Cameras & Lenses

Pentax K-5 II

May 2012 to date

DA* 60-250mm F4 SDM

DA* 60-250mm F4 SDM

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.

Pentax K-7

November 2010 to May 2012

Pentax K7

Pentax K7

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.

Olympus E510

July 2008 to November 2010

Olympus E510

Olympus E510

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.

Fuji S5600

December 2006 to June 2008

Fuji S5600

Fuji S5600

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

Canon Powershot A70

Canon Powershot A70

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.

Kodak DC3400

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.

Film Cameras

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…

Pentax ME Super

Pentax ME Super

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.

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