Wednesday, April 23, 2014

# 4 - 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, St Augustine Florida with my Pentax K-3 and the DA 16-45mm ED-AL


Hi Photographer friends,

Today, we had a chance to visit St. Augustine for a few hours. There isn't much you can do in a few hours, but I tried to capture some of the architecture of this Oldest City in the Nation.  Despite the short time we had, I believe my award winning Pentax K-3 and the DA 16-45mm helped me capture some good images of  the City's Spanish  architectural  influence. Althought I purchases this lens a while back, I always liked this lens.




Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied settlement of European and African-American origin in the United States. Forty-two years before the English colonized Jamestown and fifty-five years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the Spanish established at St. Augustine this nation's first enduring settlement.

The architectural legacy of the city's past is much younger, testimony to the impermanent quality of the earliest structures and to St. Augustine's troubled history. Only the venerable Castillo de San Marcos, completed in the late seventeenth century, survived destruction of the city by invading British forces in 1702.

Vestiges of the First Spanish Colonial Period (1565-1764) remain today in St. Augustine in the form of the town plan originally laid out by Governor Gonzalo Méndez de Canzo in the late sixteenth century and in the narrow streets and balconied houses that are identified with the architecture introduced by settlers from Spain. Throughout the modern city and within its Historic Colonial District, there remain thirty-six buildings of colonial origin and another forty that are reconstructed models of colonial buildings.


St. Augustine can boast that it contains the only urban nucleus in the United States whose street pattern and architectural ambiance reflect Spanish origins.












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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The PENTAX K-3 digital SLR has been selected as the “BEST DSLR - EXPERT” by the prestigious Technical Image Press Association (TIPA).

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 Hi Photographer friends,

The PENTAX K-3 digital SLR has been selected as the “BEST DSLR - EXPERT” by the prestigious Technical Image Press Association (TIPA).The selection was made due to the camera’s exceptional image quality, excellent reliability rating and outstanding operability.

TIPA is an independent, non-profit organization comprising the chief editors and technical editors of 29 leading photo and imaging magazines from 16 countries. This year’s winners were selected  from all new photo and imaging products introduced in the market from April 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014. The PENTAX K-3, which was originally launched in November 2013, received the highest rating in the Best DSLR - Expert category.










                    
TIPA’s official member review of the K-3 cited several product standouts worthy of distinction including;  a 24MP APS-C CMOS sensor which adds the unique “anti-aliasing simulator” to its low pass filter-less design, a weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, and  shooting capable of 8.3 frames per second in bursts of 23 RAW or 60 JPEG images. The review further noted the sensor-shift image stabilization mechanism which adds a controllable “anti-moiré” effect. The K-3 delivers Full HD video with stereo sound and an upgraded interval movie mode for capturing 4K movie clips. It also incorporates a new PRIME III processor and 27-point SAFOX II AF system, with 25 cross-type sensors. The shutter is rated at a robust 200,000 actuations.



Unleash the capabilities of your Pentax K-3. Discover tips and tricks not found in the OEM manual. The e-book is written in a non-technical way so that everyone can master this great camera in a short time. We have done all the research and testing for you. The e-book is well indexed and can even be installed on your smartphone or tablet for quick reference even in the field. Click on the image below.


Do you need a good instructional e-book about the Pentax K-3?  Visit our e-book for Pentax DSLRs e-commerce and join the thousands of people that already purchased one.

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Monday, April 21, 2014

For years now, many people have been whining about Pentax not having a full frame DSLR. After all, Nikon, Canon and Sony all have full frame DSLR on the market.

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 Hi Photographer friends,



For years now, many people have been whining about Pentax not having a full frame DSLR.  After all, Nikon, Canon and Sony all have full frame DSLR on the market.

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First

Let me talk about the concept of full frame. Digital cameras were first introduced as simple point and shoot cameras with a small sensor for several years. Then, as the technology evolved, manufacturers wanted to introduce digital SLRs that would be using bodies similar to the then popular 35mm film cameras. Doing so would also allow the use of the lenses designed for 35mm film cameras and some small change to bodies would be required. It was all about economics and thought off by manufacturers in order to save production costs. The problem was technology. No manufacturers had yet been able to designed a sensor with the same dimension as a 35mm film camera, which is 24mm x 36mm.

The first sensors used with 35mm film like bodies were smaller. The APS sized sensors, for instance, were introduced with variable dimensions depending on the manufacturer. The APS sensors were roughly 15.60mm x 23.60mm. That was the beginning of the so called “Cropped Sensors”. The sensors were smaller than the image circle produced by the lenses and thus a factor of roughly 1.5x was used to determine the size of the cropped image. In other words, a 50mm lens only had the angle of view of a 75mm lens (50mm x 1.5 = 75mm). As technology advanced, through the years, manufacturer were able to make sensors in a larger size, equaling the size of a 35mm film camera of 24mm x 36mm. That was the beginning of the full frame sensor.

