Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More about the new Pentax Q digital camera.

Hi Pentaxian friends.

By Greg Tarr -- TWICE, 6/24/2011 (Read full article here)

New York - Pentax launched this week its first compact interchangeable lens camera system, joining an ever-expanding field of players pursuing the new camera growth segment.

Pentax's John Carlson presents the new Q compact interchangeable system camera billed as the one of the world's smallest interchangeable lens models. The tiny Pentax Q, which ships this fall at an $800 suggested retail for a kit with an 8.5mm f1.9 lens (50mm equivalent), features a 12.4 megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, similar in size to sensors used in many point-and-shoot models, but adding advanced camera features including 12-bit RAW file capture in Adobe's DNG format, in addition to standard JPEGs.

The company said it felt comfortable using the smaller image sensor to keep the camera body as small as possible because its new advanced image processing system combined with the high quality of Pentax's optics will deliver superior images up against other compacts using APS-C or Micro Four-Thirds sized image sensors

Monday, June 27, 2011

 Email: brqyvn@gmail.com

Hi Pentaxian friends.


GOLDEN, CO (June 26, 2011)…PENTAX Imaging Company has announced the PENTAX Optio WG-1 GPS* version will be available soon in a third color choice. As early as next month, the twelfth generation PENTAX Optio adventure camera will be available in orange, in addition to yellow green and gray.

Every one of the five PENTAX Optio WG-1 models offers enhanced waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, coldproof and crushproof performance and features an inventive Digital Microscope mode with LED lighting to capture small but intriguing subjects. Designed with the look of mountaineering equipment, each Optio WG-1 series kit includes a woven web fabric strap complete with a carabiner to attach the camera to a backpack and other outdoor gear. These rugged models offer photographic performance, innovative features and style that surpass other outdoor compact digital cameras now available on the market.

As with other GPS models, the orange WG-1 GPS functionality* tracks and records positional data recording with images for geo-tagging applications making it easy for users to check the shooting locations of captured images and link the data with PC-based maps.

*Measured under PENTAX-original testing standards.

The orange WG-1 will ship in July 2011 for $399.95.

Friday, June 24, 2011

So how small is the new Q system from Pentax? It's really small. Take a look.

Email: brqyvn@gmail.com

Hi Pentaxian friends.

The forums are already buzzing with negative opinions as to how bad the image quality of this new small sensor will be. "Pentax made a big mistake", they say. And these remarks come from Pentax Forums., I just don't get it.

Now, how can anyone have an opinion of something they haven's tried themselves? It is a small sensor, but it's a new sensor with remarkable improvements and I won't judge the IQ before I can put my hands on one. DPReview will have a full review, I'm sure, and we'll see what they have to say. This little camera produces RAW files as well as the JPG files.

Are you a "fair weather" friend of Pentax? Pentax has a reputation of thinking outside the box, and they just did that again. If you look at the innovations that Pentax has introduced on the market during it's existence (The Pentax Name) , you might not criticize them just yet. Color DSLRs was a stupid idea from Pentax, we heard during the last few years. Now...Canon and Nikon are producing color DSLRs and it's the "in" thing.

Let's just wait and see, I bet it's going to be another success and the other companies will try to imitate Pentax down the road. History will repeat itself.

Now take a look at the pictures below, is that a small camera or what?

I think this picture was taken by Ned Bunnell in New York City.

It definitely reminds me of the 1970"s Pentax 110 with interchangeable lenses.

The copyright for all of the above images does not belong to me, and are used strictly to show what the new Pentax Q-system looks like.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Blogsite of the day. "The Hidden Realm".

Email: brqyvn@gmail.com

Hi Pentaxian friends.

I found this Blogsite tonight and I just had to feature it as my "Blogsite of the day". I know his name is Dave and he lives in Dorset, United Kingdom.  Some people just have an eye for photography, and I certainly think that Dave has a good eye for photography. My goodness...he's only been shooting since March of 2010.  He shoots with a modest Nikon model  (We won't hold that against him, he has talent and he would have taken equally good images with a Pentax K-5.) Dave, give up your day job and make a career switch, I believe in you. Click on the image below to visit his site and see more of his great images, and think to yourself  "This guy has only been shooting for a little over a year."

My preferred images are, and have always been, images that convey movement. These are usually taken with the camera held steady in one position while moving objects get blurry. Those images are worth a thousand words.

