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Forum: Pentax Medium Format 17 Hours Ago  
Anyone nervous carrying such an expensive bag of equipment?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 35
Views: 1,440
I agree with the people emphasizing situational awareness. When I am traveling, I am less worried about getting “held up” and more worried about pick-pockets or people trying to distract me or sneak off with my camera bag. Most thieves want to steal stuff without a confrontation.

For example, when taking pictures with a tripod, I put me camera bag in front of me and not behind me. If I am at a restaurant with my camera, it is on the table in front of me and not hanging off a chair. If I am at an outdoor restaurant, on a train or at an airport, I keep the strap on my camera bag wrapped around my foot.

If someone is acting suspicious, I will stare at them and make clear, “I know you are there and I know what you look like.” In places I am a little more worried, I carry a money clip with just a few bucks and one credit card, not a full wallet..When walking, I would hold my keys sticking out between my fIngers—a good weapon that can do some damage without getting you arrested with a concealed weapon. Remember, most thieves will go for any easy target, not someone watching them and aware!

Taking Photos at night, I have had more deer sneak up on me than people!
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 18 Hours Ago  
Advice for Shooting Gymnastics: Upgrade Body (from K-r to K-70) or Upgrade Lens?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 27
Views: 725
I think upgrading your lens would be the first step. If you can get a f/2.8 or better, that will be a big help. I used to shoot basketball with a full frame film camera with a 28-90 f/2.8 at ISO 800 and ~1/250th sec (~18-55mm for crop K-r.). I was shooting from the floor, so I was usually closer than 25 yards.)

I think you could get away with a manual lens. As mentioned above, I would pre-focus where the action would be In manual and put the exposure in manual. If you do that, there will be no trigger delay when you take your shot (or several shots in burst mode). My K-5 has fairly low noise at ISO 800... if I have to go higher than 800, I will get grain/noise. The f/2.8 lets me stay at ISO 800.

Upgrading the camera body should let you reduce grain/noise at your current settings with your current lens. If you like your lens, go for upgrading the body.
Forum: Photographic Technique 1 Day Ago  
How to track fstop and shutter speed when shooting film or vintage lenses on digital?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 19
Views: 589
When I was shooting film, the pocket spiral-bound notebook was what I would use. It fit in the front pocket of my camera bag, so it was always with me. (Also get a good waterproof pen because the notebook will get wet.) The notebook really helped me starting out.

I don’t know if you get your pictures scanned or not. I made sure to get my pictures developed somewhere that put the frame number on the back of the photo... not everyone did. That made it easier matching photos with my notebook later, especially if I was bracketing because it is tough to tell 2 bracketed photos apart by looking at the negatives.

As far as getting good exposures, for film I would almost always shoot in manual mode with spot metering. I would spot meter several points in the picture like the blue sky, a gray rock, the shade, a tree, etc. Often I did not meter the subject... If I had a good gray sidewalk, granite rock, or blue sky I could meter off from, then the subject would be exposed correctly. Matrix metering modes sometimes work but often guess wrong with complex backgrounds. For really pretty shots, I would bracket the shot over and under exposing.
Forum: General Photography 10-09-2020, 08:02 PM  
Worthwhile used Camera Dealers in Denver or Colorado Springs?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 8
Views: 540
I went to Englewood Camera about a year ago. They do have some used Pentax equipment. They also had BINS of used older stuff, almost like a flee market. Very nice people. Not a big store. Mike’s Camera stores are usually bigger but tend to target new camera sales. I agree Mike’s is good for non-brand equipment like bags, tripods and filters.
Forum: Photographic Technique 09-05-2020, 07:46 PM  
Book recommendations
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 31
Views: 1,766
I’ll when I started shooting, I would carry a Pentax P30t and a Yashica Mat 124g twin reflex. I agree the Yashica would make me think about my shots because I only had 12 shots per roll of film! I did have a built-in light meter, but manual aperture and manual focus. Double-checked everything before I hit that shutter button! But that camera could take some beautiful landscape photos!
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 09-04-2020, 03:09 PM  
Have all the satellites in the sky caused anyone photo problems?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 15
Views: 1,221
What really bothers me is that the satellite trails often don’t show up on the rear display. It is easy to see if a plane flew through your long exposure so you can try again, but some of the satellite trails are faint and only about 1-2 pixels wide. They look like a scratch on your printouts, they you zoom in and discover them.
Forum: Photographic Technique 09-02-2020, 02:48 PM  
Book recommendations
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 31
Views: 1,766
Another vote for Understanding Exposure.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 08-21-2020, 05:36 PM  
Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 6
Views: 511
The infinity stop on my Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 was off. An easy way to check the infinity setting is to focus on something like a street light from a long distance (1/4 mile). A light is easier to focus on than stars. Take a series of photos starting with the focus ring before infinity and keep going past infinity. The spot of light should get smaller In diameter as it comes into focus at infinity, then it should start to get bigger and blurrier again as you go by the focus point. (On the Rokinon 14mm, the proper infinity setting comes before you hit the hard stop.)

