Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Good news for JPEG shooters

Hi Pentax friends,

Surfing the net this morning, I found this information on The Online Photographer (TOP).

A new free utility called Instant JPEG from RAW (IJFR) has just been released. It is not an application; it is a utility that attaches itself to the Windows or Mac operating systems. It also does not process or develop RAW files; it extracts the JPEG that's already in all your RAW files.
What are the benefits? No more shooting "RAW + JPEG" with most cameras. No more waiting for your converter to create JPEGs from large directories of RAW files. No more reason to shoot JPEG at all. The JPEG is there in the RAW file anyway, so when you shoot RAW you already have both. When you have the RAW file, it becomes easier to manipulate with Post processing.

More info:
Thanks for reading, and go ahead and shoot RAW files.

Yvon Bourque
UPDATE: Anyone tried this new Instant JPEG from RAW (IJFR) ? If so, share your results with all of us in the comment section. Thanks.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Afternoon trip to Santa Monica

Dear Pentaxian friends,

A few weeks ago, we had a meeting in Santa Monica. That was my first visit to Santa Monica. I was really impressed with the city. It was very clean, and there seem to be so much to do there. We walked from the Promenade (Downtown) to the beach front, right on Santa Monica Boulevard, which is also the end (or beginning) of the US highway 10. It runs from Santa Monica to Jacksonville, Florida. We actually drove the entire length of the highway, when counting this trip. We previously drove from Florida to Palm Springs. We will certainly come back and stay for a weekend.

I just thought I'd share some of the photos. I only had about one hour to take some pictures. All were taken with the K20D and the DA 16-45mm lens.

Thank you for reading,
Yvon Bourque

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pentax Photo Gallery...I'm finally in.

Hi Pentaxian friends,

It is very difficult to be accepted in the Pentax Photo Gallery. I understand that thousands of entries have been submitted and only the photos getting enough positive votes from other members are accepted.

I have been submitting images for quite a while, but never got accepted in the Gallery. Not being accepted does not revoke your membership, and therefore, as long as you are a member, you can vote on submissions. I have been voting favorably and not so favorably on many photo submissions.

A good number of entries are sequential shots of the same scene over and over again, at different angles, with different lenses, in color and Black and White, all by the same photographer. The result is that when you spend time voting, you can be stuck for two pages or more of the same scene... and before you know it, you don't vote at all.

It seems that somehow, maybe only one photo per day or per week should be allowed per member. That way, it might reduce the number of sequential entries and give more chances to more people.

I had an article earlier about how frustrated or disappointed I was for not having been accepted once. This post

Wouldn't you know it, I finally got accepted this week with this images.
I am very happy to be in, but surprised that this is the picture that got accepted. I think I have submitted better photos before, and some of those photos have even been sold many times. The Pentax Gallery members have voted, and therefore I am very appreciative. I will continue to submit...one photograph per week.

Thank you for reading. It would be helpful to know what your experience with the Gallery has been. Some of you are really talented.

Best Regards,

Yvon Bourque

Friday, September 26, 2008

Miserere's Musings on Pentax's New Releases

Hi Pentax friends,
Today, Friday September 26, 2008, Miserere gives his opinion of the new Pentax releases and his future expectations. Give us your opinion in the comment section. However, any bashing will be removed as we want this site to remain friendly. We need constructive comments and, by-the-way, Pentax USA do read this blog regularly.
Yvon Bourque
Like it says on the can, this week I’m going to give you my opinion on the new equipment Pentax announced at the Photokina 2008 held in Cologne, Germany during 23-28 September. I won’t delve deeply into technical specifications as that is not the object of the article. For specs, please read Yvon’s thorough post earlier this week.

K-m/K2000 DSLR + DA L 18-55mm and 50-200mm Kit Lenses

This is Pentax’s first true entry-level DSLR offering ever. Let me start off by saying that I’m bored of reading people’s comments about this camera complaining that it doesn’t have a top LCD, or that it only has 5 AF points, or that (are you ready for this?) it is too small. Seriously, enough already. Pentax has had a problem with its previous entry-level cameras (like the K100D and the K200D) because, although they were priced similarly to the competition’s entry-level offerings, the Pentaxes were higher spec’d and of higher general build quality. While this is great for advanced amateurs migrating from film cameras and the braver P&S enthusiasts, I feel many people looked at the K100/200D and thought “that’s too professional for me, I won’t know how to use it” and bought a simpler camera from the competition. With the K-m/K2000 Pentax now has an undaunting camera to offer those moving up from their P&S. This will bring more people into the Pentax system, and more money into the Pentax pockets, which will translate into more products for all of us down the line. If this camera is simple it is because it is not meant for advanced users! Let’s not criticise the camera for being too basic, because that was the goal all along.

I’ve also read complaints about the new DA L lenses because they sport plastic mounts. Again, I don’t see a problem with this. They will only be sold as a kit with the K-m/K2000 and the target demographic is unlikely to be changing lenses all that often. If it cuts costs and increases Pentax’s profit margin, I’m all for it. If Pentax wins, we all do. Props also to Pentax for including an external flash in the kit.

DA* 60-250mm f/4

This lens was announced just before the Moon landings and Pentaxians everywhere got very excited. Now it’s being announced again, and we’re told this time it’s for real. In case we didn’t believe them, the MRSP has been set to $1,500. I really hope this translates to something like $1,200 street price, although even then I think Pentax have shot themselves in the foot. Faced with the decision of buying an f/4 zoom (which is not fast on an APS-C camera) for this price, or an f/2.8 zoom in the 70-200mm range for $700-800 from Tamron or Sigma, I believe many will choose the latter. I am aware many people thought this lens would be around $800-900, and I was one of them. I’m sorry, Pentax, but I don’t understand this price. If anyone can explain to me how they justify it, please leave your theory in the comment section. For those that still want it, you have until November or so to save up the cash.

Please understand that I am not complaining just for the sake of it. There were so many people waiting years (literally) for this lens that have been let down by its exorbitant price, that I truly believe Pentax is going to lose a lot of money in missed sales because of it. Even at $900 it would’ve flown off the shelves.

DA* 55mm f/1.4

Continuing Pentax’s crusade to reproduce all the classic 35mm focal lengths they have released an 84mm f/2 equivalent in the form of an SDM, weather-sealed 55mm f/1.4. I am hoping the quoted price of $800 becomes $600 when it hits the streets. Although it might seem high, when you consider this is a top-quality lens, and Pentax’s first SDM short prime, it isn’t that high, especially if the image quality is as good as we’ve been promised. I am looking forward to receiving a copy on loan from some kind soul so I can review it on this blog (seriously, you’ll get at least 5,000 Karma points for lending me the lens). I use my FA 50mm f/1.4 extensively for portraits and low-light photography and would love to compare these two lenses.

Will a DA 90mm f/2 be next...? (A guy can dream, can’t he?)

