Web Analytics RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: November 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Measurbation with Real-world Photos! ;-D

The more I used my K-m, the more I appreciate its Image Quality. As a measurbator, I do always view the photos I took in 100% full size to see if its IQ performance aspects are up to my expectations. Honestly speaking, I rarely shot test charts, brick walls or newspapers, all my measurbations are done with real-world photos! ;-D

Well, this time I post some of my recent examples, the 100% crops are also included (with all EXIF data retained). Lens used is my recently mechanically exposure calibrated FA 24-90 AL:-

I must mention that the exposure accuracy is good, colour accuracy is really good and the AF accuracy is not bad either. Of course, the resolution is just very high, which meets most of my needs anyway.

Enjoy! Happy Measurbating, Until the End of the World!! ;-|>

Real Also:- My K-m Review, Tips and Tricks

Friday, November 27, 2009

RiceHigh's Pentax Blog - Three Years

Yesterday was the 3-year birthday of My Blog. Three years have gone and over 1.13 million of pages have been viewed by various different people around the world.

Recently, I think there have been a lot of more choices for you to go for reading about Pentax news. But if you have to find a major blog that is dedicated to Pentax of which the author pays to write instead of being paid to write or run a site (including putting in Ads or asking for Donations), I think Here is Still the Only Place that you can find and should go! So, mine is unique! :-)

So, why is it so important to keep my site non-money related (no matter how it is packaged) and Ad-free and non-commercial. I think my first article at this Blog will help:- Why This Blog?

Last Related Article:- RiceHigh's Pentax Blog - 1,000,000 Page-Views

The Only Pentax AF TC Ever Made - SMC F 1.7X AF

First, look at the background information about the "lens" here:-


Well, it is not a real AF Tele-Convertor, but just an AF Adaptor, which was designed to adapt MF lens on it and then do the AF within the "TC".

Recently, I have come across an interesting post at the DPR in which a Pentaxian reports that he has acquired a F 1.7X AF TC that was made in Vietnam in 2008, with photos posted:-


One of the photos linked:

Well, the most interesting thing of this report is that it shows that the supposed 1997 discontinued (according to the information as documented at the Bojidar's K-mount Page) F TC is actually still in production and the production has even been moved to Vietnam! Possibly at the Pentax's lens plant there, which was originally set up to produce new (digital) lenses of Pentax back to 2003.

But what I really don't understand is that why Pentax still needs to waste her already rather limited resources to produce an old style and outdated designed lens back to 1987? In fact, they have never introduced a real AF Tele-Convertor or Extender (but not an AF *Adaptor*), whilst Kenko did that already back to around 1995 (IIRC), for the K-mount. (Well, I have two of these by Kenko.)

And, the last time I could find the AF TC in Tokyo was back to 2005. In 2006, when I re-visited Tokyo again, I could not see it carried by any shop anymore. The following photo was taken in Easter 2005, at a large Tokyo camera chain shop (EXIF contained):-

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ten DA/DFA Lenses Officially Discontinued! New Lineup/Format to Come?



Historical & Discontinued Products - Lenses

DA Date Introduced
smcp-DA 16-45/4 ED AL Dec. '03
smcp-DA 14/2.8 ED IF June '04
smcp-DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL Dec. '04
smcp-D FA Macro 50mm F2.8 Dec. '04
smcp-D FA Macro 100mm F2.8 Dec. '04
smcp-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited Feb. '05
smcp-DA 50-200mm F4.0-5.6 ED Jun. '05
smcp-DA 12-24mm F4.0 ED AL [IF] Nov. '05
smcp-DA Fish-Eye 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 ED[IF] Jan. '06
smcp-DA 21mm F3.2AL Limited Jul. '06

So, why Pentax has discontinued so many DA lenses?? Even the two DA Limited Primes are Discontinued! What are the *Replacements*? Nil? (At least up to this moment there is None!) Some to Come? Something New? Some Revolution In Progress?? :-o

Prepared for the Full Frame? Run Out of Business? (IF the Demand of those Discontinued Lenses are Actually Just Too Low?) Anyway, I really hope that the previous "leaked" rumour for the "new" lens roadmap is true. And yes, Pentax hasn't updated the lens roadmap since March 3 this year. That's true. And, that 3-3 "Update" contained only Deletion of previously announced products, but not Addition!

