Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Daily Photo Tip

By MarkRaymondMason.com
Fine Art Photography

When working in a crowded or high-theft area, carry your camera in a plain bag or backpack, and only take it out when you need to use it. No-one will steal a camera they don't know you have. (Jun 30, 2009)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Accessing Menu settings is much simpler with the K-7.

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

Many of he K-7 features and functions are available directly from the status screen, without having to navigate through pages of menus. This is new to the K-7 and users of the previous Pentax DSLRs will appreciate this convenient feature.

As you turn the camera on, the following screen appears for 3 seconds. It shows; a) Exposure mode, b) Operation guide, c) Date and Time, d) World Time when set to Destination. In this example, a) The Mode is (P) Program with Automatic Exposure; b) the image format is RAW/DGN, the AF is enabled, the front e-dial changes shutter speed and the rear e-dial changes the aperture and the green button resets according to the Program Line; c) The date is June 28, 2009 and the time is 21:35 (9:35 P.M.) California time in my case; d) The World time is not displayed, as the Destination is not enabled. This initial screen is a cursory view at the current settings. You can quickly decide if this mode will work for your next picture, and change the mode using the Mode Dial.

The next screen to appear is the Status Screen. The settings shown here are accessible without getting in the Menus. The highlighted settings are available and the e-dial(s) activated shown. The settings at the bottom of the screen are available by using the four-way controller. You can see how many pictures your memory card has available, the type of file used, etc. Notice that I have changed the RAW/DGN format to JPEG 14M *** from the previous screen.

It doesn’t stop here. You can get in the heart of the settings by pressing the INFO button. This brings yet another screen, the Control Panel. You can navigate through this screen with the four-way controller and changes the parameters shown. If you noticed, we did not have to go through any of the menus yet. With the K-7, the menus are mostly used to change overall settings. That is a big improvement over the previous Pentax DSLRs. It’s almost like having dedicated buttons for all settings. When taking pictures, the scene conditions can change rapidly. You may need to change some setting quickly to adjust. This faster sequential screen activation can make the difference between getting or missing a great photo opportunity.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Daily Photo Tip

Fine Art Photography

Check your lens's aperture periodically against another similar lens. If two lenses cause the same camera body to produce the same final exposure, the apertures are quite likely both correct. (Jun 29, 2009)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Daily Photo Tip

By MarkRaymondMason.com
Fine Art Photography

Try underexposing or overexposing to affect various colours in your photographs. Some hues will look drastically different depending on the exposure value. (Jun 28, 2009)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daily Photo Tip

By MarkRaymondMason.com
Fine Art Photography

If you're shooting photographs to sell as stock, be sure to create a horizontal and a vertical composition of a scene if possible. Some clients will only be able to use one or the other. (Jun 27, 2009)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Do you realize how useful being able to take still photos and high definition videos with the same DSLR is?

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

With the K-7 DSLR, not only will you be able to produce superb images and high definition video, you will now be able to combine the results of both. I have been writing this blog for two years now, and this new development will change my blog forever.

Imagine going on a photo trek to the mountains on a sunny day. As of today, I would take several dozen or even several hundred of pictures. When returning home, I would download my SDHC to Lightroom, process the files, select about ten images, and post the images on my blog. I would write about my trek and explain about how the pictures were taken, etc.

Now with the K-7, it will be a completely different adventure. Imagine going on the same trek with the K-7. As I drive in my Jeep up the mountains, I can take HD video of the surroundings. When I see a picturesque scene, I can set my K-7 on my tripod and take several still pictures…but I will also scan the area with the video function so that later on when I write my blog, I can show the entire experience on video and then show the pictures I took in the same area.

The viewers will have a much better understanding of the surroundings and will be able to appreciate the still images much better. Add to that the possibility of using the HD video for explaining the camera settings, the composition, give tips or lessons as the photo is actually taken. We are so lucky to live in this high tech era.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Daily Photo Tip

Fine Art Photography

Lenses can be 'too sharp' for portraits. Some portrait photographers feel that extra-sharp lenses reveal too many blemishes and details. (Jun 26, 2009)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Daily Photo Tip

By MarkRaymondMason.com
Fine Art Photography

The price of photography equipment can vary greatly, even between shops in the same city. Once you've decided on an item to buy, call around to several shops to compare prices. (Jun 25, 2009)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Something new from Pentax...Optio W80.

