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Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 05-09-2010, 08:35 PM  
Tried a Nikon
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 19
Views: 5,726
Having just bought a D700 and a D90 all I can say is that I agree about the menus (though you get used to anything with time) but the performance and reliability are very convincing.

In RAW the D90 offers about a half to one stop less ISO noise, more DR esp in shadows, and usable AFC. The D700 offers at least another stop of noise (more at high ISO) and a stop more DR but the AF performance is in a different league not just from the K7 but from the 5Dmk2 as well.

The controls for most general shooting purposes are similar enough that I dont notice already (2 dials like Pentax, similar on-off switch, shutter button placement, AF and AE lock placement, EV compensation etc). Its only when changing settings that its a pain, though some things I actually like, such as programmable buttons).

I miss Pentax of course, but I made the transition for business reasons and I am not going back.
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 05-09-2010, 05:50 PM  
Poll: Pentax Fullframe Exodus
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 72
Views: 13,842
Doubtful. Pentax is so expensive now in the UK I could never afford to go back. :(

On the other hand I got a decent price for my equipment compared to what I paid. I never thought I would look at a Nikon as good value but thats been the effect of the price rises over here.

If Pentax become mainstream and manage >10% of the market, perhaps third parties will take them seriously. I would like them to succeed. Nikon and Canon could learn a lot from Pentax about ergonomics and competition improves the breed but judging by the rather clunky interface on both systems they are only looking at each other.

But the Nikon gear works well and I am quite happy with it.
Forum: Non-Pentax Cameras: Canon, Nikon, etc. 05-09-2010, 09:34 AM  
Poll: Pentax Fullframe Exodus
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 72
Views: 13,842
As one of the switchers, I should add that the only reason I switched was to buy into a better supported system and rationalise my kit.

The K7 is a fine enthusiast camera, and apart from the high ISO noise, there is not much wrong with it. The ergonomics in particular are excellent. Romours are there is a model above that due at Photokina which will likely compete on even terms with the 7D.

However I had far too much Pentax gear that never got used (15 lenses including many premium ones) and was offered a good trade in deal for a D700 and just enough pro lenses (new and second hand) to cover the bases. So I took it.

If I was not trying to launch a business I would not have bothered.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-13-2010, 08:54 AM  
best place to shop used camera London England
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 13
Views: 11,032
SRS Microsystems in Watford has by far the best selection - its a 15min fast train ride from Euston, and a 10 minute walk from the station to the store.

Used Equipment - SRS Microsystems

Chiswick Cameras near Chiswick Park Tube (District Line) have a selection as well, though not as comprehensive there are some interesting lenses and they generally have more in stock than they actually list, so worth a visit (and hey, Chiswick is a nice place too).

Chiswick Camera Centre

No-one else comes close and believe me I know. I live here.

Nicholas Cameras in Camden does a lot of second hand gear but generally old stuff in poor condition (and not cheap). Best avoided.

Most of the main stores in central London either dont do second hand gear at all, or simply do very little Pentax gear. You may occasionally find something at Jacobs (New Oxford St) or London Camera Exchange (The Strand) but there is no guarantee.

Don't even bother walking into Jessops, they will tell you Pentax went out of business and they no longer sell second hand stuff.

So, sorry to report you will have no luck in central London but venture a little further west, or north west, and you should find something of interest.

Have fun
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 04-13-2010, 04:54 AM  
Pentax at Photokina
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 67
Views: 18,983
500mm for a 35mm SLR.

300mm is quite long on an APSC camera at 450mm. A 400 F4 would be quite big, but provide as much reach as Pentax's longest regular tele (if you ignore the hyper-rare lenses).

I've used an FA* 400 F5.6 which is a nice compact lens. Not fast but easy to hand hold. Would love to get hold of one.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 04-13-2010, 02:41 AM  
Pentax at Photokina
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 67
Views: 18,983
K7 replacement will be due for at least an announcement according to regular product schedules. Kx more likely next year, but you never know. I can't help thinking there will be a more entry level camera and the Kx replacement will be more upmarket.

