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Forum: Lens Clubs 07-27-2020, 10:38 AM  
HD Pentax-D FA* 1:1.4 85mm Lens Club
Posted By Medex
Replies: 167
Views: 14,260
Thank you. I am trying do best what I can. But this is just my hobby.

---------- Post added 07-27-20 at 08:39 PM ----------



I am not pro as well. Shooting for fun.
Forum: Lens Clubs 07-22-2020, 04:52 AM  
HD Pentax-D FA* 1:1.4 85mm Lens Club
Posted By mtngal
Replies: 167
Views: 14,260
You probably donít realize it, but your botanical photos went a long way toward pushing me off the edge as far as this lens goes. If everyone had posted lovely portraits of beautiful models I probably would have looked, admired, and moved on to the next topic. But post incredible photos of dogs, flowers and forests and itís all over for me.
Forum: Post Your Photos! 07-21-2020, 04:06 PM  
Night Comet NEOWISE from Normandy, close-up with Samyang 135
Posted By Serkevan
Replies: 12
Views: 588
This is so impressive, wow. You've just given me a very good reason to take astro seriously and get into proper technique, frame stacking and such... it's inspiring. Thanks for sharing!
Forum: Post Your Photos! 07-21-2020, 04:25 PM  
Night Comet NEOWISE from Normandy, close-up with Samyang 135
Posted By Tonytee
Replies: 12
Views: 588
I must agree with Serkevan as I am personally at a loss for words. Many,many thnx for posting. This shot is so incredible, I would not hesitate sending a copy to NASA, or any other agencies.

Cheers,

tt
Forum: Post Your Photos! 07-21-2020, 11:41 AM  
Night Comet NEOWISE from Normandy, close-up with Samyang 135
Posted By Dan Paris
Replies: 12
Views: 588
Hi,


last night I drove away from Paris' light pollution dome and stopped the car in the middle of the countryside in Normandy, the sky was quite dark there. One can even see some faint galaxies behind the comet.








Pentax K-1 Mark II + Samyang 135 f/2

17*10 sec at ISO800 (+dark, flat and bias frames)

Stacked and color calibrated with Siril




regards,


Dan
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-22-2020, 02:41 PM  
First DFA* 85 1.4 samples
Posted By Sandy Hancock
Replies: 109
Views: 8,289
This thread is fast derailing into a potential train wreck. Please refrain from nastiness and pettiness and concentrate on the subject of the thread.

At this stage I have just deleted the excess baggage, but infractions and/or thread bans will ensue if this nonsense continues.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-03-2020, 02:12 PM  
smc Pentax DFA 100mm f2.8 Macro - Fringing stopped down to about f5.6?
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 76
Views: 2,438
Reading Steve's post, Gianclaudio, I don't believe he was singling you out for your opinion. I do, however, believe your claim that the lens "is beyond terrible, actually. F8 and you still get lots of fringing" and your advice to the OP to "stay away" are - with respect - somewhat arguable given that you're referencing your negative experiences with a single copy of the lens, against a backdrop of many, many glowing reviews and supporters.

If a lens I own performs really well, I don't question it. If it performs poorly in some way, whether optically or mechanically, I always question whether it's just my example, because we all know that copy variation is a real thing that affects most of us at some point. I don't doubt your sincerity in relaying your experiences, but I think it's important to consider other user's evidence in drawing conclusions and making recommendations. Just my two cents, of course...
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-09-2020, 08:17 AM  
Irix 45mm F/1.4
Posted By Wheatfield
Replies: 79
Views: 4,908
It will have a steep hill to climb to reach the
D FA* 50/1.4
Forum: Lens Clubs 01-12-2020, 09:34 AM  
The 50mm Lens Club
Posted By Kerrowdown
Replies: 1,858
Views: 263,954
Water droplets backlit in the morning sun, such a spectacle. :)

Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-15-2020, 06:02 PM  
The Pentax Battery Level Meter -- What it actually shows
Posted By c.a.m
Replies: 21
Views: 1,740
The Pentax Battery Level Indicator -- What it actually shows

Have you ever wondered what your camera’s battery meter is really telling you?

This article presents my study that aimed to establish a quantitative relationship between the Pentax K-3 II battery level indicator and the battery's state of charge. In other words, how much battery charge is left as indicated by the meter?

Happy to receive any comments.

- Craig



Summary

The Operating Manuals for various Pentax cameras provide scant information on the meaning of the Battery Level Indicator. The analysis reported here has determined that the indicators on the Pentax K-3 II, using an original D-LI90 battery, represent the battery charge levels shown in Figure 1, which has not been documented in the manuals or other Pentax literature.

