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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-06-2012, 05:01 PM  
Just received new FA 43
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 5
Views: 1,311
Congrats! I think you'll find that at f/4 it lives up to it's reputation...and then some.

Back when I was thinking D300, my main reason for sticking with the k10 (at that time) was I couldn't stand the thought of not using my 43mm lens....a decision I've never regretted.
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 04-06-2012, 02:21 PM  
Give up, Move on, Forget.... ?
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 103
Views: 9,149
So far, Canada seems to have dodged the price-increase-bullet this time around. I think the Canadian prices reflect the true value of the 16-50 and 50-135 lenses and up until now, the price was under-valuing these lenses in the US. Having said that, the price increase in the states makes me wonder if something similar will happen up here in the near future.

I'm pretty lucky; I have all the lenses I need, a couple I want and a very short list of lenses to be bought, meaning I'm in a fortunate position whether the prices go up or not. But I have to be honest, I'd think twice about Pentax if I saw a 16-50 for $1500 if I was starting from scratch. And the fact that this lens can't cover 24x36 means it's an APS-C dead-end....not the upgrade path a lot of people might be looking for now.

Like I said before, I'm pretty lucky to have what I need and I'm not really wanting for anything (except maybe a DA70). That doesn't mean Pentax/Ricoh haven't shot themselves in the foot with their new DA* pricing.

It was tossed out there before that maybe Pentax is trying to curb demand with the possibility of a replacement coming out (sorry I can't remember who said that). I don't really buy that one because the earliest DA* is due in 2013 and it would only replace the 16-50 - not the 50-135 or 60-250. Unfortunately, I think this pricing is the new reality. It also makes me wonder whether future lenses will be priced out of the market or not.

Either way, I don't think this extreme of a price jump in the states was the right move and hope that Pentax/Ricoh correct it sooner rather than later. I think the current CDN prices are where the 50-135 & 16-50 should be - so long as Pentax doens't change these in the near future.
Forum: Product Suggestions and Feedback 04-05-2012, 04:31 PM  
Sticky: Dear Pentax
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 1,330
Views: 403,286
This is an excellent idea!
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 03-22-2012, 11:39 PM  
Sticky: Tripod Reviews
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 65
Views: 155,029
Induro CT213 with RRS-BH40 head

For the purpose of this review, I'm actually going to make a lot of reference to my Manfrotto 190PROB and 484 ball head. The reason for this is because it might provide a decent frame of reference for anyone considering a CT213 or similar who might already have a 190PRO(B), or be familiar enough with one that the comparison will help out.

First off, I got the 190ProB about 7-10 years ago. It fell within my budget at the time (carbon fiber was out of the question) and I wanted something stable, sturdy and as light as possible. At the time, it wasn't uncommon for me to go on 10+ mile hikes so the 190 fit the bill. Between the tripod and head, I was working with about 5 pounds. I also decked the tripod out with a shoulder strap and the retractable spiked feet, which increased the weight marginally but the retractable spiked feed added about an inch to the working height of the tripod. At 6'2", the extra inch was welcome.

I have to say, in spite of the 11 lb capacity of the legs and 8.8 lb capacity of the tripod head, it's been a rock solid little unit. I've used this set-up with all my cameras with up to an FA*400 f/5.6 lens and have never had a problem. For the price (which was about $250 or less - I can't recall exactly), it's exceeded my expectations and I strongly suspect Manfrotto was quite conservative with the ratings.

I have a couple of small niggles with this set-up though:
1) needing to periodically tighten the leg locks - they always seemed to loosen at the worst possible time (setting up for a shot as the sun was setting)
2) it's short
3) needing to unscrew the bottom of the center column to remove the bottom portion (which took ages) for ground level shooting
4) it turns out that being able to use the center column in the horizontal position was a great feature which I didn't use more than once a year, meaning the spider was larger/heavier than I needed it to be
5) only 2 of the three legs had foam coverings....why they don't go all the way, I have no idea; all or nothing please.

Flash forward to this year:

I decided to upgrade my tripod and ball-head. I was looking for more useable height without relying on the center column being fully raised. I was considering the Gitzo Mountaineer 2531 and this tripod as they're very similar in specifications. Since I had to buy on-line (for lack of a useful camera store near where I am), spec's were all I had to go on.

I chose the CT213 over the Gitzo for a couple of reasons:
1) You can get the Gitzo at b&h for 519 but to get it into Canada, I was looking at about $113 extra with taxes chalked on and other such fees (according to B&H's quote). The same tripod cost $660 + tax/shipping in Canada. With the dollar at parity I don't want to support getting gouged/***ewed. Induro was the same cost ($380) on both sides of the border.
2) The Induro and the accessory short center column clocked in at $430, which also includes metal spiked feet, tool-kit, strap and bag....all of which would have cost extra with the Gitzo.
3) I have to admit that while I really liked what I saw on-line of the Gitzo, I couldn't justify (to my better half) spending $700 after tax on a tripod.

