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01-25-2021, 04:47 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Something special about that lens - NEW CONTEST series

With Adam's support, every month the Forums hosts a topical contest starting in February.
Instead of the monthly contest based on themes, this one will be based on focal length ranges.
And rather than focusing on the overall image and how well it may fit the theme. the goal here is to show off Something Special about that Lens.

Got a 15 bladed bokeh monster or swirly dreamy bokeh? How about a lens that produces starbursts? A super sharp lens? Super color rendering straight out of the camera? How about a fish-eye and the perspective it offers? Got a zoom lens you think can outperform a prime at a specific focal length? This is your chance to show it off, push it to its limits and celebrate the uniqueness of a lens. Where else might a Helios 44 have a chance to compete with a DA* 55?


Each month a new thread will be started with the focal length range for the month. When submitting a photo, please include a brief description of what it is that you think makes the lens special. Voting will operate in two stages where readers can Like any image they think excels at showing of Something Special and then the top entries will be voted on in a poll, similar to the way the monthly theme contest runs.


Currently the plans are to run the following ranges, although there might be small tweaks depending on member feedback.


February: 20 mm and smaller
March: 21-27 mm
April: 28-39 mm
May: 40-49 mm
June 50 mm
July: 51-69 mm
August: 70-100 mm
September: 101-150 mm
October: 151-250 mm
November: 251+ mm

Wait you ask - what about December? Come the end of the year, we will revisit the 2nd-4th place finishers from all 10 previous months for a second round of voting and additional prizes!

General rules and fine print (abridged from the Monthly Photo contests forum, adapted where necessary)
  • Submit only one photo per contest (submissions will be done as replies in the monthly thread)
  • Your submission must have been taken with a Pentax or Ricoh camera but the lens can be from any manufacturer
  • The photo dimensions must be between 300x300 and 1400x1200 pixels (WxH)
    Recommended
    dimensions: 1200x800 for horizontals, 800x533 for verticals
  • We recommend that you use our attachment system
  • Contest winners will be asked for a brief blog post describing the technique you used to shoot and process your photo, as well as what equipment you used. Additional information about the lens and how and when you tend to use it will be most welcome.
The winner each month, in addition to being highlighted on the home page, will also win a choice of either one (1) 128 GB SD card, or three (3) 32 GB SD cards.

OTHER THOUGHTS

As this is a new contest idea, suggestions on how to make it better are welcome. Either post in this thread, or PM me if you want to start a private discussion initially.

In thinking about this contest, there were thoughts of running two in parallel - one for APS-C and one for FF since each will produce a different image for a given focal length and there are different lens selections tailored to each sensor type. However, for now the thinking is that coupling between lens and sensor type is a big part of the photography process and so the two types will be kept together for now. (Besides, you can always crop a FF image to make it look like an APS-C if you really want to ).

While camera bodies will record the focal length for digital lenses (DA, D-FA, FA, F types) there is an assumption of trust that members will only post images that fit the monthly category when the focal length hasn't been recorded.


Last edited by MSL; 02-06-2021 at 05:41 PM.
01-25-2021, 05:55 PM   #2
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Fun idea, You are missing the focal length of 20mm, and 150mm is included twice.
01-25-2021, 06:03 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
Fun idea, You are missing the focal length of 20mm, and 150mm is included twice.
Thanks for flagging. Now fixed. Under 20 was supposed to include 20, but no point in leaving it ambiguous. The double 150 was because I needed to add an extra category once we decided to launch this in February rather than March. Glad you like the idea.
01-25-2021, 06:52 PM   #4
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An explicit remark about zoom lenses, other than mentioning it in the sample question, would be good. My assumption is that a picture taken within the specific range with a zoom lens qualifies, even if one or both ends of the zoom range are outside the month's limits.

