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Pentax Problems & Genral WARNING for ALL purchasers of any brand D-SLR.

Luxin 5 7
3 Apr 2013 9:40PM
Having used Canon for the past few years, Nikon Full-frame before that, I decided to try the "much hyped" Pentax K-5 IIs with no Anti-aliasing filter; supposedly giving superb sharpness. A couple of reviews later I decided that the samples I saw were definitely worth having a go at it for. Off I went to a popular (local for me) Internet warehouse and parted with over a 1k for body and basic 50-200 lens.

Trying this combo, whilst I had other lenses on order, I found the 50-200 to be somewhat dull on IQ and not up to the job. Swapped that and paid extra for a DA 55-300. This, whilst somewhat sharper, has a screw motor for focuss, so sounds too loud when close to wildlife, or people. The camera body is raved at by people who call themselves "Pentaxians" and I was expecting top class "ergonomics". No. The grip is like a brick to me, too square and the htumb-grip digs into the thumb-heel area and the thumb can cover some buttons on the 4-way. It also seemed that the Shutter Release button was too far back, there was no dedicated video button and you have to set Video mode via a realy stiff, locked dial, and other controls were not where I'd logically expect them to be. Let me state here that I have been into photography nearly all my life, starting with a wee bakalite camera in 1950's, studying "Snapperology" at Art College, using 120's and later moving onto 35mm plus 120 in a professional environment, then after a break, getting digitised in about 1980's. The most "logical" camera I ever owned was the "fits like a silk glove" Contax 35mm. Superb! Oh for a DSLR like that.

Back to the plot! The Pentax K-5 IIs suddenly froze on me. I found that it was only curable by removing the battery and reinserting, swithch on and away it goes... until the next random freeze! This became really annoying when out on a shoot; wildlfe will not wait and pose patiently!

A search on the WWW using "Pentax K-5 IIs freeze" soon brought up other people with similar problems. Some had contacted Pentax and had no answers, just asked to send the camera in and wait; some have waited weeks and weeks, apparently with no result and no camera. After a week of severe frustrations, annoyance and wasted time searching the internet for answers I found that there was no answer. In fact, the more you search, the more problems you find with inclusions of the K-5, K-5 II, K-30 and even the 645D. It's not like any of these are predictably "new" or from the same batch, as some writers report their cameras as firing over 20,000 shots without fail, then "freeze", others almost new, differing lenses, cards and so on.

My experiences in recent years, and hundreds of hours of research, have made me a new set of rules:
1. Don't beleive hyper reviews - or all that you see in sample images on them.
2. When you think you have chosen a camera that's right for what you want to do with it, research, then research some more!
(a) Search the web for "X-brand Model-No. problems" and see what appears; this will not be with new releases, so wait a few weeks!
(b) Change your search terms and use similar, like "problems with my X-brand Model-No. camera", but keep it to "keywords" and short.
3. If, for example, you are in to wildlife, go to a popular Wildlife Reserve where there will be lots and lots of camera users. Look for someone who is carrying a model similar to that you are interested in and say hello, then ask how they get on with their kit. E.G. I spoke to a few people who use Pentax and said they've never had any problems... but given that some people were literally years down the line, according to their "freeze up" reviews, I would take that as a unknown quantity.
4. The most important last thing you do. Buy locally if possible, but do shop around. Some places will match price, others will not. Make sure you do not get a GREY IMPORT and that the company will assist you in returns or refunds; your UK Consumer Rights are that if a product is "unfit for purpose" that you can take it back and demand a refund within six months of purchase - but it must be in almost "as new - boxed" condition with all parts, etc,.
5. Do read the manual! This will tell you which SDCards, etcetera, you need to use, settings and so on. Example; modern cameras may be happier using a SDHD UHS 10 Card - Sandisk 16 Gb's currently around 28 on Amazon and great fast cards.

That's about it. Pure and simple, just like me! Wink
In the meantime, I have returned the annoying Pentax and am sticking to my EOS 60D + Sigma 120-400 unit for wildlife, which is far better than I thought it was (sorry Canon, I was duped by the others Wink

It is my hopes that this post will save at least a few of you your hard earned cash, many hours of frustration and disapointment. But, my final words are for all manufacturers - STOP RIPPING US OFF with shoddy and poorly thought out/built cameras that promise wonders and deliver crap! Bring back good old fashioned Quality Control

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Luxin 5 7
3 Apr 2013 10:16PM
K-5 IIs with Pentax DA 55-300 (resting on hide ledge @ 300mm)
100 percent crop from centre - unedited - as is in camera.
Windy day so some movement of subject!