So the tripod is here and these are my impressions:
1) With the short center column down, the tripod isn't much shorter than the 190ProB fully extended with the center column all the way up. It's a comfortable working height. With the standard center column, I have more height than I need but it's nice to have in reserve
2) At just over 3 pounds, it's lighter than the 190.
3) with the RRS head on the tripod, the total weight is about the same or just a bit less than the 190prob with the 484 ball-head
5) the twisting leg locks are just as quick or quicker than the lever locks of the 190prob
6) all three legs have the foam grips - not just one or two
7) legs are sealed against debris and moisture
8) Metal spiked feet are included (although you need to remove the rubber ones and then attach the spikes)

1) Unlike the slick design of the Gitzo leg locks, the Induro leg locks are somewhat monsterous in comparison
2) 3 leg angle settings compared to Manfrotto's 4
3) More vibration than I expected from a carbon fiber tripod - not field relevant, but something to be aware of (ie, don't tap the tripod while the exposure is running)
4) Like all things tripod related, to get the extra height, the folded length is much longer than the 190prob.

Overall, I consider the the CT213 a good purchase. On specs, it outstrips the 190ProB and gives me some future-proofing should I find longer/heavier glass to use and I haven't sacrificed anything in the overall weight. As for the Manfrotto, for a light-duty set-up, it's an absolute steal. It's going to remain with me for a long time to come but the CT213 will be my primary tripod.

On to the RRS-BH40

First off, what an absolutely beautiful piece of kit this is! Everything about it reeks of quality. It's overkill for a k-5 and limiteds, but when you get to the DA* lenses, it's about perfect.

To compare it to the Manfrotto 484, it's a David/Goliath sort of thing (the the 484 being the David). The 484 is puny. It looks odd sitting on top of the 190ProB, taking up only about 1/2 of the plate it sits on. However, it locks incredibly tight. I would say it's good for more like 15 pounds of capacity; the sucker doesn't creep, whether it's the FA* 400 f/5.6 using the tripod collar or the 50-135, which is grossly front heavy due to not having a tripod collar. I dare say, it actually has the same gripping power of the RRS-BH40. Please note: This is not a knock against the RRS head. It's a compliment to just how tough the 484 really is.

Having said that, the bh40 locks down very tight - I say easily earning it's rating of an 18 lb capacity, it's perfectly matched to the mouting plate on the CT213 (there's only about 1.5mm of plate sticking out past the ball-head (the plate diameter is 56mm, the ball-head is 53mm).

1) It's a thing of beauty
2) It locks up tight
3) separate pan, tension and locking knobs (lever, in the case of locking the head)
4) every movement is silky smooth

1) Price - you get what you pay for, and at $390 for the head with the LR II full size lever release clamp, it's a steep entry fee.
2) You don't want to get debris between the ball and casing. With the Manfrotto 484, you don't really care, but with the RRS, you do.
3) It's a thing of beauty, and it pains me to think that it's going to suffer great abuse at my hands
4) - and this isn't really a con, but having the two drop slots off center takes some getting used to.

One last note about the RRS gear in general:
If you decide to go with L-Brackets, there isn't one that can be used with the BG-4 battery grip. And on the subject of L-Brackets, I opted to forego the RRS L-bracket because the vertical portion is offset far enough it looks like it might interfere with the Auto-focus selection switch on the k-7 & k-5. They do this to allow the ports door to open unhindered but I don't use the ports and I do use the AF selection switch quite a bit. Instead, I went with the Kirk L-bracket; it prevents easy access to the ports door, but it does allow you unhindered access to the AF selection. Personal preference and all that :). Both brackets have a bracket at the end for fastening a hand-strap, which is far more robust than the mounting plate that comes with the Pentax hand-strap.