AF160FC Auto Ring Flash

This came out of nowhere! Nobody was expecting a ring flash for the macrophiles, but it makes sense to release it shortly after the introduction of the 35mm Ltd macro. I am very glad for this announcement as it proves Pentax is moving forward and thinking like it is staying around a while. A ring flash is not an item you release when your company is in crisis, so I see it as a good omen.

DA 15mm f/4 Ltd

There was much speculation as to which way Pentax would go with this lens since they announced their new 15mm a few months back. I think the consensus was “we don’t want another huge lens like the DA 14mm f/2.8”, and Pentax delivered. This is a Limited lens that continues the tradition of compactness that characterises the line and which appears to be no larger than the 35mm Ltd macro. While the lens is still under glass at the Photokina, I believe it should be on shelves next Spring. No indication of price yet, but if it is priced similar to the 35mm Ltd, I doubt Pentax will be able to manufacture them quick enough to meet demand.

DA 1.4x Teleconverter

Finally! The last time Pentax introduced a 1.4x TC was for the A series lenses back in 1984. I’ll do the math for you: that was 24 years ago! Pentax has never had a teleconverter that would drive auto-focus lenses (the 1.7x AF TC was a compromise), so users had to rely on third party TCs. Some of these have become so coveted (like the Tamron MC4 1.4x TC) that they sell for several hundred dollars on eBay because they are no longer manufactured.

Again, I am happy that Pentax is releasing this TC (and I’m hoping a 2x will follow) as it shows a commitment to offering a full lens system. It is also under glass at the Photokina and no pricing has been announced, but my guess would be around $300. It should be out in the Spring, just in time for the good weather in the Northern hemisphere. I can imagine there will be many DA* 300mm lenses out roaming the parks with this TC attached.


Maybe the biggest star of the Pentax Photokina rollout was the missing camera: the K30D. The second photo in this sample gallery is made up of 17.4 million pixels; it grabbed Pentaxians’ attention when somebody noticed the size and got the rumour mills working overtime (interestingly enough, the full size photo no longer seems to be available). Many saw it as proof that the K30D, with a 17.4MP sensor, would be announced at the Photokina, while others speculated that it heralded the arrival of the much-awaited Pentax full-frame flagship (even though the images were allegedly taken with the APS-C-only 35mm Ltd lens). Some are claiming that the image was simply uprezzed from a standard K20D file, but Pentax isn’t doing anything to clear the fog.

While I can understand the appeal of a new top-of-the-range camera, we should remember that the K20D only started shipping around March/April this year. It is much too early to be releasing a new flagship now. If the successor of the K20D is in the works, then it will be announced at the PMA in March 2009, although I wouldn’t be surprised if we heard nothing until later in the year.

Pentax USA Releases

On the local front (for those living in the USA), Pentax will release a leather hand strap and a case for the Limited lenses. Not owning 3 Limiteds, I am more interested in the strap, as I often wrap the neck strap around my wrist in several loops when walking around with the camera, all the while wishing I had a better system. This might be it.

These have been my opinions; some good, some bad, but all mine and not necessarily shared by anyone else on this blog. What did you like from the new stuff? What didn’t you like? Let us know in the comments section. Just remember to keep it civil. After all, Photography is just a hobby, right?


Thursday, September 25, 2008

One K20D for every man, woman and child on the planet!

You would have to live in a cave not to know about the bailout of the financial institutions proposed by the government of the United States of America.

The proposed sum is seven hundred billion dollars. That's 700 followed by nine zeros ($700,000,000,000). If you look at the national debt of the USA, it ranges between seven to nine trillions dollars, depending on where you get the information. One trillion is 1 followed by twelve zeros (1,000,000,000,000)

I was trying to come up with a tangible example to show what one trillion dollars represents. Well, if you were born at the same time as Jesus Christ, and still living today, you would have had to save roughly $1,365,000 (that is 1.365 million dollars) every day to have one trillion dollars today, give or take a few thousands. (That is not counting any accrued interest)

Another way to look at this is that seven hundred billions dollars could purchase a K20D ($1,200) for roughly 583 million people. That is enough to purchase a K20D for every man, woman and child in America, plus a great Pentax DA* lens to go with it.

Now, assuming that the national debt is at nine trillion dollars, that would be enough to purchase 7.5 billion K20Ds, which would equate to one K20D for about every man, woman and child on planet earth. However, they would have to skip the DA* lens.

That would surely put Pentax on the map!

How did we ever get to this position?

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I am not advocating any political preference herein, just stating facts. You either cry, laugh or joke about it. I'm doing all three!

Yvon Bourque

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Focus Adjustment chart featured in UK's Amateur Photographers Magazine.

Richard Sibley, Technical Writer for UK's Amateur Photographer Magazine , has written an excellent article about getting the most out of your Pentax K20D. The article is in the September 27th edition, and if you live outside of the UK, you can buy the e-magazine (Subscription or one issue only) from http://zinio.com/gncmain?cat=244722049&ns=usa and look at the photography section.

Within his article, he talks about the Auto-Focus accuracy of some lenses and Richard has used our own Auto-Focus Testing chart in his article. In their opinion, our chart is the most suitable for this task. Our chart is free for the download right from this site. Richard has used one of the first version of our chart, but with time, our chart has been improved greatly. Please download the chart for free. We just ask that you do not reproduce the chart for resale.

The excerpt from the article is posted at the top. For the complete article, you can purchase the magazine online.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More pictures of the new K-m or K2000 in the USA.

If you already own a K10D or K200D or K20D, you probably won't need this DSLR. However if you currently shoot with a point & shoot, this will be the ideal upgrade to DSLR. The help menu is very user friendly. It could also be a great camera for travel since it's so small and light weight. Imagine it with the Pentax Limited 21mm, 35mm, 70mm. What a great traveling package.
Yvon Bourque

Monday, September 22, 2008

New camera case for Pentax Limited lenses

Hi Pentaxian friends,

Look at what we have here; the new Pentax Limited lens case. It holds three (3) Limited lenses. It won't make your pictures better but will make the lenses a lot easier to carry and easier to find when needed.

I understand that the case is the idea of Ned Bunnell. Aren't we glad he's heading Pentax USA!

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pentax Official Release of a New DSLR, Lenses, SDM Tele-converter and Ring Flash.

