Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OK1000 Pentax Blog

This blog has been on a long hiatus after I began new projects (since summer 2009) and after reluctantly coming to terms with the obvious I'm going to close the book and let the info here live in posterity. The blog will be here for the foreseeable future in "archive" state for those seeking out information for Pentax cameras pre-2010.

Photo © Cursesfoiled 2011. With Pentax K20D and FA-28-200mm lens.

Let me be clear, I still love Pentax gear... when you read this, whenever "now" is, be sure that I still have my trusty K1000 in my camera arsenal and likely have the latest and greatest (at the time of writing I've just started using the K-5 as of November 2011--what an incredible camera). I will still keep my personal blog (cursesfoiled) slowly rolling for as long as I can. And I'll likely keep writing about cameras and photography in other places.

Pentax on the Web

I started this blog many years ago to share information about my Pentax cameras because there was not much to be found on the web at the time (circa 2006). But that's no longer the case! Over the years, there have been more bloggers and photo websites dedicating time to Pentax than I ever could have anticipated. Importantly, the community has pulled together and shares information avidly now. And, to get to the point, there are more sites doing such a fantastic job that I visit them for information that I couldn't write better myself. I'm grateful and I wish them continued success.

I love Pentax supporters like DP Review's Pentax SLR Forum, PentaxForums, Yvon Bourque, 1001NoisyCameras, The Online Photographer, Photozone, DxO, to name but a few of my favorites. Patronize them, contribute, make new friends, and be happy (above all, be happy) and proud that we can all engage like this over a common interest.

Thank You

I want to thank Yvon Bourque, Michelle Martin, and especially everyone at Pentax USA for all their support and kind words over the years.

Now, to you kind reader, I thank you for visiting and hope you'll explore the history here a bit (the list of topics or "labels" at the bottom of the page are a great start)...

Just remember one thing: don't ever stay too idle in this life. Keep moving and exploring and enjoy it all, ok? Ok!

Photo © Cursesfoiled 2011. With Pentax K20D and FA-28-200mm lens.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

World Pentax Day, Aug. 15th, 2010 Recap

The galleries of submitted photos this time around are looking really good! Thanks to Pentax Forums for their great enthusiasm for these projects. Visit them here:

Photo © 2010 by Cursesfoiled. K20D with SMC-M 28mm.

I wish I had better luck that afternoon, but at least I had my camera with me. And with a great find that I bought in Vancouver a week ago, an SMC-M 28mm. Lovely lens!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

645D Japanese First-Hand Looks

Edit: no Shake Reduction, just Dust Reduction, so I removed any mention to avoid any further erroneous misconceptions. Thanks to the commenters who pointed this out.

Okay, I'm excited about the Pentax 645D. AkhihabaraNews now has some photos of a transparent mock-up and DCWatchImpress in Japan has some first-hand looks. The latter has put together lots of photos of the industrial design, which illustrate the camera from more angles than the images at Pentax Japan. Seeing as this is as close I can get to the camera right now, these new pictures indicate to me that the long gestation period for the camera has resulted in a very straightforward design that should hold no surprises for Pentax DSLR users, particularly K-7 users. Maybe Canon and Nikon users will be surprised at its simplicity, and Mamiya users may be impressed.

Photo © 2010 DCWatchImpress.

By this time, it's clear that Pentax is targeting the release in Japan first - nothing is forthcoming in other countries, yet. Ned Bunnell recently told The Online Photographer that Pentax USA was still researching what it will take to bring the camera stateside. "The 645D will initially be available only in Japan. Right now, we have no firm plans to bring this camera to the U.S. However, we are evaluating the type of sales and support program that would be required to ensure the 645D’s success in our market." It's possible the firmware is Japanese only at this point, as the DCWatchImpress photos don't reveal any English UI, but hopefully that's almost ready.

As many people are pointing out, there's really going to be nothing like it on the market here in the US if it comes over at under $10k. However, there is nitpicking going on already. Some early armchair quarterback complaints include: Shake Reduction is missing, there isn't a particularly wide ISO range (no high ISOs), 1.3X crop factor affects legacy 645 Wide Angle lenses, it's not truly 6:4.5 aspect ratio anymore, 11 AF points is relatively modest, and there aren't many accessories planned yet, especially for studio users (will there be a wooden grip?). But none of that is particularly off-putting. Now I just want to see more samples images from the camera itself.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

645D Announced!

