Web Analytics RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: June 2010

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Yet Another SDM Victim (and the SDM Petition Reminder)

See this latest user report and SDM is actually the culprit for the problem(s) which the user is complaining about:-


As a reminder, for those Pentaxians who suffered and is suffering from the SDM failure and issue(s), please sign this online petition, you can contribute a little bit more to push Pentax/Hoya to admit the problem (wishful thinking anyway, I knew) so that the inherent/latent bug can be removed (not until that there will be brighter future for the brand Pentax!). For more details and the background, see:-


Well, I haven't signed yet so far. But if the number of signatures approaches 1,000, I will sign.

Besides, Pentax/Hoya should give us a True Ultrasonic AF driving solution for real system performance (as we all knew SDM just means Slooow and Sluuugish), shan't they?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Like the iPad Idea but Will Wait for the Eee Pad

Recently played the Apple iPad for times at a shop but haven't been able to get decided to buy it. It is not only because of the (only overseas) shop I went to did not sell the iPad cheap enough when the local tax was included (and there is no tax redemption at that country, i.e., Canada), but more because of the real annoyances of the iPad that I can't live with. Anyway, now I have been triggered to get a Pad ;-) It is just because the Pad does have its unique usage for my applications. Maybe the Asus Eee Pad this time, but then I have to wait, since it is told officially by Asus that the Eee Pads are only to be available by early 2011! :-(

Below are what I like and dislike about the iPad anyway:

iPad Likes:

- Easy to carry (compact in size and lightweight), stylish appearance;
- Beautiful display: colourful, sharp, wide angle-of-view;
- All basic applications on-the-go: Internet, Multi-Media and also Games;
- Useful multi-touch screen, unique user interface, very responsive control;
- Very fast browser and photo viewer;
- Not really too expensive for the basic package (16GB and Wi-Fi Only)

iPad Dislikes:

- Glossy screen that reflects too much light, an annoyance outdoor (ditto for the Asus Eee Pad anyway);
- No USB port, no built-in card reader!;
- No flash support for browser;
- Uploading and downloading files from and to the iPad are just too difficult and there are just too many restrictions;
- No standalone pdf support! How can I read the e-documents then? I just won't bother to convert every pdf into Apple's format anyway. One can view pdfs as email attachment in the iPad, though. But why? This is just a real annoyance! :-(
- No official "shelf" to support the "mon". There is an offical keypad, though.
- Hong Kong (and maybe Taiwan as well) is/are not a market where Apple treats us seriously. There has been no official iPad on sales in HK yet nor the iPad supports Traditional Chinese characters and input well enough. If one has to buy an iPad in HK, the only choice is the grey market goods.

On the other hand, the Asus Eee Pad uses Windows 7 (or variant) and has all the ports (USB, HDMI, SD card reader, etc.). The 12" Eee Pad is just a fraction lighter than the iPad, which is just amazing. But of course, it is larger in size.

The Eee Pad has an interesting keyboard and dock as an optional accessory, which when the Eee Pad is docked, the combo becomes indifferent from a Laptop! Brilliant design and an innovative idea indeed! (Thumb Up!) Moreover, the Eee Pad's targeted marketing price is just cheaper, and it is much cheaper than the most expensive version of the iPad, i.e., 64GB with 3G support.

Once again, when the Pad story applies to cameras and industry, it just tells us that new market opportunities are always there, provided one knows how to explore and market. Innovations and brilliant ideas are always the keys to success!

Read Also:-

Pentax' Performance Evaluation Against Forbes' Seven Secrets of (Successful) Companies

My Idea of a K1000D

One More 645D Full Size Sample (Portraiture)

Further to the images posted at Travel67 by Chris Wilson, there is a full-size portraiture sample posted by Peter Fang at his flickr page, via his DPR forum post:-

(Warning: Very Large File in 17MB)

The image is RAW converted using the Lightroom. As before, I just don't like the skin tone rendition and its colour response, as I have seen from other samples as well. Frankly speaking, I found that the 645D has the old colour response and taste of the old *ist D, which of course is not so favourable for my own taste, at least.