"I am a 42-year old Scorpio, a husband to my loving wife Eng, and a father to my beautiful daughter Ysabelle, aged 7. We live in the picturesque town of Poole, Dorset, UK. I was an avid computer gamer and DOF, F-stops and the like, were foreign to me until my wife introduced me to photography. I consider myself an accidental photographer. It all began on March 16, 2010 when my wife decided to buy herself a Nikon D5000. Due to her workload she asked me to read the camera's manual and study its functions. After a week of reading and experimenting, I found myself endlessly capturing photos. I had started to see a different perspective around me, I quickly became hooked to photography and ended up buying my own Nikon D80. I started this blog to share my journey and to learn along the way. I would like to say hello and thank you to all who have taken the time to visit. Special thanks to my wife who encouraged me and to all my friends in Blogosphere who shared their knowledge and taught me to further this craft."

I'm pretty sure a tripod was used for all of Dave's pictures. An AlettA Stabilizer would help anyone take pictures like these. AlettA Photographic.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Pentax new Mirrorless mini digital camera, The "Q System". It reminds me of the 1970's Pentax 110 system.

 Email: brqyvn@gmail.com

Hi Pentaxian friends.

Well...it's all over the Internet tonight, so I am late in announcing the new Pentax Q system.  Something must have changed at the last minute, and I assume that Pentax Japan decided to let the cat out of the bag now. This is the memo I had from Pentax:

EMBARGO TIME: THURSDAY, JUNE 23, 2011 AT 12:01AM EST (WHICH IS 10:01PM MST and 9:01PM PST and 11:00pm CENTRAL ON WED, JUNE 22, 2011
Tomorrow, I will have the detailed specifications and more pictures.
As for now, you can read and see additional information on these sites:

That should be enough to get the word out. :)

Once more, Pentax is at the forefront of technology with this new Q system. This is the smallest Digital camera, with interchangeable lenses, in the world.
Congratulation Pentax for another job well done.
Thank you for reading,
Yvon Bourque


The World’s Smallest, Lightest Interchangeable Lens Camera

GOLDEN, CO. (June 23, 2011)…PENTAX Imaging Company has announced the PENTAX Q – the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens camera (ILC).* The Q offers the versatility and precision of an advanced DSLR in a body that is significantly smaller than every other digital ILC body available on the market today.

* The world’s smallest and lightest digital interchangeable lens system camera, as of June 15, 2011 (based on PENTAX research).

The camera’s tiny size, lightweight design, and superior image quality are made possible by an innovative PENTAX-developed imaging system. With a high-resolution 12.4 megapixel, 1/2.3 inch CMOS image sensor, the Q carves out an entirely new camera category that extends beyond traditional digital compact, APS-C or 4/3 digital cameras. The backlit sensor is a highly efficient light-gathering instrument that produces very little noise at high sensitivity levels particularly in low light settings. Further, the new Q lens mount is a perfect match with the new sensor and every interchangeable Q lens is designed for more advanced image quality than may be found on traditional compact digital cameras. This innovative PENTAX design is the foundation of the Q’s position as the world’s smallest, lightest ILC system with superior image quality.

Several important features of the PENTAX Q include:

• A newly designed PENTAX Q-mount lens system for convenient interchangeability with a variety of specialty Q lenses including prime, zoom, fish-eye and more.

• Exceptional image quality in 12.4 megapixels from the Q’s 1/2.3 inch backlit CMOS image sensor. Capable of producing 12 bit DNG RAW and JPG images, the backlit CMOS sensor is a highly efficient light-gathering instrument designed specifically to produce very low noise at high levels of sensitivity.

• Extremely compact, durable, lightweight, scratch resistant magnesium alloy body.

• The power and flexibility of traditional DSLR shooting modes such as Program, Aperture/Shutter Priority, and Metered Manual exposure control as well as highly convenient PENTAX Auto Picture and 21 scene modes for casual shooting, including new Forest and Stage Lighting options.

• A variety of creative modes, Smart Effect options, or camera settings that assign to the Q’s Quick Dial located on the front of the camera. Smart Effects modes enhance digital photography by applying a series of effects to images to achieve high quality finishing. Brilliant Color, Vintage Color, Warm Fade, Bold Monochrome, and Water Color are just some of the Smart Effects available and may be assigned on the Q’s Quick Dial.

• In-camera HDR capture mode shoots 3 images of varying exposures, blending them to bring out the details in even the darkest shadows and brightest highlights of extreme contrast shots.

• High quality motion video with stunning full 1080p HD clarity at 30 frames per second. The Q processes the full HD video using high quality h.264 compression for superior color and detail and offers creative video effects through custom image modes, digital video filters, and interval shooting.

• A sensor-shift Shake Reduction system with integrated DRII Dust Reduction for blur and dust free images even in low lighting.

• 5 frames per second continuous shooting mode for any fast action setting.

