Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Greatest Camera Firmware Hack of the Year! (1080p Video Recording with EOS 50D!)


(Above: Canon EOS 50D with 1080p video recording function!
Credit: http://www.beareyes.com.cn/2/lib/201109/01/20110901400_1.htm, Simplified Chinese)

Further to the last year famous and popular firmware hack for the GF1 for unleashing 1080p video (GF1 originally supported only 720p video recording), I have seen recently the greatest firmware hack of the year, also making 1080p video, but for the EOS 50D, which originally had NO video recording but only pure Live View function as designed! :-o

See: http://magiclantern.wikia.com/wiki/Unified
(A Chinese Tutorial can be found Here (Google-translated to English))

Well, with this hack, 1080p/30 frames video recorded in a maximum length of 12 minutes is made possible, but there will be no sound - as the 50D has no microphone built-in non there is any mic input, of course.

And some screen captures of the properties of the recorded video:-


(Credit: http://www.beareyes.com.cn/2/lib/201109/01/20110901400_2.htm, Simplified Chinese)

Disclaimer: Do anything at YOUR OWN RISK! (Though a number of successful reports have been seen in some forums.)

Wow! I just wonder why there has never been any firmware hack for any Pentax DSLR now?! Even nobody ever knows how to enter the debug mode of the current Pentax DSLRs of K-5 and K-r! Why? No hacker is using any newer Pentax body?? Or the latest Pentax DSLR firmware is so strong and secure that it can never be hacked? ;-p >_<

Btw, if there is one capable hacker in the Pentaxland, would you please hack our K-x and K-r cameras to first have 1080p video and then preferably with some kind of video motion compression codec! Thanks in Advance! ;-D

Supported Pentax DSLR Functions with Different Pentax Lenses

Read this question at the PF and I was surprised to see the reply by the site owner Adam (i.e., the first reply to the OP), which shows that Adam completely lacks the basic user/operation knowledge in using older manual (aperture) Pentax lenses on any Pentax DSLR! :-o

Maybe Adam has been given too many of the latest Pentax lenses (for "reviewing" or whatsoever) so that he has almost forgotten how older Pentax manual lenses would behave on all the Pentax digital bodies. Nevermind, I think it's my take now! Below are two summaries that I compile to let all my readers here know (or got refreshed for the knowledge if already known) about the basic technical features or limitations of our Pentax lenses back to the 60s of the last century and what they could or could not do for us with our Pentax DSLR bodies! :-)

N.B. I don't think that you can find ALL of the information below in any of the Pentax DSLR/lens user/operation manuals! ;-D


Table 1: Lens Data/Function Availability with different Pentax Lenses

Lens Data and/or Function
Provision Means
M42
K/M
_A_
_F_
_FA_
FAJ/
DA/
DAL
DFA
(1st
Gen.)
DFA
(2nd
Gen.)
Wide-opened Metering
Instant Return Aperture Coupler-
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Number of Steps Stopped-down (via Aperture Ring)
Mechanical Position Indicator-
Y
Y
Y
Y
-
Y
-
Maximum Aperture
Array of Electrical Contacts
-
-
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Minimum ApertureArray of Electrical Contacts-
-
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Focal Length
(Advanced/Serial) Electronic Communication
-
-
-
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Focus Distance
Electronic Communication-
-
-
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Lens IDElectronic Communication-
-
-
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
MTF Data
Electronic Communication-
-
-
-
Y
Y
Y
Y
Powered/Auto Zoom
Electronic Communication and KAF2 Power Contacts
-
-
-
-
S*
-
-
-
In-lens AF (SDM or DC Motor)
Electronic Communication and KAF2 Power Contacts-
-
-
-
-
S
-
-

Legend: Y= Yes/Available; "-" = No/Not Available; S = Supported depending on Lens Model (if Feature is Available)


*Remark: Limited/Partial Function - Only Auto Zoom Retract and Powered Zoom are Supported.



Table 2: Pentax DSLR Camera Function Availability with different Pentax Lenses

Body Function
M42
K/M
_A_
_F_
_FA_
FAJ/
DA/
DAL
DFA
(1st
Gen.)
DFA
(2nd
Gen.)
*Remark
Wide-opened Metering
-
-*
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Stopped-down metering is available with a push of button.
Multi-segment Metering
-
-
Y*
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Not as accurate as subject distance information is Not available (and hence is not included in the calculation).
Off-the-film TTL Flash Auto (*ist D and DS/DS2 Only)
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
TTL flash sensor underneath mirror is installed; No Pre-flash is required.
Off-the-film TTL Flash Auto (All Others)
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
No TTL flash sensor underneath mirror; P-TTL is mandatory for Auto Flash.
P-TTL
(where P stands for Pre-flash)
-
-
Y*
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
Not as accurate as subject distance information is Not available.
AF
-
-
-
Y
Y
Y
Y
Y
-
Lens Correction on Image
-
-
-
-
-/Y*
Y
Y
Y
Only the three FA Limited are Supported.

