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Customer Discussions > photography discussion forum

Suggestions needed DSLR on a budget of ~£800 (Pentax vs Nikon vs Canon)

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Showing 1-25 of 57 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Apr 2013 10:43:02 BDT
I am looking for a decent semi-pro camera. I found the Pentax range has some amount of weather resistance built in for the budget that I am on. Some basic research [] suggests the camera is comparable in features and performance to Canon and Nikon cameras of equal / similar price.
Pentax K-5 II DSLR Camera with 18 to 55mm WR Lens Kit
The question I have is:
Should I get the Pentax K 5 II or should I look around for a more popular brand? If not this camera, which ones would you suggest?
Please note, this is my first DSLR (have a fujifilm bridge which I love very much).
Apologies for the wall of text.

Posted on 30 Apr 2013 11:29:59 BDT
Graham H says:
Stand back, and let the fanboy wars commence! ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2013 14:05:08 BDT
Ouch! that is something I am keen to avoid. :)

Posted on 30 Apr 2013 16:15:20 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Mr. Ramesh,

With that sort of budget, the answer surely is for you to actually get the model you may be interested in actually in your hands and compare it with similarly spec'd models from the other manufacturers. And of course, you could also consider Sony. Now here's something for the anti-brigades to get their teeth into! But to be serious for a minute, if weather proofing is important to you, the first thing is to compare prices based on this single criterium.

The fanboys will surely have a go at me for saying the following: if truth be told, I bet none could say which image had been taken with which camera at that price point, and all using an APS-C sized sensor, be it Canon, Nikon, Pentax et all. I'd concentrate more on what features that the body offers and which are important to you.

Posted on 30 Apr 2013 18:33:54 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Apr 2013 18:53:06 BDT
Amazonian says:
Pentax User here, so I highly recommend the Pentax K5ii or the K5iiS. Remember though, if you are looking at weather resistance, you need a WR lens. Most DSLRS otherwise can withstand MINOR splashes of rain. Even the K30 is a very good camera (compared to it's competitors it's class, it's better specced. Unless of course a flexible screen is a must for you)

T.J.Byford is right, the limiting factor will be you, not the camera. Try a few models (I know Pentax are not stocked by many retailers) and go with one that feels natural in your hand. I speak from experience. I switched from Nikon to Pentax, but had nothing to do with "better" pictures, but enjoying the feel and handling of the camera.

Oh the K30 + 18-135WR can be had for less tha 700. google, bristol, cameras comes to mind

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Apr 2013 18:53:59 BDT
Merlin says:
I was in your position very recently and also found the DP Review site extremely helpful. What really helped me make up my mind was not just the camera but the follow on costs of the lenses I would eventually buy. This was particularly important as I may well grow out of the Camera Body and would not want to replace a suite of lenses as well.

Even though you may only want the initial Kit lens/ses have a look at what other lenses for that camera will cost you. The Nikon and Canon family have a wide range of Used lenses available of many different mount types. The Pentax family all use the K Mount but there aren't so many second hand lenses available. There are a wider range of Nikon and Canon lenses, some (more expensive) with image stabilisation built in. The Pentax lens range is more limited but the image stabilisation is built into the camera making the lens family a little less expensive.

Image Quality, Low light performance, lower life cycle cost, not bothered what other people are buying. Go for the Pentax and grin when you see others spending so much.

Posted on 30 Apr 2013 22:00:28 BDT
G Coyle says:
i was in your position not long ago , i opted for the nikon d5200, very nice camera. but if you need to go out in all weather go for a k30

Posted on 30 Apr 2013 23:32:37 BDT
Graham H says:
Nothing wrong with thinking outside the box in the least.

I've got Nikon for my SLR/DSLR cameras, but I'm rapidly going off the SLR format because of the bulk, weight and intrusive noise. The digital I use most now is my Fujifilm X10, and by a long way.
If I was in a position to buy a better Nikon DSLR... I'd be buying a Fujifilm X100 instead.

