Ra. Our young sun-kissed corn snake. Pentax K20D DSLR. SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 lens.
You might get the idea from this blog that I’m some sort of hard core film photographer, hell bent for analogue. Well, sure, film gives me a lot, but I really would like a nice DSLR. I’ve got two old DSLR cameras – a Pentax K110D and a Sony A200. None-the-less, these two rarely come out to hunt light these days. They’ve been replaced by 120 and 35mm film.
Ok, confession time. I was vulnerable to comfort impulse buying. I’d had a domestic disagreement, and ended up in Cambridge – looking at the window display of a second hand gear shop. There was this sexy looking Pentax K20D, body only, looking back at me. Two hundred quid – more than I’d normally spend, more than I’ve ever spent on a camera.
I walked away with it – leaving behind the happy young salesman (who clearly didn’t know cameras), with his reassurances ringing in my ears that “impulse buying is usually the best buying”. Indeed, on the bus to the Park & Ride, it did indeed, appear to be a better camera than either of my two previous DSLRs. A rugged weather-resistant exterior, well built with locks for the covers, a top viewer. And still spared of that horrible function “video”. Burst mode was a bit wow, the 14.6 Mp impressive, anti-shake mode built into the body, usable ISO to 1600 – and dynamic range! I started to fantasize how it would perform on my classic SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 lens, and quickly configured the settings to allow manual aperture ring operation.
Would it replace my film photography? Of course not! On returning home, making up with Nita, and fitting that lens, I recoiled at the vulgar easiness of instant imagery. The next morning we took a few window light images with our baby corn snake, then took it on a trip to the nearby market town of March. I noticed on preview and zoom that a black horizontal line appeared on play back images. I hoped that this bug was restricted to viewing on the camera.
On returning home, I opened the RAW images on UFRaw. That freaking horizontal line scored across the images. The sensor was buggered. A check online confirmed my diagnosis. Someone on a Pentax group suggested that it was an aging effect, and that these issues could be a common problem for older digital cameras in the future, as their sensors fail. Shit, if my film fails, it’s fine on the next! I drove back to Cambridge with legal haste. The shop accepted the return based on a technical fault within their 48 hour slot. Money back to the bank.
I’m sorry that I forgot you film photography, I’m back now. I wont say that I wont ever return to digital – I’d like to try a nice new higher range Pentax in the future, but I’ve taken stock. Be careful with those used DSLRs.
Above image edited to crop out the “line”.