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Forum: Winners' Showcase 09-01-2016, 07:24 AM  
August, 2016 Runner-up: Happy New Year
Posted By DSims
Replies: 18
Views: 1,222
Forum: Pentax K-1 04-18-2016, 07:08 PM  
D FA 15-30mm F2.8 Now Shipping @ B&H
Posted By DSims
Replies: 23
Views: 2,372
Look at that huge bulb they call the front element! A flat filter wouldn't work on it.

The situation is the same with many other super-wide angle lenses - even the best of them. For example, look at the Nikon 14-24 and the Canon 11-24.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-18-2016, 06:56 PM  
DA* 16-50 weird aberrations
Posted By DSims
Replies: 8
Views: 770
I concur - I like my DA*16-50 very much, but I seldom shoot it wider than f/3.5. Furthermore, it's at its weakest between 16 and 20mm. It's a very good lens, and I'm happy with it since I only expect it to perform like a zoom.

In fact I don't know of any brand of zoom in this standard focal-length range that has spectacular results near wide-open.

This is why lenses like the Samyang 14mm prime are popular among astro shooters. I've always wondered if the Samyang 16/2 is just as good (it's got a nice fast aperture), but I don't know.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-18-2016, 06:41 PM  
Please talk me out of it!
Posted By DSims
Replies: 53
Views: 3,172
No, I wouldn't get the Tamron 17-50/2.8 (or any other standard f/2.8 zoom). The DA50/1.8 is going to be better.

I don't know why you'd want to go wider than 50mm - generally you want to go longer for this type of shot. There are cases when you want wider, but it generally produces less interesting shots.

If you're sure you want wider, go with the DA35/2.4. The great thing about this lens is it's really an f/2.0 lens design, so at f/2.4 Image Quality is already very good. You can shoot at f/2.4 and get very nice results - plus round bokeh as a bonus (since it's wide-open)!

You should try for an affordable 85mm or longer lens. It's probably worth fussing with MF on the Samsung 85/1.4 in order to get this focal length at a reasonable price. I normally leave my zoom (DA*50-135/2.8) at home in these situations - I nearly always use my FA*85/1.4 at around f/1.6 instead.

Also, don't be afraid of a little noise - for example, ISO 10000 is OK on most modern Pentax cameras. It's much better to have a little noise than a blurry (motion blur) shot.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-14-2016, 12:09 PM  
First DSLR & Lenses
Posted By DSims
Replies: 13
Views: 1,005
In light of this, let me slightly re-state my earlier post:

Put all your money into the DA*50-135. Everything else you get doesn't matter - don't spend too much time fussing over it. Any digital K-mount body will work. This will give you outstanding photos.

Next get the DA*300 - another excellent lens, which (like all DA* lenses) is also weather sealed. Or get the DA*55/1.4 if you prefer something shorter.

This is all assuming you simply want outstanding photos - which most of us do. There's no "awesome" 16, 17 or 18 to 50+ zoom, so just get something decent (although the DA*16-50 is better than the others - or simply get a good copy of the DA16-45).

If you don't believe me you should see for yourself at the Pentax Photo Gallery:
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-14-2016, 11:28 AM  
First DSLR & Lenses
Posted By DSims
Replies: 13
Views: 1,005
I agree - go with the K5 II, IIs, or later for the better focusing (AF). Or even one of the cheaper K-50 or newer models.

Then pick up a DA35/2.4 - it's a very good lens, no need to spend more right now. Even if you can afford the FA31/1.8's right now, it's an unusual animal which you'll need to wrest under your control. Save that for later, someday; it's an interesting experiment you may or may not like.

OTOH, the FA77/1.8 is something you'll appreciate immediately. However, I'd consider the DA*50-135/2.8 instead - it takes wonderful portraits as well. I've never looked at the photos from it and thought "gee, I wish I'd used my FA77!" (or FA*85/1.4 now) - even though those are my favorite lenses. It has WR and the pricing is now quite reasonable.

The FA28-105/3.2-4.5 takes very nice photos and is much cheaper than the new model, although mine does have AF issues at times. I'll bet the photos from the new one won't even be as nice to my taste (hope I'm wrong, though).

However, I'd really recommend the DA17-70/4 or DA*16-50/2.8. The DA17-70 takes pretty nice photos, and it's "semi-WR" (it has a small rubber seal at the mount).

