14 January 2015

just saying 'NO'

Every now and then I encounter a sale post or internet deal that reels me in and holds on tightly.  The old habit is silly from both practical and financial points of view, as my current gear will give me 18-200mm coverage in both Pentax and Samsung native lenses (weather resistant on Pentax), up to 300 with the 100-300 K lenses and nx adapter.  I can add the 17mm fish-eye and 400mm megatele to either kit as well.  This is more than sufficient coverage .. yet still I walk the virtual streets seeking something else.  Why is that?

The most common reason I give myself is a better level of closeup ability.  I have no true macro lens, not even 1:2 types and I like being able to take closeups!  Well yes, I do have a TC/extension combo that turns my 55mm f/1.8 into a nice 110/3.5 as well as several closeup diopter filters in different diameters.  I have also owned at least six macro primes capable of 1:1 or 1:2 scale - and sold them all.  Obviously that's not relevant or I would not keep stepping out into Internet traffic, waiting for a deal to strike me... The latest temptation is a Sigma 70-300mm with apochromatic lens element and 1:2 macro built within.  Hooray: a decent telezoom with faster f/5.6 optics at 300mm and good closeups!  Yes it is probably double the weight of my 100-300 f/4.5-6.7 and will cost at least five times what I paid for that lens.  But look at the closeups - who could say no to that?? 

Both images taken with Quantaray (Sigma)
100-300mm f/4.5-6.7 .. cropped
Apparently that would be me - for now at least! 

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So wish me luck: it seems I shall need it in lieu of even a small pinch of self-control.  Clearly it's time to take my Quantaray 100-300 out for a walk so it can remind me yet again of its great mix of very good image quality, light weight, fast focus.. and sub-$40 price tag!

02 January 2015

here at last: another 50-200

My new Pentax DA 50-200WR took a weird route to my home.  Here is my part of its story!¹

Shortly before Christmas Amazon showed a great price drop on the 50-200wr: $120 for a brand new copy, a great deal! Just in case of a super deal, I wandered the used section, where prices generally fall proportionally with the new-item price. Sure enough, a $75 copy in Used-Good condition, with caps and hood (which implies a DA and not a hood-less DAL). I cheerfully ordered it and awaited its 12/20 arrival. I had sold off my weather-resistant gear and this deal prompted me to watch the Marketplace for a K200d (now in hand).

Now I'm not a pixel-peeper but I am a devoted shipment-watcher - so I put the tracking data in my 'ship' folder of bookmarks. It sat in Virginia for several days and missed its 12/20 date. After it sat in Virginia a few more days I finally checked in with Amazon.

The response was surprising: it seemed the package was "lost in the mail"  and they were refunding my money. Curious. Amazon would also send me a voucher for free fast shipping when I bought the $200 new version - umm no thanks. The next day I received another note - package was Undeliverable and returned to the seller.  No surprise there, as Longview WA is NOT IN VIRGINIA! On a hunch I returned to the Amazon site, and there it was, same seller and still $75 even though the new price had gone up $50 or so. I ordered it again, this time with 2-day shipping, hoping that would change its luck.

image from pentaxforums.com
Soon I had a new tracking number and found it in Kentucky - with a delivery date well over a week off. Hmm, even the holiday for New Years doesn't make a 2-day shipment take over a week.. so I contacted Amazon again. They apologized and took the $12 surcharge away so I'm back to standard shipping.

Today I checked the UPS site and found it "Out For Delivery" with original arrival of 1/7 revised to 1/2 - again curious, yet in a good way!  It's now here, looks nearly new (other than scuff marks to show it's been mounted a few times) and is in fact a DA 50-200 WR with Pentax caps and hood. While I feel bad about the shipping refund, let's recall this should have been in my hands two weeks earlier.

¹This post is snatched from my note in the Pentax forums at pentaxforums.com