When the camera is just a tool

I got out my Pentax K10D because I was running behind on the blog and wanted some fresh photos to share. I had two film SLRs loaded, but I wouldn’t get the film processed and scanned fast enough. Shooting digital, I can use the photos almost immediately.

Indiana War Memorial

The K10D remains a competent enough camera despite being ancient of days: it was introduced in 2006. Thanks to poor performance at ISOs 800 and above, it’s best used outdoors in good light. Many of my old film cameras require the same conditions, so at least I’m used to it.


Margaret suggested a date night, and not a moment too soon. We took our cameras Downtown (we spell it with a capital D in Indianapolis for some reason) and went for a stroll.


I showed her where I work now, a couple blocks from the heart of Downtown. These balconies are the view from one of our conference rooms.

On the circle

The heart of Downtown is Monument Circle. The Columbia Club is on it. The K10D is heavy, at least compared to Margaret’s featherweight Nikon D3200. Seriously, what did they make the K10D out of that it’s so heavy — and the D3200 that it’s so light? But the K10D wasn’t fatiguing on this walk.

On the circle

The monument itself is hard to photograph, as tall as it is. So I tend to go for its details. The 18-55mm lens (that came in a kit with the camera) does a credible enough job. Distortion is fairly well managed, but is of course most noticeable at the wide end.

Wheeler Mission

There’s plenty to photograph around Downtown and the K10D was up to the task, handling the shift from mostly cloudy to mostly sunny with no trouble. I shot JPEG+RAW and with only a couple exceptions where the JPEG was great as is, edited the RAW a little bit to get the look I want. It was easy enough to do. That’s big: if I have to spend more than a few minutes editing a digital photo to get the look I want, I start to think the camera isn’t for me.


The Wheeler Mission sign and this Firestone sign are the two neon signs I know about Downtown. Maybe I’ll find others now that I work Downtown and have more time to explore.


I don’t love using the K10D. I don’t know why exactly. There’s a je ne sais quoi about any camera that puts into the love or don’t-love category for me, and the K10D lacks it. However, it works well enough and returns fine results, thus keeping its place among my cameras. If it didn’t, it’d be gone.

On the circle

At some point during our stroll we realized we were hungry, so we stopped at the Rathskeller, a German restaurant, for some wurst. It was a lovely evening and a tonic for our spirits. It’s nice to have these photos to remember it by.

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.


14 responses to “When the camera is just a tool”

  1. Stuart Templeton Avatar

    A great little post Jim and some very nice photos – It’s great to hear you both enjoyed your night out (sometimes, it’s the simple things we do that stand out).
    It doesn’t sound like a bad camera, much like my old 40D, but I agree that these cameras tend to be tools rather than something we use for pleasure- but then, isn’t all about the images at the end of the day?
    I’m with you on the editing – I much prefer to get the look I want in camera. I’m happy to crop and adjust slightly, but my patience runs out after that.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s a great camera when the light is good. These results attest to that! I enjoy the editing process but don’t usually have the time to do heavy editing on a bunch of pictures. So getting it right in camera is super important.

  2. Dan James Avatar

    I wrote a very similarly themed post a few days ago and it’s scheduled to be published later this week. Great minds eh?

    Re the K10D, its size and weight are its downfall. I loved virtually everything about it, but after a while that bulk is draining. It’s not so bad with a light AF lens (I used the DA 35/2.4 mostly), but add a vintage zoom or tele and it becomes like a weapon.

    When you get colours like that Firestone sign against the sky it’s very hard to complain though!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The colors I got this trip were just wonderful. Did you see the single frame I shared yesterday? So delightful! That’s why the K10D is a winner.

      1. Dan James Avatar

        The last post was the ES II review. Do you mean the Darmouth Apartments one? Yeh even with the kit zoom, which many people are quick to dismiss, the K10D delivers! I found it did even better, colour wise, with A series lenses, the colours seemed more vibrant.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Yes, the Dartmouth Apartments. Forgot about the ES II post. The K10D is a nice tool that returns great results in good light.

  3. tbm3fan Avatar

    Why you lightweight. Your Pentax weighs only 1.57 lbs. My Minolta 7D weighs 1.76 lbs. in a magnesium frame but makes perfect sense with all my Maxxum lenses. I think you need to do some curls with 10 lb. weights in each hand then report back.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Lol! I shoot with some pretty heavy film cameras all the time. I was just comparing this K10D to my wife’s D3200 which, in comparison, weighs nothing!

  4. analogphotobug Avatar

    Even I keep a digital camera in my ‘back pocket’ so to speak. Inherited my husband’s Nikon D-40 when he upgraded. There are times when it is definitely the right camera to carry…….

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh sure. I’ve shot probably 10,000 photos with my digital Canon S95. It fits into my back pocket! The only film cameras I have that do that are my Olympus XA and XA2.

  5. jon campo Avatar
    jon campo

    Nice pictures Jim. I still use a Canon 40D on occasion which is of similar vintage, and it’s given me some really wonderful pictures. For digital I seem to always grab the oldies, my newest is a Panasonic LX-7 that I seldom use, there’s nothing wrong with it, it just rubs me the wrong way somehow.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I bought my wife a Sony RX100 last year and I still have camera envy; it is great. Otherwise I’m either you, the oldies work for me.

  6. Dan Cluley Avatar
    Dan Cluley

    I wouldn’t complain about the weight of my K-x, but I have noticed a couple of times when I’ve shot it on a long day, that the pictures from the end of the trip often require a little straightening, so apparently my hand does get tired.

    I’m quite happy with the colors I get, but do find that 3 out of 4 shots need a little boost to the brightness and contrast.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Many of the shots above required straightening — maybe this camera is more fatiguing than I know!!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: