Web Analytics RiceHigh's Pentax Blog: April 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Interview with Hoya's Pentax Top Officials at China P&E

See this latest and exclusive interview report:-

(Simplified Chinese, Google English Translation Here)

So, the main points of the interview are summarised as below:-

1. 135 full frame DSLR is not urgently required for Pentax as there is the 645D, which has better IQ. However, Pentax is not eliminating any possibility for making one whenever market need is there. In the meantime, Pentax will continue to concentrate in the development of the 645D system before a 135 FF one would come.

2. There is no plan to develop 135 FF lens lineup as there is no plan for a 135 FF body and system.

3. A new digital zoom lens for the 645D is under development.

4. Whilst Pentax is making many colours for the new DSLRs, the black colour ones have still been the most popular choices for the market in China, of which the buyers are possibly still being more conservative.

5. The 3-11 earthquake and tsunami at Japan does not affect Pentax and the production much in general, but it is not totally unaffected and the actual impacts are indeed unsure.

6. The spy photos of the new EVIL/ILDC products leaked in the Internet this April are true but then it is only prototypes of new products under development.

Speaking of the new products and the last Pentax teaser, actually even Mr. Blurry Cameraphone, the General Manager of Pentax Shanghai Company, Mr. Jopy Yang (the guy dressed in blue shirt in the above interview photo), does not know what is covered under the black cloth, as it was told! :-o It seems that the Hoya/Pentax Japanese officials have treated that as top secret. Anyway, there may be nothing under the cloth, as possibly it is simply just a teaser, but nothing else! >:-(

Saturday, April 23, 2011

"Important" New Pentax Product Is To Be Announced Soon

See this pre-P&E China live report:-

(Simplified Chinese, Google English Translation Here)

At the Pentax exhibition booth, it is printed on one of the display descriptions that a new product is to be announced but it is covered. It is further reported that according to insider source, it was told that it would not be a P&S, but just something "more important".

We shall know what it is, very soon! :-o


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

More "NC-1" (the Pentax Mirrorless) Rumours

Pentax Mirrorless Will be Smaller Than APS-C? (for its Sensor..)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Image Magnification Change Subject to Object Distance

Occasionally, I saw people complained about the change of image magnification when they shot objects at different distances, no matter if the lens in use is a prime or a zoom. Recently, I have come across this quick experiment come with some illustrations, which I found to be clear and useful:-

(Google translation to English Here)

The test was done with a Nikkor 18-70DX zoom lens.

Look at those posted comparison pictures, they are self-explanatory and we should know.. (EXIF preserved.)

(at 70mm, focused to Infinity)

(at 70mm, focused to Close Distance)

(at 50mm, focused to Infinity)

In fact, the effective focal length and image magnification of the "70mm" at close distance is about the same as that of the "50mm" at infinity! :-o Interesting enough? :-)

Fuji and Toshiba both Filed New Layered Sensor Patents

Whilst the Foveon has been virtually death, Fuji and Toshiba has recently filed new patents for their newly designed layered sensors, here and here (Google translated), via Photo Rumors.

(Fuji's design)
(Toshiba's design)

Let's see if there will be any real (IQ) performance breakthrough to come then, provided that these patents are materialised.

Speaking of patents and what's Pentax related, Hoya has also filed a new patent for the correction/debug of their "floating" body sensor-shifted SR system for the inclination problems that may arise.


In-Body Anti-Shake Patents Fully Dissected

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

K-r Camouflage Grips

Pentax strikes again! And very frequently recently! See:-


(Google Translation in English Here)

Oh, well..


Yet Another New Special Edition K-r

Pentax K-r Rilakkuma Limited Edition

The World's Ugliest Camera!

K-x Rainbow (Limited Edition)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yet Another New Special Edition K-r



Pentax K-r Rilakkuma Limited Edition

The World's Ugliest Camera!

K-x Rainbow (Limited Edition)

Practical Solution to the Issue of Few Colour Options of the K-x outside Japan

Star Wars Stormtrooper K2000W LE ?

Should You Use Intermediate ISO Speeds?


The results are actually well expected, the immediate intermediate ISO right below each "real" ISO has better (signal-to-)noise performance than the immediate intermediate ISO right above each "real" ISO.

