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Forum: General Photography 10-18-2017, 04:58 AM  
To stick with Pentax or not
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 51
Views: 3,001
Time has come for me to replace my K-r, it no longer focuses with screw drive lenses and the control wheel no longer works. The obvious replacement would be the K-70, and that is probably the direction I will take, but I am concerned about the lack of new third party lens offerings. Pentax lenses seem to be little better than third party offerings, and cost a lot more. And once Tamron and Sigma give up completely on Pentax, any price limits on Pentax lenses are off, and they can charge anything they like. It may become similar to razon sales strategies, offer a good body at a good price, then make up the profit on lenses.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 09-01-2017, 04:21 AM  
Post processing help please
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 10
Views: 663
This exercise does illustrate the limits of "phone" photography. I can no longer count the number of times someone has asked me to help with photos taken with phones, even good ones, and been frustrated. Now I let them down as gently as I can, and rarely even try.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 08-08-2017, 06:21 AM  
first time into dslr, looking at k-x or k-r
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 13
Views: 670
I have been looking for an "excellent" used K-5 for a while, and just I checked Ebay, B&H, Adorama and even Pentax Forums. I found several K-5's of various types (II, IIs) but nothing less than $400, body only, and many in the $600-$700 range with various lenses. K-x's and K-r's are running less than $200. Not disputing the recommendations noted above, and not disputing the K-5 is not worth the premium, just reporting what I found.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 07-17-2017, 04:10 PM  
Macro macro-flash
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 17
Views: 1,235
A macro or close focus photo will often look better with flash because the flash will darken the background while allowing you to stop the lens down for greater depth of field or lower ISO. I have had good results with the built in flash, or with the relatively inexpensive 200FG, and a very old AF280T. The AF280T is really powerful when needed, and the head tilts up for bounce flash, and down 15 degrees for close up work. Tall and heavy, but mine cost just $12.00 or EBAY. All of these options, even "dialed" way back for closeup work, still often produce way too much light. Some sort of diffuser and light reducer is usually needed. I have taped a small piece of white cloth (from a "hankie") to the top if both flash units an just flip it down when necessary. Practice
Forum: Pentax K-5 07-12-2017, 06:57 AM  
Selling K-5, need your opinions on what it is worth.
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 7
Views: 1,518
You might want to check KEH first. KEH offers a warranty, return options and a good reputation, so you will probably want to think about offering yours for less.
Forum: Pentax K-5 07-12-2017, 04:27 AM  
Selling K-5, need your opinions on what it is worth.
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 7
Views: 1,518
From what I have seen, EBAY buyers quickly lose interest in items with a hidden reserve. A bidder will not know how high the reserve is, and dislike placing a number of bids trying to find out. You might want to try an opening bid rather than a reserve.
Forum: Photographic Technique 07-02-2017, 05:12 PM  
tennis settings/setup
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 13
Views: 1,092
Many superzooms, including my Sigma 18-250, need to be stopped down to f5.6, or even better, f8 to be sharp. This should be no problem outdoors in good light. I would use "A", set to f8 or f5.6, but if you use any auto or semi-auto modes just make sure the lens is stopped down adequately. In addition, you might want to consider trying the "sports" mode. I know purists may object to use of any "mode", but if it works who will know?
Forum: Photographic Technique 06-29-2017, 08:23 AM  
Macro Macro photography
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 29
Views: 1,597
True MACRO photography is a rewarding, but very demanding, photography niche. I like the RAYNOX ideas above because the investment is not so great that you cannot shelf the concept like I did and feel bad about the money spent. I enjoy being outdoors and found that true MACRO outdoors is more than difficult, it may be impossible most days. The DOF is so small that even a breeze that you cannot feel can move the plant subject in and out of focus constantly. Unless one has a long MACRO lens it is too easy to scare small animals before you can get close enough. I found that what I really enjoy is close focus lens, in my case a Sigma 70-300 APO DG. Set to MACRO and 200 to 300mm I can very nice photos of lizards and snakes down to about 2" long from as close as 4 feet. New similar lens cost about $200 new, and less that $100 used.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-08-2017, 04:27 AM  
Upgrade from Pentax Kx?
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 32
Views: 2,664
I would avoid any Pentax camera suffering from reliability problems, namely the K-30, K-50, K-S1 and K-S2. The K-70 is the first model that does not seem to exhibit problems, but it may be too soon to know.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 06-05-2017, 04:21 AM  
Second attempt at horses with flash.