Links: via DPReview, and AkihabaraNews, from the Pentax Press Release at Pentax Japan's Annoucement page.

  1. 40 Megapixels, Medium Format
  2. Under $10,000 US
  3. ISO 100-1600
  4. 4x3 Aspect Ratio
  5. Dust Reduction & Mirror Lock-Up
  6. Weather Resistant
  7. 2 SD card slots
  8. Backwards compatible with many Pentax 645 Lenses
  9. New Optional 55mm F2.8 645D Lens ($1,100 US)
Price is roughly $9,500 US with availability to come by summer (possibly shipping in Japan by May)... I hope to find out more in the next few days along with everyone else!

HOYA CORPORATION PENTAX Imaging Systems Division is pleased to announce the launch of the PENTAX 645D lens-interchangeable, medium-format digital SLR camera. Thanks to the incorporation of a large image sensor, equal in performance to professional-standard digital camera backs, this high-performance model delivers super-high-resolution images with approximately 40 effective megapixels. It also offers outstanding dependability and superb operability and maneuverability to make outdoor shooting effortless and comfortable for demanding photographers.

The PENTAX 645D has been developed to provide super-high-resolution images produced by large image sensors — something previously available only on professional models — to serious landscape and outdoor photographers. It combines exceptional image quality with excellent maneuverability and outstanding reliability to simplify professional-level outdoor shooting. Thanks to the incorporation of a large, high-performance image sensor (measuring 44mm by 33mm) and PENTAXoriginal image-processing technology, it produces extra-sharp, super-high-resolution images with approximately 40 effective megapixels. It features remarkable durability and dependability, thanks to its lightweight but solidly built body featuring a magnesium-steel-alloy frame, reinforced glass LCD panel protectors and a reliable dustproof, weather-resistant construction. In addition, it is designed to be compatible with the majority of the existing PENTAX 645 system, so that current PENTAX 645-series camera users can take advantage of their valuable assets, including high-performance smc PENTAX 645 interchangeable lenses.

Major Features


Unprecedented image quality

i. Super-high-resolution images made possible by approximately 40 effective megapixels
The PENTAX 645D incorporates a high-performance CCD image sensor produced by Kodak. It measures 44mm by 33mm, and is approximately 1.7 times larger than its 35mm-format counterparts. Thanks to approximately 40 effective megapixels, it assures a wide dynamic range to faithfully reproduce the prevailing ambience and the sense of depth in super-high-resolution images that are rich in gradation and truthful in texture description. In order to bring out the full potential of the lens and the image sensor and assure the highest level of image-resolving power, the CCD unit is designed with no low-pass filters.

ii. High-performance, high-speed PRIME II imaging engine
The PENTAX 645D features the acclaimed, PENTAX-original PRIME (PENTAX Real Image Engine) II as its imaging engine. Thanks to its high-speed dataprocessing capacity and new algorithm exclusively programmed for medium-format digital SLR cameras, this high-performance imaging engine produces super-highquality images rich in gradation and faithful in color reproduction, while allowing speedy data transmission of large-volume image data — even RAW-format images as large as some 50MB per file.

iii. 14-bit A/D converter for faithful conversion of image data to digital signals
The PENTAX 645D features a high-performance A/D converter, which faithfully converts the large volume of analog image data output by the large CCD image sensor to digital signals carrying an extensive amount of image data, including resolution and gradation.

2. Solid, maneuverable body

The PENTAX 645D’s main frame is made of lightweight but strong magnesiumsteel alloy, while the chassis is made of diecast aluminum to minimize the expansion and extension caused by heat and also to optimize kinematic accuracy and thermal stability. The LCD panels — one on the camera’s top panel, another on the back panel — are covered with tempered glass plates for extra protection. The PENTAX 645D’s body is also designed to be a compact and highly maneuverable mediumformat camera, despite the incorporation of such dependable features as a dust-proof, weather-resistant construction with 70 special seals, outstanding cold-resistant performance to assure solid operation at a temperature as low as –10°C, and a newly designed shutter unit with a top shutter speed of 1/4000 second that can withstand as many as 50,000 shutter releases.

