Sunday, September 27, 2009

Preying Mantis performance captured with a Pentax K-7.

Hi Pentaxian friends.

In southern California, autumn is the best time to capture Preying Mantises (literally and on camera). They are easily found around the yard. It seems that every year, I am lucky enough to catch and photograph one performing for the camera.

Actually, I believe the ritual is to scare a possible assailant. They are easy to catch. Just put one finger in front of them and they climb right on. By waiving your finger in front of them, they appear to get in a defensive mode, and try to make themselves look bigger. They are aggressive and it’s a good thing they aren't eight feet tall.

The pictures above were all taken using a Pentax K-7 with the DA 18-55mm kit lens or the Pentax “A” 50mm f/1.4 with a Vivitar tele-extender.

Isn’t nature great!

Thank you for looking,

P.S. Looking at some comments received, I cannot stop wondering if Measurbators really understand, what photography is all about. I believe that it's not about what make of DSLR you use, it's not about the megapixels your DSLR has, it's not about perfect IQ... it's about composition. The subject of your photographs, the arrangement, the lighting, the message your images convey are all some of the elements that photography is made of. If you look at some famous pictures through the years, sharpness was not the prime factor. Look here:

Nick Ut snapped a picture of Kim Phuc, a Vietnamese girl, fleeing naked down a highway in Vietnam after a napalm attack in 1972. The image is not sharp, but the message was bigger than the picture itself.

And look here:

My photographs do not compare to these photographs and they humble me. Can you imagine someone criticizing a Pulitzer Prize winner for the image quality? It would be absurd.

In the end, there are photographers and Measurbators. One is about Art and the other about technology. Their goals are very different. I say live and let live. Your measurbate, I take photographs. Respect my goal and I'll respect yours.

Yvon Bourque

Saturday, September 26, 2009

NYC is still a great place to take photographs.

The architecture of NYC can be futuristic or antiquated. Whatever you are looking for, there is at least one in NYC.

Flooding In NYC...I don't think so!

Walk a mile in my shoes!

The Jane Hotel has rooms for $99.00 per night. Reminiscent of a ship's cabin, at approximately 50 sq. ft. their Standard Cabins are remarkably cozy. Each cabin features a single bed, luggage rack, in-room safe, free wireless Internet, telephone with voicemail, 23"-inch LCD television, DVD player, and iPod dock. What a cool place and so cheap for NYC.

The City guardian!

How cool of a building is that?

Street food is the best in NYC.

My Daughter "Marisa" and her boyfriend "Matthew" spent a weekend in NYC a few weeks back. They stayed at this cool hotel called, "The Jane Hotel" for $99.00 per night. They had a blast and I am jealous. I never thought you could get a room in a newly renovated hotel for $99.00 per night in NYC.

They took some pictures, posted above, with their Olympus Point & Shoot. Of course, it doesn't have the same IQ as the Pentax K-7, but they are well composed and speak for themselves. I didn't incorporate any of the pictures taken in Times Square, because that's what everybody does. There are plenty of interesting and unique places in NYC.

I guess I will have to buy them a Pentax DSLR some day.

Thanks for reading,
Yvon Bourque

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Let's revisit the Medium-Format DSLRs now that the K-7 and K-x are available. Could the 645D be Pentax's next big move?

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

I just thought that this article published in July was appropriate now that Pentax has the K-7 and the K-x available.

Pentax will never make a Full Frame (24x36) DSLR as they believe this is a market that will disapear in favor of much larger sensors. As the prices of sensors goes down and technology advances even more, sensors equivalent to medium-format cameras will be cheaper.

Pentax has experience with medium-format cameras in the 645 and 6x7 film cameras. They already have a good lens base. They are going to introduce the new Pentax 645-D in Japan early next year. It will not be only sold in Japan for long. I bet everybody will want one and the price will never be as much as the competition such as Hasselblad, Phase One, Mamiya, etc.

Just look at the Leica S2, and you will look at the future of Digital Photography. Canon and Nikon never produced a medium-format camera before and they will likely continue to push the Full Frame format inherited from the 35mm film cameras. Imagine a sensor the size of a 645 medium-format camera or bigger. The point and shoot cameras will be replaced by APS-C DSLRs or 4/3rd DSLRs or Hybrid cameras. The Full frame will be replaced by the medium-format sizes.

