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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-17-2008, 04:55 PM  
DA 55-300mm test (PopPhoto) and my thoughts
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 18
Views: 3,756
Since this doesn't seem to have been posted yet, here's a link to the only review I've found so far for the new DA 55-300mm.

They seem impressed, especially with the resolution and lack of distortion, and their grades for "subjective quality factor" are fairly impressive. Which is all reassuring to me, since my lens arrived yesterday, and I haven't had a chance to give it a decent test yet. From what I've seen so far it does seem better than the Tamron and Sigma 70-300mms I used previously. Having the lens start at 55mm is definitely useful, and personally I don't miss the "macro" ability of the other lenses.

Since selling my kit lens, all my glass has been "full-frame", so I was quite surprised by how small the 55-300mm is. This is a good thing and it doesn't seem to suffer vignetting. In terms of build quality, it seems similar to the 18-55mm kit lens, maybe slightly nicer. The focusing ring does feel very slightly rough or 'gritty' to turn, but no worse than the third-party lenses, and I much prefer the Pentax due to the ability to autofocus and then instantly go to manual without having to press any switches. Autofocus is definitely not fast, but that's inevitable with a body-driven lens of this spec, and I wouldn't personally benefit from SDM since I'm using a K100d. For those of you with SDM bodies it would have been nice to have the option, but then that would increase the price too.

So far it looks and feels well worth the money... now I can't wait to go out and use it :) I will of course post samples once I have shots worth posting.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 08-17-2008, 06:18 AM  
The ideal photobag?
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 40
Views: 9,687
I've owned or tested various bags by Lowepro, Tamrac, Kata, Crumpler... and I'm sure there is a perfect photobag somewhere out there... probably containing the Holy Grail.

To be fair, I do carry a stupid amount of gear... a 6x7 with lens attached, plus my main system including 5 lenses and both a digital and 35mm body. So far only one bag I've tried will take all that, while staying small enough to take on a plane, being comfortable, having space for book/MP3 player/clothes etc (not a laptop), and not being too obviously a camera bag, and all this at a reasonable price... the Lowepro Mini Trekker AW. I've only just bought this one, but it's the best yet.

The Tenba looks even better, but they don't seem to be available in my part of the world either, at least not in stores for me to try. No doubt I'll end up getting one once I inevitably realise I'm only 90% happy with my current bag :D
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-15-2008, 09:26 AM  
Survey forecasts demand for weather-proof cams
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 19
Views: 3,920
I believe all camera manufacturers should be issued a book of recommendations to incorporate in their product designs. This guide will be entitled "The Bloody Obvious".

I mean really, the number of countries where rain occurs is not exactly tiny. Combine this with the fact that digital cameras don't respond well to water and you have to wonder why water resistance isn't more common. Actually you don't; the answer is obvious... cost-cutting. Much better to let people get water on their compact's sensor, writing it off and causing them to go buy another camera.

Pentax and Olympus have already considered The Bloody Obvious. Everyone else needs to catch up.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-15-2008, 09:12 AM  
Well, the sky *IS NOT* falling. Sorry Pentax bashers.
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 183
Views: 34,234
Got to agree with you there. Contrary to what you will read on many posts here, there is no such entity as Canikon... there is a company named Canon who produce some nice kit, save it for people with vast amounts of money and then offload cheap plastic crap on everyone else, and are horrible to do business with. There is also a company called Nikon who, like Pentax, actually put decent lenses on their consumer cameras, and unlike Canon, they give the impression that they actually have some regard for their customers and the companies they work with. JMHO :p

I don't mean this as a dig at RH or other Canon users. Honestly I don't. They make some great gear, but their entry-level stuff is substandard, especially in build quality and especially considering the prices. My experiences of dealing with the company have not been good and I don't believe I'm alone there. Therefore I would always recommend a first-time buyer choose Nikon over Canon.

P.s. this rant was prompted by a number of recent conversations with people who have never heard of Nikon, much less Pentax, Olympus etc, yet are convinced that Canon make the best cameras... the power of advertising :rolleyes:
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-15-2008, 08:13 AM  
Proposed Kit: Thoughts Please
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 23
Views: 4,039
Yes. It's definitely better than the kit lens. Having said that, there were things about the kit lens I miss... like instant manual focus override without flicking any switches, and the nifty little tab on the lens hood for rotating filters. Also an equivalent of 26-50mm is a bit odd... but it's great for me since I still shoot 35mm film and so can take advantage of its true range. Anyway it's a very good semi-wide lens on the dSLR and if you can find one at a good price I'd go for it.

