Thursday, February 16, 2012

PESO 2012 #02 - Southern Israel

Some time last year I posted a comparison between Sony A-850 and Pentax K-7. Before departing I thought I might as well take with me a film camera to see how I would manage to shoot with good old film. I had Pentax MX with FA 20/2.8 loaded with Fuji Reala 100. Below are some images from that day.

I have to say that these three and other film photos I took throughout the last year make me admit that film has some kind of magic that seems to have been lost with digital, but I digress...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

PESO 2012 #01 - Droplets

Pentax K-5 clicking noise in video problem solved

The problem is that when K-5 Motion JPEG video is converted by practically any program, the resulting video file has clicking noises that are heard approximately every second. This problem is well-known at can be easily googled up on the web. Suggested solution is usually to install better MJPEG codec that will help the converting software to produce noise-free video. Minor gotcha here is that MJPEG codecs are usually commercial and I even came across some place on the net where it was said that no free MJPEG codec exists. Additionally, I use WinXP 64 bit so that it is a bit of an esoteric OS from modern software perspective.

Here is what I found and what works wonderfully for me.
  1. MP4Cam2Avi Easy Converter - this is portable (as in - no installation necessary) software that, as it claims, produces an AVI file that unlike the original that came from the camera, can be edited in VirtualDub and other programs. In my case, it produced AVI files about 1:5 of size of the original.
  2. XMedia Recode - this is also portable software (*) that converts between different video formats. For example, I asked it to convert the output of MP4Cam2Avi to MP4 and it gave me the file of about 1:10 of the size of the input (total 1:50 of the original from the camera) that was visibly just as good and totally noise-free.
(*) The web site is in German language, but easily navigated without any specific knowledge of German language.

Usual disclaimers:
  1. I am in no way affiliated with the makers of the above programs. So use them at your own risk.
  2. My interest is video is most casual one. The quality of the final output produced by this process is absolutely sufficient for me, but your mileage may naturally be different than mine.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Pentax K-01 and some blog notes

Sadly, during last few months my photographic activities were reduced to almost complete stand still. Having become aware of this I hope for the better, but I am not making any promises.

On the other hand Pentax land seems to be full of good news - new cameras, new lenses, solid lens road map for the couple of years ahead. Life seems to be good. It actually is in all respects but one, which kind of bothers me. I'd call it "fragmentation".

You see, K-01 and announcement of few more lenses designed especially for this new fascinating camera got me wondering - will these XS lenses (say, DA 40/2.8 XS - tiny little kit lens) be compatible with my K-5 and Galia's K-7? By the way, huge kudos to Pentax for introducing K-01 with prime kit lens.

So, back to the fragmentation thought. Presently Pentax has K-5 for serious photographers or at least those who care more for technical merit of their gear and not the posh value. Then there are Pentax Q (which I think really has to do with being Q-ute) and K-01 which was the first photography related effort by a renowned designer. And K-01 has this bumble bee variety - yellow on black. And this signature of Marc Newton on its bottom. Add to that multitude of colors of K-x and later K-r consumer level DSLR cameras produced by Pentax. It seems Pentax (and rightfully so) has turned to the younger crowds of people who busy themselves with buying fancy cases for their iPhones or Samsung Nexus S's.

Again, nothing specifically wrong with it. It is just that if Pentax decides to sacrifice its unique backward compatibility feature and create lenses that are of the same mount but not really compatible across their current camera offerings, it may have negative effect on the Pentax world in the term longer than immediate.

Certainly, Pentax K-01 is very cool and either it or its successor is likely to replace K-7 for my daughter. But won't Pentax fragment their own lens line and camera body line to the point where it will actually damage the sales?

I cannot possibly tell. Time might have the answer to this question. I sincerely hope at least someone whose voice is heard in the headquarters had asked this question and the answer provided was sensible.

Have a great 2012 everyone, be you my blog reader or just a causal passer by. Let your lenses shoot straight and your light be marvelous.

Update (1 month later): it turns out that DA 40/2.8 XS is proper full 35 mm frame lens sans the aperture ring. Thus even the older film cameras like my MZ-6 (ZX-L) can take full advantage of this lens. Well done, Pentax!