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01-10-2015, 11:17 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Stepping out of the shadow : Tale of a Canadian (ex)lurker

Hi!


I'm an enthusiast photographer who had been lurking from time to time on these forums after I bought my first DSLR in 2009 (a K20D). Back then, I never really bothered to register and participate, feeling I had nothing really interesting to contribute as a complete beginner. After a really great start with this new hobby, my monopod failed and I dropped the K20D, Pentax 18-250mm, and 540FGZ, one sad afternoon about six month after I bought the whole thing. The camera was bricked, the lens was still working but not as well as I remembered with the K20D, and the flash was undamaged (at least!). I replaced the camera with the then recently released K-7, and decided against repairing the lens (the quote from Pentax was 350$) since it was still producing images as good as before the fall.


In the following years, my interest for photography slowly eroded as I never really fell in love with the K-7 as I did with the K20D. Don't get me wrong : I was getting some great pictures with the K-7, and on paper, it was the better camera, but I ended up with very soft images much more often than with the K20D, and apparently not just because of the 18-250mm : it also happened with my other lens, an FA 50mm f1.4. I rapidly identified the problem to a very inconsistent autofocus, but since I was mostly using the 18-250mm, I attributed it to the lens and didn't really investigate further until recently. Got the camera tested at an authorized repair shop and they said all was fine. The good side of this is that if forced me to learn to focus manually, which I did for the last couple of years till very recently. The bad is that I never fell I was getting the most from my camera : I wanted to love it, but I couldn't.


Fast forward to 2014, having a renewed interest in photography, after a lot of reading, I decided to test front/back focus with a test chart I found on the web (maybe even on these forums, I can't remember), and found that with both my lenses, +10 was the best setting, though it was still a bit off on the 50mm and even more on the 18-250mm. I had the camera tested again by the repair shop specifically for front/back focusing problems, and they did came to the same conclusion, suggesting I sent it to Pentax for calibration. I still haven't sent it, as I always seem to be needing the camera for something since then : my renewed interest in photography came with an apparently very hard to cure affliction, which I believe is called "lens buying addiction", or LBA, around here.


Tired of all my problems but determined in resolving them, I decided to repair or replace the 18-250mm, since I like its convenience when it works well. I came across a deal I couldn't pass for a like new K100D with a very fine copy of the 18-250mm : the camera with lens was less than the usual price of a well used 18-250mm alone, it was only a 10 minute drive from where I live, and came from a dad who probably really babied it. Hell, it almost still had that brand new smell, and the guy still had the original facture dating back to 2008! At the price he asked, I almost felt like a bandit. I now had a fully functional 18-250mm, and a pretty good kit to go kayaking without risking my main camera. Don't you like those kind of deals!


But that's not all : doing my research for the 18-250mm, I also came across a good deal on a Tamron 70-200mm f2.8. I wasn't planning on getting it since I usually shoot more wide angle than telephoto and was planning more on a 15mm ltd, but it was also not far from home, so I went to check it out. At the price, I was expecting a well used copy... Wrong! The guy had only tried it a handful of time before deciding to switch to Nikon: had it been in a store, it could have easily passed as new. So off I went with the big boy. The same week, I also got my hand on a good copy of the 100mm macro WR.


Now, a couple of weeks and only a bit more than a thousand dollars poorer, I've got all these new toys and a VERY renewed interest in photography. My main surprise is the Tamron: I may be shooting much more telephoto in the future! There's a learning curve with the weight, but what a difference a pro level lens makes. I've tested the new 18-250mm for autofocus, and to my surprise, it tested exactly as the old one, both for focus and sharpness : all that time, I thought the problem was mostly coming from the lens, and it was the camera! I also tested the Tamron, and it is a mixed bag, giving me different results depending on the focal length. Is it normal? At least, for that one, at a given focal length, I can always find a setup that works within the +/-10 adjustment of the camera. All that's left for me to do is send the camera for calibration (don't know how I'm gonna do that with all the new toys... At least I got the K100D to play with in the meantime!).


So, that's my pretty long stepping out of the shadow. Hope its not too boring... I'll try doing less lurking and more participating in the future.


See ya all.


P.S. : sorry if this is not the place to ask, but do I need to send my lenses with the camera for calibration by Pentax? If yes, even the Tamron? Thanks!

01-11-2015, 05:12 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, that's some intro, I feel I've known you for years.
01-11-2015, 09:00 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum! That was quite a journey to get here. Looking forward to seeing some of your images.
01-11-2015, 05:24 PM   #4
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Great to hear from you. I've got a k20d also that came with the 18-250mm too. Is that the upgrade lens or did they sell them like that back then? Glad to hear you also learned some manual focusing. I rarely wish to use autofocus, maybe because I enjoy my manual lens and dislike being dependent on it so much. I feel manual focus is a technical art that must be mastered

01-12-2015, 12:24 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Location: Quebec, Quebec
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by camerasup Quote
Great to hear from you. I've got a k20d also that came with the 18-250mm too. Is that the upgrade lens or did they sell them like that back then? Glad to hear you also learned some manual focusing. I rarely wish to use autofocus, maybe because I enjoy my manual lens and dislike being dependent on it so much. I feel manual focus is a technical art that must be mastered
Hi, thanks all for the welcome.


About the K20D and the 18-250mm, can't say if they were sold bundled together. Bought it used from a guy who had just switched to Nikon. About manual focusing, I hear you : it can be a very useful skill and I'm glad I learned it. I now trust my eyes more than I trust the camera. But still, when it is reliable, I prefer the speed and convenience of using autofocus.
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