Monday, February 4, 2008

The PMA 2008 show for Pentaxians

Hi everyone,

Revision - 2/5/2008 @ 2:45 PM US Pacific Time: The images of the blue man eye below can now be seen full size by double clicking on the images.
Eye photos are © 2008 - Julie Quarry
I will be posting all this week about my favorable impression of the Pentax presence at the PMA 2008. My posts will include articles about the new Pentax DSLR cameras and lenses I had the privilege to handle, the two great and friendly Pentaxians photographers I met, (Kerrick James and Julie Quarry), the Pentax USA and Pentax CANADA employees that were very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable and finally about the Pentax presentation in general during the PMA 2008 tradeshow.

During the two days I spent at the show, I visited most of the major manufacturers of DSLR cameras and lenses. Companies represented, were doing their best to get the visitor’s attention to visit their booth. Some had beautiful models posing for the general public, some had bands playing music, some had dancers, and some even had acrobats doing their tricks. Everyone was trying to get your attention. Some were giving free drinks, free candy, free samples, but in the end…it’s all about the product they sell that counts and it has to stand on its own.

The two biggest names in the DSLR camera world, and we all know who they are, had the biggest spaces and it was almost impossible to talk to them and even harder to hold or ask questions about their products. People were crammed in their booths to where it became uncomfortable. It seemed like the consumers were all trying to impress each other with which DSLR model or lenses they owned. I stood out like a soar thumb with my Pentax K10D around my neck and frankly, I loved it. Entry-level and amateur photographers and the public in general tend to gravitate around the big names as this is what they hear about mostly through the Media.

It's strange how my K10D wouldn't focus on some part of the writing in this image!

Pentax is not a new company nor is it a small company, but when compared to the two giants of the industry, yes they are smaller. Is that to say their products are inferior? Well of course the answer to that is NO. They may have to work harder to earn our business. That’s exactly what Pentax has done and indeed is still doing. The K10D was a big success because it was chuck full with innovations and priced hundreds and even thousands below any camera with similar attributes. It was introduced with features found in DSLR cameras targeted to advanced amateurs and even professional photographers, at the price of entry level DSLR cameras. Reviewers all over the world were confused as to what the K10D should be reviewed against. The truth is that there wasn’t any other DSLR like it. It had professional features, like weather seals, in-camera shake reduction, dedicated RAW button, glass pentaprism, a new sensitivity priority mode, and an array of other features, some not found anywhere at any price.

Pentax just introduced the K20D and the K200D , along with an array of new lenses. All were displayed at the show and the public was able to touch, feel and try the new goodies. There was nothing under locked cabinets. Internet forums and blog sites all over the world, including this blog site, all have been speculating about what the K20D would bring to justify its purchase. Of course, purchasing a new DSLR camera has a lot to do with one’s particular needs and budget. As far as value for the money, the K20D will still be in a class by itself. It is the only camera in its price range (around $1,200 to $1300 U.S. when available around March and likely discounted even more by the B & H photo and the Cameta Camera of the world) that will boast a 14.6 effective megapixels CMOS sensor with an IQ (Image Quality) unparalleled in the price range, both on a pixel count point of view and on a noise level, or rather lack of noise at high ISO.

The Blue Man Group are featured at the Venetian Hotel and Casino

We have seen many pictures of the K20D on the internet lately, but none were that convincing as far as image quality versus the K10D. Pentaxian super photographer Julie Quarry went on the Vegas Strip one night during the PMA show, and took several pictures, simultaneously with a K10D and a K20D set side by side and at ISO 1600. She then cropped the images of the Blue Man upper body, as shown in the photos below, so that only the close up of one eye could be compared. The pictures are from the “Blue Man Group” show at the Venetian Hotel and Casino. I was impressed. I personally will get a K20D and keep my K10D as backup.

© 2008 - Julie Quarry ***Pentax K10D, 50mm - 1/15 sec - f/6.7 @ ISO 1600. Taken in RAW format, cropped from 10.2MP down to 2.31MP and saved as JPEG file. (Click for full size picture)

© 2008 - Julie Quarry ***Pentax K20D, 50mm - 1/30 sec - f/4 @ ISO 1600. Taken in RAW format, cropped from 14.6MP down to 2.46MP and saved as JPEG file. (Click for full size picture)

This post is already longer than I anticipated. I love to write about Pentax equipment, and once I start, I can’t stop. Return to this blog every day this week and you will get some good information about Pentax and the equipment I tried and handled at the PMA show. It’s all great and exciting news.

Thank you for reading.
Yvon Bourque
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