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Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 03-02-2007, 02:52 AM  
Spotmatic SPII
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 13
Views: 5,772
Best wishes, memma. I hope this hobby brings as much joy to you as it has to me. :)
Forum: Photographic Technique 02-24-2007, 04:33 PM  
How new is the stuff you get from your local shop?
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 7
Views: 1,576
The DA 40 I picked up from my local shop was a demo. They didn't call it a demo and there was no price reduction on it but he pulled it out of a box that looked like it had been open many times before, mounted it on a camera, and let me do as I wish with it.

I like the idea of the boutique shops letting me try stuff and I don't mind spending a little more. These guys aren't too high on the big ticket items. For that reason, I don't mind getting something that others have handled and tried out. It's no big deal and far outweighed by the value of being able to touch/feel the item in question before purchasing.

..... but today I paid 75 bucks for a box of twelve sensor cleaning swabs and a tiny vile of fluid. Upon returning home, I noticed only 11 swabs. The fluid bottle is only half full. I have no idea how full it should be.

I have to admit, I would have preferred that stuff be in a bubble pack so I could know I'm getting what I paid for. They just had it on a shelf with no wrapping.

Do you guys mind getting opened box items? What needs to be a sealed item and what can be previously handled by other customers?

Some of these things are commodity items that ought to come sealed, IMO... while others are sufficiently expensive and subjectively preferred that it's OK if people have handled it before (like a car that's been previously test driven). Where do you draw the line?

Perhaps another good question would be, "How new is the stuff you get from mail order?"
Forum: Site Suggestions and Help 02-24-2007, 01:45 PM  
Buy/Sell/Trade forum reputation
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 1
Views: 878
May I suggest people use [ ] (as a reputation system for the buy/sell/trade forum)?

Just type the person's email address and add a positive comment. I've had some private dealings and found it reassuring.

Here's how to interpret the rating.

No or few reviews - Either they haven't used before or they are a scammer who changed their email address to lose some bad reputation points. Be careful.

Lots of positive reviews - This is no gaurantee of a good sale but I've never been burned by someone with a few positive transactions. Check out the people leaving the positive feedback and make sure they have done a few positive transactions themselves. We wouldn't want someone who has cooked up a few email accounts to arbitrarily pump up their reputation and fool us into thinking they are a good person.

Lots of negative reviews - You might want to steer clear of this deal. :lol:

Remember, can be used on any transaction. It doesn't have to be just this site. I already have a positive rating.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-24-2007, 01:37 PM  
Should Pentax Develop their own sensor
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 30
Views: 3,492
I think that is extremely unlikely. That's not how the japanese do business.

Back when I used to repair VCRs, they pretty much all has Sony motors and NEC tuners. Even the Sony and NEC VCRs. They have a very efficient business model.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 02-24-2007, 01:31 PM  
Spotmatic SPII
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 13
Views: 5,772
lol! :lol:

I have a softspot for these old manual Pentax cameras so I thougth I'd share instructions. I was just about to take some pics and label the parts in my image editor.

... or he could just read the Pentax manual. :p :lol: :lol: :lol:

Welcome to the site, memma. :)

I take it you are a young man who just came into a beautiful camera. I was in your shoes once. It was a wonderful time. Much luck and let us know if we can help. It's a beautiful hobby and you'll always be able to look back at your pictures and remember life past.
Forum: Pentax Film SLR Discussion 02-24-2007, 01:30 PM  
Spotmatic SPII
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 13
Views: 5,772
If you could find someone to show you how to work it, that would be best. The Internet is great but it would be quicker to watch someone who is experienced.

Having said that, I'll do my best to get you started.

Make sure the light meter is working.

Remove the lens cap and look through the view finder. On the right hand side, you have a meter. It is a simple meter with a '+' on the top and a '-' on the bottom. In the center, is a little gap. The needle should be sitting somewhere between the bottom and just below the gap.

There is a switch that you push up on the left side (from the back... right side from the front) that is labeled 'S W' and has an up arrow. Push it up. The needle should move from it's previous position. If it does, your battery is good. If it doesn't move, you need to replace the battery.

Replacing the battery is easy. You can remove the battery cover on the bottom of the camera with a coin. It just screws out. Take the battery with you to purchase a replacement. This is important: don't touch the battery when you replace it. Use vinyl or latex gloves or wood tongs. Don't use metal tweezers or you'll short out the battery. The oil from your skin will drastically reduce the life of the battery. It will still work if you touch it but it won't last as long.

