Web Analytics RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: March 2011

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Leaked Pentax NC-1 Mirrorless Photos? (Body w/ Two Lenses)

The previous Pentax "NC-1" mirrorless rumour has become more true. The "system" photos are leaked, there are one body plus two lenses:-

via the Mirrorless Rumors:-


But with a crop factor of 5.6X to the 135 Full Frame and using the smallest P&S sensor for a DC of 1/2.33", what's the true meaning of this mirrorless ILDC system? :-o In fact, the IQ of such a mirrorless system will be no better than an ordinary DC and just worse to the more superior prosumers which use just a larger sensor, e.g., the Olympus XZ-1 and the Pana LX5, etc.! :-(

On the other hand, the NC-1 is the first Pentax interchangeable lens body which has a true video motion compression codec in H.264, which the current K-5 and K-r both lack, which is somehow a good news and start anyway, if it is to be true.

Monday, March 28, 2011

12M APS-C/FF Shootout: X100 Vs D700 Vs K-r Vs 1100D Vs X1 Vs D90

(in Chinese, Google English translation here)

Go figure out yourself for all the differences and who wins over whom for what!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Sony Full Frame CMOS Sensor - The "Super 35mm"


It is yet a rumour at this stage but it is very likely to be true and official announcement will come very soon.

Well, as it was previously observed, the E-mount is actually 135 full frame compatible!

The most important thing is that Sony now has a new 35mm "Super" CMOS sensor, which is specifically designed for Full HD video recording. And straight-forwardly, it should be able to take high quality still photos at the same time.

The good news and new hope to all those old Pentax K-mount users is that the new Sony FF sensor could possibly be used by Pentax in a coming Pentax FF model, but only if Pentax could get it and more so provided that Pentax is willing to make one!

Update (3-24): I have been mistaken, the "Super 35mm" is not 135 Full Frame format!

See the Sony brochure and we can see:-


I must have been dreaming for a Pentax FF for too loooong so that I could not see more about the facts! :-o ;-> Too bad.. :-(


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

Two Major Meanings of Full Frame

Compatibility of DA Lenses on Full Frame

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pentax + Minolta in Leica M

(in Chinese, Google-translated English page here)

M-mount 43 Limited on Minolta M-mount rangefinder:

M-mount 43 Limited Black on Minolta M-mount rangefinder:

M-mount 43 Limited and FA 43 Limited side-by-side:

Looking really nice!~

Takumar 85/1.8 Vs FA 77/1.8 Limited

See this quick shootout test (portrait):-

(in Chinese, machine-translated English page here)

Takumar 85/1.8
FA 77/1.8 Limited
Original Photos (Downsized)

Centre Crops
Colour Corrected (Downsized)
(Above: Click to Enlarge in a New Tab/Window)

The photos are yellow/orange casted as what *ist DS sometimes tends to be for its AWB and tendency. I still like the colour response of the Takumar more nevertheless, no matter for the original picture that has the cast or the post processed and colour corrected one. The FA77 is sharper (comparatively the Takumar is softer) and more contrasty, though, but whether one likes it or not would be subjective.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A 5000 fps Video Showing Mirror and Shutter Vibrations of a DSLR (The High-speed Nikon D3)

The D3 was put into high frame rate mode of 11 fps and shooting continuously.

Really amazing! Indeed, we can see vibrations and oscillations for both the mirror and shutter, for both lifted-up and down, opened and closed, respectively. But we can see that all the dampings are made to be good, the oscillations die down very quickly, which is the most valuable thing that we should appreciate, about the superior mechanical engineering by Nikon.

Update (3-23): Thanks to Blog readers Zebooka and Simon, we have also the K10D video. Just go to: http://unblockyoutube.co.uk and enter http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cJyKKnR5b8 into the link box to view, if you are just unable to see the blocked video.


K-5 Mirror Slap Blur Issue

K-5 Shutter Blur Effect Tested: K-5 is Half of That of the K-7

K-x Body Vibration Issue - Case Studies

The K-x Blur Issue

K-7 Shake Reduction (SR) Problems

PhotoZone DA 18-135 Test Results Will Not be Good (Very Possibly..)


See what Klaus, owner/reviewer/editor of the PZ commented and wrote "preliminarily", a few quotes:-

"I'm sort of disappointed. I expected more from a 700EUR lens."

