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Old Nov 13, 2010, 6:50 PM   #1
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Default Thoughts from San Diego Photo Expo

I'm down near San Diego today, spent a good portion of the day at the San Diego Photo Expo. What a great time I had taking a look at things I've heard about but have never actually seen before. The show continues tomorrow also.

The first place I visited was the Pentax booth (of course).

The 645D is an awesome camera! It looks huge but isn't as heavy and awkward as I had expected. My husband said it fit into his hand perfectly (why am I not surprised - he has good taste).

After I drooled over it for a while, I picked up the KR. I knew it was smaller and lighter than the K7/K5 and wasn't sure I would like it. However, it fit my hand perfectly. I really like the white one, it's as good looking as I had expected it to be. Weight isn't all that much lighter than the K5 on paper, but it feels quite a bit lighter, I liked it enough that I went back a couple of times to look at it longingly (someone want to give me the winning lottery numbers?).

Then I looked at the K5 and gave up the fight, trying to convince myself that I'd be happy with the KR/K7 combination. The K5, as expected, looks like the K7 on the outside. But boy is it nice! Nelson's, a San Diego store, also had a booth and had a number of K5's for sale, no sales tax! That's a significant savings for Californians. How I wish my bank account could take the hit - to be able to walk out today with a K5 for just the retail cost (no shipping, no tax) would be well worth it.

Then I looked at Sigma's booth. I got to hold a Bigma and it's little brother the 150-500. I don't have that big of a desire for a longer lens, but it would be nice to have something a bit longer. The 50-500 is really too big for me to deal with on a regular basis - I wouldn't want to carry it very far. The 150-500 is just enough smaller/lighter that I figure it might be practical for me to manage, if I ever get a strong desire for something longer than 300.

I'm not currently interested in any of Tamron's lenses (though I should have asked to look at their 17-50 f2.8, it would be nice to check out if I ever decide I could live without WR for a lens in this range). However, I did ask if they were ever going to make a TC for Pentax. If lots of Pentax users ask for one at shows etc. perhaps they might consider making one.

I also checked out Tamrac's booth and saw both their convertible sling/backpack bag that I've been looking at (they had both sizes). Also saw a large shoulder bag that would be good for storage/carting around everything. It might be a better solution for that type of thing than my 3N1-30 bag - so perhaps GW's cause isn't hopeless.

Then I went over to Lowepro's booth and checked out their vest and harness system. Very slick system, it's quite tempting. Only problem is that I don't know what type of sizing they have for their vests (most shops don't stock a photo vest small enough to fit me), and while I know they make a belt small enough to fit me, I'm not sure I could put everything I would want to on it and still have easy access to it all. If so, it would be a nice solution and might be easier on my shoulder. But I'd have to jury-rig some sort of tripod carrying system as I would lose the tripod carrier on the Tamrac and Kata bags.

One nice thing that Lowepro has added to their sling bags is a tripod carrying system - a pouch for a tripod leg and a strap. It's on the side, which isn't ideal as it causes the weight to be in the wrong place (I know, I jury-rigged a tripod carrier for the Slingshot 200 on the side), but it's better than nothing and for a really light-weight tripod it would be all right.

Both Nik and Topaz Labs were there. Topaz Labs was offering a show special for their suite that was very tempting (since I already own a license for two of their plug-ins they would have given me even more off - really, really tempting!).

Canon, Nikon and Sony were there also, with lots of cameras.

I tried a BushHawk and was really impressed. It helped that it had a Canon with a stabilized lens on it - between having the ability to hold the camera against my shoulder and the stabilized lens - what a huge difference than trying to line things up with the 300. I can see why people like the BushHawk type camera supports with a long lens, it's really very comfortable to use and having the shutter control on the trigger is really nice (no more fighting my tendency to move the camera with the shutter!).

It was a very educational day, and I didn't make it to any of the seminars that I thought sounded interesting (the show is free for general admissions, the seminars cost $20 for a pass to get into any of them). It's been a great weekend so far. Hopefully next year I'll plan for this weekend instead of doing it as impulsively as I did this time. If anyone in SoCal has a free day Sunday, take a trip down to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, where it's located.
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 12:38 PM   #2
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HI Harriet,

Nice report!

You guys out in CA are lucky, the camera mfgs seem to favor the coasts for public shows like this, but I guess they are the best places to hold such things. I think that they would probably get a good response if they held a big show in Chicago, but they'd probably do it in a downtown location, and going into the city is a major pain for me. . .

I actually had a K-5 in the shopping cart from B&H Friday when they lowered their price to $1485 with free shipping, but I have a rule about thinking about a major purchase for at least 24 hours, and I hate buying something online either Fri or over the weekend because it stretches the wait for shipping out at least an extra day. . . the latter is an admittedly stupid attitude, but holding off on the purchase of a big ticket item usually pays off. A major vendor like B&H should set the "street" price, and most of the other online dealers should follow suit and start discounting from there. . .

Although I think that Pentax's pricing strategy for the K-5 is sound, I'm going to wait for some further discounting to buy one this time. I'd like to see a repeat of the 3 yr Pentax warranty being included in a discounted price. The two year extension with a free tune up is available from Pentax for just under $100 for this model. It's one of the few extended warranties that I actually think is worthwhile. . .

I think with the no sales tax deal, I probably would have walked out with a new body, but I've already got the money set aside. . . on second thought, it's probably a good thing they don't have shows like that here. . .

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Old Nov 14, 2010, 6:19 PM   #3
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LOL! I know what you mean - once I finally pull the trigger on a major purchase, I want it to arrive as soon as possible. That's why it was absolutely driving me nuts not being able to buy it this weekend, when the box was right there, but no money in the bank. Oh well.

I'm really torn with where I'm going to buy it when I finally do get the money together. Pentax said that Samys is supposed to be keeping them in stock. Like any store, Samys will drop a line that doesn't sell so I'm really tempted to buy it from them (and pay a premium not only in price but also in tax) rather than on-line. We all complain that Pentax isn't in many stores and yet when we could buy locally, we buy on-line (I'm guilty of that). Samys isn't convenient, but there are a couple of them within 100 miles - a lot better than for many.

Anyone want to give me the winning lottery numbers for the next mega-millions drawing?
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 8:37 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
...when the box was right there, but no money in the bank. Oh well.
Can you say VISA?
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Old Nov 14, 2010, 8:51 PM   #5
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Well, Harriet... I know the predicament Perfectly! Been there , done that, got the T shirt.

Now if we could just convince them to come out here with there show.

Life's a breeze on a Goldwing...
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