Web Analytics RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: October 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A 645D Mini Review w/ Downsized Samples (in 2MP)

(in Simplified Chinese, Google Translated English Page Here)

Just click on each of the pictures in the review to enlarge (in 2 Mega-Pixels), a new tab/window will be opened.

Here is a quick capture of all the samples posted (one of them is missing, though):-

This time, I like the colour response and textural feel of those 645D pictures, which I think both aspects are somehow better than all those current DSLRs with CMOS imagers (brand regardless) and the differences and advantages can actually be seen.

As for the bokeh of the 645D kit lens, it is of the typical Pentax FA prime alike, i.e., the bokeh / blurred background is not completely dissolved or very creamy or silky smooth (or whatever you like to call it) but we can see the outlines of the blurred objects, which are still rendered in a somehow smooth way but not too harsh - this is actually an unique characteristic and style of most of the Pentax primes, which will also result in the so-called "bright ring" bokeh and may still cause some "roughness" under some circumstances, e.g., for bright highlights or contrasty objects in the background. Indeed, I found that my FA* and FA Limited lenses just have a very similar response for the bokeh rendition. Well, whether you like it or not is just a matter of personal preference and taste after all!

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Firmware to be Released for the K-5

See the latest news report at the Japanese Impress DC Watch:-

(Google Translated English Page Here)

It is promised that the continuous maximum number of frames for shooting RAW in PEF will be increased dramatically from about 8 to 20, with the upcoming firmware! Just! Oh well, this is just somehow amazing enough as the hardware buffer size cannot be changed by software anyway! So, the software will do some great tricks! :-D

Besides, there is yet another news in the same report. That is, the new DA 18-135 DC lens now has a confirmed release/on-sales date, which will be on November 26. It is actually delayed as the original targeted market date was in mid-November. Furthermore, it is also stated that the price of the lens will be "open priced". That means that Pentax will let the price to be adjusted dynamically according to the market supply and demand. Btw, I shall do more research works in the meantime and will wait for the release and this kit set is actually my real target. I hope the kit set can be sold more reasonable/competitive in price and I wish also it could come down a little bit around Christmas so that I can consider it more seriously - I think the current back order price at US (Amazon and B&H etc.) is just a bit priced too high.

In fact, the K-r has been out already in my potential purchase list after my recent dual hands-on tests myself and also the detailed head-to-head ISO shootout test and comparisons that seen today. I think it is just rather meaningless for me to buy a K-r as I already have a K-x, which is now found to be even better in the IQ and as we all know, the K-x is just smaller in size and is compacter!

Read Also:-

Ten Reasons for Thinking Twice before Decided on a K-5..

K-r Vs K-x - What's New and What's Not?

K-r Vs K-x ISO Measurbations (Head to Head)

See these one by one:-

Pentax K-r vs. K-x ISO comparison A

Pentax K-r vs. K-x ISO comparison B

Pentax K-r vs. K-x ISO comparison C

Pentax K-r Measurebation - a set on Flickr

via Information on Digital Cameras (Japanese) and the brief post of the original tester at the DPR.

And the remarks by the author is quoted:-

"All photos were taken in DNG RAW and process with no additional noise reduction with the Pentax RAW utility that came with the K-r. I've included 100% crop "ISO elevators" for the convenience of the pixel peepers.

My conclusion from these pictures is that the K-r is not noticeably improved over the K-x."

As to me, it looks that the K-x has even slightly better Image Quality with clearer images and more details in all the comparison sets A to C linked above! The K-x even wins in noise actually. Oh, well.. :-o Pentax sucked quality from the new entry level body?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

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

The K-r hit the shelves of camera stores in Hong Kong yesterday. So, I went to try a pink one yesterday evening and then another black one today at another store. I tried both cameras with a DAL 18-55 kit lens mounted on them.

Below are my quick observations and a "surprising" experience (read more below):-

1. The camera feels small and solid, although it is a bit heavy and could be slightly heavier than the K-x with Lithium AA batteries in it. As usual, the black one has better feel for the coating for its rigidity and the white and pink ones are felt more toyish (they are semi-shiny semi-matte plasticky toy materials alike).

2. The new D-LI109 battery is small and lightweight. But its energy rating is in 1050mAh only. I have checked both the battery and charger that they are made in China.

And, how about the performance of the battery and the stability of the power supply? I shall brief it at the end of this post (and I shall tell what I found after completed playing/testing with the camera).

3. The RTF shape and the closed position has been changed from the old K-x/K-m design to more K-7 alike and now the collision problem (which I believe to be a latent defect) does not exist anymore.

As for the closed position, I have inspected four units, one pink and one black which are the newly out-of-the-box but assigned as demo units, and then a brand new white and another pink one "in" the box. Out of the four, only the black one has a tight closed position and does not have larger play. It seems that the plastic mould of the black-coloured body do have less play and the assembly positions are to be more accurate (just my rough impression, though).

Nevertheless, if you are just like me, want to have a more reasonably tight enough closed RTF top of the K-r (which contribute to an overall more solid feel of the body), the lucky rate is 25% according to my this sampling.

4. As for the annoying and persistent shifted AF red-dot issue, as usual, Pentax has never been able to find a solution to it actually. Everything is just random and depends on luck! If you just don't get what I mean, see this illustration, which was drawn when I wrote my K100D full review, years ago:-

That is, the projected red dots and lights are shifted in positions against the focusing screen craved marks. This is particularly ugly for the central red illumination to look like this, when it is viewed against the central bracket mark, IMO. In fact, this problem is somehow an unique Pentax issue, as explained in my K100D review, it is quite costly to make a perfectly aligned projection and assembly for this design, for both mechanically and for the level/standard of and requirement on the factory labours.

Btw, for the two demo units I tested, one has the central red dot shifted to the top right corner and the other is centred left right but shifted upward. So, the failure rate to my QC standard is just 100% (failed)! >:-(

I just wonder, why Pentax still couldn't find a remedial to this little problem after 7 years?! In fact, this was a problem since the *ist D and my first unit of *ist D was returned just because of this problem (and also a leaked silver dot painting on the mode dial).

Well, it can be adjusted manually, but it is not easy. My K100D has been tried for the adjustment for 3 times, only after that the central red dot was aligned!