This will put Pentax in a good position for both markets. You know that the Leica S2 will start a new Professional standard, but at a much higher price than Pentax will. You just wait and see...Pentax will rise again. In the past, with film cameras, the 35mm was mostly used by amateur photographers and Large-format by Pros.
Here is another article I posted earlier about the Pentax 645-D.

What do you think?

Of course this is just my opinion only and I am 90% right 20% of the time, like the weather man!
Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Surprise: New Pentax K-x, 12.4 MP CMOS sensor, HD video, live-view, and priced to sell.


GOLDEN, CO (September 16, 2009)… PENTAX Imaging Company redefines the entry-level digital SLR category with the introduction of the K-x digital SLR. This latest PENTAX camera offers high-end features including Live View and HD video. And, since there’s no rule that SLR cameras must come in black only, the K-x will be available in a choice of white or black, as well as special, limited edition red and navy.

Priced at $649.95 USD (for body with DA L 18-55mm lens), the extremely compact and lightweight PENTAX K-x forges ahead on the trail initiated by the popular PENTAX K2000. With a one-handed shooting design and simple, easy-to-use operation, the K-x is perfect for users stepping up from a point and shoot digital camera to their first digital SLR.

The PENTAX K-x offers photographic performance that challenges higher class DSLR models and offers several features that set this camera apart in the entry-level category.

• High resolution 12.4 megapixel CMOS image sensor features sensor-shift Shake Reduction for stabilized image and video capture up to 4 stops max.
• Large 2.7 inch LCD features Live View with contrast, phase difference, and Face Detection autofocus (up to 16 faces).
• Widescreen HD video capture in full 720p resolution (1280x720) at 24 FPS cinematic framerate, using any PENTAX 35mm lens.
• Creative processing and filter modes produce high quality finished images, while offering the ability to explore artistic freedom through unique special effects.
• True High Dynamic Range (HDR) image capture blends 3 bracketed images into a single picture with outstanding shadow, highlight, and midrange detail.
• Fast 4.7 FPS capture speed and 1/6000 second maximum shutter speeds are possible with the PENTAX PRIME II image processing engine.
• Powerful automatic modes, including PENTAX Auto Picture and scene modes, ensure the perfect shot in any situation, while helping new photographers learn DSLR photography.
• Responsive 11 point wide angle SAFOX VIII autofocus system focuses quickly and accurately, and can easily track moving subjects.
• Captures up to 1900 shots with universally available, easy-to-find AA lithium batteries (also compatible with AA NiMH rechargeable and alkaline batteries).

All combined, the PENTAX K-x is the perfect camera for new digital SLR camera users as well as an ideal backup camera for more experienced photographers.

Along with the K-x, PENTAX announced the smc PENTAX DA L 55-300mm F4-5.8 ED super-telephoto zoom lens. This lens will be exclusive to a K-x Twin Lens Kit package consisting of a K-x body, this new lens and the smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 lens. The lightweight design of this zoom lens offers the exceptional optical performance found in all PENTAX lenses for super-telephoto photography with the K-x and other PENTAX digital SLR camera bodies.

The PENTAX K-x is now available for pre-order in black or white on Limited edition colors of red and navy will become available at select locations to be announced.

The PENTAX K-x (in black and white) will ship in October 2009 in three configurations: options:

· K-x single lens kit with body and an smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm lens for USD $649.95.
· K-x twin lens kit for $749.95 including a K-x body, the smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm lens and the smc PENTAX DA L 50-200mm zoom lens.
· K-x twin lens kit for $849.95 including a K-x body, the smc PENTAX DA L 18-55mm lens and the smc PENTAX DA L 55-300mm zoom lens.


12.4 effective megapixels

The K-x incorporates a newly developed CMOS image sensor to assure high-speed image data readout and more flexibility with varying ISO sensitivity levels. With approximately 12.4 effective megapixels, this image sensor accurately reproduces true-to-life images with fine detail and rich color depth.

The K-x offers a wide sensitivity range between ISO 200 and ISO 6400 and allows users to expand the sensitivity range between ISO 100 and ISO 12800 via a custom function to offer greater creative freedom to photographers.

Compact, lightweight body
The PENTAX K-x is one of the most compact, lightweight digital SLR cameras in its class. The stainless-steel chassis and overall design offer a space-efficient layout.