In summary, I'd look for something like this:

K-5 IIs
DA17-70/4 (or DA*16-50/2.8 if you can afford it)
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-14-2016, 12:32 AM  
Disappointed by the 20-40mm Limited
Posted By DSims
Replies: 36
Views: 3,301
Outis, don't feel bad - it's really not a special lens. The fact that it's now discounted almost 50% may be a clue (although lenses like the 100 WR Macro are an exception to this idea). If we could see 5-10 years into the future at the comparative used prices of this lens we'd get a clearer idea of how good it is - I'm thinking around $300 (or maybe less) for this one. But of course you can simply judge with your own eyes right now.

You have 3 great Ltd primes - 15, 31, and 77 - all of which I've owned. This isn't in their league.

Those who have this lens and like it, just ignore me and keep on loving it - no harm done and you can continue to be happy. But I've never seen anything special out of this lens. I'd much rather have my FA20-35/4 back, if I needed such a lens. For that matter, I also prefer my F24-50/4.

No, I haven't owned this lens, but after owning 20 or 30 of the best Pentax lenses (I lost count) and diligently studying others' photos before purchasing them, I gained a pretty good understanding of what a lens would give me - even before it ever arrived. This is not a lens I would purchase.

So don't feel guilty Outis. I don't think you're missing anything here.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 07-10-2015, 11:36 PM  
K3II/DFA 150-450 for Wildlife
Posted By DSims
Replies: 9
Views: 2,701
I'm glad to hear you used the TC for the grizzly. That second one's kinda scary!
Forum: General Photography 07-10-2015, 11:35 PM  
Concert Photography
Posted By DSims
Replies: 6
Views: 900
The DA*50-135/2.8 is really going to give you the quality; An FA77/1.8 is also really nice in low light.
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 07-09-2015, 08:07 PM  
Is diffraction killing your 645Z images?
Posted By DSims
Replies: 18
Views: 3,333
I'm not a lens technician, but sometimes a "bad" copy of a lens can quickly be turned into a good one with a simple service center visit. Perhaps this is all many of these returned lenses actually need.

This can be especially useful when buying a used lens. My K-mount FA20 I purchased used was this way. I couldn't even describe exactly what looked wrong with the photos from it. Sent it in and ~$50 later I had a "good" copy.

Michael, I realize you wouldn't want to spend either service time (waiting) or extra money to adjust a brand new lens, but do you think this is all many of these "bad" new copies need?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-28-2015, 12:17 AM  
wide angle distortion issues
Posted By DSims
Replies: 14
Views: 1,587
The processed shot looks slightly over-adjusted - see how the two spires almost move away from each other now?

I use Capture One, and they make a big deal about how they do this adjustment. Perhaps they do it better - they certainly do some things better than Lightroom. In one of their brief tutorials online they point out that a small amount of convergence as you look up is more natural looking to the eye. I believe they adjust less than a true 100% (mathematically speaking) by default, which gives a better appearance.

Your answer is to buy a 4x5 inch film camera for about $1000. It will have the tilt and shift built in - integral to its design.
Forum: Photographic Technique 06-28-2015, 12:09 AM  
Prejudice against zoom lenses for astrophotography ?
Posted By DSims
Replies: 12
Views: 2,030
Of course you probably know the Samyang 14mm is the classic astro lens. So are you going to have the GPS as well?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-27-2015, 11:56 PM  
Please advise on which lens I should buy.
Posted By DSims
Replies: 15
Views: 1,192
I think you'll still eventually want at least two lenses, but in the mean time the 16-85 looks pretty good to me (and I'm not always a fan of the newest HD lenses). The 18-135 is good too, and it's longer, of course (as well as less expensive). But then every mm counts when it comes to wide angle, so 16mm is nice. I suspect you'll be happy with either.

Eventually you'll probably want the DA*50-135 (used prices are much better) plus DA*16-50 or similar lens (maybe even the 16-85 still). Ideally you get a second body (used K-50 is fine) with one lens on each. And you probably won't know how useful a F/FA/DA*300 is until you get one.

So if I can spend all your money for you ;) you're getting the 16-85, followed by the DA*50-135, and then an (affordable) Cosina 100/3.5 macro. Finally you add an extra body and a *300 (pick your favorite version).

[If the DA*50-135 is bigger and heavier than you want to carry around (although it's not really, compared to competing lenses) you can get the DA55-300 (any version) or F70-210/4-5.6 instead. They're certainly more affordable. But they'll never deliver quite the "WOW" image quality the * lenses I mentioned will.]
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-27-2015, 10:36 PM  
Recently bought my 1st DSLR, a Pentax in Japan
Posted By DSims
Replies: 15
Views: 1,526
Sorry, wasn't meant to be a slam at all.

