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Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 04-24-2019, 01:53 PM  
Monopods: Goodbye Oben CTM-2500, hello Gitzo GM2562T
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 10
Views: 935
After a day at work, it's pretty clear that Gitzo's Carbon eXact tubes have vastly superior rigidity. The Oben monopod feels like a toy in comparison. Lesson learned: Not all carbon fiber is created equal.



Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 04-16-2019, 07:57 PM  
Monopods: Goodbye Oben CTM-2500, hello Gitzo GM2562T
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 10
Views: 935
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 04-16-2019, 12:19 PM  
Monopods: Goodbye Oben CTM-2500, hello Gitzo GM2562T
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 10
Views: 935
...and it's here.

Unexpectedly, the monopod does flex a bit at the leg section locks (the floor sample at B&H had the same issue and it appears to be a design limitation of the Gitzo Traveler G-Lock), and the extra section makes it a bit more fiddly to set up, adjust, and take down. It also doesn't extend as long, though it's still is long enough with a few inches to spare.

Even so, it's still sturdy enough to handle my K-3 II and D FA* 2.8/70-200 on an Arca-Swiss ballhead. The carbon fiber itself is clearly vastly superior to the material in the Oben monopod: the lower section on the CTM-2500 would vibrate dramatically when fully extended, but there's absolutely nothing like that on the GM2562T.

The shorter closed length, at just over 14 inches, makes it much easier to carry. It's small enough to easily fit in my wheeled backpack even with the ballhead attached, without having to jump through hoops to get the zipper to close.

All told, it's a Gitzo and I would be very surprised if it doesn't hold up at least as long as my old monopod did.

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 04-15-2019, 03:35 PM  
Monopods: Goodbye Oben CTM-2500, hello Gitzo GM2562T
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 10
Views: 935
B&H didn't have it in stock in the store. They're shipping one out from their warehouse and it'll be here tomorrow.

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 04-14-2019, 03:33 PM  
Monopods: Goodbye Oben CTM-2500, hello Gitzo GM2562T
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 10
Views: 935
After more than five years of heavy use, my Oben CTM-2500 is finally being retired. The rubber foot has been worn down to the point where the retractable metal spike is exposed so it winds up scraping the ground. I generally don't need or want the spike so this is a problem. Also, the top leg lock is giving me trouble, with the rubber grip slipping around the plastic and the anti-rotation piece not preventing leg rotation reliably.

It is being replaced with a Gitzo GM2562T, and I'll be running to B&H tomorrow to get it.

Has anyone else here managed to wear out a monopod?

Draco
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 07:55 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 45
Views: 2,991
Well... on closer examination of product images, this is not merely a reskinning. In addition to the new grip on the focus ring, the material used for the lens casing appears to have changed.

The old FA 35mm lens used a smooth plastic which IME does not feel particularly durable (don't have the 35mm proper but the D FA 50mm macro uses the same, older, plastic material). The updated version has rough patterning consistent with the more rigid fiber-reinforced plastic used on newer Pentax lenses. This is very likely to be a plus for build quality.

Draco


On another look, the plastic mold lines on the new lens are exactly where they were on the old lens. Is this merely a difference in the paint they're using, or have they really changed the plastic material? In either case, the rigidity of the plastic in most newer lens designs is generally superior in my experience to the plastic used in older lenses (and in the DA 50mm f/1.8, a lens built to a price point).

Switching to a modern FRP would itself be a convincing justification for the increased price over the old lens.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 06:55 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 45
Views: 2,991
Well, given the responses here, it's now abundantly clear that the performance of the old FA 35mm is more than good enough to justify the higher ($400) price tag, especially now that it has new coatings and refreshed aesthetics. As dated as the screwdrive AF and aperture ring may seem these days, it's pretty obvious that Ricoh saw no reason to change the mechanical design on the updated lens, and I have no objections to this decision. Noisy as it may be, screwdrive AF is generally fast and reliable on modern Pentax bodies (I have never heard of an in-body AF motor failure on a Pentax camera).

I will definitely be looking into getting this lens at some point in the coming months.

Draco
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 05:23 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 45
Views: 2,991
I actually missed that, thanks for pointing that to me.

Given the age of the lens design, I'm honestly a bit surprised that there hasn't been more attention given to it, though these reviews do look promising. I'm actually more concerned about whether there's much to gain from the HD coatings FWIW...

Draco
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 04:34 PM  
Revamped lenses? Yep but with at least WR and rounded iris!
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 42
Views: 2,576
If they're going down this route, the old FA 50mm f/1.4 ought to be refreshed as well. The D FA* 50mm is too expensive and too large/heavy for many, and a cheaper alternative would be a good idea. The optical performance of that lens is very good overall, though certainly not at the level the new 50 delivers. Doing the same they did here—updating the coatings and modernizing the exterior design, while keeping the lens mechanically and optically identical otherwise, down to the screwdrive AF, should be enough to get them to sell more of the classic 50 without cannibalizing sales of their new pro-grade prime lens.

