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Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-03-2017, 10:56 PM  
How can I tell it's enough?
Posted By stein
Replies: 50
Views: 5,699
It's been a year now, another birthday, and guess what... Haven't bought a single lens in the past year. Replaced my K-S1 with K-S2 (K-3 II still being my workhorse) and I'm happy... Don't need another bag for lenses... I wish I could afford a nice piece of glass for astrophotography but I can live without it... (obviously) :)
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-03-2017, 12:31 AM  
F number relativity
Posted By stein
Replies: 26
Views: 2,126
Thanks, this shot was one of around twenty or more and none of them felt quite right. I picked this one as somehow everything was just right :)
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-02-2017, 09:52 AM  
F number relativity
Posted By stein
Replies: 26
Views: 2,126
And this is the best shot from the shoot. Pentax K-3 II, Tamron 90mm F2.8, 1/160, F10, ISO100, one softbox as a lightsource.

Mony_4751_BW1o1 by Robert Stein, on Flickr
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 12-28-2016, 09:50 PM  
F number relativity
Posted By stein
Replies: 26
Views: 2,126
I was testing a setup last night and made a couple of test shots with my daughter acting as a model. Shot with my K-3 II and Tamron 70-300mm Macro lens. One softbox above her head, and one fill light pointed to the background. Settings all manual,1/125, F8, 70mm, ISO100

Hannah_dec28_3 by Robert Stein, on Flickr
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 12-26-2016, 08:06 PM  
F number relativity
Posted By stein
Replies: 26
Views: 2,126
It was tricky enough to convince my wife that it was actually her idea to bring female models home for shooting** :D Actually, I basically limit the time to around some three to max four hours at once as that should be enough for more reasons. The main reason is that I kind of get tired after three hours of shooting in the afternoon/early evening as I usually get up very early (it's like 3:50AM here now and I'm already up and finished with emails and checking the stuff for the work today) Anyway, I'm a bit messed up now that you mentioned portfolios... So far I had no intention to work on a portfolio as I imagine one but once I get to have a decent number of those "yes!" shots, I might consider doing that as well. The model is also just a "plain" everyday working person who has probably absolutely no idea what to do with a bunch of photos showing her in the best light... Except for personal pleasure of feeling good about herself. That is kind of what I'm trying to get. A perfect shot of a person proving her wrong thinking she doesn't look good just because of all the lousy mobile shots she has around on social media... I usually ask the potential model to show me her best shot and I usually get two answers, one is "I'm not looking good on photos because the camera doesn't like me" or get a smudged something with insuficient amount of light shot with a crappy mobile... Anyway, I'm a bit puzzled with what you mean by "more adventurous poses" ? If you mean nude, that is kind of off the table as I'm not really willing to get into that. Yet. And so far, I'm completely happy that I get what I ask for... Asking for more might end up as cutting shortcuts. And you know what happened with red riding hood when she took a shortcut... She met the big bad wolf... :o

** Every man can be a succesful one. A succesfull man is a person who can do whatever he wants. The secret is simple: he has to convince his wife that it was actually her idea...

---------- Post added 12-27-16 at 04:17 ----------



I do get sharp focus on both eyes at around F4 but not on every shot if there isn't a sufficient amount of light. That's why I went for the monolights as I became completely aware that DIY El-Cheapo lighting setups do work some times but I can't get consistently reliable results working with such a setup. Not to mention the clumsiness of such a setup... When I get enough light, it's all okay. So, I wouldn't blame the gear yet for my own lack of knowledge, bad eyesight and lack of experience working with people :)
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 12-25-2016, 12:13 AM  
F number relativity
Posted By stein
Replies: 26
Views: 2,126
I wouldn't compare the cheap 70 Tamron zoom with any 500 prime, no expectations of that sort. Just thought asking is it worth using it at all. The answer is yes.
I shoot RAW and like it or not, do have to work on images after shooting, sometimes less (preferable) but sometimes more and the better choices I make in advance, the less time I'm wasting on lens changing, light moving/adjusting...
If I was a young woman sitting in front of a camera and watching the photographer being all messed up with his gear I'd start to feel uncomfortable. Definitely. So, I can't afford to that. It should be fun to do it and a sort of nice experience for both me and the model... One day somebody could offer me to do this for some financial compensation, but I don't hope for that neither is that my dream, goal, ambition, whatever. Still, I'm simply used to do it right. Sometimes I can afford smaller mistakes, but sometimes not... I can always afford to investigate and learn about something I know nothing about :)

