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Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 12-23-2019, 04:51 PM  
Shooting RAW vs DNG
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 33
Views: 1,859
From a data management standpoint, there are a couple of considerations regarding the choice between PEF and DNG.

A DNG file will contain the metadata (XMP record) within the file. When you make edits to the metadata or even use the developer in LR, those edits will be written directly to the DNG file. There are some risks that while not super likely are still risks: (1) each time you edit you are writing to the file, you could potentially cause a corruption issue or error to the file. (2) if you have a backup process (and you should), each time you edit the metadata, you will most likely have to back up the full file. This can be problematic in a network setting where the change of a few bytes leads to Mbs of backup.

Conversely, with a PEF file, the metadata is written to a separate XMP file. The file is small, and editing metadata means the original PEF file is never written to. In your backup routine, only the XMP files need to be backed up. The risks associated with this scenario are (1) that you end up with 2 files for every photo (PEF and XMP), (2) you have to be religious and diligent with file management. Moving an image means moving its xmp file with it, (3) Renaming an image can break the pairing of the PEF and XMP record. A good DAM software will deal with these issues appropriately as long as you are diligent and keep within the software (LR or other DAM). But, you may also end up with issues if you shoot raw+jpg. Some software may interpret the XMP file as belonging to the JPG, even though it isn't possible. That's not necessarily your problem, but software will often look for XMP files for every image before looking at an embedded XMP record; some RAW formats (like NEF) allow XMP to be written to the file itself.

Just food for thought. May not matter to many people reading, and there are obvious benefits to each format and flaw just from the DAM perspective.

Side note, for a while I shot PEF, but I was not good at managing the XMP files. I converted the PEFs to DNG. It seems a bit advantageous at first because the DNGs are a little smaller that way (vs. shooting from the camera). This was before lossy DNGs, so presumably it was just a better algorithm by Adobe than Pentax. The problem with those DNG files is that some software that supports Pentax's DNG files will not support a DNG file that comes out of the Adobe converter (DXO specifically). I'm not sure why it should matter that much, but it does. I now just shoot DNG. I'm not fond of backing up the full DNG when I am only keywording my files, but I don't backup through the internet, so I'm not using bandwidth as much as just wearing on the harddrive (which is minor overall).

Finally, I've never actually corrupted a DNG file because I was writing to it too much. I only note that because it is a common argument of those who really want to protect their raw data. I'm sure it can happen, but (knock on wood), I've not had the problem.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 12-23-2019, 03:31 PM  
My printed calendar photos are often dark
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 26
Views: 1,306
Which is fine if you are a professional and you own the equipment for it. But if a person doesn't, than an eyeball works better than nothing. That was the point of my post.

And your argument really would only fully hold up with paper did have a brightness knob. The fact that paper is essentially fixed, gives the casual user the wiggle room to eyeball it in the absence of nothing else. Of course it means nothing if they use different paper, but therein lies the hazard with visual calibration and outside printers without going to more formal means. But again, if I didn't want to spend the money on calibrators, I'd be ok spending $0.10 for a test print every time to compensate for not paying for the calibrate. It's up to the user at that point.

Calibrating to the extent you are suggesting is great if you plan on printing and showing in the same room you processed the images, but as soon as that print goes to another room you're off. Heck as soon as the photo is viewed on another computer it's off. We can exercise all the control we want, but we'll never have full control. I find most people care more about the composition than whether the color is 1% off.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 12-13-2019, 04:57 PM  
My printed calendar photos are often dark
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 26
Views: 1,306
If you have prints in front of you that are too dark, a quick and dirty way to make an adjustment would be to take one of the images that was printed (the jpg) and open it up on the screen.

Then holding it side by side with the print, adjust the monitor brightness until the image on the screen roughly matches the print.

From that point on, you can edit and process raw files so they look right to you on the screen and presumably the brightness of the print will match. It's probably a bit better than just setting at 50% and going (not that 50% won't be right).
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-26-2019, 10:20 AM  
DxO Sale and a question
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 46
Views: 2,871
I guess I could understand, but DxO is not meant to be a DAM. Their focus is on the development side with enough of a library to do culling. As for edits being one image at a time, you can copy and paste edits from image to image or make a preset that you can quickly apply to a lot of images. It isn't quite like LR, but it definitely isn't as restrictive as "one at a time".

