There’s much to be said for being happy with one’s lot.
In most areas of my life I am hugely thankful for what I have, and part of my morning yoga and exercise routine includes saying thank you for all I’m blessed with.
But, it seems, whatever I have on the photography gear front, a part of me is always looking for more.
Currently, I’m back into DSLRs and greatly enjoy the simple delights and beautiful colours of the Pentax K100D, the slightly more sophisticated and flexible K-m, and the still awkward, overly complicated, but somehow endearing K-30.
Surely three DSLRs – plus half a dozen lenses – are enough?
Apparently not, as my eBay Watch List / Saved Searches contain the following –
Samsung GX-10. A Samsung clone of the Pentax K10D. I’ve owned both in the past (at the same time) and ended up selling them mostly due to the bulk and weight. In terms of feel, build quality and performance, they were fantastic, so I’m tempted to try one again. Even though the sensor (and of course my lenses) are exactly the same as in/on my K-m, which is significantly smaller and lighter.
Pentax K7. A successor to the K10D, and, like the K10D, Pentax’s flagship DSLR when it was released in 2009. Very appealing for the build, quality, large bright viewfinder and fact that most people who had/have one absolutely love them. I slightly hesitate about the 14MP CMOS sensor (more than I need, CMOS not CCD) and the cost – most are going for close to £200.
Pentax K-x. This was actually my first DLSR, before I really had a clue what I was doing. I do have in my Flickr stream some lovely images made with the K-x and vintage M42 lenses though. I remember being confused and frustrated at the time, coming from film SLRs, that my lenses weren’t the same field of view (the APS-C sensor of most DSLRs mean a 1.5x crop factor, so for example a 50mm lens gives a 75mm field of view). Oh and I had a cheap M42 adapter that protruded from the camera and meant none of the lenses would focus beyond perhaps 10m. Again, with greater knowledge now, and an official Pentax adapter that works perfectly in terms of focus, I am very curious to see what the K-x could do again.
Pentax K100D. I have one already, and fantastic as they are, why am I watching others as a back up camera when I have the not too dissimilar and more flexible K-m, and the K-30?
Pentax K-S1. These look, on the surface, far too new, flashy and gimmicky for my usual tastes, all style over substance. But a photography friend and fellow Pentax fan keeps on about them, so my curiosity is piqued. Currently a bit pricey though, I haven’t seen many go for less than £200. Maybe one for a year or two down the line.
Pentax Q7. I have the original Q, and it’s amazing, virtually everything I love about Pentax DSLRS in a tiny package. The later Q7 has a slightly bigger sensor, and better image quality, but overall the body is the same size, and the mount is identical. But I haven’t used my Q in some months, so why do I need another that’s not much different?
Pentax K 50mm f/1.4 lens. I had an M 50/1.4, which was great, but the M 50/1.7 was smaller, lighter and just as fantastic. And about a third of the price. The K series are larger than the M series too, adding extra bulk I don’t need – my DLSRs feel best with later, lighter lenses like the F and DA lenses I have. But the relatively rarity and speed of this classic 50 is appealing.
Pentax-DA 16-45mm lens. I’ve had the standard DA 18-55mm kit zoom, and is was much better than I expected. Currently the only zoom I have is the F series 35-70mm, which is excellent, but the generally very positive reviews, wide angle (16mm on a DSLR equates to 24mm field of view, far wider than anything else I have) and my previous good experience with DA lenses (18-55, 35/2.4 and 50/1.8) all add to the allure.
I don’t need any of this additional gear of course, especially the cameras.
It would make more sense to sell two lenses I rarely use – the DA 50/1.8 and M 28/2.8 – and fund something like the DA 16-45mm, which offers something I don’t have – wide angle options with a lens that also by all accounts performs very well generally.
Or it might be better to abandon eBay (again!) like I’ve done for periods in the past, and enjoy what I have.
But the pattern of underlying dissatisfaction, always looking at what I could get next, rather than being entirely happy with what I have, seems to keep returning.
How about you? Are you happy with your camera lot, or do you constantly have one eye on something different?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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15 thoughts on “How To Stop Looking For What Isn’t Even Missing (Or, Trying To Justify My eBay Watch List)”
You know where I stand on this Dan 🙂 I understand that even though you’re asking yourself and trying to be reasonable and stay off purchasing more gear, you seem to really enjoy trying new things, tweaking with new lenses and settings, comparing them etc.
Now, it’s not my thing and in my opinion it distracts me from the actual photography but if you really love it, why limit yourself? Why not take it to another level? Maybe you can do videos (similar to your posts) and compare cameras etc which can be very helpful to some folk.
However, if you think that you really Must stop, I simply recommend one thing – cold turkey!
All the best, have a good weekend!
Thanks Yuri. I am always torn, that is the problem! I do like trying different cameras, partly to see if I can find something slightly “better” than what I have used already, and partly for the challenge and fun factor of a new experience. But the other side of me just wants to have a small collection – each unique – and use them so I know them inside out and back to front, and focus more on photography rather than camera collecting.
