Thursday, June 30, 2011

Real World Performance of the Sony Sensor Used in the Pentax Q II

ISO measurbation for the Sony Cybershot WX5:-
http://www.trustedreviews.com/Sony-Cyber-shot-WX5_Digital-Camera_review_test-shots-iso-performance_Page-5

I think the results are something that we should trust. Not because the website is called Trusted Reviews, but only that the pictures speak for themselves! ;-)

So, as the reviewer has commented, at ISO 400, noise starts to jump in, at 800, things go downhill and at 1600, the picture is just "unusable", IMHO:-


(ISO 1600, Sony WX5 w/ 12MP Exmor R BSI 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor)

Read on the Last Part.

Real-World Performance of the Sony Sensor Used in the Q (Image and Video Quality)

Engadget reviewed the Casio Tryx (Exilim EX-TR100) last month:-

http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/04/casio-tryx-ex-tr100-review/

I am almost sure that the Tryx uses the same Sony sensor (12.75MP BSI 1/2.3" CMOS) as the Pentax Q. Putting aside the major specifications similarity, another strong evidence for the same sensor is that the Tryx supports a 240 fps high-speed video capture mode (in addition to the 1080p/30 FHD mode), which is an unique feature of that Sony IMX078 sensor used in the Q.

And, the Tryx supports ISO speeds from 100 to 3200, which is also close enough to the Q.

In the above Engadget review, there are samples of those 1080p video uploaded to the YouTube as well as a bundle of downsized still picture samples, of which most of them were taken outdoor on bright days whereas there are two indoor samples, one is still picture sample and the other is a sample video clip. Below are quotes of the Engadget comments about the (IQ of the) camera, quoted:-

"Image quality
The 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor does predictably well in broad daylight. Colors were generally sharp and crisp, and for a sub-$250 point-and-shoot, we really had no qualms with our results. Once the light starts fading, however, it has a difficult time snapping a usable image free of blur."

"It's pretty obvious that still images aren't this camera's forte, but it certainly does a better job with 'em while also handling 1080p video than any of Flip Video's (
now-defunct) camcorders ever did. Have a gander in the gallery below to get a feel for the image quality -- just so you know, these are completely untouched aside from a resize."

"It did a laudable job of capturing hues and tone on challenging scenery at some of America's most stunning National Parks. Are we talking DSLR-quality? Hardly, but remember that the MSRP on this is but $250, and it's already selling for $229 at a smattering of reputable e-tailers."

Okay, at this point, I guess some people will start to say that it's a Casio but not a Pentax nor it's the Q and that the Casio is being sold much cheaper and so on.. But, so what? Will Pentax do a miracle? As usual, I blog and let you decide! Last but not least, be remember to have some inspection on the 3 video sample clips, you'll learn more about the quality of the Full HD video produced by this Sony sensor, at the bright and in the dark (note the picture quality of the video frames as well as the motion smoothness).

Continue to read on the Part II..


Related:-

Heart of the Pentax Q - Sony IMX078CQK Imager

How Large a Sensor that Pentax Could Put Into the Q?

Highlights on the Q Specifications

What is your buying intention of the Pentax Q?

How is the PQ of the Pentax Q?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Leaked Pentax Marketing Q&As in the P-Q Pre-Release Press Conference (on 6-17)

http://www.mediafire.com/?n2g110hucuorre1

via: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=38762315

The actual source is unknown and could not be verified, though. But by looking at the contents and the tone of the answers, it seems to be real. Anyway, if you don't believe it, just take those as a grain of salts.

Putting aside those pure marketing talks in the replies, there are yet some interesting things that we still might take a look at, for what it is not well known, e.g. (and my brief remarks are in Italics):-

A1: "Q" stands for Queen and Quality;

A11: Body is made in Philippines, "High Performance" lenses are in Vietnam whereas the "Toy" lenses are made in Thailand. (OEM? As AFAIK there is no Pentax factory in Thailand.)

A17: The flange focal length is 9.2mm. (Just! Pentax have made the shortest back focus register distance mount than ever! Congrats! ;-))

A20: A brand new image processing engine is used. It is NOT a PRIME!

A21: The Q has no AA filter.

A26: There is no PEF (compressed Pentax RAW) file format supported.

A29: Whether AF is available/works under video recording mode is uncertain.

A31: The number of segments for multi-segment metering mode exposure calculation is unknown.

A34: There is only 1EV exposure compensation allowed. (The final published spec is in +/-3EVs. However, it seems that the exposure latitude of this sensor is really narrow if it was true!)

A43: Number of lens aperture blades for the "high performance" lenses is 5.

A49: The size of image circle of the Q lenses cannot be told.

A52: New Q lenses are engineered by Pentax solely.

A55: There is no plan to release a K-mount mirrorless. Concentration and efforts of development will only be put into the existing three lineups, i.e., K-mount APS-C DSLRs, the 645D and the Q system. (My Pardon? The previous rumour was wrong?!)

A56: There is no plan for Full Frame camera in the foreseeable future. (Well, as we all know!)


Related:-


Heart of the Pentax Q - Sony IMX078CQK Imager

How Large a Sensor that Pentax Could Put Into the Q?