It's a really nice shot, and I liked it immediately.

I'm constantly looking at framing on my own shots to see what works better, and I often don't get it just the way I want.

So of course you have to try it and see what you want, what looks good to you, and what works with the scene. I couldn't tell you for sure what I'd do, without being there.

Some potential candidates are changing the horizon/level of the bridge up or down (for example, eliminate some of the empty sky, and get more of the reflection in the water) and moving the frame to the right or left (to show less - or more - of the buildings). But again, you'd have to try it - it might look worse.

The boat in the lower right is a nice touch.

The main thing is to see what draws the viewer's eye to the right place(s).

---------- Post added 06-27-15 at 10:49 PM ----------

That's the way it always goes - it seems hard to get all the parts right within the same shot. There's always one part that "I did better in that other shot."

It's a brilliant shot, really. It got my attention right away with its beauty, which is always a great achievement.

---------- Post added 06-27-15 at 11:10 PM ----------

The DA15 is a great lens, but it may be too wide for this shot. I think 50mm looks like it was a good choice here.

It's true the DA15, DA10-17, and FA43 all bring out fantastic colors. I suppose I would have used my FA43 if I still had it.

But really, I would just consider swapping the DA50-200 for a DA55-300 (any version) or a used Pentax or Takumar F70-210/4-5.6. The image quality is a little better, and the 55-300 has a nice range as well. Maybe I'd also add the DA35/2.4. I like that lens - especially since image quality is high wide-open at f/2.4, which then also yields nice round bokeh (in a very affordable lens). Everything else is pretty good. He's got the 50, and he got a good tripod.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-27-2015, 01:13 PM  
What lenses would you recommend?
Posted By DSims
Replies: 10
Views: 809
Your question made me chuckle, because it's almost a setup - nearly an exact match for the first two lenses Kozlok mentioned.

There are actually many excellent ~100mm macro lenses. But the D FA 100 WR macro is well worth the price. I finally settled on it after owning quite a few macros. After getting it I sold all of them, except for the ~$60-150 Cosina 100/3.5 macro, which is too good a value to sell (its price varies because it's available under many brands in both MF and AF variations).

I believe the D FA 100 macro (make sure you get the WR version - it's better optically) is the probably the best all-around macro you can buy. Unlike many other macros, it doesn't seem to have any weak spots. It will yield some beautiful shots.

Even though you probably also want faster glass, the F70-210/4-5.6 is a "hidden" gem (well, not so hidden amongst many Pentaxians). Very affordable and relatively small. Available for even less in the identical (except for the coatings) Takumar version.

Many Pentaxians get excellent results from the DA*60-250/4, but I don't like it so much. I much prefer the DA*50-135/2.8, which I combine with a F*300/4.5 (or sometimes K200/2.5). All three *300 AF lenses are excellent (F*, FA*, and DA*), though I like the older ones slightly more.

EDIT: However, coming from Canon, I have one more question for you: Do you shoot action very much? If you do, you have to be more specific about your lens choices (assuming AF speed is a factor). Certain lenses do well here, and others just don't.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-27-2015, 12:53 PM  
Recently bought my 1st DSLR, a Pentax in Japan
Posted By DSims
Replies: 15
Views: 1,526
Nice photo. You may decide to slightly adjust your composition as time goes on, but it's very good.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 05-29-2015, 08:00 PM  
Lightroom alternatives
Posted By DSims
Replies: 26
Views: 2,597
Capture One 8 is very good; download a trial, find one of the good tutorials, and give it a chance. It's what I use.

---------- Post added 05-29-15 at 08:12 PM ----------

I haven't really used LR for a couple of versions now, but in my mind the only "benefits" are popularity and 3rd party compatibility.

Those can be very good reasons for some people, but I think Capture One is actually a better product overall. After all, Phase One backs and camera systems certainly produce higher quality images than even the Pentax 645D/Z. It's just a question of what you can afford, and which features and functionality you need.

Likewise, if Capture One can meet your needs, I think it will give you better results. Fortunately cost isn't a big issue in the case of the software.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-29-2015, 07:50 PM  
FA 20/2.8 vs. DA 21/3.2
Posted By DSims
Replies: 19
Views: 1,975
I intentionally got the FA20 after trying the DA21. The DA21, is good, but the rendering is a bit odd. This can be interesting at times, but it wasn't to my liking overall.

