GAS Dear Giary!

Location
Finland
Pentax K200D is here!
I charged and put in some IKEA 1.2 v Laddas (2450 mAh NiMH, iirc) and off we go (in my kitchen).

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PROS

I have to say that I am blown away. This cheap entry-level camera feels very solid. My immediate reaction is that this surpasses the build quality of KP easily.

I do not place any trust whatsoever on the IBIS on this camera, yet it allowed me to take a 1/8 sec exposure handheld at 105mm eqv. (above)

The Pentax-F 35-70mm is positively compact zoom lens, just love it. The lens has a wonderful character. Similar "film era characteristic" as my Nikkor 35~200 has, but otherwise way better optically controlled. It's only a 2x zoom so maybe it was easy to tame the formula.

ISO 800 looks adorable. The pic above has received an extra push of exposure and a preset treatment of mine. Maybe I discover a blotchy dark underbelly of this CCD chip real soon, but if ISO1600 eqv is pretty enough, that's covering a lot of ground.

CONS

It is a bit loud. Not a dealbreaker in any kind.
I should have guessed but body/lens back caps weren't included. Not a big bummer.

A major problem might be the lack of dedicated, ergonomic AF-ON button. The camera can be set to use the OK button as AF-ON button (while disabling shutter-AF) but it's an ergonomic mess. Why it can't use AE-L as AF-ON like every other camera in the existence, beats me.

Shutter-AF is fine for casual shooting but part of the DSLR attraction for me is to enjoy center-point AF and BBF and focus&recompose. This is not a dealbreaker by any means for a ~70€ camera body.


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Location
Finland
First stroll done. It was drizzling, occasionally turning into a wave of rain showers, and it was very dark and very slippery and I didn't even attach a strap to the camera yet.

Very positive first impressions about the camera out in the field. The pictures must be another story since the light conditions forced me to shoot very slow shutter speeds, go for overly high sensitivities, and use the lens wide open. But let's see about that next without worrying too much.

OK-button as a BBF wasn't as unergonomical as I feared it'd be. The camera feels very good in hand. The textures are pleasant and the materials mean business. Outside the shutter is not loud. I had the focus beeps on for change, and they are not as loud as I'd hoped! Any passing car drowns the sound.
 
Location
Finland
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It's a sharp difference going to early cameras. It was obvious that a CCD wouldn't compete against decade-younger CMOS sensors, larger sensors to boot.

Getting good files in dark conditions makes everything so much more rewarding. I get to also explore some tools of my raw developer I otherwise wouldn't bother with. For example, here I apply heavy noise reduction that I usually don't do at all, then apply a quick & dirty dither to add grain to add an appearance of lost texture.

You know from my content that I am not one to create heavily processed HDR stuff out of scenes. However here with this sensor output I have to swim more downstream than usual -- it can be a good lesson to (re)learn about living with the picture and not make every shot fit a preconceived idea. Embrace the working material.

Darktable's new "sigmoid" tone curve is absolutely fantastic btw. It models a filmlike highlight rolloff and can also recover and use highlight data to fantastic results. I used it here even though nothing of important was clipping -- it just softened the highlights without reducing them.

The CCD files start to band a little bit after 1600 if I apply extra push in post. There is color blotch type of noise which is not a favorite of mine. The blotching is sortakinda already making me fantasize: what if K10D, it not having the secondary gain at ISO400, has a better looking grain pattern?
 
Location
Finland
The viewfinder of K200D is dim. Being a pentamirror construct, shouldn't really surprise anyone. But I have to say that the LCD display underneath is more legible than on KP! Between my three DSLR cameras, K200D has the clearest information display.

KP for instance washes out in bright sunlight. I think I have to wait 7-10 days for next available chance at bright light to test the K200D in this regard.

~

I also did the Debug mode dance and K200D opened up nicely. Because of the ISO sensitivity issues, I am making an effort to make the lowly Sigma 30mm f/1.4 work with K200D the best it can.

Right out of the can Sigma seems to perform a tiny bit better than KP. My test target was at ~1.2 m and repeat handheld focus&shot captures agreed. The lens is so low-fidelity, wide open it's tough to assess the focal plane.

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~

This camera does feature some of that famed "CCD pop". Color transitions can be very sharp from pixel to pixel.

The effect is very significant when shooting graffiti.

~

The fresh 2450mAh IKEA Laddas have so far managed some 250 shots without signs of exhaustion. Some internet reports say that with single-use Alkaline batteries the camera should easily handle 900 shots or so. Then I also just checked the specs from DPR: apparently manufacturer recommends NiMH specifically so maybe these are the best thing for this camera?

