15 – catharsis again

After our vacation, it dawned on me that I really really really missed the flexibility of interchangeable lenses – specifically, a pedestrian zoom for snapshots, a “fast fifty”, and a macro lens…

So – I traded my X100s kit for a Pentax K3 kit with the 16-50/2.8 zoom and a 50/1.8 lens. It also came with a third-party grip, but I don’t plan on ever using this. The guy I got it from is a professional photographer.

I don’t know who got the better end of the deal…the K3 itself is awesome, but learning the Pentax way of doing things is considerably different when compared with Olympus, Fuji, and even Sony. Pentax does have the Tav mode, which is effectively manual mode with auto ISO. I remember having this mode when I had a Ricoh GRD-3 – and Tav is pretty nice because in the same mode, I can opt for DOF control or motion control or both…and the camera will adjust the ISO for me. It’s also nice that the K3 has a “green button” which resets any adjustments to an optimal setting at base ISO 100.

However, the 16-50 is a mixed bag. It’s BIG and HEAVY…and I’m really not infatuated with a pedestrian zoom. It is a constant aperture (f/2.8), which explains the size and weight, however, it has the plagued SDM focusing mechanism, which is ‘quiet’ (which is relative), but is known to fail. My copy of the 16-50 is quiet but does squeak when focusing. Squeaking is apparently a first sign of impending SDM failure, and unfortunately, I can’t hack the lens to use the more effective but noisier screwdrive mechanism because the K3 body is too new…

The nifty-fifty is nice. Non-SDM Pentax AF lenses use screwdrive, which uses an in-body motor for autofocus. It’s purely mechanical and noisy, when compared to all of the other cameras I’ve used. However, it’s accurate and allows for backward AF compatibility with lenses that were made in the 1980’s. From a focal length perspective, it’s a bit long (EFL at 75mm), but then my ZD 35/3.5 macro had an EFL of 70mm and I LOVED that lens.

Anyway, some pictures from the weekend. Some of these are SOOC, some are edited from RAW in Lightroom, and some are SOOC jpeg, transferred to my phone via FlashAir card, then edited with Snapseed.

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I’m still learning the intricacies of the sensor and the noise capability of high ISO. The picture of our bird on the legos is pretty crappy – but I used Snapseed from low quality jpeg. I can probably use the RAW file and make it cleaner…but whatevs.

Matty and I found a pretty awesome handball court with three walls, so we’ve made up our own handball game which uses all three walls.

ANYWAY, if I change the 16-50 to screwdrive, I can’t sell it for very much, unless I sell it on the Pentax forum, where the die-hard users know its value.

I was planning on trading it as-is on Adorama for the Pentax 35/2.8 macro and the smaller 18-55/3.5-5.6 II lens. This would balance out my kit, but I’d lose whatever magical fairy dust the 16-50 is supposed to have. I would also probably on the losing end since the 16-50 is likely optically waaaaay better than the 18-55, but since I plan on sticking to primes most of the time, then it would really only matter when I use the kit lens.

I really want the 35/2.8 macro since it would be closer to 52mm EFL, which would be an easier lens to use on a day-to-day basis.

I’m not much of a zoom guy…

choices, choices. It’s good to be back in the interchangeable lens game…but unfortunately, this means that I’m scouring boards for deals for lenses that I really don’t need…especially since the 16-50/2.8 is like a bag-o-primes.

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