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Forum: General Photography 3 Days Ago  
Focus Chart Review Hack (Using Focus Peaking)
Posted By JensE
Replies: 11
Views: 575
I'm using a similar procedure for most of my zoom lenses - tedious to get through several focal lengths otherwise. Or maybe I just have too many (lenses x cameras) ...
As Roger pointed out, you don't need to even take a picture. I take some around the final values however, for an even closer inspection on a nice large monitor :-)

  1. On #1 "chart at 45degrees" - my setup is focus chart parallel and evaluation chart, safely outside the AF-area, angled.
    Focusing on a slanted chart may lead to an unexpected distance for PD-AF.

  2. For lenses which exhibit focus shift on closing down the aperture (e.g. FA50/1.4), I evaluate the live view at target aperture, for which I want to calibrate.
    For the FA50/1.4, my target was f/2.0, so I close down the aperture using the ring around the trigger (or aperture ring) during LV. When I use it at f/1.4, I tend to focus-bracket anyway, because it's not very consistent - see the 2nd method for details.

  3. Have not tried it, but I need to test connecting an external big monitor via HDMI for easier evaluation.

  4. An observation: For many lenses which exhibit chromatic aberations (green/purple), the color-neutral point is different from the point of best sharpness, i.e. highest resolved detail.

An alternate, even easier to evaluate and quick method for lenses with useful distance scales (in my case LTDs, F/FA primes, two Sigma zooms):
  1. Use focus chart parallel to the camera. I have one on a door, and the floor has a perpendicular line to the door, which I align the camera position with. Horizontally, I use the digital level.

  2. Set up the camera at a target distance, which approximately focuses in a way that some distance marks are aligned with the center, or actually any other line (e.g. a DoF mark). All you need is repeatability.

  3. Move the focus in MF so that the chosen lines line up perfectly.

  4. Move the camera back/forth to fine-tune sharpness in magnified life view. I use a long Arca-style base plate or, when I feel fancy, my macro stacking rail.
    Alternatively to 3./4., you can use CD autofocus in life view to make sure it ends up at the aligned distance marks from both sides, i.e. from short and long distances (on average). Again, do this at the target aperture!

  5. Switch to PD-AF, focus from both sides and adjust until the average stopping point is the focus distance mark alignment. Do several runs, you get a good feeling for focus consistency this way.

To make the lens focus from short/large distances, just put your hand in front of the lens shorter than minimum distance and half-press the shutter. Doing it twice usually goes to the opposite end of the focus range. To rule out parallax errors, you can place some kind of guide above the camera, or make sure that e.g. a tripod leg aligns with the viewfinder while judging the focus scale. Afterwards, I usually do one round of confirmation shots on a parallel+slanted target like described above. A nice thing with this 2nd method is that you can use a large focus target and this way get a feel for field curvature.

Exiftool can btw. read the correction value for a particular shot. I use it to rename test pictures automatically for 'classic' evaluation methods.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 4 Days Ago  
16-50: Bad Idea?
Posted By JensE
Replies: 76
Views: 1,897
I would not worry to buy used.

I found my two 18-125 so far very reliable. Bought the first one new with my K-5. It has a worn-out bayonet for the hood and attached to the K-5 took an involuntary bath with me in Lake Washington in my backpack, but after drying (a little moisture got inside) it's still reliably focusing and taking so good pictures, that its on permanent loan with my daughter now. I 'replenished' with used one, which now together with a KP, a 15mm LTD, a 55-300PLM and 58mm Achromat for the later (works better for me than the Raynox), two extra batteries and a tiny USB charger (connecting to a solar-recharging power bank) form my kayak tripping set. That set just fits into a B&W Type 2000 case, which is the biggest I can stow when we travel in our two seater sea kayak with camping gear. In calm conditions, the box goes on top for ease of access, but has to fit in between my legs otherwise.

