The Big Switch

For years and years, many of us Pentax shooters waited patiently for a full frame camera to appear from Pentax. Year after year, rumour after rumour, the die-hards amongst us waited for this bold new announcement to come out, and it never has. In fact, during all that time Pentax denied that it was even interested in that option. We persisted in our beliefs. While I do think it’s inevitable that Pentax will release a full frame option in the more immediate future, I stopped waiting for it and started the big switch to Nikon with the D800.

You can get the specifications to this remarkable camera from Nikon. Funny enough, I bought with the lens attached to the promo shot above: the AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR. A nice lens, with a great focal range. A little slow at f/4, but in more controlled lighting that’s not really an issue. I’ll be updating my wish list in the (very) near future to reflect my new desires as a Nikon owner. In the meanwhile, I’ll be posting my Pentax gear for sale in various places including Pentax Forums.

So, why did I switch? Well, I have a few reasons:

  1. Full frame. Despite the fact that the K-5 is a stellar camera, it’s a 1.5 crop sensor and I wanted the larger option. While the latest information from Pentax says a full frame option is much more¬†imminent, I’ve heard that before, and I’m not prepared to wait any more. Bear in mind that the longer I wait, the less valuable my gear becomes.
  2. Flash and lighting system. Nikon has an awesome system, Pentax has near stone-age. While, obviously, you can do studio shooting with a K-5 given that I have many examples on this site alone, it’s a lot more manual work to get it all going and your access to radio triggers and so on is anemic. Throw in the 1/250 sync speed on Nikon vs 1/180 on Pentax and it’s even more compelling.
  3. Rental options. Gear is expensive and having the ability to rent it is really handy and practically nobody in the Toronto region is renting out Pentax equipment that I’m aware of. Nikon or Canon? You’re in.
So, the switch isn’t a function of quality, the Pentax K-5 (and successors) is a stunning camera, it’s amongst the best out there and is really only exceeded in capability by full frame systems. If you’re an outdoor shooter looking for a light, fast, champion shooter, then you should be looking at the K-5, especially the new one without the AA filter. That’s by the way, the crux of my switch: the direction I want to go in my photography and the direction Pentax wants to go with theirs differ. It’s an amicable split and I’ll continue to cheer for the resurgence of the Pentax name that I hope to see with the Ricoh purchase.


One Week in Cannes and One Lens

One of the reasons I really like Pentax is the quality of their weather sealing on many of their camera bodies, notably the K-5. In order to take advantage of that, however, one must also have a weather sealed or resistant lens to couple to the body or you’ll end up with one fairly large point of failure in the weather sealing. Fortunately, a lot of Pentax lenses are either weather sealed or, at the very least, weather resistant. What’s the difference? Well, the weather resistant lenses aren’t quite as well sealed, but they’re more than adequately sealed for the purpose of walking about in the rain.

So, I have a couple of the Pentax weather resistant lenses for primary purpose of vacation photography and, in particular, the Pentax DA 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 ED AL[IF] DC WR¬†lens. Reviews are a mixed bag on this lens, with many of the review sites suggesting that the sharpness of the lens is a major point of weakness. Not having put it against a lens chart in controlled lighting, nor having a strong need to examine every corner of my images, I’m not especially worried about it. Why? Because the lens parameters potentially make it one of the most ideal travel lenses around. It’s small, it’s weather resistant and it goes from a decent wide to a decent telephoto length. Sure, you’re not going to go do wildlife photography with it, but it wasn’t designed for that. So, this is the lens that I never removed in my week at Cannes… Some outcomes:

The classic Miramar from the beach in Cannes
Sunset on the Beaches of Cannes
When the night falls, it’s time to party in Cannes.
Church at Fort Royal on Ile Saint Marguerite
Old city, narrow streets.
A lake in the French Alps
A quite defensible fort in the French Alps

There was only one day with a little rain, so I never really ended up needing the weather resistance of that lens to play in, though I did get it snowed on in New York City, so I know it works. However, as you can see, the lens is quite versatile, covering a nice range making it ideal as a walk-about travel companion for any sporting a Pentax camera.

Opinionated Photography