make it absolutely f'ing sing.

Being a pro isn't about talent, its just about being able to turn a profit with your camera. If you wanted you could definitely start shooting weddings and portraits in your spare time. Some of your samples had an editorial feel (particularly thinking of the fire trucks). You could also see if the local paper might throw some stuff your way. :)

lodi781 12-25-08 12:01 PM

Wow, thanks raven! Seriously. It feels good to be complemented by someone at your level. I Might try the paper thing. Should I just make a hard copy portfolio to bring them??

MrCrassic 12-25-08 01:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ravenmore (Post 8076080)
Some of the most successful pro's I worked for business wise were very mediocre photographers (I hate to say that because the couple in particular I'm thinking about were very nice people. They were competent and consistant however). Your work is already every bit as good or better quality wise IMO. They just had an incredible knack for business. On the flip side, one of the best photographers I ever met was a complete train wreck of a human being and someone I wouldn't trust any farther than I could throw him, but he could take a $100 POS camera off of the used camera shelf and make it absolutely f'ing sing.

Being a pro isn't about talent, its just about being able to turn a profit with your camera. If you wanted you could definitely start shooting weddings and portraits in your spare time. Some of your samples had an editorial feel (particularly thinking of the fire trucks). You could also see if the local paper might throw some stuff your way. :)

Just like most professions out there. The best in the business aren't usually the best in the field, and the best in the field are hardly the best in the business...

I think great photography is all about having "the eye" and making a moment truly memorable. I really don't think that this is something that can be "taught," but like cycling, you can practice and practice to get something close to it...

ravenmore 12-25-08 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lodi781 (Post 8076094)
Wow, thanks raven! Seriously. It feels good to be complemented by someone at your level. I Might try the paper thing. Should I just make a hard copy portfolio to bring them??

This is where I think things are way different now than from when I was in it earlier. Before, I had a very nice black case that had a very nice black clamshell box inside it. Inside of that I had 15 or so prints of what I thought was the appropriate pics for the job framed in black mats. Now in the digital age I'm sure there are a lot of electronic portfolio viewings. I'm still getting up to speed on that. I know a good website is critical. Look at other photographer's websites and go from there. :)

BikeWNC 12-25-08 04:10 PM

If you're looking for high ISO performance, it would be hard to beat the Nikon D700 or the Canon 5D mkll. The Canon 50D is not as good for high ISO (too many pixels on a smaller sensor) and suffers from diffraction starting at F7.1. The Canon 5D can be bought cheap used right now. Find one with light use and it's a steal.

AnthonyG 12-25-08 04:28 PM

I have a Pentax K10D. I like it a lot and together with the Pentax 16-45 f4 lens it takes great shots. I sold my Nikon film gear which I was using professionally to buy it and I'm happy with the Pentax for what I do now.

I'm not doing professional work now but if I did do it again I would have one reservation about the Pentax which I would have to look into more. I think the K10D only produces its best results when shooting in raw capture and post processing through Adobe Camera Raw or similar. If I was doing commercial or portraiture work where I didn't have to process a lot of images its fine but I'm not sure what I would think about having to process a weddings worth of raw images. Now Adobe does now have other software, I think its called Aperture for doing this but I don't own it at the moment (only Photoshop CS) and I would certainly be looking hard at the processing implications before deciding. The Nikons and Canons DO produce nicer jpeg's straight out of the camera which can be time saving.

Anthony

Ed in GA 12-25-08 07:02 PM

Small world. I was just laid-off as well. Im my case, however, it will allow me more time to pursue my photography hobby for which I use the Pentax K20D. If you plan to do a lot of low light, high ISO photography, the K20D may not be for you as it is lacking in this area and it does not focus as quickly as some of the others.

Now, having said that. It you want one of the very best APS-C sensors and a camera that is compatible with more than 5000 different lens dating back to the screw mount days, the K20D will be the ticket.

It offers the most bang for the buck of any current DSLR.

I wouldn't take for mine.

Ed

ravenmore 12-25-08 07:09 PM

One thing I've noticed with dslr's is that the lens very much affects performance when focusing in low light. Lenses with larger aperatures tend to help.

