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Forum: Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories 08-23-2017, 12:37 PM  
Contest 2017 Solar Eclipse Challenge!
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 99
Views: 6,922
Here's my offering from near Otto, NC. K-3 with 55-300mm PLM, using a Baader film filter for the partial phases. The clouds tried to get in the way but I think it made the first image more dramatic. Looks like everyone else had an awesome time viewing and photographing the eclipse.



Forum: Post Your Photos! 08-22-2017, 08:15 PM  
Abstract Solar eclipse series - sunspots, promineninces, the corona, and more!
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 11
Views: 541
Nice prominences, great work!
Forum: Post Your Photos! 08-22-2017, 08:14 PM  
Nature Clouds were no match for the eclipse near Otto, North Carolina
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 4
Views: 240
I'm not done processing through my photos so here's a taste! Not bad for the 55-300mm PLM. I started planning for this eclipse 2 years ago and I had no idea if any of the photos would work, but I had programmed different settings using all three user modes and bracketed everything. I'm so pleased with the results, but nothing beat the thrilling of seeing it with my own eyes. The light cloud cover during totality was no match for the brightness of the corona (as seen in the 2nd image), just amazing.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 06-11-2015, 07:34 AM  
AF201 FG - anyone excited?
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 109
Views: 14,273
It's two AAA batteries, and I only use Eneloop Ni-MHs.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 06-10-2015, 07:33 PM  
AF201 FG - anyone excited?
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 109
Views: 14,273
The battery cover seems solid, locks firmly in place. I haven't notice any major flaws yet, but I haven't tested all the features yet. Recycle time seems a bit slow (maybe 4 second-ish), but that might be fine given that this isn't meant to be a high performance flash.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 06-09-2015, 07:12 PM  
AF201 FG - anyone excited?
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 109
Views: 14,273
I did have a chance to put to through its paces, although not for my intended use. I'm more of a macro photographer but haven't done any trips to really give it a test. I did photograph a friend's wedding last weekend, and the AF201 did very well as an outdoor fill flash. Indoor bounce wasn't as impressive but it did help; not surprising since it's not meant to be a powerful flash. It was reliable and pretty accurate, and build quality seems very solid. Does that help?
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 04-30-2015, 10:45 AM  
AF201 FG - anyone excited?
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 109
Views: 14,273
Mine just shipped and I intend to use it for macro as well. I've taken my old AF360 (which is now broken) to Costa Rica before, and it was always my weakest link because my K-50 and 100mm WR were all weather resistant. I once did a night hike looking for glass frogs in the rain, and I held an umbrella to protect the flash, so it was very awkward, although worth it. I'm excited for the AF201FG's potential to make my tropical travels easier.
Forum: Pentax K-3 03-05-2015, 08:56 AM  
Adopting the Pentax system for wildlife and other?
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 34
Views: 3,970
Excellent! Those are some nice shots. I especially like the tight framing around the ring-billed gull. I hope your new gear works out for your trip.
Forum: Pentax K-S1 & K-S2 03-05-2015, 08:46 AM  
Pentax K-S2 > where can I find the "image sync" app?
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 30
Views: 7,443
Source for the March deadline?
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-05-2015, 08:35 AM  
K-3 vs K-S2 vs K-50
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 41
Views: 9,263
Definitely give it a try! Hands are so, well, individual. In retrospect I think my post came off negative when I didn't intended it. It is on the small side but it is fine in my hands, just that when I compare it against the K-3 the flagship model feels better.



I've read and seen a lot of examples, they do look very good, but noise is still higher, although detail is overcoming it. However, I wanted to see this for myself in my on shooting situations, not read some numbers. My experience with the K-7, an otherwise great camera, has made me a bit twitchy at the mention of more noise.

---------- Post added 03-05-15 at 07:40 AM ----------



I completely forgot that the K200D had a grip. I'm not a grip user so I've bounced back and forth between Pentax's high and "low" end bodies and never noticed.
Forum: Weekly Photo Challenges 03-04-2015, 09:38 AM  
Weekly Challenge Weekly challenge #317."I'll drink to that"
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 28
Views: 2,535
Morning:

Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-04-2015, 08:33 AM  
K-3 vs K-S2 vs K-50
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 41
Views: 9,263
I can't decide between the K-3 and the new K-S2 to replace my beat-up (but otherwise wonderful) K-50. The K-S2 looks like a great upgrade with a few unique features while the K-3 is a lot more affordable now. Instead of researching myself into an infinite loop I felt the only way to settle this was to try both models, then return one. So there are now three DSLRs under my roof.*

I know, the K-3 vs the K-S2 seems like a no-brainer, but I have a few reasons:

Weight: The K-3 is 4 oz heavier than the K-S2, 5 oz more than the K-50. It’s not much, but I hike and backpack a lot and every little bit can add up.
ISO Noise: I’ve read that the K-3 is a little noisier. Maybe I’m still a little disappointed by the K-7 I had years ago, although I hear that K-3 has great image quality despite its increased noise. I want to experience this for myself.
Articulating Screen: The new screen on the K-S2 might prove useful in unusual angles, especially in macro.