Or maybe a new mirrorless camera?
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 04-12-2010, 05:45 PM  
Pentax at Photokina
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 67
Views: 18,983
Photokina 2010 is here....
The Fair - Dates and opening times - photokina

Do you have Google?

There are loads of rumours flying around but my guess is Pentax will come out all guns blazing. Europe is currently one of their key growth markets outside Japan, so its likely they will save a lot of their big news items for then.

What they may be, one can only speculate, but a couple of new APSC cameras would not surprise anyone.
Forum: General Talk 04-08-2010, 03:32 PM  
Obama calls nuclear strategy 'significant step'
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 94
Views: 8,060
Er, well, it could definately be launched mistakenly though perhaps not accidentally.
Forum: General Talk 04-05-2010, 01:25 AM  
A small essay about science and evolution
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 427
Views: 54,348
If you accept that one aspect of your "truth" is open to debate, then it casts doubt on everything else you pass off as the "truth". The trouble with literalism is that its all or nothing.

Either the bible is the literal truth, or it isn't. If the basis of your authority is the former, then every argument to the contrary is a direct threat to that authority.

And that wont do.
Forum: General Talk 03-27-2010, 06:29 PM  
A small essay about science and evolution
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 427
Views: 54,348
Thankyou. My point, in a nutshell. Science and religion are trying to answer different questions hence each can embrace the other. It's only when the bible is used as a literal device to deny scientific thoery that the two come into conflict.
Forum: General Talk 03-26-2010, 08:29 AM  
A small essay about science and evolution
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 427
Views: 54,348
Except that Western science has been adopted universally and there is no competing mantra.

---------- Post added 03-26-2010 at 03:51 PM ----------



Rubbish. Science neither proves nor disproves the existance of God, but it does disprove biblical and other theological accounts of the origin of the universe.

Do you think the world was created in 6 days with all the current species present and that all humans came from Adam and Eve? No? Well then who is being dogmatic? You or those that believe it because I assure you the two are mutually exclusive. Creationism is not a "competing theory" its not a theory at all.

Most world regligions including the heads of most christian communions are now COMPLETELY OK with evolution and accept much of the old testament as alegory. I dont think anyone has a problem with that. They are not arguing with scientists about the facts of science, only about the application of that knowledge.

Its only literalists who seem to have an issue with evolution (and science in general) but then they have an issue with just about everyone including other christians. As a scientist I could attend services at my local anglican church without hypocrisy, but I certainly could not attend a literalist church of any description.

So I say again, who is being dogmatic?
Forum: General Talk 03-26-2010, 08:04 AM  
What is, a socialist?
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 56
Views: 6,339
No "Socialist State" ever adopted ideological socialism and all of them restrict civil liberties. How could they do otherwise if they are also authoritarian? All eventually end up furthering the party's own ends at the expense of the people whilst maintaining a veneer of populism.

Since China relaxed its economic model, I would argue the lot of Chinese citizens on the whole has improved dramatically.

The official definition of China's (and Vietnam's) economic system is a Socialist Free-Market which is a from of socialist biased mixed economy (western Europe is a capitalist biased mixed economy) that it enables free enterprise and ownership but within a regime of central controls and regulation. The difference is the degree of control and regulation, which is why China would look at the US and Canada and see only minor differences.

You can call it what you want but I think Confucian Capitalism is a term widely used in reference to South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore as well as Japan to explain the one-time explosive growth of those economies. Although Hong Kong followed the same model, mainland China does not even though it is adopting elements of it.
Forum: General Talk 03-25-2010, 08:58 AM  
What is, a socialist?
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 56
Views: 6,339
Do you actually understand what socialism is?

Socialism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Canada like all of Western (and now central) Europe is substantially capitalist, not socialist, in that it continues to promote free enterprise and individual ownership of the means of production and free markets to control distribution and demand.

However, these economies have adopted ideals from social democrats to curb the worst excesses of unadulterated capitalism, namely the exploitation and suffering of the poor and lack of opportunity. Included amongst these are tax funded services such as education, healthcare, police, social benefits and legal defense. The same countries also advocate some regulation of capital markets which has gained traction after recent events.

