Thursday, September 28, 2006

Pentax DA 21mm Pancake Limited: First Shots

Another great lens, another sunny day in Northern Colorado ;-)

This is my first weekend with this lens. Well, lots of good things to say about this little gem: sharpness is insane (with K100D), colors are great and build quality... well, it's a Limited!

Vignetting, CA and distortion are very well contained. Minimum focusing distance makes it great for close-ups.

I was first concerned by the AF accuracy and thought that it wasn't as good as the DA 40mm or even the kit lens... But this was due to the fact that the AF sensors in the K100D are way bigger than the little red confirmation square that you can see in the viewfinder.

Here are the first few snapshots taken this weekend. All with K100D, raw processed with Adobe ACR.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Pentax DA 40mm f/2.8 Limited

Today I received my first Pentax DA Limited: the minimalist 40mm pancake. This lens and the two other Pentax pancake lenses (DA 21mm and DA 70mm) are the reason why I decided to buy a Pentax K100D camera.

After playing for a week with the K100D and the DA 18-55mm I decided to invest in some fine Pentax lenses. This K100D is just too much fun and the Pentax DA Limited are irresistible!

The lens comes with a very clever lens hood, an annoying yet cute screw-in lens cap and a very elegant leather soft case. It is very light and tiny and made of metal. The build quality seems to be excellent.

Auto focus is very fast and accurate. The few test shots I took show very good contrast, great resolution and apparently a very smooth rendering of out-of-focus areas.

I only had time to take few test shots around the house but I already like it very much. The relatively fast aperture combined with the K100D Shake Reduction (SR) and high ISO performance make a very nice low light combo.

I can't wait to try the DA 21mm and 70mm!

All images shot with Pentax K100D and Pentax DA 40mm f/2.8.


Lens Construction:5 elements in 4 groups
Angle of View:39 degrees
Diaphragm:Fully automatic
Min Aperture:F22
Metering:TTL open-aperture metering
Min Focus Distance:15.7 inches (0.4m)
Max Magnification:0.13X
Filter Diameter:49mm
Size Max Diameter Length:2.5 inches (63mm)
(Maxium Length: 0.6 inches (15mm))
Weight:3.2 oz. (90g)
Filter Size:49mm
Lens Hood:MH-RC 49mm (included)
Lens Case:33944 (DA 40mm Lens Soft Case)
Catalog Number:21550

Monday, September 11, 2006

K100D at Rocky Mountain National Park

Few pictures from today at Rocky Mountain National Park. The hike starts off at Bear Lake to ends up at Emerald Lake. Very short and easy one. Elevation is between 9,000 and 10,000 feet and temperature was in the high 40s at Emerald lake. Not extreme at all, but I though it was worth mentioning it. K100D shows a tremendous amount of details in the shadows. Not so great in the highlights: when it is gone, it's gone. Multizone metering performed flawlessly. Obviously, one still needs to use spot metering when appropriate. I like the synergy between K100D and the kit lens: in most cases (static subjects) SR compensates for the relative slowness of the lens. And the lens performs great when stopped down as it should when shooting landscapes.v All pictures taken with K100D and Pentax DA 18-55mm lens.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Pentax K100D at ISO 1600

I am having lots of fun with K100D, SR and Kit Lens. AF performed flawlessly in this very challenging lighting. Noise is almost non existent. Also, metering nailed it all the time. OK, quite silly and boring subjects, but I can't help myself taking pictures with this wonderful and exiting little camera ;-) All pics at ISO 1600 with shutter speed between 1/2s to 1/8s. Handheld, obviously. Raw processed with PPL. Custom WB. Only chromatic Noise Reduction applied.

Pentax K100D Second Day

Second day with the K100D and a lot of fun with this cute little camera ;-) I went to Pawnee Buttes, CO for a quick hike. Size and weight of the camera with kit lens is a blessing when hiking. The Weather was fantastic (as usual) and the sky deep blue... which produces horrible noise when the raw image (converted with Pentax Photo Laboratory to DNG) is processed with Adobe ACR with the default calibration. Once calibrated, sky is silky smooth. Another bad thing with the current version of Adobe ACR (and default calibration) is the tendency to produce moiré. The apparently weak anti-aliasing filter helps to produce very sharp picture, but unfortunately with artifact. On the good side: metering is reasonably good, AF is fast and seems to be very accurate, at least with the not so fast kit lens. I had no problem focusing down to EV 4, even with left and right most AF points. Kit lens (DA 18-55mm) is very nice. Some CA but easily eliminated with ACR. Minimum focusing distance let you do some very interesting close up shots. At dusk, I played again with SR and go some very nice shots. Sure you can do better with a tripod, but who wants to carry a tripod around all the time? ;-) This one is 1/25s This one 1/3s And this one 1/4s. Yes, I like taking pictures of cattle... That's it for now. As usual, EXIF embedded in images. All images shot in raw, converted to DNG using Pentax Browser and processed with Adobe ACR and Photoshop. Thanks for stopping by.

Pentax K100D First Impressions

Just received my K100D kit yesterday. First impressions are very positive. I love the size of the camera, the effectiveness of the SR feature, and the overall build quality. AF is way better that what I was expecting after reading all these posts about slow and hunting AF. It seems to be reasonably fast and very accurate. I didn't have any issue focusing with low light and/or low contrast subject. In any case, it is way better than the Olympus E-1 and marginally slower than the Nikon D200. I didn't test the AF-C mode, though. I don't regret buying the kit lens (18-55mm DA) as it appears to be very well put together. Close focusing is great. The lens is sharp and auto-focus is fast and accurate. SR is just incredible: I managed to get sharp shots at 1/2s (at 18mm)! It does work, indeed. Little concerns: Weakness of the anti-aliasing filter. Images out of the camera are very sharp but moiré and artifacts are sometimes visible. Keeping the contrast and saturation at resonable levels helps a lot, though. Also, hue and contrast are not very accurate on the (very sharp) LCD.