All manufacturers eventually made camera lenses to match the APS sensors image circle and that in itself could have been full frame sensor for this new format. Olympus came out with the 4/3rd sensors and lenses to match. This was indeed a full frame size for that format. In the film camera era, there was all kinds of formats, 35mm, medium format, large format, 4 x 5 cameras, 8 x 10 cameras, etc. They were all full frame in their category. Although adapters were fabricated to adapt lenses to other formats, there was no description of them being cropped formats.  

So now, Ricoh/Pentax have just introduced the 645Z with a whopping 51.4 MP CMOS sensor with an actual dimension of 33mm x 44mm which trumps the Nikon and Canon so called full frame sensors. The price of $8,500 is ridiculously affordable for professional photographers that have been using from the Nikon D4S ($6,500) to the Hasselblad H5D-200MS ($44,000).

I really do not see why Ricoh/Pentax would want to spend any time and money making a DSLR with a 24mm x 36mm (so called full frame sensor). They are currently the king of APS sized cameras with the K-3. The 645Z is a better choice than the full frame Nikons, Canons and Sonys. The sensor is bigger and the prices are about the same. When compared to the “Medium Format” DSLR like the Hasselblad and the Leica, the 645Z is such a bargain. Ricoh/Pentax have reintroduced all of the FA 645mm format lenses (13 of them) and the choice of lenses is ample.

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Second

Pentax was really the first company to introduce a 24mm x 36mm sensor, but as history has it…

Timing is everything.  Did you know that the first Full Frame DSLR was actually designed by Pentax, but the wrong timing and other factors prevented them to release what would have been the first Full Frame, 6 megapixels DSLR, in 2001.

Here is a press release issued on February 10, 2001:


DENVER, Colorado (February 10, 2001) . . . PENTAX Corporation will preview a new digital autofocus SLR camera (The MZ-D)) at the PMA (Photo Marketing Association) Show held in Orlando, February 11-14, 2001. The addition of this advanced digital SLR camera complements one of the most extensive photographic lines of any manufacturer in the industry including 35mm, APS, medium format and digital for various levels of photographers.



The MZ-S was the last 35mm camera that Pentax produced. I loved the design. Actually it wasn't their last 35mm, the *ist was, but the MZ-s was the last flagship model.

Created along the same developmental concept lines as the new PENTAX MZ-S professional 35mm autofocus SLR camera, this high-end digital SLR will feature a 
35mm-film-sized, six megapixel CCD image sensor as well as a DSP and other digital processing components. This package was jointly developed with Philips Electronics in order to realize high-grade image quality, top-level performance and compact dimensions simultaneously. Offering compatibility with the existing PENTAX KAF2 lens mount, it will also accept PENTAX 645-system and 67-system interchangeable lenses (when used with an adapter). This high-performance digital autofocus SLR camera will be ideal for advanced amateurs and professionals who demand top quality images and SLR maneuverability.


The camera will be compatible with four new accessories introduced for the new MZ-S 35mm SLR camera including: 
1.) BG-10 Battery Grip, 
2.) CS-105 & CS-130 Cable Switches, 
3.) TS-110 Release Timer Switch, and the 
4.) AF360FGZ Dedicated Flash Unit. The final product specifications, pricing and marketing dates will be announced at a later time.
 

This DSLR still appeals to me today. I think the design is incredibly beautiful. Who's to say that Pentax couldn't reuse this design with a new / current Full Frame CMOS sensor!
  

The  LCD screen is small in today's standards, but look at the top panel of the camera...pure beauty. Remember that this was in 2001, that's ancient in digital technology, and yet Pentax was at the forefront of Full Frame DSLR.

 So why wasn't it ever mass produced?


Well, as it turned out, the Phillips sensor fail to deliver. Actually, Contax were to introduce a new DSLR as well, based on this same sensor, but the failure to deliver from Phillips actually drove Contax to extinction. Aren't you glad that Pentax was strong to hang in there? If that sensor would have succeeded in producing great images, Pentax would have been ahead of Nikon and Canon. It took them a while to get back on their digital feet, but now with the 645Z, the K-3 and Ricoh GR, Ricoh/Pentax is definitely in the game.


Note: At the time Pentax were going to introduce the new MZ-D Full Frame - 6 megapixels,  Nikon's flagship model was the D1, with only an APS-C sensor @ 2.7 megapixels.  Canon had the EOS-1D with a Panasonic 1.3x APS-C sensor @ 4 megapixels. Nobody else had a Full Frame in the works. Technically speaking, and timing wise, if the Phillips sensor would have delivered, Pentax would have had the best DSLR way at the beginning of the DSLR revolution. But it isn't over yet, and with the current line of DSLRs, I am confident that Ricoh/Pentax will be at the top in the near future. Hang in there, the Ricoh/Pentax world is about to change the game. Never, never, but never give up!

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Back to today:

Look at the images of Large Sensor equipped DSLR of today, compare the prices and sensor sizes (in megapixels and physical dimensions) and you should see why the new Pentax 645Z is such a deal.










Thank you for reading.
Yvon Bourque




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.

Email: brqyvn@gmail.com

 Hi Photographer friends,

Montreal


Email:brqyvn@gmail.com 


Hi Pentaxian friends.



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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.

Email: brqyvn@gmail.com

 Hi Photographer friends,





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