Web Analytics RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: September 2010

Thursday, September 30, 2010

DA 18-135 First Photo Samples

Some photo samples are posted in a thread at the Chinese Xitek Pentax Forum, here it is:-

(in Simplified Chinese)

The photos were taken at the Photokina exhibition hall indoor, you can find downsized images taken at 18mm f/5 and f/5.6, 31mm at f/5, 68mm at f/4.5, 78mm at f/5.6 and 3 other samples 135mm at f/5.6 (here for a middle-distance scene, here for testing the bokeh and here for verifying the skin tone).

After viewing, I do have some good impressions about the IQ of this lens. There is no obvious CA seen, the photos are considered sharp with good contrast (despite they are downsized), bokeh is nice and colour response is okay (the actual colour accuracy/tendency cannot be judged exactly for those indoor environments with artificial lightings anyway).

The barrel distortion at 18mm is a bit dominant but it would be of no surprise for such long-range zoom in 7.5X, nevertheless.

How Many Different Pentax Lens Caps You Have?

This Japanese guy has almost all those ever made by Pentax, for both front or rear caps!

(in Japanese)

How about You? :-)

Previous Story:-

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

Sensor-Shifted IS Heats Up the Sensor Much More Than the Video Mode Itself! :-o

First, read this advisory note from Sony (reported via here first, here and here subsequently):-

(in Japanese)

So, we have these information, officially:-

(Source: Sony Japan HQs; Table English via Engadget)

The in-body "Image Stabilization" (aka Shake Reduction or SR in Pentax' term) does actually heat up the sensor seriously, which is far more than the sensor heats up itself during its video recording mode! Whilst this is just a big surprise for this previously unknown technical issue, I have to say it is just a big issue, IMHO!

At 20 Deg. C. room temperature, the video recording time of the A55 is decreased from an original 29 minutes dramatically and drastically down to 9 minutes once the in-body IS is turned on! So, this body IS/SR must be generating much heat and actually such in-body IS/SR system is just so HOOOT!!

This case just let me think again about the usefulness Vs all the shortcomings of all those in-body image stabilisation systems. In fact, it does NOT work well with the video mode, which is now the trend for including this as a *standard* feature in DSLRs or just ILDCs/EVILs. We should note that Sony has not published any advisory note on the high-temperature cut for their NEX cameras. The NEX cameras has IS in-lens anyway and so does Samsung has chosen and opted for the NX line and system to use in-lens IS.

Last but not least, we all know that Pentax does not have any in-lens IS in their system unless the user has to buy a Sigma (OS, which is an in-lens IS system). I don't think Pentax could do the miracle and the Pentax DSLRs do not suffer from the same problem, could they?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Does "Continuous AF" under Movie Mode of the Nikon D3100 Work?

Tested by: http://www.eprice.com.tw/dc/talk/?prod_id=670&tid=12598 (in Traditional Chinese)

Judge by yourself for the subject question! I won't spoil anything! ;-) But if I have to compare to my NEX, then.. :-o

An ISO shootout is also included in the article, from ISO 100 to 12800, in one-stop stepping. Note that the D3100 and the Sony NEXes actually share the same sensor.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Interview with Hoya's Marketing Director of the Imaging Division

by the Japanese Impress DC Watch:-

(in Japanese, an English Web Translation Here)

Some key points:-

1. Hoya will continue to sell stylish products like the K-r and K-x and identifies themselves as a stylish camera maker to make them different. The launch of the interchangeable shell cover RS1000 and the retro-look products like the Optio I-10 (which is intended to be an "experimental" product to test the water) or even the classic-look K-7 are marketed under the same principle and with the same intention.

2. The 645D has been a success in the Japanese home market and they will try to expand the 645D market further with more (maybe different) marketing channels both locally and worldwide.

3. Hoya will study the market opportunities and look into the feasibility of "mirrorless" ILDCs with their limited resources. In the meantime, they will use low end entry level DSLRs like K-r and K-x to compete with those other mirrorlesses which are already in the marktet.

4. They are now not in bed with Samsung anymore and they will not use/join the NX by no means.

Sigma HSM is Incompatible with SAFOX IX (of K-5 and K-r)?

Roland Mabo notes at DPR that for the comment from another DPR poster who visited the Photokina Pentax booth that his Bigmas behaved weirdly on a K-5 for the AF. So, is the Sigma HSM just incompatible with the new Pentax SAFOX IX AF system? Does the SAFOX IX uses some completely new algorithms so that the old Sigma in-lens firmware (it's just software afterall) just won't work anymore?

It's not surprised that the compatibility from 3rd party manufacturer is not ensured as they are just not the original manufacturer. Nowadays, even the compatibility between the older and new products from the same original manufacturer cannot be guaranteed sometimes, what do we expect from the 3rd parties? Nevertheless, Sigma in the past did provide some free firmware updates to their products, e.g., their lenses and flashes, to make them work with new bodies from different manufacturers. Let's see if they will do it again this time.

It will not be surprised for Pentax has updated his software, as I believe that the hardware of the SAFOX IX and SAFOX VIII is more or less the same but yet Pentax claims that there is performance improvement. Furthermore, new firmware may work better for the new "DC" AF motor for the DA 18-135 lens, possibly, as this lens is just working in a completely different principle, primitively.

Update: Well, the original tester actually responded in the thread that he found AF problem with his Bigmas on K-7, just, not K-5! :-o So, it seems that it is just an old compatibility problem/performance issue that has not yet been resolved!

Falk Lumo's K-5 Hands-on Preview at Photokina

Have a look, he has some insights of his own and the 1/250th X-sync rumour is denied (as disclaimed by Pentax Germany). There is also a DNG file for a test chart shot indoor at the exhibition hall for downloading..


Any shutter blur issue found in the K-7 (as looked with a "Falcon Eye"!) with the K-5 then? Let's see what Falk found and talks about himself!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Toy Story 3! =_="

(Source: http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20100925_396115.html, in Japanese)

Which Toy Company Hoya wants to sell Pentax to btw?? :-o

Update (9-28): See Also below for how to use this "camera"!

http://dc.watch.impress.co.jp/docs/news/20100909_392685.html (in Japanese)

Previous Stories:-

Toy Story 2! ;->

The Third New (Toy) Optio!

