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Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 11-09-2020, 10:28 PM  
6x6 SLR systems under $1,000 - Bronica S2, Kowa Six, Mamiya C220
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 24
Views: 948
I have to second what Viking42 wrote: the Mamiya TLR 55mm lens is excellent. My copy of the 80mm is almost as good for my purposes, but I don't do high enlargements so i can't comment on corner issues. If you get the 180mm, make sure it is the Super version. That version is a close second to the 55mm in my experience. I also have an Autocord III and consider these Mamiya lenses to be quite comparable.
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 10-26-2020, 09:08 AM  
going to Estes Park + Rocky Mountain National Park 9/10 - 14, hints + advice sought
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 38
Views: 2,224
It's been snowing out there, which will not put out the fires but will help the firefighters greatly. They are holding the fireline west of Bear Lake Road. If they can continue to do that without major flareups, downtown Estes Park should be OK although the part west and south of and around Gianttrack Mountain is still at risk
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 09-10-2020, 07:33 PM  
Scanning 35mm negatives
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 10
Views: 1,243
The polonium is encased inside a ceramic shell so the hazard is well limited, but nonetheless if you use a Static Master brush (as I have), please treat it with respect and keep it away from people other than yourself. Rocket blower is a good investment.
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 09-06-2020, 07:34 PM  
going to Estes Park + Rocky Mountain National Park 9/10 - 14, hints + advice sought
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 38
Views: 2,224
My son in Boulder (near Foothills Parkway and Arapahoe) says the Cameron Peak fire (north of the Park) exploded today and visibility is so poor he can barely see the Flatirons out his window (less than 4 miles away).

from the Coloradoan

"1:30 p.m. Sunday: Rocky Mountain National Park announced that it would close Trail Ridge Road at 3 p.m. Sunday due to concerns of poor visibility as smoke from the Cameron Peak Fire inundates the park.
The road that spans the park between Grand Lake and Estes Park will be closed from the Colorado River Trailhead on the west to the Forest Canyon Overlook on the east, according to park officials.
Park officials previously closed Old Fall River road and other areas on the park's northern reaches due to wildfire activity."