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GOLDEN, CO (June 24, 2009)…The manufacturer that builds digital cameras to go boldly where none have gone before has announced the PENTAX Optio W80. More adventure-proof than ever, this latest PENTAX digital camera is waterproof, dustproof, coldproof, and now shockproof enough to withstand impact from a fall of more than three feet (one meter).

PENTAX first introduced dunkable digital cameras in 2003 to the delight of outdoor enthusiasts, travelers and families everywhere. Today, the PENTAX Optio W80’s waterproof design withstands depths of up to 16 feet (5 meters) to protect from rain and spills, as well as allowing full underwater photos and video for up to two hours. On dry land, the rugged, shockproof design protects against drops of up to 3.3 feet to protect the camera from hard use and occasional spills. Also featuring 12.1 megapixels, a 5X internal optical zoom (equivalent to 28-140mm), a slim one inch body, and a wide angle 28mm lens, the Optio W80 offers an expanded perspective that is ideal for landscape, group and more confined shots. With a PENTAX-developed imaging engine and a high-performance PENTAX zoom lens, the Optio W80 delivers brilliant, high-quality images with well-defined details. A Super Protect (SP) coating applied to the mineral crystal cover of the internal zoom lens helps repel water, grime and finger marks.

Other important features in the Optio W80 include a:

· Coldproof design that allows the camera to be used in sub-freezing temperatures of 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius), ideal for cold weather activities such as skiing and snowmobiling.
· 2.5 inch LCD monitor that features anti-reflective coating, making it easy to view, even in bright sunlight.
· Widescreen, HD movie capture that records resolutions up to 1280x720 pixels at full-speed 30 frames per second.
· Fast Face Detection technology that sees up to 32 faces in 0.03 seconds, with Smile Capture and Blink Detection, for perfect portrait shots.
· Pixel Track Shake Reduction (SR) that ensures sharp images in any lighting condition, without adding high ISO noise. Digital SR and Movie SR are also available.
· Close focusing, Super Macro mode that brings out the details in even the smallest subjects as close as 1 cm (less than one inch).

Available in Cardinal Red, Azure Blue and Gunmetal Gray, the Optio W80 will be available in July 2009 for $299.95 USD. To help keep the Optio W80 fresh and at hand, PENTAX offers a custom designed clear protective skin ($16.95 USD) and a comfortable floating wrist strap ($20.00 USD). More information about the Optio W80 and these accessories is available at: http://www.pentaximaging.com/*

and preorders may be placed now at http://www.pentaxwebstore.com/.

PENTAX Imaging Company is an innovative leader in the production of a variety of digital cameras including weather resistant digital SLRs and compact, waterproof cameras, as well as lenses, flash units, binoculars, scopes, and eyepieces. For 90 years, PENTAX has developed durable, reliable products that meet the needs of consumers and businesses. With headquarters in Golden, Colorado, PENTAX Imaging Company is a division of PENTAX of America, Inc.
# # #

Media contact:
Michelle Martin

Consumer contact:


Enhanced rugged performance

With the most water and airtight external joints ever, PENTAX has improved the Optio W80’s underwater performance to more than 16 feet for up to two hours of continuous operation. Along with this outstanding JIS Class 8 waterproof rating, the Optio W80 provides JIS Class 6 dustproof and coldproof performance for reliable operation at temperatures as low as 14 degrees F (–10 degrees C).

New shockproof performanceWith shock-absorbent material positioned throughout the Optio W80’s rigid and durable interior design, the Optio W80 will withstand impact from a fall from a height of more than three feet (one meter)* without damage to the body for reliability even in harsh shooting conditions.* Measured under PENTAX-original testing standards (from a height of one meter, onto a surface of 5cm-thick plywood), conforming to MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock.

