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Gordon Lewis
Interests: guitar, writing, photography, escrima, martial arts (kali, tai chi)
Recent Activity
I imagine that when I nominated the Pentax K-x for your "Camera of the Year" post a few month back, quite a few readers scratched their heads and muttered "What the...?" Perhaps the fact that the K-x has received so many positive comments from so many photographers will give the doubters second thoughts. It has its faults--all cameras do--but if you're looking for bang for the buck in this tough economic climate, you can't do much better than the Pentax K-x.
Toggle Commented Sep 3, 2010 on K-x Comments? at The Online Photographer
I feel ya, Mike. When I mentioned on my blog (Shutterfinger) a few months ago how hard it is to find a good, reliable, affordable inkjet printer, I got several replies from readers telling me about all the wonderful prints they were getting from their Epson R3800s, R3880s, R4880s and so on. I would certainly hope they got wonderful prints from machines that cost more than a thousand dollars. Not only that, half of the recommenders were using RIPs that cost as much as the printer itself. This combination may be closer to the Mercedes-Benz or Lexus of ink jets than a Ferrari, but it makes no difference; I can't afford any of them. Even if I did, it's not what I'd prefer to spend my money on. Prints, yes. An expensive, high-maintenance printer, not so much.
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Mar 15, 2010
I find it curious that no one has mentioned DSLRs such as the Nikon D300s, Canon 50D, and Pentax K-7 that have a focus calibration feature. If nothing else, the presence of such a feature is acknowledgment by the manufacturer that focus is not always ideal between specific cameras and lenses. Perhaps Ctein could shed some light onto how this feature works and how well. I imagine it mitigates some problems while doing nothing for others.
Toggle Commented Feb 1, 2010 on Focusing Follies at The Online Photographer
"Just where the hell WAS he shooting from? " I don't mean this to sound flip, but it seems pretty obvious he was standing on the driver's side of the car, at the rear. Based on the compressed perspective and shallow depth-of-field, I'd guess he was also using a telephoto lens. Based on the angle of the driver's side window (which appears to be rolled down) I'd say he was standing at roughly a 30-degree angle relative to the car (0-degrees being parallel). BTW, it's not surprising to hear that Mr. Erwitt knew the couple in the car. Given the basic principles of reflection, if he could see them in the mirror, they could see him. Good thing for him they were a bit, uh... distracted.
A Speed Graphic was the first "real" camera I ever used when I first started learning photography in junior high school. Its operation was far from intuitive and there were dozens of ways to screw up. You had to know what you were doing to have any hope of getting a usable photograph from one of these beasts. But if you did know how to handle one, it would reward you with amazingly gorgeous negatives and prints. Ah, the memories...
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2009 on Graflex Graphic at The Online Photographer
Response to Andreas' question re: K-7 AF performance with 21mm DA My own tests and a discussion with Pentax tech support confirm that the K-7's AF system looks for the area of highest contrast. When the camera is set to automatic focus point selection it will choose the AF point that offers the highest contrast. I've discovered that in practice this is almost always toward the center of the frame, even when there are similar levels of contrast toward the edges. For example, if I focus on a page of text that is at a 45-degree angle to the focal plane, the K-7 will focus on the center of the page. Given the same situation, my Canon EOS 30D will focus on the side closest to the film plane. The main exception is when the center is low in contrast. For example, if you are aiming at a blank wall or floor with a higher contrast subject located off-center, the K-7 is much more likely to select whichever off-center focus point covers the subject. For whatever reason, this tendency changes when the camera is set to continuous focus, in which case it's more likely to focus on whatever is closest and highest in contrast. I've found this tendency to be true regardless of which lens I'm using, however, because the 21mm covers a much wider angle, there's a greater chance that the center won't be anywhere near the optimum point of focus. In this situation, automatic AF-point selection can be a hit-or-miss affair. Keep in mind that in all fairness, my EOS 30D doesn't have a 100% AF hit-rate either. The good news is that the K-7 allows you to manually select any of its 11 AF points or to adjust focus manually. This is obviously slower than letting the camera do all the thinking for you, but it's also more accurate overall, especially with stationary subjects.