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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-17-2009, 10:27 AM  
Sigma 150-500 OS Shots
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 2
Views: 4,192
Hello all Pentaxians :)

I know sometimes it is difficult to find sample shots of some lenses. A lens in point is the Sigma 150-500 OS.

I thought I would share some test shots I managed to get with the lens, and they have me surprised with the quality - not too bad.

These were shot with my Nikon D300. Very sorry! But, it should give a good example of the lens performance, at least in my case.

All are hand-held, all in bad light (very overcast), all at least 50% crops.

Perhaps others were thinking of using this lens.


ISO720, 500mm, f/8, 1/400s


(here you see strange bokeh - don't jerk the lens while OS is in mode 1 and hasn't stabilized!)
ISO800, 500mm, f/8, 1/250s



ISO800, 250mm, f/8, 1/160s



ISO720, 500mm, f/8, 1/400s


ISO450, 500mm, f/6.3, 1/250s
Overall I find it a pretty good lens for the money! I think I will keep it. Thanks for looking, and I will post EXIF information if anyone is interested.

Edit -- added EXIF. As for corner performance, I haven't tested it at all -- I center all my subjects since this is a birding/wildlife lens. Perhaps I will put up some later
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-17-2009, 10:22 AM  
K20D High ISO Performance
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 22
Views: 4,376
While I subscribe to their magazine, I take their articles with a grain of salt.

Only the photographer can decide whether the move to FF is warranted. Glass is more expensive, the bodies more expensive, etc.

If you need high ISO performance or wide angle stuff (or huge MP count) or advanced pro features, then FF is a good thing.

Crop SLRs still have great life in them, though.

Personally, I wish someone would make a lower MP APS-C camera, maybe 8MP-10MP, using advanced sensor technology -- it would greatly improve high ISO performance I think.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-17-2009, 10:11 AM  
Seeking opinions on switching systems (Pentax to Nikon)
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 211
Views: 24,617
There is an important detail to this argument and I'm glad you brought it up.

IQ-wise -- I will never argue for any system. Seriously, they all produce outstanding images in the hands of a person knowing what they're doing.


So, if you're moving to/from the K20D to get "better IQ" under various circumstances, you're fooling yourself, as it's not going to happen (assuming parity in glass quality). This is something very important for people to realize, as many seem to think the "more expensive" stuff will automatically look better.


What the Nikon will allow you to do, though, is just get shots you can't get with the K20D due to frame rate limitations, AF tracking speeds, or lens availability.

It really depends on what you're shooting for and what your goals are -- which is why it's good to look at the system instead of just the body :)
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-17-2009, 10:06 AM  
Seeking opinions on switching systems (Pentax to Nikon)
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 211
Views: 24,617
A bit of a nitpick here -- The Nikon 70-200 has VR.

It's an amazing lens, but a bit way too expensive, which is why I sold mine. I think I'm "backing down" to the Sigma 70-200, as it's 1/2 the price and seems to produce fine images.
Also, I believe the Nikon is going to definitely outperform the Pentax combo in what this combo would probably be used for -- fast-action sports or event photography.

Thanks to the person that uploaded those Sigma 70-200 examples :) They look pretty good!
Forum: Post Your Photos! 03-16-2009, 09:56 AM  
Gulls (5 large photos)
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 5
Views: 1,246
Very nice, sharp images :)

One thing I love about gulls is that they let you get pretty darn close before they flee :)
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-16-2009, 09:17 AM  
Seeking opinions on switching systems (Pentax to Nikon)
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 211
Views: 24,617
Sure, here are some pros for Nikon -- They may not apply to advantages against Pentax, for instance, but are pros nonetheless (for me at least):

1) Longer glass than Pentax. Pentax tops out at 300mm for first-party. They also don't offer a modern TC for sale (that I know of).

2) Faster FPS - It matters for me in some occasions.

3) Better AF performance, especially in lower light. My D300 also beats my former 40D in the area.

4) Their flash system is great and trumps the Canon's system, as they don't flash commander. I've not used commander with the K20D.

5) AF performance is very good.

6) Ergonomics - Pretty good. Not as good as the K20D, but better than Canon.

7) Zooms are outstanding in quality.

8) Their first-party RAW converter, while for-pay, is pretty freakin' good.

9) For the D300 - 100% VF is very nice. The D700, which I shot with for a week, is amazing, though expensive.

These are the pros. Cons? The list is at least as long as the pros, if not longer :)



My K20D, no matter what lens I used, had a hard time tracking my children while they played indoors. I didn't have these problems with either the 40D or the D300, though admittedly I had a tiny bit more trouble tracking with the Canon.