Star Wars Storm-trooper and Hello Kitty K2000 Limiteds!

New Colour Schemes of K20D and K-m

K-7 Limited Silver

Latest Japanese K-5 "Street" Prices for Kits

Kit Set 1: Pentax K-5 w/ 18-55 WR:-

http://bbs.kakaku.com/bbs/K0000152652/ (Japanese)

@ ¥139,300 (~US$1,650)

Kit Set 2: Pentax K-5 w/ 18-135 WR:-

http://bbs.kakaku.com/bbs/K0000152653/ (Japanese)

@ ¥170,800 (~US$2,020)

"Kit" 3: Body Only:-

http://bbs.kakaku.com/bbs/K0000152651/ (Japanese)

@ ¥125,790 (~US$1,490)

Thus, by subtracting the costs of the lens kits with the body price, the costs of the kit lenses are as follows:-

1. DA 18-55/3.5-5.6 WR: $160

2. DA 18-135/3.5-5.6 WR DC: $530

According to the past experiences, though initial Japanese "street" prices (actually many are online shops also) usually set the reference prices for the US market later on (which would not be lowered for the first few months for new products). So, these should be of good reference value.

Btw, if you just want to buy directly (actually indirectly ;-)) online at those Japanese shops, see my last guide here.

Last Related:-

Latest Amazon US Prices for Pentax DSLRs (K-5, K-r, K-x & K-7)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

K-5 Portrait Samples (Indoor @ Photokina) ISO 800 - 51200

At this Album:-

(K-5 Firmware 0.3, Lens: DA*50-135/2.8)

Click on any of the downsized pictures below to download the specific original full-size image in a new Tab/Window (I have edited and added the direct links for easy viewing, the Flickr interface is just too clumsy and troublesome to use! >:=[ Warning: Very Large Files!):-

ISO 800

ISO 1600
ISO 3200
ISO 12800
ISO 51200

via Information on Digital Cameras (Japanese)

P.S. The timestamps in photos are not correct as possibly the camera was not properly set up for the clock.

Update: A DNG RAW file at ISO 51200 is available for download Here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Pentax (Electronic) Cable Switches

Above: All Cable Releases of Mine; From Left to Right: Pentax Cable Switch F, Pentax CS-105, Canon RS-60E3, Canon RS-80N3; Top: Traditional Universal Mechanical Flexible Cable Release.

Cable Switch
For Camera(s)
Cable Switch F
SF Series, (P)Z Series, MZ Series (Except MZ-S)
1987 - 2002
CS-205 (Canon RS-60E3 Clone)
*ist, *ist D Series, K(number)D Series, K-number Series
2003 - Now
No Support
K-alphabet Series, i.e., K-m, K-x & K-r
2009 - Now

The CS-105 is actually the most professionally designed and built cable switch that Pentax has ever made. But unfortunately, it supports/supported only the MZ-S. It has the same design as the Canon upper Remote Switch RS models for their upper class AFSLRs/DSLRs only. The design has an automatic mechanical lock so that the cable switch cannot be detached accidentally. To detach, one must hold and press the silver portion of the connector which will release the lock as you can see from the above photo, for both the CS-105 and RS-80N3. It has one disadvantage IMO, though. That is, the insertion of the connector is directional, which is really no good for inserting the cable in the dark, but which is usually the situation in which the user usually requires to use the cable switch/release!

I didn't buy the CS-205, though, when I acquired my *ist D. I was indeed somehow "angry" with Pentax for changing the cable switch after only one model. As the CS-205 is just a Canon low-end "RS" clone but which was sold at doubled price and was more difficult to find than the Canon (as usual, for all Pentax items!), I opted to buy the Canon. Anyway, even the Canon is of no use to me anyway for more than one year now, as my current and last Pentax DSLRs, namely, the K-x and K-m, just does not support any cable switch/release for each of them (and so does the upcoming K-r)!

Update (9-28): Some people doubt about the usefulness of a wired cable switch and release. I would like to elaborate a bit more about its true value for some applications and the differences underlaid..

1. A cable release actually consists of two switches, one for the half-pressing and the other for shutter release. An IR release controls only one switching, i.e., the release of shutter. Some IR remote controllers of Pentax like those that I built-in with my Zoom 90 WR and purchased together with my Optio 330 have the zoom control, but then so what?

2. The control of the half-press is crucial if you want also to control AE and in most cases, the AF, just like what we are using the cameras daily. Just imagine that when you use a DSLR without half-press function, then.. I think I needless to say more! For some shooting applications like shooting concerts on monopod/tripod or to track racing cars and panning where direct pressing of shutter button is not desirable so as to avoid shakes right before the exposure, a cable release is particular useful - but still we need to do and control the AE and AF, right?

3. An IR controller needs to point directly to the IR receiver and sensor at the body (which is located in the front for Pentax DSLR bodies) as long as it is pressed for the "Bulb" control. With the K-x, the user can choose in the Custom Function that for a "two-press" operation, i.e., to press one to open the shutter and press another time to close it. No matter how, this is not as convenient, reliable, direct and responsive as what a simple wired cable release can do for the user. One of the good examples of application is shooting fireworks, where timing is really critical if you are really using the shutter to control the (multiple) exposures instead of using a black card in front of the camera with a long bulb mode. An old example of mine:-

(Canon EOS 5D: f/16, 5s, ISO 100, 24-105L @24mm, RAW post-processed with DPP, Cable Release Used; Photo taken in Feb. 2008 @ Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong - Click to Enlarge in New Tab/Window)

P.S. I might upload some more fireworks plus some concert or racing car photos later on, as most of my old shared photos were already deleted at my old Yahoo Geocities account which I cancelled but they are not re-uploaded.

