First, a backstory:
Nikon and Canon have been dominate in the game of digital photography for a long while now. And recently Sony has enter the fight with their mirrorless cameras. It seems like most of us (but not all) started with either Nikon or Canon because it is what was stocked in your local big box stores. It was what we were able to get our hands on and test drive, or what our friends were using and they were suggesting. And of course having a friend who shoots the same brand means you can borrow or trade gear with each other. For me, when I wanted to start shooting I had friends who shot Canon, and friends who shot Nikon. I just went to the store and picked up both cameras, and picked the one that was more comfortable in my hands to reach the basic commands. The scroll wheels and shutter being the most important. I found Nikon to fit best.
I shot for YEARS on Nikon, and went through many models. I shot with a D90 for about 3-4 years and decided one day to upgrade to a D7500. Although the D7500 was a vast improvement over the D90, the entire time I owned it, I keep feeling slightly let down with it. Yes it produced great images, but the quality I wanted, was never there. And in the back of my mind I kept thinking, it's time to go full frame. About a year to the date after purchasing my D7500, I decided to take the plunge into the full frame life. Time to get more serious about my hobby.
Nikon D7500 55-200mm
Enter the Pentax K1 Mk2
The current options now are vast. Sony, Nikon, and Canon leading the way, being the most popular cameras on the market in both mirrorless and traditional SLR markets. But yet there is another camera who's primary focus is still to take IMAGES. Not images and video. Although yes, it does capture video, it's video stats are pretty dated. Which is great, because I enjoy stills more than video, and stills are my main focus. I'm not exactly sure why I went to Pentax, other than I wanted it when they first released the K1 Mk1. It was always there, looking at me, saying we've been around for years, a leader in the film photo industry, and we don't plan on going into the dark anytime soon. And even though our auto focus is a bit slow (which can cause some missed images of vehicles in motion if you aren't prepared), our weather sealing is top notch and our quality is still leading the way. Even though the camera (mk1) was released in 2016, it's still on par with everyone else.
First Image with Pentax K1 Mk2
The first shots with the Pentax left me staggered. Simple shots, nothing special, but just blown away by the quality of the images. Seeing the first few images on my computer screen for the first time left me baffled on why the hell I waited so long to go full frame, and why I didn't switch to Pentax sooner.
Growing with the Pentax, in a world in which has mostly forgotten about the company has been difficult. There isn't much new gear coming out, companies like Sigma / Tamron don't exactly support full frame Pentax. I think Sigma has one lens, and I am not even sure I've seen a Tamron lens. There are a few cheap brands that support the K mount of the Pentax, however your number one resource is simply Pentax. And they do offer enough variety to cover pretty much whatever you need, but the lack of a variety of Sigma Art lenses is a bit of a let down.
I've been shooting with the Pentax since July of 2020. And I've been getting by with the kit lens just fine as it's a great walking around lens. However it does leave you desiring more. But at the same time, aren't we always wanting more with our camera gear? So to solve my crave for some more I bought my first truly expensive lenses (in my opinion). I waffled between a telephoto lens and a prime lens. But ended up deciding that a 85mm F-1.4 would probably work the best for now. Telephoto or wide angle will be next. I haven't really been able to give it a honest run. But I have snapped off maybe 10-15 images to start to get the feel for it. So far I found the sweet spots and range, but it'll take more trial and error to perfect the lens.
Pentak 85mm F2.8 and my dirty Lexus
It is kind of fun to be the guy shooting with something completely different that the rest of the crowd. I usually get a good chuckle out of peoples reactions when they ask me "what am I shooting with", and I reply "Pentax". But at the end of the day, where it counts, nobody would know that I'm my images come from a Pentax basically released 5 years ago.
So why do I love the Pentax K1? Well it's features are driven towards photos, instead of video. I find the multi function dial extremely useful. Giving you the option for ISO, Exposure Comp, Bracketing, and a few other features you'd typically have to go to a menu feature to turn on, at the quick turn of a dial on top of the camera makes adjusting on the fly super fast. Another thing I love about this camera is the color palette. With Nikon, the colors are bright, and vivid with a strong contrast. With Cannon the exact opposite with a flat low contrast color. If I had to have one extreme or the other, it would be vivid. But with Pentax they found an amazing balance of color. Very naturally looking, which for my style of photography, is perfect. And last, I like the weight of the camera. In fact, that's one of the two reasons why I don't want to go to a mirrorless camera. I enjoy a weighted camera as it helps me stay stable. The other reason I don't want to go mirrorless in case you are curious, is the view finder. I do not like the digital viewfinder at all.
Because nothing is perfect I suppose it's only fair to list off a few things I don't like about the Pentax. One of my biggest complaints is the lack of aftermarket lenses of good quality. But I understand because Pentax DSLR sales aren't exactly through the roof. Another big gripe would be the auto focus. When the camera goes to sleep, sometimes it's hard to get the auto focus to "wake up" when you need it. I know I've missed a shot or two because of that. However I was aware of this going in. It's toted as one of the best landscape cameras out there even though its a bit dated by the competition. So I'm asking it to go out and compete with Nikons crazy good new auto focus system. Not a small task. And finally, the battery life sucks. It's enough to get you through a good day of shooting, but forget to charge it, and go out a day or two later, and you'll quickly find your self down to 1 on the battery meter.
The funny thing is, I've still not tried all the features of this camera. It's loaded with crazy useful things for many different type of shooters. Astrotracing, on board GPS, pixel shift, HDR/Bracketing, some other stuff I'm sure I haven't found yet. So even though I already love this camera, I stand to love it even more once I dive more into the features of it. Or worse case, want to try something a bit different to flex the creative muscles, start tapping those features. I mean, the right car in the foreground combined with some astro photography could be the next big craze right?