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Forum: Post Your Photos! 06-17-2014, 02:35 PM  
Nature A Squirrel Hunt Story - For Rupert.
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 29
Views: 2,926
There IS a way... The squirrel(s) can get ON TOP of the feeder, and IF they can hang on well enough, they can hang upside-down and reach down into the feeding trough and get some seed out. Even then, however, this latest model I have has only a very narrow opening for the seeds, so they wouldn't be able to get much at one time, probably not enough to make it worth their while. A PRIOR, very similar model my late father bought 25 years or so ago had a WOODEN perch and they pretty much chewed that away, thus lightening the load and making it less functional. For all intents and purposes, though, the green feeder above IS "squirrel-proof," though.

By the way, back when you were on your continual hunts, weren't you living in England, some sort of Lord, or something? Your info says you're in TEXAS, now. That would seem like MAJOR culture shock, PLUS you moved to where the gray squirrels are REALLY native (at least in EAST Texas, according to Wikipedia). Our Eastern Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) -- there's also a WESTERN Gray Squirrel that's bigger, but much more shy to humans and has a MUCH smaller range -- not only inhabit most of the Eastern half of America and parts of Canada (and were imported to GB AND South Africa), but some were also transplanted to San Francisco and various other parts of the American and Canadian west, where they ALSO thrive. They really ARE "tree rats," huh?

So let me get this straight, Rupert. Is Otis a dog, or that "devil squirrel" you keep posting? Or maybe your Sciurus-shooting partner?
Jeff
Forum: Post Your Photos! 06-17-2014, 11:17 AM  
Nature A Squirrel Hunt Story - For Rupert.
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 29
Views: 2,926
ACK, Rupert!!! I FINALLY get to hear from (read from?) the (IN?)famous Rupert, only to have him threaten (sort of), by proxy, my dear little Tater Tot via his local squirrels, of whom he appears to have been co-opted and now some sort of spokesperson(squirrel?) for them. Has so many years of rounding them up and shooting them in the head made YE "squirrely?" Or perhaps ye ate one too many squirrels -- maybe brains and all -- and now ye have "mad squirrel disease," which I imagine would be sort of like mad cow disease, except you'd run around in circles chattering and chasing other people, then sort of lean back and hold your arms down in front of you, look around, and act like you OWN all you survey. Maybe you even now climb trees and yell profanities at passersby as you also throw nuts and small sticks at them? :eek:

Along THOSE lines, I DO have a REAL squirrel aggression story of my own, from my OWN personal experience to relate (one that got aggressive with ME -- and at the time I was 350 pounds, or so, and 6'1", which I've been my whole adult life!)... I was standing near a little 60-gallon pre-form pond I'd installed, shooting some photos with what was then my PRIMO camera (the Panasonic DMC Lumix FZ10, with a flat F 2.8 12x zoom lens -- it was pretty good for its day, but low-light photography was NIL, and there was NO focus-assist light, plus everything above ISO 100 showed increasing noise). It was around the first of October 10 years ago this coming fall and I noticed a gray squirrel coming directly towards me. When it got maybe 8-10 feet away it stopped, stood up on its hind legs, sort of "balled up" its front legs in what looked EXACTLY LIKE a boxing stance, and gave me a nasty look as if to say "GET OUT OF MY WAY!" Then it continued forward, heading STRAIGHT at me! Needless to say, I MOVED out of its way! I'd been standing right in front of a good-sized pine tree, and after the squirrel passed me, it climbed that tree to the lowest limb, maybe 10 feet up, and proceeded to SCOLD ME with incessant chattering for the remainder of the time I was out there. I truly believe if I hadn't moved that squirrel would have attacked me!

I have a picture of that SOMEWHERE on my hard drive, but it seems every time I go looking for it I can't find it (as was the case just now, when I spent half an hour or more doing searches before giving up). When I find it, I'll post it. It's FUNNY. It shows the squirrel with "his dukes up" in the boxing stance.

As for the "no squirrel-proof feeder" myth, that's not ENTIRELY TRUE, Rupert. The first picture below is of a TRUE squirrel-proof feeder. They're NOT cheap; they're heavy; but they work. It's painted stainless steel (or maybe aluminum) with a spring-loaded bird perch that won't accept the weight of a squirrel. There's an adjustment on that which can be used to make the perch accept lighter or heavier loads, as well. Admittedly, there ARE plastic windows in the front for viewing how much seed is left that, given the right opportunity, a smart or lucky squirrel may be able to chew through. BUT, when and if that happens, all I need to do is put a piece of sheet metal on the inside covering where the windows were and it will solve that problem. I can still tell when the feeder is empty.



The shot below is of a squirrel-resistant feeder. OBVIOUSLY it's not "squirrel-proof," as they CAN get parts of their bodies in there. The holes in the grates, however, aren't big enough for most squirrels to get their heads through, and the feeding ports are pretty well recessed. All the same, the squirrels have gotten pretty good at reaching through the bars and into those ports with their paws, then pulling out seed -- most of which falls to the catch basin at the bottom -- and then just going to the bottom and pulling it to the edge to feed. Not sure WHAT I'm gonna do about it. For a long time they didn't bother it much, but now they "go to town" on it.



