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Converting to Nikon from Pentax - need advice


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13 replies to this topic

#1
schnur07

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I've been doing amateur sports photography for my kids soccer, basketball and cross country teams. I'm finding my Pentax set up (Pentax KP with Sigma 70-200/2.8) just doesn't quite cut it for the fast autofocus needed - primarily for the night soccer games where you have low light conditions.

 

My limited research is pointing me to the Nikon D500. I don't have any need for a large full frame camera and I like the idea of the crop sensor giving me the added focal length. I plan to purchase a 70-200mm/2.8 lens. Most likely a 3rd party lens to save on the cost.

 

I'm looking for the best place(s) to purchase a used camera and lens. 

 

I'm also looking for advice on a 3rd party 70-200mm lens. I think I've seen that there's a Sigma and Tamron available that both look pretty good. I'm hoping one of them is reasonably sharp wide open and at full zoom.

 

Keep in mind, that I'm just an amateur and my capabilities and my end product have no need for high end professional gear. I'm not selling photos, but I do take photos of all team members and then post them on Amazon for anyone to view and download.

 

Thanks and looking forward to being a Nikon owner. 

 

I've been a Pentax owner my entire life because as a young boy I received a Pentax K1000 for my birthday and the brand has stuck with me ever since. But Pentax just doesn't cut it for sports photography.



#2
Merco_61

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As you are going with a DX body, the first generation of the AF-S  70-200/2.8 VR works really well. Since it is a bit soft in the corners on FX, it is quite cheap for a pro grade, quality zoom and can usually be found in EX condition for slightly over $800 from a dealer. On DX, it is about equal optically to the Sigma 70-200 Sports or the Tamron 70-200 G2 and is in the same price range. The AF is less prone to hunting than the third-party lenses in low light/low contrast situations, though. 

 

I have nothing but good experiences buying from KEH, but your countrymen will probably chime in with more ideas as they will have more experience buying camera stuff from US vendors.



#3
schnur07

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As you are going with a DX body, the first generation of the AF-S  70-200/2.8 VR works really well. Since it is a bit soft in the corners on FX, it is quite cheap for a pro grade, quality zoom and can usually be found in EX condition for slightly over $800 from a dealer. On DX, it is about equal optically to the Sigma 70-200 Sports or the Tamron 70-200 G2 and is in the same price range. The AF is less prone to hunting than the third-party lenses in low light/low contrast situations, though. 

 

I have nothing but good experiences buying from KEH, but your countrymen will probably chime in with more ideas as they will have more experience buying camera stuff from US vendors.

 Thanks - so I need to make sure I get the lens for the DX body because the mount changed with newer cameras? I didn't have to worry about that with Pentax as they've had the k-mount since the cavemen times. Is there just the one Nikon lens - meaning there aren't older versions of it?



#4
schnur07

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 Thanks - so I need to make sure I get the lens for the DX body because the mount changed with newer cameras? I didn't have to worry about that with Pentax as they've had the k-mount since the cavemen times. Is there just the one Nikon lens - meaning there aren't older versions of it?

From what I've been reading it's not a mounting issue, it's that there are lenses designed for the full frame formats (FX) and crop formats (DX). So you're suggesting I purchase the an older version of the Nikon 70-200mm that's designed for the DX? Would there be any benefit to going with the newer FX version - maybe in a 3rd party lens? Or is that what you were referring to with the Sigma and Tamron you mentioned above?



#5
Merco_61

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No, the mount didn’t change. All F-mount lenses made after 1977 works on the D500, but the AF lenses don’t have a built-in focus motor and focus slower than the AF-S generation, just like the screw-drive pentaxes.

The first generation of the 70-200 vignettes slightly and loses sharpness and contrast in the corners on the larger sensors. It is, however, ideal on DX. In 2003, when production started, only Kodak made full-frame digital cameras. Nikon made their flagship lenses lighter and slightly more compact by using a smaller image circle.

The older f/2.8 tele zooms are 80-200 and are getting difficult to find spare parts for. The VR II version that came after is more expensive as it works just as well on FX as it does on DX so the demand is higher.

 

Production of the first version started in 2003 and went on to 2009. 


The early 70-200 is an FX lens, but not as ideal as later versions of the Nikkors or the current generation of the third-party ones. On DX, you would need to go with the current, E version to get better performance but going to the current version brings a price premium.

 

Previous versions of the third-party zooms are about equal to the Sigma in K-mount you have when it comes to AF performance.



#6
schnur07

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After more research - are you referring to the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 ED IF VR II AF-S or the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 ED IF VR G AF-SSorry, but this is really confusing when I try to look on line. It seems like sites use different nomenclature making it difficult to figure out what lens they are selling.



#7
Merco_61

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The first generation is the VR, the second is the VRII and the third and current is the E version.


First:

http://www.photosynt...on/afs70200.jpg

 

Second:

http://www.photosynt.../afs70200ii.jpg

 

Third:

http://www.photosynt.../afs70200fl.jpg

 

The links go to Roland Vink’s excellent site.

Nikon Lenses



#8
lightcapture

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Unless you want Nikon for sure, isn't there a higher end Pentax that will accept your current lens. Pentax makes a few really good DSLRs.



#9
Merco_61

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Unless you want Nikon for sure, isn't there a higher end Pentax that will accept your current lens. Pentax makes a few really good DSLRs.


The problem is that the Sigma in K-mount is *very* slow-focusing, even on a K3. The Pentax 70-200/2.8 is expensive. The KP is one of those really good DSLRs.

#10
schnur07

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Unless you want Nikon for sure, isn't there a higher end Pentax that will accept your current lens. Pentax makes a few really good DSLRs.

That's a great  question and don't know why I didn't consider this. The Nikon D500 and lens will run me about $1800. I'll have to see how expensive the Pentax 70-200mm lens is and see whether it would improve my focusing on the KP body - especially in low lit night soccer games. And also if it would improve the image quality. I need to figure out how to attach a photo so I can show a couple examples of the image quality.



#11
schnur07

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I paid close attention to what was happening tonight when I shot a soccer game. Earlier in the game when there was still daylight the framerate seemed respectable. But at night, under the stadium lighting (think poor high school lighting), I was shooting f2.8, 1/500 and ISO was 128,000. The framerate probably wasn't even 1/sec while having the back button focus depressed and the shutter depressed. But maybe a lot of decent camera/lens combinations would struggle under these lighting conditions.



#12
Merco_61

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That light level should be within the capabilities of the KP. I would definitely blame Sigma’s poor reverse engineering of the communication protocol.

#13
schnur07

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Somebody recommended that I could reduce my file size and also turn off noise reduction to see if that helps without reducing image quality. The photos are pretty much just viewed by people online and potentially end up in a yearbook.



#14
bluzman

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"I'm looking for the best place(s) to purchase a used camera and lens."

 

I've had excellent experiences with MPB and KEH.