~

I set out to buy another Pentax just so that I can get a second opinion on Pentax cameras in general. In this short time I have already seen some signs and mannerisms in how this K200D relates to KP. Much can't be said after 24 hours of ownership. But I'm glad I went with this model. Opening my understanding about Pentax a lot.
 
Location
Finland
I jumped on the elliptical to consume my favorite youtubers and see what they're up to. A nice way to spend an hour, when one would need Wellingtons to be able to stroll (wade) outside.

I was almost to fall off the machine! when I put on a recent Craig Roberts video from around turn of the year. I will spoil the surprise so watch it first if you so feel inclined.



I thought the clickbait title was another application of his very British humour, that he'd purchased an OM Systems camera. If there was a devout Olympus shooter, Craig certainly fits the company.

But no. He's got himself a complete Fujifilm setup around the X-T5, sold some of his Olympi in the process. I couldn't believe the video. Was it April 1st all of a sudden?

After X-T4, it was very refreshing to see the X-T5 giving a nod to the stills photography. Craig also listed the tilty screen as a big attraction.

~

I have also given some thoughts towards the Fujifilm X-T5. It's only a little ideological downgrade from X-T3 (giving in for some video shooters) but probably is way better in all the other ways. Both the XT3 and XT5 are fantastic tools for casual shooter, and one can decide exactly how valuable is the IBIS. Only available brand-new, XT5 costs around 3x the money that a used XT3 does.

The bodies are fantastic no doubt. Full of smart features that somehow are not found in any other cameras. Excellent aids for manual focusers. Direct interface that makes sense. Ability to give highlight headroom while keeping the previews bright. The shutter is pleasant.

~

But where I personally get cold about re-engaging with the system for the third time is the overall system. As good as the bodies are (and come in very welcome variety), the lenses represent difficult compromises and hard choices.

I can usually choose between charming and characterful, and weather-resistant and fast-focusing. To some extent this abundance of choice and ensuing analysis paralysis follows to the body selection also.

The system is also a bit pricey, although not without reason.

I am bashing some of the lenses here without having seen them on the latest bodies. But the fact is that the lenses vary a bit more in their specs and speeds and one has to make some tough choices. Sometimes the choice is obvious. For many, the XF35/2 is the obvious choice because it can handle weather a bit better and focuses fast.

Fuji likes to copy Leica in many ways. Maybe their next copycat stunt is to release new models with old/original optical designs? ;)

And my criticue I'm giving here is also getting outdated because they did release a new version of the 23/1.4 that's close to the original 23/1.4 but is faster? Now it's just the 35/1.4 and maybe 60/2.4 that I'd love to see a new coat of paint on them? And yet, this criticue is a wild shot because the sixty I haven't used personally and soon it's going to be 6 years when I had the 35/1.4 on the X-T1.

All in all, probably will be giving the system a third chance some time.

~

But anyway. The M4/3 lens collection is not perfect either. There are slow-focusing lenses and fast-focusing ones, and some work better on Panasonic bodies whereas others are better on Olympus. Some primes for nostalgic focal lengths are missing because the zooms are so good.

It's a personal thing but I think the M4/3 lens collection is more complete. Alongside powerful bodies it's the more appealing system to me. And at a much cheaper rate -- an important thing when the system is not my primary one.
 
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John King

Member of SOFA
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Name
John ...
I jumped on the elliptical to consume my favorite youtubers and see what they're up to. A nice way to spend an hour, when one would need Wellingtons to be able to stroll (wade) outside.

I was almost to fall off the machine! when I put on a recent Craig Roberts video from around turn of the year. I will spoil the surprise so watch it first if you so feel inclined.



I thought the clickbait title was another application of his very British humour, that he'd purchased an OM Systems camera. If there was a devout Olympus shooter, Craig certainly fits the company.

But no. He's got himself a complete Fujifilm setup around the X-T5, sold some of his Olympi in the process. I couldn't believe the video. Was it April 1st all of a sudden?

After X-T4, it was very refreshing to see the X-T5 giving a nod to the stills photography. Craig also listed the tilty screen as a big attraction.

~

I have also given some thoughts towards the Fujifilm X-T5. It's only a little ideological downgrade from X-T3 (giving in for some video shooters) but probably is way better in all the other ways. Both the XT3 and XT5 are fantastic tools for casual shooter, and one can decide exactly how valuable is the IBIS. Only available brand-new, XT5 costs around 3x the money that a used XT3 does.

