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Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 11-30-2017, 08:26 PM  
Darktable 2.0.7 under Linux Mint 18.2... a great Lightroom alternative
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 41
Views: 1,703
It is true that denoising takes a little getting use to on darktable compared to Lightroom. However, after experimenting with it a bit, I find it pretty easy to use. Here are some tips that might be helpful:
  1. In "profiled denoise" experiment with non-local means vs. wavelets. You might have to turn down the strength for wavelets because it has a stronger effect than non-local means

  2. For colour noise (chroma noise), the "denoise (non-local means)" module works very well. Keep the luma noise turned off here

  3. Advanced: for that "smooth" look that sometimes doesn't work with the denoise module, the trick is to actually use the equalizer rather than the denoise module.

More on the equalizer module: the equalizer is a more advanced tool, but it allows you to have a very-finely grained control over the contrast of your images. If you drag around the top part of the curve (where the little circles are), you can increase or decrease the contrast ranging from coarse contrast (like the usual contrast you're used to) to sharpness. But, if you drag up the bottom of the curve near the right of the graph, then you can control the amount of fine smoothing that occurs. What this means in practice is that you can smooth out the noise in your images with a lot of control.

If you master denoising with the equalizer, you can get incredible results. (However, even if you don't want to use the equalizer, you can still get pretty good results with the other modules.)

darktable also has masks, so if you're shooting a lot of nature with a lot of green, you can apply stronger denoising to the greener pixels with the parametric mask. For some reason it seems to me that green shows noise particularly well. This applys to nature shots like birds where the background is a little out of focus and green.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-30-2017, 08:06 PM  
Reviewer Bias
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 30
Views: 1,253
Seriously? Canon and Nikon's lenses are actually pretty good. And at least in the telephoto >= 300mm category, excellent quality and superior to third party equivalents. Of course, there are a few examples where the third-party equivalent is optically sharper like perhaps the Sigma 35mm art f/1.4, but even then Canon/Nikon equivalents are far from rubbish.

And there are absolutely more lenses for Canon/Nikon mount than Pentax. That includes OEM as well as third-party lenses like Tamron and Sigma.

So while the basics are covered by Pentax (and really do love my Pentax lenses), if you want more specialized lenses it actually might be better to go with Canon or Nikon. But that's just choosing the right tool for the right job. If you really want a modern 500mm f/4 or 400mm f/2.8 with a DSLR then Canon and Nikon are the only choices
Forum: Post Your Photos! 11-11-2017, 08:04 PM  
Nature Parrot Crossbill / Loxia phytyopsittacus
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 5
Views: 198
Very nice looking bird and colour composition!
Forum: General Photography 10-29-2017, 08:26 PM  
Why 70-200mm and not wider but shorter?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 29
Views: 1,172
Having shot a few events I think the 200mm is very useful to get in close, even if you already are pretty close! So 105mm would definitely not be enough.
Forum: Pentax K-S1 & K-S2 10-03-2017, 03:57 AM  
K-S1 to keep the dream alive?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 16
Views: 859
I suggest just going with the Nikon prime since you already have the D500, and you seem to need autofocus.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-03-2017, 03:54 AM  
From SLR to DSLR: some input would be great!
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 30
Views: 1,133
If you're vigilant on ebay you can get a K5 for around 250USD give or take, with a modest shutter count. You should also check for some of those related models like a K-50 or KS-2. I wouldn't suggest going older than a K5.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-03-2017, 03:45 AM  
What would happen if I were to use a crop lens with tc on the K1?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 18
Views: 933
You should just use the 50mm on full frame and use crop mode if you want a similar field of view as an APS-C. No need for the TC.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-02-2017, 10:36 PM  
Upgrade from Pentax K5
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 18
Views: 1,217
You should go with the body with the best noise performance if you are using a lens like the Sigma.
Forum: General Photography 09-24-2017, 10:19 PM  
It is official (for me) eBay is rubbish for legacy gear now
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 39
Views: 1,994
Another thing I do besides look at the seller rating, is read the actual feedback. So far I've bought about a dozen items on Ebay and haven't been disappointed. *crosses fingers*
Forum: Pentax K-70 09-19-2017, 02:11 AM  
iso and shutter speed balance to freeze humming bird wing
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 15
Views: 950
If you use a flash at a feeder you just need a cheap manual flash with a Vello trigger. I got a manual Godox flash on ebay for around 40 dollars and it even came with a trigger. I've been using it for almost a year and no misfires.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-18-2017, 11:33 PM  
Workflow to find out what is (if) wrong with my HD 1.4X TC with the DA*300/4
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 8
Views: 715
I would also suggest that 420mm may be harder to handhold than you expect. It will be interesting to see your tests!
Forum: General Photography 09-15-2017, 12:13 AM  
In a rut...
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 31
Views: 1,333
Sometimes it's also good to just take a break, instead of trying to restart your hobby. It might just be your mind telling you that it needs to try something else for a while. That's not really a bad thing.
Forum: General Photography 09-15-2017, 12:05 AM  
Mirrorless camera advantages
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 95
Views: 2,971
I just to add a small comment that one disadvantage of mirrorless (and indeed Pentax) is that there are fewer long lens options out there. So if you're ever planning on going the nature and wildlife photography route, keep this in mind.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-14-2017, 10:18 PM  
Poll: What is the most important feature in a camera?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 49
Views: 1,816
These days, the image quality is pretty good from most cameras. So, I put lenses. That is mainly because I like nature photography and a quality long lens is a big draw for me, and is something I am looking for in my next camera system. I would put low-light performance next on the list because these days I've basically maxed out the abilities of my current camera (K-50). By the way, the K-50 is still an awesome camera, and even though I am currently looking for an upgrade, I am going to keep it until it dies because in the domains that it excels, it produces wonderful pictures.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-14-2017, 12:37 AM  
Busted K1 for sale on eBay
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 16
Views: 1,248
Even if it was tested and fully working, the structural integrity of the camera has been weakened.