"The centering quality is alright for such a lens. Such a complex lens is never really perfect, of course. The field curvature at 18mm is an issue and the borders/corners at 135mm are just soso. This would be Ok ... if the price tag was lower. "

"The data does not suggest this. The Tamron 18-270 is also superior." (Someone asked if the DA 18-135 any better than the Sigma 18-125 HSM.)

The most mysterious thing is that Klaus told us that he planned to publish the review till the first week of March. But now time is approaching fall March. What went wrong actually? What's going on? :-o


Ned Bunnell's (Official) K-5 + DA 18-135 Samples

No More Update at Ned Bunnell's Blog

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Sony NEX-3 Discontinued (Official) and NEX-7 is Coming (Rumour)

As published in the Sony Japanese webpage, the NEX-3 has been discontinued:-


As the NEX-3 was first marketed just back to May of 2010, the product life time of it is only 10 months.

Nevertheless, my NEX-3 has served me well as a compact APS-C camera, more so for a large sensor HD continuous focusing movie camera as well as an APS-C K-mount EVIL.

Anyway, it is rumoured that the NEX-7 is coming. And it should have a built-in EVF if the following rumour is true:-


Let's see what will happen soon, or not.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan Semiconductor/Imager Fabs and the Earthquake (and the End of the World, as It Could Be!)

I have seen people of the photo community have been worrying about the cease of production of the Sony (and Canon) sensors and imagers after the big earthquake. One of the readers at the Image Sensors World Blog has actually made an analysis and a nice summary on the situation. See the following location map of the major fabrication facilities in Japan:-


Btw, the Sony factories are all at the very southern part in the Japan main island and territory. But however, since now the radioactive particles have been flying in the sky all over Japan now and the emission has been increasing. This is somehow yet another disaster to Japan and actually to the Earth. As the half-life of those radioactive raw materials could be as short as 30 years. I think the soil of the Japanese main island would inevitably be polluted and the health of the people who live there are seriously endangered.

In fact, the Japanese government should allow the assistance from the US government for the cooling of their nuclear plants in the very beginning, which the US offered, but not only at the current stage, which could avoid this terrible disaster to happen. In fact, the foreign medias have started to doubt that the Japanese government had some secrets to hide which they just do not want to disclose these in the course of stopping the nuclear crisis if US is involved.

When one tragedy is happened one after another and the following one is more serious than the previous, this is really rather sad. Indeed the nuclear leakage is partially caused by human but not solely a natural disaster, which only triggered it. It has far more prolonged effect and more serious impacts even than the terrible earthquake and tsunami, which just happened "one-off". Sometime, we just have to sigh, stupid mankind is just the one who will destroy themselves at the end of the days when we or our predecessors will extinct eventually, just because of that we destroy the world and kill ourselves as a result! >:-(

Lastly, I just want to ask our buddies who have worried much just about the production of photo gear, what to worry about actually when the Earth will be destroyed and human cannot live on it anymore?! :-o Yes, the sky is falling! Yes, it is! +_+

Read Also:-

Statuses of Japanese Camera/Lens Plants After the Big Earthquake & Tsunami

The Power of the Nature: Strong and Cruel

Over Hong Kong: Serious Problem of Air Pollution Caused by Industrial Over Production

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

K-5 Banding and Tingeing

What are these evils? :-o


It seems that there is nobody knows yet so far. But they are there and they are latent! >:-(

Recent Pentax Reviews

The DPR K-r "quick review" has been out:-


And, here are some typical reactions at their forum afterwards:-


Besides, Klaus of the PhotoZone has completed a new DA(L) 35/2.4 review:-


The resolution seems to be very high for the image centre with peak performance achieved at f/4:-


Summary of Reactions to Popular Online DSLR Reviews

The K-5 Flash Overexposure Issue

See this side-by-side test:-




Everything used and the settings are all the same except for a different body. And of course, the test environment and test target are the same, too. It is easily seen that the higher ISO the user selected, the more overexposure resulted with the K-5. Do note also the following additional remarks and comments as provided by the user and the formal response from Metz, regarding the problem, as quoted below:-

"I have tried it on 4 other k-5 bodies and the problem does not exist on my K-r."

"Please be informed, in our company we tested the digital camera "Pentax K-5" (firmware version 1.01 and 1.02) with flash units of our product range and also original Pentax flash units "Pentax AF-540FGZ" and "Pentax AF-360FGZ" and compared the results of images. The results are identical because the camera determines the intensity of flash light."

"However, we found also out by our tests that the precision of Pentax digital camera's "Pentax K-5" P-TTL flash control is not as precise as like with other Pentax digital camera.

