A new K5 team is coming together. First up is the 50-200 WR - in DAL form now, unlike the DA-only during the K-5's heyday. A copy of the DA not-L 18-55wr makes the team even more familiar, and wet-weather shooting is available again! Toss in the throwback Pentax 50 & 100mm primes, sigma 15/2.8 fisheye & the Q•ray 300/5.6 mirror-lens and we'll call things decently covered for K mount, at least for a while. Perhaps at some point the 18-55 will mutate to a *16-50 or HD16-85, but no hurry. Even more appealing would be to catch a DA21 and a 35 or 40!

The K-5 looks very good (was listed in E condition) but shows over 22k actuations! That makes its appearance even more impressive with that much use. I look forward to re-gaining experience with what has been my most-used (or longest-in-hand at least) Pentax body. Change may be a good thing, but going through a half-dozen bodies in two years is not.


Another reunion came this week when I became reacquainted with a photo I took seven years ago. It was a dark and stormy afternoon, but the setting sun caught a line of storms as I walked across our local park. I took my Sony A200 home, broke out an early copy of PS Elements and removed some green tint and a few power lines. 

It's a nice memory- especially considering my wife was quite healthy in November 2009 when this was taken. Seven months later her health took an odd and frightening turn which even now has not been fully diagnosed or treated.  I've taken a few other good images since then, but seven years of our life together has passed that cannot be returned, and what comes definitely will never be the same as what could have been.



Why two systems, is that what you asked? What a coincidence, I was just about to speak on that.

I'm down to two systems again, with the NX300 and Pentax K-5 Classic. I can't say enough good things about the GM1, but having two mirrorless systems makes minimal sense. The GM1 has nearly everything the K-5 has in a far smaller package - but no Weather Resistance.  The NX300 has great features the others don't have, like sweep panorama - plus I already own 24-300mme in stabilized lenses - plus a 18mme fisheye!

Owning two systems makes sense when neither one covers the full user needs. Adding a third system can add to that coverage but generally duplicates (or triplicates!) so many features. That's what the GM1 was doing to me, and I had to Make It Stop!

So how does this all work in my circumstance? Let me count the ways -
  • Pentax for WR, familiar handling, silly-good battery life and excellent post-capture features
  • Samsung for video with AF, sweep panorama, tilt+touch screen, focus peaking, compactness
  • either system for excellent image quality, old-lens capability and stabilized images
Other features exist but those are the ones I seek and find truly useful. Wet weather is abundant west of the Cascade Range for much of the year so that's a clear need. Pentax is great at simple fixes like crop to 1:1, filter to pseudo-infrared or change nearly every exposure parameter, process raw in-cam, save as raw after the jpeg-only shot,  shoot DNG format for near-universal software use.. many others. Samsung trims the overall size of the kit (though the 50-200 is pretty bulky), allows the touchscreen or zoom to set up a crop in play mode, and has some great little lenses like the 16/2.4 and 30/2 for bonus compactness and great image quality. The sensor is not quite up to the K-5 level to my eye, but something about its tonal range (even in monochrome!) sets it apart from other cameras I have used.

As of right now the Pentax kit is least filled out, especially in WR lenses.
15/2.8 fisheye, 50/1.7 and 100/2.8 all manual
18-250 superzoom, 50-200WR all auto

Samsung kit can use any of those with a proper adapter but includes its own native set.
16/2.4, 16-50pz OIS, 20-50, and 50-200 OIS

dXo sensor scores, for what those might be worth. Man that K-5 dynamic range (at ISO80)!
Some day a Pentax WR will cover the wide end, and the NX 30mm f/2 will return!


a long, strange trip

My K-5 history will resume shortly with an EX copy coming from KEH. I owned my original copy of the Classic model from January 2012 to December 2014* and later tried the II and IIs versions. All did marvelous work.

