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12-19-2012, 11:46 PM   #1
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Pentax Q10 Bokeh and Lens Questions

Hi all,

My wife just bought me the Q10 for Christmas, and I'm trying to understand it better. I started with a Canon DSLR years ago, and I stopped using it or bringing it with me, simply because of its size. So that's why my wife got me the Q10! I started doing research last night, but I'm still confused, so I'd appreciate it if anyone could help me answer any of my questions.

Is there a way to get those really blurred backgrounds for portraits, by buying a K lens or other lens that has an adapter to the Q, with a long focal length and high-ish aperture? I've seen a few photos with the 01 prime that have very nice bokeh, but they mostly look like macro shots.

I read that this camera has a 5.5x scaling factor, so potentially if I got some kind of lens around 15-18mm around f/2, I could have a nice portrait lens at around 100mm? Would that give me what I'm looking for? Or is there some other combination that would work better?

Also it seems like you can't buy the 01 prime lens with the Q10, and you can't get it separate from the Q. Does anyone happen to know where I could buy it separately?

I love the idea of carrying this camera around, and I realize a bigger lens would make it less portable, but I'm curious what my options are since I love bokeh in portraits, food photography, just about any photo. Thanks in advance for any answers!

12-20-2012, 12:26 AM   #2
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Hi Chris. Congratulations on your Christmas present; the Q is a sweet little system.

To understand what happens with the Q, think of the crop factor acting on angle of view, but not depth of field. That means that while a 15mm lens will give you the AOV of a portrait lens, it still has the DOF of a fish-eye. The only way you will get nice blurry bokeh is with a close-up subject and a distant background. If you want paper-thin DOF, you'll need a camera with a larger sensor.

Don't worry about it too much. Go out and have a blast learning the capabilities of this remarkable system.
12-20-2012, 12:35 AM   #3
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The small sensor of the Q cameras increases depth of field so natural thin depth of field that causes the blurry backgrounds does not occur.
Pentax has added a feature called Blur Control that simulates thin depth of field by taking multiple out of focus shots and combining them with the focused one.
It uses the BC setting on the top dial.
Read up on it and try it and see if it works for you.
12-20-2012, 02:12 AM   #4
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I've seen some nice portraits done with CCTV lenses - they're more of a novelty lens on the Q/Q10 rather than a serious tool but may also give the effect you want. There are plenty of them around at 25mm f/1.4 and given enough distance between the subject and the background to blur the background out when wide open. (They're also - unlike the 01 Prime - cheap and readily available, along with the "C to P/Q" adaptor you need to use them.) Mine's on it's way to me, I'll be interested to see how it behaves. There's also a 35mm f/1.7 around in the same format.

I've not had my Q10 long so I haven't tried the BC mode yet - anyone here have any feedback on its performance?

12-20-2012, 02:55 AM   #5
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Thanks for the info, everyone.

I'm not looking for paper-thin bokeh (I don't have the budget for any f/1.2 lenses, haha) and I'm fine with having a distant backdrop. Here are some examples of what I'm looking for, some of which are using the prime lens, but all I think were taken with the Q:

Photo Bourse | Vevey 2012 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Eli Q C-mount-2 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (Neil, this is with a cctv lens like you were mentioning)
Mr. Moses | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
IMGP6673 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
IMGP0398-Edit | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
IMGP1796-1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Untitled | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Caramel / Pentax Q | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Sorry for so many examples, but probably easier than me describing it. Maybe it's just a balancing act of getting close enough to the subject and having a distant background. I'm more interested in headshot portraits than anything else.

