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Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 01-01-2015, 10:34 AM  
So, I got a new camera, that uses a new accessory, that means a different bag..
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 13
Views: 2,433
Hello Robert,
You know the expression "This isn't a problem, it's an opportunity"? Oh, sure, that can (and frequently is) used as a mindless slogan to steer people away from the real fact (Yes, it IS a problem, a big one. We'll pretend it's going to be fun, even a chance to grow. That always works!).
But, sometimes it is true. New problem, new solution.
Bags are cheap, compared to most other camera accessories. You've increased your photographic capabilities with the flu card and ipad. You didn't need a bag to fit them before, because you didn't have them.
Same thing that happens when someone buys their first tripod, hot-shoe flash, long telephoto or big, fast zoom. Another (2nd) body. New bag.
I think of bags as purpose-driven. Macro bag, street bag, 'everything' bag, etc. 3 lenses, one body. 4-5 lenses, one flash, different bag. A dedicated film bag, good safe place to store my YG filters, film, mechanical cable release, other stuff that isn't needed for digital. One $25 eBay bag, I'm set.
If it is a problem it's a good one.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 12-27-2014, 03:21 AM  
What can I do with an AF-200FG
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 7
Views: 1,146
Hello ZoeB,
Even a small, non-tilt-head flash can be helpful when used properly. For example, in macro photography, often the top-mounted position works perfectly with no head adjustment, tilt or swivel.
It has two exposure (compensation) adjustments, -1/2 stop and - 1 stop, so, is useful as a 'fill' light for (say) an outdoor portrait shoot, to balance the one-directional existing light.
While it's only about twice as powerful as the in-camera flash, it has a big advantage; No drain on the camera battery. The pop-up flash gobbles power at an alarming rate and can easily reduce the shooting time.
With an inexpensive dedicated sync cord (5-pin Pentax, Vivitar-fc-pen, about $30 online) you will have all the tilt, pan, swivel and positioning options you need, especially with the addition of a helper or tripod. Same thing for wireless triggers, although the AF200 is pretty small for that duty.
So, for a handy, small, easy-to-use dedicated flash, it's great. You eventually will want the other features and more power, but for now, enjoy!
Good luck!
Forum: Photographic Technique 12-24-2014, 07:36 AM  
Monopod technique
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 11
Views: 2,024
Hello Na Horuk,
I use my monopod quite a bit, for live music venues (available light, no flash), places where spreading the tripod legs could become a tripping hazard and the random sports like skateboarding, cycling and occasional wildlife excursions.
It seems to fit into that shutter-speed gap which may be slightly too slow to hand hold, but you still don't want a tripod 'timed' (long) exposure.
For my use, that ss range is about 1/125s- 1/30s. In other words, I may have to live with a bit of motion blur, but not camera shake. Concerts and sports are a numbers game anyway, few keepers, many deletes.
Once your ISO is maxed out (to what you consider acceptable) and the lens is wide open, if the ss is below 1/160s or so, out comes the 'pod. I try to stand in a way that simulates a tripod, 'pod leg slightly angled forward (at the bottom) and my legs apart on either side and back.
I leave the SR on and use a short (OEM) cable release, rubber-banded to the upper part of the pod. The hand that supports the pod also activates the shutter, I cradle my other hand under the lens. This applies to both AF and MF lenses.
The ball head is an older Bogen travel head, about $30-$40 currently.
The monopod has a replaceable 'spike' foot, but I've never used it, just the little plastic 'cap' that comes standard and is easily replaced when worn.
I have braced the monopod against a fixed object for shutter speeds below 1/8s, but it gets iffy.
My best 'trick' is used during very crowded events; Activate LV and extend the pod over the crowd. You can see and focus the screen while it's overhead, Use the cable release to click a frame, chimp, try again. It's slow but sure. Use battery power like crazy, though.
Those are my tips, hope it helps!
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 12-23-2014, 04:31 AM  
Lens hoods for DA 35mm f/2.4 and 50mm f/1.8
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 12
Views: 2,358
Hello mee,
I've found the straight cylinder (tube) types off eBay are fine, mine are metal, about 20mm deep (3/4") and threaded 49mm for the DA35 and 52mm for the DA 50. Less than $10 each on the bay.
These are described as 'standard' types, as opposed to Wide Angle hoods (bell-shaped) or Tele, (longer cylinders). Although the fifty has a recessed front element as mentioned, the lens does benefit from a metal hood, instead of the plastic filter ring, for protection.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-16-2014, 10:02 PM  
DA35 limited Macro as a portrait lens?
