Monday, April 21, 2008

Huge Moon With Mirror Lens and 2x Teleconverter

At the photography swap meet the other day I was lucky enough to pick up a Sigma 70-300 macro (to replace my 70-200, or so I tell myself (and my wife)) and my prize, a 500mm Mirror Lens and T-to-K mount converter so it would fit on my K20D. The mirror lens is great, huge reach, tiny price, weight, and length. The thing is about the length of the DA16-45 and a third the weight.

Of course, it's got it's bad sides. Fixed aperture at f-8.0, hard to stabilize without a tripod (though a big "yay" in the K20D shake reduction column), distinctive donut bokeh, and not the best image quality. Mine is a Japanese version that I doubt is anywhere near the quality of the Tarmon in th elink above. However, it's my first long lens and I'm having a blast playing with it! And what's the first thing you do with a long telephoto? Yup, take pictures of the moon! In my case I was a masochist and put a 2x teleconvert on the body first, so I had that to contend with.

However the results are worth it. The moon, low on the horizon appears huge in the viewfinder. Below is a shot straight out of the camera with no cropping. Minor whitebalance and converted from RAW, but that's it.

1/90th @ f-8.0, ISO 3200 1500mm equiv

The most amazing thing to me is the zoom. Whenever I see a great moon shot I generally ask how much cropping was done, and mostly it's a fair amount, like 60%. The shot above, 0% cropping. Sorry for the shadow in front, that's a branch from the neighbors tree which I did my best to avoid, but as this was a quick and dirty run-out-before-bed session, this has less foliage than some of the other ones :) Click on the image to see a larger version. Zoomed all the way in it's not great, yet it still shows nicely full size on the monitor. A bit of noise-ninja helps for the 100% view as well, however I think you're only going to get so far with a less than stellar lens and a less than stellar teleconverter!

Now I have to get to bed if I want my 5 hours of sleep tonight...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tips From The Manual (Or Not!): Quick ISO Setting

Long time no post, it's been a rough couple of weeks in The Real World(tm) but I wanted to come back and provide a couple of K20D tips that you may or may not know, depending on whether you read the manual or not (always highly recommended!).

First one is for quick access to the ISO setting. On my *ist-D the only way to change the ISO setting was to put the camera down, set the left top dial to ISO, adjust it with the right e-dial, set the left top dial back, and return the camera to your eye (and it never was shown in the viewfinder!). On the K20D I thought that the procedure was a bit more streamlined... you hit the function button, hit the right arrow, select the ISO, and hit OK. Not bad, but not great.

What you'll find on page 79 of the manual is that if you hold down the "OK" button and adjust the front e-dial, you can adjust the ISO setting. No taking the camera from your eye, and the ISO shows up (at least temporarily, depending on what your custom fuction for ISO in the viewfinder is set to). Nice and quick!

Now there are a couple of caveats to this. If you have the custom functions for your e-dials set to adjust ISO via the custom functions (Page 74) in Sv/Tv/Av mode the OK+e-dial shortcut won't work in these modes, you'll only be able to use the e-dial you set via the custom menu.

Hope this little tip helps you out!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lightroom 1.4.1 Update

Looks like Adobe has released a new Lightroom update... 1.4.1 which fixes issues with DNG conversion and the timestamp issues they had with the previous update. This will bring a working copy of Lightroom which supports the new K20D RAW format (.PEF) into the world. Various blogs around the net have full(er) coverage of what is fixed and improved.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

A Lightroom 2.0 Beta Review

I was going to write up a pretty Lightroom 2.0 Beta review, however there are so many out there already, it doesn't make sense! Check out this one over at Computer-Darkroom to start with.