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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 11-27-2021, 08:33 PM  
Help me decide 18-135 or 16-85
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 94
Views: 2,831
I have both lenses and agree with Des on his assessment. I use the 18-135 as a lightweight walk around or my lens for airline travel. The 16-85 has better image quality in my opinion. I use the 16-85 for landscapes, especially if I am driving to a location where weight or bulk isn’t an issue. I think the 18-135 is what you are looking for.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 11-26-2021, 09:07 PM  
Pentax K-3 III or Pentax K-1 II?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 52
Views: 2,211
I have the original K-1 and the K-3 III. I think the K-3 III would be my top choice for sports and I think it has enough resolution for portraits, although I usually use my K-1 for portraits. I originally got my K-1 for astrophotography and landscapes, which are definitely strengths for the K-1. The articulating screen is also nice for Astro. But it is amazing seeing the amount of detail you get with a FF camera. For instance taking a picture of a sailboat and seeing the individual threads on the ropes!

One other thing to consider is that if you have been using all crop sensors in the past. Even if you have lenses that work on a full frame camera, you would need to re-learn your lens choices for the K-1. I used to shoot 35 mm film, so switching back to full frame was easy for me.

Basically, for tripod work, I use the K-1. For walk-around, hiking or travel , it’s the K-3 III. Fortunately, I am able to choose.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-22-2021, 05:13 PM  
Learning and purchasing lens filters
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 22
Views: 1,013
In addition to the polarizer and ND filters, I also like “star” filters that create a starburst at night around bright lights like streetlights or stoplights. They usually come in 4- or 6-point versions. You can do something similar with high f-stops but using the filter is easier. I got some great lighthouse shots with one.

The other thing to look at when you buy filters is whether you can buy one filter that will work on multiple lenses. For example, I have several lenses with 62 mm threads and several 58 mm lenses. So I have a nice 62mm ND filter and a step-up ring (adapter) so I can put the 62 mm filter on my 58 mm lens threads. It might mean I can’t fit my lens hood on, but I don’t need two different ND filters.
Forum: General Photography 10-22-2021, 04:54 PM  
Mis-identification of photographic equipment by passers-by.
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 28
Views: 1,578
I’ll give a somewhat similar example, but in my case, I made it obvious that I was taking photos and the police also responded appropriately and we all continued on our separate ways…

I was in Boulder, Colorado, and got up in the morning to take some pictures of the early morning sun shining an the Flatiron mountain peaks. Because I was downtown, I wanted to get up higher so I could get some shots without any buildings blocking my line of sight.

I went to the top story of town parking garage and set up my tripod with a telephoto lens. About 20 minutes after I started taking pictures, a police car made a loop by through the parking garage. I heard him coming, I waved to say hello, he waved back and I never saw him again.

You can bet that the parking garage had security cameras but probably not good enough ones to see what I was doing. After seeing the police car, it certainly made sense because if I were someone with a gun, it would be an ideal location. I can’t blame the police for doing a drive-by even if they assumed I was “just a photographer.” It is their job to be cautious.

One thing was that when I saw the police, I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong, so I didn’t try to hide or change what I was doing. Wave and be nice because they are doing their job. Make it easy for them.

I have several friends and relatives who were in law enforcement. They do need to be careful. It is dangerous. It does sound like over-reaction in this case (they could have tried observing you for a while instead of taking you down, for instance.). In my case, they were doing their job. Think about what they would do if instead of waving, I tried hiding my tripod or reached in my pocket?
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 10-21-2021, 11:48 AM  
New laptop
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 22
Views: 995
I bought a HP Z-Book 15 G6 about two years ago when I upgraded to Windows 10. Looks like a similar setup as yours. Mine has the i7 9750H processor, 16GB RAM, 2 TB SSD, UHD Dream Color display.

The display is beautiful and the build quality is good. My biggest gripe is the cooling fans. They work fine, but they are VERY loud. It looks like the Fury has some added rear vents which may help. I think the SSD adds a fair amount of heat. When you do a windows update or big software install, the fans kick in full blast. The firmware update for the cooling came out shortly after I got mine and that helped.