I get that LR essentially does DAM and cataloging, but the price was that once you went into that, it was difficult to get out of (especially the catalog side without having to deal with compatability to some extent). Thankfully, I had always managed my catalogs in an independent software, mostly because I was trying to tag files (IPTC and XMP) prior to having RAW capabilities. I stuck with that software because even when I did get raw, I started with the Pentax software, Silkypix Pro, and RawTherapee. Eventually, I got LR on an education license and used it until they went subscription. But for my use LR was almost strictly a developer. The catalog was only used for ratings and color labels (to track workflow).

DxO is basically a developer, and I am glad they brought in enough support to change ratings and labels, but my separate DAM still handles my XMP/IPTC tags.

I do hope they improve the NIK integration. Really, with the Elite version of PL, the NIK should just be built right in. Most of the Nik features have redundancy with features in PL, just different implementation. For example, I can create a black in white in DxO or I can export to Silver Efex, but why not just build in Silver Efex into PL (Elite). And then on the noise removal, I'm not sure I would ever export to Nik when the Prime noise reduction is so fantastic.

I don't know though. The advantage to Nik separately is that others can use it with other software, but we'll see.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-21-2019, 04:15 PM  
Luminar 4
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 35
Views: 2,258
My PC was up to requirements. It had an i7 with 32 GB of RAM an SSD and a decent GPU (which I don't think matters). As I noted, it has been the only photo related software I've not been able to run (at all). I understood that things might work better with no software, running as admin, rebooting, etc, but never worked. I did just build a new one to get a current CPU, but I haven't tried Luminar in it as I chalked my issues up to software instability.

Thanks for the info on the skies. I probably wouldn't buy the software if that is all it offered. Originally, I had tried Luminar 3 (whatever it was before they added the libraries feature), and that worked. But as soon as they add the libraries feature, that is where things never worked. Unfortunately, with my usage, I needed to be able to quickly move from photo to photo, and the earlier implementation of the software did not allow that (at least not in Windows).

I do typically support new software that shows promise. I gave up on Lightroom, really before they went subscription. When LR6 came out and it was handicapped vs. the subscription, I shifted my attention, really to DxO. I love DxO, but I've always held out and try other software. I had high hopes for Luminar and ON1, especially if there were good attempts to equal the workflow aspects of LR (which was really what made LR standout). Developing features are great, but most software can hit that well with experiences based on how you use it and what you need. As it is, DxO is catching up on the library side itself. I still keep an eye because there are times I want to use something different, when my preferred program doesn't work.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-21-2019, 02:22 PM  
Luminar 4
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 35
Views: 2,258
Since sky replacements seem to be a thing now in software (at least as a feature), can you explain how this works with Luminar? Is this just a catalog of stock photos of skies that you are literally replacing the sky? Is it just fixing the sky in the image through some type of masking?

Side note, I've replaced skies in images on just a few occasions using layers in Photoshop and just blending my own sky photos with the image I'm replacing the sky in. Generally, just using a sky isn't as easy as it might seem because of lighting, scale, etc. Psychologically, even if I've done a great job, it just looks ok. The examples I see with the current crop of software are good as is the one you posted here. But I worry it's a feature that loses value, or worse becomes a crutch.

And, I'm sorry that I am asking when the answer may be obvious through the software's web pages and documentation. I do like having a user perspective over the software company's marketing. Admittedly, I'm a bit cynical with Luminar because they've not delivered to their marketing in a lot of cases in the past, and I never could get Luminar 3 to work on my PC, which they punted as my problem not theirs despite it being the only photography software I've never been able to install on a PC. I did like Luminar 2, in concept, but I'm more skittish now.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-21-2019, 09:28 AM  
Best and Worst Bag Purchased.
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 75
Views: 3,116
My best/favorite has been a Domke F-5XC (according to my Amazon purchase history that's the name).

The bag isn't bulky, and it has a nice little under compartment that has been great for the small Pentax primes or for my 60-250 zoom. It is versatile and light-weight. It is fairly durable, but it doesn't have much padding. It isn't much bigger than a holster, and it is pretty comfortable to carry; although, if I squeeze in 4+ lenses (doable with a bunch of primes), it can get a bit much when hiking.

I've had some bad bags, but it is hard to say one is the worst. I've had some holster bags, which I had bought for the same purpose as the Domke that is my favorite, but they never had the versatility to carry much more than the camera and maybe one extra lens. They can be more comfortable and better padded.

Perhaps the worst was buying a Timbuk-2 messenger bag with their camera insert. It isn't truly a camera bag, but experience had been that it worked well and didn't scream there is a camera inside. That is true, but the insert just floated around. In fairness, their bags don't hold a shape well for much.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-20-2019, 04:56 PM  
DxO Sale and a question
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 46
Views: 2,871
I know this is a little digression, but since it had been discussed in this thread... I received an email today regarding the release of Nik 2.3 (which I take as an update on Nik 2). I had purchased Nik 1 when DxO released it to support the company and Nik software, which Google had been abandoning.

