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04-10-2012, 01:40 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Denver
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Hola from Buenos Aires, Argentina!

Hi everyone,

After over a year of being a regular reader of this forum, I've finally registered so I can start posting. I've probably already been a little overzealous with back to back posts on the FA Limited and DA* lens clubs. What can I say? Sorry, I'm just excited to be here and I'm trying to make up for lost time.

Some history about my photographic and Pentax journey:
I'm fairly new to photography but am going at it with as much gusto as I can. My brother, a Canon shooter, got me infected with the shutter bug a few years ago. I had a strong interest in photography but the idea of spending serious dough on a camera seemed odd to me at first. I started researching DSLRs and continued doing so for over a year before an itchy finger that was finally ready to pull the trigger. It got to where I couldn't reach any other conclusion than the K-5 being the only choice for me at a price point I was willing to cough up and pay for. The K-5 had all the key features that I knew I wanted: weather sealing, somewhat diminutive size, good ergonomics, solid metal body, fast burst rate, 100% viewfinder, customizable exposure settings, front and rear e-dials, use of SD card, mostly logical menu system, and of course most important of all, great image quality. I tried the D7000 and 60D in local stores but neither did it for me. I even toyed around with the idea of getting an Olympus PEN being that I kind of like the styling of Olympus's micro 4/3 cameras, but I knew I wouldn't be satisfied with the small sensor size and lens options, let alone no weather sealing. It had to be Pentax's K-5 for me.

I took a leap of faith by ordering the K-5, sight unseen and never before handled, from an online retailer who had the better price at the time and turned out to be from Canada I later found out by surprise. I also ordered the, coveted by some, DA* 16-50 and DA* 50-135 to go with the K-5 from another online retailer (a better known one and in the US thankfully). I'd researched everything carefully and considered all the possible future scenarios of my foray into photography. I knew that if I was going to spend serious coin on a camera I didn't want to get an entry level body or lenses and right away want to upgrade them. I wanted to purchase a complete and competent kit once and be done with it, so I thought. Well, that leap of faith I took by choosing Pentax paid off, to my standards at least. As soon as I had the K-5 and those sweet two DA* zooms in my hands I was in love. The K-5 body was solid, rugged, form fitting, grippy, ergonomic, and sexy as hell to me. The DA*s had big front elements that seemed almost intimidating and they had that professional look and feel. But then I hit a snag. I was aware of the sensor stain issue with the early K-5s so I went outside the morning after receiving it when there was daylight to take some shots and see if there was any issue. To my dismay, there was a big fat stain. I was going to have to send my new found love back, and to Canada of all places! I was so frustrated. But to make a long story short, the exchange went fine and only took about 2 weeks. I didn't have to go for too, too long without it but it sure was hard staring at my pair of newly acquired zooms and not getting to shoot anything with them.

Photographic journey continued:
Well, once I started shooting a bunch, taking my camera all over the place I realized it was something I truly loved and wanted to do more and more of. I became very interested in making photography a possible income generator. I was almost just as hooked on researching cameras and lenses as I was taking pictures; I'd been doing it for longer after all. My research attention turned towards studio set ups and I decided get some lighting gear. I bought a Pentax AF360 initially but didn't like the build quality so returned it and upgraded to the AF540. Shortly after I bought two used Nikon SB 26 flash units, they have optical triggers, to start experimenting around with. They were lots of fun but I quickly figured out that I was going to need more juice and a more reliable triggering system.

I did more research and decided on Paul Buff's slick new Einstein strobe with Vagabond battery pack and Commander radio trigger, at which point I hit another major snag. The Einstein that was delivered to me was DOA. No no nooo! Another exchange! Well, this one also went smoothly and I had my replacement in a little over a week. But I wasn't able to use it on my first client photo shoot that weekend. Good thing I had those SB 26s and the Commander radio trigger set up. I made do and didn't really have too much trouble working without the Einstein. Once I received a functioning Einstein, I really started to appreciate having complete control over lighting. It makes such a difference. The Einstein really is a great strobe. When I first considered buying a DSLR I never imagined adding lighting gear to my kit but now, for paid work, I can't imagine being without a studio strobe and triggers.

Pentax journey continued:
So my DA* zooms are great. But lens buying addiction was gaining a hold on me and I wanted some primes, damn it! I lusted after the FA Limiteds with their seductive image quality. A year deep into having the K-5 I made the next big move and invested in a three lens prime kit: the DA 15, FA 31, and FA 77. Oh what a sweet little kit it is! I really wanted something smaller than those big zooms to tote around and these do the job perfectly. Not that I would consider getting rid of either of my DA*s, they give me flexibility and allow me to work in inclement weather. But those two FA Limiteds have a characteristic quality like none other. And the DA15 has much less distortion than the DA* 16-50 does at 16mm. Sure, I don't have a whole lot of experience in the photography world and am still developing my skills, but anyone can appreciate a good fast prime, and these Limiteds are nothing short of amazing.

I'd spent my tax return on the K-5 and zooms, my job performance bonus on my Einstein and flash units, and because I couldn't resist or wait, I charged the primes. I have everything I need for some time to come. Sure, I'd love to have more lenses, a backup body, another couple Einsteins and some more light modifiers, but I am only getting into the intermediate stage as far as experience and skill goes. I've read other photographer's stories who got by with far less for far longer and produced some amazing work. I just want to build a good strong portfolio of portraits for paid gigs, some street and photojournalism style stuff for myself, and slowly but surely make my way into the realm of professional photography.

Now my wife is getting to reach full steam like I did with a passion for photography, and she has an excellent eye. We have started working as a team, so a second Pentax DSLR may be on our horizon. I hope Pentax comes out with a FF body for my FAs and that I can save up the money to afford it.

A couple of pleasant surprises, to me at least, from Pentax have been the green button and TAv mode. If you're on this forum you know what I'm talking about and you know they are unique to Pentax. How the hell do users of other brands do without those two extremely functional features? They both make so much sense. The green button is a life saver and TAv made makes street shooting much easier.

One very unpleasant surprise from Pentax: the recent price hikes on lenses! Ugh, what a lousy deal. I'm glad I'm not in the market for any new lenses at the time or else I'd be in tears or ready to kill.

Well, that's the bulk of my story as to where I started and where I'm at with photography and being a Pentaxian. Last year I was in Denver, Colorado. This year I'm in Buenos Aires. Next year, I don't know where I'll be but I know I'll be raking up the shutter count on my mighty K-5 with any one of my fine lenses strapped to it, and hopefully making some money while at it.

Thanks to all of you on this forum for creating a great community full of passion and talent!

Buena suerte! Chau!

04-10-2012, 03:25 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Denver
Photos: Albums
Posts: 570
Original Poster
albums in the works

I've got a few FA 31 pics posted in an album linked at left. Will have more to come.
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