Most Europeans and I would assume Canadians and pretty happy with this small consession to socialist ideals as representing a reasonable balance. Europe (including the UK) went a long way down the nationalisation route and it set our economy back 20 years. We sold off many of those industries, but there is still debate across all of Europe about where to draw the line, though noone doubts that there IS a line and it needs to be drawn.

The US, at least until now, has resisted the healthcare issue mainly it seems because of scaremongering and downright lying by the insurance lobby who are getting fat off their own citizens.

However, they would be pretty peeved if they had to pay the fire department to come to their house and put a fire out or of they had to pay to send their kids to a local school. They also have a university system that manages not to put their kids in poverty for 20 years while still providing widespread access to higher education. Something the UK could learn from.

Similarly, while there is always scope for improving nationalised healthcare, I dont know of a single European (or Canadian) that would want us to adopt the previous US system even though many of us have lived in the US and have first hand experience of it.

But to anyone living in China, the differences between the US and Canada are pretty much window dressing. China is very much a socialist country.
Forum: General Talk 03-17-2010, 07:02 PM  
A small essay about science and evolution
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 427
Views: 54,348
No I do not believe that is the purpose of science. Science is simply a philosophy for understanding the universe, not our role in it, though that may become plain once we understand more about the origin of the universe at the moment of the big bang. However, it often stumbles upon something profound and throws religious dogma into turmoil. Some examples include the Earth orbiting the Sun (since accepted), the age of the Earth (largely accepted) and the theory of evolution (not accepted in Texas). I suspect if life is found on other planets, that will have implications as well.

But each scientist follows his or her own purpose within the framework of knowledge and philosophy that science provides. Science in itself has no higher purpose other than to understand. Its up to humanity to decide what purpose to persue once armed with knowledge and there religion has a role.

I will turn the question around. If the purpose of religion is to understand the purpose and meaning of existance, why does it also consider it has a role to explain the what and the how? The universe is there for us to see, its not hidden away. Its just very mysterious and hard for most to understand but it is utterly amazing.

Most religious scholars I know personally do not have any problems with science, only its application. Its right that religion should consider matters of purpose, morality, social cohesion and spiritual wellbeing. For example, it is right that religion should have an opinion on the morality of genetic engineering, but it would be pointless to deny that genetics exists. It clearly works. However, if you accept it exists, then you have also to accept Darwin because genetics has absolutely underlined and reinforced evolutionary theory.

There is no real conflict between the two, they could even be seen as complimentary. One philosophy for the brain and one for the soul, intellect and emotion, ying and yang.

Perhaps they will converge once we reach a sufficient level of understanding, but we are only just stepping out on the road. However, one does not and cannot prove or disprove the other. They are orthogonal philosophies. Arguably both serve a purpose, but it is not the same purpose.

The vast majority of Christians and Jews accept the old testament as allegory - a simplification of events that tell a story. All religions however ancient tell of the origins of the world, but we regard most of them as stories. To accept this, and to accept scientific advances, does not make you less of a Christian, at least according to the Pope or most Bishops I know. It does not dilute the message of Jesus (or Mohammed). Some people have an issue with that, but here despite my lack of faith I side with the majority of Christians. Evolution can work just fine as part of God's great design, as indeed can the Big Bang.
Forum: General Talk 03-17-2010, 01:26 PM  
A small essay about science and evolution
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 427
Views: 54,348
Nothing else? It's amazing how many things that were once attributed to the divine have since proved to be entirely explainable within the realm of the physical world. We dont need miracles to explain the Sun, the Moon, computers or aircraft. Why do we need them to explain stuff we have yet to understand? Insecurity?

Will we ever have all the answers? Perhaps it depends on whether the question makes sense in the first place.
Forum: General Talk 03-17-2010, 04:28 AM  
A small essay about science and evolution
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 427
Views: 54,348
Actually the pre-Christian Greeks knew the earth was round and did experiments to prove it and measure its diameter using objects floating on the sea at different distances. They were surprisingly accurate.

