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View Full Version : Pentax D/DS vs Rebel XT



michaelb
04-23-2006, 08:12 PM
I have been considering the Rebel 350D, but after recently actually holding it vs. the Pentax DS, I liked the Pentax better. It felt better in my hands, and the view finder seemed HUGE and much brighter than the XT, making everything seem easier, especially manual focus.

This will be my 1st digital SLR, upgrading from digital P+S. The shots I have seen on this forum, even with the kit lens, are impressive to say the least.

I am concerned about lenses however - will I have difficulty finding decent, affordable lenses for this camera, like a decent 50mm prime or mid range zoom? Will I be able to take decent indoor, low light photos (with a decent lens, like a 50mm f1.4)?

Will I be yearning for more megapixels in 2 years?

I don't like to do alot of post-processing, unless I have to. Will I need to with this camera?

I want a good dSLR that I can learn from, that will last me several years and that I will continue to use the lenses from on future bodies.

jeisner
04-23-2006, 09:18 PM
It felt better in my hands, and the view finder seemed HUGE and much brighter than the XT, making everything seem easier, especially manual focus.

I would have to agree, especially for manual focus / macro..


I am concerned about lenses however - will I have difficulty finding decent, affordable lenses for this camera, like a decent 50mm prime or mid range zoom? Will I be able to take decent indoor, low light photos (with a decent lens, like a 50mm f1.4)?

The 50/1.4 is avilable on BHphoto for US$219... - And yes this will work great for indoor/lower light photography..

What do you mean by mid-range zoom? in the DA (digital optimised) lenses there is a DA50-200/4-5.6 which is great quality for its tiny size. There is also a more upmarket (constant 2.8) DA50-135/2.8 coming out in a few months..


Will I be yearning for more megapixels in 2 years?

I have had the DS/D (have both) for 2 years now and I am not, I MAY buy the penatx 10mp with SR coming out at the end of this year. But am still undecided, also I would more likely be buying it for other reasons not MP count..


I don't like to do alot of post-processing, unless I have to. Will I need to with this camera?

You don't have to do PP, for best quality you can take RAW shots and do PP.. This can also be batched so PP takes very little effort.. (look at a program like bibble, or even the free RAW shooter).. I tend to load up all the pics in bibble with my default processing settings and just quickly flick through them to tweak the few pictures that might need special attention. Then I just batch process the lot...

There is slightly lower detail for the DS as compared to the XT in regards to in camera JPEG processing, that said if you are printing 6x4 or even 8x10 there is no way you would actually notice the difference.. (Its seen in 100% crops, and avoided by using RAW for those A3 prints ;-)


I want a good dSLR that I can learn from, that will last me several years and that I will continue to use the lenses from on future bodies.

This shouldn't be a problem, Pentax is good at maintaning compatability, you can still use pre-digital TTL flashes on their new DSLRs and use 30 years worth of Pentax lenses without crippled features (metering, focus aid etc)..

michaelb
04-24-2006, 06:53 AM
..The 50/1.4 is avilable on BHphoto for US$219... - And yes this will work great for indoor/lower light photography..


Would this be used Takumar be OK....it's $100....I'm on a budget here!! Although, is it only manual focus?

http://cgi.ebay.com/PENTAX-SMC-TAKUMAR-50mm-F1-4-LENS-FREE-SHIP_W0QQitemZ7613099108QQcategoryZ4688QQssPageNam eZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem




What do you mean by mid-range zoom? in the DA (digital optimised) lenses there is a DA50-200/4-5.6 which is great quality for its tiny size. There is also a more upmarket (constant 2.8) DA50-135/2.8 coming out in a few months..

That would be a nice midrange.



I have had the DS/D (have both) for 2 years now and I am not, I MAY buy the penatx 10mp with SR coming out at the end of this year. But am still undecided, also I would more likely be buying it for other reasons not MP count..