Ed in GA 12-25-08 07:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ravenmore (Post 8077283)
One thing I've noticed with dslr's is that the lens very much affects performance when focusing in low light. Lenses with larger aperatures tend to help.


I use an FA 35 f/2 and a FA 50 f/1.4 as my two fastest lens and, you are correct, both focus more quickly than some of the slower lens that I have.

carbonlife 12-25-08 07:52 PM

If you would consider the Nikon system, I can send you my old Nikon D1H and SB-80 flash. Hard core body but the lack of pixels make it not worth much so it's not worth selling.

http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f1...0671_small.jpg http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f1...0674_small.jpg

Pros:
Fast shutter response
5 frames/sec
True pro body. You can hammer nails or beat off an attacker.

Cons:
Only 2.74 MP. It will make rockin' 8x12" prints, but people laugh at that number.
1st gen flash system not as good as Nikon film flash or 2nd gen iTTL flash system.
Batteries are large and only take 250-400 pics/charge. Probably needs new batteries.
High-ISO noise not great. I'll have to dig up a high-ISO sample.

JPG samples straight from the camera:

http://tinyurl.com/7rgkn3 (300mm f2.8 + 1.4x tc)
http://tinyurl.com/6vaom3 (70-200 f2.8)

(Apparently the server doesn't like the TinyURL re-direct. If you get an error message, re-enter the URL you see appear in the browser address line).

AnthonyG 12-25-08 08:38 PM

Here's some shots from my K10D + 16-45 f4,

http://www.anthonyglynn.com/photography/IMGP0450.jpg

This is reduced in size of course and on the original its SOO sharp you can read the writing on the headlight globe!

http://www.anthonyglynn.com/photography/IMGP0312.jpg

This is a low light shot using about 1/6 sec shutter speed and inbuilt vibration reduction. Sharp enough.

Anthony

goldfishin 12-25-08 08:48 PM

have they fixed the manufacturing issues with the pentax lenses? honestly, if you're not going for speed and can have someone else process the film, i'd go with a zeiss ikon. i know it's film and i know it's a range finder. but the great thing is that rangefinders are small and that film captures plenty of detail where a sensor won't (as in the case of a rather detailed 6 foot square painting i made. it's just no where near as good as it is in real life after being captured by that 6 mp sensor).

Nightshade 12-26-08 10:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ravenmore (Post 8075446)
Another thread for photo buffs.

Backstory - I was laid off from my IT job. I've pretty decided I hate working in IT and have no motivation to go back to it. My degree is in photography, and I worked as a professional photographer and photo assistant for a couple of years after college before getting into IT. I'm thinking of going back to photography. I have already done a job at my old half day rate, and have an idea for a niche market. The rub is I currently have no gear, lol. I sold my Nikon D80 because I was unhappy with the high ISO performance. Before I could make the switch I was laid off. Perfect timing.

So, I've been looking at cameras again. I was going to go with the Canon D50, put the Pentax K20 keeps grabbing my attention. Why? It's less expensive, sealed against water/dust/moisture, has image stabilization built into the body (so you have image stabilization with all lenses - unlike Canon/Nikon), is 14 megapixel, and has more flexible bracketing settings (nice for what I plan on doing).

Thoughts, tips, experiences, or suggestions?

If it's a Pentax SLR then it can use ANY Pentax "K" mount lens ever made. If you find an
old screw mount Pentax lens then there is even a "K" mount adapter for them too!!

So IMO the Pentax line has the best range of lens and other equipment on the market due to
the fact that there are 50 yrs worth of lens & stuff that will work with any Pentax SLR ever made!