---------- Post added 12-25-16 at 08:34 ----------


Kind of ended up picking the DA 35mm prime, even though it wasn't the winner in the poll :) Tastes, tastes...
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 12-24-2016, 10:54 PM  
F number relativity
Posted By stein
Replies: 26
Views: 2,126
Thanks. This is what I was looking for :)

Color rendering and final appearance of the shot will always be different with different lenses but I was definitely more into the technical aspect of the apperture thing...

There is one more thing (at least when the M and the D FA are in the game) but that is something I'll have to figure out on the way as I'm used to do all my macro shots with manual focus and manual settings. If I get a good connection with the model, I might use manual focusing as well... Then only the difference in color rendering will be the difference between the two lenses.

---------- Post added 12-25-16 at 07:41 ----------


Thanks :)

I have two Jinbei 300WS mono lights (adjustable in 60 steps independently) plus several other constant sources of light (for additional lightning if required), several backgrounds and all the its and bits I could need (soft boxes, reflectors, color gels, diffusers) and of course, sufficient amount of "juice" (D-BG5 with two sets of batteries) and two 32G SD cards in my K-3 II so I'm good with that. Making photos of people is much like driving a car - 80% psychology, 20% technical stuff. those 20% should not be the obstacle but should simply be something you simply do or don't for reasons you shouldn't think about while you do it. Those remaining 80% is the harder part if you have problems with your approach to people. I don't think I'm one of those. If I'd decide to approach someone and say "I'd like to make photos of you" I would most likely end up beaten up in a small and dark street. I never do that. I can't tell how I do that because it always depends on many things, but so far, I'm okay and all the woman I have ever asked for shooting decided to say yes, I'd like that... Guess there is something in the way I behave and the fact I never have the camera in my hand when I make an approach for the first time.
There is a set of rules I have and I clearly explain all of them when we get to the point that they ask me "how does it work?"... I'm pretty much serious and explicit about these things... No nudity or "adult content" is expected from the model. If they want to get their nude shot, they have to tell me that and ask for it - I will never suggest or ask for that. I'm married for like 30 years and have a wife and daughter so I'm not interested to get in any sort of relationship with the potential model except for being behind the camera. No touching. If I ever need to get close and say, move/straighten the hair, I do that with my left hand in a white cotton glove. I always suggest that the model comes with a friend or someone who will give additional feeling of being safe but that person should not interact by any means except with being there in the "background". I always explain what I want to get, and ask the model is there anything she wants to get in terms of final results (some woman do have really clear ideas about that, some have absolutely no preference) and then we agree on my sign language and what does mean when I ask her to turn her head to one or the other side or something like that. I use a whole set of movements and gestures to do that as they usually have absolutely no clue which side is "left" when I just say "left", so I move my head and my hand in front of my face in the direction I want them to move their head. Of course, I never forget to show them some of my printed/framed work and show them visually what I'm looking for so they can understand as clearly as possible what do I mean when I say "like it was shot in the 20's or 30's years of 20th century" And there are other things we discuss in order to get no mess anytime later...

For example, this is one of requests I had and the model was absolutely amazed and really happy about it...

Passion 2 | Robert Stein | Flickr
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 12-24-2016, 10:40 PM  
F number relativity
Posted By stein
Replies: 26
Views: 2,126
I already did some test shots with my daughter as a model but she is very different from the model (different tone of skin and not too interested to act as a model - rather sitting there like an egg) so I got the basic starting positions for the mono lights and have a complete set of various light modifiers we can play with...
I found F8 to be a great starting F number as that gives me a great chance to get a clear and sharp shot of both eyes even if the head is slightly turned aside. At F6.3 can't really get both eyes to be perfectly sharp...
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 12-24-2016, 10:32 PM  
F number relativity
Posted By stein
Replies: 26
Views: 2,126
A1: I know that at one whole F stop the results can't be compared, but I'm much more interested in what happens when the same focal length is used at the same F stop? Basically I almost never use any of the lenses wide open except the Sigma 30mm F1.4 for shooting in a theatre, but even then, I move it a bit away from wide open..

