Saturday, July 31, 2010

If Size Really Matters, What's the Meaning of Micro-4/3 Now?



My NEX is actually smaller than my Girl Friend.. Some people claim that the NEX standard kit lens is much larger. But actually, as you can see from the above, it is just similar in size (and weight as well, actually). And then some Oly guys say that the Oly 14-42mm E-PL kit lens is much smaller. Yes, but it is just retracted when it is needed to be small and the lens must be unretracted before it can be used for shooting!

I think I shall not use my Girl Friend anymore, unless I have no other camera in hands. The noise performance of my GF at ISO 400 is not much better than that of my NEX at ISO 1600, not even to mention that the NEX has slightly higher effective resolution. If I just need the 2X crop, I do believe that better results can always be obtained by cropping. Slightly crop the 1.5X pictures to get the 2X is not difficult. And, if I just adapt the same lens (say, a Pentax one), I get no extra resolution at all for what the lens could give me.

Besides, I don't like the colour response of the GF neither, so does not with my NEX anyway (which I find it to be somehow more acceptable). If I put my Pentax primes on the GF, the colour response of the pics are better, but still the results are not very good. In fact, I like the colour response of my Pentax combos most, and then followed by my 5D with L lenses. The NEX comes next and the last is the Pana.

Furthermore, the noise handling and noise structure of the NEX is the most mature, the K-x is not better but the GF is worst. When the GF pics are pixel peeped and viewed in pixel level, it is not difficult to see those P&S like noise reduction and sharpening, even at the ISO 100! Too bad..

So, after all, that's what I think and here comes my question: What's the meaning/value of the micro-4/3 system now if the current Sony IDLCs (and also the Samsung NX EVILs), both of which are with APS-C sized sensors, are made just as small and the size/weight differences are almost negligible??

With similar or just the same functionality (say, including the video capability), IQ wise the APS-C should do better. The video recording functions of the NEX and the GF are similar, say, for the continuous AF tracking and its speed and smoothness. But the NEX' recorded videos are obviously less noisy than the GF, especially when the videos are taken indoor. The NEX in fact wins all micro-4/3 ILDCs hands down as long as noise performance is concerned, no matter for still pictures and videos, and with a slightly higher resolution and output, too. The NX10 could and should do better, but unfortunately Samsung has been unable to do it better. Why? In fact, the NX10 cannot out-perform much its micro-4/3 competitors and the video function is weak, e.g., there is no usable continuous AF under movie mode. And, the higher ISO noise/details are not better than the Panas and Olys, I would say one stop advantage at most, from my own practical experiences and measurbations on others' samples.



Next, above is the comparison picture I took and posted last time, for my red NEX against my red Casio card-size Exlim S10 P&S (which is my baseline DC which is just better than the cameraphone). You can see the body of the NEX is actually made quite compact. If the "large" APS-C sensor and size is considered, the camera body is indeed very small and it is truly compact!



So, how about to compare the NEX with the traditional APS-C DSLRs. The K-x is one of those smallest DSLRs here. But the difference in size (and weight also) is obvious. In particular, the K-x is much thicker, so does when it is compared against the smaller MZ DSLRs of Pentax back to the old film days.



Well, how about the difference to the Full Frame DSLRs then. From the above photo, I think I need not to say anything more. Well, the lens attached is that smallest and lightest EF lens already, i.e., the cheapo EF 50/1.8II. Canon, why you just can't make smaller lenses of yours?? :-( And, you never made any pancake? :-o


Read Also:-


Sony NEX-5 and NEX-3 Hands-on Impressions / Quick Review

Can Pentax DSLRs be Made Thinner?

Samsung NX10 Second Impressions and ISO Check

NX10 Brief Hands-on Impressions

My K-Mount EVIL is Here!

When Girl Friend Meets Wives! ;-D

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

K-7 Firmware Update Version 1.10

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/support/download/digital/k7_s.html
(in Japanese, English Translation by Google Here)

New Features:-

1. New video editing function for clip splitting and deletion of spilt clip(s);

2. New real-time electronic level display on LCD monitor (like that one in the 645D);

3. Resolved the display conflict between the level meter display and the exposure/metering indication in M and X exposure modes;

4. New Custom Image "Reversal Film" is added (645D has that);

5. (CD)AF can now be engaged under LiveView mode with the shutter release button. And, the AF speed is improved (N.B. which is needed to be verified and confirmed anyway).

Update (7-29): There is a bug report about the Electronic Level's display (in)consistency, see:-

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=35910251

It is reported that whilst the viewfinder and top monochrome LCD both shows the same thing, the back LCD could be different! :-0 So, the 1.11 firmware is coming soon! ;->

Canon Q2 Profit More Than doubles, Keeps Outlook

When Hoya always mentioned in their past financial reports for stating that for trying every effort o make the "Pentax" business not losing money and hopefully profitable and it seems that the camera division of Pentax just looks like a big burden to them (or might be even a thorn to some top guys of theirs), we should look at how Canon make huge profit with unbelievable rapid growth just because of the emerging camera business and market!

Here is the latest news on the Q2/2010 financial key results via the Reuters:-

http://www.bestgrowthstock.com/stock-market-news/2010/07/27/canon-q2-profit-more-than-doubles-keeps-outlook/

Quoted:-

"TOKYO, July 27 (Reuters) - Japanese camera and office equipment maker Canon Inc (7751.T: Quote, Profile, Research) posted a 153 percent rise in quarterly profit, a bigger than expected climb on robust sales of its high-end cameras.

For the year to Dec. 31 the maker of IXY compact cameras and upmarket EOS cameras kept its operating profit outlook at 360 billion yen ($4.1 billion), compared with a consensus for 384 billion yen in a poll of seven analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

April-June operating profit was 113.4 billion yen, compared with a consensus forecast of 90.6 billion yen in a poll of four analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

It marked the third straight quarter of year-on-year profit growth for the world's biggest maker of digital cameras, ahead of Sony Corp (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Nikon (7731.T: Quote, Profile, Research)."


I think the above news on Canon's excellent financial performance and results should be something that the Hoya top management should look at and think about. Actually, the digital camera business can actually make BIG Money! But of course before they could get the fruit, they should invest more and have been working much harder and to be smarter in decisions and insights, which should be supported by a management team which has better management skills and openmindedness!!


Previous Related News and Articles:-

Hoya Founder's Grandson Calls Pentax Acquisition "Failure", Seeks Reforms

Hoya CEO Still Thinking to Sell Off Pentax?

Hoya Closing Pentax Production Facilities in Japan

Bad News: The Pentax Muesum is to be Closed Down! :-|

It's Time to Seriously Think Again about the Future of Pentax.. Really.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Is MF Really Needed for Higher Pixel Count?

After held a 645D a few days before and checked for its street price, I have some thoughts to wonder what cost that much for a MF DSLR? And, are those "differentiators" of the 645D really worth for paying that significant extra premium? How long will take for those advantages to vanish, or at least to be less significant? (in nowadays when the technologies are growing so fast..)