As for the talk about "carnivorous squirrels," MANY rodents are omnivorous. We all know that rats are. Well, many tree squirrels are, as well. They're well known to raid bird nests for their eggs. Even worse, the ultra-cute flying squirrels (not sure if you have them in Europe; we have them here, though, and they're adorable), are VICIOUS predators! Their ability to glide from one tree to another, as well as to climb them very well, makes them WELL suited to get into both bird nests and bird houses. And they're small enough to get into just about ANY bird house, even those with the smallest of openings. As American bluebirds once were in decline (and are beautiful birds), it became popular for Americans to put up bluebird houses, which many folks have learned to put away from fences or trees and put baffles below the boxes on the poles to deter snakes and other predators such as racoons. BUT, flying squirrels are essentially IMPOSSIBLE to keep out. And they eat what they can get, animal or vegetable. They're not to not only eat the eggs, but also the young. And if they happen to catch the parent(s) in the nest, they will often kill and eat THEM, as well (even though they may not be any bigger than the birds, they're much stronger)... So, yaneverknow. Animals do what they need to in order to survive. Perhaps those black squirrels in Russia were doing just that.

A neighbor told me they saw "a big black snake" crawl out of my yard recently, then back in. That describes the black rat snake, which would be eating not only rats and mice, but also all manner of rodents, including squirrels. The fact that I continue to have SCADS of gray squirrels and also see a fair number of chipmunks -- even with me having a sweet little puppydog who never hurt a fly (but will tear a rodent to smithereens :eek: ) I regularly let out -- MUST mean that either their reproductive rate is THROUGH the roof, or that snake was just "a visitor."
Jeff
Forum: Post Your Photos! 06-15-2014, 02:10 PM  
Nature A Squirrel Hunt Story - For Rupert.
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 29
Views: 2,926
Happy to have been "of service" in reviving this thread. You can REALLY thank one of the posters over at DPReview for his post of a gray squirrel relaxing on a rock, and saying it was to honor "the squirral guy," which made me ask, and then had Dean answer, and he said to Google the subject, which led me to this thread. Lemme see... I have fairly recent shots of both Tater Tot (head-crop only) and one of my squirrels eating corn on the cob on a dedicated squirrel feeder I put on a tree (keeps 'em off the bird feeders, but they're hard to keep stocked, so I don't bother half the time). No shots of either "posing" with the other, though. They just DON'T get along like that. I just let Tater Tot out this morning and there were both squirrels AND chipmunks scattering in every direction as he chose one, in particular, to pursue. It's a shame he can't climb trees, because he WOULD catch one if he could -- he comes VERY CLOSE on the ground, as it is -- especially when one is silly enough to stay on the ground too long in the chase, rather than scampering up a tree first chance it gets.

My elderly mom (she's 82, now) always said I should "be careful" and not let him catch a squirrel, that it might hurt him if it bit him. She just doesn't get it! He's half Jack Russell. And even at only 15 pounds, he still outweighs the average gray squirrel by about 10-1. They're MINCE MEAT when and if he catches them! Jack Russells were BRED to catch rats and other small rodents. I've seen what he does to a house mouse when he catches one. It AIN'T pretty.

Anyway, here's Tater Tot and one of my squirrels...

OMG that was A CHORE! I had to post WITHOUT the pics (and it wasn't a very friendly post, at that, after spending an hour trying). Then I decided to see if editing the post would fix it, and it did. Glad I tried.

I'm looking at the preview above. Trust me, as cute as that gray squirrel looks gnawin' on that ear of corn (he IS adorable, ain't he?) when they EMPTY two BIG bird feeders (one of which is pretty squirrel resistant, the other containing safflower seed, which no SENSIBLE SQUIRREL is supposed to like eating) in about three days, well, ya just wanna GO FIND RUPERT! :fedup:
Jeff
Forum: Post Your Photos! 06-11-2014, 11:10 PM  
Nature A Squirrel Hunt Story - For Rupert.
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 29
Views: 2,926
Ummmmmmmmm, I've been "around" for about 3 years now (back with Pentax, that is, ever since I "graduated" from bridge cameras in July 2011), but I JUST "discovered" Rupert in a post just made today (yesterday, maybe, at this hour) in that OTHER Pentax forum where he was banned for making too many squirrel posts. Someone posted a picture of a gray squirrel and said it was "for that squirral guy" (not sure WHY they spelled squirrel RIGHT the first time, but WRONG when they referred to him), and then others (like me), asked to whom he was referring and folks who'd been around longer than me filled me in and told me to Google it, and I ended up here after reading a REALLY LONG article written about him and his cohorts in October 2008 in The Observer about their attempts to eradicate invasive gray squirrels from England.

Trust me, where I live gray squirrels are NATIVE, not an exotic invasive like they are in England, but they're STILL quite often an invasive nuisance. They're PIGS. I put up feeders for my birds and they'll destroy them, if they can, to eat all the food in one day. So I put up squirrel-proof feeders, but with most they still find a way. So I put safflower seed in one (which has gotten WAY more expensive than it used to be since safflower oil got more popular). Squirrels used to NOT eat that, but this year's crop has decided THEY like it! Ya can't win. I've taken a few pot shots at 'em with a low-powered CO2-powered rapid-fired BB pistol (won't kill 'em, just sting) a few times, but I really don't want 'em gone, just to TONE IT DOWN a bit. But they're like WILD TEENAGERS. They know only ONE SPEED -- WIDE OPEN! I let my little dog, Tater Tot, out and he'll chase 'em up a tree. They'll get about 10 feet up on a branch and just TELL HIM OFF... chattering to beat the band. He just ignores them and runs down to the edge of the fence by the road to chase something bigger, like a car. I've seen the RESULTS of him catching one that wasn't paying attention once or twice. He's only 15 pounds, but he's half Jack Russell (other half is Chihuahua). Trust me. It wasn't pretty (the squirrel, I mean). I didn't realize what a killer instinct he had until I once brought home a little toy rat that was battery powered. It looks A LOT like a rat, except it just has a sort of rolling ball under it that rolls it around in circles, and it has these eyes with little lights behind them that flash off and on. Man, I turned that thing on and set it on the floor and HE WENT APE!!! I couldn't get it away from him. He took it under a low cabinet so low I don't know HOW he got under there, and he chewed on it and growled and grumbled until the batteries ran down. When he FINALLY lost interest and I retrieved it, ALL the "fur" was off it, EVERYTHING that made it look like a RAT was gone. It was no longer "functional," just a sort of big blob of plastic... Funny as heck, really!

