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Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 18 Hours Ago  
How Many Spare Batteries Do You Have?
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 15
Views: 433
I also do this. I've never really come close to running out of all batteries during a shoot. I don't do any video or use live view much though.

If your shoot is a highly critical career make-or-break type of job, get as many spare batteries as you can fit into your pockets.
Forum: Pentax Price Watch 20 Hours Ago  
Sigma18-300 with USB Dock & Close-Up Lens $399 & 4% rewards
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 4
Views: 233
Aw sucks. Oh well, I can wait until Black Friday.
Forum: Pentax Price Watch 23 Hours Ago  
Sigma18-300 with USB Dock & Close-Up Lens $399 & 4% rewards
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 4
Views: 233
I guess the deal is over if the dock is no longer showing under the "includes free" portion on the B&H listing, or is there something else you have to do to activate that deal?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 4 Days Ago  
Travel lens kit
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 13
Views: 881
Nice report!

I have found a 3 lens travel kit to be optimal:

- General purpose zoom
- Wide angle
- Low-light prime

Looks like others feel the same.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 11-10-2017, 10:25 AM  
Best flash modifier (and a lens advice) for a prom/party event?
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 3
Views: 418
For events I've used the fong dome before. Honestly, it didn't perform that much different from a Stofen cap, which is what I use now. Also the 540 FGZ has a fairly weak hinge and might have trouble even supporting the Fong dome in an angled position (at least mine did with the rubber one, not sure how might lighter the plastic fong dome is). So to me Stofen caps are the way to go as they're cheap, light, and compact. Just make sure to test and make your settings right. If you find yourself in a situation where you have a nice big wall to bounce light off, just take off the cap.

As for lenses, I've rocked just a single 24mm on crop (so 35mm equivalent on FF) with a flash for events and gotten great results. 50mm will definitely be too tight to get good group shots, but the 28mm, while kind of wide, should work ok.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-09-2017, 10:49 PM  
What is the most compact/light Pentax zoom lenses?
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 21
Views: 830
The Pentax 18-135 is surprisingly compact for a lens that has its zoom range.
Forum: Pentax K-5 11-09-2017, 12:55 PM  
K5 vs. K-50?
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 14
Views: 526
To me this is the one great advantage the K5 has over its K-50/30 cousin (the quieter shutter). Everything else is personal preference and is basically a wash.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-05-2017, 04:36 PM  
The Pentax DA* 11-18mm F2.8
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 49
Views: 2,172
Good call in comparing it with the Tokina. Honestly, anything under 600g would be just fine for me. Making it only for crop sensors probably helps keep the weight down.

I don't feel it's going to be that high. Even the DA 15-30 2.8 is only $1450 new, and that's because it's full frame. I'd say anything around $1000 seems likely. $1200 would be pushing it, while anything under $1000 would be a pleasant surprise.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-05-2017, 12:16 AM  
The Pentax DA* 11-18mm F2.8
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 49
Views: 2,172
I wonder how heavy this thing is going to be. It seems smaller than the 15-30, so it's probably lighter, but the 15-30 is a brick so that's not saying much.

The Sigma 10-20 4-5.6 was a bulky lens but it was surprisingly light, so hopefully this new lens is closer to that, though that seems doubtful since it's an f2.8.

Oh well, the way I see it, the 11-18 will save me from carrying around a da15 and the SamBoRokiTar 10mm.

Finally, something in the Pentax lineup to get really excited about. Unless it's something absurd like $1500, I'll probably buy it on day 1.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-02-2017, 10:12 PM  
older Sigma 150-500mm question
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 9
Views: 415
I just got a 150-500 recently (non OS) and I am very pleased with the results I get from it using a K-30. I was comparing it online to other lenses in its class (reviews + used prices) and it might be the best 400mm+ bang-for-buck telephoto for Pentax out there.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10-24-2017, 12:02 AM  
Low-light focusing: Why are some lenses better?
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 27
Views: 1,128
The 645D has a CCD sensor. The K20D (and the K5 and later DSLR models after it) has a CMOS sensor. That might have something to do with it.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10-23-2017, 07:35 PM  
Low-light focusing: Why are some lenses better?
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 27
Views: 1,128
Good list.