In Nik 2.3, I notice hints that the optical corrections that were Viewpoint may now be embedded in Nik (or maybe the Photolab essentials edition). I have ViewPoint, so I should check it out.

However, I've been a user of Photolab and its predecessor in the Elite form. I'm not sure whether the Nik suite interfaces well with the Elite version of the software. I've not hurried to update to Nik 2 nor have I hurried to PL 3 (although I'll be doing that shortly). On paper, it hadn't look like there was much to making the upgrades, but a lot of good experiences here and on other forums with PL 3.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 11-13-2019, 02:38 PM  
New information about new flagship's selling date
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 1,650
Views: 111,791
This is a good question (without sifting through this thread). I am a k3 (i) user, and I've so far refrained from a K1 (i or ii) because I am an amateur comfortable in ASP-C and what I get from the K-3. That said, the biggest feature I could see is a significantly improved auto-focus situation (points, speed, reliability). I also wouldn't mind a better buffer and fps, but that isn't as critical for me. There are little features I'd like, like GPS or wireless, but if those were the only features, I'd save up and plan for FF anyway.

I'm actually hoping my K-3 lives on for a while anyway. I doubt I'll jump on an early bandwagon for the new APS-C. Even if it never came out, I still have a perfectly functional K-5, which I still enjoyed most of all my Pentax's.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 09-03-2019, 08:30 AM  
Workspace Discussion (monitors)
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 18
Views: 1,339
So my current computer (soon to be previous) from 2012 had an i7-3770. It had a Samsung 840 SSD at the time and a couple of spinning HDD. Everything was decent with the system except when cataloging / keywording my photos and working with large files. Do I really need the extra SSD? I'm sure I don't, but if I ever update camera bodies and end up with something where the working files are 50-100 MB, it won't hurt. I do tend to batch process photos, so I am hoping exporting will go faster. I could go with 1TB for the second drive there.

On the AMD, all indications are it is decent. I could stick with Intel, but it is hard to justify the cost. I would want an 8-core CPU, but I would only have 8 threads. I feel like if I go with 4 cores, I am essentially at the same level I am currently at. I know on a spec vs spec, Intel is still better, but it will cost a lot more. And, in my usage, CPU/Core speed won't be as important as multiple threads; my DAM will process using all cores/threads available as will the video processing I do (which is limited).

And my back-up won't change much. I rotate through a few USB-3 drives to backup photos and files keeping one or two at work and one or two at home. I have a 2 larger USB drives to backup media files too. Additionally, I plan on having 2 large HDD on the PC itself that will essentially be mirrors of each other (but not Raid). One will be a primary, and the other will be more of a backup. Since, my backup to the external drives is typically on a 1 month cycle this will improve things.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-29-2019, 03:38 PM  
Workspace Discussion (monitors)
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 18
Views: 1,339
Thanks for all the feedback. I'll continue to think about it. At this point, I think I have enough to think about the computer itself and at least get to a good spot on a GPU (and all the other good stuff).

So budget isn't hugely tight as I figure/plan to get a good 8 years out of the next build. I do try to budget for value as I am not a professional photographer, and my actual job is mostly in Microsoft Office (which I occasionally do from home) and a music server/manager for my audio files.

Given the goal of getting a good computer life but not full on overkill, My thoughts right now are to go with the following:

* Ryzen 7 3700x (maybe 3600) -- although I think the 3700x will help with longevity of the system
* an appropriate motherboard (probably in the past generation)
* 32 Gb of 3200 speed RAM (based on my understanding of what's good with the CPU) -- I currently have 32-gb, which was definitely overkill (I started the old system with 16-gb and added 16-gb, but usage has never really exceeded 16.
* GPU -- will likely look for suitability with the max total resolution I might get with recognition that speed isn't critical. I've not dug into that yet. My current PC has a 1050ti with 4 or 8gb of memory. It works well for my need with 2 x 1920 x 1200 monitors. I probably have to do better with more resolution.
* an Nvme drive for the system and software (I need to see how much software I currently have and need and pick an appropriate size, likely around 500 gb)
* a 2TB SSD to host what I'll call my "live" photo library (images I am working with and cataloging)
* additional storage for the full photo inventory and music library
* Monitor(s)
* And of course all the other little peripherals that are needed (cooling, network, OS)

I'm a bit uncertain on optical drives as I rarely use them anymore. My current PC has a BR reader with a DVD+/-RW, which was only like $25 when I got it. It doesn't seem such things exist anymore. 4k-technology has jacked up those drive's costs and has made drives for lesser technology obsolete. If I need it, I can probably look for a refurb for as little as I would need it.