Or, we can take the example of picturing a stationary object. Pentax does the focus-check-focus-confirm. Nikon does focus, confirm. It's just faster and it's accurate.




Yep, different stroke for different folks :)
The pentax is a great system, and if I had the money, I'd own it also :)




Disregarding the AF-assist, it's still faster. Many times I shoot without flash...my D300 (and D90 and D700) focused much faster than my K20D. The only exception is when I had the Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 with their internal motor on the D700 -- that lens is slow to focus, which is a complaint of several of their lenses. Funny enough, their non-motor version focuses much quicker.

You can disabled the AF-assist on the flash, as well as the body's af assist lamp.

-----------------------------

Don't think I'm bashing Pentax or I love Nikon -- I really don't care either way, I just list my preferences. There are some things I really wish I had from all the systems, to be fair.

1) Canon's lens selection is unmatched. There are even converters to use for Nikon lenses. Their lenses are normally pretty good and cheaper than Nikon's.
2) Pentax has the in-body SR. THey also have the best control scheme, IMO. Their primes are unmatched and their weather sealing is very good.
3) Nikon's high ISO performance is great. Their AF performance is superior to Canon's, as Canon makes you go all the way up to the 1D series before you get their "good" AF system.

It's a shame there is no perfect system, but it's the truth. Like anything, one must choose what one values most, and can afford, then move from there.

To show that not all things are rosy in Nikon land, here is one problem: Try finding first-party 400mm glass, in any combination, under $2000.

1) They have the 80-400 zoom. It has VR (vibration reduction), but it's screw drive. Result? Extremely slow focusing.
2) You can get their 300mm f/4 AF-S and add a TC. Very nice glass, very sharp (I owned this). Problem? No VR. Enjoy spending about another $700 to get a good tripod/head/sidekick combo for this unless you're one of those robots that can hand-hold it without shake.

3) The end. Everything else is extraordinarily expensive (300mm f/2.8 has VR, 400mm F/2.8 has VR, but these are $5000 lenses). Nikon doesn't make a cheap 400mm f/5.6 prime either, in any flavor.

Canon?

100-400mm with USM and IS
400mm f/5.6 with USM (no IS)
300mm F/4 with USM/IS and their 1.4x TC.


For birders on a budget, Nikon poses serious problems when you're going for length. Do you get the 80-400 and try to work around the AF speed? (BIF very difficult). Do you get the 300+TC and lug around a tripod? Otherwise, you're forced to go third party, and they have their own problems!

Right now I'm testing out the Sigma 150-500 OS lens. It's build is nowhere close to Nikon's, but it's under $1000 and has OS.
I had the 300mm F/4 and the 1.7X Nikon TC - a $1500 combo. What I didn't have : the cash to get a good tripod setup. Plus, I really don't like carrying tripods everywhere.

Still, the AF performance, noise, and ergonomics have kept me in Nikon for now. I'm not much of a prime shooter, so Nikon's weakness in this area doesn't bother me.

I would seriously love to have the money for a K20D and some pancake primes, though.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-16-2009, 07:53 AM  
Seeking opinions on switching systems (Pentax to Nikon)
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 211
Views: 24,617
I'm not sure how this thread ended as far as the OP is concerned, as I didn't read all the pages, but I'll chime in.

My brief shooting history - Pentax K200D and K20D user at first, switched to Canon 40D for a while, then finally ended up at Nikon's side (d300) and I think I'm here to stay.

----------------

1) There is no perfect system. Let's get that out of the way right now.

2) There is a rather large difference between the D200 and D300.

3) Simply put, the D300 and a decent AF-S lens outperforms the K20D in low-light situations. There's no denying this.

I'm not sure how the D200 fairs in this equation, though. The D300 pretty much shares the same 51-point advanced AF circuitry of the D700/D3/D3x (with some exceptions), whereas the D200 I believe uses their less-advanced 11(?) point system. Big difference.

The D90 is actually a bit better at noise than the D300, but the AF system is a tier lower. AF speed is quick, but tracking isn't as good as the D300.

---------------

Frankly, and this comes from a Pentax fan, the D90 and a quick AF-S lens is going to outperform the K20D in lowlight situations...the differences are night and day. It's a good little camera and it gives very nice results -- plus, I'll admit, the video is sometimes fun to mess around with, though I would never buy the camera for that feature.


