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Forum: Repairs and Warranty Service 1 Day Ago  
Full Conversion Questions ???
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 6
Views: 492
Are you referring to setting white balance with a filter like the 720nm version (the most common IR conversion choice) on a Pentax?

I didn't realize it at first, but you're actually supposed to set white balance by aiming the camera at green grass - that's how you get foliage white. But Nikons won't quite manage it - that's outside their range. But Pentaxes work a treat.

Not that it really matters much, because if you're processing raw files in Photoshop, just set the white balance to 2000k, with a tint of -90. Those are the numbers the Pentax white balance comes up with. But you can plug them in for any 720nm converted camera.

However, if you want that slightly pinkish/peach colour left in foliage, nudge the tint back to -75. Of course you still have to do the channel swap trick to get the skies blue, etc.

As for white balance with full spectrum cameras, I've no experience there yet.
Forum: Repairs and Warranty Service 1 Day Ago  
Full Conversion Questions ???
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 6
Views: 492
I didn't think any Pentaxes used piezo dust removal. Don't they all just jiggle the sensor via IBIS?

Anyway, it can be an issue with cameras that do have piezo dust removal elements. A Nikon D300 I converted had to have the dust removal glass removed to be able to do an IR conversion - as both the dust removal glass and the low pass filter had IR filters. Fortunately the unsoldering and removal of the element didn't hurt the functionality of the camera - the menu just simply greyed out the dust removal options.
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 1 Day Ago  
Canon Profits Way Down
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 25
Views: 1,024
The trouble with patents is that they eventually expire. For the first decade or so of the digital photography era, Kodak did pretty well with their "foothold". But while many regular consumers were aware of digital cameras before 2001, few actually had owned one or tried one. In the few years after that ... well ... things just exploded.

From 1991 to 2001, however, Kodak kept plugging away at their DCS bodies, priced astronomically high. The DCS 420 I have in my display case cost $13,000 in 1998. The next year Nikon brought out the D1, at less than half that price - and even though the D1 is a dinosoar today, it totally outclassed the DCS 420. No, I've never tried one of the mega-dollar DCS 700 series, but at what they cost, few have.

But if you got your picture taken for a security badge in the late '90s, there's a good chance the personnel department used a Kodak DC40 "hamburger style" digital camera that replaced their Polaroid. If you were a real estate agent needing basic snaps to drop into your listings, you likely replaced your Polaroid with a Kodak DC220. If you started dabbling in eBay in 1999 or so, you may have got a cheap Kodak DC3200 with a whole megapixel of quality for your online pictures. Of course, Sony was also there with their Mavicas, with the handy feature of being able to stuff the floppy right into your computer - no serial cable or drivers required!

But all those Kodaks mentioned say "Made in Japan" on the bottom (no China then).

As mentioned above, Kodak had long decided that being a powerhouse camera manufacturer was not for them. Sure, in the early 20th century it was important for Kodak to get a camera into the hands of as many consumers as possible, and so they made a huge variety of cameras back then, and bought up lots of smaller companies to add to their dominance. Germans make good cameras, fine, then buy up the Nagel Werke and rebadge them as Kodak Retina, made in Germany. With Germany cut off during the war, Kodak stepped up and made some very fine things at home, like the Medalist, and Ektra - and then went back to Retinas after the war.

But after those faded away in the '60s, Kodak was happy to sell basic instamatics, and eventually (shudder) disc cameras. And Kodak no longer had to worry about consumers having access to cameras any more - everyone made them at all quality levels. But the one common denominator between the cheapest instamatic and the finest Pentax SLR was they both used Kodak film. Making film and its related chemistry and spinoffs was what made Kodak happy. Even electronic images were supposed to mesh into that business model. We have to remember that for that first decade of digital photography, most computer monitors and laptop screens were pretty low rez, with limited colour. If you took a good digital pic, you wanted it printed - or so we thought.

Nowadays, with jillions of digital pics being snapped every hour, there's no room on earth to print them all, and besides, they look big and great on our 4k displays.