Legend: Y= Yes/Available; "-" = No/Not Available



Okay, is it and everything much clearer now? :-> And no need to make thanks to me, thank Adam instead! ;-p After all, I just won't make any reply over his premise to help others (and actually help him to make more money!) anymore (although Adam is really "kind" enough for not banning me!), as I decided and told two-and-a-half year ago! :-D


Further/Reference Read:-

K-Mount Metering and Exposure Bases - A Technical Brief

Related:-

Two Important Custom Functions for Proper Metering

Modding a Rikenon-P 50/1.7 Into an "A" Lens! :-o

Ten Things that I Want Ricoh to Do for Pentax

Hypocrites of the PentaxForums and Their Lies

Updating of my Blog Editing Direction

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Still Annoying K-5 and K-r Old Issues, Users are Pissed Off!

It seems that the product life spans of K-5 and K-r have both come near to the end. There are evidence of that K-r has been discontinued and that K-5 replacement should come in the foreseeable near future for its drastical price drops worldwide since fall October.

In fact, I have seen today that K-r in a variety of different colour options are being sold overseas, which is yet the strong sign of that K-r has been discontinued and Pentax is trying to clear the remaining stocks as soon and as far as possible (same phenomenon happened for the K-x right before when the K-r came out).

Now, I know that many Pentaxians are attracted much to buy these lower priced offers, of either the K-5 or K-r. But it is also a good time to sum up the latest issue and bug reports of both cameras, so as to avoid any possible remorses in the near future (no matter how "cheap" it would be for the purchases!):-

1. Let's see the incorrect level indication of the K-5 electronic level meter, of which the (QC?) problem seems to be still common (yes, since day one and up till now, for a year now!):-

http://forum.xitek.com/showthread.php?threadid=938063
(in Chinese, English Here (Google-translated))

http://forum.xitek.com/showthread.php?threadid=941645
(in Chinese, English Here (Google-translated))

http://www.dchome.net/viewthread.php?tid=1074731
(in English, it is reported that the error is in two to three degrees!)

The most mysterious case must be the following. This K-5 user reported that he got a new K-5, programmed/updated to new firmware, then problem arose. Got another brand new replacement unit, no issue at first, then updated the latest firmware, then the same problem appeared again! What? :-o

http://www.dchome.net/viewthread.php?tid=1081952
(in Chinese, English Here (Google-translated))

2. Next, let's look at the persistent and well-known infamous tungsten light front focusing issue of the K-r (which I confirmed on day one with systematic measurements) and here are yet two more example recent user complaints:-

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=39935224

There are various example photos posted in thread. The user regrets much, but he simply didn't know there was such a problem before he decided, although it has been indeed well-proven and well-known. Whilst a number of responders in thread expressed the view that he simply hadn't done his research works adequately and well enough, I think it is basically not his fault, but Pentax is the one whom should be blamed instead, very frankly.

And, here is an angered K-r user because of this annoying K-r issue, which he thinks that it will never be fixed! (Yes, I think he is absolutely right!):-

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=38198477

Nonetheless, I don't think the hope of this K-r user is anything realistic. It is supposed to be a hardware design flaw afterall. So, how can a new firmware cure it? >:-o

Besides, it is once again reported that the K-r also has the double-mirror flipping problem that I found both with my K-x and K-r under a bit colder weather (near about 10 deg. C something):-

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=39951317

The first replier in the above thread has yet another issue with his K-r, which locked up and the mirror got stuck and didn't go down..

Against the K-5 mirror disorder issue, which seems to be caused by higher ambient temperature. Do we still see more of those K-5 mirror flipping reports after Autumn? :-)

After all, I really hope Ricoh should seriously look into these persistent issues and should try every effort to tackle them and remove that specific bugs and latent defects. At least, these should not appear again in the coming replacement models. This is a very critical time IMHO and it should be their last chance to save the reputation of Pentax cameras in system reliability and retain customers!


Related:-

One Will Never Buy a New DSLR or Any Gear IF..

When the Electronic Level Meter is Not Accurate by Itself..

Ten Things that I Want Ricoh to Do for Pentax

Monday, November 28, 2011

Undersea Digital SLR (for One Year)! :-o



Read this Google+ post and story and it is really amazing! That EOS 1000D DSLR has been living underneath the deep sea for a whole year and that now the owner has been identified. Wow, that's the power of the Internet! Well, is that Canon camera still working? ;->

It is further told that the photo images recorded inside the card are still readable. It seems that the Sandisk Extreme III card (now that I have one 16GB card of it, which was acquired after my last Ultra II had been burnt by my K-r!) is really so sturdy and durable!

