So I have splashed out on a new camera – the mighty Pentax K-1.
Previously decided that I would much appreciate a new, better camera for my travels. One that was weather sealed, higher quality with a good low light capability and preferably light weight, my initial thought was the Sony A7R II. A very popular camera on the market that seemed to tick off many of my requirements.
After some research with my limited knowledge on various aspects of a camera, I pretty much settled on my decision to buy it. I thought that I should wait until January sales before purchase. Especially, with the rumours of the mark III to come out in 2017, the mark II was bound to drop in price.
Of course, the decision did not stop me from hunting for other options. I would ask myself questions such as. Do I need a full frame or crop sensor, and why? Is it better for me to use mirrorless or not, for my line of work? Are the batteries going to last me, and how much additional kit will I need for the camera? What would be the total weight and would I have space in my bag for it all? With these, amongst other questions, I would debate myself out of and back into buying this camera.
One day I felt like visiting some of my favourite camera stores around Oxford St. and Tottenham Court Road, just to feel the cameras in my hands, browse for other options and prices, available lenses and accessories.
As I walk down Tottenham Court Rd. There is one shop called Spectrum that I always pop into. I have plentiful of respect for it and people working there. This is partly because, unlike all of the other camera stores in that area, people working there are not just salesmen, they’re not aspiring creatives or just successful applicants who memorised the brands. They are either professional photographers working part time or retired photographers, hence their knowledge, as their integrity and moral are superior to that of any other retailer in that area.
I have a favoured employee at this store, his name is Phil. First time I met him was when I was looking for a new lens to marry with my Nikon. Phils knowledge blew my socks off. Instead of pushing me some lens of the zoom range I was looking for, he requested for the purpose and camera I intended to use it for, then he began to educate me and provided me with lots of resources where I could keep it up at home. Before sending me on my way he suggested a lens that he believed would be best suited for my need and informed me that they don’t stock that lens as production was discontinued.
This time when I popped in with an enquiry about the A7R, luckily he was there. He turned to me and said. “Why in the world would you want that camera? Who put you to it? A friend? The Internet?”.
So when I explained to him my intentions and thought pattern, he began to dismantle it all. Again, instead of trying to sell me a camera that I wanted to discuss, he gave me a list of cameras that were about a grand cheaper and better in terms of image quality, durability, suit for my needs, battery life and several other practical as well as technical aspects, and he quickly proved this to me. Above all, his proposition was that I buy a Pentax K-1.
Of Course, initially, my reaction to that was unpleasant. Previously, I hadn’t even considered Pentax as an option, but I admitted to myself that my knowledge on their cameras was next to none. So, I listened as Phil covered various aspects that I knew were important to me yet I was still very sceptical. This time, just as last, when I came looking for a lens. He simply educated me, gave me a list of cameras, resources and a Pentax K-1 brochure and told me to go and look into all of this for myself.
Sure enough, I did. And after a few days, I realised for myself that this camera offered everything that I needed and more. It is perfectly suited for my techniques and subject matter. All this at one compromise – the weight.
Now, that I have used this camera for a few weeks. Even with the temporary throw-away lens I bought on eBay. I can confidently say that this is the best DSLR camera I have ever used – so far.
I do feel bad however because I did not purchase this camera from Spectrum. Even considering the fact that this store promises to beat the price of any other retailer, including Amazon. I found it hard to decline the offer I got on Ebay for a brand new camera with one year of manufacturer’s warranty for over 250 quid cheaper than what Spectrum could offer.
Although, I will surely purchase some quality glass for my travels from them, along with some accessories.
On a side note
I am very happy to see a business with such integrity and high moral. It is very rare to witness something like this in today day and age.
I strongly advise that you – if you’re a photographer, pay them a visit. Not only do they stock all of the top of the range toys for all genres and flavours of photography. But they will truly and honestly help you realise the tools that you are going to need for the torturous path you may be planning to undertake. It is very easy to get sidetracked in this over polluted, complex and consumeristic nature of our business.