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Forum: Pentax Medium Format 10-05-2017, 07:46 PM  
645z finicky shutter release button?
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 5
Views: 1,041
There is a known problem on the 645Z with the wired remote cord connection inside the camera. It starts out exactly as you describe with delayed or intermentent shutter release, and eventually the connection becomes so bad that it can no longer reliably trigger. I believe it was here on Pentax Forums where there's a thread discussing this issue and many of us 645Z owners report having the problem. I don't know what the cost would be to fix. What most of us have done is switch to the wireless infrared remote. I use a 3rd party brand for this and it works well.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 09-10-2017, 10:30 AM  
"Upgrading" decision, Pentax 645Z or Nikon D850(810)
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 63
Views: 14,080
:) Sounds like you have some years ahead of me but I'm on the downhill side of the mountain so I hear what you're saying about gear weight.

Oh yes, that Pentax 100 macro is a jewel!
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 09-08-2017, 08:25 PM  
"Upgrading" decision, Pentax 645Z or Nikon D850(810)
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 63
Views: 14,080
Wow Norm, your 50-year anniversary of shooting Pentax, that's awesome!

I first shot with a Pentax in about 1980, the K1000. But the first Pentax that stole my heart was years later when I first used the 645, and especially the 645N when it came out.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-08-2016, 08:47 AM  
645Z owners: Will you switch to a Sony 75MP A7RIII?
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 79
Views: 8,498
Norm,

I've been thinking about what went wrong yesterday in the posting, and I realize the first mistake I made was unnecessarily taking personal offense at a statement, then overreacting and writing a response that was defensive, prideful, and snippy. I know better than that. I was wrong. No excuses. And I apologize to you.

I sent an apology to Bob L also (Bob, thank you for your gracious PM reply). To anyone else reading the thread that was offended by my immature attitude in those posts, I apologize as well.

Sincerely,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-06-2016, 04:58 PM  
Testing 35mm options
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 74
Views: 11,193
Agreed, this system really needs a wider prime added back in. Ricoh has been slow to release the promised ugraded zooms, and other lenses could use the upragde also, and now with them jumping into full frame I think 645 lenses will be even slower in coming. Their lens roadmap for the K-1 is not encouraging either, putting them at 2017 and beyond.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-06-2016, 04:51 PM  
Testing 35mm options
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 74
Views: 11,193
The DFA is a sweet modern upgrade to the old A and most people will love it. Better coatings, better f/8 performance (much much better than my A at f/8), autofocus, nice petal hood. I'd be keeping it and my A35 if money was no object.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-06-2016, 01:20 PM  
Testing 35mm options
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 74
Views: 11,193
Ed, thanks for the details, and thank you again for shooting these and providing them to the forum, and thanks again to iCrop for the work in getting them uploaded.

These tests have been helpful to me. First, as I have been suspecting for some time, processing software such as Lightroom has become so good, that after I made proper adjustments to the files I was able to get the manual A 35mm lens files to look as good as the new/modern DFA35 and 28-45. That's not a slam on the new glass. I am quite sure the new optics offer better flare resistance for those who shoot toward bright light, and better performance at wider apertures. But in global contrast, microcontrast, color and sharpness, I was able to get the old A lens looking just as snappy and beautiful as the other two lenses, by adding only a few more points of clarity/contrast (I viewed at 200% on a Retina screen to confirm).

