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Saturday, 11 August 2007

Photographic journey #3 - Back to Digital : The DSLR

As much fun as film photography is, film is expensive so I decided to buy a DSLR. I won't go through the pros and cons of buying a DSLR, but a few things of course is that they're not cheap and extra lenses aren't cheap either but it would give me a chance to learn photography and also stay within the digital realm.

Here are some cameras in the market at that time in Japan that I was looking at.

Canon Kiss (Digital Rebel XTi)

Pentax K100D, K110D, K10D

Nikon D200, D80, D70s, D50, D40

Sony A100

My basic minimum requirements were the camera had to be 8mp or higher, have a solid back catalog of lenses, good fit in my hands and to be up to date enough in a good 5 years or so. The rest was up to user reviews and process of elimination. Also, I wanted a camera that wasn't as easy as point and shoot but with some manual features if you want them. I wanted to be challenged by the camera, learn to take photos myself, I didn't want to credit the camera for taking great photos for me.

In Japan, the Canon Kiss was huge, it was the highest seller of any entry level DSLR, so it was tempting. Here's the thing, I like Canon. I have a CanoScan 8600F, iP1500 printer and a PowerShot A85, all quality products in their own right but because the Kiss was getting so popular, it put me off, I didn't want to follow the crowd. After deciding not to get the Kiss on pure gut feeling, I held a friend of mines and it was a little too light for me anyway.

Next was the Pentax K110D which was a plain NO, for a little extra, the K100D had in camera shake reduction. The K100D seemed pretty good for the price but the 6.1 mp put me off. Yeah, yeah, I know that mega pixels don't mean everything and are overrated but what would 6.1 mp do for me in 4 to 5 years? So the K100D was half way out the door but the K10D was just released at the time and it looked bad ass, pretty much everything I wanted except the price tag, it was nearly 40,000 yen dearer than the K100D which could have been put towards a new lens. So far we have the K100D (not ecstatic about but affordable) and the K10D (the girl of my dreams with a hefty price tag).

The Nikon D70s & the D50 were pretty much discarded as a contender as they were early 2005 releases and a little aging and wouldn't hold up to my 5 year plan. The same goes for the D200 as it sized up pretty well but it was a little above my level, aimed at the semi-pro and the price tag hurt my stomach. The D80 however reminded me of the Pentax K10D in price and features but lacked two major points the K10D had, shake reduction and dust removal. The Nikon D40 which was about a month out was pretty popular too like the Canon Kiss but I just couldn't get the K10D out of my head, she was taunting all other cameras in her league.

At the same time, Sony was releasing it's first DSLR after devouring Minolta. In theory, the A100 looked pretty sweet with a reasonable price tag (cheaper than the K10D and D80), solid lens catalog thanks to Minolta, shake reduction, anti dust and a few other perks. I think the K10D just found a challenger for my heart.

After researching for about a month and annoying floor staff with my bad Japanese, I had settled on two cameras. The Nikon D40 went, along with the Pentax K100D, both fine cameras but I'm a snob and if I'm going to spend a bunch of cash, I want the best for how much I could spend, and at the time I could afford more than the above mentioned so I was left with the Pentax K10D, Nikon D80 and the Sony A100. Next to go was the D80, a little more expensive and lacking the two semi-pro features the the K10D and the A100 offered.

Lenses were the next issue, after about a month finding the perfect camera I remembered (duh) my trusty old dad had a Pentax SLR, that means he has some lenses...sweet. In his arsenal he had the following, an Astron 35-70 mm, a 2x macro teleplus and a bunch of Hoya macro filters. Hey, not much but better than a kick in the balls he said. So I saved a little extra, said goodbye to the Sony A100 and bought the K10D with the 18-55mm kit lens as it got some pretty good reviews. About a month later, I got the package from my dad and I had a half decent set up.

My Pentax K10D with 18-55 mm kit lens

Astron 35-70 mm, 2x teleplus converter, Hoya & Marumi macro filters - Thanks Dad!

I've actually had the Pentax K10D for about 8 months and couldn't be happier, this was just the process I went through to purchase a DSLR.

If you go to my Flickr page, the majority of my photos were taken with the K10D.