Thursday, July 05, 2007

6 months with the K10D

I had originally intended this blog to be updated much more frequently, but a drastic change in my personal life (as hinted to previously) makes this impossible. But I still want to write about what I learned about the K10D since I started using it about 6 months ago.

I have taken the K10D with me on a number of outings now, and to be honest I couldn't go back to my DS even if I had to... ;-) The K10D has received a number of firmware upgrades too, making it an even more complete camera than it already was when I got it. Most noteworthy are:
- OK button as a dedicated ISO change button (OK+Green=AutoISO; OK+front dial=ISO up or down)
- Use of the built-in pop-up flash as a controller or master for wireless flash setup.
- Support for the new remote software to allow control of the camera from the PC.
- Support for SDM. I.e. Supersonic Drive Motor, the new AF mechanism that will make its debut with the DA* lenses.

Some other changes were in there as well, but these are the ones that make me happy!

The city trips have made me invest in a small limited kit setup. This included the confirmed purchase of a FA31/1.8 limited as well as a FA43/1.9 limited, which means I now have all three the FA limiteds and one DA limited. The really short end is covered by a Zenitar 16/2.8 fisheye for now, but I continue hoping Pentax will release a nice DA16/4 limited for my 24mm equiv wishes... 24mm used to be a favorite of my 35mm film days. This setup has served me very well and I'm going to stick to it for these short trips where changing lenses is not a problem and long reach is not needed.

This limited kit fits nicely in my new bag, a Pentax Cross Over bag. This is a rebranding of the Lowepro Slingshot 100 AW. The Pentax being a bit cheaper is explained by its not having the rain cover the Lowepro has. But it handles nicely and I like the look of it!!! :-)

The new wireless controller capacity of the built-in pop-up flash has made me invest in a second AF540FGZ flash. At first my second copy refused to zoom, but Pentax Europe (in Hamburg) fixed that promptly. This does seem to be a known problem with the last batches of these flashes. Setting off two remote flashes set at different strengths is a dream for product and macro photography, for which I think I will be using this most.

I also got the O-ME53 1.18x viewfinder loupe and I like it very much. It is better built than the standard cap, extending further from the body with less nose smear on the LCD as a consequence, and it enlarges the view significantly though not very much.

The SDM upgrade (firmware 1.3) which was published today will finally enable the supersonic AF in the DA* lenses, so I expect these to become available relatively soon. I have pre-ordered both the DA*16-50/2.8 and the DA*50-135/2.8. The underlying motivation is the three week trip to Cambodia my GF and I will be undertaking in October/November. Weather sealing and the extra f-stop (f/2.8) tov my DA16-45/4 being the most important. On the DA16-45/4 AF never really worked as it should with a polarizer mounted, and dust got in there easily. Cambodia shouldn't require the same reach as a wildlife destination, so the two first DA*s will give me all the day-to-day reach I will need while providing sufficient protection against the elements, sth my limited kit will not provide. I might take along a lowlight lens, but the Tamron SP90/2.8 macro and the FA*300/4.5 stand a better chance for the occasional nature photography opportunities that we may encounter. I'm considering getting a tripod collar for the latter.

First things first though. I'm taking the limited setup to the Côte Opale first. Next WE we'll be exploring the North Western French coastline. I'm planning to take my tripod to try some long time exposures with the Hoya R72 IR filter attached.

Not sure when the next post will come, but I have to run now to go and enroll for my third year of photography school...


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