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New Camera - A Sea Change!
#3016684 11/19/19 04:19 AM
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Sometimes, even if we have used a particular brand for a while, we see a good reason to switch. How many times have you switched systems or brands? What was the reason?

After using Nikon cameras since 1997, I recently purchased a Pentax K-1 DSLR. This is my first Pentax of any kind. I purchased this for several reasons. I purchased it used for US$880. Although the camera is now three years old, the sensor is extremely high quality, rivaling some of the top sensors from the Nikon D850, Sony, and others. It also has superb weather sealing, important since I photograph in harsh environments (windy deserts, windy areas near the ocean whipping salt water around, etc.). It has astro tracing, where the sensor will actually follow the stars' movements, great for certain kinds of night photography. It has an outstanding LED screen. It has outstanding dynamic range. It has focus peaking. There is a good array of lenses that are excellent for night photography.

Along with this, I purchased a Pentax 15-30mm f/2.8 lens used for about US$900, perfect for night photography.

So I basically got top-notch equipment for a fraction of what it might cost new, and even then, lower than some of the other brands (the D850, for instance, is around US$3200, while I paid less than US$1800 for both a body and lens).

And the camera is a total joy to use so far. The only thing I don't like so far is that the battery life is noticeably shorter than my Nikon D750, which I still have.

Below is the first photo I took with the Pentax K-1.

[Linked Image from live.staticflickr.com]

Margaret
~~~~~
I saw a photo of this abandoned house, and was touched by this story of this woman who built a beautiful house from adobe bricks she made herself on 104 acres just off Route 66, wanting to put a wildlife refuge, maternity hospital, and MotoCross raceway. I was moved to visit, photograph it at night, and try to imagine what she might have felt, looking out onto her land, planning all that. I can only imagine the pain she felt when the California Division of Highways contacted her about building the new I-40 through part of her property. She was moved to write a letter to President Johnson, who amazingly replied. Eventually, a deal was made, with the government purchasing part of her property and building a 4.1 mile asphalt access driveway so straight that Car & Driver later secretly used it to race exotic automobiles illegally, racing Trans Ams at over 200 mph, and racing a Cadillac Seville with a twin-turbo Chevy 454 V8. I know nothing about Mrs. Orcutt, but I imagine that she must have been a very independent, intelligent, remarkable, and passionate person.
~~~~~
This is the first photo I created with my new camera. I've been using Nikons for many years, so this was a bit of an adjustment but a joy to use. While taking this night photo, I illuminated the house with a ProtoMachines LED2 light painting device during the ten minute exposure. I chose to photograph it shortly after the sun had set, illuminating it with warmer colors to instill a sense of warmth and calm.
~~~~~
Pentax K-1/15-30mm f/2.8 lens. 10m total "stacked"; each 2m f/8 ISO 200. Nov 2019.
~~~~~
#kenlee #kenleephotography #lightpainting #longexposure #nightphotography #slowshutter #amazing_longexpo #longexphunter #longexpoelite #longexposure_shots #supreme_nightshots #ig_astrophotography #super_photolongexpo #nightscaper #MyRRS #ReallyRightStuff #feisol #Nikon #westbysouthwest #travelzoo #desert #abandoned #urbex #urbanexploration #orcutthouse

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3016707 11/19/19 01:50 PM
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Cool, new cameras are always fun! I think Tim L. uses a Pentax too? He really likes it if I remember right from his blog. Is that the one where the buttons on the back of the camera glow in the dark?

Interesting about the batteries, but I suppose that's what spares are for. It would be tough to find one longer-lasting than that of the D750. Its nice to be able to grab the camera on the spur of the moment and head out the door without having to worry about the batteries. By contrast, I have a little Sony a6000 and the battery life is so short, that if I use it on Saturday, I MUST charge it again if I plan to use it on Sunday. Normal daytime shooting. It used to make me wonder if there was a problem with it but I have heard similar complaints from others.

Its funny you mentioned the Car & Driver "test track". I remember them mentioning it once in the magazine, although who knows, they may have mentioned it more than once. I kind of picture it in the Newberry Springs area, or at least somewhere in that stretch between Barstow and Ludlow. I like that area.

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3016759 11/19/19 07:50 PM
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That's an interesting, fun area, and I am more and more associating the Barstow area with fun. I used to regard it as some place to stop off to gas up or whatever on the way to Las Vegas, and now, every time I come here, I'm always having a lot of fun.

The batteries was a bit of a surprise. Thankfully, the used camera came with eight batteries as part of the US$880 price, not bad since batteries are expensive. So I charged up several of them, thinking I was overdoing it, only to find that I was using two batteries in an evening (the Nikon D750, on the other hand, almost always lasts through the evening with room to spare).