I wonder what Rupert would give me for Tater Tot? ;)
Jeff

PS -- NICE SHOTS at the zoo. You have some really STRANGE LOOKING SQUIRRELS there in Australia, don't you? My favorite was the "stick squirrel." Squirrel on a stick would seem to be right up Rupert's alley, huh?
Forum: Pentax K-3 Photo Contest 06-04-2014, 08:54 PM  
Architecture Stare Case
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 70
Views: 3,846
I looked at that picture so long earlier I had to turn the monitor off and watch TV for a while, then come back to it.

There are truly 128 "winners" in this round, and frankly I think there are some exceptionally beautiful and moving photos besides this one, but "Stare Case" is at another level. It's almost impossible for a photograph to be that abstract and at the same time that realistic simultaneously, but yours is. Furthermore, if you look at it one way, you see one thing; another, you see something different.

This is why I read all the replies before typing my own. I wanted to see if anyone else made the comparison I'm about to and, NO, not so far. It's a photographic M. C. Escher. I have an entire book of Escher prints I peruse periodically, and this photo comes closer to an Escher drawing than pretty much any I've ever seen. The way you controlled lighting, composition and framing to get that "just so" is what truly makes "Stare Case" such a masterpiece, and I really think it is. It should be hanging in a gallery.

You have MY nomination, as well.
Jeff
Forum: Pentax K-3 Photo Contest 06-04-2014, 08:00 PM  
People Chocolate
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 50
Views: 4,910
Really neat, spooky image. I'm really glad you titled it "Chocolate," by the way, so we'd all know, for sure, as there are OTHER liquids with a similar color and texture that could also have been, and I don't think most of us wanted our imaginations going there.
Jeff
Forum: Pentax K-3 Photo Contest 06-04-2014, 07:57 PM  
People Balancing Act
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 30
Views: 3,387
Nice shot... And I have no problem with his stupid stunt -- as long as it's A GUY, when he finally wins his Darwin Award he'll just be one fewer guy to compete for the limited supply of available females on the planet. ;)
Forum: Pentax K-3 Photo Contest 06-04-2014, 07:44 PM  
Not Work-Safe People: Danae
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 27
Views: 1,223
I was thinking the same thing, coboren -- even down to the point that she's like a Size 18, or thereabouts, which was somewhat common for artist models in that day and age. It's only in the past century or so that someone decided women should be walking skeletons.
Forum: Pentax K-3 Photo Contest 06-04-2014, 07:18 PM  
People Different worlds
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 50
Views: 3,924
I disagree, bossa. Although I haven't decided for whom to vote, yet, this is the first photo that grabbed my attention enough to make me click on it to see the bigger picture. And that building ADDS CONTEXT. When I saw the building, I IMMEDIATELY thought "Dubai!" I'm far from an expert on what buildings in that part of the world look like, but I DO know that Dubai has a lot of very high-tech, modern skyscrapers, and the fact that there was a woman in full, black abaya right by a young woman in a "barely there" bikini meant there were only a handful of Arab countries it could be.

So yeah, the building adds context and interest, to me. Plus, it fills out "the rule of thirds," perhaps not with the best possible composition, but I still think the photo "says more" with it than without it.
Jeff
Forum: Pentax K-3 06-03-2014, 01:46 PM  
K3 Crazy Mirror Sickness (Mirror Flapping Lockup) - Report Yours Here!
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 928
Views: 133,342
Hmmmmmm, Amy, I find this QUITE odd. I certainly live in North America: South Carolina to be precise. And I ordered from B&H, placing my pre-order around Oct. 9 or 10, and receiving my K-3 SE a few days before Thanksgiving. But, I just checked my serial number, and it's 2574XXX (I didn't list the entire serial number because I'm not entirely sure if anyone can use serial number fraud the way folks can use other numbers for fraud). Based on your post, this would imply mine was part of a shipment that usually went outside North America, or maybe not. Could be that the SEs just had a different version of serial numbers. At any rate, I haven't gotten around to testing the time-lapse feature on mine, yet. All other things being equal, I'm not sure what I'll do if it DOESN'T work right, as I'm way too far out to make a return, and it would have had to be a SHIPPING return if I had (NO Pentax dealers anywhere within hundreds of miles of me, any more -- I think Pentax burned some SERIOUS BRIDGES -- pulled "a General Sherman," so to speak -- sometime in the mid-to-late 90s).

I'll test time-lapse soon and let you know.
Jeff
Forum: Pentax K-3 05-31-2014, 06:46 PM  
K3 Crazy Mirror Sickness (Mirror Flapping Lockup) - Report Yours Here!
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 928
Views: 133,342
Count me as Stranger No. 1.

Based on the fact that his new camera became essentially unusable within 6 weeks and has been in for repairs more than once since then without adequate results, and he was PROMISED a new replacement for a camera under warranty that was barely more than a month old when it went haywire, I believe he SHOULD get a new replacement, while Ricoh figures out where they screwed up.

