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Forum: Pentax Forums Giveaways 12-13-2014, 03:46 PM  
3 Million Post Giveaway: Confirm your entry!
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 2,854
Views: 122,285
count me in!

Cheers,
Duncan.
Forum: Pentax Forums Giveaways 12-11-2014, 04:16 PM  
Win an FA 31mm Ltd: PF 3 million post giveaway!
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 2,237
Views: 135,503
My name too in the hat please!!!!

The only thing is that I'm going to have to buy an MZ-S if I win it.

Shame.

D
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 09-20-2013, 04:40 PM  
Gear P0rn - post it if you got it.
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 8,043
Views: 1,051,696
I thought I'd join in. Sorry for the quality of the image - I didn't make an effort to shoot this with a proper camera as one doesn't have the time to do that when procrastinating ;)
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 09-13-2013, 08:37 AM  
Looking for a film.....
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 14
Views: 1,200
Looks a bit too saturated for portra to my eyes. I think most col negs give this look - superia 400 would certainly do the sky colours. The blue is quite dominant, maybe something like agfa col neg?
Forum: General Talk 09-11-2013, 02:23 PM  
Getting Fed Up With Windows
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 91
Views: 12,825
Am I really allowed to post to this thread? Great!

So a brief 4 year update.

All of our computers now run linux at home. My Thinkpad T40 was working fine and was my main laptop until a few months ago (yes - it was 9 years old!) I dropped it, and the left hinge sheared off. I have replaced it with a refurbished T60p (14inch) which currently runs Ubuntu 10.04, like a charm!

My girlfriend runs Linux Mint Cinnamon LTS, and has been for the past couple of years. My Thinkpad T40 runs in the study, unfortunately unable to open and close, running Linux Mint Mate LTS, and a recent addition, a Thinkpad X60 runs Ubuntu 12.04 fallback.

Linux
Pros:
Fast, reliable, efficient, well-organised, doesn't slow down, incredible repository system allows you to install OS and application updates, new pieces of software, and uninstall software, all at the same time, while automatically working out what clashes, and what various programs need. Incredible. Also pretty secure. Not needed a virus checker so far. Shuts down v quickly. Autonomous - doesn't mess with your computer unless you ask it to (doesn't try to update!). The filesystem is definitely quicker than on Windows - file transfers its noticeable, and there's less mashing of the harddrive. Wireless has been flawless. Extra workspaces are really useful if doing a big project. Applications are nicely integrated - i.e. my favourite music player will drag-drop playlists in the correct order onto my favourite CD burner. Not that I'm burning many audio CDs nowadays, but you know what I mean.

Has spotify.

Cons:
No photoshop. GIMP is ok, but lacks adjustment layers.
A lack of various applications that people will need (though I find Libreoffice is good, and generally there are alternatives).
Have to understand the repository system before trying to install software
Microsoft office not on linux - can lead to compatibility issues with colleagues
Difficult to know which distribution to go for. A lot of in-fighting between desktop environments.
Some hardware is incompatible - you have to check before you buy.
Doesn't usually use graphics cards to their full advantage. Linux works best with Intel integrated.
Most video streaming now requires silverlight which is a problem.

Overall, you've probably guessed, I'm happy! It isn't for everyone and there it does require initial learning curve and effort. I would say it pays off for it quite quickly. If you're thinking of switching you should consider what applications you use and whether you can deal with the alternative, or whether WINE works to run it. You should also check what printers/hardware you have, and whether it will work with it. Maybe run the linux off a USB or CD for a while so you can mull it over!
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 09-11-2013, 01:48 PM  
:cool: Lets see those ''film'' shots
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 23,624
Views: 3,021,607
Taken in Santorini, Greece.
Fuji Provia 400
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 09-10-2013, 03:20 PM  
Project: A brief foray into film.
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 20
Views: 2,554
That's a good point Steve, although I'd say that doing a good scan is much like taking a good photograph - 90pc of the work is getting the exposure right, but you're right that some PP needs to be done on it afterwards. For the perfect result I guess I would drum scan the slide and a reference slide, then apply a correction to the reference slide onto the scan.