Posted on 1 May 2013 08:57:30 BDT
Lumpster says:
Hi, I have a Canon EOS 60d and continue to delighted with it - the price has dropped significantly and I think it is an absolute bargain. Try to get the best prices on all photography gear.

Posted on 1 May 2013 12:34:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 May 2013 14:22:22 BDT
Zelazowa says:
I would think very carefully before spending much more than £300 on any camera. Ten years ago I bought a Fujifilm Finepix A201 [2mp!!!]... I still have it and it's my camera of choice for trips to London and the like. It's a fixed focus lens and capable of some great shots. It's lightweight and fits in your jacket pocket no problem! As Mr Hearn points out, factors like bulk, weight and noise are important. Fuji make some great cameras and the X10 is right up there... looks like a lovely vintage camera.

Totally agree with TJB on the blind tasting. You really have to try them and see which suits though they're all going to be pretty decent I guess.

Posted on 2 May 2013 00:56:14 BDT
prettyinpink says:
Second-hand all the way and save a packet. After erhaps twelve months you will better understand what you want/need.

Posted on 4 May 2013 23:24:12 BDT
Thank you for all the feedback! I had a look at the camera at Jessops in London and decided to order a K-5 II with a kit lens from them. Should hope to get it by Wednesday / Thursday :-)
Now the wait. :-)

Posted on 4 May 2013 23:27:03 BDT
Graham H says:
Great! Do let us know how you get on with it, won't you?

Posted on 4 May 2013 23:36:34 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Good to see that you're doing your bit to keep the High Street camera shops going!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 May 2013 23:39:00 BDT
Of course I will. Hope I do justice to this..

Posted on 4 May 2013 23:40:00 BDT
there was the human interaction.

Posted on 5 May 2013 21:50:44 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2013 14:55:35 BDT
Zelazowa says:
Pentax... one of the great names in Japanese cameras. I have recently bought an Asahi Pentax Spotmatic which is probably the exact opposite to your purchase Mr Ramesh! I'd never owned one of these highly rated manual SLRs and it's a lovely camera.

I understand that 'Pentax' was originally a Zeiss brand but after the war [sorry to mention it], Germany lost its patents and the Asahi Optical Co took the name. Just a little bit of googled history there! It's interesting to find out a little about the history of your camera brand.

Their present DSLR range is apparently manufactured in the Phillipines and now owned by Hoya.[edit: were owned by Hoya but now apparently owned by Ricoh... thanks for the update TJ!]

It's nice that you let the forum know what camera you decided upon and your first impressions would be a good update.

Posted on 7 May 2013 02:01:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2013 02:02:04 BDT
Graham H says:
I for one would be interested to know. There's any amount of Nikon and Canon knowledge on here, but very little of people's experiences of Pentax. Maybe Mr Ramesh can help redress the balance, eh? :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 10:04:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2013 10:10:02 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Hi, Z.

Things have move on a little, and Pentax is now within the Ricoh/Pentax Imaging group. Ricoh bought the Pentax Imaging Division from Hoya in late 2011.

It's fascinating, now, seeing what has happened to the major camera manufacturers since the onslaught of digital imaging. Of the "big" 5 Japanese companies in the days when film reigned, Pentax, Canon, Nikon, Minolta and Olympus only Canon and Nikon really emerged virtually unscathed in the transition to digital. True to its camera lines philosophy, Olympus went down the dead end 4/3rds route for physically smaller lenses but the early bodies were still the same size as APS-C kitted bodies. I understand they only produced 3 professional orientated bodies during the lifespan of this format, the E1, E3, and E5. Just look at how many Canon and Nikon have launched. The great brand Minolta lives on, but only in the guise of being Sony, and Pentax initially had a flirt with Samsung and in my opinion this hurt its image. Now a tie-up with Ricoh makes far more sense to me. Ricoh does have a history of camera manufacturing, slr, tlr, compact rangefinders, and a few great little compacts, of which the original GR of 1996 is probably the best known, despite later variants, including one with a 21mm w/a lens. The GR series survives to this day as a digital model.

