A friend suggested there exists a planetary photographers alignment and while I generally don’t believe in such things I’m thinking he may be on to something as things seem to be falling out of the sky into my lap, not only that but the “gatherers” ran across a thrift store bonanza in the form of a Chinon 45mm f2.4 “pancake lens” that the price was so cheap on they might as well of been wearing masks.
The lens is spotless, if I didn’t know better I’d think it were new instead of a few decades old -but that’s only part of the alignment, the rest is it wasn’t a plane dumping it’s waste that fell into my lap, or pigeons overhead, it was a Pentax K50, and what a superb little camera.
A friend knew someone who wanted the above Nikon f100 slr and the lone Nikon lens I had for it, a plastic 28-80mm F3.5-5.6 zoom made in Thailand I never grew accustomed to the feel of.
They wanted it enough to offer to trade a roughly handled Pentax K30 he had dropped and bounced around for a few years. Still worked perfectly but looked as though the hounds had gnawed on it as a favored pastime.
In addition I’m always a little suspicious of those who abuse or fail to maintain the things they own.
Even if I would have traded for the K30 his attitude kind of preempted such a deal, some sense of entitlement on his behalf and obligation on my part.
I usually don’t respond well to such things and didn’t in this case either – so I upped the ante to a new in the box K50 thinking he would go apoplectic and forget the whole thing as he was explicit about trading the K30 rather than a purchase.
He did kind of have a seizure of some sort and stormed off, later though my friend showed up with a new K50 in the box accompanied with a receipt, completely agreed with the position I had taken, and said if I was willing to accept the k50 he in turn would deliver the f100.
The f100 is a fine film camera, some even going so far to say either the best or second best Nikon ever made, but the truth of the matter is if it’s about film I’m about my old Spotmatic and really wouldn’t ever use the Nikon much, which would be a waste – so the deal was struck.
The lens on the Nikon is I suspect a kit lens, and not a very good one which I explained.
I’m very impressed with the K50, and more surprisingly the “kit Lens” that came with it.
A plastic fully weatherized lens as is the camera -an 18-55mm f3.5-5.6. But also a lens that doesn’t perform like a relatively “slow” kit lens. Very sharp and great image quality – focus is fast, confident, and doesn’t hunt and peck around.
Pentax lenses are and have been some of the finest made from the inception of the company, Asayhi, (later Ayashi Pentax and now Ricoh Pentax) in 1919 to the present – it follows then I suppose that even their plastic kit lens would raise the bar.
Lens “afficinados” often tout vintage Voigtlander and Zeiss lenses, and there’s some good ones, but I think if I were to be limited to only one manufacturer it would have to be Pentax.
I’m sure there are those who would disagree with me, but opinions are subjective and that happens to be mine.
I loathe the concept of plastic lens but I’ll be making an allowance for this one, as in exception, due in part to it’s weatherization which is a big deal for me in the winter.
Canon and Nikon make fine cameras, but if they aren’t hearing Pentax steps behind them they soon will as the affordable quality barbarians are at the gate.
In my opinion the K50 blows the competition out of the water in the niche it resides in, it is feature laden, internally stabilized, and ergonomically well designed.
The internal stabilization translates to using older lens that will likewise be stabilized by the camera as well if in an awkward position as is the case at times – especially if tramping about the woods.
And being a Pentax designed to accommodate older Pentax lens through various settings and and also an adapter for some that allows the mounting of a huge number of Kmount or M42 screw mount lenses made by other manufacturers which I happen to have.
So it’s all good as I’ve been going through the menu trying different things out, but ultimately I’ll have it set to manual, shooting in the RAW format and using manual Pentax Takumars, Yashinons, the “pancake”, or older prime Kmount lenses which cost significantly less than new if I or the “gatherers” run across any.
The great thing about dslr’s is the ability for others who aren’t familiar with the mechanics and nuances to use one in the auto modes.
My K50 happens to be white, the story being it was the only one the store had left – I prefer black,but the white is growing on me and looks somewhat zebra like a black lens on it.
Kind of on the scout for Pentax’s pancake version, a 40mm f2.8 and hoping the “alignment” stays together long enough to run across one at my favorite camera stores…..thriftstores, fleamarkets, or yardsales.
A friend of mine has one and comparing IQ the Chinon perceptibly edges it in my opinion – but the truth of the matter is there isn’t a lens maker who can claim every lens they ever made is a “prime”.
The photo is of the f100 I traded, in looking around they seem to top out on the net at about $200 so I figure I did good.
You can see how compact the Chinon is with the quarter leaning against it. Some people complain about how thin the focus and aperture rings are and had me groping about at first, but not an issue now as I know the feel of it.
It’s nice to get a camera that doesn’t initially need cleaning, adjusting, or repairs….”new” has it’s benefits, but I’m not adverse to used or refurbished.
Would be interested in hearing the opinions of others who either own or have experience with the K50 or the Chinon pancake.