Highlights on the Q Specifications

How is the PQ of the Pentax Q?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Heart of the Pentax Q - Sony IMX078CQK Imager

For what I have searched and found myself, this is the Sony BSI CMOS imager which is used by Pentax in the Q, I believe:-

http://www.sony.co.jp/Products/SC-HP/cx_pal/vol87/pdf/imx078cqk.pdf

Below is a key comparison of the Sony imager against the specifications of the Q:-

Key Parameter
Sony IMX078CQK
Pentax Q
Type:
1/2.3" Sized Backlit CMOS
1/2.3" Sized Backlit CMOS
Pixel Pitch Size:
1.55 um x 1.55 um
Not Specified
Total Pixels:
1275M
1275M
Effective Pixels:
1240M
1240M
Movie Recording:
1920H x 1080V @ 60 fps
1920H x 1080V @ 30 fps
Aspect Ratio:
4:3
4:3
Maximum Recorded
Picture Resolution /
Colour Depth / Speed
4000 x 3000 x 12 bits @ 20 fps
4000 x 3000 x 10 bits @42 fps
2000 x 1125 (16:9) x 10 bits @ 60 fps
1332 x 74 x 9 bits @ 1000 fps

4000 x 3000 x 8 bits @ 5 fps (5 JPEGs)
4000 x 3000 x 12 bits @ Unspecified (RAW)


So, how does this imager perform actually? Let's look back at the above marketing datasheet. The following improvements/key features are stated:-

1. The colour response has been improved and it is more balanced and the individual response for R, G and B wavelengths of light are now more even;

2. The saturated signal level per pixel (aka "full well capacity/depth"), which is usually measured in mV, is now increased by 10% when compared to the previous generation of product of the same pixel size. Do note that now its unit is specified is in number of "digit", which is something that I don't know and understand..

I could not find any information on the signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio of the imager anyway. I did have tried to search for other datasheets of other Sony imagers and I did find others could contain that S/N data that we are mostly interested in, e.g.:-

http://www.sony.co.jp/Products/SC-HP/cx_pal/vol81/pdf/icx685cqz.pdf#page=2

.. which is the marketing datasheet for a 1/1.7 10MP CCD Sony imager and look at the S/N chart as per Fig. 1.

It can be seen that the S/N can reach near 40 dB (which equals to a Dynamic Range of 6.64 steps in EV term) at the best quality ISO of 100. The saturated full well capacity is also specified in mV as usual. However, since a new uncommon unit has been used for the new IMX078, I can compare nothing after all, no matter for that performance aspect nor for the typical S/N ratio.

Still, we can look at how the effect of decreasing the pixel pitch size on the imager performance. Let's look at one more also latest Sony 1/1.7 type CCD but which is of a higher pixel density near 14MP, with a pitch size of 1.75 um (versus the 2.03 um of the above ICX685):-

http://www.sony.co.jp/Products/SC-HP/cx_pal/vol76/pdf/icx652cqz.pdf#page=2

It can be seen that the saturation voltage drops drastically from 800 mV to 420 mV! But just bear in mind that the pixel pitch of the IMX078, i.e. the Pentax Q imager, is even smaller, in only 1.55 um. It is of a different design and is back illuminated, though. Whilst for a back illuminated design, the full well capacity and hence the S/N can be increased, the optical pixel cross talks between pixels are increased. The problem is particularly severe for different colours being leaked into adjacent pixels, resulting in more colour noise. As a result, the S/N ratio is decreased again, on the other hand.

In short, as for the IMX078, my impression is that it is an all-round product that is optimised for providing all the latest features for both still picture taking as well as video recording. However, it also seems that it is optimised for speed rather than Picture Quality, otherwise Sony should have emphasized those PQ strong points in the marketing sheet already (but there is none mentioned, except for that improved and more balanced colour response).


Read Also:-

The Secrets of the K10D (Part 1 of 3) - The Heart: CCD Imager

Monday, June 27, 2011

How Large a Sensor that Pentax Could Put Into the Q?

In these few days, I have seen over the Net that quite some existing Pentaxians are pissed off and they have been blaming about Pentax for making an "useless" mirrorless that has a too small sensor in it but yet the Q body and lenses have not been created smaller to the proportion as it should be. In fact, my latest poll and the results so far have shown that a large fraction of existing Pentaxians do feel disgusted about the Q system and they do believe that the Q is just not their "cup of tea" (in 55% amongst 217 votes at the time of writing my this Blog post).

I did feel the same before when the first Pentax "NC-1" rumour came out. But now I have a second thought and view. Let me this time to defend Pentax/Hoya for what they would have planned! (Yes, you have read the right and real thing - I am in defence of Pentax!! ;-D Lol..)

Before I am to go further, just think why Pentax needed to name that lens "01" "02" .. and so on? Why not put an effective focal length for the actual viewing angle just like what Ricoh did for their mirrorless modules of their GXR? There should be a reason behind, i.e, the sensor size is to be varied, I believe.

So, let me have my illustration, look at the Q mount and sensor picture (the deep-cyan line has outlined the sensor) and my added overlaid drawings as below:-


(Click to Enlarge)

I calculated the sensor size dimension ratios amongst the 1/2.3", 1/1.6" and even for a 1" sensor and then I've drawn the coloured marks as shown in the above.

