K-5 vs Full-Frame
My switch from 35mm SLR to APS-C DSLR a few years ago was taken a little reluctantly. Sure, DSLRs provide far greater flexibility and instant review but at the cost of increased physical bulk and some loss of the depth-of-field control I previously used extensively. Full-frame DSLRs at that time cost an arm and a leg and were as large as a loaf.
The K-5 has been generally (if not entirely) a great camera to use but the recent introduction of more compact FF DSLRs from Canikon got me thinking about a change. And no, I’m not prepared to wait around endlessly for a FF Pentax DSLR and lens range that may never arrive.
Despite a somewhat misguided loyalty to Pentax I had frequently looked enviably at the ranges of lenses and accessories available as OEM or third-party offerings to Canikon owners. To add insult to injury Sigma now offers some desirable lenses in Canon/Nikon/Sony mounts but not Pentax!
So I investigated further and, as often is the case, the grass is not necessarily greener. Yes, the Canon EOS 6D and Nikon D600 are reasonably compact, not too heavy and quite comfortable to handle. It’s easy to be seduced by them. However, looking at suitable lenses starts to show that all is not so rosy. For example, probably my favourite lens on the K-5 is the DA* 50-135 f2.8 which is roughly equivalent to a standard FF 70-200 f2.8 lens. The Pentax 50-135 is 136x76mm, 685g and costs around £800 whereas the Canon 70-200 f2.8 is 199x89mm, 1490g and costs around £1,800. And yes, I believe we are comparing like-for-like in terms of IQ. It’s a similar story across the FF lens ranges – bulkier and often more costly. Also, when the Canikon/third-party APS-C lenses are discounted you are faced with a limited FF lens choice at generally ‘pro’ price levels.
Perhaps this is all stating the obvious but ‘cheap’ FF DSLRs can initially look very appealing. For now I think I’ll stick with the K-5 which produces great images and I’ll hope that somehow Pentax will step up a gear and fulfil the endless promises (remember the SDM TC?). But then, Nikon is already beginning to offer ‘affordable’ and more compact FF lenses so who knows?
Just as an addendum to this post, I have seen that coincidentally next week's AP will have a feature comparing the sensor performance of the Pentax K-5 IIs with the Nikon D600. Interesting.
I just read the AP feature article comparing sensor performance of the Nikon D600, Pentax K-5 IIs and Fujifilm X-Pro 1. Tests were for resolution of detail, noise and sensitivity. It makes interesting reading. Perhaps unsurprisingly the larger FF sensor of the D600 generally has the edge but not by as great a margin as might be expected. In fact, it is a fairly close race.
Although the AP article mentions the increased risk of moire patterning it does not carry out any comparative tests. However, John Riley's tests and review of the K-5 IIs ([url]http://www.ephotozine.com/article/pentax-k-5-iis-digital-slr-review-21127[/url]) do not indicate subsceptibility to Moire as being an issue.
What are the experiences of K-5 IIs owners on this forum?
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