The 10-17mm instead of the 15mm may still fit if I stow the charger and one battery elsewhere. The new HD looks extremely tempting to me. I do have the 8-16mm Sigma, 15mm LTD, and 8mm Samyang FE, as well as a similar kit for the K-1. Still for touring and the almost circular FE option on K-1 ...? My point is that I would consider the 10-17mm an excellent companion to the 18-135mm. I have grown into UWA and FE in the past few years only, now I wouldn't want to miss that option for shots like this FE one from a hike or this rectangular one at <=10mm, where I couldn't go back any further. With wind and trees or waves, stitching panos is not always an option.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-31-2020, 02:32 AM  
Focussing for sharp images.
Posted By JensE
Replies: 52
Views: 1,788
Shutter shock is movement originating from the mechanical shutter and cannot be avoided by IR remote - there have been numerous discussions in the forum, see e.g. Shutter shock with small primes - Page 3 - Switching to electronic shutter works - when it works for your subject.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-30-2020, 06:29 PM  
Focussing for sharp images.
Posted By JensE
Replies: 52
Views: 1,788
On my K-1, I actually get sharper results in the "shutter shock" range (1/60s - 1/200s) when I leave it on (tested on a few small primes only), enough to not have to worry about it at all. My tripod isn't flimsy, but not super-heavy either.

I haven't noticed any negative effects caused by SR on a tripod, but then it is automatically off when I use the 2s shutter delay, so it doesn't happen too often.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 03-26-2020, 12:17 PM  
Macro Bee with Helios 44-2
Posted By JensE
Replies: 7
Views: 241
That was obvious, that's why just 'a bit'. In the current rendition, I find there is a little too much going on in too many places, color-wise, in a somewhat disconnected way. A bit of focus contrast would create more depth and structure, like a stage for all the color and 'character'. But of course, that's all just a matter of taste.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 03-25-2020, 12:58 PM  
Macro Bee with Helios 44-2
Posted By JensE
Replies: 7
Views: 241
Is this a crop or full picture? I really like the framing, precise focus and the angle which allows simultaneous focus on eye, tongue and rear tibia.

Unless it's a crop, I would suggest to stop down just a little to bring out some more detail in the in-focus plane and reduce the green tint in the out-of-focus highlights a bit. You can easily go down to 1/500s shutter speed for bees on a flower without too much motion blur, i.e. pixel-sharp in most parts. Wings of a bee in flight are a different topic - I even need to significantly reduce flash power to !/32 or such to come down to ~1/10000s (see Flash Duration of Speedlights: How long is the pop of a flash? - Improve Photography) in order to get reasonably depicted wings mid-swing in side views.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-23-2020, 10:12 AM  
Confession game: how many lenses do you have? Why do you keep them? Which was let go?
Posted By JensE
Replies: 96
Views: 4,093
You have a mighty fine selection of lenses. Anything beyond that in my list are specialists (e.g. for astro landscapes, indoor sports, fish-eye) , a compact prime or two instead of an ultra-wide zoom and stuff I simply haven't bothered to sell yet. I would likely not have bought some of the lenses if I had a chance to test them upfront.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-21-2020, 08:50 PM  
Confession game: how many lenses do you have? Why do you keep them? Which was let go?
Posted By JensE
Replies: 96
Views: 4,093
A quick physical count of lenses used on K-Mount cameras came out at ~32 lenses, plus five converted/adapted ones which actually see some use. There are less lenses in various other - historical - mounts. The vast majority are KA-mount or newer lenses, I like to be able to use all exposure modes. My first Pentax camera was a K-5 in 2011, which amounts to a bit more than 4 lenses acquired per year, including the few ones, which I have sold again.

