The Pentax K-3 has been voted as the "Best Expert DSLR" of 2014 by editors of the Technical Image Press Association (TIPA), an organization consisting of 29 photography magazines from 16 different countries. TIPA states that "a TIPA Awards endorsement is the highest accolade for any photo and imaging product." Each year, TIPA presents 40 awards in a wide variety of categories, from everyday accessories to professional photographic equipment. This year's awards were determined at a convention held on April 5th in Vancouver, and these awards are being announced to the public today.
Three other Pentax DSLRs have been recognized by TIPA in the past:
- 2011: Pentax 645D (Best Professional DSLR)
- 2010: Pentax K-x (Best Entry-Level DSLR)
- 2007: Pentax K10D (Best Expert DSLR)
TIPA's selection of the K-3 comes as no surprise, as this high-performance 24-megapixel camera delivers a host of innovative and class-leading features, such as a 8.3 FPS shutter, hardware moire reduction, and a large LCD screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio. From a hardware perspective, the K-3 is Pentax's most technologically-advanced DSLR to date.
Other noteworthy cameras in this year's TIPA awards include the Olympus EM-10, Samsung NX30, Fuji XT-1 and Sony A7r in the Entry-Level, Advanced, Expert, and Professional mirrorless categories, and the Nikon D3300, Canon 70D, and Nikon D4s in the Entry-Level, Advanced, and Professional DSLR categories, respectively. The Nikon 1 AW1 was awarded "Best Rugged Compact Camera", a distinction given to the Pentax WG-2 back in 2012. The complete list of award winners is available on TIPA's web site.
Today, we're happy to unveil a overhauled version of our mobile site with a host of improvements to make it even easier to browse while on the go. Even though we've featured a mobile site since 2011, we feel that it hasn't been robust enough for comfortable mobile browsing until now.
The new mobile site lets you browse not only the forum, but also our homepage news and in-depth reviews. On the forum you'll now be able enjoy larger images and easier access to new content and private messaging.
Our mobile skin currently supports all web-enabled smartphones and tablets, such as the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Samsung Galaxy, and other Andriod devices.
To activate our mobile site, simply visit the homepage (pentaxforums.com) or the forum (pentaxforums.com/forums/) from your mobile web browser. The mobile site should load automatically. However, if you're shown the full version of our site, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the "Enable Mobile" or "Mobile Skin" links, as shown in screenshot 1 and screenshot 2.
If feel your phone or tablet has a big enough screen to use our full site, you can always switch back using the "full site" link at the bottom of each mobile page, as shown in this screnshot.
Old vs. New
As you can see, the touch-friendliness, design, and readability of the new mobile skin have been drastically improved. The new skin will also stretch both next and images to match the width of your screen, so photos become larger on larger screens.
Next, we will take a closer look at some of the features of the new mobile site.
The "Blood Moon" lunar eclipse was a breathtaking sight which dozens of our members watched and photographed just a few days ago. Now it's time for us to enjoy some of the great moon photos that have been posted on the forum! Below are some of our favorites prior to the total eclipse; click on any thumbnail to enlarge:
Next up, the "Blood Moon" itself.
The theme for this month's official photo contest- our 92nd monthly contest to date- will be "Spring Colors". Show us those beautiful colors that are emerging as winter comes to an end, or if it's not spring in your area, be creative or simply grab a photo from your archives! The only requirement is that your photo be taken with a Pentax or Ricoh camera, and that it's sized appropriately.
In addition, voting for the winners of our March "Starbursts" photo contest is now underway. Help us pick the top three winners, who will be receiving gift cards courtesy of B&H Photo and photo paper courtesy of Red River Paper. The same prizes will be available to our April participants.
We'd like to wish all our contestants good luck!
Alongside the new 645Z, Pentax Japan has also officially announced the Pentax Film Duplicator accessory today. This bellows-like rig makes it easy to digitize negative film and positive slides of various sizes using any DSLR with a macro lens and an external flash. It makes digitizing film considerably faster and arguably more enjoyable than with a flatbed scanner, and it gives the user more control over the appearance of the final image.
The Film Duplicator weighs 2200g and can stretch up to 90cm to accommodate various lenses, cameras, and degrees of magnification.
