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Forum: Post Your Photos! 17 Hours Ago  
Night Planetary Alignment
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 0
Views: 125
A thin crescent Moon (2.3% illuminated) lined up with Venus and Mercury after sunset Sunday, March 18. Such events occur a few times each year, with different planets depending on how their orbits work out. I was fortunate to have clear skies.

Moon, Venus, Mercury Flanking Fire Island Lighthouse by John Speroni, on Flickr

Moon, Venus, Mercury at Fire Island #1 by John Speroni, on Flickr

Moon, Venus, Mercury aligned over Robert Moses Causeway by John Speroni, on Flickr
Forum: Pentax Full Frame 1 Day Ago  
Considering full frame need lens help
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 23
Views: 664
I like my K-1 a lot but it doesn't specialize in action photography. You'll be able to get sports photos with it, but Pentax APS-C models at half the price can achieve similar results.

IMO the main reason to get a K-1 is for landscape and low-light photography. That's where it excels. It's also very good at portraits, macro, architecture, and general photography.
Forum: Travel, Events, and Groups 2 Days Ago  
What to take?
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 5
Views: 322
Coming into this late. I think the Rokinon 16mm is an APS-C crop lens. Will 24mm equivalent as your widest lens be enough? It's a matter of opinion but I like to have an ultrawide when visiting unique landscapes.
Forum: Photographic Technique 2 Days Ago  
The "everything but gear talk" thread. What's your project, what's your take on it?
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 80
Views: 2,820
My photo project is a collection of the moon blocked by other objects. That lets me do some astrophotography from my light-polluted home skies.

I like deep sky astrophotography (nebulas, galaxies). That's sort of on hold until I retire and relocate somewhere with darker skies. I occasionally give beginning astrophotography tutorials to local astronomy and photo clubs.

Decaying buildings are another casual project. I need to find a sidekick for safety on those those trips. I have no fear of squatters, but a fall inside an abandoned building would not be good. I need to be overly cautious solo and pass up some opportunities.

Post-retirement, hopefully before the end 2019, I hope for a lot more travel photography. Hiking landscapes and wildlife, broken up by architecture visiting cities. I have a camper van and look forward to being able to travel and have more time to linger in an area, learning the place. 5 days in a National Park is too short, and I'm often limited to even less time. The Black Hills of South Dakota and many places in New Mexico must be revisited! One month roadtrip in each of the 48 lower states = 4 years of travel. Then there's the intercoastal highway to Alaska, followed by a drive back home through Canada.

Moonrise over Giacomo Hotel by John Speroni, on Flickr
20150523-IMGP3902.jpg by John Speroni, on Flickr
Moon behind Empire State Building by John Speroni, on Flickr

---------- Post added 03-17-18 at 12:17 AM ----------

That happens with age. A cafe in Providence, RI had this bathroom decor:
Bathroom Robot by John Speroni, on Flickr
Bathroom Robot by John Speroni, on Flickr
Forum: Photo Critique 2 Days Ago  
Night Milky Tipso lake
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 4
Views: 365
What processing software did you use? That might help us to make applicable suggestions.

Color looks good as-is. There are so many different ways to handle color. As an experiment, you can try to increase saturation for more color, which might then need color temperature adjustments to avoid it looking overprocessed.

What was your exposure length? The EXIF says 30 seconds, but your description says 6 seconds * 4 exposures = 24 seconds?

Did you merge 4 exposures just to reduce noise, or did you do anything to align the sky? The latter allows larger stacks, but takes much more processing work when you have foreground in the scene.

Focus looks pretty good. Upper-right and upper-left corners look a little soft. Your 16-50 seems similar to mine - usable but not ideal for astrophotography. Corners are not great at 16mm and wide apertures. It's not a lens defect, the lens designer prioritized other characteristics.