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

Here are a few of mine for sharing this time, in chronological order (older first):-

1. Pentax SFX - The World's First (AF)SLR with a Retractable TTL Flash (RTF):

(Above: Do the boxes and packages just look like new? Well, you should see how I treasure my Pentax items! :-p)

This is a noisy camera, bulky, awfully looking, large and heavy and slow. The AF is noisy but not so noisy as its film advance, which only advances in a slow speed of 1.8 fps on paper, i.e., without film loaded! Actual film advance speed is actually even slower, at about 1.4 fps only, as I had counted it! Yes, I did do measurbation long time ago back to the old days! ;-D

The major part of the body is made of fibre-glass "plastic" material, though, which is actually really sturdy. Pentax later used "UV hardened" plastic in the Z-1 and Z-1p, which actually could not match with that of the SFX, as those are just true and pure plastics! :-(

The SFX incorporates the original SAFOX (I) AF module and system which I found to be quite sensitive but yet rather sluggish even by the standards of its days. Hunting and re-hunting is its normal behaviour, even outdoor where it hunts less but still usually does so. The AF motor turns the "standard" (nowadays known as "kit") lens (which was a F35-70/3.5-4.5) really fast, but then this has nothing to do with the time required to complete the AF!

In fact, I was cheated by the Pentax marketing for one thing (Yes, there *was* Pentax marketing! ;-)) that the AF system could complete the focusing automatically in 0.3s which is actually just only the travelling time of its AF motor with the kit lens from infinity to closest, with brand new Lithium battery!

In comparison to the K-x, the SFX is actually not only the Ancestor but also the King of Vibration for Mirror Slap! I could hardly handheld to take a blurless photo viewed at 8R at some Tvs just lower than 1/60th second, when I was still young. Hardly believable? :-o So, the green LED indicator at the right-side of the finder is actually correct, i.e., green for 1/60th sec and yellow for 1/30th, as "hand"-shake warning!

So, you may ask me why I bought it then? :-) There are a number of good reasons at that time, when I just built a new AFSLR system from scratch.. The Pentax optics, the SMC, the features and its sold price. In fact, the SFX was just a clone of both the Minolta 7000 and the Nikon F-501, which was the most popular AFSLRs before it. The EOS 620/650 actually came at about the same time as the SFX, in 1987 but the SFX was sold at a marginally lower price than those two older but popular models of M and N. The EOS bodies are a bit more expensive but the most expensive stuff are those "ground breaking" and newly designed EOS lenses.

One of the most important and unique feature of the SFX was the world's first RTF that it had, which is also equipped with a near-IR red-light AF assist spotbeam with projected vertical pattern. Putting aside its uniqueness, the RTF is actually practically very useful and convenient for daily causal shooting. The G.N. of it is 14m at ISO 100, which is yet very powerful by today's standard (as today's built-in flash has become weaker and weaker - the bundled flash of my NEX is only at G.N. 7!). The program curves and options of the SFX is most versatile at its time, better than all the competitors' bodies from C, M and N. It has five program curves, amongst which the user is able to select three whilst the camera will select one of the three curves automatically according to the lens' focal length for the "Normal" program.

But indeed, Pentax's contemporary SLR market failure was starting from the P30/50 (in around 1985) and then the SF models, which Pentax always missed the boats and lacked better insights. By that time, Pentax was still powerful enough to make more better bodies with features that they could easily incorporate, but they didn't. The SFX lacks evaluative and spot/partial metering, which Canon, Nikon and Minolta were all working on these and marketed new products that had all those features not later than 1989. Even the Ricoh XR-X, which was marketed in 1987, was just a perfect SLR. It had the options of Multi-pattern/CWA/Spot metering options and has an innovative 3 fps "gears-less" film advance system. But unfortunately it lacks AF, which Ricoh just was not "powerful" enough to make one, unlike Pentax did.

Anyway, the SFX did not let me down for almost ten years that it served me afterwards, until it broke. The photo output quality of the F and FA lenses was really good and consistent and the body itself is a reliable workhorse, regardless of all the shortcomings and limitations that I have mentioned above. Pentax F series lenses are actually the best AF lenses made by Pentax ever with the best made SMC (which the FA lenses' "SMC" coatings are actually thinner). Furthermore, the old plain vanilla Pentax TTL Auto Off-The-Film flash control system is also very accurate and reliable. It is very predictable afterall although it has no intelligence of any.

The SF line consists only of two models, the SFX and SF7. Both of which were not successful marketing-wise but still kept Pentax in the game. Pentax reacted later with a new lineup, the first models were the Z-10 and Z-1, in 1991.

But yet once again, Pentax had wasted their time and missed once again more market opportunities with their new Z and FA lens line. Pentax's focus point on the Z and the new FA lenses was Power Zoom and Auto Zoom, which was actually plain stupid. They put a lot of efforts in development in-lens motor for power zoom, and with a new lens mount introduced, that is, the KAF2, of which now is crippled to drive the latest SDM lenses!

Practically, the Auto and Power Zoom functions had least practical meaning to SLR shooters. I think Pentax' decision makers at that time had huge mis-belief in power zoom, which they had achieved big success with their Zoom 70 line of P&S compacts.

The sad thing is that the FA line of lenses had been built up to be very complete in the whole 90s. But they did lack even one proper body for the whole 90s as well. People did consider bodies first before lenses at that time as I observed. So, despite the FA line and lenses are actually very good, few people joined Pentax.

Pentax only knew to introduce new models which are 90% or even 99% identical with a different name. Just say the Z-1 and Z-1p have little differences after 3 years (where "p" stands for Panorama). They had a Z-5 and Z-5p at their Japanese home market before the Z-1p which is almost the same as the Z-1p. The Z-20/50/70 are more or less the same bodies with different included/omitted features. Ditto for the later MZ-5/5n/3 more or less are the same body which is small and elegant but nothing powerful and updated and so on..

Many Pentaxians and those early Internet posters including me in the Usenet Newsgroups, back to 1994, asked that Pentax should make at least a crossed sensor and should incorporate more than one AF sensor in the Z-1 update. But unfortunately, Pentax was still unable to include anything new in the Z-1p, after three years of time since the Z-1, which was yet a big disappointment. In fact, the first AFSLR that had a central crossed AF sensor was the film *ist, which was launched as late as in 2003, and was the only model in the "lineup" as the film camera market was just dead shortly!

