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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-25-2012, 12:28 PM  
odd focal lengths
Posted By clutch
Replies: 76
Views: 7,835
My mistake, Blue. Thanks for the clarification. I had assumed the DA40 descended from the M40 just based on the outward appearance. My original point was actually that a pancake 40mm lens wasn't a new concept for Pentax, since the M40 has been around for over 35 years.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-23-2012, 01:39 PM  
odd focal lengths
Posted By clutch
Replies: 76
Views: 7,835
The focal lengths come from a variety of sources - some have been around since the film era like the 31, 40, and 77. On some lenses like the 40, Pentax adapted film lens designs to the APS-C sensor but kept the original focal length. Others come from taking a common film focal length and adjusting it for the crop factor. The DA70 comes from 105 divided by 1.5, the DA15 is the equivalent of a 24mm, and the 55-135 is the APS-C equivalent of a 70-200 zoom. The FA43 is the true normal lens for 24x36 film - it is the length of the diagonal of 35mm film. Most manufacturers rounded it up to 50mm.
Forum: Photographic Technique 06-01-2012, 06:15 PM  
RAW vs JPEG, again
Posted By clutch
Replies: 18
Views: 10,591
Early on, I shot mostly jpeg's because RAW just seemed like it was taking up more space on memory cards and hard drives. At some point I read about the benefits of RAW so I started shooting in it more, even though the software I was using didn't seem to take advantage of it. Then I got Lightroom. When I realized what I could do with it to improve everything in my collection, I really regretted shooting so much of my early work in JPEG. I have a lot of merely decent JPEGs that could've been excellent had I shot them in RAW and post-processed them in LR. RAW makes your collection more future-proof.

Another analogy - RAW is like having all of the original master recordings for each individual instrument in a song. A JPEG is a compressed MP3 of the final mix. Not only is the final product lower quality, but there are significant limits to what you can do to manipulate it into something different or better.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 06-10-2011, 02:52 PM  
Why isn't Pentax more popular?
Posted By clutch
Replies: 50
Views: 12,261
Buying one's first DSLR is complicated. There's half a dozen price points just between $500-$2000, features that you won't understand if you'll want, need or use until you own the camera, and a million contradictory opinions to read on the internet. I've wanted one since about 2003, but I suffered with high-end P&S compacts until 2010 because I had analysis paralysis on what to buy.

I was really close to just buying a Nikon D5000 based on price and name alone. I knew the name and figured it would be a no-brainer purchase and I could avoid a bunch of research. A friend - who happens to shoot Nikon - had been reading reviews of the Pentax K-x and said that if he was able to start over he would've gotten a K-x instead of his D40x. My initial reaction was "Pentax? Isn't that some off-brand?" I'm usually pretty proud of my inability to be influenced by marketing (and lack thereof), and in hindsight I'm still ashamed that I was slightly repulsed by the thought of going with a lesser-known brand. I ended up doing the research I had considered avoiding in the first place, and came away with a K-7.

Unfortunately, most people aren't capable or willing to make that leap. I'm really glad I didn't just close my eyes and jump in credit card-first. I actually enjoy the research aspect of starting a new hobby, but most consumers just want to make an easy decision. Advertising makes them think they can spend money that way and still feel satisfied with what they bought. To answer the original question, that's why Pentax isn't more popular. Without marketing, the casual consumer will never give them a chance. I am about farthest thing there is from a casual consumer, and I was really close to just overlooking Pentax solely out of ignorance.

If I had bought a D5000 last year, and then learned everything I know now about Pentax, I'd have been extremely disappointed in the D5000 and would've already sold it. But had I gone Nikon, I'd probably never have known anything about Pentax and been ignorant and happy with a far inferior camera.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 05-28-2011, 08:11 PM  
anyone else feel self-conscious?
Posted By clutch
Replies: 133
Views: 20,740
I went out for a walk in my neighborhood this morning. I was thinking about reading this thread yesterday and I decided to take my camera with me. I took my DA55-300 along to do some bird photography. I stopped on the sidewalk at the end of my street and was trying to catch a shot of a black and orange bird I wasn't familiar with in one of my neighbor's yards. One of my neighbors who was also on a morning walk came up behind me and asked what I was doing. I pointed out the bird, which she readily identified as a Towhee. From there it started getting weird. I think she had the attitude that if I wasn't a bird expert that I must be using it as a cover for something suspicious. She walked off and I took a different street so she wouldn't bother the birds I was trying to shoot.