Personally I find NCPS seem to churn out consistently good results from my film that doesn't need any adjustment to my eye. That's great for me because I nearly gave up on film as I didn't have the time to scan a roll myself, nor could find a place in the UK that could scan a roll of film to anything above the standard required to tell what the subject was.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 09-08-2013, 03:51 PM  
Project: A brief foray into film.
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 20
Views: 2,554
Enjoyed reading this article. You have a high percentage of keepers for that roll - that's pretty good particulalrly given you've only recently gotten into photography. Superia 400 is an excellent film in my opinion, and actually, I find scans from film are often more amenable to post-processing - the colours seem to hang on to extreme curves adjustment well.

Personally, I don't do post-processing anymore. I realised that most of my post-processing was really failure to take the photo correctly in the first place, and what you might think of as an acceptable result often looks crude 5 yrs later. I think this is because you concentrate on one aspect of the image (i.e. the brightness) and don't realise that while you're optimising that, you're worsening noise, total range and introducing colour banding. Better to get it right the first time I think.

I personally shoot almost all film - for me the colours and subtlety of tones are unmatched. i like your photo of bridge shot into the sun - notice the tones in the sky going from the blues on the left all the way up to the white of the sun. You'll notice there isn't any major shift in hue as it does this, whereas on digital you'll find a transition to one or two colours (often orange and yellow) before white is reached (having said that dslrs are getting better at this now - but the Nikon D3 certainly still did it). The other thing is the film has done a great job of keeping tones in the highlights in the sky as well as the darker area under the bridge - useful information and colour retained in extremes of contrast.

For me, film gives me a more realistic image of the scene scattered over with a bit of grain. Digitial gives me more of a pictorial/painted image (albeit clearer). You should get something like a Pentax MX with a 50mm prime and several rolls of superia 200 - I think you'd get some great results with it.

D
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 09-03-2013, 02:55 PM  
Introduce your... film Pentax!
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 3,437
Views: 723,366
This thread is obscene.

Red-leather clad LXs? Blue MXs?
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 04-04-2012, 03:09 PM  
What does an MZ-S feel like?
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 67
Views: 6,713
I remember comparing the F100 and a Canon 1v in a store - I was genuinely surprised how awful the top-of-the-range Canon felt and operated. Sometimes I think these things are a bit silly to care about, but it felt unbalanced, lightweight (I suppose that's really an advantage), and had a horrible clacking sound for a shutter! Not to mention I couldn't fathom why the controls were placed where they were. On the other hand, I am impressed with the canon mount and the whole fully-electronic idea. Nikon's mount is a hodge-podge of systems tacked together!

I have lusted for an MZ-S for a while - but can't really justify it!

D
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 04-03-2012, 01:19 PM  
What does an MZ-S feel like?
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 67
Views: 6,713
I have larger-than average-sized hands, so find that generally the larger grips seem to fit it better. If you've never handled an F100, I'd recommend it - there isn't a camera that feels better in the hand, apart from the F5 and F6. Ergonomic brick is the best way to describe it I think.

D
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 04-02-2012, 01:58 PM  
What does an MZ-S feel like?
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 67
Views: 6,713
I use a Nikon F6 as my main camera, but have drooled over the MZ-S many times before!

Nothing really beats the solid ergonomic brick-like quality of the Nikon, but I do really like Pentax's control ergonomics. Hyper-manual is my ideal mode, and the lack of the 'green' button on the F6 makes it seem a bit dated (though not that any of the newer nikons or canons have this feature).

I also recommend the Nikon LX and Winder, which has a very nice chunky and solid feel to it.

D
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 08-11-2010, 12:07 PM  
Pentax LX
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 8
Views: 44,358
Pros OTF metering, accurate exposure without head, weatherproof. Cons No exposure lock Rating 10 Price (U.S. Dollars) Unknown Years Owned 15 years

I can recommend this camera: Yes

Value, Features, Performance & Size
MLU DOF OTF

Camera Review
What's special about this camera is the OTF metering. This makes it one of the best cameras to use in very low light levels. The metering measures light falling onto the curtains and film during the exposure, and triggers the second curtain when the cumulative light has reached a certain level. The camera will happily expose down to -6.5 EV, and possibly more, and also react to changing light conditions (e.g. lightning).

