The story behind the big switch…

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For those of you who aren’t already aware, I’ve made the decision to switch from the Pentax system to the Canon system. This is how I’ve explained it to people in the Pentax community…

The 40D vs. the K20D–in a nutshell, I have to say OH MY GOODNESS!!

What really got this going was that on Monday of this week, my husband and I were in a small local camera store looking for some old extension tubes for the Pentax among the store’s used gear for sale. As it turns out, the salesguy and I got into a conversation about how hard it is to find accessories for Pentax (either OEM or 3rd party). He mentioned that he had a very gently used (maybe 100 shots) 40D and asked if I would like to take a look at it. Out of curiosity, I opted to. He mounted a EFS18-200 onto it, let me have it to play with and it was then that I was hooked. What hooked me was the much faster AF speed (I used it indoors, under so-so lighting), how quiet the AF was (even though 18-200 isn’t a USM lens), and how quiet the shutter was. Even though I really haven’t had a real need for it thus far, I was really impressed by the burst mode (6.5fps) Other than messing a little bit with my dad’s XSi (since replaced with a T1i), I really hadn’t played with a Canon DSLR before, so it wasn’t like I really had anything else to compare my Pentax to before then. The salesguy wanted to sell it to me right then, but it wasn’t like I had the $629 they wanted for it lying around. I went home with a copy of Canon’s Spring/Summer catalog and started doing some serious thinking, including figuring up how much I could get for all of my Pentax gear. Tuesday evening, I had a conversation with my dad (in Tennessee), sharing my excitement about my experience with the 40D and hashing over my plans to possibly switch. Needless to say, he was very excited about the whole prospect.

I’ve had fleeting thoughts about switching before the, but a couple of weeks ago or so I got the latest issue of PopPhoto and was perusing through it and found out that Nikon had just come out with a dedicated hot-shoe mounted GPS system for under $250. That got me to at least give a little more thought about switching then. Even though Canon doesn’t have anything equivalent at this point, I’d be surprised if they don’t eventually come out with their own dedicated GPS to keep up with Nikon. Besides OEM accessories, there is so much greater choice in 3rd party accessories with either Canon or Nikon than with Pentax and it’s been frustrating to get all excited about a new gadget that I read or hear about, but discover that they don’t make it for Pentax.

The story gets even better. Wednesday, after getting home from work and eating dinner, I get a phone call from my parents, as I’m doing the dishes. They called me to inform me that they called down to that local camera store I was at on Monday and bought that 40D for me!! It was so unexpected and so generous of them. I’m planning on going back to the camera store tomorrow afternoon to pick up the camera. It doesn’t come with any lenses, so that’s why I’m pushing to get my Pentax gear sold, so I can buy some great lenses for it.

Another reason that prompted me to consider switching is that there’s more of an upgrade path with Canon than with Pentax. I have a long term goal of eventually going FF and most of the lenses that I’m planning on buying for the 40D are also FF-compatible. Pentax has basically more or less said that they don’t intend to produce a FF body and I know I won’t be able to afford the 645D when it does eventually come out + I’d have to buy a whole new set of lenses for it even if I could afford it. For the long term, it really does make more sense for me to switch to Canon.

Originally, I was thinking of making the switch starting around Christmastime, but Mom and Dad’s unexpected gift threw that whole idea out the window. I’ve got another photography workshop in Tennessee in October that I’ve signed up for, so I need to get going on building my Canon kit and getting familiar with it before then. There’s also an advanced photography class through the Continuing Education program at the local college that’s supposed to be starting towards the end of August and that’ll be a good opportunity for me to get to know my new gear better, as well.

In a way, switching does make a lot of sense, but at the same time, I’ve come to regard you folks like an extension of my family and that’s the hard part about it. You’ve been so helpful and I’ve learned so much from you over the over 1.5 years that I’ve been reading and posting here. Once everything is sold, I still plan on stopping by every once in a while to see how everybody’s doing.

Even though I feel that Canon will be a better path for me in the long run, I will still continue to be a cheerleader for Pentax. I really do hope that Hoya can really make something of Pentax and attract even more attention to it and the great value that it really is in the DSLR world. To people who come to me and ask about buying their first DSLR, I will still continue to recommend Pentax as a viable option.

For those of you out there that are contemplating your first DSLR and are leaning towards Pentax, don’t take this as a sign that you shouldn’t choose Pentax. Do your own research and buy into the system that will best meet your needs in the long run. For many people, Pentax will be that best system, and for you, I wholeheartedly recommend it.

In the near future, I’ll be following up with posts further detailing the experience of my transition to Canon. Stay tuned!

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About Heather

I am a hobbyist photographer who dabbled in photography on and off from the time I was a teen, but started getting more serious about it in the late summer of 2007 when I signed up for a photography class through the Community Education program at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Florida and really got to understand how cameras really work--the rest history. Being a spiritually-minded person, I'm always looking for ways to integrate that with the rest of my life, including photography.

4 responses »

  1. If it turns out you didn’t need to sell the old gear to fund the new one, why do you have to “switch”? Become a “two mount family”. Keep the Pentax, get a KatzEye screen for it if you don’t already have one, and use it exclusively with all those great great old manual focus lenses available (and that I hope you already have). 😉

    • Oh, if I could only afford to…Canon lenses are expensive! 😉 I am considering picking up some SuperTaks and a m42-EOS adapter and playing around with them. If I were to eventually pick up a decent film scanner, I might even venture back into film with a Spottie to go with the m42 lenses. Picking up an older Pentax DSLR and m42 adapter down the road isn’t entirely out of the question. We’ll see… 🙂

  2. Hi Heather,

    I’ve been thinking about switching to a different system myself, but there is one thing in particular that has been holding me back, and I’m curious about your experience/perspective.

    I have a Sony and really appreciate the built in image stabilization. I know Pentax also has their own and I’m wondering if you’ve found that it’s something that you miss with Canon? I know I can get lenses with IS, but they also cost a little more. 🙂

    Good luck with your new camera!!

    • Samantha,
      To be honest with you, I’m finding that I’m not missing the in-body stabilization that much. Of course, it helps that my main walkaround lens, the EF-L 24-105/4 does have IS, as well as my telezoom. If you’re shooting handheld mostly in good light and are using a fast enough shutter speed (1/focal length) or using a tripod in lower light, I really don’t think you’d miss it. That’s the short answer, but I think I’m going to elaborate more about this in a future entry, so stay tuned. 🙂

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