As for telephoto, the Tamron 70-300mm is a great choice for the money. It does have flaws, which is why I'm now waiting for a Pentax 55-300mm (will post some test shots when it comes)... but the Pentax is well over twice the cost. Personally I'd forget the Sigma since it doesn't have the value appeal of the Tamron and nor is it significantly better (especially past 200mm).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-15-2008, 07:49 AM  
Pentax vs Sigma 70-300mm
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 8
Views: 1,833
I was similarly disappointed with the Sigma APO past 200mm. The Tamron equivalent seemed better in that regard, but suffered from CAs a bit too much for my liking. Like yourself I've just ordered the 55-300mm which will hopefully be the keeper... based on what I've seen here, looks like it should be worth the extra (only 50 more than the Sigma).
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-23-2008, 08:16 PM  
My 2500 word essay on the K20D
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 324
Views: 97,527
Yeah, it's basically got the specs we knew it had to have to compete, with a few things to make it stand out (the pixel count being more than 40D or D300), and a couple of nice touches we asked for (like PC socket). That's enough for me so I'm happy I got what I wanted - but I'm glad I remained skeptical about the hype. "Bomb" was probably going a bit far :lol:

( Speaking in terms of specs of course; "Image quality" may be another matter; it might blow the D300 out the water, but we'll have to see... again I'll stay skeptical; then I can be pleasantly surprised :) )
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-23-2008, 07:10 PM  
My 2500 word essay on the K20D
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 324
Views: 97,527
I'll be honest, I haven't read all... 8 pages... but this seems to be the place for everyone to give their opinion about the K20D so here goes...

It hasn't turned the photographic world, or the dSLR world, or the mid-level dSLR world, on its head. Some seemed to imply it would, but I think (or hope) most of us took that as hyperbole caused by (and meant to generate) excitement, rather than a guarantee. If anyone is genuinely disappointed that it's just going to be a very good camera and not a ground-breaking rethinking of the dSLR concept, then maybe they need to adjust their expectations. :)

Me, I'm very happy. I would have bought a K10d in a second if it had the ISO range of the k100d. Honestly, that was the one thing that stopped me, and now the K20d is set to expand on the ISO range and do so with CMOS which should mean cleaner images higher up the range. I'm sold. For me, everything else is icing on the cake, but very nice icing it is too - 14mp, dynamic-range-fancy-thingamajiggy, live view, X-Sync! And of course most importantly, they painted the shutter release black to make it Look Super Pro :p ... It'll be nice to see some sample shots, but so far this looks like being my next camera, and probably my last for a long time since it looks like the rest of my money will be going on 200mm f/2.8 and 300mm f/4...

To summarise, my 5 word essay on the K20D: Pentax done good. I'm happy. :D

Somehow it doesn't feel right being this cheerful, so let me balance it out... K200D? Not interested, wouldn't recommend it to anyone, rather have the K10d or even K100d for less. But then I don't care about the K200d - I'm off to see if I can find $1200 down the back of the sofa :lol:
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-23-2008, 06:42 PM  
What About The K10D?
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 46
Views: 6,817
Ah yes... but the K10d was not $700 when new, and the K20D will not be $1200 forever :p

Until the K20D drops in price, there should still be some K10Ds around to buy even if Pentax isn't all that interested in selling them... just like there were (and are) still *Ist-series models available to buy at lower price if you didn't want a K100d. Even once all the new ones are sold, once the K20D comes out there will most likely be a few K10Ds entering the second-hand market if people want them badly enough.

As for further developments regarding firmware, understandably Pentax will focus on their new stuff for now... but if enough people own K10ds and think they need improving, keep letting Pentax know and hopefully you'll get your updates.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-23-2008, 06:21 PM  
Sorry, got to do this:
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 4
Views: 1,563
I know, it shouldn't bother me so much that James Blunt is allowed to have a website...
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-23-2008, 05:55 PM  
CCD Size - K20d
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 44
Views: 8,402
Oh I agree, the lenses are bigger... bodies as you say not necessarily, for example my film *Ist is smaller and lighter than my K100d... although I'm sure digital bodies could be made lighter and more compact too... but my point is more that although an APS-C setup can be lighter and smaller than a 35mm one, it's a noticeable difference but not a huge one... reading some threads you would think that a 35mm-format camera must be some kind of unmanageable beast, like carrying a 6x7 around all day. Basically I just don't think the size/weight difference is that significant, not enough to constitute an argument that no sane person would ever want full-frame.

