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Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 10-27-2020, 07:34 PM  
[New video Oct 27] New information about upcoming APS-C flagship model
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 1,603
Views: 100,985
The autofocus system and continuous shooting capability are greatly improved and look very impressive, but I'm distinctly concerned about the buffer depth, which points to slower buffer clearing than I'd like to see.

Pentax claims 32 RAWs at 12 fps and 37 RAWs at 7 fps. This comes out to a buffer clearing rate of only about two RAWs per second. UHS-II can definitely do better than that. If we're assuming 35 MB RAWs and a card capable of 280-300 MB/s, it should be possible to write 5-7 RAWs to the card each second. Hopefully, Pentax will sort this out before release, and they have time to improve the firmware to speed up buffer clearing.

Draco
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 03-09-2020, 05:42 PM  
Going into Micro Four Thirds - I'm getting an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 120
Views: 6,065















You Tube



Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 03-06-2020, 11:27 AM  
Going into Micro Four Thirds - I'm getting an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 120
Views: 6,065
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 PRO @ 57mm; 1/250s f/5.6 ISO 200. Out-of-camera JPEG. Click through to see the full-resolution image on Flickr.
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 03-05-2020, 10:39 AM  
Going into Micro Four Thirds - I'm getting an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 120
Views: 6,065
So... I ended up taking the plunge yesterday and got the E-M1 Mark III with the M.Zuiko 12-100mm, plus a 64 GB SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-II card to put in slot 1. (The second SD card slot was populated with an older 64 GB UHS-I card; only slot 1 supports UHS-II speeds.)

First impressions are very, very positive: S-AF is extremely fast, decisive and accurate; a brief C-AF test on some seagulls in flight produced surprisingly high keeper rates; high-ISO performance is above expectations; and the image stabilization is almost supernatural: A 1/3s exposure at 100mm (200mm equiv. 135) came out perfectly sharp. My Panasonic flashgun (originally purchased for my FZ1000) also works as designed, which is expected because Olympus and Panasonic flashguns are pretty much identical to each other. The lens hood on the M.Zuiko 12-100mm positively latches with a button release so it can't accidentally come off. USB Power Delivery support is a huge boon, because it lets me charge (or operate) the camera in the field using the USD PD power banks I already have. And above all, it's amazing how compact and lightweight this setup is.

The only major complaint I have is the steep learning curve: Olympus OM-D cameras are notorious for their complexity and it'll take me a long time to make sense out of all the menus and controls.

In less than 24 hours of ownership, Olympus has managed to seriously impress me. Pentax needs to step up their game and deliver something competitive.

Draco
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 03-02-2020, 12:00 PM  
Going into Micro Four Thirds - I'm getting an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 120
Views: 6,065
To be honest, I do intend to shoot birds in flight, but that's not the only—or even the primary—goal of this setup. The thing is that Micro Four Thirds gives long reach with less weight and bulk than APS-C or full-frame systems. And as far as I can tell, the OM-D E-M1 line has autofocus that's more than capable of doing birds in flight.

This is meant more as a general-purpose setup. While wildlife photography is a focus, birds in flight is only part of this, and the overriding concern is reduced size and weight. Indeed, I'm well aware that a smaller sensor means compromises in image resolution and low-light performance, and nothing rules out my going into Sony Alpha or any other camera system (including continued use of the Pentax K system) for situations requiring maximum image quality while continuing to use Micro Four Thirds for everyday photography.

This is why I'm continuing to maintain my Pentax gear, at least until I know what they have in store later this year.


Draco
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 02-29-2020, 01:43 PM  
Going into Micro Four Thirds - I'm getting an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 120
Views: 6,065
So... I'll clarify that I'm moving towards nature and wildlife photography. As stated earlier, indoor sports photography is no longer a focus. Reduced size and weight, and high shooting performance, are key. From what I've read, the 20MP Four Thirds sensor is just about as good as the Pentax K-3 II's sensor despite the smaller size, though the pixel count is a bit lower.

Sony looks incredibly tempting to me. Exmor image sensors are the industry standard, and Sony's Real-Time Tracking AF technology is often considered to be the best available in any camera, reflex or mirrorless, but I'm not sure I want to buy into a full-frame system. Besides size and weight, Sony glass tends to be very expensive, more so than Canon and Nikon.

It's still a very hard call to make. Perhaps I'll end up maintaining two mirrorless systems (Micro Four Thirds and Sony Alpha) and selling my Pentax kit? I don't know. For the time being, I still feel M4/3 is the best solution for my needs.