It'll be exciting. Only thing that might derail this is if Pentax were to actually come up with a K3 update; although, my K3-i is still doing me fantastic and keeping me quite happy as well as my K5. It feels like older times for me where I could buy something and use it for a long time.

---------- Post added 08-29-2019 at 03:46 PM ----------

Oh to the earlier comment.

My Dell monitor that is wide-gamut is actually a VA monitor. I didn't know about such things at the time and had focused on the wide-gamut aspect. I calibrate it somewhat consistently (at least 3 times a year) and it has been great for photos, and I've never had issues (once I figured out I needed to calibrate for brightness in addition to color). The newer monitor is IPS, but even though I calibrate it, I've never been happy with its color. It's a cheap IPS panel, so that is probably the issue. In researching newer monitors with a focus on color calibration quality, it seems that IPS/VA have their pluses and minuses. I am mostly focused on an IPS, but now I am shifting my focus on color accuracy and the delta values through some of the more thorough reviews out there as my key concern. I do have a Fry's nearby, so if possible, I will try to see some monitors in person; although I find many retailers are focused on gaming monitors and lower end monitors.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-28-2019, 12:19 PM  
Workspace Discussion (monitors)
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 18
Views: 1,339
This is what I was thinking.

Did you move to the 32-inch from a dual setup or just a smaller to larger?

Do you find it uncomfortable moving your head/eyes around the screen? I've not really had issues side to side with the dual 24's.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-28-2019, 09:19 AM  
Workspace Discussion (monitors)
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 18
Views: 1,339
Thanks for all the feedback. I recognize this is subjective, and I obviously there are pros and cons to the situations.

I recognize the importance of calibration and panel type. That's why I had the Dell 2408wfp in the first place (a good wide gamut monitor at the time, albeit with a VA panel). That monitor did (and still does me well). The second monitor is an IPS panel with a limited color space; it is by ASUS, but it was cheap and difficult to calibrate, so I use it more for thumbnail browsing. Both monitors are 24-inch and 16:10. I also recognize the GPU and System memory will be important. That's why I am trying to figure out the monitor situation first. I can buy the appropriate GPU once I know my monitor situation.

Part of the reason I like the idea of 27-inch at 1440 is the pixel pitch would be essentially the same as what I have. The drawback of two of those is physical space on my desktop and having to turn my head even more. Of course I could turn one of the 24's sideways, which I think could be useful for how I use a second monitor, would help with internet browsing, and allow me to focus on buying a better monitor. I will note that in the past, I found it a little hard to get used to having two different monitors as it was easy to lose the pointer and scaling could get funny. I could probably make it work now. I'm not sure it would look very clean, but at that point I'd buy monitor arms to help declutter the desktop.

Now with regard to the usefulness of higher resolution (higher ppi), I would think it would be advantageous for photo editing to have higher resolution for viewing the photo itself? Other limitations of the technology aside, it would seem cleaner. Your image could be closer to 1:1, you'd get a better representation of what a final image might look like, etc. Now, I do see from other aspects (windows, menus, etc) where there could be a problem. My 13-inch laptop has a 1440 display, and scaling isn't perfect, and some software struggles with (or doesn't support it). I'm also uncertain how scaling works in a dual monitor setup since I've never tried it (I could experiment with my current setup).

I'm in no huge hurry. I thought the CPU/mother-board and storage aspect would be difficult, but actually the evolution of technology in the past 8 years (which I've only loosely kept up with) is making those decisions a lot easier. I don't overclock. THe only thing I'm not fond of on that level is the need to make everything inside the computer look good. I don't need windows into my case or lights on my motherboard or fans. I just want the PC to work well. Even if I was a gamer, no one on the net is going to see it anyway.

---------- Post added 08-28-2019 at 09:23 AM ----------

My concern with curved is that it would cause issues with perspective in editing photos with straight lines. I also feel like the value per dollar isn't great, sales aside. For instance, I would expect non wide monitors to similarly go on sale, and gain it would seem you'll get a better monitor with a standard 16:9, especially if I am trying to get one that can cover a good color gamut.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-26-2019, 12:30 PM  
Workspace Discussion (monitors)
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 18
Views: 1,339
I'm going to build a new PC soon, and I am contemplating new monitors (question toward end).