Anything you don't like about it vs. the Rebel?




You don't have to do PP, for best quality you can take RAW shots and do PP.. This can also be batched so PP takes very little effort.. (look at a program like bibble, or even the free RAW shooter).. I tend to load up all the pics in bibble with my default processing settings and just quickly flick through them to tweak the few pictures that might need special attention. Then I just batch process the lot...

There is slightly lower detail for the DS as compared to the XT in regards to in camera JPEG processing, that said if you are printing 6x4 or even 8x10 there is no way you would actually notice the difference.. (Its seen in 100% crops, and avoided by using RAW for those A3 prints ;-)

I'm not used to using RAW, but if I'm going dSLR, it's probably better to get used to it!!




This shouldn't be a problem, Pentax is good at maintaning compatability, you can still use pre-digital TTL flashes on their new DSLRs and use 30 years worth of Pentax lenses without crippled features (metering, focus aid etc)..

Are decent used lenses regularly available?

Rhys
04-24-2006, 07:11 AM
Tamron and Sigma make excellent lenses. I have not heard of the kind of compatibility problems between Sigma and Pentax that seem to plague Canon users.

I imagine all prime lenses regardless of age and manufacturer will be excellent.

I have a Canon XT and often wish I had a brighter viewfinder and manual focussing options as well as AA battery compatibility.

jeisner
04-24-2006, 08:35 AM
Would this be used Takumar be OK....it's $100....I'm on a budget here!! Although, is it only manual focus?

If you want a good 50mm manual focus prime that lens would work OK, but it is screw mount (not K mount) so you would need an adapter and would be using stop down metering.. Works but slows you down a little and limits you to the manual mode..

I would suggest something like an A series 50mm... Like the Pentax A 50/1.4 or Pentax A 50/1.7, these are still manual focus but work in all modes including auto modes..

http://cgi.ebay.com/SMC-PENTAX-A-50mm-f-1-7-FAST-LENS-W-CAPS-FILTER_W0QQitemZ7613114646QQcategoryZ4688QQssPageN ameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7612674570&fromMakeTrack=true


Anything you don't like about it vs. the Rebel?

Not really, I chose it over the rebel and don't regret that decision..


I'm not used to using RAW, but if I'm going dSLR, it's probably better to get used to it!!

It is one major advantage of having a DSLR in my opinion, regardless of brand. My Canon (20d) shooting friend uses RAW too..


Are decent used lenses regularly available?

Yes, there seems to be fairly good second hand availability..

AnalogueToDigital
04-25-2006, 07:19 PM
why not go with a vintage f1.4 50mm Kmount prime ? I bought one (ebay) for use with my DS a few months ago and it's a joy. The MF is smooth as silk, and the solidity of the metal makes me smile every time I use it. Image quality is first rate too.

rprii
04-26-2006, 06:18 AM
You might also try here . . . KEH sells second hand equipment.

http://www.keh.com/OnLineStore/ProductList.aspx

Rhys
04-26-2006, 08:30 AM
Let's compare the XT with the Pentax

Can you focus manually if you need to?
Pentax - yes but the AF is slow
Canon - no (because there's no MF screen) but the AF is faster

Is the autofocus any good?
Pentax - I don't know
Canon - 75% of the time yes. The rest of the time it's hopeless.

What kind of batteries does it take?
Pentax - 4xAA - handy if you run out because you can use alkalines
Canon - A Canon special battery - unless you buy the battery grip which takes 6xAA batteries (not very useful when batteries come in packs of 4 and chargers take 4x NiMh)

What kind of image does the camera give?
Pentax - it shouts "I am an amateur"
Canon - it says "I am a photographer"

What kind of photo will it turn out?
Both Pentax and Canon can turn out excellent photos. Canon has more megapixel ranges though. Pentax currently has 6mp compared to Canon's entry level 8mp.