5. The new VGA monitor is not as impressive as what I originally thought and expected, as it somehow lacks sharpness and contrast when compared to other VGA LCDs of other current DSLRs/ILDCs in the competition. Just say I am quite sure that the one on my Sony NEX looks more impressive. There is no anti-reflection coating of the K-r. It is less prone to oil and dirt but it is not glare and reflection resistant by no means!

6. The Live View CDAF is as fast as that of the K-5 and both cameras should share the same software algorithms. But yet an annoying thing is, as you can see from the K-5 video demo in the above link, that the LV display will zoom into the focusing area and then zoom out after completion of the AF. I found this is to be somehow disturbing indeed. But unfortunately I have checked that by digging into the camera menu completely for several minutes that there is NO option to turn off this! :-( (I have checked all the Custom Function items, also.)

7. As for the (non-LV) AF speed, it is more or less quite close to that of the K-x when Lithium AAs are used. The responsiveness in indoor environment that are considerably bright is more or less the same, i.e., average performance with slight hunting occasionally.

8. The mirror slap and shutter sound and vibration etc. is very close to that of the K-x. At least this is what I have felt for my these two trials on two separate day. It *may* be a little bit gently, with subtle difference that I would find (I am not quite sure as the shops are somehow a bit noisy), but the sound is very familiar and the feel of the time lag is quite close.

9. The K-r's continuous shooting rate is noticeably faster than the K-x with NiMH AAs put in it. With Lithium AA in K-x, the difference is less but I can tell the difference between K-x and K-r is still noticeable. But do note that you will have this machine gun feeling only if the K-r is put in the AF-S mode only, in which the focusing will be only done once, right before the continuous shooting.

10. So, how about if the K-r is put into AF-C then? Oh, I would tell the result is really pathetic once you have switched to AF-C! :-( I slowly panned the camera in 360 degrees around the shop but the actual frame rate was terribly dropped to about 1 to no more than 2 fps that I can tell (nothing scientific but I am almost sure as I have used/played just so many different cameras from time to time!).

So, as I have read through the K-r manual the last time, I know that there is a custom option to choose between "Focus Priority" to "FPS Priority". So, I just changed the setting and re-tried. To my surprise, the result was not much better and I think it was a bit faster, say, something closed to 2 fps at most, I think!

The most disappointing thing isn't the slow continuous shooting rate with AF-C, though. The shocking story is that after my above two tests, in which I think less than 30 continuous shots were made, that brand new K-r demo unit under test hanged up with a terrible continuous and steady wee sound inside with continuous vibration that can be felt. The whole unit just locked up and hanged but yet the vibration was persistent! The "wee" didn't stop even I switched off the unit! So, I just picked out the battery and re-inserted it again and then turned on the unit, that K-r unit was back to normal status then, finally..

Yes, I've discovered a BUG! This bug is terrible indeed. I have never seen similar thing before with any other DSLRs that I have ever put in my hands, except that K-r! >:-( I still recalled that last time I shot more than 60 JPEGs in a chain with my 5D and there was no irregularity of any happened!

11. After the whole course of testing, I found that the K-r did have a weird battery issue! I know that the Li-ion battery out of the box has not yet been fully charged. But the really strange thing did happen (again, even with the latest firmware of the K-x which was claimed to "cure" the battery issue). When the battery was first inserted into the body, the body shown a red status. After I used it more, it turned into Yellow (half-delpeted). And then I used the K-r a bit further, it turned into Green (nearly full)!? And then it suddenly turned into Red again! Oh, my God!

I thought that the K-r should solve the battery issue with the new Li-ion battery. But it seems that some really bad Pentax "tradition" still remains in the K-r!! :-o

And yes, I think I've found another Bug. I actually found two bugs of the K-r in these 30 minutes of use already. How about if you and/or me is to buy one and use it daily?? :-o ;->

Read All K-r Related Posts:-


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Four Full-size Real-life Samples from K-r + DAL35 and 645D with Kit Lenses

1. K-r w/ DAL 35 @ f/4.5 & ISO 200 (Outdoor Shot):-

(Click to Open in a New Tab/Window; Warning: Large File!)

I think the overall IQ of this shot, at the base ISO of 200, is indeed quite good! There is yet some little noise at the dark areas, e.g., the hair and the green background as well, though, if you view it with a more critical eye plus a more careful mind. And, the showgirl is not bad neither, although her make-ups are just all revealed under the high image fidelity and resolving power of the K-r and the lens of which the combo is just a magnifying glass during the course of pixel peeping! ;-)

2. K-r w/ Kit DAL Zoom @ f/8 & ISO 800:-

(Click to Open in a New Tab/Window; Warning: Large File!)

Do note the somehow obvious noise at the blue colour of that K-x toyish hotshoe cover.. >:-o

3. 645D w/ Kit Prime @ f/4 & ISO 400 (Indoor Shot):-

(Click to Open in a New Tab/Window; Warning: Very Large File!)

4. 645D w/ Kit Prime @ f/4 & ISO 400; EF = +1.3 EV (Indoor Shot):-

(Click to Open in a New Tab/Window; Warning: Very Large File!)

via DC Fever's hot report on new Pentax product launch press conference at Hong Kong held today. (Article in Traditional Chinese, Google Translated English Page Here.)

The K-5 Took a Shower..

.. and was still alive! .. as tested immediately afterwards.

But, there are always two sides when we look at things. Do take a look at some previous stories reported by some other Pentax WR DSLR users to see if it is really completely safe, or not:-

How "Waterproof" those "Sealed" Pentax DSLRs Are?

Btw, I am almost sure that I shall do no shower to any of my cameras, even if they are stated to be weather-proof. In fact, I just won't let them got wet unless I really needed to use them under the rain or in snowing. Enough said.

On the other hand, if I had to use my cameras and gear in adverse conditions like under raining and in the desert, this would be actually unavoidable even if those gear are not designed and claimed to be weather-sealed. For example, my MZ-S had been used under light rain and in desert where very small dust particle are flying around in the air. With my non-sealed FA lenses, both my MZ-S body and lenses did survive time after time! So?