In fact, all the happenings have just strongly hinted that the development of the DA lenses has been come to an end, at least what we can buy now are what Pentax had planned more than one year ago. Even worse, now with the discontinuation of 10 Digital Lenses, I'm much afraid that the Pentax digital system has now become a lame one, as choice is much limited for such a rather incomplete current lens system.

Update (11-27):

The Official Canadian Pentax page has been updated (about twelve hours after I posted my this Blog entry and the news was wide spreading worldwide!), all DA lenses are removed from the list/page. Well, Pentax officials do read my Blog? Welcome to be one of my readers, Pentax! ;-D

If you want to see the original page, you can view the Google Cache dated November 19 for the original page, here.

So, this act only hints that either the stuff published are totally true (but is inappropriate to tell) or there has been an error. But I do believe that it is just the former case!

Besides, there is yet a post at the Pentax Forums about the news in which my name was mentioned and my Blog was linked, but then I noticed that very shortly the PF site owner, our holy and now rich Adam, removed all those completely by editing the poster's original post and the thread was closed:-


Adam, your iron hand is really well executed! But in order to eliminate your additional efforts to edit any PF members' posts whenever they post my name and links in the future, I just suggest that you should implement an automatic word replacement/deletion feature and your server just knows to delete any links to my site whenever your members type them in! That is very easy to do and I guarantee that you will continue to have such posts in the future! Btw, I will be glad to be the first and only one added by you into your holy PF site! Nevermind! :-)

Whilst you like to do thing like that, Adam, I shall continue to point to your site and mention your name whenever the contents are relevant and "useful"! I am just not so narrow-minded afterall!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Pentax Reviews

Japanese Impress DC Watch has reviewed the K-x, here it is:-

(Google Translation in English Here)

Various full-size sample photos, taken with different settings and lenses, are posted.

On the other hand, Photozone has reviewed the DA* 55/1.4 SDM:-


Well, putting aside that Klaus is still using a totally outdated K10D to do his review, there are some interesting findings and unbiased comments about the lens. Go figure out yourself.

Pentax Digital Camera Utility 4 Updater Available


PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 (Version 4.11) Windows Updater

[Main changes from Version 4.00]

  • Support for the K-x camera
  • Added [Picture: Blue Sky] and [Picture: Sunset] on Image data display of the custom.
  • Added [Cross Processing] on Image Data display.
  • Added lens data – [smc PENTAX-DA L55-300mmF4-5.8 ED]
  • It is maintained the status of Image data display and Histogram display on main image display window.
  • Corrected - When viewing rotated image such as rotated by Windows Photo gallery, it may shut down the software.
  • Corrected - When cancel [Bold] of [Indicate changes in Image Data During Frame Advance], it is not canceled.
  • Corrected - When display image that is captured with AF select, AF area mode on Image Data is displayed [- - - -].
  • When [Save as….] is selected, image cannot overwrite to original file. It is changed to enable overwrite with permission of user.
  • Corrected - The value of the white balance fine-tuning is not reflected to Fine tune of camera setting on White balance setting.
  • Corrected - The coordinate value of Cropping is not reflected on the image.
  • Improved stability of general performance.

Monday, November 16, 2009

K-x Battery Issue and Tests (YouTube Demos)

K-x with NiMH batteries:-

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLPKgoG76bw

The wonky battery indicator may surprise and scare you much! (But not me, as I predicted that in the beginning, long time ago! :->)

View also the same K-x unit with Lithium batteries, by the same tester:-

URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBmLxdUlkW8

And, there is no problem!

Increasing Pixel Count on APS-C DSLRs is Actually Silly

Just see this blog article and I have to agree with most of the opinions and comments of that guy who has eagle eyes!


Actually, I had similar observations and comments when the DPR K-7 review is out. I have to say that DPR staff and crew have done great jobs for their recent reviews, in which their comments and conclusions drawn and made are really quite different from what their own testing pictures would say and tell! Well Done, Phil and guys! :-D

Sunday, November 15, 2009

(Hardware) Exposure Adjustment of Pentax Lenses

Back to July, I promised I should write and publish this article. But since I have been rather busy for months, this technical article has been postponed and now here it is!

