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04-29-2012, 10:20 AM   #1
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Invitation to see debut album

I went out this morning on my very first photoshoot with my K-5, despite the fact that the outdoor temperature was hovering just above 0 degrees Centigrade. I posted a half dozen of the shots in an album which can be seen on my profile page. I hope some of you will go there and give me some feedback.

I used one of the two kit lenses I retained from my K200D days - (smc Pentax-DA 1:4.5-5.6 50-200mm ED)

One of the reasons I upgraded to the K-5 was my increasing frustration with the K200D sensor. There was very serious deterioration of quality at ISO 800 and very little one could do about it. As you will see in my comments on the photos, I am delighted with the performance of the K-5 in this respect. I can hardly wait to discover other qualities, but I will take a better quality lens with me next time.

04-29-2012, 11:04 AM   #2
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Nice Job!

Hello RM, Congratulations on the good work with the new camera!
If you don't mind, I'll make a few suggestions;
Looking at the shot data, I see you took three photos in the 50mm-80mm range (# 2,3,5), so my suggestion is to invest in a quality 50mm prime, if you don't already have one. An "M" 50mm f/1.7 or "A" f/1.7 would be perfect, and cost about $100 USD for the M and somewhat more for the A.
Why? Better depth-of-field control. Your shutter speed and ISO are being controlled by the f/22 stop, which may be necessary with a Tele zoom, but with the 50mm prime, you could have sharp focus from 15-20 feet to infinity at f/5.6 or f/8.0 (I'm reading this off my M 50mm, the A may be slightly different).
So, that's three more stops of shutter speed or 3 stops better ISO, a polarizer (about 1-1/2 stops) or some combination.
# 2 and 3 could use a polarizer. It would deepen the blue sky, increase contrast and add realism (sharpen/deepen) the water.
A wider aperture will also help the bokeh, which has a good character but is slighty "busy" or nervous for a scenic shot. This is in reference to the two close-ups, # 4 and 5. Both are good photos, but the tiny bokeh lines and swirls distract from the main subject. Ideally, the bokeh enhances the photo by being soft and indefinite, "dreamy" if you will. Any sharp lines or edges destroy this effect.
If you truly want to persue macro (and you seem to have an eye for it) I'd strongly suggest a 90-100mm macro lens. Manual focus is fine, AF tends to hunt and struggle with close focus anyway. My favorite is the M 100mm f/4.0, but I'm sure others will chime in with suggestions. The M is also inexpensive, about $100.00 USD.
Overall you did a good job for a first scenic outing, but next time I'd bring a polarizer, tripod, macro lens and cable release. Also good lens hoods for any lens you have.
Hope you don't mind the critique'
Ron
04-29-2012, 01:49 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Ron,
I absolutely don't mind the critique! I just bought a 50mm f/1.4 and will bear this advice in mind when it arrives. I had a polarizer when I had my Miranda Sensorex, way back when. In fact I still have it. I'll check the thread size; it may fit on the new 50mm. In any case, I will get one, but probably not for the two kit lenses which are useful, of course, but ...

Anyway, thanks for this.

Bob
04-29-2012, 01:55 PM   #4
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Ron,
Do you mind my pressing my luck and point you in the direction of my flickr account: Flickr: rmbarker@rogers.com's Photostream
Seeing your own botanical gardens album reminded me of my own on flcikr. I am not looking for commentary on them - you have already been most helpful.
Bob

04-29-2012, 05:53 PM   #5
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Nice Work!

Hello Bob,
Well, I stand corrected; You clearly don't need my advice on macro shots and the importance of bokeh! Those are some fine photos, and the background is just blurred enough to "Pop" the central subject out. What len(es) did you use?
Yes, the polarizer will help the sky and cloud detail in scenics, but I've also used it on macro shots (with a tripod, usually) to increase the contrast and color saturation. It's the one indispensible filter, IMO.
Good luck with the 50mm, it seems to be a good focal length for your photographic vision.
Ron
04-30-2012, 05:45 AM   #6
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Good morning, Ron,
My album on Flickr, Buffalo Botanical Gardens, was taken using smc Pentax-DFA 1:2.8 100mm-Macro - 49mm mounted on K200D

