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Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 08-08-2017, 02:24 AM  
First lens for a beginner
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 34
Views: 3,013
The 20-40 is a great lens, but quite pricey! For significantly less than that lens, you could buy the DA35 f2.4 and DA50 f1.8. *for the price*, they are excellent. (I'd say the DA50 is a little bit better optically, although I would say that f1.8 is a little optimistic, and would always prefer f2.5 when I owned it).

Don't worry about the fact they're plastic - they don't feel cheap or flimsy in any way.

If you don't mind going second hand (honestly, not a terrible option!), then that opens up the DA ltd primes (all brilliant!), the DFA50mm f2.8 macro, FA 50mm f1.4, or even a DFA100mm macro (but I reckon that's a little too long for a first prime).

If I was to own only 1 prime for apsc, it would be a close call between the DA21 and DA35 f2.8 macro.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 06-08-2017, 08:46 AM  
How best to use expired film?
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 25
Views: 1,930
Expired film isn't a problem. Just have fun with it. The negatives you get back will still be exciting
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-08-2017, 08:28 AM  
Upgrade from Pentax Kx?
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 32
Views: 4,857
I've got a k-1, and I'm happy with it. It's a k-3, but with better AF, and massively improved ISO noise handling (although the lenses are expensive as a result). The k-3 is a camera that I wish had the k-s1 noise capabilities. Maybe the k-70/KP offer that, but I've not played with them, so can't say for sure.

---------- Post added 06-08-17 at 03:36 PM ----------

Yes it does. Massively. I directly compared the k-3 and k-s1 in the same shitty lighting conditions, and the k-3 editing was done in a few minutes, the k-s1 images took 30 mins or more to get the same look. If I hadn't a k-3 to hand to compare with, I'd have been happy with the k-s1.

For daylight ISO100 shots, no difference.

---------- Post added 06-08-17 at 03:43 PM ----------

Moving from the k-x to a k-s1, you'll be blown away. Moving to the k-3, that's another step up in budget. Better to spend that money on glass imho. DA limited + k-s1 > k-3 with da50. My opinion only, feel free to disagree
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-08-2017, 08:14 AM  
Upgrade from Pentax Kx?
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 32
Views: 4,857
Low light, but that comes with a caveat. If I had to shoot at ISO3200+, and was shooting in B&W, the k-s1 wins hands down. If I was shooting in colour, the k-s1 still wins. However, here's the caveat, if the subject requires accurate white balance, I'd rather have the k-3. Noise is not great on the k-3 at ISO 3200+, but the colours are still spot on.

A shot taken outside under moonlight, I'd prefer the k-s1 due to the lower noise. A shot taken in a dimly lit room, I'd prefer the k-3 due to its white balance handling. In all honesty, given a choice between the two, I'd go k-3. If I couldn't afford the k-3, I wouldn't be upset if I had to settle for the k-s1
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-08-2017, 07:59 AM  
Upgrade from Pentax Kx?
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 32
Views: 4,857
And just to parrot the advice above, once you've moved on from AA batteries, battery life is no longer a concern.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 06-08-2017, 07:41 AM  
Upgrade from Pentax Kx?
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 32
Views: 4,857
I loved my k-x, but the choices you listed would not be my next step (I've owned a k-5, k-3, k-1, and k-s1).

Don't miss the AA batteries, they are actually a right bother. Assuming you remember to charge the battery beforehand, the camera with the worst battery life is the k-x/k-r. You'll get twice the performance from the k-s1 battery, and it won't degrade over time in the same way.

I can't comment on the k-30/k-50 too much (i once played with a k-30 at the British Grand Prix, whilst swapping out my DA40 ltd on my k-x, to take a shot).

The k-s1 has a really bad reputation, and I don't think it's deserved imho. When I bought my k-x, everyone was banging on about how great it was (high ISO performance, great IQ, cheap, and decent build quality). Yes it didn't have weather sealing, yes it used AA batteries, yes it didn't have the AF points highlighted in the view finder, but it was alright.

The k-s1 follows that trend. If you want cheap, with fantastic IQ, a superb viewfinder, then it's a no brainer. Compared to the k-3, it's not weather sealed, the white balance is a little suspect in poor light, and it doesn't have a second wheel. If you gave me a choice between the k-5 and the k-s1, id choose the latter. If I could afford a k-s2/k-70/k-3, id but those options. However, for best IQ for low cost, I'd skip the k-30/k-50/k-r models, and go straight for the k-s1.