Also add to this

- The AF module of the camera body.

Older camera bodies (like my K30) had the SAFOX IXi+ AF system which could operate at -1EV. Newer ones (like in my KS2) have newer modules, like the SAFOX X system that can operate at up to -3 EV. In my non-lab testing, I've found that indeed the KS2 focuses quicker and more accurately in lower light than the K30 using the same lens.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10-22-2017, 02:58 AM  
Best place for lens repair?
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 9
Views: 438
I'll give a shout out to Advance Camera in Oregon.

About Us | Advance Camera Inc.
Advance Camera - 85 Reviews - Photography Stores & Services - 8124 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy, Southwest Portland, Portland, OR - Phone Number - Yelp

I've used them twice now, once for lenses, and once for a camera body.

My favorite thing about them is that they are very easy to get a hold of. I can call them during their store hours and usually get someone on the line who can give me updates and answer my questions. They also check their voicemails and will return calls when they don't answer. There was a billing error with one of my repair orders and it was fixed hassle free. It's all very reassuring.

They're also apparently an authorized Pentax repair center.

Don't see them mentioned a lot here, but I think they're worth a try.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-06-2017, 04:51 PM  
Pentax K-S2 autofocus problem
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 2
Views: 405
Yeah, i took a look inside, even flipped the mirror up. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I'll take a closer look at home later using diagrams and such.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-06-2017, 12:14 PM  
Pentax K-S2 autofocus problem
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 2
Views: 405
Hey all, just picked up a Pentax ks2 and I've run into a curious situation with the auto focus.

In live view, autofocus is snappy and accurate. Autofocus even works in movie mode (slow and noisy, but it gets there). Manual focus using the back lcd presents no problems (focus peaking, magnification, etc. All working).

But using the viewfinder, autofocus just won't lock on, with or without the af assist light, indoors or outdoors. I've tried all the shooting modes, af modes, etc. And nothing seems to make the camera lock in focus via. The viewfinder. I can't even get the red focus confirm square to show. The camera just racks through the entire focus range, back and forth.

Tested so far on three different lenses (18-50 wr re, Sigma 24 2.8 af, Tamron 18-200) and nothing seems to work. The Ks2 is in great condition, low clicks ( <1000), 1.1 firmware, no signs of damage. I've reset the settings and everything, and it's driving me nuts.

Any clue as to what's causing this issue? My google-fu turns up nothing.
Forum: Sold Items 12-09-2016, 12:27 AM  
For Sale - Sold: K-5 Classic, 18-55wr, 50-200wr
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 12
Views: 1,213
PM sent for DA 50mm 1.8
Forum: General Talk 11-20-2016, 02:15 AM  
Your latest acquisition
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 10,919
Views: 745,001
Just got a new gaming PC. Will obviously also work just fine for photo and video shenanigans. Got some sweet parts for cheap thanks to a relative that works in IT.

Here's the main bits:

Intel i7-6700K 4.00GHz Processor
GTX 1060 6GB Video Card

And a used and older (but still very decent) 24" monitor (HP ZR24w).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-15-2016, 11:18 PM  
COMPLETE Newbie/Beginner - Question About Tamron AF 90mm Macro f/2.8 Di SP
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 14
Views: 750
I have gushed about the Tamron 90mm Macro before:

I've always wanted to try owning the Pentax 100mm Macro, but I could never find a reason to pony up the extra several hundred dollars to get one over the Tamron 90 (I think I've gone through 3 Tamron 90 Macros).

Save money, get the Tamron, and if you decide you really like taking macro shots in the 90-110mm range, then that is the time to consider the Pentax 100mm (and you can sell your Tamron 90 for probably the same price and not lose anything).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-15-2016, 02:52 AM  
picture of da 15mm, 35mm, and 77mm limiteds next to each other
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 7
Views: 786
Here's an incredibly janky way to sort of see them side by side.

