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Old Mar 13, 2020, 11:24 PM   #1
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Default Pentax DFA 70-210 f4 Lens

This lens has just been released. It is described as a light-weight lens alternative to the DFA 70-200 f2.8, a lens I never considered getting as I knew it was going to be too big and heavy for me to handle. I have very fond memories of the F 70-210 lens I used to own (variable aperture) - it wasnít all that big, was really, really sharp (at least on film it was) but mine died not long before I got my first digital camera. I was hoping for the same feeling about this new lens.

I did read that it was similar size and weight to the DA*200 f2.8, a lens I own but donít use all that much as I tend to use zooms as I travel. Iíve never liked the DA55-300, and Iíve had two copies of it. I do like the FA100-300 f4.7, itís light-weight and has good optics considering itís a plastic lens. But too often I find it starts a little longer than I like if Iím just walking around as well as being slower.

I posted in another thread that I was really struggling with the new lens. I was very disappointed with most of the first photos until I figured out it was front-focusing a lot, especially with the KP. Fine adjustment for the lens ended up at -8. Then all of a sudden the rather blurry results werenít so blurry. I decided that the quality of the lens was pretty good - noticeably better than the DA55-300. Itís about the same as far as sharpness goes as the FA100-300 f4.7, but there was something in the photos taken with the new lens that I didnít see with the FA. I canít describe it, but after looking at the ton of photos I took yesterday, I could pick out the ones taken with the 70-210 from the other lenses, regardless of which camera it was on. Donít quite know what it is and canít describe it.

Anyway, I posted a couple of shots in the thread on my new toys, but here are some other examples:

Taken with the K1, very quickly before the lizard disappeared. A very large crop though not yet to 100%. Either the focus is still not quite right or the photographer (me) didnít have enough time to focus on the head.



KP, taken at an area known as Little Finland in Gold Butte National Monument.



K1, taken in Valley of Fire State Park:



KP, outside my door last night (before the ďlight and sound showĒ of a desert thunderstorm).



KP, Valley of Fire - I didnít start out shooting this for a stitched panorama but ended up having 2 frames that lined up correctly for it.



So after initially being very disappointed with this lens and itís quality, Iíve switched to being happy with that aspect of it.

Iím not at all happy with its ergonomics. First issue I have with it is the fact the zoom ring is in front of the focus ring, and the focus ring is good sized. Iím used to supporting the camera and lens with my left hand and using that hand to operate the zoom, while still supporting the camera partly. I canít do that, I have to take my hand completely off the camera to reach the zoom, if Iím going to use my left hand. That leaves my right hand trying to hold the camera and (for me at least) a relatively heavy lens (compared to the 16-85 or a limited lens) and keep one finger still on the shutter - my fingers started to complain about what felt like a death grip on the camera. Or else I supported the camera and lens with my left hand on the focus ring, and that led to focus errors as my hand isnít completely still when Iím trying to line up a shot.

I ended up lowering the camera, continuing to support it with my left hand and then using my right hand to operate the zoom. Awkward and it takes longer.

Another issue I have with the zoom ring at the front is that if you have the camera in a camera bag with the lens hood reversed and you want to quickly take a shot - you canít operate the zoom because the lens hood is covering it. You either leave the hood at home or have to have a camera bag big enough to carry camera and lens with the hood mounted forward. Whatís funny is that I needed to replace my shoulder bag for the KP and wasnít paying close attention to the size - I wanted to buy another Tamrac bag just like the one I have for the K1 but accidentally bought the next size larger, which DOES let me carry the 70-210 mounted on the KP with the hood on forwards. So now I donít regret buying the bigger bag.

While I dislike the ergonomics of the lens, I donít hate it overall like I did at first before I realized that the apparent poor optics were due to front focus.

In fact, itís growing on me...
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Old Mar 20, 2020, 4:51 PM   #2
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G'day Harriet

While I am no longer a SLR user with multiple cameras + lenses, I appreciate your very detailed review and explanations here. I will try to remember them for discussions around local campfires

Phil
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Old Mar 22, 2020, 9:57 AM   #3
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Thanks, hope other Pentax users might think my thoughts interesting at least.

I went back to Valley of Fire on the day before I left the Overton area and took some more photos with the lens and the KP. They seem to be a bit better, and I got more used to the lens, but I still struggle with it. Itís not a lens I would recommend at this point, and itís way over-priced for itís optics.

I havenít done much photography since then and I havenít processed the photos yet. My original plan was to be on-grid at several different locations for 2 weeks, but those plans got nixed - after scrambling around a bit, Iím once again off-grid in Arizona, this time with a couple of friends. So Iíll probably process the photos toward the end of the week, when Iím back on my own and I have time during the day to do something about them (I have technical issues, I really need to re-do my electrical system).
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Old Mar 22, 2020, 3:27 PM   #4
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(I have technical issues, I really need to re-do my electrical system).