Btw, I just wonder, how the new camera was dropped into the sea? :-o


Read Also:-

Under-Water Housing for K-5/K-7

My Take (Tick) on the WG-1 GPS! ;-)

Hotax Has NOW Been Rictax! ;-D

Pentax Q DxOMark is Out



See: http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Database/Pentax/Q

And for all the detailed measurements and results:-

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Database/Pentax/Q#tabs-2

A quick comparison to the Nikon J1 (with a 1" sensor) and the Olympus XZ-1 (with a 1/1.7" sensor) reveals that the Q is rated in between. Still, don't hope for higher ISO performance for lower noise, as the standardised threshold limit for "tolerable" noise level is at ISO 189 only, i.e., less than ISO 200.

So, how about the differences when the Q is compared to micro-4/3 or even APS-C entry mirrorless cameras of the latest. See this comparison against the Oly E-PL3 and the Sony NEX-C3.

Of course, you can continue to change to any other DxO tested cameras and compare endlessly till the end of the day! I would better stop here now~ ;-D

Sunday, November 27, 2011

DA35/2.4 and DA70/2.4 Limited on Film (Large Samples, f/2.8 to f/11)



The following shots were made with the above two DA lenses on my MZ-S with Fuji Superia 200 film on a bright day and film-scanned in about 6 megapixels. Here they are:-

DA(L) 35/2.4
DA 70/2.4 Limited
f/2.8
f/2.8
f/4f/4
f/5.6f/5.6
f/8f/8
f/11
f/11

So, it is proven that both lenses are 100% Full Frame compatible. As for the optical performance (versus problems) at different apertures, it'd better for you to go measurebate and find these out by yourself! :-)


Related:-

Compatibility of DA Lenses on Full Frame

Ricoh Employs Pentax SR Technology in GXR Module (New Patent)



See: http://egami.blog.so-net.ne.jp/2011-11-25

(in Japanese, Excite English Translation Here)

It is a sensor shift image stabilisation technology that is almost identical to the current Pentax SR one afterall, I believe. So, after the Pentax requisition, Ricoh has promptly absorbed and adopted the useful intellectual property of Pentax and improvement to the existing product line has been realised. Again, it is really a good news, especially and hopefully if this new SR-ed GXR module is in K-mount! Why Not? :-D


Related:-

In-Body Anti-Shake Patents Fully Dissected

Saturday, November 26, 2011

5th Anniversary of My Blog

Today marks the 5th year anniversary of my Blog, which was founded on the 26th November of 2006. During these five years, I have written over one thousand and two hundred posts and have witnessed all the changes of Pentax and the whole camera industry as well. My Blog has been viewed and visited for over 2.7 million times and the popularity is still increasing.

Moreover, I have been able to meet people from all over the world via my Blog as the platform where we met and discussed with each others and share our views (no matter it was the same or different) in this Cyber world.

I would like to take this chance to share my happiness with all of you my readers here to celebrate the birthday of my Blog. Without you and your support, I am sure that it could not be as successful as it is now! :-)

With the new ownership of Pentax taken over by Ricoh, we shall see how Ricoh will lead Pentax into a new era and give us what new stuff with major breakthroughs and improvements and hopefully marketing success should follow! Keep up, Ricoh!


Last Related:-

10,000 Comments at My Blog

1,000 Posts of My Blog

Two Million Visits to My Blog

Ten Things that I Want Ricoh to Do for Pentax

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NEX E30 Macro Prime Vs E18-55 Kit Zoom Shootout (Infinity Scene)



The following test shots were made at very close time, in Av mode, from f/4 to f/16 in one f-stop stepping, on tripod with 2-second self-timer, Creative (Picture) Style set to be Landscape (Contrast -1, Saturation 0 and Sharpness 0). Well, the measurbation starts again! (Click to download Large Image in New Tab/Window. All EXIF preserved.)

E30/3.5 Macro
E18-55/3.5-5.6
f/4f/4
f/5.6f/5.6
f/8f/8
f/11
f/11
f/16
f/16

Some brief notes and observations:-

1. No filter was attached to both lenses during the test;

2. The E30 actually has an actual focal length wider than the E18-55 @ 30mm (where both the zoom scale and EXIF indicates that it was at 30mm). A quick check to my last shootout of the E30 against the FA28 re-confirms that its actual focal is closer to 28mm rather than to 30mm;

3. The E18-55 has better corner sharpness than the E30 throughout the whole f-range, right from the wide-opened/nearly wide-opened aperture of f/4;

4. The colour/grey rendition and central sharpness of the E30 seems to be better;

5. At and beyond f/11, the image resolution suffers and the difference between the E30 and E1855 at image corners are not so noticeable. Once again, diffraction is the true culprit!