A2: yup, that lens. I'm perfectly happy with it as it was like 70€ and in mint condition, and I don't really use it a lot, but when I do I really have good reasons for that (not too friendly insects in larger numbers), and I usually do get good results as long as I avoid shooting into direct light or high contrast things like tree branches with really bright sky as background
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 12-24-2016, 10:09 PM  
F number relativity
Posted By stein
Replies: 26
Views: 2,126
Dumb title, probably a dumb question as well as the more knowledgeable will probably do a sigh and think "how come that you don't know that?" ... So, let me make this question reasonably clear so I can expect an answer I'm actually looking for instead of ... well... everything else...

Scenario: shooting a portrait/headshot/beauty shot
Lighting equipment: available

Lenses: Pentax M Macro 100mm F4 (1:2), Pentax D FA Macro 100mm F2.8 WR (1:1), Tamron 90mm Macro F2.8, Tamron 70-300mm Macro F4-5.6 and Sigma 17-50mm F2.8.
(the wider lenses I have are not suitable for the job)

Let's say I set up the lighting, model, background etc to desired arrangement. Set the ISO to 100-200 range, distance from the subject as required by the framing/composition and depending on the lens from the list above. F number, for sake of the argument set to F8. (might go up to F11 or so if I want to get more DOF)...

Let's (theoretically) compare the 100mm Pentax lenses. Both set to F8 and same ISO. (both lenses have the same FOV angle on my APS-C K-3 II) ... So...

Question #1: Should I expect any significant difference in results as one is F4 and the other F2.8 when wide open?

For some shots I expect the 100mm lenses to be too much and I have the other ones listed available.

Question #2: Can I expect the cheap 70-300mm Tamron zoom to behave reasonably well at 70mm and set to F8 or so?

