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Forum: Monthly Photo Contests 11-02-2017, 08:00 AM  
Early Morning Clouds
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 7
Views: 373
I would like to nominate this photo
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 07-07-2017, 01:20 PM  
Thoughts on use of digital filters in post processing
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 24
Views: 1,863
The only actual filters I use on my camera are variable neutral density and polarizers, since they cannot be duplicated with digital filters.

I'm not a fan of the built in filters with the K-3 and always shoot DNG. As such, there's no reason for me to use Silkypix to emulate them.

Otherwise, I really like the free NIK plugins from Google, they are fantastic. In particular, I prefer the Silver Efex plug in and now use it for 90% of B&W conversions. It does a good job of emulating color filters (red, yellow, orange, etc) we once used for B&W film. I have also added a number of custom filter presets to Lightroom. Other than B&W conversion, most of my photos are not tweaked by digital filters. My normal workflow consists of tweaking DNG's to have a well balanced histogram and then adjust saturation and micro-contrast to taste.

The Pentax Q10 is a different matter. I have lots of fun shooting with the art filters assigned to the front dial. Ultimate image quality is not the Q's domain, but damn it's fun goofing around with those filters. The tiny sensor produces interesting effects that are different that its larger sensor brethren. It's the one camera I always shoot JPG.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 02-09-2017, 12:23 PM  
Best of 2016 Sunset Salutation
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 6
Views: 1,132
Outstanding shot. Breaks the fisheye cliches and it is a great use of back lighting and capturing the decisive moment.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-16-2016, 03:09 PM  
The Great JPEG Shootout! (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, iPhone, Pentax, Olympus, Panasoni
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 90
Views: 10,079
Having owned and still own a number of digital cameras from Pentax, Olympus and Panasonic, I have to concede I would put Pentax in last place for JPEG output. I give first place to my Olympus OMD-EM5 MkII and as well as other Oly m4/3 cameras I've owned. Of course, this is mainly a subjective preference based on colouring rendering and "keepers". Oddly enough, I prefer the JPEGs from my Pentax Q10 over my K3. It seems to me Pentax did a good job on the Q's JPEG engine to exploit its tiny, limited sensor.

When I got the K3, I shot both RAW and JPEGs. No matter how much I tweaked its JPEG engine, I never quite got the results I wanted. Later on, I set JPEGs to render at the smallest size for the convenience of previewing and uploading them quickly when I'm travelling. Now I just shoot DNG on the K3 as I get results I want quickly in Lightroom with my own camera profiles and presets. The K3 can produce outstanding image quality, but I've only seen its true potential when carefully developing its DNG files in Lightroom. If I really want to upload a JPEG on the go, the K3 has decent in camera development.

I understand that some folks really like the speed and convenience of JPG's, but if you don't have the RAW file, you'll never realize the full potential of your image. This is especially true as raw development software continues to improve and breathes new life and potential in your old RAW files. Storage is cheap these days, so it makes sense to shoot JPG+RAW if you really need convenience.

It is a pity the neutered version of SilkyPix Pentax includes with their cameras is such a crappy piece of software. It would be great if they had software that allowed one to easily and quickly batch process your RAW images into JPGs that faithfully mimic the camera's JPG engine as well as any in camera JPG customizations. Such a workflow allows one to shoot RAW and then rapidly convert all images to JPGs as if they were rendered in camera.

The Viewer software included with Olympus cameras does this very well indeed. I shoot RAW only and if I don't have time to process a bunch of images in Lightroom, I can run the files through Olympus Viewer in minutes and get great JPEGs that are virtually indistinguishable from those out of the camera.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 07-09-2015, 08:16 AM  
Moving from GIMP to Photoshop CC?
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 8
Views: 2,038
My recommendation is to get the $10 per month Creative Cloud subscription. Not only do you get Photoshop CC, you will also get Lightroom CC. Both programs can be installed in as many computer systems as you like and the subscription is transferable to any of those machines. I think it allows for concurrent use on two machines as well. This is great if you have a desktop and and notebook.

For nearly all my photo editing tasks, Photoshop has taken a back seat to Lightroom. For the cost of a fast food lunch, getting both programs each month legitimately is well worth it. Also, you get some extra perks with the CC subscription, such as a mobile version and cloud synchronization not available in the standalone version.