Indeed, I had tested myself with my 5D long time ago and confirmed the same, when no Pentax DSLR had any intermediate ISO values at that time..

However, is there any disadvantage to use those lower noise but faster speed intermediate ISOs? Yes, I am afraid. Indeed, there is one point most people have overlooked, even though the noise advantage has been over-emphasized. That is, the highlight headroom will be less with those particular ISOs, as it is just using the technique of expose to the Right. So the lower noise is actually achieved with the trade-off of highlight headroom! So, just beware! And you should know what you are actually doing if you are selecting this option.


The Effects of Real and Digital Exposure Compensations on Exposure

What Hoya Thinks of the USA and Europe?

View this post, the original poster has some good observations and insight:-


As for the original Hoya's Q1 report for the investors, read the following:-


And, the annual worldwide sales figure of Pentax in 2010 was actually very bad and worrisome enough. Now they had only 1.5% of the global digital camera market share, ranked number 10, even after Kodak, Fuji and Casio, just a tiny bit ahead of Vivitar.. :-(


The State of Pentax (by Q1 2011)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Excellent Gear Review Site


via http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1036&thread=38233338

The quick remarks made by that Pentaxian poster are good, which I quote below:-

"It is not as scientific as other sites, but fro ma practical standpoint provides a great deal of information.

Keep in mind, the author is not a Pentax user, but the lens comparisons are still valid."

In my opinion, the reviews made by the author are easy to read and concise, but yet contain the most useful and interesting information.

Last but not least, I think the site is not only a gear review site, it is also a photo website that contains some great photos, and some useful techniques and tips to use gear are also talked about. An quick example below, via an article about the use of Autofocus and the choice of the right lens(es) (to do the right job):-

And of course, the AF performance of those Canon top guns on Canon top bodies is indeed really very impressive..

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nine Most Special Lenses Built Ever

(in Chinese, Google Translation to English Here)

1. Zeiss Sonar T* 1700mm F4

2. Canon EF 1200mm F5.6L

3. Sigma 200-500mm F2.8

4. Canon 5200mm F14

5. Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm F0.7

6. Canon S 50mm F0.95

7. Leica Noctilux-M 50mm F0.95

8. Nikkor 6mm F2.8 Fisheye

9. Sigma 4.5mm F2.8

There is no Pentax lens included, though. But if you want to see those Pentax oddities, read the following:-


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Photozone DA 18-135 Full Review


It scores only 1.5 points out of a total of 5. And so does the price-to-performance ratio. :-o :-( The final verdict of Klaus is quoted as follows:-


We were quite enthusiastic about the Pentax DA-SMC 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 ED AL [IF] WR at the time we received it. Regarding the high pricing of the lens we were expecting a very good performance throughout its broad zoom range and all that in a very compact, high quality body. Unfortunately the testing reality revealed a mediocre optical performance at best. A lens with a 7.5x zoom ratio may be quite ambitious but other manufacturers managed to design pretty good lenses with an even more extreme range. The Pentax lens is actually very good to even excellent in the image center but the borders/corners suffer from massive field curvature at the wide end and plain sofness at tele settings. This is certainly no issue for portraits and such but you don't really want use this lens for architecture or landscape photography here. This is also in so far surprising because the (cheaper) Pentax SMC-DA 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 (a Tamron design) was actually very usable here. The secondary characteristics (distortions, vignetting, CAs) are about class-average. A very positive aspect is the build quality of the lens - the lens body is based on tightly assembled, high quality materials and the weather sealing is a quite unique selling point. The new DC AF motor may not be as fast as Pentax' SDM but it's quite fast and comparatively quiet. The biggest problem of the lens is its pricing which is simply not in line with the optical performance. Therefore: Avoid! Better consider the Pentax DA-SMC 17-70mm f/4 SDM instead which is a far better lens."

And, do see also this additional remark made by Klaus at the DPR forum. The reason for why the publish of this lens review is delayed has been talked about. The chance was given to Pentax but the lens was checked to be "within factory specs".

Previous Related Stories:-

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

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

Friday, April 15, 2011

DA35/2.4 Full Review by Optyczne.pl (LensTips.com)

Here is the (human-translated) English version of it. A comprehensive nice review, as usual:-


The findings about the DA35/2.4 coincide well with my practical experience with the lens. Overall a very nice lens optically and at that lower offered price, it would be a real bargain (at least in the Pentaxland).

