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Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 3 Days Ago  
New Pentax K-S2, Fuzzy Photos
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 21
Views: 814
I had the DA 18-55mm kittens for years. It was good for a kit lens, but AF was not always reliable. The yet smaller DA 18-50mm with its quiet DC AF motor is far better for AF, and even an improved IQ. I find its AF to be fast and accurate when used with care.

There was comment regarding snow exposure, which is a correct comment, but these snow scenes seem well-exposed to me.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 4 Days Ago  
New Pentax K-S2, Fuzzy Photos
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 21
Views: 814
Many of your shots look good to me. Maybe something to do with your RAW processing in some shots that you find lacking as far as sharpness.

For comparison, try highest-quality JPEGs, center-only spot AF, catch an edge in your frame at the exact spot you want to focus on, and using the shutter half-press to hold focus then reposition the camera as needed to complete your shot. The little kit lens is really quite good, especially if used at mid apertures and mid FLs. The half-press to achieve focus is important. My copy is very good for accurate focus.

It is very important for images right out of the camera to set up "Fine Sharpening" in the Custom Image menus. Put the camera on "P" mode to do this, not the green auto mode, which should be avoided anyway. Access the menus via the info button, and the 4 buttons around the ok button will then be for navigation and settings. Use the camera set to the "Bright" category. The camera's default setting for sharpness in "Bright" category is up by +1 from center. With my K-5 IIs and my K-S2 I increase this level one more to +2. With my 24mp KP, I leave it at the default +1. But in all cases I also implement "fine Sharpening", using my thumb dial to put an "F" by the "S". This will optimize fine detail in your images.

If needed, the camera's shadow and highlight protection can be activated, but for most scenes this is not an issue. The K-S2 is a fine-performer with great controls and features, and at the same time remarkably compact and lightweight.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-06-2019, 10:53 PM  
Which one to buy?
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 33
Views: 1,513
Well, the end-of-model run has long been the best time to find a great deal on a new camera. New is always better than used, especially when you find a good deal. I have done likewise quite often. I passed on the Pentax K-7 when it arrived and got a new left-over K20D instead at half price, with a free 5 year Pentax extended warranty included. Tests revealed no imaging advantage over the K20D for the new K-7. After some years, I advanced to the K-5 and K-5 IIs, being definitely superior to the K20D in low noise performance at higher ISO, and both for the price of one after the K-3 arrived, as I did not find enough advancement for my needs in the K-3 over the K-5 IIs.

But this time around, things have been different. As usual, the drop in price for a new K-3 II has been due to its being discontinued for new model arrivals, but if it were me I would hesitate on taking the deal offered, because in this case the models superseding it present some substantial advancements. So as I say, I had passed on the K-3 series but finally bit on the KP when a price reduction for it came along. There is also an actual replacement model for the K-3 II in the works, which will incorporate all advancements of the KP in the larger K-3 II size body style. I believe this will not be long in coming. It will probably come in price-wise here in the US at around $1,300 if past practice is any indication.

As to other brands- Nikon, Canon, etc. with Pentax you have the advantage of having SR built into the body instead of separately in each lens. With APS-C DSLR cameras, a fast 50mm f/1.8, f1.7, or f/1.4 for example, can provide a very good focal length for portrait use, and with the ability to achieve a more blurred background to make your subject stand out more because of their wider aperture capability. Such a lens also has many other uses, such as in low light scenes. With Pentax, you will also have SR available through the camera body regardless, while such a lens of this type with other brands is unlikely to feature any shake reduction system built into it. Same is true of the fine-performing DA 35mm f/2.4 or FA 35mm f/2, as well as a host of legacy glass, some of which can be had for very reasonable cost. You will also have WR construction with your DA 18-135mm and your DA 55-300mm lenses. With Nikon or Canon, getting WR construction in a lens starts around the $1,000 USD range.

Then there is the exclusive Pentax Hyper System, which allows instantaneous on-the-fly user over-ride of aperture or shutter speeds set by the camera during Program automatic exposure operation, without even having to take the eye away from the VF. You just select your own choice of either, and the camera will obey while instantly switching to Av or Tv without your having to first set the mode dial from P to Av or Tv and then make your selection. Full P mode is restored with a touch of a button. That same button can be used in (Hyper) Manual mode to instantly set both aperture and shutter speed for a meter-centered exposure without having to twirl the thumb and finger dials in the usual manner. Very fast and efficient operational systems.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-04-2019, 10:36 PM  
Any advantage of CCD over CMOS?
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 46
Views: 2,639
I guess I should get to having my otherwise excellent-condition K200D repaired. I've always liked it, but it developed a battery drain situation. I even have the battery grip for it.

