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Old Mar 11, 2011, 5:46 PM   #11
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Hi penolta,

Congrats on the K-5! I think you'll be pleased with the performance.

FW 1.03 seems to have cured the only focusing problem that I've noticed so far. . . FA50/1.4 was erratic by as much as a few cms wide open under Ev 4-5 or so. After the FW update, it seems to be dead on all the time -- Nice!

FWIW, I just received a few new memory cards, so I'll be trying them out, but preliminary indications are that the Transcend Ultimate 8 and 16 GB Class 10 cards are at least as fast writing as the 4GB Sandisk Class 6 (20MB/sec) Extreme III cards I had been using. The Adata 16GB Class 10 seems to be a hair faster. These are totally from a seat-of-the-pants "feel" standpoint.

All of these have Lifetime Warranties and are less costly than the Sandisks. I can't speak for their ultimate longevity though I've used both brands in the past without problems, but all seem to have very good reviews from Newegg users -- so I'm pretty confident they'll work out. With the K20 and K-7, I had gone to the Sandisks because when they changed from (x) speed ratings to the Class rating system, these Sandisk cards were some of the few that specified actual write speed -- and I was looking for at least 18MB/s -- not "at least" 6MB/sec. I recently had two of these cards that lost their locking sliders (though I never used them). They are still under warranty, and I'm sure they will be replaced, but it's a hassle to have to replace cards that I paid a significant premium for after about a year's use. . .

The fast cards are important for me since I chimp a lot, and large file size with slow cards can be frustrating since I have to wait a few seconds to see a review on the LCD. Birds and Jumping Spiders aren't into waiting on long write times. . .

Like Harriet, it took a while for me to get used to the narrower grip moving from the K20 to the K-7. With the heavier lenses that I use almost exclusively, the skinnier grip concentrates the weight on a smaller area, so carrying the camera in hand was noticeably less comfortable. It took a while to get used to it, but now I find the deeper narrower grip more reassuring when using the really heavy glass.

It's finally warming up around here, though the lakes are still iced over for the most part, so I should be able to get out and shoot some birds for a change -- I'm sure my cats will be much happier without a camera in their faces all the time. . .

Scott
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Old Mar 11, 2011, 6:06 PM   #12
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FWIW, I just received a few new memory cards, so I'll be trying them out, but preliminary indications are that the Transcend Ultimate 8 and 16 GB Class 10 cards are at least as fast writing as the 4GB Sandisk Class 6 (20MB/sec) Extreme III cards I had been using.
The Class 10 Transcend cards are less expensive compared to the Transcend Class 6 cards now at some dealers, too. I just bought another Transcend a few weeks ago for use in a netbook for live Linux boot purposes (as the SSD failed in my netbook and I'm just running a Linux distro from an SDHC card instead right now when using a netbook for browsing forums, etc. when on the road), and went with a newer 8GB Class 10 SDHC card (as I also use Transcend CompactFlash cards with my Sony A700, and I've been quite pleased with them).

The 8GB Class 10 Transcend SDHC cards are only $12.49 delivered from newegg.com (although the 8GB cards are out of stock right this minute, they usually have them and should get more in soon).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...ass+10&x=0&y=0

Amazon also stocks them with good prices:

http://www.amazon.com/Transcend-Clas...dp/B003VNKNEG/

The Transcend Class 10 SDHC card write speeds are almost as fast as the newer 30MB/Second Sandisk Extreme SDHC cards in most [non Sandisk] Card readers, although the Sandisk cards test a bit faster in Sandisk readers (as you'd expect, since Sandisk probably optimizes their cards for their own readers). See some tests of SDHC cards here:

http://www.hjreggel.net/cardspeed/sp...cards-sdc.html
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Old Mar 11, 2011, 6:53 PM   #13
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Harriet, very sorry to hear about the problems hopefully they will be sorted out well.
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Pentax K5, K3:
FA 35mm f2, FA 50 f1.4, FA 28-70mm f4, FA 28-80mm f3.5-5.6, FA 80-320mm f4.5-5.6, F 50mm f1.7, Tamron SP 70-200mm f2.8 Di, DA 10-17 f3.5-4.5, DA 14 f2.8, DA 16-45mm f4, DA 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 WR, DA 50-200mm f4-5.6 WR, AF-540FGZ