The images from the k-3 are better than those from the k-s1, but not by much given decent light. If you've managed to survive on a non weather sealed camera for so long, then the IQ from the k-S1 craps all over the k-50/k-5/k-30. The high ISO performance is a notch above the k-3, and previous k-5 era sensors in my opinion.

The only downsides to the k-s1 in my mind: ergonomics could be better. White balance could be better. 12bit vs 14bit raw. No weather sealing. I'd prefer a k-3 in all honesty, however over the options you listed, the k-s1 would be my second choice. (It's just the k-x, but with a sensor that can, sometimes, make the k-3 look bad)

---------- Post added 06-08-17 at 02:51 PM ----------

There's a lot to like about the k-x. Look through the k-s1 viewfinder, then look at the resulting shots, you'll be gobsmacked. There are better bodies out there, but save your cash, put it towards a lens that can match the k-s1 sensor.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 05-31-2017, 07:38 AM  
Your opinion on DA 50mm F1.8 vs FA 50mm F1.4
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 18
Views: 4,658
FA43 limited would be my choice! Both of the 50mm options are good lenses, but you need to stop them down to get the best out of them, so it somewhat negates the difference in aperture. Both 50mm lenses work fine on the k-1. If I had to choose between the two, that's a tough call. I'd probably choose the 50mm f1.4 simply because the resale value would be higher, and by buying used you won't lose anything if you decide it isn't for you. (I actually think the DA50 is a slightly better lens optically, but the difference is negligible).
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 05-31-2017, 07:25 AM  
Eventual FA* 300mm F2.8 Update/Refresh???
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 23
Views: 2,269
The DFA 50 and 85 f1.4 lenses are the sensible primes to provide first (I'm an owner of the FA limiteds, so will probably skip them myself, although I might consider the 50mm at some point). An ultra wide prime is the biggest gap in the current line up if you ask me. A DFA 1.4 teleconverter probably makes sense for those wanting to extend the range of the 150-450 zoom.

As for the telephoto range, I own both the DA*200 and DA*300. If Pentax updated those to include the improved focussing system of the new 55-300, I'd say that relatively minor update would be good enough as a stop gap. Of the two, the DA*200 could probably do with a bit more of an optical update, the 300 optically is fantastic imho.

Whilst an updated 300 f2.8 would excite some people, so would a 135mm f1.8, 50mm f1.2, 24mm TS, 200mm macro, or any of the other legacy legends in their back catalogue. There's only so much budget that Pentax can spend on new glass. Whilst I mainly want an ultra wide prime, you want a 300mm f2.8, and others lust after compact F4 zooms. They can't appease everyone, but personally I'm just glad Pentax now has a FF camera, and that Ricoh is investing in new glass. An update of the FA* 85mm is on the way, and that will probably excite more people than a new 300mm f2.8 (we have the f4, which most people would be entirely happy with)

I'm not into zooms at all, but I don't begrudge the 5 FF zooms that have been released. Yeah I'd prefer more primes, but the fact I can say there are 5 new FF zooms at all, is a lot more than I could say back in the Hoya years. It's nice to finally see this forum full of "I'm new to Pentax, and have just bought a k-1" posts, rather than the "I'm leaving Pentax for a 5D/D800" ones.
Forum: Photographic Technique 05-08-2017, 07:07 AM  
Macro Macro Lens
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 20
Views: 2,152
But the OP has only one lens, the 18-135. Compliment that with a 35 macro, and you have a good zoom, a great standard prime, and a pretty decent macro to boot. Is it the best macro? Maybe not if you want to capture insects. Is it the best standard prime? possible not. But as a compromise that's pretty damn good at both, can you recommend a better lens as a first prime? Because I can't.
Forum: Photographic Technique 05-08-2017, 03:52 AM  
Macro Macro Lens
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 20
Views: 2,152
DA35 limited f2.8 macro. There are others, but that's the one you want. The fact it also doubles as a damned good standard prime, and it does macro, and both of them very well; it makes it the perfect starter prime. (But it's not great for insects that fly, due to the really close minimum focussing distance)

The 100, whilst fantastic, isn't that great as a walk around prime. You could leave home with the 35 ltd, and that's all you need. If you took out the 100, you will always have the 18-135 in your bag.