6. The images tended to overexpose slightly more when the lenses were stopped down.

Besides, if I have the time, I shall test the performance / IQ of both lenses when they are used to shoot close objects, at closer distances. So, just wait for the next shootout! (But only if I have the time! So, no exact commitment here~ :-))


Related:-

E30/3.5 Macro Vs FA28/2.8 AL Lens Measurbation and Shootout

NEX E30/3.5 Macro Quick Samples

Sony E55-210 Vs Pentax F80-200 Brief Shootout (on NEX-3)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pentax Sponsors French Football Team



For the Year 11/12:-

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/news/announce/20111122.html

(in Japanese, Excite-translated English Page Here)

Whilst it is a good news to see Ricoh now does more things to promote Pentax (because they had the money!), it is yet surprised to find out that this news has neither been published at Pentax France website nor even the English page of the Pentax Japanese site! Never mind, I do the job for them, now it is widely publicised globally, I'm almost sure! ;-D

Now, IF I live in France, I can use my Pentax gear to take shots of the football matches and that must be great! And people might think that I am the sponsored photographer by Pentax, too, as I bet Pentax gear never appeared in sport events, almost! :-D



(Photo was taken with my NEX-3 + E30/3.5 Macro combo - I am the ONLY person who held a Pentax camera in the stadium btw, for what I could see! :-o)

DIY OM-mount ILDC/EVIL (with Small DC Sensor)



See this:-

DigiLomo Camera: The Homemade Lomography Camera

via Jimmy Yen's Blog (Traditional Chinese)

Yet another same Pentax Q concept but it is DIY! Nice~ ;-D


Related:-

Three Methods to Make Your Own Mirrorless! (K-mount or Not)

Has K-r Really Been Discontinued?

Further to my report about the possible K-r discontinuation early this month, it has been noted that B&H now lists K-r is discontinued, via Photo Rumors:-



So, this "rumour" has once been verified. However, it is still a rumour until Pentax/Ricoh will officially announce this. But, the big question still is: what will be the K-r replacement? When?

Do note that it was also hear-said that there would be no more new Pentax DSLR this year in 2011. So? (What a Marketing GAP it will be! >:-( And, I just wonder, what Ricoh has been doing?? :-o)

Update (11-24): Btw, will this be the next K-r replacement? ;-p



(Source: http://ajouerle.deviantart.com/art/The-coolest-looking-camera-ever-269492351)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Japanese Pentax Cash Rebate

http://www.pentax.jp/japan/products/q/cashback.html

5,000 Japanese Yens (about US$64) for purchasing the Pentax Q and SDM/DA* Lenses and 30,000 Yens for the 645D. The period covered is from tomorrow till the end of January 2012.

If you now live in Japan, will you buy the promotional Pentax items just because of this rebate?

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Pentax Q Reviews (PZ Q-02 Test, a Q User Review and DC Watch Super-tele Lens Adoption)

1. The latest test on Q "02" standard zoom is published at the PhotoZone:-

http://www.photozone.de/pentaxq/687-pentaxq515f2845?start=1

The distortion is found to be even more severe than that of the Q "01" prime, at a rather terrible level!

And, let's look at the posted samples, I don't think it is anything better than what I can get from my WG-1 (My Samples/Full Review Here and Here). In contrast, I've found that the WG-1 images do have better per pixel sharpness (the P-Q pictures always look Soft!) and the colour rendition of the WG-1 pics also look better than what the Pentax Q produces! Noise at the base ISO isn't that unnoticeable as previously expected, neither. Just look at the blue sky in various samples. And at only ISO 250, the noise in the blue sky is already very obstructive and it is indeed looking really bad.

2. I think we have more than enough measurbation reviews these days for the Pentax Q. So, here is a Pentax Q review from a pure user perspective:-

http://wouter28mm.wordpress.com/2011/11/10/my-pentax-q-impressions/

After all, the P-Q would look better if we appreciate its design concept like this! :-D

3. The famous Japanese DC Watch gear reviewer and editor, Mr. 伊達淳一, has published his practical Q test review (Google English translation here) with the adoption of telescope lens and yet a Tokina ATX 100mm Macro lens on the Q and made some super-square-tele shots for birds and etc. The results are posted. Enjoy!

In particular, just see how he modified the Q for better view-finding.. Impressive?! :-o




Related:-

What to Do When a Mirrorless Has No EVF? :-o

Thursday, November 17, 2011

DPR has Just Posted 645D Full Samples

http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/reviewsamples/albums/pentax-645d-sample-gallery

It's measurbation time again! Go go go! ;-D

Btw, it is also told that their studio testing will be continued that means that a full review is coming. But, I just wonder, why DPR has been so late for such a full review for the 645D, or even that they are just so late to post only that few samples from the camera! Why? >:-o

Disassemble and Repair the M50/1.4 Lens


(Image Source: http://kmp.bdimitrov.de/lenses/primes/normal/M50f1.4.html)

See: http://www.bigeye.url.tw/big5/d_p50_1_4.htm

(Traditional Chinese, Google English Translation Here)


Read Also:-

Disassemble the DA21 Limited (and the Secret of the QSF Mechanism)

DIY Again: Disassemble (and Repair) a DA* 50-135!

