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Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 04-09-2010, 09:40 AM  
The next lens
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 106
Views: 20,988
I'm eager to get a longer zoom than my DA*60-250. I like to shoot small birds and that means fairly close distances even with a long lens and the 60-250 has what is known as focus breathing and at around 3 to 4m it's nearer 170/180mm in focal length which is not helpful. I know that the DA*300 is much better but I would like reach to at least 400mm and a zoom.

Pentax had a longer lens on their old roadmaps, but there was no indication whether it was a zoom or prime, I suspect the latter, but it may not be their current thinking. If it's a zoom and a DA*, it will probably be very pricy, so I'm considering either the Sigma 120-400 or 150-500 instead.

If Pentax actually made a non * level but WR telezoom that went to at least 400mm with a similar aperture range as the Sigmas or Canon 100-400IS L, with typically better Pentax colour/contrast, I'd be all over it in a shot, but sadly I suspect it won't happen. :(

My own feeling is that they may produce a WR version of the 55-300 and yet another clutch of boring primes. ;)

If they do produce a 100-400 f4-5.6 WR SDM zoom or similar at reasonable money (no more than a Canon 100-400 L IS), then they could sell a bucketload, just as Canon do with their 100-400, but that just makes far too much sense, as would a quality WR SDM 18-200/3.5-5.6! :lol:
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-23-2009, 12:10 PM  
Tamron 10-24mm anyone?
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 11
Views: 4,240
Not nearly so pronounced with the 12-24 or the two Sigma 10-20's I had.

Probably due to field curvature of the 10-24, the Sigma 10-20's had the same issue, but the Tamron does seem better. The 12-24 seems less prone to this problem.

Lens QA is always my main concern and that is why I have some reservations in recommending the 10-24, but the good examples were very good and very close to the 12-24, but I would say the 12-24 design was better balanced. This is generally in line with most reviewer and user reports of the Pentax/Tokina/Samsung 12-24 design overall, and it has been around long enough now to establish a firm reputation.

IQ quality consistency is a problem with all lens makers, none are immune. Sadly I suspect that well over 90% of purchasers would never detect a lens IQ problem and that is probably why the makers don't tighten up their QC.

In general, I have found Pentax lens IQ's to be better overall than the independent designs, but the sample variations are sometimes just as wide. :(
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-23-2009, 11:42 AM  
Poll: Lens setup if you had not a single lens
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 55
Views: 9,339
As zooms cover around 90% of my shooting, therefore I use a D-Xenon 12-24 + DA 17-70 + DA*60-250, I do find the overlap useful. I've only recently added the 12-24, so I'm getting to know it and how to best use the wider FOV.

I only find prime macros useful as they combine the best IQ and close focussing ability, therefore I have the FA 50/2.8 & D-Xenon 100/2.8. They cover pretty much all of my portrait, flower and bug shots! I sold off all my other primes as I got fed up with continual lens swapping and I never found shallow DOF useful. I did have decent primes, an FA*24, FA 35 and FA*300 f4.5, the FA*300 was probably my most used prime. I also spent 3 months working with the 21, 40 and 70 pancakes and I've never regretted my decision.

I still have a strange hankering for the 10-17 FE though! :lol: ;)
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 12-22-2009, 01:23 PM  
Sticky: Camera Bag Reviews
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 130
Views: 153,363
Finally I have a Billigham, thanks to my wonderful wife who bought it for my birthday!

I have long admired their design and craftsmanship and with the new 7 series I have found the larger 307 is the ideal bag for my main usage.

It actually "feels" smaller and less cumbersome than my National Geographic Explorer Medium and Large bags which I've been using for the last year or so (I don't like black nylon photo bags) and actually easier to use and access than my "old faithful" Rezo 190" ugly black bag" which was beginning to get very cramped!

In fact the 307 doesn't feel as "chunky" even though it holds vastly more kit. There are two large front pockets and a zippered rear pocket plus 6 small internal pockets around the inside edges.

I hope you find my pics useful, that's if you are considering splashing out for a Billingham! ;-)

The bag itself:

Opened (it has a huge "maw"! ) complete with K20D+17-70, 12-24mm, 50mm macro (under the 12-24), 60-250mm, Metz flash, Cokin ND & several grads, holder + rings, CPL filter, blower, cloths, releases, cards, lots of junk and even room left over for my BG2 grip if needed!

I've just added a 100mm f2.8 macro (where the blower was, it's been re-sited with the grads) and there is still room left!

It's very comfortable over the shoulder, or transversely across the body, with it's wide strap and heavily cushioned pad. You can also fit tripod straps to hold a tripod under the bag and there is a backpack style "clip on" shoulder harness available if required.

Needless to say, I'm really pleased with the bag.

Here are some more shots comparing it size wise with my National Geographic Explorer medium and large bags and also my old faithful Lowepro Rezo 190 which you may find useful.

