01 October 2015

walking the fine line

I'm quite happy with my gear right now.  If anything were to change it would be the K24mm, which has shown me the value of modern coatings. If it were replaced with a DA21 the problem would become the gap between 21 and 50mm, which a DA35 would fill nicely.  So that is the question that I must ask myself, again: for what I shoot, does the abundance of primes become more of a problem than a really good zoom?

I've always tried to limit any lens to a weight below 500g.  If anything beyond that limit is in my gear, I find ways to leave it behind.  The DA* 50-135 is an excellent lens, but the 410g 55-300 is good enough and substantially lighter.  No 120mm f/2.8 shot with that lens of course.. but I seldom shoot those anyway since I never had any practice before!  In a similar vein I've noted before that my 18-50mm Sigma covers the 21-50mm gap very well, and at around f/4 most of the time.

As the wet season approaches I feel the lack of a WR kit more keenly.  I do enjoy getting the in-storm images of water droplets and fierce weather, and the K-s1 and 18-50 would not be the best choice.  I also found during the lunar eclipse that the lack of interval timing/video troubles me, as it did receive some use at important times in the past.  The K-r did that for me during the eclipse so it's not a big deal - but I have two DSLR camera bodies and neither is foul-weather friendly.  That's sad.

image from Pentaxforums.com
Once the home refinance is complete and a few other items are taken care of, I will give this more thought.  I had once planned to pick up the 20-40mm Limited zoom as part of a future WR kit, but the Sigma 18-50 can replicate 20-40 and with the same aperture range and silent focus.  No WR like the Limited though.  On the other hand the DA 16-85 can do a few things I'm not able to do: all the good things of the 18-50 but with WR and Pentax' quiet focus motor, and that extra bit of range (on both ends!) that I use a lot.  To keep the 55-300 from being overly prominent this would be a good choice.  But it's near my 500g limit.

On yet another hand, my DA15/K24/DFA50 triplet is a clean 100g heavier than the 16-85.  Going with my lightest trio (the 50A non-macro) I am just about smack on the 500g barrier.  So with primes I can shoot with a lighter lens on the camera but the overall pack weighs the same or more!  And as for price.. well if I sold the Sigma and DA15 (gasp!), the K24  and perhaps the smc-M 100/2.8 .. the switch would be self-financing.  That puts me back near prime-free mode but it cuts way back on the feeling that I should have carried another lens or two.  The two DA zooms will manage 16-300mm, and the DFA50 can come along for closeups.. I'd be OK with that.

One more problem relates to video, and Pentax' fake (digital) stabilization instead of SR.  The 18-50 Sigma has internal OS so it can stabilize in a better manner than the camera.  Back in the K-r days the SR system did stabilize the video but those days have passed, for some unclear reasons..

The other big WR piece then needs to be addressed.  K-s2 or K-3?  While the K-s2 would address nearly every need I have, I'm not prepared to speak with certainty on this one.  Both weigh more than the comfy little K-s1, but the absence of a few big features (e.g. interval shooting of stills/video and custom settings on the mode dial) is being felt.  I'd be fine holding out a while on that decision and let the WR lens be on the K-s1 despite its relative nose-heavy feel.  Baby steps are OK for now.

And perhaps the next APSc Pentax will be a much better fit for my style, as it could incorporate the SAFOX XI AF system with the new Clarity function, and toss in the 200k shutter life. As always - we shall see!