In January 2001 I bought my first digital camera and immediately a paradigm shift occurred in my photography when I transitioned from analog to digital. My new digital camera, an Olympus Camedia D150 held multiple advantages over film as I had more creative control, instant feedback and substantial cost savings in the hobby I love.
|A very small LCD back with minimal information. The menu selection was very simple and the viewfinder was used for composing your images.|
First I have to say that due to my photographic greenhornship, I do not have my own style or technique yet. I shoot everything that is not sensible enaugh to hide before my camera. I am one happy shooter. This fact has made choosing the picture for the competition harder. I have lots of inconsistent shots with different themes (and quality), but I am not sure if any of them really stands out. Threfore I have chosen the one I like the most for the memory of the moment (but which is not a sentimental family portrait or something like that).
So here is the story!
Sigma has just officially announced the new "contemporary" series 17-70mm F2.8-4 DC Macro HSM walkaround lens for Pentax. It is now available for pre-order for $499 (about the same price as the Pentax 17-70mm).
This is the third Sigma 17-70mm lens, which promises to bring better optics and improved build quality compared to its predecessors. In our in-depth comparative review of the Sigma 17-70mm's and Pentax 17-70mm, we found both Sigmas to already be a little bit better than the Pentax, so we can't wait to test this new lens, as it already seems like a compelling option for an everyday zoom!
The International Consumer Electronics show starts tomorrow in Las Vegas, and Pentax will be there with all their latest cameras and lesnes on display. This is the largest electronics tradeshow in the US, though it's probably not as important to Pentax as the upcoming CP+ show in Japan, which starts on January 31st. We will be covering the CP+ show live, with the possibility of a Pentax interview.
Here's what's new at CES since Photokina:
Could there be more at CES? Given that the recent press release only mentions the above 3 things, we don't believe so, but you never know! We think that more Pentax news will be announced at CP+.
As we've already covered the MX-1 in a separate article, let's take a look at the flash and the new Q10 color options. On display at CES will be a AF 360 FGZ II+ flash concept, which is essentially going to be an updated version of the current AF 360 FGZ, adding swivel functionality in addition to tilting. Many Pentax users have been complaining about the lack of swiveling in the current 360 flash, so this sure is welcome news! Pentax expects this new flash to go on sale later this year; tentative specifications and photos have not yet been released.
Pentax has just announced the MX-1, the company's first entry into the "enthusiast" point-and-shoot market. As such, this camera will deliver more manual controls, more features, and better image quality than your everyday point-and-shoot.
What's most noteworthy about this camera, however, is its retro styling: Pentax has finally created a camera that resembles a classic SLR. Take a look at the original Pentax MX to get a sense of the design elements that the new MX-1 embodies.
Apart from the fact that's the MX-1 is not an SLR, the overall design of these two cameras is actually quite similar. Pentax is also launching the MX-1 in black, a color option that was also available back in the old days for select SLRs. One cool thing about the black body is that as it gets worn, the brass below the paint will become exposed, giving the camera a very classic look.
The MX-1 will become available next month (in February, 2013) at a retail price of $499.95 USD. It can already be pre-ordered in the US.
The Pentax MX-1 features the latest in Pentax technology and will likely feel very much like a Pentax Q in a much larger package. It has a 1/1.7" 12-megapixel backlit CMOS sensor, can record Full-HD video at 30FPS in H.264 format, and has a 4x F1.8-2.5 zoom lens corresponding to 28-112mm on film. The maximum ISO is 12,800.
The "piece" of photographic equipment that has been the most influential on my photography would be my extreme macro setup. My interest in macro photography was piqued by browsing macro photos online and wondering, "Why can't I do that?". I was quite stunned with how amazing even the simplest everyday objects looked when magnified - even something as common as a zipper or a screw (shown below). None of the images in this post are cropped or post-processed. The only thing I've done is shrink them to allow me to post them here (please click on the thumbnails to see the full size!).
|Chewed Screw||Threading a Needle|
So I began trying to use my 55-300mm DA L to take macro photos, this was before I really appreciated the nuances of photography and had an understanding of why the 55-300mm wasn't working the way I wanted (very long minimum focusing distance!). I found a Praktica 80-200mm M42 macro lens at a garage sale for 20 bucks, so that was the next step. This still wasn't enough and I found a used Pentax-M 100mm macro lens locally, so I bought that. Then I tried using teleconverters, close up diopters, extension tubes, and I still wasn't happy! This led me to using reversal rings. I put my 55-300mm kit lens onto the camera and reversed my 18-55mm lens onto it. This led to some amazing magnification, however the plastic body construction caused some "wobble" and made it extremely difficult to focus. What is particularly interesting to note is that anybody with the Pentax K-r kit and both kit lenses can achieve this with a 2 dollar reversal ring from ebay!
My favourite photo must be the one taken with my first (3 month old then) DSLR, the Pentax (one and only so far) K20D on 9.01.2009 at precisely 18:41:51 AWDT Eastern Australian Time.
Why did I pick this particular photo? Hmmm…… every time I look at it, brings a smile to my face and to everyone who has seen this photo. It happened on my first “DSLR camera shooting” vacation.
This blog post is an introduction to the Asahi Pentax Auto Extension Tubes designed for K mount lenses with “Auto” aperture control (contrasting the manual M42 style apertures). The Auto Extension Tubes have the aperture linkage built into each of the three extension tubes, so that it is possible to focus with wide open apertures which then stop down to the desired setting on shutter release. The tubes I own were acquired through a common internet auction house, they can be found on the second hand market, and at independent photography equipment dealers who handle second hand gear. They differ in quality from newer “K-mount Extension Tubes” which have no aperture diaphragm control, have low build quality, but are easily found new. Trust me; you will want the authentic variety. The build quality is superior and well worth the search.
|Pentax K-r + DA 50-200mm + AF 540 FGZ|