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Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-04-2014, 01:07 PM  
So is 16 megapixel enough?
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 307
Views: 27,705
Depends ... but in general, YES.

I use a wide range of camera gear for my personal and professional photography. Without getting into the obscene number of cameras I currently own and use or the CRAZY number of digital cameras I've owned and used over the last 14 years, I'll just say that 16 megapixels is generally enough for "virtually every" casual photographer's needs and "most" professional needs unless you're blowing up cropped images to insane print sizes and putting them on display where the viewer-to-print distance is a couple of feet or less.

When I first made my transition from film to digital I was shooting with 6-megapixel DSLRs with APS-C sensors, cropping those images for albums and prints, and regularly delivering 8x10, 11x14, and 16x20 prints to my clients. I never had a single client complain about the prints "looking digital" and even now when I look at those images pulled up from my archive hard drives the images hold up very well.

True, back then I rarely used an ISO higher than 400 for any paid job (ISO 800 or 1600 were reserved for absolute emergencies) and I didn't crop 6MP images as heavily as I do 16MP or larger images, but the point is that 16MP is MORE than enough resolution for the overwhelming majority of output types.

I have a Sony RX1 as my take-everywhere-available-light-camera because the full-frame 24MP sensor delivers amazing fine detail even at crazy high ISOs, but even that high ISO advantage is "negligible" when you're talking about printing your work or displaying images online at screen resolution. Honestly, I bought the RX1 more because it was a small camera with a leaf shutter so it is completely silent for candid shooting and it can flash sync at any shutter speed.

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. The point is that my main camera for work is the K-5 IIs and I still regularly use 16MP and 12MP micro 4/3 cameras when I traveling on assignment (or vacation) and need to pack the smallest bodies and interchangeable lenses possible due to limited space.

At this point in the development of digital camera technology "most of us" should all be more worried about buying cameras and lenses that have the features we want within the price range we can afford and not so worried about megapixels.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-03-2014, 09:06 AM  
Importance of low pass filter?
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 19
Views: 2,998
I was really concerned about the lack of low-pass/AA filter on the K-5 IIs when it first came out because I've been shooting digital for more than a decade and remember messing with an old 6MP Nikon DSLR that had the AA filter removed by a company that offered this service for photographers who wanted the best possible resolution from their cameras.

Back then, the moire for the 6MP sensor was TERRIBLE when the AA filter was removed. "Jaggies" were also a major problem (clearly visible in hair or diagonal lines of buildings) when the AA filter was removed from the old 6MP sensor.

With that experience under my belt, I was certain that the K-5 IIs would have similar problems ... but I was wrong. The K-5 IIs and K-3 deliver fantastic detail and you either have to photograph close-ups of colorful bird feathers or really have to go out of your way to create obvious moire or jaggies. While I still have some cameras with AA filters (Sony RX1) but I think I will always choose to purchase cameras without AA filters from now on.

I won't burden your bandwith with a full-res image here, but if I took the image below with my old Nikon D70 which was had its AA filter removed there would have been crazy moire in areas of the blue fabric that are in focus and the individual strands of hair and the angled lines of the sunglasses would have been nothing but jaggies. The K-5 IIs and K-3 can handle this stuff without any problems.

From K-5 IIs:
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 09-18-2014, 08:44 PM  
DA 70 vs FA 77 for *my* personal needs....enter.
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 29
Views: 4,508
I had the DA70 and LOVED the DA70. Then I got the FA77 and I couldn't sell the DA70 fast enough.

The DA 70mm delivers better edge-to-edge sharpness in terms of having the same sharpness across the entire frame, but the FA 77mm is "noticeably sharper" than the 70mm in the center and "just a little softer" than the 70mm at the extreme edges.

Since I consider the 70mm and 77mm to be portrait lenses I don't really care that much about the extreme edges of the frame (I don't put my subjects there). The 77mm was originally designed for film so it has a little worse CA but that is easy to fix in Photoshop. I can get rid of CA but I can't create detail that wasn't recorded.

The DA70 has slightly faster AF because of a shorter focus throw but the 77mm is still reasonably fast on my K-5 IIs and K-7 bodies.

Taken with the DA70:

Taken with the FA77:
Forum: General Photography 09-18-2014, 06:44 AM  
Anyone else unimpressed with Pentax/Ricoh at Photokina?
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 40
Views: 3,161
I love my Pentax gear and was excited to see what's new from Pentax (or Ricoh) at Photokina this year. Unfortunately, they announced nothing that remotely interests me.