Current: My current PC is about 8 years old and running 2 x 24-inch (1920 x 1200) monitors (that are 8 and 11 years old).

In building a new PC, the big factor will be whether I update the monitors or not because it potentially drives the GPU need, primarily because the 2 old monitors only have DVI connectors (the newer has HDMI as an option, but I only have DVI cables) and the connections on the GPU. The old PC has an 1050ti card, which has been pretty good for my needs (I don't game).

Question: Is it worth potentially switching to one 32-inch (4k) monitor with my main use being photography (casual photographer)? I have also considered getting two 27-inch (1440) monitors or one ultra-wide (1440).

I think my dilemma is that in my work/office life, I love using two monitors. For photography, I've found my needs mixed. I use 2 monitors mostly to facilitate a crowded workspace in my apps to push tool panels, and thumbnails over to a second monitor, but I don't often have things on a second screen like I do at work. With my desk setup, I am about 20-inches from my monitors.

Other issues/considerations:

1. 2 x 27 could be too wide (physically) although the dpi will be about the same as my current 2 x 24's.
2. An ultrawide could compromise for the 2 x 27, but they can be costly when compared to 32-inch 4k's, especially for photography and calibration purposes.
3. The ppi for a 32-inch and 4k may be too small and scaling may somewhat negate the added resolution (and may not work in some apps). Using a 1440 x 32-inch would be worse for ppi than my current setup.
4. Will a 32-inch feel too big anyway.
5. If I move to 32-inch or a single monitor scenario, I will not be getting rid of the old monitors (my wife will take the old desktop), I could use one of the old monitors as a portrait monitor to create a dual setup. It isn't as clean as I would like, but feasible if I really regretted it.
6. I kind of wish there were (more) 24-inch monitors in a 1440 scenario. That scenario might have been best, but it seems there are almost no monitors in that combination. I might need to look into that further, but the ppi might still be an issue.

Ultimately, have others gone through these thought processes at all? Has anyone replaced a dual monitor system with a 32-inch (or other single monitor system)? Should I stop overthinking it and just stick with what I have? I think my concern with an update later situation is the monitor connectors. DVI is no longer really a thing, and I am not sure I can adapt my older DVI monitor (it's my only wide-gamut monitor) to HDMI or DP through adapters or cables.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-26-2019, 08:52 AM  
23 RAW converters for Pentax compared
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 95
Views: 9,550
Correct. But it may be better than biasing software based on their defaults. Using a software at its defaults almost defeats the purpose of shooting RAW in the first place, and most people are using the software to make adjustments or perfect the image. But, yes, one would have to choose a program to exclude, but alternatively, one could shoot in RAW+JPG mode and use the JPG as a target. Or, one could shoot with a different camera or even a Phone. But, I don't think it is about correct, and it is about what is easier. I use 2 or 3 raw converters because under certain situations my chosen software (currently DxOPhotoLab) isn't easy all the time, but for my usage it is easy >95% of the time.

But it is useful to know, even if you are a fanboy of a software, where it shines and where it doesn't. My biggest concern is getting the exposure/histogram acceptable as easily as possible. I want a software that is good at highlight recovery, shadow recovery, curve adjustments, etc. I also like a software that allows me to easily work with white balance and color balance.

The problem with the type of reviews provided, is that it seems the reviews are focused on the default rendering and not working with the software. Your example above is valid, and it will be for any user plugging software A and software B against each other. There are really a lot variables, and the fact that so many people swear by so many different software is proof that many of them are good. I really think the best program is the one that works best for the user. It is the user who takes the photos (and of course photos can vary by whether you shoot portraits, landscapes, astrophotography, street photography, macros, etc). It is the user who has to drive the software from open to export/end-product.

That being said, I don't want to discount the default rendering in a software. It is part of what makes me like DxO. However, where LR is somewhat lacking on its defaults, it gets made up for in straightforward tools. And when processing a lot of photos, it is really easy to copy develop settings from one image to another, or make presets, or set new defaults, etc.

As i mentioned in the previous post, there is no perfect way to make these comparisons, and it probably takes a dedicated user a year to really get to know a program.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-23-2019, 09:50 AM  
23 RAW converters for Pentax compared
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 95
Views: 9,550
From a realistic standpoint, these types of reviews and comparisons are impossible to do outside of what was done (at least for one person). None of us are going to be expert users of every software out there. Then throw in the complication of users combining software (plugins, etc), and you find that the goal really needs to be to find the best software to fit into your idea of a workflow AND also adjust your workflow to fit the software that gets you there. There are too many variables.

