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07-04-2016, 11:18 PM   #1
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Prospective Pentaxian 2

Hi all, feel like I kinda know some of you already, as for several months I've be researching a replacement for my expired (January 2016) Canon SX40is. Your forums (and those at DPReview) have been invaluable. So, please pardon the length, but the following is both profile & background to several questions.

I grew up learning photography and darkroom technique from Dad, who shot mostly twin-lens reflex cameras, developed his own B&W film, and always had prints drying in darkrooms at home and the office (RCA in NYC). I took some Basic Photography in college and, since '79, have worked mostly as a diving, natural areas biologist in the Florida Keys.

I add to my photography skills by trial and error and the occasional continuing education class. I've relied on employers cameras for most of the past 40 years and, from '79 to '93, those were mostly the Nikonos II, III, IV and V. The mid-90s got terrestrial, so I gradually traded fins for shoes, and switched to using Nikon and Canon SLRs at work and, occasionally, an Olympus or Panny "tough" camera. When I finally bought my own camera, I went for the convenience of superzooms, a Canon SX10, SX20 and SX40 (but never learned to not treat them like a Nikonos, so salt or moisture got to each after a coastal life of about three years).

Now, I find something's missing (besides brain cells); it may be IQ (the other one, thank you). My superzooms' images just don't stand up to my collection of slides. Seeking better results, and given my propensity for getting wet, salty, muddy, and dinged, my camera research seems to be steering me directly toward a Pentax DSLR. Even my thin wallet says it makes sense. I'd love a K-70, and waited for the release date, but the wallet strongly suggests a K-S2 and the 18-135mm.

I shoot mostly for documentation and PowerPoints, especially plants and wildlife: birds (including owls after dark), reptiles, insects. Floral details and insects call for macro ability. And, by Christmas, I'd like to ready to get back to B&W for portraits. As I understand it,,, I might be disappointed with the 18-50 mm and 50-200 mm "kit" lenses. Okay... will the Pentax DA 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL DC WR Lens or SMC DA 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 ED AL (IF) DC WR Lens serve me better? I can look for more reach (Pentax HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR) later. Likewise, as far as a macro (Pentax smc Pentax-D FA 100mm f/2.8 WR).

I will need a CPL sooner, rather than later, and welcome recommendations. Remember I am around salt air and salty mist or spray often. And dissimilar metals will lock up if not separated and cleaned. So, I would appreciate any safe recommendation for filters, and a "best" way to remove salt residue deposited on camera after a day on a boat or at the shore.

My employers usually provided Pelican cases to protect & tote SLRs and Nikonos cameras from office to field sites; the bigger ones (turned on-end) even doubled nicely as makeshift seats in swampy places. In wet environments, would most of you prefer a "hard" case over a soft for DSLR w/ 2 or 3 lenses, filters and batteries? If so, the K-70 just moved even farther out of reach.

One thing the Canon superzooms had that I'd rather not lose was their articulating view screens. But the K-5 and K-3 prices were prohibitive anyway.
And, thanks again for all the help I've already gotten as an unregistered visitor.

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07-05-2016, 06:30 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entish1 Quote
My employers usually provided Pelican cases to protect & tote SLRs
Welcome to the forums, it's Pelicans I use myself... but I stick to multiple cases of 1510s, these being the largest carry on luggage size with most airlines.

Last edited by Kerrowdown; 07-05-2016 at 02:57 PM.
07-05-2016, 06:47 PM   #3
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Hi Jim. Welcome to the Pentax forms. I enjoyed your 1st photographs and hope to see more soon.
07-06-2016, 09:04 AM   #4
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Welcome to the Forums! Thanks for posting such a great introduction!

I love the owl photo! Looking forward to seeing many more of your images! I'm a big fan of the 55-300; I use mine with a Tamron 1.4X auto TC, and get excellent results.

07-08-2016, 04:22 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kerrowdown Quote
Welcome to the forums, it's Pelicans I use myself... but I stick to multiple cases of 1510s, these being the largest carry on luggage size with most airlines.
Kerrowdown, thanks for that useful recommendation (about airline size restrictions), It is something I had not considered at all, but will soon have to, as I am upgrading from a series of "bridge" cameras, returning to a multi-piece system. Our big yellow Pelican held a Nikon N70 SLR (or, later, a Nikon D70 DSLR) w/ three Nikon or Nikkor lenses (50mm, 70-300? mm, & a 100mm macro), eight boxes of film (64 Kodachrome & 50,100 and 400 Ektachrome or Velvia), haze & polarizer filter cases, flash, and (under the lid's foam) manuals (remember those?). Looking at Pelican's website, a case that looks similar is the model 1520, apparently just over the line for most airline's carry-on restrictions. Thanks for putting the issue on my radar. Jim
07-08-2016, 08:04 PM   #6
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Thanx Carol

Thanks. "Little Red" is easy to like, even if poorly photographed (recently). He's not just my drinking buddy, he's also Papa to at least 7 owlets, and that's just this year (3 in March, 3 more in June. I find Screech Owls cute & fascinating... despite their "permanently annoyed" facial expression. And so sorry about these mostly recent (lo-rez) images, it's all I can do w/ my old Moto G phone's 5 MP camera and an LED headlamp held, offset, in my other hand. Phone pics are all I have been doing since my SX40 died (January '16), and until I choose a new camera.

Still, some photos just insist on being captured, good equipment or not. Attached, a few more you might enjoy: another image (from 2014, using Canon ) of "Little Red" during his brief indoor stay, two of his family, and a manatee waking a napper with a smooch.

As to your endorsement of your Pentax 55-300 mm lens, I'll assume that it is the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR (launched in 2013)?
I notice Pentax is about to release a new version: HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE (announced last month).