The bodies are fantastic no doubt. Full of smart features that somehow are not found in any other cameras. Excellent aids for manual focusers. Direct interface that makes sense. Ability to give highlight headroom while keeping the previews bright. The shutter is pleasant.

~

But where I personally get cold about re-engaging with the system for the third time is the overall system. As good as the bodies are (and come in very welcome variety), the lenses represent difficult compromises and hard choices.

I can usually choose between charming and characterful, and weather-resistant and fast-focusing. To some extent this abundance of choice and ensuing analysis paralysis follows to the body selection also.

The system is also a bit pricey, although not without reason.

I am bashing some of the lenses here without having seen them on the latest bodies. But the fact is that the lenses vary a bit more in their specs and speeds and one has to make some tough choices. Sometimes the choice is obvious. For many, the XF35/2 is the obvious choice because it can handle weather a bit better and focuses fast.

Fuji likes to copy Leica in many ways. Maybe their next copycat stunt is to release new models with old/original optical designs? ;)

And my criticue I'm giving here is also getting outdated because they did release a new version of the 23/1.4 that's close to the original 23/1.4 but is faster? Now it's just the 35/1.4 and maybe 60/2.4 that I'd love to see a new coat of paint on them? And yet, this criticue is a wild shot because the sixty I haven't used personally and soon it's going to be 6 years when I had the 35/1.4 on the X-T1.

All in all, probably will be giving the system a third chance some time.

~

But anyway. The M4/3 lens collection is not perfect either. There are slow-focusing lenses and fast-focusing ones, and some work better on Panasonic bodies whereas others are better on Olympus. Some primes for nostalgic focal lengths are missing because the zooms are so good.

It's a personal thing but I think the M4/3 lens collection is more complete. Alongside powerful bodies it's the more appealing system to me. And at a much cheaper rate -- an important thing when the system is not my primary one.
Thanks for that, Mike.

An interesting video. Not sure that I agree with all his reasoning, specially since I'm a primarily a zoom user. Very little in other systems seems to match (particularly) the Olympus 8-25 +12-100 combo, or, FTM the 7-14, 12-40 + 40-150.
 
Location
Finland
Thanks for that, Mike.

An interesting video. Not sure that I agree with all his reasoning, specially since I'm a primarily a zoom user. Very little in other systems seems to match (particularly) the Olympus 8-25 +12-100 combo, or, FTM the 7-14, 12-40 + 40-150.
Yes. M4/3 is a real kingdom of zooms. Somehow I just never saw a budget zoom sing like it does on M4/3. And pro zooms are probably more comparable in their songtell but they're heavy and unwieldy on larger formats.

After Pentax I've been getting accustomed to zoom lenses that are way bigger, a little bit heavier, and worse on IQ. Maybe this is to pave the way for Fuji, I wouldn't know?

Nothing can beat the Panasonic kit combo. But how I can say this for certain when I haven't shot Fuji XC zooms?

I always do this. I declare this year to be the year of the optical and then I go on and think about mirrorless cameras.
 
I've no idea 'bout the XC zooms, and as little knowledge of MFT Pro-zooms. But I had the Panny 12-32 and 12-60 kit zooms, and both of those had flatter contrast and especially colour reproduction compared to the Fuji XF 16-80/4. Noticeable difference. And the Fuji XF zoom fell short of being equal to either a Canon RF 24-105 L or a Sony 24-105 f/4 G.
 
Location
Finland
I've no idea 'bout the XC zooms, and as little knowledge of MFT Pro-zooms. But I had the Panny 12-32 and 12-60 kit zooms, and both of those had flatter contrast and especially colour reproduction compared to the Fuji XF 16-80/4. Noticeable difference. And the Fuji XF zoom fell short of being equal to either a Canon RF 24-105 L or a Sony 24-105 f/4 G.
These lenses have the advantage of serving a costlier price segment, are not pancakes and so on.

We all know what are the objectively best lenses out there but each of us has own set of preferences. The Panasonic lenses may not rank highest on the resolution charts but their character speaks to me.

This is probably a most unfair fight: any standard zoom that's going to cost more than 70 € used is probably going to be at a heavy disadvantage compared to P12-32.

It's a tough gig to get on my good graces :cool:
 
Location
Finland
This week marks the first anniversary of my reward model. For a year now, each photo walk (results not mandatory) outside earns me points. For whatever reason, this system has given me motivation to do walks and rounds outside. I sit at 7900 € right now.

I defined the scoring table a year ago and haven't made big adjustments to it since. I think I made the table so that 5000 € a year would be a great thing indeed.

I still don't walk enough, I feel.