Just remember, you don't buy a body, you buy a system. Am I entirely jealous of Pentax's in-body SR? Yes. A huge yes, actually. Having SR in any lens you mount is awesome.

For my needs, though (low light, AF speed, noise performance), it's better for me to use the Nikon system. Canon was okay, but I just didn't like their control scheme.

My suggestion -- If you can, rent / borrow a D90 and a decent lens, maybe the 17-55 AF-S f/2.8 or similar lens. See for yourself. At worst, you lose a few bucks figuring out which system will suit you better.

Personally, I wouldn't bother with the D200 unless budget is a serious concern...for a few hundred more, the D90 is going to give better IQ, though it's in the "beginner" tier and the controls reflect that.
The technical capabilities are very close to the D200, though (4.5fps vs 5 fps on the D200, etc). Noise performance is noticeably better.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 01-30-2009, 07:23 PM  
PP Saves the Day : Faux Frost (2)
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 2
Views: 1,718
Hi there Pentaxians :) I hope you don't mind me sharing the rare picture - I'm a former K200/K20 owner and a Pentaxian at heart! Plus, this is the best photo forum I've ever found!

----------

I just wanted to share a little example of how post processing saved a picture.

I was in the woods hunting birds, etc, and didn't find a darn thing. Well, I saw this trail and decided to take a picture. The lighting was very dull, almost dark, and I knew it would be bland coming out of the camera. I didn't have my tripod, so I wasn't going to try a bracket for HDR. I payed attention to composition and tried to get the best exposure I could:





After a color profile change, curves adjustment, highlight recovery, crop, vibrance boost, small clone in photoshop and a canvas creation (whew!), I ended up with this:



I like the result! I was going for a bit of a cold looking picture and the trees even look like they're frosted!


C&C welcome and thanks for reading!
Forum: Photographic Technique 01-03-2009, 12:42 PM  
top reasons not to go FF
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 40
Views: 5,481
A few comments:

1) You're assuming FF has to equal large files. It doesn't. I had the D700 for a short while and guess what? RAW file sizes are exactly the same size as the D300, around 14MB or so.

2) Yes, I agree on 2. If size/weight are your concerns, a FF camera isn't for you.

3) Cost, yes, is a factor. But, they're worth every penny.


--------------
--------------


Most people seem to think that FF and crops can't coexist -- this is completely wrong. Many FF users also have a crop camera, because they're good for different reasons.

Pentax's "problem", if you want to call it that, is that they offer zero..nada, zilch FF options.


Full frame, when done right, is amazing. The complete lack of noise on the D700 was incredible -- the only, ONLY reason I returned the camera back to Amazon -- I'm a birder / wildlife guy mostly and I needed the crop 1.5x multiplier, as I'm way too poor to afford a 600mm F/4. I can get to 630mm f/5.6 effective for around $2300 (D90, 300mm F/4 and 1.4x TC) for the same price as the D700 body alone.

Were I primarily a street shooter, wedding photog, or wide angle guy, I would have held onto the D700 until it had literally fallen apart. The low light ISO performance is incredible. The AF system is outstanding. The flash options and control are awesome. The IQ is outstanding.


GOOD lighting -- Yes, the difference between a D700 and D300 is almost zilch.
Turn down the lights, though, and the D700 completely obliterates it, by around 1.5 stops or more, which is huge.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 12-31-2008, 10:05 PM  
Overall K20d operation speed?
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 30
Views: 4,150
Very true, but machine gunning shots is pretty much the best approach -- there's a reason the "top" cameras from N and C do a ridiculous amount of FPS.

It's not so much about getting "the" shot, it's about getting the "best" version of a shot. When you have 8 slightly different poses of a certain play compared to just 3, it gives you a lot more selection as to choosing the exact composition you want.

Granted, experience in shooting a particular sport counts for a TON, and I'm sure a pro with 3 FPS could beat an amatuer with 6 fps, but give the pro 6/8/12 FPS and he (or she) is going to have a lot more latitude in which shots they can present -- many times a machine gunned series yeilds gems that would have been impossible to time (facial expressions, body movements, dust/dirt spray, etc).
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 12-31-2008, 08:14 PM  
Overall K20d operation speed?
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 30
Views: 4,150
Serious sports photography. Canon, maybe Nikon, but it highly depends on your lens length requirements.

I'm a former Pentax user.
Former Canon user.
Current Nikon user.