Disassemble a DAL 18-55

Disassemble the Old Takumar-F 28-80 Zoom Lens

Disassemble the Pentax-F 70-210 Zoom Lens

Auto 110 Lenses on NEX




http://blog.dcview.com/article.php?a=Az0IagVtBDMBZQ%3D%3D

(Traditional Chinese, Google English Translation Here)

Five out of the six Auto 110 lenses, namely, 18/2.8, 24/2.8, 50/2.8, 70/2.8 and 20-40/2.8 were adapted and tested. Various sample photos in small size are posted.

The pictures look nice. Once again, we've learnt that Pentax optics, are, often great! (But of course we need a digital body, too! The NEX and adaptor do the job this time.)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

K-r and K-x are Much Different!



Many people (especially those who have never used both cameras) mis-believe that they are close and similar enough and that the IQ *should be* the same. Yes, on paper it probably is. But after prolonged and extensive use of both cameras myself. I do find them to be quite different in many ways, from the IQ, to operation, and accuracy and them system performance, which I list the obvious ones as below:-

IQ aspect - colour response

The colour response of the K-x and K-r are different. With the same Custom Image (CI) and the same default parameters, they produce different colours. This can be confirmed when using the same lens and take pictures on the same scene side-by-side. Just say the Natural CI of the K-x is less saturated than the Natural CI of the K-r and that the Portrait CI of the K-x is more colour accurate than the Portrait CI of the K-r, which produces exaggerated Canikon entry level DSLRs alike colours.

IQ aspect - noise handling

The noise handling and behaviours at higher ISO of the K-x and K-r are somehow different. It seems that the K-r processes noise in a smoother way and image is less "discrete" after processing, which could look more pleasing especially when viewed at pixel level. However, for some cases, the K-x would retain more image details.

Operation - Handling and Build Quality

The K-x always feel more solid when held in hands, plus it is indeed somehow smaller (and slightly lighter too).

Operation/Performance - LiveView/Movie CDAF

Obviously, the CDAF of K-r is faster. And it seems to be more accurate too. The zooming-in of the part of image being focusing is also the unique characteristic of the K-r (ditto for the K-5), which cannot be disabled anyway.

Operation - Movie Recording

Despite both K-x and K-r are recording movie in Motion JPEG in 720p, I found that the Codecs used in the two cameras are NOT the same! I did encounter different playback behaviours/software compatibility issue with the K-r and K-x recorded videos. Say for example, with the same software player on the same machine, the K-x video could be played flawlessly whilst the K-r's could be played without sound. So, Pentax must have made some changes to the video codec, but yet which we do not know.

System Performance - Continuous AF

The K-r is the first Pentax DSLR that I found that the C-AF does work better and is practical to use in conjunction with the continuous shooting mode. It could keep track with the object with reasonably higher successful rate with acceptable focus (less OOF and blur) than the K-x and any other previous Pentax DSLRs. Indeed, putting a set of Lithium battery into the K-x could help it to focus faster but as for the C-AF successful rate, the difference is not noticeable (even the AF motor does turn faster).

System Performance - Continuous Shooting

Obviously, the actual frame rate of the K-r is much higher than that of the K-x, and is indeed is even better than that of the K-7.

But one thing I note that is in continuous shooting mode, the exposure of pictures in JPEG mode is not adjusted anymore, versus of what the camera will do in single-frame advance mode. As a result, it is quite likely that the user would see more under or over exposed pictures than normal, i.e., in single-frame advance mode. After all, the image processor must adjust something, so as to compensate for the exposure errors with different lenses (which was a true headache with all those older Pentax DSLRs, since the *ist D).

System Reliability - AF Accuracy

K-x does NOT front focus and back focus as much as the K-r when different lenses are mounted and especially under tungsten light environment, which with the K-r large degree of front focusing *must* be resulted. After all, the focusing accuracy of the K-x is better, and IMHO that it is even more stable than the K-5 for what I tested (that was one of the main reasons why I cancelled my K-5 purchase order! :-(). The K-x does have shift to front focus under tungsten light, but that amount of the shift is less than the K-r's such that the impact is not as dominant.

So, after all, I found that the two cameras are different and they do have different pros and cons of each own. But coincidently, they complement each other for many of the pros and cons and as such, I would select either K-x or K-r of mine for different shooting purposes for what each of them will perform better! For instance, if I need better image colour and focusing accuracy, I use the K-x. On the other hand, if I need need to shoot fast object and use continuous AF/higher frame rate, I use the K-r.

N.B. In order to have higher AF accuracy of the K-x, it *must* be debugged for the AF at the first place.