New Pentax K-2000

New smc PENTAX-DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED[IF] SDM Lens

New smc PENTAX-DA*55mm f/1.4 SDM Lens

New smc PENTAX DA 15mm f/4 ED AL Limited

New PENTAX DA 1.4X SDM Rear Converter

New PENTAX AF160FC Auto Macro Ring Flash

Dear Pentaxian friends,

As promised, here are the new DSLR, Lenses, SMD-Tele-Extender and Ring Flash introduced by Pentax in Cologne, Germany. All of these will be exhibited at the Photokina 2008. In addition of the list below, Pentax USA has announced a new case for the Limited lenses as well as a new DSLR leather hand-strap.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque


(From Pentax, Golden, Colorado, September 22, 2008)

PENTAX Imaging Company has announced the PENTAX K2000 DSLR system designed specifically for consumers who are ready to make the transition from a point-and-shoot digital camera to digital SLR photography. The PENTAX K2000 is an entry-level system consisting of the new PENTAX K2000 body, the smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL lens, and the PENTAX AF200FG Auto Flash.

Bundled as a complete kit for the convenience of the customer, the PENTAX K2000 system offers uncomplicated operation for new digital SLR users and family photographers seeking high-quality digital SLR photography for the first time. Combining PENTAX developed, easy-to-use Auto Picture modes as well as powerful learning functions all housed in one of the smallest, lightest camera bodies in its class, the PENTAX K2000 system is ideal for digital SLR beginners. Additional features on the newest digital K2000 SLR body include a 10.2 megapixel CCD, a 2.7 inch, 230,000 dot high resolution, wide-view LCD panel, and an ultra compact design that facilitates one handed operation. The body also features the same PENTAX developed Shake Reduction technology found on more advanced K series digital SLRs. PENTAX Shake Reduction is compatible with more than 25 million PENTAX lenses to deliver sharp images even when handheld at slower shutter speeds. The K2000 also features the powerful PENTAX developed Auto Picture Mode, which selects from Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Action, and Night Portrait modes to tailor the camera settings for any photographic situation. The camera also has a comprehensive Dust Removal system to help keep images spotless. A dedicated programmable help button clearly explains current camera settings to guide and teach the user about digital SLR photography.

The lens included with the PENTAX K2000 system is the first of a new series introduced with the DA L designation. Along with the smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL lens, PENTAX is announcing the smc PENTAX DA L 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED zoom lens.* The affordable DA L series offers the same optical design, construction and compatibility as the current smc PENTAX DA 18-55mm II and smc PENTAX DA 50-200mm lenses. Also included with the system is the easy-to-use PENTAX AF200FG Auto Flash. This hot-shoe flash features a compact, lightweight body, wide angle diffuser, a guide number of 20 (at ISO 100/m) and simple dial operation to assure effortless flash photography for everyone.

*Note:The smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL and smc PENTAX DA L 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED lenses will only be available in the US as part of the PENTAX K2000 Lens Kit or PENTAX K2000 Double Zoom Kit. This new PENTAX digital SLR body will only be available under the PENTAX K2000 product name in the US. The same body will be available under the PENTAX K-m product name outside of the US.

PENTAX has also announced two high performance interchangeable lenses for use with PENTAX digital SLR cameras to deliver top-quality digital images. The smc PENTAX DA« 60-250mm f/4 ED[IF] SDM is a versatile telephoto zoom lens offering a high zoom ratio, while the smc PENTAX DA« 55mm f/1.4 SDM is a compact medium-telephoto lens offering a large maximum aperture. The two lenses are the newest members of the exclusive DA Star («) series, and each is designed to deliver top optical performance. Combining a host of advanced technologies including extra-low dispersion (ED) optical elements and PENTAX original lens coatings, these new lenses assure outstanding image quality with clear, high-contrast images, even at edges of the image field. These « lenses also feature water and dust resistant sealing for reliable operation in inclement weather conditions, as well as the PENTAX Quick-Shift Focus system to allow instant auto-to-manual focus switching. The objective lens surfaces are treated with the PENTAX original Super Protect (SP) coating. This special fluorine compound is applied to the lens surface through a vapor deposition process to create a surface that effectively repels dust, water and grease, making it easy to wipe off fingerprints and cosmetic marks. The combination of special lens coatings, ideal curvature and best positioning of optical elements assures these lenses are designed to optimize digital imaging characteristics, while effectively minimizing flare and ghosting. Additionally, the DA« 55mm f/1.4 lens also features a new Aero Bright coating for maximum light transmission, as well as rounded diaphragm blades to create a more circular aperture for smooth, beautiful bokeh at large apertures. The image circle of the lenses is perfectly proportioned to the image-sensor size of PENTAX digital SLR cameras, and despite the large maximum aperture, the lenses are designed to be compact and lightweight to enhance maneuverability and operability.

PENTAX also announced the PENTAX AF160FC Auto Macro Ring Flash. This accessory flash unit is uniquely suited for advanced close-up applications using the automatic exposure-control system of PENTAX digital SLR cameras. Designed to offer uniform lighting on a subject to minimize shadows, the flash is ideal for close-up, portrait, product, dental and medical applications.

All of these products will be exhibited at the PENTAX Booth during the Photokina 2008 Trade Show from September 23 – 28 in Cologne, Germany. Two additional products will be previewed under glass during the show including a fifth model in the acclaimed PENTAX DA Limited series. The smc PENTAX DA15mm f/4 ED AL Limited lens offers ultra-wide-angle image capture and is designed for exclusive use with PENTAX digital SLR cameras. This lens is scheduled to ship in Spring 2009 at a price to be announced. PENTAX will also preview the smc PENTAX DA 1.4X SDM Rear Converter. This is the first PENTAX rear converter equipped for autofocus operation on PENTAX digital SLR cameras, and the product will feature the SDM autofocus drive for accurate, extra-smooth, and super-quiet autofocus operation. Price and shipping information to be announced.

HOYA CORPORATION’s PENTAX Imaging Systems Division will exhibit all of these products* at Photokina from September 23 to 28 in Cologne, Germany. Available price and shipping dates of these products in the United States are as follows:

The PENTAX K2000 digital SLR system with smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL lens and PENTAX AF200FG flash will ship in November 2008 at US $699.95.

The PENTAX K2000 digital SLR system with smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm and smc PENTAX DA L 50-200mm lenses will ship in early 2009.

The smc PENTAX DA« 60-250mm f/4 ED[IF] SDM lens will ship in November 2008 at US $1499.95.

The smc PENTAX DA« 55mm f/1.4 SDM lens will ship in December 2008 at US $799.95.

The PENTAX AF160FC Ring Flash will ship in October 2008 at US $499.95.

The smc PENTAX DA 15mm f/4 ED AL Limited lens and 1.4X Rear Converter SDM price and shipping information are to be announced.

*Price and shipping date subject to change.

PENTAX K2000 Fact Sheet

Compact, lightweight body for enhanced portability and maneuverability.

Despite the large image sensor (23.5mm by 15.7mm), the PENTAX K2000 offers a compact, lightweight body to assure remarkable portability and maneuverability. The design incorporates a high-rigidity stainless-steel chassis, a more compact Shake Reduction mechanism and circuit boards, and the latest in high-density body component assembly to ensure efficient positioning and layout of various parts, including the repositioning of the battery compartment, to maximize ergonomics. The camera grip has also been redesigned for a firm, comfortable hold of the camera body.