But I think you’re right I should lighten up a bit, and if I enjoy trying new cameras now and then, and it doesn’t get out of hand, then why not!
I’m happy with what I’ve got, although I recognize there are some pieces of equipment that could add to my shooting experience – or would just be nice to have. But I’m not going to fret over not having them, and I’m certainly not going to go broke to get them.
Zen and the Art of getting all your Ducks in a row.
No, the financial side is something I’m well aware of too Marc. I’m quite shocked at how much some people spend on cameras (and indeed many other things!), but we all have different perspectives and justifications for how we spend our money.
Dan, I wrestled with this as well. The low cost of 20+ year-old cameras defeated me every time. Some of my favorite cameras cost less than 20 dollars, and often a sought after lens was attached. Finally, I went all-in and decided that GAS isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I decided to turn into a walk through history, and so was born the Minolta Love Project.
Jerome, thanks for your message.
I do relate to an extent with Minolta, they made some very innovative products and some very special lenses. If I’d had more luck with their cameras I may well have stuck with them as my favourite brand rather than Pentax. See fairly recently where I tried again – https://35hunter.blog/2019/11/26/when-digital-dies-my-fleeting-affair-with-a-konica-minolta-dynax-5d/
Yes the affordability and availability of used cameras makes them very hard to resist!
Sorry to hear about your 5D experience. I got mine from a thrift store as a curiosity more than to use. Even so, the colors are beautiful. My desire to explore Minolta history accounts for most of my gear purchases. However, I no longer pause to decide which cameras or lenses to use. My go-to set up is a Maxxum 7, 100mm macro lens, 50mm 1.7, and the 28-105mm for walking about. That 28-105mm is one of the best I have ever encountered—very underrated.
Yeh I did rather like the 5D in use. Same story with an X-300 I had, it could have been my favourite compact SLR if it wasn’t for reliability issues, especially with those beautiful Rokkors. I noticed in your blog post you had a picture of the 35-70 Macro Zoom. I had one of those and it was fantastic. Sounds like the 28-105mm is similarly special. The AF Macro 50/2.8 was very very impressive too.
Wow; timely, rueful. You confront motive, asking what I wanted and why. I read it in the early morning, then had binned my own watch list by lunch.
Mine was a swollen game-bag of temps perdu: early-number Nikon Fs; four or five worn Nikkor 50s, a 35, a 28, made in a reverie, un overheated rêve, a dream. Such was my first serious kit, sorely sacrificed for.
What I was after couldn’t be got; to re-create ευδαιμονία, the sheer over-flowing joy of days in those times; miles-long city hikes handily made in youth, an even-younger new wife strolling along beside; the rich pleasures of PKR and Tri-X; an account at an old-time lab where the air was close and fuggy with chem, an acreage of broad light tables; metering a neutral grey card in mid-street, all the practiced fiddly minutiae; the warm bath of sun or cold slicing light on brick buildings; a shot that took a modest prize.
It was … heaven. On earth. And now only paradise lost.
You can’t go home again – if you do, it’s plum coating will have worn away; it will need new seals, a mirror pad, a clean and lively pressure plate, fresh springs, a timing and all its old grease out. You dare not use a Korean War rucksack with woolen socks for your lenses and you will not stride so long or so far.
William, thank you as always for your rich and emotive writing.
I feel a similar thing with many of the objects I lusted after in younger days, in an effort perhaps to not only revisit my childhood, but to recreate it as an enhanced and even more vivid set of experiences.
For example, collecting all the Star Wars action figures I never had, the mountain bikes I longed for in my late teens (a Specialized Stumpjumper, an Orange Clockwork, a Kona, a Marin, a Gary Fisher…), even cars I admired when I had my first humble hatchback (a late 80s Honda CRX Mk1, which I still wouldn’t mind!) and so on.
With cameras, because my history with them began only around eight years ago, I have virtually no previous emotional connections or affiliations. I vaguely recall the golden rising sun logo on an otherwise all black Minolta on a shelf at my uncle’s, and my nan’s ever present flip open Kodak 110, ready to capture family birthdays and holidays. But I had no awareness of cameras beyond this, they were never on my radar.
So in some ways perhaps the array of cameras available now is even more enticing, as there are whole genres and brands and formats I’ve never known before that I could explore enjoy now.
But I’m probably better off just sticking to those I know and love! If we’re always looking for something else, we don’t fully appreciate what we have right here in our hands.
On a related topic, I’ve been thinking more about how we need to find ways and objects to channel our passions and curiosity and research through. Put another way, stood in a field full of rabbit holes, we can’t dive down every one simultaneously, we must just pick one, burrow down deep and see where it leads.
PS/ “You can’t go home again” reminded me of Thomas Wolfe. His first novel, Look Homeward Angel, was hugely influential in what I realised could be captured and expressed with the written word, and led me on to Kerouac, another significant influence when I was more poet than photographer.