Draco
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 04:26 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 45
Views: 2,991
Pentax recently announced a refreshed FA 35mm f/2 lens, and from what I can tell, it's optically and mechanically identical to the old FA 35mm it replaces save for new lens coatings and an updated industrial design.

A lack of detailed reviews of this lens on the K-1 made me wonder about a couple of things: how well does it perform (sharpness, aberrations, etc) on a full-frame sensor, particularly in the edge and corners of the frame; and how did the lens behave when shooting against bright light? Because pretty much everything except flare resistance has remained the same, though we know that the HD coatings were a significant improvement over the (already competitive) SMC.

Is the lens's optical performance good enough for a modern, high-resolution full-frame digital SLR camera, and how much would it benefit from updated coatings?

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-22-2018, 02:18 PM  
Supporting a D FA 150-450mm lens: Use existing Arca-Swiss ball head or get a gimbal?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 23
Views: 1,541
Hmm... While I haven't had issues with using the ball head the "normal" way with my 70-200 (again, the Arca-Swiss Monoball uses an aspherical ball that is more resistant to tipping over than conventional ball heads), I'll be sure to give this technique a shot. Thanks for the hint 🙂

Draco

---------- Post added 11-22-18 at 04:44 PM ----------

You mean like this?



I tried doing this briefly and I didn't quite like it. Also, there's metal-on-metal contact where the stem beneath the clamp comes into contact with the drop notch and that would wear it down very quickly.

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-22-2018, 12:03 PM  
Supporting a D FA 150-450mm lens: Use existing Arca-Swiss ball head or get a gimbal?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 23
Views: 1,541
Thanks for the advice. I'll probably just get the lens and plate, and add accessories as needed.

As for the gimbal, the GH-30 looks really nice for the money. I'd suppose it's just a small step down from the WH-200 in terms of build quality.

I have no reason to doubt the integrity of my Arca-Swiss head (it's designed to cope with upwards of 100 lbs of weight), but what's your experience with using a ball head with a large lens? The 150-450 is a bit larger than Canon's 100-400 II, and I'm seeing people use both ball heads and gimbal heads with the latter.

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-22-2018, 11:40 AM  
Supporting a D FA 150-450mm lens: Use existing Arca-Swiss ball head or get a gimbal?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 23
Views: 1,541
So... I'm looking to get a Pentax D FA 150-450mm lens (and a Wimberley P-40 QR plate to go with it) within the next few months (funding permitting), and I'm wondering if I can get by with my existing Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1+ sp or if I should get a gimbal head:
  • The Arca-Swiss Monoball heads are better-behaved than most ball heads with heavy lenses due to their aspherical ball making them less likely to tip over with a very heavy load. But I'm getting the feeling that a gimbal is still a better option. Is the 150-450 large or heavy enough to justify getting a gimbal?

  • An intermediate option is the Wimberley Sidekick, a gimbal attachment for ball heads. However, Wimberley states that they do not recommend using the Arca-Swiss double-decker clamp (which is what my Monoball Z1+ sp has). What potential issues might arise with this arrangement?

  • A standalone gimbal head is generally considered the best option; however, it's expensive and quite bulky. The Manfrotto 393 isn't an ideal substitute because it uses a proprietary QR system which is not Arca-Swiss-compatible. Is a Wimberley WH-200 worth it?

In all cases, the camera, lens, and head will be placed on a Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 tripod (carbon fiber, 9 kg/19.8 lb capacity).

Your thoughts?

Draco
Forum: Pentax K-3 11-20-2018, 11:57 AM  
AF sub-mirror delamination causing inconsistent focusing anyone else affected?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 50
Views: 6,127
The edges did improve.

Sadly, I am past the 90-day repair warranty period. I may have to pay for a second repair. I'll see what I can do about this.

Draco
Forum: Pentax K-3 11-19-2018, 11:26 PM  
AF sub-mirror delamination causing inconsistent focusing anyone else affected?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 50
Views: 6,127
Okay guys, sorry for the late reply... The camera came back with the mirror cleaned. Precision said that they did not find any delamination.

However, I am seeing faint bubbles of the same kind appear again gradually upon close inspection. The pattern of bubbles is the same as before, which would indicate delamination.

Any ideas?

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-07-2018, 04:54 PM  
Just bought into the Arca-Swiss QR system
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 7
Views: 1,014
So... I've posted an image of the Mandarin Duck on my Instagram account.

It hasn't gone through my full post-processing routine; I had only processed the RAW on my phone quickly using Snapseed. Regardless, I almost cried when I saw it and had to work my way through a big crowd in order to even get in position and set up my tripod.

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-03-2018, 07:28 AM  
Just bought into the Arca-Swiss QR system
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 7
Views: 1,014
Surprise: I actually got a Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 for my birthday coming up soon. I'm bringing it to Central Park today along with the Monoball Z1+ sp to see if I can capture that elusive Mandarin Duck that's been making the rounds on social media...