It's good to be legit with these two terrific image editing programs :)
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-17-2015, 03:32 PM  
calling all 16-50mm owners
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 9
Views: 1,212
I have used the 16-50 on both the K-5 and K-3 and it required AF fine tuning. In the case of the K-3, it needs +7 and it focuses very accurately. I have had this lens in twice for repair and it now uses the updated SDM motor. I also suspect the technician realigned the optics as it's very sharp across the entire focal range. At first I had a dud, now I have a lens that is finally worth its retail price. I hope your copy is performing to your expectations. It is actually a fantastic lens, but the QA issues of the past earned it a bad rap.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 05-14-2015, 11:20 AM  
Which ND filter for use on DA 15mm Limited?
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 11
Views: 2,009
I ran into this problem last week. I have a 52mm variable ND with adapter ring and it will not work due to the built in lenshood. I can also tell you that a 49mm variable ND will not work either for the same reason. Although a non-variable 49mm ND filter should be fine. I expect it will be very difficult to find a step down ring solution to use a variable ND filter with the 15mm as the lenshood is likely to get in the way.
Forum: General Photography 04-29-2015, 02:36 PM  
How would you respond?
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 45
Views: 3,916
Gear whores and fanboys are the bottom feeders in the photographic community. So much time and energy spent on arguing the minutia of features, specs and measurements. A really amazing photographer is more interested in light, composition, emotion and self improvement than anything else. Oddly enough, those people are often the ones who share their works and inspire others with their passion and insights.

Imagine if the same stupid debates went on with musical instruments? "Well, you don't play a Bosendorfer, just a Steinway, so I guess you just have to play with what you can." A really good pianist could sit down at budget piano and play the most amazing music. Ever seen Jimi Hendrix's guitar? It was a bashed up run of the mill strat and well, his music speaks for itself.

I'm sure there are countless inspired and amazing photos that were taken over decades with the lowly Pentax K-1000 :)
Forum: Pentax Q 04-24-2015, 07:52 AM  
Getting the most out of the Q series
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 23
Views: 3,366
Hello Crewl1, you have done some amazing work with the Q and the DA* 300. Bravo!
Forum: Pentax Q 04-21-2015, 07:42 PM  
Getting the most out of the Q series
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 23
Views: 3,366
Hello Denny, glad I was able to answer some of your questions. As for sharpening in Lightroom, I usually go around 35 or so for the Q with a radius of 0.8 and generally leave the details around 25.

I know going -100 really pulls down the highlights, the key is to bring the whites slider back up until it just starts to clip and then back it off a bit. That way, the whites will get a full tonal range.
Forum: Pentax Q 04-21-2015, 02:24 PM  
Getting the most out of the Q series
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 23
Views: 3,366
You are welcome! Glad I could help.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 04-21-2015, 01:10 PM  
Nature Jared the Jay
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 3
Views: 640
This Blue Jay is a frequent visitor to my deck. He drops in every weekend looking for peanuts. He has gotten tame enough that I can set on my deck and take photos just about 2 meters away from me. The upshot of this is that I can use my DA 70mm Limited lens on the K-3 instead of a bazooka sized telephoto. I just love the way the DA 70mm renders things :)
Forum: Pentax Q 04-21-2015, 01:01 PM  
Getting the most out of the Q series
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 23
Views: 3,366
Well said and I also think the Q series necessarily gets bashed around by people who "don't get it". The problem is not so much with the camera as it is the philosophy of people who try to look at it as their primary platform to compete with APS-C or Micro Four Thirds. It is not meant to do so, it's a different beast altogether and it's a secondary system.

I currently own a Q10 with the 02 zoom and 01 prime lenses. I love it to bits as it's my "fun" camera. When the original Q first came out, the street price was around $800 in Canada, so I totally dismissed it. I was just way too much money for such a camera, especially when you could get much better mirrorless systems at a similar price point. When the prices dropped to around $250, I decided to try out the Q10 and if I did not like it, I could return it. Here we are a year later, I use my Q10 often, especially when I don't want to lug around my K-3 and extra lenses.

Let's face it, the Q series will never have image quality comparable to APS-C, m4/3 or Full Frame cameras. However, the Q10 can produce some really nice images provided you know its limits and you challenge your perspective on how to shoot.

Since the sensor is so small, you have to make some compromises. That means keeping your aperture at f/5.6 and below. Also, keep your ISO below 800. I generally shoot in bright conditions at f/4.0 and that will give you plenty of depth of field and you will not have any diffraction. It's like shooting f/8 or f/10 on larger format sensors. The proof is in the print! I've printed out 5x7's and 8x10's shot with my Q10 at ISO 200 and one is hard pressed to see a significant difference when compared to shots taken with my K-3 or Olympus OMD EM-5. Don't live by pixel peeping. The rest of the world looks at photos in their entirety, whether on social media, blogs or prints.