I have no issue with colors from my KP, however.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-04-2019, 09:42 PM  
Revamped lenses? Yep but with at least WR and rounded iris!
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 42
Views: 1,861
Realizing the newly "refreshed" lens is not a DFA, still FA- so no silent DC motor. But as with the original DA 55-300mm f/4-5.6 being superseded by the "refreshed" version with HD coatings AND with WR as well, without any other meaningful lens body change, it seems the newer "refreshed" FA HD 35mm f/2 could have included the same extra WR step also and still at minimal added cost . This would make it even more attractive to FF owners, as well as for APS-C. Perhaps Pentax reasoned doing so would reduce the appeal of a forthcoming faster DFA 35mm f/1.4 lens, but I don't think it would. A faster lens of exceptional quality will still have its own attraction. The DA HD 55-300mm WR did not reduce the appeal of the DA* 60-250mm f/4 WR. And I do not think the new DFA 70-200mm will either, since it does not have the zoom range, but it may be lighter carrying, so both could have their own place, according to one's needs.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-04-2019, 01:56 PM  
HD PENTAX-DA★11-18mm F2.8ED DC AW
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 47
Views: 2,767
The DA* lens that really needs updating is the DA* 60-250mm f/4 with its non-convertable sometimes faulty SDM, to a DC motor. It could also come with an easy-switch design for APS-C to FF, which we know it can do.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-04-2019, 01:43 PM  
Which one to buy?
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 33
Views: 1,513
Right, absolutely. The Pentax K-70 is no doubt the best made and best-featured "entry-level" DSLR of any brand. The KP, however, with its metal magnesium alloy construction, advanced controls set, quiet shutter, and other refinements, is in a different class. No "SCENE" modes. Made with advanced photographers and professionals in mind who are looking for a compact APS-C model. The optional battery grip extends gripping surface, battery life- as said above, and has duplicate controls for doing a lot of vertical shooting. I eventually bought one, don't use it often, but when needed it is great. Some people prefer using it on a regular basis, and only have it off when using the compact Limited primes. On the KP, the combined weight is close to the same as that of the K-3 II alone.

Of course, not everything need be bought at the same time. For example, I eventually acquired the excellent DA 15mm f/4 Limited to go along with my DA 18-135mm, or my DA 20-40mm Limited, whichever I happen to carry. It is a great performer and so small it fits into the front accessory pocket of my cross shoulder- strap/belt-loop camera holster case! A real jewel. Takes care of extra-wide angle needs very well, and with great quality. I got my KP in silver, and it is a jewel as well.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-03-2019, 06:24 PM  
HD FA35 f/2 vs FA35 f/2 - hybrid aspherical vs ground glass aspherical element?
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 45
Views: 2,262
Hmm. This change seems odd, since they've been making the original right along and would not have to change tooling. All they'd need to do is up the coatings and charge extra for that, and change the printed ID on the lens body. I am a little surprised and disappointed that since the body is a redesign it would not include a DC motor and WR.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-03-2019, 06:05 PM  
Which one to buy?
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 33
Views: 1,513
We'd appreciate knowing what you finally do get. Whichever model of those discussed it turns out to be, I recommend remembering to set "Fine Sharpening" in the Custom Image menus for best fine detail in your images straight out of the camera. When your equipment arrives, no trouble to walk you through that if getting there seems confusing.

Usually the camera comes set to the ""green" auto mode on the mode dial, which is only for a novice shooter and disallows many functions and settings- so first thing after your camera is powered up, move that to another selection like the "P" mode for full Program automatic exposure, without those restrictions.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-03-2019, 05:46 PM  
Lens causing K3 menu to not stay on.
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 7
Views: 559
Evidently, some moisture got to the lens/camera contacts. If the interface between lens and camera is not perfectly clean, there can be a tiny gap or break in the contact and WR seal. A good idea to keep the lens mount and contacts clean on both lens and on camera. I have often wondered also if these WR sealing rings eventually do wear and need to be replaced.

