View Full Version : Pentax or Canon for printed journailsm

05-05-2011, 7:38pm
Hi, i am a keen fisherman, and a fishing journalist currently writing for 3 different fishing magazines and a local newspaper column each week. My photographic work is done with a Canon EOS 50d which is an awesome camera.
Between myself and my wife, over the years we have owned a 300d, 350d, 30d, 40d, and 50d so i have had tonnes of experience Canon.
I am thinking about making the change to pentax for my fishing journalism for a couple of reasons. 1)smaller size, 2)i like the look of the time lapse feature 3)most importantly....my wife will have the Canon 50D and therefor i wont have to worry about ooking under the bed or on the floor of the car for lenses and any accessories i pick up along the way.
I want a camera that is unique to me, that i can be fully accountable for. If i dont get a pentax, i will be getting something, perhaps a nikon or an olympus.
I am going through a phase in my life where i am enjoying steering away from big name brands, which is why i am steering towards pentax.
The model I am eyeing off is the pentax Kr.
I dont need bells and whistles, i dont need high speed burst mode(which it has anyway), i just need decent image quality for my magazine work.
My questions are,
*Lenses aside, is the off the camera JPG image quality from a pentax good enough to be printed in magazines?
*Will an 18-55mm F5.6 kit lens with a KR take as good a photo as an 18-55mm F5.6 kit lens with a canon?

I realise that the glass is what produces the clearest photos, but i have a good idea about what glass does what. This question is all about the quality of the photo straight off the sensor.

05-05-2011, 8:41pm
Hi Robbie,

Maaate...I do not have the technical expertise to answer any of your jpeg questions. I am a very, and I do mean VERY, very amateur photographer and have an old K100D Super that serves my needs. That said, I have already disclosed on this forum that I am also extremely tight with money- my wife says mean, I say careful.

Given that you have already made a significant investment in Canon equipment, and that you will need to buy all new lenses and other equipment, can't you and the missus simply share lenses and you buy another Canon? Perhaps you can express your uniqueness in other ways. If you feel a need to steer away from brands, maybe buy Black and Gold breakfast cereal for a while. A lot cheaper - I told you I was a tight#@se!

That said, I am pretty sure that any DSLR camera with a reasonable operator on the back end could provide good quality prints for a magazine sized print. Maybe one of my erstwhile colleagues in the Pentax forum can assist with the technical aspects.

Don't want to sound like a nark, but it sort of comes naturally after a while.



05-05-2011, 9:08pm
The Pentax K-r is one of the best entry level DSLRs the market has seen to date. Is entry level where your aiming or is it just the spec of the K-r a rough guide as to what your after?

I'm slightly confused as to the qualitative definition of 'good enough to be printed in magazines'. The JPEG is the quality you would expect if you were shooting RAW and converted it, as you could imagine. But at the end of the day it's just a JPEG, and the suitability to be submitted 'off camera' is entirely up to your photographic ability. JPEG quality as far as I'm aware doesn't fluctuate brand to brand so much, more user to user.

For your second point, what Canon exactly are you referring to?

Almost any modern DSLR is capable of taking photos that are magazine suitable. The question is, if the K-r is the camera that has caught your eye, what others are you comparing it to? I mean a Subaru WRX is a great sports car and is good for trackwork, but so is a Ferrari FXX. Without a budget or models to compare, it's quite difficult to, well, compare...

05-05-2011, 9:21pm
I read your post again, I don't know if this is the standard you are after, but ill compare it to the 50D.

The 50D is 15.5MP vs 12.4MP [20% better]

The K-r's dynamic range is 12.4Ev vs 11.4 [1 stop better]
The K-r's colour depth is 22.9 bits vs 21.8 [2x better]
The K-r's max light sensitivity is 25,800 vs 3,200 [2 stops better]
The K-r's sensor is 10% larger

So I suppose you could say in that regard that yes the K-r would produce 'good enough' JPEG's and a 'better' image than a Canon

05-05-2011, 10:27pm
Hey CRF529 thanks heaps, that posts spells a lot to me!! I knew the sensor was slightly larger, but wasnt sure how the Pentax would handle the dynamic range and colour depth.
The megapixels are not a huge concern. Some magazines will print covers from 4mp, others will not do any more than half a page with 5mp!! I have had plenty of photos published with my old faithful 6mp 300D. Glossy magazines tend to want higher resolution images than paper magazines!!
Its more the clarity/crispness, colour depth and dynamic range that i am after. The only time the camera will ever be in auto is if someone is photographing me!! Most of my fishing mates dont know how to use DSLR cameras!!
Other than the megapixels, the KR seems to have it covered!!
As for the Canon, i would have either got a 1100D or a 550D. If i ever need functions that the KR doesnt have, we still have the 50D.
Hawthy.....there wont be too much outlay on lenses!! This will be my dedicated fishing journalism camera, i will probably only need 1 lens!! The 18-55mm kit lens will most likely be adequate, and if i ever want to upgrade i might get something in the 18-50 F2.8 range from sigma.
If i want to buy any new zoom lenses ant any stage i will get one for the Canon!!