Even-though I’ve only had them for a few hours and haven’t really had the chance to really test them, I already have some strong impressions of the cameras:

The K-3 is a very comfortable to hold, even though I can feel the extra weight. The grip is larger and has a nicer shape that agrees very well with my right hand. The K-S2 isn’t uncomfortable, but it feels much smaller in the hand, bordering on too small. The K-50’s grip is somewhere in-between, and I love the feel of it. FYI, I consider my hands medium sized and skinny.

I can definitely feel the extra weight of the K-3, but not sure what I think about it yet.

The K-3 has more room to comfortably spread out its controls, while the K-S2 feels too tight because there’s so much less room. On paper the size difference between the two doesn’t seem like much, but the K-S2 also has a hinge for it’s new articulating screen that takes up room on the left side, taking away the space from the right side controls.

Interesting trade-off, the space taken up by the screen's hinge also means I can use the viewfinder without pressing my nose against the screen of the K-S2. Finally! No more smudging! On the K-3 my nose smudges the screen as usual. Otherwise both cameras have really nice looking screens, probably thanks to their gapless designs and 3:2 ratio, looking much better than the K-50’s screen.

I’m not really a “selfie” person, but I think it’s genius that the wifi button performs double duty as a shutter button, and taking a picture of myself was comfortable for that reason. Now if only Ricoh will release the app already so I can test the wifi button’s intended purpose.

The K-S2 movie mode is on the on/off switch, so sometimes I’ve too enthusiastically switched to movie mode by accident when turning on the camera. Not much of an annoyance, but at least on the K-3 the DOF preview bounces the switch right back.

The improvements over the K-50 are similar between the two cameras. Their AF motors seem faster, and their AF sensors can decisively focus in very dim light; I going to permanently turn off the AF assist light from now on. Both cameras have larger buffers than the K-50, although the one on the K-3 is insanely large.

I do not plan on a comprehensive comparison between the two cameras, more of a “gut and feel” evaluation. I’m leaning towards the K-3 right now, but I’ll make the final decision after a week or so.

*I technically have a fourth DSLR, a *ist D that I recently bought for infrared photography, but that’s not a fair comparison :)
Forum: Post Your Photos! 02-27-2015, 07:38 AM  
Nature Northern Lights 2/18/15
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 7
Views: 610
Fantastic, I want to see them in person one day.

What shutter speeds were you using?
Forum: Pentax K-3 02-26-2015, 09:27 AM  
Adopting the Pentax system for wildlife and other?
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 34
Views: 3,970
Listen to what rburgoss said about the weather. This time of year is not a big deal so due to the dry season and it can get dusty, but if you want to make future trips to the country during the rainy season, I recommend Pentax. I was in Costa Rica last year during the rainy season and I was the only SLR shooter who didn't put my camera away when it started to shower, but I was also there a few weeks ago and no one had to put their cameras away. During rains I did make sure to keep my camera mostly covered when I wasn't taking a photo since I didn't want to over-stress the weather resistance during the major downpours. I actually recommend visiting the rainy season (maybe not the peak of the rainy season) because some animals are just not as active without a recent rain, like many amphibians. Not to mention you'll get different bird migrations at different times of year.

I'm more of a macro shooter than a large wildlife one, but you did mention an interest in macro and I wholeheartedly recommend the D FA 100mm WR macro lens. It is a full-frame lens so you can upgrade when Pentax releases the body, it's weather resistant, and it is sharp across the frame in almost all apertures. It's a wonderful lens and I had so much fun with it in Costa Rica.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-25-2015, 07:56 AM  
K-S2 vs K-50
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 28
Views: 8,163
I change to AF.C a fair amount, that's why it's bugging me that it's now a menu-only option. I can live and adapt with it but it's very annoying since I see no reason for the change, it's not like it's saving room since there's still a switch.

I do use flash but my understand is still pretty basic, so can you explain the M ratio?



Another good reason why I'm not considering the K-5IIs since I do use live view every once in a while and focus peaking is one of my favorite features.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 02-24-2015, 11:22 AM  
K-S2 is Coming
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 855
Views: 89,660
Your fears have been allayed by the just released K-S2 manual: it's has wifi instructions for connecting to non-NFC devices, and even uses a screenshot from an iPad. So all iOS machines can act as a remote for the new camera.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-24-2015, 12:09 AM  
K-S2 vs K-50
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 28
Views: 8,163
I had the K-5IIs in consideration, but there are other reasons why the K-S2 is more attractive to me even though the K-5IIs is an excellent camera by all accounts. I do a lot of macro shots and as much as OVF is one of my joys in photography, sometimes the best angle is one too awkward to use the OVF so a tilt screen might be useful. I would like the AA filter simulator as a precaution. The K-S1 has a faster screwdrive motor so presumably the K-S2 would have faster AF on my lenses too. Honestly, if I were to consider the K-5IIs, I should consider the K-3 instead since it's price has dropped a lot too (although more expensive than the K-S2).
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 02-21-2015, 09:49 AM  
K-S2 is Coming
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 855
Views: 89,660
I think you're misinterpreting what NFC can do. NFC has an extremely short range (a few inches), and it's often used to get two devices to quickly start a Wi-Fi connection (much larger range), but you can also make Wi-Fi connects without NFC. Also, a few inches is unpractical as a remote. I also used to own a NEX-5T, which also has NFC and Wifi, and I had no problems connecting the camera with my non-NFC iPhone by Wifi.