2. Pentax (IQ)Zoom 90 WR - The World's First Weather Resist Zoom Compact

Which is also the Pentax' First *Camera* (i.e., body + lens!) to be WR, of which this term was first created and used (The LX wasn't as there was no WR lens of any made in 1980!):

It is not really "compact" when it is compared to its predecessors Zoom 70 something. Indeed, it is by no means considered small even when it is compared to my SFX with the compact standard zoom side-by-side:-

The Zoom 90 marked the glorious days of Pentax in the early 90s for being the market leader of P&S compacts, in particular people wished to buy zoom compacts instead of prime ones for the trend. In 1987, the original Zoom 70 opened up a new era for those zoom compacts and the market share of Pentax grew rapidly. In almost the whole 90s, Pentax' market share worldwide for P&S is in thirty percentage+ per years and could approach 40% sometiems accordingly to JCII (Japanese Camera Industry Institution) figures (the former body of JCIA (Japanese Camera Industry Association) and CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Association). That is, their gained market was just more than the total sum of that of Canon, Nikon or even plus Minolta for the P&S camera segment! But anyway, those were the days. :-(

Pentax then used the huge money that they earned in the P&S line to re-invest in their AFSLR and lens line, namely Z, MZ and FA series. That explains why the FA Pentax lens lineup is actually the most complete AF lens lineup in the Pentaxland. But with the lack of vision, foresight and better commitment to bodies (but only lenses) by the Pentax management at that time for SLR business, it was reported that their lines were actually suffering loss from year to year and continuous subsides from the cash cow by the adjacent P&S camera division were the "norm" for these years. But indeed this obviously was NOT the right way of doing and running *any* business!

But the rich days of Pentax were gone rather quickly, which already after a long time for more than a decade actually! In the early 2000s, when the camera industry rapidly shifted to digitals and with the rise of DCs as being more popular, Pentax suddenly lost almost all the financial source, income and support for being run by itself standalone. With all the financial troubles and the shrink of market share of P&S cameras down to only 3 to 1% in the first half decade of the Millennium up to 2005 (Wow, just compared to the nearly 40% back to Pentax's most glorious days in the mid-90s), Pentax was finally sold to Hoya as a whole package, including the medical endoscope division which was still profitable, in 2007.

3. Pentax Optio 330 - The first DC in the New Optio Lineup/Family of Pentax:

(Above: The softcase is a genuine leather one made by Casio for the sister model variant, when the days Casio and Pentax had their "co-development" and co-operation.)

With the marketing failure of the EI-2000 and EI-200 digial cameras, which were the first DCs made by Pentax, Pentax had tried hard to re-think about what the market trend was and what actually the market needed and struggled to survive - but which was already too late IMHO. The Optio 330, which was the first member of a new line of DCs from Pentax, named with a new family name of "Optio", was launched in 2001. The 330 was intended to be built small and elegant and with quality photos, too (by the standards of its time). I actually saw it was on show in the Japanese Photo Expo 2001 at Odaiba, Tokyo which was held in March 2001. I bought this camera subsequently.

Well, all of my above cameras were retired and of I did not use them anymore years ago. In fact, my Optio 330 is not working anymore as both of the original proprietary Li-ion batteries had expired earlier and now they are just blown up like balloon and are rather difficult to be inserted into the battery compartment (tsim tongs is required to extract them if I had to do so)! :-( Yes, Li-ion will expire even if they are not charged/discharged as they have a limited shelf time and their lives are not based on the number of recharging cycles and times, unlike NiMHs and NiCds.

To me, all of my cameras introduced in my this post are just complete obsolete things to me as photographic gear. They now have no practical shooting meaning of any and for long actually. They are just collection items of mine but they do share my many precious moments with me and they completed their tasks not only for photo memories, but all many memories of mine in my life. I think I shall keep them "forever", until I die. :-)

Read Also:-

As Time Goes By.. (II)

My First Camera

Cameras, Photos and Memories - As Time Goes By..

Disruptive Innovation and Pentax

Friday, September 24, 2010

K-5 Vs K-7 ISO 6400 & 12800

The Korean Popco.net strikes again, here is the quick side-by-side shootout!

(in Korean)

Well, there is no surprise, the ISO 12800 of the K-5 is even better than the ISO 6400 of the K-7. But as we all knew, higher ISOs of the K-7 actually, suck! Not even to mention the obviously better colour accuracy and more favourable colour response of the K-5 (and sensor) that can be seen.

Well, the hard fact is that the culprit should be the sensor. So it's not solely the fault of Pentax, except that they chose the sensor wrongly for the K-7! For a very wrong sensor.. :-(

Last Related:-

Korean Popco.net K-5 Hands-on Preview

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pentax to Ship the 645D Globally!

See the latest news and announcement at the DPR:-


(US$)10k, by December 2010.

My New APS-C K-mount ILDC! ;-D

Against what has once been rumoured, there is no Pentax EVIL/ILDC nor any plan of it disclosed at the Photokina.

Why waiting and urging? Indeed, many of the old Pentaxians just want to have an ILDC in K-mount, with a Sony sensor in APS-C size! So, just make one yourself! Right Now! It's So Easy! :->

End of endless hoping and waiting, right? ;-) And, below are some quick test samples taken with the above combo, i.e., FA28 on NEX-3 w/ an effective AoV of 43mm 135 film-wise - the most ideal perspective to human eye! Well, 35mm x 1.535 is NOT!

(Full Size Original Images Available)

Indeed, this lens is really Sharp, even near wide opened! The interesting thing is that it is obviously sharper than when it is used on my K-x. So, it must be the sensor behind that really counts, which is just of prime importance afterall!

