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Old Dec 14, 2006, 3:09 AM   #1
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Hi there,
I never though this would happen this year, but yesterday it arrived - my Pentax *istDL2 with kit lenses and a whooping 2GB SanDisk Extreme III SD card. Was a "next day" delivery much to my surprise and of course I sat there in the evening and played with it, reading the manual etc.

Thanks for all people that helped me with hints here and hello to that part of the forum - I was more active in the "your photo's" and the "Olympus" area before.

I'll update this from time to time - maybe you find something interesting for yourself.

Introduction and background
I like taking photos since I was a child, started with point-and-shoot cameras (analog b/w of course) but didn't developed any "pro" skills - it was and is a nice hobby to save some precious views/moments. The last two cameras I (we - as these are always family camaras) owned:
- analog Konica Minolta Dynax 500si with kit lenses
- digital 10x zoom 4mp Olympus C770UZ camera

Areas of interest
I don't have any special preferences in taking photos, I take whatever I can get to "save the moment". However, to name some interests: people, landscape and especially panoramas, "unusual views", travel/animal/plant/sightseeing. I enjoy taking lots of photos as this is the big difference (for me) to the analog camera - you can fire 20-30 shots at one subject and "play" around and just keep the 3-4 good ones So my harddisk is filled with photos and I postprocess a bit in Paintshop and GIMP and use some other tools for noise removal, stitching, sharpening etc.

Links
- zoom lenses: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=80
- *ist DL2 any good - thread: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=80
- Frontfocus problem: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=80
- lens confusion help: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=80


That's it for now - as time permits and if there is something new I'll add to this thread and you are welcome to tag along in my journey into the dSLR world.

Th.
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Old Dec 14, 2006, 6:50 PM   #2
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2006-12-14 Theatre/Opera

I was at the theatre this evening and thought I'd put my DL2 (incl. kit lens 18-55mm) to the first "real life" test. A fresh set of 2500mAh rechargeables and my camera bag plus some lens cleaner (just in case) was all Itook with me.

After a quick check I went for the "indoor" standard WB setting of the camera and fired away here and there.

The first negative thing was, that a man asked me to stop taking photos after a while. Hm... since he was already upset I couldn't asked why BUT I think it could be only the noise (the "click" a SLR makes) of my DL2 that bothered him. So that's something I wasn't aware of: the DL2 is LOUDER when clicking than my Oly C770 (both without generated "beep" for shutter release).

I used Av mode and went for ISO1600, -0,5 Av correction after some test photos (too many highlights/blown out areas otherwise). Lightning/illumination wasn't great, was at 4,5-5,6 and 1/15..1/60s with these settings the whole time. Other camera settings: sharpening+1, JPEG quality medium (haven't installed the RAW converter yet), spot AF, center weighted AE.

Findings:

I had quite some problems getting the pictures "sharp" (in the means of "on spot"). Sometimes the AF wasn't doing as I wanted it to do... then I think I got such a small DOF area that this might have been my problem. Of course people moved and so on - so motion blur as well... --> thats something I have to get used to in the near future - telling the cam exactly what and when it shall focus.

Stamina was very good. I used the DL2 for like 2 hours, taking photos, reviewing in the break, playing a bit with settings. Power bar is still full even after loading the pics onto the PC.

Noise. Well - it's not as "good/magical/breathtaking" as I thought it would - you CAN see noise at ISO1600... but the noise level is much lower at ISO1600 than on my Oly C770 at ISO400 and I'd say (without detailed tests) from my first impression - on par or less than ISO200 on my Oly. I postprocessed in Paint Shop Pro, Image Analyzer and Gimp (noise removal, deconvolution, highlight/shadow filter, saturation, USM) - no make-over, but some small and subtile improvements.

I was able to print beautiful noise-free 5"x7" photos from the pics with good colors.

Below is a ISO 1600 crop with EXIF data still intact, so you can see for yourself. (I know that the focus/DOF was not on that spot )



Is this great? Well - at least for me it is Noise is no issue here.

Pictures look "soft" and mostly a tad out of focus to me - will test on weekend with good outdoor light and can say more then.

