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02-17-2009, 05:34 PM   #1
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Dslr noobie

Hello Pentaxians,

Ordered a white K-m and it should arrive in the next few days. I'm new to dslr's (coming from a Canon S5 and an older Canon p&s) and I was wondering what issues do I need to be aware of with the K-m. When I say issues, I don't mean "issues" like those mentioned in DPReview. I did a search, but could not find a hardware issue with the K-m. The first thing I plan to do is update the firmware then (attempt to) take some shots. What should I do to make sure that the camera is not defective right out of the box? What kinds of test shots should I perform?

Thank you for your advice.

bladerunner0427

02-17-2009, 08:45 PM   #2
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Test it out as you would with any camera - at a range of apertures, ISO levels and lighting conditions.
See if it performs to your expectations.
02-17-2009, 11:26 PM   #3
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Yes, I will. I supposed there isn't any real problems with the K-m. I've seen plenty of pictures on flickr.com taken by the K-m. I'm aware of it's capabilities. Can't wait to test it out.
02-18-2009, 11:55 AM   #4
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You could test for a few things. I never did any of these.

- A photo of a dark cloudy sky might reveal hot/stuck pixels. Some software like Adobe Camera RAW automatically removes these - I'm not sure what the best hot pixel viewing software is.

- Check autofocus, first with high-contrast, well-lit subjects, then with less contrast or light. Note that AF is not perfect or capable of focusing all the time, so discovering its limits is not the same as discovering that AF doesn't work.

- Check for dirt on the sensor by taking a photo of blue sky at f22. You'll have to switch to manual focus and focus on infinity first, because the AF sensors won't have anything to focus on. Large dust particles will be visible even on the camera's LCD.

- You can check the lens, but interestingly, no one ever complains about defects in the kit lens. Pentax apparently has all their inexperienced new employees working on the DA*16-50 line, while each kit lens is put together and thoroughly tested by the ten-year veteran employees-of-the-year.

- Some early K10Ds had tilted viewfinders, and people were shooting from a level tripod into a mirror.

- When SR first came out, the best test I saw was someone taking shots while sitting on running riding lawnmower, SR on and off. I would do that just to show everyone how cool SR is.

That's all I can think of to test. Be sure to take photos along the way. The camera has a lot of settings that you should explore to make sure it's working right for you. It might be worth some time to adjust the JPEG output to your liking, if you intend to shoot in JPEG.

02-19-2009, 12:18 PM   #5
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An SLR has a noticeably narrower depth of field--this can be used to your advantage, i.e., you can isolate your subject. SLRs use phase detection as opposed to contrast measurement when auto-focusing.
So you'll have a different experience with focusing. If you plan to focus in absolute darkness, I'd recommend buying a flash unit with a focus-assist beam.
02-19-2009, 06:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
You could test for a few things. I never did any of these.

- A photo of a dark cloudy sky might reveal hot/stuck pixels. Some software like Adobe Camera RAW automatically removes these - I'm not sure what the best hot pixel viewing software is.

- Check autofocus, first with high-contrast, well-lit subjects, then with less contrast or light. Note that AF is not perfect or capable of focusing all the time, so discovering its limits is not the same as discovering that AF doesn't work.

- Check for dirt on the sensor by taking a photo of blue sky at f22. You'll have to switch to manual focus and focus on infinity first, because the AF sensors won't have anything to focus on. Large dust particles will be visible even on the camera's LCD.

- You can check the lens, but interestingly, no one ever complains about defects in the kit lens. Pentax apparently has all their inexperienced new employees working on the DA*16-50 line, while each kit lens is put together and thoroughly tested by the ten-year veteran employees-of-the-year.

- Some early K10Ds had tilted viewfinders, and people were shooting from a level tripod into a mirror.

- When SR first came out, the best test I saw was someone taking shots while sitting on running riding lawnmower, SR on and off. I would do that just to show everyone how cool SR is.

That's all I can think of to test. Be sure to take photos along the way. The camera has a lot of settings that you should explore to make sure it's working right for you. It might be worth some time to adjust the JPEG output to your liking, if you intend to shoot in JPEG.
I heard about hot pixels on another Pentax dslr, but was fixed with firmware. Wasn't sure if this was an issue. I will do all the above tests.