To begin with the investigation, let's go back to the sensor size/pixel width talk I made last time for some MF DSLRs and others. Recently, after completed my in-depth full review on the Canon 550D and also brief tested the S0ny NEX-5 and purchased the NEX-3 myself, I found that in fact the Image Quality and Noise Control of those latest DSLRs and sensors (and their image processing as well) are actually not bad. In fact, I found that both models/sensors are not worse than the noise performnace of the K-x, if they are not better, even though the K-x has already been highly praised by Pentaxians for its "superior" noise performance at higher ISO speeds. (Well, Pentax people are amazed for what the K-x can give for the results just because there is a K-7 in comparison! Right? :-o)

The 645D has 40 Megapixels with a (square) pixel pitch width of 6.1 um. The 550D has a resolution of 5184 x 3456 pixels on a 22.3 x 14.9 mm sensor. As such, the pixel width of its sensor is of 4.3 um only, which is only 50% in area per pixel when it is compared to the 645D sensor. If that's what the current and latest technologies, no matter for the manufacturing process of the sensors as well as the associated image processing techniques (for both the hardware and software), could give acceptable or even good results, then we can calculate the maximum pixels and count that can be put into a 135 Full Frame DSLR, which is yet considered as the mainstream product for most (for advanced users/"richer" amateurs anyway).

Reverting the maths and calculating packing 4.3 um sized pixels on a 36 x 24 mm full frame sensor will give an overall resolution of 8372 x 5581, which gives an aggregate pixel count of 46.7 Megapixels, which is just more than the pixel count of the current 645D actually.

But of course, with the same sensor size of the 645D, we can have a DSLR with 10232 x 7674 = 78.5 Megapixels, which is just huge in number! But do we need that anyway??

So, my quick conclusion is that the Full Frame sensors will eventually reach and exceed the pixel count of that of the current 645D, even with the current proven/mature technologies that are already adopted and used in the latest APS-C sensors of Canon and Sony in their latest "low-end" (but actually high-end in real!) DSLR models. As there is still no popular 135 FF sensor that is more than 25 MPs at this moment, we shall still need to wait and see if any of the sensor vendors can make it later on - but possibly the day will come sooner than we would expect - as the technologies are already there. One more thing to note is that those 21 and 24M FF sensors of Canon and Sony were designed and put into mass production at least about two years ago. So, I do believe that if they are willing to make one, they could!

So, with the above conclusion and prediction in mind, the high resolution and high pixel count advantage of the 645D will soon vanish in a year or so as soon as when 135 FF DSLRs and sensors are catching up in this regard. As such, it should be wise to stay away from the MF even if you like it a lot, considering the huge investment probably cannot be safeguarded for just a bit longer. My believe is that the 135 FF will become the MF of the old film days, as IQ wise they will be more than adequate for 99% of use for people on this planet, no matter they use their cameras professionally or just amateurishly.

For other general shooting purposes and when smaller cameras and systems are desired, the APS-C will be the way to go. So, how about micro-4/3 then? I guess they will be killed by the APS-C ILDCs/EVILs eventually, as people don't need cameras that are not as small as and as "versatile" as compact P&Ses but without the minimum level of IQ that APS-C systems would give. (Honestly speaking, I am not using my GF-1 anymore with the purchase of my new NEX, as the IQ difference is just huge! Even if when I haven't got my NEX, I have already rarely to pick up my Girl Friend and I would just use my "huge" K-x and Pentax APS-C system instead.)

No More Update at Ned Bunnell's Blog

It is noted that Ned Bunnell has not updated his blog for more than two months now. I just wonder what's going on with him. Maybe he has some new plans to execute (personal or not) and being rather busy as such?

I might drop him an email to see if he is okay and well, btw. I hope he is well and actually stays with Pentax and the cause of his absence on the net is just that there are too many works for him to deal with, as new Pentax products are coming! :-)

Sony Has Discontinued Their Current Flagship APS-C DSLR. So, How About Pentax?

According to the news from SonyAlphaRumors, the A550 has been discontinued (the Japanese official page at the Sony website has subsequently been removed anyway). It is further told that two new Sony Alpha DSLRs will be announced, within August.

The A550 is really a short-life model, as it was announced just in late August last year, which is more than three months later than the K-7.

Whilst Sony users are somehow surprised about the discontinuation, I do think that Sony has done the right thing and move in the right direction. For a model that haven't sold well, why keep it? At least they have two new models to try again (as rumoured), which is a good thing for their users anyway (if it is real).

Don't know if Pentax will react and act faster, or they just wait to the last minute before the Photokina, which is only to be held on 21 of September soonest..


Read Also:-

It's Time to Seriously Think Again about the Future of Pentax.. Really.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My 645D First Touch

Have just touched, put it in hands and inspected a 645D and its kit lens without powering it up (which is exactly like what Lance B had done for a Nikon D700 before he subsequently decided to buy it!) and below are some of my findings and very brief impressions:

1. The body is large and heavy;

2. The kit lens is in normal size for a Mid-Frame prime but it was felt lightweight (especially after I held the body and then the lens);

3. The combo is huge and very heavy! Well, it is really an aircraft carrier of a DSLR! :-o

4. The body is very well built, felt very solid but the outer shell felt a bit plasticky. Well, it's made with metal alloy, right? Maybe it's the coating/painting on it that gave me that feeling;

5. Despite the 645D is made in Philippines, I do have good impression on the workmanship as it looks.

6. The anti-reflection coatings and (transparency of) the optics of the eyepiece is pretty impressive. It should be made of glass for the optics, I guess, unlike all those other Pentax APS-C DSLRs which the optics in the eyepieces are all plastics.

7. The rear 3" LCD monitor looks rather tiny on the back of the 645D. And it lacks any anti-reflection/anti-glare coating so that it just reflects white light. Umm, I think my Sony NEX-3 is better here as it has deep colour anti-reflection coating on the surface of the LCD (which is roughly of the same 0.9M+ pixels resolution as the one in the 645D - but in 16:9 Aspect Ratio instead of 4:3);

8. The kit lens is a SDM only lens and it is "Assembled in Vietnam", as printed on the inside of the lens rear. It is weather-sealed for the orange red rubber ring around the lens mount. The materials and texture are just plastic, which is similar to that of the later Pentax DA lenses like the DA17-70's;

9. The aperture and blades of the kit prime form an almost perfectly round/circular shape opening for all f-stop values as I gradually pushed the aperture coupler and inspected it. Well, the bokeh of the lens is supposed to be better then, right?

10. Last but not least, the kit set is really very expensive and I will not buy it! ;-D (How can I live for the month to come if I spent all my hard-earned money for a whole month for just a camera (i.e., just a body + one lens)?! :-o Moreover, my wife will surely kill me if I did that!! :-{)

I guess the price of the 645D kit could be reduced. If you're not in a hurry to use it but still want to get one, just wait a bit longer until the price is to be stable. Btw, if you're far richer than me and have no wife that would kill you on the purchase, just Act Now! ;-)))

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Technology Breakthrough - Phase Matching AF by Sensor!


