Thursday, October 29, 2009

Here are some random thoughts about Pentax!

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

1. Lately, I saw many posts about Hoya wanting to associate with another world-class company that could manufacture sensors for them. This could make Pentax viable outside the Hoya’s mission of medical instruments and the like. Hoya apparently purchased Pentax mostly for their medical instruments. It seems that Samsung eventually want to manufacture their own cameras with their own sensors…as I was told, at the last PMA, by a Samsung representative. What do you think?

2. The K-x is now available almost everywhere. It is equipped, as you know, with a Sony 12MP CMOS sensor. The low light/high ISO image quality is supposedly on the leading edge of all the current DSLRs. What would you think of a Pentax K-7x with the 12MP sensor instead of the Samsung 14MP? If the IQ were that much better, I would go for it. After all, Nikon seems to manufacture many models around the 12MP range and they are doing okay. In the past, I produce great enlargements of 11” x 14” and even 18” x 24” with the old Pentax 6MP DSLRs. If the IQ is better, 12MP is plenty and I believe it is the sweet spot for APS-C sensors. What do you think?

3. I own several Pentax lenses, some are “A” lenses, some are FA lenses, some DA Pancake prime lenses and some DA* zoom lenses, telephotos and primes. I am not a pixel peeper and frankly, I don’t see enough difference in image quality between any of my lenses to prefer one over another. For me, it boils down to what I am shooting on a particular day or what I can easily carry. I do use Photoshop to correct colors, Chromatic aberration and so on, but never to change the content of an image. It’s the darkroom of this era, why not use it to its full potential. If your picture is well composed, I don’t think that the viewers would see any difference between the IQ of one lens over another. What do you think?

4. I envision that Pentax will indeed introduce the 645D next year. They will jump from the APS-C sensor to one bigger than the Canon or Nikon FF sensors. Pentax made it clear before that they would never manufacture a FF DSLR. Would you get a 645D should the price be comparable to Nikon’s D3/D3X/D3S or Canon’s EOS 1Ds Mk III? There are thousands or millions of 645 used lenses on the market already and Pentax could introduce new 645 AF lenses modeled after the Film 645 medium format cameras. I would buy one. What do you think?

So there you have it, some random thought about Pentax’s future. I’m a die-hard fan of Pentax cameras and know that they will always emerge with something unexpected, innovative and great.

Thanks for reading, and what do you think?

Yvon Bourque

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why can't we have Waist Level Finders on DSLRs? The Pentax LX had an optional Waist Level Finder!

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

Before the advent of digital SLRs, along with Pentax and Nikon 35 mm format cameras, I used to shoot with medium format cameras as well. I owned a Pentax 645, and several Mamiyas and one Hasselblad. These cameras had different ways to focus on your subjects other than the eye-level viewfinder. They had a waist level finder (not the Pentax 645). Even my Pentax LX ( and my Nikon F5 had an optional waist level finder.

If you shot "street photography", you never had to bring the camera to your eye-level and could shoot with the camera hanging down your neck, at...well...your waist level. It was so much less intrusive and your street subjects never knew you were taking their pictures. That is paramount, in my opinion, to get the best results as your subjects are completely unaware and thus...very natural in their actions.

It was ideal to take portrait photos as you could just look up at your subject, entertain a conversation with them, and adjust the camera focus, aperture and speed at the same time. Once your camera was set, you could just look at your subject and fire the shutter without them even realize you were taking the picture. The results were more natural looking images.

It was very good for landscape photography as there is something to say about composing an image through a viewfinder or a waist level finder. The waist level finder allows you to look at the scene just as if you were looking at a picture. It is easier to notice anomalies or distracting objects within the scene you are about to capture. I understand that most current DSLRs have live view, but on a bright day, you can hardly see the scene. The waist level finders had an unfolding hood that protected bright sun rays to enter and reduced reflection tremendously. Also, by looking at the scene from above, your head also protected the reflection we have trying to shoot with live view.

If you were shooting an event with a crowd in front of you, you simply raised the camera above the crowd, up-side-down and compose the picture through the WL finder.