• Effortless bokeh control with the Q’s Bokeh Control filter. (Traditionally controlled through a DSLR lens’s aperture, bokeh is the out of focus part of the background that helps to emphasize the subject, drawing the viewer’s eyes to the most important part of the photo.) The Q offers a fine degree of extra control over image bokeh via an in-camera filter operation.

• Powerful USER modes allow the creative photographer to save a series of favorite camera settings, filters, and custom image modes for instant reuse.

• Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 to 30 seconds for freezing fast action or capturing long nighttime exposures. Bulb mode adds flexibility for low light photography and motion effects.

• A built-in popup flash adds the perfect amount of extra light to an image with a high extension to naturally reduce the redeye effect common to compact cameras. The Q’s flash is effective to 23 feet at 200 ISO, and covers a wide angle 28 degree field of view.

• Compatibility with the latest generation SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards for ultra-high capacity storage as well as outstanding image file portability.

Along with the Q, PENTAX introduced the PENTAX 01 Standard Prime kit lens and an optional optical viewfinder. The unifocal standard lens has a focal length equivalent to 47mm in the 35mm format. The lens offers a natural perspective similar to that of the human eye and is ideal as a multipurpose, everyday standard lens for various subjects including landscape and portraiture. With a maximum aperture of F1.9, it performs superbly in dim lighting and may be easily adjusted for bokeh. Incorporating two high grade aspherical optical elements, this lens compensates various aberrations to a minimum .

Featuring high-end optics incorporating special optical glass elements and PENTAX exclusive lens coating technology, this lens delivers beautifully defined, high quality images that are sharp and high contrast even at the edges. The AF motor installed in the lens assures smooth, quiet focusing operation. The lens shutter mechanism allows the PENTAX Q’s built-in auto flash to be synchronized to the camera’s top shutter speed of 1/2000 second (or 1/250 second when using an accessory flash unit). This lens is also equipped with a built-in ND (neutral density) filter, which comes in handy when shooting with open aperture at bright locations or when using slower shutter speeds.

The shoe-mounted viewfinder attachment is an optional accessory. This External Viewfinder O-VF1 offers outstanding compositional framing, even in the brightest sunlight where viewing an LCD screen is traditionally a challenge. (Note: The Viewfinder offers framing marks for the Standard lens.)

The PENTAX Q will be available in white or black body models and shipped in a Standard Prime lens (available in silver) kit. Initially, the PENTAX Q system will ship in Japan. Anticipated shipping time to the United States is early Fall 2011 at around $800 for the standard lens kit.

The optional shoe-mounted viewfinder will be available at the same time for $249.95 USD. The PENTAX 01 Standard Prime kit lens will not be sold separately. More information is available here: www.pentaximaging.com/news

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


The world’s smallest, lightest ILC camera body, featuring newly developed Q-mount system

The PENTAX Q features a new Q-lens mount with an outer diameter that is almost one-third narrower than the conventional K mount. The design is made possible by reducing the flange back (distance from the lens mount surface to the image sensor surface) by nearly 80 percent, as well as by optimizing the size of the lens image circle to be proportioned to the size of the compact image sensor. The Q-mount system eliminates an optical viewfinder, mirror box, focusing plate and AF sensor, making the PENTAX Q’s body the smallest and lightest ILC. Available in black or white, the durable, magnesium-alloy body features an elegant, high-quality leatherette texture.

Exceptional image quality delivered by digital interchangeable lens system camera

The PENTAX Q features a backlit, 12.4 megapixel, 1/2.3 inch CMOS image sensor for beautiful, high-resolution images, with highly efficient light gathering optical construction that assures excellent high sensitivity and low noise characteristics and a high speed readout of image data signals. The PENTAX Q also features a new generation imaging engine integrating the best of PENTAX’s state-of-the-art digital imaging technologies, developed and accumulated over many years of digital SLR camera development. By coupling this imaging engine with exclusively designed, high performance Q-mount lenses, the PENTAX Q delivers clear, high contrast images rich in gradation and texture, even at edges. With high sensitivity noise minimized, the photographer can use the entire sensitivity range — from ISO 125 to the highest ISO 6400 — without worrying about annoying digital noise. Also, by taking advantage of the High Dynamic Range (HDR) function that produces one composite photo from multiple images, it’s easy to create beautiful images with an extra wide dynamic range and free of white-washed and blacked-out areas.

Innovative creative tool to add personal touches to the images with great ease

The PENTAX Q offers a totally new style of photo shooting with several new functions and shooting features including:

• A Smart Effect function with nine distinctive visual expressions is easily accessed on the Quick-Dial positioned on the camera’s front panel. This feature allows photographers to add a desired finishing touch with ease to an image while previewing the effect on the LCD monitor.