I feel for Kodak. But I don't know how things could have played out any differently. Even if they had kept this division, closed down that one, invested more in this, less in that, I still think Sony and Apple would end up the biggest players by now. Although, was there a time when Kodak could have bought Apple?
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 2 Days Ago  
Canon Profits Way Down
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 25
Views: 1,024
The loss of Kodak as we knew them is certainly a sad saga for we photographers.

However, I'm often struck by the number of people who blurt out the name of Kodak when talking about companies that didn't see the future coming, and adapt to it. Frequently they say something like, "Kodak didn't see digital photography coming".

Of course, they're often perhaps a bit too young to realize that Kodak invented the digital camera. Electronic image capture was inevitable, and Kodak used their enormous R&D assets to make it happen first.

Unfortunately, those early DCS cameras were based on Nikon film bodies, simply because there was no way any US company could manufacture their own SLR and lenses at that time. It was inevitable that the Japanese manufacturers who made the cameras and lenses, would eventually make the whole digital camera system. It was probably a pipe dream that Kodak would be able to keep ahead of them, especially since they had to have the cameras made for them.

The fact is Kodak were the inventors of the device that was their undoing. But if they hadn't done it in 1991, someone else would have shortly thereafter.

Perhaps instead of denigrating the name of Kodak, we should probably be honouring their achievements - making photography accessible to masses, providing high quality film products for decades, and for eventually ushering in the electronic capture era.
Forum: General Photography 07-12-2019, 12:14 PM  
Dear fellow Pentaxians,
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 22
Views: 1,319
I often feel gruntled ... at least when I'm not whelmed.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 07-12-2019, 12:12 PM  
Multiple Exposure K1000
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 9
Views: 318
Yes, I find it odd that Pentax even advised the "stop the rewind knob from turning" approach to multiple exposures. Generally, it means having to rely on the drivetrain slipping enough to let the shutter re-cock. I have found that most cameras you try that on do shift the film somewhat, and when advancing to the next frame, you may get some overlap. I've never tried it on a K-1000 though, but I might consider it good practice to shoot a blank frame after your multiple, just to be sure the drivetrain has re-engaged properly.

Cameras that fully disengage the drivetrain with a proper multiple exposure button or lever are generally a better bet if you really want to do a lot of multiple exposure work. Better yet, an AF camera with a proper ME mode, where you can choose the number of frames you want overlapped. They work great (especially for fireworks and stuff on a tripod).
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 07-10-2019, 11:06 AM  
Pentax Spotmatic advertising 1971
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 18
Views: 650
Yes, $340 was quite a pile of cash in those days, and yet the things sold quite well.

Since I was only a little kid back then, I can't relate entirely to how it was, but I get the idea that a young man with a good first job needed an apartment, a car, a tv and a hi-fi. After that, a good camera was definitely on the want list.

How could he contemplate spending $340 (I do believe it was possible to rent a decent small apartment for $50 a month or so at that time)? Well, he didn't need a new cellphone every few years, and a monthly contract to go along with his regular phone bill, cable tv bill, and internet bill (and Netflix account, Amazon account, HBO account, Playstation account, etc. etc.). He also wasn't buying a new laptop every few years. He wasn't buying Blu-Rays, DVDs, or video games, since they didn't exist either. He also didn't have a credit card, most likely, so no monthly bill there either.

I do get the impression that a lot of our modern conveniences come with monthly bills to nibble away at disposable income - which makes a $2,000 camera kit an insurmountable obstacle for many otherwise interested photographers.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 07-09-2019, 12:36 PM  
Flying with film
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 9
Views: 390
Yes, good advice. Always carry it with you on board.

However, expecting to get your film hand inspected as you pass through, even if you are entitled to it, is iffy.

It doesn't matter if you can quote chapter and verse of what you are entitled to at luggage inspection, I find the security staff usually don't pay you any attention. I've pulled my film out, all neatly wrapped up in a clear zip baggie, and they've still demanded it go through the scanner, and scoffing at my objections ... usually with a "it won't affect it". Last time that happened, I got the distinct impression that if I protested too loudly, or demanded a supervisor step in, I'd be led to a small room, and miss my flight.

Once you go through the gate with your boarding pass, you are in no-man's land, and your rights and freedoms are null and void. You are subject to the whims and moods of the security staff. They can make your day miserable, just for the fun of it.