OK... let's assume you have a working camera and a working light meter. We'll also assume your shutter doesn't stick. If your first roll contains some pictures that are half dark, that's another problem we'll get into at that time.

Really, a camera is simply a light tight box that holds the film in the correct location for the lens to focus an image on. A shutter opens and closes allowing light to get through for a period of time. That's all the camera does. The key is figuring out what the correct period of time is.

All those knobs and dials....

Actually, there are only three knobs you need to concern yourself with to figure out the correct exposure. Those are ASA (now called ISO), shutter speed, and aperture. ASA and shutter speed are on the same dial. Aperature is that ring at the base of the lens labelled, "2 2.8 4 5.6 8 11 16"

Let's talk about ASA first (someone will step in and correct me on this because it's now called ISO but it was ASA back then and is labelled 'ASA' on your shutter dial. If you look closely, you will see a tiny window that probably says, '100'. If that is the case, make sure you purchase 'ISO 100' film and you're good to go. To adjust ISO, pull up on the outer rim of the sutter speed dial and turn it until the ASA number indicates the same number on your film. To shoot ISO 200 film, set the ASA dial on your shutter wheel to 200 and so on. The film will expose the same if this is not set but your light meter will not be calibrated correctly so you will will end up over/under exposing all your shots. I suggest you stick with ASA/ISO 100 speed film but it really doesn't matter.

Next is the shutter speed. It's on the same dial. It is labelled, "B 1 2 4 ... 500" Those numbers are 1/x. In other words, if you set it on 125, that is 1/125 of a second. Note every number is roughly double the last number. In other words, every click as you increase the number on that dial halves the time the shutter is open. Fair enough?

Aperture is one of the more difficult ideas to comprehend. There is an adjustable diapghram inside the lens that will choke off the light in varying degrees. You probably have an f2.0 lens. That means the lowest number on the aperture ring at the base of your camera is a '2'. '2' is fully open and '16' is as closed as it gets. Each time you click that ring twice to get to the next higher number index, you half the amount of light getting through the lens. There is that half thing again. These are called 'f-stops'.

You can half or double the light getting through the lens by going up two clicks or down two clicks respectively. You can half or double the light getting to the film by halfing or doubling the time the shutter stays open by adjusting the shutter speed dial up or down one click respectively. Because of these relationships, you can balance between the two quite easily. 1/125, f8 is the same as 1/250, f5.6 which is the same as 1/500, f4. All three of these combinations of settings let the same amount of light onto the film. Think about it.

Here is the procedure to take a picture with a Spotmatic camera.

- remove lens cap :lol:
- aim the camera at your subject and adjust the focus. The correct hand position is to adjust the focus with your left hand, palm facing up, while you hold the camera body with your right hand around the right hand side of the camera such that you could press the shutter release with your index finger. Practice this. It is more important than you probably thing.
- Once focused, advance the film with the film advance lever. Do not advance the film if you are not going to take a picture and do not leave it advanced when you are not shooting.
- push that black switch on the side of the lens housing up to turn on the light meter.
- I suggest you set the shutter speed to 125 and leave it there for your initial outdoor shots. Indoor will require a flash or fast film unless you have a tripod and are shooting stationary objects. We'll leave that discussion for later.
- The only thing you need to adjust once you push that black switch up is the aperture. That's the black ring at the base of the lens. Twist that back and forth while you keep the subject in frame until that needle rests somewhere in the gap on the right side of the viewfinder.
- with the needle in the gap, your exposure is correct. Slowly exhale (don't let anyone notice you doing this or you will feel like an idiot) and hold your breath as you SLOWLY press the shutter button.
- congratulations. You just took your first SPII picture.

Loading and unloading film:

On the left side of the top of the camera body is a knob with an arrow 'R ->'. That arrow indicates the rotation of the spindle to unload the film.

Loading film:

- Remove the leather protective case from the camera by unscrewing the knurled knob on the bottom of the case.
- pull up on the knob on the top left of the camera body. It will be labelled, 'R->'
- It pulls up about 1.5 cm and clicks.
- From the elevated position, pulling it up a little more (gently) will cause the door to the film case to spring open. You're in.
- Open the door and you will see a spindle on the right side with a slot and an open space on the left side.
- Put the film into the left hand space and pull out a little film so you can push it into the slot on that right hand spindle. The right hand spindle can be turned to line up the slot for loading by using your thumb on the bottom of the spindle. Be gentle.
- With the film in the slot, make sure the holes in the side of the film line up horizontally with the advance sprocket just to the left of the slotted spindle.
- With the sprocket and sprocket holes lining up, advance the film with the film advance lever once. Any slack in the film should be taken up, a little film will be drawn out of the canister and some film should roll up onto the slotted spool. It should look tight.
- Close the film case door.
- with the lens cap on, press the shutter release button
- advance the film again and press the shutter release button again.
- You will probably have to do this three times to get to '0' on the current picture indicator. That indicator is in a little window atop the film advance lever.
- You're ready to go. Remember, don't leave the film advanced.
- don't forget to put the protective leather case back on

