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Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 18 Hours Ago  
Hello from Kelowna
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 21
Views: 354
Kendra, if you're OK with manual focus, then a great lens is the SMC-A 50mm/1.7. These are available used for about C$60 or so, in mint shape. I have the older M-series version (no camera control of aperture), and it is outstanding, but a bit more fiddly to use on a dslr body. Most Pentax 50's are very sharp and excellent quality. A good resource is our lens review section: Pentax Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

There's a DA 50/1.8 which has autofocus, and is very reasonably priced, even new. The FA 50/1.7 is also said to be excellent, works on full frame if you ever upgrade to a K-1, and reasonably priced too.

Another option, if you can put up with a loss in speed, are the 50mm macro lenses. They cost a bit more, and start at f2.8 as max aperture, but offer the versatility of macro function. I have the autofocus D-FA 50/2.8 macro and it is excellent - my sharpest lens, with wonderful colour depth. I think I paid about $200 for mine, in mint shape. This lens also has a manual focus ring and aperture ring, so will work on my film bodies too.

Re. manual focus, as a general comment, I have found that manual focus on Pentax dslrs is not the easiest thing to work with. The focus screens are made for autofocus, so when using manual focus lenses things don't really snap into focus like they do on my film bodies. It's all a bit vague, so I end up relying on the green hexagon focus aid in the viewfinder, which I quite dislike. You may want to stick with AF lenses for now.

Hope this helps!
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 22 Hours Ago  
Hello From Toronto!
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 20
Views: 308
You might check with Downtown Camera. They usually have a couple of Pentax bodies and lenses to ogle over.

I just checked their website and they have the K1ii, K70, and KP in stock.
Downtown Camera

Nice, helpful people there too. Always a pleasure to shop there. And they really care about the film shooters in the GTA, which matters to me.

Not sure about stock at Henrys or Vistek. Personally speaking, I've rarely had good service at Henrys...they can be rather aloof and indifferent. You might have had better experience. Vistek seem to have a good crew though -- pretty honest and forthright, not pushy.

Then there's Aden Camera, but I've never shopped there so can't comment one way or another.

Good luck! Ask away if you have any questions on the models and lenses.
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 1 Day Ago  
Hello From Toronto!
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 20
Views: 308
Welcome from the northwest of the GTA! I'm a long time Pentax shooter since the early '80s (MX), and have just recently dipped my toe into the Pentax dslr world (K5ii and K10D). After having also used several other digital systems in the past couple of years (Fuji X; Nikon full frame), I couldn't be happier with my choice to stick with Pentax. Just outstanding cameras for image quality (no. 1 priority); usability and ergonomics; seamless backwards compatibility to all my old film era lenses; and weather sealing(!). The latter is a big deal for me, as I do a lot of hiking and mtn. biking, often in rain and snow, and having the reassurance of a weather sealed camera and lenses is wonderful. -20C and puking snow....no worries....Love it!

Enjoy the forum! Lots of friendly, helpful folks here.
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 1 Day Ago  
Hello from Kelowna
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 21
Views: 354
First category: grizzly bears (definitely hard to work with; bear spray in a hip holster mandatory)
Second category: waterfalls (amazing! they say there are 75 waterfalls within a 60km radius of Tumbler Ridge! I will be seeking all of them out :) )

This is assuming you weren't referring to the human kind of models, that is :)
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 3 Days Ago  
Hello from Kelowna
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 21
Views: 354
Welcome from Caledon, Ontario and Tumbler Ridge, BC (where I've been working the past few months). BC is indeed a photographer's paradise, as I've been discovering. You will certainly not be lacking in subject matter. Enjoy the forum. Friendly, helpful bunch here.

Regards,
Svend
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 3 Days Ago  
Interesting experience with Topaz sharpen AI
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 20
Views: 1,364
Good one! Sounds promising, esp. if you're getting that size straight out of camera.

I looked at your examples in your new group -- very impressive. Particularly the black and white crop. It retained a very natural, gentle contrast, and does not have that harsh etched look that over-sharpening often creates. Very nice indeed!
Forum: Digital Processing, Software, and Printing 3 Days Ago  
Interesting experience with Topaz sharpen AI
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 20
Views: 1,364
Thanks for the feedback. I will check out your new group -- I saw your intro post on that, but haven't looked recently.

I will likely be printing mostly 11x14 size, and up to 16x20. If I can do 20x24 for really special images, then I would be very happy, but I am a bit sceptical that the K5ii can go that big. It would be great to hear your experience with print sizes from your K5.

