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05-17-2009, 07:36 PM   #1
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Howdy from Toronto,

Hi folks! Here be my intro message [I hope it’s not too long!]:

In late March [this year], I went on a trip, taking along [for convenience] my cheap P&S camera and came back with pictures that were marvelous records, on the one hand; but with quality being a lot less than totally satisfying, on the other. The pictures actually look great on my old iBook/separate-screen – I just have to avoid blowing them up anywhere close to “Actual-size” .

So I then asked myself: “How many megapixels should I get, in a camera”? - which is not necessarily the best place to start – but it will do! Then, bearing in mind that I’ve had an allergy to “B.S.” and the “Emperor’s-New-Suite”, ever since I was three years old, I started to investigate – pretty-well from scratch.

I looked at “Prices-for-pixels”. Then at “The Pixel Race”, confirming the general principle that [near] perfect pictures are made up of a little [or ‘much’] more than just huge numbers of pixels, being ‘thrown-at-the wall’! Then I looked at “How big is your LCD”? and “How long is your zoom”? I even looked at what “Jack-be-Nimble” carried two-of, in the last two or three inter-galactic wars; all of which helping me to form an opinion.

I then had to answer the biggest question here, for me: “Do I get a good P&S, for low-profile portability or a DSLR, for lens-flexibility/IQ” - in my ‘semi-retirement-induced-state’ of being on a limited budget?

Now, I still have my SP 500 with an SMCT 135mm f3.5 lens, my only lens from 1975 to 1978 - along with a 2 X converter and a set of ‘bellows’. I also still have my MX, with an M 50mm f1.7 and an M 28 f2.8 [in virtually brand-new condition]. All this ‘renewed-focus’ reminding me that I do like SLRs!

So the above pretty-well channels me into choosing one DSLR manufacturer, right? Therefore, practicing the “KISS” principle; and having Googled my head off, on what a lot of people think, do and/or recommend, for two weeks, I commenced, in late April 2009, to look for a K100D [and there’s much more to my decision than just ‘price’!].

Of course, this model is ‘yesterday’s [modest] hero’; but one little chain still had some demo models left, with the 18-55 kit lens. I did not want that lens though, so I ploughed on until I found a used K100D Super, body [with a three-year ‘Henry’s’ (of Toronto) warranty!]. I would probably not have chosen the “Super”, if the regular model had been available, as I’m not completely sold on their dust-removal solution [documented tests are not so positive; and, for how long does that strip of ‘sticky-substance’ stay sticky and the dust stay-put?]; plus, I don’t really plan to spend money on a motorized lens, in this lifetime.

Having said that, I don’t foresee anything going wrong that can’t be dealt with; so the ‘Super’ version will ‘really’ fit the bill, at this time. And, I don’t think I’ll surprise too many people, by saying that, after two weeks, I’m beginning to love my first DSLR!

I now have to figure out which so-called walk-around lens to get [like there is just one!]. It could have possibly been the DA 16 X 45mm [a fairly good reputation, suiting a fairly modest budget!], if it wasn’t for the fact that I seem to be becoming a ‘tele-freak’. Meanwhile I am getting some [for me] fantastic results with my M42 contingent; and haven’t even tried my ‘tiny-perfect’ [almost, anyway] ‘M’ lenses, yet [Yeh, yeh, I can ‘walk-around’ with that pair!].

So that’s me under-way, for the moment. Now, all I have to do is take pictures!

Incidentally, my 135mm lens with the 2X converter ahead of it, works out at the 35mm equivalent FOV of a 405mm FL lens, as I understand it; and though I haven’t anywhere near perfected their use on a DSLR yet, I am really happy with how far I’ve got, already [even though things appear to be a bit grainy - I wonder what ‘f’ rating that rig provides?]; and I’m very excited about finding out just how much more they/I can do!

I’ll post a couple of ‘apprentice-level’ DSLR/M42 pictures, as soon as I figure out how. It’s really cool, taking seagulls on the wing, with the manual focus – hand-held! The ‘beep’ is so-close to my chosen focus-point !

It’s nice to be here, people.

Cheers, Geronimo!

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Last edited by Geronimo; 05-18-2009 at 08:16 AM.
05-17-2009, 08:26 PM   #2
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Welcome Geronimo, that's a great first post (I hope it's not downhill from here on in)
Nice first shots as well, that TC isn't half bad.
Enjoy the forum.
05-17-2009, 09:14 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Welcome Geronimo, that's a great first post (I hope it's not downhill from here on in)
Nice first shots as well, that TC isn't half bad.
Enjoy the forum.
Cheers mate! I was drinking Bathams [ Bathams Brewery - The Finest Real Ales ], in March!
ATB, Gringo
05-17-2009, 09:26 PM   #4
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join the crew man, there's a meetup group in my sig

05-19-2009, 03:56 PM   #5
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Meetup Grp.

Good on ya, sport - I'll follow-up soon! !
05-19-2009, 10:04 PM   #6
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"Grainy" in digital is a function of the ISO setting, same as with film. The EXIF data is not on your posted images, but it is not beyond possibility that your ISO setting was in the 800+ range. If you can keep it down to 400 or less, the grain (noise in the digital world) will be much reduced.

If you can't, then get your hands on Noise Ninja or the like. Use it sparingly - the noise is removed by blurring the image.
05-20-2009, 07:55 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
"Grainy" in digital is a function of the ISO setting, same as with film. The EXIF data is not on your posted images, but it is not beyond possibility that your ISO setting was in the 800+ range. If you can keep it down to 400 or less, the grain (noise in the digital world) will be much reduced.