The 'active' ones officially covering 35mm format include
HD D FA 15-30/2.8
HD D FA 28-105/3.5-5.6
Sigma 70-200/2.8 DG OS HSM

Samyang 12/2.8 Fish-Eye
Samyang 14/2.8
Voigtländer Color Skopar 20/3.5
A 24/2.8
F 28/2.8
FA 31/1.8
FA 35/2.0
F 50/1.7
FA 50/1.4
D FA 50/2.8 Macro
FA 77/1.8
Elicar 90/2.8 Macro
D FA 100/2.8 Macro WR
Zeiss Jena 135/3.5 MC
A 200/4.0

And the 'active' APS-C-only ones, which get regular reinforcements form some of the above

Sigma 8-16/4.5-5.6
HD DA 18-50mm/4-5.6
DA 18-135/3.5-5.6
DA 55-300/4.5-6.3 PLM

Samyang 8/3.5 Fish-Eye
HD DA 15/4.0
HD DA 40/2.8

And TCs
HD Pentax-DA 1.4x AW AF Rear Converter
Kenko Pz-AF 1.5x Teleplus with SDM contacts

To be sold
Tamron AF 17-35/2.8-4.0, most times used the Voigtländer 20/3.5 instead and now I have the 15-30
Kenko MC7 2x TC (A-contacts), intended for macro, but it's too dark and I now use the HD DA 1.4x
Makinon 24/2.8 (A-contacts), somewhat de-centered and odd colors, and I bought a nice A24/2.8 since
Maybe also the Kenko 1.4x TC, the Sigma 70-200 doesn't properly focus with either TC
Maybe the HD DA 40/2.8, doesn't really click with me, but I'll give it some more time

Already sold
DA 70/2.4, after I bought the FA77
DA 35/2.4, after I bought the FA35
DA 50/1.8, after I bought the K-1 - kept the F50/1.7
Tamron AF 70-210, after I bought the HD DA 55-300WR

Passed on
FA 50/1.7
M 135/3.5
My first DA 18-135
HD DA 55-300WR
... and the 8-16mm needs to move here, I'm afraid. Haven't seen it in a while.

I'm currently fairly happy with this set, but of course there are always some interesting lenses out there. Why do i keep them? Because I can, and because all of them are bought with at least a specific use in mind with not too much redundancy. I could easily do without the F28 or FA35, given that I have the FA31, but the FA35 just feels right on the KP and the F28 fits nicely into a '49mm' kit, which the 31 doesn't - a lot of my primes share the 49mm filter thread (15, 28, 35, 40, 50, 50 Macro, 77, 100 Macro, 135), so no fiddling with step-up rings or anything! But then for NDs, i can simply stop down the 18-135 or 28-105 and be happy with just one lens and a matching filter instead in most cases, leaving just the shallow DoF situations or IR to cover.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-20-2020, 05:52 PM  
How many 50mm lenses do you own? Favorite? What have you let go?
Posted By JensE
Replies: 278
Views: 26,177
This is my list for my K-mount cameras, indicating how I bought them, and my primary use:
  • F 50/1.7 (used) - my reliable nifty fifty workhorse, which I bought because I liked the build better than the

  • FA 50/1.7 (used) - now most times residing in my daughter's bag

  • D-FA 50/2.8 Macro (new) - often used in documentary photography when I want the ability to go into macro ranges without changing lenses, or for digitizing negatives,

  • FA 50/1.4 (used) - still not fully at terms with it, but after careful re-calibration of focus I'm trying to learn to use it more for it's smoother bokeh than the 1.7,

  • Schneider Componon-S 50mm/2.8 (used) - by now inexpensive enlarger lens with outstanding resolution at f/4 around 3:1 magnification, reverse-mounted to Bellows-K for focus stacking,

  • Pentacon-Six Flektogon 50mm/4.0 (used) medium format lens on a Hartblei Pentax-K tilt-adapter - for focal plane tilts when I have lots of time to compose and don't need to carry it far,

  • Revuenon 50/1.7 (used) - my first K-mount 50mm, now usually on my Program-A, Cosina-built, superb mechanical quality, in need of some UV light

  • Still 50-ish as in the original post, a Helios-44M4 58mm/2.0 with a permanently affixed K-adapter and hole for the mount pin for portraits on APS-C (K-5 with S-type screen).

Except for special uses, I recognized that I much prefer lenses with A-settings and thus have ruled out getting into adapted or legacy lenses any further for general photography.

I have a number of other ~50mm lenses in different mounts and look forward to clean and lube that Carl Zeiss Jens Biotar 58mm/2.8 on the Praktina FX, from which the Helios is said to have used the optical design. Others include various Praktica-B mount 50s, which have for a long time been my most used lenses and through which I acquired the '50mm-eye'.