I am very much in favour of AA batteries on the basis that I never can remember to charge the special Canon batteries. I can always remember to charge AA batteries.

Let's take a typical life. I'm a househusband (sans fishnet stockings, stilettoes, and the rest of the maid's outfit). Opportunities for me to take photos arrive suddenly and without prior warning. Hence if I grab my XT I find the batteries are usually flat. I reach for my digital compact (which takes AA batteries) and fumble in the drawer for some AA alkalines (or freshly charged NiMh) if the AA NiMh batteries in the camera are flat. Hey presto, I'm out taking photos. With my XT I have to plan ahead to charge the batteries. I don't find the XT is at all suitable for a realistic lifestyle because of the batteries. The Pentax is better here.

astro
04-26-2006, 10:56 AM
Let's compare the XT with the Pentax
What kind of image does the camera give?
Pentax - it shouts "I am an amateur"
Canon - it says "I am a photographer"

:rolleyes: I think that depends on the photographer and not the camera. And let's not forget that the lens makes a far greater difference in the image quality than the body.
Here's a blatant example in a comparison I did between my expensive Sigma 28-70 F/2.8 EX lens and my 35mm F/2 S-M-C Takumar. The color and contrast of the Takumar absolutely obliterates the sigma.
http://astroguy.org/zoomvsprime.jpg

michaelb
04-26-2006, 05:29 PM
Let's compare the XT with the Pentax

Can you focus manually if you need to?
Pentax - yes but the AF is slow
Canon - no (because there's no MF screen) but the AF is faster

Is the autofocus any good?
Pentax - I don't know
Canon - 75% of the time yes. The rest of the time it's hopeless.

What kind of batteries does it take?
Pentax - 4xAA - handy if you run out because you can use alkalines
Canon - A Canon special battery - unless you buy the battery grip which takes 6xAA batteries (not very useful when batteries come in packs of 4 and chargers take 4x NiMh)

What kind of image does the camera give?
Pentax - it shouts "I am an amateur"
Canon - it says "I am a photographer"

What kind of photo will it turn out?
Both Pentax and Canon can turn out excellent photos. Canon has more megapixel ranges though. Pentax currently has 6mp compared to Canon's entry level 8mp.

I am very much in favour of AA batteries on the basis that I never can remember to charge the special Canon batteries. I can always remember to charge AA batteries.

Let's take a typical life. I'm a househusband (sans fishnet stockings, stilettoes, and the rest of the maid's outfit). Opportunities for me to take photos arrive suddenly and without prior warning. Hence if I grab my XT I find the batteries are usually flat. I reach for my digital compact (which takes AA batteries) and fumble in the drawer for some AA alkalines (or freshly charged NiMh) if the AA NiMh batteries in the camera are flat. Hey presto, I'm out taking photos. With my XT I have to plan ahead to charge the batteries. I don't find the XT is at all suitable for a realistic lifestyle because of the batteries. The Pentax is better here.



I'm a little confused by this - you can manually focus using most lenses, no? I know that the viewfinder on the XT is not as nice as on the Pentax, which might make it more difficult to use manual focus, but what else would prevent you from using manual focus on the XT?

From my research I think the XT and Pentax are both excellent cameras. I do like the viewfinder better on the Pentax, which is important to me. Of course the 8mp would be nice for cropping.....I can go on and on with pro's and con's.

But my real difficulty in this decision comes in terms of the lenses. I understand that the body may only last so long, but I would like to be able to keep/use the lenses that I buy for many years. Thus, if possible, I would like to stick with one brand. Which brand has more readily available, decent, afforable lenses? I'm not going to be getting any L's in the near future if I get the XT, at least not unless I can hide the bills from my wife!!! And when the body dies in several years or I simply want a new one, I would like to stick to the same brand so I can keep using my lenses!!! So will Canon or Pentax make me happier in the long term?......that is the question.
(by the way, is there an adapter so I could use some Pentax lenses on the Canon if I wanted to?)

