Long-term with the Pentax 645D

I’m closing in on three years with the Pentax 645D. Overall, I still enjoy using this camera. There’s a lot to like.

I spent about three weeks with a Nikon D800 and D800E. After shooting many images side by side with the 645D, I am confident that it still has an edge over the full-frame 35mm DSLR bodies when it comes to per pixel image quality. More to come at some point on that one.

This summer I was looking forward to some personal photography to add to my Deserted Lands series. Looking at the image below, I didn’t drop the camera. Instead, after roughly 9,500 images the shutter decided to pack it in. I recall reading online somewhere that is it rated to 30,000 images. Not that it matters when you’re standing in Montana wishing the camera would capture an image.

Ricoh (Pentax) Imaging Canada has been very helpful and had an estimate within a couple days of receiving the camera. Here’s where I feel potential purchasers of a 645D should be fully aware of what they’re buying. You already know this is a niche product. My shutter is being fixed in Japan. This is not a quick process. Nor is it inexpensive. At nearly $2000 for the repair, I’m two thirds of the way towards buying a Nikon D800 body.

What does one do? Fortunately I have clients that have a flexible enough schedule and can postpone their projects. I’m hoping the new shutter lasts a lot longer that the first one. At the current rate, it’s costing me nearly $0.20 each time I fire the shutter. I take solace that it’s still cheaper than a frame of film.

Will it last?

Will it last?

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Keeping it simple

One of my favourite aspects about teaching is seeing how people take ideas and information, then find ways to express their vision in their own unique way. I’ve been privileged to meet so many talented people while teaching for the Publishing and Photo-Imaging programs at Langara College.

As creative types, we need to keep nurturing our naturally inquisitive nature that seems to often become diminished as we get older. While teaching technology, I frequently run into people that are worried they will do something wrong or somehow break their software. Unlike software from 15 or 20 years ago, it’s difficult to render your photo editor useless or permanently change your pixels. Experiment. It’s essential.

So where is this post going? If you’re still with me, have you considered giving your camera to your child? No, not your $1000+ DSLR with your brand new super deluxe zoom lens that is worth more than your monthly mortgage payment. Besides worrying about it hitting the pavement, there are far too many buttons, knobs, screens, dials and whatnot. Roadblocks to creativity?

Instead, pull out that old point ‘n shoot digital camera that has been abandoned in the upgrade bin of your closet. Better yet, let your child use your smartphone next time you’re at the park, beach or the fair. The range of apps available will satisfy just about everyone’s tastes.

While visiting the PNE this year, my eight year old daughter asked for my iPhone and started photographing the ride called Atmosfear. I noticed the cool clouds drifting by and suggested we take more photos from a different angle.

Without prompting, she fired up Photo Forge 2 and confidently stated that she didn’t need any help. Apparently not.

Conversion to black and white, addition of a frame and a texture. Photo finished.

Keep it simple. We can all benefit from that approach.

Original image

Original image

Edited in Photo Forge 2

Edited in Photo Forge 2

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Pet Photos with Santa – SPCA fundraiser

14 Years ago I ventured to Gibsons, BC to volunteer as the photographer for the Sunshine Coast SPCA Pet Photos with Santa fundraiser. This annual event has come to mark the beginning of the Christmas season for me. The dedication of the volunteers, support of the local businesses,  and the enthusiasm of the attendees have all contributed to the success of this event. While the dogs have definitely been out in numbers, we have a following of dedicated cat lovers, and over the years we have seen guinea pigs, a hen, ferrets and others. This fine fellow just joined his family five days ago.

2012 Pet Photos with Santa

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