The other great thing about this camera is that you can use it with the head off. As the metering is in the body, and the mirror blocks any light from where the head might come from, you can accurately meter and expose without the head. This is very useful in two circumstances - using a mini tripod on the floor, and shooting candids.

Other pros are weather proofing and fully manual shutter speeds which don't require batteries. There's also depth of field preview, mirror lock up and self timer.

Disadvantages : no exposure lock. no spot metering.

The following photo was 30min @ F8
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 01-17-2010, 05:51 AM  
K-x: Best Body Color for Street Shooting
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 23
Views: 5,289
My money's on silver for being the least noticed.

I don't think black is good - it doesn't really make it any less noticeable and only associates you with the paparazzi. Silver makes you look more like an harmless amateur. I think white would result in too many 'wow that's a cool camera' faces, and red you'd just get odd looks.

Duncan.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 09-19-2009, 03:45 PM  
K-7 review, Part 1, up at The Online Photographer
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 9
Views: 3,576
Great photos. Look forward to the rest of the review.

Duncan.
Forum: Photographic Technique 06-23-2009, 02:42 AM  
Shooting Subdued Outdoor Lighting (England Almost All the Time)
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 27
Views: 7,439
correct exposure and choice of subject is important

Contrary to popular opinion, overcast days have very high contrast. The clouds are, in fact, brighter than a clear blue sky, anmd the ground is much darker than on a sunny day, resulting in a huge contrast difference between your subject and the sky.

Your multisegment metering will be thrown off by the sky, and will try to reduce exposure accordingly. Don't let it! Use centreweighted and lock the exposure on the subject (excluding the sky), then recompose and shoot. Another option is simply to avoid including the sky in any photos.

Choice of subject is important. The diffuse lighting leaves 3D objects looking flat, especially if they have the same reflectivity over the whole surface - i.e. they are all one colour. Choose subjects which have differences in reflectivity, or are brightly coloured naturally, if you want contrasty images.

If you go for dull scenes, e.g. A street in overcast light, there's nothing that can really be done (except in PP). I would still go for the exposure advice outlined above, but very slightly decrease the exposure to match the shadows to the dark areas.

In PP if you've included an overcast sky and the exposure is somewhere in-between, then I sometimes to this:

1. Create a curves layer above your background image
2. Adjust the contrast for the clouds, ignoring the rest of the image. This is usually as simple as dragging one corner of the curve so that darken the lower tones of the clouds, without affecting the lighter parts
3. Add a mask to this layer, and paint in the subject using a black brush on the mask.

PM me if you need further details

Duncan
Forum: General Talk 06-21-2009, 02:55 PM  
Getting Fed Up With Windows
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 91
Views: 12,825
I promised I would report back on what happened, and so I am here a week or so later, and currently still using Linux.

My previous post was probably while I was feeling the 'honeymoon' period with Linux. I went on to have a go installing from the CD, and probably stupidly, tried to install it into the last 4 GB of my ailing hard drive. This seemed to go to plan until I rebooted the computer and discovered that neither linux, nor windows was going to load again! I probably should have read instructions in more detail. Anyway, it had transpired the CD I was using was somehow corrupted, so I burnt a new CD on my gf's laptop (very slowly), and decided to wipe the laptop clean. This time it rebooted beautifully, ubuntu appeared, and everything looked rosy. I was happy again!

Everything, as before, worked. At the moment I largely use the computer for the internet - buying, gmail, maps, ebay, news etc etc. No problems with firefox, although I must admit that I slightly miss google chrome. Open office works without any problems whatsoever, in some ways better than my copy of microsoft office 2007, which bizarrely decided to rearrange all the buttons from the previous version. Again, things ran smoothly.

That was, until I tried to print! I won't go into the several hours it took to find, convert and install the printer drivers for my iP2500 canon printer. I only really persisted because I refused to be beaten. The outdated drivers came from the canon website, required converting into debian format, which required a terrifying foray into 'terminal' - the text-based doing-thing. I honestly didn't know what I was doing, and for all my competence could have been rewriting the operating system. Once I had the packages installed, I still had problems, as apparently the driver pointed to outdated libraries, and again I had to use terminal to work out which ones it was trying to get to, which ones I had, and then to redirect the driver to the correct one. At the end of ~4 hours of sweating and googling, I got the printer to print a test page, and it has worked a charm since then.