Rhys
04-26-2006, 06:01 PM
I'm a little confused by this - you can manually focus using most lenses, no? I know that the viewfinder on the XT is not as nice as on the Pentax, which might make it more difficult to use manual focus, but what else would prevent you from using manual focus on the XT?

The viewfinder on the XT has a plain matte focussing screen. It has no focussing aid such as a microprism or a split-disk. The lack of a focussing aid makes manual focus on the XT very much pot luck as the exact point of focus cannot be accurately assessed. For small apertures with great depth of field, this is not so much of a problem. For wider and normal apertures this makes the XT as much use as a chocolate teapot as regards manual focussing.


From my research I think the XT and Pentax are both excellent cameras. I do like the viewfinder better on the Pentax, which is important to me. Of course the 8mp would be nice for cropping.....I can go on and on with pro's and con's.

I thought about 6mp versus 8mp and went for 8 when I got my XT. Then I did the calculations and worked out that really it makes very little difference. In fact, 6mp will out resolve most common computer printers.



But my real difficulty in this decision comes in terms of the lenses. I understand that the body may only last so long, but I would like to be able to keep/use the lenses that I buy for many years. Thus, if possible, I would like to stick with one brand. Which brand has more readily available, decent, afforable lenses? I'm not going to be getting any L's in the near future if I get the XT, at least not unless I can hide the bills from my wife!!! And when the body dies in several years or I simply want a new one, I would like to stick to the same brand so I can keep using my lenses!!! So will Canon or Pentax make me happier in the long term?......that is the question.

I cannot predict the future. I can say that Canon has a higher resale value on the secondhand market than Pentax. The trick is though to buy secondhand but good secondhand items.

skortch
05-06-2006, 09:29 AM
In case you haven't made your choice yet...

The great thing about Pentax lens selection is that they've retained the same basic K-mount, with some variations with features being added and some removed, for around 30 years now. (As mentioned before, you can also use screw-mounts with an adapter.) There are some metering limitations/work-arounds with pre-A lenses, but all will work.

This means you can cut costs a lot by buying used. Pentax has made some wonderful glass over the years. I picked up an A 50/1.7 for $50 and an M 135/3.5 for $40. Both were near-mint and very sharp. The wide and tele primes get more expensive, naturally, so you'd want to research what you need focal length-wise and budget accordingly.

For new I bought the excellent FA 35/2 and FA 77/1.8 Limited for $300 and $600, respectively. The Limiteds aren't cheap but the 31 and 77 are some of the best primes around. The FA 50/1.4 is $175 with current rebate, and you can find cheaper used 50's. I don't use zooms a whole lot but there is a decent selection from Pentax and others.



But my real difficulty in this decision comes in terms of the lenses. I understand that the body may only last so long, but I would like to be able to keep/use the lenses that I buy for many years. Thus, if possible, I would like to stick with one brand. Which brand has more readily available, decent, afforable lenses? I'm not going to be getting any L's in the near future if I get the XT, at least not unless I can hide the bills from my wife!!! And when the body dies in several years or I simply want a new one, I would like to stick to the same brand so I can keep using my lenses!!! So will Canon or Pentax make me happier in the long term?......that is the question.
(by the way, is there an adapter so I could use some Pentax lenses on the Canon if I wanted to?)

Rhys
05-06-2006, 12:13 PM
So will Canon or Pentax make me happier in the long term?......that is the question.
(by the way, is there an adapter so I could use some Pentax lenses on the Canon if I wanted to?)

Yes. There is a K-mount to Canon adaptor BUT you lose AF and aperture control. Focus confirmation might/might not work. There is no decent focussing screen on most Canons unless you buy one (which is only an option for some models and not all screens have manual focussing aids).