(Above: The AF Phase Detection Pixels; Image Source: Fujifilm)

By Fujifilm! See:-

http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/f/finepix_f300exr/features/


Well, if this can be applied to larger sensors/imagers like that used in the IDLCs and above later on (currently the above new technology is used in a DC only), then DSLRs will no need to have all those split-mirrors and prisms as well as sensors in a separate AF detection module. As such, there will be no more mis-alignment issues that cause the AF errors. LiveView mode will be much better to use as there will be faster and more accurate AF. And continuous tracking and predictive AF will also be made possible. What a better world it will be!

Thanks, Fuji, for bring us that ground-breaking technology that I think will open up a new era of new echnology that will come! (Thumb Up!)

Update: There is more technical information on how putting additional "AF" pixels on sensors could do the phase detection and job. Here is an explanation on the Sony patent and design (Yes, it's a Sony, not Fuji. Btw, I don't know if Fuji works in the same or a similar way, but I guess that it should be):-

http://olddo.com/bbs/viewthread.php?tid=13800
(Text in Traditional Chinese, for Google translated English page, click here)

So, I think without micro-prisms for the light splitting, focusing accuracy and low-light sensitivity would be affected. Moreover, diffraction would be a real problem by that design (see this diagram). Let's see what the technology will become and how it would evolve! Maybe later on they put micro-prisms on sensors, just like what the sensor makers did that years ago by adding micro lenses on sensors. Whilst theoretically all these are possible, but then it just boils down to the manufacturing cost and money/marketing concerns again..

My Ten Reasons to Buy the NEX-3 Over the NEX-5! :-)

1. The sensor and thus image quality are the same, but the prices have a 21% difference! Video recording wise, for the 21% price difference, I get the same truly large-sized sensor fully functional "DV" camera, except for the power zoom! Whilst the shallow DoF for movie recording is amazing, I now do have a really usable full-time AF during movie recording with total silent operation of continuous focusing and moreover for the exposure control by real-time variable aperture as well, which is also completely silent. In fact, my RED NEX can be pretended to be a real RED camera, and practically it is far more usable than the Canon 5D MkII for most of the family causal movie shootings.

2. All other specs of the 3 and 5 are the same. I enjoy the same brilliant articulated high resolution LCD monitor with anti-reflection coating. I enjoy the 7 frames per second continuous shooting mode. I can use the same one-scan automatic stitching panorama mode. I can have the full time quick and continuous CDAF in movie mode. I have the same responsive and accurate face detection AF mode for taking still pictures.. and so on.

3. NEX-3 has four colours to choose, whilst the NEX-5 has only two. And, the silver colour of the NEX-3 does have a better match to the metal shiny silver kit lens, but the silver NEX-5's does look dull, on the contrary. Well, you know, as spoiled by Pentax in the recent years, I am a colour-hungry person for cameras! (I have bought the Silver *ist DS, my Olive K-m and then my Navy Blue K-x these years.)

4. NEX-3's on/off switch is at a more convenient position than the NEX-5 that can be easily turned by the thumb, i.e. concentric with the shutter button. And I prefer this "Pentax" style design as I have been adopted to it for long (since the MZ-S). ;-)

5. NEX-3 records videos in MP4, which is a format which has far better compatibility. Moreover, the AVCHD format and file structure (with multiple folders+sub-folders and files inside) is really troublesome, I have to say. Once the structure is destroyed, the videos cannot be played back at the camera.

6. NEX-3 has the 720p(/30fps), whilst NEX-5 only has the 1080i(/60fps) but no choice of 720p. If MP4 format is chosen at the NEX-5, it will give you a strange format of "1080p" at 30fps at a forced 16:9 aspect ratio but actually sub-sampled at 4:3. As such, many software players do not recognise and playback the video and its aspect ratio correctly. Last but not least, compressed 720p is easy to playback smoothly on more modern PC machines than the 1080 ones. What is the point of having "higher" resolution if one can't get a smooth *video* and playback?

Btw, do note that both MP4 and AVCHD videos are actually H.264 compressed. So, actually there should be no difference in image/video quality, against what Sony and Panasonic are claiming! Afterall, only the bit rate and compression ratio counts actually!

7. NEX-3 is slightly larger and thus is a little bit more balanced than the NEX-5, as it looks and feels.

8. The lack of an IR remote controller support is not a major issue for such a "P&S" camera, which does not support wired cable release anyway (at least by now), just like the K-x.

9. The shallower grip is not a real issue to me, as we used to have no grip for most P&S DCs, right? :-) On the other hand, the grip of the NEX-3 is broader, which would be more comfortable to hold for some people.

10. The non-metal body is a non-issue to me, as I have been used to have all those plastic DSLR bodies from Pentax, since the *ist D!! :-o (except the K-7~)

I Like RED Cameras! :-D

This is the new RED Movie Camera that I've just acquired. ;-) Of course, it actually also does still pictures!



My Red NEX is not that RED by the way, but it does have a Large sensor for HD Movie! :=D

More to come..!

P.S. The set, including an external "clip-on" dedicated flash unit, costs (US)$100 less than just a Pentax DA17-70 SDM (Only) standard zoom lens alone, locally. So, my decision and choice is quite easy (as the reserved funds for my new gear is always limited! ;-)).

P.P.S I have been afraid of the SDM issue so much so that I am not brave enough to buy a new SDM lens, especially for a SDM Only (KAF-3) Pentax lens! (But you can't do AF anyway with *any* SDM lens on a SDM supported Pentax body once the SDM dies, even the lens does have the screw driver for the AF for older non-SDM Pentax bodies!!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Latest Japanese ILDC/DSLR Market Shares

Last time the Japanese BCN reported the results for the first half of 2010. This time, they've extracted the results only for the month of June to give a better picture on the latest market situation of the sales of ILDCs (Interchangeable Lens Digital Cameras) and DSLRs in Japan:-

http://bcnranking.jp/news/1007/100716_17667.html
(in Japanese, Google translation to English here)

A quick review on the brand share are as follows:

- Nikon: 29% (D90, D5000 and then D3000)
- Canon: 19% (550D and 500D)
- Sony: 16.4% (NEX-5 and NEX-3)
- Olympus: 5.9% (E-PL1)
- Pentax/Hoya: 4.4% (K-x)
- Panasonic: 4.1% (GF-1)
(Remaining Makers/Models: 21.2%)

Well, the Pentax K-x is still there, in the top 10 sellers list, positioned at 9. But my bet is that the K-x will soon fall out of the top sellers very soon. On the other hand, Sony do have got big success with their NEX cameras and the NEX-5 is now positioned at no. 2.

So, as I've just "ranted" last week, when a company could do something quickly that the market likes/wants, she will succeed. In contrast, if another player knew to do nothing, then she will be just sitting there and wait to die!