I did buy a DA50mm/1.8, but sold the plastic fantastic later on because of the vignetting on my then new K-1 and the similarity to the F50mm/1.7. I thought of re-acquiring one for the KP for its light weight, rounded aperture and nicer manual focusing feel, but the above ~7 lenses already don't really see enough use.

I did not buy the DFA* 50mm/1.4 yet, because the 15-30mm was first in line during the last specials season and didn't want to be too greedy. The DA* 55mm/1.4 still looks interesting as a fairly universal, not too big and quiet-focusing replacement for at least the FA 50/1.4. I don't mind the whirring, but that 'Crack!' at the focus limits of the classic 50s is simply brutal. I'd still keep the compact f/1.7. The Sigma 50mm/1.4 HSM would be another contender, but given its size I feel it would just be an unnecessary step towards the close-to-perfect looking DFA* anyway. If I shall ever come across the Zeiss Macro-Planar 50mm/2.0 in ZK mount at a reasonable price, I'll for sure buy it. The regular 1.4 Planar however doesn't seem to exhibit the typical Zeiss character that much. Another dream with almost diametrically different character would be the Voigtländer Nokton 58mm, but I've almost given up on it as used prices have risen beyond reason. The remaining options with at least KA mount -Samyang 50mm/1.4 and Sigma 50mm/2.8 macro, don't seem to bring anything special to the table. Did I miss any other than the Pentax-A 50mm/1.2?

I have started a write-up of a subjective comparison of the 'classic' AF 50s (50mm/1.7, 50mm/1.4, 50mm/2.8 Macro, 50mm/1.8) backed by actual photos to illustrate their character. It was triggered by a number of questions on how they compare. Would there still be any interest?
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-18-2020, 12:25 PM  
The Squirrel Mafia's new & improved RawTherapee thread!
Posted By JensE
Replies: 146
Views: 14,437
Gimp would be my tool of choice when several spots and/or difficult areas need to be touched up. Darktable has a module as well, which I use as long as things are easy enough and not too many spots need fixing, so that I can stay in one program.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-18-2020, 03:27 AM  
The Squirrel Mafia's new & improved RawTherapee thread!
Posted By JensE
Replies: 146
Views: 14,437
There are multiple ways to automate this.

  1. If your lens + camera combo is known to lensfun, turning on automatic corrections (lensfun) will correct what's available for that combination and is enabled below. The camera definitions seem to be lacking recent models in my RT5.8 build, but I remember having added definitions manually before, so maybe my data is outdated because of that and I need to clean it up.

  2. You can define and use partial 'Dynamic Profiles' for your frequently used Camera+Lens combos, which can contain the specific LCP or lensfun selection.

  3. You can leave the LCP/lensfun corrections off for the majority of pictures and just turn on automatic CA correction in Raw/Chromatic Aberration Correction. Just use profiles when they're needed - usually for distortion or heavy vignetting in documentary shots.