Thank you,
Gerald
02-19-2009, 07:40 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
An SLR has a noticeably narrower depth of field--this can be used to your advantage, i.e., you can isolate your subject. SLRs use phase detection as opposed to contrast measurement when auto-focusing.
So you'll have a different experience with focusing. If you plan to focus in absolute darkness, I'd recommend buying a flash unit with a focus-assist beam.

One of the reasons for switching to a dslr was I wanted better low-light performance. One negative that I found with the K-m is the lack of a built-in AF-assist beam. I prefer to travel light and with as few accessories as possible. My photo habits seems to be just taking pictures at night of static objects/buildings. If need be, I could just use manual focus for low-light. I'd rather not use the built-in flash for AF-assist as it can be intrusive. I know flashes with AF beams are available, but they add bulk to the camera. Is there some kind of 3rd party AF-assist beam-only attachment that can be attached to the hot-shoe?

Thanks.
02-19-2009, 11:13 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bladerunner0427 Quote
... I know flashes with AF beams are available, but they add bulk to the camera. Is there some kind of 3rd party AF-assist beam-only attachment that can be attached to the hot-shoe?
A lot of people would buy one of these if it was available. I think the beam on an old AF330FTZ flash would work, and it's small as flashes go, but that's as good as you're going to get.

02-20-2009, 12:16 AM   #9
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I'd say, respectfully of course, to READ THE MANUAL!!!! Since you have a few days before you get it, I think you can download the manual from the Pentax website and the screenshots on DPreview could be very helpful in seeing certain menus and the layout of the controls. Understanding how things work will help you know if something is awry (sorry for being Captain Obvious, but after working in the home electronics industry for a while, you'd be amazed at how much people would benefit from reading the manual...).

Really, the advise given by everyone else is great... get a good memory card (namebrand and fast), a decent bag to protect your camera, and a tripod. You've got a cool looking and great performing camera coming; Congrats and good luck!
02-20-2009, 12:58 AM   #10
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Hehe. I downloaded the manual a couple of weeks ago, but haven't read it yet. The camera arrives this Monday so I have the weekend to browse through it.

As for gear, I've already got an old Lowepro LX160 shoulder bag that I bought years ago and a Kata DR465 backpack. I have a decent tripod with a spirit level, but I've been looking for a monopod (leaning towards a Giottos 5580). I've also got a pair of Hoya Pro1 UV filters for the kit lenses. I picked up Eneloops from Costco. And I bought 150x 16gb SD card by OCZ. I've been preparing for this moment - believe me. I feel like a little kid getting a new toy
02-20-2009, 01:00 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
A lot of people would buy one of these if it was available. I think the beam on an old AF330FTZ flash would work, and it's small as flashes go, but that's as good as you're going to get.
That's why I figure. I've browsed the web with no luck. Why doesn't someone make one. I'm sure there would be money to be made or am I missing something? I'll take a look into the AF330FTZ.


Thanks again.
02-20-2009, 06:10 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by bladerunner0427 Quote
Is there some kind of 3rd party AF-assist beam-only attachment that can be attached to the hot-shoe?

Thanks.
My cheap solution is: a small "penlight" powered by 1 AAA battery
02-20-2009, 10:43 AM   #13
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First DSLR? My advice....go shoot lots and lots of pictures and then visit the Marketplace threads and buy lenses, bags, tripods, flash, etc........Have FUN and ENJOY!
02-20-2009, 10:47 AM   #14
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I think the first thing is reading the manual.

QuoteOriginally posted by bladerunner0427 Quote
Hello Pentaxians,

Ordered a white K-m and it should arrive in the next few days. I'm new to dslr's (coming from a Canon S5 and an older Canon p&s) and I was wondering what issues do I need to be aware of with the K-m. When I say issues, I don't mean "issues" like those mentioned in DPReview. I did a search, but could not find a hardware issue with the K-m. The first thing I plan to do is update the firmware then (attempt to) take some shots. What should I do to make sure that the camera is not defective right out of the box? What kinds of test shots should I perform?

Thank you for your advice.

bladerunner0427
02-20-2009, 06:05 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by simico Quote
My cheap solution is: a small "penlight" powered by 1 AAA battery
Ya know, I've actually read on the web about some people using penlights and laser pointers as AF beams. Someone rigged a penlight mount and used the proper sized screw so it attaches to the bottom of the camera.
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