I have also noticed that even as high on the totem pole as are the Limited primes, they do not incorporate WR in their designs, which is sometimes a criticism. But they are so conservatively formulated, they still even use the old screw-driven AF, indicating the primary interest being in reliability and low maintenance.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-03-2019, 02:24 PM  
Which one to buy?
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 33
Views: 1,513
I have sets of excellent prime lenses as well as a number of zoom lenses, even of professional grade having f/2.8 constant aperture capability. But the most versatile lens I use that can provide fine quality while avoiding the need to change lenses often if at all, is the DA 18-135mm. It can deliver fine results, even at the frame edges, in the typical landscape range of 18-40mm, with very fine quality, especially if stopped down even by a click, and it can keep to f/3.5-/4.5 all the way up to 70mm if needed. Its edge sharpness drops off gradually after about 50mm (here stopping down a bit helps lots), but its central frame area sharpness remains exceptionally high, even out to its longer FL. Usually, as one goes more into tele range the central area becomes most important and edges less. Its zoom range on any APS-C model is similar to a lens of 28-200mm on a 35mm film body. It is also very well-built yet compact, having WR (weather resistant) construction to match the WR of current camera bodies. It also features exceptionally fast, accurate, quiet autofocus. A very good matchup for your DA 55-300mm PLM lens, which can definitely provide superior imaging in the tele range than lenses incorporating both wide-angle and tele out to 300mm.

The K-3 has a fine build quality and controls set, but the K-70 offers some very useful advancements that can be meaningful for superior imaging, especially its higher ISO sensitivity low noise (grain) performance. Definitely better than the K-3. For still scenics, there is also the pixel-shift technology for the ultimate in resolution. Then there is the very unique KP, with a build quality and control set close to that of the K-3 in a compact body, with all of the K-70's advancements and more. I love mine!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-03-2019, 01:49 PM  
Lens causing K3 menu to not stay on.
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 7
Views: 559
Does it still do it if you set your AF to use the shutter button half-press for AF?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-02-2019, 06:38 PM  
HD PENTAX-DA★11-18mm F2.8ED DC AW
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 47
Views: 2,767
Very interesting look and size comparison. I can see one on my KP right now. It really is the same old story. It is not necessarily a matter of either/or between the new lens and the DA 12-24mm f/4, which is still as much a very fine performer as it ever was. If one does not need the f/2.8, and does not need having WR, the DA 12-24mm will be just fine. But in my case, I do have f/2.8 zoom lenses in the range of 17-135mm plus 200mm. I have them because I sometimes do need that f/2.8 aperture. Even though my KP performs remarkably well at higher ISO settings, there is still an advantage in shooting a low light scene hand-held at half the ISO setting, or to get higher shutter speeds for action. And the new lens appears to deliver even slightly better performance wide open at f/2.8 compared to the DA 12-24mm wide open at f/4.

In keeping with what I have experienced in this regard, getting this new lens makes sense if I wish to do the same in scenes using wider angles than the f/2.8 lenses I now have. In more well-lit scenes, my DA 20-40mm f/2.8-4 Limited or my DA 18-135mm will serve very well. I don't need to haul about my Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 or Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8, or my DA* 50-135mm when I'll be shooting at apertures of around f/5.6-11, with no need for sharp edge performance beyond 70mm . Same with this new lens. Unless I'll need WR or for low light, I would still keep my DA 12-24mm for many other uses.

---------- Post added 02-02-19 at 06:52 PM ----------



If I had a K-1 and DFA 15-30mm lens, and a KP, I would be entertaining the same consideration.

That said, UncleVanya has another thread- "What crop lens is most like the FA 31 on Full Frame?" The answer is- ain't none close. So here lies the greatest advantage for the K-1. APS-C lens design cannot practically match the FOV, aperture, and smaller size of this lens or the FA 43mm f/1.9 on a FF body. A 20mm lens of f/1.8 or a 28mm lens of f/1.9 would result in a huge, heavy, extremely costly product. For me, it is in these lenses, and the FA 35mm f/2, and perhaps an ultra wide fast prime, where a FF body especially beckons.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-02-2019, 02:58 PM  
Covering the spectrum from ultra wide to moderate tele with the K-1
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 7
Views: 737
+1 for the upcoming Pentax DFA 70-200mm f/4 unless you need f/2.8 for action and low light. My approach has been turning to APS-C for significant tele range use. I have 3 options, all of which have been very satisfying for my needs- the DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, the FA* 300mm f/4.5 and the HD DA 55-300mm f/4-5.6 WR. The DA* 300mm is FF compatible, also having WR.

You could use the DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 in crop mode. It would be great when you need the f/2.8 aperture, and is quite compact. Same with the HD DA 55-300mm f/4-5.6 which can keep to f/4-4.5 out to 200mm and is within its bast performance FL range.