I had hoped to grab another II - but current finances dictate that saving $70ish is worth doing.. so I did it. I nearly went for a K30 in white, but several factors steered me back to the K-5: familiar control set, iso80, quiet shutter, incredible battery life  - and I already own a 2nd battery + usb charger that's charging in advance! Such extras as a grip don't interest me much, but it's available. The K30's better video specs do not compensate for the positives noted above, especially since the nx300 is available when video beckons.

*Ouch - here's an insightful quote from January 2012, when the K-5 arrived.
Several packages arrived at our house today, heralding a new era in my imaging 'career'.  Lately, 'career' has been more like 'careen' as I hopped from one K-mount camera to another in the past twenty months, attempting to have the best possible camera while paying medical bills.

It's tough to admit, but it stuns me that I owned a Pentax camera for nearly three years, as three months feels about right lately. I'm hoping that my previous experience with the K-5's staying power will keep my wanderings in check for a while!


Wet weather blues

So now the GM1 and NX300 stand alone to face the wet season. That isn't ideal in the least, as my only "safe" wet-weather gear is the Pentax 50-200mm wr lens! Our budget is tight for a few months so it will have to do.

What are my options for future foul weather? Let us see:
  •  Samsung has nothing for me under $1500 with the NX1 & S-class glass. No thank you.
  •  Pentax has a few choices for $500 or less, best options being a K5 variant, a K7 or another K50. A wide wr lens would need to come along though, as the current 50-200 is not a full purpose option.
  •  For micro4:3, Panasonic has a couple of choices now, the GX8 and G85 being the sub-$1k options. My preferred choice would be a GX8 and Lumix 12-60, with the GM1 and 14-42 becoming our spousal cam. 
  •  The best bargain of the bunch would be an older Olympus EM5 and 12-50 for $500ish, since my 14-42 is not weather sealed. 
So this decision will wait for Christmas and its bargains. I think.


once more on the merry-go-round

Today the K-3ii left the building, a week after the 20-40 Limited zoom. The debt-reduction strategies were not quite sufficient to change our financial situation. The original plan of buying a new camera at Christmas-time was correct, and buying early to catch the silver model was unwise. It hurts on several levels: poor budgeting, buying too much too soon, and going back to institutions for restructuring of debts. A refinance will happen soon which will 'finally' put us right - but we must watch things more closely.

So the GM1 with its simple looks and talented insides will take charge for a while, with the NX300 on deck. More Pentax lenses will go and a bargain 35-100 or 45-150mm Lumix lens will complete that kit at some point. Depending on circumstances the NX300 team might leave as well; funds outpoint gear right now to ensure no last-minute surprises interfere with the home-refinance process. And that will be fine, for now.

HOW COULD I let go of the K-3ii?
While I was sure the top-level APSc body would serve me well, several factors caught me off guard; combined with another financial crunch, this was easier to decide than I expected.

For one thing, the GM1 has multi-exposure and time-lapse stills & video. I have always liked having those items available but did not expect to see them in the minuscule Lumix. While I believe the K-3 series has more versatile options in the combining of multiple exposures that I could use, that use would not be all that frequent.

Another is the overhead that Pixel-Shifting brings to the table. I have no doubt that it can be used to great effect in many places I like to be (e.g. above timberline where few things move), the truth is I haven't been in those places recently. Also the time expense to get my software in line to accurately massage and motion-correct any issues then deal with other image factors.. well those really aren't my photographic 'thing'. Pretending that I want to do that will not fool me for long.

Finally: 24 megapixels. I find 16 to be more than enough, and usually too big to put online. When I print I feel that's sufficient, but again that's not something I have done in a few years. Having the capability to do things that don't greatly interest me is the wrong path right now. Perhaps in a few years I'll take a road less traveled, but as a homebound caregiver for the past several years it's not a time to overextend my gear. I need to accept that reality.

So 16Mpix, micro4:3, and simplicity will do - for now! And if I must carry something larger I can still pull out the E500 and its chunky 18-180mm zoom and look more like a pro. A pro visiting from 2007 yes, but still..