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Forum: General Photography 02-13-2018, 11:00 PM  
This must be a good read for the price :-
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 10
Views: 782
Sellers often set super high prices like this because they item is temporarily unavailable. So it's probably not some kind of weird conspiracy.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-07-2018, 12:22 AM  
Teleconverter for FA* 300mm f4.5 ?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 31
Views: 1,193
Mine doesn't actually wobble. But I can move it a little if I put a little more pressure on it than normal, compared to the bare lens. Of course there are also tolerances in the manufacturing. Glad it works for you though :)
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-06-2018, 03:11 AM  
Teleconverter for FA* 300mm f4.5 ?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 31
Views: 1,193
I recently tried the Tamron 1.4z - PZ AF with the FA* 300 f/4.5 on the K50 in the field with birds.

Sad to say but I don't recommend it. I do think the image quality is pretty decent. After extensive testing, the quality is certainly a little higher than pure cropping, under controlled conditions. There is a bit of a dropoff in resolving power. So, I'd say that it's probably as good as cropping a theoretical lens with quality as good as the FA* and a focal length somewhere between 300 and 420mm.

That being said, I think the increase in reach is hardly better than cropping. It is better, but hardly. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the decrease in light is not really worth it, if you are shooting in somewhat bad light. If the ISO goes up from 800 to 1600, then I'd say the slight increase in quality from the TC is offset by this. With a full-frame, this might not be as much of an issue. But the dimmer viewfinder makes it harder to manual focus. I'd say that's a bit of a problem because the FA* with the TC rather sucks at AF.

I think the FA* is reasonable wide-open, though it is obviously better at f/5.6. The difference in the field is noticeable, but you can still make a nice picture with the FA* wide open. With the TC, I think the difference is exacerbated. Wide open, the FA*+TC is unacceptable to my eyes, even without much cropping.

Also, the TC is not completely firm in the mount with the weight of the FA*. That might just be my copy, however. It wiggles a little.

In summary, I don't think the TC is really worth it, unless you are the kind of person that shoots in strong light all the time, AND doesn't want to edit AT ALL (uses jpeg OOC). But if you do edit, cropping is nearly as good for most purposes. I'd go so far as to say that it will be almost impossible to tell the difference in printing.
Forum: General Photography 02-06-2018, 01:34 AM  
Just Jpg Shooters?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 108
Views: 2,992
If you are actually considering Linux, I'd say go for a dual-boot environment so you can keep Windows for games. I suggest Linux Mint. I've got it installed on a MacBook Pro right now, and it just worked right out of the box.

It might take a little getting used to, but once you do, it stays out of your way totally, far more so than OS X or Windows. You can also then check out darktable for editing.
Forum: General Photography 02-03-2018, 09:38 PM  
Just Jpg Shooters?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 108
Views: 2,992
Raw is pretty good for extra highlight and shadow detail, but without it you could take bracketed shots. Lots of the time I rarely need the features of Raw. In fact, most of the time, straight out of camera is pretty good if you're careful. I only keep shooting Raw because I enjoy editing immensely. If you don't enjoy it as an independent activity, you can get great results without it too. Some things like selective dodging, creative colour enhancements, etc. won't be possible, but if you can live without it, great.

I only suggest perhaps trying out a different system, like a Mac. Maybe you'd actually like it? Everyone has problems with every system, but I've always hated Windows the most.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 01-26-2018, 10:46 PM  
Thinking about building a PC in the summer - what do you think of these configs?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 50
Views: 1,690
Actually, so far it seems that the Meltdown attack has only been successfully carried out on Intel processors (see Tom's Guide) for an explanation of this. Spectre is supposed to work on all processors but much more difficult to carry out.

For practical purposes it looks like Intel is worse off. So, if you have to get one, get AMD or wait for Intel to come out with a new processor that is immune. Don't be fooled by careless bloggers that don't make this distinction.
Forum: General Photography 01-23-2018, 12:49 AM  
Pentax vs .... a different take on things.
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 64
Views: 3,449
Photographic quality, however you define it, has some distribution. There are more people with the Sony than with the K1. Even if you assume that photographic skill is identically distributed amongst both groups, you will still get better photos in absolute numbers with the Sony.
Forum: General Photography 01-23-2018, 12:46 AM  
Replacement for jpeg ?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 41
Views: 1,269
Are you saying that Linux is the underlying kernel of OS X? If so, that's absolutely not true. OS X's kernel is Darwin and was based on Mach and BSD. Although both share similar features on the virtue of being based on unix-like systems (and OS X is unix certified), they don't share code.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-20-2018, 08:39 PM  
Fiscal dilemma
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 17
Views: 1,052
I second the K5 suggestion. I got one as a backup camera. It's pretty good. The only downside I've found is that the screen resolution isn't as nice and the shake reduction seems less effective than on the K-50.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-20-2018, 08:37 PM  
Pentax WR works 99% of the time - An expensive lesson
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 26
Views: 1,959
That is sad, sorry to hear about your camera. Though WR was never meant for salt water...it is very dangerous to electronics.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 01-20-2018, 08:35 PM  
Nature Nutria
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 5
Views: 337
That is a very nice shot. Sharp and it shows the animal's character!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-20-2018, 08:34 PM  
Using old SMC Pentax-A lenses with Pentax DSLR
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 31
Views: 1,781
One of my favourite lenses is the Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7. It really is super sharp and manual focus is not difficult! Good luck!