The good news about the snow forecast is it should help control the fire and smoke. Stay tuned to the Park news and be prepared to go further south the Trail Ridge Road for sightseeing. Hopefully this will be over by the time you get there!
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 08-22-2020, 08:48 PM  
going to Estes Park + Rocky Mountain National Park 9/10 - 14, hints + advice sought
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 38
Views: 2,224
Have you been at that altitude before? Coming from near sea level outside of Boston we allow a few days in Boulder to start altitude adjusting before heading on up to Estes; otherwise my wife gets altitude sick pretty easily. Many good photo opportunities along Trail Ridge Road but don't overlook sites going south from Estes down Colorado Route 7, e.g. Lily Lake and nearby trails. Going up or down Boulder Canyon has some impressive sites but not too much space to pull over to photograph.
Forum: Photographic Technique 07-20-2020, 08:36 PM  
Macro Are there any other microscope enthusiasts here?
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 29
Views: 1,285
Great photos. Lighting tips? Are these transmission or reflection lit? Any particular lights or issues with color temperature? Thanks.
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 06-29-2020, 06:49 PM  
Hello from Massachusetts
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 9
Views: 468
Welcome from Bedford, MA. Still using the K-5 I bought in 2011. Takes great photos & haven't yet seen anything that would make me want to replace it, although I have hopes for the soon to be new APS-C.
Forum: Lens Clubs 06-25-2020, 02:15 PM  
Theory on DA 35mm ltd 'greatest lens ever' (?) tag
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 787
Views: 204,103
Nice image, lovely B&W conversion. Can I ask how you did it?
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 05-26-2020, 07:24 PM  
Beseler Topcan Auto100
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 3
Views: 383
Nice camera although the meter on the mirror tends to die prematurely from the flexing of the wires. The lenses as I remember are not quite the level of the ones for the Topcon Super D but quite decent. A leaf shutter as I recall, so very convenient for flash photos. It was my first SLR.
Forum: Pentax DSLR and Camera Articles 04-28-2020, 03:11 PM  
The Pentax Battery Level Indicator -- What it actually shows
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 3
Views: 1,674
I note that my K-5 battery indicator will turn yellow or even red when my 16-50 is on the camera but often if I then put one of the screw-drive lens on, the indicator will revert to two green bars.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 04-24-2020, 01:21 PM  
B/W paper lifespan
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 6
Views: 484
It really depends on the storage history of the paper: heat and humidity are its enemies. If it's been in a cool, dry basement it is probably still quite good, but in a humid attic it probably died years ago. One trick the old timers used with past-date paper was to add a bit of anti-foggant to the developer, ideally a tiny amount of benzotriazole (e.g. Edwal Liquid Orthazite, which I think is no longer available, or solid, like Photographer's Formulary that is still available) or somewhat more potassium bromide (KBr). These can reduce the effect of heat fogging. First try making an exposure without additive, and if the contrast seems unduly low or the whites are not really white, then try the anti-foggant. Lots of references available online discussing their use as well as in almost all pre-digital photo darkroom books.
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 04-11-2020, 06:42 PM  
Post-Processing The Film Emulation Challenge - Post your Digital Pictures with that Film look
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 19
Views: 2,654
Maybe a drop lighter on the highlights and I think you've got it. The tone reminds me of a long-forgotten paper: GAF (Ansco) Cykora, although developed in what I don't remember (around 1970 so sorry for the memory drop...).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-31-2020, 07:34 PM  
SMC DA* 16-50 vs HD DA 16-85
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 24
Views: 2,440
I am very happy with my 16-50, although I almost never use it wide open. Actually, the only one of my seven Pentax lenses that I don't hesitate to use wide open is my 70 Limited, although f/2.0 on the 43 Limited is very nearly wide open and fine when I need it. I did buy the 20-40 Limited just to lighten my carry when traveling by air and have to say that it is a very impressive lens, especially on the wide side (at least for my copy). I'm still more likely to take the 16-50 out if I'm just checking out the neighborhood. I have no experience whatsoever with the 16-85 and was unimpressed with the one copy of the 18-135 that I briefly handled. Nonetheless, any of these lenses used properly can take great photos, so consider weight (16-50 is probably the heaviest although quite a bit lighter than my 55-300), focusing speed (20-40 easily beats 16-50 and I imagine that the 16-85 does too), rendering (16-50 and 20-40 give different senses of color), and the need for that 16mm end.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 02-29-2020, 09:22 PM  
B&W processing plug-ins etc.
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 5
Views: 677
I have both Topaz (apparently no longer being developed though) and the old, made free by Google, version of Nik Silver Efex. Both are good, albeit quite different, but don't underestimate what can be done without separate plugins. Raw Therapee has quite good B&W capabilities, including film emulation. Lightroom and Photoshop both provide useful tools as well. I'm not familiar with Affinity Photo but you should see what it can do before you invest in plugins. There are many good tutorials on the Web that show what can be done without plugins. A lot can be done to the RGB image in advance to prepare it for conversion; I think there is still a video tutorial at the Topaz website where Joel Wolfson talks about preparing an image for conversion. For fast, convenient conversion it is hard to beat Topaz but Nik is better for making local adjustments. When the local editing tools (currently under development) for RawTherapee are included in the released version, RawTherapee will be a very powerful B&W tool. Maybe folks who are familiar with DarkTable and G'Mic/Gimp can comment as well.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 02-16-2020, 09:25 PM  
Are there any geriatric Camera bag solutions out there? I turned 50 and....
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 30
Views: 2,743
The point about making sure your backpack is fitted properly is well taken, as is the value of physical therapy. Also important is to do back stretches before putting the pack on; the PT person can suggest those too. I'm happy with my Lowepro Flipside AW 300 II but I think it is not quite large enough for your long telephotos. I did buy the 20-40 Limited to take on airplanes and long hikes so that my 16-50 stays home or is used for shorter hikes or car touring.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-04-2020, 03:40 PM  
Lenses back from the dead!
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 88
Views: 6,793
This is all very interesting. Anyone know if toluene or xylene is safe for lens coatings?
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 01-31-2020, 04:11 PM  
Minolta Autocord 2 1/4" x 2 1/4"...... ?
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 14
Views: 790
There were several iterations and models of the Autocord, the one at the top of this thread being a fairly early one I believe. Since there isn't a large market for these cameras it is hard to put valuations on these various models. i guess much would depend on the condition of both lenses, the focusing lever (which is reportedly brittle on some versions although solid on both of my Autocords), and the reflex mirror on the viewing side. The mirrors on my Autocords have darkened some over time, assuming it's not my eyes, which otherwise seem to be OK.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-21-2020, 01:50 PM  
Lenses back from the dead!
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 88
Views: 6,793
I tried reviving my 58mm f/1.4 MC-Rokkor which looked hazed, but when I opened it up, the coating on one of the lens elements looked like at was no longer smooth, even though there was no sign of fungus. Cleaning with IPA did nothing, so I assume it can't be revived unless someone has a bright idea on how to proceed.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-21-2020, 01:46 PM  
Trying to bring one back from the dead....help needed
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 11
Views: 1,284
If you are using IPA, it needs to be a good grade, at least USP or ACS reagent. In my experience, tech grade IPA can leave a film of who knows what on glass. The same may be true of hardware store-grade acetone. Most likely what happened though is that the fungus etched the coating on the glass 9pretty common), or possibly even the glass itself (rare).
Forum: Pentax K-5 01-21-2020, 01:43 PM  
Pixel level quality on my K-5
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 25
Views: 2,565
Sorry to revive an older thread but I have been testing the new Topaz AI sharpening and denoising software (and the older Topaz AI Clear built into Topaz Studio) on my often cropped K-5 images. They don't always work their magic but when they do, it feels like the very slight blurring effect of the anti-moire filter is eliminated. Good post-processing can make a huge difference with K-5 images, even with great glass like my 43 and 70mm lenses. As noted above, local contrast and microcontrast are important factors in acutance (i.e. perception of sharpness). The Topaz AI software are fairly demanding of computer processing, but a lot can be done on the local and microcontrast level with RawTherapee, which runs fine on even pretty old computers as long as there is a enough memory (8GB minimum for Win 10 64 bit, 16 GB better).
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 01-13-2020, 04:46 PM  
My beloved medium format film camera: Mat 124 G
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 12
Views: 789
Although I was always partial to my Minolta Autocord, a good friend and teacher did some really nice stuff with his Yashicamat. Enjoy!
Forum: Photo Critique 11-10-2019, 07:50 PM  
Landscape Help using NIK B&W or Topaz with this photo
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 29
Views: 1,445
No problem. There actually is a section of the Topaz forum where you can ask questions but the questions are often from more advanced users. Nonetheless I think it is fair for you to post there. The easiest way to get to it is to click on the box on the forum home page that says "all categories" and select "Topaz Products" from the drop-down list. I did notice that Topaz and others have posted a few videos on Studio 2. This one:















