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Pentax K-5 Thoughts from a Micro 4/3 user

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by Amin Sabet, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I use a Pana GH2 with 14/2.5, 20/1.7, and 45/2.8, and I love this kit. AF is brisk, quiet, and reliable with all my lenses. All important camera controls are easily at my fingertips. Sensor image quality is excellent, and more importantly to me, all three lenses are sharp with smooth bokeh and very little color fringing of either in-focus or out-of-focus areas. The kit is also amazingly small and light.

    So why did I buy a Pentax K-5? Just for fun - to try something new and share in the enthusiasm friends are having with this camera at Serious Compacts and GetDPI. A side benefit is that the K-5 and DA70/2.4 give me a bit more shallow DOF and low light ability for portraits, but I was perfectly happy with the Pana Leica 45/2.8 for that application. As an aside, The PL45 is currently my favorite lens for any system, period.

    I do love the Pentax. It looks and feels great, has amazing sensor performance, the sweetest shutter release "thwip", and the DA70 is a winner. That said, I don't find myself wanting any more Pentax lenses at this time. I was initially thinking of making a two lens Pentax kit with the DA21 and DA70, but the samples I've seen from the DA21 have given me pause. It seems to have more color fringing and harsher bokeh rendering than my tiny Pana 14/2.5. Likewise, I find that the Pana 20/1.7 suits me better than any of the Pentax options for a "normal" lens.

    With my lenses, the GH2 phase-detect AF is better than the K-5 contrast-detect AF for the great majority of situations I encounter. It locks better in low light, is immune to front/back focus (though that hasn't been a problem with my K-5 either), is quieter (my Pentax lens is screwdriver driven), and generally faster too. I mainly use the wide angle lens for situational people photography, and the fact that the GH2 AF is active throughout the whole frame (and automatically meters based on detected faces) is very useful for that application.

    I also find that I greatly prefer the GH2 EVF to the K-5 OVF. The former is just larger, brighter, crisper, and more capable for manual focus. I never thought I'd feel this way about an EVF versus a very nice OVF, but I do. Finally, the lighter body weight is a large part of my preference for the GH2.

    Overall, the Pentax K-5 is for me a keeper, but there is no doubt in my mind that it is a "second" camera for me.

    A few recent images with this gear:

    5604156955_55c734055e_b.
    My boys, GH2 and 14/2.5

    5596065341_ec70c71440_b.
    Philip, K-5 and DA70

    5611577534_415e3d3752_z.
    Baby rabbits' nest, GH2 and PL45
     
    • Like Like x 12
  2. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    I couldn't agree with you more about your assessment regarding the pro's of the GH2 over the K5. I specially agree with you about the accuracy of the GH2's CDAF system vs. the phase detect in the K5. The GH2 is consistenly more accurate in good and bad lighting conditions.

    I also agree with you about liking the GH2's EVF more than the K5's OVF. The negative thing about the GH2's EVF is that the exposure and WB preview is off from time to time. The Sony A55's EVF is much better about exposure and WB preview.

    As for the DA21, I regret having returned it after my initial purchase. My beef against the DA21 was its relatively "slow" speed of F3.2. But in retrospect, it's really nice as a walkaround, landscape, and environmental portrait lens. I got great colors from it, and it was very sharp even wide open in most of the frame. Debating now whether to re-buy it or get a DA15 instead.

    Great write up Amin! Enjoyed reading it very much.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    Pentax AF is not a class leader in the dslr market. They are not nikon or canon that have much better AF in the same class with the d300s and 7D. The olympus E-5 is actually faster as and more accurate as well.

    All the phase detect AF accuracy were developed from having a pro camera system for sports. Something that pentax lack in. No such thing as a pentax pro camera or pro glass. The make some very nice consumer grade lenses. And it a very good general photography camera. And with the WR lenses, it is not to expensive of a hiking camera giving you added protection.
     
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  4. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Thanks, Armando. This doesn't let you off the hook for writing your experiences for S.C. :biggrin:.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I agree with you, but coming from a Nikon D700, D5000, and before that a Canon 5D, I prefer the GH2 AF to all of those for most of what I do. No doubt that the Nikon and Canon AF systems are better for sports, birds, and other action, but I like having coverage of the entire frame with AF points, the ability to meter off detected faces, and forgetting about lens microadjustment. The other day I was photographing kids during laser tag in near darkness. My K-5 couldn't get a lock, and my dad's Canon 5D II with 24-70L couldn't get a lock. The GH2 and 14/2.5 locked instantaneously again and again.
     
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  6. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    The important question is whether or not you got more kills than deaths! :)

    On a more serious note, did you have the assist lamp on the K5 and/or GH2?
     