What may be interesting would be to hand out the same raw file (or a few raw files) to dedicated users of each software (take your pick how many raw converters you put out there) and have each person process the file(s) to get to an end point. For even more control, perhaps you have everyone strive to get to something similar to the jpg (in a RAW+JPG pair).

The goal here would be to track how much time / steps it takes for everyday users of a software to get to a similar end starting from that software's defaults (outside any user defined presets). The value of a raw converter is how easy it is to get to an end and how versatile it is under various input conditions. You might try this for a bright image image, a dark image, a high bokeh image, underexposed image, overexposed, etc.

If I go back to my experiences mastering the use of Lightroom and DxO raw processors, I found that both had significant strengths (and weaknesses). In processing one image, I can get to the same end from a RAW file in many fewer steps in DxO. BUT, if I am trying to process a lot of photos or a photoshoot, Lightroom becomes a winner (although DxO is catching up more recently). Interestingly, LR comes across as an easier program to use because its tool-set is relatively straight forward while DxO is less so (some tools are quite straight forward while others are quite complicated). Yet, once you really learn the program, I can process one file in DxO with only a few steps and in less than a minute (maybe even 10's of seconds) as long as I don't need to worry about selective color adjustments (at which point LR is much more powerful).

But, that is just my perspective in comparing two raw processors that I regularly use and that I feel I have mostly mastered. It takes practice to get to that level in any program.
Forum: General Photography 04-22-2019, 11:02 AM  
Death Valley extra added attraction - Star Wars Canyon (Top Gun Airshow)
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 19
Views: 2,537
This is pretty cool. Does anyone know if they do this year round, or is it more of a summer activity?

My wife an I were in Death Valley for a week a few years ago and hiked along this canyon a bit with no awareness of this. I would have been quite surprised if I would have seen a jet fly in below us.

On a side note, when I saw the title of this thread I was initially thinking about a few other areas in Death Valley where George Lucas actually shot some parts of Star Wars (mostly a New Hope). A few small scenes from Tatooine actually come from Death Valley (as opposed to Tunisia where I think a lot of scenes were shot).
Forum: General Photography 04-22-2019, 10:48 AM  
How did Pentax Alienate Retailers?
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 146
Views: 7,005
Interesting thread.

This issues discussed are really much wider than Pentax or even cameras. Internet retail can out compete B&M shopping because they don't need to pay for retail workers, they don't need to pay a lease on a physical space, and so on. Who's to blame for this, well the responsibility lies all over the place and is probably rooted back with the suburbanization of everything.

Where I grew up, it was the big chain B&M shopping that put all the local smalltown retailers out of business. Now the internet is putting those big chain B&M's out of business. I am sure there will continue to be an evolution, although I am not sure exactly how, and it will probably depend on the type of product and companies.

For cameras, there certainly would have to be a benefit to allowing people to get their hands on them, but the camera industry is reeling a bit when you consider the role phones play. This is part of why all the companies are in a struggle. There is a retail dilemma brewing because of the challenge of some people wanting physical stores but not sufficiently (or economically enough) to make it work. And there is other nostalgia factors that make all business struggle (books vs ebooks, records vs mp3s, phones vs mirrorless vs slrs, film vs digital, etc). Too many choices and little room for profit margins.

It's a challenge. I've never been able to try a Pentax in person since I've been into dSLRs. I had to go by online reviews and a gut instinct and this community (and my own economic situation at the time). Only once have I seen a Pentax camera on the shelf at a retailer, and the retailer tried to steer me clear. I never understood why since it was on their shelf and any purchase would clear a space, but the broader need to sell lenses with it probably had a factor. Overall, it's just a big uggh.

A last digression, I am a tall guy. Since the internet shopping exploded for clothing retailers, I've not been able to try a piece of clothing on in person. B&M's won't carry my size (shoes, pants, shirts) any more. I'm told to buy online and then have to deal with the whole shipping and return complication of the internet when things don't fit. I mostly despise the current state of business even though I am stuck in it.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 04-22-2019, 09:05 AM  
Slideshow Software
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 22
Views: 1,312
I would second the Pro-show software as it has a lot of features and is dedicated to the task while allowing you to publish to places like YouTube, DVD, etc.

Alternatively, besides the options above, PowerPoint can do well if you already have Microsoft Office (not sure how many people do anymore, but it is standard for my office job) and I would assume that any other Office Alternative could do it through its presentation software.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 04-22-2019, 09:03 AM  
Tips on learning digital processing?
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 15
Views: 1,343
1. Start with the RAW+ as others suggested. There will be less pressure that way.

