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Pentax No More

Gone but not forgotten



In my last post I hinted that I was thinking of moving away from the brand I’ve been enjoying for the last fourteen years. It was a decision I came to slowly - over a few years in fact.

Two main reasons for the move :

  • A need for something smaller and lighter, especially as my ageing fingers have developed arthritis and swinging around a 1Kg Pentax camera body plus a heavy lens is pretty uncomfortable when doing ICM.

  • Pentax, sadly, don’t seem to be keeping up with the competition and have really fallen behind the pack over the past few years. The Pentax brand lenses are all very expensive and there’s been a drop off in Pentax mount lenses from third party suppliers.

My introduction to Fujifilm cameras, as I mentioned last time, came about through looking at alternatives to the Ricoh GR3x. The Fuji X100V filled this role but I then questioned whether it was what I really wanted. It certainly wouldn’t replace my Pentax. It has an APS-C sensor, a fixed 35 mm equivalent lens and isn’t waterproof for starters. So I looked at the other camera bodies in the Fujifilm X range over a period of several weeks, looking at as many reviews and YouTube videos as possible.

The X range of cameras all have the same APS-C sensor and the same xTrans 4 image processor. I like this idea because it removes one variable from the equation and makes the choice ever so slightly easier. The other variables are down to weather proofing, image stabilisation, form factor, video capabilities and flip out/fully articulated screen choices. Alright, we got rid of one variable but the remaining ones were quite difficult to make a decision on. One day I would decide that IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilisation) was more important than weather proofing and the next day vice-versa. Likewise with form factor. Some of the bodies don’t have a grip. The body is completely flat, front and back. The XE4 is beautifully small, Leica-like, appealingly cheap and a step up from the X100V because it takes interchangeable lenses. However, no weather sealing. The XS10 I found ugly. I didn’t like the idea of the XPRO3 which has screen which you can’t see without flipping it out, making it look more like a film camera. The XH1 is too expensive and getting a bit bulky-looking.. This was more or less narrowing things down to the XT4 or the XT3, the latter being the slightly older version of the former. On bad days I was still considering the XE4 though

I knew that one of my fellow camera club members, Chris Upton, had Fujifilm cameras. In fact he is a Fujifilm ambassador. So I decided to have a chat with him and it is thanks to him that I was able to come to a decision. The XT3 seemed to be the best value for money for my requirements. It’s almost an XT4 but minus the IBIS and flippy screen. Add to that the fact that Chris suggested I traded in for second hand gear and it just made so much sense, particularly as he recommended MPB as the second hand supplier of choice.

I decided on some lenses to go with XT3 body and then asked for a trade-in quote from MPB and Wex. Wex would have supplied brand new equipment of course, but in the end MPB offered me over £200 more for my Pentax gear than Wex and the models I chose were in either “as new” or “excellent” condition, so it was a no-brainier. I must say that MPB have been really helpful. They’ve answered all my email questions speedily and coped with me changing my mind over a couple of lenses and swapping things around.

So, the new stuff has arrived and the old stuff has gone. I’ve actually kept some of my Pentax gear. The old K5 body which was once dropped on a hard floor with a 70-300mm lens attached.. Both survived the fall but the camera has a battery compartment which no longer shuts flush with the base. I’ve kept my Pentax 100mm macro lens as it has a noisy focus ring. Otherwise it performs well though and I have not ordered a Fuji macro lens so this will have to do for now. I’ve also kept my three Lensbaby lenses. These have fallen from grace a little bit over the last twelve months or so but I’ll hang on to them for now for use with the K5.

As for new lenses? I was going to get the 16-55 and 50-140 zooms. These are full frame equivalents of 24-82 and 75-210. In the end I decided against the 16-55 as it is fairly expensive and, of my two Pentax zooms, the 24-70 was the least used. So instead I went for just the 50-140 f/2.8 zoom and a few primes: 16mm, 23mm, 35mm and 50mm. All are weather proofed and either f/2.8 or f/2. The zoom also has image stabilisation.

As I’ve only had the new kit for about a week, I haven’t yet used it in earnest. However the images coming out so far have been of excellent quality so I have no qualms about the loss of my Pentax K1 in that respect.

I’ll post again in the not too distant future with some actual images. In the meantime, please follow my Instagram feed to keep up-to-date.

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