One more story of mine is that my MZ-30 (which was the cheapest entry level AFSLR of Pentax at its time) was used to shoot under snowing for several times under cold temperature at less than -10 Deg. C. and got wet each time. I even popped up the RTF (built-in flash) to take photos. But there was no problem of any neither.

In contrast, my *ist D died a few months after it was put only once under a very light raining for less than half an hour. I don't know if it is something related anyway. But the *ist D was never claimed to be weather-sealed, btw.

At the end of the day, what's the true meaning of doing such indeed meaningless tests? :-o My humble opinion is: When you use it for shooting and when you really face the (adverse) environmental conditions, then you will know! :-)

Read Also:-

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

Stop Camera Abuses!!

Some More Dubai Images ;-)

K10D Dust Proof?

K-r Defect Reports

1. Obvious Front Focusing with Four Lenses:-

Pentax K-r -- Acceptable Focus Adjust for a New Body?

2. Defective e-Dial:-

KR Problems - Help!

Will update this Post when I see more reported cases, if any..


Some Reported K-5 Faults (Defects and/or Bugs)

A K-r Unboxing with Detailed 1st Hands-on Review

Here is one from a new K-r user from Taiwan, whom is also a K-x owner:-

(in Traditional Chinese, Google Translated English Page Here)

The first hands-on review is very detailed and well written. It is worth for reading if you're just interested in the K-r (but not a K-5! ;->).

In particular, in addition to the typical ISO comparisons (with NR on and off, too), different colour modes (Custom Image in Pentax' term) are tested on the same scene and the new-type battery (D-LI109 - not the same one as the K-7/5's) and compartment are illustrated and so on..

Last but not least, do note that you need to click on the picture links in order to open the attached images. This is rather inconvenient I would say, but could help to save the server and network bandwidth significantly, I know. And, if you are viewing the page from the Google Translate, you can't even open the pictures as direct linking from another site is prohibited. So, I would recommend that you view the original page and the translated page side by side in two tabs, which would be the only work around.

D7000 Vs D700 - A Reference about IQ of the Two Sony Sensors in Different Formats

View this ISO shootout with crops for the samples made with the two cameras, for the same target and at the same time:-


via the post made at DPR by the tester:-


His remarks are quoted, "Photos are taken in JPG direct from camera, Auto WB.

First set of photos, on the left Noise reduction OFF, on right noise reduction ON.

Second set of photos. Left Nikon D7000 right Niknon D700. Noise reduction ON, setings NORMAL."

Happy measurbation then! Btw, this shootout will give you a brief idea about how the two generations of different Sony sensors in different formats (FF Vs APS-C) are compared for the output IQ.

Update (10-28): The author has updated his blog and posted more comparisons, here it is:-


It can be seen from the "animal" shots that D700 still retains more details and actually more resolution as well as better noise structure at higher ISOs. So, Full Frame still rules!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some Reported K-5 Faults (Defects and/or Bugs)

Here are some of those reports, by different new K-5 users:-

1. Overexposure with 3 Different External Flashguns Except at ISO 100:


2. Out-Focusing and Inconsistency AF Issues with DA*55 and DA*50-135 SDM Lenses:


3. Un-Cooperative Auto ISO and Overexposure with Flash:


4. Stuck Shutter Release Button Overnight!

(Traditional Chinese, machine-translated English Here.)

5. Auto Rotation Not Working for Photos! (But it works for displaying status info in-camera!)

(Traditional Chinese, machine-translated English Here.)

(Yet Another new K-5 user reported that his unit suffered from the same problem.)

6. ISO 70 Bug(?):

(No further information is provided, though.)

7. Obvious Physically Short-sighted (by observing the lens' distance scale):-

(Traditional Chinese, machine-translated English Here.)

Well, this is just a great news for macro photographers, or it should be treated as a Bonus! ;-D

K-5 English User Manual Uploaded at the Pentax Japanese Website

It now appears at the manual download page: http://www.pentax.jp/english/support/download_manual.html

And the direct download link is: http://www.pentax.jp/english/support/man-pdf/k-5.pdf

A quick glance to the manual verifies the following limitations of the K-5, many of which are in common with the K-r:-

User Manual Page
Slow Top Flash X-sync of 1/180th second
The Same SAFOX VIII Physical Layout (Precise Pinpointing is Just Impossible)
No f/2.8 AF Sensor (Which Affects AF Accuracy with Fast Primes*)
Maximum 8 frames for Shooting RAW in Continuous Hi mode (7 fps) (Whilst it can only be up to 10 frames for Continuous Lo (at only 1.6 fps))
Motion JPEG in AVI Only for Video Recording (No Motion Compression)
172, 174
Only Aperture and EV Compensation Can be Set for Video Recording
Mono Sound Recording for Built-in Microphone for Video Recording
AF and Re-focusing is Not Possible During Video Recording (Vs All Current C, N and S DSLRs with the Video Function Can! :-o)
No Still Image Can be Taken During Video Recording (which All Current Canon DSLRs Can)

*N.B.: Canon had f/2.8 AF line sensors incorporated into their entry level DSLRs since the EOS 450D whilst Nikon and Sony middle class to higher end models do also have. Why Pentax alone did not make it?! >:-( It helps a lot to minimise AF errors with fast primes at wider apertures after all.

Last Related:-

K-r Vs K-x - What's New and What's Not?

K-r and 645D User Manuals are Available for Download

Ten Reasons for Thinking Twice before Decided on a K-5..

Monday, October 25, 2010

K-5 ISO Samples 800 to 12800 (Full Sized, Two Sets)


I would recommend the first set more as a better lens is used plus all ISO speeds are available. In addition, the second set suffers from serious focusing inconsistency that affect image sharpness, so further measurbation is actually just not so meaningful.

Besides, the AWB of the K-5 keeps a very warm tone for the samples, despite that there is something white behind the object.

K-r Vs K-x - What's New and What's Not?