Importantly, the findings reveal that a ‘3 bar, full’ indication can be illuminated at as low a charge as half-full, while the ‘2 bar’ indication is not nearly “close to full” as stated in certain operating manuals.






Introduction

Many Pentax cameras implement a battery level indicator, either on a top-panel LCD, a rear information screen, or both. Typically, the top LCD indicator illuminates up to three segments or 'bars', depending on the charge state of the battery. The indicator in the rear screen uses colour – commonly, green, yellow or red. By themselves, the battery indicators provide only a coarse qualitative cue of the state of the battery's charge. Furthermore, operating manuals for various Pentax cameras do not provide any details to guide a user to accurately understand the battery level or how many shots are left.

Operating manuals for certain older cameras, such as the K-30, K-50, and K-5 II, provide a brief description of the Battery Level Indicator. Unfortunately, more recent manuals, such as those for the K-3, K-70 and K-1, omit such information entirely, so those users have little insight into the meaning of the indicator. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence that the implementation or precision of the battery indicator have changed over the years, so it likely functions similarly across the older and newer camera models. Therefore, it is assumed here that the information that is available in some manuals may be applied generally.

According to the Operating Manual for the K-5 II, the LCD indicator represents the following 'battery levels':
- 3 bars: Full
- 2 bars: Close to full
- 1 bar: Running low
- no bars, but illuminated: Almost empty
- no bars, blinking: empty, or end of useful charge.
The following analysis quantifies the four battery levels and relates the state of battery charge to the indicator status. This study did not intend to analyze the number of shots possible from a fully-charged or partially-discharged battery. Also, the scope of this article precludes a thorough description of battery ‘fuel gauge’ implementations or an analysis of the dynamic discharge characteristics of the Pentax battery under various operating modes.


Li-Ion Battery Discharge Characteristics


As shown in a post by PF member @AstroDave ( Some Pentax D-LI90 Battery Charge/Discharge Measurements - PentaxForums.com), and illustrated in various manufacturers' technical data sheets, the voltage across a Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) cell decreases with its discharge state; the more energy drawn from a battery, the lower its voltage. A battery’s State of Charge (SOC) is defined as the fraction of the maximum possible energy charge present in a rechargeable battery, commonly expressed as a percentage. For example, a fully-charged battery has, by definition, an SOC value of 1.0 or 100%; a battery that is discharged halfway has an SOC of 50%.

Estimating a battery’s SOC accurately and precisely is difficult because few relevant physical parameters are measurable while a battery is in use. A simple scheme may measure the battery’s voltage to infer the SOC, but the relationship between voltage and remaining capacity is not strictly linear. However, under typical discharge conditions, a healthy Li-ion battery exhibits a roughly linear, sloped voltage-capacity profile across most of its discharge cycle until it is nearly exhausted. The voltage decreases approximately proportionally to the SOC over most of a discharge cycle, so the SOC may be inferred from the measured voltage. Using the open-circuit (no-load) voltage (Voc) generally provides more accurate results than the closed-circuit voltage (Vcc, i.e., under operating load), which is affected by a cell’s variable internal resistance and the circuit’s operating current.

SOC estimates based on Vcc can have errors of 10% or more, especially at the ‘tail end’ of a discharge, but this may be an acceptable trade-off for this practical and relatively simple method. Using Vcc is suitable for determining the relative state of charge, but is not appropriate for measuring the battery’s actual capacity in mAh.

The Pentax D-LI90 battery consists of two cells, almost certainly model 18500, from an unknown manufacturer. The battery has a specified nominal voltage of 7.2 V (3.6 V per cell), a maximum charge voltage of 8.4 V, and a typical end-of-discharge cut-off voltage of 6 V. A new, fully-charged battery in its relaxed state will show an open-circuit voltage of approximately 8.4 V. It has a rated capacity of 1860 mAh.


Image files contain battery voltage data


Unlike the Exif data for most other camera brands, fortuitously the Pentax Exif data include three tags related to the camera battery (Ref: Pentax Tags, Pentax Tags , revised 11 December 2019):
- BodyBatteryVoltage1 (‘V1’)
- BodyBatteryVoltage2 (‘V2’)
- BodyBatteryState.
The battery voltages are interpreted in volts, while the state is registered as an integer that is encoded as follows:
1 = Empty or Missing
2 = Almost Empty
3 = Running Low
4 = Close to Full
5 = Full
This information may be readily extracted by using an Exif reader application such as ExifTool or ExifToolGUI. Typically, the battery information appears in the Makernotes section of the Exif structure.

