Friday, July 25, 2008

The K20D may be an underdog...but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Dear Pentax users and friends,

I often hear photographers saying that it's too bad you can't find Pentax cameras and lenses in some of the smaller camera stores and even in some big store as well. Although this may be true to a certain extent, brick & mortar stores are disappearing everyday, and not just camera stores, it is the same with all markets. They are being replaced by the Wal-Mart stores of the world, and internet stores. Ebay plays a big part too, as stores like Cameta Camera in New York sells almost exclusively on Ebay.

Canon and Nikon equipment can be found with less trouble than Pentax. It is not necessary because they are better cameras, it because they have the biggest advertising budgets. They have the biggest budgets because they sell a lot. It is a vicious circle. It is sort of like a private club and difficult to get in. Pentax has been an underdog for a while and it will probably never sell the volume of equipment that Canon and Nikon do. However, being and underdog is not necessarily a bad thing for us...the consumers. Underdogs have to work harder and produce better equipment for the money. That is exactly what Pentax did in this new digital world. Almost everyone knows that, dollar for dollar, Pentax offers better DSLRs. Just look at the success of the K10D, and now the K20D with its CMOS 14.6 megapixels and available modes and customizations.

Most newbies want to use what they heard the Pros were shooting with. The Pros are often sponsored, or have tons of C & N equipment already. Canon and Nikon have dominated the market for a long time and both have Pro-Models in the $5,000.00 range. Pros use the top of the line cameras and newbies and amateurs rarely purchase the $5,000.00 plus cameras. Many tend to buy the cheapest Canon or Nikon, which in my opinion do not hold a candle to Pentax for the same amount of money. People, as a rule, are followers and they perceive that shooting with the cheapest models of the same make the Pros use the most, will make them better photographers. Some boast about their capabilities as photographers, since they are using Nikon or Canon similarly to what most Pros use. One only has to look at the Pentax Gallery to see the quality of the images presented.

It is almost impossible for smaller brick & mortar stores to make it nowadays because they cannot buy in the same volume as the super stores and therefore cannot sell the goods as cheap. If you are honest about it, most of us go to our local camera store to get our hands on cameras and lenses so that we can decide what we want. We also surf the internet to get as much information as we can to help us in our decision-making. Once we know what we want, we buy online because it's cheaper. Many people purchase (Canon & Nikon) from Best Buy or Circuit City, not at a bargain price, but because they offer payment plans.

Soon, the purchasing market will shift toward the Internet based stores. Advertisement will get stronger in the Internet arena and brick & mortar stores (big and small) will slowly disappear or join the internet bandwagon. Once on the internet, any company can look as big as they want. Pentax, in my opinion, is changing its marketing approach toward the internet. I predict that they will be more successful that way. After all, they do make excellent products. It is just a question of budget and marketing. As I learned in my marketing classes, it’s 20% product and 80% marketing.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Thank you for reading... more than one hundred thousand times.

Dear Pentaxians and friends.

Today marks the first year anniversary of PentaxDslrs.blogspot. This blog was started last year on July 21, 2007. I was inspired by two Pentax oriented blogsites. One is OK1000 hosted by Michael Gaudet in New York City and the other is Pentax K10D blog hosted by Bruce Robbins located in Scotland. Both are some of the nicest people I have ever met on the internet. Although I probably haven't reach the audience that both have, I am pleased with the number of Photography enthusiasts that have logged on. My site (It's really your site) is primarily about Pentax equipment, but I do venture in general photography and try to bring interesting stories or facts.

Here are the statistics for the first year. As of today, 100,311 unique visitors were recorded. This is an average of 300 visitors per day, but in reality, during the first month, only 23 people logged on. One year after, about 400 to 600 people log on every day. This site doesn't get the traffic that the sites like the DPReview, or PentaxForums of the world get, but I am patient and once I start something, I never give up. I'm here to stay and I want this site to become everybody's site.

I have no intention of ever turning this blog into a forum, but I believe that anyone with a good story, a good essay, a unique experience, or anything of interest to Pentaxians should be able to post here. Of course, this site is about Pentax, so I will always limit the equipment write-ups to Pentax only. So... this is my official invitation to everyone around the world; submit your essay or story for posting on this blog. It would be so wonderful if we could exchange experiences with Pentax users from all over the world. Of course, all credits will be given to the writer. You can submit your essay to .