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's Time to Seriously Think Again about the Future of Pentax.. Really.

Last time in May, I created this Poll:

If You Were Pentax, What Would You Do Now?

Okay, two months have elapsed. There is no news of any about any new camera bodies nor new lenses from Pentax. Nothing! Do you hear anything a bit more concrete and official? There have been a few recent rumours, but which only half of the people believe and half don't! ;-) So what after all?

Whilst most of the people who voted in the above Poll wanted Pentax to build a Pentax 135 Full Frame system now and soonest, and then there followed by another group of strong voice for asking new and better APS-C gear, it seems that Pentax/Hoya has still been sleeping and let us know nothing about their plan and roadmap! >:-{ In fact, they just opted to ignore all of us from time to time as usual!!

Next in the Poll, there are still close to 20% of the Pentaxians who suggested a new ILDC/EVIL* from Pentax. But of course, there is None! Nothing!
(* ILDC = Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera / EVIL = Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens (DC))

And then, a small group of people (in 3% only, the least minority) who voted meant to have some funs (I suppose, and as what I intended to be, so as to have some humours), they selected that "Pentax is doing Nothing! They just (know to) sit there and wait to die!" But now it seems that they really just act in this way as presented and the reality and current situation is exactly the same!? Too bad?! Permissible enough?? :=((

Frankly, I have been rather and very impatient recently about the acts and slow act by Pentax, and actually it should be NO action of ANY (but not just Slooow) at the Pentax/Hoya side at all!

And to share and tell you something more: Last time in the beginning of May, I emailed them first to introduce myself, and then pointed to my Blog, asked them about the new cameras and gear in development, and finally with some very kind suggestions to them which all meant to be helpful but nothing else.. I had got no response of any at all near the end of May! So, I sent another quick message and reminder to them to ask for a response and shown my disappointment for hearing nothing and for being ignored. Then, they reluctantly gave me quickly a rough reply then, it wrote:-

"Dear Customer,

Thank you for your input. We currently have no plan to take these actions.

Sincerely

PENTAX Imaging system Division
HOYA CORPORATION"

So, do you get the message? I really don't get it exactly, really. But my impression is just like that, "I will tell you nothing and don't want to deal with you. Go away! Don't bother me anymore! Bye!!"

Damn!! I was really pissed off!! Am much upset/annoyed!!! >>:=(

I might and would still write some Petitions later to Pentax/Hoya at the Petition Online to requesting them to make Full Frame and/or to give us something more innovative and updated and having better performance. But would it be useful? Maybe I have just been too naive for what I have been thinking and doing, I know. Since they have never responded to public Petition online. Just see this SDM example - Neither Ned Bunnell, Pentax Imaging nor the Pentax/Hoya HQs have ever responded!

In the meantime, if you feel the same as me, and you are just as stupid and brand-blinded as me, you can still write to that "Public Relation/Communciation Department" of that Hoya Corp. and giant company! (Click Here to send an Email to them) to reflect our views and voice out our silly request! Stand up, Pentaxians!! (Or anyway, should I/we actually save Our Time and forget the brand anyway?? Since most possibly Pentax/Hoya would ignore us all in all or just to give us useless replies as before after all!)

Finally, my recent objective shootout tests (I firmly believe they are and I have no bias of any at all but only intended to find out the truth!) and results between my most updated and actually not-quite-cheap "beloved" Pentax gear against the current competition and offers of the same of close enough classes (say, the Canon 550D, Sony NEX-5 - one upper and one lower) have all shown that my Pentax gear have already been thrown away and have been lagging behind the game in various performance aspects and feature wise more and more when each day passes! I feel even more upset and desperate when I see those!!!! (If you know me well and long enough, you did know that I really hope my Pentax gear won! But..!)

To be even more objective, if you have read the new DxO Labs' Lenses+Bodies measurbation tests, anyone can see that the Pentax DSLR combos get the lowest marks amongst all the other current and newer DSLR gear offers from other brands. I am not going to ask you to compare against the Full Frame gear from others, as Pentax has none, but which are even stronger - Hard Fact Again! Remember, *just* the APS-C ones by others. Yes, I repeat, just the APS-C cropped machines by Canon and Nikon! Some fanboys always attacked that my measurbation tests are not scientific and nothing objective and are all junks.. So, do the DxOLabs ones in-depth and scientific / professional and objective enough then?? Do the testing environment being controlled and consistent enough???

And, I think it's yet suitable to bring up my last old Blog article when I feel totally desperate about Pentax, which is still quite valid and applies well for most of the facts/points I raised up to this minute, even after more than one year by now when I wrote it! Go read:-

Really NO MORE HOPE WITH PENTAX

To tell you the last thing, today I've rushed to buy the Sony NEX-5 or 3 dual-lens kit (I actually could afford it without a second thought and to pay it one-off, even by cash, frankly - Just like when I bought my K-x and 3 more lenses back to January and February of this Year). But unluckily the NEX kits have already been run of stock in all the shops - even I have seen many of them all around the shops in the city in this week and just the last! I just saw the last box of my targeted kit run out of my sight in a few second, even after I have only been able to find the "last" set after searching hardly. It is just because one of the shop supervisors bought it himself for his friend after an "urgent" call and he has apologised to me already. I couldn't blame anyone in this case, since I just acted too slowly (like Pentax/Hoya has been)!! :-o :-(

Now, even the Official Pentaxian of the Year has gone away more than one month now and Lance has now been much active at the DPR Nikon Forum instead of at the Pentax Forum (check his posting log over there and also you can just see Lance B is only but often appearing as "Top Posters at the DPR Nikon Forum). How long shall Pentax/Hoya take for them to action? Furthermore and last but not least, I have been seeing the Pentax goods (except the standard K-x kit set) have been going off and disappearing from the shelves of many shops one by one in recent months and now they are all vanished, I just wish to repeat and ask again at the end of my this post and at the end of the day(s):-

Is Pentax/Hoya just really sitting there and wait to die???

