30 August 2014

two fast breaks

Once the Great Purge of 2014 ended, I expected to take a break and reason out what to do about the reduced kit.  On the other hand fortune best strikes those prepared (or something such), and as noted in the last post my bid on a 28mm f/2 held up by a whole six dollars!  While it seems silly to buy a 28 after selling a 24 and a 30, those went for more than this Vivitar cost so on at least one level it makes a smidge of sense.  This is the Kiron 'auto wide angle' label, which users have rated decently (though less than the other two at pentaxforums).  It won't be here for a while with Labor Day stopping the mail, but hopefully it will match or outdo the old Rikenon-P that I liked so much before the 24mm stole its place.

The other surprise happened as I breezed past 'Stuff' in Portland on my way elsewhere.  They have a tiny photo section, so I stopped by.  Funny, the two zooms for Pentax are Quantaray 28-90 and Sigma 100-300, the two I already have - and a smattering of 50s.  Hmmm, a teleconverter?  Yes, a 2x Macro TC also from Vivitar, like I had before but at half the price And in like-new condition!  Many folks remove the glass and just use the adjustable tube for variable-ratio macro use - I might join them but first we'll see how the optics do.

Hopefully those two Vivitari will serve me well enough and I can stop with all the dealing - well, that's the plan.

28 August 2014

the Kit Reunites

At last I found it, a box with the cryptic label "K+Q DV" that had appeared late in our move, and hence was packed early (about a year ago!).  Inside was the missing K-mount gear, my wife's Q and several old DV camcorders that my dad had tried and tired of.  Since my other boxes were marked "CAMERAS 2" and "Photo", it's pretty clear that "K+Q" was not a helpful hint!

So the Hanimar 400mm f/6.3 preset is back, never knowing that a 300mm Takumar had replaced it for a time (I mailed that out yesterday).  This one is so much lighter than the Tak; the price of fast glass for sure.  My wife's Q is also back, sitting by two X-5 boxes and listening to me rave about the cute K-s1 that's coming - that can't be reassuring!  A few other items of value also return to the light of day, including three film cameras (two Ricoh, one Pentax ME/SE).

Some day I will go over those DV camcorders (that were also replaced by the K-s1), charge some batteries, and try to watch some 15-year-old tapes.  Today is not that day.. but soon.

So here's the gear, post-purge!
cameras: K-5, Q*2, X-5*2, ME/SE film - awaiting K-s1
primes: 8FE, 17FE, Viv28/2, DA40, A50 1:2, M85/2, M135, Han400
zooms: DA18-55 (a white DAL and a WR), Quantarays 28-90 1:2 and 100-300.
for sale: 8FE, A50 1:2 + K-01

Hot flash - I won a bidding 'war' for a Vivitar (Kiron) 28mm f/2 overnight!

27 August 2014

it's tomorrow and now.. the K-s1

Yesterday's post ended with the innocent comment about seeing 'what tomorrow will bring' Now we know... oh, boy.

in a surprise move, Pentax announced the existence of a weeklong-rumored camera, the k-s1.  Real specs appeared, and they impressed me especially since it was supposed to be an "entry level" cam.  My spouse looked over my shoulder and said it looked cool.  And so I caved.
Yup, for the first time ever I pre-ordered a camera. 

So first off, what's not really different from my current K-5?
Ricoh-imaging.co.jp's /09/19 ship 
date may mean little in the USA
Equivalent features make up the bulk of things, like TAv and Sv settings, pentaprism viewfinder, Pentax shake reduction, interval shooting and starry sky shots using the O-GPS1 attachment.  The SAFOX IX+ AF module is in essence identical.  And let's not forget top speed of 1/8000 second shutter vs.  -- well, 1/6000s.  No stopwatch needed here!

What will I miss from the K-5 series?  
  • Weather seals are the big change - OK so no standing outside in heavy rain: check! * 
  • better battery life
  • the security of a proven camera
  • second control dial is lost - bummer yet not a huge loss to my way of doing things.  
  • near-silent shutter will likely go away, and that's a shame.  
  • burst shooting will be slower... gee have I ever used it?  And four more Mpxls will do that.

