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Forum: Pentax Q 04-21-2015, 01:01 PM  
Getting the most out of the Q series
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 23
Views: 3,402
Well said and I also think the Q series necessarily gets bashed around by people who "don't get it". The problem is not so much with the camera as it is the philosophy of people who try to look at it as their primary platform to compete with APS-C or Micro Four Thirds. It is not meant to do so, it's a different beast altogether and it's a secondary system.

I currently own a Q10 with the 02 zoom and 01 prime lenses. I love it to bits as it's my "fun" camera. When the original Q first came out, the street price was around $800 in Canada, so I totally dismissed it. I was just way too much money for such a camera, especially when you could get much better mirrorless systems at a similar price point. When the prices dropped to around $250, I decided to try out the Q10 and if I did not like it, I could return it. Here we are a year later, I use my Q10 often, especially when I don't want to lug around my K-3 and extra lenses.

Let's face it, the Q series will never have image quality comparable to APS-C, m4/3 or Full Frame cameras. However, the Q10 can produce some really nice images provided you know its limits and you challenge your perspective on how to shoot.

Since the sensor is so small, you have to make some compromises. That means keeping your aperture at f/5.6 and below. Also, keep your ISO below 800. I generally shoot in bright conditions at f/4.0 and that will give you plenty of depth of field and you will not have any diffraction. It's like shooting f/8 or f/10 on larger format sensors. The proof is in the print! I've printed out 5x7's and 8x10's shot with my Q10 at ISO 200 and one is hard pressed to see a significant difference when compared to shots taken with my K-3 or Olympus OMD EM-5. Don't live by pixel peeping. The rest of the world looks at photos in their entirety, whether on social media, blogs or prints.

The JPG engine is actually quite good and it does a great job of maximizing the sensor's abilities (unlike the JPG engines on Pentax DSLRs). I tend to shoot the "bright" mode and I have bumped up the contrast, saturation and sharpness by 1. Of course, this is a subjective preference.

That said, I get the best results from my Q10 by shooting in DNG mode and doing the raw development in Adobe Lightroom. The Q10's sensor, as well as the Q7, has fantastic dynamic range for such a small sensor. You can pull out lot of data from the shadows and highlights. The DNG files also respond quite well to sharpening, provided you use a radius < 0.9 and some focus masking to prevent skies from being sharpened. A bump in Clarity from +5 to +10 really helps give the Q's images some punch.

I tend to stretch histograms in Lightroom, so for the Q10, my workflow is:

Highlights = -100
Shadows = +100
Clarity = 5
Vibrance = 5
Saturation = 3

I then adjust the white slider as far right as possible to avoid clipping. Next, I pull the Blacks slide as far to the left until I start to see pure blacks. As a last step, I adjust the exposure and contrast to get the result I want. Noise reduction and sharpening are applied according to taste. This technique only works with sensors with a lot of dynamic range. I am happy to report the Q10 responds very well to it.

So, I recommend that you always shoot both JPG and DNG. Most of time the JPG engine gets it right, but it's good to have the DNG for trickier lighting situations.

The thing I enjoy most about the Q10 and I think the best way to get the most out of the system, is to program your front dial to your favourite art filters and just go out there and shoot. I know other cameras have art filters and you have to dive into menus or multiple buttons to use them. As such, those filters are often ignored or dismissed. On the other hand, the front dial on the Q invites you to play: it is immersive, tactile and spontaneous. It is one of the most brilliant features I've seen on a compact camera. Moreover, I really dig the look of the Q's art and smart filters. That's what keeps me hooked!

Some sample photos taken with the Q10.

Pickering Flea Market and The Tiny Q

04/18/2015 – First Harley Ride of the Year and Bluffer’s Park Q-ubed

Here are some other photos taken with both an Olympus OMD EM-5 and the Q10. Other than the art filter shots, I challenge you to easily identify which photos were taken with each camera.

June 29 – A Day in Quebec City and fun with the Q
Forum: General Photography 04-29-2015, 02:36 PM  
How would you respond?
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 45
Views: 3,978
Gear whores and fanboys are the bottom feeders in the photographic community. So much time and energy spent on arguing the minutia of features, specs and measurements. A really amazing photographer is more interested in light, composition, emotion and self improvement than anything else. Oddly enough, those people are often the ones who share their works and inspire others with their passion and insights.

Imagine if the same stupid debates went on with musical instruments? "Well, you don't play a Bosendorfer, just a Steinway, so I guess you just have to play with what you can." A really good pianist could sit down at budget piano and play the most amazing music. Ever seen Jimi Hendrix's guitar? It was a bashed up run of the mill strat and well, his music speaks for itself.