~

Today I manufactured myself errands to run, and walked 2.2 hours as a result. Very beautiful sunset, I cut my work short for today so that I could be outside for the duration.

My "main" camera for today was Polaroid and I took the Fuji X100 as secondary. My goal was to take one Polaroid at infinity in decent light, to see what to expect. Took 112 fuji shots, zero polaroids. Expensive exposures indeed makes one stingy. I had one or two square pictures in sight but the lens was too wide for them.

In one way, I think I could enjoy the whole film thing, focusing on walking and less on making frames. But I don't dare to think what scenes I might be missing because of my stinginess.
 
Location
Finland
New day, new errands in town.

The weather's turning back to freeze. It's a very good turn of events. Yes, it'll be cold but it should be much more beautiful, as it was today.

I have my next big trip sneak up on me. Less than a month, and I am totally unsure what to take with me, gear-wise.

But it will be a lot of shooting in the darkness. The sun is going to set at 5pm and I want gear that will be fun to use in low light conditions. I also have to anticipate poor weather, coldness, weight.

Perhaps the most obvious low-light setup is Leica M + 50 Summilux Asph. The trouble is that the lens is having a fit with my chrome Leica, won't focus to infinity (this also shows on the rangefinder so there's something going on!). On the black M it does focus to infinity but its shutter is shockier.

Today's stroll was with the chrome M + 50 lux, to see where we stand on the focus issue.

We do alright up to around 35 meters or so. After that, you have to hope that hyperfocal distance covers the critical bits.

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Sometimes, with the right composition, it's enough to cover the entire backdrop even on f/1.4. But when I'm abroad and about, how much compromise I want to be making? I have to say, I got pretty encouraging results from today's exposures.

The safer option is Leica M + Cosina Voigtländer 50 f/1.5 Nokton. It doesn't have the magical qualities of the 50 Summilux but I tend to prefer its bokeh at closer distances. And this lens will focus to far distances. I shall schedule myself a stroll with the M + 50 Nokton to refresh my memory on the combination.

The third option sounds like a deal for dark time photography: Leica M + TTArtisan 50/0.95. This lens, for the price, does amazingly well wide open, but doesn't always necessarily do that well overall. I will stroll with this camera as well. It's not that heavy.

Then there's a whole host of other candidates that are even better at general purpose photography and darktimey times. They're not Leica M, they're not optical. Therefore, their fun factor is severely compromised. But I have to give serious consideration to these options as well. And it's not like I didn't enjoy my spring trip to Turku when I purposefully went with a Panasonic duo.
 
Location
Finland
@mike3996 Mike, it sounds to me as if you have a lot of cameras that need servicing, and/or repair :( .
Just the Leica family in general. My chrome M has seen a lot of action, and at some point some maintenance is to be expected with these babies. The black M is better but has pronounced shutter shock -- of which I don't know if it is a defect or the standard. The black M was priced so low there's no problem.

Pentax KP is another that is probably below manufacturer standard in some areas, but the K200D behaves just as bad so now I don't know if it's defective or just Pentax. And my Pentax lenses are very low quality, wobbly bodies, decentered optics, etc. They were like 50 € a piece in a lump deal so I didn't expect it to be perfect.

My other 8 or so cameras are fine.


I have too many cameras -- more specifically, I have too many systems. Saturday last week I encountered a trade deal that triggered a deeper desperation. I am very far away from my lean days and I regard those days in a very romantic, nostalgic fashion. I have prepared some prose about it but never posted it. I will prepare a romantic spinoff of that unpublished script some day soon.
 

John King

Member of SOFA
Location
Beaumaris, Melbourne, Australia
Name
John ...
Just the Leica family in general. My chrome M has seen a lot of action, and at some point some maintenance is to be expected with these babies. The black M is better but has pronounced shutter shock -- of which I don't know if it is a defect or the standard. The black M was priced so low there's no problem.

Pentax KP is another that is probably below manufacturer standard in some areas, but the K200D behaves just as bad so now I don't know if it's defective or just Pentax. And my Pentax lenses are very low quality, wobbly bodies, decentered optics, etc. They were like 50 € a piece in a lump deal so I didn't expect it to be perfect.

My other 8 or so cameras are fine.


I have too many cameras -- more specifically, I have too many systems. Saturday last week I encountered a trade deal that triggered a deeper desperation. I am very far away from my lean days and I regard those days in a very romantic, nostalgic fashion. I have prepared some prose about it but never posted it. I will prepare a romantic spinoff of that unpublished script some day soon.
That's just one reason why I stick to a single brand, Mike. It does everything I need, and everything works with everything else.

