BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Leigh Phaneuf

How does Pentax compare?

I have seen lots of questions about the Canon and Nikon cameras. What about Pentax. Are they even comparable in quality to the big names of Canon and Nikon. The prices on Pentax fit my budget better but would rather not waste that money on something way inferior. Should I even consider purchasing the Pentax ZX60?

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11/4/2002 8:28:09 AM

doug Nelson   Their lenses (50-mm f1.4, 28-mm f3.5, and 85-mm f1.8) give Leica and Contax competition. I THINK their present autofocus camera bodies can use manual Pentax K lenses.
Every maker has a loyal following of owners. Check out for comments about these great older lenses, the new Pentax bodies that can use them, and links to other Pentax sites.

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11/4/2002 12:15:38 PM

doug Nelson   Whoops, the old man's wrong. The next camera up the Pentax line takes manual lenses, NOT the ZX-60. If you want the ZX-60, try to get it with a 50-mm lens. You'd have better optics for maybe less money. I think you'll like Pentax.
IF you're a real serious photography student, think about an all manual Pentax MX body and a manual focus 50. These lenses are going for about $35 and their resoution and lack of distortion put entry-level zooms to shame.

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11/4/2002 12:30:49 PM

Michael F. Harrington   Wow! That's a real tough question, Leigh! Like Doug says, every brand has a loyal following. While serving in Japan a group of us G.I.'s went heavy into photography. I went Nikon, and my buddies went Pentax (Spotmatic), Canon, and Minolta. In those days there was no such thing as AF/AE. I honestly could not see the difference in quality of the photographs. However, two brands have filtered out to be the so-called industry giants; Canon and Nikon. I believe you will find in these two brands a wider selection of lenses both in their own or in third party.

It's really the lens investment that will dictate what you start or stay with. In my case I cannot use my old Nikkor lenses on my new N80 Nikon. In reality I could have gone Canon, and nearly did. But then the N80 came out, and I have never looked back. No that I have a collection of AF Nikkor lenses, I will most likely stay with a Nikon in the future as that's where my real money is. I am drooling over the new D100 Coolpix. All I need there is the body and I'm all set to go.

Oh, yes, I still shoot with my old Nikon FTn! Nothing has surpassed the optics of those old prime lenses, either.

Okay, did I make myself clear?

A). Pentax? No problem, they are good (entry levels I do not know to much about)

B). It's the lenses that count

C). You can probably change brands if you go AF/AE without wasting your existing lens base, since they are not compatible anyway.

D). I love Nikon (Just had to toss that one in.

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11/5/2002 12:32:10 PM

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