The only downside to manual lenses I've found is that their coatings don't do as well in 'wild' lighting conditions like outside. An aftermarket hood sometimes helps though.
Forum: Pentax K-1 01-20-2018, 08:30 PM  
Pentax full frame system compared to Canon or Nikon
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 77
Views: 4,309
As a small remark, I definitely don't think you should compare the K1 to the 5D2. The latter has way worse image quality compared to the newer K1's sensor. Not just in terms of resolution, but also dynamic range. I think the K1's advantage is really the high image quality for the price. The comparison you should consider is between the D750 that you mentioned. Do some research on what features you want more.

Definitely you'll have to get new lenses. There's not much point in going FF if you just want crop mode. So in my mind it seems to come down to the great K1 sensor vs. the autofocus speed of the D750. I'd say consider the latter if you're really into wildlife but consider the former otherwise.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 12-29-2017, 06:56 PM  
Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop Alternative??
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 16
Views: 1,415
Yes, and not only that but the 2.4.0 version has just been released - they have a trend of releasing the next version at Christmas.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-30-2017, 08:26 PM  
Darktable 2.0.7 under Linux Mint 18.2... a great Lightroom alternative
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 44
Views: 2,761
It is true that denoising takes a little getting use to on darktable compared to Lightroom. However, after experimenting with it a bit, I find it pretty easy to use. Here are some tips that might be helpful:
  1. In "profiled denoise" experiment with non-local means vs. wavelets. You might have to turn down the strength for wavelets because it has a stronger effect than non-local means

  2. For colour noise (chroma noise), the "denoise (non-local means)" module works very well. Keep the luma noise turned off here

  3. Advanced: for that "smooth" look that sometimes doesn't work with the denoise module, the trick is to actually use the equalizer rather than the denoise module.

More on the equalizer module: the equalizer is a more advanced tool, but it allows you to have a very-finely grained control over the contrast of your images. If you drag around the top part of the curve (where the little circles are), you can increase or decrease the contrast ranging from coarse contrast (like the usual contrast you're used to) to sharpness. But, if you drag up the bottom of the curve near the right of the graph, then you can control the amount of fine smoothing that occurs. What this means in practice is that you can smooth out the noise in your images with a lot of control.

If you master denoising with the equalizer, you can get incredible results. (However, even if you don't want to use the equalizer, you can still get pretty good results with the other modules.)

darktable also has masks, so if you're shooting a lot of nature with a lot of green, you can apply stronger denoising to the greener pixels with the parametric mask. For some reason it seems to me that green shows noise particularly well. This applys to nature shots like birds where the background is a little out of focus and green.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-30-2017, 08:06 PM  
Reviewer Bias
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 31
Views: 1,821
Seriously? Canon and Nikon's lenses are actually pretty good. And at least in the telephoto >= 300mm category, excellent quality and superior to third party equivalents. Of course, there are a few examples where the third-party equivalent is optically sharper like perhaps the Sigma 35mm art f/1.4, but even then Canon/Nikon equivalents are far from rubbish.

And there are absolutely more lenses for Canon/Nikon mount than Pentax. That includes OEM as well as third-party lenses like Tamron and Sigma.

So while the basics are covered by Pentax (and really do love my Pentax lenses), if you want more specialized lenses it actually might be better to go with Canon or Nikon. But that's just choosing the right tool for the right job. If you really want a modern 500mm f/4 or 400mm f/2.8 with a DSLR then Canon and Nikon are the only choices
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-11-2017, 08:04 PM  
Nature Parrot Crossbill / Loxia phytyopsittacus
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 5
Views: 273
Very nice looking bird and colour composition!
Forum: General Photography 10-29-2017, 08:26 PM  
Why 70-200mm and not wider but shorter?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 29
Views: 1,412
Having shot a few events I think the 200mm is very useful to get in close, even if you already are pretty close! So 105mm would definitely not be enough.
Forum: Pentax K-S1 & K-S2 10-03-2017, 03:57 AM  
K-S1 to keep the dream alive?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 16
Views: 1,226
I suggest just going with the Nikon prime since you already have the D500, and you seem to need autofocus.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-03-2017, 03:54 AM  
From SLR to DSLR: some input would be great!
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 30
Views: 1,324
If you're vigilant on ebay you can get a K5 for around 250USD give or take, with a modest shutter count. You should also check for some of those related models like a K-50 or KS-2. I wouldn't suggest going older than a K5.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-03-2017, 03:45 AM  
What would happen if I were to use a crop lens with tc on the K1?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 18
Views: 1,047
You should just use the 50mm on full frame and use crop mode if you want a similar field of view as an APS-C. No need for the TC.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-02-2017, 10:36 PM  
Upgrade from Pentax K5
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 18
Views: 1,405
You should go with the body with the best noise performance if you are using a lens like the Sigma.
Forum: General Photography 09-24-2017, 10:19 PM  
It is official (for me) eBay is rubbish for legacy gear now
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 39
Views: 2,203
Another thing I do besides look at the seller rating, is read the actual feedback. So far I've bought about a dozen items on Ebay and haven't been disappointed. *crosses fingers*
Forum: Pentax K-70 09-19-2017, 02:11 AM  
iso and shutter speed balance to freeze humming bird wing
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 15
Views: 1,267
If you use a flash at a feeder you just need a cheap manual flash with a Vello trigger. I got a manual Godox flash on ebay for around 40 dollars and it even came with a trigger. I've been using it for almost a year and no misfires.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-18-2017, 11:33 PM  
Workflow to find out what is (if) wrong with my HD 1.4X TC with the DA*300/4
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 8
Views: 787
I would also suggest that 420mm may be harder to handhold than you expect. It will be interesting to see your tests!
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