Performance-wise no issues. I miss the docking station option, but I just got a Kensington thunderbolt 3 dock which seems to work well. I have had good luck with HP. I would compare the Fury with the Elitebook. One reason I went for the Z-book was to get real buttons on the touch pad and a keypad. Otherwise, I also liked the Elitebook. I have always had 15” laptops.

Good luck!
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 10-13-2021, 09:56 AM  
Best affordable heavy manual lenses on a Pentax K1
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 32
Views: 1,517
I have a Vivitar 28-90 Series 1 manual focus (“The Stovepipe”). It is a useful range for full-frame, f2.8, manual focus and it is heavy. It is macro and good for portraits on the longer end.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10-09-2021, 07:29 PM  
How well does the 16-85 compare with the 28-105?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 15
Views: 1,034
I have the 28-105 on my K-1 and I have both the 16-85 and 18-135 for my K-3iii and K-5. Optically, I think the 16-85 and 28-105 are comparable—both are very sharp. The benefit as mentioned earlier is a wider field of view with the 16-85 on a crop sensor compared to the 28-105 on the K-1.

Note that the 16-85 does use larger filters than the 28-105 and 18-135. When I fly somewhere on vacation, I take the 18-135 to decrease the weight and size of my camera kit. When I’m driving somewhere, I usually use the 16-85 because I think it is a little sharper.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 09-30-2021, 07:19 PM  
Pointing my 50mm prime toward the night sky - astro photographers see anything?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 17
Views: 897
I normally do Milky Way astro photos, so I shoot with an ultra-wide Rokinon / Samyang 14 f2.8 on my K-1, K-5 or K-3iii. My Pentax DA 10-17 does okay too, but it is harder to focus.

For settings on my K-5, I use Astrotracer at f3.5, ISO 800-1600 for a 60-120 sec exposure. I get “blooming” of bright stars at f2.8, which is why I stop down to 3.5. If I want to shoot without Astrotracer, I go with ISO 1600 at 10-20 sec, but the image will need extra exposure added in post processing. For the K-3iii, it is safe to push the ISO to at least 3200. Although Astrotracer says it can do 4-5 minute exposures, you need to be really lucky calibrating. I can usually get decent results up to 2-3 minutes, and great results around 30-60 seconds.

For the moon, I use my longest lenses, like my DAL 55-300 or I have a k-mount 400mm spotter scope. I set the ISO at 400-800 with an exposure of 1/250 to 1/500 for the full moon, so no Astrotracer needed. I shot at f/8 to F/11. You want a pretty fast shutter speed because the full moon is very bright. I find a slightly under-exposed image shows more craters and detail.

If you want a picture of the landscape with a full moon, shoot the night *before* the full moon. There will still be some daylight as the moon rises so the landscape and moon exposure will match. The night of the full moon, the sun sets before the moon rises so it is tough to get both the moon and foreground exposures to agree.
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 09-30-2021, 06:38 PM  
Pano prints without the roll attachment Epson p800
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 3
Views: 467
I haven’t done any panos on my p800 but I did several with my Epson 3800. I would use some cardboard to support the longer paper above the sheet feeder and support it coming out so it wouldn’t tend to hang and pull on the sheet at the outlet tray.

The initial custom page size setup is the hardest part. But usually you only need to do it once and save it.

I buy pre-cut pano sheets from Red River Paper and have had good luck.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-31-2021, 04:55 PM  
What's your favorite wide-angle prime lens for a K-1?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 38
Views: 2,521
I have the Samyang / Rokinon 14/2.8 and the Pentax FA 20/2.8 for my K-1. I use the Samyang mostly for Astro but it works well in daylight too; extremely sharp if you get a good copy.