JUST Believe any or all of the above or not, as I would provide no further proof nor evidence. Nevertheless, I do hope that the above could be useful for all those Pentax users who are still deciding between the K-x and K-r, putting aside the most annoying battery issue of the K-x, of which finding a stable rechargeable power source is simply a headache! But then recently I have almost tackled this problem completely, nonetheless. Why I say that it is "almost"? It is just because the total energy capacity of the LiFePO4 rechargeable is still lower than desired, although it is not really much lower than any NiMH before the camera cuts off, just at slightly dropped lower voltage of the batteries.

Hair Dry a Dead SDM Does Work (Again)!

Further to the last big discover for how to revive a dead SDM even the last method didn't work, I've seen this report lately which verifies that the new (escalated) method does work to bring back live again for a dead (stuck?) SDM! :-o

http://www.pentaxiani.it/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=49524&start=15#p678566

(Google English Translation Here)

Nice! Should Pentax should include these two methods into their service manuals of all the SDM lenses such that they need not to provide expensive quotations to the SDM users anymore for total SDM replacements and at least Pentax should try these low-cost repair methods at the first place instead! ;-D

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

PhotoZone New Lens Test on the Q "01" Prime (with a New Resolution Rating System)

http://www.photozone.de/pentaxq/688-pentaxq85f19?start=1

Well, the distortion is really "extra-ordinary" for a prime! The diffraction comes into play for anything beyond f/4! (This was what I "predicted" long ago!) The most interesting thing on PZ part is that the LW/PH figures are not published anymore, as it is just about 70% as good as the micro-4/3 as briefly and vaguely told but yet it is still marked good to excellent in the "IQ" charts for "better" representation.. >:-[

At the same time, I'm afraid that the quality and reference value of the PZ lens test reports are also degenerating, with the introduction of such an "improved" less-embarrassing resolution rating system (to some manufacturers)! :-o Klaus, what do you think? (Of course, you do have some good reasons of your own to do so, don't you?)

Cityscape Time Lapse Videos (Hong Kong and Tokyo)



Gear used: Panasonic GH2 + 14-140 & 25mm lenses; Source: http://vimeo.com/31413518



Gear used: Sony NEX-5N + Nikkor and Tokina lenses; Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIZiepwNRNw

Via: Sony Alpha NEX Blog

Nice works!


View also:-

A Pentax Q Time-lapse Example Video

A 45k-image 3-year Time-lapse Video with the K110D

Japanese DSLR/ILDC/DC Market Shares Jan. to Oct. 2011

See what BCN reports: http://www.bcn.co.jp/sys_imgs/co_press/pdf/2011111009583380262.pdf

Via: http://bcnranking.jp/news/1111/111114_21404.html

The above are in Japanese. In short, below are what we've learnt from the report and are concerned about:-

DSLR Brand Share:-

Rank
Brand
Share
1
Canon
43.7%
2
Nikon
41.4%
3Pentax
7.3%
4
Others
7.6%

Total:
100%

So, the good news is that Pentax still survives and yet wins over Sony for their SLT cameras, whom should be the last "major" player in the category. However, the negative fact is that the market share of Pentax is indeed very low, nevertheless.

ILDC (Mirrorless) Brand Share:-

Rank
Brand
Share
1
Olympus
37.1%
2
Panasonic
29.5%
3
Sony
29.3%
4
Others
4.1%

Total:
100%

As for the mirrorless, Olympus is actually still the market leader and that they have been doing very well, as in the past. Not sure about where the company will go in the future after the big historical Japanese financial scandal, though. It's really sad after all, to see such an innovative camera maker and company to be spoiled like this! :-(

Besides, the DC market seems to be more evenly distributed, just see the following results of the Top 3:-

Compact DC Brand Share:-

Rank
Brand
Share
1
Canon
16.6%
2
Sony
15.2%
3
Casio
14.6%
4
Others
53.6%

Total:
100%


Read Also (External Links):-

CIPA Digital Camera Shipment Statistics

CIPA Interchangeable Lens Shipment Statistics

Monday, November 14, 2011

Virtually Compare the Sizes of Different Cameras

At the CameraSize.com, e.g.:-

http://camerasize.com/compare/#146,190

It can be seen in the above comparison that the Pentax Q is close in size to a W90, but *without* the lens! :-o (The sensor size is the same, though.) Btw, the database is being built-up and accumulated for more models. And there are only 3 Pentax models listed so far. Yet, I do find that this website is useful and it comes in handy when the sizes of cameras are needed to be compared, and also for the weight too. Nice concept and good works! The web interface is easy to use and fast to load, too. Keep it up, guys! :-)

Pentax Q's SR Function Does Not Work with Non-Q/Adapted Lenses

I've seen some new Q users complained about that the SR of P-Q was disabled when using manual lenses via adaptors..

In fact, this has been already stated and well documented in the user manual (Page 97, the last footnote of the Item #4 about SR function). So, what is the fuss about? :-)


Related:-

Kipon C-mount and D-mount Adaptors to Pentax Q-mount

Pentax Succeeded to Adapt ALL Lenses and Mounts on Earth, with the Assistance from 3rd Party!