It is not known at which pick-off points in the camera the two voltages are measured, or what parameters they actually represent. Lacking a design specification or model to relate the two voltages, this study used Voltage1 to characterize the discharge profile, assuming that it measures the operating closed-circuit voltage.


Transition Levels for the Battery State

The basic methodology in this study involved looking at the Exif data in hundreds of my existing image files, in particular sets of images that included sequences of many tens of images taken at short intervals during single photo outings or lens focus-calibration sessions. ExifToolGUI was used to scroll through the files while looking at the battery tags in Makernotes. Stable transitions in BodyBatteryState and their associated battery voltages were noted, i.e., Full --> Close to full, Close to full --> Running low, etc. Some 20 such discrete transitions were identified. Each set of similar 'transition voltages' was averaged to find a valid value pertinent to each battery state.

Across the images, three D-LI90 batteries had been used arbitrarily in the camera: date stamped 201805, 201509, and 201207. The two older batteries are believed to be satisfactorily healthy despite their age. A battery grip was not employed.

In addition, the study also examined two special sets of image files, in which controlled battery life tests had been performed on a single battery (dated 201805). Besides incorporating the image files from these two tests into the broad Exif inspection, they were used to establish the value of Voltage1 at full charge (7.46 and 7.45 V) and full discharge (6.0 and 5.9 V), which are key parameters in this analysis.

The voltage transition points are indicated in Table 1. Assuming the linear discharge profile mentioned above, the state of charge was determined as follows:
Full charge: V1max = 7.455 V (average 7.46, 7.45)
End of useful charge (EOC, i.e., empty): V1min = 5.95 V
State of charge (SOC) = 1 - ( (V1max - V1) / (V1max - V1min) )



Corroborating Tests

One of the special test sets, called 'Series 3', was used for a different methodology to relate the battery state indication to the state of charge. Series 3 started with a full battery and achieved 370 shots before the battery was depleted. The number of shots associated with each Body Battery State was determined from the Exif data, and their percentages give an estimate of the SOC divisions. For example, as shown in Table 2, 47% of the images had a Battery State of 'Full', which correlates well with the estimate determined from the overall image sets. While the findings do not agree perfectly across the two methodologies, they are reasonably close.




To further validate the methodology and corroborate the findings, another dedicated battery discharge test was conducted using continuous video recording segments. Recording was started with a freshly-charged battery. At various times, the recording was stopped, a still image was taken immediately, and the open-circuit voltage was measured on the extracted battery using a digital voltmeter. The recording test was continued until the battery indicator was observed to transition solidly to ‘2 bars’.

The pertinent data from this test is given in Table 3, while Figure 2 shows the open-circuit voltage and BodyBatteryVoltage1 (V1) as function of operating time. Of note is the full-charge V1 voltage of 7.49 V, which is about 0.5% higher than the values seen in the other two series (7.46, 7.45 V). This suggests that the battery had achieved a slightly higher full charge.

The transition to 2 bars was registered at a Voltage1 value of 6.74 V, compared to the average of 6.67 V and a maximum reading of 6.71 V seen in the main data set.








Conclusion

The overall findings are summarized in Figure 3. The vertical bars indicate the Voltage1 values associated with each battery state, while the maximum state of charge (SOC) of each state is given above each bar.




In summary, the Battery Level Indicator on the K-3 II, using a genuine Pentax D-LI90 battery under normal operating conditions, indicates the following battery charge status:

- 3 bars: battery is charged 100 – 50 %
- 2 bars: 50 – 33 %
- 1 bar: 33 – 15 %
- no bars, but illuminated: less than 15% charge remaining.