My last post talks about new Pentax DSLR manuals are available for download. I have just downloaded the K-r manual and found something that are not so-noticeable for what K-r has but K-x lacks. Here are two summaries for all the major differences, no matter they are already well-known or not:-

Pdf Document Page* of the K-r Manual
New Feature / Improvement
Red AF Point Illumination Indication
3" VGA Resolution LCD Mon.
New Infrared Port
Using Li-ion Battery
48 / 322
Optional AA Battery Holder
More Battery Indication Levels (Show Battery Type and its Fullness / Emptiness)
Expanded ISO Range Up to 25600 (K-x can be Up to 12800)
New Option of "Focus Priority" Or "Release Priority" of the AF-S Mode
New Option of "Focus Priority" Or "FPS Priority" of the AF-C Mode used In Conjunction With Continuous Frame Advance Mode
New AF Assist Light with the Option of Turning Off (K-x has that function but using Flashlight but Without any External LED)
New AF Fine Adjustment Function (For how to do similar thing with the K-x, Read Here)
New Interval Shooting Function
New Multiple Exposure Function
Support the 3 FA Limited Lenses for Lens Correction Functions (Similar to the new firmware update of the K-7)

* Remarks:-

1. The document page and the user manual page of the Pentax pdf file are usually mis-aligned, e.g., the Page 101 of the pdf file is actually the Page 99 of the manual, so please take note of this;

2. To go-to a pdf page directly, press Ctrl-N or Shift-Ctrl-N (Depending on the version of the reader).

On the other hand, the following limitations are still the same for both K-r and K-x:-

Pdf Document Page*
Same 12.4 MP CMOS Sensor (Low Resolution to the Competition)
No Cable Switch Socket
Mono Sound Recording for Built-in Microphone under Video Mode
AF is Not Possible During Video Recording
No Still Image Can be Taken During Video Recording (which Canon DSLRs Can)
Top Flash X-sync of 1/180th second (Ditto for the K-5 anyway)

Frankly, the K-r is quite feature rich and highly configurable. It should have been the perfect camera without the major discrepancies as listed in the second table. The 12MP is really on the low side for the pixel count by today's standard. And, the lack of a cable switch could be a headache to some whom like to shoot on tripod and monopod with real-time focusing/metering and exposure controls.

Last but not least, the K-r actually consumes a bit more power than the K-x. Just note about the theoretical maximum number of shots possible with the K-x is 1900 whilst for the K-r, it is only 1600, when Lithium AA batteries are used and both measured at 23 Deg. C.

Btw, I am still wondering if I should buy the K-5 or the K-r. But if I am to buy the K-r, this would be the colour I would choose (and maybe also with the DAL 35 with matching colour, too):-

Read Also:-

What Colour Scheme of the K-r Would You Choose?

How to Order a Custom Coloured K-x from Japan by Yourself?

Poll Results and Summary on the Choice of Recent Current Pentax DSLRs

Mega Poll: Current Pentax DSLR Body Selection Dilemmas!

Ten Reasons for Thinking Twice before Decided on a K-5..

K-x Debug Mode Tutorial - AF Adjustment

Sunday, October 24, 2010

K-r and 645D User Manuals are Available for Download

The 645D and K-r manuals have been uploaded at the Pentax Japanese homepage:-


Do note that the above page and manuals are in Japanese. As for the 645D manuals, there are two versions, one is the full manual and the other is an extracted version for menu operations and settings of the camera.

As for the English manuals, there is only the K-r one for the latest model, that has just been uploaded, in the following English page:-


There is no K-5 manual yet, neither in Japanese nor in English (which is usually uploaded later), but I think it will be uploaded soon, anyway.

Do read the manuals if you are really interested in any camera(s) or you have already owned some of them but yet have some questions. In fact, it is not difficult to see people keep asking simple questions that the user manuals had already told but then those people just usually tried to ask in the Internet instead of just reading their manuals first. Sometimes I just wonder.. If the Internet is really so useful and important? :-o ;->

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Production K-5 Quick Review with Full Size Samples (w/ DA17-70)

See: http://www.dcfever.com/news/readnews.php?id=4537
(in Traditional Chinese, machine-translated English Page Here)

All test shots, no matter full sized or not, were made with the DA 17-70/4 SDM (Only) Lens on K-5. If you just want to download and see the full sized samples, go to near the end of the review, there are six samples to download, click the "Ori" links for the original samples.

Well, after inspecting all these six full samples and checked the EXIF data also, I would quickly comment that I am not impressed with the IQ of the lens and all those images produced by that K-5 combo especially at the base/low ISO of 200. I cannot really see very high per-pixel sharpness but only softness and I do not very like the colour response of all the images neither. The lens in fact does not produce very crisp, sharp and well-defined images, even when it has been stopped down to f/8 or something. When used near wide-opened, things could get even worse and it seems that the focusing accuracy is not adequate, which contributes also for even more softness at pixel level. After all, I am not sure it is just a problem of the lens or the K-5 body or both for those far less than ideal IQ!? But, it's what the final results that count, but nothing else!! Yet once again, if we are not convinced, we need to see more samples to conclude, in the near future..

Previous Related Posts:-

Photoble K-5 and K-r Full Samples

Some Initial Test Samples/Crops from New K-5 Users

K-5 Official Samples Secretly Uploaded at Pentax Japan

645D DxOMark is Out

Here it is:-


While the IQ of the 645D is higher than average, when compared to the majority of mainstream DSLRs, it does no better than the 135 Full Frame Nikon D3X nor the MF Phase One P40 (which is of about the same resolution). See this Comparison.

In fact, the 645D loses in all 3 major aspects under test, namely, colour depth, dynamic range, high ISO performance and hence obtains the lowest score amongst the 3 cameras in the comparison.


Is MF Really Needed for Higher Pixel Count?

Comparison of Sensor Specs - 645D Against Others

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ten Reasons for Thinking Twice before Decided on a K-5..

Well, after so many K-5 promotions that I have been put forward at my this site since right before it was announced, it's time for me to "sing blues" on the K-5! ;-D Actually, it always does no harm for some more critical thinkings before we are to be decided on anything, which surely will help to minimize the chance of wrong decision and remorse! :-))

Okay, here we go!

1. The 1/180th Maximum Flash X-sync Speed:

We all knew that this maximum sync speed is inadequate, which is even slower than the bottom of line EOS digital model, i.e., the EOS 1000D, which just has a higher X-sync speed of 1/200th second.