Btw, as already have been pointed out by Peter, the lighting condition was not so favourable anyway. I guess he would post more samples which are to be taken under better conditions. Hopefully I can see some images that are produced directly out of the 645D which is all by Pentax as a package then. Stay tuned, I blog, you decide~

Read Also:-

The 645D Kit (Lens) Got Delivered to an End-User

Full Size 645D Samples from DC Watch

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vanishing of Traditional Printed Photo Media?

Recently, I picked up several "prestigious" and "renowned" traditional printed Photo magazines when I travelled overseas at different bookstores for several times but I yet didn't find any of them worth buying after scanning through them for just one minute or two.

I actually found that the contents of those are outdated and almost and mostly useless. And Ads could constitute almost half of the pages actually. In fact, for gear related stuff, many of the published information are trivial and well known. In particular, for a particular "Popular" magazine, the camera tests done and published are now rather crude which those "tests" are actually by no means could even match the quality and higher standard for the tests they published decades ago, which is undoubtedly a big disappointment. For photography related topics, some magazines do have more on these and some others have almost none, on the other hand. But I still found that there are little things that are really special anyway. So, why spend/waste a few bucks in buying those afterall?

In fact, nowadays almost everything can be found on the Internet, which are quick to locate and could be far more useful, provided that you locate the right and useful things. The contents are rich and most of them are free basically (even though you have paid indirectly). Even I do find now the newly emerged online photo magazines are edited and produced in higher standards, with more useful and interesting stuff. For example, I do like the PhotographyBB Online Photo Magazine, which I consider to be quite well made so far, and it is highly recommended.

Without true revolution, I just wonder how long will take for those traditional printed media to vanish? My bet is that they cannot survive for more than one decade to come, if the trend continues, frankly.

On the other hand, I do still buy some printed local magazines from time to time, but those are actually new-style ones and I could see the editors do have put a lot of efforts and done some hard works from time to time in finding materials, doing tests, writing photo/software tips and articles and in editing, which are quite different from those old "prestigious" magazines, which seem to be just sitting there and wait to die! :-o :=x

Friday, June 25, 2010

645D and Eye-Fi Card (YouTube Demo)

(URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY6GdxDyP1w)

Where you can see the Eye-Fi demo (in Japanese) and also hear the shutter sound of the 645D (which is not bad IMO, the time lag seems to be good enough, especially for a Medium Format SLR, which has a large mirror).

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DxOMark Lenses on Bodies Measurbation Paradise! :-o

Here you can go and enter another paradise of measurbators! (but actually might be a new hell for true photographers! ;-D) A step-by-step guide below!

1. Go to:-

First of all, you can select the "Filtered View" if you like. I think this can be useful when the test database continues to grow;

2. Choose the Lens Model and then the Camera Body, then you can see the "Overview" of a summary (on scores);

3. Go to the Individual Tab to view different page/test results of "Resolution", "Transmission", "Distortion", "Vignetting" or the "CA";

4. There are Sub-Tabs to see/access to all the test data at different Focals (for zooms) and different Apertures. Just choose it, appropriate charts and graphs will be shown. There are also "Field Map" representations, which are simply a plot of the image frame with different colours to represent the results and different performance aspects measured.

With doing the above four steps, dig into different sub-tabs and choose different focal/aperture combinations and then compare different lens/body and so on, you will be a true qualified measurbator! Congrats! But before you are to do this endlessly, do remember time will always be not enough and is killed very quickly as such!

Two quick observations, btw:-

1. High resolution bodies do have a clear edge for obtaining higher scores, especially for the aggregrated mark of "Lens Peak Score".

2. Full Frame cameras perform better, even for the same pixel count and equivalent effective 135 focal length and FoV.

Besides, some more quick reading notes and remarks:-

1. "TStop" is just the actual f-stop measured for the lens (wide opened) at specific focal length, the EV stop differences against the specified ones at different focal lengths are represented at second plot chart below.