Unloading an exposed roll of film:

- Remove the leather protective case from the camera by unscrewing the knurled knob on the bottom of the case.
- On the bottom right side of the camera, directly under the shutter release button, is a tiny silver button. Press it. It should stay in. This is the spindle release clutch.
- There is a folding lever on that knob on the top left of the camera housing. It's the knob you pulled up to open the film case door. Flip that lever out and start cranking in the direction of the arrow.
- Crank carefully and listen. You will hear a faint click when the flim unthreads from the slotted spool. Depending on your film length, you'll have to crank about 25 times and then there will be a tiny click sound. You can stop there. If you don't hear the click or forgot to pay attention, turn that crank about 75 times to make sure you've retracted the entire length of film into the film canister.
- pull up on the knob on the top left of the camera body. It will be labelled, 'R->'
- It pulls up about 1.5 cm and clicks.
- From the elevated position, pulling it up a little more (gently) will cause the door to the film case to spring open.
- You can now liberate your freshly exposed roll of film from it's position on the left side of the film case.
Forum: Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 02-24-2007, 12:39 PM  
Sensor cleaning: Pec-Pads or Sensor Swabs
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 29
Views: 15,245
I looked for a rocket blower at my camera store but, of course, they don't carry them. They recommended an array of tools that would have added up to about $450 CDN. They had battery powered brushes with antistatic voodoo as well as various wipes and brushes. They recommended I buy all of them as well as a bag to keep the cleaning supplies in.

Being a cheap, I just picked up some sensor swabs and a tiny bottle of fluid. It was $75 CDN. :lol:

Perhaps I had best order a rocket blower. Can anyone recommend a Canadian supplier?
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-24-2007, 08:27 AM  
Should Pentax Develop their own sensor
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 30
Views: 3,492
Yes, if they feel they can do it better than anyone else. ie: either better technology or just as good for less.

If they can't improve on what is available on the market, they should not get into the business. There's no extra value having a Pentax sensor in a Pentax camera. I'm glad we're not chatting about how great the Pentax line could be if Pentax had sensors as good as Nikon has.

I'd like to point out that lithographing sensors in volume requires a fabrication plant worth many billions of dollars, not to mention a large highly skilled staff to operatie the plant and a group of scientists and engineers to create the intellectual property that is made in the fab.

Then there is wafer processing and chip mounting and packaging. Those can be outsourced or would we have them do that too?

Asking them to get into the sensor business is asking them to come up with new ideas that are more brilliant that the ideas coming from other established and highly productive R&D centers which are also home to teams of brilliant research scientists and then get into the wafer and CCD production business and manage all the challenges that brings.

I'll bet the Sony sensors we use have several thousand man years of R&D invested in the intellectual property that goes into them.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 02-24-2007, 03:26 AM  
new * lenses... when does the price of quality to much?
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 27
Views: 3,340
The thing about the new lens is it does not change the existing lineup, it is an addition. I get the impression that if they were to charge $20K for it, some people would sell their Pentax gear.

My understanding is they will continue to sell the 16-45/4 lens which seems highly respected and enjoyed by a lot of people. The 16-45/4 is certainly affordable. Introducing the star does not make the 16-45/4 lens any worse quality or value.

.... so is the core of the problem that people want to be able to afford the very highest models offered? From where I'm standing, the value proposition has not changed one bit.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-23-2007, 12:19 PM  
Who Wants a 1.3 Cropped Sensor?
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 75
Views: 6,943
Why are we flaming Ben? He seems like a pretty cool guy to me.

I don't have to share his views or opinions to respect him and his position on any given subject.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-23-2007, 11:24 AM  
Who Wants a 1.3 Cropped Sensor?
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 75
Views: 6,943
Sony invented the CCD and has been making them for a long time. It's a safe bet they are pretty much on top of the technology. What's wrong with outsourcing the sensor, if someone else has a better part for probably a lot less money than Pentax could possibly make in the forseeable future?