And, to do the MF, first we need to enable the "Shoot w/o Lens" option under the Settings Menu. Then, when a non-E-mount lens is mounted, the "MF Assist" will be shown:-

Then the user has the option of zoom-in at 7X or 14X to do the MF by naked eyes:-

In fact, the NEX' LCD monitor is of very fine resolution. As such, it is possible for some particular scenes to do MF reasonably accurately even without zooming in and just view at 1X, e.g., for night scenes. In addition, the MF damping of the FA lens is indeed quite good as an AF lens, smooth (although not silky smooth) and not too loose.

Last but not least, my this K-mount IDLC, although it is not an EVIL anyway, as it has no viewfinder of any, is really 100% WYSIWYG, for focus, exposure and DoF which all can be seen and observed at real-time and most importantly, accurately. Nice!~

Besides, there are a few remarks of that cheapo Chinese made adaptor, which I purchased at HK$270 (roughly equals to US$35). There are two issues with it. First, as you may have seen, the mounted lens is actually a bit rotated to the left. Second, the lens focus too much beyond infinity at lens' (marked) infinity after adapted (which originally should be accurate for the lens itself - as many of my Pentax lenses have been properly calibrated for the infinity focus collimation). Indeed, my first photo above just has shown where is the correct focus for infinity, just read the focus scale and position on the lens.

Anyway, I, being an optimistic person :-D, just think that the two flaws mentioned above in positive and different ways. Namely, the rotated lens to the right actually uplift the lens release lock/button upwards at the same time so that it is easier to push than when it is placed correctly but lower. This is particular useful for a small camera body like the NEX. Secondly, the room beyond the infinity focus now serves as better aids for the human eyes Contrast Detection Manual Focusing (or CDMF, a term that I now create here, to pair with the term CDAF! ;-)). Without that room, the difference in the absolute correct focus near the infinity is not so easily detectable and it is not as certain! ;-D Lol..

Actually, I originally wanted to buy the Kipon adaptor, which is also made in China, but by a more renowned factory and maker. I do believe that the Kipon adaptors should be better made. But then at HK$680 (or US$87) cheapest for what I could find, which is just more than 2.5 times dearer, I gave up. It is actually not much meaningful to get just an adaptor at his price, which is just only a piece of metal afterall and there is no exposure and focus control/aids of any built inside, or we could call it a dummy! (Ditto for the official Samsung adaptor for the NX anyway, which is even far more dearer. That's silly, isn't it?)

For that high price level of those original manufacturer adaptors, I would only buy the Sony LA-EA1 for NEX if I had those old Minolta A lenses, as it provides automatic aperture control function and now AF for those SSM Minolta/Sony ultrasonic lenses with the latest firmware upgrade.

Previous Related:-

DIY: Make Your Own "Mirrorless"! (Brand Regardless)

Is the Sony E-Mount a Modded K-Mount?(!)

I Like RED Cameras! :-D

My Old K-mount EVIL!

My K-mount 135 Full Frame DSLR!

Zeiss Stopped Production of (Z)K-mount Lenses

As this has been "rumoured" for some time now, it has happened!


Quoted, "Based on the market situation, the division will focus on SLR lenses from the ZE and ZF.2 series in the future. With production of ZK series lenses for cameras with a K mount set to end in the fall of 2010, some focal lengths will no longer be available. However, the remaining ZK lenses will continue to be offered at unchanged prices while stocks last."

via DPR Thread and Discussions Here.

But one question is: Why those prestigious "3rd party" lens makers aborted the Pentax market one after one? Just think about it.. :-(

N.B. It should be noted that some of the lately announced ZK lenses have not yet been delivered to some markets up till now, e.g., the Japanese home market for the Distagon T* 21/2.8 ZK! If you really want to buy one, buy it at the B&H while the final stock (but yet it is just the 1st batch!) lasts!! :-o :-|

Previous Related News:-

All Voigtlander K-A Mount Lenses are Discontinued

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sony Has Made the LA-EA1 (for NEX) AF Possible with the Old Minolta SSM Lenses! So..

Via Firmware Upgrade! See the latest news report at the DC Watch:-

(in Japanese)

So, who said a K-mount ILDC/EVIL with a fully operational K-mount adaptor is (technically) not viable? :-o Note that the LA-EA1 has already supported automatic control of aperture when it was born. So, it is made to be very good for the compatibility indeed! (Well Done, Sony!)

Previous Related:-

My K-Mount EVIL is Here!

K-r ISO Comparisons (Crops, w/ Outdoor Scene)

Just Inspect This (Click to Enlarge in New Window/Tab):-

by "ogl" (aka "yana36" @ DPR) via This Post of His. (Btw, to OGL: When have you immigrated to China and changed to Chinese Nationality? ;-D)

Well, what we could see is yet another APS-C cropped machine that rivals FF ones at high ISO speeds (but not in resolution anyway)!

But, there is one obvious flaw that can be seen, also. That is, the ISO 100 and 200 shots are all underexposured! :-(

60D Vs D7000 Vs K-5: What Would You Acquire?

Photokina has already started and the new mid-range DSLRs are revealed. Amongst the Canon 60D, Nikon D7000 and Pentax K-5, what would you choose?

1. Assuming that you have no existing gear of any brand and is starting from scratch:-

Your Choice Amongst the Three? (Assuming that to Build New System from Scratch!)
Canon 60D
Nikon D7000
Pentax K-5
pollcode.com free polls

2. According to your present real situation (and considerations):-

Your Choice Amongst the Three? (According to Your Present Real Situation..)
Canon 60D
Nikon D7000
Pentax K-5
pollcode.com free polls

Last Polls:-

K-5 & DA 18-135 Reactions

K-r & DA(L) 35/2.4 Reactions

Sony NEXes to Add Colours to Fight with Pentax!

via Information on Digital Cameras (in Japanese)

I think the new Sony colours are just more elegant, whilst quite some of the new K-r colours do look somehow toyish, btw.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Photokina Live Show Reports - Pentax Products

DC Watch has published their first day live report:-

(in Japanese)

Update: Here is also the Pentax Show Report at the Photography Blog:-


The most interesting picture is this side-by-side group photo amongst the 645D, K-5 and K-r, with DFA 645 55, DA16-45, DA*55 mounted respectively. Moreover, the K-x is still on the show, which might mean that it is not yet discontinued.

