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Old Dec 1, 2007, 1:43 AM   #1
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This weekend is the time for Bel Air Camerato have all the camera reps in, so I wandered over to check out what the Pentax rep might have on display. I've been debating the 10-17 vs. the 12-24 and which lens I would prefer to have. The rep is a great guy and let me use/experiment with the lenses on my own camera. I didn't have the K10 today (I should have, it was raining!) so I used the K100. I also asked him about upcoming lenses. He indicated that the two new DA* prime lenses should be official/on display in January.

As far as the lenses - I had read on a forum somewhere that one person thought the 12-24 was a big, relatively heavy lens. I was surprised that I found it very easy to shoot with. The front element is big (77mm, same as the A*300) but not very heavy. I didn't think it was all that much heavier than the 10-17. While I could have fun playing with the 10-17, I really think I'd use the 12-24 much more, so now I have to save up for it. Let me know if anyone would be interested in seeing the comparisons - they are just camera shop snaps so aren't great quality.

Then he let me play with the 77mm 1.8 Limited. Sweet lens! Very sharp even at 1.8 (though a really small DOF). Itook several shots with it, then took some comparison shots with my own DA*50-135. I had expected the Limited to be seriously better, but was really surprised that the only real difference at 2.8was slightly different color rendition. It took away my lust for this lens (but if I wanted something faster, this would be the first lens I'd buy).

Finally, I asked him about a flash. As some around here know, I don't understand much about flash, have always gotten frustrated because I always seem to do something wrong and can't figure it out. I don't like the typical over-flash effects I see from many p&s cameras and on-board flashes. But I've been feeling the limitations of shooting macro without one, but at the same time, I didn't think I could deal with anything heavy. The rep let me play with the AF-540 (put it on the camera, turn it on and shoot a picture). It wasn't as heavy as I had expected (especially with the kit lens). AndI couldn't believe the difference it made! All of a sudden my priority list changed and I walked out of the store with one (an earlyChristmas present from my husband).

This evening I tried it on the K10 with the DA*50-135, but that's a heavy combination. So instead, I decided to see if I could figure out how to use the wireless flash option. Now that's REALLY cool!

Onenote about the K10 - the owners manual I have says you have to have two flash units to make wireless work. Luckily I had also bought the Magic Lantern K10 book, which pointed out that the first firmware update added the capability of using the in-camera flash for wireless - I sure didn't want to have to buy a second unit. I read both the directions in the Magic Lantern book and the flash's manual and had no trouble getting the wireless to work.

Lesson learned - I knew that you couldn't use the in-cameraflash withVivitar 105mm macro lens set to 1:1 because the lens is too long and partly blocks the flash when fully extended. However, it works fine using the flash mounted on the hot-shoe (though it's another heavy combination and I probably would prefer to use it wirelessly, if there's not too much light).

Another lesson learned - if you bounce the light off of the ceiling, make sure your ceiling is white, or else change do a custom white balance. My ceiling is tongue and groove wood and the pictures I took bouncing the light off of it had a really bizarre color cast!

In all, a great way of spending my lunch hour, though I came home with less money in my pocket than I had planned. Now to go back and re-read through the flash thread.
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Old Dec 1, 2007, 2:11 AM   #2
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Wish I had the opportunity to try those lenses! Which two DA* in January are going to be on display? I'm really hoping for the 60-250 to come out soon.

Here's a flash tip I read about, but never tried as I don't have a flashgun: if you need to bounce light but don't have a wall available, wear a white shirt and bounce the flash off that.

- Jason
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Old Dec 1, 2007, 3:33 AM   #3
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Hi Harriet,

Congrats on the new flash. With all the options, I'm sure that you'll be experimenting with it for a while. I don't know the Magic Lantern book, but I'd bet it'll probably be the better resource for information than the OEM Manual, which I have largely found to be hard to understand at best.

Scott
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Old Dec 1, 2007, 9:37 PM   #4
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He mentioned primes, so I think he was talking about a 200 and the 300.

Thanks for the tip about bouncing the light off of a white shirt, I'll have to try that.

The Magic Lantern book is pretty good - it covers pretty much everything the manual does, but goes into more detail. I find the manual fine for telling me how to do something, but not why I would want to, and in a couple of places, I wasn't quite sure what was supposed to happen by following their clear directions. Since I'm so clueless when it comes to flash, I was glad to have it.

For someone who's interested in comparison shots between the 10-17 and the 12-24, here are a couple of pictures I took yesterday. They were shotwiththe K100 in P mode (I think), in jpg, with no editing beyond resizing, they are full frame pictures.

12-24 lens at 24mm:


12-24 at 12mm:


10-17 at 14mm - it's not exactly the same scene (I was handholding these, and they aren't exactly the same).


10-17 at 17mm:


Finally, the 10-17 at 10mm. There is no doubt that this lens is a fish-eye, it's effect is visible even at 17mm.


While I think the 10-17 would be fun to play with, I'd use the 12-24 more. I'm glad I had a chance to play with both lenses and could see for myself what the fisheye does. I'll save up for the 12-24, but wouldn't turn down a 10-17 if someone were to give me one. They are very different lenses and would be good for different things.
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Old Dec 1, 2007, 11:46 PM   #5
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I'm a bit confused about the wireless flash option. So you can use the pop-up flash as a trigger for the 2nd flash? Won't the pop-up flash add to the lighting if you do that?

I did not need to see those pics; I'm still trying to recover from my $400 LBA purchase.
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 2:15 AM   #6
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Illuminati wrote:
Quote:
So you can use the pop-up flash as a trigger for the 2nd flash? Won't the pop-up flash add to the lighting if you do that?

Hi Jason,

Wireless using the popup with a trigger is only available on the D and K10. For all the other Pentax DSLRs, you would need an additional P-TTL wireless capable external flash mounted on the camera to act as the control.

You can choose to have your triggering flash either add to the exposure as the "master" -- and you can vary the contribution by setting a ratio between the master and slave. You can also choose the on-camera flash to be the "controller" where it preflashes (to meter and set the exposure and communicate this info to the slave) but does not flash during the exposure.

Scott
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 8:12 AM   #7
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thanks for the comparison H.
i like the 12-24 also. i'm just not a fisheye person. is that your reasoning??

roy
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 9:03 AM   #8
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Wow, Harriett. I'm actually impressed by the store. The only camera store I've been in that looks that large is down near Boston. My choices are ones that look 1/8 that size.

I need to refind that flash thread and finally read it. My husband got me a flash for Christmas last year, but I hardly use it because I'm not quite sure how yet. At one time I had tried to copy and paste the whole thread into a Word document. But, I'm not sure that I ever finished it. Or, that it was transfering over legibly.
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Old Dec 2, 2007, 11:46 AM   #9
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anyone knows if the wireless triggering is possible only with pentax flashes or also with sigmas or metz?

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Old Dec 2, 2007, 1:23 PM   #10
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Harriet, I too have been debating between the 12-24 and the 10-17 but your comparisions have convinced me that by going with the 12-24 is the right one for me too. Thanks! Bel Air Camera looks pretty cool, I'll have to check it out next time I'm in SoCal. I'd go crazy with all those camera bags to choose from! Still looks smaller than the main Samy's Camera store in LA though. I never get a chance to play with anything new around here as the local store has a pretty limited selection.
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