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Forum: General Talk 3 Hours Ago  
Coronavirus
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 1,445
Views: 28,028
I believe that's the official UK stance... but I chose to start wearing an N95 / FFP3 mask weeks ago for unavoidable supermarket trips. Using proper hand-cleasning, plus careful fitting and removal, it's not going to do me or anyone else any harm - and it may do some good. I'll gladly take any advantage, however slim, over none whatsoever :o
Forum: General Talk 4 Hours Ago  
Coronavirus
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 1,445
Views: 28,028
I've seen videos similar to this before, and I applaud the ingenuity - but how long can something like that last with the moisture from the wearer's breath? :confused:
Forum: Post Your Photos! 8 Hours Ago  
Abstract For Sale... Luxury Cabin Cruiser
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 22
Views: 211
Lovely photo. Well spotted and captured :)

Yes, that's the sort of vessel that might be advertised as "Suit first-time buyer" or "Easy summer project" :lol:
Forum: General Talk 10 Hours Ago  
Coronavirus
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 1,445
Views: 28,028
I take hydroxychloroquine for RA, and I've been wondering whether it leaves me slightly better or worse off in the current pandemic. On the one hand, it's reigning-in my apparently-over-active immune system to slow the progression of RA (which it seems to do rather well in my case, actually), but I'm curious as to whether my immune system is now reduced enough, too much, or not enough in relation to COVID-19. I believe the dosage I take is lower than is being trialled for the virus...
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 1 Day Ago  
HD Pentax-D FA 70-210mm f/4 ED SDM WR
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 1,350
Views: 95,775
The 60-250 is built to a standard well-worthy of its star designation, and on its intended APS-C platform it performs very well optically, with out-of-focus rendering that is - without any hint of exaggeration - beautiful. Importantly for some, it's an "AW"-rated all-weather lens, with the highest level of weather protection available for Pentax - and it pairs superbly with the HD DA1.4x AW rear converter to make a very capable, all-weather 84-350mm f/5.6.

The 70-210/4 is probably the more compelling choice now because of its AF motor and official full-frame capability, but the out-of-focus rendering and AW capabilities of the 60-250 are still worthy of consideration, depending on use case and personal preference... especially for those shooting APS-C.
Forum: Pentax Mirrorless Cameras 1 Day Ago  
Pentax Mirrorless?
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 273
Views: 26,295
These are your personal predictions, of course, and not - with respect - statements of fact. They're no less valid for that - but many folks will disagree with you, in whole or part ;)
Forum: General Talk 2 Days Ago  
Coronavirus
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 1,445
Views: 28,028
I doubt there are any countries where the response has been as efficient as it could and should have been. Some have been better than others, but there's still plenty of room for all of them to improve.

I don't, however, think blaming any individual, group, or government is helpful, however tempting it might be in the circumstances. The number of official bodies involved, the variety of information (and misinformation) sources, what to believe, what not to believe, the range and balance of desired outcomes, determing acceptable risks to achieve those outcomes, deciding which strategies to hang your hat on (when none is perfect), overcoming obstacles to implementation, the logistics involved... These and many other factors combine to create a remarkably complex and multi-facted problem. It's anything but simple.

So, yes, everyone from leaders to individuals of all age groups could have responded better in a variety of ways. Some still could be responding better, and need to step up their games urgently. This is definitely the case here in the UK. But I don't feel apportioning blame will help. There are, however, many lessons that must be learned so we never get caught out like this again...
Forum: General Talk 2 Days Ago  
Coronavirus
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 1,445
Views: 28,028
Well, that's ruined my morning. First the coronavirus, and now this :p
Forum: Pentax K-1 2 Days Ago  
K1: two tricks
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 10
Views: 874
Excellent stuff, biz!

I don't own a K-1 so can't utilise the SR / ES tip, but the rule of thirds overlay approach for shooting stitched pano / Brenizer method photos will work nicely with my K-3 in Live View :)
Forum: General Talk 2 Days Ago  
Coronavirus
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 1,445
Views: 28,028
I haven't been keeping up with this thread, so apologies if I'm posting something that's already been discussed... however...