The five top post of this past year surprised me a little. Here they are in order of popularity:


2. Part one:

Part Two:


4. Part One:


Thank you so very much for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The K20D in Yosemite; Changing color pictures to Black and White, a little like Ansel Adams...not!

This is a follow up to my previous post of last week on Yosemite. Digital Photography has certainly made our photographic endeavors a lot easier than when Ansel Adams was alive. I thought so until I decided to turn some of my Yosemite photographs to Black and White.

Yes, Ansel Adams had to carry tons of equipment, large format folding cameras and film sheets. Then he had to spend hours or even days in the darkroom developing the film sheets, printing the images, correcting his results with dodging and burning techniques until he achieved what he called his visualization. There are no doubts that he made landscape photography known to the world. He knew his equipment, knew all the techniques of the era, and even devised the “Zone System”. He was a photographic genius.

However, he did not have to deal with color and especially color accuracy. That makes a huge difference. Even with digital, it is difficult to control colors. Too much saturation and the colors are unrealistic. White balance correction does not always render the accurate vision you had in your “mind’s eye”. The dynamic range with color photographs is very difficult to perfect, etc, etc.

I took some of the color pictures taken in Yosemite last week and turned them to Black and White with Adobe Lightroom. I find that it is easier to make the photograph “pop-out” in Black and White with simple manipulation. In Lightroom, (and certainly with other post-processing software) you can change the color images to grayscale, and of course make all the normal adjustments like exposure, clarity, brightness, contrast, the tone curve, etc. The interesting thing about Lightroom tools is that you can use the grayscale mix, which allows you to modify the Black and White picture by applying color filters just as you would have done with Black and White films. That changes the look of the photographs drastically and, in my opinion and just my opinion, allows you to make your photographs pop-out. There are no difficulties in color balance as all you have to deal with is Black and White.

So is it really easier to produce quality color digital photographs than it was to produce Black and White picture in Adams’ time?

I'm no Ansel Adams, but I do the best I can.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Sunday, July 13, 2008

That's why I always have my K20D with me.

I photographed a wedding this afternoon. I don't usually do wedding, but this was for a friend. It wasn't as fun as being in Yosemite or a nice place and taking nature photographs. However, on my way home, a storm was brewing and I could see it miles away. I live in the high desert and there aren't too many trees blocking any view. I had to stop and photograph it.

Isn't nature wonderful?

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Friday, July 11, 2008

The K20D goes to Yosemite...still one of the most beautiful place on the planet.

I spent about 10 days in Yosemite and Tuolumme meadows. We drove there on July 3rd and rented a cabin in Lee Vining, just West of Yosemite National Park. I had my K20D with me and an assortment of lenses. Although I brought the DA* 200mm and the DA* 300mm with me for testing them, I found that my DA 16-45mm was the most practical lens within the Park. I actually wish I would have had the newer DA* 16-50mm SDM f/2.8 lens, but it's a little too much money for me at this time. Someday, I'll get one. (By the way, if you do have a DA* 16-50 and had the DA 16-45 prior to that, I would love to hear your impression the the 16-50mm.)

We travelled along highway 395 and drove by Mono Lake. There was some interesting photographic opportunities there too. I have posted some of my pictures herein.

I still think that Yosemite and the surrounding areas are some of the most beautiful places in America. I tried to photograph the park the way I saw it, rather than copying Ansel Adams. Some of the icons like Half Dome and El Capitan are shouting "Ansel Adams" and everyone must have seen these pictures a thousand times. I hope you enjoy the pictures. (Do let me know what you think. The best way to get better is always by getting opinions from other photographers.)

Thank you for reading. I always appreciate your visits,

Yvon Bourque

I still will publish a photographer's review of the DA* 200mm and the DA* 300mm in the coming days or weeks.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

This might be a favorite picture for all...

I have spent most of the week in Yosemite National Park. I have taken a bunch of pictures and will display a good number of them on my blog next week. I have been testing the new Pentax DA* 200mm and the DA* 300mm. These are some awesome lenses.

Anyway, I took a little ride outside the Park today and drove to Sonora. It's a nice small mountain town. While sitting on a bench along Main street, I captured the picture above. It's nice to see that they break down once in a while. That was one less patrol car on the road to give us a speeding ticket.

I don't really dislike polices, I just thought it was sort of a funny picture.

Thank you for reading and Best Regards,

Yvon Bourque