Optical 5X zoom lens for excellent zoom coverage from wide angle to telephotoThe Optio W80 features an optical 5X zoom lens covering focal lengths from 28mm wide angle to 140mm telephoto. With this wide zoom range, the Optio W80 may be used for a variety of challenging subjects and scenes including landscapes, architecture, large group shots and tight snapshots from a distance. For a tighter zoom on subjects, an Intelligent Zoom function extends the zoom range to approximately 31.3X.High-quality HD-Widescreen movie recordingThe Optio W80 captures beautiful, flawless, high-definition movie clips at 16:9 TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels)* at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. The camera also is equipped with advanced features designed to facilitate high quality movie recording:

· Movie SR (Shake Reduction) mode automatically compensates camera shake during movie shooting
· Underwater Movie mode automatically optimizes color for underwater movie shooting.

*When the Optio W80’s AV output terminal is used, movie clips are output as NTSC/PAL data. If the user wishes to play back movie clips at high-definition-TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels), the data must be transferred to a personal computer for playback.

Triple anti-shake protection

Pixel Track SR mode

When recording still images, the Optio W80’s Pixel Track SR (Shake Reduction) mode effectively compensates for camera shake by processing the amount of image blur with a dedicated ASIC. Pixel Track SR tracks motion blur at the pixel level and calculates blur volume in real time. After exposure, the recovery filter centers the motion effect around each pixel to compartmentalize the blur. Then, an adjustment filter sharpens the pixels to help remove the blur effect. Pixel Track SR results in sharp images without adding high ISO noise.

High-Sensitivity SR mode*The Optio W80 automatically raises the sensitivity setting to as high as ISO 6400 when it detects low-lighting conditions in still-image shooting so that a higher shutter speed may be used. This effectively minimizes adverse effects of camera shake and subject blur under poor lighting conditions.* When the High-Sensitivity SR mode is selected, the recorded size is fixed to 5M (2592 x 1944 pixels).

Movie SR mode*

During movie recording, the Optio W80 prevents blurry images by effectively minimizing annoying camera shake.

* When the Movie SR mode is selected, the angle of view becomes narrower than normal shooting.

Auto Picture mode for automatic selection of eight different shooting modes

The Optio W80 features the PENTAX-original Auto Picture mode, which automatically selects the most appropriate shooting mode for a given subject or scene by detecting the subject’s lighting and other conditions. This user-friendly feature chooses the best mode choice for the photographer (from Landscape, Portrait, Night Scene, Night Scene Portrait, Flower, Sport, Standard and Candlelight modes).

Automatic Face Detection of up to 32 faces in a mere 0.03 secondsThe Optio W80 features the advanced Face Detection AF & AE function for more accurate people shots. This function automatically detects up to 32 faces in the image field, and then optimizes focus and exposure settings in about 0.03 seconds. The Optio W80 is also equipped with the Smile Capture mode, which automatically releases the shutter the moment the camera detects the subject’s smile and a Blink Detection function, which warns the photographer if a subject’s eyes close at the time of shutter release.

Large LCD monitor for effortless outdoor viewingThe Optio W80 features a large 2.5 inch high-brightness color LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 dots. This monitor is treated with a special AR (Anti-Reflection) coating to cut the glare of external light and minimize annoying reflections, making it easy to view recorded images even in bright sunlight.

Additional features

· An Auto Macro mode records dramatic close-up images of a subject from close as one centimeter.
· A Digital Wide function to compose extra-wide-angle images (equivalent to an image taken with an approx. 21mm lens in 35mm format) from two images.
· An AF-assisting spot beam projector (ON/OFF switchable) assists auto focusing operation in the dark.
· A new D-Range setting to prevent overexposed (washed-out) and underexposed (blacked-out) areas in an image.
· A decorative frame composite function to shoot or compose images with 90 photo frame selections stored in the camera.
· 20 digital filters, including Toy Camera and Retro, add distinctive visual effects to recorded images.
· ACDSee for PENTAX 3.0 image viewing, editing and filing software included (compatible with Windows VistaTM).

PENTAX and Optio are trademarks of HOYA CORPORATION.All other brands or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.This product supports PRINT Image Matching III. PRINT Image Matching enabled digital still cameras, printers and software help photographers to produce images more faithful to their intentions. Some functions are not available on printers that are not PRINT Image Matching III compliant.Copyright 2001 Seiko Epson Corporation. All Rights Reserved.Print Image Matching is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.The PRINT Image Matching logo is a trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.Design and Specifications are subject to change without notice.