On my way back, I stopped at another yard on an intersection. A pair of cardinals were feeding, so I tried to approach slowly. Here she comes again. She walked past the intersection, and when I didn't come around, she turned around to see what I was doing. After a few moments, she turns down the street I'm on to confront me. The cardinals take off. Now I'm getting annoyed because she keeps ruining my shots. She comes up to me and starts interrogating. "Do you live in this neighborhood?" Yes, on your street. "Really, I've never seen you before." (I see her walking all the time - we've waved at each other). "What house?" "What's your name?" "Are you a photographer?"

I tried to be polite and relaxed, but it was obvious that the size of my camera and lens, and probably the way I was moving while closing in on birds was making her agitated and suspicious. I know she's seen me before in front of my house, but I think the presence of my camera erased her memory. I didn't offer to show her any shots, but tried to make it clear that I was just out enjoying a hobby. I also wasn't hiding my aggravation much and that probably made her more suspicious of me.

I don't think it will stop me from taking my camera or affect my lens choice on my neighborhood walks, but it aggravated me enough that I'm still thinking about it this evening. The irony is that the purpose of the big lens is to fill as much of the frame with birds as possible, not my neighbor's property. The less of that in the frame the better. But had I taken say, a DA15 and gone around taking shots of houses she'd probably have never noticed.
Forum: Pentax K-5 10-15-2010, 06:51 PM  
What about the K-5 body makes it "worth" 2x the price of the K-r KIT?
Posted By clutch
Replies: 144
Views: 21,830
My theory is that it's an aberration. Amazon is showing the K-5 as available for pre-order and not yet released. They only have the MSRP to go by, not the typical Pentax street price that is 20-30% off of MSRP. People pre-ordered, possibly with the expectation to get the street price (80% of $1600 = $1280) once it was actually released. Apparently Amazon obtained and then shipped a limited number of bodies before officially stocking it. The first few pre-orderers get early copies and a bill for the full MSRP for the privilege. I have absolutely zero expectation that the street price of the K-5 will be $1600 when the channel is fully populated. I'd expect it to be $1120-$1280 by Black Friday.
Forum: Pentax K-5 10-15-2010, 05:53 PM  
Amazon: K-5 now in stock
Posted By clutch
Replies: 174
Views: 31,871
I've been looking at Amazon's K-5 page occasionally for the last few days, and it only ever says that it has not yet been released. If it had been released but they'd already run out of stock, it should just say "out of stock". Are people pre-ordering and Amazon is shipping the pre-orders?

Note that I'm not buying one anytime soon, just curious what's going on.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-14-2010, 04:39 PM  
New Pentaxian, tons of newbie questions (K-X v. K-R)
Posted By clutch
Replies: 21
Views: 4,464
The 18-55 is very sharp at 35mm and about f/5.6 - f/11.0. It's got a good range from about 24-43mm if you're 1-1.5 stops closed from wide open. At 55mm and wide open, you'll get a "dreamy" or "soft" effect. It's not necessarily unusable, but if you want sharp close-ups be aware of it. Check slrgear.com (the AL II SMC DA version is tested) and look at the sharpness graphs for a good visualization of the sweet spots.

I think it's hard to compare the 55-300 to the 18-55. They have different uses. The 55-300 can isolate subjects from the background more easily simply from the longer focal range. I like it for casual pictures of birds and large bugs (butterflies, dragonflies) in and around the backyard that I can't get with the 18-55. I like landscapes with the 18-55 when I want a big-sky feel. I don't know that I've really compared sharpness between them since the subject distance is usually so different between what I'm shooting with each one.

Both are good lenses compared to other lenses in their focal length and aperture ranges.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-10-2010, 01:42 PM  
Sensor size v Pentax focal lengths
Posted By clutch
Replies: 18
Views: 5,522
Could you elaborate on that? I understand that the diagonal of the film/sensor is equal to the focal length of a "normal" lens, but I don't understand how viewing distance is involved. What units are you talking about? An "image viewed at the distance of the image diagonal" would have to be viewed at a distance of 28mm for APS-C or 43mm for FF. Or are you talking about the diagonal of the print? So, a 13"x19" print should be viewed at a distance of 23"?