I'm using approach 3. - simple and avoids stretching through distortion correction, and thus loss of detail and loss of viewing angle, in the majority of my pictures. Most of my lenses are well corrected for CA, so the automatic correction is normally sufficient to get rid of most residual transversal CAs. Vignetting correction via profiles will introduce a nonuniform noise profile. I'm not sure if de-noising is done earlier in the pipeline, but even then the (residual) noise amplification in the brightened up corners is sometimes tricky to deal with. I often find that lens vignetting, being part of the lens signature, doesn't need to be eliminated.
Forum: Lens Sample Photo Archive 03-17-2020, 12:40 PM  
Irix 150mm f2.8 Macro 'Dragonfly'
Posted By JensE
Replies: 69
Views: 2,632
That's basically what I did - based on pepperberry farm's measurements. As you noted, it's not that great. The reason is the focusing design. Focal length is 156mm at infinity, but only 91mm at 1:1 according to data from Irix at Photokina 2018 as reported in the German pentaxians forum.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-17-2020, 04:44 AM  
The Squirrel Mafia's new & improved RawTherapee thread!
Posted By JensE
Replies: 146
Views: 14,437
The correction settings are applied in the DNG to JPG conversion, and DCU uses them because it has the same Pentax lens correction data built in as the camera has. Rawtherapee doesn't have the Pentax data, so it can only use the lcp files or lensfun data. This is the same situation for other 3rd party raw developers.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 03-10-2020, 09:59 AM  
The Darktable Users Coterie
Posted By JensE
Replies: 171
Views: 13,679
What i can say, is that it changes the way color is handled and is spelled Y0U0V0 (as in YUV with zeros appended). It's a choice when switching profiled denoise to 'wavelets' and supposed to address luma (Y0) and chroma (U0V0) seperately within one module instance.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-10-2020, 09:25 AM  
Irix 45mm F/1.4
Posted By JensE
Replies: 61
Views: 2,959
With a uniform S-Type screen, I don't think either is affected - didn't give me any trouble on my K-5. Prism ring and split image focusing aids are the problematic ones.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-09-2020, 10:00 AM  
Irix 45mm F/1.4
Posted By JensE
Replies: 61
Views: 2,959
I'm not in the market for one either. To me, the photo variant looks like a by-product of a cine-first product, where this lens makes a lot of sense in their range. E.g., the barrel looks larger in diameter than needed for photographic needs, but could be a consequence of making them the same for the cine lenses.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-09-2020, 09:35 AM  
Irix 45mm F/1.4
Posted By JensE
Replies: 61
Views: 2,959
Especially with WR lenses, it would for sure be a cost factor.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 03-09-2020, 07:35 AM  
Jammed Pentax K70
Posted By JensE
Replies: 8
Views: 593
Automatic long-term exposure noise reduction (darkframe subtraction) can look like the camera hangs - not sure if and how the K70 signals it, though.
Forum: General Talk 03-07-2020, 08:51 PM  
Polyglot Pentaxians
Posted By JensE
Replies: 38
Views: 1,329
Growing up in East Germany, my compulsory foreign language for 8 years in school was Russian, and I indeed became a fluent speaker. But it's been only a handful of conversations since 1990 and thus I have forgotten most of the vocabulary. It's still tremendously useful, because the Slavonic languages are rather close to each other. Two years later I had the chance to start English (not all schools had English), and that's what I've been using extensively since professionally. I've acquired some French and Norwegian as well, but definitely not enough for a full conversation.

Our kids are raised monolingually, everything else would have been contrived. They all pick up languages differently. My daughter was brave enough for a year at high school in the US, with Spanish immersion next on her list, whereas the boys are happy with the exposure they get in school.
Forum: Repairs and Warranty Service 03-07-2020, 08:23 PM  
Yongnuo 660 fixable?
Posted By JensE
Replies: 6
Views: 345
Don't disassemble unless you know how to properly discharge the capacitor.
Forum: General Talk 03-07-2020, 08:16 PM  
Accents and Communication
Posted By JensE
Replies: 51
Views: 1,995
A knack for languages is one thing, but you also need a fair amount of immersion to get informal conversations 'right'. After a few years of working embedded in US-based teams remotely and traveling to the US every quarter, with close social relationships, people were occasionally surprised when they learned well into a conversation that I wasn't American. But then, just two evenings with my British friend and I would happily return to the English which I had learned at school. Being less immersed into a 'proper' English speaking community, it now has worn off considerably and media consumption doesn't make up for it. My kid's English classes are a lot less focused on Britain and British English than mine were, this may have contributed to the difference among the age groups. Btw., am I the first non-native English speaker posting here?

I immensely enjoyed lesmore49's story about the train ride. It reminded me of a workshop in Seattle, where I filled in when the Aussies' twist of vowels frequently left the locals puzzled. I also attribute that ability to a grandparent childhood story: I spent a lot of holidays at my grandparent's farm in northern Germany, when the older people still mostly used 'Plattdütsch', a language which is spoken along the German coasts and into the Netherlands - with dialects, of course. Similar to lesmore49, I didn't always understand what I was hearing, but I still get most of it today. Platt shares its Old Saxon roots with English, so English feels a lot less 'foreign' to me than other languages and I understand some things subconsciously.