On the other hand, despite seeing my film go through the scanner on the flight out, and on the way back, nothing showed any signs of x-ray fogging. But that was slower slide film, or black and white max. 400 ISO.
Forum: Photographic Technique 07-06-2019, 07:22 AM  
Pentax in the Movies
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 350
Views: 97,203
And to be totally geeky about it, the Pentax isn't a Spotmatic, as there's no meter switch. It would have to be one of the S models, and it may even have the more prominent self timer ring below the rewind knob. But that may just be a trick of the light!
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 07-04-2019, 02:39 PM  
Motor drive for sale at Goodwill
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 5
Views: 436
You had me excited for a moment there, but it appears to be just the Pentax Winder ME II.

They're pretty common, and not really sought after by film photographers these days - because who needs to rip through their film resource at two frames per second?

True motor drives are pretty rare things in the Pentax world (Olympus too). Despite being available for the MX and LX, very few Pentaxians back then actually bought them. Perhaps this was because the main feature of Pentaxes (and Olympus at the time) was lighter weight and more compact bodies and lenses - so a motor drive with all its batteries didn't really fit in.

It also didn't help that Pentax (and Olympus at the time) seemed to think photographers wanted a vertical grip hanging down below the lens to operate the camera.
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 07-04-2019, 02:32 PM  
Vintage TV Commercial!
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 21
Views: 1,180
Do you notice that the little character on the Pentax girl's dress is the same one in the animated video?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-28-2019, 08:13 AM  
Lenses between F1.2 to F2.0
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 69
Views: 2,371
It's all about thin depth of field, isn't it? Which means, that once again, it's all about phones.

It's a bit annoying to see photographers pushed in a direction that doesn't necessarily mean better photography. Phone cameras are technically very good these days, but they fall down when it comes to sensor size and lens size - so they've always got tons of depth of field. DSLR owners, looking for a technical reason to justify the larger camera investment, are pressured into doing things like long exposures with super dark ND filters, or going after razor thin depth of field - if for no other reason than that's something that can't be done (realistically, anyway) on an iPhone.

I recall some guy posting a message on this forum, or another, looking for advice on an upcoming arctic trip - where he planned to shoot everything at f1.4. What's that about?

I think good photographers need to concentrate on good photography, and not always worrying about the latest technical fad that keeps us ahead of the phone camera crowd.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 06-26-2019, 07:44 AM  
What B&W Developer to Choose
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 7
Views: 465
Years ago, I decided to do a definitive test of the developers I had on hand. I shot a roll of 35mm (APX 100, I think) of a building across the street lit in full sun, with the camera on auto bracketing. In the darkroom I chopped the film into four sections and loaded them into four developing tanks. I developed one in HC-110 (dil. B), another in TMax, another in Rodinal 1+25, and the last in Rodinal 1+50.

All developed up just fine, and upon analysis I was ready to triumphantly discover which offered better tonal scale, shadow detail, grain structure, etc. etc.

Honestly couldn't tell the difference between any of them. An earlier test I did comparing different 50mm lenses on one roll of film brought out much larger shifts in sharpness, shadow detail, etc.

I have since learned not to be so precious about developer choice. A good, middle of the road developer, like D-76, or Ilfosol 3, or HC-110, does just fine 99% of the time. The only thing I caution against is using a surface working developer like Rodinal with a 400 ISO film - sharp yes, but a little too much grain for my taste.

Over the years we get excited about particular film/developer combinations. I've been guilty of it myself, but looking back on it, I realize my photos sometimes looked great, or not so great, because of lighting or subject matter. If I had a good day, it wasn't necessarily because of my film choice or darkroom technique. I was just having a good day.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 06-13-2019, 08:16 AM  
Focusing with f.2 lenses
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 28
Views: 1,470
I think what the original poster was referring to, is the suggestion that focusing screens nowadays have been optimized to work better with slower zoom lenses than old traditional ground glass type screens could ever do.

So many lenses these days have f5.6 apertures, and they would look pretty miserable if the finder had a traditional screen inside. Clever ways of molding optical patterns into the acrylic focusing screens make the image brighter to the eye - but at the expense of not looking brighter when using larger aperture lenses. So a 1.4 lens and 2.8 lens look equally bright to the eye - but that doesn't mean you can't accurately focus either, as previous posters have confirmed.