What are "natural angles"? Do you mean that the perspective distortion will appear natural, i.e. no expansion or compression?
Forum: Site Suggestions and Help 10-08-2010, 05:46 PM  
Suggestion Original Poster indicator
Posted By clutch
Replies: 3
Views: 660
Well, funny you should mention that. The other forum where I've seen it is a Linux support forum. And the subforum here where I tend to miss it is Beginner's Corner. May not be as useful in general conversation threads.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 10-08-2010, 04:29 PM  
Poll: What do you think is the most exciting product of Pentax this year?
Posted By clutch
Replies: 43
Views: 7,311
I voted K-5. I like the concept of the 18-135WR, but I'm a little disappointed in the execution. I would've liked a distance scale and similar control ring layout as the 18-55 WR. I'm waiting on availability and test results to completely pass judgment. If produces better IQ and is more consistent through the zoom range than the typical Tamron/Sigma super-zooms then I'll probably forgive the design. It would be a useful weekend lens for family snapshots when I don't want to bring the whole kit and do a lot of lens swaps.
Forum: Site Suggestions and Help 10-08-2010, 04:09 PM  
Suggestion Original Poster indicator
Posted By clutch
Replies: 3
Views: 660
Another forum I frequent has a nice feature I'd like to suggest. Any time the original poster replies to his/her own thread, the replies are marked "Original Poster" in bold text in the left side info box. The equivalent placement on PF would be under the bar with "Posts: ### | Rep: ###". I don't know that it needs to go into another offset-color bar like the other items in the left side. In fact, if it was just text it might make it stand out from the standard items better. The first post in a thread isn't marked, obviously, only replies from the OP.

It's useful for a variety of reasons. It's handy to be able to scroll through and quickly find if the OP has replied with additional information to troubleshoot a problem or needs more help. Sometimes when replying the OP ends up in parallel conversations with several other members. The topics may diverge and you only want to see if the OP replied to your post and not one of the tangents.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-07-2010, 08:18 PM  
Best starting lens? Cheap body and nice lens? or nice body and okay lens?
Posted By clutch
Replies: 52
Views: 11,207
Another interpretation of "cheaper body, better lens" is to get a camera body-only and then upgrade to something better than the kit lens. With Pentax, the kit lenses are pretty good, so that advice may not be completely necessary. However, you could get a K-x body and then buy the 18-55 WR. The K-x isn't weather resistant, so the WR lens doesn't help you any but you would get a metal mount vs. the plastic mount DA L 18-55 that comes as the K-x kit lens. Completely a personal preference, and I don't know how much more that would cost you over the K-x/DA L kit, probably $50 or more. May not be worth it to you, and I don't think there's any difference optically between the DA L 18-55 and the DA18-55 WR.

Another option would be to skip the 18-55's and get a 16-45 f/4. It's significantly more expensive than the 18-55's though. You lose 1/2 a stop at the wide end but gain a full stop at the long end. The lens is almost as expensive as the camera though, and if you're just starting out you probably won't produce any better results with the 16-45 than the 18-55.

Just a thought. I hear Nikon folks offering this kind of advice more often, but their kit lenses aren't as good as the Pentax 18-55. Their kit lens may go unused after they've made a few upgrades, but the Pentax 18-55 could remain a viable part of a lens collection indefinitely.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-06-2010, 07:54 PM  
Stopping down
Posted By clutch
Replies: 21
Views: 4,815
Wizofoz and BigDave already covered it, but I'll add that the wikipedia article for f-stop has some handy charts of the 1/2 and 1/3 stops. I found them useful when learning about new lenses and answering questions like "how much faster is an f/1.4 over a f/4?".

F-number - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 09-25-2010, 09:43 PM  
Annihilation of Pentax lens line up - death of FA ltds
Posted By clutch
Replies: 123
Views: 16,874
That's a very good observation, Wheatfield. I've gotten the impression of the FA Limiteds as requiring some experience to get results from. The reviews for them in the database mention that you can't always get the "pixie dust" out of them. When the conditions are just right, you get magic, but not consistently. I also get the impression that the DA40 and DA70 more consistently provide the best results they are capable of. Granted I don't own any of them. That's just my impression from reading reviews and looking at sharpness graphs.

