Downsizing from APS to Micro Four-Thirds System … Selling my Pentax K-7 DSLR

The picture above was taken in the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, WV.  It represents, in many ways, the decision path that I have been on relative to my future.  As I have been pondering my photography path, I have been lured into many options, as represented by the many open inviting doors.  I even contemplated taking the exit to the right and giving it up.  But hopefully, I have succeeded in making the right decision.  I think that I am managing to make progress in reaching the light at the end of the hall.

As I indicated in earlier articles, I have swayed back and forth between my Olympus E-P1 and my Pentax K-7 cameras.  The K-7 is a nice compact, weather resistant DSLR camera system, but it’s still not what I would call light-weight.  Since I had grown less fond of my 18 – 250 mm lens for it, I purchased the Pentax 18 – 135 mm lens for use as a slightly lighter, smaller walk-about lens; but, after trying it out I wasn’t satisfied with the image quality.  My test images were not bad, but they tended to be a little on the soft side and I wasn’t able to process them to my satisfaction with LightRoom.  In all fairness, this was probably because of the image quality (IQ) that I have become accustomed to with the Panasonic micro four-thirds 20 mm prime lens.  Yes, I know better than to ever expect a zoom lens’ IQ to equal that of a prime lens, but I expected them to be more comparable due to the larger sensor in the K-7.  It wasn’t; I’m sending the 18-135 mm lens back.

In addition, while carrying the K-7 camera with the 18-135 mm lens on a walk, I began to feel like the camera bag was growing heavier.  [By the way, I was using my bag with the tether arrangement as shown in an earlier article with the bag strap across my chest.]  I have back problems and been recovering from a Lumbar Fusion operation and while walking with the camera bag, my back began hurting.  I probably shouldn’t have carried it the whole time on one side; but this aggravation with carrying a heavy camera isn’t new for me.  For some time I have used my lighter Olympus E-P1 camera more often (like on my trip to Tunisia) than my K-7 camera since the E-P1 is much smaller and lighter.  The K-7 with the 18-135 mm lens and battery weighs 42 ounces.  The E-P1 with the 20 mm lens and battery weighs 17.5 ounces.  Note that I’m comparing totally different systems.  Not only are the cameras different sizes, with different capabilities, but I’m also comparing a zoom lens with a prime lens.

As a result of all the above, I have decided to sell my Pentax K-7 DSLR and all of my lenses for it, and use micro four-thirds cameras.  I’m thinking of getting either the Olympus E-P2 or the E-PL2, or maybe waiting for the next new version, to compliment my E-P1 camera (It’s a classic keeper).  I’m also considering getting the Olympus 14-150 mm and/or the new Olympus 14-42 mm zoom lens and/or the Panasonic 14 mm prime lens for it. Part of my future decision process also deals with carrying a zoom lens vs. a few prime lenses.  Also as I have mentioned in previous articles it depends on what I intend to photograph.  I’ll let you know what I end up getting in future articles.

Basically, I have found that I’m not alone and that there is a good reason that many pros leave their big DSLRs at home when they aren’t working and take smaller cameras with them when they travel for pleasure.   I urge you to read “Leica M9 as a Landscape Camera” by Jack Perkins about his even bigger change.  While Jack went down to a Leica, I can’t afford that, but the micro four-thirds cameras serve a similar function for weight reduction for the rest of us.  Also note that with the micro four-thirds system you gain the size and weight savings and retain auto focusing, without the need to forgo some of the other things Jack discusses.

It isn’t that the camera alone is so heavy … it’s the camera plus all that heavy glass in those lenses!  Going to a slightly smaller sensor and eliminating the mirror enables the manufacturers to also make much smaller and lighter lenses.  A big difference in weight is in the lenses.  There is no reason to continue building digital single reflex cameras similar to the old film cameras.  This is the age of digital electronics.  We no longer need mirrors and large heavy lenses for our new-age cameras.

Now is the time to downsize.  With the unsustainable demand on the earth’s resources it is time that we learn to not only live with less but to also reduce the weight and size of what we do use.   Less stuff also means smaller stuff.

One comment

  1. slpmartin

    Love the analogy with the asylum hallway and selecting the right camera and lens setup…I avoid changing systems primarily because of that same feeling I get when I start trying to figure out ‘what next?’…another excellent write up!

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