A study from a very respected academic body, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, claims that the R0 basic reproductive rate of COVID-19 here in the UK has dropped from 2.6 prior to our lockdown, to just 0.62 since the lockdown started in earnest. This is based on a reduction of 73% in contact between individuals due to social distancing and self-isolation.

Our reported infection and fatality numbers have jumped up quite alarmingly due to increased testing and the inclusion of deaths occuring outside of hospitals, but there's a belief that we're already seeing the increase in infections starting to level out, and a hope that the fatality rate will also slow down in the coming weeks.

Whilst the R0 numbers are modelled and therefore can't be considered 100% accurate nor reliable, they're indicative of the importance of implementing and maintaining social distancing and isolation. Anyone that still doubts the logic and efficacy of such measures, draconian as they may seem, should take note.

It's way too early - and perhaps will never be appropriate - to break out the bunting and streamers, given the tragic fatalities... not to mention the immediate and long term effects on peoples' lives, our national and global economies. But there's a glimmer of hope...
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 3 Days Ago  
Pentax lenses measured worse?
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 79
Views: 2,890
Thank you - you're most kind :o



If the testers and reviewers are using out-of-camera JPEGs, the tests are all but meaningless, I'm afraid. There's significant difference in the quality of JPEGs between different camera brands... even between successive models from the same brand. Raw files are really the only way to view and analyse test shot results, IMHO. Then again, the raw processing software can make a huge difference. Darktable, for example, allows you to switch off every bit of default processing other than a demosaicing algorithm (which is essential, of course). Most files look awful with all the additional processing switched off - dim, washed out, full of colour and luminance noise etc. - but they're perhaps the most honest representation of what actually came from the camera. Compare with Lightroom, where - even with various processing options set to zero - files generally look pretty good. There's a lot of processing occurring, even with the sliders set to zero.



Yes, agreed - it's mostly an academic exercise. It will, though, matter to some folks that the Pentax combo apparently tests less sharp than the Nikon + Tamron... It shouldn't - but it will... and I predict the subject will crop up numerous times in the coming months :o
Forum: General Talk 4 Days Ago  
Coronavirus Projects
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 25
Views: 583
Although not a project as such, we've started a simple, enjoyable, regular mid-afternoon "activity"...

In December, after watching a documentary on YouTube, I bought a book called "Britain's Treasure Islands: A Journey to the UK Overseas Territories" by Stewart McPherson:
"This book accompanies the TV documentary series Britain's Treasure Islands, broadcast on the BBC and across the world. The UK Overseas Territories are Britain's most remote outposts. Scattered across all Seven Seas, the territories cover an area seven times the size of the United Kingdom. They are home to 350,000 British subjects and thousands of unique animals and plants, including many of the greatest wildlife spectacles on Earth... Join explorer and naturalist Stewart McPherson on his intrepid three year journey across all of the United Kingdom's overseas lands. Journeying on RAF flights, one of the last working Royal Mail ships, freight vessels, ice breakers and charter yachts, Stewart set out to discover the unique wildlife, history and cultures of the territories - the true treasure of these little-known outposts of the United Kingdom. Travel through tropical rainforests, exploding volcanoes, arid deserts, coral reefs and icy polar wastes to discover the thousands of unique species which call the Overseas Territories home, and learn the fascinating roles that each territory played in defining modern British and world history. Complimented by over one thousand spectacular, full-colour images, including dozens of full-page and double-page spreads, a special feature of this book is its 17 specially-commissioned gatefold maps that showcase the geography of each territory. No previous book has ever explored the subject in comparable detail. This visually spectacular work is both a fact-filled reference volume and a riveting account of Stewart's adventurous and exciting journey. The resulting 704 pages will transfix all audiences, and resonate particularly with all those interested in natural history, travel, exotic places, culture, geography, as well as British and world history."
I hadn't had a chance to read this huge tome since buying it, so a couple of days ago we decided to enjoy it together as a family. My Mum's not keen on reading anything other than magazines, whilst my Dad generally prefers short stories... Both, however, like watching documentaries - yet we've watched more TV than usual of late. So, as something different, I'm reading a little of the book each day to them, we're looking at the wonderful accompanying maps and photos together, and discussing it. In the last couple of days, reading just a few chapters of the book, we've already learned so much that we didn't know or had previously misunderstood.