2. Pick a few different programs to try out. While online videos tend to be heavily geared towards LR (only you can decide if you want to go that route), other software is essentially the same with the complication that nomenclature and work flow will change... For instance, levels, contrast, sharpening, etc are all there in each software and the concepts are the same. It's the how that will vary here and there.

I argue that most software can get to a similar endpoint, it's the steps that slightly change, and the software selection really depends on how your mind sees the process. LR is conceptually one of the easier ones to use, albeit I realized after switching from it that the starting point was quite a few steps from an end point: a. it took a lot of steps to get to an end for each image but b. I completely understood the process and didn't find myself going overboard.

I use DxO now, and the user interface is not as straight forward, although coming from LR, it's easy to figure out, but man, I can get to a finished image in seconds.

Finally, in terms of an exercise, I would actually suggest shooting a bracketed group of images on your camera (say -2, -1, 0, +1, +2 ev) and run them into your software of choice and see if you can get them all to look the same as your 0 (or whatever you find as the ideal image). Understanding how to play with exposure and contrast is probably the most important benefit of shooting raw (well color tone is huge too), and it's those instance in the field when you accidentally make a shot that under or overexposed that you are happiest you have a raw file.

On the color side of it, I usually shoot auto-wb, and I have had instances (shooting in Utah for instance where most rocks are red) where the Auto-WB was quite different from what I intended. Again, the RAW software saved the day.

Have fun. Having the RAW+, makes that easier. It is a lot of work to process RAW files, and if you don't have to for every image, you'll be able to learn at your own pace and when it is most necessary.
Forum: Pentax Lens Articles 04-09-2019, 08:18 AM  
Depth of Field Muddle, muddle, muddle.......
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 26
Views: 3,579
Of course.... it would be silly to not recognize that link up.

The only thing I would argue is whether even an 8 x 10 means much. All our eyes are different, and what is acceptable to you in an 8 x 10 may not be to another. In other words, it is really only in the mind if one person (or perhaps a few people) who looked at some 8 x 10's and agreed.

My point was that the numbers don't mean much because it's subjective. Heck, it's not like I go out with a tape measure anyway. Normhead was hitting a similar nail as I was getting at. If I know I want a narrow depth of field, I go off of my experience and the broad concepts. I don't find it reasonable (and I am sure many of us don't) to worry about the CoC and so forth. I don't even think that hard about exactly where my lenses are sharpest. I was only noting that there was a time I concentrated (perhaps too much) on these concepts because how else can one get to the "ignore the whole issue or don't worry about it", i.e. instinctual without understanding it at some point. The true understanding comes from recognizing the imperfection of the math.

I know most my lenses are sharpest over a range of f5.6 to f8 (maybe a little broader). Of course that, like the 8 x 10 and doF, is subjective (perhaps more forgiving). These days, as a father of a 3 year old and an engineer that works 60+ hours per week, I don't worry about remember anything too specifically. I rarely get to use a tripod except to shoot the family portrait, and I rarely get to ponder over or perfect a shot. When I suspect those subjective issues might come up, I shoot a bracket quickly and move on.

If I am out shooting, it is with the 3 year old, and while she can appreciate a nice view, by necessity, my patience to get the shot can only be about as much as a 3 year old's. Later in life, it will probably hard to adjust back to trying to perfect shots. But, I will say the digital world has given a lot of wiggle room at little cost compared to the film days.

I am not old enough to have the experience of some on this forum. Film for me was something I only had the experience from perhaps when I was 10 (when I was given an SLR) through college (when I moved to a P&S digital camera). Through those ages, money is quite restrictive. I had two lenses a 50 mm and an 85 mm and perhaps enough money to buy one or two rolls of film per month. I shot a scene with one, maybe two shots. I looked at dof charts and always narrowed the aperture a half step down to guarantee I wasn't off. A landscape shot almost always took 5+ minutes of planning, and I never had a good tripod nor the ability to change iso from shot to shot. I also never shot anything more than iso 400. The patience of a 3 year old would have been futile in those days.

Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 04-08-2019, 04:18 PM  
Question about colour management
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 5
Views: 803
The Spyder or other profiler is more complicated. You are creating an .icm file for your specific monitor, and ideally you would do that regularly (I do it monthly). Every monitor is going to be a bit different and evolve. Changes may happen if you tweak monitor settings, how you have it connected, how long it has been on, and so forth.