FYI, I have some good glass -- DA 12-24; DA* 50-135; and a bunch of carefully curated and quite sharp manual focus primes and zooms (both Pentax and 3rd party...Vivitar Series 1, for example). I shoot a lot with a tripod or monopod. So I am confident that I am getting the best out of the camera in terms of optics and technique.

Subject matter ranges from nature and landscapes, to urban and architecture. Good sharp, detailed, noise-free images are important to me. As is tonal depth (actually this is primary in my mind, more important than anything else).

Looking forward to exploring your new group, and participating if I end up getting Topaz.

Regards,
Svend
Forum: Pentax Compact Cameras 6 Days Ago  
Tough compact camera for the mountains.
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 16
Views: 1,052
That's good insight. Thanks Miguel! I believe the sensor in my G1X mk1 is roughly 18x14mm -- so slightly smaller than APSC, but larger than micro 4/3rds, so still a respectable size. Definitely not a tiny sensor like in the other G-series models, old or new. The IQ I get out of it backs that up -- very detailed, sharp, noise-free images at moderate ISOs, with great colour depth. Still, the mk3 seems to be a winner, what with the evf and weather sealing. Ticks some of my boxes that I'm missing in my old mk1. And if the sensor is APSC then that's another bonus.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 6 Days Ago  
Question regarding storing liquid dev.
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 9
Views: 410
Clip test means that every time you prep a roll of film for developing you will have a little piece of clipped off leader (both 35mm and 120 film) that doesn't go onto the reel. Don't throw this out, but use to test your developer activity and fixer for exhaustion. All tests are done in room light, not in the dark.

Developer test:
-- take a small amount of your developer (working strength, preferably, and at your working temperature) and put it in a little dish or ramekin
-- drop a piece of your clipped off film leader into it and swirl it around occasionally (agitate) for the approximate time you would develop the roll for
-- if it turns completely black the developer is good; if a shade of grey or no change, then your developer is toast and should not be used
Easy peasy. You don't have to be diligent about agitation or anything -- this is just a test to see if it goes black or not....just give it a swirl every minute or so.

Fixer test:
-- take another (separate) piece of your film leader, dry, and put a single drop of working strength fixer in the center on the emulsion side (the matte side, not the shiny side)
-- start a timer and check it at about 3 minutes, again at 5 minutes, and again at 7 minutes
-- the spot where you put the fixer should be completely clear and transparent, whereas the surrounding emulsion will be dark grey; if the spot is not fully clear after the full 7 minutes, the fixer working solution is exhausted and should be dumped. Fresh fixer will clear a film easily within 3 minutes. Also, if you're using tabular grain films like Kodak Tmax or Ilford Delta, the clearing time is a little longer, so add about 2 to 3 minutes to all of my above times for these films.

And that's it. Very simple. I do clip tests as a matter of routine whenever there is even a hint of a question of developer or fixer age. I do them while I'm prepping all my other session bits and pieces so they take no extra time really.

Hope this helps -- highly recommended to get into this habit. It may save you a lot of heartbreak running a film through old chems that comes out badly.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 6 Days Ago  
Question regarding storing liquid dev.
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 9
Views: 410
+1 What he said ^^^^

You might check with the tech sheet from the developer manufacturer about keeping properties for that particular product. Most are short lived - a few months after opening - but some stock solutions keep for very long periods, up to several years (e.g. HC110, Rodinal). I'm not familiar with Arista stuff, so can't advise on it, but take a look at their website. In addition to Bob's suggestions about keeping the air out, some people use compressed inert gases to purge the air out of the bottles and replace it with a gas that will not oxidize the developer. Protectan is photography specific, but some use compressed gas (nitrogen I think) meant for keeping wine fresh in the bottle, which is probably a lot cheaper.

BTW, there is no need to dispose of diluted working strength fixers and stop bath until they are exhausted. You can run many films through working strength fixer and stop baths before they are exhausted. Again, check Arista's tech sheet on fixer capacity for how many films a dilute solution will cover, or do a clip test on a piece of film leader (if you're not sure how to do that, ask away...it's dead simple). Finally, check if your stop bath is an indicator type -- it will turn purple once exhausted...pretty unambiguous as to whether it's still good. Again, don't dump it after only one film run -- that's a pretty expensive and wasteful way to process films :(
Forum: Pentax Compact Cameras 04-05-2021, 05:55 AM  
Tough compact camera for the mountains.
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 16
Views: 1,052
Good one Miguel! This may not be what the OP is looking for, but it certainly was helpful to me. As you may have read, I have the original mk1 version of the G1X, and I love it. Fantastic camera. Ugly little thing, but great to handle...very intuitive, and does everything I need on a hike. I am constantly amazed at the image quality it puts out. More detail and resolution than my K5ii, and lovely natural colours.

