Recently I ordered a Nikon D600, which is a pretty big (and expensive) upgrade from my Pentax K20 camera. So I’ll soon be selling my Pentax gear to cover the cost of the new camera. I’ve had a great run with Pentax, with two different cameras over six years. So this week I decided to take a look back at some of the pictures and re-edit some of them in Lightroom.
I found that more than 80% of my pictures were taken with this lens. I’m going to miss this lens.
It’s the lens that I had with me on most of my backpacking trips. It’s relatively compact for a f/2.8 zoom, and pretty durable, so I never hesitated to put it in my pack.
It’s wide enough to capture some epic landscapes.
And the weather sealing came in handy in many situations, such as when I hiked through the Zion Narrows. I didn’t worry about hiking through water for two days, or even setting it on a tripod in the middle of a river to take this shot. I’ll sometimes even take it right underneath a waterfall– I just wipe off any water that gets sprayed on it, and it’s good to go again.
I call this lens my roadtrip lens. I bought it before a roadtrip to the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park a few years ago. It still gets the bulk of its use on roadtrips, capturing vast landscapes all around the United States.
It just barely misses being wide enough to capture Crater Lake in its entirety.
I basically bought the lens for the Grand Canyon. Here’s my favorite shot from the Grand Canyon, which ironically doesn’t really have much of the canyon in it…
I’ve taken a lot of pictures that I like with my Pentax camera over the years. So why start over with Nikon? Two words. Full frame. When the Nikon D600 was announced I was excited, because it was supposed to be the first truly affordable full frame digital camera. Some early rumors said that it would be released at $1,500.
But I passed on it when it eventually came out at $2,100. I decided I’d upgrade to one of the newer Pentax cameras on the market. Pentax doesn’t have a full frame camera, but it has some of the best crop sensor cameras on the market, and any of them would be a big improvement for me. But about a week ago Adorama has a huge sale on the D600, which brought it to about $1,500. So I bought it.
Why is full frame a big deal for me?
The first reason is dynamic range. I often find myself hiking in valleys, where it’s pretty shaded. These areas have a lot of dynamic range in the scenes, because the foreground is dark but the areas where the sun hits are overly bright. So to get the foreground exposed properly parts of the scene are often overexposed. Full frame cameras theoretically have wider dynamic range.
The other reason is high ISO noise. My camera takes pretty noisy shots when I set the ISO above 1600 or take long exposures. This picture was sort of a worst case scenario for my camera, 30 second long exposure at ISO 3200. Even with noise reduction at max in Lightroom the picture came out grainy. The newest full frame cameras supposedly have decently clean shots at ISO 3200.
So anyways, even though I’ve had a great run with Pentax I’m looking forward to my new Nikon D600 camera, to all the amazing places I’ll be going with it, and to all the pictures I’ll be taking of those places.
P.S. – As a side note, if anyone’s interested in some Pentax camera gear, I’ll give you a good deal…