Additionally, these results were further confirmed today when a DFA35 arrived at my home and I tested it at f/8/11/16 at infinity and again at mid distance against my own copy of the A35. At wider apertures the new DFA is better and it also shows the better flare resistance of modern coatings when a bright light source was included in the frame. But at f/16 where I live for my landscape work, my old A copy is actually a bit sharper throughout the frame, has slightly less CA, and less corner vignetting at infinity. (By the way, those concerned about diffraction at small apertures will find that deconvolution sharpening recovers most of the detail. I just printed a 30x40 landscape shot at f/22 with the 67 105mm and it looks oustanding in detail and clarity even with my nose up to the print)

The DFA35 is of course a very fine lens and was a great deal at B&H in 'used' 10 condition at $1350 (looks brand new, and I'm wondering if this is the copy B&H loaned to Diglloyd for his tests), but I can't justify keeping it when my A35 copy is already so sweet, so back it goes. Someone wanting the DFA35 at a discount should keep an eye on B&H's used listings for this sample to come back to them.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-05-2016, 10:47 AM  
645Z owners: Will you switch to a Sony 75MP A7RIII?
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 79
Views: 8,498
Hi Wei-Hao,

I don't dispute your technical info. Here is my own perspective at determing what image quality is appropriate for my own desires:

When I used the Nikon D800 for my landscape work, I was never able to get a 40" wide print (my favorite and most common size) that looked good enough for me - it was starting to fall apart in terms of sharpness, detail, tonal transitions, and overall naturalness and image integrity (I come from a background of printing from 600mb drum scans off of 4x5 film, and I'm picky). But when I switched to the 645D (and later the Z) my first customer print order from that cam was 54" - and I was joyfully shocked how well the print held up - an utterly natural depction of the landscape scene, smooth tonality, loads of detail and plenty of sharpness. And the Z improves on the D's print performance even further.

After writing the above, I should know better to think that a 75mp full frame sensor could replace the print quality I'm enthralled with from the Z. I think at times I get a bit seduced by the sexy small size of the Sony and the huge variety of optics available, and features such as 5-axis stabilization. But as I process through this conversation with everyone's contribution I know full well I need to stay with medium format digital as my main rig.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-05-2016, 08:45 AM  
645Z owners: Will you switch to a Sony 75MP A7RIII?
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 79
Views: 8,498
Thanks Royce. Good reminders for why I chose 4x5 film as my main system before I switched to digital. I saw the difference back then in large prints and especially in smooth tonality compared to small film formats.




Gyroscope, I hadn't thought of wind vibration differences. And agree on ergonomics and 4:3 ratio, two important factors.




Exactly, dcshooter 😀
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-04-2016, 07:17 PM  
Testing 35mm options
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 74
Views: 11,193
Thanks Ed and iCrop for providing the files. Took a look at the new DFA 35 vs. the A 35, both at f/8, and the results are interesting. The old manual A lens is clearly superior in the lower right quadrant, while the new 35 is better in the middle right quadrant. Perhaps due to differences in field curvature, slight decentering, or minute focus differences. Here are the screen caps (viewed at 200% in Lightroom with all sharpening and processing disabled, and using Huelight standard color profile):
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-04-2016, 06:16 PM  
645Z owners: Will you switch to a Sony 75MP A7RIII?
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 79
Views: 8,498
Thanks Fcsnt54, you brought up another good point: EVF. Obviously these work great for many people, and I do use one on my Olympus E-M1, but I greatly prefer the feel of an optical viewfinder and really enjoy the one on the 645Z.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-04-2016, 01:00 PM  
645Z owners: Will you switch to a Sony 75MP A7RIII?
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 79
Views: 8,498
Thank you for that info dcshooter




I appreciate that honest opinion. I have felt some of that about Sony and am not convinced it is a brand or a tool that would fit me.
Also love "As a tool my camera is a sum of its parts" - there is wisdom in that view.




Thanks Henrico. I have shot multiple images for stitching several times over the years on various cameras, including the Z, and I realize this works well for many folks, but for my personality I absolutely hate the workflow involved, it disrupts what is for me a very exacting and fulfilling process of creating precise compositions in the field with the 4:3 framing of the viewfinder. I cannot explain this fully, it's just the way I am wired to work in my composing.