I find only a few things lacking on the mk1 -- lens speed (max aperture is slow), a good viewfinder, and close-up capability. I got around the latter by buying a 58mm filter adaptor and can now use one of those cheap screw-on close up lenses. Resolution drops a wee bit, but IQ is still very good.

If the mk3 version is as rugged and equals the IQ of the mk1, plus a faster lens, an EVF, and weather sealing, then I'd get one in a heartbeat. I didn't even know the mk3 existed actually...I will check it out. Thanks for posting that.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 04-02-2021, 05:58 AM  
Good Bye K5, Welcome Back MX
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 33
Views: 1,538
Niels - you'll be pleased to hear that Pentax will work at much colder temps than a mere -10C. I grew up on the Canadian prairies, where winter temps are bitterly cold, and regularly used my MX at -20 to -25. The K5ii is no slouch either - this winter I've been working in northern BC and spent every weekend hiking for hours with the camera, and it worked perfectly down to -30. Never even had a battery die on me. Very impressive. The photographer gave in before the camera did :). As a side note, I was delighted that the main controls on the camera were still usable with heavy gloves on...great design.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 04-01-2021, 02:30 PM  
Good Bye K5, Welcome Back MX
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 33
Views: 1,538
Pichur -- I can relate to your experience. It took me the better part of a year, using only my K5ii and no film cameras, to really come to terms with the basic functions of the camera. It's like I am interacting with a computer, which feels antithetical to creative image making. When I'm taking a picture I think more about how to work the camera than what I am seeing and composing.

One of the biggest struggles for me is understanding how the sensor responds to exposure, and trying to relate that to my past experience and understanding of how different films and developers respond to exposure. I still have a lot to learn there, but I'm getting it slowly. Thank goodness Pentax put a sensor in that camera with such a wide dynamic range -- fantastic.

As I said, I like the K5ii for colour images, but for black and white it just doesn't cut it....at least not yet. Maybe my editing needs major improvement, as I see some good work done by others with the same or similar cameras, but I'm just not twigging it. Then again, maybe nothing can beat PanF or FP4 in a good camera and sharp lens :)


Niels -- hard to argue most of your points :)... I could disagree with a few, but that would be pointless. Don't get me wrong - I do really like digital, and can see so many benefits and plusses in the format. But strictly speaking for finer black and white work there really is nothing like the look of film....at least for me at this point. Perhaps I will get better with some learning about the post-processing part. But there's also the intangible part of shooting b&w film -- it's the feeling of active engagement in the craft and creative process of making images for printing and display. That part is completely lost for me in digital, and I miss it.

Fun discussion...

All the best,
Svend
Forum: General Photography 03-31-2021, 05:50 AM  
50mm 1.4 as a walk-around lens
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 24
Views: 950
Hi Gary,

Great to hear that you're on the mend now and getting out with the camera! That's gotta feel so good :)

As for a 50mm as a walk-around lens, I will just comment on the focal length, rather than the 50/1.4 you mention. I have never felt that 50mm was a "natural" and intuitive focal length for walk-around use. For years I used it on my MX for travel in Europe and elsewhere, and while it was OK, I didn't realize how much better a slightly shorter focal length was until I bought a Rollei 35SE with a 40mm lens. Suddenly everything I looked at through the viewfinder appeared as I visualized it before raising camera to eye. Later I learned that Leica (I think) had done a study back in the '40s or so, and found that 43mm was equivalent to the field of vision of the human eye, and therefore was the best natural focal length for a standard or normal lens.

So, respectfully, I suggest you consider the FA 43mm Limited (SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database ) as your walk-around lens. It has the added advantage of being smaller than the 50mm, while still being fast and optically top notch. Try it....you may just join the many here who find this the ideal focal length for a normal lens. You'll find a few threads here on that topic if you do a search.

Best,
Svend

PS -- the 43mm (and 40-ish lenses in general) are just that much longer than 35mm that they don't feel or shoot like a wide angle, in case you're thinking that it's too close to a 35.