• Quick-Dial with four positions allows shooters to assign four favorite Smart Effect modes assigned in advance. The popular Custom Image and Digital Filter functions have been enhanced to provide an even greater range of image processing tools. In order to customize the PENTAX Q to accommodate specific shooting styles and user preferences, the user may assign other options such as a custom image setting, a digital filter or an aspect ratio setting to the Quick-Dial.

Smart Effect modes

• Brilliant Color: Creates a lively atmosphere by raising the saturation level almost to the point of color saturation.

• Unicolor Bold: Creates an extremely high contrast image that retains one particular color in the image.

• Vintage Color: Produces a toy-camera-like effect, with a choice of several different finishing touches.

• Cross Processing: Produces a unique image with unusual colors, as if treated with the cross processing* used in film photography.

• Warm Fade: Creates a low contrast image with the white balance slightly shifted to pink shades.

• Tone Expansion: Produces a dramatic image with an artistic finishing touch, close to an intensified HDR (High Dynamic Range) effect.

• Bold Monochrome: Produces a low-key, high contrast image with enhanced sharpness.

• Water Color: Creates a watercolor-like finishing touch.

• Vibrant Color Enhance: Creates a flowery atmosphere with slightly enhanced contrast.

• USER: Used to enter a user-selected combination of custom image mode and a digital filter.

* A film development technique that uses an unconventional film developer to create a distinctive finishing touch with dramatic colors.

High quality, Full HD movie recording

The PENTAX Q comes equipped with a Full HD movie recording function employing h.264 compression, allowing users to capture high quality, extended movie clips (1920 x 1080 pixels) at a frame rate of 30 frames per second. Videographers may produce videos with distinctive perspectives and effects using various Q-mount lenses, the Smart Effect modes* and other in-body movie editing tools. The PENTAX Q also provides a micro-HDMI terminal (type D), which allows the user to simultaneously output both Full HD movie clips and sound to external devices via a single terminal.

* The frame rate may vary when a selected Smart Effect mode requires nonstandard image processing.

SR mechanism for sharp, blur-free images

The PENTAX Q incorporates the PENTAX-developed SR (Shake Reduction) mechanism, which automatically shifts the CMOS image sensor to offset camera shake detected by the camera’s motion sensor. As a result, the PENTAX Q produces sharp, blur-free images even under demanding conditions that are prone to camera shake, such as when using a telephoto lens, shooting in the dark without flash illumination, or capturing landscapes in the twilight.

Dependable DRII mechanism for effective dust removal

The PENTAX Q’s DRII (Dust Removal II) mechanism helps reduce annoying dust spots from spoiling captured images. As with the PENTAX’s K-5 and 645D digital SLR cameras, the system incorporates highly effective supersonic vibration mechanism to vibrate the image sensor at high speeds to shake the dust off the surface.

Large, wide view LCD monitor

The PENTAX Q features a large, easy-to-view, high resolution 3.0 inch color LCD monitor with approximately 460,000 dots. A wide view design assures a clear view of the monitor from approximately 170 degrees horizontally and vertically, making it particularly useful in low and high angle shooting.

High speed continuous shooting at approximately five images per second

The PENTAX Q’s high speed burst shooting mode allows the photographer to record up to five images (in JPEG recording format) in a single sequence at a maximum speed of approximately five images per second

capturing the fast action and fast-moving subjects in a series of images.

Effortless Bokeh control

The PENTAX Q comes equipped with newly developed bokeh control function for Effortless bokeh control with the Q’s bokeh control filter. (Traditionally controlled through a DSLR lens’s aperture, bokeh is the out of focus part of the background that helps to emphasize the subject, drawing the viewer’s eyes to the most important part of the photo.) The Q offers a fine degree of extra control over image bokeh via an in-camera filter that allows even a first-time digital photographer to easily capture the perfect depth of field.

Traditional SLR Shooting Modes

The PENTAX Q offers a host of user-friendly, functional features available only with digital interchangeable-lens cameras. To accommodate user preferences and varying photographic applications, the camera offers four exposure modes:

• User-friendly Programmed AE (P) mode to automatically select an optimum combination of aperture and shutter speed.

• Aperture-Priority AE (AV) and Shutter-Priority AE (TV) modes that allow the photographer to faithfully reproduce specific creative intentions on resulting images.

• Metered Manual (M) mode allows the photographer to instantly switch from the P mode to the AV or TV mode with a simple turn of an electronic dial.