Please see:




It is really bad after all. Why the K-5 should perform worse than the other Pentax DSLRs?! And why the K-r is simply better and provides far more accurate and consistent results?? How come?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lowlight AF Accuracy Shootout: K-5 Firmware 1.03 Vs the Old K20D


The results are self-explanatory. Testing conditions including lens in used and the lighting level is stated clearly below each pair of the comparison test pictures.

It can be seen that the old K20D K.O. the K-5 with the latest "improved low light AF accuracy" firmware 1.03 hands down! :-o

It seems that Pentax has gone back to the old *ist D days for poor AF accuracy with their latest SAFOX IX/+ used in the K-r and K-5, although in speed the new 9th generation of the Pentax system seems to be faster! >:-(

Nevertheless, a few other K-5 users have carried out some random ad-hoc checks on the AF accuracy of their K-5 units at lower light. It seems that some improvements over the old firmwares are shown but I can still see some OOF samples:-


So, the quick conclusion is that the new K-5 firmware could improve something but if it is compared to some old Pentax DSLRs like the K20D, the AF accuracy of the K-5 still, sucks.

My personal experience is that my K-m has the best AF accuracy, which has a mature SAFOX VIII. In fact, I found that the AF accuracy of the K-x had deteriorated but just have never imagined that the K-r could be even worse! Too bad!



Improved AF Accuracy of the K20D

AF Speed Difference of K-m Vs K20D

K-x' Time Longevity on AF Accuracy

K-r's AF Accuracy Affected Much by Colour Temparture of the Light Source

Magnified AF Errors of the SAFOX IX than the SAFOX VIII

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Statuses of Japanese Camera/Lens Plants After the Big Earthquake & Tsunami

Statuses of the Japanese camera gear factory plants after the Japanese historic earthquake and tsunami:-

1. Nikon high-end camera production halted with no expected resumption date:

(Japanese Asahi News, in Japanese)

The damage to the factory is reported to be minimal, but both supplies of electricity and raw materials are in shortage and thus production must be halted and production resumption date cannot be expected at the current stage. The Agata Miyagi, where the Nikon factory is located, is actually one of the most serious stricken area and it is reported that at least one ten-thousand of people are lost at one almost completely destructed city (mainly by fire resulted from the earthquake).

2. Canon high-end lens plants in Japan ceased production:

(Asahi News, in Japanese)

It is reported that several Canon factories have been damaged and the top of a factory has collapsed. Tens of the factory staff were injured and production was ceased.

3. Sony halted production and evacuated six factories in northeastern Japan:


4. Workers at Panasonic's Lumix camera factory in Fukushima have been injured in the earthquake:


5. Production of Fuji X100 has been halted and marketing of the X100 will be delayed:


It is quite sad afterall. But human lives are far more important than all those asset losses anyway. I hope all the affected people are still well and they will recover soon.

As a side note, as most of us should have known, Pentax/Hoya has no camera/lens factory in Japan locally now and production should not be affected.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Power of the Nature: Strong But Cruel

(Photo: Reuters, via SCMP.com)
(Photo: AP, via SCMP.com)

As we saw from the news yesterday, ferocious tsunami hit Japan after massive earthquake that caused serious damages and life loss. The photos and videos recorded for the disaster scenes during and after are indeed shocking, which faithfully showed us the reality of what's happening, which is rather cruel.

I wish to sincerely express my deepest condolences to all those killed, lost, hurt and their family members. Furthermore, it is really sad to see all those hard-worked efforts were destroyed within seconds. Yesterday was indeed a sad day to all Japanese and mankind. Sometimes, those natural disasters let us realise and think about again that how tiny we actually are.

Friday, March 11, 2011


I like this, which is quite funny but true, for most of the time! :-D


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Canon New Movie Codec for DSLR is Coming (Rumour)


With its high bit-rate 4:2:2 colour space MPEG compression, I bet the video quality will be miles ahead of any of the current MPEG4/H.264 compression codec used by most of the current DSLRs and ILDCs in the market. In view of the advancement of video codec in other larger sensor digital cameras of other brands, Pentax is just lagging thousands of years behind, leaving at the Stone Age! :-(

Bottom line: Will the next Pentax DSLR be equipped with a stereo microphone, at least?

Mysterious Firmware Revision Publication Changes for the K-r (and New K-5 Firmware Released)

Since the launch of K-r and K-5, it has been widely reported that this latest SAFOX IX/+ AF system of Pentax is really problematic in AF accuracy under indoor environments and particularly with tungsten lighting.