And, the most important "co-incidence" is, which I have been able to discover only after I drew the 1/1.6" lines. Actually, I was drawing the lines by my already calculated dimensions (and the ratio on picture) for the 1/1.6" sensor (I had to make it ready before I could draw the lines!), the lines eventually are laid down exactly at the same position of the grey/dark boundary of the above original photo, which I believe is the opening for the transparent film for the ultrasonic dust removal. Besides, it can be seen that some room has been reserved for the movement of sensor for shake reduction.

So, after all, I bet the maximum possible size of a sensor for the Q body to accommodate is an 1" one! (which is yet much smaller than a 4/3 sensor anyway, but without SR anymore as it is just too tight now.) As for a 1/1.6", I am almost sure that it is just an "easy task", without any doubt! And, most possibly, a 1/1.6" sensor and size has already been planned (for)! :-D

Hey, fellow Pentaxians, do you feel easier and more comfortable now?! ;-p


Read Also:-

How to Make the Pentax Q Looks Better?

The Pentax Q Announced!

Nikon Mirrorless Would be in 2.6X. So, Pentax Will Win..!

Comparison of Sensor Specs - 645D Against Others

100% Bingo! I Derived Exactly Correctly for the 645D Actual Sensor Size!

Sensor Size of the 645D (and More Technical Talks on DSLR Form Factors)

Highlights on the Q Specifications



Below is a copy of the official Q specifications from the Pentax Imaging website. I have marked some of the positive things in Green, whilst shortcomings are in Red:-

