Saturday, May 5, 2007

Close-up with 500D

Close-up-with-500D, originally uploaded by wesleywsm.

I love this lens!

Trying out this combination, it allows the DA70 to focus a little closer with higher magnification. I gain the large aperture of f/2.4 on the lens to blur off the background. Essentially, this has become a 70mm f/2.4 macro! Works great, easy and fast to focus, and optical quality unsurpassed.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Macro with D-FA 50mm f/2.8

iPod Shuffle, originally uploaded by wesleywsm.

This is probably one of the sharpest lens in the Pentax lineup. A dedicated macro lens, it offers 1:1 magnification. Used on a K100D, this test shot of the iPod shuffle was taken with window (diffused) lighting at my workroom. Depth of field is very shallow at f/2.8 but the bokeh is nice and smooth.

It's actually quite useable as a standard lens at 50mm (75mm field of view), however, I would really recommend it to be used for portraiture unless one deliberately wants to capture all the blemish and imperfection on the subject's face. Yeah, it's that sharp!

Nevertheless, it's great for landscape and street shots. The MTF rating and test reveals it rivals the sharpest Leica 50mm f/2.0 Summicron (check for Leica test, for Pentax).

For me, I may see it fit for my panoramic landscaping shots where edge to edge sharpness is very much preferred.

For the street price of about RM1,350 in Malaysia, it's highly recommended if the close working distance suits your need. Otherwise, check out the D-FA 100mm f/2.8 macro.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Test Shot - DA 70 f/2.4

Test Shot - DA 70 f/2.4, originally uploaded by wesleywsm.

A mugshot of my good friend, using studio flash setup, metered at f/5.6, 1/125, ISO 100. He is holding a Canon 5D, with the latest 85mm f/1.2 USM Mk2, which cost more than an arm and leg compare to my humble setup.

I use the DA 70 f/2.4 at f/5.6 to take this shot. He 'complaints' that my image is too sharp with a sly smile! Hmm...

We did a quick print using the Canon IPF5000, at 8x12", no post processing, just convert from DNG. He was impressed, but still trying hard to find fault with the Pentax quality, saying that the printout was a little biased towards red. Heheheh! I told him ACR3.7 never got it right, and tends to biased towards red, which is true for all the DNG and PEF files I converted, as compared to using SilkyPix. A quick remedy is to set a -5 to -8 (to taste) on the Cyan-Red Colour Balance bar. Asians tends to look a little yellowish, but a slightl magenta tint works well for Asian ladies (especially Chinese) who don't prefer the banana tone.

Overall, I'm very happy with the DA 70 f/2.4, no doubt that it's among the best portrait lens currently in the Pentax lineup.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Test shot - DA 70 f/2.4

Yun-Qi (16 Apr 2007), originally uploaded by wesleywsm.

A quick test shot of the Pentax DA 70 f/2.4 with flash on my K10D. Manage to capture a nice pose of my elder daughter. Focusing hunts a little at low light but later found out that it was my mistake, for switching to AF-C by accident. This is truely an excellent lens for portrait, giving a 105mm FOV in 35mm terms.

This lens is very well built, just like the other DA pancake fully aluminium housing. There's a built in lens hood, and the lens cap has velvet covering in the inner side. Very professional looking, and when mounted on the K10D, it's about 3.5cm protrusion with lens hood fully extended.

This sample shot was taken at f/2.8. I would highly recommend this lens to anyone who want to do serious portrait work, within a working distance of 4-8 feet. You can never doubt the ability of this lens to deliver the most outstanding optical quality. Imagine how much you need to pay for a similar C or N-brand lens...

Another primary reason for choosing this over the FA 77 f/1.8 Limited is the lack of CA in high contrast lighting condition. I think the smc coating has been much improved to counter this. Sharpness at wide open aperture is very good, and excellent when stopped down to f/2.8 to f/4.0.

Any counter points, please feels free to comment. Thanks.

Test shot - DA 40 f/2.8

Test shot - DA 40 f/2.8, originally uploaded by wesleywsm.