The other problem was the music, which would cut out everytime I switched screens, closed screens, minimised to desktop, or pretty much do anything. The problem seems to have somehow slowly resolved itself without me doing anything, and then I cut out the graphical eye-candy from the preferences which seems to have prevented it from happening again.

So after 1 week, a quick review:

PROS
Works beautifully without problems, once it's working. Seems perfectly reliable. Boots very quickly. Does not meddle with your hardrive while its running. Very convenient controls on top right of screen which give you access to the music player, your calendar, and your email. Connects quickly and without fuss to networks. Excellent reliable internet usage.

CONS
Does require some technical knowledge. Installing some stuff requires figuring it out. Either just works or just doesn't. By default has some fancy graphics tricks that can floor an old computer. No google chrome (yet). Have had a couple of niggles with some websites vs firefox.

Overall, I'm very happy with the system. Haven't yet tried any photo-editing.

Thanks for the help nanok. I will definetely be writing to you when I get stuck!

Duncan.
Forum: General Talk 06-13-2009, 03:06 AM  
Getting Fed Up With Windows
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 91
Views: 12,825
Thought I'd report back after giving Linux a go.

After recommendations from here and from a colleague at work, I downloaded the CD image of Ubuntu desktop and burnt it to CD. Rebooting my laptop with the CD in, loaded up the Ubuntu CD, which then asked if I wanted to run it from the CD or install it. So far I have only run it from the CD.

First impressions: (bearing in mind it's running from CD, so probably is a bit slower than normal)

I was quite excited to try out a completely new operating system, so I was slightly disappointed to find that the operating system just loaded up without any problems, and just worked! There was no splash screen, no guided tour, no swirly graphics. In fact, once it had loaded, the operating system was eerily quiet. Normally I'm used to the whirr of windows in the background (I never know what it's up to, but always seems to be assessing the hardrive, or downloading something). Going from Windows to Linux is like moving from London to the Cotswolds.

It's very pretty and elegant - everything is smoothed. As I'm typing this, I'm greeted with soft pastel shades of orange and grey. This has caused some problems with my laptop, which has only a 1024x768 screen, and I think ubuntu struggled slightly - things look either too big, too small or too blurry and fuzzy. However, using my girlfriends laptop (with a 1440x900 screen), it's a different story, and everything looks just right.

Another impressive thing is the ease at which it connected to our wireless network, without any hitches. This is something that we have been unable to get working on my gf's brand new Dell Precision laptop! We assumed it was a problem with the router, but I appear to be typing this without any ethernet cable coming from it...

Overall : Hugely impressed. My initial disappointment that it isn't full of bells and whistles is clearly its main advantage. I should also add that there's a completely different feel to windows. Difficult to explain, but it's like it's more deliberate and quieter. The only problem is running it on my T40 with the 1024x768 resolution feels cramped and confusing - but it has inspired me to possibly think about getting a new laptop to run it!

I like it!

I may install it as a dual boot if it's not too much hassle, and see how long I can go on it before I need to boot up XP again.

Duncan.
Forum: General Talk 06-12-2009, 11:34 AM  
Getting Fed Up With Windows
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 91
Views: 12,825
Thanks for all the replies.

Didn't mean to trigger off a huge argument (in retrospect inevitable), but was just curious to see what other photographers were using.

Yes - I learnt 8 years ago that Norton was not a good choice. I have used McAfee, Sophos and AVG, and I'm perfectly happy with AVG at the moment.

I had not considered Linux before. I am currently downloading ubuntu. Maybe this is the solution?

I was going to request that people stop referring to my laptop as outdated or obsolete, but I just realised that I'm going to have problems burning the image onto CD, as last time I did this the drive made a progressively more worrying noise, before giving up and producing a wiff of smoke.

Thanks for the advice! I will report back...

Duncan.
Forum: Site Suggestions and Help 06-07-2009, 03:54 PM  
News Mobile Skin Now Available!
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 107
Views: 8,317
Great stuff!!

Noticed it last week when I accessed the page from my Nokia E90 - now makes the small snippets at time during working hours even more amenable to pentax forums!