I still have my GR which I purchased when it was launched. It is a fascinating little camera being made of magnesium alloy, it sports a super sharp f2.8/28mm AF lens, auto film advance and rewind, P and A modes that readily come to hand via a dial right where one's thumb rests, and with exp compensation on a second dial at extreme left where one would usually expect to see a rewind lever, of which there isn't one. The few variable functions it has are set via a small lcd on the top plate. Unusually, when a film is loaded the whole film is first wound out of the cassette then as each exposure is taken it is wound back in. Thus, if the back is accidentally opened, no shot frames are lost.

From past reviews I've read, Pentax dslr's have had very good sensors, so I think the future for the brand within Ricoh could be very interesting.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 10:12:55 BDT
Thank you for this information. I thought Pentax was owned by Ricoh. My experience with photography has been with a fujifilm bridge camera and the old point and shoot film cameras.

Posted on 7 May 2013 10:22:38 BDT
Jessops have the camera on backorder at the moment. They said they should be getting some stock in by today. Hope I get my camera and lens by this week. Should be a fun "unboxing" :)

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 11:06:27 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Ah, all new toys are fun un-boxing! And the good news is, afterwards, you are very unlikely to be disappointed.

The Pentax is a far superior camera to the Fuji bridge camera you are used to, and initially you could find yourself wondering why its images may not, at first, seem to be that much better. Make no mistake, the images the Pentax is capable of producing will be superior, but if you are used to the wide depth of field small-sensor cameras such as the Fuji provide, you may get caught out by the shallower depth of field from the Pentax lenses that have true focal lengths greater than the Fuji. This shallower depth of field over the whole image frame can mislead you into thinking it is less sharp as subject matter that will appear sharp in the Fuji image, will be rendered out of focus due to a shallower depth of field.

Just ensure that any tests for image sharpness you look at the point of focus. Depth of field when you move up to APS-C sensors is much less than with the very small sensors used on bridge cameras. And as you said in your first post, this is your first dslr. It will require some thought on your part to get the best out of it, and you will need to re-think some of your approaches to taking images. But it will reward you in the end.

Posted on 7 May 2013 15:17:41 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2013 15:20:15 BDT
Zelazowa says:
Thanks for the update on who 'owns' the Pentax brand, TJ. I've edited my post to say that Ricoh bought it from Hoya. Can we safely say that Nikon is 'owned' by er..... Nikon !!!....... Mitsubishi?
Apparently the company is the Asahi Optical Co and they decided to use the name Pentax after the success of one of their earlier cameras [Penta(x) / Penta prism is the link]

The Spotmatic I've just bought has on it... AOCo... Asahi Pentax... Spotmatic. It's an M42 mount. I bought it as my Zenit E has started to play up a little and I still enjoy using the Helios 58mm lens... a stunningly good prime.

Don't forget, Mr Ramesh, please let us know how you get on with your Pentax.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 15:35:56 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Hello, Z.

I feel we can safely say Nikon doesn't own Nikon. It's owned by its shareholders. LOL, Just being pedantic. :-)

Getting back to Pentax. In the days when cameras were cameras, that is they used film, Asahi had some quite innovative cameras. I believe they introduced the world's first instant return mirror in a fixed pentaprism camera, and their range of Spotmatics pre-dated Nikon, I think, who's first TTL metering camera was the F with the Photomic head. (Hopefully, Nikon aficionados will correct if I'm wrong.) And their Takumar lenses were rightly praised.

Posted on 7 May 2013 18:02:01 BDT
Graham H says:
Whenever I see someone wielding a black camera with "PENTAX" on the prism housing I've always though "Now there's a guy who knows his own mind and doesn't run with the herd"
I have no experience of their digital kit, but nothing but the highest respect for their film products.
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Initial post:  30 Apr 2013
Latest post:  17 May 2013

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