I realise our base power grid is different from yours in the US ...
our MH has 300w of solar on the roof feeding into 2x 120Ah batteries then via radio shack inverters / power supply's for the 2-laptops at 20v each

The vehicle's internals are all 12v, with cooking by LP gas, fridge and HWS via 240v if on grid or LP Gas when off grid

We carry enough fresh water for 5-6 days and the toilet cassette/s also give us 6-7 days off grid before we need to find a dump point
Phil
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Old Mar 22, 2020, 11:55 PM   #5
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I have 200W on the roof (2 each 100 watt panels) plus a 120W portable panel that goes to the same solar controller. Right now I have two AGM 105 Ah batteries, so really 105 Ah useable for house batteries (taking lead acid batteries down below 50% can damage them).

My problem is that I only have a single 150W pure sine wave inverter, and the only place I could come up with for power was downstream from the solar controller. The new MacBook Pro I bought at Christmas time wants more power than my old one - as long as the solar controller is producing power, it doesnít complain too much when Iím using it for Photoshop or Lightroom. But when the sun goes down, the 12 volt system itself from the batteries doesnít seem to provide enough power and it will shut down. I really need to install a bigger inverter, but Iíll have an issue as to where to wire another smaller one (such as 500 watts) and I donít really have enough battery power for a big one (1500W plus).

Iíd love to have 200Ah or more useable battery power, but with my light-weight trailer, that would mean lithium batteries and relocating them off of the trailerís tongue (lithium batteries wonít charge if itís below freezing). Which also means changing the converter as the one that this trailer has is designed only for lead-acid. Which means at least one more solar panel on the roof - my roof system isnít the most efficient and while has been fine out here in the Arizona desert all winter, it struggled when I went to Alaska in 2018. That would allow me to install a big inverter (1500-3000W?). My system is pretty much cobbled together right now - the solar system was added after-market without adding a better inverter. It works more or less, but does have limitations.

I do well with water - I have 45 gallon tanks (fresh, grey and black) and can probably go as long as 2 weeks before needing to dump my tanks and refill the fresh tank. Iíve done as much as 12 days and while the waste tanks didnít really need emptying, the fresh tank was getting low and I canít lift 5 gallons of water to add some, I pretty much have to move the trailer, so might as well dump the tanks.

The rest of the trailerís system is either LP (furnace, fridge, stove, oven, water heater) or 12V (electronics for furnace, fridge, water heater, audio system including TV, lights, USB ports, power point). Thereís also the 120V system that powers the regular power outlets, the air conditioner, fridge (itís a 2 way fridge) and the microwave. For the most part I can live very comfortably on the propane/12V system but if the computer runs hot, I have to fire up the generator for shore power.
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Old Mar 24, 2020, 2:59 PM   #6
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G'day Harriet

Okay - with 100Amps of battery 'theoretically' available, you should be able to run a decent inverter - I'm thinking merely that the better / larger the inverter the better its internals for a reduced voltage loss during use. Mine is a 1000w psw job - needed for the HP laser printer that is used regularly

Beyond the printer, we probably don't go above 350-400w of current drain x 3 to 5 hours during sunlight and 1/2- this after dark. The inverter is about 4" x 8" x 14" long and mounted in the battery compartment alongside the 2 batteries. The battery compartment is under the floor and just behind the passenger seat in the motorhome
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Old Mar 25, 2020, 11:16 AM   #7
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Your battery location is better than mine if you decide to go lithium (or do you have lithium already?). Mine are in plastic battery boxes mounted on the tongue of the trailer. I donít worry about the batteries venting (I have AGM rather than flooded, but they are still lead-acid and will off gas. If/when I convert to lithium Iíll probably put them under the bed, and then put an inverter next to it - I would lose storage space but think it would be worth it. I think I could get some sort of box to replace the battery boxes and use it for storage. If I replace my trailer Iíd have a different battery configuration to consider.

I know my system is capable of running a bigger inverter, and thatís what I really need to do. Itís just that I donít want to put the money into this trailer and then trade it a couple of months later. I should replace this trailer first, or else plan on keeping it forever.

Interesting that you travel with a laser printer. I got rid of my printer before I sold the house, figured Iíd use a store to print what little I would have to print. That didnít last long - I kept running into things that I needed copies of when I was switching my residency to Texas. I was at Walmart and spotted an HP printer/scanner/copier (box said smallest all-in-one printer). It is light-weight and small enough to fit in the truck or trailer. Iíve used the scanner more than expected - made it possible to do my taxes remotely.

One of these days Iíll get a bigger inverter, it will make photography much, much easier.
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Old Mar 25, 2020, 4:52 PM   #8
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Hi Harriet

bounced a PM to you
Phil
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