3. Dual SD/SDHC memory card slots

The PENTAX 645D has a pair of memory card slots for the recording of images on both SD and SDHC memory cards. This dual-slot design gives the photographer extra data-storage options: for instance, recorded images can be assigned to different cards according to recording format (such as RAW or JPEG), or one of the cards can be used as the backup of the other. The settings for each memory card slot can be easily made by dedicated button.

4. Dependable DR II mechanism to minimize dust spots

The PENTAX 645D comes equipped with the highly dependable DR (Dust Removal) II mechanism, which effectively minimizes annoying dust spots on recorded images, even when the lenses are changed in dust-prone outdoor settings. By shifting UV/IR-cut filters placed in front of the CCD image sensor at supersonic speed using a piezoelectric element, this mechanism effectively and efficiently shakes dust off the image sensor. Thanks to the user-friendly dust-alert system, the photographer can check at a quick glance for dust adhering to the image sensor prior to the actual shooting.

5. Newly designed, high-precision 11-point wide-frame AF sensor

The PENTAX 645D’s new SAFOX IX + wide-frame autofocus system features 11 sensor points (with nine cross-type sensors positioned in the middle) to assure the extra-high-precision focusing demanded of medium-format digital SLR cameras. To develop this sophisticated AF system, the entire optical system was redesigned, at the same time with the addition of the new functionality to analyze and make use of the light sources data in the field of view.

6. Advanced 77-segment multi-pattern metering

The PENTAX 645D employs a state-of-the-art, 77-segment multi-pattern metering system to assure super-high-accuracy light metering. The exposure accuracy is further enhanced by collecting such additional data as image orientation (horizontal or vertical) and the distance to and magnification of the subject using the sensors installed inside the camera body, with the obtained data incorporated into exposure calculations.

7. Large, easy-to-see optical viewfinder

Incorporated in the PENTAX 645D’s finder unit, a trapezoid-shaped glass prism not only assures an approximately 98% field of view, but also greatly contributes to the downsizing of the camera body. Coupled with a bright, easy-to-focus Natural- Bright-Matte focusing screen, the PENTAX 645D’s viewfinder offers a large, clear view of the subject.

8. Custom Image function to create desired visual effects with ease

The PENTAX 645D’s Custom Image function lets the user easily control an image’s finishing touches to more precisely reflect the user’s creative intentions, or to more faithfully reproduce the ambience of the scene. The user can select one of eight modes, including the new Reversal Film mode designed to create images with the colors that are typical of reversal film. In addition, all parameters — such as saturation, hue, contrast, sharpness, key, and highlight/shadow contrast — can be easily adjusted to desired levels, so that the photographer can shoot images with great ease.

8. Versatile, multi-mode exposure system for faithful reproduction of creative intentions

i. Hyper Program function
: The PENTAX 645D’s Hyper Program function allows the user to instantly switch from Programmed AE mode to Shutter- or Aperture-Priority AE mode with a simple turn of the electric dials positioned around the grip. A single push of the green button shifts the exposure mode back to the original Programmed AE mode.

ii. Hyper Manual function: 
When shooting in the Metered Manual mode, the PENTAX 645’s Hyper Manual mode lets the user to instantly set the proper exposure for the subject with a single push of the green button.

iii. Sensitivity-Priority mode
: The unique Sensitivity-Priority (Sv) mode automatically selects the optimum combination of aperture and shutter speed for the user-selected sensitivity. The sensitivity can be shifted swiftly by electronic dial on the back panel. The variable amount of the ISO could be configured to either 1/2 or 1/3 steps per click.

iv. Shutter/Aperture-Priority mode: 
Taking full advantage of the unique capability of digital cameras for the automatic shifting of sensitivity at any time, the Shutter/Aperture-Priority (TAv) mode automatically selects the most appropriate sensitivity for the user-selected aperture/shutter-speed combination. It allows the user to effortlessly experiment with a greater range of photographic expressions.