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 10-23-2018, 04:17 PM  
Just bought into the Arca-Swiss QR system
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 7
Views: 1,014
Arca-Swiss heads have a few different Quickset options, including a twist lock and a lever lock. The lever lock is not guaranteed to be compatible with anything other than Arca-Swiss's own plates because it's designed to open and close to specific widths, and plates with different widths will not fit correctly. The twist lock does not suffer from that problem because it's continuously variable, but it's also slower to operate.

I have the twist-lock version of the Monoball Z1+ sp and haven't had any issues with the third-party (SpiderPro) plate thus far. I also have a genuine Arca-Swiss 40mm universal-fit plate; though I haven't tried it, I have no reason to believe that there would be any issues.

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 10-23-2018, 09:00 AM  
Just bought into the Arca-Swiss QR system
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 7
Views: 1,014
After over a year of being on the fence, I've finally bought into the Arca-Swiss quick-release system. I've acquired an Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1+ sp and a couple of plates, including a SpiderPro lens collar plate for use on my D FA* 70-200mm lens. I'm using this on my Oben CTM-2500 monopod, but will eventually get a better monopod as well as a proper tripod, (edit: see post #6) not to mention more lenses. Alas, my budget is limited and I don't have that much money to acquire all that gear at once.

The free motion allowed by a ball head takes some time to get used to, but the advantage of the Arca-Swiss head is that doesn't tip over as easily under load because it uses a spheroid ball whose tension increases as you move it away from the center position, addressing a problem I've constantly had with the tilt head it replaced.

The hard part, however, is properly deciding what heads and plates to buy. The Arca-Swiss QR system is very confusing to a newcomer, and I talked with the B&H sales associate for a long time before buying, discussing how supposedly "Arca-compatible" plates and mounts can be incompatible with other manufacturer's due to proprietary extensions and modifications, such as pins or other protrusions in the head and/or plate and inconsistent plate widths.

One last thing: B&H only lists the Monoball Z1 sp but the new Z1+ sp has the same SKU, so don't be alarmed if you can't find the new Z1+ model on their website.

Any hints on using this or suggestions on future expansion? Your thoughts on the Arca-Swiss system and its compatibility issues?

Draco
Forum: Pentax K-3 08-16-2018, 04:15 PM  
AF sub-mirror delamination causing inconsistent focusing anyone else affected?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 50
Views: 6,127
It's been sent to Precision for repair. I've made it very clear on the letter inside the package that the AF sub-mirror is delaminating and must be replaced, not merely cleaned.

The camera is out of warranty. My first job of the next season is September 1, so I'm paying for an expedited repair. Furthermore, I've shipped it out via Priority Mail Express for guaranteed overnight delivery, something I don't usually do.

Draco
Forum: Pentax K-3 08-15-2018, 07:50 PM  
AF sub-mirror delamination causing inconsistent focusing anyone else affected?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 50
Views: 6,127
Late reply, but I have inspected the AF sub-mirror again and the spots have reappeared, exactly where they were before I tried to "clean" them". The camera has seen very little use over the last few months. At this point, I am absolutely convinced that this is delamination and not contamination.

Ricoh seriously needs to know about this.

Draco
Forum: Product Suggestions and Feedback 06-17-2018, 11:11 AM  
Mirror cling clang when play, or enter the menu from live view
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 3
Views: 1,056
The problem is that it takes energy to keep the shutter open and the sensor active. (On the K-3 family, as far as I can tell, keeping the mirror up alone does not require extra energy.) As such, the camera simply closes the shutter and lowers the mirror when in the menus. This behavior is by design, but at least the K-3 would automatically resume live view when you exit the menu. (The K-5 did not and you had to press the live view button again to do the same.)

Draco
Forum: Pentax K-3 05-22-2018, 10:59 PM  
AF sub-mirror delamination causing inconsistent focusing anyone else affected?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 50
Views: 6,127
Bubbles could just be voids between the surface and substrate. I can't really tell the difference between contamination and delamination at this point.

Draco
Forum: Pentax K-3 05-22-2018, 07:35 PM  
AF sub-mirror delamination causing inconsistent focusing anyone else affected?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 50
Views: 6,127
Now this is interesting. I put a cotton swab on it and the spots disappear. However, merely putting pressure on the mirror is enough to remove the spot, and I see no indication of streaking when I gently wipe it.

Hence, this does not rule out delamination as pressure can cause sub-surface bubbles to disappear, but it does suggest it could just be oil or other contamination.

Autofocus consistency has improved dramatically since this operation. I'll be monitoring this closely to see if this issue reappears.

Draco
Forum: Pentax K-3 05-21-2018, 02:53 PM  
AF sub-mirror delamination causing inconsistent focusing anyone else affected?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 50
Views: 6,127
Possibly. As far as I can tell, Precision only performed a CLA on the camera and its AF system; the AF sub-mirror may not have deteriorated to that point or they may not have recognized the true nature of the problem. The inconsistency reappeared a few months after the service.

Draco
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