PPS -- I see Kwong has just suggested the 43 Ltd. as well...faster keyboard than me :-)
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-29-2021, 09:41 AM  
Good Bye K5, Welcome Back MX
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 33
Views: 1,538
Pichur,

Your post resonated with me in some ways. I feel much the same as you, at least when it comes to creating black and white images. I'm OK with the output from my K5ii for colour, and I find the better the lens the better the image quality becomes. But mostly I like shooting black and white, and after two years I have not been able to get satisfactory results out of this camera, no matter what or how hard I've tried. When I look at my film scans, I am struck by their clarity, subtle tonal gradations, and depth of tones. The b&w images from the K5ii, OTOH, are lacking all those things and look unsophisticated and crude by comparison. Even the cheap flatbed scanner (Canon 9950F) I use for 120 negs gives way better results than the raw files I get from the K5ii. I'll keep trying...for a little while longer...one final attempt to up my b&w processing game. But I am on the verge of chucking all efforts at b&w digital and going back to 120 and 35mm film. Even in colour, although I like the K5ii images, I find they are missing fine detail and clarity -- my little digital compacts give better clarity. I'm not convinced a camera upgrade (to a KP or K1, for example) would fix that dissatisfaction.

BTW, I also have an MX, which I've had since about 1982. It's one camera I will never sell. So simple and intuitive. Makes all the faffing about with a dslr seem like such a headache.
Forum: General Photography 03-24-2021, 01:12 PM  
Summary of modern hot-shoe-mounted light meters
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 10
Views: 580
Great work! Thank you for doing this. I had no idea there were so many of these. I was only aware of the Reveni and KEKS units. I've been looking at these for some time to use with my 120 folding cameras. Then there are some really interesting vintage 35mm cameras out there too that would be fun to use and have great optics, but which I have shied away from due to ancient selenium meters or no meter at all. These meters would make using them a much less fiddly experience. Great concept.

Let us know if you buy one and how it works out.

Cheers,
Svend
Forum: Pentax Compact Cameras 03-15-2021, 11:26 AM  
Tough compact camera for the mountains.
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 16
Views: 1,052
Maybe not all G-series are built the same. My old G1X is pretty solid. Really well made. Far more rugged than, say, the MX-1 that I had. The newer G1X mk2 seems similar to my mk1 version.
Forum: Pentax Compact Cameras 03-15-2021, 10:23 AM  
Tough compact camera for the mountains.
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 16
Views: 1,052
If it's fixed, non-zoom lens and large sensor you're after, three models come to mind that may serve you well: Nikon Coolpix A (apsc; 28mm equiv. fixed lens); Fuji XF10 (apsc; 28mm equiv. fixed lens); and Fuji X100 series (apsc; 36mm equiv. fixed lens). The latter is a little larger than your GR, but not by much I think. I've used an X100F and was really impressed by the build quality. It has more features than the XF10 too - the hybrid OVF/EVF is a pretty neat trick.

OTOH, the Nikon and XF10 are probably closer in size and functionality to your GR. I don't think any of these are weatherproof though.

Personally I have an older Canon G1X (mk1 version), and I love it. Built like a brick, cheap to buy (so no tears if I drop it off a cliff), large sensor (just a wee bit smaller than apsc, but bigger than M4/3), and an amazingly sharp lens. Image quality is excellent. But it is a fixed lens zoom, a bit bulky for a compact, and not weatherproof either. The mk2 version is smaller yet, with an innovative control setup and optional EVF attachment. I carry mine in a hip pack when hiking and mtn. biking, and hardly notice it's there. I'd buy another if it ever breaks. Oh, and it has a built-in ND filter, which is nice to have.

All of the above shoot RAW, btw.

Hope this helps. Good luck in the hunt!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-08-2021, 03:48 PM  
Infinity adjustment, DA 12-24 on K5ii
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 24
Views: 1,044
For sure -- well worth the extra cost. I'll see about ordering that one soon.




OK -- good to know. I kinda thought it might be. Thanks for the insight.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-07-2021, 08:16 PM  
Infinity adjustment, DA 12-24 on K5ii
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 24
Views: 1,044
Great to hear Steve. If brighter than the S-type and better for manual focus than the stock screen, then I'm in. I used the 12-24/f4.0 yesterday under dim late day conditions in a forest, and it was tough to see properly. Really dark through the viewfinder. I was not impressed. I'll see how much the K-3 is order from B&H. Thanks for the heads up on that...I would not have looked there.