It is even found that the AF accuracy of the K-5 deteriorates sharply for a moderate lighting level at EV8 (which is not really quite dark actually) as measurbated by someone. As for the K-r, previously Pentax mysteriously withdrew the new 1.01 firmware from their Japanese global support page, which was not by accident, but intentionally.

Pentax Germany even admitted before that the K-r has the front focusing issue under lower/tungsten light and committed that a new K-r firmware would be released. However, a month has elapsed now and we only see today a new version of the K-5 firmware is released at the Pentax.jp English global support page:-


"Changes to V1.03
  • Improved the accuracy of auto focus in low-intensity light condition.
  • Improved stability for general performance."
I hope Pentax can really make it this time but not just made a wild claim but users still find that it doesn't work at all, e.g., their SAFOX + system *should* work under tungsten lighting. And, as a K-r user, I hope even more for them to update the K-r firmware soonest IF their new software algorithms could really cure the problem!

As for mysterious K-r disappearance case, after weeks, the K-r 1.01 firmware has been re-uploaded and re-published at the Pentax global support page again. I quickly downloaded it and re-installed the "latest" in my K-r to see if there is any hidden improvement. What I first did was to check about the actual and exact firmware version. Below is what I learnt with the PhotoME:-

Original shipped K-r firmware:

Last mysteriously withdrawn K-r firmware:

Latest re-uploaded K-r firmware:

So, Pentax guys at their HQs actually put a previous version of the firmware for the K-r but not a newer one, which is just very head scratching plus disappointing afterall! >:-( I have made a quick check about the indoor AF accuracy with the "latest" firmware, though. See the pair of test shots below:-

(AF Fine Adjustment Disabled)

Centre Crop:

(AF Fine Adjustment Enabled and at the Maximum Value of -10)

Centre Crop:

Lens used is a DA 16-45 at 45mm and f/4, focused at an object at about 1m away, the DoF is not that shallow actually. Central AF point was used, AF-Single mode; No re-composition of the frame.

Still, as you can see, the problem is the same and it is persistent. The camera Front Focused in indoor tungsten environment. An adjustment value of -10 will make it (as usually) and a sharp picture could be obtained.


Two Yet Unresolved Major Issues of the K-5

Magnified AF Errors of the SAFOX IX than the SAFOX VIII !?

SAFOX IX Tungsten/Yellow Light Front Focus Issue Fully Investigated

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

K-r AF Point (Mode) Selection Firmware Bug

Two Snapshots of City Birds

Took two random bird shots at Tsim Sha Tsui (of Hong Kong) last weekend and would like to share those casual shots of mine here.

The first is birds gathered on the top of a mosque in numerous number at early evening time, which formed an interesting scene, I think:-

The photo was made with my NEX-3 with the E 18-55 kit lens on it at 55mm. It is found that the IQ is not bad at all. Below are the 100% crops of the image centre and corner:-

Next, I saw a pair of love birds inside a cage at an used Leitz gear shop. I took the photo through the cage (by adhered the lens front very close to the outside of the cage and shot between the gaps). I am impressed with the focusing accuracy and the white balance in auto as well. The light source was the cool white fluorescent and the illumination was a bit weak (EXIF data preserved and can be inspected):-

What I want to comment is just that CDAF in LiveView is actually the most accurate focusing method as it is really WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), at least for still objects. The most lovely thing of the NEX is the shutter lag of it is not much noticeable and there is no double-shutter action per shot, unlike all those Pentax DSLRs in LV mode.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Stupid Censorship and Means of the PentaxForums (and the Dictatorship plus Hypocrisy Behind)

I can't remember how many Pentaxians at and members of the PentaxForums have been insulted whenever they posted any link of mine (of this Blog) no matter how on topicly the posters were making their discussions and why they made their reference(s). In fact, I believe that nobody has ever violated any forum rules that the PF has ever published but yet they still need to do it every time! You can see the two very recent examples below:-


[Poster's original reference to my article: The State of Pentax (by Q1 2011)]


[Poster's original reference to my article: Pentax K-5 / SAFOX IX+ Lower Light AF Accuracy Measurbated & Compared]

I don't know why Adam and his guys had hated me and at the same time being afraid of me so much. But I only knew that I only talk about that the PentaxForums is just a commercial site in principle for making money by promoting Pentax products / organising promotional campaigns with the Pentax Imaging etc. (and to advertise photo gear of other brands including Canon's and Nikon's as well) and to get as much revenues as possible. This is just the hard fact. Why not admitted it?

