It's been a week since Black Friday, and now that the buying craze has calmed down, we can take a look back and see what Pentax gear was the most popular in the US this year among our forum members. If you'd like to review this year's deals, refer to these posts:
Like last year, Pentax's MAP pricing policy was dropped for Black Friday, which meant that almost all lens and camera prices could be reduced by a significant margin. None of last year's top 5 best-sellers made it onto this year's list, however:
The $599 Pentax K-5 II deal at B&H swept away just about every other offer this year. At 50% off the camera's original launch price, this came as no surprise. Over 100 of our members upgraded to the K-5 II as a result of the sale, and the sale cleared B&H's large inventory of the camera thanks to surprisingly-high interest from non-Pentax users. While the body-only kit was by far the most popular choice for our members, the attractively-priced 18-135mm ($799) and 18-55mm ($699) kits also moved. The K-5 II is now discontinued, as it has been replaced by the K-3. It will surely be a while until we see a comparable on a future camera, as even the price of the original K-5 never went this low!
The outgoing SMC 35mm F2.8 Macro and 70mm F2.4 Limiteds were the most popular lenses in this year's sale, followed by the DA 35mm F2.4 and DA 50mm F1.8, on which members enjoyed additional bundle savings of up to $65. This reduced the selling price of the DA 50mm to as little as $110.
Numerous other premium lenses such as the DA* 16-50mm also ended up selling well, although among the new HD Limited lenses, which were discontinued by a generous $130, only the HD 15mm F4 proved to be a hit. Last but not least, both of the new weather-sealed Pentax flashes made it onto the top 15 list, as they were discounted by $130-150.
As a result of the Black Friday sale, B&H, Adorama, and Amazon have nearly cleared their entire inventory of SMC Limited lenses. The K-5 IIs continues to be available for $999 as there were no compelling offers on it during this year's sale.
As photographers, we spend quite a bit of time finding image-worthy subjects and composing them in such a manner as to highlight them. Some might argue that that would be the crux of photography, and at the end of the day, that's why whatever it is happens to be the subject, after all. And whether we do it purposefully or subconsciously, the void around the subject is (hopefully) carefully considered as part of that overall composition, given the same amount of deliberation as the subject itself. In fact, it can be the deciding factor between a so-so snapshot and a gallery worthy photograph!
In the above image, it's clear that there are only two distinct 'things' in the photograph - the lonely dancer on the edge of a chair and her world of grey. Read on to discover what the interaction between the two of them really means from a photographic point of view!
Editorial Note: In conjunction with the recently announced November Monthly Photography Contest, we thought it would be the perfect time to debut the Pentax Forums Snap Tutorials! Aptly named (at least we think so), because the name is in fact a double entendre. In a photographic context, 'snap' is obvious. The other meaning refers to simplicity, brevity, etc., and that's just what these are - quick informative little guides to introduce you to a topic of photography that you may not have been previously aware of.
For our first shoot with the Pentax K-3, we took the camera out to the park together with the DA 35mm Limited Macro lens, one of the sharpest lenses in Pentax's current lineup. We captured a number of test photos with the camera: they're not artistic, but they do emulate many different real-world scenarios.
We found the K-3's image quality to be absolutely stunning at ISO 100— take a look at the 28 samples in this post and see for yourself! The exposure and white balance were generally spot-on, and the files are bursting with detail! Each thumbnail below is accompanied by a link to a full-size JPEG and RAW download. All photos are straight out-of-camera and no post-processing of any kind has been applied.
All settings were left at their default values, though we did bracket as needed. With a -0.3EV or -0.7EV exposure compensation, the K-3 seemed to handle even our most challenging test shots very well, including those with harsh lighting and contrasty areas.
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Yesterday, we received our production copy of the K-3. This means that we can finally start taking a closer look at this exciting camera! We will of course do our best to offer you a definitive verdict about the K-3's performance in our upcoming in-depth review, which you can expect to see on our homepage within a week or two.
We will be sure to put the K-3 through its paces to find out just how big of an improvement it is over its predecessors, the K-5 II and IIs; considering that the core hardware found in the K-5 II is more than three years old, we have high expectations for the K-3— and based on our very first impressions of the K-3, we have a hunch that those expectations will be met!
For now, let's start off with an unboxing of the Pentax K-3. We will follow up with a first impressions post once we've had enough time with the K-3 in the field. Enjoy and stay tuned!
Adobe has replaced their regular version upgrades of Photoshop with a subscription based model called Adobe Creative Cloud (CC). Before this change, each version of Photoshop was available boxed and came with a lifetime license. Subsequent upgrades were in the $200 to $250 range.
Going forward, if one wants to continue to have access to the latest updates, an active subscription to Adobe CC is required.
The normal price for a Photoshop-only CC access is $19.99 per month, but we've recently stumbled accross a limited time offer that will allow you to lock in a monthly price of just $9.99 for life. The only catch is that you need to be a current Photoshop owner. If you are, then check out the deal here! As a bonus, the subscription also includes Adobe Lightroom (which isn't part of Creative Cloud). The offer expires at the end of the year (December 31st, 2013).
In order to make sure that this deal was real and not something "too good to be true", we decided to try it. Here is what we found out:
When reading initial announcements about speed-boosting adapters, I will admit to thinking it was an April Fools joke. The concept was simple: make a focal lens reducer which adapted lenses built for 35mm cameras onto the NEX and µ4/3 cameras. The effect was dramatic, and to me, unbelievable; namely, the adapter would widen the field of view at the same time make the aperture one stop faster. In other words, it brought those 35mm camera lenses back to (almost) their original rendering. Wide angle lenses are back to being wide angle lenses, with a faster aperture to boot.
The initial adapters were made by Metabones for Canon and Nikon lenses, and more recently Chinese manufacturers have started making adapters for the smaller brands. There are now options for using brands like Contax, Leica R, Canon FD, and importantly for me, Pentax.
Despite switching to ‘full frame’ (24mm x 36mm sensor) Nikons several years ago, I never replaced my beloved Pentax lenses. In fact, weighing all the attributes, I don’t think any other manufacturer offers analogous replacements for my Pentax collection at any price. These sorts of adapters could be the solution for which many of us with 35mm-format lenses have been waiting.
Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated with Sony, Pentax, Metabones, Zhongyi or any other manufacturer. This review was not paid for by any party.
The Ricoh GR is like a Swiss Army Knife of the camera world. It can play with the bigger boys and surely competes with and beats many at the 28mm focal length. One of my favorite things about the GR is the versatility of its RAW files when it comes to black and white conversions.
Everyone has a method of converting their images to BW. Some may stick to in-camera processing and others may use simple adjustments like de-saturation, but you'll want to go a bit farther than that for the best possible results.
Today, I'd like to talk about my own black and white conversions in Adobe Lightroom. While I also use Silver Efex Pro and Photoshop CS5 as part of my digital darkroom, I really wanted to concentrate strictly on Lightroom to see how far it would take me.
Here's the original photo, shot in RAW of course. As I was talking a stroll I noticed this teenager was playing hoops and I wanted to get a shot of him. I framed it in my typical street photography way and captured this image. Unedited, this file is nothing crazy and a rather mundane image. Because I knew I had the razor sharp lens of the Ricoh GR and loads of detail in that RAW file, I knew I could make it better. So with that said, let's take a look at what I did next.