I have the XT and although I regret not having gained the benefits of having the Pentax (AA batteries, SD memory, easier manual focus), I'm happy to have a large range of cameras available from a company that shows a clear committment to developing dSLRs. If I were to purchase my camera system from scratch then I probably would eat some humble pie and buy Pentax. I disliked Pentax after having had a really bad SLR from them in the 1990s (so bad that it had to be sent back several times for warranty repairs and even then wasn't very good).

I am attracted to the lower price of the Pentax. I have 8 megapixels on my Canon which doesn't really add an awful lot over the 6 of the Pentax when you consider most prints are made on 8.5x11 paper.

CptOfGondor
05-06-2006, 12:51 PM
K-Mount to Canon is really rare. I heard some people just buy a Pentax K-Mount to M42 and then M42 to EOS.

The focusing on a Canon is a real pain. Thats why I traded my Film Rebel II away for a Pentax. Too bad Pentax is still being cheap with the pentamirrors..lol. Wouldn't cost a whole lot more to inject more glass into the mould. If my MZ-M had a pentaprism, oh man. LoL.

Rhys
05-06-2006, 02:34 PM
K-Mount to Canon is really rare. I heard some people just buy a Pentax K-Mount to M42 and then M42 to EOS.

The focusing on a Canon is a real pain. Thats why I traded my Film Rebel II away for a Pentax. Too bad Pentax is still being cheap with the pentamirrors..lol. Wouldn't cost a whole lot more to inject more glass into the mould. If my MZ-M had a pentaprism, oh man. LoL.

The K-EOS mount is a bit tricky but here's how one guy did it: http://oomz.net/kadapter/.

I'm so glad that I don't have to put K-mount lenses on my XT!

I still feel though that the Pentax is a superior camera in many respects although Canon is the only company to publish a SDK for their cameras.

CptOfGondor
05-06-2006, 07:58 PM
(btw, whats an "SDK")

Thats crazy. Having to machine out a precise metal ring. At least he's got a reliable 80mm f1.7 and 216mm f3.5 primes to work with!

Rhys
05-07-2006, 07:39 AM
(btw, whats an "SDK")

Thats crazy. Having to machine out a precise metal ring. At least he's got a reliable 80mm f1.7 and 216mm f3.5 primes to work with!

If you have access to a small lathe (a hobby lathe) then it's really quite straightforward.

A SDK is a software development kit. I downloaded one from the Canon website after registering as a developer. Then as the file was corrupt (XP couldn't unzip it), Canon said they're posting a CD with all their SDKs to me.

As far as I know, the SDKs are all source-code C or C libraries. It's been a while since I used C but I should be able to include them in Delphi or C++ software. Heck, I might even get into Linux programming and try to design a decent Linux photo editor!

CptOfGondor
05-07-2006, 07:51 AM
SDKs..well at least thats nice of Canon to send you a cd. LoL.

looks like some serious programming you got lined up there!

Rhys
05-07-2006, 01:22 PM
SDKs..well at least thats nice of Canon to send you a cd. LoL.

looks like some serious programming you got lined up there!

Yes. Looks like it's the only way to go though. Current Linux photo editors are somewhat poor.

michaelb
05-08-2006, 10:21 AM
In case you haven't made your choice yet...

The great thing about Pentax lens selection is that they've retained the same basic K-mount, with some variations with features being added and some removed, for around 30 years now. (As mentioned before, you can also use screw-mounts with an adapter.) There are some metering limitations/work-arounds with pre-A lenses, but all will work.
This means you can cut costs a lot by buying used. Pentax has made some wonderful glass over the years. I picked up an A 50/1.7 for $50 and an M 135/3.5 for $40. Both were near-mint and very sharp. The wide and tele primes get more expensive, naturally, so you'd want to research what you need focal length-wise and budget accordingly.

For new I bought the excellent FA 35/2 and FA 77/1.8 Limited for $300 and $600, respectively. The Limiteds aren't cheap but the 31 and 77 are some of the best primes around. The FA 50/1.4 is $175 with current rebate, and you can find cheaper used 50's. I don't use zooms a whole lot but there is a decent selection from Pentax and others.