I have been contemplating to get one of these Pentax limited prime lenses ever since I got my K10D. So finally went to a local camera shop, check out the following:

• DA 40 f/2.8 Limited
• DA 70 f/2.4 Limited
• FA 77 f/1.8 Limited

I like the FA 77 f/1.8 for the large aperture, however, CA (purple fringing) can be quite pronounced in contrasty lighting. The DA 70 f/2.4 on the other has no hint of CA. Quite amazing. Both lenses are sharp at wide open, impressive! Bokeh is also excellent.

Next, I tested the DA 40 f/2.8, and immediately like it because it has excellent resolving power, and the working distance is just right for me to take half to 3/4 length portrait shots. This is not a landscape lens, however, I reckon it will work well for street photography. You've got to admire how thin the lens is, when mount on the K10D.

This shot was deliberately taken to show off the bokeh quality of the DA 40 f/2.8. I admit I'm a bokeh freak, hence my choice of switching to Pentax. Somehow, most Pentax DA lenses seems to create depth (3D look) with excellent contrast, making my shots stand out. For the price I pay, I don't see how C and N-brand can rival.

I will post more sample shots a while later.

Please feel free to comment.

Monday, April 9, 2007


An-Qi, originally uploaded by wesleywsm.

My 2nd daughter arrives safely this morning. Praise the Lord!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Pentax K10D is so sexy!

Ain't it look sexy with the battery grip? I think it tops the award for best design. I had a Canon 30D with BG-E2, and it looks as if it's and afterthought, or rather the designer just made something functional without bothering with its look. Wanna look nice on Canon, buy that 1D series, they said.

I like the design for the fact that, I don't have to remove the battery cover on the camera to fit it in. Two batteries reside in different compartment, one in the body, the other in the battery grip. The additional space in the battery grip is cleverly designed to store a SD card, and the remote control unit if available. In the K10D, you can set the power management, which battery to drain first, or Auto.

The best part is make the K10D look incredibly sexy!

Magic button

I wonder what's that little green button for when I first got my Pentax K10D. The answers are all in the manual, but what does it really do in practical, I asked? Imagine setup your K10D for a studio photography session, which is typically set at Manual Mode, with the corresponding shutter and aperture settings as per lightmeter readings. After the shoot, you head to the nearest cafe to relax...then something happen across the street, maybe an accident or some events which caught your attention. You grab the camera from the bag, and head to that direction. Turned it on, and frantically snapping away...only to find out a second later that all the shots were either severely over/underexposed. You blamed yourself for not having set the mode back to P or A, but the moment's gone. Hmmm....

Here comes the greeny little button...after switching on the camera, just press it momentarily while focusing at the scene, you'll get a perfect exposure as metered through the lens. Wow! Nice little touch, how come other manufacturers never though about this?

Well, Pentax did...;)

Shake Reduction Rocks!

Shake Reduction Rocks!, originally uploaded by wesleywsm.

I wanted to find out how well the CCD anti-shake (Shake Reduction in Pentax terms) works. I had a chance to test out a 300mm f/4.0 Carl Zeiss Jena lens. It's built like a tank, and weighs about 3.5-4Kg. Very heavy indeed.

Having it mounted to my Pentax K10D via the Pentax M42/K adaptor, I set the Shake Reduction focal length to 450mm, taking into account the 1.5x crop factor. Setting the ISO to 1600, only allows me a mere 1/40s shutter speed at the largest aperture setting of f/4.0.

Took a shot, and found that SR works, and works wonderfully too. Can't imagine any other way in such low shutter speed.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

First studio photography with K10D

Lighting was setup for ISO100, Aperture f/8.0, White Balance at 5000K.

I use the DA 50-200 extensively in this shoot, and the results were stunning! Sharpness of the lens rivaled the best of Canon/Nikon 70-200 IS (VR) lenses, and color rendition especially skintone is spot on. I shot in RAW, and converted to Jpeg using Adobe PS CS2. There's a slight reddish tone after conversion (as opposed to using Silky Pix) but with almost a constant color balance of -5 to -8 on Cyan, it turned out excellent.

You may click on the photo to link to my Flickr! page for the full set of Natalia's Photoset.