I'm sure there are countless inspired and amazing photos that were taken over decades with the lowly Pentax K-1000 :)
Forum: Post Your Photos! 04-21-2015, 01:10 PM  
Nature Jared the Jay
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 3
Views: 650
This Blue Jay is a frequent visitor to my deck. He drops in every weekend looking for peanuts. He has gotten tame enough that I can set on my deck and take photos just about 2 meters away from me. The upshot of this is that I can use my DA 70mm Limited lens on the K-3 instead of a bazooka sized telephoto. I just love the way the DA 70mm renders things :)
Forum: Pentax K-3 11-25-2014, 12:24 PM  
K-3 Noise
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 21
Views: 3,074
I upgraded from a K-5 to a K-3 and if you pixel peep at iso 800 and higher, there does seem to be a bit more noise, but it's luminance, not chroma. In practice, this cleans up very well and you would not notice it in print, nor when posting photos online. I found the noise difference between the two cameras are exacerbated if you shoot JPG. If you shoot RAW, then there is really not much difference and I prefer the K-3's noise as it is more film like as well. The higher dot pitch of the K-3's 24 MP sensor means that one should expect more noise than a 16 MP sensor of the same size. Pixel peeping is not the proof, your final print or online posting is.

In my experience, the K-5 has worst chroma noise and that's the stuff which is ugly. With the K-3, I am confident shooting RAW to ISO 6400 before noise is a real issue. Also, bear in mind that compared to the K-5, the K-3's RAW files require far less sharpening (if any) and that helps mitigate noise. I do all my development in Lightroom 5 and a good combination of conservative sharpening and masking with noise reduction makes noise practically a non-issue at ISO 3200 and below. I would have no problem blowing up any K-3 image shot below 1600 ISO to poster size. Even 3200 ISO should be fine printed to 16x20 provided you got good exposure.

IMHO there is no question that the K-3 is superior in every way to the K-5 series. Just shoot RAW and learn the optimal way to process your images according to your sensor. I've always found the JPG engines on all my Pentax cameras, except for the Q10, shortchange the sensor's true capabilities. Each camera has its own "best recipes" to get the most out of your RAW files. Over time, I have customized a set of presets that are automatically applied according to different ISO's when I import my RAW files. This gets me about 90% into the "zone" for good sharpening and noise reduction balance.

Each time I use my K-3, it blows me away :)
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 01:34 PM  
Black & White Full Steam Not Ahead
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 2
Views: 1,056
Part of the bridge for an old tugboat on static display in Port Burwell, Ontario.

This is a DNG file from the K-3, processed in lightroom and then some burning done within lightroom as well.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 09:52 AM  
Black & White Crumbling Mansion in Petrolia, Ontario
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 14
Views: 1,205
Back in September my brother and I grabbed our Pentax gear to do wander streets of Petrolia, Ontario. We came across the grand old Victorian Mansion that looks like it has seen better days. I know nothing of the history about this place, but it captivated me. I felt drawn by its majesty, the sense of a fading glory and former elegance and a sadness to see it in decay, but a glimmer of hope as it is being slowly restored.

I took the photo with my K-3 and the 21mm Ltd lens, which make for a great walk around system. I always shoot DNG and this photo was first developed in Lightroom and then converted to B&W in Silver Efex Pro 2.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 01:22 PM  
Abstract Stairway to who knows where
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 6
Views: 720
I know, I know, stairway shots are a dime a dozen. This time I tried doing one with a lensbaby Sweet 35 optic attached to my K-3 to give it a more ethereal look. I reckon this boosts the value to 25 cents per dozen.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 12:57 PM  
Nature Turkey vulture looking for a snack
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 9
Views: 1,067
I spotted this fellow when I had the crazy big Sigma 150-500mm attached to my K-3. I had just a second or two to grab the shot before he was obscured by the tree canopy. The sigma tends to be a tad soft at 500mm and this was handheld as well. Still, the Sigma does an acceptable job for a "budget" super telephoto. Maybe when I'm rich and famous I'll get the DA* 300mm and the 1.4x teleconverter. I may have a long wait. :o
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-07-2014, 12:37 PM  
Travel Pentax Q10 in the streets of Quebec City
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 3
Views: 869
Like most people, when the Q system first emerged I thought it was pure folly. How can anyone justify an $800 mirrorless system with such a tiny sensor, when micro 4/3 and Sony NEX are better platforms at a cheaper price. Then, when the prices on the Q10 and original Q were lowered to the $200 or so range, I decided, why not? If I don't like it, I can return it. Well, several months later I've kept my Q10 and love it. In fact, it's the most fun I've ever had shooting with any system. That mode dial on the front is brilliant and the source of all things fun and playful.