Trees look sharp so I assume you didn't use the astrotracer. If you want to get into layering, take one long shot with the tracer for the sky, then a second non-astrotraced shot for the foreground.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 3 Days Ago  
Need help choosing between Pentax D-FA 15-30mm and Pentax 31mm Ltd
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 21
Views: 654
IMO the 15-30 and FA 31 are at the wide end of what you want. With the 15-30 you might always use it at 30mm for those photos.

Add me to the list of people suggesting the 28-105 or 24-70 as the first lens to go with a K-1. Both lenses have a versatile zoom range. The 28-105 benefits include compactness and cost. The 24-70 offers f2.8 in very low light and for thin depth of field.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 3 Days Ago  
How bad can scratches on the front glass of a lens affect image quality ?
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 33
Views: 1,214
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 3 Days Ago  
What is the purpose of TAv Mode on Pentax DSLRS?
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 31
Views: 1,413
TAv is great for photographing action in changing light. Set the shutter to freeze motion or to artistically creat blur. Set the aperture for desired depth of field. The camera controls ISO for a proper exposure.

TAv also works very well for street photography.
Forum: Pentax K-1 4 Days Ago  
Best lens options for landscape and astro for new pentax owner?
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 19
Views: 3,488
Proper focal length for your target is more important than clear aperture IMO. 35mm is tight for landscapes with a Milky Way background. Stitching the sky is okay, but foregrounds get tricky if stray light hits the scene and changes between frames.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 5 Days Ago  
Replacing my K-x
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 11
Views: 479
Any current Pentax will be a significant upgrade, but some models might be better for you than others. What do you find most limiting about the Kx? What types of photography do you do?

Do you need the "scene" modes in your Kx? The only current Pentax model with that is the K70. That feature goes away on the more advanced models.

Pentax K-1 II vs. Pentax KP vs. Pentax K-70 - Pentax Camera Comparison -
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 Days Ago  
LBA aftermath: What lenses for Geneva International car show
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 21
Views: 704
You had a 2nd person to hold bags so you could take even more stuff than solo ;)
Forum: General Photography 03-12-2018, 07:40 AM  
Shooting two systems.
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 23
Views: 866
Will the A6500 give you better images than the K-3? What features of the A6500 appeal to you?

Comparing the K-1 to the A6500, if you were doing landscapes I would say the K-1 is far superior. For portraits and events, though, they each have appeal. A6500 main advantage IMO is smaller size. K-1 main advantage is at low-light events. For on-screen viewing and printing at moderate sizes up to around 16x20 you probably won't see a significant image quality difference between the 2 cameras.

I moved from my K-5 to a dual system: K-1 and m4/3 (Panasonic GX-85). My main uses are landscapes, night scenes, and travel photography. The larger K-1 system gets used most of the time. The small GX-85 is for street photography and when I want to pack lightly.
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 03-11-2018, 06:46 PM  
Should Pentax make a digital TLR ?
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 21
Views: 1,025
All 24 camera (I think that's the latest count) are on a motorized mount that offsets Earth's rotation, so exposure length can be long. The purpose of multiple photos is to get a stack 24 times deeper within a given timeframe. It also opens up some new processing options compared to a single sensor because hot pixels and dust spots will only appear in 1/24 of the frames.

They do affect phones. Stitching/stacking errors occur, but may be less objectionable than the increased noise and poor dynamic range of a single sensor phone image. Parallax can't always be processed out, either, but phones have tiny lenses so it's possible to put them close together.
Forum: Photographic Technique 03-11-2018, 06:35 PM  
You are being served...
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 14
Views: 854
Yes. It's too tough to be an active photographer while being an active host.

Set aside a short period during your event where you can pause serving food to concentrate on a limited number of photos. Maybe get a group shot and some quick portraits of the guest of honor, then put the camera back to automatic on a tripod or shelf.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-11-2018, 06:16 PM  
LBA aftermath: What lenses for Geneva International car show
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 21
Views: 704
My copy of the 16-50 has some halos and flare wide open at f2.8 when bright lights are pointing into the lens. Not bad, but not great either. At f4.0 it becomes much better. My limited car show experience is that lighting isn't an issue - bright lights are aimed at the car not at the spectators - there may be reflections but it's not a big problem.