The "possibility" of a future full frame Pentax body doesn't count as something that's interesting. There are always "rumors" and "discussions" about the first full frame body for Pentax, so I don't really care anymore about what Pentax or Ricoh executives say about full frame unless they are actually announcing the camera and have something to show us.

Frankly, I'd be happy if Pentax stuck with APS-C sensors, but that's another discussion. My point is that every serious camera manufacturer (Canon, Nikon, Leica, Olympus, Fujifilm, Sony, Panasonic, even Samsung) had at least one new/updated semi-pro or serious enthusiast camera and at least one new "pro-level" lens to showcase at Photokina.

The KS-1 doesn't count because it was announced well before Photokina and it's an embarrassing attempt to attract non-photographers to Pentax with pretty LEDs and a range of paint choices.

Yes, Pentax did announce the HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ... but that goes immediately on the list of "lenses I will never buy." I might have been interested in that lens if it was a 16-85mm 2.8 or a 16-85mm f4 constant aperture, or even a 16-85mm f/2.8-4 variable aperture, but 3.5-5.6 is just a bad joke.

If anyone at Pentax/Ricoh is reading this, I hope you're paying attention to the market around you. The biggest stories out of Photokina -- the stories that appear to be getting the most coverage by the most media outlets -- are the semi-pro/pro and advanced amateur cameras and all the f/2.8 and faster lenses.

If Ricoh executives are asking why is the only site that is seriously covering Pentax at Photokina the answer is simple, Pentax isn't showcasing new "serious" cameras or "serious" lenses.

If you show up to Photokina with clown shoes you're going to get treated like a joke.

Am I the only person who feels like Pentax/Ricoh didn't even make an effort to showcase something impressive at Photokina this year?
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 09-16-2014, 04:41 PM  
40mm XS bluriness/softness problem
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 16
Views: 2,011
The only issue that really stands out in my eyes is the ISO noise in the shadows ... because you shot this at ISO 400. I really would have used ISO 100 or 80 for this shot ... particularly since your shutter speed was so high at ISO 400.

You would arguably get better sharpness as well if you had stopped down to f/8 or f/11 or maybe even f/16. Diffraction "might" become an issue with some of the fine details at f/11 and f/16 but the added DOF would improve the visual perception of overall sharpness.

Other than that, I don't know how much more we can expect from a lens that retails for $250 or less (US).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 09-16-2014, 04:34 PM  
New Canon pancake.. Pentax possible?
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 35
Views: 3,453
This is very true, but the physical size of the new Canon 24mm f/2.8 pancake is MUCH smaller than the Sigma 18-35 ... and let's not forget the Canon 24mm is starting at less than $200 rather than just under $800.

I'm not saying that Ricoh/Pentax should replicate every lens in the Canon EOS line (that would be foolish). But there is an obvious "hole" in the current Pentax line up when it comes to small, fast primes between 14 and 31mm.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-13-2014, 07:38 AM  
Going Retro Camera?
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 17
Views: 2,092
As photographers (who are constantly bombarded by marketing from camera manufacturers) it is easy for us to get caught up in new camera tech and forget that current and older cameras are still capable of helping us capture great images.

When I first made the transition from film to digital for weddings I was shooting with 6mp DSLRs and when I go back and look at those old images they still look great.

Although I rarely use my K7 anymore because it has higher ISO noise and records less detail than my K-5 IIs, I recently found some old photos that I took with the K7 and thought they looked GREAT. When I found those old shots I wasn't obsessed with the ISO noise nor did I start criticizing the detail because the subject matter, composition and lighting in each shot were the things that caught my attention.

It's safe to say that digital cameras get better with every generation, but that doesn't mean the older cameras stop working.

Taken with K100D Super:

Taken with K10D:

Taken with K7:
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 09-13-2014, 07:18 AM  
Focus Points?
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 7
Views: 1,050
I usually leave my camera either on the center AF focus point (focus and then compose) or select the focus point that I want (in that case I move the AF point to where the subject is in the frame).

The only time I use the "AUTO" AF mode (where the camera selects from multiple AF points on its own) is if I'm using continuous AF and shooting birds in flight or airplanes in flight at an airshow. Birds and planes move so quickly that it usually helps to let the camera pick the focus point when you're shooting against the empty sky.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 09-12-2014, 05:21 PM  
Ricoh needs to lower Pentax flash prices!
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 17
Views: 2,086
If it was just weather sealing then I would be happy with the old flash units, but the new "II" versions also have improved PTTL firmware for better flash exposure consistency. Many of us have run into flash exposure issues with the original 360 and 540 flashes (and let's not forget the plastic foot). I sold my original 360 flash and ended up buying two Metz 52 AF-1 units.