As to the DFA 24-70mm, again it is whether you need the f/2.8 aperture. Otherwise, your DFA 28-105mm is a fine lens. I don't generally take out my f/2.8 lenses unless I need that.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-01-2019, 02:22 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 45
Views: 2,135
Indeed, ya still can't have it all yet with a camera and lens!!
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-01-2019, 02:12 PM  
Upgrade from K3 to K1? Advice please!
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 49
Views: 2,010
If getting the KP, and you want to get exceptionally fine results from time-saving JPEGs right out of the camera, be sure to remember to set up "Fine Sharpening" in the Custom Image menus. I set this up in the "Bright" category, then later in the "Natural" as well, but I usually have the camera set to "Bright" unless dealing with very high-contrast situations. The "Bright" setting does not seem to exaggerate color to the degree other models have done, from what I see. The color is very colorful without being off.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-01-2019, 01:14 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 45
Views: 2,135
Right. I still have my "M" series lens catalogue from the days of my ME super, which lists the 35mm lens on the wide-angle page.

As far as what is "normal" the FA 43mm was offered by Pentax as true normal, but since 50mm on a 35mm body has been long established as the "normal" lens, this would logically make the FA 43mm the one to consider as "wide normal". "Normal" is really a matter of perspective, that is- an accurate front-to-back relationship as the eye perceives this relationship to be. A 50mm lens on a FF body apparently comes pretty close, hence its long-time "normal" designation, but the FA 43mm might be even more accurate- so its being "wide normal" seems appropriate. After I got mine, before the Pentax DSLRs came, I hardly ever went back to my 50mm lenses of so many years. I liked the 43mm "wide normal" so much better. It was preceded by the "M" 40mm f/2.8 which I also liked very much, but the FA 43mm with its brighter viewing and excellent rendering plus having AF has been a real winner.

The FA 35mm, however, I found to be even more versatile, because its wide angle is not too wide, so its wide angle perspective distortion is minimal, yet you get more into the frame.

These two lenses became my favorite primes for use on my 35mm bodies.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 09:15 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 45
Views: 2,135
Perhaps the new coatings will also improve some tendency towards purple fringing also. Even so, I have always thought of the FA 35mm f/2 as one of the best lenses, and certainly one of the best value lenses by Pentax. In my case, it sits installed on an MZ-S body, for which I like it best, since I don't have a FF DSLR. Not bad at all as a "normal" lens for APS-C, but really versatile on a FF body.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-30-2019, 09:55 PM  
My camera just stopped working
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 9
Views: 723
Right. One of the first things I wondered about upon seeing your post, is what lens you are using. Are you using an old manual-focus only lens model? Which one? The fact that it has an aperture ring indicates an older lens design, but some of these offer auto focus (AF), while the lenses designed before AF became widely available do not.

It is normal with any Pentax DSLR when using the aperture ring to set aperture, that the screen will not register the aperture setting, while the VF will. When using the aperture ring to set aperture, you must shoot in Manual mode and achieve metering of your scene for exposure value by using the green button. You set the aperture, and with the green button the camera will set the shutter speed to a correct exposure value for the aperture you have chosen.

Your focus settings depending on the lens and what your use of it will be. AF-S for single shot shutter release, where the camera will not fire unless focus is achieved and confirmation is registered by the camera, shown by the focus-confirmation light, and usually accompanied by a beep. With AF-C, the camera will activate AF on a continual basis, adjusting the focus as the subject moves, and the shutter will fire even if accurate focus is not achieved. Then there is MF where you focus the lens manually, and the shutter will fire even if focus is not achieved.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-28-2019, 10:40 PM  
Upgrade from K3 to K1? Advice please!
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 49
Views: 2,010
There are a couple of other compromises in the KP other than the top LCD panel, having to do with on-body controls. Of course, these compromises are for space-saving and for having the third control wheel on top. Instead of separate dedicated controls for AE-L and a back AF button, the AE-L button can be programmed to serve as an AF button instead. I prefer setting it to AE-L because I use this feature fairly often, and I am accustomed to using the shutter button half press for AF anyway. The lever around the power on/off button for optical DOF preview is gone, but other buttons are programmable, such as the one for level display, which could be set up for that purpose.