Just get the DA35 f2.8 limited. No one has ever been disappointed in that purchase. (It is better for macro shots of things that can't fly, than things that do, but it's also one of the best 35mm standard primes in the normal range money can buy)

honestly, as prime lenses go, the DA35 macro is one of the best there is (and to others responding here: the OP has 1 lens, a (good) zoom. Why not combine that with the DA35 macro?) It's one of the easiest macro lenses to use with AF, and if the OP decides to move to a 100mm lens later on for bugs, they still have a fantastic standard prime.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 04-30-2017, 07:53 AM  
Any significant improvement in mid ISO quality since K5?
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 22
Views: 2,522
My experience: the k-3 had worse noise than the k-5 when pixel peeping, but for the overall image performed better because of the additional sharpness due to lack of AA filter. I'd be happy using the k-3 at ISO 3200, but was only ever happy with 2000 for the k-5. I had a ks-1 for a while, the ISO performance was a touch better than the k-3. I'd probably prefer to keep that at 3200, but 4000 was there if needed. The downside though is that the white balance and colour accuracy wasn't as good.

The k-1 was a bit of a jump. I personally prefer to keep it under ISO 10000, but if it's warrented, I'll push it to ISO 16000, but that will require a bit more effort in light room. At pixel peeping resolutions it's somewhere between half a stop to a full stop better than the k-5 at least. When however you consider that you're getting 36mp rather than 16mp, the overall effect is that the image quality at higher isos is improved (unless you're uploading the images to Facebook, which seems to amplify the noise in a really nasty way!)

Comparing ISO performance between the bodies, I'd say that ISO 1600 on the k-5, is equivalent to ISO 2000 (k-3), ISO 2500 (ks-1), ISO 8000 (k-1). [when viewing the final images at full size, and not pixel peeping]. I've not had a chance to use the KP myself, but if it slotted in somewhere between 2500 and 3200, it wouldn't suprise me.

But that's just my opinion. The difference between the apsc bodies isn't massive, the difference between the apsc bodies and the k-1 is noticeable.

(If the k-1 was in crop mode, it's not that different to the ks-1 in my opinion - that apsc camera being the best ISO performer I've played with to date - although the white balance and colour rendition isn't up there with any of the 14bit raw models)
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-26-2017, 07:52 AM  
Lens choice: 6x7 45mm vs 55mm f/4 vs 55mm f/3.5
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 23
Views: 6,747
Steer clear of sellers that don't offer a returns policy is my advice. I'd avoid problematic lenses, and go for those described as near perfect (but with a returns policy, just in case some lies have infiltrated the description. You can often negotiate some pretty large price reductions if you do end up with anything less than perfect!)

The 45 can be had for less, so long as you're willing to wait for the right auction to come along (and believe me, they do!). I've not used the 55, but I can say the 45 has quite a bit of distortion, but does produce some decent shots (my favourite lens is still the 105 f2.4, the others I own don't get much mileage after seeing what that can do tbh)
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 04-26-2017, 07:02 AM  
To upgrade or wait, that is the question
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 20
Views: 3,031
Wait. Probably.

I much preferred the AF performance of the K-3 over the K-S1, but preferred the sensor in the k-s1. However, having moved to the k-1, I find the AF performance of the k-3 to now be verging on terrible in comparison (the k-1 AF really does extend the extremes in which you can work with, and stepping backwards to the k-3 is just painful. The k-3 AF is much better than what you have, but I'd suggest waiting until the 33 point system arrives on apsc).

I know the pain of the 11 point AF. If you're using a bigger aperture than f2.8, it usually sucks (just switch to MF). If you're using a long lens (ie 300mm), and it isn't daylight, it's hard work. I'm going to post one image, it's the one image the k-3 or earlier bodies simply cannot create: IMGP4977-2 | Rob Bateman | Flickr

(Very low light, and those puppies move quick!)
Forum: Pentax Medium Format 04-26-2017, 06:38 AM  
645N Mirror stuck and not shutting off
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 2
Views: 1,728
Don't shoot the camera without a film in it. Load a film, and it should go back to normal (I did the same thing when I first got my original 645 - scared the hell out of me!)

