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Forum: Photographic Technique 05-08-2019, 01:07 PM  
Landscape Landscape photos of mountains and valleys from hilltops
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 11
Views: 696
Heureka!

"So if you are wondering how some photographers manage to get rich colors in their photographs, particularly when it comes to the sky, foliage and distant subjects, you will find that in many cases, they heavily rely on polarizing filters." from How to Use a Polarizing Filter
Forum: Photographic Technique 05-08-2019, 12:58 AM  
Landscape Landscape photos of mountains and valleys from hilltops
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 11
Views: 696
Thank you all for the tips. Can you please elaborate on the polarizing filter, there are quite few types...
Forum: Photographic Technique 05-07-2019, 07:48 AM  
Landscape Landscape photos of mountains and valleys from hilltops
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 11
Views: 696
Hello landscape photography enthusiasts,

I would like to know what are the best practices for shooting landscape + valley photos from hilltops. I am currently living in Austria next to the Alps, so I took my K-5 with the Pentax-M 28mm f/3.5 out last time I went hiking. When I reached the top, the view was amazing, so I took couple of photos but all of them were badly lacking contrast, were suffering from glow in the entire picture and the overall dynamic range just could not fit. Regardless of post-processing, I was not able to get reallisticaly looking photo out. I am blaming the fact it was around mid-day and it was sunny. I did not have lens hood (which I have now ordered) but even photos away from the sun were just lousy. I tried underexposing in order to gain higher dynamic range in the postprocessing but still the contrast was low, the glow was there and overshoots in both dark and light.

- What are the essentials one has to obey at all times?
- What are your key do's and dont's?
- Is it true that mountains can only be shot in the morning or in the evening?
- Is ND filter a must on a sunny day?
- How do you address (the almost everpresent) haze in these photos?

Thank you for your input!
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-06-2019, 04:54 AM  
Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 vs. Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 (urgent)
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 16
Views: 979
Thanks everyone for opinions. My dillema is following: My photographic fund is dry for this year, so I thought I would save a little and maybe get myself a fast 70-200mm Tamron for Christmas or after New Year. A used one comes around $570, new is $870. This Sigma is now offered for $440. The question is if this is normal price for this particular Sigma lens or really good one and I would be missing life opportunity if I don't buy it.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-05-2019, 10:50 PM  
Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 vs. Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 (urgent)
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 16
Views: 979
Hi everybody!

I have on option to buy this lens:

Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM II Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

for equivalent of $440 / 340. I think it is a good price but I would like to prevent an impulsive buy.

How does it compate with:

Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Di LD Macro Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

Wouldn't it be better to get the Tamron instead considering it is much newer design for digital?

I would be using it on K-5 to shoot aircraft, pets, wildlife, maybe people...

Marek
Forum: Winners' Showcase 04-03-2019, 01:12 AM  
March, 2019 Third Place: Autumnal Mists
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 45
Views: 1,025
I would like to nominate this photo
Forum: Monthly Photo Contests 04-03-2019, 01:12 AM  
Pentaxian Green
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 16
Views: 206
I would like to nominate this photo
Forum: Monthly Photo Contests 04-03-2019, 01:11 AM  
Elabama waterfall
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 11
Views: 167
I would like to nominate this photo
Forum: Monthly Photo Contests 04-03-2019, 01:11 AM  
Lindsay Ranch @ Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge - Colorado, USA
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 8
Views: 135
I would like to nominate this photo
Forum: Monthly Photo Contests 04-03-2019, 01:10 AM  
Val Genova, Italy
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 12
Views: 185
I would like to nominate this photo
Forum: Winners' Showcase 04-03-2019, 01:09 AM  
March, 2019 Winner: Beautiful waterfall in the heart of Adirondacks
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 35
Views: 641
I would like to nominate this photo
Forum: Monthly Photo Contests 03-02-2019, 11:54 AM  
Alpine Spring
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 1
Views: 51
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-28-2019, 01:37 PM  
Budget APS-C wide landscape lens below $200
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 38
Views: 1,780
So the Pentax-M 28mm f/3.5 arrived and it is not too bad...

Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-21-2019, 02:04 PM  
Budget APS-C wide landscape lens below $200
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 38
Views: 1,780
Wow, so I have just spotted Pentax-M 28mm f/3.5 which according to some is just little behind the K 28mm f/3.5 for unbeliveable €44 shipped and within the country. The listing was just couple minutes old. I bought it. I am now wondering what piece of scrap metal I will be receiving. Wish me luck...
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-21-2019, 11:27 AM  
Budget APS-C wide landscape lens below $200
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 38
Views: 1,780
Thank you all for the tips. As said, the budget is around $100 for the moment, $200 is the extreme upper limit. By the way, here in Europe, the Rokinon 14mm F2.8, marketed as Samyang, costs like $450.