So, though some convenience is lost in controls having to be used in double roles, the third wheel on top provides additional convenient and efficient control features, also programmable, that are not found on the K-3. It is a give and take situation, but I think Pentax engineers have done a very good job in providing an exceptional and unique controls setup on a modest-size body. It is way beyond the controls setup of the K-S2 and K-70 style camera body, which in their own right are way above the typical entry-level DSLR camera bodies in both features and controls.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-28-2019, 04:00 PM  
Pentax fa 31mm limited: I'm not amazed...
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 33
Views: 2,055
I agree with others that your examples look very good. This lens is rated very good edge-to-edge, to near-excellent at central frame even wide open, which is showing here. This is unusual for a fast lens. To get this degree of performance, a lens usually has to be stopped down a stop or two. With this lens, apparently it will sharpen up even more with only a modest aperture step to f/2.5 which is nothing short of extraordinary.

As to the 3-D effect, of course out-of-focus aspects are very important for this, but so is focal length. Are you shooting with an APS-C body? If so, one great thing about this lens is its FL yields about the same perspective as the FA 43mm on a FF body, which produces natural perspective for mid-distance shots. That is, front-to-back will not be elongated nor will be compressed. So scenes will tend to have a very natural 3-D look. Your 55mm lens will not be as capable in this regard. Even with APS-C, however, this FL is a bit too short to avoid some perspective distortions when used too close, as with your portrait head shot.

On a FF body, this lens will provide a very versatile wide angle FL, being not too wide and thus not having a too exaggerated 3-D perspective.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-28-2019, 04:21 AM  
Help with abnormality on lens
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 37
Views: 1,473
Right. If this keeps happening, your KP being under warranty, sending it to Pentax repair service may be the thing to do. I cannot imagine any of your lenses mentioned leaking oil into your camera. But then I am not a technician.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-27-2019, 07:01 PM  
Upgrade from K3 to K1? Advice please!
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 49
Views: 2,010
I think you've come to a good decision, having received some excellent advice. Of course, certain lenses like one you already have- the FA 35mm f/2 would definitely be a very useful, more versatile lens on a FF body. But since lenses are of utmost importance in formulating any system, and what you have being extremely impressive, does indeed fortify your decision. Your DA 20-40mm f/2.8-4 Limited and your DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 are killer lenses for delivering great IQ. Then including the Sigma 10-20mm in your kit provides a versatile and very wide FL range with excellent quality. Your DA* 50-135mm delivers a capability similar to a large, heavy, expensive 70-200mm f/2.8 on a FF body, and does so with very fine IQ at less than half the weight. Your FA 77mm Limited is a wonderful lens with either format.

It seems to me, the arrival of the K-3 II replacement should not be very far off. Then you'd have no regret in selling your current K-3 II. No doubt it will equal the KP for low light, which is close to the K-1.

OTOH, for the kind of uses you state, hiking, travel, etc. the KP might be even more ideal in its svelte compactness. I can tell you with the DA 20-40mm Limited on it, they really seem to be made for each other! I got mine in silver, and find both silver and black lenses look great on it. Much as did my ME Super years ago. And it does not seem you are in need of the deeper buffer or double card slots of the bigger K-3 type. The KP's battery is so small, having spare ones along is no trouble at all. The DA* 50-135mm is compact also for such a lens, and I find it handles very well on my KP. Those two lenses make a great team. There have also been some good prices offered lately for the KP. I just checked B&H to find they have it on special at under $800 USD once again.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-25-2019, 01:29 PM  
A case for coming back to Pentax (KP)
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 39
Views: 2,416
Very fine lens selection. An FA 35mm f/2 would fit in there very nicely also. In the future, if you should feel the practical need for a good zoom lens having WR and exceptionally fast, quiet, accurate AF, the DA 18-135mm delivers on all counts, and does so with the K-5 series. Very good to excellent image quality, especially in the central frame area throughout its very wide, versatile zoom range. Even very good edge-to-edge at its shorter end. Very well-built also, and yet compact. I recently used this lens to shoot a wrestling match, and before that a baptism in a church. Fine results from my K-5 for the wrestling, and K-5 IIs for the baptism.

The 4-star JPEG quality is one of the unique features of the K-5 series. Less compression of JPEG files, that much closer to RAW, possibly better dynamic range, and in any post process editing, more latitude for adjustments. I've never noticed a difference in writing time, but could be. I would think RAW files being larger could also affect this.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-22-2019, 06:49 PM  
Help with abnormality on lens
Posted By mikesbike
Replies: 37
Views: 1,473
Already shown to be present using a different lens.

If it were me, I would be looking for a professional service to clean what needs to be cleaned. If it is pollen, that may be too difficult for a novice to tackle.
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