Nat Geo Explorer Medium bag

Nat Geo Explorerer Large bag

Side views

Lowepro Rezo 190

Side views

Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-22-2009, 12:32 PM  
Tamron 10-24mm anyone?
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 11
Views: 4,240
I recently had the opportunity to test for sample variation from 10 samples as I was very interested in this lens.

Sadly I found that there was very wide variation between units. The problems varied from being very soft all over at all focal lengths especially at the corners, bad centering on many and some were very sharp in the centre but soft at the edges and I found that out of the 10 samples there were only 3 that were pretty good at all focal lengths and across the frame.

Even so, all had a fair amount of CA, very critical sharpness/aperture tolerance (fell away outside of the f8-f11 band) and some distortion at all focal lengths, it also had a tendency to over expose by around 1 stop and had considerably lower contrast and colour fidelity than the Pentax/Samsung D-Xenon 12-24.

So unless you desperately want 10mm or a close focussing distance, I would strongly suggest the latter.

I ended up buying a D-Xenon 12-24 which was considerably less expensive than the DA 12-24 here in the UK, but now very scarce as supplies have all but dried up. It's performance is considerably better than the Tamron or the Sigma 10-20 (I've had two of those). Sadly the Pentax is a horrific price over here. :(

Basically, if you don't have the opportunity to select a Tamron from a reasonable number of units, I would not recommend buying as the chance of getting a well made one seems fairly low. This is probably why there is a generally poor opinion of the lens from both reviewers and some users apart from a few isolated cases.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-21-2009, 03:11 PM  
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 12
Views: 3,990
The Xenon lens hoods don't have the removable filter window slide in section.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 12-11-2009, 03:25 AM  
Poll: What kind of bag do you prefer for your SLR equipment?
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 89
Views: 23,250
My sentiments exactly!

Billingham, Nat Geo and Domke are my front runners for good inconspicuous designs, plus one or two from Tamrac, ThinkTank and Lowepro, but they tend to be too "photographic" style wise, but ergonomically sound. I do prefer "Beige" (sand, khaki etc.) to black as a colour, but I'm of "that age"! ;)
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 12-11-2009, 03:04 AM  
Bad News from Turkey
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 225
Views: 34,070
As the originator of the US v. UK price chart, I feel I should update the discussion! ;)

Here is a chart showing the typical German street prices (taken by searching on the heise online price comparison site - heise online-Preisvergleich: Pentax Objektiv smc DA 12-24mm 4.0 ED AL (21577) / Deutschland).

For EU, VAT is removed (19%) and €1 = $1.47. For UK, VAT is removed (15% and 1 = $1.64)

For clarification, US prices are B&H, UK prices are best from SRS, Park or Warehouse Express. Percentage increase shown is over the US prices for both the UK and EU.

Draw your own conclusions.

Mine is that Hoya are taking the opportunity to rape the UK (ROB "Rip Off Britain") market and to a slightly lesser extent Europe (which overall is their largest), in order to try and build US sales (at our expense) as US buyers won't pay high prices, as if they did charge any more the US market would probably dissapear completely. One must ask, maybe this may not be a bad thing? :rolleyes: ;)
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-24-2009, 04:54 AM  
Silkypix Tutorials and tweaks
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 6
Views: 6,357
Yes, don't use LR! ;) Actually I don't have any other suggestions for you, sorry. :o

I actually dislike LR because of it's ponderous Library system and lack of lens distortion and perspective correction controls, but I can see what devotees like about it. But I don't generally like "all in one" solutions, as I invariably find them severely compromised in important areas.

Personally, I now find with Silkypix Pro I have very little need of separate image processing, and if I do I use Photoshop with several plug-ins. For my cataloguing, I use IDimager which IMO is far in advance of LR's capabilities and I can launch any selection or collection directly into Silkypix from there.

For clarification, I am using LR3 beta for my comparisons.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-24-2009, 04:45 AM  
Silkypix Tutorials and tweaks
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 6
Views: 6,357
Indeed I do, I said English, not American! :rolleyes: ;)
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-23-2009, 11:27 AM  
Silkypix Tutorials and tweaks
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 6
Views: 6,357
Silkypix UK have just posted 30 tutorials and a few tweaks for getting the best out of this popular Raw Converter.

It's especially useful as they are written in proper English :lol: with lots of illustrated steps. :D

LINK - Tutorials
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 11-22-2009, 04:07 AM  
Poll: Would you buy a Pentax FF?
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 119
Views: 24,111
No I wouldn't, my two main reasons are:
  • The overall size and weight of a FF system is considerably more than APS-C. I already find size and weight an issue, that's why I chose Pentax, even a quality (Oly) 4/3 rds DSLR system is heavier!

  • The cost is curretly much higher for a "like for like" system and likely to stay that way.