I think most of my disappointment is because the FA Limiteds are something to aspire to. I got into Pentax specifically because of the results I've seen from them. But honestly I've had a hard time fitting them into a plan for what lenses I want and when. My FA35 satisfies what I wanted in a normal, and I haven't needed a dedicated portrait lens yet. If I ever really want an FA43 I doubt it will be that difficult to obtain a used one in mint condition.



Thank you very much, Nubi. I've been thinking about some of this for awhile and this latest uproar seemed like a good time to share.



I've found that a lot of the entertainment value of this forum is all of the attempts at predicting Hoya's next moves. Corporations in general seem to make decisions that are baffling to everyone but a select few executives at the top. Trying to predict (or direct) the actions of a Japanese multinational seems as futile as reading the thoughts of humpback whales. There's some sort of intelligence there, but it's absolutely incomprehensible.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 09-25-2010, 08:03 PM  
Annihilation of Pentax lens line up - death of FA ltds
Posted By clutch
Replies: 123
Views: 16,874
I realize that this is just a rumor, but I'd like to share my perspective as someone who only became interested in Pentax in the last 3-4 months.

When I was researching getting into a DSLR in general and Pentax in particular earlier this year, I started learning about their lens selection. I was initially interested in a K-x, but I wanted to be sure that Pentax had a good selection of lenses. The first places I spent a lot of time with were B&H, the DPR forum, and Pentax's website. I saw the FA section at pentaximaging.com and I didn't really understand what they were for or why they were still made. Later I started seeing threads at DPR that were dedicated to the 43 or 77 and I realized how popular they were. Seeing some of those series was ultimately why I chose to buy a K-7 over a D90. A thread by jsherman/moving_comfort called "Summer of 77" was particularly influential in my decision. The sharpness and color from the 77 especially removed any doubt that Pentax had good lenses.

Since I knew Pentax still made FA lenses, but didn't have a full frame DSLR, I figured they still made recent film SLRs. Out of curiosity, I went back to Pentax's website to see what their current film bodies looked like. When I discovered that they no longer made any film SLRs, it really clicked that Pentax was an APS-C only company. Even the product design of the FAs made me start thinking that they were older models that were only still available "while supplies last."

With more research, I found out the reputation and capabilities of all of the FA Limiteds, and figured that if they were still in production it was just because they were established designs that were still popular on APS-C. My impression was that most of the lenses with an F in the name would soon be unavailable. When I started seeing the FA31 out of stock for months at B&H and Adorama, I assumed that was how lenses disappeared. They would just become unavailable without any formal announcement that they were out of production.

I would be really disappointed if they do discontinue the FA Limiteds. I had in mind that I would get one or more of them eventually, but I've had the impression that they are lenses for more advanced users. I didn't want to spend the money on them too early on and not get the kind of results I've seen from them. But I've had a nagging feeling like I better grab all the FA's I might want soon because they might not be around much longer. I just got an FA35/2 because it seemed to be a better general purpose normal lens than the DA35/2.8. If Pentax would discontinue the FA35/2, it really wouldn't surprise me if the FA Limiteds are next.

After I bought my K-7 and started reading this forum more, I was really surprised by all of the constant discussion about a FF announcement. It seemed pretty obvious from a new user's perspective that Pentax just didn't do that and had no plans to. I couldn't see anything in their current product line that would lend itself to making people think they were about to, other than perhaps wishful thinking. From what I've seen so far this year, Pentax's actual direction and what the enthusiast community wants them to do don't seem to be aligned well. As ludicrous as it seems to discontinue the FA Limiteds, should we really be that surprised when it does happen?
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-24-2010, 05:06 AM  
Will this lens fit Pentax K-x
Posted By clutch
Replies: 26
Views: 9,256
Doh! I looked at the original post several times and I kept reading it as 1.2, not 1:2.

Everything I said about a cheap 50 1.7 applies to a cheap 50 2.0 as well. I kept thinking the OP was looking at a 1.2, which is an order of magnitude more expensive.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-23-2010, 08:44 PM  
Will this lens fit Pentax K-x
Posted By clutch
Replies: 26
Views: 9,256
I agree that 50mm isn't all that useful a focal length on APS. The real value of getting an M50 is a cheap introduction to fast glass and primes. Granted, a 1.2 isn't cheap, which is why a good first M50 is a 1.7. One of my early bad habits was to just pick up the camera and start spraying the shutter without checking my settings or really paying attention to what the camera was doing. A full manual prime lens makes you slow down, check your aperture, get a meter reading, compose, move around, re-meter, re-compose, then click.