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 32
Views: 4,102
Hello RobG, I'll add a + 1 to jatrax's comments, a 35mm on APS-C is too wide for portraits (except possibly, vertical-full-body poses) and the 'classic' film era focal length was around 85-90mm, hence so many available in legacy glass. That FL has shortened somewhat with the 'c' crop factor (I know, don't get the crop factor fireball going!) and now it's more like 50-70mm for a decently tight head-and shoulders pose.
You can easily try this with a willing model and a zoom, your 18-55mm should do the trick.
Some photographers like to position the model a bit further away, then the 70mm or slightly longer FL's might be more comfortable. Again, try a zoom to see for yourself.
If you like the 50mm view, your DA50mm f/1.8 will be your best option, best bokeh (by far!) at that length and f/2.8-to f/4.0 apertures. Most of those stops are unreachable or wide open with the zooms, so it's really not a true comparison anyway.
And the DA50 won't have that searing, razor-sharp rendering of a true macro lens, it's plenty sharp enough for normal crop and PP though.
Try the fifty and if you're not impressed, you'll likely want to go longer, not shorter, as the 35mm would be.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-30-2014, 07:25 AM  
Switched from Canon to Pentax
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 45
Views: 6,577
Hello Sportsgal501, welcome to the Forum!
We're happy to have you back in K-mount land and best of luck with the K-5IIs!
From my modest experience shooting skateboarding, I would suggest looking for some faster glass, even legacy primes around f/2.8, for sports photography. High fps rate and fast action dictate fast shutter speeds, higher ISO's and max aperture settings. The 'kit' zooms are usually f/5.6 at full zoom and f/4 - f/4.5 otherwise. An f/2.8 prime or zoom will result in a gain of two full stops of speed, whether faster shutter or lower ISO (or, one stop of each). The same advantage is also useful for night, low-light, street and action photography.
Yes, f/2.8 zooms are expensive, from any maker. Big and bulky, too. But the resulting images will be better, imo.
Good luck!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-27-2014, 04:19 AM  
My Totally Biased and Unabashed Personal Lens Recommendations
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 55
Views: 6,054
Well, I can hardly resist chiming in on this. Maybe that's the idea, eh?
Any 'set' of conditions, whether it's versatility, WR, I.Q., weight, fast max aperture, etc, will generate a different set of optimum lenses.
If you dismiss great primes (too much trouble changing lenses, ahem, we are discussing ILC's, right?) because they're not versatile, SDM because it's not (or, wasn't) reliable and WR because you don't need it, fast modern zooms that are competitive in price with 3rd party lenses, you pretty much eliminate Pentax altogether.
In the same way, one could say entry-level bodies without 'crippling' on needed features is the priority, right? There goes Canikon, Pentax wins that one hands down.
Also, dismissing legacy lenses out of hand (why?) isn't exactly fair when you mention the 50-150 or 300mm f/4.5, either. Pretty selective, that bit.
Sounds more like a reason to slag Pentax because they're not Tamron or Sigma.
No, they're not. Get over it.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-24-2014, 08:15 PM  
Buyer's remorse?
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 40
Views: 3,769
Well, here's my take on it. The K-3 is the flagship Pentax (APS-c) body and likely will be for a couple more years, at least.
It was released almost exactly one year ago, Oct 2013 iirc. At a price of $1,300, body only. Now it's somewhat under one thousand and you're getting the body and OEM grip for $800.
Or, you could wait awhile and MAYBE get it for $750, or perhaps some other deal that seems better.
Or, wait a year and maybe it will be $700.
Those last two options mean you'll have a few extra dollars jingling in your pocket, but no camera until you find, purchase and receive the 'better' deal.
Wait! You could also open your camera in a few days and enjoy it.
What sounds better?
Forum: Pentax K-30 & K-50 11-12-2014, 06:15 PM  
k50 purchase help.
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 14
Views: 1,990
Hello focusr3, welcome to the Forum!
For a person starting out, I'd take # 2, with the bag, card, etc. That's all stuff you need anyway and it's the same price. This is a good all-around kit with both the long and short zooms covering nearly all the usual focal lengths.
Before you put your credit card away, add a Giottos Blower brush (sensor cleaner) and a 52mm circular polarizer (I believe both lenses use a 52mm filter), microfiber cleaning cloth and perhaps a softbox diffuser for the flash.
Just some ideas for you, good luck!
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-11-2014, 07:10 PM  
Nature Leaving?
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 2
Views: 803
Thank you for the kind comments, MSL! I tried for that 'trapped' look with the composition on # 1, the full frame is somewhat longer.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-11-2014, 04:15 PM  
Nature Leaving?