2. The MTF charts should be read as they always should, it is just a plot of the Modulated Transfer Function (the difference between the levels of Black and White) against the (different) Spatial Frequencies. Normally, MTF 50% is the default threshold for measuring Resolution, but of course a different MTF value can always be chosen, no matter it is higher or lower. Of course, should the set MTF threshold is set to be higher, the Resolution results drop and vice versa.

3. The measured "Resolution" of lp/mm (line pairs per millimeter) is NOT normalised for the sensor size and format but just a physical measure on the actual resolution regardless of the sensor size. On the other hand, another commonly used (but newer) resolution measurement unit LW/PH (Line Widths per Picture Height) is normalised. So, this should be something that you should be aware of. Just say with exactly the same resolution figure for both an APS-C combo and a Full Frame combo, indeed the FF just outperforms the APS-C as the resolution of the APS-C is needed to be "magnified" just for the same printout and viewing size of the "same" picture.

Read Also:-

Useful Lens Review Links

A New Measurebators' Paradise!

Dictatorship/Censorship Alert (Reminder)

As you may have known, the PentaxForums.com has been blocking my every link as quoted by any of their "members" for long. But I'm still somehow surprised on their insistence on doing that and the indeed good consistence by different "moderators" as well. They just even don't allow just my name is mentioned, in addition to no link is allowed to be posted already (then the innocent *ordinary* members are prosecuted), even though they haven't banned my membership at their place, so as to show some kind of pseudo open-minded-ness, a latest example:-


Quoted, "Edit Reason: Link to blog of "he who's name shall not be mentioned" "??!

In fact, this is totally peremptory and imperious and that they are actually rather disrespective to their ordinary forum members. Yes, they have the right to do anything at their own place and premise, even they do evils, but I do believe this is just totally not justified and unjustice.

Edit: I think Adam, site owner of the PentaxForums(.com), should add in his forum rules that: 1. No content and not any content of the RiceHigh's Blog shall be linked (to); 2. No name of RiceHigh shall be mentioned! But since that they do not and could not mention me, how can they set up such two rules? ;-) Otherwise, I think they would have done that already! But anyway, the rules are there, even they are hidden, over that "No RiceHigh's PentaxForums"! ;-D Lol..

Read Also:-

PentaxForums.com is Building a New "CanikonForums"!?

Don't Join Any Forum that Has Censorship and Heavy Filtering

Hypocrites/Cowards of those "Pentax" Forums

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pentax' Performance Evaluation Against Forbes' Seven Secrets of (Successful) Companies

First, I have read how Nikonian guru Thom Hogan evaluates Nikon against the seven aspects and criteria as highlighted by the Forbes (via the 1001 Noisy camera). And I think such an evaluation of Pentax would also be very interesting. So, here we go:-

1. Design: Moderate

As we all know, Pentax has been lagging behind in core technologies and system performance, as well as the selection of bodies and lenses. But it gives Pentax a few more marks with the aesthetic design and selection options of the coloured K-xes as well as the recent new models of P&S DCs, which have more unique styles and opened up new fashion trends. So, I've still given a "Moderate" rating here.

2. Speed: Poor

The product launch of Pentax has never been updated and new products are announced and coming out so slow and too late.

3. Cost: Good

Pentax' factories are now at the Philippines and Vietnam ONLY, for the manufacturing of digital bodies and lenses respectively. So they could really keep all the manufacturing costs really low enough to very low. But then do note that this has nothing to do with whether they would sell lenses at lower prices (but actually just much higher now) and if the manufacturing standards and quality of the products could be kept (the reverse is true, IMHO)!

4. Service: Moderate

I do have experienced improvements of service (but still not good enough) since Pentax raised crazily the prices of their lenses and since they have migrated all their lens production completely to the Vietnam factory! (More profit margin then better services? >:-o)

5. Communication Outside: Poor

Needless to say, Pentax virtually has no marketing at all and their communication to the stakeholders for their success is rather poor. Actually, it seems that they just don't know who are the stakeholders at the end of the days. So it is just helpless.