If you can't, then get your hands on Noise Ninja or the like. Use it sparingly - the noise is removed by blurring the image.
Thanks Albert, For some reason the Pentax software did not seem to pick up the EXIF info; but my version of iPhoto does. So, for example, the ISO on the pic of the dog is indeed 800! BTW the 2x TC always gave results that were a touch 'foggy' with the 135mm f3.5, on my SP500 - though I probably never tried it with K64 or 100 ASA film.

PS: All of 'em are 800 ISO.

Last edited by Geronimo; 05-20-2009 at 08:10 AM. Reason: "PS"
05-20-2009, 09:02 AM   #8
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Geronimo, welcome to the forum, hope you enjoy it (and us...)!

05-20-2009, 09:25 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Geronimo Quote
Thanks Albert, For some reason the Pentax software did not seem to pick up the EXIF info; but my version of iPhoto does. So, for example, the ISO on the pic of the dog is indeed 800! BTW the 2x TC always gave results that were a touch 'foggy' with the 135mm f3.5, on my SP500 - though I probably never tried it with K64 or 100 ASA film.

PS: All of 'em are 800 ISO.
If you want to, and do not already know it, you can set the ISO auto range to 100-400 (or any other pair you prefer) in the [Fn] menu ISO settings. You will have to watch your shutter speed to make sure they are high enough to stop the action of the dog. Shake Reduction should take care of the rest.

Enjoy!

PS - I don't find the noise objectionable. You should see the grain from ISO 800 film before complaining.
05-20-2009, 11:32 AM   #10
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Great Encouragement/ Help!

QuoteOriginally posted by Rense Quote
Geronimo, welcome to the forum, hope you enjoy it (and us...)!
Thanks, Rense! Lot's to learn off members here; and humour ['humor'!] to exchange !

QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
If you want to, and do not already know it, you can set the ISO auto range to 100-400 (or any other pair you prefer) in the [Fn] menu ISO settings. You will have to watch your shutter speed to make sure they are high enough to stop the action of the dog. Shake Reduction should take care of the rest.

Enjoy!

PS - I don't find the noise objectionable. You should see the grain from ISO 800 film before complaining.
Cheers, Canada_Rockies [Albert]!
I've 'waltzed' around every avenue in the menus, a few times, so far. I'm now at the stage where I'm asking myself "Where the h*ll was that setting?" I know which section/screen/ Fn most things are on; but not quite everything that I can do with the Ok, AE-L, Av buttons nor 'The Wheel' on the back. It's a good 'empowering' exercise! As for the shutter speed, yes, I have to remember that. In fact there's quite a little check list to review before pressing the shutter-release, isn't there. I'm finding tho', that once in a given situation, certain settings don't have to be revisited, until I move on. Sometimes I just take a pic, review the way it looks and then the settings; and then try to figure out what to do better next time [a la 'Groundhog Day'] - this helps my particular modus op.
If it's not that objectionable to a more practiced eye than mine, maybe I should just 'relax' around the subject of noise and simply take a few more pics - perhaps getting some of them critiqued later

Last edited by Geronimo; 05-20-2009 at 08:27 PM. Reason: On re-reading, I didn't like the original ending.
05-22-2009, 02:05 PM   #11
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Welcome!

The K100D Super is a great pick, another pro over the vanilla K100D is the support for SDM lenses, which comes in handy since pentax might head in the SDM-only direction when it comes to new lenses.

You mentioned being on a tight budget and liking to shoot with a long focal length, perhaps the 50-200 is a good idea for a walk around? It's not as long as 135mm x2, but it's a very decent lens for a very modest price. There's a few being sold in the market place ( The Photographer's Marketplace - PentaxForums.com ) right now for just over $100, like this one: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/photographers-marketplace/60751-sale-pent...00mm-lens.html
In any case, the market place is a good place to start looking for a lens when you're on a tight budget.

Happy shooting!
05-22-2009, 02:56 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kevinschoenmakers Quote
Welcome! You mentioned being on a tight budget and liking to shoot with a long focal length, perhaps the 50-200 is a good idea for a walk around? It's not as long as 135mm x2, but it's a very decent lens for a very modest price.
Happy shooting!
Thanks kevinschoenmakers!
The '50-200', which you mentioned, may not be 'top-of-the-pops' when reviewing the reviews; but a darn-site more people seem to like it than dislike it! It is on my list. Thanks for the 'Marketplace' reference! There is also one available in Toronto, right now for $120.00 CAD, so I could walk across town and get it. I might just do that, when my next teaching gig starts - if it's still there. Actually, I find the 135 x 2 only 'adequate', when it comes to taking pics of really shy critters - so I may end-up with something with a real 'reach' to it - as well as a good 'mid-range' zoomer; budget permitting!
PS: I love the old SMCT M42 telephoto primes!!
Cheers, Dave.
05-22-2009, 03:06 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Geronimo Quote
Thanks kevinschoenmakers!
The '50-200', which you mentioned, may not be 'top-of-the-pops' when reviewing the reviews; but a darn-site more people seem to like it than dislike it!
Indeed, many 'real' reviewers give quite low remarks, but those who actually use it in everyday reality are usually quite satisfied. I recommend it (as long as the focal range is what you're after, of course).
05-22-2009, 04:07 PM   #14
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50-200mm 'Catch-all'

QuoteOriginally posted by kevinschoenmakers Quote
Indeed, many 'real' reviewers give quite low remarks, but those who actually use it in everyday reality are usually quite satisfied. I recommend it (as long as the focal range is what you're after, of course).
I may or may not get that lens next [it will depend on how my needs reveal themselves]; but it looks likely that I will get that one or something very similar, some time soon, as it has such a 'catch-all' FL-range above the 50mm mark. I've read extensively about the 70-300 offerings in the last month; and will have to find out more about that 'softer' top end! As for the price x performance equation, it's a straight 'no-brainer' for the 50-200, even tho' the 55-300 is singing to me from the 'rocks'!
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