By the way, no need for a bigger sensor here.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2007, 10:31 PM  
? to enter for A Series lenses on the K10D
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 9
Views: 1,269
On my K100D, it asks for the focal length when I turn it on after mounting a manual lens.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2007, 10:27 PM  
Judging IQ using an LCD monitor?
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 4
Views: 1,966
A while ago, my Sony 21" monitor blew up. I loved that monitor. It displayed very smooth images.

I picked up a 26" flat panel to replace the Sony tube the same day I picked up a K100D kit.

Excited about the new camera, I started taking shots as soon as I had the monitor connected. Of course, used a DVI-D cable and cranked up the resolution.

The first images out of the camera were underwhelming, to say the least. I've since sought out image sharpness and have achieved it with a new lens and setting the sharpening back to default. This camera setup is astounding to me.

I've been wondering, however, how fair it is to judge image sharpness with one of these modern LCD flat panel displays. With 800:1 contrast ratio and digital pixel rendering, these things are hyper-revealing of image detail.

I've always found the images from my Canon S410 to be brilliant and sparkling but going back through them with this new monitor, they still seem beautifully smooth but they don't sparkle anything like the way they used to. They certainly don't demand my attention like the stunning detail of images taken with the K100D/DA40.

I suspect I wouldn't have the DA 40 lens right now if I were still using the Sony monitor.

I wonder if it's even valid to judge IQ with one of these monitors. I love the prints made from S410 sourced images and those prints are not going to change. Do you suppose all this extra detail the Pentax system provides will be revealed in 5x7 prints? Have I pursued something that is irrelevant?
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2007, 09:16 PM  
K100D vs. pavement. . .
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 10
Views: 1,427
Great story. I'm glad your camera is OK, Brian. :cool:
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2007, 09:06 PM  
The feel of the camera
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 10
Views: 1,566
The more I use my K100D, the more I love the feel of it. The way it generally operates makes me feel it was designed by people who love photography. I love how much the mode dial harkens back to the mechanical SLR days. It feels less like a computer than my Canon P&S cameras and I feel that is inspirational from a creativity point of view.

I can't recall the last time I came into possession of an item that made an better impression on me over time.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2007, 08:59 PM  
aperture ring: what's the point?
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 33
Views: 4,932
I learned photography in the very early 1970s and, in manual mode, that ring had a direct connection to the aperture diaphragm providing a brilliant feedback on what happened when you turned the ring. The Spotmatic F was the first camera I used that featured full aperture metering but I didn't come into possession of one of those until a few years after I got into it.

Sometimes I wonder if people getting into the hobby now are less able to comprehend shutter speed and aperture like we did in the old days when it was obvious. Back in the day, once in a while you'd get to an event and your meter battery would be dead. No problem... you'd just use someone else's readings and carry on or you could fudge it with F11/125 for outdoor shots on a sunny day. That, of course, was with ASA100 film. If you were a bit low on light, you could push the processing a bit when you developed the materials in the darkroom you set up in your bathroom.

Everything was so directly connected back then, it was a beautiful way to learn the subtleties of the hobby.

I loved those days but I don't miss them. Our modern cameras with electronically controlled aperture, shutter, and ISO are a dream to work with. My K100D feels like a treat to use.

These days, we argue and ponder things that are so subtle, I wonder if we've forgotten how huge the leaps were back in the days of early developments. Even something that seems important like spot metering pales in comparison to the benefits gained by early advances like behind the lens metering. It seems to me, future improvements are going to be increasingly incremental and subtle. Any modern camera is nothing short of amazing.

My first camera was an Asahiflex rangefinder. I used a hand held light meter that was given to me by a family member because I couldn't have afforded to buy one back then. It sure feels great to be back in the Pentax family.

It's also feels great to not have brown stains on my fingernails from having my hands splashing through fixer. :lol:
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2007, 08:54 PM  
If squeezing small pixels makes noise...
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 19
Views: 3,052
Am I the only one who feels 6mp is fantastic and 10mp is amazing?

There were big gains to be had by increasing resolution back in the sub 1mp days. These days, however, we have tons of resolution with fantastic noise qualities. I could care less about resolution advances.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2007, 02:38 PM  
I have achieved sharpness
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 21
Views: 4,464
Yes. The pictures at the top of this thread were all taken with it. :cool:
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2007, 12:51 PM  
AE-L exposure lock stopping down
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 8
Views: 2,098
I find the AE-L to be of dubious value. Every time I've tried to use it for the purposes of taking a bunch of shots to stitch together in a panorama, it has expired before the sequence of images are taken. I know the timer can be adjusted but it's easier to just set the camera to Manual.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2007, 12:48 PM  
in-camera shake reduction vs in-the-lens
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 17
Views: 3,280
I've read in a couple of places that in lens stabalization is better. It doesn't matter to me, though. Pentax's SR works beautifully for me.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-22-2007, 05:27 AM  
I have achieved sharpness
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 21
Views: 4,464
I went into my local shop looking for a DA 21 but would have bought the 16-45 based on your recommendation and the brilliant clarity of the shots you've shared.

