You are very welcome for the help. I really love photography and love sharing what I know with people out there.
So to answer your question….
You had mentioned that you are going to be getting a camera for Xmas and you were wondering what would be an excellent camera of choice. There was a mention of the Canon 7D, Nikon D7000,and the Pentax K-5.
I think all of those are excellent cameras but I think there are things that could be addressed.
Let’s begin with the Canon 7D. Awesome camera. I know people who shoot with it professionally here in LA and they def. use it for creating videos/movies. As a matter of fact, I recently just came off a job with a production company and they were using it to create the promotional videos/commercial for a well known hotel. It performed like a champ. I think image quality is spectacular but lets be honest mega pixels doesn’t always equate to great image quality. For example, if you go through my website, the majority of those images are done with a Nikon D700. And the D700 has less mp than the Canon 7D. Which brings me to my next camera…
I love the Nikon D7000. It is basically my camera ( the D700 ) in a smaller sensor camera. It has amazing iso latitude which allows you to get wonderful low light images. I can speak personally about this camera and I have seen low light images from this shooter and they are fantastic. Image quality is superb. And let’s not forget about the fact that it creates 1080p video also.
Ok, the underestimated Pentax. I will put this out there and stand by it. If I didn’t shoot Nikon, I would shoot Pentax. I just love the functionality and ease of use that Pentax has always been! Buttons are always well thought out and functionality has always been consumer based. If you do some homework, you’ll find that people love the sensor that is found in the super compact Pentaxs’. The reports will also state that they are just slightly better than the Nikon D7000( Nikon D7000 vs Pentax K-5 ). That’s a lot to say, for a camera company. And it will also shoot video too!
Here is where it all matters. With what you shoot, pets and wildlife, what you are looking for is a camera that is quick on the draw and isn’t very confusing to use. Also, there is the issue of how rugged it is and how light it is. You’ll need both of these things if you are going to shoot wildlife and animals. So as you know, pets and animals don’t wait for for you to change your shutter speed/aperture. So it’ll be nice for you to have everything at your fingertips. Also, being outdoors, it is nice to have something that can take a beating and maybe a little moisture/rain.
Pentax and Nikon have the ability for you to control shutter speed and aperture with your thumb and pointer finger. The Canon requires you to press an extra button to change them. Which means it is not as quick as the other two. Also, Pentax was created with a stiffer body and better seals for taking bad weather. Since you want to shoot more in dimly lit environments, the Nikon D7000 has excellent high ISO images.
If you want to shoot those things…you’ll need very fast lenses.
You can get very nice lenses from all 3 companies. This is where the bulk of your money will be spent. And will also be another conversation. I’ll put this out there about Pentax and I’ll say that currently the lenses I am drooling over are all Pentax pancake lenses. They are so awesome. They have this pink lens I really want( it also comes in Silver, gold, blue, red, and some other colors ).
My choice for you would be either be the Nikon or Pentax. If it was me, I would go Pentax. It has a cheaper price tag on the body and the kit lens that you can get for it has always performed better than the kit lenses form Nikon or Canon. With the extra money you save you can get a nicer lens. And truthfully, the lens is more important than the body right now. I have an old Nikon D70 body. 6 mp camera that is paired with my awesome lenses and the images are still gorgeous. I have shot major jobs with that camera and nobody cared that it was 6mp. What they did care about is that the images were gorgeous. Better yet, get the Pentax K-R. The body is around $500 and you can do yourself a favor by buying a really nice lens. The lens I would choose for you is this:
this would turn into around a 45mm and would be a great fast lens to do your work with.
Here are some things to think about in regards to what you shoot……
animals, needs a wide angle lens.
wildlife, needs a big zoom( out to 200mm min )
portraits, need at least 70mm for a portrait that is not distorted.
take a look at this lens, it is completely cool.http://www.pentaximaging.com/camera-lenses/smc_PENTAX_DA_70mm_F2.4_Limited
for a 70mm lens it will transform to 105ish and will be perfect for portraits at f/2.4!
I hope this helps, please email me again if you need any clarification. I’ll be glad to help.