6. Communication Inside: Good (I guess)

After being cut a lot of fat and laying off of many staff / closing down of Japanese home production facilities, I guess the communication within such a smaller size division (within a big company) should now be more effective and good enough than before!

7. Purpose: Poor

The purpose of Hoya in doing the Pentax camera business is actually unclear. Someone says that they want to make the financial facts good so that they can sell it out to someone else (in fact, there are some previous news reports about that). People said before that Hoya only interested in Pentax' medical business but not the same in the camera business. And the fact is that Hoya has been much cost conscious in running the Pentax business since they acquired them. In fact, I have never seen clear commitment from Hoya in Pentax. A good example is that there has been no update in the Pentax lens development roadmap for years now. The dead air has actually been here for so long and new product launch and announcement is nearly non-existent (and not even just slow, if I have to say).

So, my analyses end here. It is just not so optimistic after all. :-(

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Lens Hood of the DA*55 is Discontinued, So..


Quoted, "Discontinued -
  • Important Notice! This item has been discontinued by the manufacturer and is no longer available."
So, WHEN would be the lens also to be discontinued? And then the (whole) DA line? :-o

If not, why the support of this top of the line DA* lens is needed to be stopped so soon and so early? :-(

Back to what I am thinking actually, I believe Pentax do have a serious plan, that is, to migrate to Full Frame. I guess the lens will still be in production, but the lens hood just won't work anymore and they are now making a new one (with a wider angle-of-view coverage)! :-)

Read Also:-

Compatibility of DA Lenses on Full Frame

Old Question: Will there be a Pentax Full Frame DSLR?

A French Measurbation Site (Pentax Mainly)

Here we go measurbation again! Endlessly!

(Summary for all tests, in French, Google Translated English Page Here)

Well, I guess the author of the site just don't take any real-life pictures since he just had no time to do it at all after all those measurbations and publishing all his tests, just like what I have been doing! ;-D

(Warning: Reading all his tests and measurbating will waste you a lot of time! Do it at your own risk!! ;->)

Read Also:-

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

Friday, June 18, 2010

1.5 Million Page-views/Visits at My Blog

Today, I've just seen the milestone has been reached. Thank you for reading and the continuous support! :-) (Shall wait for the 2M milestone to be reached in the next several months! :-D)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Some Bits and Pieces (June 17)

1. Japanese BCN DSLR/EVIL sales ranking for the last week:-

(in Japanese)

Whilst the Sony NEX is doing well and the top ranked DSLRs are still the world of N and C, the best K-x ranking drops to 25. On the other hand, the 645D appears at 60 which is yet higher than the ranking of the K-7, at 66.

2. Samsung NX 20mm F2 Pankcake lens image leaked:-

(Source URL: http://img375.imageshack.us/img375/7571/samsungnx20mmf2.jpg)

Well, now Pentax has lost completely their pancake advantage for making smaller APS-C DSLR bodies and pancake primes. It seems that the Samsung NX is the true way to go! (first putting aside the image quality difference, if any). I think unless Pentax is yet to make their new DSLRs thinner and smaller, they won't have the edge anymore as long as compactness is concerned.

3. Super Price Alert!! K-7 is now selling at $763.95 (or $663.95??!) @B&H with instant saving of $100 up to June 20!:-


If the K-7 now is really just so cheap, this supports and coincides with the previous rumours of that the K-7 replacement is really coming! And it should be very close this time! (as it is so obvious that Pentax is trying very hard to get rid of the lasting K-7 stock soonest!)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The 645D Kit (Lens) Got Delivered to an End-User, Finally!