I haven't had this issue (yet). Then again, I haven't attempted time-lapse photography yet, either. Right now, however, I can't get my LCD screen to light up UNLESS I hit LIVE VIEW or the MENU button. It won't light up so I can view all my settings while I'm shooting. Both my batteries are low, and my battery grip is screwed on a bit tight (I'm going to have to get some "grippy rubber" or something to loosen it) so maybe it's just low batteries, I hope. I wanted to remove the grip just now to see what my serial number is, to see if its within the range of those indicated to have issues.

At any rate, the camera has worked fine, so far, and I still think the K-3 is a great camera. But it's obvious there are some issues for at least some of the cameras -- possibly some problems in QC at the factory. It irks me when ANY manufacturer releases an ENTIRE BATCH of products that have the same problem -- especially when they then DRAG THEIR HEELS fixing the problem and trying to mollify customer dissatisfaction. Does Ricoh NOT know that the K-3 is likely the LAST, BEST HOPE for Pentax to remain a VIABLE DSLR brand? By NOT doing everything possible to address these issues POST HASTE and give K-3 customers EVERY CONSIDERATION, Ricoh is shooting the Pentax brand IN THE FOOT! At this time when smartphones are already causing a MASSIVE DECLINE in the sales of DSLRs, Ricoh CANNOT AFFORD to take this approach!
Jeff
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 05-19-2014, 12:14 AM  
New AC Adapter for K-5, II, IIs, & K-3...
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 17
Views: 6,763
Welllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, I'm REALLY GLAD I posted MY REPLY, since it appears I opened A REAL CAN OF WORMS that has made it apparent the old $10 adapter that worked with the K-7 will work with the K-5 and K-3, unless I'm reading the response posts wrong (WAY MORE POSTS IN RESPONSE TO MINE than all previous, which means, I guess, that I touched a point important not only to ME). IF I'm assuming correctly that the $10 K-7 adaptor will work with my K-5 and my K-5IIs and my K-3, I may just order THREE of them, at $10, each.


Is my interpretation of all the responses correct?


I DEFINITELY have NO DESIRE to spend $110 on an adapter for my K-3 JUST BECAUSE the EU (which has done A LOT OF GOOD THINGS, BUT HAS ALSO GONE WAY OVERBOARD IN SOME AREAS), has dictated a new "standard" for AC adapters that made Ricoh/Pentax re-design its entire line of AC Adapters, IF the OLDER AC adapter that worked with the K-7 will still work with my K-5/5IIs and K-3 WITHOUT burning it out due to too much electricity and no built-in down-sampler.
Jeff
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 05-16-2014, 09:30 PM  
New AC Adapter for K-5, II, IIs, & K-3...
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 17
Views: 6,763
You couldn't use it with ANYTHING, as far as I can discern. Although this item has supposedly been available for some time, now, it STILL doesn't show up on Pentax's AMERICAN website, and all the online retailers like Adorama list it as backordered with NO scheduled availability date. At the moment, B&H is closed for its Sabbath, but it has a shipping date of 7-14 days listed. My guess is that THEY get it via one of the more than a DOZEN Japanese merchants or distributors who will also sell it as "storefronts" through Amazon.com, although you have to order FROM THEM, direct FROM JAPAN, which appears to mean Ricoh/Pentax HAS NOT YET decided to release this adaptor in North America.


I find this highly frustrating, especially since there still exists (on the Pentax website) a simple $10 AC cord that plugs DIRECTLY into the K-7 to substitute for the battery during extended shooting, downloading or whatever. I see NO REASON why they couldn't have kept that design feature in the K-5 and K-3! Instead, they have a $110 + AC adaptor that's pretty much VAPORWARE MANY MONTHS after its announcement! POPPYCOCK!
Jeff
Forum: Pentax K-01 05-03-2014, 12:45 PM  
Memory Card Error with Sony 32GB SDHC Class 10
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 60
Views: 15,737
I don't know if this is how I SHOULD be doing things, or not, but I always re-format my cards IN whatever camera they're being used in each time I re-insert them after I've downloaded and backed them up on the computer. I figure that way, I not only have deleted all the previous image, but I should have a "clean, blank slate" of a card upon which to write brand new image data.

I got my K-3 from B&H last November (sole U.S. source, as far as I know, for the SE), and it came with an 80 MBPS Sandisk UHS 1 32 GB card. I decided to put that card in Slot 2, which I use for JPEGs and get a bigger, faster card for Slot 1 and RAW images. The best deal on a really fast card I found was a bit more than HALF what the Sandisk Extreme III cards were going for on a Sony 94 MBPS UHS 1 64 GB card, which I bought even though I should avoid Sony "like the plague," since THEY'RE THE ONES who've pushed Pentax so far out of third place in the DSLR market (among other reasons I've never been a big fan). But money is money, and it looked like a good deal. Worked fine so far, but last week, after downloading all the images from that and the other card onto the computer, when I put it back into Slot 1, I got the "card error message." I figured it was because the "disk ejection software" on my computer had my SD cards grayed out and wouldn't let me officially "eject" them (might be due to the new external reader I've installed). So I pulled it out and re-inserted it, but it took about THREE re-inserts before the K-3 finally recognized it and I was able to re-format it.

I haven't done the latest firmware update on my K-3 yet (still on 1.01), but the card should still work, I think. It's been working since November. I agree with prior posters that Sony (or perhaps Samsung, if they're making the cards) is cutting corners making some of them, and the tolerances are too thin, making them give card errors sometimes. THUS, deal or no deal, I'll WAIT until I can get Sandisk on sale from now on. After all, a deal's no deal at all if your card suddenly won't load... or worse yet, if you take it out of the camera only to find it won't read on the computer.