Widescreen HD movie recording at 1280x720 pixels at a cinematic 24 frames per second (720p24). The PENTAX K-x movie recording function* captures true-to-life movie clips in 16:9 high-definition TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels) at a frame rate of 24 frames per second. Compatible with every PENTAX interchangeable lens ever made, the Video Capture mode opens a new world of creativity for PENTA K-x owners.

* When the PENTAX K-x’s AV output terminal is used, movie clips are viewed at normal resolution. The data must be transferred to a PC for the playback of movie clips at high-definition TV proportions (1280 x 720 pixels).

PENTAX-original SR mechanism for sharp, blur-free images
The K-x features the PENTAX-developed Shake Reduction mechanism that effectively compensates for the adverse effects of camera shake by as much as four shutter steps. This innovative mechanism extends its benefits to all PENTAX interchangeable lenses — even those designed for film-format cameras.* With this SR mechanism, the K-x produces sharp, blur-free images even under demanding conditions such as telephoto lens photography, shooting in dark or low-light setting without a flash illumination, and sunset scenes.

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

High-speed continuous shooting at approximately 4.7 images per second
The K-x’s high-speed continuous shooting mode records as many as 17 images (in JPEG recording format) at a maximum speed of approximately 4.7 images per second. This is the fastest of all entry-class models. The K-x also features a more reliable shutter unit, which passed a demanding action test of more than 100,000 shutter releases. The top shutter speed of 1/6000 second allows the photographer to preserve sharp, crisp images of fast-moving subjects.

High-performance, high-speed PRIME II imaging engine
The K-x features the newly developed PRIME (PENTAX Real IMage Engine) II, that is an upgrade of the original PRIME imaging engine. This new imaging engine offers greater data processing speed and enhanced capability to produce higher-quality images with richer, more accurate color rendition, as well as faster transmission speed of movie data.

Live View function with Face detection of up to 16 faces
In addition to the camera’s viewfinder, the K-x features a Live View function that allows users to view subjects on the LCD monitor during shooting. The K-x also offers a choice of three different focusing modes in Live View:

· Contrast Auto Focus optimizes the focus based on the subject’s contrast.
· Face Detection Auto Focus automatically detects up to 16 faces, then selects the main subject’s face from multiple faces, and captures it in sharp focus.
· Phase Difference Auto Focus accesses the AF sensor positioned in the camera body to optimize focus on the subject.

Innovative Image Processing Functions

Digital Filter function
The K-x’s digital filter function allows users to process recorded images in a variety of creative ways within the camera and produce highly creative visual expressions. With a choice of 16 different filters including Color Extract, Retro, Soft, Starburst, Toy Camera, and more (including a custom filter for building multiple effects), photographers may apply multiple filters to a single image for customized effects.

Cross Process mode
The K-x features a new Cross Process mode that automatically and randomly adds finishing touches to exposures to create eye-catching images with unique, intriguing colors (just like images treated with Cross Process* in film photography). This mode adds a whimsical element to digital photography since photographers don’t know the results until the captured image is actually displayed on the camera’s LCD monitor.

* A film development technique that takes advantage of unconventional film developers to create a distinctive finishing touch with intriguing colors.

High-precision 11-point AF sensor
The high-precision, wide-frame SAFOX VIII autofocus system of the K-x features 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle) to automatically capture even off-centered subjects in sharp, crisp focus. Photographers also may select one of the sensors as a focusing point to accommodate specialized applications.

Additional features
· Custom Image modes offer high quality processing for images
· 2.7 inch, high-resolution color LCD monitor with approximately 230,000 dots of resolution
· Auto Picture mode for effortless, automatic selection of the most appropriate shooting mode, even during Live View shooting
· Status screen for easy, at-a-glance confirmation of various settings on the LCD monitor
· Ten scene modes, including Night Scene, Surf & Snow, Sunset, Kids, Museum, and more, available via simple icon selection
· PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 software package, with RAW-data processing and image browser functions

smc PENTAX-DA L 55-300mmF4-5.8ED Lens Fact Sheet

A lightweight super-telephoto zoom lens for focal lengths between 84.5mm and 460mm (in the 35mm format)

ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass optical elements to assure true-to-life image descriptions and faithful color renditions through effective compensation of chromatic aberrations over the entire zoom range.