There are other personal shooting style reasons that mean I don't "need" a FF system, such as better high ISO performance as I've never needed much above ISO 800, most of my phoography is at ISO 100 and 200 and that includes hand held night shots.

I also, quite strongly, have the belief that most (not all) of FF devotees only want it for bragging rights! :rolleyes:
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10-30-2009, 10:42 AM  
Tamron SP AF10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 7
Views: 4,768
I know Peter Bargh personally, he is a decent honest guy and I believe his opinion is unbiased and worthy of serious consideration. He is also a long time Pentax user as well, he publishes Pentax User magazine here in the UK. :cool:

Due to his review and in order to check for possible sample variations, I shall be trying out a few Tamron 10-24's over the next few weeks against the DA12-24, which unfortunately, here in the UK, is now "Funny Money" at around 900, more than double it's sibling Tokina 12-24! :eek:

I know that many rate the Sigma 10-20 f3.5-5.6 as the better of the two, but I had two samples of the Sigma and was somewhat unhappy with the AF performance and severe field curvature at the wide end and returned them both, maybe I didn't try enough samples to find a "good 'un" ;)
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 05-25-2009, 11:56 AM  
Official BASH the K7 thread
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 177
Views: 23,139
Hmm, not so sure about this. :hmm:

Very easy to accidentally hit the OK button when operating the selection buttons, then, bang! You are out of AF selection mode.

Also, not possible to have a centre point reset, when in AF select mode, by hitting the OK button as in the K20D.

A relatively straightforward fix would be to have a "push and hold" for a couple of seconds to avoid accidental switching.

Any thoughts about this?
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 05-25-2009, 11:25 AM  
D-FA 50mm f/1.0 SDM
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 219
Views: 64,665
:lol::lol::lol::lol:!!! - I think it is a well constructed fake, BUT, if it isn't, it's very surprising! :rolleyes:

As far as a 400mm f4, it certainly would not be a 77mm filter thread, as the front element would have to be a minimum diameter of 100mm for a f4 lens (focal length/f stop no).

Pentax have a series of filter sizes they have stuck with over the years and the next front filter thread up from 77mm is 112mm together with a 43mm slot in rear filter (as per the FA*300 f2.8).

I suspect that if this lens appears it will be a big, heavy and expensive brute! Way past my carrying capacity and wallet! :eek:
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 01-23-2009, 02:10 PM  
Update on the Silkypix forum and Silkypix Pro (V4)
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 1
Views: 5,291
I've just received this information from Shortcut software, I hope it answers several questions from Silkypix users. :D

Hello Richard,

Some update from Shortcut about the forum and the new PRO version.

During the past 2 weeks we updated our servers and made some minor update modifications to the programming contents of the website. We also installed a new online shop, which will allow easier order processing, multiple languages and currencies etc.
During this maintenance project, we had to temporarily disconnect the forum, and we are scheduled later today (latest in the weekend) to activate the forum again, so you can be able to return the pending questions/topics to different forum members.
Your contribution to increase the popularity of Silkypix in the photographic community is very much appreciated.

As for the PRO version: this product is still under development and the PRO version is only distributed so far in the Japanese language.
The BETA version of the English language is scheduled to be introduced as a DEMO at the PMA show in March in Las Vegas, where Shortcut Software will have a booth presence.
The PRO version should be ready for sale around April/may timeframe.
Its important to know and to communicate to the photographic community that the PRO version and the 3.0 version will be distributed parallel, so we will have 2 versions of SILKYPIX in the market.

The 3.0 version had a different user base than the PRO version, and therefore there will also be a price difference between the 2 of them. As for upgrade pricing; yes, we will make that available however the exact details will be announced sometime later.
Also, there are a few more other marketing plans that we are brainstorming about for 2009. Any good input from your side is gladly appreciated.

I hope that I could give you a bit more information on what is in the pipeline for Silkypix, and Roberto will be the main contact window for the moderators.

Again, thank you for the interest and contribution to Silkypix,

George Spencer

Shortcut Software International Inc.

All the best
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 12-08-2008, 04:09 AM  
SIlkyPix Pro V4 (beta) launched
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 12
Views: 5,536
It's the Japanese version. The English version is scheduled for the Spring.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-19-2008, 02:19 AM  
K20d: DNG or PEF?
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 42
Views: 9,953
Although I couldn't care less what people use as their format of choice, I agree with Jeff's viewpoint. If I had to lose one of the Raw formats on my K10D & K20D, it would be, inside a heartbeat, DNG.

That's the last of my sixpence worth - Over and out! :rolleyes::p
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-17-2008, 12:04 PM  
K20d: DNG or PEF?
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 42
Views: 9,953
I have no idea about the "reversable" statement in the bubble. It is taken from a Pentax Powerpoint presentation.