Simplified ergonomics with dedicated Help button.

The PENTAX K2000 features a newly designed control system that positions most of the buttons and dials on the camera’s grip side making it easier to operate the camera with one hand. Additionally, a dedicated reprogrammable Help button displays camera functions on the camera’s LCD screen. This built-in user’s manual is ideal for those who are unfamiliar with digital SLR cameras.

PENTAX original Shake Reduction mechanism for sharp, blur-free images.

The PENTAX K2000 comes equipped with the PENTAX developed Shake Reduction (SR) * mechanism to reduce camera shake for sharp, blur-free images even under demanding shooting conditions - such as with telephoto lenses, in low light, at night without supplementary flash illumination and for extended exposures in sunset scenes. This innovative SR mechanism shifts the position of the image sensor vertically and horizontally at high speed using magnetic force, while adjusting the shifting speed in exact proportion to the amount of camera shake detected by a built-in sensor. SR offers an outstanding compensation effect up to the equivalent of approximately four shutter steps. As a result, the body does not require special anti-shake lenses and may be used with almost all existing PENTAX interchangeable lenses.

* Lenses compatible with this mechanism are: the PENTAX K-, KA-, KAF-, KAF2-, and KAF3-mount lenses; screw-mount lenses (with an adapter); and 645- and 67-system lenses (with an adapter). Some functions may not be applicable with certain lenses.

Comprehensive Dust Detection and Removal system.

The PENTAX K2000 features the user-friendly Dust Removal (DR) system to prevent dust from appearing on images. Applied to the CCD image sensor low pass filter surface through the vapor deposition process of a fluorine compound, the PENTAX developed original SP (Super Protect) coating effectively prevents dust from sticking to the sensor. For any stubborn dust that still remains on the surface, the SR system shifts the image sensor at high speed to shake off these particles. Finally, the dust that is shaken off the image sensor falls onto an adhesive sheet positioned at the bottom of the SR unit, eliminating any possibility of it returning to the image sensor surface. This DR system also offers a Dust Alert function, which allows the user to detect any placement of dust on the sensor in advance of cleaning operations.

Auto Picture and creative Scene modes

The PENTAX developed Auto Picture mode is programmed to automatically select the most appropriate shooting mode such as Portrait, Landscape, Action, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, and Macro for a given subject. Since all camera settings, including aperture, shutter speed, white balance, saturation, contrast and sharpness are then automatically adjusted by the camera for optimum results, users can concentrate on image composition rather than mode selection. For more unconventional subjects and environments, PENTAX also includes 10 creative scene modes. Combined, the K2000’s automatic modes offer users great flexibility as they explore digital SLR photography.

High-quality image.

The PENTAX K2000 combines a large, 10.2 megapixel sensor with the sophisticated PENTAX Real Image Engine (PRIME) as the imaging engine. This combination produces beautiful, detailed images with subtle gradations. The K2000 also features a Custom Image function, which offers a choice of six processing presets to give photographers high quality image processing flexibility.

High-speed continuous shooting at 3.5 frames per second.

The PENTAX K2000 allows users to shoot images up to approximately 3.5 frames per second (in the JPEG recording format), allowing photographers to capture fast action sequences with ease.

High-precision 5-point AF system.

The PENTAX K2000 incorporates a five-point, wide-area AF system (SAFOX VIII with five cross-type sensors) for dependable, high-precision autofocusing. Using the five sensors positioned in a cross pattern over the image field, this system automatically selects the optimum focus sensor for a given subject. Additionally, Center Focusing allows the photographer to enable only the centermost focus sensor. PENTAX engineers were also able to improve the focus speed under poor lighting conditions for improved autofocus performance overall.

Auto sensitivity control up to ISO 3200.

The PENTAX K2000’s auto sensitivity control function automatically sets the optimum sensitivity between ISO 100 and ISO 3200, based on such data as the subject brightness level and lens focal length. Since this allows the user to take advantage of faster shutter speeds in poor lighting situations (such as indoor sports events and night scenes), it helps the photographer to effectively reduce blur due to camera shake and subject movement.

Enhanced Dynamic Range and Shadow Adjustment Mode.

The K2000’s Enhanced Dynamic Range function allows the user to extend the dynamic range to prevent clipping in the highlight areas of the image. Additionally, Shadow Adjustment mode brings out detail in the darkest parts of the image. Combined, these functions help the user to produce beautiful, detailed images when shooting high-contrast subjects.

Large, easy-to-view 2.7 inch LCD monitor.

The PENTAX K2000 features a large 2.7 inch color LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 dots of resolution. This monitor’s wide-view design allows the photographer to check the on-screen image from approximately 160 degrees both vertically and horizontally and offers digital zooming of playback images up to 16X for easy confirmation of the image’s focus and subject details.

Bright, clear viewfinder.

With a lightweight penta-mirror prism and the acclaimed Natural-Bright-Matte focusing screen, the PENTAX K2000’s viewfinder delivers a large, bright image with an approximately 96 percent field of view and approximately 0.85X magnification.

Digital filters for unique visual expressions.

The PENTAX K2000’s built-in digital filters allow users to effortlessly add creative and artistic touches to recorded images without the use of a PC. Users may select one of 14 different digital filters including the new Toy Camera and Retro filters to create the desired visual effect.

Additional Features.

Energy-efficient power supply, recording approximately 1,650 images with four AA-size lithium batteries (included)

Status screen, displaying camera settings on the LCD monitor for at-a-glance confirmation

Index function, for five different types of display and printing mode

Choice of 16-segment multi-pattern metering, center-weighted metering and spot metering to accommodate various photographic applications

Simultaneous recording of RAW and JPEG format images

Compatibility with SD and SDHC memory cards

In-body development of RAW images

Compatibility with SDM autofocus lenses for quiet, smooth focus operation

PENTAX PHOTO Laboratory 3 RAW data processing software and PENTAX PHOTO

Browser 3 browser software included

PENTAX new Lenses Fact Sheet

smc PENTAX-DA L 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AL Lens

A compact standard zoom lens with focal lengths from 27.5mm to 84.5mm (in the 35mm format) covering wide-angle to medium-telephoto ranges.

Latest optical design featuring a high-performance aspherical lens element to minimize aberrations

smc PENTAX-DA L 50-200mm f/4-5.6 ED Lens

A super-compact, ultra-lightweight telephoto zoom lens with focal lengths from 76.5mm to 307mm (in the 35mm format).

ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass optical element to minimize chromatic aberrations over the entire zoom range and overall enhanced optical performance.

smc PENTAX-DA* 60-250mm f/4 ED[IF] SDM Lens

When mounted on a PENTAX digital SLR camera body, this zoom lens provides focal lengths from 92mm to 383mm in the 35mm format. The 4.2X zoom ratio covers a broad telephoto range, making it ideal for capturing sporting events and portraits.