Sensor:Type: Backlit CMOS w primary color filter and integrated Shake/Dust Reduction sensor-shift system Size: 1/2.3 Color depth: 8 bits/channel JPG, 12 bits/channel RAW Effective pixels: 12.4M Total pixels: 12.75M Recorded resolutions Still 4:3: 12M (4000x3000), 9M (3456x2592), 5M (2688x2016), 3M (1920x1440) Still 3:2: 10M (4000x2664), 8M (3456x2304), 5M (2688x1792), 2M (1920x1280) Still 16:9: 9M (4000x2248), 6M (3456x1944), 4M (2688x1512), 2M(1920x1080) Still 1:1: 9M (2992x2992), 6M (2592x2592), 4M (2016x2016), 2M (1440x1440) Movie (resolution/FPS): 1920x1080p30, 1280x720p30, 640x480p30 Quality levels: *** Best, ** Better, * Good Dust Removal: DRII (ultrasonic vibration to low pass filter)Lens Mount:Type/construction: PENTAX Q-mount bayonet stainless steel mount Usable lenses: Q-mount lenses SDM function: n/a Power zoom function: n/a
Focus System:Type: TTL Contrast Detection AF Sensitivity range: EV 1-18 (ISO 125) Focus modes: AF Single (w focus lock, focus/release priority selectable), AF Continuous, AF Face Detection, Manual Focus point adjustment: Auto 25 Point, User-Selectable, Center AF assist: Yes, via dedicated LED AF assist lamp (MF focus assist available)Viewfinder:Type: n/a (optional shoe mounted optical viewfinder O-VF1 available for 01 Standard Prime lens)
LCD Monitor:Type: 3.0” TFT color LCD Resolution: HVGA 460,000 dots Wide angle viewable: Yes, approx 170° horizontal and vertical LIVE VIEW Type: TTL by CMOS image sensor Field Of View: 100% Display Modes: Grid (4x4, Golden Ratio, Scale), Bright/Dark Indication, Histogram Built-in Flash:Type: P-TTL flash with retractable popup extension Guide number: 7m (ISO 200) Coverage: 28mm wide angle equivalent Flash modes: Auto, Auto + Redeye, On, On + Redeye, Slow Sync, Slow Sync + Redeye, Trailing Curtain Sync, Off Flash exposure compensation: -2 to 1 EV Synchronization speed: 1/2000 sec (w lens shutter), 1/13 sec (w electronic shutter)
External Flash:Type: Hotshoe P-TTL Synchronization speed: 1/250 secStorage Media:Internal memory: n/a Removable memory: SD, SDHC, SDXC
Interfaces:Ports: USB 2.0 hi-speed, AV out, HDMI out (Type D, Micro) Video out: HD (via HDMI), NTSC, PAL Printer interfaces: n/aPower Supply:Power source: Rechargeable Li-Ion battery D-LI68 Recordable images: Approx 250 (approx 230 w 50% flash, CIPA) Playback time: Approx 160 min Movie recording time: TBD AC adapter available: YES DC Coupler available: YES
Physical Specifications:Body dimensions (W x H x D): 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.2” Body weight Without battery or removable memory: 6.3 oz Loaded and ready: 7.1 oz Construction material(s): Magnesium alloy shell Weather resistant: n/a Operating temperature: 32-104°FLanguage Support:English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Greek, Russian, Korean, Traditional & Simplified Chinese, Japanese
Image Stabilization:Type: Sensor Shift Shake Reduction (4 stops max)Metering System:Type: TTL image sensor metering Sensitivity range: EV 1.3-17.0 (ISO 125, F1.9), +2 EV w electronic shutter or ND filter Multi-segment: Yes Center weighted: Yes Spot: Yes Exposure compensation: +/- 3 EV (1/3 steps) Exposure lock: Yes (via half shutter press, can also be assigned to Green button) Exposure bracketing: Yes (3 frames, up to +/- 3 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 steps, remote enabled)
ISO Sensitivity:Auto: ISO 125-6400 (1/3 steps), Bulb mode up to ISO 1600, auto ISO range selectable Manual: ISO 125-6400 (1/3 steps), Bulb mode up to ISO 1600White Balance*:Auto preset modes: Auto, Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent (D, N, W, L), Tungsten, Flash, CTE Manual mode(s): Yes * WB fine adjustment available in all modes
Shutter:Type: Lens shutter, electronic shutter** Shutter speed: 1/2000 to 30 sec (lens shutter), 1/8000 to 30 sec (electronic shutter w a lens shutter lens), Bulb ** When using the electronic shutter setting with a non-lens shutter lens, shutter speed 1/8000 to 2 sec, Bulb, aperture adjustment, and ND filter setting NA. Capture Modes:Mode selection: Auto Picture, Scene, Program (P), Shutter Priority (Tv), Aperture Priority (Av), Metered Manual (M), Blur Control (BC, JPG only), Movie, Bulb (available in Metered Manual) Auto Picture modes: Standard, Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Night Scene Portrait, Night Scene, Blue Sky, Forest Scene modes: Portrait, Landscape, Macro, Moving Object, Night Scene Portrait, Sunset, Blue Sky, Night Scene, Night Scene HDR (JPG only), Night Snap, Food, Quick Macro (JPG only), Pet, Kids, Forest, Surf & Snow, HDR (JPG only), Backlight Silhouette, Candlelight, Stage Lighting, Museum Custom Image modes: Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Radiant, Muted, Bleach Bypass, Reversal Film, Monochrome (including film filters, infrared, sepia toning), Cross Processing (creative random effect generation). Smart Effects: Brilliant Color, Unicolor Bold, Vintage Color, Cross Processing, Warm Fade, Tone Expansion, Bold Monochrome, Watercolor, Vibrant Color Enhance, USER 1-3 Green simplified mode available: Yes Face detection available: Yes P/A/S/M/B: P, A, S, M, B (in Metered Manual) Date stamp: n/a Digital filters (capture): Toy Camera, High Contrast, Shading, Slim, HDR, Invert Color, Extract Color, Color, Watercolor, Posterization, Fisheye Dynamic Range adjustment: Yes (highlight and shadow correction) File/Folder customization: Folder name (standard/date)
Drive Modes:Mode selection: Single, Continuous (Hi, Lo), Self Timer (12s, 2s), Infrared Remote (0s, 3s, continuous), Auto Bracketing (3 frames, up to +/- 3 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 steps, remote enabled) Continuous FPS: Approx 5 FPS (Continuous Hi: 5 JPG), 1.5 FPS (Continuous Lo: 100 JPG) Multi-exposure: Yes (2-9 shots, auto exposure adjustment) Interval: Yes (1s to 24h, up to 999 shots, delayed start available) HDR: Auto, HDR1, HDR2 (HDR blended images saved in JPG only)Playback Modes:Mode selection: One Shot, Multi Image Display (4, 9, 20, 42, 90 thumbnails), Magnification (up to 16X, scrollable, quick zoom), Histogram, Folder, Calendar Filmstrip, Select & Delete, Movie Playback, Bright/Dark Indication, Slideshow Mode pallet: Image Rotation, Digital Filter, Redeye Edit, Resize, Cropping, Index, Protect, Slideshow, Cross Processing, RAW Development, Movie Edit, Image Comparison, DPOF Digital filters (playback): Monochrome, Toy Camera, High Contrast, Shading, Slim, HDR, Invert Color, Extract Color, Color, Watercolor, Posterization, Fisheye, Retro, Soft, Sketch, Miniature, Frame Composite, Starburst, Base Param Adj Movie edit: Movie Divide, Delete Frames
File Formats:Still: RAW (DNG), JPG (EXIF 2.3), DCF 2.0, DPOF, PIM III Movie (compression): MP4 (AVC h.264)Custom Functions:Functions available: 13
Computer Requirements:*For direct device connectivity. Bundled software requirements may vary. Windows: Windows XP SP3 (32 bit), Vista & 7 (32 & 64 bit), USB port Mac: MacOS 10.3.9, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, USB port

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What is your buying intention of the Pentax Q?

What is your buying intention of the Pentax Q?
Yes, I want to buy it!
Maybe, if the price will be lowered.
Maybe, if the IQ could be better.
Nope, it is not my cup of tea!
  
pollcode.com free polls

Saturday, June 25, 2011

How is the PQ of the Pentax Q?

Below are the official illustration and comparisons about the PQ (Picture Quality) of the Pentax Q (called P-Q thereafter) against other cameras, as shown in one of the press conference at Japan, namely, the "Product D" and "Product E", for the ISO 200 and two ISO 6400 shots on the test target:-




(N.B.: I hope the Red Dot in the above Pentax Q Image is NOT a Hot Pixel! :-o)



I don't know what the products "D" and "E" are actually, I guess nobody even knows whether these are the products of Pentax or not, I think the comparisons are just intended to show that the PQ of the P-Q is good enough.