Edit: just checked B&H, and it looks like they sell the K-3 only in Nikon size (of course), so I'd have to cut it down. Not sure I want to try that for fear of ruining it. I attempted that once with a screen for my Rolleiflex and managed to put a nice gouge in a corner of it :(. I may just pay the bucks to Focusingscreen.com and have them make me one to fit.

---------- Post added 7th Mar 2021 at 22:26 ----------

Do you have any experience with this one?

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/640680-REG/Pentax_38579_ML_60_AF_Cros...7&sts=pi&pim=Y

It's made for the K7 but will fit my K5ii. Pentax OEM, stated to be good for manual focus. Price is right too - about half the K-3 from Taiwan.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-07-2021, 07:54 AM  
Infinity adjustment, DA 12-24 on K5ii
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 24
Views: 1,044
Steve, I looked at the K3 screen and it looks promising. How would it be for manual focusing for slower lenses (f3.5 to 4)? Brighter than the S-type? My only other concern would be that it's a split image. Doesn't that mess with the camera's metering?
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-06-2021, 10:24 PM  
Infinity adjustment, DA 12-24 on K5ii
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 24
Views: 1,044
Yeah, I've read that the hood for this lens is massive and awkward. I've been using an ugly el-cheapo collapsible rubber hood (one of those 3-in-1 designs) that I took off another lens, and it seems to work quite well. Better than nothing, and I don't think I will bother buying an OEM hood.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-06-2021, 01:55 PM  
Loose front section, DA 12-24
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 18
Views: 936
Update here: it turns out the lens was off on infinity focus, so with the help of some of the PF crew (here: Infinity adjustment, DA 12-24 on K5ii - PentaxForums.com) I was able to test and tweak it. It needed +5 focus adjustment at infinity and (thankfully) the same at close focus (~1.5 metres). So all is well. I will take it out for a hike this afternoon and give it a good field test too. Looking forward to seeing what this famous lens can really do now that it's all adjusted.

Thanks all for the help and advice here.

Best,
Svend
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-06-2021, 01:47 PM  
Infinity adjustment, DA 12-24 on K5ii
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 24
Views: 1,044
A quick update here on some testing and adjustments that I did today...

I ran a series of tests of using the method described by kh1234567890 in post no. 6, and found that the infinity focus was indeed off and needed an adjustment of +5 to nail it. Honestly, it was hard to tell between +5 to +7 at 150% zoom on my screen, so I went with what looked best at 100% and 120% - it was a coin toss, honestly. Interestingly, and tellingly, at the zero mark (no adjustment) the focus confirmation beep wasn't happening, which I hadn't even noticed before...same for all minus settings - no beep. Once I got the lens tweaked though all was good.

Then I ran another set of tests at closer focus of about 1.5 metres just to confirm that the setting didn't throw that off, and again +5 was best. Sweet! Problem solved.

After testing the 12-24, I was curious about manual focusing with a couple of other lenses (DFA 50/f2.8 macro and DA 50-135/f2.8) to see how well they worked with the new screen. Thankfully all was perfect - no issues at all. The camera nailed AF every time, as did MF in live view (naturally) -- but using optical MF I was able to do the same. No issues with this screen, at least for two of my faster lenses. I'm still not sure how the screen will work with slower lenses, with the 12-24 being my most-used one at the moment. Steve - I may take your advice and check out that K3 screen from Focusingscreen.com. I have some rather nice MF lenses that I'd like to use, some of which are f3.5 or f4.0 -- I will keep using the S-type for a while and see well how it works for those, and then decide.

Thanks to all for the great advice. Much appreciated! Feels good to have this issue done and dusted, so I can get back to using that terrific 12-24.

Best,
Svend
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-04-2021, 01:29 PM  
Infinity adjustment, DA 12-24 on K5ii
Posted By Viking42
Replies: 24
Views: 1,044
That's really good info to know Steve. I was wondering why I was getting unexpected metering results with my slower lenses, in particular with this 12-24 lens. In fact, now that I think of it, since I installed the screen I have basically been using three lenses -- the DA 12-24/4.0, DA 50-135/2.8, and FA 50/2.8 macro. Blown highlights are happening with the 12-24 when I wouldn't have expected them. Now I know why. Thanks for that.

Really wondering now whether I shouldn't put the stock screen back in and just suck it up and live with the poor manual focusing.

Life was so much simpler when I only shot film :D
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