I couldn't use the flash - so the camera had to hunt for focus without stroboscope - in most cases this was no problem, focus time was from "very fast" to lets say 1s (worst case)

More to come...
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Old Dec 16, 2006, 5:14 PM   #3
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Church at night

Had my new DL2 with me yesterday in the city and managed to get a pic from that church. ISO1600, F/5.6, 1/4s handheld (lucky me) at 55mm(82mm) tele end of the kit lens. It prints superb on 5x7" - what more can you ask for

WB is not accurate, but for using the standard "indoor" setting it's fine.

Enjoy!



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Old Dec 16, 2006, 11:35 PM   #4
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The church came out very nicely - it has a good feel to it. Isn't it fun to explore new ways to take pictures?
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Old Dec 17, 2006, 5:02 AM   #5
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mtngal wrote:
Quote:
The church came out very nicely - it has a good feel to it. Isn't it fun to explore new ways to take pictures?
I can't wait till I find the time to install all that RAW supporting software and give this a try... maybe between christmas and New Year

/wave
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Old Dec 17, 2006, 6:15 AM   #6
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that church is nice and sharp considering it is hand held
and personally i like the colour as it is


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Old Dec 18, 2006, 4:52 AM   #7
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Sunrise



My first RAW image - postprocessed via RawShooter Essentials, resize and TIFF->JPEG done in GIMP, deconvolution in Image Analyzer to re-sharpen the resized pic.

It was that moment when you wished you had your camera ready 5 minutes before. When I saw the deep red fiery sky I went to grab the camera, fiddled a bit with settings and was able to get this pic. At that time the sun stood much higher already, what a pity! It might not look too spectacular, but it has a good dynamic range, color is on spot, saturation is a tad flat, but as you can easily overdo it I left it that way. It shows a lot of detail, the slight morning fog adds to the atmosphere. All in all a very authentic picture!

So this camera can give me very nice pics - all I have to do is to learn to squeeze the most out of it!

Th.
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 3:08 AM   #8
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Increase Aperture!!

After reading a lot on lenses because I feel the kit lens will be replaced by something else in 2007 I found things like "the .... lens is soft wide open". Now "wide open" refers to low f-stop numbers and this might be an explanation for my confusion with "blurred" pictures and "out of focus" behaviour.

My Oly C770 has an aperture range of f2.8-f8 and even on my old analog SLR I rarely went higher than f8..f11. Now while I am pretty sure you can't compare these numbers 1:1 in the means of DOF the DL2 has something like f3.5 - f35 or so (can lookup the correct numbers later, but it's in that range)

So I did some tests yesterday evening with and without flash and things look much better with f9.5 and higher Very nice portraits, clear and sharp with lot's of detail, and most important a nice DOF: can fine-adjust that the main portrait is in focus and the surrounding ones start to look blurred. Still this is almost "wide open" for the camera, I really have to go out in bright sunlight to crank the aperture up to f16, 22 or even more --> this should give me some nice landscape shots, right?

However - I got mixed results while using the flash in these shots - will investigate on that later. Anyway... I really have to remind me having like f9.5 or f11 as standard aperture and start composing from this POV - I think christmas time will give enough time to do so

Still learning on the cam... it's fun to operate and my fingers start to find the controls more easily and with less thinking already... also my wife was very positive when I showed her the main stuff she will use mostly. It's really a family camera - she mostly uses the one half of the modes (portrait, landscape, auto, scene modes etc.) and I mostly have the cam in Av mode

The Fn knob and the "stick" to control the most important settings is great too - WB, Flash, ISO, shooting mode --> thank you Pentax, that's what I wanted for fast access. Selecting AF or MF is easy too.

I miss the live histogram from my Oly C770... sure I can do a preview shot but that's not the same. On the other hand there is RAW which offers a lot in postprocessing.

Anyway - have a nice day!
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Old Dec 19, 2006, 10:04 AM   #9
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well because of dimensions of lens and sensor. f2.8 on compacts i more liek 5.6 and f8 like f22 on SLR regarding DOF.
and it may seem strange, but each lens has it sweet spot regarding aperture. it means it performs best at certain range. I belive kit lens is best at f8-f11 maybe 16 (that's what I read somewhere).

greg
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 5:35 AM   #10
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Frozen Beauties

More DOF experiments on some nice hoarfrost covered flowers: http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...amp;forum_id=7

At the moment f8+ ... f11 is my sweet spot for those, you need quite a bit of light even at ISO800 though...
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