Official Pentax K to Q Convertor/Adaptor is Coming! :-o

More K-to-Q Adaptor Product Images

When the Sensor Outresolves the Lens..

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Deer in the Forest ;->

A snapshot I've taken today:-



Interesting? :-)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

LiFePO4 AA Batteries - Part 3: Weight Comparisons


(Body Only)



Well, the pictures speak for themselves! :-D Btw, do you think that it is efficient to carry 23% more weight on top of that's of the camera body just for the batteries? (And especially consider that the performance of that heavy NiMHs is not that good..)


Related:-

LiFePO4 AA Batteries - Part 2.75: Charge / Discharge & Recharge Test

LiFePO4 AA Batteries - Part 2.5: More Voltage Measurements and Quick Comparison

LiFePO4 AA Batteries - Part 2: Unboxing

New Lithium Rechargable Battery Type in AA Format - LiFePO4

(Sony NEX) E30/3.5 Macro Vs (Pentax) FA28/2.8 AL Lens Measurbation and Shootout (Wide Opened to f/16)



The following test shots were made at very close time, in Av mode, from wide opened to f/16 in one f-stop stepping, on tripod with 2-second self-timer, no OIS of course as both lenses have none!, Creative (Picture) Style set to be Landscape (Contrast -1, Saturation 0 and Sharpness 0). So, here we go! (Click to download Large Image in New Tab/Window to measurbate! All EXIF preserved.)



E30/3.5 Macro
FA28/2.8 AL
f/3.5
f/2.8
f/4f/4
f/5.6f/5.6
f/8f/8
f/11
f/11
f/16
f/16

Okay, I still would like to give some brief observations of mine:-

1. The FA lens has a warmer tone and the Sony is cooler and looks more "digital";

2. The overall image sharpness of the FA28 is better at f/4 and f/5.6, this is especially obvious for the corner sharpness. The E30 is not bad neither, but it is just that not as good, IMHO!

3. At f/8 and f/11, it seems that yet the E30 has some little edge in having more resolution in the image centre;

4. Starting from f/11, image sharpness has actually decreased across the frame, regardless of which lens is used. At f/16, the resolution is further decreased. Yes, diffraction is the culprit, as the Law of Physics must always be obeyed! :-o

5. Okay, I'd better to stop my comments at this point. Any other observations from your side are welcome! Your take is encouraged! ;->

Well, if you just don't like measurbation shots but would like to see some real-world samples of mine (by no means good photos of course!), here is my last report:-

NEX E30/3.5 Macro Quick Samples


View Also:-

Sony E55-210 Vs Pentax F80-200 Brief Shootout (on NEX-3)

LiFePO4 AA Batteries - Part 2.75: Charge / Discharge & Recharge Test

I charged up my all four LiFePO4 batteries and put them into my Tayami QuickDrive R/C racing car with the four dummy batteries.

The fresh charged-up battery voltage for two LiFePO4s was 6.8V in total and both sets are measured to be about the same. The car was then driven in a full-sized football court in full speed for about 10 minutes. It seemed that the overall weight of the car with batteries was just too light but yet it had too much power such that I could feel that it slipped around more seriously especially for sharper/acuter turns where the control was lost momentarily. Unlike NiMHs, which heated up seriously for this high and continuous current drain application, the LiFePO4s only warmed up very slightly. The proves that this type of new rechargeable battery technology is really very suitable for high drain applications. It also explains why large-size electric cars also use it.

The batteries got exhausted after playing the car for more than ten minutes, which I think to be about half the time for what my 2450/2650 Energizer NiMH batteries could deliver (but the achieved maximum running speed is lower). And as I've mentioned above, the NiMHs always heated up very seriously whenever high current was drained continuously and for longer period.

The exhausted LiFePO4 voltage was then measured. It was found to be 5.2V for two (but only about 2.4 to 2.5V for each). At this low voltage, the batteries actually could not deliver any large enough current for the device to be workable.

After this full charge, I then recharged the LiFePO4 batteries with the charger, now it required for more then one and a half hour to fully charge them again. As before, the fresh charged voltage for two is 6.8V. And, this time the batteries are warmer then what I charged them for the first time for half-depleted/half-full batteries, but yet, the charging process is surely not as hot as that of the NiMH batteries with my expensive Maha charger.

So, the conclusion about the battery performance is once again that LiFePO4 is clearly superior to that NiMH old-tech and the total usable energy capacity is really not as low as it is specified, as all the battery juice has been almost used before the device cut off itself because of low voltage that is reached prematurely.