If you end up hitting the hard infinity stop before the dot of light starts getting bigger, the infinity stop is set wrong. It can be adjusted by following the videos online. Make sure you don’t unscrew the adjustment screws too much or they can fall out. I did not try to get the infinity stop perfect... I just made sure I didn’t hit the infinity stop too soon. Do the same test with a streetlight again and figure out what gives you optimum focus and make a note or mark your focus right. For starts, I do not try to focus with the viewfinder or screen, I use the setting from my tests.

To check for de-centering, what I do is take a picture of a brick wall at different distances and different f-stops. If one side is much blurrier than the other side, there might be a problem.

A good copy of the Rokinon/Samyang will give you perfect pinpoints of light in the middle of the frame if properly focused. (The corners may have some distortion.)

Good luck and have fun!
Forum: Pentax K-3 08-12-2020, 02:56 PM  
Quick and dirty advice wanted.
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 14
Views: 1,074
One thing to consider is setting your camera in manual exposure and manual focus. The reason I say this is because if the camera is in fully manual mode, there will be no shutter delay. You can start with the camera in auto and take some test shots at different ISO settings and f-stops, then once you get nicely exposed and in focus shots, put everything in manual. Shooting at night if the focus is in manual, I am betting the focus lock would be a little slow.

Have fun!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-09-2020, 08:03 PM  
Wide primes for astro
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 13
Views: 1,095
I had to adjust the infinity stop on my Rokinon 14/2.8 because it would hit the infinity stop before I got good focus. It took a couple of tries. Don’t worry about getting the setting exact, but make sure you can get focus without hitting the stop because the next step is to check the focus.

My first advice is NOT to use starts to check you infinity focus. I live near a coastal river with a draw bridge. The bridge has bright red and green channel lights mounted to the bridge, so I set up on a tripod 1/4 to 1/2 mile away at night and take a series of pictures at different focus distances. I make a note of what focus distance goes with each shot, then I upload the shots to my computer and check the focus of each shot. It is hard to see on the camera screen. You should see the dot of light get smaller as the focus improves, then as you go past infinity (if possible) the dot of light will start getting bigger. You can also use a street light, flashlight or the headlight of a car from far away. Other people have used a laser pointer mounted on a tripod shining on a rock or paper far away to focus on. You can use a long exposure at low ISO to get a clear shot and check exposure from close to far. Everything is stationary so you don’t need Astrotracer to check focus. Then just use the exact same focus distance for you astro shots later. (Focus distance may vary with temperature, but I have never noticed that much variation.)

It is possible to use a street light to check focus looking at a zoomed-in image on the back of your camera. Take a series of shots, zoom in and compare them. The one with the smallest dot of light is best focus. With a big light like a street light, you can see the difference on your camera back.

For my Rokinon 14, I stop down to f3.5, because I get some “blooming” with bright stars at 2.8 f-stop. For my Rokinon, my infinity focus is about 1/4” past the infinity mark. I put it at that mark and shoot. Make sure to check it occasionally... it is very easy to move the focus ring when adjusting the camera angle. Some people use tape to hold the focus ring.

The Samyang/Rokinon 14 can give great shots if you have a good copy and it is properly focused. If you use Astrotracer, you will get some distortion in the corners in the form or radial star trails. This is not a calibration issue or they would follow a semi-circular path. All ultra-wide lenses I have seen do this.