Dan, from what I know about you, not sure about the GX10, K-x, K-7 and another K100D… I think you’d sell them all quickly again. The Q7, who knows. It does have some advantages over the original Q I think. But is the Q system for you? It doesn’t seem like you use it, and maintaining a system is different from just having a camera you don’t use…
As for lenses… they do make sense I should say… if you can’t have the 50mm f/1.2 then the K 50 1.4 is the next best thing… 🙂
As for my own ebay list – they’re basically lenses, and a couple of cameras that have large-ish CCD sensors – the Pentax S12 and the Kodak V1073. I probably wont get the latter as they all seem to be failing now…
The lenses include some I might never get, like Sigma/Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 lenses and the Sigma/Pentax 17-70mm lenses. Others I might if I see a good enough deal – like the many variations of 90mm 2.8 macro lenses and the DA 21 and 70 Limiteds. And a few old manual lenses that I end up never buying when they show up…
I failed to mention that overall I’m prety happy with what I have in terms of cameras. In terms of processing, I’m closer than I was recently but I still don’t have an ideal solution for my K-S1 Raw files (everything else I use Corel Aftershot Pro 3 or just in-camera JPEGs). But that’s not a huge issue anymore, if I want Raw I’ll end up using the K-50 or K10D most of the time and those files are treated nicely by ASP3.
Chris, I think currently the Q7 is the least likely I would buy, because as you say I’m not using my original Q much at the moment anyway, amazing as it is.
The GX10 I had, same as the K10D as you know, and I remember I just found them a bit bulky and heavy to use, especially compared with the K100D and K-m (which has the same 10MP sensor). A second K100D as a back up is a bit pointless, my K-m serves that purpose, they’re not dissimilar.
The K-x I’m curious about because it’s the first DSLR I had and I remember being pretty disappointed with it at the time because I wanted to use M42 lenses. I wonder if I’d enjoy it more now with greater experience. But it is CMOS, not CCD.
The K-7 feels like one of those classics, like the K10D, that any Pentax fan should try at least for a while. But it’s far from essential.
I’m curious about an originally *ist, or one of the Samsung equivalents, the GX-1L etc, but I had a GX-1S before and sold it. I can’t see it’s going to give me anything the K100D or K-m doesn’t.
So overall there aren’t really any (affordable) bodies of huge interest, and then anything newer than my K-30 I’m not that interested in anyway as they are too new/high MP/complex etc.
Lenses are a more sensible option at this point. Maybe setting a lens “budget” of one every three months or something, and then selling on any I don’t love (which currently include the M 28/2.8 and DA 50/1.8) to fund any new purchases would be a plan.
On the lens front, there’s some things that might be worth exploring, and don’t break the bank.
The more obvious would be the Helios 44M (M42) or 44K (K-mount). The older M42 version is said to have more of that wonderful “swirl” effect. But I’ve often considered the 44K just because I so far have been able to avoid the M42 adapter…
Another one that is quite wonderful and cheap is the Rikenon or Sears 50mm f/1.7. The out of focus areas are quite creamy. Same with the older Rikenon XR or Sears 50mm f/1.4. It’s so bad wide open that it’s good – the glow (aberration from under-corrected optics) can get some artistic results at f1.4 – but one stop down to f2 gives it a beautiful quality and nice enough sharpness, with beautiful colors (which the f1.7 also has).
My other favorite cheap lens is the Takumar Bayonet 135mm f/2.8 (there’s a f2.5 version I’ve also had, and it’s also very good, but the f2.8 has better coatings). For flowers and such objects, it renders beautifully and with fantastic out of focus rendering. Despite the name it’s a K mount lens – in the 80s Pentax ressurrected the Takumar name to use in cheaper budget lenses – probably an ill-advised decision, but it did give us some nice quirky lenses.
Ah I vaguely remember the K version of the Helios 44, but I’ve never had one. On the M42 front however I must have had about 20 variations! I wrote about here a while back –
I still have my original 44-2 with preset aperture, I doubt I’ll ever get rid of that one.
I don’t use so much because I find metering too tricky with a DSLR. I tried my beautiful Zeiss Flektogon 35/2.4 about a week ago, but just couldn’t get the metering right. Some shots I was over +2 exposure comp and it was still underexposing. Don’t know what’s going on.
Oh I had a Ricoh 50/1.7 on K mount, but actually it wasn’t much different to the humble 50/2. They are one of the most underrated lenses –
The only real downside is the poor close focus of only 0.6m. Plus a Pentax-M or A 50/1.7 feels much nicer to focus and will give as good results. Still the Ricohs are fantastic value.
Never had a 1.4 version, I think they must be very rare!
I knew about Pentax resurrecting the Takumar name in the late 70s/80s for a few K mount lenses but I always thought they were pretty awful (through hearsay not personal experience).
I’ve had the M 135/3.5 which was ok but didn’t wow me.
I’ve had a Tak 135/3.5, a Zeiss Sonnar 135/3.5 and still have a Jupiter-37A and all are wonderful. Might be worth looking at a K mount 135 again though… Oh I also had a Cosina Cosinon 135/2.8 in M42 which was amazing and cost me something like £9.
Actually I had even more 135s I loved but had nearly forgotten, take a look!
You get plenty of lens for your money, especially the old M42s…