Okay, this is the end of my this purely text-based report. I blog, you decide!~ (If you still can~~)

Friday, November 11, 2011

LiFePO4 AA Batteries - Part 2.5: More Voltage Measurements and Quick Comparison

Here is the quick report. Tested the fully charged LiFePO4 in my K-x. I intentionally forced the AF assist flash light to light up that fires continuously in a chain and fired more flash shots afterwards. The AF is found to be fast and the camera operates flawlessly. Everything works fine as it should be (exposure and focusing accuracy are good) and of course the camera works obviously faster than using any NiMH batteries, as Energizer AA Lithiums (model L91) always do.

Tried also continuous Hi shooting mode for several chains of shots until the camera slows down, no problem of any. LiveView was also enabled so as to drain more battery juice purposely.

Now my K-x is even lighter than using 4 disposable AA Lithium of the L91), but the LiFePO4 batteries should be placed in the central two battery slots to enable better weight balance of which the difference can be noticed if they are placed differently elsewhere (for the different combinations of real and dummy hollow batteries) .

Okay, before I can really tell more about the battery life in actual use. I have done some more voltage measurements and comparison for the make-up voltage for fresh and used L91 against those of the LiFePO4 batteries as below. I used the AA battery holder/adaptor D-BH109 for my K-r to do the job and the measurements have been made at near the same time with the same voltmeter:-

Fresh L91, ~6.8V:-


Used L91, ~6.1V:-


Fresh LiFePO4, ~6.8V:-


Used LiFePO4, ~6.2V:-


So, it can be safely concluded that the voltage characteristics of 4 x L91s and 4 x LiFePO4s are very close and similar. The capacity of the LiFePO4s should be lower, though. I shall tell more about its exact real-life battery life later on by the picture counter, as the first set has not yet been exhausted but only that the voltage has been found to be decreased/dropped significantly already, as seen in the above.

Btw, I think my this battery (also an entry level camera hacking) project has been succeeded!~ :-D


Previous Related:-


LiFePO4 AA Batteries - Part 2: Unboxing

New Lithium Rechargable Battery Type in AA Format - LiFePO4

NEX E30/3.5 Macro Quick Samples (Large + Full Sized)

See my latest quick/initial sample album of 22 shots:-

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v313/RiceHigh/NEX/E30_1st_Samples/

The day is overcast but yet somehow bright. Most of the plants and insects are quite small, e.g., the ladybug is at the size smaller than the fingernail. The problem of this type of wide macro is that the lens should come very close to the object for large magnification. When I moved closer, the ladybug discovered me and it then ran away quickly! :-(

N.B. The above photos in album are resized in 4,000 pixels in width, full size original pictures are available for download per picture page. Full EXIF info are available for both.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

LiFePO4 AA Batteries - Part 2: Unboxing (and Also Some New NEX E30/3.5 Macro Samples)

Continued from the last story, my LiFePO4 pack has just arrived today! :-D



The package I purchased including a dual-slot charger, which can accommodate either two AA or AAA sized batteries, four LiFePO4 AA batteries plus four dummy AA sized conductors, two 4xAA battery holder/case and a pack of 50 sheets of lens paper as the gift. These altogether cost me for RMB68 (roughly equals to US$11), delivery charge (RMB50) excluded.

Just side track a bit to mention that the free lens paper is not as clean and tidy as the Kodak one that I have been using for decades, but it seems to be softer and not as abrasive! :-o

I plugged in the charger and unpacked the rechargeables. The build quality of the charger seems to be quite good but the unloading action is not that smooth. It can be seen that when there is no battery in the charger, the LED light shows blinking Green and Red at interlace, although after the following photo shows that it looks like in green:-



The voltage values of two not yet charged batteries newly picked out from the pack are shown below, at about 3.3V and near 3.5V respectively (full scale defection was set at 12V):-





I inserted the batteries into the charger, the LED lights turned Red:-



Besides, the unboxing photos taken in this Blog post are all made with my newly purchased Sony E-mount 30/3.5 Macro lens on my NEX-3. I have tested the lens initially for some both indoor and outdoor shots and found that the lens is actually quite sharp, even at wide opened. The centre sharpness is unbeatable. See two selected original (i.e., not retouched) 100% viewing crops below:-


(100% Crop: E30/3.5 at f/5 and 1/50s, ISO 800 on NEX-3)


(100% Crop: E30/3.5 at f/5 and 1/50s, ISO 1600 on NEX-3)

Next, the batteries were fully charged within an hour, maybe the batteries had been charged somehow in the factory. After the charge was completed, the LED light shown Green. Before that, it toggled between Green and Red for some time, meaning that the charging was not continuous at that intermediate stage.

And I did also note that the charging channels of the charger are working independently, see this:-



After the charge was completed, the LED lights turned Green, I picked out the batteries to measure the voltage and found that both are now near 3.6V (open circuit, no load):-







Okay, now these batteries are ready to be tested inside my beloved K-x except for the annoying rechargeable battery issue, will test more thoroughly and report back later in the next part! To be continued..

Last but not least, more NEX E30/3.5 Large size sample photos will also come! :-D (I hope to post some real-world shots if it allows! ;->)

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