However (and here's the funny part), the 1.4 image is actually brighter through the finder as the light meter sees the same focusing screen you do, and the metering readouts reflect that. But the view through the eyepiece doesn't look brighter to the eye - it would have to do with the exit pupil diameter of the eyepiece, I gather.

The only real downside of all this wonderful tech is that a photographer shooting in truly low light (concerts, theatres, outdoors at night) doesn't benefit from the extra brightness of a fast lens when viewing through the finder. Back in the day, I remember that having a 1.4 lens on my camera made indoor photography a lot more enjoyable because I could actually see and compose better and faster - even if I was using flash and shooting at f8.0 or so.
Then again, really good cameras, like the K-1, have such good bright finders anyway, we don't usually worry about it.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 06-12-2019, 08:12 AM  
Ghastly foam.....
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 4
Views: 709
For some reason Pentax used a pinkish/cream coloured foam as a gasket around the prism edges on the Spotmatics. Presumably it helped keep dust out of the gap between the prism and the focusing screens. Of course it turns to goo, and is a nightmare to clean off the focus screen or prism if you have to get in there.

But the worst is that foam bumper found on top of the prisms in the later K1000s (Chinese production especially). These cameras are now 20+ years old, and the foam degrades and eats its way through the prism silvering. That said, a lot of materials used to hold down prisms in lots of cameras are prone to eating through the prism silvering - but I think those late K1000s hold the record for speed.

My advice is to anyone with a K1000 apart is to replace that pad with something a bit more durable and remove the old adhesive off the prism top. It's getting hard to find replacement prisms these days - and a little ironic that more than once I have had to replace a '90s K1000 prism with a salvaged Spotmatic prism!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-05-2019, 09:47 AM  
Which one to keep? smc pentax-m 1.4 50mm, smc pentax-m 1.7 50mm or tsmc Tak f2 55mm
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 39
Views: 2,248
1.4's are cool, and everyone knows it
Forum: Repairs and Warranty Service 05-28-2019, 02:06 PM  
Extending warranty on my K-1
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 7
Views: 422
Maybe extended warranties actually mean something in other locales, but around here, they're pretty much a complete and utter waste of money.

The manufacturer's warranty covers any defects in parts and manufacture that might lead to failure within the warranty period. If the components of your K-1 last through the warranty period, they're probably good.

If the camera fails in the next year or two, then the extended warranty people are pretty certain it is due to wear and tear, impact, moisture, etc. etc. - not because it was originally defective. And this is why they never pay up and get your camera fixed free of charge. They can always point to some nick or scratch on the camera (and what two or three year old camera doesn't have one?) and say "impact damage - not covered".

In the last 20 years I've never heard any camera owner utter the words "I'm so glad I got the extended warranty". Never.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 05-24-2019, 11:14 AM  
Spotmatic underexposed band on negative on take up spool side
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 9
Views: 505
Sad to say it's very common to find old cameras not actually delivering on their top shutter speeds.

The Japan Camera Inspection Institute set tolerances for cameras to meet their marked shutter speeds. If a camera was marked as having a 1/1000th top speed, it had to be within a certain percentage of that to be eligible for export. However, going from my experience with all the 35mm SLRs I've tested over the years, very, very few of the old manual mechanical bodies actually reached a full 1/1000th when the slower speeds were properly adjusted. Seeing a 1/800th or 1/750th was far more common - and that was probably good enough for export (who's going to notice a third of a stop extra exposure anyway on an old manually metered camera?).

And a body with a lot of miles on it, might only see small increases in actual shutter speed above 1/250th - so a 1/1000th ends up being closer to 1/500th. The cam surfaces for the higher speeds do wear down with time.

It's not until electromagnetically controlled and electronically timed shutters turned up where the higher speeds were much more accurate, and could be dialed in spot-on after service.