I bought my first SLR (Miranda Sensorex) in 1970 which I used extensively in the 70's. I got lazy, and tired of lugging that equipment around the world, and went through a lot of "point & shoot) until my retirement in 1998. In retirement, I decided to re-start the hobby and bought my first digital in 2003, and was hooked. Shortly, I bought a DSLR and was hooked. In all these years of shooting, albeit sporadically at times, I have never had a serious critique offered of my photographs. I have a small cheering section of family and friends, and they do keep our interest up. You, Ron, have been the very first person, a photographic person at that, to kindly offer some advice on how I might technically, improve my photography. For this I am truly grateful and I hope that you might continue to do so. Garnering such advice, is one of the reasons for my signing on to Pentax Forums!
Speaking of "photographic vision", the 100mm macro necessitated my backing up in a narrow aisle of the Botanical Gardens to get a focus - right into the arms of a really spiny cactus! I saw the warning sign after!
Thanks again, Ron.
05-01-2012, 11:21 PM   #7
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Congrats on the new K-5. Thanks for sharing the pictures and flickr stream, I really enjoyed the garden pics. In my opinion there are some great shots that could really stand out more with some simple PP. If you don't currently do much post processing, I would encourage you to look into it. I personally like Adobe Lightroom and with the recent price decrease its quite the bargain. Scott Kelby's book The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers is a great guide for learning to use it.
05-02-2012, 03:40 AM   #8
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Macros + Equipment

Hello Bob,
I agree with Ataunton, PP is a real skill and with digital, can make or break the photo. Being, like you, from a film and "Manual" background, I've always felt that the best photo is one that needs the least PP work, but am slowly coming around. And I'm surely no expert on digital enhancement!
But even Ansel Adams spent hours in the darkroom and PP software (used correctly) is really just a digital darkroom.
Perhaps I've seen too many shots that were obviously "created" with software, overdone or fake-looking. I'm looking for a tuneup, not an overhaul or rebuild.
Thanks for the kind words, I try to be constructive. But you clearly have talent and just some practice with the new equipment will do more than I ever could!
The DFA 100mm 2.8 is one of my dream lenses, out of my price range at the moment. You've used it well, even suffering for your art! That cactus must have hurt. It's times like that when a 50mm macro might be handy, another "Want One Of Those" lenses on my list.
The "Most Wanted" on my macro list is a Bokina. The Vivitar/Tokina 90mm f/2.5, hard to find (especially in PK mount) and top-dollar if you do find one. I'm sort of a Bokeh fanatic, obsessed with the perfect background. It's really a single-use lens and I can't justify spending $400-$500 for that one single characteristic when I have other macros that do the job well, without the amazing Bokeh. Sigh.
Sorry I rattled on, seems like we're kindred souls in some photographic way.
Ron

05-02-2012, 06:02 AM   #9
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Many thanks, ataunton, for the suggestions and compliments. I have always done Post Processing and I believe that capturing the image is really only the first stage of producing a beautiful image; at a very early stage, I turned away from trying to be an "in-camera purist", partly because I just did not have appropriate equipment and it forced me to try to improve images in some other way. I am glad to note your recommendations, though. I have used PS Elements since its early stages, version 3, I think. I switched over to Lightroom 3 and tried to keep both PSE 8 and Lightroom 3 going at the same time which I just could not do. Then, PSE 10 came out and I have gone back to using PSE almost exclusively. Interestingly, I am also a Scott Kelby fan and have both his PSE 8 and 10.
As a retiree, I have as much time as I want to take for photography, including the PP. I have had an inclination, though, to overdo some aspects of it, especially, being a little heavy-handed with contrast, colour saturation, etc. I really fight against this excess and am glad to note your comment that I might be "under-doing" it rather than my inclination to "over-do".
Thanks, again.
05-02-2012, 06:30 AM   #10
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Good morning, Ron. I'm afraid I have to confess to being, in my own way, somewhat of a computer nerd, but, as with photography, self-taught. Which might be somewhat bothersome, especially for a retired teacher. I know that I could learn a lot about both these pursuits if I would only go to school. But, the journey is also important even if it means taking two steps forward and 1 back. It's really fortuitous when two major interests coincide. I really will work on the PP. In fact, before I post photos in this Forum, I will re-do the PP. Just tweak them up a bit. I must say, though, that I will be careful not to overdo because, like you, I do not want to try to create new images in the software, but just boost what the camera, perhaps because of errors in settings, failed to do. Thanks for your interest, Ron.
05-02-2012, 11:09 AM   #11
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yeah, PP work and flash are where I really need to improve my photo-fu. Good stuff gets put on Flickr, though.

The K-10 never had any trouble with cold, and neither does the K-5. Metering in overcast snowy days, I guess that's my problem not the camera's and is simple enough to fix in post-process. Not that we had much snow this year...

RM, you might want to set a user-setting for fast-shooting. It's fun if you have subjects worth shooting 6+ fps.
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