I got the FA 20 because I wanted an autofocus ultra-wide. I rented the DFA 15-30, but I wanted something lighter, so I got the FA 20. The 15-30 is a very good lens and is good for Astro.
Forum: General Photography 08-19-2021, 03:35 PM  
Your travel setup
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 56
Views: 2,394
My travel kit:
Pentax K-3 iii
Pentax DA 18-135
Pentax DA 21
Pentax DA 55-300
Pentax DA 10-17
Metz 26 AF-2 Flash

If I need cut it down more, I go with the K-3, 18-135 and DA 21 or DA 10-17.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 08-04-2021, 04:06 PM  
Looking for tips on intervalometer settings
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 12
Views: 500
On my K-5, I found shooting with the aperture wide open conserved my battery. For instance, with a 14 mm f2.8 lens, if I set it to f4 to reduce coma, the battery has to hold the aperture closed for the whole exposure. If I shoot at f2.8, no energy is required to hold the aperture position. (I discovered this on a cold night doing Milky Way shots…)
Forum: Pentax K-1 & K-1 II 08-02-2021, 04:38 PM  
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 15
Views: 993
My understanding is that star trails on the edges going straight outward from the center is distortion due to the ultra-wide lens. Poor calibration should cause curved star trails.

It looks to me like the focus may be a little bit off, but you might be getting some “blooming” where the bright stars get blurry around the edges. I have the Samyang 14/2.8 and if I stop down from 2.8 to 3.5, the bright stars improve.

To check focus, there are two things I do. First, you can increase the ISO some and turn off Astrotracer and take a shot at 10 seconds. Your stars should be sharp at 10 seconds without Astrotracer. (The picture will be ugly, but you can check focus.).

The other thing is to manually adjust the focus either side of infinity. The stars should get a little bigger as you go past the correct focus in either direction. It works best with a large bright star. You are in focus when the star is as tiny as you can get it. I know the Irix has an infinity stop, but the right setting could vary a little with temperature.

I have had some good tracking at 180 seconds, but it is tough. I get very good results at 90-120 seconds.

When you nail the calibration, it is a great thing!
Forum: Pentax K-3 III 08-01-2021, 07:22 PM  
First Impression
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 14
Views: 3,076
I don’t have any hard evidence, but I agree that my camera seems to be doing a better job focusing on “the right” object after the 1.10 firmware update. I have been shooting in single shot mode.
Forum: Photographic Technique 07-31-2021, 07:07 PM  
Meteorite Photography Recommendations
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 13
Views: 747
Most of my meteor shots have been with my Samyang 14/2.8 because it has low coma for clear stars and it gives a wide field of view.

The short focal length means you get a wider view of the sky with a higher chance of catching a meteor… the down side is the meteor trail is short for most meteors. A longer lens makes the trail longer, but you catch less of the sky.

I use Astrotracer because I like points of light better and I use up to 180 second exposure times to increase the chance of getting at least one meteor and I can often get 2 or 3 in the same picture for meteor frequencies of 50-100/hour. It needs to be dark or your sky might get too bright at long exposures.

I shoot at ISO 1600 and f/2.8 or 3.5 so I have maximum light coming in. Most meteors are only visible for a second or so. If your ISO is too low or f-stop is too high, you won’t get enough light to expose the meteor trail.

It is fun to see what you can catch in a photo and just great to get out and watch the display of nature!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 07-22-2021, 05:18 PM  
Renting Lens from Online question
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 18
Views: 656
I rented a Pentax DFA 15-30 from about a year ago and had no problems. I think they do require someone to sign for delivery. The lens was in good condition and packaged well for delivery. They have periodic deals during the year like 10% off.
Forum: Pentax K-1 & K-1 II 07-21-2021, 08:08 PM  
I bought a k1, which I want more.
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 26
Views: 1,970
I just bought a used DA 40mm XS to use on both my K-1 and K-3 iii. Obviously not my primary lens for either camera, but I wanted a nice little lens that I could use as a less obtrusive walk around lens. Very sharp and very little vignetting on the K-1 FF. Still figuring out the focal lengths on each camera… I usually have zooms on the cameras.

