Indian Flower Mantis (Creobroter elongata)
In this post we will be looking at how the photo that won last month's photo contest came to be.
I set out to shoot a Mantis behind the house in the garden. After looking around I found a suitable place with nice grass that was illuminated by the setting sun as contre-jour lighting. Behind the grass there was a vine which created shade that would serve as the dark tones of the background. The scene was illuminated by the setting sun shining above the vine.
We're very happy to announce the official PentaxForums.com February, 2014 Giveaway, which features daily prizes in addition to three grand prizes which will be awarded to three lucky participants at the end of the month. The grand prizes are a Pentax DA 35mm F2.4, DA 40mm F2.8 XS, and DA 50mm F1.8 lenses. This giveaway is all about community: let's make the forum come to life this month!
The way the giveaway works is simple: you get one point for every forum post you make. You gain an additional point for each member that Likes your posts each day.
At the end of each day, the member with the highest number of points will be our daily winner. That member will get to pick out one of our 28 daily prizes. In addition, the top 12 point holders will each receive a raffle entry for the grand prize drawing.
|4||16 Gb Sandisk Extreme SDHC Card|
|3||32 Gb Sandisk Ultra SDHC Card|
|4||Pentax Remote Control F|
|4||Pentax Remote Control RC-1|
|3||Giotto's Large Rocket Blower|
|4||Unlimited Attachments Forum Upgrade|
|3||HDMI Cable for Pentax DSLRs|
|1||$25 Adorama Gift Card|
|1||Lens Cleaning Kit|
|1||67mm ProOptic Filter Kit (UV, CPL, ND2)|
Grand prize drawing:
At the end of the month, the member the the most raffle entries will automatically win one of the grand prizes. The remaining two grand prizes will be drawn randomly based on actual entry counts.
You can keep track of the current giveaway standings via a special page that we've prepared.
Where to check the live giveaway standings and daily winners
We're happy to announce the winners of our December, 2013 photo contest, "Rule of Thirds"! In first place was forum member Atrej, who captured the photo "Illuminated" (pictured above). This photo was shot with a Pentax K-5 and an Orestor 135mm f2.8 M42 + macro tubes.
|vroom_skies: What Lies Beyond||Hopka: Grainy Sunset|
We'd like to congratulate the winners one more time! Also, be sure not to miss our February photo contest which will be announced shortly.
Today we are proud to present our in-depth review of Pentax's latest telephoto zoom, the HD Pentax-DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED WR. It's not exactly a brand new lens, as it marks the third official variant of the highly popular DA 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED lens; the most notable change is the addition of weather sealing.
Can a $400 lens outperform a $1300 lens? In this review we've dedicated six full pages to comparative tests and photos against the highly regarded Pentax DA* 60-250 F4.
Just like "Mark II" and "III" products inherit design elements from their predecessors, the HD 55-300 is no different. Compared to the SMC 55-300mm that came before it, the HD 55-300mm has the same optical and mechanical design. But we couldn't be happier to see the 'WR' signature added to the lens, designating its weather resistant capabilities. And the new HD coating promises to reduce ghosting and improve micro-contrast.
So continue on to read one of our most comprehensive lens reviews to date to see what its strengths and weaknesses are, and to see how it compares to a professional zoom.
A photo of the upcoming 1.4x Pentax teleconverter, which has been on the Pentax lens roadmap for several years, was recently posted on the forum by one of our members.
Although we have no knowledge of the official specifications at this point, the photo alone reveals a number of things:
- The teleconverter is fully weather sealed (AW designation) and almost certainly has a rubber gasket around its bayonet
- The teleconverter has contacts for lens data transmission, so aperture automation and lens/focal length recognition will be supported
- There is a screwdrive AF shaft, which means that screwdrive AF lenses will continue to support autofocus when used with this teleconverter
- There are SDM contacts, which means that SDM/DC AF lenses will continue to autofocus
- The teleconverter features Pentax's latest HD coating that minimizes reflectance.
Once we have the official specifications, expect to see the news first on our homepage. We will also be updating the converter's entry in our lens database.
A key photo trade show, CP+, is coming up in just over two weeks. We wouldn't be surprised if Pentax unveiled this teleconverter shortly before the show. We may also see a number of other lenses from the Pentax roadmap, including a telephoto "prosumer" zoom.
A new feature-enhancing firmware update was released today for the Ricoh GR. The update bumps the firmware version number all the way up to 3.00 and includes the following changes/additions:
- New "Slight" custom image effect
- "Muted" might be a better term for this JPEG preset, which makes colors appear more faint than in other modes. This preset supports further customization of vividness, sharpness, contrast, and vignetting.
- AF mode customization for the AFL/AEL button
- Previously, this button could only be user for spot AF when the switch was set to AFL. With the latest firmware update, options for mutli AF and pinpoint AF have been added, though spot AF continues to be the default setting.
- "Ambient Brightness" film GR imitation
- When the new Ambient Brightness setting is set to Original, the camera tries to mimic the lighting of photos from film GR cameras. The default setting of Normal leaves the lighting unchanged. RAW files taken in Original mode can be developed with Normal lighting in-camera, but the opposite does not apply.
- Folder naming by date
- You can now choose to name folders based on date (xxx_MMDD) or image sequence number, the old behavior which continues to be the default.
- ISO Auto-High settings bugfix
- On the ISO Auto-High Settings page, the Change Shutter Speed option will now be shown in 1/3EV increments whenever the camera's ISO (sensitivity) step is set to 1/3EV increments.
- New aspect ratio RAW development option
- When developing 3:2 RAW files in playback mode, you can now select the aspect ratio (3:2, 4:3 or 1:1).
As always, the latest GR firmware update is cumulative: it also includes all the previous updates, so you do not need to install any prior updates if you're still running the original firmware.
If you're ready to upgrade your GR's firmware, download the update file straight from the Pentax web site and read on for installation instructions.
My friend had asked me to take traditional, happy photos of her daughter. It was a hot day in Florida, and after being in the sun for a while, the six-year-old was pretty cranky. We walked back to my friend's apartment building, and as I saw how the stairs floated down, I spied an opportunity. I asked her to sit on the stairs for just one more shot and told her that she didn't need to smile for this one. I switched from a standard portrait lens to the DA 12-24/4 and crouched down quickly. I didn't want to lose her attention, so I didn't even take the time to line up the shot well - I just fired three quick shots, and in the second shot, her expression just connected with the camera.
Last year's Black Friday sale brought us many deals on the K-5 II DSLR, but not nearly as many attractive offers on the filterless K-5 IIs. Today, all this changes: B&H and Adorama have slashed the price of the K-5 IIs to just $699, the lowest price from any US authorized dealer (including Amazon). Enjoy this cool low price until the K-5 IIs is gone for good!
If you don't live in the US, keep in mind that B&H ships internationally, so this sale price may still be lower than your local price even with shipping and customs added on top. International shipping costs depend on where you live; more information is available during checkout.