The Metz is more consistent, but it's still not perfect 100 percent of the time (less so with HSS). I don't know if the AF-360FGZ II and 540 II are any more consistent than the Metz, but they are supposed to be more consistent than the original 360 and 540.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 09-12-2014, 09:05 AM  
Ricoh needs to lower Pentax flash prices!
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 17
Views: 2,086
I doubt anyone from Ricoh is going to read this, but the current pricing for the Pentax AF-360FGZ II ($429.95) and AF-540FGZ II ($549.95) is just STUPID.

You can buy the Metz 52-AF1 for $249.99 and it's BETTER than the AF-360FGZ II.

Nikon just announced the new SB-500 for only $249.95 and the trusty SB-700 is $329.95 (still cheaper than the AF-360FGZ II)

The equally trusty Canon 430EX II (similar in specs to the AF-360FGZ II but still probably better because of the Canon speedlite system) is only $299.95 right now.

I love Pentax but Ricoh needs to wake up and pay attention to what similar flash units are selling for right now.

The AF-360FGZ II shouldn't be higher than $299.95 MSRP and the AF-540FGZ II shouldn't be higher than $449.95 at most.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 09-12-2014, 07:58 AM  
New Canon pancake.. Pentax possible?
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 35
Views: 3,453
If Pentax made a 24mm f/2.8 Limited pancake I would buy it NOW even at the stupid-high prices Ricoh is charging for Pentax lenses at the moment.

Yes, I've used the 21mm and it's sharp, but there IS a difference between f/3.2 and f/2.8 for those of us who want to shoot in low light at the highest possible shutter speed without cranking the ISO any more than absolutely needed.

True, when you're shooting at 24mm (or around 35mm in 35mm equivalent crop) you're not getting "that" much background blur at f/2.8 ... but that's not the point. Heck, I shoot my wide shots with a 14mm f/2.8 even though the Pentax 15mm f/4 Limited is MUCH lighter, probably focuses faster, and is probably sharper.

Most of my purchases end up the same way ... I had the 70mm f/2.4 and loved the edge-to-edge sharpness, but I sold it for the 77mm f/1.8 because it looked a little sharper in the center (despite some softness in the corners) and it could open up to f/1.8 in extremely low light.

Pentax needs a faster prime lens (faster than f/3.2) in between 14mm and 31mm.
Forum: Pentax K-3 09-11-2014, 06:51 AM  
Holy trinity of lenses
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 146
Views: 22,421
As many others have said, there are MANY options for the 3-lens holy trinity for Pentax.

My personal "trinity" tends to go back and forth between these sets:

FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited, DA* 55mm f/1.4, and FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited


Sigma 14mm f/2.8 (you could put the Pentax DA 14mm f/2.8 in here but I like the way the Sigma renders), DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited (or FA 31mm, depends on situation), and Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8

Bottom line, I mostly use primes except when I'm in a situation where I need more telephoto reach (which is when I break out the 70-200mm).

Taken with DA* 55mm:
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 09-10-2014, 03:07 PM  
Photokina 2014: Pentax K3 Prestige / K-S1 - Is that it for K-mount news?
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 210
Views: 26,347
I've been shooting digital long enough to remember when people said the same thing as to why APS-C DSLRs had to cost $4K.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 09-10-2014, 10:30 AM  
Photokina 2014: Pentax K3 Prestige / K-S1 - Is that it for K-mount news?
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 210
Views: 26,347
Personally, I've been VERY happy with the performance of Pentax's APS-C cameras, so I don't care about full frame.

I think Pentax is uniquely positioned to do something MORE AMAZING than releasing a 35mm full-frame DSLR ... they should make a budget medium format camera!

Let the new 645Z continue to be the best, high-end camera in the Pentax lineup, but offer a new medium format camera that is HALF that price with less features.

A Pentax brand 35mm full frame camera will be a "meh" announcement to everyone who isn't already a Pentax shooter.

A medium format DSLR that costs $4000 brand NEW would be like an EARTHQUAKE on the photography world.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-09-2014, 12:32 PM  
KS-1 vs K-3 for Street Photography
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 35
Views: 8,395
They are both cameras. Use either for street photography. I'd personally recommend a fast prime lens for street photography with whatever camera you choose, but it isn't an absolute requirement.

