Tell us About Your Photo, Michi Joel

Low-light scene shot with the Pentax Q7

By K David in Columns on Jun 27, 2016

Each month we pick a forum photographer with a stand-apart image in a non-contest thread. This article will allow the photographer to tell us a bit about their photo and himself, providing a larger context to the image.

Michi Joel posted a stunning night-time photo taken with his Pentax Q7 in the thread Let's Share Shots with Q! Thank you, Joel, for taking part in this ongoing series and for this fantastic example of Pentaxian overnight and small-sensor photography.

Cala Banys desde la Punta d'en Rosaris, de nit (click to enlarge) | Michi Joel

Smooth Trans Focus: The Ultimate Guide

Testing the Sony 135mm STF, and mimicing the effect on film and digital

By K David in Articles and Tips on Apr 14, 2016

You've probably heard the term "Bokeh", but have you ever heard of "Smooth Trans Focus"? Through one of our most comprehensive investigations, we describe what Smooth Trans Focus is, test a lens that delivers this effect, and most interestingly, show how this effect can be simulated without a dedicated lens.

Sony 135mm Smooth Trans Focus Lens

Two SLR lenses engineered specifically to be Smooth Trans Focus (STF) offerings currently exist on the market: the Sony (nee Minolta) 135mm f/2.8 [T/4.5] STF and the Laowa 105mm f/2 [T/3.2] STF.  For this article, we tested the Sony lens on film.  The Laowa has very recently been launched in the Pentax K-mount for those interested in the STF effect.

This article examines what makes an STF lens special and includes several sample photos and technical examples. We'll also look at how to capture and post-process digital files to simulate an STF lens. The Minolta Maxxum 7 film SLR shows that it's possible to simulate STF lens effects with a non-STF lens on a film frame, though no technical details were provided on how it's done. Through extensive testing, we found an approach that simulates STF images on film and detail how to achieve the result.

Astrophotography Part 4 of 6: Using Film

The perfect second-camera option

By K David in Articles and Tips on Mar 4, 2016

Milky Way and Andromeda | K David
Pentax LX | SMC-M 50mm f/1.4 | Fuji Natura 1600 | Seven-minute Exposure

An entire generation of photographers, now, has had the opportunity to capture high-quality images without using film, learning the difficulties associated with it, and adjusting for film's peculiar requirements. This installment in the astronomical photography article series looks at using film for astronomical imagery. We'll evaluate uses, challenges, and provide a list of pros and cons. If you've ever wanted to try film for astronomical photography, there are some limitations, but overcoming them is highly rewarding.

Twenty Questions with Eric Hendrickson

An interview with a master Pentax repairman

By K David in Columns on Jan 28, 2016

Editor's note: Today we're happy to present an exclusive interview with Eric Hendrickson, an extremely talented Pentax repairman with decades of experience servicing Pentax cameras and lenses.  He's gained a reputation on the forum as the go-to person for vintage Pentax SLR repairs and more.

Autumn in Knoxville, Tennessee, defines itself with a color-abundance that fills the area with postcard-grade sights of tree-arched roadways . Knoxville fills the space between summer and winter with an antebellum love letter in color accompanied by the scents of fallen leaves, rain-washed air, and a slight chill in the air that makes a cup of coffee feel especially warm beneath fingertips. Pentax Forums traveled to Knoxville in such an autumn for an in-person interview with Eric Hendrickson, whose reputation here needs no introduction.

Knoxville's airport greets visitors, after passing from the gate area, with an indoor water feature, a raised creek set among stones and passengers waiting in line for security. I arrived in Knoxville after a longer-than-hoped, earlier-than-wanted flight to learn that the standard car I had rented was not available but that I could have the last car on the lot. The car was a Dodge Ram 2500 quad cab will full bed and was, by at least six feet, the longest single-vehicle I had ever driven. By a liter, it was the largest engine I had driven and exhaling on the gas pedal caused the truck to lunge forward with a roar straight from a monster movie.

I drove the Ram on tree-shrouded Southern roads, yellow leaves falling from the canopy in front of and around me, spinning as they fell, slowly working through the air like a drill through wood. On more than one occasion, the Ram, too wide for the Knoxville country roads, needed its mirrors folded in to let other cars pass. But it's hard to remember anything other than the roadsides, lined with a thin layer of golden leaves, gilded like the outside faces of Bible pages.

Eric lives in a small home at the end of a side street that branches off another side street that starts at a residential road that connects to a small, local thoroughfare. The setting is quiet, feeling ideal for the detailed, focused work of removing tiny screws, adjusting gears, and cleaning dust-solidified lubricants from inside clockwork camera mechanisms.

Gone are the days on the Hendrickson farm, the outbuilding dedicated to camera repair and the walls of shelves of spare cameras, parts bodies, and the largest Pentax spares stockpile assembled outside of a Pentax factory. Eric's shop now is a single room with essential equipment, a small stockpile of common replacement pieces, and a well lit and tidily organized roll-top desk.

Hay Bales on the Old Farm

Eric greeted me warmly, as we have talked often for the last four years about cameras, dogs, and other things. He welcomed me into his home with a coffee and a strong, I-would-vote-for-this-guy-grade handshake. We sat on his couch and started our much-delayed interview for Pentax Forums.

Tell us About Your Photo, Mike Oria

Ol' Devil Moon

By K David in Columns on Jan 2, 2016

Each month we pick a forum photographer with a stand-apart image in a non-contest thread. This article will allow the photographer to tell us a bit about their photo and themselves, providing a larger context to the image.

Mike Oria (MikeSF on the forum) posted a superb example of why the Pentax 645D is such a great camera. During the Blood Moon in September, Mike Oria managed to capture this stunning shot of the still-red moon rising over Mount Diablo in Clayton, California. Taken from across the bay on Mount Tamalpais, this shot shows a good deal of skill and the effect that telephoto compression has on an image. Thank you, Mike, for taking part in this ongoing series and for this fantastic example of Pentaxian nature photography.

Ol' Devil Moon - Click to Enlarge

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