The Catalyst

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 21, 2013

The one piece of photographic equipment that has had the greatest effect on me is a lens that never actually existed.

Let me explain.  

A few years ago I was looking to buy my first digital SLR. I figured I should get some practice manually setting exposure before spending money on an expensive camera, so I asked my dad if he could dig up his old film SLR for me. He found his old Pentax-ME camera, with a 35mm f/3.5 lens attached to it. Then he told me that he had a really spectacular lens for it, a 50mm f/1.2 lens that he spent a small fortune on, I just needed to wait for him to find it.

At the time I had a Canon point and shoot camera that I was pretty happy with, so I was considering buying a Canon SLR. Plus a few of my friends had Canon SLRs and lenses, so I could swap lenses with them. But when my dad told me about that 50mm f/1.2, I began to research Pentax cameras. I found that the lens was worth a good bit of money, and that it would actually work with current Pentax digital SLRs. So because of that lens my first digital SLR ended up being a Pentax K100D.

Durability of the Pentax K10D

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 21, 2013

No other device has had a larger impact on my photography than my old friend, the Pentax K10D.  My K10D was my first DSLR after going through three different film SLRs in four years.  I the past five years I have shot over 20,000 pictures with it, including sports, landscapes, candids, portraits, and studio still life work.  It's combination of rugged charm and instant review ability have allowed me to expand my photographic talents without worrying about the weather or the price of film development.

"The Ring": The story of a marriage

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 21, 2013

Once upon a time, there lived a modest K10D. He had an artistic temper: he enjoyed watching the lights playing in the woods and the morning mist rising upon the top of the trees. Thus, he used to snap all day long.

The Greatest Equipment Ever!

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 20, 2013

When I first started taking photos I really wasn't that great...

But now, due to the discovery of such a great photographic tool, I've gotten must better.

Its been quite a journey over the last 3 years but I'm certainly alone in this discovery. But before I tell you more about the discovery, I would like to tell you of my own person journey with my first DSLR - the venerable Pentax K-x.

1. Early Days

When I first got my K-x I was like an excited kid, running around taking photos of everything I could. I started out with the mode dial stuck on the green "Auto Pict" mode. Looking back I did take the odd good shot here and there. The camera did a pretty good job and with the large number of shots taken some just had to turn out good. However, as so many have found, the photos were just not as consistent as my old Point and Shoot camera!

2. Experimentation with the camera

So I thought the problem must with the "Auto" mode - right? I must have the wrong settings I thought. I started uses the scene modes but had mixed results with those. Then I started trying Av and Tv modes. I ended up with a lot of blurry shots but at least I felt I had more control over the camera.

Radio Triggers

By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Jan 18, 2013

One of the main reasons I got my first DSLR (Pentax *ist DS) was cave photography. While I've seen many admirable cave photos they were all carefully set up and posed. Beautiful as they were they lacked something - a captured moment. It's not like cavers didn't capture moments in caves it's just that they did it with point and shoot cameras and on-board flash. I wanted to do better than that.

At first I thought that high ISO will do the trick but it was no where near high enough to freeze a moment with available light. So I started experimenting with flashes and optical triggers. It was a step in the right direction but a cumbersome one. Caves feed on light and bounce very little of it so flashes had to be in visual range of each other. Another trouble was that whenever someone took a snap with their compact camera it would trigger the flashes.

Around that time (6 years ago) first cheap radio triggers were emerging on eBay so I decided to try them out. One thing they lacked was range and reliability but that was fixable with antenna mod - a piece of wire that was soldered to transmitter circuit board.

Three flashes, three receivers (one glued to the flash in the middle) and trigger with white wire antenna (click image to enlarge)

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