If you're asking because you want to be "stealthy" with your street shooting, then it still doesn't matter. The K3 is a bigger camera that looks more "professional" so that will make some people look ... and the KS-1 looks so weird that I'm sure that will get attention as well.

If you're looking for street photography tips you can use with any camera then check out this video:
Forum: General Photography 09-07-2014, 03:38 PM  
I Feel Sorry for Camera Shoppers Who Aren't Brand Loyal
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 50
Views: 5,200
I feel sorry for people who still shop at crumby local camera stores.

That might sound terrible like I only support big box stores or something, but what I mean is that every "good" camera store has transitioned away from the old brick and mortar business models where employees pushed X brand on everyone who walked in the door.

Today's best camera stores (even the ones that still maintain multiple brick and mortar locations) now focus primarily on strong online sales and that means supplying customers with anything and everything they want ... not just stuff from one or two brands.

I do about 60% of my equipment purchasing from a local camera store but they have a massive online store and their online catalog has just about everything I can find from big box stores like Amazon or B&H. And when they don't have it I can ask and they will usually special order it.

I've switched brands multiple times over the last 15 years and my local store, Dodd Camera, has gotten almost anything I wanted from Pentax, Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Olympus and Sony.
Forum: Pentax K-5 09-01-2014, 03:35 PM  
K5 IIs freezes up
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 4
Views: 1,206
Another possible explanation is the lens. I don't know which lens you were using, but I know that I used to have two older Sigma lenses that would cause my camera to act up if I went into a couple of the menus with the lenses mounted on my K10D, K20D, or K-7 back when I still had those lenses.

Your lens might have nothing to do with your problem, but it was an issue for me so I thought I should mention it.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 08-30-2014, 07:55 AM  
The designers of K-S1
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 65
Views: 6,331
I accept the fact that companies need to change with the times in order to stay relevant and get new business (and attract new customers) but I also believe that hiring these people to design a camera is like asking a pizza delivery guy to design a new F1 race car. Sure, a pizza guy understands the need to drive fast in order to make deliveries, but he doesn't know nearly enough to design a quality F1 car.

You would think the overwhelmingly harsh criticisms about the design of the K-01 would make Pentax (Ricoh) focus on building cameras designed by photographers ... but I guess some people never learn.

Sure, I bought a pair of K-01s when they were selling for $200 a pop because they are throw-away camera bodies with great image quality, but even then I recognize that my K-7 and K-5 IIs are superior cameras (image quality in the K-01 is better than the K-7, but the K-7 is a better overall camera).

I'm sure the K-S1 will deliver great image quality just like the K-01 does ... but it's another fugly camera made by hipsters who shouldn't be designing cameras. I seriously doubt the K-S1 will sell in any decent numbers until Ricoh puts it on closeout a year from now to liquidate all the inventory that never sold.

Hey, Ricoh, maybe next time you should try consulting with real photographers who understand the ergonomics of camera bodies, button placement, and the features that matter to PHOTOGRAPHERS. Hint ... colored LEDs as decorative accents on a camera body isn't anywhere on a photographer's wish list.


Too bad there isn't an emoticon to flip the bird to Ricoh's corporate office.
Forum: Pentax K-3 Photo Contest 04-30-2014, 07:13 PM  
People Who Cares About Pool?
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 1
Views: 934
Here is my entry for the K-3 Photo Contest. Not taken with my Pentax gear, but if I win the K-3 I'll try to replicate the shot ... or better it.

Forum: Pentax Mirrorless Cameras 11-19-2013, 04:24 PM  
My (Short) K-01 Review
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 14
Views: 2,736
As much as I really, REALLY love my K-01 (I wouldn't have purchased TWO of them if I didn't think it was a great camera) I do have to say I think Pentax/Ricoh made one serious problem when the camera was initially released:

The K-01 was WAY overpriced at the time of release.

Ricoh might want to charge high-end prices for Pentax gear but one thing is unavoidable: Pentax is PENTAX. You can't expect amazing sales (or amazing reviews) if you charge crazy amounts of money for a PENTAX camera that had those specs even when it was new.

The fact that the K-01 sold like wildfire when it went on closeout is all the proof you need that price was the biggest problem.