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 4
Views: 650
The truck and trailer do not make a good background. I would suggest always taking a moment or two to look beyond the main subject and make sure the background is OK.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 05-25-2017, 05:10 PM  
Pentax Pricing
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 23
Views: 2,009
Am I the only one here concerned about pricing on the most recent Pentax camera, the K-P?

I am still using my reliable K-r, but getting close to having resources for an upgrade. I think I'll go for a K-5lls when one comes available for $400, but just for reference I priced a K-P at Amazon, and came up with $1,055 for body only. I next checked prices for a decent Canon, and found the T7, with a kit lens, for $849. Yea, Yea, I know, it isn't a Pentax, and the Pentax has some very important advantages. But still, no one can argue that the Canon is not a pretty nice camera. I could probably find a decent used K-3 for $850, but would have to weigh a new Canon with factory warranty against a 3 or more year old used Pentax "as is", or with a very short 3rd party promise. If i did not already have a bag of Pentax equipment, tough decision.

I suppose the days of an entry level Pentax body for under $800 are gone, but still, it does leave the entry level market quite empty.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-07-2017, 04:15 PM  
Why Are Third Party Lens Manufactures Dropping Pentax?
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 59
Views: 4,003
Big problem, I believe, for Pentax. Pentax branded lenses are much more expensive than Sigma or Tamron when available. While some buyers may not mind paying more for essentially the same item, many buyers will opt for Nikon or Canon to take advantage of the significant savings buying third party lenses. Argue the quality difference if you like. but there it is. Historically, Pentax has often used rebranded Tamron lenses to fill gaps in their lineup. Most likely this will soon not be an option, leading to a very small, very expensive "Pentax" lineup. Some manufacturers are able to survive making only expensive products, but to grow, most manufacturers put a lot of effort into bringing introductory level products to market to gain manufacturer loyalty. Pentax seems to be giving up the first time SLR buyer.
Forum: General Photography 05-07-2017, 04:01 PM  
Where are the Pentax People?
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 79
Views: 4,579
In St Thomas, right off the ship in Havensight Mall (sic the spelling) are at least three busy camera and electronic shops. Prices are about 20% less than US, perhaps all due to duty free status. All take credit cards, and you might get another 10% off by going late and haggling a little. Same shops at other duty free shops if you miss St. Thomas.
Forum: General Photography 05-06-2017, 02:11 PM  
Where are the Pentax People?
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 79
Views: 4,579
I have taken my Pentax gear on a number of big-ship cruises (3-5,000 people each and at least an equal number of cameras) and never seen another Pentax. Last Fall, however, I did see a brand new K100d in an out of the way shop on St. Kitts, for $650. Some of the camera/electronic shops in St. Thomas did carry a small but complete range of Pentax stuff. Good prices, too. Worth remembering if you are planning a cruise and a purchase.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-26-2017, 04:24 PM  
Do you use RAW or jpeg or both? Any advise?
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 25
Views: 1,395
I shoot RAW (DNG) unless I anticipate a large number of photos, most of which will be deleted anyway. Sporting events, for example. But it is really a matter of "might help, can't hurt" rather than strict devotion. Honestly, I doubt that more than two in ten actually are improved by starting with RAW. Usually in demanding lighting conditions. Noon on a cloudless day, for example. My Pentax DSLR's do not seem to benefit as much as a small sensor pocket camera. My Panasonic ZS50 produces poor JPEG's, and benefits greatly from starting with RAW. Although I prefer a camera offering RAW, I would not kick a JPEG only out of bed, so to speak.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-24-2017, 04:50 PM  
Tempted to switch to Canikon as risk mitigation
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 150
Views: 8,273
Although my collection of favorite Pentax mount lenses is small, it suits my needs. I am very happy with the image quality from Pentax. If I were to switch bodies I would have to also obtain a 70-300mm telephoto, a 18-250MM walk around lens, a 50 something prime, plus flash and odds and ends. More money than I can justify for a hobby. I doubt I would invest in a new expensive Pentax body, but as long as I can find fairly recent bodies used from KEH (for example), I see no reason to switch brands. When good used bodies run out, however, I may no choice.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 03-18-2017, 05:26 AM  
K5 with 5Mb File JPG how large can I print on Canvas
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 15
Views: 1,124
There is more to consider than pixels. For example, how well focused is the image? How much cropping has been done? I have printed 24x16 inch images from a 12MP camera, and while held at arms length they do not look so great, in a frame behind glass, mounted on a wall and viewed from say 6 feet, they look just fine. Matt or semi-gloss looks better than gloss. If it is a really good photo with sentimental value, go for it. You might also look at one of the "painting" software options (Fotosketcher is free). Convert the photo to a simulated oil painting and even a poor image might look good enough to display. As a last resort, I have printed poster size images and given them over to my wife who works with acrylics and she has painted right over the photo and the results are fantistic.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-03-2017, 05:58 AM  
Amazon Unlimited Storage - is it wise to switch to cloud storage?
