Wednesday, April 16, 2014

# 3 - Weekly Chronicle and Photo Album of our current two-year trip across the U.S. and Canada in a RV with our Ricoh/Pentax equipment. This week, my favorite City, Montréal, Quebec, Canada, with my Pentax K-series of DSLRs.

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 Hi Photographer friends,

Montreal


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In this Essay, I am presenting Montréal, the City where I first saw the light of day. Although I now live in Southern California, it is still my favorite place in the world...but as I turn the pages of life, the City has become too cold, for my older bones, in the winter. If only I could bring Montréal to Southern California! In this first of three posts, here are the generalities of the City:


Mass transportation is accomplished with the use of a subway system (The Metro)
Photo - Public Domain

Image - Public Domain


Montréal is the second largest City in Canada and the second largest French speaking City in the world, second only to Paris. The city was named in 1534 when Jacques Cartier first landed there. The native Indians called it Hochelaga.  Cartier named the place Mount Royal, from the elevation that rose in rear of the site, a little way back from the St. Lawrence River. Later on the name was changed to "Ville-Marie" by Paul de Chomedey, Sieur de Maisonneuve, then to "Ville-Marie de Montréal". Today the name is simply: Montréal.



The City is progressive with new Buildings overshadowing Old and Historical Edifices.

The current population of Montréal is nearly two millions and approaching four millions with the suburbs. The City is a multi-cultural melting pot where people of many ethnicities, religions and cultures live in close harmony, or as harmoniously as it can be in this day and age.

The City is progressive with new Buildings overshadowing Old and Historical Edifices. Mass transportation is accomplished with the use of a subway system (The Metro) that allows displacement of the thousands of workers, shoppers, students and tourists alike, from one end of the City to the other in less than twenty minutes. Most of the downtown buildings, including apartment complexes, are connected to the Metro via tunnels and underground walkways, allowing “Montrealers” to go out and about in the frigid Canadian winters without ever really going outside. The underground Montreal is one of the largest in the world.








 


The "Vieux Montréal" (Old Montréal) is the most visited area



To me, Montréal is one of the most vibrant and exciting City. There's always something to do in Montréal. The "Vieux Montréal" (Old Montréal) is the most visited area and where most street performers, artists and painters gather. The food is known to be excellent and from all corners of the World. The City is one of the safest major City in North America. We had no fear of walking around late at night as we walked all the way to the top of Mount Royal to see the City lights. The area was alive with tourists and couples looking over the City. It’s actually quite a romantic place.



We had no fear of walking around late at night as we walked all the way to the top of Mount Royal to see the City lights.

Since the summer is relatively short in Montréal, every summer day is cherished and festivals abound in the fair weather Months. The Montréal Jazz Festival is the largest in the world. There are festivals all summer long, from “Art” to “JazZ” and everything in between. There must be a reason why the City is renowned as a City of Festivals.


If you're into food, Montréal is the place for you. Montréal's gastronomic reputation is renowned world wide. It is also well-deserved. The culinary specialties of Countries around the world are represented. No matter what taste or budget, a great meal can always be had! You'll find several good French restaurants in the "Vieux Montréal"  (Old Montreal). In the downtown area, Crescent Street is famous for its lovely terraces and restaurants.

You'll find several good restaurants in the "Vieux Montréal"

Boulevard Saint-Laurent is noted for trendy restaurants and home of the famous Schwartz’s smoked meat. Schwartz has been in operation in Montréal for eighty years. Here's a small list of people that have dined at Schwartz; Celine Dion, Angelina Jolie, Tim Allen, The Rolling Stones, etc, and the list could fill this page. Proponents of Montreal's smoked meat claim that it cannot be obtained in its tastiest, or most authentic form, outside of Montréal. Schwartz's is a very small restaurant, and there are lines of hungry people from opening to close. It's not a fancy place and if there are only one two of you, you will be sitting at a table along with other smoke meat lovers. It is truely a Montréal experience.


Schwartz's is a very small restaurant.
There are lines of hungry people from opening to close

Proponents of Montreal's smoked meat claim that it cannot be obtained in its tastiest, or most authentic form, outside of Montréal. 
Rue Saint-Denis, as well as many popular establishments located on Rue Prince-Arthur and Avenue Duluth serve somptuous meals and you can purchase wine at the local SAQ (Société des alcools du Québec - Quebec controlled alcool stores) and bring your own wine. It is much cheaper that way and all restaurants in that corner of the City will gladly serve your wine.

While in Montréal, you have to taste a big bowl of Poutine. Poutine is a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds, covered with brown gravy or sauce and sometimes additional ingredients. Poutine is a diner staple which originated in Quebec and can now be found across Canada. It is sold by national fast food chains, in small "greasy spoon" type diners (commonly known as "cantines" or "casse-croûtes" in Quebec) and pubs, as well as by roadside chip wagons. Along with fries and pizza, Poutine is a very common dish sold and eaten in high school cafeterias in various parts of Canada.



While in Montréal, you have to taste a big bowl of Poutine
Poutine is a diner staple which originated in Quebec and can now be found across Canada. 
There is no doubt that Montreal is a vibrant, unique and intriguing travel destination. The many cultural activities, lively festivals, and countless bars and nightclubs of all kinds, make this a fascinating city with something for everyone.

Countless bars and nightclubs of all kinds

Yvon Bourque

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ricoh is really going to get the Pentax products back on top. Check this out.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

The new Pentax 645 Z announced. 51.4 MP CMOS for a little less that $8,500.00. Also, 13 medium format FA lenses introduced in the U.S.