It's a rather pleasant way to pass an hour of each day, especially with a big steaming mug of tea or coffee :)

Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 4 Days Ago  
Pentax lenses measured worse?
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 79
Views: 2,890
OK - fair enough.

But some people are going to keep comparing the original Tamron and Pentax-tweaked versions of the lens. CameraVille guy has already shown his findings, concluding the Pentax combo captures less detail on the same resolution sensor. I don't pay him much heed, but some folks do or will. Then they read the ephotozine review - generally a respected source for Pentax gear - and see that MTF figures, comments and ratings that suggest the Pentax lens performance doesn't quite match the Tamron, despite being excellent overall. Then they look at the price of the Pentax lens. Some people will question what's going on. If we answer them by saying "Pentax values image quality as defined by humans rather than test charts interpreted by machines", we'd better be able to show them evidence that the Pentax version renders differently in one or more favourable ways, or talk of "Kool-Aid" will surely follow :o

So maybe that's the better angle of attack, here. Rather than using a common body to test two optically-near-identical lenses of different brands and mounts, the testing should comprise side by side captures of the same scenes, one set taken with the K-1/K-1II plus Pentax lens, and the other with a Nikon (D800E? D810?) plus Tamron. We can forget all about MTF data, CA levels etc. We just show the beneficial rendering aspects of the Pentax combo over the other.

My concern with that, of course, is... what if there's no rendering difference, or if the differences are so tiny as to be immaterial?

For my own purposes, all that matters is "do I like the images?"... But there are folks shooting Pentax (including some who might be on the fence about staying) plus others who might be considering Pentax who will care about this stuff...
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 Days Ago  
Pentax lenses measured worse?
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 79
Views: 2,890
That's a comforting catch-all, but lots of folks won't buy that without further detail and/or evidence :o

Maybe "why" is the wrong question. Given the Pentax and Tamron versions of the 70-210/4 are supposed to be optically identical aside from coatings, perhaps the question should be "how" is it that the Tamron + Nikon combo test sharper than the Pentax combo... from more than one review source? It would be interesting (as well as useful in discussions) to definitively know the reason - whether it really is just sample variation and poor luck, or differences in one or more of the glass, coatings, camera sensor assembly, signal processing, whatever...

If the Pentax 70-210/4 wasn't a tweaked Tamron, this would be of little interest to anyone, save for other-brand shooters looking for bragging rights. Folks might just say, "Hey, Tamron has a lens that's even sharper... but since you can't get that in K-mount, the Pentax lens is an awesome choice anyhow". But it is a tweaked Tamron... and whilst there's nothing wrong with that (modern Tamrons are generally excellent... I love 'em), given the price premium for the Pentax version, some folks might be disappointed to learn they'll be paying more for less resolving capability.

Again, please understand, in practical terms MTFs mean little to me. I'm all about rendering, contrast, flare resistance, etc. So long as a lens is reasonably sharp (the level achievable by almost any decent modern lens, frankly), it's those other factors I'm more interested in. If indeed there really is a difference in performance between the Pentax and Tamron 70-210/4 lenses when used on their respective combos, I don't care much about that in practical terms. But I'd like to be able to knowledgeably address folks who use it as a criticism of the Pentax platform and glass...
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 Days Ago  
Pentax lenses measured worse?
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 79
Views: 2,890
I do get where Alex is coming from here, though. He's not a test chart junkie... Nor am I... MTF numbers really don't bother me, I'm all about the rendering and, as you say, the final image. But in future, when someone levels criticism at Pentax for the 70-210/4 (or any other lens) being less sharp in tests than its Tamron cousin - which, so far as we know (though never 100% confirmed, as I recall), is optically identical save for the coatings - it would be nice to know why that's the case and have an explanation for it. Not a defence... just an explanation...
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 5 Days Ago  
Sticky: Pentax Forums Statement on the Coronavirus
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 13
Views: 1,392
Let's keep this friendly and courteous, foks. Thank you ;)
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 Days Ago  
Pentax lenses measured worse?
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 79
Views: 2,890
It should be a valid approach for the 70-210/4, though. I get that sensor-stack thickness could impact test results on wider angle lenses, but on a tele zoom I'd have thought it would have negligible impact.