Draco
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 02-27-2020, 06:11 PM  
Going into Micro Four Thirds - I'm getting an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 120
Views: 6,065
I've looked into the Nikon D500 myself but ultimately decided not to go in that direction because 1) it's still quite large and 2) the D500 is four years old.

It is true that the sensor and EVF used in the otherwise new E-M1 Mark III are not new and have been around for the last several years as well. However, after a trip to B&H to try it out (it was on display with the M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 PRO attached), I came away impressed at the performance and compactness of this setup, being not much larger than the Panasonic FZ1000 I've been using the last couple of years. The autofocus, while not flawless, is exceedingly fast in low light and tracks moving targets much better than expected. While I'm pretty sure the Nikon D500 will outperform the E-M1 Mark III in AF and low-light performance, the D500 + 2.8/70-200 combination is substantially heavier than the E-M1.3 + 2.8/40-150 setup.

To be honest, this isn't an easy call. I'm still strongly leaning towards the mirrorless solution but will be looking at other possibilities as well.

Draco
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 02-26-2020, 04:39 PM  
Going into Micro Four Thirds - I'm getting an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 120
Views: 6,065
Truth be told, it is a bit sad for me to take this first major step away from Pentax, but I still have hope that they'll come out with something awesome.

As for adapting lenses, I realize it isn't exactly optimal to adapt modern full-frame glass to M4/3, and I'll need a mount adapter with aperture control to use the D FA* 70-200mm, but I kinda want to be able to use what I already have. Of course, as others have suggested, I'll be looking into getting the M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO in the future, and possibly even the upcoming M.Zuiko 150-400mm f/4.5 PRO. Indoor sports photography is no longer a focus of mine so sensor size and lens speed aren't as critical as they used to be.

If I'm selling gear, it'll probably be later rather than sooner. I'm not entirely ready to leave the Pentax ecosystem.

@rawr: As far as I can tell, the E-M1 Mark III uses the same sensor as the one in the E-M1X and E-M1 Mark II. Low-light performance and dynamic range are at worst unchanged and at best slightly improved due to the new TruePic IX processor.

Draco
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 02-26-2020, 06:08 AM  
Going into Micro Four Thirds - I'm getting an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 120
Views: 6,065
It has been six months since I've started a new full-time job, and after being out of the photography world for a while, I am writing with sadness that I will be buying into another camera system.

While the Pentax K-3 II and D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8 lens has been instrumental to my work in the last year of my tenure as a sports photographer for my college, I have had a number of issues with this and my Pentax gear generally, ranging from AF sub-mirror delamination on my Pentax K-3 II to the gear simply being too large and heavy for me to carry on a daily basis. Ricoh's lack of significant technological progress over the last few years has not helped. After some thoughts about my requirements, I've decided that Micro Four Thirds is the way to go, and I'll be getting an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, most likely in early April. It will be purchased in a kit with the M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 PRO lens.

For the time being, I am not selling any of my Pentax equipment, and may even get an adapter to reuse some of my existing Pentax glass (particularly the D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8). Indeed, I realize there are situations where there's ultimately no substitute for a traditional DSLR, and I have not ruled out getting Pentax's long-awaited APS-C flagship due to be released later this year. Also, Pentax has a line of ultra-compact primes that I have not fully explored...

Your thoughts on this?

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 04-24-2019, 01:53 PM  
Monopods: Goodbye Oben CTM-2500, hello Gitzo GM2562T
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 10
Views: 1,165
After a day at work, it's pretty clear that Gitzo's Carbon eXact tubes have vastly superior rigidity. The Oben monopod feels like a toy in comparison. Lesson learned: Not all carbon fiber is created equal.



Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 04-16-2019, 07:57 PM  
Monopods: Goodbye Oben CTM-2500, hello Gitzo GM2562T
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 10
Views: 1,165
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 04-16-2019, 12:19 PM  
Monopods: Goodbye Oben CTM-2500, hello Gitzo GM2562T
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 10
Views: 1,165
...and it's here.

Unexpectedly, the monopod does flex a bit at the leg section locks (the floor sample at B&H had the same issue and it appears to be a design limitation of the Gitzo Traveler G-Lock), and the extra section makes it a bit more fiddly to set up, adjust, and take down. It also doesn't extend as long, though it's still is long enough with a few inches to spare.

