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micro four-thirds or Pentax K-mount, or possibly Sony E-mount

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by burdickjp, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    235
    Feb 25, 2013
    So my wife was a shutter bug from before we got married. She shot Canon stuffs. When I decided it was time to get a camera I knew I wanted to shoot manual lenses. I wanted a camera with IBIS. I found that the Olympus E-P2 was very inexpensive, so I picked it up with a Novoflex M42 adapter, and grabbed some M42 lenses.
    My wife and I thought it'd be a good idea to be on the same system, so she spent a few hundred dollars picking up a Panasonic G5 and a few lenses.

    I'm ready to upgrade from the E-P2. I want something with IBIS and focus peaking. In the micro four-thirds world, that's a $1000 body. There are a few alternatives:
    Pentax k-mount cameras: either the K-01 or an entry-level DSLR.
    wait for the new 5-axis Sonys

    Since we want to share a mount system, I'd like to meet the needs of my wife as well.


    So I'm looking at where we can go next:

    I spend $1000 on a new micro four-thirds body.

    We wait for Sony's E-mount IBIS cameras. She had a Sony cybershot before getting her Canons and enjoyed them. When I worked camera sale in highschool I always thought they had the best menu system. Now that Sony's released the mount specs there seems to be a good future for them. Right now, though, it doesn't look like good lenses are as inexpensive as they are for the Pentax.

    I pick up a K-01 and beat on it for a while. I'm not a big fan of the design, but they're getting very inexpensive very quickly. There's good, inexpensive, sealed DSLRs to make the wife happy. The biggest plus that I see is lens availability. If there's a lens available, it looks like it can be had in K-mount. It would make it easy to outfit the wife inexpensively.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    One thing you could keep an eye open for is discounted E-M5 bodies. There was a Newegg deal today for $699 and Cameta has refurbs for $749. I also think you could score a used copy for less, especially after the new pro OM-D and GX7 are released.

    I think the new Nex, rumored to have IBIS, could be interesting, but I cannot imagine that body is going to be less than $1300.
     
  3. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    The Pentax DSLRs are very nice, but they seem awfully stalled and Pentax's future is an open question. Still, if they've got the lenses you need then there's nothing really to worry about.

    On the Sony front, you're waiting for a rumored body, and rumored lenses that will all be very expensive, all to produce a system that will perform worse. A mount sure, but E mount is a tough sell unless size and live view/video are big requirements.
     
  4. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    235
    Feb 25, 2013
    That sounds like a rather reasonable argument against the Sony, though I think I'd be willing to consider 5-axis stabilization over Pentax's 3-axis. Even considering that, I think Pentax would win the cost-benefit analysis.
    I'm completely unfamiliar with Pentax's ergonomics, though.
    K-01s are cheap(ish) right now. I may have to pick one of those up to play with. Would it be indicative of their DSLR performance, though?
     
  5. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    505
    Jul 2, 2010
    Arizona
    I used Pentax during my hiatus between OM-D's, both a K7 and K5II. I loved many things about the cameras. The K5II (identical ergonomically to the K7 and K5) is a beauty to hold and use. I owned both the 16-50 2.8 and 50-135 2.8. Again, absolutely beautiful lenses.

    Why then did I come back to Olympus? Ultimately size. While the K5II is small by APS standards, its lenses aren't all that small. I was very tempted by the Limited line of lenses, but the 15, 21 aren't all that fast for low light (I kept eyeing the 17 1.8 Olympus - one of my favorite focal lengths and reasonably fast and quite small).

    As for the camera, I found the AWB better on Olympus and while I loved the optical viewfinder of the Pentax, I really missed the flip screen for waist or ground-level shooting. My back doesn't bend the way it used to so the touch screen is a hell of a lot easier than laying on my belly and composing through a viewfinder.

    Pentax is my favorite of the APS cameras, there were just enough things I missed about my OM-D that brought me back.

    I now have the 17 1.8 and 45 1.8 (as well as the 12-50 and 75-300). I'm hoping to trade the two zooms toward a 75 and I'll pick up either a 12 or 14 (like 14 for the cost alone) and have an all prime kit. This would nicely replicate my beloved Leica M6 or Contax G2 kits from film days.

    The biggest weakness with Pentax is the C-AF, much like m43 it isn't all that useable. Single AF seems faster with the OM-D though, but I had no complaints about the Pentax in that regard.
     
  6. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    235
    Feb 25, 2013
    Thank you very much!

    I just had a conversation with my wife about Pentax. I'd mentioned it to her, and we talked about it a little bit, but this was the first sit dawn and hash it out we'd done. In this conversation I realized that for the price of the Olympus E-P5 we could get a K01 AND a K30 and a kit lense.
    Two cameras and a lens for the price of one body.
    The K01 has most all of the features I'm looking for: IBIS and focus peaking. Yes, it's ugly, but I care more about ergonomics than anything. The K30 should fit the wife's needs.

    So: stay with a mature and potentially growing ecosystem, or for the same money switch to a mature but potentially pastured ecosystem.

    Another way to look at it: micro four-thirds probably won't take popular hold. No, that's not its intention, and I'm very happy with it the way it is, but it's obvious the world went a different direction. Do I stay where I'm happy and risk finding myself an army of one, or move in a slightly more popular direction, at the risk of short-term compromise.
    Yet another view: less expensive GOOD lenses: Samyang, Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss all make k-mount lenses.
     
  7. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    505
    Jul 2, 2010
    Arizona
    Pentax is kind of the red-headed stepchild for third party manufacturers. They may or may not bring out the popular lenses for it. And if they do, it usually takes a while. The good news is if you don't mind manual focusing, K-mount lenses are ubiquitous. AF K-mount lenses from film days are also out there.