Olympus E-P2, E-P5, OM-D E-M1: 9mm to 150mm lenses

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Old Mar 11, 2011, 11:11 PM   #14
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Jim, thanks for the information about the docking stations. I've only looked at the Drobo system and it's expensive, I'd rather buy something like the one you have, much cheaper!

Also thanks for the info on cards - I really need to get a larger, faster card than the Ultra II I've been using (which is OK, but I'd really like something faster.

The hard drive spins up, but the computer can't see it. I think there's something wrong with the registry or something like that. Luckily there's not much on it beyond the back-ups, I recently bought a portable hard drive and moved my pictures to it. That didn't have a problem since it's powered by the computer, which is a MacBook Pro and all it did was shift to battery power. I really should get a UPS for everything else though - I think small ones aren't too expensive.

I think I'm in denial about the sensor stain. Tonight I went back to see how far back it goes, and only see it back for a couple of days. It definitely wasn't here a month ago - I found the picture where I checked it. Maybe it's just gunk and a good wet cleaning would take care of it. But it looks like so many examples that were posted early on - a line of "pearls". It's slightly visible at f8, definitely there at f11. There's also what I assume is a dust spot that doesn't seem to want to move either.

I'll try a couple of times to blow off the sensor tomorrow morning before I pack it up and send it in. It just doesn't look like dust or a thread or anything like that.

You don't suppose someone would make a mistake and accidentally send me a silver K5 back, do you? That would really be sweet.

Penolta - looking forward to more of your impressions.
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 11:36 AM   #15
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Jim, thanks for the information about the docking stations. I've only looked at the Drobo system and it's expensive, I'd rather buy something like the one you have, much cheaper!
Well... the BlacX docking stations are just a way to use single external drives without enclosures. But, they don't have all of the features of something like the DROBO systems (those are multi-bay systems where you can have more than one drive in different RAID configs so that you can keep using it in the event of a drive failure and let it rebuilt a defective drive after you replace one).

But, I wouldn't personally buy the DROBO products anyway (too expensive compared to some of the similar alternatives around). I also don't like storage systems that use proprietary RAID setups, since if the device they're in fails (the DROBO box), you'd need one just like it to get to the data on the drives.

I like using the little docking stations, since it's easy to unplug one drive and plug in a different one, allowing me to easily backup to more than one drive if I want more than one copy of something, read contents on drives, etc., without the expense of buying external drives already in enclosures (bare SATA drives are usually less expensive).

But, they don't have the expandability of an enclosure like the DROBO series (where you can have 4 or more drives in RAID configs and create one large volume if desired).

Note that if you really need more storage in a single volume than the capacity you can find in a single drive, there are other options besides the DROBO at lower price points.

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The hard drive spins up, but the computer can't see it. I think there's something wrong with the registry or something like that.
It's probably something in the enclosure electronics causing the issue if the PC isn't seeing it at all (versus getting errors of some type when you try to mount it). I'm afraid I don't know much about OS X, so I wouldn't know where to tell you to look to see if the drive is recognized by the operating system or not (to see if it just can't mount it due to file system corruption that may have occurred if you were writing to it at the time the power failed, or it's really not being recognized).

That the drive has power and spins up tells you that the power adapter is probably OK and power is reaching the drive. If it's not making any unusual noise, it probably doesn't have a mechanical issue. But, something else in the enclosure may have been zapped.

If it's a USB or Firewire attached external drive, it will have electronics to convert that attachment into the interface type used by the drive inside of the enclosure (it's probably SATA if it's a relatively new model), and a power surge/brownout may have damaged those electronics.

If it's worth much (and drives are pretty cheap anymore), I'd remove the drive from the enclosure and install it in a PC, docking station or another drive enclosure and see if it works.

The drive inside of it is going to be a standard IDE or SATA drive (probably 3.5" if it's a larger enclosure that requires an external power adapter). But, note that the docking stations like I mentioned only work with SATA drives.

If it's an IDE interface drive type, you'd need an enclosure that supports that drive type (and they're relatively inexpensive, starting at around $20 for a USB 2.0 attached enclosure that supports 3.5" IDE drives).

But, I'd try the drive in a PC to make sure it works first (and my guess is that only the Enclosure Electronics got zapped and the drive is probably still fine).

From what I can tell from glancing at specs, the Macbook Pro models have USB 2.0 and Firewire 800, but no eSATA suport built in (although if you need faster transfer speed, you could buy an ExpressCard to give you an eSATA port). You can play with the configurators at newegg.com and find models with the desired internal and external interface.

But, if you're just using it for nightly backups, speed may not make a big difference and you may be fine with USB 2.0 (and those are usually less expensive compared to enclosures supporting Firewire 800).

Of course, external and internal drives are relatively inexpensive anymore.

What size drive is it, and is it USB 2.0 or Firewire attached?

Got a brand/model for it?
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 3:42 PM   #16
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It was relatively inexpensive - I think under $100. It's a 1 TB Western Data drive, can't remember the name but it looks like a book. I got it at Circuit City when they were going out of business and it was USB2 and Firewire 400, which I can't use because the MacBook Pro only has Firewire 800 connection, so it's used as USB2.

The mac operating system has a program that automatically backs up what's changed every hour and it works well. The drive was pretty quick until it started to get full, then it seems like the computer is backing up most of the time, and it slows things down in LR and Photoshop, plus it takes extra memory that makes some of the plugins even slower than they are already (I have an older MacBook Pro, the reason why I'm considering upgrading to the new one, and perhaps exploring Thunderbolt as being a faster option). Interesting about getting an ExpressCard for eSATA port - that would work for a new computer because they have a built-in SD card reader. Mine does not, so I have the slot filled with a SD card reader.

I agree that while the Drobo sounds great, it's over-kill for my use and very expensive (why I've never bought one, just looked at them). Getting two docking stations would more reflect what I have now - the 1 TB drive that died used mostly for backing up the computer and a separate 1 TB portable hard drive for pictures. That one is slower but is convenient. Getting 2 docking stations with firewire connection would give me better performance without costing much, a very neat idea.

Or I may just buy an inexpensive drive like the one I have for the time-being (I'm not happy being without any back-up for the computer).
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 4:49 PM   #17
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From what I can see of the [very] few docking stations that are available with Firewire 800 (1394B), you'd end up paying a lot more for one versus a docking station with eSATA support. IOW, you could probably buy an ExpressCard with an eSATA port, and an eSATA attached docking station for the price of just a docking station with Firewire 800 support (and the eSATA solution would be a lot faster).

So, I'd probably consider using a USB attached Card reader (under $10 delivered for some) and get an eSATA card for your Mac so that you'd get much faster performance compared to Firewire 800 for external drive access (since you're not really gaining a much by using an ExpressCard based SDHC reader, since the SDHC card speed is pretty much the bottleneck, even using slower a USB 2.0 attached reader with the latest Class 10 SDHC cards).

IOW, the speed of a newer Class 10 SDHC card is going to be slower than the USB 2.0 interface you'd use a card reader with. So, an ExpressCard reader for SDHC really doesn't offer any benefits compared to a USB attached reader for transfer speed purposes with SDHC. But, an ExpressCard with an eSATA port with an external eSATA attached drive would offer you a significant speed increase compared to either USB 2.0 or Firewire 800 attached external drives.

The cheap OWC Slim ExpressCard in this review looks like it would good bet for a Mac (according to the reviewer, it's plug and play on a Mac without any need to install drivers, with no "sleep" problems like you can find with some eSATA chipsets).

http://macperformanceguide.com/Revie...BPCore_i7.html

Then, just get an eSATA docking station for it. You'll find lots of them. Here's a BlacX docking station with both USB 2.0 and eSATA interfaces for $32.28 delivered (and you could use the 1TB drive you already have in it if the enclosure circuit board is the culprit, as I suspect it is), even using it with USB 2.0 if you want to do it that way instead of buying an ExpressCard with eSATA (as you're already doing now via USB 2.0):

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...-071-_-Product

Chances are, your drive still works and the enclosure circuit board is the issue. I'd remove the drive from it's enclosure and try it in another enclosure or docking station. If it doesn't work, just buy a bare 3.5" SATA drive and use it in the same [new] enclosure or docking station. This article probably applies to one like yours. If not, there are lots of others around and it shouldn't be too hard to figure out how to remove the drive from (the drive inside of this type of WD MyBook is just a standard 3.5" SATA drive).

http://carltonbale.com/western-digit...ving-the-drive
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 5:30 PM   #18
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Or, in a semi-permanent solution (fixed enclosure versus docking station) with both eSATA and USB 2.0 interfaces, get something like this one.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16817173043

Right this minute, you can get $7 off the sale price using this promo code at checkout, bringing it down to $27.99 with free shipping:

EMCKGJJ32

Then install the drive out of your WD MyBook enclosure in it and see if the drive is still good, which I suspect it is (and if not, just buy a bare 3.5" SATA drive to use in it). They're very inexpensive anymore. Here are some 1TB and larger drives:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...CE&PageSize=20

Personally, I like the docking stations, since I can use the same docking station with multiple drives without needing to take an enclosure apart to swap them around (or the need to buy a separate enclosure for each drive, as long as I only need to use one external drive at a time). My BlacX has worked just fine with multiple SATA drives of various sizes with no issues. But, if you plan on leaving one attached all the time with the same drive in it, an enclosure (like the one I linked to above) would be another way to go. I do the same thing with my docking station though (leave it attached most of the time).
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 5:55 PM   #19
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Why is it that nothing is ever easy when it comes to computers? I was ready to go for the eSATA ExpressCard and the BlacX docking station immediately but then noticed that the new 15" MacBook Pro computers don't have the ExpressCard slot - they put in a SCXC drive instead. I'd have to upgrade to a 17" MacBook Pro to get the slot back. Skipping the ExpressCard SD card reader isn't a big deal - when I bought my first couple of UltraII cards they came with USB mini-card readers, and they work quite well. The extra pound of weight of the 17" wouldn't be welcome but isn't that horrible. The extra $300 will be a set-back, but I expect that those providing Thunderbolt storage devices will be charging a premium for them, too - making the extra for the 17" computer not look quite so big. And it would be nice to have a bigger monitor while I'm on the road.

Choices, choices!
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Old Mar 12, 2011, 7:36 PM   #20
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Why is it that nothing is ever easy when it comes to computers?
Sort of like cameras, huh? Technology changes quickly and there's never one perfect solution. ;-)

But, if you don't have a way to backup your data now, you're asking for trouble (as drive failures tend to happen when you least expect them), and I'd go with almost any solution to get a good backup as a first step, even if it's using a slow USB 2.0 interface.

Quote:
Or I may just buy an inexpensive drive like the one I have for the time-being (I'm not happy being without any back-up for the computer).
Well... since you're already using a USB 2.0 interface with a 1TB WD MyBook (even though USB 2.0 is a little slower than Firewire 800, and *much* slower than eSATA), you may want to get something like this one (refurb) for around $62 including shipping. It wouldn't give you any speed benefits over your old one, but at least you'd be back to where you were before the power outage caused a problem, without any need to try removing your old one and plugging into a new docking station or enclosure.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16822136842

BTW, from what I can see about warranty info, it looks like some of the WD MyBook series external drives have a 5 year warranty. So, I'd make sure they won't replace your failed drive for free as a first step.
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