19 August 2016

timetable shift!

As I mentioned in this pentax-forums post, I needed to accelerate my next-camera timetable today.

I planned to update my camera gear around Christmas-time.  First thoughts were a K-3 but the news that pixel-shift images can be corrected with computer software moved me toward the model II instead.  When I learned that silver bodies were available at the Pentax webstore, I was certain I had chosen my next camera..  and the last one for quite a while!

Then it struck me today.  Pentax seldom makes a lot of silver bodies, and when they run out it's over.
Sure enough, websites aplenty announced this was a limited run of 500 to commemorate Ricoh's eighty years in the camera business - and assuming those would last until December just wasn't a safe bet.

So it ends.
All my recent work to acquire some big-ticket items is done, and especially camera gear needs to settle for several months.
  • I sought out smaller cameras and ended up with a GM1 and the YoCam
  • I sought out a new vehicle for our rural home and found a used Ford Expolrer SportTrac
  • We replaced washer, dryer & refrigerator with efficient new Samsung models
  • The dream of a Pentax K-1 became a more practical but similarly impressive APSc option -
  • and we paid down a bunch of debt!
Now to figure out how to delete those ads for used cars and K-1 cameras..

tiny white cameras

A trio of little white cameras are here now: the GM1 
(shown here with 9mm fisheye 'body-cap' lens), YoCam and Motorola cellphone. 

Image taken with my HUUUGE K∙50.

Each has its place. I really dislike cell phone cameras, but a visit to Mt. St.Helens forced me to give it a workout. In HDR mode images were okay, somewhat - though the brightening haloes in some shots were really annoying. It's definitely the emergency camera.

The YoCam is the miniscule adventure camera. It can do HD+ video, still shots, live feed to the phone (e.g. backup cam for the car), and go 30 feet underwater.  I must test this before we go anywhere important, but for unusual shooting it definitely has its place. Its wide angle f/2 lens is handy too.

The GM1 is smaller than our old Q, most especially with this lens attached - yet it has a full 4Thirds sensor inside, no pinkie-fingernail sensor here. It will be a challenge to adapt to an advanced camera so small, but the touchscreen can handle most of the controls.

Why are they all white ones?  Simply because I'm tired of black (phone, YoCam) and the used GM1 came this way. I'd have taken red or some other shade if the choice were mine, as white items hide nearly as well as black inside a house with papers strewn about.

Oh wait, I forgot my wife's white NX300 - another shot coming soon, but I'll wait for her pancake 16mm lens to arrive later today!

14 August 2016

micro's last stand

I've tried and enjoyed the micro 4:3 gear, but it's clear that Pentax gear fits my hand and brain just right. I've tried Lumix at least 3 times, and recently gave Oly gear a full workout. Since the NX300 is my wife's clear choice I let all that go, so we're pretty locked down for small-body big-sensor imaging.

from imaging-resource review
 A post recently spread around about the demise of the Lumix GM series. It's since been clarified to mean that Panasonic is redefining the product lines and only the letters "GM" may be demising. Anyway, the GM is truly as tiny as can be with the 4:3 sesnor, and especially when paired with the 12-32m, owners have really liked it.

As I was unable to sell all of my micro gear, a used GM1 is coming soon in order to make use of the 'spare parts'. It can be the telescope cam (with my 1¼" eyepiece to m43 adapter), the ultra-tiny cam (with 9mm body-cap fisheye lens), and a true pocket camera.

I chose to skip is the 12-32mm collapsible lens though. It's wonderful and all that, but the 20mme difference for longer shots is too much to bear. I found a 14-42mm lens at a great price - but which one is it?? It was labeled as the 14-42 II, which I've tried and liked; the shipping order shows the X-Vario 14-42, another collapsible design that would be handier for pocket travel & also gets good reviews. I won't lose as either 14-42mm will serve nicely.

In Samsung news the 16-50 PZ now has a 50-200 III to keep it company, and the 16/2.4 will be here in a bit. Other than the 30/2 that should be enough fun for that setup. Easy to say, now prove it..

07 August 2016

playing with color - NX lenses

Samsung's NX system cranked out many great little primes before going dormant.  (Not that their zooms were bad, but I don't wish to lug around their fast zoom pair - the 16-50pz is just right though!) In the past I've owned the 16 20 and 30mm pancakes and found them to be talented lenses and handy enough to carry any time.

The other curious thing about Samsung is that they do several things similar to Pentax - and that includes colors!  Several bodies came with color options (the NX300 came in silver-trimmed black, brown and white) and other NX and NX-mini bodies also played with colors.  The fun part is that they made several lenses to match the bodies.