On the other hand, on the day of when the Pentax Q was announced after embargo had ended, the IR posted immediately their ISO measurbating samples at the following page of their P-Q preview:-

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/PENTAXQ/PENTAXQA7.HTM

However, the samples have been shortly withdrawn under the pressure of Pentax, as it is told in the above page, quoted:-

"We'd like to offer our apologies for taking down our page of half-resolution sample images from the Pentax Q; we received notice after publication that Pentax didn't want even reduced-resolution images from the Q prototype displayed, and we naturally respect their wishes."

In fact, I have previously gone through some of the samples and what I want to say is that the PQ of the P-Q is not bad by the DC standard but of course it is nothing that can be compared to the larger sensor ILDC systems nor DSLRs.

Besides, sometimes I just wonder, why Pentax/Hoya needs to be so conservative about the posting of the "unapproved" stuff. I still recall that Dpreview has posted so many times for the full size samples from many beta cameras including those from Canon and Sony. What to be afraid of and about? Simple ask the reviewers to make a remark for what posted are from beta cameras - end of case!

Update (6-26): Someone at the DPR Forum has previously made a comparison between the P-Q, NEX and the S95, the picture is self-explanatory. See:-


(Click to Enlarge)

How to Make the Pentax Q Looks Better?

Some Pentaxians have been criticising that the Pentax Q looks so ugly since it was announced. What do you think? If you do think so, what makes the Q so ugly? :-o And, what should Pentax do/change? :-)

So, first look at the new Qs:-



And compare it to the last similar designed (for its appearance) Digital I-10:



IMO, without any doubt, the I-10 does look better, and so does the old Pentax Auto 110 which the I-10 emulates:-



So, what has been going wrong actually. Look at the following, do you actually find my design improves something, even it could not eliminate all the problems? Enjoy~! ;-D

(Below: Click to Enlarge)




Related:-

The Pentax Q Announced!

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Closer First Look of the Pentax Q @ DC Watch


(Image source: http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/img/dcw/docs/455/177/html/019.jpg.html)

See the full report:-
http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20110624_455372.html



As usual, there are a bundle of product and comparison photos over there. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

K-r AF Accuracy Comparison: FW V1.10 Vs 1.01, under Yellow and White Light Sources

I think we have more than enough "Pentax Q" news and talks today, too much in a way that we have almost forgot our K-mount system, and the various issues of the current lineup. (and its future!)

Two days ago, Pentax released the firmware version 1.10 for the K-r, K-5 and 645D, officially claimed to support the new GPS add-on module of O-GPS1, as the only change to this update.

During these two days, I have seen just so many K-r users, who had been thinking for too long for a firmware fix of the infamous tungsten light Front Focusing (FF) issue of their K-r, have suspected and reported that it *might* have been improved, "secretly" and "silently". However, I have been so susceptible about these claims. It is because if Pentax has made it, it should have been declared officially.

So, it's time for me to do some controlled test to find out the truth. I have conducted this experiment last night:-

1. Put my K-r on the tripod, set in Av mode, 2-sec timer with mirror locked up, AF-S with central AF point only, lens used: DA35/2.4 at wide opened, as shown below:-



2. The focus target is as follow, the central AF point of the camera is pointed to the top part/tip of the object, which is flat and with some contrasty pattern, i.e., the smaller Japanese/Chinese words of "特濃”, to be precise:-



Do note that the object has a inclined surface and eventually the (larger) front part of it becomes flat again (and there is also contrasty pattern and the words to see if the surface is in focus or out). Note that the surface for which the AF is focused on and the front surface closest to the camera are roughly parallel to the image sensor plane.

3. I then took 3 shots to test where the AF finally arrived at, namely: The first one is under full tungsten environment (traditional type, not yellow-coloured fluorescent) without any focus adjustment; The second one is also under tungsten but with "AF Fine Adjustment" set to a maximum value of -10 (i.e., to pull the focus backwards as far as possible) and; The third one is under pure white light environment but without any focus adjustment enabled.

Do also note that I did the AF by half-pressing and re-half-pressed again and again until there is no hunting anymore, so that the camera believed that it was the correct AF point to be achieved.

4. As a remark, the tungsten light bulbs I used was a mixture of GE, Philips and Osram brand products. The white light source was a Panasonic fluorescent light tube.

I intentionally kept both the lighting illumination level of both the Yellow and White light to be the same on the test object. Eventually, all the test pictures taken are come up with the exposure of f/2.4, 1/60s at ISO800, regardless of the colour of the light source used and the settings in the camera.

5. I then upgraded the firmware, keep the camera position unchanged and did not move the camera in any means!



6. After completing the firmware upgrade, I re-did my test with the new firmware.

7. Here we go! The results are as follows (all EXIF data are preserved, Click to download the full-sized pictures):-

FW 1.01, Tungsten, No AF Adj.FW 1.01, Tungsten, AF Adj. at -10
FW 1.01, White Light, No AF Adj.
FW 1.10, Tungsten, No AF Adj.FW 1.10, Tungsten, AF Adj. at -10FW 1.10, White Light, No AF Adj.

So, after all, it's your take now! Do you and could you find *any* difference?! :-o (Don't be lazy and I suggest you to try hard to measurbate, before reading my findings and conclusion below! ;-D)

The simple and clear findings are as follows:-

1. Tungsten light always causes severe front focusing. The error is so large that the out focused image can be seen even in web sizes! :-o Hey, Pentax, this is just a F2.4 lens at 35mm, the DoF is not that shallow! Right?

