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12-04-2012, 06:27 PM   #1
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Hi from Texas

Hello all,

My name is Jason, from Texas. I have been interested in Pentax medium format cameras and lenses ever since I decided to buy an extremely well-used example of a Pentax Asahi 6x7 with a 105 f/2.4 lens in the late 1980's to see if I could get much sharper results using a larger than 35mm format for astrophotography. My idea paid off, since I got a published photo from my first roll of film (Sky and Telescope magazine, April 1989 'Gallery' section) made at the Texas Star Party near Fort Davis, Texas (near The University of Texas' McDonald Observatory) and after that you could see a steady and increasing use of Pentax 67 cameras for sky photography. Before my photo I'm sure medium format had been used /sometimes/ but I had never seen a single photo published in the major astronomy magazines before mine.

I now also have digital K100-D and K-7 bodies (they were both bought near the time when they first came out). The K100-D doesn't work anymore (not sure why and don't want to spend more than the camera is worth to find out and repair it), but before it stopped working the lens suddenly refused to autofocus (long after this, I learned that this is a common problem) I bought another upgraded kit lens (the 18-55 DAII, if I have it right) that I thought would work. Guess what? It didn't autofocus later on I bought a K-7 to use the new lens with (because the K5 was sooo much more expensive for what seemed like not absolutely necessary advantages for me).

I've enjoyed the K-7 but have been frustrated by some of the same things I had trouble with the K100-D (for example, I like taking sunrise/sunset landscapes but the terribly distorted colors compared to reality and the washed-out bright areas leave me very frustrated when I see a wonderful view to photograph but can't get a nice result (with film this wasn't a problem for me).

Another thing that bothers me is that unlike from 1976 when I got my first good camera (a Minolta XD-11 that I still love) into the 1990's when I used film cameras, to me the digital lenses seem sooo plastic and cheap. I like to use manual focus sometimes, and the plastic toy-camera-like focus mechanism really surprises me that Pentax would make such cheap stuff. My cheap, common 28/35/50mm Minolta Rokkor film lenses had buttery-smooth focus and these were inexpensive lenses. The Pentax medium format lenses are similar - wonderfully smooth focus.

The next thing to gripe about (remember, I only have Pentax digital gear now and have almost all the Pentax 67 lenses except 400, 500mm, so I really /do/ love Pentax!) is that the low-light autofocusing is so poor on both the K100-D and K-7 that it often /forces/ me to use manual focusing (see above) because the autofocus simply will /never/ settle down and focus, but in low light I have to guess at focus anyway and don't get good results, so having a camera that could actually autofocus in low-light situations would be nice. Is this a major problem for anyone but me?

Besides these issues, I like the camera a lot and think that the image quality for a kit lens (the 18-55 DAII is all I have now) isn't too bad. It distorts a lot, however, as you go toward the edges. Even absolute non-photographers see this in my images, especially in images with people at all but the longest focal lengths. It looks positively ridiculous sometimes (looooong legs if they are too near the camera, weird-shaped heads if too near corners, etc.). Is this an issue that bothers anyone?

I like the much-improved battery life in the K-7 compared to the terribly short life of the K100-D with the AA batteries (but it was a big selling point to me to be able to use rechargeable AA batteries - I thought it obvious that it was a good idea and why didn't others do this but I guess the limited battery life was the reason).

Can anyone comment on why digital cameras (no, I haven't spent much time in forums to know the answer, I'm still a digital newbie after ten years or so) don't have any other viewfinder glass than simply 'clear' with no provision for split-image focusing, a ground glass area to focus on, etc? I know manual focus isn't used by people very often, but it is used sometimes...

Sorry for the long, complaining introductory post - I just got on a roll - sorry! I had another profile for awhile but really didn't post because the username was so hard to remember that I re-registered with a new name.


12-04-2012, 07:06 PM   #2
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That would be great if the manufacturers did put split image screens in DSLRs, but some people do put the split image screens in themselves. The new K-30 has a feature called focus peaking in live view that makes it very easy to focus manual lenses. Of course live view is very useful with a tripod, but not so much hand holding, unless you can hold the camera out in front of you and hold it steady.

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