Monday, June 04, 2007

Camera Notes

I've posted some photo equipment on eBay, as a result of my recent experience shooting daily in Vietnam. Here's what I've found:

The Pentax K100D is a great camera, no doubt. The K10D, however, motivates me to move up for several reasons. First, as an old film-and-darkroom guy, I value post- processing and prefer to shoot in RAW format whenever possible. The small buffer of the K100D forces me into JPEG mode more often than I would like. Second, the K10D has more of its manual overrides on buttons; the K100D buries them in menus. Third, the K10D dispenses with the "idiot" modes and replaces them with truly innovative and useful shooting modes. Other nice upgrades include the K10D's weathersealing and sensor dust removal functions.

The Tamron 70-300mm Di zoom (effective length 105-450mm) is a decent lens, especially at the price. Nits to pick (for me) were:
  • Autofocus slow - tends to hunt
  • Lack of clutch in focusing mechanism - risk of damage to lens if you forget to switch to manual focus when attaching or removing lens hood
  • Weight and bulk - I didn't really find much use for the 200 - 300mm range, or the macro. The 50-200mm would be a better choice for my use
That said, I probably would not be selling it if I weren't scraping together the money to buy a K10D. It's a good lens to have in your bag

The Metz Mecablitz 36 C-2 is a non-dedicated unit. It will not interface with the camera manufacturers' various TTL flash modes. Used properly, however, it delivers very consistent results at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated unit. It also is less likely to be fooled by highly reflective backgrounds. The trade-off is a bit of a learning curve (the instruction manual is excellent) and a certain amount more manual adjusting. I did learn to use it fairly efficiently, but I still think I could work faster with a dedicated unit. Trade-offs to everything, as I said. I'll buy the Pentax AF540FGZ.

So, now you know.

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