I took the Q10 to Quebec City along with my Olympus OMD EM-5 and a bunch of lenses. The EM-5 is a great camera, but it's still not a teeny weeny platform like the Q system. During the evening, I really did not want to carry around a camera, so the Q10 was perfect. I used the 02 zoom and kept the 01 prime in my pocket. It's like having no camera at all. Yet, I still got some good shots and even in low light and had gobs of fun doing it.

The Q10 is not class leading when it comes to low light, but the art filters and the film like grain give it a look that seems almost analog or lomo. So can the Q10 work in available light? Yes! Learn to embrace its flaws and work with them.
Forum: Pentax Q 05-07-2014, 05:28 PM  
Let's share shots with Q!
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 6,513
Views: 1,026,837
This was my first real outing with the Q10 and I decided to give it a spin at the Pickering Flea Market in Ontario, Canada. This sprawling place is like a world bazaar in miniature, a united nations of cheap kitsch on sale among a cultural clash of divergent ethnicities. So, it’s ample hunting grounds for indoor street photography. In order to remain stealthy, I turned off the flash and hoped for the best with the available light. This is a challenge for most cameras, especially one with a tiny sensor like the Q10. Luckily, I had far more keepers than ruined shots.

I really wanted to change my perspective a bit and play with the art filters. Granted, one can achieve similar effects in Photoshop, but it is not the same as capturing an altered image in the moment. Shooting this way can make the mundane far more interesting. So it was a day to say to hell with high resolution, ISO noise, focus speed and all the other distractions to just shooting for the fun of it.

More photos related to this post on my blog at Pickering Flea Market and The Tiny Q
Forum: Post Your Photos! 02-17-2014, 06:04 PM  
Cityscape An Eye Full Under the Eiffel
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 7
Views: 713
A structure that is so iconic and so recognizable can take on a different personality when changing one's perspective. Kudos to the K-5 to make it possible, 6400 ISO and handheld at 1/8th of a second. The SR and great low light performance inspires confidence on an evening walk :D
Forum: Post Your Photos! 02-17-2014, 05:45 PM  
Architecture Receiving the Light of the Day
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 1
Views: 450
This statue of whom I assume must be Mary, receives the daylight from a window in Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen, France. In the dark, she is gothic, in the light she is blessed.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 02-05-2014, 06:30 PM  
Abstract Cremate Me, Don't Bury Me
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 26
Views: 1,657
This poor flower was dying, so rather than let it rot away in some landfill, I decided to cremate it instead. It must be this crazy cabin fever during the depths of winter that causes me to think up such things.

The shot was made by carefully squirting small quantities of rubbing alcohol into the petals flower and setting it ablaze. I used a Pentax K-5 with the D-FA 100mm f2.8 macro lens. The photo was taken in relatively dark conditions with only a 100 watt bulb in the distance to provide some ambient light. Before taking the shot, I set the camera to spot metering mode, focused manually and used a custom white balance. Once I was satisfied, I torched the flower and took several shots before the flame died down.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 02-06-2014, 08:55 PM  
People Better to be Gnarly than Pretty
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 7
Views: 645
I took this photo two summers ago at an 1812 reenactment at Fort Erie. I spotted this character and took his photo. He truly seems like he belongs to a bygone era. I did some initial processing on the K-5's DNG file in Lightroom 4 and then further processing was done color efex pro and then back into lightroom for a few more minor tweaks.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 02-06-2014, 09:03 PM  
Abstract Lost in Negative Space
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 7
Views: 775
A tiny black bug lost in a sea of color.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 02-06-2014, 08:49 PM  
Nature I know how this little guy feels
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 10
Views: 904
Southern Ontario has recently been blasted with one snow storm after another. I keep three bird feeders in the backyard to make sure the local birds can always find a place to eat.

The K-5 always impressed me for low light performance. The image was shot at ISO 1250 and then tightly cropped. Pretty impressive for a crop sensor.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 02-06-2014, 08:43 PM  
Macro The Guy Who Writes Fortunes for Fortune Cookies
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 8
Views: 810
I always wondered how they write those fortunes on the tiny slips of paper that go inside fortune cookies. Apparently they are done by this little guy.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 02-05-2014, 06:18 PM  
Nature Bending my Floral Perspective
Posted By rfaucher
Replies: 9
Views: 667
I know the world needs more flower shots like Texas needs more guns, however plants are often the most interesting subjects in my backyard. So why not shoot them? I grabbed my K-5 to take the following shots using a lensbaby with the double glass optic.

What I like about using these lensbabies is you can fine tune where the image is in focus and the background dissolves into a creamy blur. It is also a nice departure from clinically sharp autofocus lenses. No doubt a similar effect can be created in Photoshop. However, the difference between using a lensbaby and a digital filter is the difference between cooking your own dinner from scratch and heating up a TV dinner in a microwave.
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