The JPG engine is actually quite good and it does a great job of maximizing the sensor's abilities (unlike the JPG engines on Pentax DSLRs). I tend to shoot the "bright" mode and I have bumped up the contrast, saturation and sharpness by 1. Of course, this is a subjective preference.

That said, I get the best results from my Q10 by shooting in DNG mode and doing the raw development in Adobe Lightroom. The Q10's sensor, as well as the Q7, has fantastic dynamic range for such a small sensor. You can pull out lot of data from the shadows and highlights. The DNG files also respond quite well to sharpening, provided you use a radius < 0.9 and some focus masking to prevent skies from being sharpened. A bump in Clarity from +5 to +10 really helps give the Q's images some punch.

I tend to stretch histograms in Lightroom, so for the Q10, my workflow is:

Highlights = -100
Shadows = +100
Clarity = 5
Vibrance = 5
Saturation = 3

I then adjust the white slider as far right as possible to avoid clipping. Next, I pull the Blacks slide as far to the left until I start to see pure blacks. As a last step, I adjust the exposure and contrast to get the result I want. Noise reduction and sharpening are applied according to taste. This technique only works with sensors with a lot of dynamic range. I am happy to report the Q10 responds very well to it.

So, I recommend that you always shoot both JPG and DNG. Most of time the JPG engine gets it right, but it's good to have the DNG for trickier lighting situations.

The thing I enjoy most about the Q10 and I think the best way to get the most out of the system, is to program your front dial to your favourite art filters and just go out there and shoot. I know other cameras have art filters and you have to dive into menus or multiple buttons to use them. As such, those filters are often ignored or dismissed. On the other hand, the front dial on the Q invites you to play: it is immersive, tactile and spontaneous. It is one of the most brilliant features I've seen on a compact camera. Moreover, I really dig the look of the Q's art and smart filters. That's what keeps me hooked!

Some sample photos taken with the Q10.

Pickering Flea Market and The Tiny Q

04/18/2015 – First Harley Ride of the Year and Bluffer’s Park Q-ubed

Here are some other photos taken with both an Olympus OMD EM-5 and the Q10. Other than the art filter shots, I challenge you to easily identify which photos were taken with each camera.

June 29 – A Day in Quebec City and fun with the Q
Forum: Lens Clubs 04-19-2015, 08:23 AM  
The 15mm Limited controls my mind - club
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 11,603
Views: 2,028,496
Gorgeous shot!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-10-2015, 02:26 PM  
21 Limited v. 10-20
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 17
Views: 2,145
I would tend to favour the 21mm limited. I own one and it stays far more often on my camera than my zooms. The color rendering is quite special, but it is the small size, lightweight and snappy focus that make it a joy to use. Also 21mm is a great focal length for street photography.
Forum: Pentax K-3 04-10-2015, 02:21 PM  
computer buying advice for k3
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 36
Views: 3,413
I agree with Jatrax's recommendations. The K-3's 24MP files will require a fair bit of horsepower to be processed, especially in raw mode. If you can afford it, go for an i7 system with at least 16 GB ram.

Adobe Lightroom is my goto program for virtually all my photo processing and asset management. The initial cost is quite low and each time there is a major revision, it's around $80 to upgrade. Well worth every penny and certainly less expensive than photoshop.

With Lightroom 6 just around the corner, you may also want to invest in a decent graphics card since it is purported to use the extra processing power and may result in a significant speed increase in your workflow.

Granted, this system would likely be a desktop unit, but the advantage is that you can get a wide-gamut monitor which is really beneficial for accurate color previewing. Moreover, dollar for dollar, you are going to get more bang for your buck compared against a laptop system.
Forum: Pentax K-3 11-27-2014, 03:30 PM  
K-3 - Selecting The More Advanced Settings
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 8
Views: 2,066
Hello David,

For low light and high ISO with the K-3, I would avoid its JPG's like the plague. I've found either you get either golfball grain or smudging. Somehow, they skipped on the pixie dust in their JPG engine. The DNG files are the only way to go and then use carefully apply noise reduction in post. Any camera, even full frame, will show luma noise at ISO 6400. Whether you shoot JPG or use a raw converter, noise reduction will be applied at high ISO and not too lightly either. I think the K-3 responds well to moderate noise reduction in Adobe Camera Raw (photoshop or lightroom).