Shutter Speed

The PENTAX Q offers a top shutter speed of 1/2000 second to effectively freeze fast subject action. The Q is also capable of extended exposure photography up to 30 seconds in auto, as well as a Bulb mode, to maximize artistic expression through the use of motion effects.

Built-in auto flash with pop-up mechanism

The PENTAX Q comes with a built-in auto flash (guide number 7 at ISO 200/m). The photographer can either use it at the default position, or raise it to the pop-up position with simple operation to widen its discharge angle to cover a 28mm angle of view (in the 35mm format).

Additional features:

• TTL image-sensor metering, with a choice of multi-segment, center-weighted and spot modes

• Contrast-detection autofocus system, with a face recognition function and 25 selectable focus points

• CTE white-balance control mode to emphasize the predominant color of a particular scene, such as the sunset

• Auto Picture mode for effortless shooting

• A choice of image size (4:3, 3:2, 16:9 or 1:1) to accommodate different subjects and applications

• Multi-exposure mode (up to nine exposures on a single image), with an auto exposure compensation function

• Interval shooting mode, convenient for recording transition of landscapes and flowers/plants from exact same location and angle

• HDR mode to produce photo with an extra wide dynamic range composite photo from three images of varying exposures

• A choice of data storage medium: SD, SDHC and the new-standard SDXC* memory cards

• SILKY Developer Studio 3 for PENTAX RAW-data development software (developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) included; in-camera RAW-data development also available

*Not compatible with UHS Speed Class transfer rate.

Optional accessories:

External Viewfinder O-VF1

Launched on the market together with the PENTAX Q, this optical viewfinder is designed for exclusive use with the new “PENTAX-01 STANDARD PRIME” unifocal standard lens. It offers a clear view of the subject even under harsh sunshine. It also assures image viewing of the subject with no time lag — an important feature in snapshot and portrait photography where the timing of shutter release is crucial.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Auto-Focus adjustment for Front and Back Focus problems.

. Email: brqyvn@gmail.com

Hi Pentaxian friends.

Before you spend $$$ for one of the Lens Alignment tool on the matket, spend .99cents on this Auto-focus Adjustment chart for front and back focusing problems. The results will be just as accurate. In fact, the alignment charts that are on the market were based on my charts that were available about one year before. The charts work great for any DSLRs, including Pentax, Canon, Nikon and other DSLRs with auto-focus adjustment capability.
If a particular lens consistently gives out-of-focus results, when all other lenses used with the same DSLR are okay, you might have a focusing problem with that particular lens. If most of the pictures taken with the same DSLR, but with various lenses, are out-of-focus, you might have a DSLR camera-focusing problem.

Back or front focusing problems are more notorious with subjects that are within a short depth of field, such as macro pictures or selective focusing pictures, and with the lens used at its widest aperture.
That alone would not mean that the lens or camera has a focusing problem, it could be the photographer’s error. However, similar results time after time could be the first hint that you might have a focusing problem. Perhaps a logical next step would be to test the lens in question under a controlled environment. A controlled environment could be the inside of a building where there is no wind, with the camera set on a tripod, and with good lighting. Outside, with no wind and overcast sky is ideal. An auto-focus testing chart could be used.

Of all of the DSLR cameras manufactured, only a few have the option of adjusting the front / back focusing from within the camera. All auto-focus adjustments on other models should be made by a trained technician. Several forums members have published articles, explaining procedures to modify DSLR Firmware. Doing so could void the warranty and damage the camera. It is better to leave specialized work to specialists.

I do not believe that any manufacturer has an AF checking chart available to the public. That is the primary reason I took it upon myself to design one. My charts were out about one year before some companies imitated the design and sold them, made out of plastic, for up to $100.00. The results are the same. After reading every blog and information about the subject on the Internet, after reading comments from the readers of my blog site and threads on various forums, I deducted that one chart could not do it all. Three charts were designed because the minimum focusing distance varies from lens to lens. The smaller chart (Chart–1) works well for close-up lenses and lenses that have macro capabilities. The medium sized chart, (Chart-2) works well for normal lenses, say 30mm to 100mm, which have a minimum focus distance needing a target a little bigger than Chart-1. The third chart (Chart-3) is for lenses that cannot focus very close. One could keep enlarging the last chart, but I believe that the three charts shown herein will be functional for all lenses.

Chart No. 1

Chart No. 2

Chart No. 3

There are various opinions whether a chart should be viewed at 45° from the lens center line axis, or at 30°, or any angle or even flat. The reality is that it should give good results at any angle between 30° and 60°. Chart-1 and Chart-2 were design for viewing at 45° from the lens’ center line axis. The measurements on the viewing surface were corrected for accurate reading when viewed at a 45° angle. The Charts could have been designed for viewing at 30°, giving more viewable depth of field for both front and back. However, I opted for the 45° because the charts could fit on a 8 ½” x 11” sheet of paper (Letter size). Note that you can have the charts printed on large paper, or as a photo, and make it the size you want.