Sony NEX-5 VS Pentax K-x ISO/IQ Shootout (Dual Scenes)



Before you measurbate or even make a comment after that, do read the following Testing Conditions and Notes first! Last time, I was just too lazy to type less things as I think the EXIF data are there and my recent testing and posting methodology has been adopted for quite a while now (and should be well known). But still and unfortunately, people are confused and have been arguing! :-(

Testing Conditions and Notes:-

1. Click on any thumbnail below will open a Large Image in 10.6MP size, for both cameras. A new/separate Window/Tab will be opened. As the image size is now unified for images that are originally in different size (coz the cameras are with different pixel count, "100%" view and comparison are facilitated);

2. If you still want to download the original full size samples, just go to the individual original image pages and click "high res. image" under the "download" tab/menu;

3. Test was carried out outdoor on a bright sunny day. All samples taken handheld for the same scene, at the same place, at the same Av, at the same focal (as indicated on the zoom lenses' scales), at nearly the same time. Besides, no lens hood was put on the lenses of both cameras;

4. Detailed settings of the NEX-5 for making the samples are as follows:

"Standard" "Creative Style" with Default Parameters (Factory Defaulted), Av Mode, Manual ISO (of course), DRO/ Auto HDR Off, AF/Central AF Point, Auto WB, Large Fine Jpeg (in 14M), Evaluative Metering (No Exposure Compensation, No AEL), Auto NR (no further setting can be adjusted anyway), Lens OSS On (Factory Default);

5. Detailed settings of the K-x for making the samples are as follows:

"Bright" "Custom Image" with Default Parameters (Factory Defaulted), Av Mode, Manual ISO (of course), DRO/ Highlight/Shadow Correction/HDR All Off, AF/Central AF Point, Auto WB, Large Fine Jpeg (in 12M), Evaluative Metering (No Exposure Compensation, No AEL), High ISO NR "Weak"/Starting from ISO 1600, Body SR On (Factory Default);

6. What to Measurbate? (I won't comment further - you judge yourself! Different people could have different observations and opinions anyway! :-)) Inspect the samples and see the colour response, exposure accuracy, resolution/focusing accuracy - for both central and corner "sharpness", sharpening artifacts, sense of perspective/3d feel and so on..

Well, let's go! :-o

Scene 1, at Infinity, 24mm f/8:-

ISO
NEX-5 + E 18-55/3.5-5.6 OSS
K-x + DA 16-45/4
200
400
800
1600
3200*
*Overexposed as a result of maximum Tvs (NEX: 1/4000s; K-x: 1/6000s) were reached.

Scene 2, at Middle/Far Distance, 28mm f/11:-
ISO
NEX-5 + E 18-55/3.5-5.6 OSS
K-x + DA 16-45/4
200

400
800
1600
3200


Next Coming../Blog Trailer:-

BIG Question: Would Turning On/Off the SR of the K-x on A Bright Day Affect Image Shaprness??


Further Reading:-

Sony NEX-5 and NEX-3 Hands-on Impressions / Quick Review

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Pentax Optio I-10 Classic Silver



http://ivyjopy.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!9C2325683F4C3B9C!15667.entry
(in Simplified Chinese, @ Personal Blog of the Marketing Manager of Pentax Shanghai, aka Mr. Blurry Cameraphone previously! ;-))

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/news/2010/201012.html
(in Japanese)

Umm.., this is the colour scheme that I like most! Coz I'm a traditional and very conservative person! ;-)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sony NEX-5 and NEX-3 Hands-on Impressions / Quick Review



My friend "Takeo" (who is a Canonian who owns both a Full Frame 5D MkII and cropped APS-C Canon DSLR bodies) has bought a NEX-5 recently as his "P&S" and "second" camera. I borrowed his new toy for playing and testing for an afternoon. Thanks, brother! :-D

Below are my hands-on impressions:-

1. Body Design and Build Quality:

Despite the thin body design and what the appearance of a larger lens on a small body, the kit zoom NEX combo is still felt balanced in hands and comfortable/easy to hold. Both the NEX-5 and the kit zoom E-mount 18-55 are covered by metal material(s) for most of the outer parts which give a high build quality feel. The kit zoom is with a metal lens mount, too, although the zooming part of the lens barrel is yet plastic. Anyway, if the Pentax DAL kit zoom is to be compared with the NEX's one, it just feels like a piece of plastic toy afterall. And as you can see later (for what I have found out in the field), the image quality of the Sony E kit zoom also blows the DAL kit zoom out of the water and miles away! (Too bad..)

2. Operation and User-Friendliness:

There are not many buttons and dials on the camera body. As an user who used to operate traditional designed DSLRs, I do need some times to learn and see how the new design works. Thanks to Takeo, who kindly gave me a quick briefing on how to operate his camera, after some trials, I quickly adopted to the new user interface! :-)



I found that whilst the NEX-5 has few buttons and lacks a mode dial, the operation is not as difficult as I originally imagined. In fact, it is far more easy to use than my GF1 (of which the user interface really sucks and rather difficult to use anyway) and is yet better than that of the Samsung NX10.

I do like the new design concept of the "soft" dial which can be operated in a cyclic manner for setting various different things. It can act as the mode dial, it can change the ISO, it can change the colour mode, it is used to change Av and Tv and so on. After some practice, you will find that the operation is smooth and quite nice. And I do like the simulation/animation, too, which I would describe as "lovely".

To operation anything non-standard (i.e, not those printed function on the four way controller and the default function of the central button) will begin at the "menu" button at the top near the thumb. After that, the screen for the soft dial will change and show different indication/animation. The operations thereafter are just fairly easy enough and not difficult to understand then.

One thing is that I would rather have is that the "Shooting Tips" button, which is located at the bottom right, could be programmed but unfortunately it cannot. The "Shooting Tips" offers a quick help for novices, though, but which I (and many other more advanced users) do not need anyway.

Last but not least, the camera has a dedicated video recording/"movie" button which is located at the top position and easily to be pressed with the pointing finger of the right hand quickly while holding the grip, which is nice.

3. The Monitor

The articulated design of the monitor is indeed a welcome and useful feature, especially for a ILDC that without the provision of any viewfinder (no matter it is optical or electronic). The articulate joint facilitates low and high angle framing and shooting, but the joint and the monitor is not easy to rotate / change angle with only the left hand during video recording and shooting.

The monitor is very bright and fine / detailed. I encountered no big issue to compose and shoot under direct sunlight outdoor on a bright day in the afternoon. However, the lack of anti-reflection coating on the monitor does cause some inconvenience, or might be an annoyance, I would say.

In addition to a bright and fine monitor that is much usable for framing and playback of images, the most lovely thing of the monitor is its colour accuracy, I would say. It reproduces neutral colours and tones as far as I observed, which Canon 550D's monitor lacks as it is just too blueish in the overall colour rendition (although it has anti-reflection coating on it, on the other hand).

4. The Flash

The clip-on flash is provided as a standard accessory with the NEX. It is small and weak. But with the high ISO and low noise capability of the new generation of Sony sensor and processing, I think it is not a real issue if the user sets the camera at Auto ISO and using the camera at ISO 400 and up indoor. I have tested it for only a few shots with the flash, the exposure and results are fairly good.

5. Shutter Sound/Feel and Lag

The shutter action produces a clunky sound but I do like it very much. The shutter release is really instantaneous and the lag is not much noticeable - The best amongst all ILDC/EVIL I have ever used, i.e, better than the GF-1 and far better than the NX10, which really sucks in this aspect.

6. AF Speed (for Still Picture and Video)

The CDAF speed is very good. If it is not faster than the GF-1, it is at least as good. I found that the continuous AF under video recording mode is very good and no obvious hunting could be seen for the AF. In fact, the CDAF of the NEX surprisingly has the least hunting amongst most current ILDC cameras. I do believe Sony has implemented a very good and advanced CDAF algorithm for the NEX, which is quite fast and very smooth and is the best I have seen/used so far.

