Monday, June 7, 2021

accelerated plans

 I had some ideas on how to re-equip a Pentax kit. That didn't matter to the market, of course.

My dream /future kit would be a DA15, 20-40, DA70 (all Limited series), -TBD- and M135/3.5 - with the 135 in hand as well as a 28-80 AF zoom and 70-150/4 manual zoom. A 55-300mm HD/wr would be nice for longer shots, but a 50-200wr would be sufficient for most things.

My tweener /bargain kit: 18-50re and a couple of primes in the smc-A series. I caught a $20 break on the 18-50 DAL, about $5 off an A28/2.8 and paid full price for an A50/2.0 (full price is under $30). Limited lenses are labeled that way for a reason, and bargains generally don't happen except for an occasional 40/2.8..

Oops. I peeked! I struggled to resist a $250 copy of the 15mm f/4 only to collide with one for $200. Yes it's well and truly used, but lenses don't care - only their paint suffers! So that's on its way several months sooner than I expected.

So here is today's semi-bargain kit for the KP:

  • DA15/4 Limited
  • 28mm/2.8 smc-A
  • 50mm/2.0 smc-A
  • 135/3.5 smc-M
  • 18-50re and 50-200mm DA∙L WR zooms
  • Σ28-80mm + rikenon 70-150mm zooms
In simple cases the two zooms and 15mm will do most any task. When light is tight the primes will be in play.


 Updated  7 June (late afternoon) 

So here's a kit report that I'll nail to my signatures on various forums. Rather than append new versions  or keep multiple copies for old stuff, I'll just overwrite this spot as I progress. That allows me to say "I'm not sure" when someone asks uncomfortable questions like "honestly, how many times have you owned that piece of gear?!?" 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

weighing options

 I feel the need for a not-µ43 camera. But not just any camera!

What would the Big Deals be on something I seek? 

  1. $$ = less than the Oly eM1.ii I just relinquished
  2. larger sensor though fairly compact body
  3. Tip not twist screen
  4. Excellent sensor
  5. decent battery life
  6. feature set different from the eM1/Classic
  7. lenses already in hand, at least partly
That's enough for a first blush. 
So what calls to me this month?
  • I can find another D600/610 (all but #2) though it's pretty bulky.
  • I could step up to a Z or S mirrorless .. $$$ means not soon, plus my nF lenses won't AF..
  • I can seek a used D7500 with its fine sensor and tip/touch screen. These are also $$$.
  • Could I even try Fuji? Interesting system and small primes, but those are $$$ too.
  • Or the mystery camera: $500ish, tip-not-touch screen, several features I covet, definitely different. Every feature on the list though a bit weak on #4.

But it's.. a.. Pentax. Specifically a gently used KP.

Oh wait - I adore Pentax cameras! Well I did for a while. A long while. But a year or so ago I couldn't afford anything past the K5 bodies. But I get cool acronyms like WR, SR (wait it's SR II!), TAv, Sv, PxS and much more! Trust me, those things are cool !! 

I swore I was done with Pentax. Guess I'll just keep swearing - and using Pentax.

Budget won't allow the Limiteds just yet - but I hear them calling! Again.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

spiral songs at last!

The Swainson's Thrush arrived at their usual time, May 18-19. Alert hweep!s and relaxed hwips were abundant the past ten days - but no attract-a-mate up-spiraling calls? Those usually begin within a few days, but perhaps the females arrived a bit later this year. No point in showing off one's best singing with no attractive audience to hear it!

I should probably stop hwip∙ping at them when they announce their presence; I might be canceling an appropriate alert before it's prudent, or telling them 'this spot is taken' and driving them away from us to sing up a new family!

pay no attention to the towhee at left, but instead his sneaky Swainson's shadow on the right!