Ultimately, we'll get the answer when the camera and app are actually released, but my bet is that remote is done by Wifi, and NFC is an optional convenience.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 02-21-2015, 09:04 AM  
K-S2 is Coming
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 855
Views: 89,660
Source of your information? Ricoh states on their website:
"With the built-in WiFi and NFC module, users can wirelessly control camera operation, transfer images, and view images, making image transferring and sharing easy and seamless. A dedicated app (Image Sync) is available for Android and iOS devices. Image Sync app brings improved ease of use to wireless tethering." (emphasis mine)
So my Android buddies will be able to control the K-S2 when it comes out, and it implies I'll be able to control it with my iPad since it's also an iOS device.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-19-2015, 08:27 PM  
K-S2 vs K-50
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 28
Views: 8,163
Good point! I checked the K-S1 review and it is slightly noisier at high ISO and I do take many high ISO shots, but as you said it's not much and easy to clean up. Maybe the K-S2 improves on this, but I'm also willing to live with it. I'm already way ahead of you on the hard drive issue. I have so many photos now (I only shoot RAW) that they all live on an external drive, with Smart Previews in Lightroom.



Yup, more reasons why I'm considering the K-S2, however I was asking about disadvantages of the new camera, not it's many pluses.



The K-50 is dirt cheap, even for a new one, but the K-S2 has a few things that appeals to me, like the articulating screen for macro shots in weird angles. The issue is that I have money now, and I won't have much when I go to grad school next year. It's probably not a bad idea for me to consider a new body relative soon when I can still afford such things.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-19-2015, 09:11 AM  
K-S2 vs K-50
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 28
Views: 8,163
I love my K-50, it's such a fun camera, and it's had a fantastic but very rough year (broke the weather seal, shorted out the flash, etc). I was thinking of replacing it with another K-50 since the price has dropped a lot, but now the K-S2 has been announced. It's specs look more like a K-50 replacement than a K-S1 one. There are a few non-improvement differences vs the K-50 that don't bother me, like the slightly slower shooting speed (5.4 vs 6 fps) and no AA battery support. Then there's the removal of AF.C mode from the AF switch (presumably now an menu-only setting), which does bug me a little. Are there other differences that don't seem like an improvement from the K-50?

I'm likely going to get the K-S2 anyway since it's other specs are such an improvement, like SAFOX X for low light AF, the swivel screen could be great for macro work in weird angles, and UHS-1 might speed up the shooting when the buffer fills. Can't wait to see the initial reviews. Thanks.
Forum: Pentax K-S1 & K-S2 02-12-2015, 07:29 AM  
UHS-1 in K-S2: What does it really mean?
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 3
Views: 1,106
Sorry, my fault for not being clear but that's not what I was asking about.

I've read the specs, but specs and real-life experience isn't exactly the same thing. What would be the practical effect be on shooting with the K-S2? Maybe people with the K-3 experience can shed some light since I think it also has UHS-I support. Thanks.
Forum: Pentax K-S1 & K-S2 02-11-2015, 10:25 AM  
UHS-1 in K-S2: What does it really mean?
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 3
Views: 1,106
I've fallen behind on the memory card initialisms, but how does the UHS-1 support in the new K-S2 affect its use? Could it dump the buffer faster on supported SD cards? I would love it if that was the case.
Forum: Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 02-11-2015, 08:14 AM  
AF201 FG - anyone excited?
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 109
Views: 14,273
Count me as excited. My used AF360 has been very temperamental and not consistently communicating with my K-50, and I was tired of holding an umbrella during the start of the rainy season in Costa Rica last year when I was out shooting macro. This little flash would make for an excellent macro setup, so I'm gonna pre-order.
Forum: Sold Items 10-11-2011, 10:45 AM  
For Sale - Sold: DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited
Posted By AlexL
Replies: 9
Views: 1,518
I don't think I can answer that question for you since it depends on your needs and circumstances. I have the FA 50/1.4 which is very similar to your 1.7, so I can offer my experience with both and let you decide on the 40mm. If you value portability more, the 40mm is definitely the winner since it's not just smaller than the 50mm, but the 21mm and 70mm as well. I definitely notice a big difference with the 40mm over the 50mm when I needed to go superlight. However, the 50mm is much better if a wider aperture and a better bokeh is more important. Even though the 40mm's aperture is not as wide, it is sharp wide open (sharper than the 21mm wide open from my experience).

I hope that helps.
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