Most of that knowledge was lost towards the end of the Roman empire and throughout the (early Christian) Dark Ages. (Following edited for completeness). Only a core of esoteric knowledge of classical history and mathematics was maintained and jealously guarded by the church and the masons (who built for the church). Science was almost entirely moribund for more then a millennium. It barely advanced in all that time. Only the rediscovery of Greek classical knowledge in Europe following the fall of the Ottoman Empire which led to the renaissance from the 14th century onwards began to turn the tide, but just as the Church slowly accepted aspects of the Greek version of the universe (with Earth at the centre) where it conformed to scriptural prejudice, they remain stubbornly resistant to anything that challenged this view until well into the 17th century when Galileo's support for the Copernican theory of the heliocentric solar system led to his arrest by the inquisition for heresy and house arrest until his death.

So does the earth go round the sun or vice versa? Perhaps you agree that the evidence all points to the opposite view. Well, check out all the evidence that supports Darwin. Its overwhelming.

Perhaps the effects of dark-age superstition have not quite worn off.

If science is bunk and scientists are stupid, how does your computer work? Dont understand? Well, I know plenty of people who know exactly how it works on a theoretical and practical level. So just because you dont understand something does not mean it isnt true or that people who do understand it are wrong.

As for climate change, its a model. Several in fact. Models based on complex maths and different evidence. Whats interesting is that so many agree at least on the principles. However it would be impossible for them all to agree on the severity. The truth is it may be a lot worse than predicted.
Forum: General Talk 03-14-2010, 07:35 AM  
What is a Christian?
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 417
Views: 29,156
Any interpretation such as yours is self evidently not just, merciful, or loving if it implies that the default position (post death) is damnation irrespective of conduct.

Especially when most of the worlds population are not even christian.
Forum: General Talk 03-13-2010, 05:06 PM  
What is a Christian?
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 417
Views: 29,156
Because they are made in their God's image? ;)
Forum: General Talk 03-13-2010, 04:58 PM  
What is a Christian?
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 417
Views: 29,156
So my father, who was never self righteous and sought no salvation for himself, is in hell? What kind of a god is that?

Ah well, at least he has Ghandi to talk to.
Forum: General Talk 03-13-2010, 11:41 AM  
What is a Christian?
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 417
Views: 29,156
There are two distinct uses of the word Christian - in mostly Christian based western societies the adjective "christian" as applied to behaviour is used synonymously with "charitable/kind/understanding etc." in other words "behaving in the same way Jesus reportedly did when on earth".

Of course it means something rather different in some other parts of the world :)

I have no issue at all with people who's behaviour is "christian" even if they are atheists, hindus, moslems or buddhists. Strangely, most of them preach a very similar morality.

Then there is a Christian as relating to a follower of Jesus Christ, that is someone who accepts the existance of Jesus and his status as the Son of God and attempts to interpret the messages in the biblical account to guide their life. This goes beyond "christian" behaviour of course and spills over into marriage, law, crime and punishment.

Strangely, being a Christian is no guarantee of being christian.

At the tender age of 10, shortly after my own confirmation as a catholic, I came into conflict with that oldest of all christian establishments. You see my mother was catholic and my father an atheist, albeit one with immense humanity and sense of fairness who risked his life more than once to save others. When told by a priest outright that my father would be unable to enter heaven because of his lack of faith, it occurred to me that the God they were talking about was being somewhat churlish to turn aside someone who's actions were by instinct unfailingly "christian" even if his beliefs were not. After all, as a human I would not deprive a starving man of food because he doesnt like me or accept my word, so why would God?

Even worse, I subsequently failed to find any two so called experts who could give me a consistent steer on the subject and I decided they were all making it up, an opinion that I have not changed to this day after confronting the bewildering variety of interpretations of "the word of God". "They can't all be right", say I, "so I would lay odds that none of them are."

I have been a humanist ever since. I believe you dont find morality in god, you find god in morality and that moral behaviour is actually innate in our species and vital for its well being. Where I suspect I differ from most Christians would be in my definition of morality. I cannot for instance understand how a christian or a Christian could condone the death penalty and oppose women's rights.

For me, the fatal credibility flaw with many "religious types" remains their conviction that they, and only they, will enter heaven and that only the "righteous" will share paradise. Moreover the rest, despite the most petty of sins, would be consigned to eternal damnation. That always struck me as a rather extreme punishment.

