Comparing Pentax DSLR's to Others


Link Posted 25/04/2016 - 21:24
I was in an electrical shop the other day and had a quick chance to try a Nikon 7200 with its attached kit lens. I was immediately taken aback with how fast and accurate the autofocus seemed compared to my K3.

The only dslrs I've used are a K100d, K7 and K3. Each time ive upgraded amongst other things because the autofocus is supposed to be better.

Other than me spending nearly 900 at Amazon to try it for myself has anyone got any real world experience?


Link Posted 25/04/2016 - 21:40
I've used a lot of cameras, especially recently, with a lot of different lenses and all the DSLRs overall are about the same ball park. It depends as much on lens and the subject chosen and the lighting. Any more specific requirements need a more specific test under the desired conditions. AF has got better, but has been quicker and more accurate than many people's eyes for a long time.

Incidentally, when shooting for resolution checks the AF on some cameras can be nowhere near accurate enough. It takes a great deal of care to get it right.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 26/04/2016 - 13:04
I have the D7100 and a K-3, the D7200 was a slight upgrade on the D7100 (larger buffer, a HUGE bugbear of the D7100 - what is most irritating, catching focus and then running out of buffer after 5 shots - and improved processing/AF). Once the K-3 catches focus you can take 20+ shots before the camera slows down, and allows you to start taking again once the buffer starts to clear. My D7100 or D3 have to clear fully before I am allowed to start taking again.

You can't judge the images in a shop, the LCD really doesn't tell you much about the image being recorded. The Nikon JPEGS may have some sharpening applied whereas Pentax JPEGS appear softer.

Pentax is more intuitive in my opinion.
AKA Welshwizard/PWynneJ
Assorted Pentax/Nikon/Mamiya stuff


Link Posted 26/04/2016 - 14:47
As John wrote in the initial reply AF performance depends largely on chosen lens and the lighting conditions of the environment you're shooting at. Shooting fast action like dance or sports in low light can be tough for any dSLR.

I use Canon FF alongside my Pentax lineup. There is no big difference in the studio setup concerning AF performance, EF 100mm USM macro is as fast as Pentax D FA 100mm macro WR, except that Canon's ultrasonic lenses are completely silent.

I prefer to use Pentax for people shots indoor & outdoor. Pentax is also being used for anything else on location because of the WR. Canon is used only for product shots because it gives larger files, but there AF is not really of any importance as MF is used most of the time.


Link Posted 26/04/2016 - 20:29
ilovesaabs wrote:
I have the D7100 and a K-3

How do you find its autofocus compared to the K3? I understand the bugbears of the 7100's rubbish buffer.

Ive always use spot focusing on my K3 as i find whenever i use the auto points the camera will 50% of the time not focus on what i want it to (say a branch instead of the bird sat on the branch).

When i had a quick go with the 7200 it just seemed to snap onto focus so quickly. The view finder image seemed bigger as well to me.

For reference im mainly using a the Pentax 16-50, 50-135 and 300 with 1.4 TC.
Last Edited by richardmills on 26/04/2016 - 20:31


Link Posted 26/04/2016 - 23:19
Good that you mention that you have those lenses Richard

I've got the 16-50 and the 300 (+1.4) with my Pentax system, with Nikon I've got the AF-S 300 f4d and to be honest I find no noticeable difference between the 2 systems in terms of focussing speed - if you need faster the new Nikkor lens is double the price of the old f4 - but in terms of sharpness the DA* has the mojo

The D7100 was bought to accompany the D3, if you want a peer for the D3 then you have to pay 5000+ for the camera and accept that any lens purchase adds 1600 a time to get the best out of it; there are things the D7100 is good at (I have not scrimped on the lenses) but buffer is one bugbear and the other is, believe or not, the flash system - how it works is a mystery known only to Nikon techs (simply just do NOT turn onto auto) and the bloody flashes overheat - I've been stuck waiting for an SB-900 to COOL down in Winter...