Two extra-low dispersion (ED) optical elements are incorporated into the lens to minimize chromatic aberrations. A unique nonlinear shifting system in the zoom mechanism effectively reduces field curvature aberrations and assures outstanding optical performance at all focal lengths.

The large F4 maximum aperture is consistent over the entire zoom range for faster shutter speeds and flexible the depth of field control.

An innovative hybrid AF system offers both extra-smooth, super-quiet SDM autofocus operation using a supersonic motor installed in the lens body, and conventional autofocus operation using a motor built into the camera body.

smc PENTAX-DA*55mm f/1.4 SDM Lens

When mounted on a PENTAX digital SLR camera body, this medium-telephoto lens offers a focal length of 80mm in the 35mm format. Coupled with its large F1.4 maximum aperture, it is ideal for portraiture applications.

A newly developed Aero Bright Coating enhances lens performance by ef/fectively reducing reflections over a wider wavelength range. Compared to conventional multi-coatings, this new coating greatly improves light transmittance through the lens, while drastically reducing flare and ghosting that deteriorate image quality.

Rounded diaphragm blades create a more circular aperture for smooth, beautiful bokeh at large aperture settings.

The advanced SDM mechanism assures extra-smooth, super-quiet autofocus operation using a supersonic motor installed in the lens body. With an SDM exclusive autofocus system, the lens is designed to be quite compact, despite its large maximum aperture.

Lens Specifications

PENTAX AF160FC Ring Flash

P-TTL auto flash system to constantly assure the proper exposure level, by measuring the flash’s pre-discharge with the camera’s image sensors and assessing the subject’s lighting condition with the camera’s multi-pattern metering system.

Maximum guide number of 16 (at ISO 100/m).

User-friendly operation with a single control dial on the back panel to simplify flash-mode changes and discharge-level adjustments.

Advanced flash applications, including contrast-control auto flash and independent switching of two flash bulbs.

Uniform lighting on the subject to minimize shadows, making it ideal for close-up, portrait, product, dental and medical applications.

Main Specifications

All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Designs and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is There a Hybrid Camera in Pentax's Future?

Is There a Hybrid Camera in Pentax's Future?
Article by: Miserere

The best perfumes come in small containers. I'm not sure who coined this phrase, but it has been long used by petite women while wooing men. As if men needed help noticing women. I'm sure we will see this phrase in one form or another being used in the market campaigns for one of the new large-sensor compact cameras starting to appear on the market. As if photographers needed help being tempted by new equipment.

When Panasonic and Olympus announced the new micro 4/3 standard in the first week of August 2008, the internet was abuzz with speculation and ideas. As with all vapourware announcements, activity died down rapidly as attention shifted to items that we may actually see in our lifetime. Then, out of the blue, Panasonic announced the Lumix G1 some 5 weeks later. Whoah! When did developments start happening this quickly? And why am I talking about a Panasonic camera on a Pentax blog?

Shortly after the announcement of the micro 4/3 standard, Samsung announced their new hybrid digital camera system, which will feature a 14MP CMOS APS-C sensor (like that in the K20D) and a new lens mount. Like the micro 4/3 cameras, they will be compact, mirror-less cameras and feature EVFs (electronic viewfinders). And they will be small. Did I already say that?

No mention was made of Pentax, but with their ongoing partnership (Samsung produces sensors for Pentax digital cameras, Samsung’s DSLR’s are clones of Pentax’s models, featuring K-mounts, and their lenses are also Pentax clones), we have to wonder whether Pentax will be involved somehow. I would find it unlikely that an electronics giant like Samsung would jump, alone, into a new camera system (in a new market niche) where its competition will be Panasonic/Olympus, another electronics giant backed by (or leading) a well-established camera company.

I, for one, am hoping Pentax will be involved in the hybrid camera project, a type of camera that photographers have been clamouring for since large DSLRs became the norm. After all, Pentax holds the honour of having built the smallest DSLR system ever, the Pentax 110, so it is no stranger to miniaturisation. Pentax also prides itself in offering some of the smallest lenses on the market through their pancake line of primes.

This hybrid camera could use a smaller version of the K-mount, and without a mirror, would allow the distance between lens and sensor to be significantly reduced enabling the design of a much smaller body. Via an adapter, standard size Pentax lenses could still be used, which would undoubtedly attract many current Pentax shooters. It would make sense for Samsung to build on an existing user base, and they would be foolish not to use Pentax for that. Although it might not have the numbers of other systems like Canon or Nikon, Pentax users are loyal, and are often attracted to the system in the first place because they value compact cameras and lenses, which Pentax started offering when they introduced their M lens series.

Of course, the hybrid camera would be launched together with a system of lenses, probably a mixture of compact zooms and even compacter, faster primes. Samsung would need the help of a company like Pentax to produce these optics. No matter how good the camera might be, if the lenses are not of the highest quality the product will crumble and fail in the market.

I look forward to a line of small Samsung bodies with micro K-mount lenses. A camera I can take with me when the size and weight of the K10D make it impractical, but I still want better image quality than I get with my P&S. This wouldn’t be a substitute for my full-size DSLR, it would be a complement.

I could be completely wrong and Samsung has decided they are strong enough to develop their own mount, start a system from the ground up and earn followers from scratch. They could very well hire a third party lens company, like Tamron, Tokina or Cosina, to design and manufacture their lenses. But would this be the most efficient way to break into this emerging market?

The new camera is slated to hit the stores in Spring 2010. As such, it will lag some 15 months behind the micro 4/3 system’s first offering. If Samsung is serious about dominating this camera segment (as Executive Vice President Byung Woo Lee has stated), they must offer a much better product than Panasonic/Olympus, and do so in a relatively short amount of time. Can they accomplish this without Pentax…? We’ll have to wait and see.

In the meantime I’m left wondering…will a Pentax in any other size still click as sweet?
Thank you for reading and let us know your thoughts and comments,
Pentax DSLRs

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Skin change

Hi Pentaxians friends.

I was just in a mood to change the blog's skin and moving things around a little. Sometimes, putting things differently helps in discovering new links and articles you didn't notice before.

All the best,

Yvon Bourque

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Get great B & W pictures with your Pentax DSLR

Hi Pentax friends,

Get great B & W pictures with your Pentax DSLR
By: Yvon Bourque

Why would anyone want to take B & W pictures in this day and age, when we have digital cameras that can capture colors like never before? I'm sure you have your own reasons, but for me, there are two prominent reasons. I love landscape with cloudy skies in B&W because of the contrasts that can be achieved. Also, sometimes, a greatly composed picture with bad color rendition can be saved by turning it to a B & W photograph.