Even so, it's still sturdy enough to handle my K-3 II and D FA* 2.8/70-200 on an Arca-Swiss ballhead. The carbon fiber itself is clearly vastly superior to the material in the Oben monopod: the lower section on the CTM-2500 would vibrate dramatically when fully extended, but there's absolutely nothing like that on the GM2562T.

The shorter closed length, at just over 14 inches, makes it much easier to carry. It's small enough to easily fit in my wheeled backpack even with the ballhead attached, without having to jump through hoops to get the zipper to close.

All told, it's a Gitzo and I would be very surprised if it doesn't hold up at least as long as my old monopod did.

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 04-15-2019, 03:35 PM  
Monopods: Goodbye Oben CTM-2500, hello Gitzo GM2562T
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 10
Views: 1,165
B&H didn't have it in stock in the store. They're shipping one out from their warehouse and it'll be here tomorrow.

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 04-14-2019, 03:33 PM  
Monopods: Goodbye Oben CTM-2500, hello Gitzo GM2562T
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 10
Views: 1,165
After more than five years of heavy use, my Oben CTM-2500 is finally being retired. The rubber foot has been worn down to the point where the retractable metal spike is exposed so it winds up scraping the ground. I generally don't need or want the spike so this is a problem. Also, the top leg lock is giving me trouble, with the rubber grip slipping around the plastic and the anti-rotation piece not preventing leg rotation reliably.

It is being replaced with a Gitzo GM2562T, and I'll be running to B&H tomorrow to get it.

Has anyone else here managed to wear out a monopod?

Draco
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 07:55 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 45
Views: 4,089
Well... on closer examination of product images, this is not merely a reskinning. In addition to the new grip on the focus ring, the material used for the lens casing appears to have changed.

The old FA 35mm lens used a smooth plastic which IME does not feel particularly durable (don't have the 35mm proper but the D FA 50mm macro uses the same, older, plastic material). The updated version has rough patterning consistent with the more rigid fiber-reinforced plastic used on newer Pentax lenses. This is very likely to be a plus for build quality.

Draco


On another look, the plastic mold lines on the new lens are exactly where they were on the old lens. Is this merely a difference in the paint they're using, or have they really changed the plastic material? In either case, the rigidity of the plastic in most newer lens designs is generally superior in my experience to the plastic used in older lenses (and in the DA 50mm f/1.8, a lens built to a price point).

Switching to a modern FRP would itself be a convincing justification for the increased price over the old lens.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 06:55 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 45
Views: 4,089
Well, given the responses here, it's now abundantly clear that the performance of the old FA 35mm is more than good enough to justify the higher ($400) price tag, especially now that it has new coatings and refreshed aesthetics. As dated as the screwdrive AF and aperture ring may seem these days, it's pretty obvious that Ricoh saw no reason to change the mechanical design on the updated lens, and I have no objections to this decision. Noisy as it may be, screwdrive AF is generally fast and reliable on modern Pentax bodies (I have never heard of an in-body AF motor failure on a Pentax camera).

I will definitely be looking into getting this lens at some point in the coming months.

Draco
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 05:23 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 45
Views: 4,089
I actually missed that, thanks for pointing that to me.

Given the age of the lens design, I'm honestly a bit surprised that there hasn't been more attention given to it, though these reviews do look promising. I'm actually more concerned about whether there's much to gain from the HD coatings FWIW...

Draco
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 04:34 PM  
Revamped lenses? Yep but with at least WR and rounded iris!
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 42
Views: 3,084
If they're going down this route, the old FA 50mm f/1.4 ought to be refreshed as well. The D FA* 50mm is too expensive and too large/heavy for many, and a cheaper alternative would be a good idea. The optical performance of that lens is very good overall, though certainly not at the level the new 50 delivers. Doing the same they did here—updating the coatings and modernizing the exterior design, while keeping the lens mechanically and optically identical otherwise, down to the screwdrive AF, should be enough to get them to sell more of the classic 50 without cannibalizing sales of their new pro-grade prime lens.

Draco
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 01-31-2019, 04:26 PM  
Pentax FA 35mm f/2 flare resistance and performance on full frame?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 45
Views: 4,089
Pentax recently announced a refreshed FA 35mm f/2 lens, and from what I can tell, it's optically and mechanically identical to the old FA 35mm it replaces save for new lens coatings and an updated industrial design.