I am actually in complete agreement with you on this. I know my 6mp APS-C dSLR is essentially "good enough" for 99.9% of my needs. I am sure that the forthcoming K20D, if it lives up to it's specs, would make that 100%. Quite simply I don't need a full-frame camera, and if I could afford one, I'd rather get a really good APS-C one and spend the difference on glass. But that's now. If 'FF' does potentially have an 'IQ' advantage then I could certainly see myself buying one once they become as affordable as APS-C ones are now (even though APS-C ones would then be cheaper still). But not now.

Honestly, I am in no hurry to own a full-frame camera. I certainly would not argue that Pentax's only chance of survival is to "go FF right away"; in fact that's probably the worst thing they could do - their best chance now is to concentrate on APS-C cameras in the entry and mid-levels while expanding the range of glass... which is exactly what they're doing. If other companies decide to make FF the standard then I think Pentax will be under a lot of pressure to follow suit, but that's a way off yet... no, Pentax doesn't need to go FF now and I wouldn't suggest that they do. Like you I don't understand that argument. But don't forget there's also an equally extreme opposing argument we see around here... the argument that Pentax should never make a FF camera, that no sane person would ever want to buy one, that no-one would ever be able to lift and carry one because they're so big but that's ok because no-one could ever afford one anyway... and I don't get that argument either :confused:
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-23-2008, 05:06 PM  
Tamron 70-200 f2.8, anyone have it allready?
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 26
Views: 8,342
Looks like I need a better job; now that I need to have the K20D, 300mm DA and now one of these, it's going to be an expensive year :lol:
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-17-2008, 07:59 PM  
I'm breaking my NDA
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 23
Views: 6,681
Nice... but I think I'll wait for the K21DS Super, with the massive improvement of slightly different polish and a slightly more oiled latch. :p
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-17-2008, 07:49 PM  
CCD Size - K20d
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 44
Views: 8,402
I continue to be amazed by this idea going around that a camera or lens using a sensor size a little bit larger (the size of film negs/slides many of us used without complaint for many years) must inherently be too large and heavy for a human being to carry. Or that APS-C ones are wonderful featherweight things you can carry in your pocket.

Stop making silly accusations of trolling just because you don't agree with the other guy's opinion please.


On a less grumpy note regarding hefty1's post... I still like using medium format TLRs for their square format and could definitely see myself using a digital camera with a square sensor.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-11-2008, 06:45 PM  
Pentax Full Frame possibility
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 48
Views: 25,951
Precisely. I did not say it wasn't a case of research following the money. I said it wasn't simply about research following what the general public are buying. That is what TaoMaas appeared to be saying. But as you explained, "what the general public buy" and "where the money is" are not the same. No, like you said, the research money is going into where the profit margin is good, and that means dSLRs... which includes both APS-C and full-frame. So again, the logical statement that "research follows the money" is not evidence that APS-C will continue to improve while FF is left to die.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-11-2008, 09:06 AM  
Pentax Full Frame possibility
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 48
Views: 25,951
TaoMaas... A very good point, except for one thing... the general public is not buying APS-C cameras. They are buying compact cameras with tiny sensors, or camera-phones with even smaller ones. So if your theory is correct, why is there not more emphasis on genuinely improving very-small-sensor technology rather than just running the megapixel race? Because it's not simply a case of research following what the general public is buying.

We could all use "history" to prove our theories one way or another, but full-frame is not to APS-C as slide film is to print film. It is a larger sensor, not a completely different technology.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-11-2008, 08:47 AM  
Pentax Full Frame possibility
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 48
Views: 25,951
While medium format can be surprisingly small, it usually isn't. Especially for dSLR systems. Plus consider that the 35mm format allowed for more shots on a single roll. Simply 35mm has a convenience advantage over medium format, which APS-C does not have over "Full Frame".

And one could also point out that a decent 12-24mm costs a lot more than a decent 19-35mm did. Or wonder where is the equivalent to the fast 35mm and 50mm lenses we used on the 135 format. Yes the 50mm f/1.4 can be compared to an 85mm f/1.4... so where is our 35mm f/1.4 to replace the FOV the 50mm gave us!? Well I guess there's always the 31mm f/1.8 Limited... still want to talk about price? ;)

My point being that with the APS-C format some lenses seem cheaper (longer ones), some not, and some seem more expensive (wider ones). I'm not seeing a huge advantage one way or the other.

FF will not become cheaper than APS-C. But it will get cheaper than it is now; significantly cheaper in time (as will APS-C); and if it retains a noticeable advantage in "IQ" then a fair number of people will still consider it worthwhile spending the extra.

As for IQ, of course APS-C will improve, but what makes you so certain that APS-C quality can only get better while FF quality can only get worse? The issue of pixel "cramming" applies to both. As the technology of APS-C sensors improve, so will that of 35x24mm sensors.