Trust me --- there is *no* perfect system. End of story. My opinions, having used extensively the K200D, K20D, Canon 40D and Nikon D700 and D90:


Pentax - Slow FPS, slower AF. Lacks a 70-200mm F/2.8, which is pretty much the standard in sports lenses (for most things). 60-250 could probably suit you there, but I'm unsure on how fast it focuses. Still, the 3.0 FPS is very limiting. Combine that with a slower-than-most AF-C and you're going to get a lot of throwaway photos.

Canon - Fast AF, fast FPS. Some glass is expensive. Controls aren't as great as the K20D; some things are fairly non-intuitive on the body. Great selection of 70-200 lenses, from F/4 and no IS to F/2.8 and IS. No flash commander (moot point for sports, but just FYI). Lots of lenses don't include a lens hood.

Nikon - Good controls, almost good as K20D. Fast FPS and AF speed - AF is generally considered slightly better than Canon's. Great high ISO performance. Glass selection is more limited than Canon. Their only "sports" zoom is the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR, which is $1500 (same as Canon's best 70-200mm, but Canon also give you 3 cheaper choices, Nikon only has the single lens). Battery grips can boost the FPS of some cameras.

Very long Nikon glass is ridiculously expensive - 500mm / 600mm lenses cost about $2500 *more* than the Canon variants.


--------------------------------------

My suggestion -- It depends.


First, you didn't mention sports. I'm going to go with the "basic" 70-200mm range guess here.

For more lens availability, Canon. They have 4 lenses in this range:

70-200mm f/4 (about $550)
70-200mm F/2.8 (about $1000)
70 - 200mm F/4 IS (about $1000 also )
70 -200mm F/2.8 IS (about $1500)

A canon 40D or 50D will push out about 6.3 FPS and do pretty good.


Or..

Pay a bit more for a Nikon D300 with their only 70-200mm , which is f/2.8 and VR, $1500. Native speed is 6PFS. Buy the battery grip and EL4(?) battery to push the D300 to 8FPS I believe.

D300 body is about 200-300 more than the 50D body, but has a more sophisticated AF system that performs a bit better than the XXD series from Canon.

Edit -- You'll also have to pay if you want to keep Nikon's custom editing software, around $125. Pentax and Canon give this to you for free.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-02-2008, 08:14 PM  
Back from vacation: Marthas Vineyard
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 26
Views: 1,861
Very nice and simple - I like =)
Forum: Post Your Photos! 09-24-2008, 10:32 AM  
Shots from Gulf (of Mexico) Coast
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 0
Views: 974
Hello there Pentaxians :)
I've been trying not to bug you guys with my Can-On pictures, but I'm actually visiting my home for a month and thought I would share some coastal pictures! Sorta exciting for me, since normally I live near just trees!

I hope you enjoy. (disclaimer - I only have a laptop to edit these, so if colors or gamma slightly off please excuse!) 40D with the 28-135 kit lens.

Pier and Sand


The Clubhouse


Birds on Posts


Dogleg Left


Former Bridge


Diagonal


Boat in Water


Seagull
Forum: Post Your Photos! 09-13-2008, 11:54 AM  
Vader's Dishwasher!
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 5
Views: 1,146
It's not HDR at all, read closely :)

I did not have my tripod with me during the shoot, since me and the wife had just gone really to eat and I decided to tote the camera just in case.

But, I added fill light to the dark areas, recovery at 100% (still blown clouds but I like the effect) and then I upped Clarity. This is using Lightroom 1.4

After everything was done, it sorta looks like a "realistic" HDR, but I wish I actually did have about 5 exposures to play with to see how much better a real HDR would be.

Thanks for your comments!
Forum: Post Your Photos! 09-13-2008, 10:41 AM  
Vader's Dishwasher!
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 5
Views: 1,146
Heya Pentaxians! It's been a while since I've posted, being busy with other things and generally photography uninspired. I took a few shots recently, though, and thought I would share :) (Disclaimer - Shot with Canon 40D, but we're here for the art yes?)





Not HDR, but me processing it makes it sorta look HDRish


Bridge Pedestrian (heavy crop)



Vader's Dishwasher! (70's styling yay!)


Thanks for looking! :D
Forum: Post Your Photos! 08-14-2008, 02:35 AM  
Wow - What a difference a flash makes :)
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 7
Views: 1,476
Yes I have a Sto-Fen coming in eventually, I'm wanting to test it out to see how much it helps :)
Forum: Post Your Photos! 08-13-2008, 08:46 PM  
Did you know herons eat turtles?
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 17
Views: 3,313
That's a nice series! I had no idea they would eat a turtle.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 08-13-2008, 08:43 PM  
Wow - What a difference a flash makes :)
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 7
Views: 1,476
So today I got my 430EX flash in (this is for Canon) and read about 4 pages of the manual before I got too anxious to shoot and started practicing on my son.