Practically, if we used to do daylight fill-in flash in the old film days, we would know that the 1/250th is very valuable so that a larger aperture can be chosen for a longer reach of the flash and that also if shallower DoF is desired. Of course, people would then start to argue that Pentax P-TTL system with dedicated flash is high-speed sync capable. But the question is: Should we be limited to use the few dedicated flash units of Pentax only? E.g., why we cannot use other good flashes like those latest Metzes with a higher stand flash speed sync that is supported? And, I also wish to remind those people about the limitations and shortcomings with all those high-speed sync flashes (brand regardless), e.g., the drastically decreased effective G.N. and flash output power (but with much increased power consumption on the other hand!).

Besides, there is one major important con for a camera that is equipped with a slow x-sync speed that is not so noticeable. In fact, the X-sync speed is not only an indication on the maximum shutter speed that it could be used with standard flash units, it is primitively just an indication on how fast the shutter blades and curtains are moving (and "line scanning" speed of the shutter for the Tvs above the X-sync value). As such, a lower figure just indicate that the shutter module by itself has lower performance. And with slower actual moving speed of the shutter curtains, it means that more undesirable artifacts than ideal are existent and could be seen.

Well, I always just wonder since the MZ-S and also with ALL Pentax DSLRs. How is it so *difficult* to break the 1/180s barrier?

2. The Inadequacy of the Pentax P-TTL Flash System:

First of all, there are currently 4 dedicated P-TTL flash units that we can choose. Besides the new macro flash AF-160FC and the just slightly better than the RTF AF-200FG that is practically not much meaningful, we have only the choices of the really old AF-360FGZ, which is actually the old flash that come with my old MZ-S back to 2001 and the also the now aging AF-540FGZ, which the flash re-cycling time is really slow for its old circuitry and design.

Whilst I won't comment further about the exposure accuracy and consistency of the Pentax P-TTL system (which you can still find many relevant information by browsing through my pages), I would draw your attention to yet one big deficiency of the Pentax P-TTL flash system and design which is not so well-known, that is, it has no Flash Exposure Lock of any. So, just imagine that if you have a camera that is without any AE Lock for Auto Exposure with Ambient Light and now that it is just the case for Flash Metering and Exposure..

3. The Outdated SAFOX AF and Layout Inadequacy:

While Pentax has now renamed the old SAFOX VIII(+) in the K-x and K-7 to SAFOX IX(+) with their latest K-r and K-5 respectively, which I believe there exists some yet unknown improvements by software maybe, the layout of the AF sensors and sizes remain totally unchanged. As such, obviously, the old problems exist.

With such a layout, how can one pinpoint more accurately if more precise AF is desired? The line sensor is just too wide afterall and guessworks are resulted.

Furthermore, the 11-point layout of such an AF system in a just more "advanced" DSLR AF system is just a joke. It is good enough for all those entry-level DSLRs by today's standard. But if such an old 9-year stuff is used in a "flagship", it is just too dated and inadequate.

4. The SDM Evil and that Unresponded/Untackled SDM Issue:

Well, this is really the most headache problem with the current Pentax system. Many people do avoid all those SDM lenses. But then I just wish to ask, how many more current Pentax lenses else that we can buy if SDM is really to be avoided? :-0

5. Limited Lens Lineup and Availability and Without any Clear Roadmap and Future:

Last time Pentax Canada "once" *officially* discontinued 10 DA and DFA lenses (which was shortly deleted for that piece of information anyway) and Pentax Japan has also discontinued some more other lenses including the older FA ones already. In real, we have not much choices at different countries and places in the world for buying some other just older Pentax lenses as well, e.g., the DA 14/2.8 - The DA15/4 seems to be the replacement, although this is not officially told. In fact, many of the Pentax lenses are rather difficult to find brand new and the availability is just very limited.

The even worse thing is that the future of Pentax for their DSLR development is totally unclear and the image circle of their lenses is in a big mess. Some DA lenses are covering 135 full frame but some does not. Amongst those that can cover full frame, some original lens hoods are compatible and some are not. Yes, people would then argue that all DA lenses of Pentax is "designed for APS-C only" and this is also the official information, as we all know. But then nobody knows why with the "same" DA lens *lineup*, this kind of ambiguity and confusion could exist! :-(

Whilst many old Pentaxians believed and have urged that Pentax should officially let we Pentaxians know that which DA lens would be Full Frame compatible and which could not, but unfortunately we never knew that and not even about what Pentax have been thinking and planning and if they would go Full Frame eventually or not.

Indeed, I think this is just a big obstacle for many Pentaxians to invest further on newer Pentax glass. How one can feel safer for their purchases without more hesitations when the future is just so unclear?

6. No Video Compression *Option* for Video Recording:

The K-5 has no video compression option of any. Just say it has no H.264, MPEG-4 (which just the old Pentax Optio MX which I purchased back to 2004 had!), not even to say the Sony-Panasonic proprietary AVCHD format (which uses H.264 compression algorithms anyway). The "ground breaking" thing is that the Pentax K-5 is the only Full HD video recording camera ever made on Earth that has no facility of any for any in-camera video compression *option*!

So, with such tremendous bandwidth requirement of that Full HD video stream which actually the SD cards are just unable to handle with the lack of an effective video compression, I am almost sure that the Pentax engineers had to resort to make more JPEG compression per frame which is the only way to decrease the bandwidth requirement. But then, the image quality suffers.

7. Same Sony Sensor, the Highest Price:

Compared to the Nikon D7000, which has better specifications in almost every aspect but with the same Sony 16M HD CMOS sensor, the K-5 is just overpriced. If it is further compared to the extreme, i.e. the Sony A55, which is yet again with the same sensor, the K-5 has just so little and minimal price-to-performance ratio and just has poor value after all.

8. The IQ of K-5 is Not Better at the Base ISO, but Could be Worse:

I have no doubt about the high ISO IQ of the images from the K-5, but how about the IQ at base ISO? Could it be better than the old CCD Pentax cameras like the K200D and K-m etc.? I am afraid Not! :-( In fact, I still like some of the favourable colour and tone response characteristics of my K-m better than both my K-x and NEX. So, if you just don't need highest APS-C pixel count and those higher ISO speeds, why "upgrade"?