Sorry for my ignorance, but this is the first post I have seen on the net for a report of an actual delivery/shipping of the 645D gear (for the lens only up till now, the body is still under delivery, though):-


Btw, I wish the user can receive his 645D body very soon, and I also recommend you to visit his photo site, which has many great landscape and travel photos:-


P.S. The author of the website, Chris Wilson, is based in Okinawa, i.e., Japan, anyway.

Update (6-18): Chris has just received his 645D body. (via 1001 Noisy Cameras)

Update (6-20): Chris has posted four full-size samples at his flickr folder, via his blog.

Last "News": The (Postponed) 645D Release Day has Passed, Any News?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The (Postponed) 645D Release Day has Passed, Any News?

Last time, the 645D was delayed and it was told that the new on-sales date is June 11.

So, has anyone actually heard about when the 645D is actually delivered. Any new news?

Or, Pentax/Hoya just chose the new day just because the World Cup opening day is just so close and near, so that no one would ever notice that even if there is slippage again! Brilliant, Pentax! Well Done! You're just so clever! ;-)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

550D + 17-40L/4 Vs K-x + 16-45/4 & ISO Shootout

Long Time No Measurbation! It's time to do it again! ;-D

Test Conditions:-

1. Light Source and Environment: Diffused Daylight Indoor; Bright Cloudy Outside; Cameras on Sturdy Tripod.

2. 550D Settings: Av Exposure Mode at f/8, Evaluative Metering, No Exposure Compensation, AWB, Single Central Point One-Shot AF, Large Fine JPEG, "Standard" Picture Style with Default Parameters (Factory Default), 2 sec. Self-Timer with Mirror Lock (Set Separately in Custom Function), Lens Peripheral Illumination Correction Off, Auto Lighting Optimizer Off, High ISO Noise Reduction Low, Lens at 40mm. All EXIF Data Preserved.

3. K-x Settings: Av Exposure Mode at f/8, Evaluative Metering, No Exposure Compensation, AWB, Single Central Point Single AF, Large Fine JPEG, "Bright" Picture Style with Default Parameters (Factory Default), 2 sec. Self-Timer with Mirror Lock, Lens Distortion and CA Correction Off, High ISO Noise Reduction Low (Starting from ISO400, Set in Custom Function), Lens at 45mm. All EXIF Data Preserved.

4. Uploaded samples are resized to 4,000 pixels in width and in the same size, for easy and meaningful comparisons. Click on any of the thumbnails to Download and Enlarge.

Okay, let's go!

550D + EF 17-40L F4 @ 40mm & f/8
K-x + DA 16-45 F4 @ 45mm & f/8


Some of My Quick Findings..

1. The overall colour tone of the K-x pics is slightly warmer, which is closer to what my eyes could see.

2. However, the 550D combo do have slightly better colour accuracy of which the colours re-produced are yet a bit closer and more faithful to the original colours. Do note that the Colour Modes chosen for both cameras are Factory Default ones which are somehow ex-exaggerated in colours as designed and intended.

3. At the same ISO speeds, the 550D pics have more colour noise in shadows whereas the K-x pics have more visible luminance noise in shadows.

4. 550D pictures do have slight edge in resolution when viewed in full and at pixel level, even up to ISO 800. However, if the two sets of pictures are resized down to at about 10+ Megapixels, the difference would not be so noticeable.

Btw, above are just my own quick observations and findings. If you don't fully agree with me, your take now! (and you're feel to do so! It's so easy! :-))

Read Also:-

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

Friday, June 04, 2010

Full Size 645D Samples from DC Watch (Finally)

And with a mini-review, too:-

(in Japanese, or a translated English page here)

I won't spoil their findings and you are the one to judge on the quality of the output pictures, like its colour response/tendency, image quality and exposure accuracy etc. (many of the exposure info are posted and EXIF data are preserved, too.)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews

Well, it's time for me to do a summary on the major shootout tests and reviews I have presented in my this Blog so far. I believe that it would be much easier to read and I shall update this Matrix from time to time, when new tests / Blog Posts come (Most Tests in the Matrix are by Me):-

