nearly k-5

I nearly had a K5. I found a deal on amazon for a K5 body for £773, below my ‘buy’ threshold of £790. It was listed with a 2 year warranty, but that would have to be back to the seller, in Germany. Buying from Germany is not an issue for me, I have bought before, they are very efficient and you really can get some good bargains online there. As we are all in Europe, no import duty etc. Apart from the persistently high price of the K5, the other thing that puts me off is how Pentax dealt with the sensor stain issue. From the perspective of what was happening in the online communities at the end of last year (with a healthy dose of scepticism about the level of hysteria) I found them slow to react to the problem, but at least they issued their statement about it in January. The fact that there are still cameras turning up with this problem does not instil me with confidence in a pro-active or reputation maintaining response. So, I wasn’t ready to shell out for what was almost certainly a dud camera, but I dutifully put a note here in the ‘Leads to Deals’ and waited for the ‘its not from SRS’, which seems to be the mantra. Rather than putting me off, that sort of talk is just a red rag to a bull here, so I decided to bite the bullet and see what would happen if I ordered one. I feel safe behind a known German seller, Amazon and my credit card, so I think I was sorting of waiting to have the fears of a dud confirmed.

Camera arrived on Monday. All good, box a bit tatty but camera looked as expected. Charged up the battery and fired off a few shots, all good, the K5 is nice to use and an easy transition from the Kx. I like the screen, much easier to check focus than my Kx. I like the mode dial, especially with a proper X and B setting. Love the proper MLU and the fact that it is quieter than the Kx (I use a sigma HSM lens as the noise of the screw drive is annoying – to me at least). I really like the ability to see when the camera is level, that is a real problem for me, and the fact you can see it on the top screen makes it worth having one of those as well. It feels like a proper camera, but not as different in use as I had thought.

All good, but like I said, I nearly had a K5. It went back today. Postage paid, so not so bad. The reason? This camera was manufactured in SEPTEMBER last year. Initially it looked fine when I took a photo of the sky, long focal length, narrow aperture. Even ramping up the contrast was OK. But against a white background, you can see the dreaded line of dots. It was much fainter than I expected, but it is there and looks like the classic oil on sensor problem.

So it went back. You would have thought that Pentax would have mopped up these rogue early cameras by now, if this was a car we would all be dead in a ditch with failed brakes or something! For the moment, I might wait a little longer and see how the K5 moves towards my threshold. Sadly, it did confirm my theory, I was expecting it to be bad and it was (sad state of affairs really). I did talk to Pentax regarding European warranty etc. That is fine, I think they fix it, but they sound like fixing consumers cameras is all just too much, they don’t exactly give you a lot of confidence in their service. So I opted to just send it back for the refund. Ho hum, back the Kx.