9. There is Always the "Low End"!

When we still have the choice of the K-r with some omissions of features like the weather-sealing or the support of using a cable switch and socket, why pay the double to get a K-5? Well, not even to mention the high ISO performance of the K-r could be *even better*! (But it has less pixel count as we all knew.) IMHO, other feature differences between the K-r and K-5 is almost negligible, e.g., for the 6 fps Vs 7 fps continuous frame rate and etc.

In retrospect, the K-r can be even stronger! Just say the K-r can shoot 14 RAW shots in a chain against what K-5 can do for 7, only. One ridiculous thing is for this "high performance" DSLR that has a continuous frame rate of 7 fps, which just means that the user can only shoot for ONE second if he shoots RAW! :-o How come the buffer of the K-5 is just so shallow? >:-| Since they put a new higher-resolution sensor into the old K-7 body, they needed to increase the frame buffer size too, did they? (But they didn't!)

10. The QC of Current Pentax Bodies and Lenses MIP and MIV are Sub-par but Yet Unfortunately the After-sales Support and Services of Pentax are Just So-So:

I think I won't elaborate more, we have just too many complaints and stories for those quality issues and unsatisfactory or even ridiculous service "support" cases daily everywhere reported in the Web. As for a few amongst all those uncountable number of cases that have been reported here, search this Blog. To see the others, search the Web.

Indeed, my yet recent experience with the MIV FA31 had been totally disappointed and I was not impressed with the QC standard on AF accuracy of the K-x as well - I only managed to get my current K-x unit without any major and obvious BF/FF issue with my fast Pentax primes with 1 body out of 3 different units! So, it's your take to count the "lucky" rate! :-o And, if you are to buy a new Pentax DSLR, what do you think what is your chance of getting a "good sample"?

Update (10-27): To admire about the QC level and standard of the current Pentax factory, just view these late reports from new K-5 and K-r users:-

Some Reported K-5 Faults (Defects and/or Bugs)

K-r Defect Reports


P-TTL Vs TTL: Is Newer Better? (How Auto Flashes Work?)

Compatibility of DA Lenses on Full Frame

FA 31 Limited: Assembled in Vietnam Vs Made in Japan - Case Studies

Poll Results and Summary on the Choice of Recent Current Pentax DSLRs

My Ten Reasons to Buy the NEX-3 Over the NEX-5!

DAL 35 is Full Frame Compatible

Follow the thread and see some sample photos taken with film:-

(in Simplified Chinese, machine-translated English Page Here)

Whilst it is verified that it is 100% Full Frame compatible, it is not that surprised at all as the DA(L)35/2.4 was found to be just a crippled and re-packaged FA35/2 after all.


Compatibility of DA Lenses on Full Frame

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

K-5 Video Samples

Lens Used: Pentax DA15, FA31, DA*50-135; Do note the "special effect" of vignetting for some fragments..

Lens Used: DA15 and FA31.

Photoble K-5 and K-r Full Samples

Now, many new K-5 users have got their new cameras. It seems that Pentax has decided to produce/sell more K-5 units before the K-r, as there are far more new K-5 units around. Or, maybe it is just the case that the K-5 has been selling much better, who knows? :-)

Here are the links.. Click, download, inspect, pixel peep, measurbate endlessly at your own risk!

K-5: http://pentax.photoble.net/?s_cat01=&camera=PENTAX+K-5&lens=&act=DSP

K-r: http://pentax.photoble.net/?s_cat01=&camera=PENTAX+K-r&lens=&act=DSP

Read Also:-


Monday, October 18, 2010

Poll Results and Summary on the Choice of Recent Current Pentax DSLRs

The last poll has been conducted for five days now. As I promised, I have completed some analyses per the summaries below:-

1. Raw Results:

Sub-Poll of A Vs B
Number of Votes for A
A Share
Number of Votes for B
B Share
The Winner is..
Total Number of Votes
1. K-x Vs K-7
2. K-x Vs K-r
3. K-r Vs K-7
4. K-r Vs K-5
5. K-5 Vs K-7
6. K-5 Vs K-x


2. The Biggest Dilemma by the Total Number of Votes: K-x Vs K-7!

3. The Biggest Dilemma by the Closest Numbers of Votes: K-x Vs K-7! Also!!

4. The Easiest No-Brainer: K-5 Vs K-7 @ 91% Vs 9%

5. The Model Shares by Vote Numbers:

Total Number of Votes

So, K-5 is just the overall Winner here! The loser is K-7, on the other hand! And it loses just too much and is beaten down in every match! :-(

And well, according to the results, the K-5 *should* sell the best and become the new most popular model of Pentax DSLRs in the days to come! It would sell even more than the K-r. But in reality, will it? :-o :-))

K-5 RAW Converted Full Size Samples

@ this sample gallery of a Japanese new K-5 user:-


Full size samples are uploaded and now available for download. Lens used is the DA 18-55 WR Kit. Some selected samples of the same scene are as follows:

ISO 80: http://photozou.jp/photo/show/300009/53154387

ISO 100 Bright: http://photozou.jp/photo/show/300009/53154769

ISO 100 Natural: http://photozou.jp/photo/show/300009/53154339

ISO 100 Reversal: http://photozou.jp/photo/show/300009/53154362

And, all in 10M JPEG: ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12800, 25600, 51200

Additional remarks can be found per picture page.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Some Initial Test Samples/Crops from New K-5 Users

See these:-


Do note that the 6400 image was NRed, but still you can think about if the IQ is good enough or not.


The above crops are for the central part of the test pics only, which actually received good exposure. If you want to inspect the noise at different ISO speeds at shadows, just view the downsized full picture and I am almost sure that you should be able to spot the difference.

Also, a ISO 100, 6400 and 12800 downsized pics posted by a new K-5 Chinese user:-

(Text in Simplified Chinese)

Next, some K-5 downsized samples compared with the K-x from ISO 800 to 12800, with 800 and 6400 crops:-


And then finally here is a flickr set from a Japanese user, there is no EXIF in photos and the photos are small in size:-


Btw, some of the above samples seem suffer from severe underexposure. :-(

Still not satisfied? Just wait to see some full size un-retouched samples produced all by the K-5 (and with full EXIF info of course) to come in the near future. By that time, I am sure that you can measurbate endlessly, forever and for whatever you want! ;-D

Read Also:-

K-5 Will be Marketed Earlier

Sony A33 Brief Hands-on Impressions (w/ ISO Comparison: 100-12800)

NEX-3 Vs K-x Full ISO Shootout (Controlled Test)

Sony NEX-5 VS Pentax K-x ISO/IQ Shootout (Dual Scenes)

Sony NEX-5 and NEX-3 Hands-on Impressions / Quick Review

Friday, October 15, 2010

K-5 Official Samples Secretly Uploaded at Pentax Japanese Website

Click the following thumbnails to download the full images! (A new Tab/Window will be opened. Warning: Large Files!)