Of course, you can change color pictures to B & W within your camera, but the results are rarely as good as post processing color images on a powerful computer equipped with the appropriate software. Of course, Adobe Photoshop CS3 is great...but expensive. Photoshop Elements does a better job than in-camera processing, but not as good as it could get. My Software of choice is Photoshop Lightroom. In fact, I now use Lightroom for 95% of all my post processing. For B&W, I find Lightroom to be excellent. It has filters that you can apply to B & W images similar to the filters B & W film shooters used for many years. With that capability you can, for instance, apply contrast to blues separately than to greens, etc, rather than darkening or lightening the entire image.

Here is an example of a color picture taken in Yosemite last July, turned to B & W. This is simply an example and I do not pretend to be an "Ansel Adams". This is merely an example to explain the process I use.

ABOVE: This is the original file in color taken with the K20D and the DA 16-45mm as I recall.

ABOVE: I usually add clarity and vibrance to the image before turning it to grayscale. When the Clarity and Vibrance are to my taste, I change the image to Grayscale.

ABOVE: With the Grayscale mix, I can change the contrast by using the filters above, just like during the B&W film era...sort of. Move the blue filter to the left to get a darker sky giving a more dramatic effect.

ABOVE: After darkening the sky, I changed the appearance of the B & W picture by adding more green and yellow. It's a matter of taste, and although we may not have the same taste, you get the idea.

ABOVE: I then use the Tone Curve to adjust the Highlights, Lights, Darks and Shadows.

ABOVE: Th is the original image. Below is the B & W after processing.

ABOVE: You can also change the look of the monochrome picture in your favorite software by adding a sepia layer.

Now, once you have the B & W picture the way you want, the next major step is to print it. Not too many printers are equipped for great B&W hard copies. To get the most out of the tonal range of B&W prints, you need a printer that has black and different shades of grey ink cartridges. Some of the high end printer models have such capability. I find that sending files to a lab for processing gets me the best results without having to spend big bucks for an high end printer. There are many labs, and here in the USA, I use Mpix and I have always been satisfied with the results. Their prices are reasonable and the delivery is fast. In fact, I had the picture above made in a 20" x 30 and it came out beautifully.

P.S. This article is also posted on the Pentax Forums where Pentax is spoken there. We also recomment Photo-net for Pentax users.

Thank you very much for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Friday, September 12, 2008

Does Pentax Need a Full-Frame Camera Right Now? Article by: Miserere

Does Pentax Need a Full-Frame Camera Right Now?
By: Miserere

Does Pentax Need a Full-Frame Camera Right Now?

If you are shooting Pentax, chances are you are mindful of how you spend your money. While Pentax offers some of the best lenses in the World (which not everyone can afford, by the way) it also offers the cheapest bodies when you take into account the specs-to-price ratio. Furthermore, with the best lens backward compatibility of any brand, owning a Pentax DSLR allows you to build a good system for very little money by acquiring lenses from the used market. Having all this old, affordable, FF (full-frame) glass available has folks pining for a FF digital camera to use it on. In my previous article I explained why I thought most of us don’t need a FF camera as much as we think we do. But does Pentax, as a brand, need one?

Pentax will undoubtedly introduce a FF body at some point, but given the recent merger with Hoya (with the ensuing uncertainty about the future of Pentax’s photographic division) and the fact that Pentax Photography is a small corporation, I don’t think it would be in its best financial interest to release a FF camera right now.

Please, put those rotten eggs down and stop booing.

Look at Nikon, one of the two big players in the camera World; they only recently released a FF camera. They could have done it sooner, but they knew a lot was at stake, seeing as Canon had a lead in that sector having introduced their FF 1Ds back in 2002. So when Nikon brought out the D3 in late 2007 it was a huge success…because they got it right, the first time. Now, if Nikon, with all its mighty budget, took this long, how long do you think it will take Pentax, a much smaller company? I do hope Pentax take their time and join the FF club when they’re ready to do it with a bang, with something different to offer. This was their approach when they finally released their first DSLR in the form of the *istD, the smallest fully equipped DSLR of the day. And also how they approached the middle-tier market with the K10D, which sported specs typical of bodies costing 50-75% more. They may be late, but when Pentax eventually delivers, we discover it was invariably worth the wait.

One very important aspect of releasing a camera is providing lenses you can attach to it. Pentax’s current line-up has some left-over FA series lenses (most notably the 50mm f/1.4, 35mm f/2 and the two 50mm and 100mm macros) which are FF capable, having been designed in the film era. It also includes a growing number of DA lenses, designed for digital sensors. While lenses such as the kit 18-55mm and 50-200mm, or the new 17-70mm f/4 are clearly designed for APS-C, speculation is rife as to whether other lenses in the line-up are FF capable or not. Some of these lenses do not vignette when you look through them using a film body viewfinder, fuelling the rumour that they are FF lenses. Please note that no vignetting doesn’t necessarily imply that they will work well on a full-sized sensor, as corner performance may be extremely poor. Only Pentax knows which, if any, of their DA lenses were built with FF capabilities…and they’re not talking.

But even if most of today’s DA lenses were FF capable, Pentax would still be missing some key focal lengths that users would want; most notably the pair of standard, fast, f/2.8 zooms, 28-70mm and 70-200mm, and a fast portrait lens such as an 85mm f/1.4 or f/1.8. None of these appear on Pentax’s current lens roadmap. Of course, the FF body could be a big secret and showing these lenses on the roadmap would give it away, so Pentax could be waiting to announce the new body and lenses in one fell swoop.

Is Pentax likely to announce a FF body soon? So far all we have to go on are a whole bunch of “ifs” and some conspiracy theory logic. Does anyone want to place a bet yet?

Before you call the odds, let me ask you to ponder one final question: If Pentax has struggled to fill its lens line-up for the past three years and has had no more than two digital bodies in production at any one time, will they be capable of producing FF and APS-C bodies simultaneously, and complete FF and APS-C lens lines too? Think about that.

FF DSLRs will become affordable and commonplace at some point in the not-to-distant future, but I believe there will always be a place for APS-C sensors, be it in entry-level DSLRs or/and in the recently announced P&S/DSLR hybrid cameras. When FF becomes the standard for mid-level DSLRs, you can be sure Pentax will be there with a unique offering at a great price. I just don't think Pentax can (or should) pull it off before 2010.

But if Pentax does announce a FF body at the Photokina this coming 23rd September 2008, feel free to point at me and laugh; I won’t be offended. Just don’t throw those rotten eggs at me.

Thank you for reading this great post from Miserere,

Yvon Bourque

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pentax news.

Photokina is around the corner.

Hall / Stand:
02.2: C029 A020: Piazza P00502.2: D029 C020

  • Photokina 2008, in Cologne Germany, opens on September 23rd at 10:00 A.M. for visitors. Everybody is anticipating Pentax to unveil new products. Forums are full of speculative threads. We will all get to know in less than two weeks from today (Sept 11, 2008).