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 2
Views: 803
Here's a short photo-essay on the departing season here, fall. A most colorful one this year, I must add.
1) Trying to get away, eh? Where you gonna' go?
2) I've always loved it when the fall winds make the leaves swirl, don't you? But I never seemed to be ready, until this time. I even waited until several leaves were airborne for a better effect. 1/250s. No leaf-blowers were used on this shot, purely natural!
3) 'Winter's Shadow'. I used the FA100mm Macro here.
4) Those pesky leaves even pile up on your favorite chair!
5) Like I said, they're everywhere!
Happy Winter!
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-07-2014, 01:10 PM  
Trouble finding lenses
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 16
Views: 2,455
Hello JSwaggerty, welcome to the Forum!
The good K-mount glass is around and plentiful, if you know where to look. Unfortunately, Ricoh/Pentax doesn't have much of B + M store presence, so you'll be doing most of the shopping online.
For new 3rd party lenses, here a recent list; Adorama and B + H are two good sources for these, as well as for new Pentax o.e.m. lenses.
Used K-mount? The Marketplace here, eBay, KEH, Craigslist, there's (literally) millions around. But as normal for used gear, you'll want a full description and clear return policy. Check the seller's rep, too.
Beware LBA!
Forum: Lens Clubs 11-05-2014, 10:09 PM  
The Bokeh Club for Macro Photography
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 176
Views: 21,146
Hope I can join too! There are some great photos so far.
Here's my entry, taken with a Vivitar S1 Bokina with 1:1 adaptor, used on a K10D, tripod, etc.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-01-2014, 01:37 PM  
Is there an order to do things in Photoshop?
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 15
Views: 1,704
Hello jeantree, welcome to the Forum!
My suggestions are a bit different, perhaps I've developed a style of workflow that appeals to me alone.
First off, straightening and composition. Align the verticals into a true (or, deliberately angled) upright, then decide on which format (2:3, 3:4, 16:9, etc) suits the subject/composition/elements within the frame. In other words, compose and crop.
Next, I usually try a B+W version, just to see. Some percentage will look better monochromatic, many won't.
Now, I work on contrast, saturation, clarity and W/B, color rendition, deciding whether the subject/theme needs a brighter, sharply-drawn and contrast-y finish, or a more subdued and less saturated look.
That's a vast over-simplification, but just make the PP work for the subject, theme, feel or effect you're trying to achieve.
Never do more PP than needed. Don't 'fiddle'. It's OK to experiment, but don't ruin a simple shot by over-processing it.
Keep carefully tweaking until the image represents the scene as you remember it. Or, want to remember it!
Don't be worried if you must 'cancel' the changes and start over; That's how we learn. If you truly like an image, work until it's right.
I believe you'll learn more by getting one favorite shot 'Right' with PP, then getting three others 'OK'.
Practice, practice, practice.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 10-27-2014, 04:23 PM  
Misc Good Bye, Cut Time
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 22
Views: 2,196
Wow, Jer, sorry to hear this news. You surely loved that boat, it's obvious even from the photos, although I recall you mentioning it warmly before.
But, possessions have a season too, just as our life, income, time and health do, and sometimes they don't match. It might be better that someone uses it regularly, better for the boat, them and ultimately, you. However, those choices are hard, you must be suffering a bit. I would not enjoy losing a similarly-loved source of enjoyment, pleasure and pride.
Chin up, buddy, there's still joy in life, take some photos!
Forum: Post Your Photos! 10-27-2014, 04:00 AM  
Macro F 35-70 Macro Mode focus distance
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 8
Views: 1,621
Hello shhh, welcome to the Forum!
Yes, the F35-70 has a maximum focusing distance (I tried it on a K-5 and it looks to be about 18-20 inches from the front element to the subject) when in 'Macro' mode with the zoom ring pushed past 70mm, just as you've described.
This is a trade-off for allowing a normal zoom to focus closer in macro mode, you can only shoot 'close ups'. If you take it out of 'AF' it still won't focus to infinity, even manually. Perfectly normal.
The F35-70 is a fine little zoom, it even has a dedicated Lens Club thread. Many consider it the best value-per-dollar short zoom in the Pentax A/F legacy lineup.
Reasonably sharp when stopped down to f/5.6-f/8.0, softer wide-open. Beautiful color rendering (not all agree!) particularly for scenic and landscape. A decent walk-around lens, a bit 'long' at 35mm for wider views on APS-C format.
But it is a quirky devil, very quick and noisy A/F, odd-looking and plastic-y in the early autofocus-era style, terrible F-series MF ring placement and dampening.
A great starter/intro macro zoom and very handy for casual street shooting.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-23-2014, 01:04 AM  
AF-200FG or better?