Short and to the point Mike, I like that ;-)




Yes :-)

------------------------------

Thinking on this further as I interact with the thoughts shared here, I believe a hi-res mirrorless system could potentially be a good second camera for me for specific needs such as travel in Europe, but not as a replacement for medium format digital that I use exclusively for landscape work.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-04-2016, 11:11 AM  
645Z owners: Will you switch to a Sony 75MP A7RIII?
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 79
Views: 8,498
Good thoughts Tony, thanks. No doubt that new larger 100MP sensor when placed in a 645Z mkII would give astounding image quality (as files from the new Phase One 100MP show), and that would be my preferred upgrade from my 645Z unless the price is too high. Still, the small size/weight of a hi-res Sony mirrorless combined with sensor shake reduction for handholding intrigues me for travel photography or difficult hikes where my 645Z system is too much of a burden.

Another factor you brought up: I absolutely am in love with 4:3/5:4 aspect ratios and have been for decades, and I don't relish going back to 3:2 for fine art landscape shooting.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-04-2016, 10:15 AM  
645Z owners: Will you switch to a Sony 75MP A7RIII?
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 79
Views: 8,498
Sony has made clear their intentions to continue ramping up resolution in their fullframe cameras, and that's their stated reason for introducing the new higher resolution G Master lenses. Now a Japan source source (published on the web today) is indicating the upcoming A7RIII will have a 75-80MP sensor, and improved 5-axis IBIS.

For me, I love extremely fine detail capture for landscape images, as I do print large and I do enjoy getting up close to a fine art print and seeing breathtaking detail of beautiful subjects. I've owned a ton of digital cameras in the last decade and the 645Z is the first that has come close to giving me 40x30 prints that have resolution rivaling prints from 600MB drum scans from 4x5 Velvia originals (and of course the 645Z blows the 4x5 transparencies away in dynamic range).

If I were to switch to the upcoming Sony it would be not only for the additional resolution but also the 5-axis IBIS and small packable size/weight, making it an ideal travel camera. Also, the ability to adapt virtually any lens to the Sony is very intriguing, as I'd love to use the excellent Canon 24mm TS-E II, among others.

And for those who don't print huge, note that the very exacting and picky Lloyd Chambers has shown that oversampling with more pixels than you think you will ever need does produce better IQ in even modest size prints, as it reduces any sign of digital artifacts.

It would be an interesting discussion to see if any current owners of the 645Z think they will switch over to this new Sony? Why, or why not? Obviously there is no right or wrong answer here. I'd love to hear your own thoughts.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-03-2016, 10:35 PM  
Testing 35mm options
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 74
Views: 11,193
Mike, where did you buy yours? B&H currently shows them in stock ready to ship out. I just placed my order for a used one they had in 10 condition. I'll have it tomorrow and am excited to test it.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-03-2016, 11:36 AM  
FA 120mm Macro vs FA 80-160
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 5
Views: 1,622
My first copy of the A 120 macro used from Japan was lackluster and I sold it. My 2nd copy is top notch, sharper and with better contrast than the 80-160mm (two copies). It is not as contrasty as modern Zeiss designs I've used, and as you noted the Z files import flat due to the extremely wide dynamic range. However, in my Lightroom workflow I am able to get as much global and micro contrast as I wish using the contrast and clarity sliders, and the resulting files and large prints are wonderful. At times I will also use the Huelight high contrast variant profile and that's another nice option for popping the global contrast at the beginning of the Lightroom workflow.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-03-2016, 11:24 AM  
Testing 35mm options
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 74
Views: 11,193
Ed, thanks for following up with those test images, it will be interesting to see.

I've been thinking about the new version 35mm for some time now, and just may decide to splurge on it, although it is definitely not in the 'need' category. I have a superb copy of the Pentax A 35mm if anyone is interested. I can email you sample pics from my landscape work.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-03-2016, 11:17 AM  
645z Live View RAW vs JPG
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 24
Views: 2,193
It was posted on nikonrumors.com last year as an expected update, but it never materialized, so the D810 histogram remains read from the jpeg.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax K-1 03-22-2016, 10:50 PM  
K-1 and diffraction
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 29
Views: 4,064
That's a worthwhile improvement. I'm curious how Lightroom would compare.