Focal Length: 55-300mm, (Equivalent to 84.5-460mm in 35mm format)
Aperture: F4-5.8
Minimum Aperture: F22-32
Lens Construction: 12 elements in 8 groups
Angle of View: 29 - 5.4° (wiith PENTAX D-SLR camera body)
Minimum Focusing Distance: 4.6 ft.
Maximum Magnification: 0.28X
Filter Diameter: 58mm
Diaphragm control: Fully Automatic
Number of Diaphragm Blades: 6
Maximum Diameter & Minimum Length: 2.8 x 4.4 in
Weight: 15.0 oz.
Notes: Includes SP (Super Protect) Coating

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

If the APS-C sized sensor is so inferior to the full frame, as many people claim,why is it that Canon just introduced the EOS 7D?

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

If I had a dollar for everytime someone told me that the APS-C size sensor that Pentax uses is not as good as a Full Frame sensor...well I would be rich by now. We hear the argument all the time that Full Frame is the only way to go and that "my next camera will be a full frame". The fact is that only 5% of the camera sold worldwide are Full Frame. That's not a big market and it is a market mostly used by Pros. The prices for Full Frame sensors will remain high because of the cost of making larger sensors from the same standard sized silicon wafers.

Why would Canon introduce a new (1.5 crop factor) DSLR? The EOS 7D is indeed an APS-C. DSLR. Since Canon now adopts it, does it make it any better? Furthermore, their new sensor is a CMOS with 18 mega pixels. I thought that the optimum and maximum effective mega pixels on an APS-C sensor was around 12 mega pixels!

It is obvious that Canon really believes that APS-C is the way to go for the consumers (the 95% of them that don't purchase Full Frame DSLRs).

To me, that reinforces my loyalty to Pentax. Why would a giant like Canon revert to APS-C sensors, just like Pentax? I bet you that sites that favor Canon (we all know who they are) will now praise the virtues of Canon APS-C sensors...Hello! Isn't it what Pentax has been doing all along?

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Thank you for purchasing the K-7 "Everything you need to know...and then some" ebook. Here's what my dreams are made of!

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

The images above are what my dreams are made of. Of course I'm only joking.

Thanks to you, the K-7 ebook is rapidly becoming my most successful ebook thus far. I am glad that I could help fellow Pentaxians discovering the attributes of the Pentax K-7. It is difficult to venture in the publishing arena as the Corporate Giants already have a lock on 90% of the market. You can download a preview of the K-7 ebook here.

Thanks to the Internet and word of mouth, the only book currently available for the Pentax K-7 is slowly getting to be known. I also have books for the K100D, K10D and the K20D.

Thank you so much for reading this blog and for your purchases.

Yvon Bourque

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Who's winning, the Digital Camera Companies or the Consumers?

Takes great pictures conveniently.

Takes great pictures but not so conveniently.

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

Who's winning, the Digital Camera Companies or the Consumers?

Ever since the introduction of the digital cameras, the number of new cameras introduced yearly has just been obscene. We have observed these Companies introduced dozens of newer and “better” models every year. Each new model had or has some new gadgets promising better images than any previously released cameras. The frequency of new cameras has been so intense that some companies, not being able to keep up with the pace, had to close their operations. The bigger camera companies bought up most of these unfortunate companies, thus reducing the competition and getting ever closer to market control.

Are the new camera models that indispensable or are we being manipulated to believe that they will make us better photographers?

Taking pictures consists of controlling light. The process is relatively straightforward. An image is formed on the media, (sensor) with the correct proportion of light. This is achieved by reproducing a real time scene with a series of concave, convex and flat pieces of glass that form a lens. Using a relative or proportional aperture, shutter speed, and media sensitivity, the image is then captured by the media. That is of course an oversimplified description, as a good sensor is required, good glass is required as well as some latitude of good technology.

Are the Digital Cameras being introduced lately that much better than the previous generations? I don’t really think so. My oldest DSLR, being a Pentax *ist DS is capable of taking pictures just as useful than the newest models in 95% + of the situations. It just takes more time, patience and a good knowledge of photography. I will admit that as an owner of the new Pentax K-7, I use the K-7 almost exclusively. That is not to say that the camera takes better pictures…it’s just more convenient.

In the end, it’s the photographer…not the camera.

So back to my original question, who's winning, the Digital Camera Companies or the Consumers?

Thanks for reading and for your comments.

Yvon Bourque