I won't be able to add either until at least autumn... and Christmas time is more likely. But, have you perhaps compared specs, and come to any conclusions? I think it's a bit odd for Pentax to release a new lens, close to the same price point, with a three-years old model out there and apparently popular. Perhaps it is all about the new Pulse motor, reportedly being quieter; motor noise is a big issue when using video, I hear. Is yours noisy?

Jim

Last edited by Entish1; 07-16-2016 at 07:59 PM. Reason: Noticed CSA had a first name
07-08-2016, 08:10 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entish1 Quote
I won't be able to add either until at least autumn... and Christmas time is more likely. But, have you perhaps compared specs, and come to any conclusions? I think it's a bit odd for Pentax to release a new lens, close to the same price point, with a three-years old model out there and apparently popular. Perhaps it is all about the new Pulse motor, reportedly being quieter; motor noise is a big issue when using video, I hear. Is yours noisy?
The old 55-300mm is rather noisy, yes.

That said, the new 55-300mm has a completely redesigned optical formula, and it's half a stop slower throughout the range. The main reason for the release is compactness plus the silent AF. Optically I think there will still be a case for the old lens, as that extra half stop at the long end can prove helpful.

The optical performance of the new lens remains to be seen, but definitely stay tuned for our in-depth review.

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07-10-2016, 05:25 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entish1 Quote
Our big yellow Pelican
I would also respectfully suggest a more subtle colour i.e. Black...

As it attracts less obvious attention to an already highly interesting looking theft target.

07-10-2016, 07:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entish1 Quote
As to your endorsement of your Pentax 55-300 mm lens, I'll assume that it is the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm f/4-5.8 ED WR (launched in 2013)? I notice Pentax is about to release a new version: HD PENTAX-DA 55-300mm F4.5-6.3 ED PLM WR RE (announced last month).
No, mine is the "regular" 55-300, metal base. I'm planning on updating to the HD, as soon as I can afford it; whether it will give better images, would remain to be seen, but it would be WR. The brand new PLM lens, does not work with all Pentax bodies, including my K3!
07-16-2016, 08:37 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kerrowdown Quote
I would also respectfully suggest a more subtle colour i.e. Black...

As it attracts less obvious attention to an already highly interesting looking theft target.
I often worked in remote areas or forests far from incidental pedestrians, where I could walk away from some of my gear for a little bit, and sometimes I'd get back to looking for "where'd we leave it?" and the light was failing... that bright yellow pelican was darn helpful a few times. Also, black was and remains a heat magnet, bad enough today, but back in 1990s, my Pelican case was also full of slide film. In fact, this leads me to a question... I am considering a light color or white camera, instead of black. Not very stylish, according to some, I read someone recently claiming black gear looks more "professional." But I am all about pragmatism, not fashion. In South Florida, sun can cook gear pretty fast. Sometimes (or some places), I must leave stuff in a closed vehicle, I know better and hate to do it, but can't always choose. I can keep a thick-walled (Omaha Steak-type) styrofoam cooler for my sedan's trunk just for my binoculars and P&S camera (though sometimes we're in a small pickup...). A black camera at a shoreline, or a tidal flat, on a tripod in full sun can quickly get too hot to touch comfortably, unless I have a towel or spare shirt to cover it with while waiting for the critters to cooperate. So, if any, what are the significant drawbacks of a white DSLR, besides offending the fashion police?
07-17-2016, 12:09 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Entish1 Quote
I often worked in remote areas or forests far from incidental pedestrians
Aye well that's a totally different situation, but an assistant standing guard also works too... an they can shout back when you loose them.

QuoteOriginally posted by Entish1 Quote
I can keep a thick-walled (Omaha Steak-type) styrofoam cooler for my sedan's trunk
I have a plug in cooler box the chills stuff down just fine, but it's usually full of beers and water from my burn for the whisky... no room for camera kit.

QuoteOriginally posted by Entish1 Quote
So, if any, what are the significant drawbacks of a white DSLR
Aye there's not many of them made... unless you going to have your "professional" black ones sprayed white.
07-25-2016, 08:22 PM   #12
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Anyone know if a white DSLR stays significantly cooler under intense sunlight?

I see plenty of ads for the Pentax K-S2 camera (body only, white) and for K-50 (body only, white). Either of those model would be adequate, of course, I'd prefer a K--3-ll or the new K-70.

In my experience, even well-habituated wildlife appears far more aware of and concerned about me than about any of my equipment, regardless of its color. I've had rare butterflies, songbirds, Screech Owls, and opossums... and more) investigate and or perch on my cameras & tripod, folding chair, backpack, etc. after I'd moved several steps away from it. Assuming a white camera body really does resist harmful solar-heating during field-use, my other concern is seeing the camera in reflections contained in images it takes (such as in glass, water, or reflected in an eye). Anyone care to share any relevant experience, or know of any actual test results?

The stout little cooler I keep in the sedan's trunk is not actually "cooled;" its interior is simply insulated from the worst hot (or cold) extremes, as when my car cannot be parked in the shade. Items in the cooler also stay dry when a sudden rain requires that I open the trunk to retrieve rain-jacket or umbrellas, or when a water-bottle leaks. My cameras live in the car whenever I am not using them, or carrying it in anticipation of using it. Out-of-sight, reasonably secure and close-at-hand storage, the cooler in my car's trunk also contains my Zeiss and Pentax binoculars.. I suppose I could put one of those blue-ice things in there, but I don't want this gear to be "cold," I just need it protected from the temperature extremes of a closed-up car's "green-house" cabin. Also, I'd have to remember to change "thawed" blue "ice" for a cold replacement at least once daily, almost every day of the year.. I have also had many of those "blue-ice" packs fail (leak) unexpectedly... not something I want to have happen in a box of expensive optics and electronics..
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