Pentax K-5 II
May 2012 to date
The K5 looks almost like the K7 so there’s no new image!
Although I loved the handling of the K7 I was disappointed with the image quality at ISO 800 onwards, and the dynamic range of the sensor wasn’t great. I had brought it from someone upgrading to the K5, but then the K5 II with improved autofocus and LCD and I succumbed. I decided against the K5 IIs which doesn’t have an anti-alias filter and have been quite happy with that choice.
I brought the body only, and sold the K7 body for a reasonable price. I kept the kit lenses to use on the K5 II.
However some photos left me disappointed with the 50-300mm lens so in December 2014 I finally decided to yield and buy myself a DA* 60-250mm F4 ED [IF] SDM. This beast of a lens produces far better quality images than the 55-300mm plus it is faster at the long end. It’s better to hand hold than I expected – the ‘foot’ for a tripod is a handy thing to hold the camera & lens by – and the weight helps remove camera shake – but I’ve got a second release plate for my tripod in the post. It also has it’s own lens hood which stores reversed on the lens.
November 2010 to May 2012
My Pentax K-7 was brought pre-loved in November 2010, with the WR 18-55mm kit lens, and not long after I got a Pentax 55-300mm DA zoom lens (the version with a metal mount) as my old manual focus 70-210mm lens wasn’t long enough and was too hard to focus accurately. Both lenses have reversible lens hoods, and I always use them unless the Cokin-style filters are in use.
The main reason I changed to this camera as the viewfinder is relatively bright and easy to use and it fits my hands – lots of the opposition have good viewfinders but all are too large for me. The far better screen on the back is a bonus, and being able to use my old lenses is a lesser bonus.
The automatic white balance seems better than on the E510, and it clips highlights less readily so I no longer almost always dial in some underexposure. The review at dpreview.com was pretty good, and I felt the weaker areas were not likely to bother me.
July 2008 to November 2010
Fate took a hand when I was rushed to hospital in April 2008 with a burst gallbladder. The work health insurance scheme paid out a sum for each night I was in hospital in an NHS bed, and after a second emergency admission with a pleural effusion I had more than enough to fund a new, better camera. Note I don’t recommend this as a way of financing a new camera!
I went looking for somewhere I could handle the Pentax SLR range, and instead found myself trying an Olympus E510. It fitted my hands so well that I brought it, along with two lenses – the 14-42mm kit lens which is one of the best kit lenses around, and the companion 40-150mm lens. The image quality was stunning after the S5600, though I quickly learnt that it was best to dial in . 7 stop underexposure to avoid clipping highlights and sort it out afterwards in Adobe. I continued to shot almost everything in RAW, or RAW + JPG, and have some images from it I’m really pleased with. I discovered long exposures of waterfalls and got a tripod, and some ND filters. The one thing I felt was lacking was a longer lens, and eventually I treated myself to a 70-300mm lens. Given the 2x crop factor of the 4:3 sensor, this equates to 140-600mm in 35mm terms! It turned out to be a great lens and I’m really pleased with some of the images taken with it.
After I got the K7 I sold this camera plus the 40-150mm lens to a friend, and the 70-300mm lens on Ebay.
December 2006 to June 2008
Late in 2007 I got a Fujifilm Finepix S5600. I should have known better – it was far too cheap for what was promised, and the image quality was deeply disapointing. By shooting RAW and careful post-processing I got some reasonable images from it, but I was never happy with them. This camera was eventually sold in Ebay.
Canon Powershot A70
July 2003 to date
My film cameras had all done quite a few years service, but the digital world was moving so fast that in early 2003 I upgraded to a Canon Powershot A70. This is a cracking little camera which I still have, and still use, and feel I have taken some excellent images with it.
February 2001 to December 2005
Digital photography was becoming more and more popular, and early in 2001 I got my first digital camera, a Kodak DC3400. Sometime after I got the Canon I gave this camera to my brother.
My first camera was a Yashica 35mm range-finder. That went to a friend and I gather it might now be a collector’s item! C’est la vie…
I followed that up with a Pentax ME Super, which was a terrific camera in every way. It came with a f1.8 50mm lens, and eventually I got a couple of Sigma zoom lenses for it.
When I got fed up of carrying the ME Super plus lenses when out walking, I got a Pentax Zoom 70 compact camera. It was a great little camera, and saw out most of the rest of my 35mm days.
Unfortunately the ME Super was stolen when someone broke into my house. However a little while back I got the yen for an ME Super again, and brought two from Ebay. One of them I had overhauled, and the other contributed the Sigma 70-200mm lens I’ve tried on the K-7. The difficulties of manual focusing drove me to buy the 50-300mm lens.