However, these are not officially posted at the K-5 sample page, which is yet saying "Coming Soon" at this moment:-

(in Japanese, Update: The above page has been officially published now..)

Anyway, Enjoy! :-)

P.S. For the lens used and exposure settings per picture, use the latest version of the Pentax Digital Camera Utility to inspect.

Read Also:-

Official Full Size Samples of K-r is Out

Some More K-r Full Size Samples (from Users)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

In-Body Anti-Shake Patents Fully Dissected

Last time I talked about the AS* in-body IS heats up the sensor seriously during the video recording mode, which is just even more than what the sensor heats up itself alone when it is put into the video mode.
* AS means Anti-Shake, which was named by the Konica Minolta (just called "Minolta" thereafter) in marketing term for their invention, and now is generalised to be called Super Steady Shot or SSS by Sony, which Sony actually has many ways to do the stabilisation (body IS is just one of their designs).

I found that some Pentaxians have been imagining and wrongly believed that the Minolta AS design and system is "much different" from Pentax's SR one and that the Pentax SR system is "far superior". So, I think it's the time for me to write a simple technical brief to break those myths and blast the bubbles, as it could be! ;->

So, first of all, we need to look at the right information about the designs. Let's begin with the relevant patents then. Do read the original documents in full, in which we can have most of the useful technical information to answer the question(s):-

Patent of Pentax: Publication No.: US2006067660 (A1), Filed: 2005-9-20

(Left: Side View of the Pentax SR Module)

Patent of Minolta: Publication No.: US2006133786 (A1), Filed: 2005-8-24

(Above: Front View of the Minolta AS Module)

After that and next, let's look at the similarities of both designs:-

1. They both are in-body image stabilisation device which consists of a fixed part and a movable part where the imager seats on;

2. They both use electro-magnetic driving units (i.e., simply motors by basic definition) to correct the motions in 3 degrees of freedom (and only, i.e., X, Y and Z Angular/Rotational on the *same* 2-d plane);

3. They both have detectors for detecting the camera/hand-shake motions plus gravity;

4. They both have feedback controller to make the correction calculations and to instruct the driving units to move for counter actions. As such, the correction is achieved;

5. They both are closed-loop feedback system that the correction is being done in a continuous loop, "endlessly".

Now, let's look at the differences:-

1. The moving part of the Pentax' Anti-Shake system (as they named it in the patent) is on ball bearings whilst Minolta's is on "guides";

2. The moving part of the Pentax design is supposed to be "freely" moved (in a plane) and is held by magnetic force by 4 driving units;

3. The moving part of the Minolta design is confined within three guides which is then moved/held by 3 corresponding electro-magnetic driving units, or just motors;

4. As such, the moving method and hence the maths/calculations are different, although the degree of freedom of both system is actually the same at the end;

And, below are some guesses of mine in technical sense, as I have no more detailed information as could be read from the patent documents:-

1. Pentax's design may be more susceptible to external force including the gravity, as the the moving part/unit is just too free;

2. Electrical power is always needed (and wasted) to hold the moving unit in (the centre) position, even when the SR is supposed to have been turned off. The power is not less owing to the weight of the moving unit plus imager;

3. Whilst Minolta's design could be a bit more stable, it would have more friction as they are on the guide railings and the internal resistance (force wise) of the driving units might be higher as well;

4. But the stabler design (and maybe more friction as well) of the Minolta design could help to save unnecessary additional power consumption when the AS is turned off, i.e., minimal electrical power is required to hold the moving part (thus the imager) in position, by applying just minimal magnetic force;

5. Whilst both designs could be designed to have a rest position towards the direction of the gravity so that zero power consumption is achieved to hold the sensor position when shake reduction is not required, the imager will actually be de-centred downwards against the optical axis of the lens and as such it is impractical to do so!

I think my above observations and analyses (or maybe just wild guesses for some) would end here. It's your take now! Do read the drawings and diagrams followed by reading the detailed descriptions in the patents more thoroughly if you are interested and do have the time (I've yet read them somehow roughly and haven't dug too deep into them actually). I'd be glad if you could provide some additional information and findings of your own about more similarities or differences plus pros and cons of both designs. Sharing is always good which is the true power and meaning of the Internet! :-)

Read Also:-

Cures to High Fever of Video/in-body ISed DSLRs.. :-o ;->

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

Live View & AF Methods Fully Dissected

All Other Technical Articles at This Blog

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mega Poll: Current Pentax DSLR Body Selection Dilemmas!

Since the launches of the K-r and the K-5, I have seen daily at various Pentax forums over the net that Pentaxians have puzzled much about their purchase of a new Pentax DSLR amongst the four models which are currently available for selection, at least for this transitional period. In fact, I haven't seen such a big chaos since Pentax marketed their first DSLR! Some of the biggest dilemmas include K-r Vs K-7 as the price is so close or K-r Vs K-5 as the price difference is so big and so on.. Well, the decisions are always tough! :-o :-[

How to Vote?

If you have to choose between two (i.e., a typical X or Y question) amongst four models, it simply means 6 combinations (i.e., 4 x 3 / 2). Amongst all these 6 combinations, choose the utmost dilemma(s) you would face and then make the decision for voting. Please don't vote in a dilemma that you would never face, e.g., if you are not interested in neither the K-x nor the K-7, then you should not vote in that particular sub-poll.