I also have the FA 20 for my K-1 for wide angle and the Samyang 14 2.8 for Astrophotography. I started shooting Pentax film cameras, so I have several vintage lenses that I bought used.
Forum: General Photography 07-03-2021, 07:10 PM  
What's on your photography bucket list?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 54
Views: 1,810
Bucket list:
1). Yosemite - Never been there.
2). Smalls Falls in Rangeley, Maine with good Fall colors and blue sky. usually I get one or the other…
3). Solar Eclipse
4). Lightning Strike (over NYC?) - Watched a good storm from LaGuardia but I had no camera gear.
5). Return visit to The Badlands in South Dakota - Only had about an hour there.
6). Milky Way Pano - I do astro but haven’t tried stitching star shots.

Equipment-wise, it would be nice to try a 1000 or 2000 mm sports lens. I used to shoot college basketball with a 28-90 mm from under the hoop after I “accidentally” got a press pass. Would be nice to try a pro lens.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-29-2021, 05:17 AM  
Wide angle for my K-1mkII
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 36
Views: 1,546
I have the FA 20/2.8 for my K-1. If you don’t mind the weight, the DFA 15-30 is a great lens. I rented one but it was more weight than I wanted to carry.

I already had the Samyang 14/2.8, but I wanted an auto-focus wide-angle lens. The FA 20 is very sharp. It is also small and compact. It does have a fair amount of coma, so it is not good for astrophotography. At times it is a little wider than I would like. When I shot film, I always liked the FoV of my 24 mm lens.
Forum: Pentax K-3 III 06-26-2021, 08:39 AM  
This review has me inching ever closer to a K3 lll
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 42
Views: 2,881
I started to write that I don’t have any major issues with the K-3 iii menu system, then the more I wrote, the more I could see why people could have issues…. I just have low expectations so I got used to it after a week or two.

My biggest two issues are that it is not obvious how Pentax decided the order of items in the menus and second, some items are hidden in sub menus, so they are hard to find.

I am guessing they started with a menu from an older camera and then over the years just started adding new features to the end. If there was some logic, it would be nice if there were a description from the menu designer helping to explain the layout rather than the normal limited info of, “here is where the menu item is,” without an explanation of why. (For example, the general calibration for the GPS is in the GPS submenu while precise calibration is in the Astrotracer submenu. For Astro work, I do both calibrations. In my K-5 both items were together under the main GPS menu. My K-1 menu, however, is set up similar to the K-3.)

I think they wanted to minimize the number of high level menu items, so they pushed stuff into submenus. If everything were on the top level, you could just keep scrolling and eventually find everything.

That being said, would the menu keep me from buying the camera? No. So far I love the performance of the camera and accept the fact I need to learn the menus because there are SO many good features.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-25-2021, 06:27 PM  
Starting from scratch - K3 lll or K1 ll?
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 63
Views: 3,352
I have both the K-1 and K-3 iii. I live in Massachusetts and my mother lives in Maine, so I often have the camera out in the cold. I never think twice about taking any Pentax camera out in the cold or worrying whether it will work in the cold. (I do let it slowly warm up in my bag when I come back indoors.). The lithium battery does a decent job in the cold.

The image quality of the FF K-1 is incredible, but I got the K-3 iii because I wanted a slightly lighter, smaller option when I travel or hike. I have done test shots in low light with both cameras and I think the results are similar.

As everyone has said, the auto focus on the K-3 iii is great. The joystick for moving the focus point and scrolling is great. The K-3 iii is also fast—I used to prefocus in manual to eliminate shutter delay; the K-3 has almost no shutter delay in full auto!

I shot film and had the Pentax istDL and Pentax K-5 and I have many great photos from those cameras with a fraction of the pixels in the K-3iii.

One benefit of the K-1 is built-in GPS, if Astrotracer is important. However, the K-3 iii is so good in low light that you can increase ISO and get decent star shots without Astrotracer.

My favorite lenses on the K-3 iii are the DA 21 and DA 18-135. The 55-300 would be nice for wildlife because it is fairly light. (I have the older DAL screw drive… it was cheap. Get the PLM version.)

My vote would be to start with the K-3 iii. One thing I did was buy FA lenses like the FA 35 instead of the DA 50 so I could get the full frame later. (On my crop camera, the DA 35 is a normal 50 mm and on my K-1it is a semi wide angle. A FA 50 is normal on the K-1 and a good portrait length on the crop sensor.)