"Maybe" if Pentax added an EVF (built-in or optional accessory) and gave the K-01 a continuous/burst rate of 6fps in RAW mode then Pentax could have charged "close" to the MSRP of the camera at the time of launch. Still, the bottom line is that Pentax can't get great sales if they're priced as high (or higher) than the competition.

I love Pentax, but I also acknowledge that most people don't think of Pentax the same way they think of Nikon or Canon.

This pricing problem smacked Pentax in the face with the K-01 and it will probably happen again with the new 20-40mm f/2.8-4 Limited lens. I mean, 20-40mm is similar to the range of the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 lens. The Sigma is a CONSTANT F1.8 APERTURE and it's SHARP while it costs LESS than the price of the variable-aperture Pentax 20-40mm lens.

The folks at Ricoh and Pentax need a reality check (or maybe a "price check") and need to re-evaluate what they are charging for some of their stuff. The K-3 is priced reasonably (as is the K-500) but then there are crazy prices for stuff like the K-01 and the 20-40mm that (at the time of launch) make absolutely ZERO sense given the way the competition is priced in the market.
Forum: Pentax K-5 10-27-2013, 05:53 AM  
K5iis exposure fault
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 18
Views: 2,151
I'm not sure about what's causing your problem, but if you're certain the dial was in the Program position but the EXIF says it was in Shutter Priority mode then you may have a fault in the electrical/mechanical connection of the mode dial. I had K20D years ago that had a messed up mode dial and whenever I put the camera in Aperture Priority mode my K20D thought it was in Manual Mode ... I had to move the dial "between settings" to get the camera into Aperture Priority mode. That was annoying. Luckily that was the only time I ever had a problem with a Pentax camera (knock on wood).

That might not be your problem, but it's the first thing that popped into my mind when you said the mode was set to Program but the EXIF says Shutter Priority.

I hope you're able to get it sorted quickly and without any additional problems.
Forum: Pentax K-3 10-26-2013, 08:08 PM  
Nice D600 vs K-3 Comparison Gallery
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 348
Views: 41,934
If you take the full-size images into Photoshop and lay one image over the other as a semi-transparent layer you'll see that the dog's head moved VERY slightly from one shot to the other.

I also have a lazy dog that won't move (or barely moves) when I take his photo unless I try to get him to move. Some dogs are just very calm ... and I suspect the author went out of her way to compose and capture images that where as alike as possible for comparison purposes but still "real world" samples.
Forum: Pentax K-3 10-26-2013, 02:33 PM  
Nice D600 vs K-3 Comparison Gallery
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 348
Views: 41,934
I don't know about faulty eyes, but you must prefer the less contrast and softer color rendering in the Nikon. ;)

As far as detail in the fence post shots, I'd say it's on par.
Forum: Pentax K-3 10-26-2013, 02:15 PM  
Nice D600 vs K-3 Comparison Gallery
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 348
Views: 41,934
Yes, F/4 with a 85mm lens is shallower than F/4 on a 55mm lens (which is why the Nikon has smoother bokeh/background blur) ... but I'm sure more people would cry foul if the author used different apertures on the different cameras.

I'm more impressed with the way the color and contrast are rendered in the areas of the images that are in focus ... and how the K-3 handles ISO noise.

If you want more background blur on the K-3 you can shoot at F2 or 2.8 (or go crazy and shoot wide open at F1.4 if shallow DOF is really your thing).

In my mind the argument for full frame comes down to DOF/crop factor and whether that's a problem for you. Trying to argue in favor of full frame because of "image quality" is becoming less and less of a real issue ... camera manufacturers just want you to think it matters more so they can sell full frame cameras. Sort of the same conclusion I came to earlier this year after shooting with the Sony A99 and NEX-6 side by side for a while:
Forum: Pentax K-3 10-26-2013, 01:57 PM  
Nice D600 vs K-3 Comparison Gallery
Posted By JJJPhoto
Replies: 348
Views: 41,934
"Possibly" ... but I doubt it would make a significant difference (if any) at the apertures used in those shots. The Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S FX is an amazing lens and some Nikon shooters actually prefer it over the 1.4 version because of the lighter weight, snappier AF and still very impressive image quality. (I was a Nikon shooter for a while.)

However, the bigger question is, "If your choice of lens can make THAT much of a impact to image quality then is the price premium for full frame worth it?"

I mean, if all you need is a nicer lens to make an APS-C camera kick the @$$ of a full frame camera then is full frame really the advantage that camera advertising makes it out to be?
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