Regarding the wide / normal lens, I am well aware the 28mm is almost exactly normal, I should have said "on the wider end of the focal range spectrum". Reason I emphasized the wide(r) is that usually the landscape lens discussions end up having lot of people suggesting telephoto lenses 100mm+ argumenting they are good as well. But those I already have. I need ~28mm.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-21-2019, 08:30 AM  
Budget APS-C wide landscape lens below $200
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 38
Views: 1,780
I will be facing some heavy household investments this year, so that is where most of my budget will be going. But still, I do not want to give up and I am looking for the best value for the money I can spend...
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-21-2019, 07:20 AM  
Budget APS-C wide landscape lens below $200
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 38
Views: 1,780
Fellow Pentaxians,

I will be very structured and brief. I am looking for a budget landscape lens with a good resolving power.

Camera: K-5
Focal distance: 28mm +-10mm
Speed: irrelevant, need resolving power not speed
Mount: K, M42 or any convertible to K
Price on eBay: 100 USD +-100USD (I am assuming that when sold privately, it will be 25-50% cheaper.)

My research yielded as best candidate: SMC Pentax K 28mm f3.5 (~200 USD in good condition on eBay)

I need to beat: SMC Pentax-DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL


What are your suggestions? Thanks.

Billdotjr
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-19-2019, 02:40 AM  
Disappointed by the K-m photos :-(
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 47
Views: 2,372
Yes, the Sonnar can take photos. :-)

Left Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3, shot at ~180mm 1/250s f/9.5 ISO100 AF
Right Sonnar 180mm f/2.8, shot at 1/750s ~f/7.1 ISO100 MF



The Sonnar is as sharp as the Sigma or even little bit sharper when zooming extremely at the antennas. Contrast seems to be better on the Sigma. The benefit of the Sonnar seems to be in it being faster and sharper sooner allowing for shorter shutter speed.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-17-2019, 12:50 PM  
Disappointed by the K-m photos :-(
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 47
Views: 2,372
Hi gentlemen,

today in the morning the weather was again quite good, so I took the Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 for couple of test shots. Everything was shot in aperture priority at f/8 as suggested. The results are following.

The Untersberg mountain:

Comparison of ISO 100 and ISO 200, original JPEG from camera, 100% crop, shot at 200mm end



- The resolution seems to be significantly better at ISO 100 than ISO 200, but still the ISO 200 is way better than the photo from yesterday taken with the Sonnar
- The photo at ISO 200 seems to have little bit of motion blur, so I need to make more tests
- Although the IQ is worse in the ISO 200, the noise is not as pronounced. However when taken to Lightroom there is no noise at Sharpen 25 for the ISO 100 while it shows significant noise on the ISO 200 at the same setting. (Sharpen 25 only to demonstrate the difference.)

The alpine landscape:

Original JPEG from the camera shrank to 1200px, shot at 73mm, ISO 100


Full size photo.

- Very good resolution throughout the image compared to the shot from the Helios, especially when looking at the road texture and snow touching the road
- ISO 100 and ISO 200 seem very comparable
- Good brightness, test shots with +0.5ev and +1ev as suggested by one of the commenters seemed to have been overexposed in the sky part
- Since the camera does not have detailed JPEG processing settings, I tried the "Custom image" setting:
- Bright made the dark part darker, but for example the tree was just black then
- Landscape and Vibrant gave the image more dynamic range and bit of saturation, but the overall brightness went down


So generally speaking it looks to me that as long as the lens supplies good picture then the camera is ok. But once the picture comming from the lens si suboptimal then it wreaks havoc on the final image...
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-16-2019, 02:17 PM  
Disappointed by the K-m photos :-(
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 47
Views: 2,372
I of course took three photos going down from f/2 to see at home what happens to the DOF and overall sharpness. :-) This is the f/2.8.

If I summarize, the quorum here agrees that:

- K-m can still take decent photos in 2019
- The limit is the hands not the camera (which I was hoping for, having no more money to spend :-) )

Anyway I am still haunted by the noise question. Do you please have any example photo with comparable composition, which you would say has acceptable/very-low amount of noise? Preferably from a mid-range camera. I would like to zoom to 1:1 and examine/compare the noise. I would like to understand what is considered good, not to chase something beyond the limit of an average DSLR.

Thanks!!!

---------- Post added 01-16-19 at 02:25 PM ----------



I took three going down from f/2 to see what happens to the DOF and the sharpness. This is actually at f2.8.

So the quorum agreed that it is hands, not the camera being the limit, which is good.

Anyway, I am still haunted by the noise question. Would you please know of an example image with similar composition taken with a low/mid range camera, where you would say that that is the noise minimum where it can go? I just want to set my expectations right, not to chase unicorns.