For example, after a few years an slide-out keyboard phone started losing connection with the keyboard because the connecting cable started coming lose. If I slid the keyboard out slowly, it could be said to have been fully working. However, a dozen more times of sliding the keyboard and it severed permanently.

Definitely not worth the headache, unless you can also get an estimate on a repair that you can factor into the price.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 09-12-2017, 09:39 PM  
Flash stupidity question
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 9
Views: 698
In terms of zoom, I really don't think it matters too much unless your're shooting direct flash. I try and avoid this as much as possible because of the harsh "flash" look that gives. For a cramped venue, direct flash may not be necessary if you have some good walls for bouncing.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 09-08-2017, 11:09 PM  
Do you underexpose by default?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 48
Views: 2,089
I underexpose whenever in certain situations when I'm certain that crucial highlights will be blown away forever even with Raw, which happens really easily with my K-50. However, when a subject is backlit like a bird in a tree I usually overexpose to get the exposure of the bird right. I try not to underexpose too much to minimise noise but sometimes it is unavoidable.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-31-2017, 10:10 PM  
Darktable for Windows Alpha
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 11
Views: 1,002
To answer some of the questions in this thread, some of which have already been answered:
  1. darktable doesn't require you to be a geek. I have used Lightroom and darktable, and both are about the same user-friendliness. The one thing darktable does not have is cataloguing, so you'd have to do that some other way - I just use a good folder structure and tagging (which darktable does have).

  2. From following in detail the mailing list, it is actually clear why darktable before this has not supported Windows. It is because before this, darktable has not had a committed and knowledgeable person willing to maintain the Windows build. The darktable team wants their official releases to be quality and as bug-free as possible, and so although people before were willing to make darktable "work" on Windows, those people did not demonstrate sufficiently that they were actually going to stick around to make it work.

  3. Darktable is not an alternative to Photoshop, but to Lightroom/Other Raw editors

Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 08-30-2017, 08:39 PM  
Darktable for Windows Alpha
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 11
Views: 1,002
For those who haven't heard of darktable, it is a stable, advanced Raw developing program that does all the basics plus has many cool additional features like masks. It is also free (no cost) and open source and runs on Linux and OS X. The darktable team have been working hard to bring darktable to Windows, and recently they released an alpha of a Windows build:

darktable for Windows - Software -

It is just a preliminary version (that's what alpha means). So, this is absolutely NOT for production work. It is an early release that may have a few, but I strongly encourage anyone who is willing to test it to help test it!

Note: I'm not part of the darktable team. I'm just a happy user of darktable on Linux and have been using it for a couple of years for Raw development.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 07-30-2017, 01:41 AM  
DA Rear Converter w/FA* 300
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 9
Views: 611
@Des: thanks so much for those samples. They look pretty good, and very similar subjects to what I'd be shooting too! I'm going to agree with you that getting the HD is probably not worth it since I'd only use it for the FA* 300. I think I might try and find that Kenko TC on ebay after your encouraging shots!

Edit: after searching eBay I guess these aren't that common. Well, I'll keep my eye out.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 07-29-2017, 10:43 PM  
Why has no camera maker done this..?
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 40
Views: 2,484
Most people won't use this feature enough to justify it.

You could also ask this question another way: why do computers come with a hard drive at all? They have a complex OS and programs that need constant updating and that need to be there all the time, which is something cameras don't have.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 07-29-2017, 10:35 PM  
5985 Lightroom Presets
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 2
Views: 518
Pretty lame product.
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 07-28-2017, 01:06 AM  
G'Day from Down Under!
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 16
Views: 616
Nice area and nice shots. Welcome to the forum. I use a K5 as a second body and it still does a great job.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 07-27-2017, 10:09 PM  
DA Rear Converter w/FA* 300
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 9
Views: 611
Thanks for the replies! I will just be using it with a crop body. @stemked - thanks for the offer. If you have any shots (crop body, tc + lens) to share I'd be glad to see them! I'm trying to decide whether it's worth it to get this TC or just get a longer lens.... I typically manual focus in good light so if autofocus is not the greatest I'm ok with that.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 07-26-2017, 11:26 PM  
DA Rear Converter w/FA* 300
Posted By automorphism
Replies: 9
Views: 611
I'm looking into options to add some reach to my existing setup. One of the options is:

HD Pentax-DA 1.4x AW AF Rear Converter

Does anybody know if this teleconverter works with the Pentax FA* 300 f/4.5 lens? I'm not bothered if autofocus is terrible.

If anyone has any idea about the quality of the image with this teleconverter then I'd be happy to hear it.
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