My advice to you is to get your Spotmatic shutter adjusted so it delivers even exposure, even if it is a bit slower than marked at the top end. Trying to squeeze that 1/1000th out of it will likely lead to issues like capping, curtain bounce, or uneven exposure across the frame.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 05-24-2019, 07:34 AM  
Spotmatic underexposed band on negative on take up spool side
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 9
Views: 505
If I read your images properly, then the curtain problem is happening at the beginning of the exposure - at the right side of the camera where the shutter curtains start their travel. This is because the image is inverted at the film plane, and left is right.

Usually capping occurs when the closing curtain catches up with the opening curtain, and exposure gets blanked off, or fades out. But what's happening with your shutter is the two curtains are starting too much together, and then opening up properly after those first few millimeters of travel. This would suggest the opening curtain is sticky and is taking too long to get up to speed.

Lubrication is likely the culprit.
Forum: Pentax Q 05-23-2019, 07:22 AM  
Q7 and P900 super telephoto
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 6
Views: 740
It seems the main complaint was the softness of images at the long end of the zoom. None of the guys were prepared to tackle raw file processing. They just wanted a camera that could deliver sharp JPEGs, and they all felt it fell short.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-23-2019, 07:17 AM  
Pentax-m 20mm F1.4?
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 24
Views: 1,334
Not without a quick re-design to bring it up to snuff for 21st century pixel peepers, methinks.

Eleven elements won't cut it today. How about a 35-element formula with a barrel the size of a large coffee can (and weighs as if it's filled with ice cream)? A 105mm front filter size should be enough to convince us it's to be taken seriously. Anything less, and ... well, how's the micro contrast and bokeh going to be any good?

Once the pre-production prototypes show the thing is truly massive enough to justify its lofty price tag, then it will be good enough to bayonet onto some skinny full-frame mirrorless body for "street photography".
Forum: Pentax Q 05-21-2019, 08:32 AM  
Q7 and P900 super telephoto
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 6
Views: 740
My experience with P900 files is that the camera applies such heavy lens corrections that they can only be printed up to about 5x7. What looks like atmospheric haze in the examples above also appears in closer in shots on birds and such. The files take on a "painted" appearance.

It's certainly an amazing camera for what it does, all in one package. But the Q7, with its raw file ability, is certainly more flexible. And a lot more fun.

As for the P1000, despite being an absolute behemoth, the three guys who I know who bought one, all returned them.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 05-11-2019, 09:05 AM  
Is my new 14mm rokinon junk?
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 18
Views: 1,071
Something seems seriously wrong there. I know the 14mm Rokinons aren't perfect, but they shouldn't be that bad.

The colour fringing isn't subtle at all. Actually pretty gruesome!
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 05-08-2019, 07:44 AM  
I got myself a complete kit of a Pentax SLR with lenses today (Auto 110)
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 19
Views: 2,305
110 film doesn't use the sprocket holes for winding the film. The film leader is attached to the takeup spool, which is driven by the camera. The little holes in 110 film were spaced one per frame, and the camera stopped winding when a little pin popped through the hole, confirming you were at the next frame. That pin retracted when you clicked the shutter, allowing for the film to wind again.

The problem with using cut down 35mm film for 110 use, is you would have too many holes.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 05-08-2019, 07:31 AM  
K1000 & ISO/ASA settings
Posted By Ontarian50
Replies: 9
Views: 565
Yes, unlike a digital camera, changing the ISO at will is not something you do with film.

The film you choose has a certain sensitivity to light, and you set the camera's light meter to match its ISO rating, and you stick with it until you change film. If you need more sensitivity, pick a higher ISO film. If you need more vibrant colour, or finer grain, pick a lower ISO.

The exceptions to that are often associated with black and white film, and developing it to taste in your own darkroom. "Pushing" a film means setting a higher rating than the film's true ISO: so taking a 400 film and shooting it with the camera at 800 (or more). You have to increase development time in the darkroom. While you can benefit from the higher rating, you pay for it with more film grain, higher contrast and poorer shadows.

"Pulling" a film is the opposite: shooting it at a lower rating than the film's true ISO. You decrease development time. What you gain is a lower contrast negative, which can be beneficial if you are shooting in bright, contrasty lighting.

But if pushing or pulling, you have to make that decision when loading the film, and shoot that way for the whole roll.
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