---------- Post added 01-16-19 at 02:31 PM ----------



I really like the colors of the photos you posted, how much PP did you do to them? I mean looking at my Nikon photos I mentioned, these were "quite fine" straight from the camera and they only needed little improvements to get to "really nice". So for with the K-m I feel what comes out of the camera is "bad" and I need to PP it to "quite fine" or "nice".
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-16-2019, 01:44 PM  
Disappointed by the K-m photos :-(
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 47
Views: 2,372
The adapter I am using is the recessed type, 3rd party, not eBay so focus to infinity is fine. Yes I do have the lens hood.

Unfortunatelly the attachments show in different order, but if you look on the 2nd there is quite strong noise. I have just figured out it is the outcome of the default Lightroom setting. If I set the Sharpen to 0, then the noise is still strong but not so bordered. Anyway I doubt noise has anything to do with the lens as such.

Here are some from the Helios 44M:


Full size JPEG.



Full size JPEG.

What do these look to you?
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-16-2019, 01:10 PM  
Disappointed by the K-m photos :-(
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 47
Views: 2,372
Thank you everybody for your opinions, I appreciate them.

To the phone topic: I am well aware that the software does a lot of PP to create not high quality image but rather visualy appealing image. Some do it right some don't. My Sony phone with a newer Sony imaging chip is making terrible photos while my Nexus with older Sony chip is making excelent photos. So it is not about hardware, but the software. But anyway, I do not want to get into the discussion if phones are better than DSLRs - they are not. But what I was expecting when I got the DSLR was some wow effect, like that I will see all the little details in my landscape photos I was missing in my phone photos. And that kind of did not happen. :-(

I have uploaded a sample photo, I have put it to PNG on purpose not to have any JPEG processor to "improve" the noise.

untersberg.png - this is just to give you idea of the FOV
untersberg-crop.png - this is what 1:1 crop looks in Lightroom Develop without touching any sliders
untersberg-crop-jpeg.ong - this is about the same crop to show how the camera handled the JPEG development

It is shot with Sonnar 180mm f/2.8 at ISO 200, 1/3000, f2.8 (tried as well with f3.5, f4 with same result), Manual mode, stop-down metering, focus to beep. (Image looks underexposed to me.)
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 01-16-2019, 11:52 AM  
Disappointed by the K-m photos :-(
Posted By billdotjr
Replies: 47
Views: 2,372
Hi all,

I have been reading this forum daily since two months so I was hoping for my first post to be somewhat more optimistic, but unfortunatelly I need to start with a huge dissapointment.

Little bit of background:

Some 10 years ago I got interested in photography because of my sister doing it in school back then. I played with her DSLR, spent weeks reading about photography and making experiments with a Helios M42 lens I could aquire. Unfortunatelly I could not afford my own DSLR back then and then other hobbies came in and photography was set aside to "some day" corner. So, last November I was visiting Hong Kong for business and I got completely amazed by a camera store in one of it's side streets, where they had heaps of used cameras and lenses from the past 100 years. And there it was, a Pentax, which I knew I wanted because of the best backwards compatiblity with M42 lenses and the old K mount lenses. So I bought myself a Pentax K-m, 18-55mm DAL kit lens and Pentax-A 70-200mm f/4.

Now the problem:

I was not really amazed by the pictures it was making, so I obtained couple more lenses over Christmas to further my experiments hoping for better pictures. Namely:

- Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3
- Helios 44M 58mm f/2
- Carl Zeiss Sonnar 180mm f/2.8

Today, finally there was a sunny day in the snowy Austria so I took couple dozens of pictures of mountains and landscape around with the Sonnar and Helios and THEY WERE HORRIBLE!!! At the first moment I thought: "Hell! I must have forgoten something like ISO 800 or 1600 in.", because the pics are so extremely noisy! But the ISO was 200... What I can tell, the noise is most visible where there are distant textures or same color surfaces, like snow on the mountains or snow with rocks, the sky or generally wherever the resolution power of the lens starts falling apart or where there is a texture getting some blur from the DOF.

Generally the photos from the K-m I find flat, greyish, lacking contrast and noisy when shooting landscapes. I seriously need to take every single photo through some strong PP, to achieve anything one can look at in 2019. :-(

For comparison I have some pictures here from my 2014 summer vacation I took with my sisters Nikon D-60, which is same 10M resolution and even 2 years older camera and the photos are just amazing. All of them have colors, contrast, depth and the noise is there but is somewhat blended in, same color as the background not like purplish random color salt crystal everywhere...

I can seriously say that my 2014 Nexus 5 phone is taking better photos than the K-m, no joke. With some serious PP I can at best take the K-m photos to the Nexus look and feels, but I would not really say that the resolving power or noise is any better.

...

So I am now asking the ultimative question:

Is it so that a 9 year old entry-level DSLR cannot even keep with modern top notch phones?
Are my expectations too high for a such an old DSLR?
Should I start looking for a different Pentax camera?
What is then better - newer lower class DSLR or older higher class?



Thank you for your responses. Please keep the responses calm. I do not want to start a flameware here I just want to set my expectations right.

billdotjr
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