\edit I've since acquired a plate you can insert instead of a film, and be able to trigger the shutter without a film loaded. I've also had another 645 body that needed help getting the shutter down because it hadn't been used in a decade before I bought it. With a film loaded, it should come down (when you wind those first frames on - if no film is wound on, the shutter will not return). If it doesn't, gently pulling it back down is worth trying (but only with a film loaded!!!!). That body stuck twice, but has been fine ever since then!
Forum: General Photography 04-24-2017, 07:44 PM  
Transporting camera equipment on commercial jet.
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 14
Views: 1,478
When I emigrated to aus, I flew with a k-1, the 3 FA limiteds, a DA*300, a DFA100, and two laptops (thin ones luckily!). All of that was tightly packed into just a normal rucksack (power supplies, rocket blowers, etc were all in my main luggage). I would not suggest putting your kit under your seat - use the overhead lockers where they can't be kicked accidentally. My advice would be to get in queue for the plane early, and ensure it has a prime spot in the overhead bins where it won't be bashed by others. Always feel free to jump to your feet to help others reorganise the luggage if room is a bit tight.

Given that the amount of kit you're planning to take is somewhat smaller than what I took, I'd just wrap put the camera in a tiny top loader, and keep the lenses in their own cases (or wrapped in clothing/bubble wrap), and put all of that in a normal rucksack (I never understand why people take expensive camera bags for their kit on their travels - it's just a red rag to theives!). Vibration concerns aren't really an issue on a plane. Just make sure the kit isn't bashed about when loading into the storage bins above the seat. You'll be fine :)
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 04-24-2017, 05:41 AM  
Where to get Pentax in Northern Ireland
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 5
Views: 985
Srsmicrosystems all the way.
Forum: Pentax K-1 & K-1 II 04-24-2017, 01:43 AM  
Choosing which SD card Slot is used to save?
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 4
Views: 1,238
If you want to switch, pop out the card you want to be the second card. Turn on camera. Turn off. Reinsert card. The card you've just inserted will be the secondary one.
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 04-22-2017, 06:34 PM  
Newbie to Pentax from Belgium
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 14
Views: 744
I too would recommend the DA 16-85 over the older 16-45. I used to own the Samsung branded version of the 16-45, and it wasn't a lens that really gelled with me. I must confess I haven't actually used the 16-85, but personally having DC AF, and weather sealing make it a much more appealing option (and from the user reports I've read on the lens, I've only seen praise as far as IQ goes).
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-20-2017, 05:37 AM  
superimposing problem on k70
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 4
Views: 979
What Brian said
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 04-19-2017, 03:06 AM  
Need help on very basics for a noob
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 7
Views: 891
Photography can quickly become a very expensive hobby, so hold off going completely crazy on lenses just yet! When it comes to lenses, the mildly annoying truth is that you get what you pay for, so my advice would be to invest in quality over quantity! I'd also advise buying used - where you can some get really good deals!

If I had your setup, the two lenses I'd probably want next would be the DA35mm limited f2.8 macro, and any of the Pentax DA/DAL/HD 55-300mm lenses (honestly, I've been through pretty much all of the Pentax lenses, and those would be my choices for best quality/cost ratio). Certainly for the telephoto range, the 55-300 is probably the best option. Others will prefer 50 or 100mm focal lengths for macro, but the 35mm is also a damn good walk around lens. Mind you, those two options will set you back probably as much as the camera cost (I'm assuming you buy second hand!)

Even with 300mm on apsc, don't expect your moon shots to be exceptional. You'll capture the moon, but with a fair amount of black space around the border. Good enough to get a few likes on Facebook, but they might not be as great as the high quality moon shots of a pro setup.

A 35mm macro is a little wide for macro, but that lens will be fine for flowers, and bugs that don't get scared with a lens an inch away from them. 100mm is a better focal length for bugs, but it also requires a lot more patience and practice than the wider focal lengths. 50mm is a decent compromise between the two. 35mm is however a great standard prime, and a much more versatile lens to have in your bag if you could only choose one.

That said, there are some lenses that are in the 'so cheap, you might as well' category. A Pentax-A 50mm f1.7 prime is going to be dirt cheap, and whilst manual focus, is at least metered (unlike the older K and A lenses). Pair that lens with a set of cheap macro rings, and that's another cheap macro set up (I'd still prefer a dedicated macro lens, but that is a more expensive option!)

Tilt shift lenses aren't cheap. I'm not even going to talk about that - you need to be pretty dedicated to jump on that bandwagon.