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 27
Views: 1,448
Works well enough after photos are uploaded, but my internet provider is Windstream, with upload speeds not in mbps, but mbpm, it just runs and runs. And runs. And runs. A reasonable consideration for country folk.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-01-2017, 06:04 AM  
New to eBay, how do you know which seller to trust?
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 10
Views: 753
I have purchased many items from ebay and have never been sorry about the condition. Never had a dispute or had to return anything. I only look at auction items because buy it now items seem way overpriced. For a camera I look first at KEH (they had a "like new" K-5IIs for $430 yesterday) with short warranty and generous return policy, but I don't know about shipping to your location. For price comparison you might also try B&H and Adorama. You might be able to haggle with them.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 03-01-2017, 05:56 AM  
Bean Bag Camera Support,....Suggestions?
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 20
Views: 1,566
I had a nice drawstring cloth bag around the house. Filler a "ziplock" bag with rice and stuffed it in the cloth bag and it works great. Also a decent emergency meal if needed. Stole my wife's sticky pad designed to keep her cell phone from rolling around in her car and carry it in my camera bag. Works great on flat surfaces, and also provides a little extra padding in the bag.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-24-2017, 07:21 AM  
Do you use a lens hood, polarizer or both?
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 16
Views: 1,947
If a manufacturer includes a hood with a lens it is there for a good reason, the lens will perform poorly without it. I use mine all the time.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-24-2017, 07:18 AM  
First DSLR advice: Pentax K3II vs Nikon D7200 vs ??
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 78
Views: 6,188
For many of us, on-line shopping is the only option available when considering Pentax. I don't consider this a major drawback when ordering from Amazon, as their return policy is generous. Still, it would be nice to hold something before buying it. I would be more concerned about the future availability of third party lenses for Pentax. While some may buy Pentax glass at any price, the competition from third party lenses helps keep manufacturer glass prices in check, and many third party lenses perform very well. I would also be worried about Pentax warranty support. The k-30 through k-70 have had serious problems way too soon for what are now expensive cameras, and Pentax obviously does not consider this a problem (for them). On the plus side, I like that my circa 2003 lenses still work well on the newest cameras.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-21-2017, 07:55 AM  
K-S2 vs K-70 - $100 difference or a lot more?
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 14
Views: 3,033
Which is more likely to experience reliability (block) issues?
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 02-18-2017, 05:42 PM  
image sharpness 6MP vs 24MP
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 15
Views: 2,663
OK, time for a slightly different opinion. Yes, the difference between 6mp and 24mp at 100% crop is huge, but remember that images are rarely viewed at 100% crop for any useful reason. I used a K100d for many years, and made it a point to get as close to the subject as I could to minimize PP cropping. This camera resulted in some very nice images. A camera with higher MP would have allowed me crop a lot more to get the same final result, but without getting so close. My budget does not allow a K-3, but I did a lot of comparisons between the K100d and the well regarded K-5, and found that when viewed or printed (up to 8x10) at near full size (little cropping) the results were not really that different. Even a little cropping, however, left the K100d far behind, and at a 100% crop there was no comparison.

My point is that if budget issues rule out a new K-3 (and personally I have ruled out anything from a K-30 to K-70 because of the reliability issues), consider a used K-3 or even K-5. I know a number of photography fans that have dropped out because they cannot afford the latest and greatest. Don't become one of these dropouts.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-10-2017, 05:45 PM  
Best 300mm lens on a budget
Posted By wsteffey
Replies: 55
Views: 3,476
I have had two Sigma 70-300 APO DG's for years (dropped the first one and could not be without a replacement while at Sigma for repair) and have never found any inexpensive lens that come close. Used samples can be found for under $100.
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