I chose a focusing area shaped as a circle. The bottom half is black and the top half is white. When viewed perpendicularly or flat, it has an oval shape, because the chart is meant to be viewed at 45°. When viewed at 45°, the focusing area appears as a perfect circle. That also helps verifying that the lens is at a 45° angle.


Sensors are either vertical, horizontal or cross type. Vertical sensors detect the sharpest horizontal contrast within its area of coverage and lock the focus on that point. Alternatively, the horizontal sensors detect the sharpest vertical contrast within its area of coverage and lock the focus on that point. You guessed it; the cross type sensors detect the highest vertical or horizontal contrast and lock the focus on that point. Since we use the center focus point of our camera, which is always a cross type sensor, our chart was deliberately designed without any vertical lines in the center so that the focus can only lock at the intersection of the black and white portion of our target. Note that in your viewfinder, the little red square indicates the focus area but the cross sensor is not necessarily dead center. It merely shows you the area of the sensor, but is not an exact focus point as the sensor will lock on the point of maximum contrast.

The cross sensor is not necessarily in the center of the red square or dot shown in your camera viewfinder. The actual focus point can only be determined by using a chart. The moment your camera center AF sense the contrast between the black and white area of the circle, that is the point of center focus.

The center Focus point is used to test lenses' Focus accuracy using the charts.

To download the charts, check the right side bar of this site. If viewing from a mobile device, click on "View web version" at the bottom of your screen. If you are receiving this post trhough RSS feed or from email, click here to get to the actual Blogsite. http://pentaxdslrs.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The use of low tech alongside of high tech...sometimes it works better.

Hi Photographer friends.

We live in a high tech world and our photographic equipment is really 80% technology and 20% glass and tangible materials. There is nothing wrong with that, and I really love the current digital cameras technology. I shot films for more years than I care to admit. I remember when the "high tech" in cameras were the needle metering systems. Even then, some folks were comparing that technology with the good old days, and were griping about how it wasn't as good as the hand held meters.

I, for one, embrace technology. What I hate is that I won't be there in a hundred year to see how far we will have advanced. I don't think that photography, or a new advance photography method, will ever disapear.

This is a long introduction to bring you to the subject of my post "The use of low tech alongside of high tech...sometimes it works better". I use the Pentax K-5, but most of the current DSLRs have about the same capabilities. In this case, I am talking about the live-view. It's a great took and particularly useful for landscape and close-up photography. It's good for other types of images, but that's what I use it for the most. One problem I often incur, is how to look at the screen when the camera is positioned very low to the ground. I either shoot until I get it the way I want or have to put my face in the dirt. I don't particularly like eating dirt. Some camera models have a tilt and swivel screens but somehow, they are mostly available on the cheaper cameras. I guess professional photographers don't need that option!

This is where my low tech tool comes into action. Not so long ago, in the film era, some cameras had waist-level finders. In fact, the Hasselblad medium format cameras all had a level finder as standard equipment. I liked it because the image was big and you could really inspect your composition, better than you can with a viewfinder. However, the projected image was up side down and reversed left to right. In a way, it helped you in composing your picture because it forced you to go S-L-O-W.

I have not invented an add-on waist-level finder for the DSLRs, but there is an easy way to get there, and it's very economical. Most of all...it works. I use a mirror attached at the end of a telescoping handle. You can buy those at Home Depot. Lowe's and most Auto Parts stores. They are only a few dollars, and you can put one in your camera bag. The images below speak for themselves.

Thank you for reading,

Yvon Bourque

Friday, June 10, 2011

AlettA Photographic - Who we are and what we do.

You can email us at brqyvn@gmail.com

For many years, I hauled a clumsy and heavy tripod with me, almost every time I went somewhere to take pictures. We all know that if you want blur free pictures, a tripod is the best way to achieve good results. The problem is that a solid tripod is big and heavy, even if it's made of carbon fiber. It's hard to carry one everywhere you go, it takes time to set it up, and some public places won't even allow its use. It is difficult to travel with one. The problem is even bigger when you use a telephoto lens, like 300mm and above. Modern DSLRs have Shake Reduction systems, but the keyword here is "Reduction". If you want to eliminate shake and not only reduce it, you need a solid tripod or something else. It's the "something else" that has bothered me for a long time. Companies came out with bean bags, clip-on units, different tripod designs, monopods, flexible legs tripods, etc. The problem is that they all come from designing inside the "box"...using the same design with variations. I started thinking outside the proverbial box and I came up with my Stabilizer.