And what do I gain?  Let us see:
  • smaller and lighter body, enough that a second small cam could become unnecessary
  • a gentle bump to 20 Mpixels, using a Sony sensor with a short but very good track record
  • interval-movie function (lost when the K-01 was sent off) and 1080p video for our new TV
  • an updated interface that is controversial online - but I will take the chance 
  • exciting new fonts and timer/face-detect lights (ok not exciting :) and especially
  • new tech from the K-3, like 
    1. AA simulation and no physical low-pass filter, 
    2. somewhat better video specs (maybe I'll use it now), 
    3. focus peaking
    4. AF-hold and expansion for better focus tracking
    5. multi-auto white balance
    6. an HDMI port
For me that's a decent net gain, for my manual primes and how I shoot.  It also gives me better AF-c shooting if I start going for pretty birds, which is in my plans at the new home.  I really enjoyed my k-x a few years ago; this is slightly smaller and massively more sophisticated.  For me, small is good.

So let's do this upgrade!!

- oh yeah, I already did. It's the one on the left. ^D


* and I'm keeping the K-5 so weather seals will be available when needed!

26 August 2014


A few hours after the last post, I crafted a list of five expendable lenses plus three 'maybe's that I could lose without great pain.  I also put the IIs body on the list.  A day later and all three maybes are gone but three of the others remain!  The IIs and 18-250 are departing and the k-01 is pending sale.

 Swift and radical change, and when it's over very little camera debt will remain on the books.  That's good, as several six-months-no-interest purchases went late and caused trouble.

Curiously though, two that I expected to depart swiftly are still here; no easy explanation other than 'timing is everything'.  I mused about keeping the 30mm if the 24 sold, and that's what happened - for about four hours.  A cheap 28 now is alone on my 'need' list - maybe another Rikenon?

As to what tomorrow may bring, WSS!

24 August 2014

so much for the group photo

After unpacking most of our things, I had planned to assemble all the gear in one grand photo shoot.  It would include two Qs, two X-5, K-5 K-5iis and K-01 bodies, a goodly number of primes and several manual and autofocus zooms.  Alas, one box is missing - so the second Q and Hanimar 400mm (along with who knows what else, as that box was packed almost a year ago) is unavailable.

leftish-rightish: Tak300, 18-55wr, Rokinon 8fe, K17fe, A24,M135/200 atop K-01 box, K30, O=GPS1, DA40, A50/2.8 1:2, 
Sigma/Quantarays (18-250, 28-70/2.8-4, 100-300/4.5-6.7, 28-90 1:2), K-5, K-5 IIs, M85/2, Tak105, Q
missing from scene: Hanimar 400/6.4 preset, another Q, two X-5 and ... ?
shot with Nikon 1 J1

Part of the motivation for a group shot is that it's just 2MS (too much stuff) and a goodly amount of it will be leaving soon.  I can no longer justify assembling a great kit that only shoots yard images.  We make plans often to go places and see things, but when those don't happen the gear does nothing but sulk in a corner of the house and call me a gear collector not am image maker.  My plea is No Contest.

The K-01 will be leaving first as the deal is essentially concluded.  A few primes will depart (still debating this one) and the 18-250 plus manual zooms, leaving the 28-90 and 100-300 Quantarays and an 18-55WR to do the zoom work.  Which K-5 variant stays is also up in the air.  My wife will decide whether she prefers Q or X-5 for her shooting, and I will keep a copy of her choice as well.

Pentax has a new camera in the rumor mill, a small-body K-S1; if it pans out for specs I may let both K-5 bodies go and take the small route instead.  I continue to seek the ideal smaller camera (most recently picking up a Nikon 1J1 - 2MS strikes again!) so perhaps the new Pentax can serve all needs at once?

 As I so often say, we shall see.

07 August 2014


  • As in "I brokedown & bought an SMC-M 135/3.5" to complete any reasonable set of manual primes.  The set is currently 8-17-24-30-40-50-85-105-135-200-300-400 but 8 and 105 will probably go, and the 40 is a Limited AF in truth.  After testing the 300mm Takumar against my 100-300 zoom, it could move along also; we shall see.  The AF kit would be 18-250, 18-55, 100-300; that's plenty as the K17 fisheye is like 14.5mm rectilinear, and the 85/2 can fill the 55-100 gap marvelously.  The 18-250 works pretty well for me in most cases, but when times are wet (and they will be!) the 18-55wr is very important to have when the budget isn't certain.
  • Also see "I brokedown and bought a Nikon 1 J1" - simply as a scientific experiment of course, it means nothing :^)  This 1" sensor and 28-80ish zoom will slug it out against Pentaces Q and X-5 (in some cases even the K-01 ); the result will be fewer cameras and more comfort about which does what best for me/us.  For $140 in like-new condition, why not learn something... right?