An Old Friend, Back For The Summer?

After using almost nothing but my phone camera and the Lumix FZ38 bridge camera for about eight months, I had the urge yesterday to return to a DSLR.

And of course to this Pentax devotee, that means only one option.

Well, only one brand, I should say, I do have four Pentax DSLRs.

One of these is actually a Pentax in Samsung clothing, from the time when the two companies collaborated.

The GX-1S is a clone of a Pentax *ist DS2 I understand, one of the higher end models from Pentax’s first – and still fondly used – line of DSLRs.

Though a mere teenager in years, the circa 2006 Samsung is positively ancient in digital camera terms, and I would guess has had at least 15 successors of some kind from the Pentax stable since.

Essentially I use these DSLRs in two ways.

First, as a modern digital body to enjoy my beloved old M42 lenses, giving them ongoing life as I don’t shoot film with the 35mm cameras they were made for any more.

I still get to feel the luxury of an Asahi Takumar or marvel at the swirly bokeh of a Helios 44 with an easy and direct way of capturing the results.

Second, with newer K mount lenses, sometimes still manual focus and aperture, but more often automatic.

So the GX-1S paired with the SMC Pentax DA 35/2.4 makes a delightfully small, light, and almost point-and-shoot-esque camera, just with more control over depth of field and other factors with the APS-C sensor.

And it’s the latter combination I opted for with my reunion photowalk with the Samsung.

As always, it just performed without fuss, being simple enough to allow me to focus on composition, focus and depth of field, without endless fiddling with options I’d forgotten, or searching for functions buried in menus.

In many ways this approach is very much how I’ve been using the Lumix FZ38 in recent months.

Indeed the two cameras look very similar in shape, just the Samsung is obviously a little bigger and weightier, but with enough extra control to make that worthwhile.

So is this the start of another summer fling with the GX-1S?

I don’t know yet, but for now I’m certainly keen to get out and shoot some more colour photographs with it and the DA 35/2.4 and perhaps explore one or two of those magical old M42 lenses again too.

Which of your cameras is like an old friend you love returning to after a season or two apart?

Please share your thoughts 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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12 thoughts on “An Old Friend, Back For The Summer?”

    1. I know what you mean. And not necessarily a DSLR loaded to the gills with features, sometimes it’s just the size and handling, the capability of a larger sensor, the viewfinder experience or lens interchangeability (or all of these!) that you just can’t get with a digital compact, or even mirrorless camera. The older DSLRs are stunning value these days, £20-30 can pick up a fantastic camera all day long.

  1. My little Sony WX80. Is so fun to shoot, but the romance ends when I check the photos in the computer and I see I have to edit the colors in all of the photos 😅

    1. I’ve had a few little Sonys like that, and indeed three or four Sony phone cameras that were Cyber-shot branded and no doubt shared very similar lenses, brains and sensors to the Cyber-shot digital compacts of the time. I loved them. Before I really cared about colour or was aware you could change what the camera produced, I was pretty happy with the output – ignorance was bliss. But when you try a camera (like my Pentax DSLRs) that deliver such lovely colour JPGs straight out of camera, it does highlight the disappointing colour output of virtually every other camera I have, or have had. Then there’s no going back, the genie is out of the bottle!

  2. My Nikon D200 with it’s CCD sensor. I think it’s the same sensor in the Pentax K10D.

    In good light I can get some great images out of the camera and even in not so good light too.

    It feels like a proper camera and is so easy to use.

    1. Thanks Phil. I’m not very familiar with any Nikons, the only one I’ve looked into briefly before is the D40 as it has an early 6MP CCD sensor, quite possibly like the ones in the Pentax CCD cameras I have.

      I had a K10D and the sensor was brilliant (Sony made I believe, like the 6MP ones in Pentax bodies) so I can see the appeal with your D200. Looks like they’re pretty cheap to pick up now too. If I didn’t already have all the lenses I wanted in M42 and Pentax K mount I’d be very tempted to explore.

      1. Yes, makes you curious about the decisions made around the time (decades ago) by Canon and Nikon, before there was much of a market for adapters and using lenses on cameras with different mounts (this exploded with mirrorless cameras of course). Did the Canon designers deliberately create the EOS mount that large and simple so as to allow adapting of other lenses? And did Nikon take the view that their lenses (and range of lenses) were so good that no-one would ever need to use anything but a Nikon lens on a Nikon SLR?

        A late Canon EOS SLR with an adapter is a very appealing option to shoot old M42 lenses, and I had great results with Contax/Yashica lenses on one too. A way to still shoot film, but with a more modern, lightweight, compact and affordable body than the ones the lenses were originally intended for. Ditto with a Canon EOS DSLR, perhaps even more appealing for those who want more of a variety of lenses that Canon alone offer.

  3. The K200D is one of my more recent cameras (see how I was careful not to use the word “newer”… lol) but soon after I got it I realized that when I’m working on its RAW files, it just gives me joy. I don’t really feel that with any other camera I’ve ever owned (your K-m might be similar?) There’s a clarity to the pictures I don’t see in any other camera. In theory I should be seeing that with the K10D but the clarity isn’t quite there. It’s either a newer version of the 10MP CCD on the K200D, or perhaps they implemented some magic with the AA filter? I don’t know.
    Another camera that gives me results I like better than I expected is the K-50.

    1. I need to look into the K200D again I think. I have the K-m which I thought had the same K10D 10MP sensor, just in a smaller, simpler body. In practice I can’t tell the difference between images made with my K100D (6MP), Samsung GX-1S (same 6MP) or K-m (10MP).

      1. The images from the K-m that I see are basically the same as the K200D, you are probably fine with the K-m.
        The K200D is a bit larger, and with the 4 AA batteries it weighs about the same as a K10D – so I don’t think you’d hold on to it.
        If I had a K-m I would probably stick with that as well, but I had a good deal on the K200D so that is what I got 🙂
        I need to use it more. This year my photography has decreased to the lowest level of output in years… now that I have the best equipment that I’ve ever had, I am taking less pictures. Funny how that happens…

      2. Do you think there is a direct correlation Chris, having the best gear and taking fewer photos? I must say I find myself in a similar position, and it I think a significant proportion of my photos in recent years have been some form of testing of gear and may not have been made if I’d used just one camera.

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