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So I have a Pentax K20D/18 - 250 tamron which was the unexpected result of a court case with a shop over broken K100 Super 2 years back. While I love the camera itself I've become frustrated with it's seeming lack of ability in low light, poor tethered software, and price/ease of purchase of lenses.

I'm thinking of saving for a canon but two questions occur to me:-

  • Should I sell the Pentax kit or keep it
  • Will the Pentax kit fetch a decent price second hand
  • Which Canon 50D, 60D or 7D

Thanks in advance

//Edit

Photography wise I do quite a wide variety of stuff, I bought the camera for work as I build websites and the costs of photography were making my sites very expensive. So exterior/interior shots of holiday homes, portraits for of people and basic product shots - I was recently asked to photograph some clothes hence the tethered mode became a thing - and I'd like to experiment with night time photography too so I really need a good all rounder.

Budget wise the 7D is a stretch but I can get there if I work hard!

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You might get better advice about which Canon is suitable if you mention a little about what aspects of photography interest you the most. –  Winston Smith Oct 19 '10 at 7:30
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Or more importantly your budget, since the 7D is a clear winner vs. The 50/60D in almost all regards (flippy screen aside!) –  Matt Grum Oct 19 '10 at 8:38
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Quite a wide variety of stuff really, I got the camera for work as I build websites and the cost of photography were making my sites very expensive. So exterior/interior shots like www.gwynfryncottages.com. I'd like to experiment with night time photography and landscapes + recently I've needed to do some clothing shots hence the tethered mode - anything you can think of really! –  toomanyairmiles Oct 19 '10 at 9:49
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Budget wise the canons I named are within my price range, the 7D is a bit of a reach but do-able if it's worth it, which seems to be the case. What I really need is a good all rounder - the continuous auto focus would be a boon. –  toomanyairmiles Oct 19 '10 at 9:51
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@toomanyairmiles Generally on StackExchange sites it's accepted (and even encouraged) to edit questions and answers, so you may want to add the above information in the question so it doesn't get lost amongst any other comments. –  Edd Oct 19 '10 at 11:02

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

On switching systems:

  • K-r and K-5 have greatly improved autofocus over the K-7 and earlier generations, both continuous and low-light. That said, 7D is class leading in continuous, and it's unlikely either will come close to the 7D's AF.
  • Since the K-x, Pentax really stepped up their ISO performance. K-r and K-5 look to be stellar. 7D/60D is a bit better than K-x (both being much better than the K-7 and K20D), but K-r and K-5 look to be significantly better than the K-x.
  • Pentax does not seem to care about tethering, so I wouldn't expect it from them in the near future. If this is a requirement, switch.
  • Local dealers probably won't be selling Pentax, so if this is the ease you are referring to, I don't think it will improve.
  • You can, however, rent Pentax lenses from CameraLensRentals
  • Price of lenses to me seems comparable, with some cheaper and some more expensive than Canon.
    • Their DA* lenses and limited primes are similar in quality to the L-series glass and cheaper
    • Pentax does not have specialty glass in production (super telephotos, etc)
    • Cheaper third party lenses get the benefit of in-body IS on Pentax, making it a better bargain
    • You can adapt Pentax lenses to Canon (albeit losing functionality)
  • Pentax cameras, IMO, have the best ergonomics in their class and UI. I am not a fan of Canon's ergonomics and choice of front and rear dial, nor their menu system. Try them out in a store and see if it bothers you. Have not personally held the 7D.

To get an idea of what price you may fetch, check out pentaxforums.com. Unfortunately, many K20D owners are upgrading to the K-5, so it will be harder to get a good price for it. Prices range, I think, from $450 to $600. On the other hand, the 18-250mm is out of production, so it's fetching anywhere from $350 to $400+

As for 50D/60D/7D, depends on what you are looking for.

50D's only advantages on the 60D are build, lens-specific AF adjust, which is useful if you use lenses with very shallow DoF, and slightly faster fps.

60D/7D have a significantly improved sensor, among a bunch of other general things. While the 60D has a flip screen, the 7D is a serious camera with awesome AF performance, fps, build, WR, viewfinder, etc. What do you want to do with your camera?

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I'd looked at upgrading within Pentax but several things have bothered me over time, the price/availability of flashes being one and lenses another - the biggest pain being wanting to try a lens out in the store. There seems to be a lot more options with canon particularly older lenses custom firmware and wider support online (how to guides and the like). The tethering thing only came up recently but the software is terrible - the only way to get it working was to run it inside a Windows XP virtual machine. –  toomanyairmiles Oct 19 '10 at 10:01
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Pentax's P-TTL pales in comparison to Canon and Nikons. If you require a good auto-flash system, that is a good reason to change. If you go the wireless trigger strobist manual route, brand doesn't matter. With old lenses, Canon can adapt more, Pentax has more features (metering, AF-trap, AF-confirm, IS with anything you can manage to stick in front of the camera). There are countless resources for both, just check mflenses.org and manualfocus.org. Pentax removed tethering on their newer cameras and I doubt they will bring it back. –  Eruditass Oct 19 '10 at 15:55

Can't say much about the Pentax. I think Pkaeding offered some good advice regarding keeping/selling it.

Regarding upgrading, I guess there are a few options. First, I don't really think there is much of a contest betweeen the 50D and 60D. Outside of the 60D's slightly cheaper body (being more plastic), it is almost purely improvement over the 50D. The two cameras cost almost the same, there is less than a $100 difference between them, and the more durable body of the 50D is just not enough to make it a worth while purchase at its current price point.

The real contest is between the 60D and 7D. Hands down, the 7D is a FAR superior product. It wins in every arena except sensor size, as they both have the exact same sensor. It is $400-$500 more expensive, but the extra cost is definitely worth it if you can afford it. For the extra money, you get vastly superior AF and burst rate, one of the most advanced 100% 1:1 viewfinders on the market, and some of the most cutting edge custom settings and other advanced features of any APS-C camera body on the market (its competitors would be along the lines of Nikon D7000, Pentax K-5, Sony A55, etc.) It comes in a very durable, weather sealed, professional grade body that should hold up well with very rugged, daily use. There are far too many features to describe here, but you can read more at dpreview.com and the-digital-picture.com.

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I would suggest keeping the Pentax, and using it for the cases where you love it, with the lens you have. Avoid spending money on it.

Also, you can keep an eye out for anyone that might be interested in buying it, and then sell it if something comes along.

So, I'd suggest taking a passive approach to selling it, and enjoying it in the meantime.

This way, you can get a different lens on your new Canon, and put one down/pick the other up as you need while shooting.

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Thank you for this, I had been thinking this might be the way to go, especially as I've never used a canon but wasn't sure if it was a good idea. –  toomanyairmiles Oct 19 '10 at 10:03

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