Pondering Weight vs. Image Quality

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I have been doing some arm-chair exploring of different cameras and lenses.  Since I didn’t have to carry, or hold, this camera for long, I used my heaviest camera … the Pentax K-3 with the 18 – 135 mm lens to take the above picture inside around 7:30 am when there wasn’t much light.  This picture was taken at ISO 6400.  The K-3 is a nice but heavy weather-resistant system that I have used indoors lately, even though I bought it to use outdoors.

What I have been exploring, or considering, are the limits of my camera-lens combinations.  I am wondering what the “sweet spots” are for my different uses.  I am looking for a lighter weight system than the K-3 for use while walking about.  One question I am pondering is whether I can keep and use the K-3 indoors and for stepping out the front door to take cloud pictures and get something else for walking about that is lighter to carry?  If I mostly photograph outdoors in better light I shouldn’t, might not, need a camera system that does as well in low light.  It is a matter of finding the right camera capability and lens that is affordable and lighter and easier to carry.  I am looking for a camera that I can use with faster and lighter lenses that is lighter than my K-3 but has a longer focal length than my GR.

At the moment I am concentrating on weight and usability, how my hand matches the grip and controls, balanced against image quality.  I still need to determine how my micro 4/3 camera and lenses fit in the scheme of things, and I need to decide whether I am primarily going to shoot with lighter weight prime lenses or try to find an acceptable zoom lens.

2 comments

  1. Andrei

    The K-3 is perhaps the best aps-c dslr right now (only the newer Canon 7D mk II is marginally better is some regards) and it’s not a really big/heavy camera. The sensor is great but for the best IQ a 18-135 lens is a very bad choice. Pentax has some good pro zooms and some good primes (the DA* and the DA Limited) but the problem is that none of their lenses can match the great Sony sensor in the K-3. Pentax needs a revamp, a big refresh of the lens lineup but I’m afraid that money and sales are the two big problems. The other issue is that Pentax is owned by Ricoh (and was owned lately by other companies like Hoya) so now it’s just a brand of a corporation and can’t decide for itself.

    On the other hand Olympus is doing great lately. It has good cameras (especially the E-M1 and the E-M5 – this one it’s going to be replaced very soon) and a fantastic lens lineup. Great small primes (12 f2, 17 f1.8, 25 f1.8 and 75 f1.8) and fantastic pro zooms (the newer 12-40 f2.8 and 40-150 f2.8).

    My advice is to build a system based on Micro Four Thirds as both Olympus and Panasonic are very committed to the system (there are other third party lens manufacturers out there also). Sadly Pentax it’s just a shadow of its former self (in the late 60’s it sold more than the other Japanese camera companies combined…) and its future is a big question mark…and maybe some big infusion of Chinese capital is what it needs (just like Volvo).

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    • John

      I agree about the 18 – 135 mm lens, but I needed a WR zoom of that range when I got it. I am now in the situation where the K-3 is too heavy for my uses. I considered getting some better lenses but the K-3 itself is too heavy. I have the Olympus E-PL5 and many Panasonic and Olympus lenses for it and I might fall back to micro 4/3 for my longer focal length stuff.

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