According to Induro (
Material: Carbon Fiber
Maximum Load: 26.4 lb (12 kg)
Max Height (24 Leg Angle) w/Column Extended: 64.2 in (1630 mm)
Max Height (24 Leg Angle) w/Column Retracted: 55.5 in (1410 mm)
Min Height (24 Leg Angle) w/Column Retracted: 23 in (584 mm)
Min Height (80 Leg Angle) w/Short Column: 6.8 in (172 mm)
Folded Length: 25.3 in (642 mm)
Number of Leg Sections: 3
Leg Lock Type: Moisture and dust-resistant locking grips
Independent Leg Spread: Yes, with three position stops
Center Column: Grooved-Rapid
Spiked Feet: Removable - Included
Head Mount Thread Size: 1/4"-20 & 3/8"-16
Weight: 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)

What Induro doesn't say on their web-site, but that they confirmed via email to me:
Leg diameter (thickest leg section): 28mm
Tripod Head mounting plate: 56mm

And according to Really Right Stuff, on the BH-40:
Load: 18 lbs
height: 3.0"
Weight: 18.3 oz
Diameter: 53mm/2.1"
Ball diameter: 40mm/1.6"

Last comments on this:
RRS has amazing customer service. I called to confirm that the Kirk l-bracket would work with the LR II and got a knowledgable confirmation right away - they actually recommended that plate for the Kirk bracket. I ordered the ball-head later that afternoon near the end of the day and they shipped it that afternoon, advising me via email when they did it.

Induro was helpful with my questions about the leg diameter etc... It took them about 24 (or slightly longer) hours to reply, but not bad.

If a deal on the GT2531 existed in Canada, like B&H offered, this review would have likely been on that tripod. I don't doubt that they're amazing tripods to use. I just couldn't swallow paying an extra $140 premium to buy one of these in Canada (more if you go through Vistek)

Lastly, Vistek was the only Canadian dealer I found who carried the Induro line - and they're priced the same here as they are in the states. That, I can support.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-19-2012, 02:32 PM  
Do you want Pentax to introduce more WR lenses? Please post here
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 104
Views: 8,062
Re-do the 15mm and 43mm limited lenses (and the 70mm for that matter) with DA* grade weather sealing and I'll gladly part with some of my cash to get these lenses. Until then, my 16-50 and 50-135 have job security :)
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-17-2012, 07:14 PM  
DA 15 Ltd and step up ring(s) and filter(s)
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 26
Views: 5,901
If you use a 49mm polarizer thats thin, such as the xs pro from b+w, you can add a solid nd filter or attach a 49mm cokin p holder to it. It will vignette wide open, but stopped down, the problem will vanish. Otherwise, make a spacer like I posted in the other thread and you can do all cokin filters.
Forum: Photographic Technique 03-14-2012, 06:05 PM  
Tripod Ball Head Advice: "L" Brackets
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 14
Views: 3,498
I just got the kirk L-bracket for the k-5/7 and love it. There's only one thing you may want to consider and that's the way it goes around the rubber door on the left'll have problems getting it open with the bracket attached. Because I don't really use any of those ports, it's a non-issue for me, but thought you might want a heads-up on it.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-08-2012, 12:45 PM  
DA15 and 52mm filter
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 24
Views: 3,669
A couple of days early, but I was bored last night:

Using the Cokin P-series system with the DA 15mm f/4.0 Limited Lens:

Step 1: Find a sacrificial 49mm filter which you no longer use (don't like or one that you just want to destroy for the fun of it)
Make sure of the following:
a) The retaining ring holding the glass of the filter in place is at the front of the filter and not in the rear
b) Brass filters would work best. While you can use aluminum, aluminum filter rings can bind to the Cokin 49mm adapter ring.
c) Tiffen filters are fine to use, but because they use a thick filter ring of 7mm or so, you will end up doing a LOT of sanding. A thinner ring would help things go quicker.

Step 2: Pop the glass out
Because the retaining ring holding the glass in place is quite tight, you'll likely need to break the glass to get it out.
As a tip, take an old rag or a tea-towel to wrap around the filter prior to breaking it. You may also want to put card-board directly above/below the filter to prevent glass dust from contaminating the rag.
Another tip: Unlike what I did, turn the filter up-side-down. This will prevent the device being used to break the glass from sliding to the side and will likely require less force to actually break the glass.

The 'Glass Extraction Kit':

Step 3: Clear the glass and remove the retaining ring
Carefully (over a small box) remove the glass. This will leave a gap between the retaining ring and the filter ring.
Use gloves for this!
With the glass gone, the retaining ring unscrews quite easily.