2. An adjustment factor of -10, which is the maximum allowed value for compensating the front focusing, does make thing better but it is still NOT adequate, as it still can be seen! :-(

3. Once the light source is changed from yellow to white, everything is back to normal and the AF is DEAD accurate with this combo (K-r + DA35/2.4)! :-o

4. The new firmware has NOTHING to do to correct this problem, which I now firmly believe that the problem is caused by a hardware bug and is a latent design defect, but not of anything that is software related!! >:-[

After all, I am really afraid to say, it's pathetic that wishful thinking again has come into play! But I know, this issue is really annoying! Pity us, we K-r and Pentax users! >:-((

The Pentax Q Announced!



Dpreview previewed:-
http://dpreview.com/previews/pentaxQ/

The pop up flash look funny and special, recall me of those lift-up cage on trucks for highway/road maintenance! ;-D

A side-by-side size comparison to the NEX-C3:-



The shutter is inside lens:-



The new Q lenses (2 Auto, 3 Manual "Toy" fixed aperture "low-cost" lenses):-
http://dpreview.com/news/1106/11062310pentaxqlenses.asp



The official specifications of these lenses in details can be found at the Japanese homepage of Pentax:-

http://www.pentax.jp/english/news/2011/201109.html


High-performance Series Unique Series
Product Name PENTAX-01
STANDARD
PRIME
PENTAX-02
STANDARD
ZOOM
PENTAX-03
FISH EYE
PENTAX-04
TOY LENS
WIDE
PENTAX-05
TOY LENS
TELEPHOTO
Lens Mount PENTAX Q (Metal mount) PENTAX Q (Plastic mount)
Flange Focal Length * 9.2mm
Lens Construction 8 elements in
5 groups
8 elements in
7 groups
6 elements in
5 groups
4 elements in
3 groups
3 elements in
3 groups
Angle of View 49.5° 76.0° - 29.0° 160° 64° 24.5°
Focal Length
(in 35mm format)
8.5mm
(47mm)
5mm - 15mm
(27.5mm-83.0mm)
3.2mm
(17.5mm)
6.3mm
(35mm)
18mm
(100mm)
Aperture F1.9 F2.8 - F4.5 F5.6 F7.1 F8
Diaphragm Control Automatic Fixed
Lens Shutter O -
ND Filter O -
SP (Super Protect) Coating O -
Minimum Focusing Distance 0.2m 0.3m
(whole zoom area)
0.09m 0.07m 0.27m
Maximum Magnification approx. 0.05x approx. 0.06x approx. 0.06x approx. 0.15x approx. 0.08x
Filter Diameter 40.5mm Not compatible
Maximum Diameter 45.5mm 48.5mm 40.6mm 40.6mm 40.6mm
Minimum Length 23.0mm 48.0mm 30.5mm 25.0mm 19.5mm
Weight approx. 37g approx. 96g approx. 29g approx. 21g approx. 18g
Hood MH-RA 40.5mm
(option)
PH-SBA 40.5mm
(option)
Not compatible

The prices of the lens as shown in the Japanese Pentax Online Shop are as follows:-

01 STANDARD PRIME Bundled (Body + 01 Lens = ¥69,800) (US$872.5)
02 STANDARD ZOOM¥24,800 (US$310)
03 FISH EYE¥9,800 (US$122.5)
04 TOY LENS WIDE¥5,980 (US$74.75)
05 TOY LENS TELE PHOTO¥5,980 (US$74.75)

Besides, the optical viewfinder accessory O-VF1 is asked for ¥19,800 (US$247.5)

And, other official pages about the Pentax Q are as follows:-

Pentax Q Special Site (Japanese): http://www.pentax.jp/japan/products/pentax-q/

The Pentax Q Introduction and Full Specs: http://www.pentax.jp/english/news/2011/201108.html

Yet, there is another preview with hands-on video at Engadget with more product images:-
http://www.engadget.com/2011/06/23/pentax-releases-q-worlds-smallest-interchangeable-lens-digital/





You can see clearly the tiny sensor and the look and design of the new Q-mount in the above video.

In addition, the Akihabara News also had a similar hands-on report with video:-

http://en.akihabaranews.com/99434/icon-cat/press-conference/hands-on-pentax-introduces-a-new-compact-camera-with-the-pentax-q

http://vimeo.com/25493612

Finally, Ned has a larger official family photo for the Pentax Q (which could not be found elsewhere so far!):-



Last but not least, the IR has pixel-peeped the Q, already!

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/PENTAXQ/PENTAXQA7.HTM
[Update (6-25): All samples have been withdrawn upon the request from Pentax. :-(]


Previous Reports:-

The "Pentax Q" Specs and Product Images Leaked right Before the Official Announcement (Today)

As the ILDC World Turns.. (June 20)

The Pentax Q is to be Announced on June 23rd (June 19)

The "Pentax Q" (New Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens System w/ Small Imager) (June 3)

The "Pentax Q" Specs and Product Images Leaked right Before the Official Announcement



Several hours before the official press conference and product announcement of the Pentax Q (@ 13:00 Tokyo Time), the specs and product images are leaked, at the Photo Rumors and the Mirrorless Rumors:-

http://photorumors.com/2011/06/22/the-front-view-of-the-pentax-q-mirrorless-camera/

http://photorumors.com/2011/06/22/pentax-q-worlds-smallest-and-lightest-interchangeable-lens-digital-camera/

http://www.mirrorlessrumors.com/first-image-of-the-back-of-the-pentax-q/

"The Q represents an evolution in interchangeable lens digital camera design, featuring the world’s smallest and lightest body. Experience the PENTAX Q. The Camera. Evolved.