Okay, here we go and let's go! :-D

1. K-x Vs K-7 (Latest Prices at Amazon are $499.88 w/ DAL 18-55 Vs $1016.83 w/ DA 18-55 WR):

What to be Puzzled About: 12M Sony Vs 14M Samsung Sensor, High ISO Noise Performance difference, different Colour Response and Taste, Lack of Weather Sealing or Not, ex-Entry Level body Vs Mid-level ex-Flagship, Control Interface and Operation differences, Metal body Vs Plastic, Support Cable Switch or Not, Smaller/Lighter or Larger/Heavier Body, SAFOX VIII Vs SAFOX VIII+, 100 Colours Vs 2 Colours, Forced Dark Frame Subtraction for Long Exposure (>30s) or Not, 4.7 fps Vs 5.2 fps, Use of AA Batteries Vs Proprietary Li-ion and so on..

K-x or K-7 Now?
pollcode.com free polls

2. K-x Vs K-r (Latest Prices at Amazon are $499.88 w/ DAL 18-55 Vs $829.15 w/ DAL 18-55):

What to be Puzzled About: Extra (software expanded) ISO of 25600 (a non-issue to me, frankly), Essentially the Same Sensor, New Li-ion Power with Optional AA Adaptor, Red-Dot Indication for AF Points and Selection, Different Style in Appearance (mainly the cameras' top/head), New Entry Level Vs ex-Entry Level, Slightly Smaller/Lighter or Larger/Heavier Body, 20 Body Colours Vs 10, 5 Grip Colours Vs 12 and so on..

K-x or K-r Now?
pollcode.com free polls

3. K-r Vs K-7 (Latest Prices at Amazon are $829.15 w/ DAL 18-55 Vs $1016.83 w/ DA 18-55 WR):

What to be Puzzled About: 12M Sony Vs 14M Samsung Sensor, High ISO Noise Performance difference, different Colour Response and Taste, Weather Sealing or Not, New Entry Level Vs Mid-level ex-Flagship, Control and Interface, Plastic Vs Metal body, Support Cable Switch or Not, Smaller/Lighter or Larger/Heavier Body, SAFOX IX Vs SAFOX VIII+, 100 Colours Vs ONE (i.e., in Black Only), No Forced Dark Frame Subtraction for Long Exposure (>30s) or Not, 6 fps Vs 5.2 fps, Support of AA Batteries (with Optional Adaptor) Vs Proprietary Li-ion and so on..

K-r or K-7 Now?
pollcode.com free polls
4. K-r Vs K-5 (Latest Prices at Amazon are $829.15 w/ DAL 18-55 Vs $1749.95 w/ DA 18-55 WR):

What to be Puzzled About: Sony 12M or 16M Sensor, No Weather Sealing or Not, New Entry-Level Vs New Mid-level Flagship, Control Interface and Operation Differences, Plastic Vs Metal body, No Support of Cable Switch or Not, Smaller/Lighter or Larger/Heavier Body, SAFOX IX Vs SAFOX IX+, 120 Colours Vs ONE, 6 fps Vs 7 fps, Support of AA Batteries with Optional Adaptor or Not, HD Vs Full HD Videos (all in Motion JPEG anyway), and so on..

K-r or K-5 Now?
pollcode.com free polls

5. K-5 Vs K-7 (Latest Prices at Amazon are $1749.95 w/ DA 18-55 WR Vs $1016.83 w/ DA 18-55 WR):

What to be Puzzled About: Sony 16M Vs Samsung 14M Sensor, High ISO Noise Performance difference, different Colour Response and Taste, New Flagship Vs ex-Flagship, Essentially the Same Body Chassis and Frame, Super Slow CDAF Vs Quite Fast CDAF, Full HD Vs HD Videos, SAFOX IX+ Vs SAFOX VIII+, Black Colour Only Vs Black or Silver, No Forced Dark Frame Subtraction for Long Exposure (>30s) Vs Forced, 5.2 fps Vs 7 fps, practically faster Continuous AF on Continuous Frame Mode and so on..

K-5 or K-7 Now?
pollcode.com free polls

6. K-5 Vs K-x (Latest Prices at Amazon are $1749.95 w/ DA 18-55 WR Vs $499.88 w/ DAL 18-55:

What to be Puzzled About: After so many technical comparisons above, I just don't even list out any of those between the two this time. We should know there is one very obvious and important difference here, i.e., the price! The K-x kit is only 28% something of the cost of a K-5 one, both with a 18-55 lens. If you just want a new Pentax DSLR body c/w a standard kit zoom, should you get the cheapest or the dearest? :-o

K-5 or K-x Now?
pollcode.com free polls

Okay, it's Your Take Now! I shall come back to do some analyses and quick summaries a few days after. :-)

A 645D Diary

Come across this "Diary" via the DPR Forum where the poster introduces his diary, named the "645Diary" himself.

I have had a look at the 645Diary and have some good impressions on it. So, I would like to recommend it here, at my Blog.

Other than those photography stories shared by the author, there are also a few sample photos in small size mostly and occasionally in larger size. In particular, this ISO 800 sample from the 645D (RAW converted) has good noise performance and tonality, which is worth to take a special look.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Let's Look Back at the 645D for Some Original Samples from Users

When you want to look at those real-world "real photos" made by Pentax end-users for any Pentax camera (or even a few of other models of other brands), there is always the Japanese Pentax gear photo upload website of the Photoble:-

So, this link returns all the 645D uploaded photos. Do note that the users usually upload the photos in full size with most of the essential EXIF info:-


Well, before you view, I just wish to remind that those sample photos are by no means good enough in artistic sense, unfortunately. I dare to say that "my crappy snapshots" taken with "my wasted gear" could be somewhat even better. But anyway, if you just want to measurbate and view those technical aspects of those samples, these will be valuable.

In particular, I found that the DoF control of quite some photos by the users is not good enough. For examples, many of the flowers are out-focused, owing to the too shallow DoF of the MF but it seems that the users were not too careful enough to focus precisely and stop down the aperture accordingly. As for the compositions and subject selection, I think they are not good enough. This butt shot of a swimwear girl (which seems to be a "candid" shot anyway) has no esthetic feeling of any at all, but the photo shows you the skin tone response of the 645D and the bokeh of the lens in use. Btw, I found that the brightness/tone response and colour response could be somehow similar to the old *ist D, for the sample photos I have seen so far. I just wonder if it is really true and why if it really is..

Sometimes I must agree that it is just a waste of an expensive piece of gear if the person behind the camera is just incompetent.


Two Major Meanings of Full Frame

It's Time to Appreciate Some *Photos*!