I wanted something light and small that could fit in my camera bag. I wanted something that would protect the camera's underside when resting on any surface, flat or irregular. I was fed up with my camera tipping over when a big lens was attached. (I scratched or broke many lens shades because of that). Finally it came to me. What we need is a gizmo that attaches to the bottom of the camera, with adjustable legs, one that keeps the camera from tipping over and one that can be leveled on any surface. It should also fit in my camera bag while still attached to the camera. It should not add more than 12-14 ounces to the overall weight of the camera and should be ideal for the traveling photographer. It should be made of aircraft aluminum and CNC machined in the USA...no cheap plastic here. It would be nice to incorporate a hand grip and some kind of anti-slip material between the camera bottom and the top of the gizmo to keep the camera from shifting. I would like it's finish to be durable and matching the finish of my DSLR.

Well...we designed such a gizmo. We called it the AlettA Stabilizer.

AlettA Photographic came about after I designed the Stabilizer for my own use with a Pentax DSLR. After years of favorable comments from friends and other photographers, I decided that I should share the Stabilizer with the rest of the photographic world. It took a while...but the gizmo has mutated to "The AlettA Stabilizer" and is available for purchase.

It is custom designed and manufactured for many of the most popular DSLRs, but can also be fitted to just about any camera. The current line includes the Pentax K-5 and K-7, the Nikon D7000, D700 and D300S plus the Canon EOS 5D and EOS 7D. Note that the Stabilizers are designed to fit to the contour of the preceding DSLRs that are equipped with their optional battery grip. The battery grip gives that extra vertical space that accommodates large diameter lenses. However, it will also work without a battery grip installed.

We hope that you search this blogsite for additional information, images, videos and description of our products. We invite your comments and questions.

Thank you for giving us some of your valuable time. We appreciate you.

Yvon Bourque
AlettA Photographic is trademarked and The Stabilizer patent is applied for.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

AlettA Photographic video

Visitors to this page also like "Recommended Reading" on the right column. Email: brqyvn@gmail.com Hi Pentaxian friends.

My favorite blog of the day...extremeinstability.com

Email: brqyvn@gmail.com

Hi Pentaxian friends.

Click on the image above to visit the site.

If you like weather related pictures, check this site. There are incredible pictures of tornadoes, twisters, rain, lightning, etc. Great job!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The iPhone is incredible. Using the iMovie, downloaded for $4.99, I was able to make a half-decent video presentation of my AlettA Photographic Stabilizer.

Email: brqyvn@gmail.com

Hi Pentaxian friends.

This past weekend, we were relaxing in Palm Springs, like we do about once a Month. Believe it or not, our favorite Hotel is actually called "Hotel California". "We can check out anytime we want but we can hardly leave.

We hiked in the Indian Canyon area and took some pictures. The main purpose of that hike was to use my AlettA Stabilizer and put it to the test. I know my opinion is certainly partial, but I just love this little gadget. I don't have to carry a tripod, it stays attached to my camera and I can set it up just about anywhere. We all know that the best way to take a blur free picture is to use a tripod or stabilize your camera somehow so it won't move.  The Stabilizer does just that. You can set it up on a rock, on the ground, on a fence, on a mailbox, or just about any hard to medium hard surface. 

I like to use it as much as I can and I also use the remote shutter so the camera doesn't move at all during exposure. Yes...the on board shake reduction system is great, but nothing replaces a good solid setup.

Anyway, using my little iPhone 4, I was able to shoot some half decent footage of the Stabilizer set up. Take a look at this Youtube video.

I'm so tired that I will have to go to bed now, but this simple video has got me all excited, when I think of all the possibilities. My future post will likely include videos clips to help get my points across. What a wonderful era we live in.

Thanks for stopping by,

Yvon Bourque

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dust bunnies. Unless you live inside a clean room environment, you will get some on your DSLR sensor.

Hi Photographer friends.
Dust bunnies:

Some things are sure to happen in this world. We're all going to die, we're are all going to be taxed to death, and if we own a Digital SLR, we will get dust bunnies. The dust bunnies multiplies like rabbits, they live in small dark places, they are a pest, they are hard to eradicate, they jump into your photos, and they serve no useful purpose. 
What are they?

If you get these kind of bunnies, they are good bunnies, but still leave you in the dust.

If what you have on your sensor look like these above, frame the image and sell it to the Smithsonian museum. These are extremely rare.

