Tuesday, September 29, 2009

PESO 2009 #032

I have come to realize that posting more than one picture per PESO posting is not exactly the right thing to do. This time, I think, it would be no shame at all to post a PESO made by my daughter Galia. Though the editing was done by yours truly.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

PESO 2009 #031

Just where you would expect a busy highway crossing, lies ancient Antipatris fortress.

To see more including more shots by Galia please click here.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

PESO 2009 #030

From a quiet evening walk in our town...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

PESO 2009 #029

Last weekend we spent yet another quiet morning in Tel Aviv. Yes, there is such a thing as a quiet morning there, you just have to know when and where to look for it. Couple of shots came our way.

All in all, I am gaining more and more confidence in my freshly acquired Pentax K-7...

PESO 2009 #028

Recently members of Russian Penta Club living in Israel including myself had a meeting. This time it was on the sea shore south of Ashkelon. K-7 with Tamron 28-75/2.8 acquitted themselves with grace.

I've posted these images elsewhere and received a comment that a sand had a bit of a pink/rose tint in it. I don't see it on my monitor, but if you see it, please let me know as it will help me to debug my workflow. Thanks in advance.

PESO 2009 #027

Though cliche, I still cannot produce an up-the-tree shot that I'd like. Here is an attempt at it which I made recently.

PESO 2009 #026

It is September already and it is very evident that three digit numbering of my PESOs was too ambitious. Nonetheless I do keep shooting...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pentax K-7 review (part 3)

Having shot nearly 1,000 frames with K-7, I think it is time to conclude my review.

Image quality

In general image quality is excellent, however it deserves a few more words.

Good: white balance

My initial impression of K-7's white balance was less than favorable. In fact, it is probably due to a fact that I misoperated the camera. That dynamic range highlights extension was the culprit. Indeed, when lacking the light the AWB tends to be somewhat bluish-magentish. However it happens really seldom and is easily corrected in processing. Simply one has to be just a bit more particular about the white balance, that's all there is to it.

Demanding: resolution

K-7 has almost 1.5 times more pixels than K10D. It means that even a slight camera shake that cannot be handled by shake reduction system will be seen on the picture. Even so slight focusing mistake will be noticeable as well. The lens that is not sufficiently sharp can be easily spotted. This new 14.6 MP sensor is indeed quite demanding. But if you hit it, you hit it big.

Good: dynamic range

Compared to K10D, K-7 has noticeably wider dynamic range. I cannot give you numbers but I can tell you this:
  • I can pull more picture from the shades.
  • Under bright Mediterranean sun I can still shoot by the sea and get no saturated areas in either end of the histogram.
  • The bright areas also hold more useful information than in case of K10D.
The dynamic range of K-7 is very good compared to my previous cameras.

Very good: noise

Let us start with pointing out that ISO 800 is perfectly usable. My camera is set at auto ISO 100-800 with NR starting at ISO 1600. I have also shot in rather dim indoors at ISO 2000 and got good results. At ISO 800 the noise is present, but it has no ill effect on image detail.

Evidently I will have to work more with higher ISO to gain necessary experience .

Good: low light shooting

I have shot some 10-30 sec exposures and I am satisfied. I have also shot the night sky. Here is an interesting bit. Naturally, the night sky shot is almost completely black frame with some stars here and there. If I pull the exposure controls all the way to the bright side, I am starting to see a square pattern. It is as if the sensor is divided into small square zones. This is probably reminiscent of well known banding issues of older Pentax cameras. It seems that under similar conditions my K10D shows lots of vertical lines. Honestly, it does not bother me even ever so slightly. The night sky came out just right and I don't think that moving exposure slider in Lightroom all the way to the right (+4Ev) and brightness slider all the way to the right is something I am ever going to have to use. Thus, aside from brief mention, this square pattern is not an issue whatsoever.

Summary: yet another excellent camera body from Pentax

Pentax K-7 is indeed a very good camera. I still need to study it and to learn how to extract the best images from it. I am very much convinced that a choice to buy one was right.

If you have K10D or K20D and are satisfied with your camera, you don't really have to spend money on another body. However if you do spend your money, you will not be disappointed.

Sample pictures

From now on I intend to shoot exclusively with K-7. Galia gets complete control over K10D. Thus, be sure to watch this blog for real life examples of what K-7 is capable of in the hands of this photographer.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Long weekend at Vered haGalil, more on K-7

This year we've spent our vacation mostly at home. Just before Galia returned to school we went to Vered haGalil, which is a wonderful resort farm overlooking the sea of Galilee. As a matter of testing my new camera and according to "I shoot, I don't test" motto, K-7 came with us. It performed admirably whereas I am slowly starting to accept the fact that K-7 is just fine a camera which I am getting used to.

Please click here to see a short gallery of pics that were taken including some low light photography as well.

Few technical points:
  1. The meter problem seems to be resolved. It is mostly my mistake but at least part of the credit for that goes to Pentax programmers. You see, there is this extended dynamic range mode (separate options for bright and dark areas) where the camera is supposed to deal with high contrast situations. If you turn on the bright areas option, it seems to simply apply -1Ev compensation to the right portion of the histogram.

    The catch here is that if you're shooting a reasonable contrast scene or one which has no very bright areas all together, the picture comes out underexposed.
  2. Early shooting with K-7 showed some magenta cast issues. Indeed, this camera seems to be somewhat more sensitive and prone to going magenta. Yet, I cannot really fail the white balance sensor as most of the pictures came out with very good colors. Those few that had this magenta cast could be pretty easily corrected in LightRoom.
To summarize: meter is mostly fine, white balance is also mostly fine. More on image quality to follow.