The Pentax K-S2 DSLR camera was released by the Japanese manufacturer, Ricoh, at the start of 2015 and since then my head has been battling with my heart over the question of owning one. The head has been demanding that I follow the received wisdom and purchase a Nikon or Canon. Most professionals or serious amateurs fall into the Nikon-Canon camp, and with good reason. Cameras from those two Japanese über-corporations are invariably of top-notch quality, parts and accessories are plentiful and easy to source, and the online photographic communities for both are pretty vast. Unfortunately I have never felt the same grá for their offerings as my heart has felt for the boutique Pentax range, preferring Harrison to the Lennon and McCartney duo (I’m not sure what brand Ringo is in this scenario!). My favourite camera of recent times has been the chunky Pentax K-50, and the slightly slimmer K-S2 is very much its successor (having far more in common with it than its previous mark, the discotheque K-S1). Indeed, one could argue that the K-S2 is simply an upgraded K-50 with added WiFi, NFR and a fancy-pants tilt-screen. Not quite fair, I know, but I could easily live without the latter additions, though they are now considered the norm on most entry-/mid-level DSLRs.
So, Pentax is very much the brand for a certain type of geek, just as Leica cameras are now very much associated with the retro-hipster crowd (all emulsion film and skinny jeans). The one thing that was deterring me from following my heart’s desire was the price. A hefty €780 euros with a standard 18-50mm kit lens (a somewhat inferior type of glass usually bundled by manufactures with new cameras to tempt consumers). Yes, of course one could get cheaper Nikon or Canon DSLRs, not to mention the likes of Sony and so on, but not to the same technological level, and certainly not with proven weather-resistant sealing (on both the camera body and the lens, an absolute necessity in my opinion for outdoor shooting in Ireland). Big brands demand big prices, and Pentax cameras usually sell at a hundred or 200 euros less than similarly spec’d rivals. Which is money that could be spent on memory cards, filters, lens hoods or a plane ticket to Paris.
Thankfully, and lor’ bless ’em, the plucky Brits stepped in and saved the day. By voting for “Leave” in the EU referendum, the Breixters helpfully sent the value of the pound plummeting, meaning that the exchange rate for euros became very favourable indeed. So favourable in fact that I was able to buy a Pentax K-S2 DSLR, in the ridiculously pretty “racing stripes” edition, from an online retailer in the UK for the miserly sum of – drum roll, please – €589.99 euros, British VAT and shipping to Ireland included! Yes, that’s right, €190 quid saved, plus I got a SanDisk 32GB SDXC UHS-I memory card for a tenner (usually around €30 euros in Irish shops). Oh happy days! I have my eye on a few more bargains, and quite frankly, aside from it undermining Britain’s colonial occupation of the north-east of my country, I can’t imagine being any happier with the Brexit result.
That said, if Scotland votes out of the United Kingdom, and sterling drops through the currency floor, there is a rather gorgeous, water-resistant Billingham Hadley Small camera bag that I am currently lusting after. Yes, I know, only Leica-carrying hipsters use Billinghams but I’m a chick-loving bag-whore and I must have it. If the price is right. Saor Albain!
Two quick videos below to explain my K-S2 infatuation. Note the first, a typical Pentax nerd! 😀