Daily Photo Tip

By MarkRaymondMason.com
Fine Art Photography

If focus is critical for a particular photograph, try using the focus confirmation found on many cameras, even if you focus manually. This will give you extra assurance that you've done it right. (Jun 24, 2009)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NED BUNNELL: Pentax K-7 Operating Manual

Good news. Ned Bunnell has made the K-7 Operating Manual available for downloading. Learn about the K-7 while you wait. Brilliant!

NED BUNNELL: Pentax K-7 Operating Manual

Visitors to this page also liked: See "Recommended Reading" on the right column. We honor reciprocal links. Email: brqyvn@aol.com

Daily Photo Tip

Fine Art Photography

'Image accuracy' refers to how much distortion there is in the final image, or the geometric quality of the image. Accuracy can also be used to qualify lenses. An accurate lens is one with very little distortion. (Jun 23, 2009)

Monday, June 22, 2009

More of Pentax K-7 pre-production, HDR test.

Above are the presets I used before taking the HDR pictures. Bright with max saturation, max contrast and max sharpness. You can see an improvement over yesterday's HDR pictures. Note also that no post-processing was made to these pictures. They are as taken with the K-7 except for the reduction in size as this is still the same pre-production camera, with Firmware V 1.0.

The picture above is without HDR. Note the blown out highlights and dark shadows.

The picture above is with standard HDR. Note the highlights show more details and so does the shadow areas.

The picture above is with strong HDR. Much better and certainly much better than the Jeep pictures of yesterday.

HDR strong

HDR standard

HDR off

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

Click here for HDR definition.
I am still testing the K-7 which is a pre-production model. The final impression of this great camera cannot be finalized until the production model is available. I shot the same pictures as I did for the ISO tests. Same place, same location, same tripod, etc.

The HDR can only be activated in JPG shooting. The camera takes the three sequential pictures once you press the shutter button once. It takes about 20 seconds before the HDR results appear on the LCD monitor.

Note that the following settings can be performed before taking an HDR photograph; contrast, sharpness, saturation, hue, high/low key, as well as the following presets, bright, natural, portrait, landscape, vibrant, muted and B&W. The above pictures were only pre-adjusted for contrast. I might take a little while to get familiar with the HDR mode, but with a little practice (which I certainly need) the results will be similar to post-processing with a dedicated HDR software.

I am not particularly interested in HDR, but for the photographers using this method, this function will be great and will minimize your workflow.

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Daily Photo Tip

Fine Art Photography

Try using a reflector to fill shadows outdoors instead of a flash. A reflector can be more natural looking, and does not need batteries. Any white surface will do. (Jun 22, 2009)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Clarifications on this Pre-production Pentax K-7, with Firmware V 1.0, tested at ISO 100 to 3200.

Click the above picture to enlarge.

Clarifications: For those that have commented on this blogsite and other blogsites, that the high ISO shots were too noisy, consider this: The whole picture above was taken at ISO 1600 and the cropped image fits 36 times in the original picture. On my screen, the cropped image represents 7" on the horizontal screen and as you can see, the cropped image fits 4 1/2 times in the horizontal side of the full image. Therefore, if this example was printed instead of on your monitor screen, it would measure approximately 31" on the horizontal and 20" on the vertical. Would you look at a print that size six inches away? I don't think so. You would look at it hanging on a wall, at a distance of three feet away or more. Now back away from your screen about 3 to 4 feet and the noise becomes irrelevant. Of course, as always, this is my opinion. Also remember that the image has been resized to 600 pixel wide because the camera is still a pre-production model and we are asked not to publish any photos higher than 640x480 until the production K-7 is out.
Above @ ISO 100. Click for larger size.

Above @ ISO 200 . Click for larger size.

Above @ ISO 400. Click for larger size.

Above @ ISO 800. Click for larger size.

Above @ ISO 1600. Click for larger size.

Above @ ISO 3200. Click for larger size.

