Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

I was never much good at taking fireworks photos until I got the Nikon P-300. It has a special setting for fireworks but even on plain old automatic it does a creditable job. The above 4 second exposure was taken at f8 with an ISO setting of 160 and hand held. It’s not a great shot but the best I could come up with to accompany my wish to you and yours for a very happy and prosperous 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

State of Film 2013 (from FPP)

Mat Marrash of the "Film Photography Project" starts off his article saying, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the State of Film 2013 Edition," and then proceeds to provide a very helpful list of all film currently being produced. Please see the link below to check it out for yourself.

This is not to say there are not still other films available. I recently bought some Kodak Gold 200 and Plus X and there seems to be a fair amount of "out of production" stock available but as they say, "when its gone, its gone!" 

 I guess the message is, if there is some out of production film you particularly like its time to stock up!

The Film Stock List 2013 | Film Photography Project

By the way, the shot above was taken by my son using the new K-01 I got for Christmas. I'm pretty happy with it so far. I think it could easily become my favorite digital camera as soon as I master it's eccentricities.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pentax K-01 First Impressions

First of all the new Pentax K-01 is not a compact in any sense of the word. With a machined aluminum housing covered in a ribbed rubberized skin it is the heaviest camera I own. It’s also chunky. Not quite as big as my SLR’s or even DSLR’s it still manages to be a handful which is not all bad. My favorite compact, the Nikon P-300 suffers from being a bit to diminutive. As a result I am frequently fumbling around trying to get a decent grip on it without inadvertently pushing buttons. I put up with that deficiency because it slips so easily into my pocket and thus can be carried anywhere I go.

There’s not much chance of any of that with the K-01. It fills the hand nicely however, and the controls seem generally spaced in a manner to make everything pretty easy to operate. The fit & finish are excellent and I like the solid feel. The rubber protection flaps that I have read others’ complain about don’t bother me in the least. They seem to be well made and fit so well that unless you know what they are you would never guess there is anything under them. In fact, I had to look in the manual to find out where it was before I could insert the data card which lies beneath it.

I only had a couple hours Christmas day before the nasty weather moved in but I did get out and snap a few shots and once I was back inside I managed a few experiments. The one above taken on full auto with the 40mm, f2.8 lens set by the camera at f4.5, 1/160, and ISO 100, shows excellent resolution and color accuracy. The K-01’s 16MP APS-C sensor is almost identical to the one used in the K-5, Pentax’s semi-pro level DSLR that reviewers have been raving about for a couple years now.
 There wasn’t much color outside on this gray Christmas day in South Louisiana but the above shot reveals a little splash of Christmas color. Again on full auto with the 40mm lens the camera selected f3.5, 1/160, and ISO 100, for this shot and it shows a very accurate color rendering with no post processing at all.

The Pentax K-01 also proved itself capable of quickly and easily working through and with the 28mm to 80mm (FA) zoom lens I use on the 35mm ZX-30 as well as the all manual 50mm, f1.8, “normal” lens I use on my manual 35mm SLR’s. The zoom is an AF lens with an “A” setting and the K-01 operates it just as if it was designed for it. The only “fly in the ointment” being the 1.5 crop factor that comes into play due to the smaller size of the digital sensor.

That same crop factor turns the 50mm “normal” lens into a short telephoto on the K-01 but otherwise works well. Of course to use this manual lens you must enable the “use aperture ring” setting in the custom menus and set camera to manual focus. With that done the camera can be used in manual mode or if set on auto it functions in aperture priority mode. I also activated the “Focus Peaking” feature and quickly came to really appreciate it. Although I generally had no trouble focusing with the large 3” LCD viewer, having the edges of everything light up when in focus definitely makes it easier, especially in dim light situations.

So far I have only one disappointment and one concern with this camera. I was disappointed that my excellent Promaster automatic (TTL) flash doesn’t seem to work with it. Of course it doesn’t seem to work with anything else either, except the Pentax *istDL it was originally bought for. My one concern (which I will have to investigate at another time when the sun is shining) is that without a respectable alternative viewer available the LCD screen may not allow for proper photo composition and camera control in bright sunlight.  This is a problem with the Nikon P-300 and any other camera that relies totally on the LCD screen for operation.

Overall however, I have to say that round one of my tests (more like playing around really) with my new Pentax K-01 went really well and I am very happy with the newest addition to my toy chest!

For those of you who read this blog because it is about film – fear not! I also shot some more film for Christmas and have more “fantastic film stories” coming.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas to Me!!!

Clearly my family has me figured out, at least when it comes to gifts that please. The photo above shows a few of the Christmas presents I received this year. First there is what may just be the best digital camera (to date) on the market – for me anyway, the Pentax K-01.

This little gem is one of the new hybrid interchangeable lens cameras that has Pentax’s latest state of the art APS-C digital sensor, a host of really cool features, and if that weren’t enough; for those of us invested in Pentax lenses and accessories it is backwards compatible with and accepts all legacy lenses with a “K” mount or even the screw mount with an adapter.

In addition I got a Recesky TLR kit. This is the famous “build it yourself” all plastic twin lens reflex camera that shoots 35mm film and is renowned for its “toy camera” look & performance. I always wanted a TLR and have often considered either one of these are the “Blackbird Fly” version which comes already put together. This is another excellent project (like the pin hole camera kit I got last year) for those days when the weather keeps me inside looking for something photographic to do.

…and finally, there is a photo journal, a little book with lots of room for photos and comments to document my efforts – kind of an analog blog – you know, on paper, the way it used to be done!

Needless to say I will be writing a lot more about each of these on future posts so just consider this a teaser for things to come.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Here’s a photo taken with the ZX-30 loaded with Kodak Gold 200 and “doctored” in Picasa just to create a seasonal greeting photo image just for you, my blog friend. It started out as just an interesting view out my front screen door through the wreath and then I got inspired. With me a little inspiration can go a long way.

By now you know I don’t do much post processing of my images other than the occasional crop or color correction but it is fun sometimes to get a little creative and produce something unique that could not otherwise be done with just a camera.

So here’s my wish for a very Merry Christmas to you and yours!