Background story: I get to spend about three hours with a model who is not a professional, I make no money, she gets no money from all this, the only gain is the result we are hoping for and also hope for some good time doing it. If all goes well, she'll have a few great shots so she can feel good about herself when she looks on the framed print I intend to give her as a compensation for the time, patience and effort, I also get the right to print a few shots which I pick and keep them for my own collection of shots I can be proud of (if any). I want to use the time we have together for shooting, not looking at bad shots. Of course, I might end up with 3 or 4 hundred shots, but I expect that and I don't expect all of them to be "Wow!" I expect one of those to be like that. The perfect one. So, learning and preparing in time is what I'm trying to achieve here.
I have my job (designer/engineer/problem solver in my own company) and have no intention to go pro on photography but also suffer from that need for perfection in whatever I do. I might get a second chance to get that young woman for shooting but definitely not if I don't end up with at least one "perfect shot" or something very close to that. We already spent some time together chatting, I paid a lot of attention to her face, skin, eyes (size) and gestures so I can expect her to be relaxed in my company and we'll have a make-up person around as well which I consider to be a must in cases like this. I'll have to compensate her as well, so before I waste everyone's time and my money... I ask you..
Forum: Pentax K-S1 & K-S2 10-30-2016, 05:54 AM  
Pentax K-S1 firmware errors
Posted By stein
Replies: 4
Views: 1,035
I have the (latest) updated firmware on my K-S1 and none of the described errors occur at this end. I never used the timer mode before, but being curious, had to try it now. I found no problems in a couple of attempts I made (only shoot RAW, though) so I don't think it's the firmware...
Forum: Pentax K-1 10-24-2016, 12:17 AM  
Mosaic Pattern while Viewing Pixel Shift Image.
Posted By stein
Replies: 18
Views: 1,609
I get this from Adobe Photoshop in PSD files, not always, and not from Pixelshift ... but only sometimes and it puzzled me but once saved as jpeg for web it gets away... I just tried saving it as jpg or png with a snapshot tool but it gets away... BTW, my squares are larger... (K-3 II)
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 10-24-2016, 12:08 AM  
which monitor do you use ?
Posted By stein
Replies: 17
Views: 1,670
I'm on the low cost - big screen - not too high resolution with Samsung S27E390 (27", 16:9, 1920x1080) and it replaced Dell's 24" monitor which was in fact fine for 3D CAD use, but with image editing I found that with my vision the larger monitor just works better for me. Funny as the given resolution is in fact only about 2 Megapixels and I'm working with 20 and 24 megapixel images (when the process starts with RAW from camera) but most of the images I process end up on web where it gets crunched to maybe max 2048 pixels in width... Anyway, the 16:9 ratio works fine for me as the extra width leaves enough room for the menus and tools on left and right from the image... If I was working in full screen mode with keyboard shortcuts, I might wish for a different width/height ratio...
Forum: Pentax Price Watch 10-14-2016, 11:22 AM  
Pentax k-3 for 300 for Germans
Posted By stein
Replies: 5
Views: 776
Been there, done that. Paid to seller with zero reputation, never got my Nikon. There's luck in every misfortune. Learned a lesson, became a Pentaxian. Maybe I'm not a better photographer, but for sure, I'm 400 Euros smarter.
Forum: Pentax Price Watch 10-14-2016, 10:55 AM  
Pentax k-3 for 300 for Germans
Posted By stein
Replies: 5
Views: 776
If I was you, I'd buy a couple of those and make at least 2-300 euros on each... Buy cheap, sell cheap, make money...
That way you could start up the saving fund for a K-1 :D
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-14-2016, 10:45 AM  
How can I tell it's enough?
Posted By stein
Replies: 50
Views: 5,699
Guess I was lying. Bad, bad boy... :o Have a problem now. Can't carry all of the stuff around...:lol:
Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 became my everyday kit lens replacement, and it's usually on my K-3 II, while the DA 50mm F1.8 is on my K-S1. But it's not always like that. Sometimes I grab the Sigma 30mm F1.4 or Sigma 28mm F2.8 (MiniWide) or Sakar 28mm F2.8 MC Macro (funny/interesting thing that 28mm Macro!) but then, I might end up using Tamron 90mm F2.8 or the old F4 M version of Pentax's 100mm macro, or the D FA 100mm Macro... as far as Macro lenses go.. and of course I still have but rarely use the Tamron 70-300mm Macro... Don't use the original kit 18-55mm DAL at all... Found the "battery depleted" to be annoying so bought the D-BG5 grip for my K-3 II plus two sets of GP Recyko 2100mAh rechargeables and four more for the ring flash. The only con of the flash is that doesn't come with 49mm adapter for the ring flash, they never thought I might have two 100mm macro lenses... But I'll get me an adapter from 49mm to something bigger as it's all fine from 52mm up to 77mm :)
Oh, stop me!
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 10-06-2016, 12:36 PM  
Lens comparison testing - best practices
Posted By stein
Replies: 6
Views: 863
Start with the reviews here and see how each behaves at it's ends, especially at max reach (135 and 250mm) as usually lenses that have so wide focal lenght cover (like Tamron) usually suffer at the longest focal length. It might end up Tamron being a bit better at 135mm... I had a Sigma 18-300mm and it was fine from 18 up to some 120-150mm but beyond 180mm it was pretty much useless. Sold it, bought a used Tamron 70-300mm Macro for half of it's nominal price (it's cheap even when new) and to my big surprise it's worth more than what I paid for it. From my personal experience, you can always expect to get more from lenses that don't reach from one to the other extreme. You can do direct comparisons but I think you'll be comparing apples and oranges. I tried to compare three lenses, two 28mm F2.8 primes and one 30mm F1.4 lens. It's only 2mm difference in focal length, but they seem to be noticeably different at F2.8, two of them being wide open and one stopped down... So, numbers don't mean much... Instead, I decided not to compare them but to find out what are their weak and strong points and use them accordingly. I ended up using Sigma 28mm F2.8 MiniWide for landscapes only, Sakar 28mm F2.8 as an optional macro lens when Pentax-M 100mm F4 macro and Tamron 90mm F2.8 macro aren't the best choice and the 30mm F1.4 EX DC Sigma for portraits and theatre... However, you can still do a comparison but only to see which can be more suitable for this or that...
Forum: Pentax K-3 10-05-2016, 06:34 AM  
Accessories for K3 II?
Posted By stein
Replies: 16
Views: 2,424
It's LED and I found no problems with it's functioning. The only downside, as I mentioned, it's relatively low power, but works great if you need a fill in light. The upside is it's versatility with adapter rings for almost any lens filter thread size (not sure about 49mm for lenses like Pentax -M 100mm F4 Macro, though) and it's really low price if buying used.
Forum: Pentax K-3 10-04-2016, 09:33 PM  
Accessories for K3 II?
Posted By stein
Replies: 16
Views: 2,424
#2 I opted for Meike FC100 ring flash. Really cheap (bought mine used but as new for 15€) it's a great fill-in light, not so much for being the only source of light in dark. I use it with Tamron 90mm macro lens, usually stopped down to F8-F10 and set the shutter to something between 1/1250 and 1/2000 to get some depth of field and speed if the insect is on a brach or leave that moves from air flow. For that kind of job, simply works. There are much better ring flashes, but at higher price tag. Once I master the skill and someone starts paying for the photos I make, I might invest into something that cost 10 or 20 times more. Until then, I'm fine with it for the money.
Forum: Pentax K-1 10-03-2016, 09:21 PM  
Windows 10 Image driver for K-1 PEF files
Posted By stein
Replies: 6
Views: 2,554
I don't think so, there is only codec for older Windows and only 32bit on Ricoh site. PENTAX RAW codec software for Windows : Software Downloads | RICOH IMAGING