Furthermore, to compare against the FA35/2 and see how the two lenses would perform differently, the following review could also be read in conjunction with:-


All in all, it seems that optically the DA35/2.4 has been improved over the old FA35/2 in various areas although the optical formulae of both do look really close enough.

Last but not least, to view all the Pentax lens reviews that they have published, click here.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Myth? CCD Has Better IQ Than CMOS? (A K-m Vs K-x Shootout and Riddle)

This test and "riddle" is really interesting. All four pairs of shots are taken side-by-side near the same time with the same lens with "identical" in-camera setting and Lightroom converted with the same parameters from RAW..

(in Simplified Chinese, Google English Translation Here)

The two Pentax DSLRs under test and comparison are the K-m and the K-x, which uses a 10MP CCD and a 12MP CMOS imager respectively. There are four pairs of shots, downsized and also provided with a cropped pair for each set. The order for using the cameras would not be the same for all the four sets.

How to measurbate and play the game, then? First, you should (be able to) spot the difference(s), if any. Next, you need to judge which pictures are better (if you think so). Finally, you need to decide which picture is produced by which camera per picture set! :-o :-D

Go inspect and see if you could spot the difference(s) and see if you will be correct or not! Your take now!

The answer can be found at the Post #76 down here. But in order not to spoil the fun, you are much encouraged to try your best to see and judge before reading the answer! :-)

Read Also:-

Summary Matrix for Equipment Tests and Reviews (Not further updated anymore! :-()

An Online Photo Magazine with Photos Taken by Ladies Only

This magazine is in Traditional Chinese and should be originated from Hong Kong (I am not completely sure about it, though). Articles are in Chinese but there are many photos inside. The photos speak themselves and many of those are quite nice! (Some girls are quite nice, too! ;->) And, if you read Chinese, some articles are also quite interesting. Enjoy~


There are 9 volumes published so far. Each volume is huge (in 100+ pages per issue, including some Ads). In fact, viewing magazines online is environment friendly, as it is almost green, as it seems to be. But yet, most of the online magazines are still somehow bandwidth hungry. After all, Earth resources are still being consumed!

Read Also:-

Vanishing of Traditional Printed Photo Media?

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

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

AF Speed Test under Video Mode - Pana GF2 Vs GF1 Vs GH2 Vs Oly E-PL2 Vs Sony NEX-5 Vs NEX-3 Vs Canon 600D Vs 550D

(in Chinese, Google English Translation Here)

The first test and video set shows the (different) speeds of the cameras in continuous AF mode during video recording. Note that not all the cameras have this mode, e.g., the Canon 600D and 550D do not have this. The second test and video set shows the speeds of different cameras in single AF mode (manually executed) during video recording. In this test, I have to say the performance of the Canon 600D/550D is the worst - the AF speed is slow and serious hunting can be seen.

Btw, Pentax DSLRs by no means could participate in this test as no Pentax DSLR ever made could re-focus in AF once video recording is started! :-(

It is pretty sad that despite now the LiveView CDAF of the current Pentax DSLRs (i.e., the K-5 and K-r) are already faster and smoother than the CDAF of the current Canons, Pentax still has not made the AF possible during video recording! On the other hand, I am rather disappointed to see no improvement at all for the 600D over the 550D in this department. As for Pentax, I just wonder, how is it so difficult to implement also the CDAF *during* video recording? Even if there is no option of the C-AF, why not at least a single AF on demand? :-o (Which would be fast enough if Pentax did it! BUT only "IF and Only If"!!)

Monday, April 04, 2011

APS-C WA Lens Shootout: Sony E16/2.8 Vs Pentax DA16-45/4 @16mm

Look at the following large sized pictures (Click to Enlarge in a New Tab/Window; EXIF remains intact):-

Scene 1:-
E16 on NEX-3
DA16-45 on K-r


Scene 2:-

E16 on NEX-3
DA16-45 on K-r

Some observations:-

For the DA16-45..

1. Optimal centre resolution achieved near f/5.6 and up to f/8 (far objects are resolved better than closer objects for smaller apertures). And, f/11 is worse than f/4 owing to diffraction, possibly;

2. Corner sharpness is not good for all apertures. In general, with the increased DoF, the corner sharpness could be improved somehow and resolution is more in line with the centre at f/8 and f/11.