Compact Camera Meter

They only have the FA 77 and the DA 35mm though, no DA 15, but the DA 15 is smaller than the others I know that much. is a little rough, but it pretty much displays relative sizes accurately.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-15-2016, 02:45 AM  
Samyang 10/2.8 or 14/2.8 for night landscapes?
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 5
Views: 555
So I don't have personal experience with these lenses, but I thought I would link you to a very interesting article.

How-To: Picking a Great Lens for Milky Way Photography

Basically someone came up with a formula to objectively determine the best lenses for Milky Way shots.

Astrophotography Nightscape Lens Rating - Google Sheets

The 10mm 2.8 and the 14mm 2.8 scored very close to each other (1184 vs 1032) so I think either would do just fine for nice shots of the Milky Way. For myself personally I would go with the wider option to grab as much sky as possible.

Lastly the best scoring lens according to his chart is the Fujinon 16mm 1.4 (score: 3826).
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-14-2016, 02:28 AM  
Wasabi Battery expanding, afraid it might explode
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 18
Views: 1,204
Thanks for the replies all.

I have been wondering about a safe way to drain the battery. I should note that I have used it a few times in its ever-expanding state, so maybe one more round of use won't hurt (famous last words). But I do have a tin ready for it once I'm ready to dispose of it properly.

As for third-party vs original battery, I think I might just have to suck it up and overpay for an OEM battery shipped across the soon-to-be-NAFTA-free border.
Forum: Repairs and Warranty Service 11-14-2016, 02:24 AM  
What to do with these lenses
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 9
Views: 964
Thanks for this!

I emailed Precision Camera Works last week (NOT the one in CT) and they haven't replied. So much for customer service . . .

I'll drop Advance Camera Repair a line and see what they think. Also, since Portland is close to Vancouver, maybe shipping will be reasonable.

---------- Post added 11-14-16 at 01:30 AM ----------

Nice blog post. Thanks for the link. I'm just getting back into photography so I have't visited the lensrentals blog in a while, but they really put out quality articles. This one seems quite relevant.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-13-2016, 02:41 PM  
Wasabi Battery expanding, afraid it might explode
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 18
Views: 1,204
For my K-30 I switch between the stock D-li109 battery and a third party (Wasabi brand) battery. The Wasabi battery was ordered on May 2013.

Lately I have noticed that the Wasabi battery was getting harder and harder to put in and take out of my K-30's battery slot. So I took my digital micrometer and measured the width of the center of each battery.

Original battery: 14.062mm

Wasabi battery: 15.098mm!

I've searched the net and can't find any reports of Wasabi batteries (or any third party brand) Pentax batteries exploding, and I don't want to be the first.

I think I'm just at the point where I won't bother with third-party batteries anymore, but OEM batteries are kind of hard to get here in Canada.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-08-2016, 12:37 AM  
A comparison between the DA21 LTD and FA28 (with pics!). Mainly for starbursts
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 17
Views: 1,484
Yeah, I had an FA 31 last year, sold it, kinda regret it. It was definitely an amazing lens.

On the point about DA 15 SMC vs DA 21 starbursts, the DA 15 SMC is unique in that it's the only lens I know of where the starburst points are different lengths (the points go long-short-long-short . . . )

Here's an example from the DA 15 club:

You'll see it in other DA 15 photos, particularly where the sun is present.

I'm actually curious if there's another lens that can produce such a starburst.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-07-2016, 12:17 PM  
A comparison between the DA21 LTD and FA28 (with pics!). Mainly for starbursts
Posted By EarlVonTapia
Replies: 17
Views: 1,484
The FA 31 can produce starbursts. They lines aren't as crisp as those you'll find on the DA 15 or DA 21, but they're there.

Some examples from Mike Oria. These were shot on APSC, so I'm not sure how it would translate into FF:

Night In Old San Francisco | Rain puddle reflection from Pie? | Flickr

Spokes | please press L for lightbox The sun sets behind Mt.? | Flickr

Happy New Year! | Please press L to view in LIGHTBOX Here is? | Flickr
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