I didn't think of color-coded pancakes until my wife asked about a pink lens, and I showed her the NX 16/2.4 prime in a pearly pink. She thought it was cool, but I also showed her white and black primes like the 30/2.0 that many camera folk feel is the best of the pancake primes (they probably did not try Pentax Limiteds, but other than build the NX30 is excellent). We ordered a pink 16 - and now I think about a time when their 10mm fisheye and 30/2 join us. The 3 pancakes look almost identical.. but not if I buy each in a different color! That would force me to buy the 10mm next as it's the hardest to find, and its color would determine the 30's. Or we could just get the Samyang 7.5mm which is easy to distinguish!
our new 16/2.4 (via eBay) 30/20/16mm trio from B&H 2012 website

In Pentax news, no surprise: I was just outbid on a 20-40 Limited. I expect it to go over $420 before it's over (in 4 hours) which is too much right now for us to deal with.

Our next priority is not a lens but a heat-pump, which will both cool us in summers (well in typical summers, it's drizzling here now!) and will be a much more efficient heat source than our 1980s furnace. With a wood-stove to supplement in chilly weather, it's a nice set of choices.

04 August 2016

so much for making lens plans

The demo K-50 came with a DAL 18-55wr! 

shot with K-01 and 100/2.8 smc-M

That's just a bargain beyond belief!

Yes I'd prefer a 20-40 Limited, but clearly this will do quite nicely. The matching 50-200 arrives next week, eliminating any great needs on the Pentax side. I expect this team to last me until Christmas, when dreams of sugar-plums and a K-3ii dance in my head..

03 August 2016

another K-kit

Given what I 've learned of various K-mount lenses (a little) and what I still have (plenty!) - the 'best' lens arrangement for my future K-# camera has changed a bit.

For one, I have 300mm covered well enough with the baby Quantaray mirror. since it has no aperture it can be set to Av and be done with it! That re-enables the 50-200wr to reappear in some form, for weather comfort and decent size/quality. I've found the newer DAL 50-200wr to be a more consistent performer for no sensible reason, so one of those will cover telephoto. On the wide side, the Sigma 28-80 with its 1:2 closeups really deserves more time, so crowding it on the low end is less vital. My WR options are not thick on the wide end - the 18-50, 20-40 or large *16-50/2.8 are in play. I have a bid on the 20-40 that will not win without more padding, but the new RE 18-50 really would be a small treat - especially with the knowledge that above 35mm I can switch in the 28-80. Another wonderful option is the 16-45 f/4, no weather seals but a great hiking choice. If money were less of an issue, the 15 and 21 Limited would be welcome additions!

So here's the K∙50/K-3ii kit plan
  • zooms: 'wide', 28-90, 50-200 (see next post: 'wide' = DAL 18-55wr)
  • primes: 28M, 50A, 100M, 300Q, 400 Hanimar.
.. but what if? 
The monster options for a K-1 differ a bit. I can easily pick up a bargain FA/J 75-300 or FA 100-300 for autofocus (at the cost of that f/3.5 aperture), or just shoot the 50-200 in crop mode.
  • zooms: 28-90 and JCPenney 80-200/3.5
  • prime kit: same as above.

compromising positions

Our debts are now going in the right direction, and my wife agrees that a new Pentax should be included. To my surprise and admiration she feels a K-1 is not too steep a price if it represents the greatest advancement in camera history (my words); I was thinking the K-3 would likely be my highest step.

It should be noted that some bills are not gone though. We need a new fiscal diligence to make things better for good. The K-1 would be a great choice if income from photos were to come with it, and that's something I cannot guarantee. However the K-3ii now feels more reasonable as a choice with nearly the best of everything!

How do they compare?  
Like this: http://camerasize.com/compare/#619,659

The K-3 is just a pinch bulkier than my K-5 that fit so well, but a few buttons and dials have changed. Everything is larger in the K-1: sensor, SR system (better stabilization), screen (with tip and pivot!), number of control dials (3) and of course, price ($1k more±). Each have the new Pixel-Shift mode that provides full color data to every pixel, but the K-1 can correct for moving objects in camera.
However II: the Pentax computer software can correct for motion on both cameras!  This is a recent discovery and really makes the 3ii a more appealing option. The best possible images, APSc size for body and lens savings, 24Mpix (actually more pixel density than the K-1's 36Mpx but gentler on the hard drive) and a similar feature set.

The one thing for sure is that a K-50 bargain body arrives tomorrow.  I had considered sending it back for a time, but we have many financial decisions to make before the camera hits the agenda. The K-50 uses the famous sweet-16Mpx sensor, uses pre-Ricoh controls that I have used for years, has weather seals and does a fine job where it counts.

For a few months at least, the K-50 will do just fine.. and it will feel quite familiar!