There are also a tonne of legacy primes around, although personally I would only recommend the 50mm+ focal lengths. For wider angle lenses, you'd be better off with a lens designed for APSC sensors.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-18-2017, 03:07 PM  
HD DA 15 Limited
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 24
Views: 2,863
Start by getting the horizon level! (And then have fun with crazy angles and perspectives)
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 04-08-2017, 05:22 AM  
50-135 2.8 vs 70-200 2.8 Which would you recommend?
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 32
Views: 3,511
The 50-135 is not a heavy lens. It is however a touch on the large side (nothing compared to the 70-200 though!). I used to own the 50-135 when I had the k-3, and as someone who really doesn't like zooms very much, I'll concede that the 50-135 is a damn good lens. It's not as sharp as the FA77 (but for a zoom isn't too bad). The rendering however is pretty decent, again not as good as the FA77, but not too far off. I never had any problems with sdm whilst owning it, and was genuinely quite impressed. It wasn't however a lens I used all that often, mainly just down to its physical size. However for weddings/events, it's hard to beat.

The only reason I sold it on was that I moved to FF. If FF is your goal, then the 70-200 is probably a better choice. (Or the FA77, and just assume your legs will have to do the zooming)
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 04-08-2017, 04:39 AM  
First Time Film Processing
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 9
Views: 1,122
If you have everything you need to develop C41, you also have everything to develop B&W. With B&W, you will need 1 or 2 chemical bottles (the fixer can be reused, as can stop-bath - if you optionally choose to go that route - but a few rinses with water is good enough initially). For C41, you'll want 3 chemical bottles (might be worth getting 4 or 5 total, so you mix and match B&W and C41). The developing tank you listed above needs 700ml to fill it, so 1 litre bottles would be fine. You could use other bottles (eg coke bottles), although that is recommended by literally no one! (Just in case the chemicals are mistaken for a drink by some unsuspecting child!)

The only other thing you'll need for C41 is a bucket or sink to use as a water bath to heat the chemicals to the right temperature. Always better to get the water a bit hotter than needed, and wait until the temp cools to the right temperature.

That kit lacks one of these:
Some of these: (1tr size).
And a funnel. The jugs in the kit seem a little pointless if you ask me.
Forum: Film Processing, Scanning, and Darkroom 04-07-2017, 06:53 AM  
First Time Film Processing
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 9
Views: 1,122
I've actually got that very same developing tank, and it's not a bad one (loading the film is a little easier than with others I've tried). I'd skip the C41 kit for now, and start with B&W.

Film clips, developing tank, changing bag, a few storage bottles to store the mixed chemicals, B&W developer, B&W fixer, and 700ml measuring tube thing. That's pretty much all you need for B&W.

The C41 process is a little bit more involved, and more care needs to be taken over temperatures. B&W is much more forgiving, and has far fewer variables involved. My advice would be to start with B&W, and treat it as a "I'm going to have fun making mistakes process". You absolutely will screw up the first roll. Give it a go, and fail. Use the roll as a way to practice spooling the film onto the reel, first outside of the bag, then a few times in the bag until you feel comfortable with the process.

Buy the cheapest B&W films you can find, along with the cheapest B&W chemicals. (I used to use firstcall when I lived in the uk, who are pretty decent as long as you buy in bulk - the delivery costs can reduce the value for small orders I found). I think kentmere films and champion chemicals used to be the cheapest IIRC.

Screwing up ten rolls of cheap B&W film is kinda fun (and there's a lot of figuring out how to best handle the film, cutting it, scanning it, so you get the best results to figure out). Screwing up ten rolls or portra 160 is just downright depressing :(

B&W is really simple. Don't worry about temps initially. If it's under exposed, double the developing time next time. If it's over exposed, halve it. By the third roll you'll usually get something useful, by the 5th or 6th you'll have the cowboy approach sorted :)

Then spend the next five rolls trying to nail the temperature in the water baths, and then, and only then, have a crack at C41. Whilst others may disagree, I think you'll have an immense amount of fun doing it this way.

After 10 B&W rolls, you'll have a few keepers, will have had fun, won't have spent much money, and won't be scared off by C41 or E6.
Forum: Pentax K-3 & K-3 II 04-07-2017, 06:04 AM  
Body Cap Cover For Pentax SLR Cameras
Posted By robthebloke
Replies: 10
Views: 2,218
I use the DA 40mm XS :)
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