When people are doing something but they do not admit that they are doing so and do not want other people to talk about it, they are simply hypocrites.

The PF and their site admin also has the track records to delete posts, regardless of who posted those, that they believe that their boss will not and does not like it to appear on the internet and eventually will harm their interest, see this earlier example.

And, they are telling too many ugly obvious lies just because of they want to make more money. That's really sad and rather disgusting, see this very recent example.

Still being the largest Pentax Blog in World, my Blog is linked by every major Pentax forum in everywhere on Earth everyday and there is not a single other forum's admin is doing the same as what the PF has been doing, i.e., nobody else has ever deleted or blocked any and all of my Blog links, including the Dpreview, whom actually just tells the world that their site is simply a commercial one about photographic gear. Just so what for telling so? Another example I want to quote is about , as for all people who have it.

Last but not least, I think the PF owner and employees are just being so stupid in manually deleting all my links as quoted by others for that their poor intention and inferior morality behind and more so in the way they are executing their prosecutions. Why not just set up an auto blocking filter at their server, I just wonder? :-o This will surely save much of their unnecessary efforts. Say for example, Dpreview has been able to do that for long, e.g., blocking all other commercial sites' links to avoid free advertising, including the PFs' - which I think DPR is just doing the right thing afterall.


Dictatorship/Censorship Alert (Reminder)

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

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

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

K-5 Sensor "Stains" Developing Over Time II

Further to what our die-hard Pentaxian Mr. Mouse at the DPR forum reported last time, yet another K-5 user elsewhere has found the same, that is, the sensor "stains" on the K-5 sensor could actually develop and accumulate over time! See the following latest report, with a latest "UFO" image by his unit included:-

(in Chinese, Google Translation to English Here)

The user confirms that his K-5 *Did* Not have any problem before and there was only dusts seen. The UFO only appears more recently, after 4 months of light use, for taking about 5k photos, it is told.

Really really too bad.. Even not to mention that this is a really annoying issue, indeed the resale value of any K-5 is endangered, undoubtedly! >:-( Just like the Pentax SDM, it seems that the life-time of it is just too short and rather limited, before that the most feared and infamous issue would happen some days later, maybe just in the near future! :-o

Btw, I think Pentax' last official statement for that "this will be covered by the warranty" is just worthless and helpless. It is because this is a product defect without any doubt, could they escape from the warranty liability in the end anyway?? >:-{

For still being without any good explanation to the root cause of this problem from the Pentax side, I think no Pentaxian will have the full confidence to purchase a new K-5 without any worry and hesitation after all! Especially considering the numerous reports of the same (sensor "stains") case worldwide already and its re-occurrence (no matter for new replacement or old repaired units), this problem is yet awaiting the proper response from the Hoya Pentax!

Don't have high hope and expectation, though.. (despite that our expectation is actually very reasonable!) Has Hoya Pentax ever responded to the so infamous and well proven dead SDM cases and issue yet? EVEN after so many years of the same issue and so many complaints/loss of sales?? >:-[

Read Also:-

The State of Pentax (by Q1 2011)

Pentax Losing Momentum in Japan?

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

K-r (Standard Zoom Kit) Review at TrustedReviews


Full size samples are available. Go figure out yourself for the IQ, operation and brief performance of the camera and etc.

An example sample:-

(Warning: Full Size Picture; Large File - Click to Download)

FA 31/1.8 Vs FA 35/2 Vs DAL 35/2.4 Shootout (Two Picture Sets)

See: http://pentax.org.pl/viewtopic.php?p=765767

(or Google-translated English Page Here)

All posted images are 100% crops of the original photos, which were taken with a K-7. For (much) easier viewing and for better measurbation, I've tabulated the results as below. Just click to open each of the full crops in a new window/tab:-

Aperture (f-number)
FA 31mm F1.8 Limited
FA 35mm F2
DA(L) 35mm F2.4


I have two quick observations from the above:-

1. The FA31 Limited has the worst focusing accuracy. It has a great tendency of out focusing at larger apertures but yet at 2.4 and beyond, the focusing errors can still be seen;

2. The FA35 particularly has a cooler tone than the other two.

You take now for other findings! Just feel free to give your inputs by writing a comment here, to this Blog entry, if you really have some to add. :-)