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Achieve Photographic Distinction with the Medium-Format PENTAX 645Z

Ricoh Imaging’s new PENTAX 645Z medium-format DSLR features a 51.4 megapixel CMOS sensor, Full HD video and a responsive shooting experience with three frames-per-second

DENVER, CO, April 14, 2014 – It is not often that a camera can be referred to as a game-changer. One that can provide photographers with the tools that not only enrich their craft but are capable of producing images so distinct they are easily set apart from the competition.  Today, Ricoh Imaging Americas Corporation is pleased to announce the game-changing PENTAX 645Z medium-format DSLR, thus altering the landscape of professional photography.

Developed on the multi-award-winning legacy of the PENTAX 645D and the historic PENTAX 645 film cameras, the PENTAX 645Z improves upon one of the most lauded cameras in the company’s 95 year history. Featuring an amazing 51.4 megapixels on a high-performance CMOS image sensor, the PENTAX 645Z assures super-high-resolution images with a stunningly realistic sense of depth combined with vivid colors and rich shadow detail. The resulting images feature a uniquely distinct look and an unmistakable brilliance that clearly differentiate professional photographers to their clients. The thoughtful inclusion of a CMOS image sensor enables live view on a tiltable LCD panel while also making the 645Z the first and only camera in the medium-format category to offer video recording capabilities, resulting in footage that captures amazingly lifelike reproductions with tangible depth and incredible dynamic range.

“Our diverse lineup of DSLRs enables us to offer professional tools like the 645Z at a price point within reach of many photographers,” said Jim Malcolm, Executive Vice President, Ricoh Imaging. “Today’s photographers are looking to differentiate their craft and the 645Z offers the perfect option as an exceptional medium-format camera that does not sacrifice in quality or specification, with affordability.”

The new PENTAX 645Z has also received several significant enhancements including an improved and highly responsive shooting experience that can capture an incredible three frames per second—a significant benefit when compared to other medium-format cameras featuring CMOS sensors and an equivalent resolution—with a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 of a second. The 645Z is equipped with an amazing top ISO of 204,800 for images with exceptional quality, even in situations with very low light or pushing for higher shutter speeds in all lighting conditions, providing the photographer with totally new creative options far beyond the scope of existing medium-format photography. Additionally, the 645Z is compatible with the recently introduced FLU Card, providing  remote operation of the 645Z including the ability to release the shutter, view a live-view, and browse and download the images recorded on the card using a wireless connection to a smartphone, tablet, computer or any web browser enabled device.

Widening the 645Z’s already diverse applications for shooting is an articulated LCD with a 3.2-inch LCD monitor with approximately 1,037,000 dots, ensuring even the most agile photographer captures waist-level, high and low-angle images with precision and ease. Finally, the PENTAX 645Z features an incredibly sturdy and dependable body with a magnesium alloy frame and  a diecast aluminum chassis, complemented by 76 weather-seals for a cold-resistant, weather-resistant and dustproof shooting experience.

In conjunction with the launch of the PENTAX 645Z, Ricoh Imaging is also excited to announce the availability of 13FA 645 lenses to support an even wider variety of optics providing the perfect system that spans numerous shooting scenarios.

Pricing and Availability
The PENTAX 645Z will be available for purchase in June 2014 for a category-low retail price of $8,499.95 for the body only.
The newly available FA 645 lenses are available now for the following prices:





SMC-FA 645 75MM F2.8
$839.00
SMC-FA 645 45MM F2.8
$1,319.00
SMCP-FA 645 150mm f/2.8(IF)
$1,679.00
SMC PENTAX-FA* 645 300MM F4 ED(IF)
$4,799.95
SMC-FA 645 400MM F5.6 EDIF
$3,479.00
SMC-FA 645 ZOOM 45-85 F4.5
$2,879.00
SMCP-FA 645 120mm f/4 MACRO
$1,679.00
SMCP-FA 645 200MM f/4 (IF)
$1,319.00
SMCP-FA 645 80-160/4.5
$2,519.00
SMCP-FA 645 33-55 f/4.5 AL
$3,239.00
SMCP-FA 645 ZOOM 150-300MM F/5.6 ED
$3,239.00
SMCP-FA 645 35mm f/3.5
$1,919.00
SMCP-FA 645 55-110 f/5.6
$2,039.00




Friday, April 11, 2014

Notice of SIGMA USB DOCK for Pentax Release Date

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 Hi Photographer friends,



2014.04.11

Notice of SIGMA USB DOCK for Sony, Pentax Release Date decision

In our company, we will guide you the release date SIGMA USB DOCK for Sony, Pentax for this time. Release Date:Friday, April 25, 2014 for Sony, Pentax suggested retail price (excluding tax): 6,000 yen (as of April 2014) corresponding lens 35mm F1.4 DG HSM for Sony, Pentax 30mm F1.4 DC HSM for Sony, Pentax F1.8 DC HSM for Sony 18-35mm, Pentax  24-105mm F4 DG HSM for Sony  50 mM F1.4 DG HSM for Sony  17-70 mm F2.8-4 DC MACRO HSM F3.5-6.3 DC MACRO HSM for Sony 18-200mm, Pentax ※ ※ is not yet released. ※ You may want to change the appearance of the product, such as specification.




Thanks for reading,
Yvon Bourque