I've always thought most Sony products were overpriced. Now I've discovered that when you find ones that seem reasonably priced, perhaps that should set off a warning flag.
Jeff
Forum: Pentax K-3 02-27-2014, 02:38 AM  
First impression of FLUcard on K-3
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 74
Views: 13,753
I reply to OP poster JP's last sentence, wondering just WHY there's so much negativity floating around about the Flu Card, well, I haven't read much since it finally came out (been a bit busy the past few days). But MY TAKE on the matter is that Ricoh/Pentax EXTREMELY DRAGGED ITS HEELS in getting this product to the market almost FIVE MONTHS after the original camera was ready, essentially leaving ALL OF US "up in the air" as to whether it will work with ONLY a smart phone (and, if so, with ONLY an iPhone, or will it work with Android, etc., as well), or will it also work with Tablets laptops and even stand-alone desktop PCs. From what you posted, it appears they STILL HAVE NOT supplied sufficient documentation to address most of those questions, so they still appear to be either "hedging bets" or just DON'T KNOW how it's going to work with what until folks actually use it "in the real world."

If this is so, it means Ricoh/Pentax is letting PAID CUSTOMERS act as UNCOMPENSATED Beta Testers, who may end up MISSING important shots because their Flu Car doesn't function like they THOUGHT it would, and they have NO documentation to tell them, either way.

To me, that's a VERY POOR WAY to do business, and I thought both Ricoh AND Pentax were ABOVE such things. I believe they need to supply a much more comprehensive manual for this Flu Card or else drop it and/or replace it with something else. It's already pretty certain the "Flu Card Idea" was some absent-minded engineer's last-minute workaround for his team forgetting to include WiFi and/or NFC in the camera, to start with, like ALL it's current competitors have -- even those on a lower tier, such as the Nikon D5300.. Take away the lack of wi-fi communication and the K-3 is, by FAR, the best APS-C camera on the market, and possibly better than quite a few of the FF cameras. It'll be a shame, however, if all MOST FOLKS think of when they think about the K-3 years from now is how it was this "great camera" the manufacturer FORGOT to put wii-fi on and then came out with a half-assed fix, instead.
Jeff
Forum: General Talk 12-26-2013, 05:56 AM  
What did you get for Christmas?
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 194
Views: 15,488
Well... since it's down to just me and my 81-year-old mom, who can no longer see to drive, I got "nothing" from someone else (well, some friends that are kindasorta like family will come by to exchange SMALL gifts later today). However, since I get WHAT I want or need WHEN I can get it, my Christmas is still looking OK... Pre-ordered Silver K-3 as soon as they went on sale: got the Monday before Thanksgiving. In addition to the 32 GB 80 MBps UHS-1 Sandisk card B&H threw in with it I scooped up a 64 GB 94 MBps card from Amazon (better deal), and use the 32 for my second card drive (to record JPEG, while the 64 is in Drive 1 recording RAW)... Also ordered the "Op-Tech version" of the two-camera Cotton Carrier (TM), which is about 1/5 the price of the brand name, but appears to be almost identical and equally functional (watched an online review from Amazon), plus a few more little odds and ends like SD card cases...


Then, yesterday, KEH had a Sigma 400mm F5.6 lens on sale in EX condition for $275, and based on one of the DPReview forum member's thoughts on the matter (he probably owns every Pentax-mount lens ever made -- ALMOST), I made a purchase on Christmas day, lol.


So I'm happy, even if I AM paying for it!


Merry Christmas, everyone!
Jeff
Forum: Pentax K-3 11-09-2013, 09:50 AM  
K3ingfisher and other birds
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 20
Views: 3,052
Ya can't BEAT that DA* 300! With limited funds, I started off with the DA* 16-50, and when I had the $$$ for a second DA* lens, the DA* 300 was the one I chose. Unless I just get FLUSH with cash, I doubt I'll ever buy any of the others except maybe the DA* 55 F1.4. I already have a 100mm F2.8 and an older FA 135 F2.8 from the 90s, so I don't see the purpose in spending that kind of money on the 50-135, nor spending what it costs to get the F2.8 200, when I could get a Tamron F2.8 70-200 for less than that... Same with the 60-250... I know its reputation is TACK SHARP, but so is the 300, and it's another 50/75mm. I have the 55-300 and an 18-250 if I want that range of zoom... nowhere near the quality, but when I want quality at a distance, that's what the 300's for. When my K-3 gets here, I'll almost ALWAYS have the 300 on that, probably the D FA 100 on my K-5 and my 55-300 or my Sigma 18-250 on my K-30... Just have to get something like a Cotton Carrier to carry it all, so I can get shots like Alan did without banging my cameras and myself to death, lol.

Oh, by the way, Alan... GREAT SHOTS! I could have been flipping through National Geographic or Audubon and not seen any better!
Jeff
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-05-2012, 02:39 PM  
*PETITION* Lets put an end to the crazy online Pentax lens prices in the US!
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 550
Views: 36,823
Another thought... When I was in the final stages of narrowing down my decision of what brand of DSLR to buy 17 months ago, it came down to a VERY close race between the Nikon D7000 and the Pentax K-5. I REALLY liked the dual SD card slots on the Nikon (and both cameras had the same Sony 16 MP sensor). What I DIDN'T know at the time was that the Sandisk UHS cards I'd end up buying would NOT run at full speed on my K-5, but the Nikons WERE optimized to run that at up to their full 45 Mbps speeds.

The dual card slot was a "tick" in the Nikon's favor -- would have been maybe two ticks, had I known about the faster card access.