10. Large, easy-to-view 3.0-inch LCD monitor with approximately 921,000 dots

Positioned on the camera’s back panel, a large 3.0-inch color LCD monitor with approximately 921,000 dots provides a clear, bright view of onscreen images and menus. Since its wide-view design allows quick, effortless confirmation of the monitor image from approximately 170 degrees both horizontally and vertically, the photographer has little difficulty shooting images from low and high angles. The LCD monitor is also treated with exclusive AR (Anti-Reflection) coating to minimize reflections on the screen, even in the outdoor locations under bright sunshine.

11. Long battery life

The PENTAX 645D is powered by a large-capacity, rechargeable lithium-ion battery, which can capture approximately 800 images* when fully charged. *Under testing conditions prescribed by PENTAX, when using a rechargeable D-LI90 lithium-ion
battery with no flash.

12. Other features:

- HDR (high dynamic range) function to create one composite image with an extra-wide gradation range from three images with different exposures
- Dynamic-Range Expansion function to compensate for both whitewashed (excessively overexposed) and blacked-out (excessively underexposed) areas
- Digital Level function for easy checking of the image’s levels
- Automatic compensation of distortion and lateral chromatic aberration (available in combination with the D FA 645- and FA 645- series lenses)
- Versatile white-balance control system, including the CTE mode designed to emphasize the dominant color components of the captured images, which works especially well with such scene like sunset.
- Mirror shock/operation-noise reduction function to assure smooth, quiet operation of the mirror during shooting
- Attachment of copyright credits on recorded images
- Compatible with the SDM (Supersonic Direct-drive Motor) autofocus mechanism, designed to assure smooth, quiet operation using the supersonic motor installed inside SDM lenses
- HDMI terminal (for type C mini connectors) for high-resolution image data output
- User-friendly, color-classified control buttons/switches, based on the color universal design concept
- PENTAX Digital Camera Utility 4 software package, including a RAW-data processing application (based on the popular SILKYPIX RAW-data processing engine developed by Ichikawa Soft Laboratory) and browser application.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Apple Raw Support Updates for K-7 and K-x

About time! Get the update 3.1 For Digital Camera Raw Compatibility here (sorry, Mac OS 10.5.8 and 10.6 only!). Not just for Aperture, it will make iPhoto and Preview App play nice with your PEFs. But oh man, Lightroom 3 can't come fast enough.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Imaging Resource Interviews Pentax USA President Ned Bunnell

"If you take a look at some of our new offerings, whether it's the Kx in four different colors, or some of our new compacts such as i10 or H90, one of our beliefs is we can focus on the advanced amateur who really wants to explore and expand their photography, but they also want to have a fun time; photography should be fun. We also think that from a positioning standpoint, Pentax's history and knowledge of building small, well designed cameras bodes well for us. Products like the Kx and K7 being the smallest SLRs out there, they match really well with our Limited lenses, our really small, fixed focal-length lenses. And that's an area that really, we don't think anyone else is focusing on right now."
- Ned Bunnell @ Imaging Resource
Read the whole interview at Imaging Resource, here. Plenty of good questions from IR and sharp answers from Ned.

K-7 Limited Edition in Silver, Available March 1st, 2010

It seems that like the Cliff Swallows returning to 6,000 miles Capistrano each year, Pentax loves to return to its metallic finishes. Pentax Japan is prepping 1,000 limited edition K-7's in Silver (press release here). It'll ship in March with the K-7 firmware 1.03 (just released last week), a special "golden ratio" focusing screen (uhm, this is awesome... and I do want that), a reinforced back panel LCD glass plate, a gold "SR" stamp on the front, and a more leather-like grip.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pentax 645D Fever

Pentax Japan has started running a teaser (pictured above, link here), and there appear to be some rumors and unofficial materials floating around about a KM-2 (12.4MP), some upcoming lenses (DA*10-16 f/4, DA*20 f/2, DA*28 f/2) and the 645D.

Granted, Pentax is likely working feverishly to build up to an official announcement about any or all these items early this year, and nothing's solid yet until that time. But it's certainly buzzworthy. Looks like another great year ahead (yep, last year Pentax JP crunched the numbers and is back in the black - link here).

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