New Cameras (and Pentax is Back!)

With the slew of new cameras being released just before PMA, one does get into thinking if a new camera would do a better job than the current one. While I’ve come to realize that a better camera alone does not make better photographs, I know that it makes it easier for the photographer to take better photographs. For example, image stabilization, a larger viewfinder, better high-ISO performance, better lenses, lighter and less bulky equipment, longer-lasting batteries, etc. all contribute to a higher image quality.

Notice that I didn’t say a word about more megapixels! I’ve come to appreciate the 8 MP of the Canon 30D, and I know that they are enough for making a stunning 30 x 40 cm (12 x 16″) print. I’ve not tried printing any bigger, but I suspect that I can make a very good 42 x 60 cm (A2 or 17 x 22″) print, and that’s really enough. Nevertheless, a few more pixels would not hurt — in case I need to crop significantly. But please no more than 12 MP — it makes no sense, just larger files!

Anyhow, I was hoping to see a replacement of the Canon 5D at PMA, but I guess it won’t come until Photokina.

But I digress here… Have you seen the new Pentax bodies and lenses? Fantastic! They are loaded with excellent features (image stabilization, ultra-sonic focusing, good viewfinders, compatibility with manual focus lenses, auto-ISO mode, etc.). I was a Pentax shooter in my film days (1996 — 2003), but when I wanted to go digital, Pentax was delaying and delaying their first dSLR, it was hard to find a store that carried any Pentax products, and Pentax was discontinuing one lens after another… So I bought the Canon 10D, and while I was never excited about the design, size and weight of Canon equipment, I was very happy with the technology, choice and availability.But now the game is turning! The other players too have CMOS sensors, ultra-sonic focusing, live view and so on. Nikon landed a major coup in 2007 with the D300 (very impressive feature set) and D3 (incredible high-ISO performance), and just now Pentax refined its highly successful K10D and introduced the very small, light and amazingly capable K200D. If I were to switch to Pentax, I guess I’d go with K200D, DA 16-50/2.8, FA50/1.4, and DA 60-250/4 (to be released soon).

Amazing! Between 2002 and 2004 I wasn’t even sure if Pentax will manage to survive the jump to digital, and since 2007 they are already up front, contesting the positions of the top players. Way to go, Pentax!