Q-Mount Lens System
The Q features the newly designed PENTAX Q-mount lens system for convenient interchangeability with a variety of specialty Q lenses. Choose from a selection of prime, zoom, fisheye lenses, and more to suit just about any photographic need.

12.4 Megapixels
Enjoy exceptional image quality in 12.4 megapixels courtesy of 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.

Durable
Though extremely compact, the Q is also surprisingly durable, sporting lightweight, scratch resistant magnesium alloy covers.

Traditional DSLR Shooting Modes
Experienced photographers will enjoy the power and flexibility of traditional DSLR shooting modes such as Program, Aperture/Shutter Priority, and Metered Manual exposure control. Yet casual shooters will appreciate the highly convenient automatic modes such as the set-it-and-forget-it PENTAX Auto Picture and 21 scene modes.

Customizable Quick Dial
Conveniently choose from a variety of creative modes, Smart Effect options, or camera settings to assign to the Q’s Quick Dial located on the front of the camera. Easily customize the setting or effect using the Quick Dial’s 4 positions, allowing you to concentrate on photography without having to explore the camera’s menu system.

HDR Capture
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.

1080p HD Video
Shoot high quality motion video with stunning full 1080p HD clarity at 30 frames per second. The Q efficiently processes the full HD video using high quality h.264 compression for superior color and detail. Explore creative video effects through the use of custom image modes, digital video filters, and interval shooting; or select from a variety of Q lenses to realize your perfect artistic vision.

Sensor-Shift Shake Reduction
Capture stabilized, blur and dust free images even in low lighting courtesy of the Q’s sensor-shift Shake Reduction system with integrated DRII Dust Reduction. Body-based Shake Reduction operates independently of the Q’s lenses, allowing the same level of stabilization regardless of lens selection.

3 Inch LCD Monitor
Easily capture or review images and video using the Q’s large 3 inch LCD monitor. The high quality LCD features HVGA resolution with 460,000 dots, as well as viewing angles up to 170 degrees horizontally and vertically.

5 FPS
Capture even the fastest action with a 5 frames per second continuous shooting mode, ideal for sporting events, children at play, or any fast action situation.

Bokeh Control Filter
Enjoy 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 assists the experienced and casual photographer alike by offering a fine degree of extra control over image bokeh via an in-camera filter operation.

Smart Effects Mode
New 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, which can also be assigned to the Q’s Quick Dial.

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

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

Built-In Popup Flash
The Q’s built-in popup flash adds the perfect amount of extra light to an image, while its high extension naturally reduces 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.

HDMI Port
A built-in micro HDMI port is perfect for outputting high resolution images and video, with sound, to modern HDTVs.

SD, SDHC, and SDXC Memorey Cards
The Q is compatible with the latest generation SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory cards for ultra-high capacity storage as well as outstanding image file portability.

RAW File Processing
The Q includes SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3 software for powerful and flexible RAW file processing. In-camera RAW image development is also supported.

External Viewfinder Available Separately
Compose images and video either with the Q’s LCD monitor or using a shoe-mounted viewfinder attachment available as an optional accessory. The External Viewfinder O-VF1 makes an excellent accessory to the Q, offering outstanding compositional framing, even in the brightest sunlight where viewing an LCD screen is traditionally a challenge."




Here is also a 1:1 size comparison to the Olympus XZ-1 from looking at the back:-



Last Story:-

The Pentax Q is to be Announced on June 23rd

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Firmware (V1.10) for K-5, K-r and 645D

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/support/download/digital/k5_s.html

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/support/download/digital/kr_s.html

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/support/download/digital/645d_s.html

Via http://www.pentax.jp/japan/index.html
(All in Japanese)

It says it is made to support the new O-GPS1 unit. It says nothing about if the new firmware of K-r will relief the consistent tungsten/yellow light Front Focusing issue or not. Whilst I guess it is unlikely as it is not told, especially for Pentax, I shall try it out shortly to see whether there is any improvement for my own wishful thinking.

Monday, June 20, 2011

As the ILDC World Turns..

Further to the last report of the new features of the new NEX-C3, some of which would be implemented in the new firmware update of the NEX-3/5, this evening, all the NEX registered users including me have just received an email notice about the new NEX firmware, which points to the firmware download link with brief description about the new firmware. (Well, Sony is doing a better customer support job here!)

I shall update my NEX soon to try out the interesting peaking feature for manual focusing shortly. I hope also that the underexposure issue when using manual lenses stopped down should be eliminated with the new firmware and I shall check about it. In comparison, my Pana Girl Friend did not have such an issue on the day one! :-(

On the other front, Olympus' new m43 bodies, including the new Pen Mini E-PM1 (1 o'clock in the afternoon? ;-D), will come very soon too. The PM1 seems to be quite compact, just see the comparison leaked photos from the 43 Rumors below:-


(Above: Oly E-PM1 Vs XZ-1)

So, under this fierce competition, could the upcoming Pentax mirrorlesses survive? :-o

Update (6-21): I have just completed the firmware update of my NEX-3 and tried the "peaking function", it works like a charm! Manual focusing with MF lenses could never be so easy and accurate! Yes, it is very accurate and now MF is super fast, indeed no magnified view is required anymore - when the peaking shows it is at the peak, even zoomed in to 14X shows that it is correct! Nice done, bravo, Sony! My hats off!!