In the following, I'll try to write it as short and present it as simple as possible for the easiest reading and also to save my own time! ;-)

Disclaimer: Before going on, you should read and know that you do anything at your own risk. You are the one who knows well what you are doing and great care must be taken for each step of the "surgery", no matter how simple it would be! Do note that the surgery is non-destructive and do no harm to your lens, provided that you don't damage the lens yourself carelessly and don't drop/lose any component of the lens throughout the course!

Hints: Find a clean desktop and environment as the working bench. Put a larger white paper on the "workbench" so that anything on it can be clearly seen, even just in case anything is accidentially dropped. Find a bright white light source, e.g. a desk lamp with white fluorescent light, so that you can see clearly all the things on the paper.

To do the (hardware) adjustment, first you need to open the rear side of the lens, there are three screws to unscrew around the lens mount:-

The First One:- (NOT the one ON the Mount but AROUND the Mount)

The Second One:- (The One in Adjacent to the Orange Spot)

The Third One:- (The One at the Top as shown in the Picture Below)

Next, you can detach the protective plastic ring of the lens rear:-

Then, look inside the lens, you can see the mechanical aperture coupler, which has two screws to fix it:-

There are some red glue on the screw heads, just feel free to unscrew the screws as the glue will be taken off very easily.

Well, look at the above diagram, you should note that the opening of the lens coupler base is not exactly a circle which should ideally/theoretically at the same size as the diameter of the screws (i.e., just a little bit larger). Instead, these are intentionally made with more rooms left at both sides..

Now, the "trick" is here. In fact, you can easily fix the screw anywhere as you like, along the "track". For example:-

Above: Aperture coupler "pushed" to the extreme Left, such that it is pushed to the Left where the Aperture Coupler is Fixed. (Oppositely, the Screws are at the Extreme Right.) See Below:-

The testing exposure result at this position is as below, shot at 1/30, F4 at ISO 800, at 29mm, as below:-

Note that the Histogram is Centred..

Then, I moved the aperture coupler to the extreme Right (Or, the Screws are at the Extreme Left now)..

Here is the exposure result, at the "same" F4, 1/30th second, at 29mm at ISO 800:-

Do note that the Histogram is Now Shifted to the Left, that is, Underexposed!

Well, how much exposure change then? I intentionally apply a +1/3EV more exposure "compensation" to the shutter speed and I got the following:

As expected, the Histogram is more or less Centered now. So, the exposure difference for the two extreme hardware adjustment and calibration is 1/3EV.

From my experiences, do note that each lens behaves a bit differently and you have to calibrate one by one with a good lens that you are satisfied with the exposure and found to be "accurate" as the Prime Reference and Calibration Basis.

One other thing to note is that: After the adjustment, the maximum aperture may be affected or not - well, you can observe the aperture opening/blades' position just in case if you can yet see a little portion of them even when the lens is pushed wide opened at the "A" position. But from my experience, this is neglectible at the largest aperture as the area is large(st) when the lens is wide opened (for wide-opened metering). In contrast, when the lens starts to be stopped down, the *actual* f-value change and difference can be significant.

So, one would wonder if how this 1/3 EV exposure difference (sometime can be 1/2 or more, depending on each specific lens) could affect proper exposure? Just don't ask me! For those who knows, who knew! (And if you disagree, please just don't try to argue with me!)

To me, the exposure consistency plus accuracy is of prime importance, when I changed one lens from another. So, this adjustment is of prime importance to me. I am glad that I discovered this and now I can make the exposure accuracy of my original Pentax lenses to be better, and most importantly, more consistent! (I am also very glad and feel proud of that I can share my this finding with all you here, at my Blog!)

Frankly speaking, my EOS lenses suffer from the same exposure errors by the EF lens itself. Different EF lens of mine was found to be have an error of +/-1/3EV (I have six EF lenses right now, 3 L zooms and 3 EF Primes), which I compensate the in-born error by exposure compensation each time I mount a different EF lens on my EOS body.