  7. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    Yeah, The 5DII AF has been its biggest weakness. I have shot a 7D in really dark clubs. And it has done a nice job. The d300s is also a good low light AF system. But CAF system seem to have the ability to lock better in low light as long as there is enough contrast to work.

    But then if you are shooting pass 1600 iso, I would much prefer the iso performance of a 7D or d300s over the 4/3 sensor. So there is a pro and con. If there is not enough light to get a lock with phase detect, you are really shooting at high iso.
     
  8. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    More deaths than kills and no assist lamps on. IMO those lamps are pretty obnoxious, so I keep them off.

    Good point. The GH2 was the only camera able to get a shot under the conditions, but the quality of the shot obtained was pretty poor :rolleyes:.
     
  9. pjohngren

    pjohngren Mu-43 Top Veteran

    560
    Oct 15, 2010
    Amin, you make a really good case for the GH2. If I ever replace my G1, that is the direction I will go. Maybe when Best Buy has one and I can hold it...............
     
  10. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    There is a gave and take, get the photo, but it is very poor, and most likely with allot of motion blur.

     
  11. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    Here's an example. GH2, 14mm, f/2.5, 1/20s at ISO 25,600 equivalent (ISO 3200 capture with the GH2 pushed > 3 stops during RAW conversion) in the dark:

    5606995446_8ee3697fce_z.

    I didn't get anything resembling a focused image with the other two cameras. At least the GH2 preserved the memory. That said, I probably could have gotten something better than this by using one of the other cameras focused manually, and I'm sure my D700 would have done much better even with AF.
     
  12. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    Not really a good photo. It is a give and take. No aps-c and smaller sensor shoots well past 6400iso. This is where a d3s or 1d4 will give better results. The high iso FF and aps-h cameras.
     
  13. iliakoltsov

    iliakoltsov Mu-43 Regular

    195
    Aug 7, 2010
    Paris
    I can stop you right there for night shooting a D3 has one of the best performance yes but it was released a year ago the K5 is more recent and the Signal to noise ratio is almost equivalent. The only issue that i have with the K5 is the disposable sensor after 1000 shots some pixel start to die and progressively it becomes completely dead. 1000 shots for a pro oriented camera is nothing.
     
  14. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    I'm totally lost about this. Please do tell.:confused:
     
  15. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    I have seen the 25800 of both the d3s and the k-5 because it is less tightly pack pixels with much larger pixel which gives it much better pixel response. It does produce a much nicer photo at 25800. And the sensor in the k-5 is the same as the sony a580, and nikon d7000.
     
  16. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    So the K-5 is like the disposable film cameras that were popular in the 90s?

    While there have been some QC issues with the K5 (a not uncommon problem for new cameras, see Nikon and Canon), I find it hard to believe that something as faulty as what you described would be produced by Pentax or any of the major brands.

    Where do you get this information from? And does it also affect other cameras made with the same sensor - Nikon D7000 and the Sony A55 (I think)?
     
  17. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    I said it from the beginning: I agree with you :smile:.

    My D700 outperformed what I am now getting from the Pentax K-5 by about a stop in terms of low-light high ISO performance. Meanwhile, the D3s is about a half stop improvement on the D700 (a little less at low ISO, a little more at high ISO).

    The K-5 is a great sensor but still just an incrementally better one than the sensor from the Nikon D90/D5000/D300. It's not a miracle sensor.
     
  18. iliakoltsov

    iliakoltsov Mu-43 Regular

    195
    Aug 7, 2010
    Paris
    The K-5 had a major problem with the sony sensor , and more than 80 % of the K-5 got recalled i am not sure if this issue is fixed, it seems that it was present on other DSLR using the same sensor Alpha 580 , Alpha SLT 55. I am not an engineer specialized in sensors but from what i could understand the little floating lenses on the sensor become less transparent as the time goes on due to the presence of what pentax called an external material.

    Pentax support

    http://support.pentaximaging.com/node/1214
     
  19. Armanius

    Armanius Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 23, 2010
    Houston
    Muttley
    Not being rude here, but definitely being blunt. Did you read the links that you just posted? The sensor stain problems addressed in these links are well publicized.

    However, I'm still at a loss about your statement that K-5 sensors will begin to "die" after 1000 actuations. If that is true, I'd certainly be concerned and would like to see the source of your information.
     
  20. iliakoltsov

    iliakoltsov Mu-43 Regular

    195
    Aug 7, 2010
    Paris
    the two problems are related unfortunately as it seems :

    K-5 number 2 after 1000 shots

    Look at the botom of the page, it seems that "nipper" claims that he did 700 shots clean and then he had issues with dust or whatever the thing is. He is not a lonely case

    It depends if you are lucky or not , it was a series of bad sensors that sometimes even grow the dust over time , if you are fine after 2000 you should be fine.