Lórien is feeling quite cheerful now that her favorite bird call is in the neighborhood. Cheerful is good.

from - Swainson's Thrush

Thursday, May 27, 2021

a dry spring

 Three dry months have taken their toll. We've received just over 50% of our typical moisture for March-May, a heat spell removed most of Oregon's snowpack, and 2/3" today is helping but will only do so much. More dry weather is forecast for the upcoming week. This is our wettest day since 3/24, so not many noteworthy storms have rolled through this spring. Aside from being wet, today's winds were pretty strong too - but only the highest trees, as the SW winds could not find us on the north side of the hill-top.

My dad's old roto-tiller actually started last weekend, which I found quite surprising; it's probably been a decade since it started last! I managed to plow under a segment of our yard and toss down some old lawn seed, then sprinkled it yesterday before rainfall took over. Hopefully in the next week we'll see some sprouting, if not then another bag of fresh seed is in order. The yard is substantially dandelion with a smattering of daisies and moss, so even bad grass seed will be a better look overall.

It is also Portland's driest March-May on record, by a comfortable margin. Assuming they don't get 1.8" tomorrow..

Friday, May 7, 2021

thoughts on eM1/eM5ii

The eM1 Classic and eM5ii arrived the same day. After all the research and readjustment of my swap (eM1ii for Nikon –er em5ii –errr Ni .. nope em5ii) the original M1 is getting most of the attention. It was a tremendous bargain and most likely does all that I reasonably ‘need’ for this hobby. As long as both are here though, let’s find out for sure!

Differences are interesting, in part due to the lack of them. The sensors are different, yet DxO tests show them to be nearly identical in their particular tests. Neither sensor keeps up with the eM1ii, both are a pinch better than the GX7. Both eM bodies have 'better' IS within, a single memory slot, weather seals and no AA filter. 

With that out of the way, what do I have to choose from on the Oly side?

  1. Phase detect AF (eM1) though not for every AF situation

  2. Tilt screen (eM1) is my preference by a decent margin
  3. Battery life is better on eM5ii thanks to its specific quick-nap mode
  4. Grip is superior on eM1 without supplemental aids
  5. eM1 is a bit larger/heavier.. but the better grip is a part of that
  6. Video specs are substantially more versatile on eM5ii
  7. eM5ii is silver.. OK I’m reaching now
  8. In my particular case the eM1 is over $250 cheaper!

So of these first-blush points, what matters to me? 

Numbers 2 and 4 are big. My 70-300mm 4Thirds zoom might appreciate #1, though it’s cdaf-friendly by design. I’ve fallen for video specs before and shot no videos to speak of - so #6 isn’t as relevant as I pretend it is. Both cameras feel fine as to bulk, so #5 is a draw. With three batteries for the eM1, item #3 isn’t a big deal, and I can fine-tune some time-out settings too.

So items 2, 4 and especially 8 provide my answer. Therefore, unless I am disappointed in shooting with the eM1, it’s the better of the two for me. And if it's not a great fit, it's hard to imagine the 5ii being the right answer either - but it can give me its best attempt and possibly win out.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

snowpack and yardwork

 A dry April and a warm spell has brought snow totals down in a hurry, most notably in the southern parts of our region. We expect totals to be falling by May 1st, but the rate can be quick in the spring - like this year.

NW Washington has been cool enough to retain its high values, so the variation in the PNW is pretty impressive. The Sierra had a miserable year and fire season looks ominous for California; my Wyoming granite range is just a bit below normal so my dreams will turn east not south for 2021. I don't expect any multi-day trips to materialize in fact, so dreams will have to do.

I've done some ache-inducing yard work, moving a few blueberry shrubs from the precipice of a steep hill and a tangle of wild vines. The blueberries should be happier and easier to manage along the side of our garage. I thought to add our raspberry twig there as well, but came home with a grape vine instead - once it's established a few feet above the ground a few lower berries can join it to shade the soil and make the wall a tasty place to hang out in the summer! We have a couple of apple trees as well, but they are on the opposite end of the property; can't make things too easy, I suppose..