The image above shows the kind of dust bunnies you are likely to have.

Here is a close up of what they look like...
and here's a close up of the close up. Can you see them now?

How to get rid of them?
  1. If you have several spare DSLRs or time to wait and the money to spend, send the DSLR back to the manufacturer for a professional sensor cleaning. It's guaranteed work and the safest way to clean your sensor. 
  2. If you're like me, you don't have enough time to do half of what you'd like to do everyday but you don't want to spend your money for camera maintenance. You want to spend your money on lenses and camera equipment.

What I do first is activating the built-in dust removal system and repeat the operation at least twenty or so times in a row. On most Pentax DSLRs, you can set the dust removal system so that it activates each time you turn the camera on. You can also do it repeatedly when you want to. The Dust Removal feature is accessible from the  (C) menu. When activating it, it is always a good idea to place the camera face down so the dust can fall away from the sensor.

If that is not enough try to blow the dust away from the sensor surface, I use my Giotto blower.  Blow toward the sensor vigorously, making sure you don't hit the sensor. I found that holding the blower with three fingers and my thumb, while my index finger is braced against the camera lens opening, works best and keeps the blower tip from hitting the sensor. Check your results by using the manual focus function, and photograph a cloudless sky or white piece of paper, with the lens set to the smallest aperture. Take a few pictures and inspect the images on your computer.  Dust bunnies might  be hard to notice on your cameras LCD.  Repeat this step until they are gone. With luck, that will be all you need to do. However, if the dust  has been there for a long period of time or if humidity got in, they might have become stickies. These won't go away with the two methods described above.
I think that Giottos makes the best blowers.

Blow the dust with the camea facing down.

The wet cleaning method:

This is the best cleaning method, but it is also the most apt to damage your sensor surface. Are you sure you want to go through with this? If you don't have a steady hand, don't do it. If you don't have any mechanical aptitude, don't do it. If you have the money, let a professional service technician do it for you. He's probably messed up many sensors before becoming a Pro at it.

Seriously, almost anyone can do it, but it's your choice.

Sensor Swab™ and Eclipse™ - Eclipse/Methanol is the chemical of choice by the engineers and optical specialist of Pentax, Nikon, Fuji and Leica and other brands. You use a swab of one type or another, put a couple (2-3) drops of chemical on it and wipe the sensor. Actually, you wipe the low pass filter which is in front of the sensor.  The eclipse kit comes with instruction on how to clean the sensor. The Internet is full of sites showing the steps to clean the sensor with a swab and methanol. Just Google Digital sensor cleaning, and you will have dozens of sites showing "step-by-step" instructions. I particularly liked this site:  http://www.cleaningdigitalcameras.com/cleaning.html

Read over and over until you are comfortable with the steps, then go for it. What have you got to lose other than your DSLR sensor?

The above shows what I use. It does a good job.
 Thanks for reading and happy cleaning,

Yvon Bourque

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

PENTAX Imaging Company announced the PENTAX O-GPS1 unit designed for recent PENTAX digital SLR cameras

Hi Pentaxian friends.

GOLDEN, CO. (June 1, 2011)…PENTAX Imaging Company announced the PENTAX O-GPS1 unit designed for recent PENTAX digital SLR cameras. This new, versatile GPS unit tracks both basic geographical and celestial body location data for both earthbound and astrophotography purposes.

Mounted on the hot shoe of select PENTAX digital SLR cameras,* the O-GPS1 unit records latitude, longitude, altitude, and universal time coordinated (UTC) of shooting locations with captured images. Image files with this GPS data may be used to track shooting locations and review location data on a personal computing device. The GPS location data also helps sort and file recorded images.

* Compatible models are the K-5, K-r and 645D (as of May, 2011). Some of the O-GPS1’s functions may not be available when used with the 645D. Compatible PENTAX digital SLR camera bodies must be updated with the latest firmware version for proper O-GPS1 functionality.

In addition to location data, the GPS unit works with the PENTAX Shake Reduction (SR) system to offer unique, advanced applications, including Astrotracer, Simple Navigation and Electronic Compass. Together, the PENTAX O-GPS and associated applications offer several key functions:

• Geotags images for location information on popular photo sharing websites.

• Charts progress of a hike, bike, boat or other adventure trip with interval position tracking.

• A separate, efficient power source will not drain the camera’s battery during GPS operation.

• Supports terrestrial-based Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) for highly accurate positioning.

• An Electronic Compass function assists navigation.

The PENTAX O-GPS1 unit will ship in July 2011. It is available for pre-order now on www.pentaxwebstore.com for $249.95 USD. More information is available here: www.pentaximaging.com/news.

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