My Gear

Here is a run down on the gear I use in the field for anyone who is curious. I am a “Pentaxian”, having purchased a Pentax MX 35mm SLR as my first serious camera in the late 1970s. That camera is still functioning and I do shoot film once in a while just for fun. So when my wife and son asked if I would like a DSLR for Father’s Day a while back, I chose to continue with Pentax. That K-50 and a newer K-70 are now my “older” backups. As a bonus, all the four-decade-old lenses from my first camera will work on my DSLRs as well as on the original SLR.

Body: Pentax K3 Mark III. I am an early adopter for the first time and bought the body and battery grip as soon as I could pre-order when it became available at the beginning of April 2021. I am really impressed with this camera, especially the viewfinder, autofocus and overall capability for bird photography. It’s a solid cropped sensor DSLR with the really great feature of being weather sealed. It also performs well at higher ISOs and that is a benefit when field conditions are poor. The KP has taken over the backup role.

Long Lenses: I use two long lenses. The Pentax HD D FA 150-450 mm f/4.5-5.6 DC AW is my go-to lens. It is light enough for handheld shooting (about 8 pounds with the body and battery grip) and is weather sealed. I also have a Pentax DA 560 mm f/5.6 ED AW prime lens. It is a bit heavy, 10 pounds with body, but I can shoot handheld if necessary. However, it does go on a tripod most of the time. It is another weather sealed lens.

Mid-range Lenses: A Pentax DA 300 mm f/4 ED SDM prime lens or Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED zoom fill the role as a mid-range lens. It is especially useful in close quarters like a wooded area. I add a 1.4x teleconverter to use it as a backup for the 150-450 mm lens.

Miscellaneous Field Gear: Vortex Viper 8×42 Binoculars and a BlackRapid Double Breath Harness. The harness can carry two cameras. I rarely carry two but the double shoulder straps have attachment points for the binoculars. It keeps me from getting strangled with two sets of straps, one for the camera and another for the binoculars. The harness also has excellent clips for securely hanging the camera at your hips.

Other Lenses: Pentax DFA Macro 100 1:2.8 WR. I haven’t done much with it but want to explore macro and closeup photography.

Software: I shoot RAW format and use Adobe Lightroom to process and organize photos. I have Photoshop as part of my Adobe subscription, but have not gotten around to learning how to use it yet. I have also used Topaz DeNoise and Sharpen software.