If a user sees 3 bars, the camera has at least 50% of the battery charge remaining – it’s not below half. Two bars indicate at least 33% charge – still good for perhaps a couple hundred more shots under modest battery consumption. A single bar could mean as little as 15% battery power remains. No bar means that there is still some 'juice' left, but the camera will shut down soon, especially under power-hungry functions such as Live-View – it’s time to swap batteries.
Forum: Lens Clubs 11-25-2019, 03:54 PM  
300mm plus Lens Club: discuss your long lenses
Posted By Aaron28
Replies: 34,608
Views: 3,461,957
sigma 150-500 os...k-3ii...Guntersville dam, alabama

Forum: Sold Items 11-07-2019, 10:38 AM  
For Sale - Sold: Tamron SP AF 300mm F2.8 LD-(IF) 60EP for Pentax
Posted By sergysergy
Replies: 9
Views: 1,379
more pictures
Forum: General Photography 10-14-2019, 06:09 AM  
What's Been Your Experience with KEH.com Lately? Mine... not so good
Posted By brewmaster15
Replies: 43
Views: 1,882
I bought a F*300 a few months ago... It was rated Excellent. Physically it was. Optical or mechanically, something was screwy. I have had one for years here and love it dearly but my AF no longer worked, saw this one at KEH and decided to try it. The one I bought from KEH ,I could not get a sharp image no matter what I did , , no AF adjustments worked.. Sent it back. They were very professional and refunded as soon I returned it. Nothing bad I can say there about the Customer service. I don't think they tested that lens though...I think it was inspected for appearance and sent out. ..but thats just me guessing .


I've used them over the years with no issues and would again.

al
Forum: Lens Clubs 10-22-2019, 01:18 AM  
300mm plus Lens Club: discuss your long lenses
Posted By alfa75ts
Replies: 34,608
Views: 3,461,957
Raven:
Forum: Lens Clubs 10-22-2019, 05:55 AM  
300mm plus Lens Club: discuss your long lenses
Posted By Mbaez
Replies: 34,608
Views: 3,461,957
A cutie in his kingdom.

KP + 55-300 PLM

20190923-095600-12_C1 by Marcos Baez, on Flickr
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 04-09-2019, 05:28 PM  
So Nice To Be Remembered and Cared About!
Posted By jcdoss
Replies: 20
Views: 1,694
Tell them your real name is stevebrot inc, and you're a corporation and not a person since they seem to not have any obligations to pay taxes.
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 04-05-2019, 10:08 AM  
A "Professional DSLR" for $26? - Full Review [bandwidth warning - many images]
Posted By BigMackCam
Replies: 46
Views: 5,191
A "Professional DSLR" for $26? - Full Review




Introduction

Photography can be an expensive hobby, and a significantly more expensive professional vocation - especially if you choose to shoot with the latest equipment. For hobbyists, a current entry-level camera body and a brace of decent auto-focusing lenses can cost $1,000+, while professionals need pockets that are many times deeper, with bodies alone costing upwards of $3,000 - and that's before high end glass is added.

It was with great excitement, then, that I learned of a recently-released "professional DSLR camera" with a typical online price of just $26 including shipping. Such a product, I realised, could level the playing field for photographers regardless of their available budgets.

At this early stage, the new camera - as yet unbranded, and with no definitive model designation - isn't available from major distributors, but can be readily acquired from internet auction sites.




Product Images







Specifications

The features and specifications given in various auction listings aren't entirely consistent, but the user guide helpfully lists the following:

(a) System Requirements

The Video Recorder is applicable to a PC with below conifgurations or above.

Windows XP/2000/ME/98 SE Operation system or above
Intel Pentium III 500Mhz CPU or above
Support USB 1.1 port or above
4xspeed CD-ROM or above
200M hard disc or above

(B) Features

Image sensor 16 Mega Pixels CMOS Sensor by interpolation
Video Clip 1080P (1920x1080) 30fps / 720P (1280x720P) 30fps by interpolation, VGA (640x480)
Build-in microphone Yes
Build in speaker Yes
PC camera VGA : QVGA 320 x 240
Build-in Memory: No
Storage Media SD (up to 32G), MMC, Support SDHC
Digital Zoom 16x Digital Zoom interpolation
File Format JPEG / AVI
LCD Display
PC Interface USB 2.0
Power Source 4 x AAA Batteries (DO Not included in the accessories)
Supported O/S Microsoft Window 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, VISTA

(C) The package shall contain all the accessories below, please contact your retailer if anything is missing or damaged. List of package contents

Video recorder
Usb cable
User manual

The above duplicates, but in some aspects differs from, the specifications given in various online auctions - one example of which reads:

Specifications and parameters of the CMOS sensor, up to 16 million pixels
Storage medium can be expanded to 32 gb SD card/HCSD card
Automatic sensitivity, ISO100, ISO200, ISO400
Lens fixed lens F / 3.2, F = 7.6 mm
1.2 m - infinity focus range
Static images jpeg/VGA, 1 m, 3 m, 5 m and 12 m, 16 m (interpolation)
Clips AVI 1080 p, 720 p VGA
16x digital zoom, zoom
Image stabilization function support
LED lighting lamp < 1.0 m range opening/closing
Automatic white balance/sun/cloudy/bulbs/fluorescent lamp
Exposure compensation - 2.0 + / 2.0
Take time off / 2 seconds / 5 seconds / 10 seconds
Computer usb interface (high speed)
Automatic shutdown 1/3/5/10 minutes
The built-in microphones
The speaker built-in
2.4 inch TFT - LCD LCD screen (230000 pixels, 4:3)
NTSC/PAL video output
Power lithium ion battery NP-5c
115 (long) X48 size (high) X50 (wide) mm
Weight about 220 g


Despite some question-marks over the notable differences between official and quoted specifications, it's clear this camera has an interesting feature set!

Testing reveals that the lens and sensor offers a field of view more-or-less equivalent to a 50mm lens on a 35mm "full frame" camera, with a fixed aperture and focal distance that ensures everything is in acceptable focus. Whilst this may seem limiting, the simple technique of "zooming with your feet" works perfectly to increase and decrease the field of view. Furthermore, panoramic stitching of multiple frames - using free software such as Hugin - offers countless opportunities for wider angle captures, whilst selective use of blurring in post-production offers all the background and foreground blur any photographer might need. A simple and elegant solution, I'm sure you'll agree.


What's in the box

The cardboard retail box is reassuringly six-sided with a handy opening lid, emblazoned with clear images of the product and quoting a selection of its disputable features. Even at first glance, the buyer will be encouraged by the presentation.

The contents of the box are pleasingly minimalist... just the camera itself, pre-fitted with wrist strap and tethered lens cap, protected by an efficiently-thin bubble wrap, a USB cable in a clear plastic bag (I have seen none clearer in all my years of photography), and a comprehensive single-sheet English-language user guide.










Hobbyists and enthusiasts may be disappointed by the lack of additional accessories and materials provided, but professionals will undoubtedly appreciate the reduced clutter, confident that they have received exactly what they paid for and nothing more. Major manufacturers take note: There is no need to provide CDROMs, cables and documentation in every conceivable language. This increases the unit cost and is of little benefit to most buyers.

One notable omission from the kit is a battery. Contrary to the official specifications and online auctions which stipulate AAA and NP-5c lithium ion batteries respectively, the camera takes 4 x AA batteries. It would have been nice to receive a set of these as part of the retail package, but since they are inexpensive and widely available, it's not a problem. Excluding them was clearly intended to optimise unit cost and comply with international shipping regulations. Given the price of OEM battery packs for competing cameras, I believe the end user's interests were prioritised here.


Construction and Handling

This camera is constructed entirely from synthetic injection-moulded materials, with the exception of the strap lugs which are metal. It feels comfortable in the hand, with an extended grip area at the rear, and a textured thumb-rest. The shutter button and controls operate with a satisfying click which reverberates through the body to confirm successful operation. The flash button raises the LED "flash" via a sturdy spring mechanism. There is an internal microphone at the front of the camera, next to the lens, and a speaker at the top. A rubber door on one side of the body opens to reveal the SDHC card slot, USB interface and headphone socket. On the underside of the body we find a threaded tripod socket (made from the same sturdy material as the body, and the locking battery door, which is slightly fidly and stiff to operate, but closes and locks securely. The lens is protected by an integrated clear "filter". Sadly, there is no thread to allow fitting of additional filters, but judicious use of inexpensive duct tape allows filters of any size to be securely attached.

In contrast to the quoted dimensions, I measure the body to be approximately 118mm at its widest point, 86mm in height at its tallest, 56mm in depth (including grip), and 114mm from the lens cap to the screen. It weighs just 176g, and 272g with 4 x Energizer Max Plus batteries installed. Not dissimilar in size, then, to a Pentax K-70 plus standard kit zoom lens - but considerably lighter. This is a camera you can carry all day without breaking sweat.

Whilst there is no mention of weather resistance, it's my belief that the manufacturer has applied a "cost versus risk" approach. In the event of failure due to dust or moisture ingress, complete replacement of the unit would cost less than the shipping fees to return most other cameras for warranty service. As such, I conclude that the weather resistance capabilities are excellent, though implemented in an unconventional way. Thinking outside the box, one might say.


User Interface

The top panel of the camera hosts the power on / off, shutter, zoom in and zoom out buttons. The flash release / activation button is on the side of the flash housing. On the rear of the camera, to the right of the 2.4" LCD display, are the mode button, a four way control cluster with multiple functions, and an unmarked centrally-placed "OK" button.