Ross
Forum: Pentax K-1 03-21-2016, 12:18 PM  
K-1 and diffraction
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 29
Views: 4,064
Happy to share info, give it a try and see if you like it. I should add, these small apertures where diffraction sets in also cause a dulling of the contrast, but anywhere from 10 to 20 points of Clarity in Lightroom brings back the microcontrast nicely.

Cheers,
Ross

---------- Post added 03-21-16 at 03:20 PM ----------



Good to know, I've hear good things about that converter.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax K-1 03-21-2016, 10:16 AM  
K-1 and diffraction
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 29
Views: 4,064
I frequently shoot at diffraction-limited apertures in order to get the depth of field I desire in landscape compositions - f/22 on the 645Z, f/16 on fullframe, f/11 on APS-C. I also print big, 40" x 30" being my standard size and a recent print order was 54", so I need to combat diffraction. The solution for me is to use a deconvolution sharpening algorithm in the capture sharpening stage when I'm developing the raw file.

Irident Raw Developer has that function, and perhaps there are other raw converters that do too now. The most popular software that has this capability is Lightroom, but you must activate it: in the sharpening panel within the Develop module, sliding Detail all the way to the right turns the algorithm into essentially 100% deconvolution, according to Jeff Schewe who helped create LR's sharpening section. I typically start with Amount 45, Radius between 0.8 and 1.0 (a higher radius for softer images), Detail at 100 as noted, and vary the Mask per image to avoid too much noise in blue skies and other areas of smooth tone.

Deconvolution works wonders for me in capture sharpening - it brings much of the detail back that was dulled from diffraction, and it gives a natural look to the file similar to looking at drum scans from my 4x5 film. It's much better to my eye than traditional unsharp masking at this stage of processing.

Cheers,
Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 03-19-2016, 10:47 AM  
Pentax 645z decision vs D810 - struggling
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 108
Views: 16,295
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 03-19-2016, 10:35 AM  
Viciousness in the forums right now
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 24
Views: 2,929
Good points, I will edit my post to remove that comment.

Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 03-19-2016, 10:25 AM  
Viciousness in the forums right now
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 24
Views: 2,929
I'm glad you have been standing up to the crap from that one particular poster in the D810/645Z thread. His arrogant, disrespectful and belittling tone without provocation is the reason I usually stay off of forums. I have added him to my ignore list.

Ross
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 03-18-2016, 06:11 PM  
Pentax 645z decision vs D810 - struggling
Posted By SeattleDucks
Replies: 108
Views: 16,295
The D810 is an excellent all-around camera with great IQ, and it can do many thing well. But itshimitis has made an important point about 4:3 ratio - it is one of the main reasons that some of us choose the 645Z. This is the classic, extremely pleasing aspect ratio for fine art (go to an art show and see how many painters create in 3:2) and is an important factor for those of us selling gallery prints. When you are shooting a 3:2 ratio DLSR but desire a 4:3 ratio composition, you must compose for the short side and then crop the long sides in post, resulting in fewer pixels and less resolution to work with. This matters when your best selling print sizes are 40" x 30" and 50" x 38".

Here are a couple test photo comparisons to illustrate: the D810 and the 645Z shot by Imaging Resource on their standard test scene, both files raw, both upsized with Photoshop's excellent Preserve Detail algorithm to 30" on the short side for 40x30 printing. If you can't see the difference here or it does not matter to you, then save your cash and enjoy the greater versatility of a DSLR or mirrorless system. If the difference shown does matter to you and/or your customers/clients, then the 645Z continues to be the highest image quality available at its price level. (hint: in the image of the peppercorns note what is happening in the upper right with noise in the red color and aliasing in the lines).

Also attached is the DxO test comparison that was leaked some weeks ago.

(Note: the forum software has butchered these, so feel free to download and process yourself from Imaging Resource if you want to view without the compression and resizing)

Cheers,
Ross
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