I've tried the BC a few times, but haven't seen any real difference with it. I'm not sure if I need to make sure there's adequate distance behind the object or person, of if I need to be closer, or what. I saw a review that showed nice effects at level 1 and 2. It takes a 4-6 seconds to process for each photo from what I've tried.
12-20-2012, 02:56 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Oh and for anyone interested, I read that Pentax is planning on selling the prime lens separately in February 2013. Not sure how much it'll cost though.
12-20-2012, 03:48 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by chriscdg Quote
Eli Q C-mount-2 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! (Neil, this is with a cctv lens like you were mentioning)
Pretty good for a £15/$20 lens (not so good if you pixel peep, but that's probably half to do with the ISO 640)
12-20-2012, 08:32 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by chriscdg Quote
Sorry for so many examples, but probably easier than me describing it.
Lots of examples is a good thing! My guess is that none of these are using the BC feature, but that is only a guess. Some of them (#5 and #7 in your list) don't really have a significantly blurred background. Several of them (#3, #5, #7, and to some degree #8) have noticeable perspective distortion (e.g., big nose), which is the problem with trying to get blurred backgrounds by getting close to your subject. #1 doesn't have this issue because it is a profile. #6 uses a K-mount fast telephoto lens which has paper-thin DOF to begin with.

All in all I'd say the best bet is to get the 01 Prime and use it wide open, get moderately close to your subject, and as you say using more distant backgrounds where possible.

12-20-2012, 08:47 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by chriscdg Quote
Hi all,

My wife just bought me the Q10 for Christmas, and I'm trying to understand it better. I started with a Canon DSLR years ago
You should also investigate a Canon to Q adapter for your DSLR lenses assuming you still have them.

Hans
12-20-2012, 10:20 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by chriscdg Quote
I don't have the budget for any f/1.2 lenses, haha
Sure you do. Here's from my testing of a $3 16mm f/1.2 lens:



This gorilla is only about the same size as a human head, so it's a decent approximation of how the lens would work for head portraits.

The lens is CS mount, so there aren't any adapters available, but it's not particularly hard to make a hole in a camera cap and glue the lens there.

Of course it's probably not actually f/1.2, it's cheap and Chinese and therefore probably exaggerating a little. And more importantly, if f/1.2 is true it's like a 90/6.7 lens on FF. (55/4 on your Canon, assuming it's APS-C.) So not so thin DOF, but good enough.

At least the lens is tiny (thinner than any real Q lenses, about the same length as the primes).
12-20-2012, 10:28 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by chriscdg Quote
Is there a way to get those really blurred backgrounds for portraits, by buying a K lens or other lens that has an adapter to the Q, with a long focal length and high-ish aperture? I've seen a few photos with the 01 prime that have very nice bokeh, but they mostly look like macro shots.
As with any small-sensor camera, it's really really hard to get good bokeh because of the wide depth of field offered by Q-mount lenses. You would have to use an adapted lens (which would feel like an extreme-tele lens on the Q), which isn't always going to be useful.

With that said, the Q does have some built-in bokeh filters which can simulate bokeh. But I'll be sticking with my DSLR for portraits

Adam
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12-22-2012, 01:04 AM   #12
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Thanks for all the replies! I'm probably going to get the prime when it's more available in Feb. I want to try the Canon to Q adapter, but not sure it'll be worth it with the limitations that'll have.

Did you get that 1.2 on ebay? That's nice dof considering the cost!

I'm also thinking about the K to Q adapter, since I've heard good things about it. Does anyone have a suggestion for a K-mount lens that might make a good portrait lens on the Q?
12-22-2012, 01:05 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by chriscdg Quote
I'm also thinking about the K to Q adapter, since I've heard good things about it. Does anyone have a suggestion for a K-mount lens that might make a good portrait lens on the Q?
Well just about anything you adapt will be extreme telephoto, so either use the Q standard/zoom lens for portraits, or try a DSLR.

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12-22-2012, 01:09 AM   #14
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I guess I just need to try it and see. I thought that if one of the K lenses turned into a 100-150 it might be okay (still telephoto obviously.)
12-22-2012, 04:57 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by chriscdg Quote
Did you get that 1.2 on ebay? That's nice dof considering the cost!
Yep. It's usually described as 'F1.2 16mm 1/3" CS Mount Fixed IR CCTV Camera Lens' or something very similar.

QuoteOriginally posted by chriscdg Quote
I'm also thinking about the K to Q adapter, since I've heard good things about it. Does anyone have a suggestion for a K-mount lens that might make a good portrait lens on the Q?
Only if you like the flattened look of very long lenses, in which case your choice of a fast 50 is probably good. The short lenses aren't fast, nor cheap. Better to get the 15-45/2.8 zoom, it's not more expensive than a K mount 20/2.8, probably better wide open and definitely smaller.
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