BUT the K-5's ability to use all legacy lenses going back to the 1970s, combined with the fact that its IS was built into the camera, thus keeping lens prices lower (and lenses less complex, thus at least theoretically both less expensive AND less likely to have technological failures) -- and also meaning that even OLD legacy glass would benefit from IS, plus the fact that the K-5 was weather sealed and continued to have the same "Hyper-Manual" mode I'd grown to love on my old PZ1 (although I rarely use it nowadays, opting, instead, almost always for Aperture-priority).

Well, the IS seems to work well enough. But I rarely shoot in "weather," and even then I try to protect the camera, as I need to protect my face, anyway, since I wear glasses and I can't see if they're streaked with water... WR is still something nice to have, however, but now Nikon and Canon (and others) are increasingly adding it to many of THEIR bodies. As for the IS being in the body, thus keeping the lenses less expensive, well, Pentax seems to have blown that one completely OUT OF THE WATER with its UPP! Now many of its NON-stabilized lenses are priced very close to the stabilized lenses sold by Canon and Nikon! The legacy glass thing is still nice. Nikon has changed systems a time or two, making older lenses obsolete for all but older cameras (not sure if Canon has, as well).

One really BIG THING, however, is that it's getting harder to find third-party lenses for Pentax. Sure there are still plenty of Sigma, and a few Tamron lenses. But try finding a Tokina. And many of the newer Sigmas aren't available in Pentax mounts. If Pentax wants to retain any sense of relevancy whatsoever it needs to do whatever it can to INCREASE its market share. A UPP certainly IS NOT the way to accomplish that -- especially not when Pentax is sluggish (to put it mildly) in bringing out newer and better models, while Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji and even Olympus keep spitting them out like machine guns.

It almost appears Pentax is trying to run its business into the ground -- perhaps hoping for a buyout by one of the other major players.
Jeff Hayes
Spartanburg, SC
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 12-04-2012, 11:36 PM  
*PETITION* Lets put an end to the crazy online Pentax lens prices in the US!
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 550
Views: 36,823
I'm certainly in on this! When I finally got back into the SLR market in July 2011 (after buying high-end megazooms since 2004), I was looking at probably Canon, since my last two megazoom cameras had been Canon and I'd bought a 430DXII flash to use with them, as it would sync with them. I'd been a Pentax shooter in the 80s and 90s, but it looked like Canon or Nikon (I'd also been reading books, mostly by pros who shoot Nikon, and thus push THAT system), so I was looking at both. Almost as a lark, I decided to see what Pentax was offering, and it was only because I discovered I could use the only remaining Pentax A lens I had (an AF 135 F 2.8 that was always TACK SHARP) that I began to look seriously at the K-5. At the time, the SELLING price of the DA*16-50 was high, but "reasonable" for a flat F2.8 lens, so I got it with that (and got the "kit" lens as a backup -- actually I bought the body by itself and got the WR "kit" lens separately because I didn't trust a "kit" to include the WR version). Before too long I had the 100 DAF Macro -- wonderful lens, except it HUNTS LIKE CRAZY (at least on the K-5, still the only DSLR I own) and the 55-30... And then stuck my neck out on interest-free credit to get the Sigma "Bigma." Then I sort of let things "settle" for a few months...

I had NO IDEA I was buying the Pentax-brand lenses at a big discount off MSRP. THEN I got involved in the forums again last summer and shortly discovered prices seemed much higher -- especially on the DA* lenses. I primarily post at the Pentax forum at Digital Review, and shortly was informed of the April 1 UPP announcement. Then I started actively following prices, watching them wax and wane. I decided the only other DA* lenses I actually cared about having were the 300 F4 (which I got when it temporarily dropped back down to about $1,100) and the DA*55 F1.4, which I've yet to see drop down. Back in the 90s I had the DA 50 F 1.4. Nice lens, but it's not WR, and a bit long in the tooth (much of my kit got stolen out of my car one night during a smash-and-grab, including that lens). I also wanted a super-wide-angle, maybe even fish-eye. After much debate on this, I decided to go the cheap way, rather than pay either Pentax's OR Sigma's prices and got the Rokinon F3.5 8mm Fisheye manual focus (only manual focus lens I've bought since the early 90s). It's little bother, though. Focus is soooo easy at that focal level it's a no brainer. I decided to do this after a poster on that forum who shoots professionally in Southeast Asia posted a bunch of pics he shot with it and the K-30, I think.

But yeah, I still want the DA*55, and I MIGHT even be interested in the 55-135 IF the price were right (I have that range covered, so maybe not -- a really good 18-270, which seems to be the growing trend may just beat it, as F2.8 isn't what it used to be, although I'm certain the DA* lens must be sharper). I see NO SENSE in acquiring the DA* F2.8 200. One can get a Tamron 70-200 F2.8 for less, only without the WR. And a 60-250 F4??? Why????? I have a 300 F4 and a 55-300 F4-5.8 (which is F4 up to about 180mm). Those two lenses make the 60-250 practically superflous to anyone who's not flush with cash

All the same, Pentax has LOST ITS FREAKIN' MIND!!! Like it or not, Pentax is NOT Canon or Nikon. Pentax CANNOT dictate the market the way Canon and/or Nikon might. Even assuming Canon and/or Nikon went along with Pentax on the UPP deal, it was to THEIR competitive advantage against Pentax. Pentax can say they did this because their "brick-and-mortar" retailers were complaining nobody was buying from them because they were undersold online. Well welcome to the age of the internet! Also, bear in mind that if you go to Pentax's site and do a search for PHYSICAL locations, you can't find a total of even 100 STORES NATIONWIDE in America that still carry Pentax IN THEIR STORES...