01-25-2021, 07:00 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JensE Quote
An explicit remark about zoom lenses, other than mentioning it in the sample question, would be good. My assumption is that a picture taken within the specific range with a zoom lens qualifies, even if one or both ends of the zoom range are outside the month's limits.
That is correct. And that is partly what I was getting at about lenses that don't communicate focal length. For a m42/K/M/A prime, it is quite likely that a user will input the focal length to ensure the correct value is used for image stabilization. For a zoom, everyone has their own way of doing it. So there's a certain amount of trust that when using a zoom, the image being uploaded was taken from the part of the range that fits within the monthly contest. Hope this makes it clear. If I need to add something above I will.
01-25-2021, 08:56 PM   #6
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Do the photos need to be made during the contest period?
Is it open for any manufacturer’s gear? If restricted what’s required?
01-25-2021, 09:17 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Do the photos need to be made during the contest period?Is it open for any manufacturer’s gear? If restricted what’s required?
Images can be from any time period.
Pentax or Ricoh cameras only (as mentioned above). Any lens manufacturer (as now more clearly noted above).
Not sure about any other restrictions. Some are mentioned above and follow the monthly theme contest. Feel free to ask any further questions.
01-25-2021, 09:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
Images can be from any time period.
Pentax or Ricoh cameras only (as mentioned above). Any lens manufacturer (as now more clearly noted above).
Not sure about any other restrictions. Some are mentioned above and follow the monthly theme contest. Feel free to ask any further questions.
So no using Pentax lenses adapted in other bodies. Got it. Thanks.

01-25-2021, 10:05 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
So no using Pentax lenses adapted in other bodies. Got it. Thanks.
That's an interesting question. I wasn't thinking along those lines. The main monthly Theme contest is limited to Pentax/Ricoh bodies, and it makes sense to me to keep that restriction here too. Ideally, I'm hoping the contest gives members a chance to show off lenses we wouldn't normally think of as being "excellent" but which can lead to noteworthy images when used in certain ways, and then inspire other members to give those lenses a shot. For any of use with LBA, we have collections of lenses that don't get used as often as they could, or aren't our first choices. But maybe sometimes they should be. However, this only works if the winning lenses can be used on similar camera bodies, and most of us here shoot Pentax.

There's another side to this thinking which I'll share now since you got my brain thinking along these lines. I had been looking at buying lenses below 50 mm, and possibly smaller than 18 mm since I've never liked the images the kit produces at its widest end. But to see whether a DA 21 would work for me, I took the 18-55 out to a wooded area near me and tried to restrict most of my shots to be in the 20-21 mm range. I came away with a few that I liked. I've since aquired the DA 21 and gone back to the same location a few times. I've yet to produce anything I've liked as much as what the 18-55 produced. Now there's a few reasons for this but one of the obvious ones for me was that the lighting has been flat every time I've had a chance to go out. Overcast, grey and little variation. This has made me think more about lighting, times of day when I should try to go out, angles of the sun relative to the subject matter, and also to give myself some leeway because I don't know the DA 21 at all, while I've used the 18-55 a fair bit. The whole process may even lead me to being a better photographer.