K-7 Vs 5D ISO
K-7 Sharpness Setting (by Other)

K-7 SR Performance
(by Other)
K-m + FA28 Vs 5D + FA43

K-m Full Review
K-x Vs 5D ISO

K-x Vs 5D + EF24-105L SR Performance

K-x Vs K-7 ISO (by Other)
K-x Vs K-m ISO

K-x Vs K-m ISO (by Other)
K-x Sharpness Setting

K-x NR Setting

K-x Full Review

DAL18-55 Vs DA16-45 Vs FAJ18-35 Vs FA24-90 Vs SA18-55! (on K-x)
GF-1 Vs 5D ISO

GF-1 + FA43 Vs 5D + FA*85/EF85

GF-1 Vs K-x ISO

550D + EF17-40L Vs K-x + DA16-45 ISO

550D + EF1740L & FA28 Vs K-x + DA16-45 & FA28

550D + EFS18-55IS Vs K-x + DA16-45
550D Full Review


NEX-5 + E18-55OSS Vs K-x + DA16-45

NEX-3 Vs K-x ISO

NEX-5/3 Quick Review

Other Unclassified Group Tests / Shootouts (Most by Others):-

My K-r First Hands-ons (Tested Twice) (by Me)

Pentax AF 300mm(ish) Fully Compared (by Me)

Shootout for Six 50mm Lenses

DA 18-55 I Vs II Vs DA 16-45 (Imatest Test)

Pentax K-7 + SDM Vs Canon 7D + USM (AF Speed Check)

DA 70 Vs FA 77

DA* 16-50/2.8 Vs Sigma 18-50/2.8 EX Vs Tamron SP 17-50/2.8

645D Vs 5D MkII Vs K-7

A850 Vs D700

NX10 Vs K-7 / GF-1 / EP-1 / EP-2

NX10 ISO Check (by Me)

FA 31: AIV Vs MIJ (by Me)

DA 15 Vs DA 12-24

K-7 Vs 7D Vs D300s

UV Protectors Fully Compared

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

K-7 Vs 50D Vs D300 (Frame Rate, AF Speed and Accuracy Tests)

K-7 Beta Vs K20D ISO

GX-20 Vs K20D - Fully Compared

K-m Vs K20D (AF Speed Test)

D700 Vs 5D IQ (by Me)

DA* 16-50 Vs SIGMA 18-50/2.8

DA* 16-50 Vs DA 16-45

(Last Updated: October 28, 2010)

Pentax K-7 Vs Canon 7D AF Speed Test

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

Well, I think the test video speaks clearly itself. As such, I have no more to say!

Last Related Article:-

For Those Who Think the DA 17-70 is the Fastest SDM Lens in AF..

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

An Old Lens Shootout: DA 70 Limited Vs FA 77 Limited

(in German, English Translated Page Here)

Whilst you can inspect and find out all the differences, pros and cons (comparatively), I think if I had to choose one amongst them, the decision is easy, that is, the focal length is just the determinative factor to me here..

A 70mm lens on a Pentax APS-C DSLR is 70 x 1.53 which is equal to 107mm. On the other hand, a 77mm lens is equivalent to an 118mm lens in 135 film sense, which is just too long to my taste for a portrait lens. In fact, 85mm to 105mm used to be my favourite range in doing portrait (of course in film sense). It is therefore the DA 70 pancake still fulfil my requirement, somehow marginally!

Wild Rumour: New Low End DAL 35mm Prime and K-7 Replacement

(in Simplified Chinese, English Translation Here)

What's up then? A cheap low-end DAL 35mm prime, which is supposed to compete with Nikon's DX 35/1.8? The K-7 replacement is going to be built on the same body chassis and will still use Samsung sensor.. (but is it really wise for Pentax to do so if it is true?)

So, it is claim that the source is reliable and it is leaked from the Beijing dealers. Whilst I do have some doubts on what are told, I recall that those Chinese and Russian sources did usually give us real leaks in the past.