Microsoft has some available for 64 bit: Download Microsoft Camera Codec Pack (6.3.9721.0) from Official Microsoft Download Center but not working on Win10, there is an update for Win 8.1, also not working on Win10...

and a third party, not free... here: PEF Codec (Pentax RAW) for 64 bit Windows 8.x Desktop, Windows 7, Windows Vista, XP

Didn't try it as I only shoot in DNG.
Forum: Pentax K-3 10-02-2016, 09:27 PM  
Accessories for K3 II?
Posted By stein
Replies: 16
Views: 2,424
Tripod is a must have (if using the Astrotracer and Pixelshift capabilities) nice spacious and well padded backpack for all the lenses, at least one really fast memory card with sufficient capacity, two is better,
Battery grip (D-BG5, not necesarily original) is a good to have addition, I opted to add two sets of six-pack GP- Recyko rechargeable batteries so I can have enough battery capacity for every possible situation if needed.
Everything else is a matter of personal preference, depending on what you want to shoot. If you're into live macro (moving insects) a ring flash can be very useful. If you prefer to shoot wildlife and landscapes, it's pretty much useless.
And of course, lenses, lenses, and more lenses... :)
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 09-22-2016, 12:42 PM  
My pics are garbage! Why?
Posted By stein
Replies: 103
Views: 9,106
Download and install Fast Stone Image Viewer. It's free, really fast on any hardware even on my obsolete laptop from 2005. Follow the instructions as described:














You Tube



Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 09-21-2016, 06:44 AM  
My pics are garbage! Why?
Posted By stein
Replies: 103
Views: 9,106
Automatic setting on my K-S1 fives decent results, my K-3 II on the green gives... well.. pretty much useless piles of pixels. On the first few shootings with my K-3 II I was also a bit confused, but in time I learned how to use it, it's fine now.
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 09-20-2016, 11:31 AM  
New to Pentax
Posted By stein
Replies: 31
Views: 1,666
Good images, although the last one (with the truck) would benefit from some post-processing. Not much, just a tad here and there... At least on my end the foreground looks way too bright and it steals my attention from the subject...
Forum: Pentax K-1 09-10-2016, 01:08 PM  
Too much noise on K-1
Posted By stein
Replies: 50
Views: 7,796
I'm sure you could keep up with this all the way to ISO12800 without getting into trouble with noise. :)
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