    For a while, Adorama had a K5 with 18-55 WR and 50-200 WR for $899. There are similar K30 kits around. I almost went with the K5 kit if I could have found it, but the old pro in me keeps wanting fast glass and I knew I'd never really be satisfied with the kit zooms.

    If the size doesn't bother you, Pentax is fantastic. I could never use a K-01, no viewfinder of any sort and I really like a viewfinder. Search for any of the K5 kits I mentioned, the K5 is a better built camera, but the K30 has some advantages as well (and I suspect build quality is also great).

    Whatever you do, if you both have the same system you can share lenses ...
     
  8. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    235
    Feb 25, 2013
    That's the idea. It's meeting both of our wants on the same system, and without breaking the bank doing so, that is the conundrum.

    Now thought, though: most of the lenses I like and use now are M42, which it seems is rather difficult to switch from or to on k-mount cameras, as the adapter stays on the camera, rather than the lens, and is hard to remove. Adapters are relatively easy on u4/3.
     
  9. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Is focus peaking that important to you? I've played around with my friend's K30 and his manual 50 1.7. The focus peaking is only available on the rear screen since obviously it cannot be displayed in the viewfinder. I find that rather useless since I like shooting with the viewfinder, especially with a DSLR. But that might not be the case for you. Other than that, it's a great camera.

    On another note, I'm pretty sure Micro Four Thirds is more popular than Pentax these days.
     
  10. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    235
    Feb 25, 2013
    If I found myself using the K30 much I'd put a manual focus screen in it. Right now, though, I'm looking at the K01 for myself. Reason being is that it has the features I want and is less expensive. If the K30 + manual focus screen were less expensive I'd consider it first.
     
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Burdickjp do you have the VF-2 viewfinder?
     
  12. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    235
    Feb 25, 2013
    No. When using my wife's G5 I don't find myself using the EVF, either.
     
  13. muzee

    muzee Mu-43 Regular

    79
    May 10, 2011
    As someone who went from m43 E-pl2 to Pentax K-01, I'll chime in:

    When my e-pl2 broke (had an accident, lens snapped off - breaking contact on camera), I looked at possible upgrades. Weighed what was important for me:
    - IBIS
    - IQ (however you choose to define that)
    - focus peaking for manual lens
    - availability of inexpensive *good* standard zoom
    - on-board flash
    - relatively inexpensive body (I can only afford so much on photography right now).

    When the k-01 price dropped, I sold off my Panny 20 mm, and used that to fund the kit with the 40mm xs lens. Even though I never had any Pentax lens before, I can't say I've regretted it.

    What I like so far:
    - Handling, yes it feels solid
    - its not ugly! -> everyone who sees the camera loves it.
    - Good pictures; I find it's easier to *massage* the APS-C files than the ones out from the E-pl2
    - Lens: I've added the Tamron F2.8 28-75 zoom (bought it new for less that $500) ... don't think there's any match for that in M43. Also bought two manual (50mm and 28mm).
    - Focus peaking - works great.

    Now I'm out taking pictures instead of pining over newer, better gear! :) See samples with Tammy here: Mammal Portraits
     
  14. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    235
    Feb 25, 2013
    Thank you very much! You may have just swayed the positives for the wife; an inexpensive f/2.8 normal zoom is a deal breaker in any argument!
    For the price of the K-01, I may have to pick it up just on principle.

    Could I ask you what you DON'T like about the Pentax, mount, etc, and what you miss about u4/3.
     
  15. muzee

    muzee Mu-43 Regular

    79
    May 10, 2011
    You're welcome.

    What I miss? Well while it wasn't pocketable, Mu43 setup was smaller and lighter. This is not a big deal for me. I just leave the zoom home and keep the 40mm on if I want to stay *light* with the K-01. BTW - the 40mm XS is a very good lens (at least by my standards).

    What I don't like? The Oly has better flash setup options (like fill-in etc. etc.). While I got by with the Oly menu interface (especially after enabling the SCM), the Pentax menu is just easy to use - can't complaint.

    So, overall don't miss much.
     
  16. burdickjp

    burdickjp Mu-43 Veteran

    235
    Feb 25, 2013
    Sony is announcing the a3000 tomorrow, which is supposed to have IBIS of some kind, and START under $500. Let's hope it has selectable focus peaking colors. If so, Sony's back on the table for my choices:

    Oly PEN EP-5 for me, wife keeps G5

    Pentax K-01 for me, K30 for wife

    Sony a3000 for the both of us
     
  17. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Blimey!
    You're the ideal K-01 customer!

    "How about this lovely shiny EOS-M sir, or this gorgeous Samsung smartphone-style camera?"

    I'm the complete opposite, even my tiny compact Canons have the little OVF windows.

    Thinking : the new Fuji XM-1 has only LCD,
    and that new Samsung thing has a HUGE LCD ...
     
  18. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Why do you feel that the a3000 would be a better choice than the a37?
     
  19. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Dollar for dollar, it's hard to beat the IQ of the K-01. It's pretty darn good with old manual focus K-mount lenses, which can often be found for real cheap at garage sales.

    K30 uses the same sensor, so it's a cracking deal too. Truth told, I have yet to use a M43 sensor that has the IQ and malleability of the Sony 16Mp as implemented in the Pentaxes. I don't have experience with the latest generation M43 though (OM-D, GH3, etc...) so they may have closed the gap. Still, the GH3 DxO puts it on par with the older but still very good Pentax K-x.

    Truth told, the IQ differences will only really show up under low light/high ISO and other challenging lighting scenarios, so I'd likely make a decision based on other factors (key features, price, etc...) than IQ alone.

    I was a K-01 early adopter. If you want to read about my experiences, here you go:

    What Blog is This?: Pentax K01 Compendium