    Technically speaking, although the announcement will be in Germany, we will still get the news before them. Germany’s time is Six (6) hours ahead of New York and nine (9) hours ahead of California. Let’s assume that an announcement is made at 10:00 A.M. in Germany, that would mean we would get to know at 4:00 A.M in New York and 1:00 A.M in California…We get to know sooner than Photokina attendees. ”Fuzzy Logic”

    As the new equipment is unveiled in Germany, Pictures and specifications will be posted on this site as well. Stay tuned.

  • This Blog was started a little over one year ago. Two great Pentaxians inspired me at the time. Michal Gaudet (OK1000 Pentax Blog) and Bruce Robbins (Pentax Photography) . I highly respect these two photographers and read every article posted on their respective sites. Unfortunately, Michael does not write new articles anymore and Bruce may be leaving the Pentax arena, according to his article of August 27th. Michael, we need more of your good posts and Bruce, we all hope that you will stay with Pentax. It's the honorable thing to do.

  • As you all know, Misere posted a great article this past week on this blog ("Your blog") entitled: Do You Really Need a Full-Frame Camera? We appreciate your visits and comments. Miserere has a follow-up article that will be posted Friday evening entitled: Does Pentax Need a Full-Frame Camera Right Now? Mark your calender or better yet, subscribe to this blog .

  • We are changing and soon, we will have several regular columnists posting on this site. We want to get new articles and Pentax oriented news everyday. You can participate too by submitting constructive articles or Pentax Related news. We will review your submission, edit it if necessary and post it for the benefits of all. Email your submission to info@k10dbook.com

  • In the next few days, a photographers' evaluation of the Pentax smc P-DA* 200mm F2.8 ED(IF) SDM will be posted here. This will not be a typical studio based review with graphs, testing patterns, etc. This will be a no-nonsense evaluation of this pro-caliber lens, with real photographs and useability of the lens in real time, on a K20D in the field and in the real world. The evaluation of the smc P-DA* 300mm F4 ED(IF) SDM will follow shortly after. If you, the readers, like this approach, we will evaluate all Pentax Lenses, current and new lenses as they are introduced by Pentax.

  • The English weekly magazine Amateur Photographer has contacted us about our Focus Check Chart. They are running a review of the Pentax K20D's features, including the Custom Setting Feature # 35, AF Adjustment. They have used our Focus Chart and were pleased with it. The article will be part of the magazine September 27th issue. Their website can be found at http://www.amateurphotographer.co.uk/ – According to Richard Sibley, it’s a little sparse at the moment, but it is in the process of a redesign which will provide much more content.You can view the magazine online as well at http://www.zinio.com/, where a subscription can be taken out. The digital subscription actually works out cheaper than a "physical" subscription according to technical writer Richard Sibley.

Thank you very much for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Friday, September 5, 2008

Do You Really Need a Full-Frame Camera? Article by: Miserere

Hi Pentaxian friends.

Aside from writing books for the Pentax line of DSLRs and having this blog site, I surf the internet every night in search of anything Pentax. One of my favorite site and Forum is
www.photo.net I enjoy posting there and reading the posts from all over the world.

Several regular contributors on the forum are particularly well informed. Those regular contributors often bring answers to the entry-level photographers, or display some gorgeous pictures, or post challenging point-of-views, etc. The common quality I find in these contributors is that they never belittle anyone’s opinion. I wrote to a handful of these good “Pentax” souls and invited them to participate in my blog by occasionally writing articles. At the end-of-the-day, I really want this blog site to be everyone’s Pentax blog site.

Today, I am introducing the first article by Miserere. Please shower him with greetings and comments. He already has a follow-up article, “My opinion of whether Pentax should pursue full-frame or not” that will follow soon.

I am excited and honored to have Miserere participating in this blog.
Yvon Bourque

Do You Really Need a Full-Frame Camera?
by Miserere:

As a child growing up in Europe I watched many American movies and TV series that showcased “the American Way of Life”. To my young eyes it seemed that everything in the United States was bigger, and that made it better. Or at least that was the message I received.

I first visited the US as a teenager and was surprised to see that what I had learnt from the movies was, in most cases, true. Everything was bigger! The cars, the houses, the roads, the burgers… It was great, I would go to McDonald’s and ask for a medium milkshake; what I got was the equivalent to Europe’s large size. And in the US there were still the large and the extra large sizes available!

As I became older, and hopefully wiser, I realised that bigger is not necessarily better. Bigger hamburgers can make you fat quicker. Bigger cars use up more fuel and are more expensive to maintain. Bigger houses, like cars, are not only more expensive to maintain, they also take longer to clean, and I hate cleaning! As for bigger roads, OK, I’ll admit that I do like driving in a wide lane, so let’s keep roads bigger, shall we?

Bigger is better, a mantra repeated down the ages. I’m sure cavemen worked hard to craft the longest spears, the largest bows, and used them to hunt the biggest prey, so it is only natural that in the modern World we should want everything to be BIG.

Should the sensors in our digital cameras also be the biggest they can be…? (See? I am going to talk about cameras, and you’re not on the wrong blog.)

Since the inception of DSLRs using cropped sensors (with the 16x24mm APS-C size being the most common) there has been a yearning amongst digital photographers to shoot with a camera incorporating a full-frame (FF) sensor (24x36mm, the size of 35mm film). Why? Maybe because we always desire what we cannot have, but serious complaints have been put forth by many photographers, and so the belief has endured that in order for DSLRs to come of age they need to evolve towards FF. Oh, because bigger is better, of course.

In the following paragraphs I will list the usual complaints against cropped sensors and attempt to give you a different perspective, one that might lead you to consider whether bigger is indeed better. Let us begin!

We’ve lost the wide angle.
A common complaint at the very beginning of cropped sensor cameras. The truth is camera makers released the new cameras without having a full stable of lenses ready for them, so while the bird photographers were having a ball with the 1.5 “magnification” provided by the crop factor, landscapers were crying out in pain for the loss of their beloved 24mm FoV. But in due course, lenses appeared designed specifically for cropped sensors that addressed this issue, and soon the standard kit lens became some variation of 18-50mm or 18-70mm, which offered the same FoV that the old 28-75mm and 28-105mm lenses had on 35mm film. Nowadays you can even buy the Sigma 10-20mm zoom…do you really need wider than 15mm-equiv.? So why are you complaining then?