Put it this way I would not recommend giving up an APS-C Pentax for any other APS-C DSLR. If you've bought into Canikon, then the 7D2 and D500 are plausible alternatives....the D7100 will make way for a D500 but my other half has a 7D2 and it is a hateful piece of junk. You are wasting your money going for D7*000 or EOS *0D..
AKA Welshwizard/PWynneJ
Assorted Pentax/Nikon/Mamiya stuff


Link Posted 27/04/2016 - 02:55
Careful, I've had posts removed for mentioning other brands before...

My experience has been that in single point AF, Pentax is fine and competitive and very accurate. I've observed the Pentax looks for the focus point and arrives at it in a controlled manner. Some other brands I've used were faster, but less accurate, so I guess it's what you're after.

However, if the subject is then moving, (either towards you or away from you), then it's a different story altogether. Pentax has long had a lot of work to do in this area. If it's limited to the screw drive motor speed/slack etc, then they've obviously got a big problem, but this is an area that really could do with some attention.

Along with the video capabilities, like restoring the real sensor stabilisation of the K-5 series for example


Link Posted 27/04/2016 - 09:39
I can only speak for using Pentax and I agree it depends greatly on the lens. Wide angle range lenses for example have so little travel and greater depth of field that it is not critical. Pentax have special AF points for the more critical F2.8 and faster lenses but I have little experience of such. The 300 DA star F4 and tele convertor in contrast only seem really happy with centre point A/F when photographing birdlife. Nine point and multi point seem to confuse the camera.

You will also note in the K3 there are a number of custom settings to prioritise (and hold) AF over absolute frame rate. I can never make my mind up between single and continous AF. I tend to use single and refocus as I go.

I would guess the competition have the same as they all tend to come set for best speed of use results in initial reviews. Playing Top Trumps is a silly game at times don't you think? I'm happy with my K3 as I have it set up. You certainly can not judge all this in a camera shop,


Link Posted 27/04/2016 - 13:00
Bill has a point there. Trying different camera & lens combinations inside a shop might give some subjective impressions about AF performance. You ought to use your gear in the real game and your mileage may vary.

Today all cameras have very competent AF. Sure there are some differences but not so big to be a deal breaker really. You pick a certain brand for its philosophy and overall appeal, not for the number of AF-points & the AF-motor.


Link Posted 28/04/2016 - 15:17
I completely agree about not not being able to try the camera properly in the shop which is why i asked for peoples opinions if they had experience of other systems.

Another example of what i think isnt very good is i tried a simple tracking test the other day. Wife walking towards me with pram at a slow speed. Im using the k3 in continuous auto focus via the af button, all auto points, camera is set to max focus priority in the settings and it still cant keep focus as she walks towards me. This was using the 50-135 in good daylight.

Now i dont use my camera for these kind on shots (im so used to using spot focus and just reframing the shot) so it doesnt bother me that much but when im trying to shoot birds and im missing good shots it makes me wonder what the competition is capable off.
Last Edited by richardmills on 28/04/2016 - 15:19


Link Posted 05/05/2016 - 13:01
There is a lot of commentary about performance here. For me the reason to use Pentax are more about how the camera handles. I have never used a Nikon camera, but I have owned and used Canon DSLRs and the Sony A7. I actually bought the A7 a couple of years ago when I lost faith that Pentax would ever release a FF camera. I just traded the A7 in for a K-1. I also considered upgrading to the A7R II but opted to go the Pentax K-1 route because of how it handles. It seems to me that Pentax just get the 'touchy-feely' side of things right. Controls are well placed and feel good. The camera bodies feel robust and up to the job (I was always a bit worried about my A7 in this regard). The Pentax feature set is well thought out and just feels more 'photographer-centric' than, say, a Sony A7.
Capture: Pentax K-1, PENTAX HD PENTAX-D FA 24-70mm F2.8 ED SDM WR, PENTAX 100mm f/2.8 WR Macro, SAMYANG 14mm F2.8 ED AS IF UMC, SAMYANG 35mm F1.4 AS UMC, SAMYANG 85mm F1.4 AS IF UMC

Processing: Adobe Bridge for organisation, DxO Optics Pro Elite for RAW development, ON1 Photo RAW for some 'stylising' and Affintiy Photo for more involved edits.
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