On a related note, I seriously doubt that Tamron fine tunes its lenses for the different sensor stack thickness on Canon and Nikon DSLRs - or does it? I'd have thought the glass is exactly the same; only the mount and firmware being different...
Forum: Ricoh GR 5 Days Ago  
Grease stains on my new GR III sensor
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 81
Views: 6,300
Yes, it's more or less the same everywhere now...



In which case, you might have to pay for cleaning when everything opens back up again. Or perhaps your Thai importer will clean it again as a goodwill gesture. I believe these are your options...

Stay safe! :o
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 Days Ago  
Pentax lenses measured worse?
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 79
Views: 2,890
Testing both the Pentax and other-brand equivalent lenses on a common platform would remove that variable - indeed, anything to do with the camera - from the process. Then, if the results still differ considerably, we'd know there's a difference in the lenses. If, however, the results are more or less equivalent, we'd know it's the camera bodies that have previously caused the difference.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 Days Ago  
Pentax lenses measured worse?
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 79
Views: 2,890
That's certainly possible, but only an assumption. If test shots were captured as raw files at base ISO, then examined in the same software - which should apply the same default sharpening etc. (ideally, it should be manually set to zero for these purposes) - then I think it unlikely.

One person using a common platform to test both lenses in exactly the same conditions, assessing the raw files with the same software, using the same settings, would go some way in removing numerous variables that might be impacting the results...
Forum: Ricoh GR 5 Days Ago  
Grease stains on my new GR III sensor
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 81
Views: 6,300
I'm sorry to hear that. It's most unfortunate, and I can understand your frustration. Given your specific situation with the Thai importer, and having explored your available options previously, it seems your only recourse now is to ask them to clean it again. Of course, it's entirely possible they didn't remove all the debris last time they cleaned it, or inadvertently introduced other debris in the process. Alas, it's impossible to know now :o
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 Days Ago  
Pentax lenses measured worse?
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 79
Views: 2,890
Yes, but most people have enquiring minds. We don't just want to know if one combo is better than another, but why - especially since the contributing factors (lens design, sensor resolution etc.) would appear to be so similar. Answering this might not have any practical benefit to us as photographers, but it appeals to our thirst for knowledge.

In fact, what actually matters is whether we can take the photos we want with the equipment we own or have available to us. That's what we should be concerned about - not differences between one brand's combo and another brand's equivalent which, for most practical applications, are irrelevant...
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 Days Ago  
Pentax 70 - 210 vs Tamron 70 - 210 | Lens Review
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 108
Views: 3,755
Out of curiosity, what comparable fast fifty on another platform would you prefer Pentax had matched in terms of performance and rendering?



Which begs the question, who needs anything better and why? I mean, aside from the "I want it just because I can" folks? :hmm: That's a serious question... who can actually leverage the benefit of such perfection?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 6 Days Ago  
Pentax 70 - 210 vs Tamron 70 - 210 | Lens Review
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 108
Views: 3,755
Thankfully, there are very few use cases - and users - who need something closer to (technical) perfection. Most (perhaps all?) mid-to-high-end lenses from any brand are more than capable enough for the majority of amateur and professional applications. There would seem to be quite a few folks who want near-perfection "just because"... and they're allowed to want that, of course, even if the vast majority don't need it.



I'd say the D FA*50/1.4 falls into that bracket, though it's only the first in a line of such lenses that will take some time to flesh out. Until then, Pentax may not be the best choice for the tiny proportion of users who actually need technical perfection (you may be one of the rare few?), or those who simply want it even if they don't need it...
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 6 Days Ago  
Pentax 70 - 210 vs Tamron 70 - 210 | Lens Review
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 108
Views: 3,755
I actually have no problem with that. A man's got to eat, and his seems an innocent enough business venture. His content clearly appeals to quite a few folks. I just hope they also consult other more-expeienced and reputable sources to obtain a composite view before drawing any conclusions or making buying decisions. Frankly, though, I'd recommend that approach with reviews from any website or YouTube channel... even the better ones...
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