And yes, I have a few friends including Tim who has the Pentax K1, always the first model, never the Mk Ii. The Mk II is not considered as desirable for night photographers because it "bakes in" the noise reduction to the RAW file, and you cannot get it to stop doing it. There is no "off" switch for that. For people who don't do long exposure/night photography, it would not matter. And the difference, to be fair, is subtle. But there is a difference.

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3016920 11/20/19 10:51 PM
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Congrats on the new gear Ken! That's always exciting. The star tracking feature sounds pretty cool! Is it physically moving the sensor, or is it some kind of digital process?

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3016949 11/21/19 02:58 AM
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The sensor physically moves.

Quote
Pentax Astrotracer is a feature that very effectively uses the camera’s sensor stabilization in conjunction with the camera’s GPS. The sensor stabilization system uses data from the camera’s GPS to move the camera sensor to match the position of the stars in the sky.


Pentax Astro Tracer article

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017038 11/22/19 01:42 AM
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While Nikon seems to get all the kudos for lens compatibility, be aware that Pentax probably has the best compatibility over the years of any camera manufacturer.
I used to own an M42 to K mount adapter, made by Asahi Pentax when they switched from screwmount to K mount. So you can use M42 lenses.
You can mount all K lenses.
Asahi Pentax also made adapters for 645 and 67 to K mount so you can use those lenses too.

Keep an eye out at the thrift stores!!! A couple of years ago I bought 6 Pentax lenses at Goodwill for $60 and tax.

After testing them, I've kept the SMC Pentax-M 50 1.4 and the SMC Pentax-A 28 2.8. I use an adapter to mount to my humble Canon T2i and focus manually with Live View.
I made my money back when I sold the 40 2.8 pancake, it wasn't as sharp as I would like so on to the next. The other 3 lenses were profit.

I'd love a K-1, you got a great deal!! Cheers, Kuru


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Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017042 11/22/19 02:22 AM
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Thanks, Kuru. Overall, I like it. I like the way it renders color in such a beautiful, open way. I like the features. I like the price. I like the robustness.

So far, I don't like that the battery lasts a considerably shorter time than my Nikon D750 or D610, and that so far, I seem to be getting more hot pixels in the shadows than the Nikon D750 or D610. Not sure what is up with that.

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017060 11/22/19 06:52 AM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
Thanks, Kuru. Overall, I like it. I like the way it renders color in such a beautiful, open way. I like the features. I like the price. I like the robustness.

So far, I don't like that the battery lasts a considerably shorter time than my Nikon D750 or D610, and that so far, I seem to be getting more hot pixels in the shadows than the Nikon D750 or D610. Not sure what is up with that.


You may want to consult the manual and see what features can be turned off to increase battery life. The GPS, do you really need it? If that is on constantly it certainly uses some power. There could be other things, the auto shutoff time if are not using the camera comes to mind, that should be short.

I've increased the battery life in my cheap Android (TCL running Tracfone) by shutting off as many Google services as possible. Less data suck too.

Different sensor technology, the bits and dabs that the sensor feeds through to create the RAW file, some circuits are noisier than others. My Canon 5d and 5d MkII both made hideous pattern noise at ISO 3200. I was shooting dance and ice skating so I just had to live with it. My Canon T2i (rebel) is pretty old but a bit newer and has very little pattern noise and much less noise overall than either of the 5Ds, even though the sensor is APS-C and 18 mp.

Try different settings, including noise reduction settings in JPG and see if you can find a sweet spot. Otherwise, it is what it is. Again, would love to have one!


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Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017130 11/23/19 02:56 AM
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Thanks. I have considered turning off the GPS since I generally don't need it. I already know where I am photographing.

I'm trying the Pixel Mapping function for now. If that doesn't do it, I may have a heat sink installed from Spencer's Camera. My friend who has a K-1 said that it made a huge difference for him.

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017144 11/23/19 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
Thanks. I have considered turning off the GPS since I generally don't need it. I already know where I am photographing.

I'm trying the Pixel Mapping function for now. If that doesn't do it, I may have a heat sink installed from Spencer's Camera. My friend who has a K-1 said that it made a huge difference for him.



Are you making lots of long exposures? If so and the sensor gets hot (heat sink), there is your battery drain. The sensor is drawing current and not using it efficiently so it gives off heat.
Heat sink may well improve the quality of your images but it won't lessen battery drain, it will just distribute the excess energy

GPS may be contributing, every efficiency helps.