Yeah, you can get most Pentax products from Best Buy... ONLINE ONLY (and ALWAYS at UPP only). But here where I live in Upstate South Carolina, I did a search and I approximated the NEAREST B&M store to me was roughly 500 miles away. Please note that within that 500 mile radius is ATLANTA, CHARLOTTE -- in fact ALL OF GEORGIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, NORTH CAROLINA, TENNESSEE, HALF OF FLORIDA, MOST OF ALABAMA AND VIRGINIA AND KENTUCKY,etc.... The ONLY retail locations I found (outside New York City -- about 750 miles away) east of the Mississippi, were a couple of small chain stores somewhere in Ohio. I drove my mom to see an old friend in Ohio last year, and trust me, it's almost 500 miles JUST to Cincinatti from where I live, which is the STATE LINE. And I got the impression those stores were WAYYYY north of there. A few in Idaho. A furniture mart in NEBRASKA! A small chain (Samy's) in California. Is Pentax REALLY willing to sacrifice its ENTIRE American customer base to satisfy a few B&M stores that are scattered so widely you can barely find them on a map?!?!?

Furthermore, when I bought my K-5 in 1985, and later my PZ1 circa '93, there were two camera stores here in town and BOTH carried Pentax. Big Box stores put one of those out of business. Pentax insisting the other maintain at least $50,000 of inventory (among other things), caused the other one to tell them to F*** Off! I have little wonder that's why MANY/MOST local camera stores no longer carry Pentax... Poor relations with their dealers in the 90s. Now it appears they're adding idiotic on top of stupid.

I REALLY have to say that at $699 WITH a kit lens for a 24 MP Nikon D3200, it's been QUITE TEMPTING the past few weeks to go ahead and get one and hedge my bets. I still love A LOT of things about Pentax. I've long been a fan of features such as hyper-manual. But if after 2 years all they could do with the K-5 was put a little chrome on it and take the muffler off, while raising prices on lenses that have been around for years (and have been known to have problems with their focusing motors, anyway), I'm having to wonder if maybe I really shouldn't start hedging my bets, and I'm Pentax all the way. :fedup:
Jeff Hayes
Spartanburg, SC
Forum: Pentax K-5 10-30-2012, 10:51 PM  
Sticky: Pentax K-5 II / IIs Review Posted!
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 99
Views: 100,752
Thanks for clearing that up for me... I've been wondering if I got a true story on this camera, or not, when Britain's Digital Photo magazine recently did like a 10-page "review" on it (I was getting the mag. at Costco here in America, but it's not there any more, and so far my email to the mag. has remained unanswered).

At any rate, the "review" was pretty obviously at least as much ADVERTORIAL as it was "review." Every page even said, at the top, "in association with Fuji" (or something similar -- don't have that issue handy at the moment). At any rate, they used a professional model for the shots for the review, and in one case showed a full-sized crop of just her eye from a photo above, clear as a bell, claiming that was due to Fuji's new "random pattern" that eliminated the need for the AA filter. Since that's the only place I'd seen this, it was a bit suspect to me, so I figured I'd throw it out here and see what I got back.

That was one of two British photo mags I could buy at Costco here in S.C. Digital Photographer disappeared this past summer; Digital Photo just in the past month or two. My last email to Digital Photographer was returned as being an invalid email address, so I fear that magazine has ceased publication. Shame. Each issue, while expensive, was more like a coffee-table book than a magazine. Both beat Popular Photography, in my opinion, although that's the only one I subscribe to, since it's cheap, lol (it was roughly $100/year to subscribe to either of those British mags, sometimes more). Last couple issues, both had reduced American subscription prices, though. I think they were getting desperate.

When you consider that NEWSWEEK will cease print publication in another two months, well, I'm guessing we'll be missing A LOT of mags we used to see within a year or two (unless we get them online).
Jeff
Forum: Pentax K-5 10-30-2012, 02:43 AM  
Sticky: Pentax K-5 II / IIs Review Posted!
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 99
Views: 100,752
Excellent point, fast50. ALSO, since a camera with no AA filter but a Bayer pattern on it is bound to produce some moire, some of the time (as has been proven with Adam's test), although I have no plans on switching to Fuji, the way they fixed the issue with their newest camera (by having a "random" arrangement of RBG pixels on the sensor, similar to how color film was made, has eliminated the need for an AA filter AND produces razor-sharp images with no moire!

I've read just one review, and have no idea if Fuji has a patent on this process, or not, but if they don't, changing sensors from a Bayer pattern to random distribution should become the new standard for how everyone makes digital camera sensors, I would think. My guess is that they do have a patent on the process, but maybe they'll license it. After all, the sensor in both the K-5 AND the Nikon D7000 was made by Sony. Until I see where this is going (if it is going anywhere, and Fuji's solution doesn't become a "one-off" or completely proprietary technology patented from every possible angle which they refuse to license). To me, the random-distribution model beats Bayer patterns with no AA filter hands down (unless I'm missing something). Really keeping me in a "wait-and-see" mode.
Jeff
Forum: Pentax K-5 10-30-2012, 01:06 AM  
Sticky: Pentax K-5 II / IIs Review Posted!
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 99
Views: 100,752
While I could definitely see a marked difference in fine resolution of leaves on the trees, etc., in the one image where you posted a full-sized crop for both the K-5 IIS and the original K-5, the fact that Pentax DIDN'T do things like improve its AF engine and the number of AF points just wouldn't justify the added expense of upgrading to the new, filterless camera for me (and MOST of my shots are outdoor... macros and landscapes).

In fact, the more I read, the more I think that if I DO decide to get a backup for my 15-month old K-5 (with the lens-change button missing for going on 2 months, now! -- have to use a toothpick or similarly small metal tool -- like the end of a very small Allen wrench -- to change lenses!), I'll go with a camera that on first look I wasn't as impressed with: the K-30.