The DA15 is a near perfect lens in terms of handling flare. You didnt' use it much last time, though, so it might not be worth bringing this time.

Crazy idea: The DA15 is a great lens if you can get close enough and there aren't too many people to get into the frame. Go to the car show early on a weekday when it may be less crowded, and try shooting exclusively with the 15 to practice with one of the best Pentax lenses. Bring the 16-50 or 20-40 just in case 15mm isn't a good focal length for that show.
Forum: Photographic Industry and Professionals 03-11-2018, 09:12 AM  
Should Pentax make a digital TLR ?
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 21
Views: 1,025
It could be done but is a bad product idea. The complexity of synchronizing 2 lenses and sensors would be unnecessarily complex. Parallax errors would affect any scenes that had depth to them. Yes, it's theoretically possible to fix some of that with software processing, but you won't get noticeably improved results over a single camera and lens.

Film TLR cameras use one lens to look through and the other to capture the image, and don't provide the same lens change versatility we get from SLR, DSLR, and mirrorless.

The concept, though, is being successfully used for astronomy. Lots of image processing is required, and it only works at infinity focus where there are no parallax issues. Here's one project:
Dragonfly - Dunlap Institute
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-11-2018, 08:59 AM  
LBA aftermath: What lenses for Geneva International car show
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 21
Views: 704
The 16-50 along might be adequate, based on last year's statistics.

For the 10% you did with the FA* 85, what aperture setting did you use? If you needed f1.4 for thin depth of field then bring that as a 2nd lens. If you were stopping down to f4 and smaller to get more in focus, just use the 16-50 and crop a little.
Forum: Pentax DSLR Discussion 03-09-2018, 04:17 PM  
Very undecided ‘which camera ‘ old man. Help please.
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 28
Views: 1,452
I see you later replied about the difficulty using a tripod from a wheelchair. Good point.

Consider improving the lighting at your table. Cheap LED lamps might suffice, you don't need expensive photography-specific lighting gear. Maybe you can get enough light to keep your K10D at lower ISO.

Technology has advanced so far that it's difficult to find a bad camera model nowadays. There are good cameras and even better cameras. Much of the appeal for more expensive cameras is high ISO, ultrafast burst speeds, weather sealing, and other gadgets. They are useful features for some types of photography but for indoor still life and macro you don't need features that are intended for shooting sports.

As others have said, assuming you decide to stick with Pentax, the K-70 is a good budget choice. It is a major improvement over the K10D. Much less noise at high ISO. Higher resolution, in case you need to crop your macro shots. The K-1 costs 3x the price and IMO isn't worth it for the types of photography you want to do.

Any lens that fits the K10D should work with a newer Pentax DSLR. That includes the K-70.
Forum: Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 03-06-2018, 09:11 AM  
Correct me if I'm wrong on lens choice
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 40
Views: 1,058
The 35 isn't a bad lens, but if not the focal length you need it's arguably a waste of your budget. Maybe hold onto your money, save more, and hopefully find a used DA 21 or DA 15. Deal with the larger size of the 18-135 for a while longer.

I own a DA 15 Limited. It's a great architecture and landscape lens. This lens has amazing flare resistance; you can include the sun or bright street lights in compositions that wouldn't work well with many other lenses. Some reviewers complain the lens isn't tack sharp but I've found that it's adequately sharp especially considering that most architectural and landscape shots can be stopped down to f/8.

I've never used the DA 21. Sample photos show it to be a good lens, but IMO it's not as special as the 15. 21mm is a good focal length for street photography with a crop sensor.