Above images @ ISO 100

Above images @ ISO 200

Above images @ ISO 400

Above images @ ISO 800

Above images @ ISO 1600

Above images @ ISO 3200

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

I had some time on my hand today, and since I still have the Pentax pre-production K-7 updated with Firmware V1.0, I tried to test the image quality at ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 3200. I placed the camera on a tripod and switched the Shake Reduction to off. I turned the mode dial to (P) and set the aperture to f/8.0. I used the CS-205 remote control. All other adjustments were at factory settings.

Of course the images were taken during the day but I will do a test at night as well this coming week. Because the camera is still a pre-production, I couldn't post the images full size. However, I reduced the image sizes and did nothing in Post Processing to enhance the images. The partial images are at 100% crop. What does 100% crop mean?

I am satisfied with these results, and I can tell you that the IQ is indeed better than the K20D images. Add to that the possibility to be even better when the production K-7 hits the market.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Daily Photo Tip

By MarkRaymondMason.com
Fine Art Photography

When light is refracted, it is bent while passing through a transparent, dense material like a camera lens. Refraction sometimes bends all light colours equally, or may separate them into their colours, as in a prism. (Jun 21, 2009)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Daily Photo Tip

Fine Art Photography

Don't try to force your art to have a unifying theme or style. Often, as your work evolves, you will begin thinking in similar patterns, and a theme will naturally emerge. (Jun 20, 2009)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Collection of Pentax K-7 videos. Enjoy.

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

You have to wonder if the next video was taken by a pair of drunk guys?

I like the following video, expecially if you can hear the sound in stereo.

This next guy is trying to show that the K-7 is water resistant. I think he's more interested by the sailboat.

Next is the Official Pentax Japan video demonstration. It works very well shooting dogs with short legs!

Finally, the best introduction to the K-7 by Chris Pound of Pentax Imaging, Golden, Colorado. Great job Chris!

Monday, June 15, 2009

More pictures taken with the K-7.

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

I drove to the San Bernardino mountains with Ms. J. Peggy (Jeep) today. I was going to test-drive the K-7 with several lenses and conditions. As it turned out, we were socked in all day. The fog was so thick at times that I couldn't hardly see ahead of me. That's not very good when you are at 7,000 plus feet elevation and that the road runs along the mountain side.

Still, I filled a 4gb SDHC card, but I made one big mistake. The K-7 is still a pre-production model and Adobe doesn't recognize the Pentax RAW/PEF file from the K-7 yet. I should have used the RAW/DGN format, as I did yesterday, but I decided to reset the camera this morning and was using RAW/PEF all day. I had to change the files to JPG format in-camera .

None-the-less, the pictures above are all from the K-7, but I did manipulate the JPG files as good as I could. It's still not all that bad, but RAW to JPG is better when done with Adobe Lightroom. Some days you win...some days you lose.

Thank you for looking,

Yvon Bourque

Using the "P" mode with the K-7. Almost the only mode needed!

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

The (P) mode is not a new mode on the K-7, but because of the information displayed differently on the new 3" LCD monitor, it gives the (P) mode a whole new twist. The (P) Hyper-Program Mode let's you decide if you want to shoot Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Sensitivity Priority, or whatever the camera decides is best using the Program Line. The Program Line has six different choices that can be preset in the Rec Mode. The preset lines are: Auto, Normal, High Speed priority, DOF deep, DOF shallow and MTF.

Once you turn the camera on, while in "P" mode, you will see the following screen:

If you rotate the rear e-dial, the mode becomes Av (Aperture Priority):

If you rotate the front e-dial, the mode becomes Tv (Shutter Priority):

With the new dedicated "ISO" button, you press it and change the ISO using the rear e-dial. Now the camera mode essentially turns to Sv (Sensitivity mode) although the ISO will remain at that setting until you manually change it, even when the green button is pressed.

If you want to come back to the camera (P) settings, just press the green button.


If that weren't enough, you can change the EV compensation by a factor of +5 or -5, by pressing the dedicated EV Compensation button. All the above changes can be made without going through pages and pages of menu-driven functions.

The (P) Mode could be the only mode available and the K-7 would still be a great camera.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque