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Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 04-12-2011, 09:07 PM  
Fotodiox Extension Tubes may stain sensor!
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 6
Views: 4,537
Yes, as I said, MOST spots came off with a rocket blower. But one large one remained even after repeated uses of the Pentax Sensor Cleaning Kit. Only after I used a wet solution did it come off. I called it a stain since I believe it resulted from paint but you can call it whatever you want. As near as I can tell, it is paint chipped off the inside of the extension tube when one tube is screwed into another or into the end pieces. My point is that my sensor shouldn't get spots on it from using correctly manufactured extension tubes and obviously these weren't.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 04-12-2011, 07:59 PM  
Fotodiox Extension Tubes may stain sensor!
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 6
Views: 4,537
I have a K-x and wanted to try shooting macro pictures. So I bought a set of Fotodiox extension tubes through the Fotodiox eBay store. The pictures I took came out fine and the tubes seemed to be working great. Until .... spots started appearing on my pictures. :( As near as I can tell, the paint on the inside of the extension tubes flakes off and eventually gets on the sensor. Most spots came off the sensor with the use of a Rocket blower. I had one spot that wouldn't go off from a blower and then tried the Pentax recommended Image Sensor Cleaning Kit, O-ICK1 with the sticky ended stick & paper. After repeatedly using that I reached a point where it would remove no more of the spot. But the spot remained! I then had to get swabs and a wet solution to remove the remainder of the spot.

After this first started I found that if I assembled the extension tubes over a clean sheet of paper I could see black specks fall onto the paper. I have since soaked the tubes in soap for a day and then scrubbed them vigorously. I still get a few spots when I screw the tubes together but nowhere near as many as I originally had. Nevertheless, I am not sure whether these tubes will ever get mounted on my camera again. I just wanted to share my experience so others can be careful with these tubes.

On the plus side, I now have had an education in sensor cleaning and know how to do it if/when required.:)
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-05-2011, 08:17 PM  
Exposure bracketing with the K-x
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 6
Views: 3,261
boriscleto was right on about the lens correction. I tried it with the lens corrections turned off and the shutter clicked all three images quite quickly with no delay. Thanks folks for your help.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-05-2011, 05:36 PM  
Exposure bracketing with the K-x
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 6
Views: 3,261
I decided to try exposure bracketing to do HDR with RAW files as opposed to the in-camera HDR processing with my K-x. When I go in JPG+RAW shooting mode with exposure bracketing it takes the first two shots almost immediately and then there is a delay of 2-4 seconds before the 3rd shot is taken. If I go in JPG alone mode, the three shots happen quickly. So apparently the delay is getting the image data stored on the memory card. I am using SanDisk Ultra Class 4 15 MB/second cards with capacities of 4 and 8 GB. Would going to a higher speed SD card reduce the delay or is the delay occuring in the camera so that card speed doesn't matter?

Secondly, it appears that I have to hold the shutter down while the exposure bracketing function takes all 3 pictures. That implies there is no way to use the 2 second delay shutter when doing bracketing. So for my HDR purposes is the best available solution to use a tripod with SR off and just press and hold the button? It seems like there should be a better solution since alignment is so critical for HDR.

Thanks for any help!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-25-2011, 12:52 AM  
Did I break my K-x?
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 11
Views: 2,249
KxBlaze - Sorry to hear of your problems regarding your K-x not turning on at times but it is encouraging to me that I may not have broken anything on mine.

crazysaint222 - I wasn't aware of the surge protection but I guess the fall may have caused a battery to push against its contact on one end so far that the other end disconnected and caused some sort of transient that triggered the protection circuit. If that is the case I should be fine.

Thanks folks - In addition to the 300 pictures I took yesterday I'm off on a short trip this week where I'll be taking a lot of pictures so I should have the camera pretty well tested by this weekend.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-23-2011, 04:03 PM  
Did I break my K-x?
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 11
Views: 2,249
Well, I just got back from taking a few hundred pictures in the park. Everything from 18 mm to 55 mm at a variety of shutter speeds, apertures, and ISO ratings all seem to be OK.

GerryL - I don't have room in my luggage for my large tripod so I'm stuck with the gorillapod for the trip to CR

JeffJS - I looked closely at everything in the battery compartment and can't see anything that looks broken but the way it started working after reloading the batteries still has me concerned about some sort of lose connection between the batteries and the circuit board. Failing the day after I step off the plane in CR is my concern. I already have looked up the camera shop in Costa Rica and will have their address with me. Not to mention I'm also taking my pocket camera just in case.

Ira - yep, the camera's working OK now, I hope you are right.