It doesn't mean you absolutely need it. It's going to be most useful if you are using your images in ways where what you see on your monitor is not consistent with what you are getting elsewhere (prints, web-pages, others computers, etc). I mostly got it to deal with discrepancies I would get between my images on screen vs what was printed on paper. Ideally I would have soft-proofed with printer profiles, too, but my knowledge gain was very slow, and using the monitor profiling equipment solved my issues.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-08-2019, 08:57 AM  
Fungus/Degradation on rear element of FA-35-80mm F4.0-5.6
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 19
Views: 1,313
Obviously you've thought about it, but I'll just give you one other thought (I work in risk, albeit for floods and earthquakes and preventing loss, so the risk is a bit different here).

Let's say the risk for fungus in a lens is 0.1% (1/1000); I'm not sure what it really is, but that is probably reasonable and perhaps 1/100 if you live in a more humid environment (and a lot lower if you live in a desert).

So having that lens with mold on it could increase your mold by some factor, and in risk those factors are usually on orders of magnitude. So while perceptually low, the presence of that lens increases the risk by a factor of 10 (e.g. 1%). This isn't saying anything about where the fungus comes from but just the presence. Basing it on some percentage (.1% or 1% accounts for the limited likelihood based on environmental factors like you listed vs. 100% (guaranteed to get it) or 50% (essentially a count flip).

Ok. So let's say the presence of a lens with a fungus in it (regardless of where the fungus comes from) increases the risk to a 1% chance you'll get the fungus in another lens. Well, this would mean that if had 100 lenses you would be all but guaranteed to to get the fungus in one other lens. If you only have 10 lenses, then there is a 10% chance one of them would get it.

All I am getting at is that while risks can be small when considered on an individual basis, they can be significantly higher when you have a large population. A situation occurred where a lens got a fungus, and that automatically increases risk. And while the risk of another individual lens getting the fungus may still be low (but now a bit higher), the odds of another lens getting it increases as you have more lenses. The caveat on risk in general is just how much you are willing to accept the risks. With lenses, this isn't a life, so it really isn't that big of a deal, it is just statistics. The starting risk may be much lower (or higher than I gave) but the relative change in risk is probably correct. Once a lens has gotten a fungus, there is probably a 10 times increase in risk that another will get one, and then it goes up more by a factor based on how many lenses you have.

On a side note, this is a difficult we face in my job. When we design structures for a 1/2500 risk, we still get failures because there are often way more than 2500 structures that face an earthquake. Once we have over 2500 structures, we are all but guaranteed one will fail. Travel is similar (planes vs. cars); The odds of plane crashes are much lower than those of cars, but when you tally up the number of cars vs planes (and the number of flights), both end up happening because there is no such thing as zero risk; there are 32million plane flights per year in the U.S. If even if the risk of a plane crash is 1 in 10million, that says there will be 3 plane crashes per year in the U.S. alone.

Thankfully lenses aren't lives lost, but it's also a lot easier with lenses to lower the risks (or be willing to deal with the consequences if the risks become reality).

Sorry for beating a dead topic but rather just pointing out how even low probability events can become more probable and risky.
Forum: Pentax Lens Articles 04-05-2019, 03:56 PM  
Depth of Field Muddle, muddle, muddle.......
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 26
Views: 3,579
I'm not sure I would say absolutely meaningless, however.

In terms of exact numbers, yes, the numbers may not mean much. But, there is value in understanding how the depth of field would relate, qualitatively across various focal lengths, subject distances, and apertures. The concept is important and is one of the primary reasons I shoot with an SLR.

Now I mostly shoot for fun, and it would drive me crazy to think too exactly about depth of field, but when I was first really trying to grasp all this information, I would use a little wheel I had (BA, before apps) to help give me an idea of depth of field (and hyperfocal distance). It got me in the ballpark, and with a dSLR I would just preview the image to confirm I wasn't too narrow if it mattered. Of course, that's on a 3-in screen, so it is always a grain of salt, but now I rarely bother. I can get in the ballpark on instinct, but it hardly diminishes the value of knowing.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-05-2019, 11:58 AM  
Fungus/Degradation on rear element of FA-35-80mm F4.0-5.6
Posted By emalvick
Replies: 19
Views: 1,313
My thoughts on all your efforts, is I would probably keep that lens segregated from your other lenses. Mold/Fungii spores can be small and move around. The problem with these lenses is often their ability to be contagious to other lenses. That's not to say it will happen, but it is a risk, especially since you opened the lens up.
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