Korean Popco.net K-5 Hands-on Preview

As usual, this site is super sluggish loading for the page and especially with all the video clips contained that are in swf Flash:-


Hints to read and view: Just let the videos that you're interested load for the first time without waiting and watching, playback the next time after that and it will load much smoother! As for the main page and if you have lots of videos to load, just click them all and then go to the toilet/bathroom to do something and come back later! ;-)

This preview does worth to take a look (as usual for theirs). So, just be patient! @_@

In particular, the LV CDAF video demo shows that how fast the CDAF of the K-5 is! It is even faster than the EOS 550D that I reviewed before, which is already the fastest for a *DSLR*. You will be surprised! :-o (Pentax, Well Done! I *have to* say this time! :-))

Besides, as seen in the demo, another interesting thing and new function (Optional / Customise-able?) is that the CDAF now features an Auto Zoom-in during the CDAF operation, which is really nice for better assurance and re-confirmation of the correct focus by the user!~

Update (9-22), Direct Video Links Added for Quick and Easier Comparison:-

K-5 w/ DA 40 Limited:-

550D w/ EFS 18-55 IS:-

K-x w/ FA 31 Limited:-

Last Related:-

A K-r Hands-on Preview and Comparisons (@ Popco.net)

Does the New DA 18-135 just Look Too Close to the Nikkor Counterpart? :-o

Well, here we go again, let's look at the following pictures of the three "18-135" lenses of Canon, Nikon and then Pentax..

The Canon is obviously of a different design, as it is a front element focusing lens. In fact, the outlook, dimensions and weight etc. of the Canon are much different from those of the other two, too. So, let's compare the technical specs of the remaining two, as follows:-

Nikkor DX 18-135/3.5-5.6
Pentax DA 18-135/3.5-5.6
Optical Formula:
15 Elements in 13 Groups
2 ED, 2 Aspherical
13 Elements in 11 Groups
1 ED, 2 Aspherical
Minimum Focusing:
Thread Size:
Physical Size:
73.5 x 86.5mm
73 x 76mm
Other Characteristics:
Rear Inner Focusing, Silent Wave Motor
Rear Inner Focusing, SDM Compatible DC Motor, Weather Resist

Although they are not exactly identical, are they just really close enough? A Coincidence? Anyway, the new DA(L)35/2.4 could be even closer to the old FA35/2, just look here.

Sigma is Still Doing a Foveon "Flagship", Does it Really Work? (I Mean Marketing-wise..)

It's a 15.36 MP x 3 Layers (~46MPs) Foveon Sensor in APS-C size, finally (but not 1.7X!). But since Foveon and the Sigma combination and combos had been proved to be a marketing failure in the past. I just wonder, if it really works for Sigma (and Foveon, which was acquired anyway) this time?!

Btw, I admire much the insistence and courage of Sigma the company. But however, I am not optimistic about the sales of this new camera, even it is meant to be a "flagship" (which still falls short of many things for being more updating)!

Latest Amazon US Prices for Pentax DSLRs (K-5, K-r, K-x & K-7)

Price (US$)
K-5 + DA 18-55 WR
K-5 Body Only
$1,599.95 (?)
Pre-Order; BUT This Must Be a JOKE! :-o
K-r + DAL 18-55
K-x + DAL 18-55
Still Available / In Stock; Seems to be a Good Deal!
K-7 + DA 18-55 WR
Still Available / In Stock

There is still no DA 18-135 lens offer(s) posted at the Amazon yet. Nevertheless, on the other hand, B&H hasn't posted any of the K-5 offers up to this moment and neither for the new 18-135 lens.

*Updated (10-7):-

1. Amazon's last published price for the 18-55WR K-5 kit was wrong, it should be $1749.95, as now it has been updated;

2. B&H has included the prices of K-5 and K-r now at their store.

K-5 and K-r Japanese Official Pages (Full Size Samples Coming)


There are 10 small size photos in Flash, though. The lenses used and the camera settings are briefed. Just have a look! Anyway, I do have the feeling that the colour response is somehow very similar to my NEX, of which you can look at here for some of my samples.


There is no sample photo of any for both cameras, but it is said it will be uploaded soon and they will be full size ones. Just Watch Out!

Working Principle of the New "DC" Motor (Patent Paper Included)

I am not sure what the "DC" actually stands for in the official marketing media article of the new DA 18-135 DC. But typically DC motor just refers to Direct Current Motor after all in technical sense.

But then the above press release also mentions about its "SDM autofocus operation" (but the lens now has no SDM designation btw), so now I take and (re-)understand SDM just only means Silent Driving Motor then, in contrast to previously told long form of Supersonic Driven Motor or whatsoever / whatever you or the Pentax marketing guys like to call it!

Below maybe the patent and detailed design that used in the new lens for that "DC" "ring-type" AF motor, have a look, it is not too difficult to be understood if you really want to study:-


In short, it is just a "conventional" DC Motor with magnets arranged in ring-form, continuously and in cyclic, which is yet somehow unconventional then, as those permanent magnetics are now arranged "outside" the core/coil of the motor (in certain sense), but not inside in a self-contained unit and then the self-contained motor is used to drive anything "outside" as desired by/thro./via gears. As such, this new DC motor is simply nothing Ultrasonic and the working principle is totally different.

I would say it is a very clever design with low and old technology used. Let's see if it will perform and if it would be more durable than the old SDM motor units, which are proven to be rather vulnerable and slow which are just helpless, frankly speaking.