7. Image Quality Aspects

- Resolution: The resolution is surprisingly high with the 18-55 kit lens, even at the corners! I found that the AF accuracy to be very good as the high resolution of the recorded images verifies that.

- CA: Some CA can be found at the corners, but it is not that much as originally expected for a APS-C "large" sensor with a back focus distance as short as the NEX (at 18mm only).

- Image Noise: With the default "Auto NR" setting, the noise is really low even at ISO 1600, at the expense of some loss of image details.

- DR and Exposure Accuracy/Tendency: Seems to be worst for this aspect.. The highlights are easily blown out and exposures tend to over. Maybe a constant -ve exposure compensation could cure the problem and maybe lower the contrast of the colour profile could help - I haven't tried how to "rescue" anyway, as the using time is still short.

- Colour Response and WB: Sometimes it looks too cool and sometimes too warm. I like the colour response of my K-x and 5D better (after proper fine-tuning, anyway).

8. Battery Level Indication and Life

The indication is very precise in % but I am not too impressed with the battery life, which drops a bit too fast than I wished. Maybe such a precise indication touches more the nerve of the user, i.e, if you see the battery juice percentage drops every minute, then? ;-)

9. Other Special Features

- 7 Frame Per Second Mode: This is really impressive for the speed and it does feel like a machine gun with the sound and high shooting rate, although the total number of burst you can get is not that high - I used a Toshiba Class 10 card for testing.

- Panorama Mode: The camera will shoot continuous in burst (7 frames a second, I think) and make up a composite Panorama image shortly afterwards in one second or two. The high processing power of the NEX is really impressive. But the user needs to experiment with the panning speed, that is, you cannot pan too slow or too fast for the best results.

- Using Old Manual Lenses: With the shortest ever back focus register distance of 18mm, the NEX is really the best ideal "adaptor" to plug in any old film manual lenses ever made on Earth including the Leica M lenses and the Contax G. To use the feature, enable the "Shoot/Release w/o Lens" in the Setup menu. After that, when the E-lens is detached, the "Shoot. Tips" button will become "MF Assist", then you can press the button to zoom in the preview image in "7X" and then "14X" to do the MF by naked eyes. NICE!

10. Super Value for the Money(!)

With just the price of a K-x standard kit, one can get a dual lens NEX-3 kit with an additional 16mm/2.8 prime lens, what else should one ask for? Indeed, a Pentaxian can even have some saving if he/she buys the Sony NEX-3 or even -5 dual lens kit instead of buying a DA15/4 pancake lens alone! Well, even we are not talking about the big price difference, both are APS-C primes, both are pancakes but the Sony is one stop faster, right? :-o

Today, I have also tried the NEX-3 for a while at a shop. There are not many differences from the NEX-5. The major difference is the grip, which the NEX-3's is smaller/shallower and is more difficult to hold as secure as the NEX-5's (maybe it fits ladies' smaller hands better). The body shell covered materials are different, which NEX-5 is metal whilst the NEX-3 is plastic. I don't care much about this anyway as the lenses are still metallic anyway and for a "P&S", I won't ask for metal anyway, right? ;-) (But last time when I bought my Fujifilm "top model" P&S, I did make up my decision based on a metal body as one of my determining factors~). Other than the above, and that I was told that NEX-5 does support a remote controller (and the NEX-3 doesn't), I have found no other difference between the two models, including that the shutter sound and time lag is just the same.

If you do accept a plastic body, a less deep grip (which you need to hold one in hands to try anyway) and the lack of remote control facility as well as the Full HD video capability (720p is actually just good enough for me), the NEX-3 is the REAL Bargain of the Bargains indeed!


Next Coming../Blog Trailer:-

Shootouts Against the K-x: ISO / Image Quality / Lens Quality differences, etc.! As usual, the shootouts will be for the same scenes and were carried out at nearly the same time and place and at close enough settings/profiles! Stay Tuned! I will post them when I have the time~ :-)

(Upate on 7-16: Done! Here it is!)



Read Also:-

Can Pentax DSLRs be Made Thinner?

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Major Causes of Poor AF Reliability of Pentax DSLRs

Here is yet a recent complaint from a Pentaxian who has bought three different Pentax DSLR models and bodies in four years but is still being pissed off by the poor AF reliability, inconsistency and inaccuracy of the AF of all his Pentax bodies with various different original Pentax AF lenses used in conjunction:-

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=35758153

Sample photos for the focusing errors are posted for times along the thread, which are shown up as solid evidence. And, there are some other posters replied do second his view and the same disappointment is expressed.

In fact, what causes the problem? Why? Below are a number of major causes that I can think of, namely:-

1. Inadequate Design(s) of the SAFOX VIII/+ AF System:-

1.1 Large AF Sensing Areas:

First of all, the sensing area of the AF line sensors are just too large! In fact, it is just so large for the area of coverage that the user by no means could pinpoint the focus more precisely:



As you can see, the red lines indicate the actual location of the AF line sensors. The central AF bracket mark provides only a rather rough indication for where the AF actually measures. But still, the big problem is, the line is just too long and the user can never select and pinpoint the targeted focusing point more precisely. Under some more critical situations, e.g., when using fast prime at closer distances, this is just a real issue that never has remedials. The user is just helpless.

1.2 Decreased AF Sensor Resolution (Possibly):

Secondly, the magnified AF line sensors yet cause another no-so-obvious issue. That is, with the same AF line sensor and module which has a fixed number of pixels used (i.e., the pixel density), the larger the AF area that it is magnified, the lower the effective resolution and thus the accuracy of the AF sensor and measurement will be, for the image that is projected through the split-prisms of the AF module on that specific AF sensor. Of course, one can argue that Pentax might have put a very long AF line sensor with yet effectively high enough pixel density even the AF line coverage is large. But then this is very unlikely as it would increase much the cost of the AF components and thus the overall manufacturing cost.

1.3 No "f/2.8" AF Module:

Without putting a "f/2.8" AF module which detects light (paths) coming from the peripheral of the larger aperture lenses, the spherical aberrations of fast lenses cannot be really measured (but just assumed) and thus the AF accuracy suffers. Sometimes I just wonder, even entry level Canon DSLRs (since the 450D) have had this for long, so as to improve AF reliability for faster lenses with larger apertures, why Pentax has still been unable to put such a really standard design and solution so as to tackle the problem in a more effective way?