Are Pentax dSLR's able to meter with these older lenses? Does AF still work? I guess I'm more concerned about metering and less concerned about AF. I do not plan to be walking around with a light meter!!!!

As many other people, I have been considering the 350D XT, Pentax DS/DL and the D50. (I think the D70 is simply too big)

I was originally drawn to Pentax because I like the feel of the camera in my hands, I really like the viewfinder and I like the idea of being able to find decent used lenses at a reasonable price. The Pentax also has a depth of field preview, which the D50 does not. Plus it looks like Pentax is heading in the direction of "shake reduction" bodies, which sounds like a sweet idea to me when I eventually update with a new body; I currently own a Canon S2 and the IS is really nice to have. Canon cameras have been good to me in the past and swithing brands does not come easily. But there is no way that I will be willing to invest in "L" or even "IS" lenses, at least not for a while.

Another concern I have is that I have read that the "direct from camera" images with Canon and Nikon are superior to Pentax. I don't really want to post process every image if I don't have to. Photography is a rapidly growing hobby for me, but I can't invest as much time as I would like to in it and I just don't think I have the time to be post processing every shot I take.

For now I'm still enjoying my S2 and taking my time deciding on a dSLR. All input is appreciated.

MatH
05-09-2006, 02:06 AM
I know KA lenses expose correctly and AFAIK from other formus manual K mount and M42 (screw mount - need adapter) can expose correctly in the manual. Worst case scenatio is that you'll have to check the hostogram on lcd, so light meter is out of the question.
Tru that jpeg output is worse than Rebel XT or D50, but you can shoot raw and then batch process files in raw software. In free Raw Shooter Essentials that would be opening the folder, check if any picture needs exposure/contrast/orientation corrections, select all pictures and then process them. For best out of the camera results you should perhaps stick to P$S. Oh and for prints smaller than 21x16 DS produces good jpegs.

michaelb
05-09-2006, 02:18 PM
I know KA lenses expose correctly and AFAIK from other formus manual K mount and M42 (screw mount - need adapter) can expose correctly in the manual. Worst case scenatio is that you'll have to check the hostogram on lcd, so light meter is out of the question.
Tru that jpeg output is worse than Rebel XT or D50, but you can shoot raw and then batch process files in raw software. In free Raw Shooter Essentials that would be opening the folder, check if any picture needs exposure/contrast/orientation corrections, select all pictures and then process them. For best out of the camera results you should perhaps stick to P$S. Oh and for prints smaller than 21x16 DS produces good jpegs.


If it is indeed that simple then I wouldn't be so concerned about shooting in RAW. I've never owned a camera that could shoot in RAW, so I've never had to consider this option. Perhaps with a dSLR I would find it worth while. Thanks for your input.

astro
05-09-2006, 04:26 PM
I know KA lenses expose correctly and AFAIK from other formus manual K mount and M42 (screw mount - need adapter) can expose correctly in the manual. Worst case scenatio is that you'll have to check the hostogram on lcd, so light meter is out of the question.
Tru that jpeg output is worse than Rebel XT or D50, but you can shoot raw and then batch process files in raw software. In free Raw Shooter Essentials that would be opening the folder, check if any picture needs exposure/contrast/orientation corrections, select all pictures and then process them. For best out of the camera results you should perhaps stick to P$S. Oh and for prints smaller than 21x16 DS produces good jpegs.

JPG output has been heavily criticized on the Pentax. However, what many people don't know, is that the JPG output is only horrible if you use the vivid mode, which is the default setting on the camera. Vivid mode will apply a very harsh sharpening on the image, which is very good for regular prints, but looks bad on your monitor. If you want your JPGs to look nice, just change it to natural mode.
Here's a comparison I made..
http://astroguy.org/jpgtest.jpg