I just wonder when camera manufacturers are now all implementing an Focus Adjustment "feature" on all high end DSLR models of them. Why not just implement also an "Exposure Adjustment" for each specific lens, when it is required (and must be required, IMO), in addition to the Focus Adjustment? In fact, this feature is also much and very useful. Practically, the lens and camera makers just couldn't make each of their lenses produced with absolute exposure accuracy and consistency. So, Why Not?

Anyway, as for my Pentax lenses, I can DIY, hardware wise, which is actually even better! =Victory=

As a Final Reminder Once Again: Do Anything At Your Own Risk IF YOU are tempted to risk and take any potential risk! :-D

Blog Trailer for Next Technical Article: Dust Cleaning Methods/Solutions for Pentax DSLRs Compared (My Personal Experiences and Techniques to be Shared)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

YAHOO Web Hosting SUCKS!

This was what Yahoo announced and advertised before they closed the Geocities on October 26:-


Quoted:- "What You Need to Do
Not much! After October 26, 2009, when GeoCities closes, your friends and family will still be able to view your web site as usual. When you sign in to your GeoCities Control Panel, we'll show you how to move your entire GeoCities account — including your files, images, and monthly bill — to Yahoo! Web Hosting with just a few clicks."

"During this process, we'll ask you to choose a domain name. A personalized domain name (such as widgetdesigns.com) can make your site look more professional — and you'll get one free as part of your new service. After you choose a domain, you can manage your site with your new Web Hosting tools. We'll also redirect visitors from your GeoCities web address to your domain."

I was so naive to believe what they said. On October 29, I was asked to choose a domain name. I followed exactly all the procedures as prompted, entered all the information and most importantly, paid immediately as required, for $20.85 for 3 months for the first payment! Then I was waiting for my new domain to be and my site to be online again. But since then, nothing happened, my domain has ever "Pending" and has NEVER been Active and my site has been all down! It has now been more than two weeks (but they promised three days)! And, all my files cannot be found and they are all gone! (When the files are all gone, "redirect" what??)

In addition to the never-active domain, I have tried to re-upload some of my old html pages to see if re-direction works (as there is a temporary page link before my domain works, if it could). Unfortunately, this re-direction doesn't work neither, all of my old Geocities links will only be forwarded to the temporary main page of my pending domain. See this example for my K-mount Technical Page (of which I have uploaded the html page for testing). Click the link and you will know! :-(

I send several emails to the Yahoo "Support", they seldom responded and each time I have to send a number of emails and waited for days before I could get a totally useless and irresponsible response. It seems that they don't care for anything. The ONLY thing that they have succeeded to do was to bill me immediately before anything happened. Since that and then, they have NOT provided me any service and nothing has worked. In fact, what they have done are Indifferent from Thieves and Robbers, if I had to describe what has been happening!

Anyway, now what I have to do is to cancel the Yahoo account and urge my money back. But I bet they would rob me without giving me back my money and ignore completely till the end of the days. YAHOO! is simply Robber!

Btw, for the days to come, I shall repair the death Blog pictures and images first and I shall give priorities to blog images and then the pictures and links contained in those more popular articles. I think it is just impossible for me to repair all the death links but I shall choose to recover those as far as possible, one by one, with priority.

Next, if time allows, I shall choose to re-publish (and maybe also update) some of the useful and key old articles of mine, like the K-mount Technical Page, Exposure Bases and Testing Page, Flash Technologies and P-TTL Page and so on..

Finally, I apologise once again hereby to my readers for all the inconvenience caused. It is just my fault to trust the Yahoo! despite that their past track records are really rather poor - my only hope was to keep my old links without any changes, but now surely it is in vain! I don't mind to pay more expensively, but even I paid, it didn't work! (and possibly it will never work!)

Update (11-23):

Yahoo finally admitted there were issues and they have just resolved all those a few days after their had acknowledged all the issues that I had reported and they apologised also.

I did accept their apologies. This story tells once again if problems persist and the service provider or the product manufacturer just ignores the problems but just only know playing around and try to fool the customers and users, the situations will only deteriorate and the customers will go away, with anger.