It turned out, they didn't have the DA 21, or the DA 16-45/4. He only had two lenses in stock. One was a DA 40 and the other a DA 18-55 kit. The shopkeep was bitter about it too. He said he brought in a bunch of K10Ds and customers stripped the shelves of them. Not long afterward, customers bared his shelves of lens inventory too. It sounds like he's going to drop Pentax.

I think one of the things that bugs him most about Pentax is that he's been recommending to people like me to buy Nikon or Canon but we go for Pentax anyway. He did his best to try to get us into a real system but we just wouldn't listen.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-21-2007, 08:20 PM  
I have achieved sharpness
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 21
Views: 4,464
Amazon is hosing people. Those are the same lens.

I paid $300 CDN and that's the regular retail price.

Did I mention I am over the moon happy with this lens? :lol:

Not so long ago, I was burning for a 16-50 star. Now I couldn't care less if it is ever released.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-21-2007, 07:55 PM  
I have achieved sharpness
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 21
Views: 4,464
I don't have a clue. I'd speculate you are right about my copy existing slightly below the quality mean average. Perhaps another factor is just not liking it and maybe not giving the lens enough of a chance.

One thing I can tell you is this: I've seen some fantastic shots taken with the kit lens. So much so I'm absolutely confounded to think those shots came from the same lens I have. If I could do that with mine, I would not have this prime now. Perhaps they have better copies of the lens than I do. Certainly, they're far better photographers than I am. I also suspect most of the pictures I'm agape over started as better shots than anything I've ever taken with the kit lens and also have been highly processed outside of the camera. I regularly see noise close to sharp edges that I suspect is an artifact of perhaps a little too much sharpening.

It's rare to see full resolution crops straight from the camera with the kit lens, such as I've been posting recently. I suspect a lot of lenses wouldn't bare up under such pixel peeping.

The very best part of all this is a feeling that I can take good images. If something cool happens or I want a memory of an image, there is a near certainty I will get a good shot of it, as long as I have my camera handy. I didn't have that confidence with the kit lens.

Having had the experience I did with the kit lens makes me all the more humbled by the amazing pictures attributed to the kit lens I see every day. I would think pretty much all of you have a much better eye for artful composition than I do. It's clear by your pictures. My thing is different. My use for the camera is only partially for pleasure, I also need to be able to take sharp technical pictures to use as illustrations to my writings. I can do that now.

Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-21-2007, 07:39 PM  
I have achieved sharpness
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 21
Views: 4,464
I may use the 50-200mm zoom and I'm sufficiently pleased with it but, if I were doing it again, I would have bought the K100D body, the DA 40, and the DA 21. That's it. I'd walk around with the DA 21 and use the DA 40 once in a while for beautiful landscape shots and amateur portraits.

If I were to only have the K100D and the DA 40mm with no additional lenses, I'm confident I could be delighted with the camera indefinitely. The best part of this setup is I can take 10 shots and get 10 great images. I have confidence in the system. Before, many of the shots came out pretty gross and I never knew if it was going to work out, or not.

Autofocus is lightning fast with the DA 40. The only time it had trouble focusing is when I was shooting straight into the sun at sunset.

I don't know when my batteries are going to run out but I'm at 10 days and 830 pictures on the current charge of a set of Energizer NiMH 2500 cells. The display shows fully charged right now at 20C and it showed half charge earlier when the camera was outdoors at -10C for a while. How long can the thing go on a charge?

Every one of the pictures above is a JPEG straight out of the camera. The first one is a half resolution crop (but it's just as crisp at full resolution). The rest are scaled to 1/4 resolution. None were sharpened, noise reduced, or processed in any way besides sizing them and re-saving them to JPEG.

This has been an extremely worthwhile exercise. I really appreciate the expertise and willingness to help within this group. I'd like to pass along a heart felt thank you.

Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 02-21-2007, 07:26 PM  
I have achieved sharpness
Posted By Tom Brown
Replies: 21
Views: 4,464
Here's a downtown shot. Every picture that comes out of this thing sparkles.

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