7.16.2014

1 for the road

Reporting from our camp trailer via tablet --

Deals come and go, and almost by definition they come at a 'bad' time.  This rule was evident as I found deals on two Pentax lenses: an original mid-'70s k-mount 30mm f2.8 (from England!) and a newish foulweather 18.55wr!  These deals decisively close my wheeling & dealing window for the forseeable future (for me that's maybe 2 weeks).

Oh yes, also picked up an OGPS1 attachment for my K-5: not because I care about where I am to within 10' but so I can image the stars while the module tells the camera's sensor to compensate for Earth's rotation.  Cool!

Primes: k17 a24 k30 40Ltd a50macro m85 tak105, m200, tak300 (all Pentax), hanimar 400 
Zooms: 18'55, 18'250, 100'300 plus a few others..

7.13.2014

shut up & move!

Blog time will be reduced now as we shift locations in the coming two weeks.  I'm sitting in our rental house thanks to the new owners, and the New Place has shifted to closing in the coming week.  We may have a gap of several days but a new camp-trailer will suffice; in fact it will do nicely, as it has a/c and this early hot spell finds us with nothing but fans at the old place!

One other bit of interesting timing has occurred: an smc-M 85mm f/2 came up for bid and I won.  It arrived yesterday and appears to be a typically excellent sample, and wow it's compact!  The smc-M series was like that yet it's still a surprise, and yet again shows how the HD and DA70/2.4 in modern days could be made so small.  It's all about practice.

Signing off, for a while!

6.25.2014

moving on II: the New Place

We are now quite certain of where our selves and stored things are going next.  Just when it will happen isn't clear yet but it will come soon.  It's a bit remote, meaning wildlife and stars will be more visible.  It has much more storage, hooray!  And the floor-plan suits us both very well.  Also important is the budget impact, which is not what we had originally planned but still very very good.

Swainson's thrush
Catharus ustulatus
For photography it will be a big change from big-city shots that have dominated my recent days and years.  We will have more birds to help me test the recently-acquired 300mm Takumar - including Swainson's Thrush, the bird at right caught in my simple 5Mpxl Casio back in '07.  This is L√≥rien's favorite bird and its song was clearly heard when we first toured the New Place.   Hopefully the finches and robins will still find us, and many hummingbirds - but the abundant crows can remain in Portland, thank you.

We will definitely be looking at new landscapes in all directions, with Mt St Helens now closer than Mt Hood.  It will all take a while to get used to, that is certain - including a new task, chopping wood for our woodstove.

This change comes with an attempted promise of no new gear as a reward... at least not for a couple more months when rainy season resumes.  That's OK though, as I have rewarded myself enough lately despite the tight budget :-o

As noted elsewhere a weather resistant lens is my next good idea - actually the New Place should be wetter than Portland, making WR more than just a good idea!  Once I unpack I will find several lenses that were supplanted in my lineup, so at least one of the next lenses will be self financed.  That's always nice! :^)


6.14.2014

the prodigal lens returns!

I have owned several lenses more than once (18-55s 16-45s, 18-135... yes nearly every kit-like thing).  This has happened for a very good reason - every single time it's been a good one though slightly different each time.  Well so it's an excuse/reason, call it what you will - but here goes.  Pick the word that best suits your reading, and enjoy!

Jim's Law of Gear Obtainence (LoGO):
Each new lens is bought to meet a want/need, and that is very much based on what other lenses you own that don't quite do the job/lust-slaking.  That's what keeps a kit alive/healthy/expensive!  And of course, filling that empty/imaginary hole in the kit redefines the next want/need, and the cycle repeats again/endlessly/until you check into rehab.  

Financial pressure may create/justify a need to sell a few lenses, so after examining/drawing straws regarding what's in the bag, the shooter choose what gets less use/love/good reviews and carefully/recklessly lets a few go.  And yet again the cycle repeats.
from dxomark.com

So what has me in such a reflective/silly mood (hey stop that!) today?  It's due to my repurchase of the DA40 Limited.  Yes I owned this before and really liked it, then went all-in on zooms like the Tamron 28-75 that was just as fast but more versatile, then went to all-manual primes.  But clearly there was this gaping hole between 24 and 50mm and by the LoGO I had to... (hey stop that!)

At one point I also owned the DA40 XS lens, which is cuter and tinier (well, not cuter as such) than the Limited.  The quick-shift clutch is a nice feature though, so the Limited is a better choice for me because... OK spill it: I found a used Limited 40 for $229 online, and that was irresistible.  There: I said it, and I am feeling much better now!

Of the three Limited lenses I've tried (40, 70, 21) I liked the DA40 best, so picking up this bargain was a no-brainer.  Literally!  Well, I really liked the 70 best too, but that's at least another $100 used so I can afford to like the DA40 more.  Yes, that's it - I like the DA40 best per square mm and per dollar, so it's really value density that matters.

My other amazingly good reason is that I own a prime lens from every Pentax manual-focus lens series (Tak, SMC-M, SMC-A) but not a Limited, which focuses manually/any time I want even when in autofocus mode.  So it had to be in my kit!  That and it's tiny & cute (less and more so respectively than the XS).

Oh wait I forgot the best reason/excuse of all!  I own the Limited-lens version of PentaxForums' 2013 t-shirt (the middle one but in white), and I don't want to give it back - so I must own a matching Limited.  So it's a matter of use it (lens) or lose it (shirt) more or less, as it were.  Although to be entirely correct I believe that's a DA70 focus scale on the shirt... maybe next time?
image from pentaxforums.com 2013 t-shirt sale

6.12.2014

four ways to seal a Pentax body

Now that the pressure of moving is almost over, I can consider the single missing item in my bag: a WR lens to let me play in any weather.  I currently see four options in the range I am seeking, plus one more long option.  Several of these have been tried, and they moved on for one good reason or another.

So here's my 4½ choices:
  • DA 18-55wr - owned at least three times, both nice and cheap
  • DA 18-135wr - owned at least twice, never satisfied with results
  • DA* 16-50 - never tried, heavy & spendy but f/2.8; SDM is good and bad news.
  • DA 20-40 Limited - a curious new choice, wr and DC motor.  Most expensive choice.
  • DA 55-300wr - tried and liked all previous non-wr versions
The first two should just be removed from this list, as I keep selling them.  The 18-250 zoom covers both their ranges anyway and it can handle a little moisture now and then.  Thing is it also covers the 55-300's range pretty well!

So that leaves the big two: DA* and Limited.  
The 16-50 could crowd the 17 fisheye a bit, which would be sad, but for hiking it's a solid though heavy choice along with the 105mm Takumar or perhaps an 85mm lens to be found later.  For hiking light the 20-40 is a very good choice, does not crowd the fisheye and opens up space for
pentaxforums image
primes like the 50/2.8 macro.  The DC motor of the 20-40 has shown itself to be durable, though the SDM on the 16-50 can be overridden with the screw drive inside the camera (farewell silence, but hello certainty).

And of course, Pentax is bound to seal a prime lens one of these days... right?
I live in interesting times :^)