When powering up the camera, the screen displays a "WELCOME" message, for which I am grateful - I am indeed made to feel most welcome for every shoot. When powering down, either using the power button or when the camera automatically switches off to save power, a "Goodbye" message is displayed. I feel this is somewhat final and abrupt. "Until next time!" or "Come back real soon, now, you hear?" might have been preferable, but perhaps screen real-estate dictates the brevity.

The camera defaults to stills shooting mode. Two others, video and playback, are supported. Each press of the mode button cycles between these three modes, and each has its own dedicated menus and on-screen information markers.


Stills mode

In stills mode, the "camera" icon is shown in the upper left corner of the display, with EV compensation, file quality, resolution and number of shots remaining shown along the top. In the lower left corner is the battery life indicator, and in the lower right, a status indicator to show whether an SD card is installed. Pressing the down button on the four way control cluster switches increases the EV compensation by one third of a stop between the +/-2.0 limits, looping round to -2.0 when the upper limit is exceeded. The up button selects the resolution, with each press reducing the resolution from 16M to 12M, 5M, 3M, 2M and 1M respectively, before looping back to 16M. The zoom in and out buttons reduce or increase the field of view accordingly, and the shutter button captures a shot. The right button on the four way cluster, marked for playback, switches into a limited playback mode showing the image last captured. From here, the up and down buttons will cycle through other captured images on the card.

The left button, marked "M", enters the menus. The shooting menu provides adjustments for resolution (16, 12, 5, 3, 2 and 1M), timed and burst shooting (single shot, 2 and 10 second timer, and 4 shot burst), file quality (super fine, fine, normal), Exposure (EV) compensation, and on / off selection for date and time labelling and format. The settings menu provides adjustments for date & time, auto power off time, screen saver time, sounds (shutter sound on / off and beep volume), language, display frequency (50/60Hz), card formatting, return to default settings, and firmware version display (v1.10 in this camera).

As a point of particular note, this DSLR constantly shoots in Live View mode, and there is no mirror to move out of the optical path when a shot is taken. Coupled with the fully-electronic shutter, this allows for near silent shooting if the shutter sound setting is disabled.


Video mode

In video mode, a video camera icon is showin in the upper left corner, with EV compensation, recordinging resolution and remaining recording time shown along the top. Battery and SD card indicators are also displayed.

Entering the menus, the shooting menu provides adjustments for resolution (1080P [1920x1080], 720P [1280x720] and VGA [640x480]), cyclic record (3, 5 and 10 mins) for looped recording, exposure (EV) compensation and date labelling. The settings menu is the same as for stills mode.

Videos are shot at 30fps.


Playback mode

On entering playback mode, pressing the right hand cluster button displays the last photo or video captured, along with the "play" icon in the upper left and the index number / total files in the upper right of the display. The up and down cluster buttons cycle up and down through the image and video files stored on the SD card. For video files, the first frame is displayed. Pressing the unmarked "OK" button in the centre of the cluster will start and pause playback.

There is just one menu for playback, providing functions to delete and lock files, and one to display thumbnails.


Overall, the modes menus are easy to navigate, and the user interface is straightforward, whilst offering a wide variety of settings.


Firmware Omissions and Bugs

Since the camera reviewed is an early model with v1.10 firmware, there are - unsurprisingly - a few minor omissions and bugs in firmware functionality:
  • stills resolution settings of 16, 12, 5 and 3M all produce images of 1280x960 resolution, while the 2M setting produces 640x480 images

  • 1M images are recorded incorrectly, resulting in corrupt files, locking up the camera on playback

  • video settings of 1080P and 720P produce videos of 1280x960 resolution (VGA correctly produces 640x480 files)

  • file quality settings of super fine, fine and normal all produce the same quality of files, with no change in recorded detail, compression or file size

  • the digital zoom function only works on the live view image, and not on the recorded images

  • metering is not yet (as the documentation would suggest) switchable between centre, matrix and spot (I suspect centre-weighted is used)

  • selectable in-camera playback effects for B&W, sepia and various colour styles (listed in the documentation) are not available


As you would expect, none of these issues seriously impacts use of the camera. Metering aside, all other limitations - resolution, field of view / magnification, file size, colour and monochrome effects - can be dealt with efficiently using free post-processing software such as GIMP. This requires the user to learn the post-processing software and techniques, but professionals will consider this to be "bread and butter" stuff, and by no means a barrier to successful shooting.