Putting aside the speed/performance issue, the other major concern is about its AF accuracy. My judgement is that if the motor has minimal inertia, then its focusing accuracy will be good. Otherwise the servo control and algorithms of the AF must be designed and written to be very good for the control model for a targeted/desired stop-down (curve) . The old SDM is proven to be not accurate for the stopped position and thus focusing accuracy is affected and sacrificed (which is actually worse than the old body-driven screw-type AF). Now, there is hope in the Pentaxland again! Let's see if this cleverly re-designed motor using the most primitive and old technology will work, or not! :-o :-)

Anyway, last but not least, I feel happy to see Pentax/Hoya really have done some R&D of their own. And most importantly, to realise their R&D results and put them into their new products! :-))

Monday, September 20, 2010

K-5 Vs K-7 AF-C Speed / Frame Rate Head-to-Head Comparison

Hoya claims that the K-5 has an improved-speed AF system (together with a higher continuous shooting rate on specs as well). Let's see how the new K-5 is compared to the old K-7 below!

(URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4nv2QGktbw)

The same lens is used, but unfortunately it's a Sigma. The cameras were put into AF-C mode (with automatic 11 points) with Continuous Frame Shooting mode at Hi speed. The *effective* frame rate are summarised at the end of the video clip, which I re-type here:-

K-5 (frame rate priority)
K-5 (focus priority)
1.9 fps
3.9 fps
3.4 fps

However, the tester didn't count and hasn't shown us the successful rate of images that are being in-focus against the failure rate of being out, which I think is just also very important. Btw, we can wildly assume that the results of the two cameras are equal, first.

Previous Related:-

Measurebated: K-7 is NOT a Machine Gun! :-(

Your Reactions About the New K-5 and DA 18-135 WR Kit Lens?

As we have known that for quite some time now, the new body and lens have been announced. Just See the Official English Hoya Press Release Below:-


w/ the Body Images Here

And the new lens is Here! DA 18-135/3.5-5.6 ED AL[IF] DC WR - Wow! Any Longer Suffixes?! :-0

(Source: http://www.videoaktiv.de/images/2010/Pentax/DA_18-135mm.jpg
@ http://www.videoaktiv.de/201009204913/News/Foto/Pentax-K-5-D-SLR-Kamera-mit-Full-HD.html)

From the Above, do note that it seems that this lens has Rear/Inner Focusing mechanism as the focusing ring is just at the rear..

Update (22:00 UTC+8): DPR posts their lens announcement with the K-5 announcement!



Moreover, there is a first video interview at the www.fowa.it, uploaded at the YouTube:-

Whilst you can find at the DPR for a brief hands-on preview here and a summary of most of the announcements and reactions at the 1001 Noisy Cameras eventually, I yet once again raise a poll here, just like what I did last time for the K-r and the "new" DAL 35/2.4 all plastic lens.

So, it's your take now, here it is!

What Do You Think About the New K-5 and Kit Lens (DA18-135WR)?
Excited (Very Interested)
No Feeling (Neutral)
Disappointed (Not Interested)
pollcode.com free polls
Poll Page URLs:-

Vote: http://poll.pollcode.com/lBV
Results: http://poll.pollcode.com/lBV_result

Fuji X100 - The Classic-Look APS-C Digital Camera, I Like It!

I quite like the new Fuji X100 it resembles much the old classic rangefinders in the 60s to 70s, it looks quite alike to my Canonet as designed, which is my first camera.

As for the inside of the X100, it is not just a typical P&S DC, although the lens by no means is interchangeable. Its focal is ideal, at 35mm focal 135 film equivalent. The lens is considered fast, the sensor is "large" (at least not a 4/3 or even smaller one). It does have an optical viewfinder, which is just located at the same top left side position as the old rangefinders! Really very nice for all those! :-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Pentax Quality and Warranty Crises II - Hinman is Leaving Pentax! :-o :-(

As previous reported and talked about (here and here), Hinman's and my K-xes both suffer from some kinds of serious to minor quality issues respectively. Hin was just more unlucky with a dead camera just after a few months of use. And, the detached SR red logo plate and faded silver rim look rather terrible to me, indeed.

Hinman, being the top Alexa ranked Pentax Blogger for a long time actually, has now decided to leave Pentax! He has yet sold off several of his beloved DA Limited lenses already, all just because of the poor warranty services and after-sales support (if any!) by Pentax (Imaging, the USA) - but NOT because of he doesn't like his Limiteds. In contrast, I can feel that he loves his limited lenses much!

He has left two messages today at my Blog (here and here) about his frustration and disappointment, quoted:-

"My dead Pentax K-x white is in CRIS since 9/2/2010 and nothing has been done on the camera for 18 days after arrival as there is NO parts available from CRIS and NONE is stocked in Pentax USA. It has been back ordered from Japan with NO ETA.

I AM LEAVING PENTAX partially at the moment. And I will leave PENTAX digital for good. That IS IT for me. RH, please spread the words for Hin that he has decided to leave PENTAX.

By the way, that chrome strip is normal wear and I won't sweat little thing on Pentax for that inconvenience but a dead camera is a dead camera in my case. I expect NOTHING from Pentax."

"I have sold my DA limited lens on 21/40/70 and 50. Next will come with DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 and then my F* 300. When you see the F* 300 in marketplace of PF, you will know that I completely OUT of Pentax digital

I will keep my FA limited in 43/77 for my Pentax film work along with Pentax 645N. But my Pentax digital LIFE is no more. Even if they come out with magic in K5, I don't give a damn!"

When compared to Hin's case, I feel far more fortunate that my K-x is still well and fully working. The aesthetic "damage" of that crispy shiny Navy Blue paint is minor in comparison but even though, I don't think Pentax could and should escape from the warranty/defects liability neither even for such "minor" things.

The Pentax local service centre dared to ask me to pay for Pentax' own quality and design issues, which is the most RIDICULOUS thing on Earth. The worst is, very similar to Hin's case, they told me that they had to back-order that piece of plastic cover for the RTF and the Time for Delivery was actually unknown! It just seems that all Pentax' service centres don't keep spare parts. And the stock level of everything is just zero! Oh, everything has to order from the Pentax HQs for each repair?? From a minor piece of plastic parts to the memory card module?! Well, I still remember that the service centre commented that, "Yours is in Blue colour, then.. (we have to special order)"!?