I continue to use the APS-C format because it does most of what I want (but not 99%), and because I can't afford any current FF cameras. When FF cameras become available for the price of current APS-C cameras, then I will most likely buy a FF camera, not buy an APS-C one simply because it's even cheaper.

Of course, if Pentax can make an APS-C camera that is 99% as good as the then-current FF cameras, including being 99% as good at high ISO performance, then I will certainly consider it... but currently the advantage FF cameras have in that area is more than 1%, and I expect that to continue. We will of course have to wait and see, but I have no reason to believe that APS-C technology will continue to improve yet FF technology will not.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-11-2008, 07:41 AM  
Dubai Press Conference
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 71
Views: 18,918
Everyone wants leeks... are the Welsh taking over the forum? :confused:
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-08-2008, 06:02 AM  
Pentax Full Frame possibility
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 48
Views: 25,951
And three words, along the same theme as the bodies...

Not much difference.

I look at my APS-C dSLR with APS-C lens and I look at the same dSLR with a "full-frame" equivalent lens. Either way it's not pocketable. Either way it doesn't fit under a jacket. Either way it's something that takes up a significant amount of space in a bag, and requires the decision to go shooting rather than being something I can carry around all day everyday. Because it's a chunky dSLR with a sticky-outy lens, and being APS-C or 135 format doesn't really enter into it :)

Basically the "full-frame" body would be a bit bigger and heavier, and the "full-frame" lens a bit bigger and heavier. A bit. Not like the difference between the 35mm format and the 6x7 format. So from my point of view it's very likely that the quality advantages of the larger format will outweigh the weight/size advantages of the smaller one.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-08-2008, 05:51 AM  
Tokina 16-50 and 50-135
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 4
Views: 2,586
Well it's certainly not coincidence. Pentax and Tokina have an arrangement or agreement, in which we will see very very similar lenses being released by Pentax and Tokina. The Tokina versions will not be available to us Pentax users (only to Canon and Nikon). The f/2.8 zooms are one (but not the only) example of this arrangement... and in this case the Pentax version has the added advantage of SDM and sealing.

Beyond that I can't really say. At first there was talk of Pentax and Tokina working together on the designs. Some of us wondered if Tokina was perhaps doing most of the designing, as it wouldn't be the first or last time that Pentax basically re-badged a third-party lens design (as have Nikon, Sony etc). But others will swear blind that they're 100% Pentax products. So far I think we still haven't seen anything conclusive one way or the other.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 01-08-2008, 04:55 AM  
Pentax Full Frame possibility
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 48
Views: 25,951
I'm happy to keep using APS-C dSLRs so long as they do what I want, and so long as "full frame" bodies remain prohibitively expensive (which by the way won't be forever, just like APS-C dSLRs are much cheaper now than they were a few years back).

But what I don't understand is the suggestion that 35mm-format dSLRs are "big heavy" things with "huge lenses", something which yourself and others previously have mentioned. They may not be compacts, but are APS-C cameras really that much smaller and lighter? I certainly know when I have a K10d hanging from my neck, and my K100d is not pocketable nor amazingly light.

A dSLR using a 35mm sensor really does not need to be that much bigger. Yes, most current 135-format dSLRs are much bigger and heavier, but that's largely because they are very expensive "professional-grade" cameras (and although the dreaded P-word will start an argument, fact is those very very expensive models will take more of a beating). Not simply because they're 135-format. For an exception, take a look at the Canon (spit) 5D... do you really consider it enormous and unwieldy compared to a K10d? It's only a 35mm sensor, not a 6x6 one.

I guess I'm just not convinced by the inherent weight or size advantage of APS-C. For me there isn't one, or if there is, it's about as insignificant as the quality advantages of full-frame are to others here.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 12-12-2007, 02:34 PM  
Pentax K10D for only 399.00 in U.K. ??
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 15
Views: 4,624
I don't know why they think the K10d with kit lens is available for under 400; normally the price seems to be around 475 (or 440-450 without the kit lens). Of course, I'm sure someone is selling it for under 400, but when I'm already paying 400 an extra 75 doesn't make too much difference (e.g. I'd rather buy at 475 from a shop I trust than 400 from some eBay seller).

Still, the fact that they counted the K10d as being under 400 just makes the results of that test even dumber. But to be honest we've come to expect this by now... tests or reviews, by Canikon users, for an overwhelmingly Canikon readership, are going to favour those companies. They're just playing it safe.