It added another level of satisfaction to making pictures and has been a really good learning tool. Plus it will generate nicer bokeh than a kit lens. Totally worth $50, but I'd really hesitate to spend hundreds on a 50 1.2 without having played with a cheaper one first. I wouldn't think it would be a good fit for your stated interests of landscapes (too long), kids (manual focus), or macro (it's not a macro lens). Consider it a learning tool and not a go-to choice for your main interests, and spend accordingly.

BTW - I don't see an M50 1.2 in the lens database. Are you looking at a K50 1.2? It would just say 'smc Pentax 1:1.2 50mm'.
Forum: Pentax K-5 09-22-2010, 06:04 AM  
Official K-5 Praising Thread
Posted By clutch
Replies: 129
Views: 21,901
Yeah, that's been part of my thought process. I got my K-7 new for a really good price, and as of last week I probably could have sold it for almost break-even. A review of the marketplace makes me think that prices have already started dropping quite a bit since the K-5 announcement though. I definitely wouldn't want to sell it before the K-5 was readily available either.

But there's also the Puritan part of my consumer behavior that finds it distasteful to replace/upgrade something I just bought, especially for an additional cost. The optimum time to upgrade will probably be early 2012 when the K-5's successor is in the pipeline. If the control layout is changed on that camera I'll definitely want to stay with the K-5, and prices/availability/firmware will be at their best then.
Forum: Pentax K-5 09-21-2010, 07:58 PM  
Official K-5 Praising Thread
Posted By clutch
Replies: 129
Views: 21,901
My problem is that I just bought a K-7 as my first DSLR about three months ago. I got into Pentax because I liked the system as a whole (primes, SR, backwards compatibility, WR, price) and was willing to live with the perceived sensor shortcomings. The K-7's been a great camera and I'm averaging 1000 shots a month with it. The K-5 looks perfect to me. It's my K-7 with the few improvements I would want added to it. It's hard to justify an upgrade now though. It will probably be a good six months to a year before I could justify selling my K-7 and buying a K-5. I'm thinking that the price of the K-5 should drop faster than the resale value of my K-7 though, so I'm probably better off waiting even if I'll lose a couple $100 on my K-7 later on.

I could definitely use 3 stops more of high ISO. I've been shooting hummingbirds a lot lately just before their migration. I've found I need 1/1600 and ISO 1600 at f/8 on my 400mm to really stop their motion and keep their wings from just disappearing. It would be nice to have an ISO 1600 with the image quality I get at ISO400 now. On the K-7 I feel like ISO1600 is a "setting of last resort", but I'm not really happy with the IQ. I haven't started shooting in RAW and doing NR in post yet, so I could probably get better results that way. It would be nice to get better IQ straight out of the camera jpg's without having to do that though.

For me, owning a K-5 will be "when" not "if".
Forum: Post Your Photos! 09-18-2010, 08:42 PM  
Sports Early returns from Oceania Air Show
Posted By clutch
Replies: 6
Views: 1,506
I have to agree with goddo - those first two F/A-18 shots are perfect. I especially like the second one.

I'm going to guess that those are Grumman F8F Bearcats in the last shot. Hard to be sure from that angle though.
Forum: Sold Items 09-16-2010, 06:02 AM  
For Sale - Sold: DA 10-17mm fisheye, 21mm Limited, FA 35mm, FA 50mm, DFA 100mm Macro (Worldwide
Posted By clutch
Replies: 8
Views: 3,846
PM sent for FA35
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 09-12-2010, 03:58 PM  
Possible Complete K-5 Specs (Still rumour until the 22nd!)
Posted By clutch
Replies: 465
Views: 108,982
I believe that's the same photo of the K-5 that was leaked on lenstip.com. The 5 in K-5 looks like it's sitting a little higher than the K. They wisely cropped out the bad reflection effect for the cab promo though.
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 09-11-2010, 09:14 PM  
Hello all
Posted By clutch
Replies: 2
Views: 397
Thanks Adam. I'll really be in trouble when I get around to ordering a Katzeye.
Forum: Sold Items 09-11-2010, 08:49 PM  
For Sale - Sold: Vivitar 28mm Close Focus (Worldwide)
Posted By clutch
Replies: 5
Views: 2,433
PM sent
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