I must say, before I was a bit hesitant to spend about $230 or so on something that makes light, but now I see it was money very well spent!

Here are three shots I thought I would share. This is all taken with a 40D, 28-135 kit lens and 430EX flash.

If anyone else is wondering whether getting a flash will be worth it - I think the answer is a big yes :) I can't wait to experiment with still life.

All shots just bounced off the ceiling. I have a lot to learn, but the basics were surprisingly easy!



Here I think I messed up and had it tilted too forward - His face looks a little "flashy", but I love the expression :)



Here I overcompensate the tilt - No catchlight! Still, enough detail in the shadows (with some nudging of Fill Light in Lightroom) that I like it :)



Ahh, here we are, just right! He smiles at mom as she walks by and I get a good shot after just a slight crop :) Ignore the mess on his face, he smeared rice cereal on himself haha :)


Overall I'm having a blast already and I'm thinking of new things to try.

Oh, and consider yourself lucky! Pentax can use onboard flash for commander, unlike my camera! :(

But, I think we are photographers first, so regardless of brand, flashes are a good thing! Thanks for reading.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-13-2008, 02:56 PM  
2.8 Lens for Indoor Sports without Flash?
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 7
Views: 2,513
What kind of sports are you talking about and what kind of lighting? Local / high school gym, or professional arena, etc? How close are you to the action?

I've found at least in gyms, even 2.8 can be too slow. For things like Volleyball games when sitting in bleachers, I would use 85mm f/1.8 (I'm a Canoneer). The LTD 77mm would be the Pentax equivalent, basically.

If you can get down on the floor next to players, you want wider lens, maybe 30-40mm or so.

Also, you need to analyze how far away you are from the action -- if you're far enough away, it doesn't matter how fast the Tamron focuses, as everything may already be in focus and you can just put the camera in manual focus and not touch the focus ring, assuming you aren't zooming in and out very much.

I'm assuming if you need 200mm indoors, you are shooting under decent light? You might consider Pentax's 200mm f/2.8; excellent IQ and from what I read it focuses quickly.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 08-13-2008, 11:55 AM  
1 very sexy photog!
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 29
Views: 4,576
My goodness she's very attractive ;) She reminds me a lot of a girl I had a crush on way back in highschool /swoon.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 08-12-2008, 02:45 AM  
K20D - AF adjustments - for all and for one - cumulative or not ?
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 7
Views: 1,427
Manual clarifies this. Only 1 setting takes effect.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-11-2008, 03:15 PM  
PEF in the preview pane on Vista x64
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 2
Views: 2,488
No insult meant if you're actually legitimate, but I would be very wary of someone offering any sort of "system utility" with exactly 1 post in the forum, presumably registered today.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 08-11-2008, 03:26 AM  
Let's get better at our photography together!!!
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 40
Views: 3,331
Good idea -- They actually have this rolling at the "other" forums and it works out for the most part -- You just have to avoid the "great shot!" replies unless it's really a great shot....otherwise, state (constructively) what you think is wrong with a given picture so that the photographer may hopefully improve on technique!

Here's one:




A heavy crop of an otherwise extraordinarily bland photo, intentionally blown out to hide boring detail at the end.
I actually plan to revisit this place when I have a better lens and retake the picture so that I can print it on paper without having to crop/alter it too much.

Here's the first target - Fire away! I guess a theme would be "subject level composition" along with perhaps "high contrast". I hope I'm understanding the thread goals correctly?
Forum: Post Your Photos! 08-10-2008, 07:40 PM  
Wedding season has begun... yay?
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 21
Views: 1,726
Oustanding shots Chris, and you can be darn sure I'm taking notes!

I shoot my very first (very small) wedding for a coworker Sept. 20th and I'm a nervous wreck.

I've already warned him I'm not a wedding photographer and I don't have the gear for great shots (though I've just ordered $1100 worth of stuff), but he doesn't care so I'm studying all I can to get better.

I'm really glad you share your lighting setup, etc. And that rings + Bible(?) shot is outstanding -- Something I've never seen and wouldn't have thought of, but I'm definitely going to use this idea if I can.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 08-10-2008, 07:35 PM  
My baby girl!!!
Posted By cputeq
Replies: 20
Views: 3,135
Say hello to several things:

1) A beautiful daughter
2) Lots of photo ops
3) Sleepless nights! :P

She's an angel, congratulations!
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