Duncan.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 06-02-2009, 02:41 PM  
Pentax LX
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 8
Views: 44,358
Body

Weather proof metal body. Slightly larger than most pentax manual focus cameras, but still relatively compact and lightweight (compared to a Nikon F2 or K10D for example). Plastic not really used, except rubber to cover the dials.

Handling

Aperture priority and Manual, selectable on the control dial on the right. Exposure compensation set on the left after unlocking the dial. Hybrid shutter, which allows full operation with batteries, and manual without. No autoexposure lock. Centre-weighted metering only. Features ability to precisely advance and retard the frames allowing for multiple exposure on any frame at any time. Aperture controlled by the aperture ring on the lens only. Mirror lock up, self timer and depth of field preview all controlled by multifunction lever at the front.

Viewfinder

Optical viewfinder with around 97% coverage. Interchangeable. One of the few cameras to allow correctly exposed photographs with the pentaprism off the camera.

Exposure

Centre-weighted only. Uses a single off-the-film silicon diode for ambient light exposure and metering. Probably the most advanced off-the-film metering in any 35mm camera, allowing for correct exposures easily up to 1 hour long, and longer. Unfortunately no AEL button, but there is always exposure compensation and manual mode. Largely accurate metering, given limitations (and advantages) of centre-weighted metering.

Focus

Split prism, surrounded by microprism ring, and ground-glass focusing screen. All three are suitable for focusing on. The default screen is a shade darker than modern laser-cut focusing screens, but they are interchangeable for modern screens. The advantage over modern screens is that they provide an accurate preview of depth-of-field for apertures larger than F2.8.

Drive

Manual wind-on. Nicest wind-on of any Pentax manual focus camera (subjectively). Rewind knob also nicely made.

Special Features

Interchangeable viewfinder and focusing screens
Accurate exposure metering in extremely dark and changeable conditions
Accurate exposure with the 'top off' (with particular use for low-down photographs and candid photography)
Hybrid shutter allows autoexposure and function without batteries
Weather-proofing
Small and compact
Precise and reversible drive
TTL Flash, with flash compensation
Fancy accessories, including the 'action finder'

Overall

Rather good.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 06-02-2009, 09:59 AM  
28mm Lens test: Three Vivitars and Two Pentaxes
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 24
Views: 7,963
thanks for the comparison, when I get to a computer I will have to have a good look. Sounds like the F28/2.8 didn't fair too well - that would be in keeping with my experience of an A28/2.8 on film, which at times could be unexpectantly soft and suffering from, I think, a lot of coma and CA.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 06-02-2009, 07:19 AM  
Recommended replacement for a Program A
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 9
Views: 1,798
the thing I like about the program-A is that you can switch it on easily as it has a grippy mode dial. My one also died a few years ago, and I replaced it with a super-a/superprogram, which is really no different for me, apart from have a harder rubber dial which is a bit more fiddly. It also has shutter priority, and is a good all-round camera.

Dunc
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 06-01-2009, 02:11 PM  
(UK) SRS Microsystems K-7 Preview
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 8
Views: 3,920
Fairly tempted myself.... :)

Duncan
Forum: General Talk 05-25-2009, 03:57 AM  
Getting Fed Up With Windows
Posted By Duncan J Murray
Replies: 91
Views: 12,825
Thanks for the replies, I've been working hard recently and only just had a chance to look through them!

I know that my laptop is rather old, but I'm quite attached to it, and I'm pretty sure that there's very little wrong with the hardware. I regularly back up the machine in the knowledge that I will need to replace the harddrive soon, and the RAM's been upgraded to 1.25GB which is ok for my requirements. The only real problem is the backlight, which is dimming to the point where photoshop usage is not great.

Every 6 months (when I have time) I reinstall Windows. This takes about 1-2 hours on my laptop as it has the software on the hardrive to reinstall it. But then it takes approx 2 more hours to install all the necessary updates to XP, and another hour for all the updated drivers from IBM. Then I can start on the software. Once all that is done, the laptop is super-fast again!

I'd never heard of Windows 7. What appeals about Mac OS X is that it may not be necessary to reinstall it on a regular basis. I have not problems with reliability on Windows XP, and most things work pretty well (to be fair, only with the thinkpad software to ease things through).

Maybe if I could get OS X on a Thinkpad?

Duncan.
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