As for the exposure accuracy when using manual lenses stopped down, for what I have quickly checked, I could say Sony has silently resolved that issue to most extent, too! :-D

PhotoZone New Test Review on DA 18-55 WR

On a K-5..



The Results:-
http://www.photozone.de/pentax/641-pentax1855f3556wr?start=1

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sony Filed a Patent of (AF) Phase Matching Capable CMOS Sensor



Sony has lately published a filed patent of a CMOS imager with phase matching AF detector built-in:-

Patent details
Via Sony Alpha Rumors

So, if this design is to be implemented for a larger sized sensor, say, an APS-C sized one, then this will be really a good news for all those mirrorless system users, e.g., the NEX'!


Previous Related:-

New Technology Breakthrough - Phase Matching AF by Sensor! (Fujifilm's Patent)

The Pentax Q is to be Announced on June 23rd

According to the insider source of the Japanese website digicame-info, the Pentax Q is to be announced on June 23rd. The Press Conference for the product release will be held at Tokyo time 1:00 p.m. (UTC +9:00).

The digicame-info subsequently also noted that there was a published information about the invitation to the press conference (now removed) at 2:00 p.m. Tokyo time, so it re-confirm the product release, but only whether the press conference will be held at 1 or 2 p.m. is uncertain.

Finally, it has also been reported at the Japanese Nikkei News on June 19th that a new Pentax mirrorless will come this summer, as told by Hoya. And this Pentax mirrorless is targeted at the current mirrorless market segment where Pana and Sony are in.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

100 Most Influential Photography Websites

According to the latest list as compiled by the eCairn, my Blog is one of the 100 most influential photography websites according to their collected data and algorithm. A quick scan through the list reveals that mine could be the only Pentax specific website overthere (it seems that all the official sites have been excluded).

Via http://minimalistphotography101.com/photography-links/

"If you need help with metrics, effective social networking, community marketing, web influence and all that good stuff these pages are definitely worth a visit."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Manual Focusing in LiveView Mode Will Make Ever Easy and Accurate

New Sony NEX C3 Manual focusing with "peaking" mode. from Rafiki on Vimeo.


Via http://sonyalphanex.blogspot.com/2011/06/sony-nex-focus-peaking-closer-look.html

What an innovation!

Updated firmware with this new useful feature will be available for the NEX-3/5 also and can be downloaded from Sony's e-support site on 20th June.

Well done, brilliant job, Sony!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Photozone DA*300 Test (on K-5)

http://www.photozone.de/pentax/643-pentax300f4



It seems that the old F*/FA* should be a better lens optically, as the resolution difference is not as large as that of the DA40 and DA70 for what we could find when the last times Klaus re-tested the DA40 and 70 (here and here):-

http://www.photozone.de/pentax/131-pentax-smc-fa-300mm-f45-ed-if-review--lab-test-report?start=1
(Lab results of previous PZ FA*300 test on a K10D)

Also, the F/FA*300 is virtually 100% distortion free, which is close to perfect in this aspect. More importantly, with a more compact size and less weight, I would undoubtedly to choose the F*/FA* over DA if I had to choose. The less than a half-stop faster in the maximum lens speed is something that I can give up for all the advantages mentioned above. Nevertheless, I had my F*300 for long anyway.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Super Pentax Lens Arsenal w/ Sample Photos (Nice~)



A Pentaxian in Taiwan posted many photos of his Pentax lens collection c/w sample photos for each of his lenses:-

http://diary.blog.yam.com/shenstan
(in Traditional Chinese; Click the link of "觀看全文..." to enter page for respective lens, where you can find the sample photos..)

In the blog, you can see the Silver A50/1.2 Special, L43/1.9 Special, F50/1.4, F50/2.8 Macro, A*85/1.4, FA*24/2, FA*85/1.4, FA*200/2.8, FA*28-70/2.8, FA*80-200/2.8, DA*300/4, DA35/2.8 Macro, F100/2.8 Macro, DFA100/2.8 Macro, F1.7X, DA14/2.8, DA21/3.2, FA31/1.8 (Both Silver and Black), FA35/2, DA40/2.8, FA43/1.9, A50/1.2 (Regular), FA77/1.8 (Both Silver and Black), FA135/2.8, DA12-24/4, DA16-45/4, DA18-250/3.5-6.3, FA24-90/3.5-4.5 and FA28-105/4-5.6 and more..! What a "Wow"!! :-D

Brief history and background of each of the lenses he owns/ed is also talked about..

It is told that the author was only not satisfied with the DA50-200 and FA50/1.4 which he sold his lenses long time ago.


Read Also:-


K-r Gold/Brown Limited Pentax Lens Matching

RiceHigh's Subjective Ratings on Pentax AF Lenses on Pentax DSLRs 2010

The World First / Pentax First: My (Obsolete) Pentax Collection

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