No purpose, other than to celebrate destruction:

Glass cleared:

Retaining Ring being removed:

And gone:

Step 4: Sand the filter ring
On a flat surface, turn the filter up-side-down and start sanding the filter ring down to size. It may help if you attach the filter to the lens first so you have a rough idea of how much material needs to be removed, then remove the filter ring from the lens (I know you assumed this, but I figured I'd be safe and state it) and start sanding it down.
I used 100 Grit Sandpaper for this and even still, it took a lot of sanding....(see Step 1 c - or, as I like to refer to it: do as I say, not as I do)
After sanding for what seems like ages, wipe the filter down and attach it to the lens. See how much further you have to go.
The inside edge of the filter takes on quite a sharp edge.
Don't say I didn't warn you ;)


Sandpaper on a flat surface: NOTE: you will get dust on the surface, so make sure it's not your new dining-room table. Wipe the surface down when you're done....your spouse won't thank you, but he/she won't kill you for leaving fine metal dust laying around

When you're done, the filter ring should sit just a hair lower than the top edge of the lens-hood:

**I'm almost embarassed by the abuse my 15mm has been put through, and it's showing, but it's been/being used rather ruthlessly**

Step 5: Thoroughly wipe down/rinse/dry the filter ring. Attach the Cokin 49mm adapter ring to the filter and and you're good to go.

Cokin adapter ring attached to the filter ring after sanding is done. NOTE how deep the adapter ring threads into the filter. Also, don't over-tighten as you don't want to bind the adapter and the filter ring:

I've been through this process twice now and I haven't had any problems attaching anything. The sanding doesn't seem to clog the inside threads of the filter ring...only sharpens the inside edge.

Here's two photographs taken with the filter ring/49mm adapter ring attached to the 15mm. These shots are taken wide open (f/4.0). The first shot is with the lens at infinity focus (excuse my shadow in the middle of the frame). The second shot is with the lens at the closest focus distance. The vignetting is there but it's soft and workable in post processing. I believe (but may be wrong) this is mostly the natural fall-off (hope that's the right term) of the lens wide open.

Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-07-2012, 04:57 PM  
B+W polarizer fake?
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 19
Views: 8,139

Here you go:

boxes by Andrew Faires, on Flickr
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-06-2012, 04:43 PM  
DA15 and 52mm filter
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 24
Views: 3,669
Because there was no interest at the time, I didn't persue the matter any further. Because it was 2 years ago, the pics are gone.

However, it just so happens My original ring (with the sanding job) bit the biscuit and I need to go through the steps again....likely this weekend. I'll re-photograph the steps and some samples of vignetting with the final result and post on Saturday or Sunday.

To clarify though, there's no step up ring. Once the 49mm filter ring is sanded down, you screw the cokin 49mm adapter ring to the front of the filter ring. With the retaining ring and glass removed, the cokin 49mm adapter screws in quite deeply into the sacrificial filter ring.

Another thing I've learned is that if you can, use a brass filter ring if possible. The original I used was aluminum and when I had to separate it from the cokin adapter ring, it involved pliers, some cussing and the need for a new blank filter to attach to the cokin adapter ring.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-06-2012, 05:55 AM  
DA15 and 52mm filter
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 24
Views: 3,669
Personally, I'm quite pleased with the b+w xs pro cpl. How it stacks up against the hoya, I don't know, but the xs pro is only 4 mm thick and stll allows for adding filters on top of it. It's also multi-coated. I suspect there's not a lot of difference between the two optically.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-05-2012, 06:00 AM  
DA15 and 52mm filter
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 24
Views: 3,669
With the xs-pro cpl, you can add an nd filter of 49mm or add a cokin 49mm adapter ring and use any p-series ssized filter. The xs-pro is very slim but it gives you enough clearance of the hood. I personally use the b+w 6 stop nd on the cpl a lot and if I need to use grads, I add the cokin holder to the cpl and use a singh ray 2 or 3 stop gnd with a 3 stop nd (if required).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-04-2012, 08:54 PM  
DA15 and 52mm filter
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 24
Views: 3,669
Personally, I've gone with the b+w xs-pro mount cpl. Costs more money, but it won't vignette and you can use a second filter on top of it with only a small part of the corners vignetting.

The other thing you can do is take a beater filter, pop the glass, remove the retaining ring and sand the filter ring down to 2.5mm to 3mm (iirc). This should allow you to attach the step-up ring and will only vignette in the most extreme of the corners up up to f/5.6. I did a thread on this a year or two ago, so if you check the threads I've started, you should find it pretty quickly. Just do yourself a favour and be careful of the edges after you sand....they are sharp.


Seems I don't start that many threads :D
Forum: Post Your Photos! 03-04-2012, 10:25 AM  
Landscape A Few Cumberland Plateau Waterfalls
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 10
Views: 1,889
Beautiful series. I really love the 2nd and 2nd-last shots.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-04-2012, 08:16 AM  
B+W polarizer fake?
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 19
Views: 8,139
I've got another polarizer coming in from b&h (same as my other filter, but 77mm this time). If you don't mind waiting a few days, I can photograph the box for you when it arrives. May not be exact, but should give you an idea (maybe?).
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-03-2012, 04:03 PM  
36 vs 22Mp FF (just for fun)
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 20
Views: 2,554
22 to 24 mp on the FF side is more than enough for me. For landscape work, I don't really care if it goes up to Even ISO 1600. I'd rather see it drop to ISO 25.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-02-2012, 07:40 PM  
B+W polarizer fake?
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 19
Views: 8,139
I took a look around and I must have thrown the box out.