05-05-2011, 11:06pm
In that case, the K-r has got it all over the 1100D and only looses out in resolution to the 550D. If you go the K-r I doubt you'll ever be reaching for the 50D nor want a 1100D or 550D.

05-05-2011, 11:23pm
Robbie, I wouldn't be steering away from the Canon gear you already have. I have been shooting Pentax film since 1974.....absolutely loved what they could do. I too bought the K100D digital when they came out, also a great camera. However.....Pentax did not offer the range of lenses I wanted and I swapped to Canon. (Only Canon and Nikon can do that).
As an amateur sports photog. I would say there is probably not a lot of difference (so far as camera bodies go) between the big three, but for your work I'd be sticking with Canon and up your lens buying budget rather than outlaying more silver on Pentax camera bodies and then lenses to suit.
As to image quality "off the sensor" is concerned, forget that, the post processing is what makes the final print as all three brands do the same job.:D

05-05-2011, 11:57pm
Just on the topic of lenses though, for the amatuer to enthusiast and even some pro level needs, Sigma and Tamron have really stepped up in recent times. In addition to Pentax's offerings, I'd be mighty impressed for anyone in the aforementioned market to cry foul of lens choices.

06-05-2011, 6:34am
I am a bit lost when people say there are not lenses for the Pentax? Which bit isn't covered if you can go to Tamron, Sigma or legacy glass??:scrtch: and don't forget nicely sealed bodies and lenses if you play in water!
I love my Pentax!

06-05-2011, 8:39am
ive just switched from pentax to nikon due to QC issues and flaws in firmware...I know the Pentax user forums is rife with front focus issues about the KR and many are fed up with waiting for the FW patch to fix the issue..those that could have returned their Krs did ...others that cant...are still waiting..check out the Pentax user forums before you plunge in....these FF issues are only apparent in Low light though..so you might be OK if your shooting in daylight

Id echo the the sentiments that advise another canon body to call you own..

06-05-2011, 9:12am
I'm not sure about the Kr and fron focusing, but being an owner of a K10, you can put it into debug mode and change auto focus settings in there.

As to the JPGS, (remember I'm a bit backwards compatible) the *ist and the K10 both tend to render the Jpgs a bit "soft" soft as in colour soft, not soft as in soft focus.
I have my jpg setting set to increase the saturation a little as standard.

But that's beside the point as they have a dedicated (well the k10 does) raw button. 1 push 1 raw then back to jpg again.

The big difference (apart from price) between the k5 and the Kr is having 2 dials on the k5, one for aperture and one for shutter. with the Kr, it's a button and a dial to change one or the other.

just a thought.

06-05-2011, 5:35pm
I'm a very happy (and therefore biased) K-r user, having shot over 5000 images in six months. For all the reasons above I reckon you'd be okay with the K-r for what you're talking about (though I also agree that changing systems is an expensive way to get your own separate gear!). A couple of comments though:

- The FF issue: in my view, blown out of proportion on the forums. It is only ever an issue for me under tungsten light, which shouldn't be a concern of yours when fishing.

- If I were to upgrade to the K5 at all, it would be because that camera is sealed, and the kit comes with a sealed lens as well. I would have found that handy when travelling, and would imagine it would be useful in the sorts of environment you are talking about. Plus you get extra pixels and even more sensitivity (up to ISO 51200!). The K5 is obviously bigger/heavier than the K-r but still much more compact than Canikon.

- The 18-55 kit lens is okay but nothing special. I do use it a lot for street photography but it's neither particularly sharp nor particularly fast. It would do to start but you'd probably like to add to it eventually. There is ample choice, especially when you add Sigma, etc. into the mix. (I have the 55-300 and love that.)

- Can't really speak to the JPG issue as I shoot RAW always. Shooting RAW with an efficient workflow in Aperture or Lightroom will give you vastly better images, and I suspect this would be the case with any brand of camera. That said, there are so many settings options in-camera that you could probably find something that will give you what you want.

- The 6fps burst mode in the K-r (even faster in the K-5) blows the similarly priced competition out of the water. It's awesome.

Hope that helps.

06-05-2011, 8:03pm
Thanks for the fantastic feedback everyone. I have alot to think about, but from what ive the Kr sounds like it might be a goer!!
Its not about money. Sticking with canon will not save me any money because i will still be buying a body anyway. I will only need 1 or 2 lenses for what i want.
Thanks heaps once again.

20-05-2011, 4:58pm
Late post, but I think I remember reading on a certain lens testing website that the Pentax 18-55 kit lens was pretty much best out there and Canon's was worst. Same deal for the 50/1.4 incidentally.