1.4 Yellow Light Symptom:

I found that the symptom has not been so obvious with the new Pentax DSLRs like the K-x and K-7 (provided that they are fairly "accurate" enough by themselves for a specific body and lens under a specific condition) but the problem is actually not totally eliminated. To check, just project a white light on an object, fix the camera, do the AF, change the light source to yellow (a 2700K to 3000K one), then re-do the AF, read the focus scale on lens, then you can see the camera should usually focus a bit fronter and then Front Focusing is resulted if you inspect the photos! :-o

2. Inferior Quality Control:-

Without doubt, from my own experiences of possessing 7 Pentax DSLRs over years myself (2 *ist Ds, 2 *ist DSes, a K100D, 2 K-xes - not even count for many other Pentax DSLR bodies and models that I have used and tested), I am totally and 200% "impressed" with the Quality Variations of individual Pentax DSLR bodies (and lenses as well) at the Pentax factories. With different units of bodies and lenses and then combinations, the focusing errors and behaviours could vary in large extents and unpredictable ways. So, the interim solution for we poor Pentaxians is just the Debug Mode, especially for those entry level or older model users. But then this is only a partial and incomplete solution, as different lenses could have different errors again and AF accuracy is also affected by the distance of the objects, even your Pentax DSLR(s) has/have been debug mode adjusted! :-(

Still, below are those Debug Mode tutorials and related posts that I have put in my Blog so far, hope this can be somehow useful for you to "cure" the problem, which I believe that for some users of "advanced" models like K-7 and K20D would still need it for some cases:-

http://ricehigh.blogspot.com/search?q=debug+mode

3. The Negative Attitude of Pentax (now Hoya)!

The Real Evil is indeed here. Just like the infamous SDM problem, what we Pentaxians could see that is Pentax never listens to the wide and loud complaints from the suffered Pentaxians public and has never tried some better efforts to resolve and eliminate the problems or just to be a bit more responsible (i.e., to act and react in a more positive way to their users/customers for the *real* issues)! Well, back to the AF problem, just say, how is it so difficult to make a smaller AF sensing area for more precise AF measurement and control, just like what their old Pentax MZ film AFSLRs in the 90s could do? How is it so difficult to include a "f/2.8" AF sensor (which just point to the outer part of the glass/optics of the lenses!)??

All these are just rather ridiculous after all! >:-{ At the end, the Pentaxians are hurt and it does no good to Pentax/Hoya, as I have been saying this for more than six years now - but still I do really feel sorry to see loyal Pentax users and supporters are still telling that they are suffering and being helpless/hopeless! >>:-((


So, after all these, the solution? Any?? My humble answer is that there is NONE, unless the Pentaxian switches, before Pentax/Hoya is really willing to do something and make the CHANGE! :-( (But Not Just Know how to Change the Colours of a Body!)


Read Also:-


Focus Calibrations for (Pentax) (D)SLR Bodies and Lenses

How AF Errors Can Decrease *Effective* Resolution?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Japanese DSLR/ILDC* Sales Ranking for the 1st Half of 2010

See the report (in Japanese) (or the Google translated English page here).

So, the key results are:-

1. The Market Share and Ranking:-

Ranking
Manufacturer
Share
1
Nikon
34.0%
2
Canon
31.4%
3
Panasonic
10.9%
4
Hoya (Pentax)
7.8%
5
Olympus
7.7%
6
Sony
7.5%

Total:
99.3%

Remaining:
0.7%

We can see that indeed Pentax, Olympus and Sony get almost tied in the competition for the results. But do note that since the Sony NEXes have being sold like hot cakes now, I am quite sure that Sony should be able to get rid of the "crowd" in the second half of the year!

* Remark: ILDC stands for Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera

2. The Top Selling Models:-

Ranking
Brand
Model
Share
1
Nikon
D90
13%
2
Canon
Kiss X3 (500D)
11.5%
3
Nikon
D5000
10.6%
4
Canon
Kiss X4 (550D)
9.7%
5
Nikon
D3000
7.9%
6
Pentax
K-x
6.3%
7
Panasonic
GF-1
6.1%
8
Olympus
E-PL1
4.6%
9
Canon
7D
3.5%
10
Canon
KISS X2 (450D)
3.1%
11
Panasonic
G1
2.7%
12
Sony
NEX 5
2.0%
13
Canon
5D MkII
1.8%
14
Canon
50D
1.7%
15
Sony
A550
1.5%
16
Sony
A330
1.4%
17
Olympus
E-P2
1.3%
18
Panasonic
G2
1.3%
19
Nikon
D300s
1.3%
20
Olympus
E-P1
1.1%


Total:
92.4%


Remaining: 7.6%

Well, it can be seen that Pentax/Hoya's survival is based on only one model, that is, the K-x. And, the K-7 has had no where come close, as it has been that since launched.

Whilst Pentax has been quite successful with the K-x, which is great, but the survival based on only one body (and kits) is surely not something healthy to a company, but is indeed worrisome instead, IMHO.

Yet Once Again, Someone Tells that the K-7 Super is Coming!

Further to what that SimonSmyth guy have told, the might be more reliable/serious source of DigitalRev TV has told the same thing again, in their latest YouTube news update yesterday:-


(URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mV6S8pvElU)

At the 2:08 time mark, the "K-7 Super" is mentioned and there is a photo of it (or maybe just the K-7) as well.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

True Rumour for Upcoming Pentax DSLRs and Plan? (Possibly~)

It is noted that someone posted a "rumour" yesterday at the PentaxForums but his post was deleted very quickly and that guy was sharply prosecuted - as a new member, he was banned immediately!

It has been made well known to us and it is proven that PentaxForums liked/had to/and will delete anything faster than flashlight as long as that thing might have any potential conflict of various interests of them (and very possibly they need to protect the secrets and interests of someone/their boss behind, so that their interests are secured)! But never mind, thanks to Google, I have just searched the Google cached database for the Web and here it is!

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:Ehw5_B-ATkMJ:www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-news-rumors/106599-time-stop-lurking-tidbits-pro-model.html
(If you are interested to view the whole original thread, do click the above at once and act fast, as the cache will still vanish in a month or so anyway! :-))

No matter it is just all pure imaginations and pure rumours or even hoax, it is no harm to have it posted, right? Why deleted it? Why prosecuted the new member? Why, why, why?? Some fanboys (both blind brand Pentax and now even PentaxForums' ones! >:-{) did still defend that that guy told lies, but so what? Do we need every *rumours* to be true before it can be *approved* to get it posted, especially at a "News and Rumours" section of such a forum!

Okay, back to that rumour, here is the deleted opening post to quote, by "SimonSmyth",

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Subject: "Time To Stop Lurking : Tidbits on the pro model"

Content: "Ive been lurking on here for many months but finally friend here has insisted that I sign up, I decided after following threads on the new Pentax camera talk I shall give info, until photokina its all not official or real.

No FF plans until 2012 as 645D is filling this, Pentax may review this decision Mid - 2011.

Three new models will be announced at Photokina.

1. K7 Super - a. Upgraded AF sensor 2. manual video with 720p60. 3. Same 14mp sensor with major improvements for noise and banding.

2. K5 - Will be model between k-x & k-7. K-x with focus points, top lcd, will replace k-x next year. K-x was a "testing the waters" model it was rushed and suprised everyone for good reason!