Course, there's also the glass-half-full interpretation: at least Pentax is getting some more publicity this way, and it got good marks, even if a certain other camera was overrated.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-08-2007, 08:46 PM  
Poll: Sigma 70-200 F2.8 EX DG MACRO HSM
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 60
Views: 12,596
Good to hear you're not concerned. Like I said, I knew I'd be called alarmist. And while I don't think the sky is falling just yet, it occurs to me that it may be lowering at a steady rate.

As for being able to use old glass... yes, this being a Pentax forum, I am constantly reminded that one can use old manual lenses and can still take great photos with them. You can do the same with a Holga - now that's amazing (or possibly just a tired platitude). But personally I bought into a modern dSLR system not only for a good choice of good quality lenses, but also for the other advantages of modern dSLR systems, including open-aperture auto metering and/or autofocus.

Now I don't think we'll ever agree on the claim that there's "plenty of glass available". That depends on your definition of plenty... IMO, there is more than enough for most users. But if most users never progress beyond a cheap two-lens kit that comes with the camera, then anything beyond that is more than enough for most users... does that mean we should all be content with a couple of budget zooms? I don't think so. Nor do I believe we should have to be content with the current situation. Of course I shoot what I can get now and make the most of it, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to have more options... or from being worried if it looks like we might end up having less options.

Previously if Pentax's offerings didn't meet my requirements, there were alternatives from Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina. Now, the Tokina options are gone... with the exception of the 'Pentax/Tokina' lenses and one 19-35mm. Now, Tamron make their best lenses for other mounts... Nikon, Canon, and Sony... but not Pentax. Now, Sigma will re-engineer lenses for other mounts yet still not bother to make them for Pentax...

Meanwhile, ask any of these companies for any indication at all of whether they plan to make SDM-compatible lenses, or even to release lenses for K-mount, and you'll get the standard response of "We have no plans...". Meanwhile the same companies not only continue to produce all their lenses in huge quantities for Canon and Nikon... they're falling over themselves to react when Nikon makes a camera with a crippled lens mount (which even Nikonians don't like!). And now Nikon and Canon are putting IS/VR in budget lenses and even kit lenses... something else for the third-parties to catch up on (which they will do because they can't afford to ignore Canon and Nikon)... so no, it doesn't seem that unlikely to me that Pentax may get more and more left behind.

So I'm concerned. It won't keep me up at night but it's something I'm going to talk about on a forum intended for the discussion of Pentax lenses. When I'm proven wrong by the release of the new Pentax glass, and the release of new good quality third-party glass for the K-mount and not only for other mounts, I'll accept my concern was misplaced. Until then, I'll keep complaining and prophesising doom unless "Don't worry, be happy" is made an official forum rule ;)
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 12-08-2007, 11:06 AM  
Could "K20D" actually be APS-H (1.27x) sized?
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 87
Views: 18,626
Well let me suggest that it might be because, while they are surely nice and honest people, at the end of the day they are just other Pentax users and PentaxForum posters, who say they have seen and/or touched the new products... not the fount of all knowledge, nor for that matter official Pentax spokespersons issuing official Pentax statements. Until those official announcements happen - hopefully by the end of January - you won't have much luck insisting that people stop speculating. ;)
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-08-2007, 10:52 AM  
Sigma 17-35 EX DG
Posted By ZaphodB
Replies: 1
Views: 3,210
Hi Todd. Ephotozine is ok. Most reviews I have seen have given the lens a decent review.

I bought the Tamron equivalent based on reviews being about the same as those for the Sigma, and personal recommendations being slightly better. However I also borrowed and tried the Sigma for a short while... not long enough to make specific claims about resolution, aberrations etc, but I'd say they are both decent lenses.

However notice that I say decent, not outstanding... because to be honest, I don't think these are lenses you should buy if your main priority is better image quality. Don't get me wrong, image quality can be good... it's just not much, much better than the kit lens in the way that a good prime or a very good zoom would be.

I would say it is better than the kit lens, but not by a huge margin. I would not say it is better than the 16-45mm... but I would say that it's faster at the short end with f/2.8. And it will work on 35mm film cameras. That's why I bought the Tamron... for coverage on both my film and digital SLRs. It's a wide-angle zoom which on the 35mm format goes very, very wide, while having a maximum aperture of f/2.8, and for a good price... so on the 35mm format it's very impressive. On the APS-C format it is less so.

My suggestion: If you want a 17-35mm for film that's also a decent lens on digital, go for it. But if what you want is to replace the kit lens with something better and purely for digital use, skip it and instead look at the 16-45mm f/4, or possibly the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC, both of which will be good performers and also have a better focal length range on the dSLR.
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