Archives for December 23, 2008

Pentax lenses vs Canon lenses

Pentax offers a full range of lenses from wide, telephoto, zoom and specialty lenses up to date. Compared to Canon lenses, Pentax has some advantages. In this entry I will evaluate only modern up-to date lenses (not discontinued or legacy lenses).

First, Pentax lenses’ price tag is significantly cheaper than the Canon counterpart. For example, Pentax 14mm f/2.8 is $1400 cheaper than Canon 14mm f/2.8. General purpose low light lens Pentax DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 SDM is also significantly cheaper than Canon 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM or 24-70mm f/2.8. ($600 compare to $1000 / 1200)

When you have to pay quite a lot of money for lens-based Image stabilization in advance Canon lenses, in Pentax, you have built-in stabilization in camera body that work with every Pentax lenses up to date. That is one reason why Pentax lenses are cheaper.

Second, Pentax has exotic pancake lenses collection called DA Limited. These lenses are optimized for its small built yet very durable and produce great image quality. These lenses are affordable (starting at $250) and ideal for photographers who value ultimate portability.

Third, Pentax new DA* (DA Star) is a new breed of Pentax lenses. They are weather sealed and equipped by lens-based motor drive called SDM (Supersonic Motor). In the past, Pentax is quite behind Canon and Nikon in term of speed of Auto Focus, with the introducing of SDM and DA*, then the gap is narrower.

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On the other hand, Canon lenses has advantage of being complete. Practically, it has almost everything that beginner, enthusiasts to professional needs at any of price that they can afford.

Even though Canon IS lenses are expensive, but they are more advance from Pentax built-in stabilization in camera body. It has advantage of 1-3 more stops. Canon Lens-based stabilization also allowerd photographer to see the effect of stabilization from viewfinder immediately after it is activated.

Before you decide on what digital slr camera to buy, it is wise to check out their cameras and lenses at the same time. Because by making decision on camera, means that you decide on their lens collection as well.

Off course, they are also third party lenses that are available for both brands: Sigma, Tokina, Tamron.

Here are table of direct lenses comparison:
BC is Lens build, IQ is Image quality

Comments: Pentax offers a solid line-up comparable to Canon’s from super wide angle lens to standard general purpose lenses. Lenses like DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 SDM and DA 17-70mm f4 SDM is very versatile and almost a must have for most Pentax photographers.

Canon outshines Pentax in telephoto ranges. Canon 70-200mm series are awesome along with high range 70-300mm and affordable entry level 55-250mm IS. Canon also have stellar collection for professional sport photographers in low light – super telephoto prime, while Pentax only provide medium telephoto DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 and 60-250mm f4 lens.

In conclusion
In general photography, especially wide to medium telephoto (14-135mm) Pentax has many quality lenses for you, but in telephoto range of 70-400mm, Canon provides many more options especially pro-quality lenses. If you care about portability, Pentax pancake lenses could catch your attention. Overall, Pentax system could save you significant amount of money, but Canon has significantly better collection to deal with low light, sports or fast action photography.

Related post: Pentax System, Canon EOS System, Pentax vs Sony vs Olympus lenses


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