The Samyang/Rokinon 14 gives similar astro results To the DFA 15-30. I tested them head-to-head. I have never tried the Iris Firefly. I shoot with the K-1 full-frame.

---------- Post added 08-09-20 at 08:06 PM ----------

By the way, the Pentax FA 20/2.8 is not a good astro lens. Too much coma. Nice for daytime shooting.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 08-08-2020, 07:05 AM  
Just bought a *ist DS
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 16
Views: 1,269
For my istDL, I had a battery case that would hold 8 AA lithium ion batteries. I’d put the + end in one direction for new batteries and reverse them for used batteries. I didn’t have much luck with rechargeable batteries. Paid lots of attention to battery sale prices!
Forum: Pentax K-70 07-22-2020, 11:14 AM  
UV Protectors?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 33
Views: 1,332
I do a lot of shooting near the ocean or in winter, so I use a clear filter on my lenses because I find it easier to clean the filter than the lens. (I don’t put them on for impact protection.). However, I agree with the people saying it needs to be high-quality. I buy B+W MRC-007 clear filters. They are a little pricey because of the glass and the brass ring.

I also don’t use other filters very often, so I don’t run into vignetting issues from stacking lenses. If I used a polarized a lot, I might not bother with the clear filter. Usually I take the clear lens off if I put on the polarizer and it is a pain to switch them out.

Depending on the lens, the clear filter can also make it harder to reverse the lens hood if you reverse it in your camera bag.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 07-02-2020, 02:46 PM  
Noise reduction - different camera body or better software?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 35
Views: 1,893
I use the Noiseware add-in/filter for Photoshop & Lightroom. The default options work pretty well, but you can adjust detail protection vs noise reduction together.

I liked the older versions a little better because it was easier to sample open areas like sky and use that to adjust the noise reduction.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 05-21-2020, 04:59 PM  
Jump in to the shallow or deep end?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 34
Views: 1,661
One thing I did when the K-1 was coming out was to buy FA instead of DA lenses If available. That way when I upgraded to the K-1, I could keep using the lens for full-frame (with a different field of view). For instance, I bought the Pentax FA 35 f/2 which was close to a normal 50 mm equivalent on my crop sensor. When I upgraded to the K-1, the 35 mm had the same field of view as my Pentax DA-21 which was a favorite on my crop sensor K-5.

For Astro, I bought a full-frame Samyang 14 mm, which worked well on both my K-5 and K-1 for Astro Milky Way pictures.

If you never upgrade to the K-1, nothing lost.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 05-20-2020, 02:47 PM  
Jump in to the shallow or deep end?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 34
Views: 1,661
Welcome! To start out, I would go for the KP and the Pentax 16-85 lens. The KP sensor is similar to the K-1
as far as sensitivity but has less resolution since the K-1 is full frame. Unless you really need the f/2.8, the 16-85 is a good focal length for general shooting with the crop sensor (especially landscapes) and the combination doesn’t weight too much. You can buy the O-GPS separately for Astrotracer, but you might want a different lens for Astro.

I have the K-5 and the K-1. I still take the K-5 if I’m flying somewhere because it is a little smaller and lighter. I use the K-1 around the house or if I am driving somewhere. The K-1 sensor is much better than the K-5 in low light, but the KP should be similar to try the K-1 in low light.

It is nice having an on camera flash at times. For my K-1, I have a compact flash in my bag. If plan to do flash photography with either my K-1 or K-5, I use an off-camera flash to prevent red eye.
Forum: Pentax K-1 05-04-2020, 06:43 PM  
Issue switching from SD card 2 to 1
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 21
Views: 954
That is the only way I have been able to get it to work. Take Card 2 Out and turn the camera on to force it to use Card 1.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-12-2020, 01:29 PM  
Lens testing and comparison.
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 13
Views: 823
For testing sharpness, I often take a picture of a bookcase using a tripod and offset flash. The bookcase is kind of like an eye chart where there is a mixture of text sizes. (The publisher’s name is usually smaller than the title and author, for instance.). If you can see the texture, dust and scratches on the book cover, you know you have a sharp lens. You can also compare the text of the titles in the middle with the ones at the edges.