At this time the accessory has only been announced in Japan. It will go on sale in May for 120,000 Yen (approx. $1200 USD).
To learn more about the film duplicator, check out a demonstration of it in action at the CP+ 2014 show.
The 645Z teaser has ended as Pentax has just officially unveiled the new Pentax 645Z medium format DSLR, the 51-megapixel successor to the 645D, originally launched in 2010.
This professional DSLR boasts a new CMOS sensor that delivers a big jump in image quality and resolution compared to the 40-megapixel CCD chip that came before it. The ISO range of the 645Z will be an impressive 100-204,800, up from 200-1000 (100-1600 expanded) on the 645D. At an MSRP of just US $8,499.95, the 645Z promises to be a very compelling option for studio and landscape photographers craving ultimate image quality, as its sensor specifications place it in a league above 35mm full-frame without the steep price tag of other medium format systems. This launch price is 15% lower than that of the 645D, and it marks an industry low for a medium format DSLR.
Other features new to this camera include live view, full-HD video recording, and a tilting LCD screen. It has received an upgraded 27-point autofocus with sensitivity to -3 EV as well as a highly-accurate 86k-pixel metering system. It can also be remotely controlled via the optional FluCard accessory, or desktop tethering software. Pentax is able to keep the price of this very serious camera down by sharing hardware between it and the Pentax K-3, the company's APS-C flagship. Another shared component is the PRIME III imaging engine, which offers increased processing speed and responsiveness compared to earlier cameras.
While the 645Z shares the same form factor as the 645D, it has received an updated button layout to accommodate the presence of video and live view. The shutter mechanism has also been improved, now offering a maximum frame rate of 3FPS, up from 1.1FPS. The dual SDXC card slots now support UHS-I memory cards for faster read/write speeds. The 645Z continues to be fully weather-sealed.
As a medium format camera with a 44x33mm sensor, the 645Z uses lenses that are larger those for traditional 35mm or APS-C DSLRs. The camera body is also considerably larger in order to facilitate the wider lens mount, large mirror, and optical viewfinder. As a result, the 645Z has a number of additional controls as well as two perfectly-flat tripod mount surfaces: one on the bottom and one on the left side. This makes for easy changes in orientation without affecting the camera's center of gravity.
In the early morning of April 15th the moon will acquire a reddish hue as we observe a total lunar eclipse lasting several hours. This rare event will make it a great night to go out and capture stunning moon photos with those telephoto lenses, and possibly moonscapes, if you get lucky!
According to NASA, the the moon will start changing color at 1:58 a.m. Eastern Time (GMT-4), as it enters the Earth's Umbra, or shadow. It will become the so-called "blood moon" by the 3:07 a.m., once it is fully engulfed by the shadow, and this will continue until approximately 4:24 a.m., when the process will begin undoing itself.
Although one would normally expect the moon to become invisible while it's in Earth's shadow, our atmosphere refracts some sunlight into the shadow, which is then scattered, ultimately resulting in a perceptible red hue. A similar effect reddens the sky during sunsets.
While lunar eclipses are quite common, total eclipses featuring a red moon are rare, as we need to be lucky to get the Sun, Earth, and Moon to line up properly. This time around we're super lucky, as similar eclipses will take place on October 8th of this year and April 4th and September 28th of 2015.
Read on for some lunar photography tips to help you get the best moon photos tonight.
I'm a British ex-pat based in Okinawa. I specialize in shooting travel images of Japan for publication in magazines, newspapers and guidebooks.
In 2002, I started using the Pentax 67II. It’s a big, heavy, beast of a camera, but I was hooked by the beautiful transparencies it produced. In Japan, the 67 is nicknamed Gulliver, and for nearly a decade it was my faithful travel companion. After escapades with ninja, yakuza and geisha I named my website TRAVEL67.com.
In 2010, the arrival of the 645D meant I could have the quality of medium format with the faster workflow of digital. Along with travel imagery, I started working in the studio, shooting model portfolios, products, headshots, and the occasional dog. My travel and studio photography converged with the Karate Masters Portrait Project in which I bring a studio flash to the dojos of Okinawa's martial arts icons.