A lack of detailed reviews of this lens on the K-1 made me wonder about a couple of things: how well does it perform (sharpness, aberrations, etc) on a full-frame sensor, particularly in the edge and corners of the frame; and how did the lens behave when shooting against bright light? Because pretty much everything except flare resistance has remained the same, though we know that the HD coatings were a significant improvement over the (already competitive) SMC.

Is the lens's optical performance good enough for a modern, high-resolution full-frame digital SLR camera, and how much would it benefit from updated coatings?

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-22-2018, 02:18 PM  
Supporting a D FA 150-450mm lens: Use existing Arca-Swiss ball head or get a gimbal?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 28
Views: 2,659
Hmm... While I haven't had issues with using the ball head the "normal" way with my 70-200 (again, the Arca-Swiss Monoball uses an aspherical ball that is more resistant to tipping over than conventional ball heads), I'll be sure to give this technique a shot. Thanks for the hint 🙂

Draco

---------- Post added 11-22-18 at 04:44 PM ----------

You mean like this?



I tried doing this briefly and I didn't quite like it. Also, there's metal-on-metal contact where the stem beneath the clamp comes into contact with the drop notch and that would wear it down very quickly.

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-22-2018, 12:03 PM  
Supporting a D FA 150-450mm lens: Use existing Arca-Swiss ball head or get a gimbal?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 28
Views: 2,659
Thanks for the advice. I'll probably just get the lens and plate, and add accessories as needed.

As for the gimbal, the GH-30 looks really nice for the money. I'd suppose it's just a small step down from the WH-200 in terms of build quality.

I have no reason to doubt the integrity of my Arca-Swiss head (it's designed to cope with upwards of 100 lbs of weight), but what's your experience with using a ball head with a large lens? The 150-450 is a bit larger than Canon's 100-400 II, and I'm seeing people use both ball heads and gimbal heads with the latter.

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-22-2018, 11:40 AM  
Supporting a D FA 150-450mm lens: Use existing Arca-Swiss ball head or get a gimbal?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 28
Views: 2,659
So... I'm looking to get a Pentax D FA 150-450mm lens (and a Wimberley P-40 QR plate to go with it) within the next few months (funding permitting), and I'm wondering if I can get by with my existing Arca-Swiss Monoball Z1+ sp or if I should get a gimbal head:
  • The Arca-Swiss Monoball heads are better-behaved than most ball heads with heavy lenses due to their aspherical ball making them less likely to tip over with a very heavy load. But I'm getting the feeling that a gimbal is still a better option. Is the 150-450 large or heavy enough to justify getting a gimbal?

  • An intermediate option is the Wimberley Sidekick, a gimbal attachment for ball heads. However, Wimberley states that they do not recommend using the Arca-Swiss double-decker clamp (which is what my Monoball Z1+ sp has). What potential issues might arise with this arrangement?

  • A standalone gimbal head is generally considered the best option; however, it's expensive and quite bulky. The Manfrotto 393 isn't an ideal substitute because it uses a proprietary QR system which is not Arca-Swiss-compatible. Is a Wimberley WH-200 worth it?

In all cases, the camera, lens, and head will be placed on a Manfrotto MT055CXPRO3 tripod (carbon fiber, 9 kg/19.8 lb capacity).

Your thoughts?

Draco
Forum: Pentax K-3 11-20-2018, 11:57 AM  
AF sub-mirror delamination causing inconsistent focusing anyone else affected?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 50
Views: 7,411
The edges did improve.

Sadly, I am past the 90-day repair warranty period. I may have to pay for a second repair. I'll see what I can do about this.

Draco
Forum: Pentax K-3 11-19-2018, 11:26 PM  
AF sub-mirror delamination causing inconsistent focusing anyone else affected?
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 50
Views: 7,411
Okay guys, sorry for the late reply... The camera came back with the mirror cleaned. Precision said that they did not find any delamination.

However, I am seeing faint bubbles of the same kind appear again gradually upon close inspection. The pattern of bubbles is the same as before, which would indicate delamination.

Any ideas?

Draco
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 11-07-2018, 04:54 PM  
Just bought into the Arca-Swiss QR system
Posted By bwDraco
Replies: 7
Views: 1,210
So... I've posted an image of the Mandarin Duck on my Instagram account.

It hasn't gone through my full post-processing routine; I had only processed the RAW on my phone quickly using Snapseed. Regardless, I almost cried when I saw it and had to work my way through a big crowd in order to even get in position and set up my tripod.

Draco
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