I will say that I had to send my FA20 in for adjustment right after I received it. Images just didn't look quite right - I couldn't put my finger on the reason. So I sent it in, and with no other description than "it looks wrong" they were able to adjust it and turn a "~poor copy" into a nice copy. Sometimes we act like "good" and "bad" copy is a permanent state for a lens, when it really only requires an adjustment for a reasonable price (~$50 IIRC). I think it was CRIS who adjusted it, but it might have been Eric.

Nevertheless, I use my FA*24 much more, so if that focal length works for you, you might consider it. They both cost me about the same.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-23-2015, 04:04 PM  
Holes in Pentax prime line up
Posted By DSims
Replies: 45
Views: 2,799
They need a 135/1.8 again, then probably a 400.

These are all good ideas too.

They must bring back the FA*24 or a replacement, and it would be better to bring back the FA*85 (my favorite lens) rather than just relying on the FA77.
Forum: General Photography 04-23-2015, 04:00 PM  
Technical quality vs just liking the overall appearance of a shot...?
Posted By DSims
Replies: 32
Views: 2,849
It should say "look at me," then have the aesthetics to back it up as one continues to look at it.

Usually easier said than done. But sometimes we manage to get it.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-12-2015, 11:30 AM  
Covering mid range, prime vs zoom
Posted By DSims
Replies: 27
Views: 1,795
I use the FA*24, FA*85, and F*300 primes the most.

So the FA*24 and the FA77 or FA*85 would be a good choice. I don't need focal lengths in the middle as much. Some others have found the same thing, and you might too.

But if zoom is desired, the DA17-70 or DA*16-50 (or maybe Tokina AT-X 280 AF PRO 28-80mm f/2.8 or Tamron 28-75/2.8) are good solutions until the next "more perfect" zoom comes along. The prices are pretty reasonable compared to a couple of premium primes (even the DA*16-50, if you get it used). But it's hard to beat a zoom when you want very good (but quick and easy) photos to document the landscaping around a house or something - I really like my DA*16-50 for that. You just can't beat the convenience in that kind of a situation.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-10-2015, 02:37 PM  
DA16-85WR vs DA 17-70
Posted By DSims
Replies: 18
Views: 3,750
Why not use the F70-210/4-5.6 as the 2nd lens with the DA17-70? It's not as light, but it creates nice images - both Takumar and Pentax versions.
Forum: Photographic Technique 03-10-2015, 02:11 AM  
Tones and K-3 vs PhaseOne
Posted By DSims
Replies: 13
Views: 1,509
Well the trial is free - I think it's still 60 days long.
Forum: Pentax K-3 03-10-2015, 02:03 AM  
Is there a SIMPLE RAW processing program?
Posted By DSims
Replies: 50
Views: 4,975
The one that came with the camera is genuinely a good place to start, because it allows you to emulate the camera's JPEG settings by having the same settings in the editor, which you can apply to your RAW files. Then (unlike Lightroom) they start out looking the same as you're used to, and you can work to improve them from there. Plus you don't have to deal with Lightroom's catalog before you can get started (though eventually you probably want to use a cataloging software system, whether it be Lightroom's, Capture One's, or something else).
Forum: Photographic Technique 03-07-2015, 12:22 AM  
Tones and K-3 vs PhaseOne
Posted By DSims
Replies: 13
Views: 1,509
Yes, I've noticed this smoothness with some Phase One images too. I suspect it's a little of both; nevertheless, you can still do very well with a Pentax and a good lens (e.g. FA43 stopped down a little). I did a direct studio comparison with an FA43 on my Pentax (K-5 or K200D) and a Hasselblad. It was Hasselblad promo event.

When I looked at the photos later in the editing software (it was either Capture One or Phocus) I had trouble telling which images came from which camera, without looking at the metadata. They both had beautiful colors and a pretty similar appearance. I'm well aware of some of the medium format advantages, but this impressed me with just how good the Pentax and an FA43 already was!

I actually believe some of what you see (not all of it, of course) can be due to the CCD sensors. So a K200D or K10D can be good here.

But even on my computer screen I can see breathtaking smoothness on some of those Phase One images. You probably won't completely duplicate it with a DSLR - possibly not even the 645D. And of course Phase One strategically omits support for Pentax 645s and Hasselblad in Capture One, because their software really is good.
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