I agree with Mark that such an option would not be much use, I can't think of any! I'm pretty certain that the PEF compression is indeed "lossless".
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-09-2008, 04:44 PM  
Where to get Domke-style insert?
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 8
Views: 3,737
Try e-mailing Canadian ebay seller Chambrenoirecan.

I've used them a few times and they are 100% reliable and well priced. If they don't list the Domke product you want they will quote you a price for it. :)
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-09-2008, 03:22 AM  
K20d: DNG or PEF?
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 42
Views: 9,953
DNG option is of relatively small importance, most native formats can be converted in a simple process later. Compressed lossless Raw is more useful, i.e. PEF since K10D onwards.

No camera maker provides DNG lossless compression as a native choice, even if they only provide DNG as a format, i.e. Leica, Ricoh, Samsung, they still need to be compressed later to save disk space, please note that some Raw converters don't support compressed DNG.

Intervalometer is a much more useful feature of the K20D, plus others of course! ;)
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-09-2008, 03:15 AM  
K20d: DNG or PEF?
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 42
Views: 9,953
Simply because not all Raw converters support DNG or apply the specific camera models colour profile. Capture One and Bibble come to mind.

I agree that if you are working Adobe only (I don't) it's a moot point, but you still need to compress the camera DNG files to save disk space, so you may as well work with PEF anyway and convert to compressed DNG, that way it's still a single step, but you will get the advantage of approx 50% more shots per card and the choice of different RC's if you choose to do so later.

Shooting PEF gives you all the options, you save space on your card and drives, you can save to compressed DNG if you wish. Remember you cannot make a PEF from a DNG, but you can the other way round. I don't like one way streets!

There is a lot more under the hood to Raw formats and Raw converter choice than is apparent from just a cursory glance (which is what most people do).

I will always choose to shoot in the makers native format until the whole industry agrees to adopt a universal format - DNG is not there yet by a long way. I see as much chance of this as that hot place freezing over! :D


For an in depth overview and discussion of Raw formats and DNG, I suggest visiting this section in the OpenRaw website
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 10-26-2008, 06:06 AM  
SIlkyPix Pro V4 (beta) launched
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 12
Views: 5,536
The best I can suggest is John Nevill's e-book on SilkyPix V3.0, it's not free, but a very reasonable 2.50. Very highly recommended.

EOS-Images SilkyPix Ebook
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 10-23-2008, 03:52 AM  
SIlkyPix Pro V4 (beta) launched
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 12
Views: 5,536
It appears that SilkyPix have launched a new (beta) version of their Raw converter software with many new features:

They have a dedicated site for the new Pro version, but it's only available in Japanese as yet, hopefully we shall have a Japlish version shortly ];-)

Here is a link to the google translated site, it is fairly easy to get an idea what is featured. ...op.html%23003&sl=ja&tl=en&hl=en&ie=UTF-8

Unfortunately it seems that the beta won't load on English based installations for some reason, but that is being investigated.

The price to upgrade the Japanese version is 10,000 yen, which is around $100 or 63 at todays rates, the price for an English version is not fixed yet.

There is a thread about all this on the SilkyPix forum:
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 10-16-2008, 10:03 AM  
What update for Win Vista to preview K20D and Silkypix
Posted By Richard Day
Replies: 5
Views: 2,556
I had exactly the same issues with my machines. My ageing 5 year old laptop was seriously damaged due to it being dropped and my insurance gave me a payment which was sufficient to cover a new Acer 5920 . The result was that many programs ran much faster and better on the new laptop than my main desktop (an old Sony P4 2.6GHz with 2 x 200GB SATA I drives under XP Pro)!

I decided to upgrade the laptop to 4GB of Ram and a faster, larger SATAII drive (320GB 7200 rpm) and use my old SATA drives in external e-SATA enclosures connected to the laptop via a 2 port e-SATAII cardbus card.

I use a separate 1600 x 1200 HP LP2065 calibrated monitor and use it as a dual monitor setup with the laptop screen. I also added a 1TB SATAII Samsung drive in another e-SATA external case and now use that as my main drive for all my photo editing and Raw storage, the older SATA drives are now used only for archival purposes, instead of using DVD's. The laptops 320GB drive is more than adequate for all my programs, data files and final output files for display purposes.

The system really flies along and it cost a whole pile less (under 200 for the new e-SATA cases, e-SATA cardbus card, the 1 TB external and 320GB laptop SATA II drives and an extra 2GB of Ram) than having two separate machines and I have the convenience of having laptop portability as well as desktop power and all my current working material on one computer. :cool::D

I do backup my laptop main drive every 24 hours to the old 250GB laptop drive via a great copy utility (Casper 5.0) just in case my laptop gets stolen/breaks or the internal drive fails, in which case I can physically transfer the backup drive directly into the old (or replacement) machine without any of the hassle of re-installing everything.
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