The focal lengths are all wrong.
I never understood this one. Focal lengths are a characteristic of the lens, not of the camera. A 50mm lens will always be a 50mm lens, but the FoV it produces will depend on the size of the film/sensor surface you are using. On a 35mm camera, 50mm is considered neither wide nor telephoto, but on medium format film it is wide. On an Olympus 4/3 camera, it is a telephoto lens, while on APS-C it is a short telephoto. I suspect what people wanted to complain about was the fact that their standard zooms (28-75mm and 70-200mm) didn’t produce the same FoVs anymore. Enter Pentax, who decided to produce the new DA line of lenses that would mimic the FoVs of old. They now offer two standard fast zooms, the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 (24-75mm-equiv.) and the DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 (75-200mm-equiv.), together with a DA 17-70mm f/4 (25-105mm-equiv.), a DA Ltd 35mm macro (53mm-equiv.), and more primes in the pipeline. If you really miss the old FoVs, then sell your old lenses and buy some new ones. Can you imagine a better excuse to feed your inner LBA.

We’ve lost control over the depth of field.
Again, I think photographers are actually complaining about something else, as DoF is still controlled with the size of the aperture. The DoF for a given aperture for a particular subject size on the image plane depends on the size of the film/sensor; the larger the size, the shallower the DoF will be. When they switched to APS-C, some photographers missed the thin DoF they could achieve with their f/1.4 or f/2 lenses. For a given subject size in your frame, and using the same aperture, an APS-C camera will provide about 1.6 times greater DoF than a FF. While it may seem like losing 60% of your DoF is a lot, we should remember that a common gripe amongst photographers, whether using manual or auto focus lenses, is that they missed the focus in a critical shot. Think about it; how many times has this happened to you? Having a larger DoF will only increase your chances of achieving correct focus, and I would think that is a good thing, don’t you? In order to achieve the same DoF as you would have with a FF camera (for the same subject size on frame), you will need to open your aperture up by an extra 1.25 stops approximately. This is feasible in most cases, unless in your film days all you did was shoot at f/1.2.

Cropped sensors have more noise.
This is true! For equal pixel count, a cropped sensor will have smaller pixels than a FF one. But although a FF sensor has twice the area of an APS-C, the individual pixels are not twice as large, but more like 1.5-1.6 times larger. We also need to remember that noise varies with the square root of the pixel area; so going from FF to APS-C increases the per pixel noise by a factor of around 1.26, which is about 2/3 of a stop. If FF pixels were twice the size of APS-C pixels, then the increase in noise would be a factor of 1.4 (1 stop). What this means in practical terms is that ISO200 on a FF camera should look like ISO100 on APS-C; this is assuming both sensors shared the same manufacturing technology and camera software! It bears noting that software has a lot to do with how noisy a particular camera is, possibly a lot more than sensor technology. But even more important than all these technical details is this: How many times do you need to shoot at ultra high ISO? I’m willing to bet that the vast majority of amateur photographs are taken at no more than ISO200, where the differences in noise between a cropped and FF sensor are insignificant. So why complain about noise if we are rarely going to be shooting at high ISO?

Cropped sensors don’t have enough resolution.
This may have been true a few years ago, but not anymore. Pentax released the 14.6MP K20D earlier in the year, while Canon have recently announced their upcoming 15MP 50D. Both use APS-C sensors and offer higher resolution, in linear pixels/inch, than the highest megapixel count FF sensor, the upcoming Sony 24.6MP A900. Furthermore, reports from K20D users suggest that its sensor is challenging their lower quality glass as far as resolution is concerned, so we may have caught up with the resolving power of the available lenses and this may mark the end of the megapixel race (which I would welcome with open arms). Another question I would ask you is “resolution for what?” My parents have a 15x20 photo hanging in their living room that I took with a 6MP P&S, and it looks great! With a 10MP DSLR you can print as large as 20x30 without worries. I believe that’s enough resolution for just about everyone.

Professional photographers use FF.
Professional photographers use whatever it takes to get the job done, period. It used to be that the pros used only medium format cameras, and those using 35mm SLRs were considered amateurs. Time passed, camera technology evolved, 35mm film evolved, and picture quality reached the proverbial “good enough” level. Shouldn’t we learn from the past? Cropped sensors are already being used by professionals, and will continue to be. With every new generation of sensors we find that resolution and IQ increase, while noise and read out times decrease. The only quality that never decreases is our capacity to complain about minutia.

The viewfinder is so small.
Have you actually looked through a digital FF viewfinder? It is not that big, and it is not that bright either. It does not look like the viewfinder you so loved on your ME Super, that I can assure you. If you want to be able to focus manually more easily, buy a replacement split-prism focusing screen for your current APS-C DSLR; it will be a much cheaper and practical upgrade than going FF.


I don’t want to start receiving hate mail telling me I am against FF digital, because I am not. What I am against is hearing and reading photographers complain about how they cannot do this or that because they don’t have a FF camera. Hopefully, I have addressed the major complaints thrown at APS-C sensors and have, if nothing else, made you think twice about what you think FF would really give you that you are not already getting from your current camera right now. FF does have many advantages, but I don’t think it is the Holy Grail that many are making it out to be and not owning one should not be keeping you awake at night.

Now, stop reading, pick up your perfectly capable APS-C Pentax DSLR, attach your oldest lens to it (extra points if it is an M42 Takumar), and go take photos. You see, you need practice, and if when Pentax brings out their FF you are still taking the same pictures you are today, then FF is going to do nothing to improve them and you’ll just be throwing money down the drain.

While you do that, I’ll go across the street and get myself a small strawberry milkshake; because when it is that tasty, small is all I need.
Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm getting an inferiority complex.

I'm getting an inferiority complex.

When Pentax introduced the “PENTAX Photo Gallery”, it seemed that any pictures sent were accepted. I was too busy then writing books about the Pentax DSLRs that I never entered any of my photos. Months and Months went by and I decided to submit some of my photos. Surprise, surprise! My first ten photos were declined, then my next twenty photos were also declined, and since the day I submitted my first photo, I think I submitted about one hundred and none have been accepted.

I am developing a serious inferiority complex. Is there a special trick to submit my photos so at least one is accepted? I see an awful lot of flower pictures. Yes, flowers are pretty, but there isn’t all that much composition in it. Then, in the voting section, I voted for about five hundred submissions one night. Some were good, some were extraordinary and some were just plain bad. I see that it’s not uncommon for someone to submit dozens of pictures or more of the same place, in color, in black & white, from every angles, etc. This must slow the judging process tremendously.

I suspect that some groups of photographers could vote for each other, bringing their acceptance to a higher level. No, there are no names attached to the submitted photos, but how hard would it be for a group of photographers or friends to email each other with which photo to look and vote for. This is just one possible way of beating the system, although I have absolutely no proof that anything of that sort is actually happening. Is there a special code in naming your photograph?

I am simply hurt that none of my photos was accepted.

I have included just a few of the submitted photos here. I would be interested to hear from the readers what my photos are lacking. I know I’m no Ansel Adams, but I thought I had some photos comparable to what is displayed in the PENTAX Photo Gallery.

Oh well, the important thing is that I like them and my family and friends tell me they like my photos as well, although they may not want to hurt my feelings.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque