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Old Jul 23, 2009, 11:46 PM   #1
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Default Perfect day for Buehrle, .750 for me. . .(6 imgs)

Hi All,

I get home, thinking that I did pretty good getting 3 of the 4 local herons on a rain-shortened day, only to find that I missed the Perfect Game thrown by Mark Buehrle of the White Sox. . . Oh well, I'll record the game to DVD when they rebroadcast it. . . back to photography. . .

I decided to just stick with the Tokina 80-400 handheld all day, and started out experimenting with the different metering modes on the Mute Swans they have in our lake to keep the Canada Geese away. I found that I needed -.7 Ev comp in direct sun with matrix mode, but a switch to Center Weighted at 0 Ev comp prevented blown highlights if the swan took up less than about 50% of the frame. This is better metering performance than the K20 since I have had to use up to -2 stops Ev comp to prevent blowouts.

While I was shooting the swans, this Green Heron just flew in and started walking along the shoreline. I looked up from the VF after taking a shot, and it was right there, about 15 feet away.



I went over to the hospital retention pond hoping to see the Caspian Terns again. They weren't there, but I spotted a young Great Blue Heron standing on a concrete wall. I approached carefully, and noticed a white blob in the trees out of the corner of my eye. . .

Good thing I had the zoom -- I barely could get both birds in the frame at 80mm


I had to switch between -.7 Ev for the Great Egret, and 0Ev for the GBH, alternating between the two birds as I took one step at a time to get closer since there was no cover for me to hide behind. These are shots taken as I was stalking closer to both.





The Egret spooked and took off -- but the GBH stuck around, and I circled around to get a better background. . . I got close enough to get this shot in portrait orientation, minimal crop to 5x7.



I had set up the camera for BIF, so the ISO was set to 400-2000, and the last 3 shots were at ISO 2000 since it had clouded over and there was thunder and lightning not too far distant. After the last shot here, the GBH took off and the first drops of a drenching rain started to fall as I headed to the car.

As Harriet had mentioned, the K7 high ISO noise has very little chroma component (those red, blue, and green blotches you see in darker areas), and luminance noise only is easier for me to deal with in PP, so I feel comfortable shooting at much higher ISO with the K7 compared to the K20, which I usually kept under ISO 800. I have the High ISO Noise Reduction set to kick in at Medium strength at ISO 1600. I'll have to shoot more to see if I''l keep these settings. These ISO 2000 shots had virtually no chroma noise, and most of the luminance noise was made irrelevant with the downsizing and a touch of Edge Preserving Smooth. Selective sharpening of the birds alone was done during the downsizing process.

The Tokina 80-400 f 4.5-5.6 AT-X AF II did very well today, even under some pretty extreme lighting changes. I just left it at f8 and let the K7 change the ISO (with the speed priority setup). I had not found it this good with previous bodies. The AF was faster with this lens on the K7 as it hunted a lot less. This is where I think the AF speed difference is the most noticeable -- less hunting in all lighting conditions -- it is much surer, making a lot fewer micro corrections before it locks.

It's also very accurate with the AF IMO. I've not had to adjust focus on any of the lenses or lens/TC combos that I've tried so far (but I still have quite a few lenses to try. . .

Scott
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Old Jul 24, 2009, 12:05 AM   #2
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You are having too much fun with this lens - beats Boring Ball any day! Keep this up and you will master it in no time, and do a better job as a reviewer than any of the "real" reviewers. You should think about eventually writing one of those "camera books" for the K7 - it would be the best one.
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Old Jul 24, 2009, 7:53 AM   #3
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Do I detect a light haze in the series? Can that be corrected by pulling down the brightness just a tad? My Eyes...they deceive me.....?

Feroz
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Old Jul 24, 2009, 10:22 AM   #4
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Scott, I was hoping you would get to test the Tokina 80-400 on the K7. The pictures are all excellent as I'd expect from you.

I have found like you that the lens usually needs negative EV of various degrees and I think I have at most been at EV 0. When this lens is on my camera it is left at -0.5 as a starting point.

I have also found that center point focus works well for me with this lens.

More interesting for me is your experience of improvement in auto focus speed with the K7. I also am impressed with the ISO 2000 performance and your comments regarding chroma noise. The choices of noise reduction is greater in the K7 whereas with my K100D it is either on or off.

Everything I am reading and particularly seeing from your posts and Harriet's indicate that the K7 will find its way into my camera backpack this year. I will hang back a little until the price comes down a bit and then pull the trigger.

I look forward to more of your posts and comments regarding the K7.

Lou
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Old Jul 24, 2009, 2:36 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penolta View Post
You are having too much fun with this lens - beats Boring Ball any day! Keep this up and you will master it in no time, and do a better job as a reviewer than any of the "real" reviewers. You should think about eventually writing one of those "camera books" for the K7 - it would be the best one.
Hi penolta,

You are too kind. . . I've always felt that the way I use Pentax DSLRs is somewhat different from the majority of Pentax users who post to the fora that I read, so I can offer a bit of a different perspective -- useful to some, but probably irrelevant to many. I'm happy that some have found some of my observations useful.

Scott

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Do I detect a light haze in the series? Can that be corrected by pulling down the brightness just a tad? My Eyes...they deceive me.....?
Hi Feroz,

Just about everything I post has been PP'd to my taste, which tends to prefer less contrast and saturation than many. I also think that the Tokina 80-400 offers a bit less contrast than the primes I usually shoot. While I understand that some like to post pics as shot -- straight from the camera, I usually don't -- to me that would be like walking out of the house without taking the time to run a comb through what little hair I still have left. . .

I'm still working out my preferred image settings for the K7 -- I shoot jpegs almost exclusively, and the K7 has even more settings than the K20. That camera took me a few months before I settled into a comfortable groove, but the similar sensors in these two bodies should make this process easier.

I appreciate your observations -- I've heard this before, and actually try for a bit more contrast now than I had previously --

Thanks for taking the time to comment. . .

Scott


Quote:
Originally Posted by Keltech View Post
Scott, I was hoping you would get to test the Tokina 80-400 on the K7. The pictures are all excellent as I'd expect from you.

I have found like you that the lens usually needs negative EV of various degrees and I think I have at most been at EV 0. When this lens is on my camera it is left at -0.5 as a starting point.

I have also found that center point focus works well for me with this lens.

More interesting for me is your experience of improvement in auto focus speed with the K7. I also am impressed with the ISO 2000 performance and your comments regarding chroma noise. The choices of noise reduction is greater in the K7 whereas with my K100D it is either on or off.

Everything I am reading and particularly seeing from your posts and Harriet's indicate that the K7 will find its way into my camera backpack this year. I will hang back a little until the price comes down a bit and then pull the trigger.

I look forward to more of your posts and comments regarding the K7.
Hi Lou,

I actually chose to use this lens after seeing some of your recent posts using the Tokina. At the time I bought the 80-400, it had recently been discontinued, and was in pretty high demand. I jumped through quite a few hoops to find one, and then as luck would have it, first an A*300/4, and soon after, an FA*300/4.5 became available at deals that I couldn't refuse.

The draw of *-class teles is huge, and the Tokina had a hard time competing in terms of IQ and speed. When I started getting into 300/2.8s and TCs, the speed and reach were irresistable, pushing the Tok further back on the shelf. Earlier this year, I discovered that although I was getting superior results with the big glass and tripods, I was working harder and having less fun. I'm finding that the K7, with it's higher performance -- especially in the area of AF, that I'm leaning more towards portability and having more fun, and reserving the big glass for those times where it's justified and needed.

I'm thinking the Tokina 80-400 will be getting more use with this body. . .

I'm really impressed with the K7. I had set the bar pretty low for expectations after reading beta reviews and impressions from the first early adopters, but so far, this camera is not only outperforming my lowered expectations, but exceeding some of my highest hopes for what it could be.
I'm sure that just having a new toy is coloring my impressions at this point, but I doubt that my appreciation for the improved features and performance of the K7 will diminish any in the future.

Scott
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Old Jul 24, 2009, 10:20 PM   #6
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Terrific shots, and well done spotting the Egret, the last portrait is perfect.

Rodney.
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 5:28 PM   #7
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All wonderful shots, but the first impresses me most. I spent over an hour earlier this week trying to get one shot of a Green Heron, and came back with muddy boots and no useable pictures! Yours are all great as always!
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 8:35 PM   #8
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Excellent shots (as usual).

Today I finally took the time to try to recreate the conditions that bring on the dreaded line. For some reason, this second camera just feels better to me - the metering is slightly different than the first one I had, and I just feel more comfortable with it (perhaps because I knew what to expect this time). I've been a bit afraid to put it through its paces, thought I'd rather not know and just use the camera how I usually do. But I couldn't quite leave it alone since I've been getting more attached to it. Took several movies, walked around in the heat and took lots of pictures, tried live view. The camera got hot enough to show the line, but no lines anywhere! I'm now convinced that it was some defective sensors and I'm really happy that this camera doesn't have one.
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 8:45 PM   #9
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Harriet, I am happy you got one without any problems - that is a good sign. I noticed that Amazon is also selling the k-7 "used" at $1233 - only $66 off the new price. I wonder if some unlucky soul is going to get your return (or someone else's)?
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Old Jul 26, 2009, 10:55 PM   #10
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I wouldn't be surprised if they get someone else's problem. I made a point of returning mine as defective and getting a replacement, but it wouldn't surprise me if some returned their defective cameras without mentioning that fact. And I'm sure that there are others that returned their cameras just because they heard of problems, got scared that they were all bad and returned perfectly good ones. And I know at least one person who got theirs, had a good one, but didn't like the ergonomics, so they rather sadly returned it for a refund.

I did make a big point of asking Amazon what they would do with my defective camera and they assured me that they would return it to the manufacturer for repair/reconditioning. But given the fact that others might not be so honest, I don't think I'd get one - while you might get a good one that was returned because of fear or ergonomics, there's too much of a possibility you'd get one of the defective ones.
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