The only problem I had with waist level viewfinder was that the image projected was turned 180 degree. So you had to rotate the camera to the left when you actually wanted to capture something to the right and vice versa. That problem could easily be solved by using electronic LCD screens. That way the image could be just like that of an eye-level finder. Think of it as an EWLF instead of an EVF.

What do you think?

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pentax K-x e-book is in progress. Should have it completed within the next four weeks.

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

I finally received enough information from Pentax to write an e-book about the newest Pentax DSLR, the K-x. There are a lot of functions similar to the K-7 and some of the K-7 e-book can be recycled. I have a very good feeling about this new K-x, because it uses a Sony 12.4 megapixel CMOS sensor. The image quality will likely be very good at high ISO. I believe that it will surpass the K20D and K-7 at high ISO.

I haven't had a chance to shoot with the camera much, but as I write the e-book, I will also be testing the K-x. I will report my findings.

In the meantime, you can get e-books for the K10D, K100D, K20D and the K-7 on this blogsite. You can print the e-books on your own computer/printer for your own use, however, a "copyright" watermark will appear on each page. My prices are ridiculously low, but that makes copying my books for resale non-profitable.

Thank you for visiting,

Yvon Bourque

Monday, October 12, 2009

The K-7 goes primitive camping and rock crawling with us. Very rugged camera.

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

My Step-son and I went camping and rock crawling this weekend in the Big Bear Lake area of the San Bernardino Mountains. I tested the K-7 against humidity, dust and cold and it did just fine. The pictures below are samples of the weekend. I was too tired to add captions last night but here are some now. I also took some video and once stitched together, I will post the whole video experience here. It was impressive.

Thanks for looking,

Yvon Bourque

We started out from Lucerne valley and drove south to the San Bernardino Mountains.

At Elevation of 4,000 ft, we decided to air-down the tires so that we could get a better grip and it would be needed later on rough roads.

We stopped at the summit of the first mountain to take a few pictures and ...

to change our altitude!

The first part of the trip took us through mostly rocky terrain.

We reached the top of another mountain, About 6,000 ft elevation, where we thought we could set up our base camp. As it turned out, from there we could see a better spot in the distance at about 2,000 ft higher.

We left this rocky area through...

a newly paved road.

From there we drove East to the next mountain that showed as being 8,300 ft elevation on our map.

We finally got to a nice spot, surrounded by boulders and flat. We couldn't go any farther as the rugged road came to an end. The elevation was 7,604 ft and it was very peaceful except for the cry of coyotes in the woods behind.

We set out tents up and relaxed for a while.

The camp all set up, we were hungry.

We carved some meat out of a wild deer we caught...not! We did have some steaks and some Johnson bratwurst and some canned chili.

Looking around for wild game, I saw this enormous chipmunk crossing the trail. It must have weight at least 1 or 2 ounces. I figured that shooting it with a 12 GA shotgun wouldn't leave much meat to eat! I spared the little guy. Actually, I only shoot animals with my cameras. The shotgun we brought was more for safety reasons.

Steaks started grilling.

Steaks ready to eat.

The sun went down and temperature started to drop.

The sky turned out pink and purple and made the scenery ideal for silhouettes.

Donny got a little carried away with the starting fluid!

Now that's better.

There is nothing like watching a John Wayne movie in the wilderness.

A hot fire to warm your feet and the hike-in
movie theater was great.

Morning came and I can still smell the bacon cooking...yum!

We are starting our trip back home via the longest way we could find amongst the various trails.

The roads were not all that friendly, but really fun for driving with a Jeep.

We had to run on the tire sidewalls at times. That's why a good set of off-road is a must when riding on boulders.

It took us more than two hours to drive through this 3 miles long road.

The efforts paid off as we came to a nice water hole...

that even had tons of trouts in it. Next time we will plan to camp there one night, fish for our dinner and take a fresh and very cold bath.

Words of advice: If you camp in an area that goes below the freezing point at night, regular toilet paper does much better than "Cottonnelle wipes" which frozed to a block of ice. :(

The K-7 did great, it got water on it, a lot of dust, shot a around 20 Degrees F, and it got tossed around in the Jeep. This is one tough camera.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tomorrow is the Pentax World Global Shoot Day. We will be camping in the San Bernardino Mountains @ more than 8,000ft Elevation. K-7s are ready...but

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Hi Pentaxian friends.