The fact that the K-30 includes focus peaking AND an improved AF engine -- PLUS the fact that it sells for even less than the discontinued original K-5 -- makes it look increasingly attractive as a backup body (for now, my "backup body" is a Canon PS IS20, lol -- nice all-in-one megazoom camera, but NOT something on which I can mount my -- current count, 8 -- K-mount lenses on -- and that includes 2 of the six DA* lenses). It may "bite me" to continue waiting, though (but since I just got a new MB and 3770 Core i7 processor to upgrade my build I did in mid-2009, $$$ are tight for now, anyway. So I'll probably keep waiting until I'm in "crisis mode," then get whatever I get with the $3.99 overnight delivery option on my Amazon Prime account.

Adam, as you said Pentax is making claims of a new, higher-end APS-C body and a FF body sometime in the coming year, money being tight, I may wait to see what the new APS-C looks like (FF would be a burden, since some of my best lenses -- like the DA* -- are optimized for APS-C and will vignette with a FF body). As for those of you who question where and when Pentax said they'll bring out a FF camera (considering how long they've taken), my counter to that would be the fact that they started putting DISCLAIMERS beside all their best -- like DA* -- lenses on their website that they WON'T be fully compatible with FF. I have serious doubts Pentax would have added those disclaimers were they not in plans to bring out a FF camera -- not that I care because I think unless you're shooting for National Geographic, or blow your pictures up and put them on billboards, the quality available with the current K-5 is adequate for even most professionals -- and quite a few are using it, as well as some shooting pro with the K-30 and/or K-01 (mostly Europe and Asia, but they're doing it -- I see their posts on a different forum quite often). One shot one of the new "Bond girls" for one of the foreign editions of either Vogue or Harper's Bazaar with the K-5 and took video of the shoot with the K-1.

I just went up on the Blue Ridge Parkway a couple weeks ago to shoot fall color and I can't see how a Nikon D4 or Canon's equivalent could have given me any better images than I got with the K-5 (note that the $6,000 body-only D4 has the same size sensor -- 16MP as the K-5, as well -- of course there are dozens of other things it has the K-5 doesn't).

At any rate, Adam, I concur with your review that except in RARE circumstances it's not worth upgrading to the K-5 IIs, bang-for-the-buck-wise, for certain. As to its moire issues, on a different forum, a Pentax shooter who has more lenses than I can count (including things like a 500 F4.5, etc.), expressed concern about possible moire patterns on the repeating patterns on bird feathers. As you said one of the few advantages of the II/IIs would be shooting birds with long lenses in early morning light, it would be great if you could experiment on possible moire issues of this nature (wildlife is one of my favorites, too).

Thanks for the review!
Jeff
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 08-27-2012, 11:21 AM  
K-5 Successor Updates
Posted By JeffAHayes
Replies: 148
Views: 30,801
While a few more megapixels might be nice on the K-5 replacement, what I'd really like to see are some things that were on the Nikon D7100 that I really WISHED Pentax had done...

1. It had DUAL card slots... Great idea -- one card fills up and you're in the middle of an important shoot, you just switch to the other.
2. It (and many other Nikon cameras, and now some others, like the new FujiPro X-1) support Sandisk UHS-1 card speed. I paid through the nose for one of these cards with 45 MBPS write speed, only to discover my K-5 would come NOWHERE CLOSE to keeping up with it. I even emailed Pentax CS to ask about it, and if maybe that would be added in a firmware update. Both answers were... "Sorry. No."
3. The Live View on the K-5 is practically unuseable most of the time (at least for me). I'm not sure how that is for other camera brands. I'd either fix it or abandon it.
4. I really think a camera at this level should have a pop-out, articulating screen. Most of my much-less-expensive "megazoom" cameras had those, and I see them on A LOT of other DSLRs. They can come in really handy -- especially the ones that will actually swing around where you can see the screen from the front of the camera... GREAT for taking self-portraits!
5. I don't think ANYONE would mind if the K-5 (or successor) had more AF points. Currently, the ONLY way to make sure I get what I want in focus is to almost always keep the camera set to center-spot, focus and/or meter where I want the sharpest focus, then re-compose. From what I've read, almost ALL the most experienced photographers are doing likewise.

And oh yeah, for such a well-built, water-resistant camera, would it be too hard for Pentax to include a lens-changing button that will STAY ON??? I'm just 13 months into owning mine (just a month past warranty expiration), and the other morning I was shooting from inside my car (luckily, because that means the button is still SOMEWHERE in the car), went to swap lenses again, and the little black button you push down to change lenses was GONE! Luckily, I had a toothpick in the car, which I was able to insert into the little hole down inside where that button goes and use to swap lenses. That's the only way I've been able to change them since. I guess when I find that thing I'll need to "superglue" it back on. The camera wasn't receiving any rough treatment, either. I was driving around a local state park, shooting out my car window; not going more than 15 mph, or so. I see no excuse for that.

Otherwise, I still think the K-5 is a great camera. But a few tweaks certainly couldn't hurt. My sole concern about them coming out with a "replacement" that's still 16 MP is that while most of US know that's plenty (Nikon's TOP pro camera is 16 MP), "Joe Public" will see all these OTHER new cameras that are 22 ~ 24 MP and think Pentax just "isn't keeping up," etc. Frankly, since I'm not usually shooting all pics as RAW + JPEG, each photo is running me close to 35 MB, sometimes more than that, so I'm really not so HOT on more MP, so long as what we get from 16 MP is quality stuff, and the K-5 delivers that.
Jeff Hayes
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