Does anybody have experience with the K7 or E3?

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mikemike
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Does anybody have experience with the K7 or E3?

Post by mikemike » June 24th, 2010, 9:46 pm

I shot Canon for a few years, before a friend knocked my camera and tripod over the railing on a footbridge into the Russian River. I recovered from that with both an XTi and a 40D, which all got stolen after a show I show in San Francisco when somebody broke into our car and popped the trunk.

After that, I started shooting Nikon. I shot the D80 for a while... until that, again, was stolen out of the trunk of a car... almost exactly a year later and approximately 2 hours north. I've been shooting with a friends D300s which I really like and I'm initially planning on saving up for one. I've done a little bit of shooting with the D90, I just don't really like how it feels in my hand. To me, it feels like Nikon, Playskool edition.

I pretty much a complete Nikon fan now, but I'm really curious about both the Pentax K7 and Olympus E3.

My favorite and go to herp lens is the Tamron 90mm macro, which is available in all 3 mounts. One thing that really attracts me toward Nikon though is the use of the R1 kit. Is there a lens mounted dual macro flash setup available for either Pentax or Olympus cameras?

I've never heard bad about Pentax, whether film or digital SLR's. One of reasons I'm attracted toward Olympus however is that all of my 35mm equipment is Olympus, but I'm not sure if new Olympus DSLR's are even the same lens mount... also, I'd rarely be using any of my film lenses, so that's not a deciding factor by any means.

How is the TTL system on either the K7 or the E3? I almost always use at least a little bit of flash for my herp photography so flash is actually a really important factor for me as well. Are either of them capable of running a dual flash as well as a bracket mounted offboard flash?

How does the CMOS sensor of the Pentax compare with the NMOS sensor of the Olympus?
Since the Olympus has a smaller sensor, does that mean it will have a larger crop at the same focal length as the Pentax?

Video isn't a selling point either way, because any filming I'm working on will be doing won't be shot from an SLR really. I can see the convenience of it, but I'm not looking for it as a selling point. Same with Live View. I can't see a situation where I'd use live view either really.

Chris or Eric? What are your thoughts?

Thanks a lot to anybody that helps me out with their opinions and information. Any information on available flash setups, etc. is also greatly appreciated.

Erik Williams
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Re: Does anybody have experience with the K7 or E3?

Post by Erik Williams » June 30th, 2010, 7:46 am

I can't speak for the Pentax, although I've heard nothing but good things.

I do own an E3 (and an E510). I've also shot with various canon kit; 30d, 5d, and a little with a 40d. My Brother-in-law shoots nikon and I've worked on some of his photos, and played with his camera a little bit. That about sums up my DSLR experience. I have several film SLRs and a medium format TLR, but I can't afford to shoot them.

The E3 is rugged. It's weather sealed. The lenses are sharp. The body itself is now a few years old and falls somewhere between the nikon d200 and d300 in terms of IQ and features. The quick-list of cool stuff is wireless flash control, in-body IS, dust reduction, weather seals and pretty much everything else that modern DSLRs have. The LCD is tilt/swivel but not terribly high resolution. Live-view is OK but not nearly as good as the most modern DLSRs. The technology is just a few years old, and the next Ex will probably address the issues that olympus lags behind on.

Oly's smaller sensor will never compete with full-frame DSLRs but it compares well with APS-C. The E3 shoots to ISO400 with totally acceptable noise, and ISO800 is not scary. Above that and your tolerance will determine how acceptable it is. The crop factor for E series cameras is 2x.

The olympus flash system is good, but not perfect. the TTL works flawlessly and the flashes are powerful and all wireless now. There is a ring flash and a twin flash, but they are expensive will need adapters to fit all the lenses. The R1 is expensive too, to be fair. I very rarely use flash but I own the FL50R and it works nicely on the camera or off, handheld or on a bracket.

The E mount is different from the OM mount of olympus film SLRs but adapters are cheap. The Olympus lens line isn't huge but it has everything that a herp photographer needs. I suggest the 14-54, 50-200 old version, and 50 macro. I would save a few bucks and not spring for the 50-200 SWD; it's a nice lens but SWD is overkill for herps. I'd also suggest the ex25 extension tube. All of that kit is weather sealed and covers the range of (=) 28mm to 400mm in high quality, sharp, contrasty lenses that are pretty fast. The only other lens I'd really consider is the yet-to-be-announced macro in the range of ~100mm.

Any other questions?

E3, offboard flash.
Image

E3, weatherproof, no bull.
Image

Erik.

mikemike
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Re: Does anybody have experience with the K7 or E3?

Post by mikemike » July 3rd, 2010, 12:07 am

Thanks for your input, Erik.

I use at least a little fill flash almost anytime I shoot so flash is a big factor. Live view is absolutely not a factor for me as I pretty much hate it anyways. I'm not to crazy about the idea of the 2x crop factor either.

There's a good chance I'm going to stick with Nikon, but I still have a couple months until I'll end up being able to afford a purchase, so I'm still hoping someone chimes in on the Pentax...

Erik Williams
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 8:57 pm

Re: Does anybody have experience with the K7 or E3?

Post by Erik Williams » July 4th, 2010, 12:38 pm

Sounds reasonable to me. For the record, there's no reason you couldn't do fill flash with the Oly or the Pentax systems - they both offer TTL or full manual flash control and have a bunch of different flashes you could use. Personally I like the 2x crop factor for a few reasons, especially for macro: at any given f/stop and corresponding magnification, the olympus will have a larger depth of field than any competitor. So when the nikon guys are shooting at high ISO to get that deep DoF, the Olympus system can shoot at a larger f/stop and/or use a lower sensitivity and still get the exact same depth of field. Also, the Olympus lenses are smaller and lighter than their direct competitors in any other system. The E3's predecessor was also smaller than the E3 and many think it was a better fit with the system because of it. I know I wouldn't mind having the E3 in a smaller body myself...(E3 roughly the size of Dx00 series)

I'll switch systems to m4/3 if they ever get off their butts and release some pro-grade gear. It's so nice to have the e3's durability for herping in the rain, or dropping it down embankments and banging it against rocks but I don't miss the size and weight of the Sony superzooms I had before I bought a DSLR. Ideally I'd like pro-grade quality, features and durability in the size of today's entry level DSLRs. Give me a super charged D40 that I can drive nails with and drop in a puddle, and I'll switch to nikon. Hell, I'll switch to whoever produces it first!

Jason Ksepka
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Re: Does anybody have experience with the K7 or E3?

Post by Jason Ksepka » July 5th, 2010, 5:34 am

I don't have any Pentax or Olympus gear so I can't speak to any of the relevant points there, but I do use a D300, with the R1 flash, and it is priceless. I dropped the whole set-up in the everglades for a 100% immersion (no, it wasn't on purpose) and all I has to do was open everything up, wipe it down with a paper towel and set it to dry in my windshield for a little while. Still shoots great, and the R1 unit is fantastic. When I first bought the camera, I was told I needed to get the commander module for the R1 to work, that the built in commander would not work. Because of this misinformation, I purchased an off brand ring flash for half the price of the R1C1. As that light aggravated me I re-visited the R1 idea, and found that for the same cost of the cheap ring flash, I could have had the two R1 units the whole time, with the built in flash commander of the D300. Since I got the R1's, I'll never go back, they are great fun to use, and really let you control the light. I haven't even gotten very experimental yet, but look forward to playing with them more. In my opinion, the D300 is a great choice and the remote R1's make it even better, I'll never go back.

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