Canon EOS 60 D - Sigma 120-400 (resting on hide ledge @400mm)
100percent crop from centre - unedited - as in camera.
Windy (same) day/time, some movement of subject.

Both images are 100% Crops, unsharpened.

What you see is what you get!
scottishphototours 14 2.6k 2
3 Apr 2013 11:55PM
Yep, both unsharp from the same 1000+ camera. I like consistency...
4 Apr 2013 12:00AM
Were the above samples shot in RAW (raw for purists)? If they are jpegs then its simply the in-camera processing and most DSLRs can be tuned to suit your taste. Other than the brightness/contrast, i dont see much else that can be compared due to the focal length, lens and timing of shots.

Camera freeze can be found in pretty much all makes. I often found it on one of my Nikons that didnt like cold and damp conditions (a bit like the rest of us), but there is many reasons as to why a camera might freeze up and they are not always directly related to a fault on the camera itself

Other than that, i'd say find a camera and stick to it! If you cant find a camera you like, perhaps your expectations are a little unreasonable (and dont order lenses before you are happy with your change of body manufacturer). Hopefully you stick to your own advice Wink
llareggub 7 825 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2013 7:09AM
Whilst I agree with most of your statements about doing your research before buying a piece of kit, I do think you are expecting way too much from your camera with those 2 images. Criticising camera manufacturers for using the best images you can take with a camera seems a little churlish, with the right knowledge, kit and practice most modern cameras are capable of producing unbelievable images.

The images displayed in the forum are 600px wide so assuming that you cropped out a 600px image and uploaded here you are really not giving the optics anything to work with. You need to get much closer with either a 300mm or 400mm lens to snaffle pictures of wee critters like this Smile

This is a 600px 100% crop taken with a Canon 50D and Tamron 70-300mm VC USD, not stellar performance from the lens, camera or photographer but not bad for a 100% crop.


Results are a decent image as a result of being much closer.

LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
4 Apr 2013 9:08AM
If I understand the original complaint correctly it is about a low price lens not to being a superb optic, about autofocus sometimes making a noise, and about camera lock-up in some combinations.
The first 2 "complaints" are as normal as a car stopping working if you do not occasionally put fuel in it!
The third complaint might be not following the camera instruction. All brands including your previous Nikon film cameras caution lock up can happen if you use your camera in high static electricity situations. It might also be a camera fault in which case you have legal rights.
You seem to be a UK resident making a purchase in the UK from a UK domiciled supplier so, if a new camera develops a fault within six months of purchase, you are entitled to either a refund or replacement - at your option.
Whether your camera has a fault is unclear to me as your complaining an economy priced lens is not a top quality optic and some lenses make a noise during autofocus indicates what you expect of a camera may exceed reality by a large margin.
LenShepherd 10 3.6k United Kingdom
4 Apr 2013 9:29AM

Windy day so some movement of subject!

It seems to be a very windy day based on the angle of the reeds.
Did you not notice one of the reeds has blown between the camera and subject!
When this happens the camera is unlikely to focus on the bird - to me this image scores very low as an example of a camera problem.

Quote: Canon EOS 60 D - Sigma 120-400 (resting on hide ledge @400mm)
100percent crop from centre - unedited - as in camera.
Windy (same) day/time, some movement of subject.

Can we start with a little bit of a reality please?
Guidelines for safe hand held shutter speeds or stopping subject movement seem to be based on a 12 foot wide subject taken with a normal focal length lens for the format.
The magnification in the posted Canon image indicates a safe shutter speed was three or four shutter speeds faster than in still conditions using a good tripod.
The chances of getting sharp images with so much magnification in windy conditions are remote without resorting to a shutter speed of perhaps 1/4000 or faster.
In my experience wise photographers accept in some shooting conditions, including similar to those in this Canon example, sharp images are not possible; and do not blame the camera.
Gundog 5 629 Scotland
4 Apr 2013 10:24AM
Troll Alert?

I somehow don't think the stuff the OP has posted quite matches the level of expertise he claims.
JackAllTog Plus
9 5.0k 58 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2013 10:28AM
Just a thought "the manual says the camera is rated from -10 to 40 degrees C" could you have been near the lower limit?
ChrisV Plus
11 2.1k 26 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2013 10:52AM
If you do an internet search keying in a negative on just about any subject you are virtually guaranteed to find something; whether or not this is a significantly indicative sample is another matter. Google something like 'bad Jesus' and you could come away with the impression he was a bit of a donkey's fundament.