Good luck. Hope this helps.
Forum: Pentax K-1 & K-1 II 06-25-2021, 12:39 PM  
K1 Bulb Mode 2
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 9
Views: 601
The long exposure Bulb mode timer was added in a firmware update, so the manual does not reference it.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-15-2021, 04:20 PM  
Questions regarding HD Pentax-DA 16-85mm F3.5-5.6 ED DC WR
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 12
Views: 698
I have both lenses and I would say the 16-85 is only incrementally better. The 16-85 does give you a little wider field of view and I think it is a little sharper than the 18-135. The 18-135 also has some funky distortion, but you would probably only notice on something like architectural photos. One down side to the 16-85 is that it is a little larger and heavier.

I mostly do landscape photography, so more field of view and the bit of extra sharpness are important to me and I don’t miss the zoom on the upper end. If I am flying somewhere or just want a general walk-around lens, I use the 18-135. If I could only have one of them, I would probably keep the 18-135.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-14-2021, 07:04 PM  
Astrotracer Type 1 or Tyoe 2 With Pentax K3 III
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 15
Views: 1,590
I finally got a clear night to test the Astrotracer on my K-3 iii. I didn’t have a real dark sky, but it was good enough for some tests.

I was shooting my K-3 iii with the Rokinon/Samyang 14/2.8 at ISO 1600, f3.5 with 40 seconds with Astrotracer. One note, I first did a rough calibration under the GPS menu and then a precise calibration under the Astrotracer menu... not sure if it matters. I also did a comparison against my K-1 with the same lens at the same time in crop mode.

First, the stars tracked great. Very sharp points of light. I didn’t push the time much; I did go out to 80 seconds and it still looked good. The noise at Iso 1600 doesn’t look bad at all. I also did some shots at 10 sec and Iso 6400 (same exposure conditions) without Astrotracer and there is more noise, but it can be dealt with in post processing. (I wanted to see if I could get decent shots at higher Iso without needing to use the O-GPS.)

Compared to the K-1 in APC crop mode, the stars looked similar and the amount of noise we similar. The noise in the K-1 shots was a little brighter and finer grained. I wasn’t able to figure out whether that was a good thing or a bad thing? Of course, when you then go full-frame on the K-1, it looks really good! I am always impressed with the low-light color on the K-1.

Overall, I was very happy with the stars on the K-3 iii. It does take longer to calibrate the K-3 iii compared to the K-1, but don’t give up—it may take a few tries. (Once it accepted calibration it was good... just took a few attempts before it was accepted.). The stars and noise were similar between the K-3 iii and K-1.

I compared Type 1 and Type 2 tracking and I agree there is less tracking but less blurring of the foreground in Type 2. Type 1 is “normal” Astrotracer. In Type 2 you get a little trailing in the stars, but much smaller trails than if you turn off Astrotracer. In other words, if you don’t want to do any post processing, Type 2 gives you a nice foreground and an acceptable starscape, but not great.

Definitely no complaints on the astro capabilities of the K-3 iii.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 06-11-2021, 10:02 AM  
New kit recommendations based around the K1 MKII - Pentax newbie
Posted By MaineNative
Replies: 95
Views: 4,636
I have the K-1 and DFA 28-105. The DFA 28-105 is a great all-purpose lens. This is a great combo to start with.

For landscapes you might want something a little wider. I rented the DFA 15-30 and it is a great lens if you don’t mind the extra weight. It is also a good lens for astrophotography.

For me, the DFA 15-30 was too heavy. Instead I use the Rokinon/Samyang 14/2.8 for astro (manual focus). I also bought a used Pentax FA 20/2.8 because that gives me a small, autofocus wide-angle lens, but the FA 20 is not good for astrophotography.

For tripods, If you have a photo store near you, I would recommend looking at different styles of heads and leg clamps—some can be awkward to use. Also remember you can mix and match tripod heads and legs in most cases.
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