3. Pro Model this has finally been pushed towards productions thankyou to early success of 645D. I am salivating at this model.

a. Pentax have really listened to feedback and made big changes, DFS can go bye bye for real. b. body is based on the K7 but slightly larger c. intended to compete with nikon d300s d. aimed at sports and action photographers, AF algorithms have been optimized for high speed and action (canon helped here alot). Pentax have had their 2 prototypes at the world cup this year. e. x-sync 1/250 but possibly up to 1/500 if electronic shutter is properly debugged. f. No AF motor for screwdrive g. pentax testing with 2 sensors one from canon the other from sony, both are 18mp decision is resting on final costs of production, if use canon sensor video performance same as EOS7D. g. no inbody stabilization (big shock!) but is it a coincidence sigma is releasing so many OIS lenses for pentax? h. new range of Pro* pentax zoom lenses basically DA* + OIS they will be black with red look very sexy and standout. h. single SDHC slot but optional battery grip will give second SDHC slow, pentax firmly against sdxc.

Thats all folks!"
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Well, maybe I am also dreaming, but to tell you the secret, his "lies" do coincide well (almost 2/3, I think) for what I have been told by my own sources and also for what I have read elsewhere. So? ;-D

Just believe it or not. It's just a rumour after all. That is Only One piece of rumour amongst those all others in the sea of rumours on the Web everyday for many things! But as for the dirty hands and evil acts of the PentaxForums, I once again to remind YOU, as a Pentaxian, say NO to the PentaxForums and don't join such a dirty forum (as we can see clearly now!) whom the guys who control it has such a low moral and standards (even though they meant to earn more and much money now and that they hope much and very eager to do so!) Just ask yourself, should you help someone to earn money when they do evils and injustices? Ask yourself and think twice.. (and actually should be repeatedly from time to time no matter who, where and what!)

I encourage everyone to join back the old DPR Pentax Forum, which/where I think do still look far better and much more fairer!

Last but not least, as for that Norwegian SimonSmyth guy, he has done one very wrong thing for sure! That is, he should approach me to give his "secret insider" information known in hands instead of registering at the PentaxForums "after the encouragement of his friends" and then got killed overnight! ;-D [Simon, if you read this, drop me an email, my email link is at the Side Bar! :-)]


Do Read (If Haven't):-

Dictatorship/Censorship Alert (Reminder)

DPR SDM Failure Summary List

A DPR Pentax forum user has been updating a list for most of the SDM failure cases that have been reported at the DPR and discovered/counted by him so far:-

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=35746036

Here are the latest statistics, as at the time I make this post:-

"Lens - # of reported issues
16-50mm - 40
50-135mm - 34
17-70mm - 6
60-250mm - 0
55mm - 0
200mm - 2
300mm - 6
Number of lenses with issues - 88"

via https://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0AoOE9_TdlzaNdHl0U0ljXzUyR1FvX2pkRU1YZGNFbWc&hl=en#gid=0
(Good Job, Russell! Well Done! :-))

Hence, once again the SDM issue and unreliability is confirmed. But then particular fanboys would still argue and defend endlessly that the number of reported cases is small and thus "negligible" and there is far more number of SDM lenses sold so far. But I think they just lack minimal logic by saying so and in fact they have no valid argument and point of any at all.

It is because we cannot assume all Pentax SDM owners/users read the DPR forum. Secondly, we cannot assume all the DPR readers reported their failure cases. Thirdly, we cannot assume that those who have not reported did not face any problem (and vice versa anyway). But then one thing is *for sure*, for those who reported, the case is more or less the same and the reported cases are NOT "negligible", that is, there have been A LOT OF failure reports of different SDM lenses already.

If the above summary and cases for what has been reported in details at the DPR are not adequate, just go read back the last SDM Petition elsewhere online, then one can find many more of the failure report(s) (although with less details given per case):-

http://ricehigh.blogspot.com/2010/01/sdm-petition-online.html

Well, will Pentax Imaging or Pentax respond? I am afraid NOT! And I bet NOT! And I am almost for sure! It seems that they will just let the problem "go" quietly till the end of the days!! >:-| (Ned, it's your take now, will you show up? Why not discussing with the Pentax/Hoya HQs to see what can/should Pentax do?? Still busy with arranging lucky draws with the PentaxForums? ;->)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The K-x Blur Issue

Go along this thread for what a K-x user has reported lately for the problem, with various comparison photos posted, and the related discussions thereafter:-

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=35716276

A conclusion can be quite conclusively made, that is, the blur issue seems to be existent for the K-x and at least many K-x units are affected. Shots that are taken with shutter speeds in between 1/60th to 1/400th (both not inclusive) suffer most from the blur, which can be easily seen when the pictures are viewed at full size.

And, also as pointed out by one of my Blog readers recently after the posting of my latest shootout test with the K-x, shots that were taken in the above suspected problematic Tv range do really have some blur, so that the pixel sharpness and image quality are degraded. Whilst I do agree that the pixel sharpness is not good for most of the test photos with the K-x in that particular test, I think I need to do a more systematic and scientific test with SR on and off and make comparison shots at nearly the same time so as to confirm the problem later on - that I will do it shortly, as soon as possible.

Btw, if the issue is really confirmed once again, it seems that it is just a design issue/latent defect more than a QC problem, as there have been so many K-x users whom have reported the same problem so far, already..


Read Also:-

Pentax SR Performance Tested and Compared (K-x Against Canon IS)

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

Sunday, July 04, 2010

550D / K-x / EF1740L / EFS18-55IS / DA1645 / FA28 Mixed Shootout!




550D + 17-40L @ 28 f/8
550D + FA28 f/8
K-x + DA 16-45 @ 28 f/8
K-x + FA28 f/8
FULL
SHOT



Crop 1


Crop 2

FULL
SHOT




Crop 1

Crop 2

Notes:-

1. Click to Download/Enlarge for the "Full Shots". A new Window/Tab will be opened. Do note they are Large Files;

2. If your monitor does not have enough resolution to display the whole table and images at the right side but you still be able to see part of them, just right click on the partial image you want to view and then select "View Image" with your browser and then click "Back" button when finished;

3. For colour accuracy, neither are accurate, the real scene should look like somewhere in between, i.e., the 550D pics look a bit yellower than real whilst the K-x ones
look a bit bluer.

Besides, I add also another pair of comparison for EF-S 18-55 IS Vs DA 16-45:-


550D + EF 18-55 IS
K-x + DA 16-45
FULL SHOT

Notes:-

1. Click to Download/Enlarge for the "Full Shots". A new Window/Tab will be opened. Do note they are Large Files;

2. Both shots were made using the Program Exposure Mode and Auto ISO (100 selected), EXIF data preserved.


Crops? No crops this time, you measurbate yourself! ;-)

P.S. May add DA 16-45/4 on 550D Vs EF 17-40/4L on 550D Later.


Further Reads:-

550D Full Review, Tips and Tricks

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

Related Posts

 
Creative Commons License
RiceHigh's Pentax Blog by RiceHigh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.