Cat’s Corner

Long serving committee and honorary member Cat Humphries gives us the second instalment of her four part series of her photographic relationship with Pentax. Enjoy!


Finding a New Way: From Pentax to What?

You’ve had “the talk” and explained how you feel. It’s sad, after all your relationship has been going for several decades, but you know inside that it’s the right decision. Then you find yourself thinking “where next?”. How do you fill the void that has been left behind and start to move on with your life?

I was so committed to Pentax that I hadn’t looked at any other camera manufacturers specifications for a while. A round of speed dating was in order!

Over the years I’ve learnt that I need a camera that’s light and intuitive to use, flexible enough to accompany me on adventures “up hill and down dale” and has enough lenses to keep my genre-crossing creativity engaged. My theatre photography means it needs to be reliable, quick to turn on with fast responses and very good in low-light situations. I also need two bodies, each with a f2.8 lens, so there needs to be a good second-hand price point too.

Mirrorless? Too soon! I may be ready to move on from Pentax but mirrorless is a whole new ball game. Let’s start with little steps shall we? So a DSLR it is. Preferably with a crop sensor to achieve the reach I need with a 200mm lens.

Olympus: Like the bearded hipster in a vegan coffee shop (in a hand-knitted jumper, obviously!), I can see the vintage appeal but four-thirds format is an acquired taste. Small in stature and good for an enjoyable weekend away. Not the serious commitment I’m after.

Sony: Fond of urban exploration and around-the-world trips, this new kid on the block is a bit of a force of nature. It has expensive tastes (you can tell by the designer glasses) but it’s high-quality has seen it grown in popularity over the years so more third party lenses are on the market. Not sure I could keep up with this one, particularly with the expense of needing two bodies.

Canon: Reliable and dependable, this is the one you know will produce good results, a sensible choice. I’ve got friends who have very fulfilling lives with Canon, but as much as I try, we just don’t have that spark and I soon get frustrated with them. I have a history of unfulfilling flings with Canon compact cameras so I don’t think this is the one for me.

Nikon: I’ve always had a soft spot for Nikon with fond memories of my first compact camera. We spent a few years together and went on many adventures, exploring museums, long weekends in the peak district, getting sunburn in March in mid-Wales. I never should have let that one go… Sorry, I drifted off there for a moment! Maybe a Nikon is the way forward.

Let’s examine the specs…

The D7200 and more-recent D7500 look like they would fit the bill. Agile enough for theatre, wildlife and sports. Reliable. Creative in their compatible lenses and open to bringing different lighting options into the relationship. We may be onto a winner but don’t get too excited, we haven’t looked at prices yet – they may be above your price range and you don’t want to commit too soon. Why don’t you have a think and then take a closer look, after all, you wouldn’t want to give up your trusty Pentax unless you were sure.

Next Time: First Impressions and Testing Times.



Cat’s Corner

Long serving committee and honorary member Cat Humphries is kindly writing a blog series on her camera gear experiences. First instalment below – enjoy!


The Last Pentaxian in Croxley

There comes a time in every relationship where you have to assess whether you stay or you go. This is true for camera gear as much as it is for marriages. When you first decide on which camera manufacturer you go steady with, it’s all new and exciting. You’re amazed by the clarity of the images the relationship produces and you go on to add to your family of camera gear.

Suddenly you find yourself 20 years down the line, with a bag (or in my case cupboard) full of lenses, but the manufacturer you supported just isn’t keeping up their part of the bargain. You don’t get excited by them anymore, you know their flaws inside out, and you start to wonder whether they care about what they’re giving back to you. Are you worth more than they’re giving you?

This is how I feel about my relationship with Pentax cameras. They were the first SLR I got my grubby 5 year olds hands on, and I spent my formative years completely in love with my Pentax MX. We travelled the world (well, to Canada anyway), spent hours people watching, going to museums or the occasional Wimbledon final, and we took our first steps into the world of theatre photography together.

Later on, as both of us grew older, the world around us changed. Photography was going digital and in 2007 I took the plunge and bought a K100D. A new world of possibilities opened up. No longer was our relationship constrained to 36 exposures and processing fees. We had the freedom of a 1GB SD card and an A4 printer!

Slowly we evolved together, with new features drawing me deeper into the Pentax DSLR world, the K100D became a K20D and then, as the theatre beckoned me back, the K5II was so alluring with it’s low light processing and faster auto-focus. One body became two, and my collection of lenses grew to ten as I explored new genres and hoped that I could find photographic utopia. My evangelism knew no bounds – the two most popular religions in the imaging world held no allure for me. I would not be a slave to the tribes of Nikon or Canon like those I saw around me.

But like most utopian visions things became dystopian after a few years. The cracks started to show and what was once a great idea had started to turn sour. I searched around for a new body to replace my ever aging K5II, but alas Pentax removed the features I had relied on so much. They raved about their new full-frame cameras, but they were not what I wanted in a relationship. Too big, too heavy and with the same level of focussing options – they couldn’t satisfy my evolving creativity.

All around me lens manufacturers were abandoning the long-established third way. Limiting what was available to loyal Pentaxians like me. We saw our future stretched out before us, not the utopian vision we’d hoped for, but now a dystopian nightmare. Stuck in the past, hampered by unsupported gear and old fashioned lighting kit.

Despair surrounded me like a dark and stormy night, but after a while, the realisation struck me like a ray of light through the clouds. I didn’t have to stay in this sort of relationship. I was worth more than Pentax was giving me. I could be free to choose my future, unchained from the restrictions of the brand I had been loyal to for so long.

I could rebuild my camera gear collection. I could evolve.

Next time: Finding a New Way: From Pentax to What?


Left – Cat’s beloved Pentax MX – which still contained film at the time of writing!

Right – Selection of MX printsclockwise from top left: Venus Williams serving for the Championship at Wimbledon in 2007, couple on Lady Godiva Plinth 1998, Nuneaton Man (whole area was demolished to make way for a shopping centre), Strange Times at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 1998, Swamp Donkey at the Godiva Festival 1998


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Print of the Year Colour 2020

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