In fact, I have been finding a new hosting company recently and will surely go away and buy another service if Yahoo continued to ignore me in that way and didn't admit the issues (and haven't resolved those). I think they have done the right things just in time, before I "switched", although they have been unreasonably late - my site, control panel and tools have not been working for almost one month!

Now that my new domain is now active and all the found ridiculous system errors are gone. Re-direction works but only at root level for the homepage only but all hosted pictures within the Yahoo server will be re-directed automatically, if they are linked from the Yahoo pages (so that I do not need to edit my old Yahoo pages for all those picture links just because of the change of domain). As for my Blogger pages, I am trying to repair the links as far as possible when I see the death ones. Or at least I have repair most of the links under the tag "My Photos". (And, the full size samples in some of the articles will be re-uploaded / re-edited the links, when I have the time, at a later stage.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Did It Again! Ricoh GXR "Rumour": Bingo! :-D

Everyday, the Internet is full of rumours and silly imaginations / wishful thinkings about cameras, everywhere!

But I do have a good filtering system set up in my head! ;-) I can feel about the trustfulness and truthfulness of each piece of rumours posted and I can sense which one is truer than the others and whilst others are pure junk, which I ignore!

I did it again this time for the new Ricoh GXR system, back to October:-


Despite that Pentax did have the concept back to Photokina 2006, they had never implemented that. Thus, this innovation and honour now belongs to Ricoh! :-( See:-



Well, since I sense and post no new news and rumours about any upcoming Pentax stuff and gear recently, there will not be any new Pentax gear and announcement in the meantime! ;-D

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Blog Notice: My Yahoo Page Links and Blog Pictures Continue Down! :-(

Further to my Blog notice on October 30, I am sorry to note that my Yahoo page links and hosted pictures are continuously down, even after one week! :-(

I am afraid that my site migration has faced some stitches and what Yahoo has told me it is simply an "User Error"! Damn! When they system and software didn't work, don't work and won't work, their support staff just dare to tell me this silly excuse!? Well, are they Pentax fanboys afterall, as this reason is just so familiar to me! ;-D

Anyway, I shall continue to struggle with them for the issue as I pay them every month. They just shouldn't let my site down for this unacceptably lengthy time without any good reason but just put all the responsibility on the client and user, which is ridiculous and unforgivable! Well, they closed the Geocities, but their current business/service of the Yahoo Web Hosting still sucks!

Last but not least, I apologise for any inconvenience caused to all my affected readers here and I hope things can resume normal very soon and there will be no loss of data and files, hopefully.

SDM Issue Strikes Again - This Time DA 17-70

Since Pentax made the SDM AF motor, the SDMs in various DA* lenses have been reported death by different users from time to time. In fact, such reports have never stopped. Recently, the death reports of SDMs have been about the DA 17-70. Examples:-


(Post in Traditional Chinese, or read the Google Translation Here)

So, the poor reliability of the SDMs really upset so many users and also put off quite some potential buyers as well, like what this guy tells. I think unless Pentax "improve" (actually debug) their SDM design to make it works more reliably (not even to mention to make it run faster), nobody would trust the SDM! (yet an example)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

JVC and Hoya Negotiate on Pentax Deal?

First, at Japanese Time (UTC+9:00) 15:07 today, here is what the Japanese Yomiuri Online reports:-

(or BabelFish English translation here)

But only after just less than two and a half hours, at 17:46, another report at the Japanese IT Media News writes that both JVC and Hoya have already denied the Yomiuri News:-

(or BabelFish English translation here)

In fact, Hoya has immediately issued an announcement to deny the rumour:-

(in English)

And the "same" announcement from JVC Kenwood as well:-

(in Japanese)

Well, the interesting thing here to note is that the two "denial" announcements are in the same tone and with very similar wordings. What a Coincidence!

So, what is the Truth? What is being negotiated? With Whom? Or is there really Nothing??

Whilst no outsider would know what is the source of that Yomiuri news report and how come, a Chinese Idiom reminds me of something, which says, "No rumour can come out without any reason and anything behind." :-)

Previous Related Recent News:-

A Recent Interview with Hoya Corporation's COO

Hoya CEO Still Thinking to Sell Off Pentax?