This weekend me and my step son are supposed to go primitive camping in the San Bernardino mountains. You can go by foot, but we usually go with my Jeep. In preparation for this trip, I checked the Jeep this week to make sure everything was in order. We drive to about 8,000 ftelevation and because the air is thinner up there, vehicles don't always burn the fuel in the proper air/fuel mixture.

As murphy law would have it, I found out that the intake manifold gasket was leaking and that the radiator was also loosing coolant. I have been working on the Jeep since Wednesday and it is almost ready (Friday Night @ 7:05 P.M.). We hope there won't be anymore problems and we think we will be ready around midnight.

We want to leave before sun-up so that we can take great sun rise pictures on the mountains. Tomorrow is the “PENTAX WORLD” GLOBAL SHOOT DAY: Saturday, October 10, 2009 . We are hoping to get some great shots to share.

I just wanted to take a few minutes to post this. I'm going down in the garage to finish our repairs work.

Update at 1:30 A.M Saturday. We can't get the new carburetor to work properly. It looks like a defective carburetor. We will spend one hour in the morning trying to install the old carb and if that doesn't work, we will still go camping on the mountains but with my trusted Chevy 4WD Pickup. You can't always have what you want... ;(

Thanks for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Nobel Prizes for Camera + Photography (Noisy edition)

Nobel Prizes for Camera + Photography (Noisy edition)

I am proud to announce that 1000 noisy cameras has awarded me a "Nobel Prize for camera + Photography" in the Camera-Literature category. Imagine that! I will be receiving $1.4 million, but due to liquidity issues, the first payment will be made in November 2099 providing that I'm still alive. I will be arounf 150 years old by then. What an honor this is.

Mr. your heart out!

Thank you to and all the people that voted for me. I will cherish this prize forever.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Devastating fires in California near my home. It is a place I visited often with my Pentax DSLRs.

The small mountain town of Wrightwood pictures above.

The above map is where the fires are burning. The pictures below were taken in the red circled area. I live in the Victor Valley area, which is close by. If you are familiar with by blogsite, I often venture in my Jeep to the San Bernardino mountains and usually show some photographs on this blogsite. In fact, we are going there for the upcoming weekend, and will camp atop one of the mountain. I will be taking pictures from there on the 10th, and will submit some to PentaxForums for the “PENTAX WORLD” GLOBAL SHOOT DAY: Saturday, October 10, 2009

The pictures of the fire above are not my photographs. They were imported from the News Media on the Internet.

The photos of the Yucca trees were taken by me during the course of several months. It will be a long time before similar pictures can be taken. In a few weeks, I will visit the area to see the devastation. I hope that some vegetation has survived. It was a spectacular place. I had never seen so many Yucca trees in one place.


Hi Pentaxian friends.

California has been plagued with more fires this year than since I moved here six years ago. This time the fires are too close for comfort and a beautiful area is burning down. This is an area that I photograph often and never get tired of the scenery. I don't know what will be spared, but I hope they contain the damages to minimum.

The following excerpts are from the Los Angeles Times and can be read in its entirety at the link posted below.

A fire in the San Gabriel Mountains has burned 3,500 acres, destroyed at least three houses and threatened hundreds more homes.

Several remote canyon areas and a portion of Wrightwood were under mandatory evacuation, and the rest of Wrightwood was under voluntary evacuation. Fire officials said erratic winds were pushing the fire in several different directions through dense forest land, in some cases spotting a quarter of a mile ahead.

The Sheep fire is roughly burning between Lytle Creek Canyon and California 138. The mandatory evacuation include areas east of Heath Canyon and west of Heath Canyon between Lone Pine Canyon Road and California 2.
An evacuation center has been set up at Eisenhower High School in Rialto. The blaze began about 2 p.m Saturday in the Lytle Creek area east of Mt. Baldy and west of the Cajon Pass. It spread rapidly northward, threatening ranches and truck farms, among other properties, said John Miller, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

More than 500 firefighters from the Forest Service and San Bernardino were deployed in an uphill effort to contain the flames. By this morning, the fire was only 10% contained.... Link