On one occasion during testing, my stills were recorded at just 320x240, for no obvious reason. A factory reset resolved this issue. Looking at the numbers and maths, those of a doubting nature might jump to the conslusion that 320x240 is the base resolution of the sensor, with the 640x480 and 1280x960 resolution images merely being scaled. However, I will let the images and video later in this review speak for themselves.

Lastly, the date & time labelling setting occasionally reset itself to the default of "On", as evidenced by a number of the test shots shown later in the review. This is a little frustrating, but if the user checks the settings before shooting (as any professional would), it isn't a problem. As an alternative, spot healing can be applied in post-processing to remove the overlayed information without significantly impacting the overall quality of an image.

Given the price and recent release of the camera, we can surely forgive these small inconveniences and be confident that firmware updates will address them in the very near future.


Drive Modes and Flash

The camera offers single shot, 2 and 10 second timed shot, and burst drive modes. The single and timed shot modes are self-explanatory, and work as you would expect. The burst mode takes four shots at approximately one second intervals, ideal for birds in flight, sports and other fast action scenarios. Some enthusiasts would wish for fast burst shooting, but this simply results in many near-identical shots. Here, the manufacturer cleverly ensures there will be enough difference between each captured scene by increasing the delay to around one second.

The "flash" is in fact a powerful LED light that switches on just before the shot is captured and switches off just after it. There is no recharge time, and the useful range is approximately one metre - more than ample for most situations, I think you'll agree. Unfortunately, off-camera flash is not supported... potentially a serious omission, were it not for the luminosity of the on-camera LED.


Focusing


Since the lens is of fixed focal length, aperture and focal distance, auto-focus simply isn't required. Let me repeat that for your due consideration... Auto-focus isn't required. As a result, there's no delay in focusing, no hunting, no continuous AF tracking inaccuracies, no AF fine adjustment to worry about, no noisy screw-drive or risk of sonic motor failure. It is impossible to over-state the benefits of such a system, and how liberating it can be to shoot. Critics will bemoan the lack of distance-specific focusing, but - once more - I ask them to reserve judgement until they have reviewed the sample images. Seeing is believing.


General Image Quality

And so to the part everyone has been waiting for...

This section of the review is, of course, limited slightly by the firmware omissions and bugs already disclosed - to wit, a maximum available resolution of 1280 x 960. Even so, this is more than enough resolution for the majority of applications, and future firmware updates can only improve upon the results obtained.

When I took my first test shots with the camera, I was pleased with the results when played back on the unforgiving 230k 2.4" LCD screen. But when I downloaded the images to my PC and viewed them in GIMP, nothing could have prepared me for what I saw. White balance and colour accuracy are both admirably decent, but it's the rendering that - frankly - left me quite speechless. I have never before witnessed straight-out-of-camera images of this quality from any camera.

I did notice some very mild noise reduction, and perhaps a little sharpening too. But let us not forget that Pentax's current flagship full-frame camera, the K-1II, also uses such techniques in its processing chain.

The following shot, re-sized in GIMP to an optimal 320x240 but otherwise unedited, was taken on a sunny day in my garden:




And now, the same image at 100% pixel-peeping reproduction:




The combination of lens, sensor and in-camera processing have revealed and rendered aspects of this scene that I've not previously noticed in straight-out-of-camera files from any other camera.

This last image (shown first at 320x240, then full size) is cropped, scaled and sharpened in GIMP to provide a narrower field of view and significant magnification. Observe how this simple technique, combined with the sensor's native image resolution and clever in-camera processing, offer possibilities for much tighter and longer-range shooting without significant loss of image quality:






Unfortunately, the fixed focus lens proves limiting for macro photography, and more research is needed to improve close focusing (perhaps using lens attachments).


Video Quality

Again, limited slightly by current firmware, presented here is example video footage shot at maximum available resolution (I encourage readers to copy the video URL and view it in a separate browser tab, so it can be resized and assessed more closely):
















Youtu.be




As can be observed at the start of the video, there is very slight rolling shutter effect when quickly panning left and right, yet nothing that should dis-hearten the determined cinematographer. Note the effective image stabilisation and exposure compensation as light and contrast changes within the scene.


Photo Samples

The following photos are unedited, straight-out-of-camera images. First, shown at an optimal resolution of 320x240:




... and now, at 1280x960, 100% pixel-peeping reproduction:






















Conclusion

This camera represents a valiant effort to make professional photography accessible to all, regardless of budget. For this, the manufacturer must be applauded.