You Tube



is oriented more towards drastic changes but it may still be worth a watch for how to get around in the program. Note that some of the techniques shown can easily be dialed back to avoid the "processed" look. Perhaps more towards your specific need is this one:















You Tube



He talks about masking at about 5min 30 sec into the video. The gentleman in the next video is using Studio 2 from within Photoshop, but almost everything he is showing when he is actually in Studio 2 (at about 10 min. into the video) applies using Studio 2 directly:















You Tube



His approach is a bit different from the previous video but both are valid techniques for doing localized adjustments in Studio 2. Sometimes though images just don't want to cooperate and the best thing is to keep shooting. And please feel free to keep the Topaz discussion going here at Pentax Forums.
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 11-07-2019, 05:01 PM  
What other Interchangable lens camera brands have you owned other than Pentax?
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 101
Views: 7,316
Minolta Autocord twin lens (2)
Minolta SRT-101 and 6 lenses
Mamiya C330 twin lens and 3 lenses
Polaroid 180, 250, 340

Canon AE-1 and A-1 (both sold to fund digital)
Pentax K-5

Awaiting the K-3 II replacement but the K-5 still make me very happy. I dig out and look longingly at my MC Rokkors and wish there was an affordable full-frame way to use them.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-07-2019, 04:43 PM  
Do old lenses like SMC Pentax need UV filter if mounted on current DSLR?
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 34
Views: 2,418
The reason UV filters were so often recommended in film photography is because silver halide film (essentially all film) is inherently more sensitive to UV than to visible light. The lens glass and particularly certain types of lens coatings serve to significantly reduce the amount of UV that reaches the film but for many films that amount was sufficient to cause overexposed skies and other problems. Film is most sensitive to short wavelengths (UV, blue) and its sensitivity drops as one goes down the spectrum to the long wavelength side (i.e.red). Getting film to respond to red (via sensitizing dyes) was a major breakthrough in the early 1900s. Digital sensors are almost all the opposite: sensitivity is maximal in the red with very modest UV sensitivity if any. That is why if you are following the "expose to the right" dogma, you should be checking your red channel for overexposure and reduce the overall exposure accordingly. UV or clear glass serve solely as physical protective measures in digital, at the cost of increased risk of unwanted haze or reflections in your images. I own them but use them only when I think there is a real risk to my lenses.
Forum: Photo Critique 10-28-2019, 01:22 PM  
Landscape Help using NIK B&W or Topaz with this photo
Posted By Sholom
Replies: 29
Views: 1,445
Topaz Studio 2 is not as capable as full Photoshop, but a lot of Photoshop's additional capabilities are not all that relevant to photography. That said, Studio 2 seems to be focused more on making dramatic changes in photographs than in doing simple editing easily. I find that I still use Studio 1 more than 2 even though I have both and several of Topaz's other products, both AI-based and earlier. One of the reasons that the Topaz videos keep referencing Photoshop is that before Studio 1 came out, Photoshop was the easiest way to utilize most of Topaz's earlier products, so don't be put off by feeling a need for Photoshop. I believe Topaz Studio was introduced specifically so that folks without Photoshop could still make full use of their products. The photo problem you posed is not a simple one and even though I developed my first print back around 1969 and got my first DSLR in 2011, I still often feel like a novice in the fine points of digital photo editing. And much like in film photography, there is still nothing like starting with a well-exposed and well-lit digital image that needs only minor work. I completely understand your frustration with Studio 2 and I wonder myself what is going on at Topaz, but do pick some images, make copies, and just experiment on the copies with Studio 2. It really can do most of what most photographs need in post-processing and has some unique capabilities as well. And please use this forum as well as the Topaz forum and Topaz support for answers to questions that arise.
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