Thanks everyone!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-23-2011, 10:37 AM  
Did I break my K-x?
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 11
Views: 2,249
I had my K-x on a gorillapod (SLR Zoom Model) sitting on a table. I bumped the table and the camera fell forward landing on the bottom front of the DA L 18-55 lens and the corner of the camera body (about where the little finger of your right hand rests while holding the camera). The camera was nonfunctional in that it wouldn't turn on. I happened to remove the batteries to check out the battery compartment and as soon as I reinstalled the batteries the camera starting working. The pictures appear fine - at least when viewed on the LCD. It kind of has me freaked out since I am leaving on a short trip this week and in a few weeks will go on my 3 week trip to Costa Rica which was the reason for buying the camera in the first place. Has anyone had a similar occurence? Do I now have some sort of intermittent problem?

Thanks for any help!
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 10-17-2010, 11:08 PM  
Best post processing program for a newbie?
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 33
Views: 12,249
I have used Photoshop Elements, Gimp, Raw Therapee, Picassa, and a few others.

A couple years ago, I settled on ACDsee Photo Manager since it is an excellent photo manager that also provides the basics of editing - auto exposure, brightness, levels, shadows/highlights, color adjustment, red eye, unsharp mask, noise reduction, resize, crop, rotate, add text, and effects. Everything you need unless you are into creating images in your computer instead of your camera. I found ACDSee's photo management function to be better than that of Picassa. But it only edits at the 8-bit level. This was fine while I was using a P&S camera but is a bit weak for editing now that I have a K-x with full raw capability.

Prior to settling on ACDSee I seriously tried Gimp but it also only worked at 8-bits and it used Raw Therapee for the 16-bit RAW processing. Raw Therapee is excellent although the current version is somewhat unstable. I believe they plan on an upcoming stable release of RT sometime before the end of the year. Also, the plan is for Gimp to provide 16-bit processing when version 3.0 is released. So the Gimp/Raw Therapee combination should be a winner for editing in the not too distant future.

Another product worth considering that I have not yet tried is ACDSee's Pro 3 which I suspect to be very good. I believe it has true 16-bit functionality for raw processing plus the excellent ACDSee editing and photo management functionality. I will probably migrate in this direction instead of Adobe due to the excellent photo management with ACDSee. ACDSee lets you download 30 day demos to try it out.

For a beginner, I would suggest simply using the software that came with the camera until the next stable release of Raw Therapee is available. You can use Picassa for the management function. That combination carries a cost of zero and will give excellent results.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-17-2010, 07:29 PM  
Lens/equipment choices for Costa Rica trip??
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 7
Views: 4,001
Albert, I would like to have all of it with me but was concerned that the 55-300 kit lens won't be of much value due to the low light. I have an Ultrapod II but may have to get a Gorillapod since the airport security people may complain about the pointed ends on the Ultrapod feet.

hcc, I have about six 4 GB cards and am trying to decide whether to buy more cards or one of the portable backup drives that back up directly from the SD card, i.e. not requiring a computer.

Lee, you may be right about the 55-300 for macro shots. Even if it is useless in the dark jungle it may be great for macro shots of insects. I'll also try using just a stick for support and see how it works out.

RioRico, I'll be in both dry climates and in the wet cloud forests so I will take a lot of plastic bags as well as the rain covers. I'll give the cord-pod a try - I read about that years ago but never tried it out since I got my Ultrapod as well as a good Giottos tripod. The need to go at F2 is why I think my 50 mm lens may be the best for in the rain forest despite its lack of zoom. I am not going with a tour - I'll be with my wife for 10 days and then on my own for 10 days. That is why I am concerned about personal security and not carrying too much stuff around with me. In San Jose I will leave the DSLR in the pack and just carry my Canon A1100 pocket camera so it won't be visible that I have a DSLR with me.

Lowell, I read a National Geographic article from a few years back about Costa Rica and they also mentioned that the rain forest was so dark that they had to take a lot of flash equipment to get decent pictures. That is what convinced me to dump my zoom P&S and get a DSLR for this trip. I plan to have a poncho that will cover both me and my pack.

Thanks for your input everybody. Overall, I guess the 55-300 long lens will be good for when not in the rain forest as well as for macros so I guess I'll take it along. I definitely want the 50 mm with me for low light situations and the wider 18-55 should be good for night shots on a tripod (or cord-pod/gorillapod/stick) of volcanos. That means I take everything along. I estimate the photography equipment will take up over 40% of the space in my pack so I won't get to pack many clothes!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-16-2010, 09:26 PM  
Lens/equipment choices for Costa Rica trip??
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 7
Views: 4,001
Well I have had my K-x now for just over a month and love it. My main reason (excuse?) for upgrading to a DSLR from a Canon S5 P&S was to deal with the low light situation on a trip to the rain forests in Costa Rica this winter. Now comes the question of what lenses to take on the trip. My available lenses are the two kit lenses (18-55 and 55-300) and a manual focus Pentax A 50 mm F2. I also have a Raynox DCR-150 macro lens adapter. My budget is tapped out so those are my only options. Also, I will be traveling alone much of the time so for both convenience and safety reasons I am trying to pack as light as possible so carrying as few lenses as necessary is desirable.