Do I think this contest will lead to similar epiphanies for other members? I have no expectations, but it isn't a bad goal to have whenever we assess if this was a useful set of contests down the road.
01-25-2021, 10:33 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
That's an interesting question. I wasn't thinking along those lines. The main monthly Theme contest is limited to Pentax/Ricoh bodies, and it makes sense to me to keep that restriction here too.
That’s reasonable.
01-26-2021, 01:10 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Great idea and I can enter a prime for nearly every month. I have one minor (for me its major) beef that will be enough to stop me participating. The comp is open to archive shots. Whilst this guarantees us some belters, it doesn't challenge us to go out and try and do something special with the lens. We have a similar problem at my photographic soc. People are entering two year old images. This kind of thing doesn't encourage you to progress at all. If you just want epic images, that's fine, but there is nothing to be gained from my entering because from experience, my images will not stand out against the guy who climbed machupichu three years ago. Each comp runs for a month. Surely that's enough time to get something fresh and fabulous.
01-26-2021, 01:38 AM   #12
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Having to demonstrate the speciality of the lens with a current photograph would for sure put the emphasis on inherent characteristics rather than random observations based on single shots.
01-26-2021, 06:01 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cerebum Quote
Great idea and I can enter a prime for nearly every month. I have one minor (for me its major) beef that will be enough to stop me participating. The comp is open to archive shots. Whilst this guarantees us some belters, it doesn't challenge us to go out and try and do something special with the lens. We have a similar problem at my photographic soc. People are entering two year old images. This kind of thing doesn't encourage you to progress at all. If you just want epic images, that's fine, but there is nothing to be gained from my entering because from experience, my images will not stand out against the guy who climbed machupichu three years ago. Each comp runs for a month. Surely that's enough time to get something fresh and fabulous.
Your assumption is that it will be the "epic" shots that get the most likes. I'm hoping that members will vote for images that show the epic characteristics of a lens even if the overall image is less than stellar. I think there's even scope for using a lens' limitations to an advantage - how about some creative vignetting by using an APS-C lens on a FF body?


I think you are selling yourself short by not entering. I honestly don't know how this will play out. But I did want to make the barriers to entry as low as possible - that was part of the whole purpose of setting up the contest the way I have. I really am hoping to see a bit of a shootout between a Helios 44 and a DA* 55. I own two copies of the former - I'll probably never own or even get to use the latter. Also, for many of us here photography is a hobby and often one we have to push aside due to other commitments. My opportunities to take my camera out are limited and the last few outings the lighting conditions were awful. The pandemic has limited my time further and that is likely true for many others. It has also limited our access to places we might find of interest.


If it helps, I'll happily encourage people to include a note in their description to flag if a picture was taken recently to be a part of the contest. And if the contest works well this year and Adam wants to repeat it again next year, we can look at putting an age limit on the submissions.
01-26-2021, 08:48 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
Your assumption is that it will be the "epic" shots that get the most likes. I'm hoping that members will vote for images that show the epic characteristics of a lens even if the overall image is less than stellar. I think there's even scope for using a lens' limitations to an advantage - how about some creative vignetting by using an APS-C lens on a FF body?


I think you are selling yourself short by not entering. I honestly don't know how this will play out. But I did want to make the barriers to entry as low as possible - that was part of the whole purpose of setting up the contest the way I have. I really am hoping to see a bit of a shootout between a Helios 44 and a DA* 55. I own two copies of the former - I'll probably never own or even get to use the latter. Also, for many of us here photography is a hobby and often one we have to push aside due to other commitments. My opportunities to take my camera out are limited and the last few outings the lighting conditions were awful. The pandemic has limited my time further and that is likely true for many others. It has also limited our access to places we might find of interest.


If it helps, I'll happily encourage people to include a note in their description to flag if a picture was taken recently to be a part of the contest. And if the contest works well this year and Adam wants to repeat it again next year, we can look at putting an age limit on the submissions.
Oh, go on then, you talked me into it. coincidentally I am doing a sic next month with my new (to me) 15mm limited my camera club has a weekly themed challenge. They have left it open for archive shots so on day one you get a slew of subject relevant archive shots. They are there at day one and are each individuals best shot! I have a different approach. I shoot an image during the week of the challenge. That forces me to move forwards. I never win lol but there is no reason I couldn't see it as a personal challenge
01-26-2021, 08:57 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cerebum Quote
Oh, go on then, you talked me into it.
Fantastic. I'm hoping a lot of people will give this a try. Since each person is limited to one entry, and there will be time for voting after entries close, hopefully we won't get a flood on day one since there's no rush to submit.

I also think there's a need for careful thinking before a person submits, especially if they have many lenses. Do you use your DA 15 for starbursts, or do you enter using the 10-17 fish eye for its unusual perspective? (FYI I own neither so I'm hoping to see examples from both lenses).
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