All things considered though, I still think your filter is legit (my opinion, fwiw)

Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-02-2012, 02:00 PM  
How does Pentax weather sealing compare?
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 29
Views: 7,826
I can't give you an honest comparison, as I haven't used comparable Nikon/Canon cameras. What I can tell you is I have used/abused my k-7 and DA* 16-50/50-135mm lenses quite thoroughly and have had any problems. To give you an example of what mine has been through:

-a two week camping trip that either rained, snowed or sleeted for a full dozen of those days. I took about 2000 images without anything covering the camera or lenses. I just made sure I wasn't switching lenses until I got back to the tent and dried the camera up.
-bay of fundy mud and the very nessessary rinse soon after (my daughter was holding the camera and managed to get a bunch of mud on it).
-an accidental diet coke spill and the much-needed rinsing off.
-several days of photographing storm clouds and getting nailed with rain in the process.

I honestly don't know if Pentax is better or worse than what Canon or Nikon offer but the Pentax sealing has proven effective for me.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-02-2012, 01:34 PM  
B+W polarizer fake?
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 19
Views: 8,139
I don't have an apples to apples comparison for you. I have the 49mm xs-pro MRC CPL, so it's going to be a feather-weight compared to yours.

Having said that, maybe this will help you out a bit:

Also, in the FAQ, Question 26 has info on the thickness of the filters:
This measurement should exclude the exposed threaded portion, so you should be looking at a 7mm thick filter.

As for the missing semi-colon, I'll see if I still have my box to confirm. I doubt it, but I'll check and let you know later tonight.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-02-2012, 01:03 PM  
FA 43mm f1.9 Ltd - Focus ring "slipping" problem
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 7
Views: 2,798
I'd take that one in to Pentax for a once-over. My version is over 10 years old nothing like that has ever happened to me with this lens.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-02-2012, 11:53 AM  
B+W polarizer fake?
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 19
Views: 8,139
Based on what your pictures show, it looks legit.

1) The case is the same as mine - cheap plastic.
2) the rotation is stiffer than you might expect - and I think you'll find that in spite of the resistance, it's a smooth rotation
3) the front of the filter doesn't have a retainig ring - it's a flange, based on the f-pro description I read (and the same as mine)

It doesn't look like it's coated - or it's single coated, hence the flare isn't out of place.

I obviously can't state definitively if it's real or not, but from what I saw in your photos, it appears to be a real b&w cpl.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-01-2012, 08:52 PM  
B+W polarizer fake?
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 19
Views: 8,139
B&W filter cases are cheap plastic. For the polarizer, I've also noticed that mine is a little slower to turn, kind of like the feel of a limited lens - smooth and steady, not loose feeling.

Which one did you get?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-01-2012, 08:37 PM  
Prefect Primal Travel Triumvirate
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 31
Views: 4,481
I have the 15 and 43mm. I sold the 77mm for two reasons: 1) the purple fringing that went with it and (2) I didn't use it a whole lot on digital. I do miss the bokeh of that lens was beautiful. Having said that, I think I'd go with the 70mm da now, if I was to buy for my k5.

On the 31 vs. 35mm, you can't really make a wrong choice between the two. The only considerations would be filter size, like you mentioned, and having the macro function (referring to the da ltd 35). Unfortunately, I haven't owned either to give you any personal experience in this range.


ETA. I'd never leave home without the 15mm lens. Given the choice between that and my 16-50, the 15mm always wins. :)
Forum: Pentax K-5 & K-5 II 03-01-2012, 08:06 PM  
Problem Reds
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 18
Views: 2,911
Hey Rupert,

Reds are tricky with the sensors. I've shot cardinals which took tons of PP to salvage because of the 'bleeding' and smearing. Other times, they've come out beautifully. That's through and *ist ds2, k10 and k7. I haven't tried birds with the k5 yet...kind of got out of them...but I expect the k5 would have a similar reaction.

I don't know what settings you're using, but if I remeber correctly, I lowered the contrast and saturation in-camera and shot raw to mitigate the risk.

What settings are you using? Including aRGB or sRGB?
Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 02-29-2012, 09:29 PM  
Just Black and White-ur B/W Monochrome photos here
Posted By Andrew Faires
Replies: 23,369
Views: 1,830,991
Here's my modest contributions:

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