Q

I went on holiday recently and took with me my DSLR (a Pentax K200D I bought maaaaaany years ago) because dammit, I’d owned it for years and I was going to bloody well use it at some point. I vaguely tried to get into photography when a few of my friends did in my gap year but I was never the most artistically minded and found it all fell a bit flat. Since I’ve had an on-and-off affair with taking pictures of things and have concluded that the main problem I have with photography is a dislike of compact cameras (slow zoom, weirdly-out-of-shape buildings, grainy-as pictures) and of big cameras (beautiful pictures of myself in a sweating heap because I carried it and three lenses up a small incline). Despite that, in Slovenia I rediscovered my love of my battered K200D and playing with its glorious image-capturing qualities. That doesn’t mean that I relished carrying it most of the way up Triglav, mind, but I sure as hell enjoyed using it to save the sights in a way Partner in Climb’s compact just couldn’t. It was lovely, but it was heavy and big and kept bumping into the back of my head in the top pocket my bag. It was probably also responsible, indirectly, for the loss of my wallet up said mountain and my subsequent need to replace a debit card, two credit cards and my driving license. There is no two ways about it, though. The pictures it takes are just better.* Pulling detail from the dark. Wonderous!

The Grotta Gigante in Italy. Amazing place, the two hanging rods you can see are part of an instrument to measure changes in the axis of the Earth. Bear in mind this was taken handheld in a dark cave underground.

I got home and I was pleased with the pictures I had taken. In fact, so enamoured was I of my cameras rediscovered abilities that I decided to extend them in the form of a new, lightweight, 70mm prime lens  for travelling and generally being amazing. I ordered it off eBay and waited with baited breath until I got an e-mail saying that it was out of stock and offering a full refund. I don’t know if I can explain exactly what happened next to anyone’s satisfaction, including my own (it certainly wasn’t one of my more logical and lucid moments), but the end result was that I now own a Pentax Q compact system camera and am roughly £200 better-off than I would have been with the lens I originally ordered.

It is little.Photo credit: Ars Technica

Over the next month I am going to endeavour to take this tiny interchangeble-lens camera to many places, and take correspondingly large quantities of pictures. I currently only have one lens for it, a normal prime, and it’s going to stay that way until I’ve proven to myself that I would use others. My big camera will still be coming out to play when I visit grand places, but it is an effort to lug about and I’m hoping that sheer practicality (and novelty, I will admit) of the Pentax Q will mean that I’ll take all sorts of photos are taken where normally I’d not have a camera with me. We’ll see whether that blip of internet shopping insanity was worth it in a month. Watch this space.     *especially since I dropped my compact and it no longer focuses 100% of the time.

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