Still, if you've been shooting digital since the 80s you've massively more experience than most of us, so perhaps we'd best bow to your wisdom...
franken Plus
15 4.6k 4 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2013 12:46PM
Interesting to know what digital cameras he was using in the 80's
ChrisV Plus
11 2.1k 26 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2013 4:03PM

Quote:Interesting to know what digital cameras he was using in the 80's

I had some access to an Apple Quicktake in the early 90s, but I'm not sure you could call that a true digital camera as [IIRC] it essentially digitised an analogue video image at VGA resolution. It was revolutionary in its time but nothing you would consider anything useful by today's standards.
Luxin 5 7
5 Apr 2013 3:13PM
A few final comments:
Yes, both images are unsharp and unsharpened. These examples chosen deliberately as 100% crops to show that the Pentax (without Low Pass Filter) is not sharper than the simarlay priced 60D; different lenses, I know. I do have sharper looking pictures from both cameras but, and that's a big BUT, the EOS 60D still out-performs the K-5 IIs in my comparison shots and does not come anywhere near the "claimed results" in so-called Reviews.

The Digtal "in 80's" was a typo and mjeant to be 90's. A massive 1.3 Mp. Olympus; which was quite stunning for that ilk! Then grabbed a Nikon full-frame c.2003; tried quite a few others since then of major makes. Quite honestly, I still prefer the results and simplicity of 120 Roll Film, but that's unworkable for me these days and with my current mode of photography: walk-about wildlife, especially.

If other commenters would care to read the initial article properly then there is no need for me to reply to any doubtful or sarcastic replies; which are not worth bothering with anyway.

Temperature wise, yes, it was cold with a wind-chill of around -5 but that did not even slow the EOS down, which is not damp/cold proofed.

My generation was brought up with a fair amount of Quality Control in factories that were suppoosed to churn out hi-tech gear. This seems to be lacking nowadays. Yes, I do expect a lot from a camera that both manufacturer's an "sponsored" reviewers rave about especially. Why shouldn't I expect quality and for the hting to work (fit for purpose)? If you don't then more fool you. If you went out and bought a nice Japanese Honda or Mazda, you would expect to get into your well-engineered car, turn the key and drive off smoothly. Not for it to stutter and die on you, or for the electrics to go dead before you've hardly got off the fourcourt. So, why would anyone expect a c.1000 camera to do it? I expect all these peole with low expectations have houses stuffed full of useless crap that's broken or not working properly!

Bicker all you like, those with nothing better to do than try to start fights with other forum posters.
I took the camera back and was refunded promptly, without question. Only comment was"Not many have come back" which tells me that some have; and considering they don't sell as well, or are on display like other brands, this does not bode well.

My last words: An apology to what was Pentax, for I have used the name Pentax in this review and others on the Pentax forum. It should be RICHO that takes the blame for this bad Quality Control and engineering disaster that appears to be hitting so many Pentax branded cameras. Would I buy or trust another product from Richo? No. That's my opinion and if you don't like it then do the other thing.
Ploughman 5 28 3 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2013 3:26PM
Interesting comments from the O/P. As some have mentioned, to have been `digitized since the 80s` would take some doing, even from the 90`s would make him - somewhat special -. So at the end of the day, I am sure there is something to learn here although I don`t have a clue what it is.
My own experience has been totally different. 1955 - Kodak 127 Brownie.
1970s - Minolta X300, X500, XD7
2006 - Pentax K100d around 30.000 shutter actuations
2009 - Pentax K20d over 80,000 shutter actuations
2012 - Pentax K5 over 16,000 shutter actuations.
Every camera has been good and has given me great pleasure in using it. I started my digital life in 2006 and at that point started to make small amounts of money from photography. None of the cameras have ever broken down and if the results have been below par it has been my problem not the camera. Although I am not a Pentax fanboy , I do believe that the K5 (II IIs) are extremely capable cameras and the handling / operation of them is superb, certainly up there with the best of other manufacturers. After all, if it is OK for people of the caliber of Benjamin Kanarek it is OK for me.

KenTaylor Plus
13 3.1k 2 United Kingdom
5 Apr 2013 4:56PM

Quote:It should be RICHO that takes the blame for this bad Quality Control and engineering disaster that appears to be hitting so many Pentax branded cameras.

As it is with many other brands.

Crediblity with a brand crashes with any brand that becomes faulty in a short time.

A retired engineer commented that quality control in electronics was almost nil.

I bought a tablet that died and was replaced after a phone call before I had chance to return the faulty one that says there is an acceptance of a fault that may or may not develop.

I have a K5 mainly through loyalty due to the lenses I already own.

I bought a Canon G11 that developed a fault with an intermittent sticking diaphragm that covered the lens when switched off beyond the guarantee period. Repair was quoted at a ridiculous price over 200 that needless to say has dented my opinion of Canon compacts..

Quote:OK for people of the caliber of Benjamin Kanarek

I seen to recall he was a member on here who also had connections with Pentax.

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