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 5
Views: 1,542
Hello Moropo,
The AF 200 is, as Adam mentioned, simply a more powerful top-mounted flash. Without tilt (the vertical adjustment of the flash head) you can't 'bounce' the light. It's pointed straight at the subject, for that flat, front-lit, heavily-shadowed 'deer in the headlights' look. And, usually red-eye, too.
No, you need, at the very least, a tilt head. The used AF360 (about $125, again, used) has tilt but no swivel (side-to-side flash head movement) so it's half way there and also features a built-in bounce card and/or diffuser. Plus auto-zoom, a great help-especially with a zoom lens.
The newer AF360-II is W/R and adds swivel, also. More expensive and hasn't been around long enough to find easily, used.
The top-line AF540 has everything, tilt, swivel, zoom and more power. Even more expensive.
For starting out with flash, I'd suggest a used AF360 (old version, tilt but no swivel). Just enough features to get you rolling with a hot-shoe flash, a 'starter' flash. It's been great for me, not too big or complicated but capable for my work. Add a couple of $10 (China) light modifiers like a soft-box and larger bounce reflector and you're good to go!
Good luck!
Forum: Post Your Photos! 10-23-2014, 12:30 AM  
People Damned Tourists
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 31
Views: 3,199
These dress codes are so puzzling to me, I would have thought your outfit would fit in anywhere. I mean shoot, at least you were WEARING socks!
Just kidding, very nice photos anyway. I especially like the 2nd one, it puts a great perspective on how tiny we are (even if improperly dressed) compared to the sheer scale of this monument. Beautiful colors and clarity, Bob, well done!
Forum: Weekly Photo Challenges 10-21-2014, 06:52 PM  
Weekly Challenge #302 "Leaves" Winners!
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 12
Views: 2,163
Congratulations to the winners, fine entries this week!
Forum: Post Your Photos! 10-17-2014, 06:24 PM  
Nature Mr. Majestic: An Ibis
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 13
Views: 1,011
Wow, Fine photos, Jer! The sharpness, color and contrast are perfect. Did you stop that lens down any?
Forum: Post Your Photos! 10-17-2014, 09:39 AM  
Nature Five for Ten
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 5
Views: 1,312
Thank you, Bob. Coming from someone with your skills, particularly doing outdoor photography, I consider it a great compliment.
The 2nd photo is a sort of sentimental favorite. It doesn't blast you with vivid color or blistering sharpness, it's more subtle and textured. Glad you like it!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10-17-2014, 07:20 AM  
New guy here. (looking for advice)
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 9
Views: 1,451
Hello Taelorh12, welcome to the Forum!
Likely the next best lens after the kit 18-55mm is the other kit lens, DA 55-300mm. I've heard and read (mostly here) that the 55-300 is a sharper and overall better lens than the DA 50-200mm, and for wildlife, 200mm isn't nearly long enough.
I'd avoid the 18-135's and 18-200-250's for another reason; They duplicate the (short, 18-55) zoom range you already have, for no gain and super-zooms aren't generally considered the best overall solution to increasing the focal range. Two shorter zooms (or, several primes) are faster, lighter and sharper.
Yes, you must change lenses more often. That's why we buy IC's in the first place, isn't it?
Forum: Post Your Photos! 10-16-2014, 08:55 PM  
Nature Five for Ten
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 5
Views: 1,312
Thanks, Charlie and Jer! I'm pretty happy with the color rendition and overall 'look' of the photos, the K10's sensor (and other limits) mean it's not great for everything. But slow-moving trees and plants turn out OK. Once the ISO gets to 400, out comes the K-5.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 10-16-2014, 03:31 AM  
Nature Five for Ten
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 5
Views: 1,312
Here's five recent photos taken with the K10D, using three different lenses. Sticking to low ISO's, slow A/F (or, use M/F) and a few other fiddly tricks to work around the older-body tech, seem minor when the color rendition, hues and blending are this fine. CCD sensors rule!
Of course, all may not agree. For those that do, there's a dedicated camera (body) club here, too.
The first three used the FA 100mm f/3.5 Macro, the 4th (pink petal) was done with the Vivitar 90mm f/2.5 @1:2 and last (trees) used the Pentax A 28mm.
Hope you enjoy these!
Forum: Weekly Photo Challenges 10-16-2014, 03:10 AM  
Weekly Challenge Weekly Challenge #301 "Night Lights" The Winners!
Posted By rbefly
Replies: 15
Views: 3,610
Congratulations to all the winners and this theme certainly produced many high-quality images!
Thanks to elpolodiablo for the comments,
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