I am sure my broken painting is a quality plus design issue, as I have already had two different Navy Blue K-x units which have suffered from the same! As for the Red/White/Black ones, my observation and guess is that the materials used are different and the problem may not arise.

No matter how, I feel for Hin and actually I feel really sad for Pentax/Hoya to have such a loyal long-time customer plus an important contributor to the brand in internet gone and lost him, whom should be a very valuable asset to the brand and company, really.

For me, I am now looking at the K-5, which gives me no big surprise but more disappointments actually. I might buy one eventually, maybe a Silver version when it would come out later. By that time, my K-x would be sold.

I still remember that last time my special Silver version of my *ist DS got killed at Pentax Japan during a "re-calibration" for AF adjustment - the whole AF module was misaligned, optics inside eyepiece broken, mirror position was shifted. In that case, no one was responsible to give me a replacement unit of the same edition nor a newer model since they just couldn't make it.

Do a company be responsible to all the damages and customer's loss owing to their own faults and incompetence? They just chose to ignore me after all these happenings! >:-( The local agent was "kind" enough to give me an old black colour *demo* unit with obvious used signs, though - but my beloved Silver DS died! (And that they still required me to return the death body to them anyway! :-( That was just an completely unfair "one to one" replacement!)

As the older Pentaxians would know, I wrote a complaint letter to the CEO of Pentax Corporation (when it was not swallowed by Hoya yet) and sent by registered mail with full name of attention, yet my letter was disregarded like rubbish.

All these cases are just ridiculous and unforgivable. "Normal" people like Hin would choose just to leave and move on. But as for me, with a rather stupid blinded brand loyalty in heart, just chose to stay and continue to buy new stuff (and continue struggling when unfortunate things continue to happen!)! Stupid ME!! >:-|

Update (9-20): Hinman has replied to my this post, it would be useful to quote his latest report and comments here:-

"I will eventually leave Pentax. At this moment, I will slowly disappear from Pentax but I will come often to say Hi. Until I see the trend that Pentax do listen to its customers on SDM, pTTL (p for pathetic), CRISis service with Pentax USA properly stocking up parts for its failures, I won't be back.

When I called Pentax service, I ask whos is responsible in stocking up for broken Pentax gear under warranty, Pentax rep says it is CRIS responsibility. Then I ask why Pentax USA don't stock up K-x broken parts, the answer goes in circle and I can only imagine how stupid I have been in believing this company."

Last Stories:-

K-x' Durability/Production Quality is Just a Joke!

The Quality and Warranty Crises (Re: K-x and Pentax)

K-5 *Unofficial* Announcement and Specs!

I am pleased to announce the "new" Pentax K-5, which is basically a K-7 with a replaced Sony sensor (which is believed to be superior), which has been realised only after too many Pentaxians have complained, whined, petitioned or whatsoever for over a year! ;-) Here it is!

Disclaimer: This is 100% Unofficial (as I am just nothing Pentax/Hoya affiliated) and should be treated as 200% Rumour and Hoax! ;-D Read all these at your own risk and I bear no responsibility of any!! :-o

Pentax K-5 Specifications:-
16.93MPs Total, 16.28MP Effective, 23.7 x 15.7mm APS-C
Number of Bits:
3 x 8-bit JPEG, 3 x 14-bit RAW
Maximum Resolution:
4928 x 3264 (16M)
ISO Range:
Standard: ISO 100-12800, Expanded: ISO 80 and 51200
Movie Mode:
Full HD: 1920 x 1080 at 25 fps (16:9) - Maximum 25 Minutes or 4GB
HD: 1280 x 720 at 30 or 25 fps (16:9)
VGA: 640 x 480 at 25 fps (4:3)
Movie Sound Recording:
Stereo, Built-in Mic w/Option Mic-in
Memory Card:
SDHC/SD Card Compliance, Supported Up to 32GB
100% 0.92X at 50mm, Diopter Adj. -2.5 to +1.5
Back LCD Monitor:
3.0" 921,000 Dots TFT, 160 Deg. View Angle, Anti-Reflection Coating
Electronic Level Meter:
Focusing System:
SAFOX IX+, 11 Points
1/8000th - 30s, X-Sync: 1/180th sec.
Built-in Flash:
G.N. 13 at ISO 100, 28mm Coverage (135 Film Equivalent), w/ Red-Eye Reduction Option
Continuous Frame Rate:
7 fps, Maximum 40 frames (JPEG) or 8 (DNG)
Digital Filter, WB, HDR etc. Settings:
16 Digital Filters with a Maximum of 135 Processing Options, Other Features Similar to Those of the K-7
Other Supports:
DPOF, PIM III, PictBridge, USB 2.0 (Hi Speed), AV Out (NTSC and PAL), HDMI Out
D-LI90 with D-BG4 Support (Can Insert 6 AAs), CIPA: 980 Frames No Flash, 740 Frames with 50% Flash, 440 Minutes LiveView/Video
Pentax Digital Camera Utility 4 (Photo Browser and RAW Converter)
Size and Weight:
130 x 96 x 72mm (W x H x D), 670g
Operating Temperature:
Down to -10 Deg. Celsius
Weather Sealing:
77 Sealing Points
Kit Lenses:
DA 18-55 WR, DA 18-135 WR:-

Well, how about the outlook and appearance of the K-5? I post no photo of it as you can safely assume that it looks 99% alike with the K-7! :-)

Previous Unofficial Announcements at My Blog:-

Pentax K-7 Unofficially Announced!

The Pentax K-7 is Here! Finally!

K-5 NDA Embargo End-Time

Yvon Bourque has disclosed at his blog that the K-5 NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) will end at California Time 07:00 (in the morning). So, I have made a Count-Down Timer again for your easy reference.

So, when the time arrives, just look at Dpreview or anywhere on the web, the news will come all together at the same time! Possibly, there will be a hands-on preview at the DPR, too. And as usual, the 1001 Noisy Cameras will have a comprehensive summary on all the related weblinks in a very short time. Just Watch Out and Check when the Time is Due!

Update: This Countdown is Now Meaningless as Everything is Leaked Already!