DA 15 Limited examples. Click for larger copies:

Central Islip Courthouse by John Speroni, on Flickr

Sunset over Pueblo del Arroyo by John Speroni, on Flickr
Forum: General Photography 03-05-2018, 07:19 PM  
1st try at Street Photography. Bad anxiety shooting people ?
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 76
Views: 1,998
The only place I've done a significant amount of street photography is NYC. Streets are busy with people. Most people are busy getting places, so even if I wanted to ask for permission, most would get annoyed when I stopped them to ask. My approach is to use a fast enough shutter speed to freeze motion while subjects just go about their business:

20150529-R0001196.jpg by John Speroni, on Flickr

20150528-R0001148.jpg by John Speroni, on Flickr
Forum: General Photography 03-05-2018, 12:41 PM  
1st try at Street Photography. Bad anxiety shooting people ?
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 76
Views: 1,998
I assume photography is a hobby for you, so if you feel too stressed taking photos of strangers, don't do that. A bit of stress is to be expected learning something new and only you can determine whether it's good stress or bad stress.

There are many different types of "street photography". You can engage with people beforehand and ask to take their photos; that requires more interaction but you are only taking photos after asking permission. You can avoid engagement with a wider angle lens and shoot without careful aim and without talking; commonly referred to as "shooting from the hip". You can try a telephoto. You might find some of those styles less stressful than others.

Personally, I avoid stress during street photography by shooting from the hip. I take my photo and move on. Or, if there's a very good backdrop, I'll stay in one spot and try to time shots as interesting looking people enter the scene. I don't ask permission because then it becomes a posed portrait instead of candid. I avoid taking photos that are likely to be exploitative or embarrassing to the subject.

Don't be Bruce Gilden. His style tries to create stress in his subjects. He pushes a camera near someone's face and fires the flash.
Forum: Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 03-05-2018, 09:38 AM  
K-70 bundle, which to pick?
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 19
Views: 658
It depends. If you don't already have a memory card, camera bag, tripod, etc. I would pick the 2nd link. The 3rd link adds an LED light and microphone that are more for video than photography.

If you are coming from a different camera and already have a lot of this stuff, go with the 1st link.

Note that the tripod and filters included with these package deals are usable but not great. It's fine for getting started. Depending on how your photography interests progress some of those accessories might never get used, while you outgrow and replace some of the other accessories.

P.S. The camera should already come with a battery and charger. Some unscrupulous stores remove those from the box and try to sell them back to you, but Adorama is a good store. It's helpful to have a 2nd battery.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 03-03-2018, 12:12 PM  
Short CP+ K-1 II Impressions
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 44
Views: 4,033
I've had shutter shock handheld and on a tripod. Usually, it's minor and only noticeable pixel peeping. The worst occurrences for me were: 1) Sigma 50-500 on a tripod during the August 2017 total solar eclipse. I was able to salvage good photos but my planned of 5-shot brackets only had 2 usable images per bracket. 2) Fall foliage, 28-105 handheld and on a tripod.

Anyway, I don't want to hijack the thread. I'm curious whether there's a stealth shutter upgrade hidden among the mark 2 upgrade. If not, it seems like handheld pixel shift will be too limited, but it's not a big deal because the mark 2 is still at least as good as the mark 1.
Forum: Pentax News and Rumors 03-03-2018, 09:13 AM  
Short CP+ K-1 II Impressions
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 44
Views: 4,033
I like my K-1. It's biggest shortcoming for my usage is shutter/mirror shock; that doesn't make it a bad camera but limits resolution in some situations. If the Mark 2 has a similar amount of vibration from the shutter it might limit the practical usage of this new handheld pixelshift.
Forum: Photo Critique 03-01-2018, 09:21 AM  
People Old Man - Old Job - Clock
Posted By DeadJohn
Replies: 8
Views: 793
I much prefer #2. Was #1 shot through window glass while #2 was not?

#1 has a distracting reflection on his chin and downwards to the bottom of the frame. Were you wearing a scarf or tie that caused that? It would take heroic postprocessing to fix. Maybe you could have gotten closer to the glass for less reflection or tried a polarizing filter.

The blurred vertical foreground lines in #1 are distractions. A square crop might remedy that; get rid of everything on the right side of the rightmost vertical line, framing the man between the 2 verticals.
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