However... restrictions to resolution, metering options and exposure compensation in the early firmware, and the lack of off-camera flash control, mean that it doesn't quite compare with flagship professional DSLRs from the major manufacturers just yet. As a result, the photographer who chooses this camera for professional engagements will be something of a maverick, one who is ready to accept a few challenges in order to get the very best end results. His reward, though, will be the look on the face of his client when he presents the portfolio of his shoot... ;)

:D:D:D
Forum: Ask B&H Photo! 02-26-2019, 04:10 PM  
Heads up B&H
Posted By Ex Finn.
Replies: 4
Views: 1,251
Shipping a USD 1400.00 lens with a single sheet of bubble-wrap at the bottom of a box...
May I suggest a friendly talk with your shipping department.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-17-2019, 06:19 AM  
Pentax * lenses do they live up to the reputation and why
Posted By aslyfox
Replies: 84
Views: 9,970
time to admit something publicly

my wife has been very good to me

she has allowed me to obtain ( among other lenses and equipment ) :

two of the " * " lenses discussed here

SMC DA * 300mm F4 ED (IF ) SDM
HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 ED DC AW

as well as the prime DA Limited Lenses

SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited

her one consistent rule: " you bought it, you haul it "
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-12-2019, 06:23 AM  
DA* 55 1.4 SDM Problem
Posted By Kunzite
Replies: 31
Views: 2,727
Oh, no, not this again. One idiotic Youtube video, and people would so readily believe it...
There's no such capacitor - one that requires minutes of charging (not the tiny ones you barely see on control board). There can't be any such capacitor. Piezo motors don't require such capacitors, they're not *((*@&# flashes! If they did require it, they would work like flashes, i.e. one AF movement and then 1-3 seconds pause until the capacitor recharges.
Besides, this theory means that every SDM lens would be dead on arrival because they're not constantly powered on all the way from the factory to your home.
Disassemble the lens, try to find such a capacitor, and if you do find it I will buy your lens at a new-in-box price, and eat it.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-04-2018, 04:13 PM  
Feel like I have too many lenses.
Posted By clickclick
Replies: 54
Views: 2,937
Really? Too many lenses? Ha! Not even close. No full frame prime wider than 20? No primes over 100? Nothing vintage from Zeiss?

Hold on while I put together an LBA 101 class for you. We have work to do!
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 12-26-2017, 07:01 PM  
Is Medium Format Worth It?
Posted By disconnekt
Replies: 20
Views: 3,229
"Is it worth it, let me work it, I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it" #sorry, couldn't help quoting Missy Elliott based off the thread title 😁😁
Forum: Post Your Photos! 12-05-2017, 10:04 AM  
Pets I miss my cat
Posted By ZeljkoS
Replies: 3
Views: 547
Forum: Post Your Photos! 08-21-2017, 11:25 AM  
Landscape Eclipse From Wyoming
Posted By Colorado CJ
Replies: 16
Views: 1,197
The eclipse was awesome! Here's a quick edit from one of my shots.

More to come later!

Eclipse 2017 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr
Forum: Photographic Technique 06-30-2016, 06:46 PM  
How to take your own portrait? Using K-3ii, DA* 55mm, & tripod
Posted By wissink
Replies: 20
Views: 2,107
I've been playing around with this in my basement lately. Last year I simply focused on something then tried to approximate the exact location. I used a regular lamp with a $5 softbox overtop from ebay. This year I've been playing around with Yongnuo 560IV's and the Tx and some ebay soft boxes on stands. I have a medium gray cloth hung on a dowel and two hooks. I can do some high or low key using this based on how I set up the flashes. I was also given an old small square LCD computer monitor. I now have it hooked up via a couple of cables. K3 -> HDMI -> DVI. I then shoot myself in live view so I can see when my face turns white (focus peaking). Unfortunately I still can't see it well enough (visually impaired--I normally sit six inches from my 27" monitor) so a lot of trial and error is needed. I started by using the self timer and running back and forth. I'm now using a cheap remote shutter release. I'm fairly pleased with some of the results. Here's a few. The one with the wide brimmed hat was last year with the cheap lamp and mini soft box. The suit is new and more sophisticated so I had to get more sophisticated with my selfies or soemthing.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B12dWDIYqmC0MVJKaWJ6TmpLMGM

This is coming from someone who can't really see himself in a mirror, but it does feel quite strange repeatedly posing and I guess coaching yourself for protraits. I never do selfies otherwise.
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