I should know....I've used Pentax since 1964. Killed a few bodies but the lens just keep on truckin':thumb:

dewaday 12-26-08 10:34 AM

Something to seriously consider if your a working pro is availability of rental equipment in your chosen camera line. To use as back up in case of failure, or for that oddball lens you need for a particular job. If your shooting job requires travel at all this would have to be an even bigger consideration. Not many rental options for Pentax gear outside of major cities. With Nikon or Canon you almost always have access to emergency replacement.

ravenmore 12-26-08 04:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carbonlife (Post 8077399)
If you would consider the Nikon system, I can send you my old Nikon D1H and SB-80 flash. Hard core body but the lack of pixels make it not worth much so it's not worth selling.

http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f1...0671_small.jpg http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f1...0674_small.jpg

Pros:
Fast shutter response
5 frames/sec
True pro body. You can hammer nails or beat off an attacker.

Cons:
Only 2.74 MP. It will make rockin' 8x12" prints, but people laugh at that number.
1st gen flash system not as good as Nikon film flash or 2nd gen iTTL flash system.
Batteries are large and only take 250-400 pics/charge. Probably needs new batteries.
High-ISO noise not great. I'll have to dig up a high-ISO sample.

JPG samples straight from the camera:

http://tinyurl.com/7rgkn3 (300mm f2.8 + 1.4x tc)
http://tinyurl.com/6vaom3 (70-200 f2.8)

(Apparently the server doesn't like the TinyURL re-direct. If you get an error message, re-enter the URL you see appear in the browser address line).

Wow, really? PM me if you're serious. :)

ravenmore 12-26-08 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goldfishin (Post 8077556)
have they fixed the manufacturing issues with the pentax lenses? honestly, if you're not going for speed and can have someone else process the film, i'd go with a zeiss ikon. i know it's film and i know it's a range finder. but the great thing is that rangefinders are small and that film captures plenty of detail where a sensor won't (as in the case of a rather detailed 6 foot square painting i made. it's just no where near as good as it is in real life after being captured by that 6 mp sensor).

Well the K20 is 14 megapixel - it's getting pretty close to film quality. For me also the benefits of being able to immediately see the results and not having the cost and hassle of film outways the diminishing difference in quality. That's just me - I've seen other people who prefer to work in film still and do a fantastic job at it.

x136 12-26-08 05:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carbonlife (Post 8077399)
If you would consider the Nikon system, I can send you my old Nikon D1H and SB-80 flash. Hard core body but the lack of pixels make it not worth much so it's not worth selling.

Wow, very cool. Both the camera, and the offer.

In reading up on that particular model, I kind of want one, now. :)

Also interesting is that, apparently after the D1, Nikon split the line into the D1X and D1H. While the D1X got the "moar pixels!" treatment, the D1H was actually the same resolution as the D1, but was optimized for faster photography. That's something that wouldn't happen these days, it seems. It's all about cramming as many megapixels into the smallest possible sensor. For example, the Canon G-series are supposedly extremely excellent cameras, except for the low-light noise from using a tiny, yet 14-ish megapixel sensor. Sigh.

Ed in GA 12-26-08 06:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ravenmore (Post 8080372)
Well the K20 is 14 megapixel - it's getting pretty close to film quality. For me also the benefits of being able to immediately see the results and not having the cost and hassle of film outways the diminishing difference in quality. That's just me - I've seen other people who prefer to work in film still and do a fantastic job at it.


Well, with whatever Camera you choose, don't forget that, like in film, the camera and lens are only half of the equation.

With digital photography, you'll want to shoot in raw mode and you'll need a good post processing program. The converstion software that comes with the K20D is among the best converters available. However, it is at best, a difficult program to use and the manual is of little help as it is written in the most ambigous manner.

If you inted to shoot professionally, you'll want to pick up the latest iteration of Adobe Photoshop (not elements) with which to do your photo processing and make sure that you have a good monitor and keep it calibrated. I found the hard way that an uncalibrated monitor can be a bad thing.

Again, I highly recommend the K20D as long as you can live within its limitations. I think you can find them online now for around $799, or less, with the 18-55 kit lens. Pentax does have some very good glass available. the DA* 16-50 had its problems when initially released but most later ones have no problems.

If you'd like to exchange information about the Pentax gear off the forum, feel free to PM me.

Ed

lodi781 12-26-08 06:30 PM

Raven...check out pentaxforums.com...lot's of info...side note, i post under the same name there....


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