If I had to spend an eternity with anyone, I would rather spend it with people I actually like. My idea of Hell would be the only atheist surrounded by fundamentalist christians :)
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 03-11-2010, 05:02 PM  
645D lost the competition
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 77
Views: 13,445
And Wheatfield manages to disparage both of them ;)
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 02-26-2010, 01:24 PM  
Anecdotal evidence for superior Pentax AF
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 64
Views: 16,058
Like I said the K7 takes more reference points and the K20 is not very good at acquiring focus to start with, but if it does it will compensate for motion. The car in this picture was doing over 100 and the shot was taken with a 400mm lens - you can see from the road that the focus point is spot on despite the speed of the car. And this with a K10D which was even worse than the K20D.

There were times when the K10D simply failed to acquire or react fast enough to movement, but it is predictive - just not very effective.

http://i.pbase.com/o6/89/257389/1/80885621.JN5VyWrs.IMGP2341postsmall.jpg

Note the K7 is way better even if it does slow down the frame rate a bit.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 02-26-2010, 03:35 AM  
Anecdotal evidence for superior Pentax AF
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 64
Views: 16,058
Actually, they both do, to the extent that it allows for time-lag before the shutter opens. However, with fewer reference points, its much less effective at close quarters, low contrast or random movement.

However I generally have no issues with motorsport, air-shows or other similar events provided the light is good and the background is not too busy. For bird or wildlife photography its not good at separating subject and background, and doesnt help you maintain focus on a small object when panning like a multipoint system does.

Is the Nikon D300 better in more cases, yes of course. However in some situations the Pentax system is entirely adequate such that it may even come down to the lens used. My K7 is certainly a major improvement over my K20 in that it takes a lot more smaller increments when focusing continuously (even if you dont press the shutter).

Incidentally, having used the 70-200 F2.8VR on a D2X I cant say its all that fast. Both Canon versions are faster, especially the 70-200 F4 which is really quick.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2010, 08:46 AM  
Make me Feel Good with Getting K7 over 7D!
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 27
Views: 5,310
OK, the 7D has....

No high-grade EFS format, sealed lenses. The L grade lenses dont cover suitable FLs for a cropped camera (eg 16-35/ 17-40 are only 2X zooms and very heavy, the 24-70 is not very wide. The EFS 17-55 F2.8 though good is cheaply made and most of the rest are only "OK" optically).

Mirror lockup is a PITA. Still.

Only 10X magnification on review (vs 32X). Impossible to check critical focus.

No green button or hyper-manual modes, no TAv or Sv exposures and pretty rubbish auto-ISO implementation.

No ability to use pancake or LTD primes.

No WB adjust on image review.

in fact lots of things I use every day.

What does a 7D have? Faster frame rate and AF tracking. I don't shoot sport or wildlife so I am unmoved by this. Hi ISO noise in JPEG is better, in RAW is comparable once processed properly. Resolution is close enough to be more lens dependent than anything else.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-18-2010, 04:55 AM  
K-7 vs K-x, 500D, D5000, D90 - Why is the K-7 a better camera?
Posted By *isteve
Replies: 101
Views: 15,568
Indeed the 14-24 is probably the best performing rectilinear wide angle lens on the market. Pentax does not have anything close to that wide (would need to be 9-16mm anyway) and the Sigma 12-24 is nowhere close in optical terms and nor is the Canon 16-35 F2.8. However, its not a lens I would choose to use daily or for travel. Its big, heavy and very vulnerable and I just dont use anything that wide.

I would argue that the Pentax 12-24 is probably as good in real terms as the 14, 15 and 21 mm lenses and the 16-50 is pretty close to the 21, 35, and 40 at least when stopped down a bit. But the point is, Pentax HAS a 15mm prime and the Canon and Nikon FF equivalents are pretty pants.


Also, if I was going full frame, 12MP would not cut it for me. I would go the Canon route with the 5Dmk2 right now unless Nikon decide to update the D700 with the D3x sensor. Also, Nikon have no equivalent to the 70-200 F4 IS which is a nice, light general purpose lens. The 70-200 F2.8 is very good but I would never take one on holiday.
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