For the E16..

3. Optimal centre resolution achieved near f/5.6 and up to f/8 (far objects are resolved better than closer objects for smaller apertures). And, f/11 is much worse than f/4 owing to diffraction, possibly and for some other factors as well;

4. Corner sharpness is fairly good for all apertures. In general, with the increased DoF, the corner sharpness could be improved somehow and resolution is more in line with the centre at f/8 and f/11.

In Comparison..

5. The optimal centre resolutions of the DA16-45 and the E16 are pretty close, close to f/5.6 and up to f/8;

6. The corner sharpness of the E16 is better than that of the DA16-45 regardless of aperture used;

7. The f/11 of the E16 could be worse than the f/11 of the DA16-45, whereas the f/4 of the E16 is similar to the f/4 of the DA16-45 (putting aside the inferior corner sharpness of the DA lens);

8. The E16 has even more noticeable CAs than the already famous-for-the-CA DA16-45 lens! :-o (This is possibly caused by the high incident angle of light falling onto the sensor of the NEX (of which the back register distance of the E-mount is very short in 18mm);

9. The colour rendition of the Pentax system is somehow more faithful and pleasing as a whole package! (No matter how I tuned the NEX, I could NOT get better colours than what I can get from the Pentax system! :-( And, I should crank up the saturation of the K-r for one step for a closer match, though.)

Previous Related:-

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

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

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

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

New Blogger Viewing Interfaces/Themes

I don't know if these will be more reader-friendly for portable devices. And I don't know if you would like them more than the traditional one. Just try them out yourselves to see if you like any of them or would they be more readable:-

Flipcard - RiceHigh's Pentax Blog

Mosaic- RiceHigh's Pentax Blog

Sidebar - RiceHigh's Pentax Blog

Snapshot - RiceHigh's Pentax Blog

Timeslide - RiceHigh's Pentax Blog

Anyway, if I have to choose one out of these, I prefer the "Sidebar", which is neat and tidy and easy to read IMO. (whilst some other basic information of my Blog are omitted, though. :-()

Out of curiosity, I am also making this Poll. Vote Now! ~

Which Blogger Interface Would You Prefer?
pollcode.com free polls

Friday, April 01, 2011

Again, Why a "f/2.8" AF Sensor is Crucial for Higher AF Accuracy!

First, one should read and understand this technical paper:-


Next, we should learn that every lens has spherical aberration, this is the chart for the luxury Zeiss Planer 85/1.4 (which was available in ZK Mount):-

via the Chinese Xitek Pentax Forum

Take this as an example, we can see the maximum deviation of focus can vary as large as 0.13mm, i.e., 130um. As such, when an AF sensor is measured near the centre of the glass, i.e., the case of all Pentax DSLRs, the errors could be very significant when the lens is opened wider, where the focus is shifted largely.

With a "f/2.8" AF sensor, the AF is measured more to the boundary of the glass, such that the measurement is more accurate and it is always more realistic to do so, as for larger apertures, most of the light is coming from the boundary, but not the centre.

Of course, Pentax could input the spherical aberration error for each of the original Pentax AF lens such that the DSLR body can compensate. I have no concrete information about this anyway. But however, even if this has already been implemented, the spherical aberration could vary from lens to lens even if it is of the same model, owing to the errors in assembling and there are no two lenses on this planet made completely identical, indeed.

As such, accurate measurement is always desirable rather than guess works. That's why Live View CDAF always produces more accurate AF results than Phase Matching AF as it is just WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) of which the sharp focus is detected with the projected image on sensor.


Focus Calibrations for (Pentax) (D)SLR Bodies and Lenses

My K-r Toy Story! ;-D

This is my new K-r collection, I have got 15 new units of different colours!

Full Album Here (Slide Show)

or Static Album Here

Actually, the K-r toy eggs arrived last week near the weekend at Hong Kong. Just within two days, almost all the toy-egg boxes of the K-r were emptied. How crazy it actually was for we local Pentaxians to draw the eggs! :-o

Btw, are these two K-rs looking alike? ;-)

Acknowledgement: My special thanks to my wife for giving me this secret gift set a few days ago with surprise! :-D


Pentaxians Have Become Toy and Model Collectors!


My New K-r Gold Limited & Kit! :-D