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Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017154 11/23/19 02:28 PM
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Right, those are two separate things, I realize. I make almost exclusively long exposures. Comparing similar usage from Nikons to the Pentax K-1, the battery life is considerably lower. I am talking possibly as much as 50%. Part of the issue I am sure is that I am also using Live View on the Pentax. I don't keep it on all the time, but I do use it to help frame the shot. I did not do this on the Nikon because Live View at night completely blows on Nikons. This, however, does not account for THAT much battery usage. The Pentaxes are rated considerably lower for shots than the Nikons I was using anyway.

The heat sink is to address hot pixels if Pixel Mapping does not address it. It has nothing to do with draining the battery, which is why I mentioned hot pixels/heat sink in a different paragraph from the one discussing battery usage/GPS.

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017164 11/23/19 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
Right, those are two separate things, I realize. I make almost exclusively long exposures. Comparing similar usage from Nikons to the Pentax K-1, the battery life is considerably lower. I am talking possibly as much as 50%. Part of the issue I am sure is that I am also using Live View on the Pentax. I don't keep it on all the time, but I do use it to help frame the shot. I did not do this on the Nikon because Live View at night completely blows on Nikons. This, however, does not account for THAT much battery usage. The Pentaxes are rated considerably lower for shots than the Nikons I was using anyway.

The heat sink is to address hot pixels if Pixel Mapping does not address it. It has nothing to do with draining the battery, which is why I mentioned hot pixels/heat sink in a different paragraph from the one discussing battery usage/GPS.


I agree that the heat sink will not change the battery drain problem. Heat does not come from nothing, it is expended energy. The source of that energy is the battery. That is being drained to no benefit.
Heat is inefficient, wasted energy. It is the sign of a circuit that has potential to be improved. For whatever reason, the sensor circuit is drawing more current than is needed and the excess is converted to heat. Basic electronics.

Longer exposures simply exacerbate the issue, they also can cause the hot pixels, which is why the heat sink is useful.

Probably no solution for the heat but disappating it away from the sensor should improve image quality. Hopefully I am more clear this time. :- D


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Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017170 11/23/19 06:16 PM
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It is possible that all eight of the batteries that came with the camera no longer carry a full charge. This would also be quite a departure from the Nikon batteries, where I used the same batteries over and over and never had an issue. But it is quite possible.

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017175 11/23/19 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by KenElevenShadows
It is possible that all eight of the batteries that came with the camera no longer carry a full charge. This would also be quite a departure from the Nikon batteries, where I used the same batteries over and over and never had an issue. But it is quite possible.



It is possible but seems unlikely. If they all the same brand, that would be somewhat more plausible.
According to the linked guide, Lithium Ion batteries do not lose capacity by being charged in a random fashion (often called "memory"). The chart does show that nickel based batteries can be subject to this and explains ways to avoid.
So the precious owner would not have been able to change the "memory" by poor charging practices.

https://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/do_and_dont_battery_table

I am still using the 2 batteries I got new with my Canon T2i and that was in 2010. Battery life is fine for my purposes but I don't recall ever taking a photo with an exposure longer than 1/15th of a second. My subject matter tends to be in motion or there is plenty of light. Back in the day I took a 25 minute exposure in a pool hall with my trusty RB67, slow B+W film and the aperture stopped down all the way. Pretty cool ghosts in some of the images.

Not really relevant in context since camera batteries are predominantly Lithium Ion cells. You could buy another new battery and see if there is a difference. I am skeptical.

The manual should have sections about optional or not needed features that may or may not be able to be turned off. GPS is one we've covered, it should help at least somewhat. Cheers, Kuru


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Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017184 11/23/19 08:43 PM
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And, I just thought of another potential drain, a feature the Nikon does not have in the body.

Since you are shooting long exposures, that assumes the use of a sturdy tripod.
Therefore, the in body image stabilization should be turned off.
Not sure how much power that uses but it does micro-adjust the position of the sensor on the fly so at least some - even on a tripod.


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Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017223 11/24/19 06:14 AM
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I definitely have in-body image stabilization turned off. I don't know how much power it drains, but more importantly, it's crucial to have it off in the event that it creates additional shake while mounted on a tripod. Thanks.

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017500 11/26/19 06:13 PM
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I think my D750 has grown angry because I was reading this thread! I went out with it Friday night.... And suddenly the round selector button on the back got flaky on me. I couldn't scroll up or down in the menus, nor could I turn on the option to use the IR remote (there are two ways to do it, but both require using the selector button). Then, when I got home, it resumed working perfectly! Something to keep an eye on.... Fortunately I can send it to Nikon in New York and they'll probably have it back to me in less than a couple weeks (try that with, say, a Leica of any kind...). But an annoyance nonetheless.

Re: New Camera - A Sea Change!
KenElevenShadows #3017517 11/26/19 07:27 PM
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I've had GREAT luck with Nikon service so far, with them promising two weeks, but both times, returning it in 7-8 days instead. Best wishes.


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