I also like taking pictures of tree bark. The more texture and detail, the sharper the lens. I will also take a picture of a tree branch wide open and look at the bokeh behind the branch.
Forum: Pentax K-3 03-11-2020, 05:39 AM  
Beginner help -- choosing lenses for K-3
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 39
Views: 2,908
With respect to the Pentax DA 18-55 zooms, keep in mind there are at least 3 different versions (I own two of them). The “original” 18-55 came on my *istDL. After a year or two of shooting, I noticed problems with sharpness. Apparently Pentax agreed because they changed the optics and released the DA 18-55 Mark II which was a noticeable improvement in my opinion. I believe the Mark II optics are the same as what is in the DA 18-55 WR. So just stay away from the original 18-55 and I think it is a good starter lens. I took lots of pictures with it!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-08-2020, 05:47 AM  
The difficult choice of the two lenses kit
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 38
Views: 1,997
After renting the DFA 15-30, I decided to go with the FA 20/2.8 prime and DFA 28-105. So far, I like that set-up. The DFA 15-30 had great image quality and was a great wide lens, but it was just too heavy.

I do wish I had a light-weight zoom down to 24 mm on the lower end for landscape shots. (Like the 16-85 on my K-5.) The FA 20 is good for architecture... not too much distortion. The FA 20 is not good for Astro though.
Forum: Pentax K-3 03-06-2020, 12:58 PM  
Beginner help -- choosing lenses for K-3
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 39
Views: 2,908
I have the 18-135 for my K-5 and it is a nice lens. The 16-85 is a little sharper but it is significantly larger and more expensive. You will be happy with it.

I agree you probably need something a little faster for shooting in a gymnasium. On my full-frame film camera, I had a manual focus 28-80 f/2.8. So something like the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 mentioned above would be the cropped sensor equivalent. It actually isn’t too bad shooting something like basketball in a gym because the lights usually do a good job lighting up the players while the background is dark.

The Pentax 55-300 comes in a couple of versions. The optics are the same, I think. I have the DAL version which is a little slower (and louder) screw-drive focus and doesn’t have quick-shift manual focusing, but it is sharp. It is good outside but the lens is probably too slow to use indoors, like in a gym. It cost me about $125 used.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 02-29-2020, 04:48 AM  
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 15
Views: 946
I use an IR remote on my K-1 and K-5 and have never had a problem, even in sun. The cable remotes on the DSLR cameras are electronic (verses mechanical on the film cameras). I found the wired releases to be a bit finicky—I tried two different suppliers.

Check if there is an IR receiver on both from and back. The K-1 and K-5 have a receiver on both the front and back.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-19-2020, 07:38 PM  
Pentax fa 20 2.8 OR Samyang 20 1.8 Or ?? your help pls ....
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 18
Views: 1,238
I rented the DFA 15-30 and optically it is great, but I agree it is very heavy. I ended up buying the FA 20 instead, which is very sharp and very small/light plus it is auto focus. The FA, however, has too high coma for astro shots. For daylight it seems great so far. I have the Samyang 14/2.8 for astro and its distortion is not too bad for normal landscape shooting.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 02-19-2020, 07:25 PM  
Favorite "affordable" color film for sunrises & sunsets?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 21
Views: 1,091
I used to shoot Fujicolor Superia X-Tra 400. The other Film I loved was Agfa Ultra... I cried when that went away.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 02-19-2020, 07:16 PM  
How many lenses do you take when out photographing?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 75
Views: 3,108
My APS-C kit is a K-5 with either my 16-85 or 18-135, plus my DA 55-300 and DA 21 mm or DA 10-17. (3 lenses)

My FF kit is a K-1 with my DFA 28-105, my FA 20 mm and my DA 55-300 (crop mode). (3 lenses)

If I am doing astro photography, I add my Samyang 14/2.8 lens and leave the 55-300 at home.

Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-09-2020, 07:44 AM  
K1 with Samyang 20mm f/2.8 or Zeiss ZF 21mm f/2.8
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 22
Views: 1,164
The Pentax FA20 has a lot of coma for astro at f2.8-3.5, even in the center and worse on the edges. (I didn’t try going higher than f3.5.). It is not for astro, but the image quality is very good in the daylight. The FA20 is lightweight with autofocus. I still fall back to the Samyang 14/2.8 for astro—a great lens if you find a good copy.
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