Will the light level in the jungle underneath the canopy be so low that the kit lenses will be too slow to get any real pictures? In that case maybe I should only take the faster 50 mm lens with me? (That also might make me less of a mugging target than some other tourist carrying a big "Canikon" Lens.)

Or will I want to kill myself for not bringing along the 55-300 mm to zoom in on animals? And similarly will I wish I had the 18 mm capability for seascapes and landscapes?

I have some of the plastic rain covers for the camera to deal with the moisture/humidity and I am trying to figure out if I can get a monopod/hiking stick through security in my carryon luggage since I am not planning on checking any luggage.

Memory card capacity is another problem since I estimate that I may need as much as 80-150 GB total for storing my pictures during the trip - and that only allows for 200-300 pictures/day.

Has anybody been to the Costa Rica that can give me some advice?

Thanks!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-10-2010, 11:41 AM  
Catch-in Focus questin on K-x
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 6
Views: 2,949
Yes, I enabled CIF by setting menu item 21 ON in the Custom Setting Menu. I'll try the method of holding down the release button with the kit lenses.

Thanks,
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-10-2010, 11:21 AM  
Catch-in Focus questin on K-x
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 6
Views: 2,949
Eruditass,

I put on the DAL 18-55 lens and made the settings on the camera and then mounted the 50 mm lens and it now appears to work with the 50 mm lens. I do have to hold the shutter button down and the camera will take the picture when the object moves into focus. If I release the shutter button, it won't take a picture even when an object comes into focus and the focus indicator lights up. Is that how Catch-in Focus is supposed to work, i.e. that you need to hold the shutter button down until the camera decides to take the picture?

Thanks.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-10-2010, 10:35 AM  
Catch-in Focus questin on K-x
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 6
Views: 2,949
I'm still learning about all the features of my new K-x. Recently I tried to take some pictures using the Catch-in Focus Mode and I hope my camera isn't faulty.

From the description in the manual it appears that Catch-in Focus won't work with either of my two kit lenses - DA L 18-55 or DA L 55-300 - since they don't have AF/MF setting on the lenses. Am I correct on that?

But shouldn't it work with my Pentax-A 1:2 50mm F2? When I try, the camera only shows MF in the AF Mode box on the control panel and won't let me select AF.A or AF.S like I need to for Catch-in Focus to work. This happens in all modes, i.e. M, Av, Tv, Sv, and P. (I have set menu item 21 ON in the Custom Setting Menu.)

If it won't work with my 50 mm F2 lens, is there a relatively cheap (<$75) lens that I could buy that would let me use Catch-in Focus with either extension tubes or a snap on Raynox DCR-150 lens for macro pictures? I was hoping Catch-in Focus would enable me to get well-focused pictures of insects.

Thanks in advance for any help.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 09-29-2010, 06:24 PM  
K-x with older lenses - quick question
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 4
Views: 2,150
audiobomber and Lowell Goudge - thanks for your replies. The lens came in today's mail and I have taken a few pictures and it seems quite fine. The only imperfection I can see is a small speck of dust inside the lens about 2/3 of the distance from the center of the lens to the outside of the lens. I took some shots of just a white background and can't see it showing up anywhere so I guess that is OK. The lens works as advertised in terms of aperture adjustment via the camera and the manual focusing is a breeze. I hope to take it on a hike tomorrow to get some more pictures with it.

Marc - you are correct, I never would have guessed that the contacts were shorted out to function correctly.

Thanks for all your help!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 09-29-2010, 09:17 AM  
K-x with older lenses - quick question
Posted By ptx101
Replies: 4
Views: 2,150
I have had my K-x with the two lens kit (18-55 & 55-300) for a couple weeks and love it. Now I want to try using the older Pentax manual lenses. I ordered a lens online that was described as "Pentax-A 50mm 1:2 SMC Lens" which I would believe is the lens referred to in the forum's lens database as "SMC Pentax-A 50mm F2". My understanding is that this lens will mount on the K-x with no adapter plate required. I believe all I have to do is set the lens aperture ring to the A position and the camera will adjust the aperture and I will need to focus manually. Do I have this right?

Also, I remember reading somewhere that some lenses may short out the electrical contacts on the K-x body and - presumably - damage it. Is that true? If so, when do I have to worry about that?

Thanks for any help!
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