29 May 2018

Well, I'm back I

- back in my comfort zone with a Pentax camera. No surprise there, but the trip was a strange one; I’ve had no Pentax digital SLR for several months now, but many lenses remained that had near-zero resale value. 

First off let me confess (again): I have owned so many camera bodies since 2010 that I’ve lost count. My best guess is K100d then K-7, whose sensor drove me to try G1 and GH1. Then I found the joys of owning a K-5. After that it gets hazy, and includes two K200d, every flavor of K-5, two each of K-r, K-s1 and k-01,  a silver K-3ii and at least two K50. We can also include EM10, EM5, ePM2 and ePL5/6/7, G7, GX7, GM1, GX1 and GF2 – not to mention a couple of Samsung NX300 bodies. And don’t bother asking about lenses!

The pattern that caused this amount of turnover repeated often, sometimes in the same year. Assemble a good kit for decent prices, then sell it cheap and step up. Immediately encounter a financial issue that requires a selloff (other things too but mostly easily-moved camera gear). Pick up a consolation prize soon after for cheap and repeat the cycle. Occasionally alternate between Pentax and Panasonic, just in case.

Our finances have been seriously strained for a while, so two GX1 and kit lenses were all we could manage. As things began to look up at last, I looked over what was missing in my kit. The major point to me was weather seals; I recall worrying about the GX1 as it sat on a glove surrounded by a foot of snow as we cruised past it on saucers. I could do better, and either system could make it happen. How best to address that on a budget, given that I owned no sealed lenses?

The bargain µ43 setup would be an EM5 and the Oly 12-50mm lens, which would be at least $350. The better options to my mind would be an EM1 or G85 paired with a Lumix 12-60mm - but that would be $700-950 to make that happen.

My other issue to be addressed is the hidden electronic manipulation of 4Thirds images. I’ve learned to live with focus-by-wire, but when images are autocorrected for distortion and color fringing I get.. nervous. Those corrections are optional in Pentax bodies but only by developing micro43 raw files with ‘non-conforming’ software can I see the untouched image. Results are still good – but it still feels uncomfortable.

I searched optimistically for a K-s2 but the budget suggested a lower price would be best, so I settled for a lightly used olive-green K50 with repaired aperture-control part that is prone to fail on mid-tier Pentax bodies. The 18-55WR and body came to less than $250, which no µ43 body can match!

And so my elder lenses have a natural home again. Sigmas 28-80 and 100-300 ‘slowpoke’, Rikenon 70-150 f/4 XR, and Pentax 18-250 (no autofocus), A50 and M100 can be used as before.

If I can trust my previous post (and the title says it all!), this is my fourth K-50.. ergo K-54?

If I start looking to acquire a higher-spec body I hope I remember writing this!

Here's the latest olivine camera and its stylish '70s strap!