Pentax A* 85/1.4 Vs Canon EF 85/1.2L II

The Shootout is here! See:-


Tests were carried for close and long distances, wide opened and stopped down.

Do note that the lenses were tested on a Canon 400D (XTi) body, i.e., cropped, but not in Full Frame.

The Pentax is clearly a winner! :-D =Victory=

I like better the colours, sharpness and more importantly the image transparency of the Pentax, too.

In fact, I had tested myself previously for times causally with my FA*85/1.4 against my EF 85/1.8 on my Full Frame Canon 5D. The FA* 85 is clearly sharper from corner to corner near wide opened (from f/1.8 to f/4) and could win the EF 85 hands down. The colours are more favourable too. The bokeh personalities are different, though. The EF 85 has more smooth bokeh but it is just too smooth and too flat than my like. The FA* 85 sometimes does produce "bright ring bokehs" under particular situations, just like the three FA Limiteds, but I still like that contemporary Pentax-tasted bokeh better. I personally think that the bokeh of the EF 85 is just too "smooth" and the blurred background cannot be seen. That is, whilst I can still guess what the background objects are with the FA*85 (with the rendered "outlines" which are yet smooth), even though they are out-of-focused quite blurred, at larger apertures.

Well, if I have the time, I shall re-do my tests in a more systematic way for a formal shootout between my FA*85 and my EF 85 on my 5D, for close and distant scenes/objects, and to compare the image centre and corner sharpness, with full crops. And additionally, I shall let you know about the bokeh differences, with some illustrations. Watch Out! :-) (but provided that IF I have the time! I don't know when.. ;-D)

Update: A shootout is done. See this:-

Shootout Again! 86 Vs 85s

Where Are the FA Limiteds Made Now?

Present: Vietnam

But as usual, some of the (fan)boys would still argue that it is "Assembled", not "Made"! :-o

Past: Japan

Monday, November 02, 2009

K-m and DA 50-200 Discontinued


(K-m Discontinued: in Japanese, English translation Here)

(DA 50-200 Discontinued: in Japanese, English translation Here)

K-x NiMH Battery Experience: 8 Models

Just see this new post at the DPR and I think it is worth reading for what it has been tested and shared:-


To my surprise, the GP Recyko+ doesn't work in his K-x and he tested two brand new sets of 4!

But in fact, as I pointed out when the K-x was first announced, NiMH is actually not a suitable solution for a super high drain electronic device like the K-x especially for its LiveView and Video functions. Now, the above K-x user has found exactly the same for what he tells.

Btw, I think I have even more NiMH models in my home than that new K-x user "thank" to Pentax! For what I have used and tested over these six years, I recommend Camelion AlwaysReady. If you have faced the same battery issue with your Pentax AA-battery DSLR especially the new K-x, try the AlwaysReady if you can get it. However and of course, still don't expect Lithium rechargeables' reliability and longevity even with the AlwaysReady. Although it is just better (or even the best amongst all different NiMH models by different manufacturers I have, including the Eneloop), it will STILL do NO Magic as it is Just and Still NiMH after all!

Maybe you can try the latest NiZn AA rechargeables, if you can find it, which requires new matching charger for the new battery type. For more details, read this:-


But then self-discharging of this new-type NiZn is yet again an annoying issue - the old classic problem of those conventional NiMH and NiCd rechargeables.

Last but not least, you can read also the latest battery issue reports by K-x users at Ned Bunnell:-


Note the first two comments..

K-7 FW 1.02: Sharpness Vs Fine Sharpness Vs Fine Sharpness 2

Here is the latest full crop illustration by the NeoCamera:-

(Any of all possible settings can be freely selected)

Play with the different settings and find out the differences, yourself!

In short, the Sharpness, Fine Sharpness, Fine Sharpness 2 of the latest Pentax DSLRs (namely, the K-m, K-7 and K-x) are possibly just USM (UnSharp Mask) with different Radius (and certain appropriate Threshold) whilst the Strength can be user defined, i.e., the +/- 4 settings.

To understand more about USM for image sharpening, I recommend the following articles for reading:-

(Explained in a simpler way but still much detailed)

(Explained in a more technical approach (just a little bit) for better understanding on the software manipulation done by the USM)