The great variety of dialects, which we have in German, is much more of a treasure than a barrier, even though I don't understand the southern ones. We anyway all have High German to fall back on. I lived in Switzerland for a while, and it took me about three months to even get the subject of the conversation in Swiss German at the table during lunch breaks. I do like the sound of it though, people almost seem to sing. My own dialect would be 'Berlinerisch', quite the opposite of singing, but I've always been very flexible in adjusting to my environment, so I'm not using it anymore where I live, in Saxony. Flexibility as a child went so far, that in one conversation with an adult and a boy of my age, I would talk in perfect 'high German' when addressing the adult and in full dialect when addressing the boy.

As for accents, I enjoy the soft French slur in German, not as much in English though. My heart still jumps when I hear the stretched north-German vowels. As for accents and dialects in English, it depends a lot on my mood. Most times, the more "archaic" sounding ones tend to resonate with me.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 03-05-2020, 02:59 PM  
Black & White muddy grrey winter with a reanimated camera
Posted By JensE
Replies: 0
Views: 165
I have a project to recreate a photograph (cityscape) from 1905, which is printed on 100cm x 135cm canvas. So I checked what cameras (and film) are at my disposal, likely to provide a similar character to it. I remembered an old AGFA Record II 6x9 folding camera, which hadn't been used in the past 30+ years and turned out to have quite a bit of fungus in the lens, a stuck shutter and a focus thread which was next to impossible to turn. The camera's field of view is a bit too narrow vertically for my project, but I anyway disassembled and cleaned the lens from what was easy to remove, unscrewed, cleaned and re-lubricated the focus thread, cleaned and lubricated the shutter timer mechanism and got everything working again, with times which are close enough to what they should be.

Incidentally, I was asked for some scrap negatives to decorate a lamp shade with. Both together a perfectly good reason to shoot some of my 17y expired APX100 as a test roll. Shot at ISO50 and thrown into Spur Acurol-N 1+50 for 12 minutes. Before handing over the negatives, I did a quick & dirty (in the literal sense) 'scan' on my light table using K-1 + DFA50 macro, held 'flat' by a mobile phone and a USB power bank. I had to use an ND64 filter to get exposure times long enough for the 100Hz flicker to disappear. Apart from some fogging, in some 'thinner' areas, the print on the backing paper shows on the film.

Obviously, the DoF scale is very generous, tailored for 6x9 contact prints, so it is a bit front-focused despite setting it at hyperfocal distance. I checked that infinity focus is fine with a different picture, so I managed to reassemble the front element into the correct thread start. I had marked the 'exit' point on disassembly, but it was very sticky and I wasn't quite sure. The focus mechanism only moves the front lens by a few millimeters (3-lens design), therefore the whole construction is very compact and can fold flat into 40mm total thickness.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-05-2020, 01:53 PM  
FA 50 1.4 vs FA 50 1.7 primes
Posted By JensE
Replies: 26
Views: 1,154
Besides handling/feature differences, I found the 1.8 virtually indistinguishable from the 1.7, except for some vignetting on FF and the rounded aperture blades. This extends to flare resistance and contrast, which I had expected to be better on the 1.8, but turned out equal to my eyes to both my F50/1.7 and FA50/1.7. I have way too many 50mm lenses, so I sold the DA50/1.8. Is the above form an APS-C test?
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 03-05-2020, 07:29 AM  
Water question with Developing film
Posted By JensE
Replies: 41
Views: 1,177
The dryer thing wasn't my own idea btw, the Miele instruction manual actually suggests some uses of the water, for which one otherwise may buy demineralized water. Mixing photo chemicals wasn't one of them though.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 03-05-2020, 12:03 AM  
Water question with Developing film
Posted By JensE
Replies: 41
Views: 1,177
Our dryer is a condensing dryer. It doesn't vent to the outside. If particles are too small for the coffee filter paper which I use, they don't matter on my film either.
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