I learned to use an SLR camera the old fashioned way: I bought a used film SLR and signed up to take an evening class at the local art center. I recommend it. I didn’t learn anything I couldn’t read in a book, but it forced me to take pictures every week and most importantly, I got weekly feedback from the instructor and the other students.
For a year, I continued to use my film SLR. Or, more accurately, I didn’t. I meant to, but it was inconvenient to buy film and then get it developed. I finally did what I should have done from the start: I bought a digital SLR.
I walked into Penn Camera in downtown DC and walked out with a Pentax K100D and a kit lens. Why Pentax? I wish I could say that I thought it over, but really, I bought a K100D because that’s what the man behind the counter wanted to sell me.
I hadn’t had my new toy long when I realized Pentax isn’t a standard choice. Most people approach SLR cameras as a dichotomy. Canon or Nikon? Nikon or Canon? Shooting Pentax is like taking German in high school.
I like Pentax. I’ve come to appreciate its outsider status. Since I haven’t used Canon or Nikon, I can’t say how it compares to them, but I’ve never been anything but satisfied with my K100D.