I've been down the multi-system path, long ago, and it really didn't suit my personality.
 
Location
Seattle
Name
Andrew
I've been flirting with multiple systems for several years now. Digitally specifically, I've had multi formats since picking up the Ricoh GR, which maybe doesn't count as a system but which I initially justified as being my 28mm wide-angle option. I reasoned that its size and weight were not that far off from even a small 28mm lens. Then I acquired a Pentax camera as a replacement to M4/3, but eventually picked up a cheap used EM5, which had issues but was replaced with a used EM5II for not much more money. So, even with Pentax, Olympus snuck back in the fold.

I think it's fine to have multiple formats if each serves a purpose, and you can tolerate or embrace the differences which each one brings to the table. I haven't mentioned film cameras but I think it's easier to end up with multiple systems since those are bought used and often dependent on the price and condition almost as much as what it brings to the table.

Right now I've slipped into a bit of a focal length rut, where nearly everything I have in each format is around 35-50mm. I do need to rectify that somehow.
 
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Location
Finland
That's just one reason why I stick to a single brand, Mike. It does everything I need, and everything works with everything else.
John you might see why that idea doesn't necessarily work out that well for me, since my single brand of choice would be Leica of course. :D

Leica shooters need backup cameras and systems when their chosen one is having a row.

But I jest. If I did only have this one system, be it Leica M, I would be laser-focused on getting it fixed and running, and not have this years-long anxiety about making it happen maybe some day in the distant future.

Instead I think, "this repair can cost me a grand -- what fancy new toy I could buy me with this money instead of servicing the existing one?". It's a sickness. This particular strand of GAS I have so far fought successfully, but I have thought about it.
 
Location
Finland
I've been flirting with multiple systems for several years now. Digitally specifically, I've had multi formats since picking up the Ricoh GR, which may be doesn't count as a system but which u initially justified as being my 28mm wide-angle option. I reasoned that its size and weight were not that far off from even a small 28mm lens. Then I acquired a Pentax camera as a replacement to M4/3, but eventually picked up a cheap used EM5, which had issues but was replaced with a used EM5II for not much more money. So, even with Pentax, Olympus snuck back in the fold.

I think it's fine to have multiple formats if each serves a purpose, and you can tolerate or embrace the differences which each one brings to the table. I haven't mentioned film cameras but I think it's easier to end up with multiple systems since those are bought used and often dependent on the price and condition almost as much as what it brings to the table.

Right now I've slipped into a bit of a focal length rut, where nearly everything I have in each format is around 35-50mm. I do need to rectify that somehow.
I think having one system is a romantic ideal. It can work out very well if your chosen system is a practical one.

Two systems can be a sweet spot, though.

I fantasized about a very radical thing, was it maybe a year ago in January... and now I dug up the same fantasy, pretty radical for me.

What if I just sell absolutely everything I have and build myself a brand new system, and stick to it for a while. Maybe the system is not entirely brand new to me; maybe it's a Leica M11 as the sole camera body, maybe keep the M lenses for it. And maybe it's a practical brand new system such as Fujifilm?

But I guess such romance is not meant to last, not for me. I'm too polyamorous for that.
 

Jan Steinman

Regular
Location
Bellingham, Washington, USA
Name
Jan Steinman
I have too many cameras -- more specifically, I have too many systems.
I've purposely dodged that bullet!

The way I see it, any camera maker that has survived a while† has got to be doing something good.

So I made a choice in my early 20s, and I've pretty much stuck with it since. Rather than being enticed by the latest whiz-bang trick from Canikony (et. al.), I just look for the very best that Olympus/OMDS has offered over the years.

That not only cuts way down on the GAS attacks, it also makes me more patient for the better deals. With few exceptions, everything I've bought is worth more today than what I paid for it. (Problem is, I can't bear to part with most of it. I hope it makes heirs happy someday.)

† Case in point, I once bought a Vivitar digital camera. What a dog! But luckily, there are plenty of Vivitar digicams out there to choose from today… NOT!
 
Location
Finland
The way I see it, any camera maker that has survived a while† has got to be doing something good.
This is one side of the coin. This is definitely true, has to be. Otherwise the company would be down under.

But then you combine this fact with another one: there has to be a some differentiation as per the laws of market shares, but also because companies are all different. Much like people. Then you have N camera brands that each survive by being good, and each has a niche they dig into. Pentax rides the DSLR train, Leica has rangefinders, M43 has the best zooms, etc. Then you end up having a system from each. :hmmm:
 
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