I have attached a sample at ISO 4000, not the best pic, but it's one I had handy at this instant. It was developed from DNG in Lightroom 5 using very moderate noise reduction and minimal sharpening. Even at 24 MP fullsize, one is hard pressed to see grain.

I second some of the other comments about your lens possibly having some back focus issues. I would strongly recommend you do the AF fine settings in the K-3. There are lots of threads on this, but the easiest way to do it, is stick some newspaper on a wall, put your camera on a tripod and shoot the newspaper with lens wide open, say at 50mm. Then try either -2 or +2 AF tuning and see which one is sharper. Then go in the direction which is sharpest and increment by either +1 or -1 until it's tack sharp.

If you develop your raw files in Lightroom, have you checked to see if someone made a profile for your lens? If so, apply it your development. If there is no profile, then you will have to either deal with the barrel or pincushion distortion and try to correct it by hand in the lens corrections panel.

BTW, for all my DA primes and DA* lenses, there are lens profiles already built into Lightroom and they do a good job of correcting distortions, vignetting and C/A.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,
Rob
Forum: Pentax K-3 11-25-2014, 12:24 PM  
K-3 Noise
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 21
Views: 3,044
I upgraded from a K-5 to a K-3 and if you pixel peep at iso 800 and higher, there does seem to be a bit more noise, but it's luminance, not chroma. In practice, this cleans up very well and you would not notice it in print, nor when posting photos online. I found the noise difference between the two cameras are exacerbated if you shoot JPG. If you shoot RAW, then there is really not much difference and I prefer the K-3's noise as it is more film like as well. The higher dot pitch of the K-3's 24 MP sensor means that one should expect more noise than a 16 MP sensor of the same size. Pixel peeping is not the proof, your final print or online posting is.

In my experience, the K-5 has worst chroma noise and that's the stuff which is ugly. With the K-3, I am confident shooting RAW to ISO 6400 before noise is a real issue. Also, bear in mind that compared to the K-5, the K-3's RAW files require far less sharpening (if any) and that helps mitigate noise. I do all my development in Lightroom 5 and a good combination of conservative sharpening and masking with noise reduction makes noise practically a non-issue at ISO 3200 and below. I would have no problem blowing up any K-3 image shot below 1600 ISO to poster size. Even 3200 ISO should be fine printed to 16x20 provided you got good exposure.

IMHO there is no question that the K-3 is superior in every way to the K-5 series. Just shoot RAW and learn the optimal way to process your images according to your sensor. I've always found the JPG engines on all my Pentax cameras, except for the Q10, shortchange the sensor's true capabilities. Each camera has its own "best recipes" to get the most out of your RAW files. Over time, I have customized a set of presets that are automatically applied according to different ISO's when I import my RAW files. This gets me about 90% into the "zone" for good sharpening and noise reduction balance.

Each time I use my K-3, it blows me away :)
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 02:55 PM  
Nature Turkey vulture looking for a snack
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 9
Views: 1,054
Hi Weevil, thanks for the tip! I'll use that setting next time I try BIF shots.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 02:54 PM  
Macro Home is where the dead are
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 5
Views: 989
Hello Weevil, thanks for the comment. I took that shot at the end of September.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 02:41 PM  
Abstract Stairway to who knows where
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 6
Views: 705
Thanks Phoenixvision. A lensbaby is a selective focus pseudo tilt-shift lens. The unblurred spot is selected by manually tilting the lens to the subject and the degree of blur varies according to aperture. The smaller the aperture, the less the blur. There's more on this at Lensbaby.com - Home
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 02:28 PM  
Nature Turkey vulture looking for a snack
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 9
Views: 1,054
Hi Weevil, SR was disabled and the lens was on the default SR position, which I think is 1.

---------- Post added 11-07-14 at 04:29 PM ----------

Hello Weevil, SR was disabled on the camera. Lens left at default stabilization, which I think is 1.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 01:44 PM  
Black & White Crumbling Mansion in Petrolia, Ontario
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 14
Views: 1,171
Thanks Hattifnatt,

The movie will be called Saw 10: The Renovation
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 01:41 PM  
Macro Home is where the dead are
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 5
Views: 989
Earlier during the day I was stung by a wasp. I felt a certain sense of Karmic justice when I stumbled upon these dead devils in front of their den of inequity.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 01:34 PM  
Black & White Full Steam Not Ahead
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 2
Views: 1,044
Part of the bridge for an old tugboat on static display in Port Burwell, Ontario.

This is a DNG file from the K-3, processed in lightroom and then some burning done within lightroom as well.
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