26 September 2015

and then I remembered!

oh if you just got here you missed the good part...

I'll start over:
Several months ago, after picking up two K-r bodies, I remembered just what using a penta-mirror viewfinder was like. (Hint: not good.) I sought options that would enable me to see well enough to focus manually, as at the time I owned several manual primes.  This was also the time when KatzEye bright focusing screens disappeared as the company dealt with financial issues, so the best-known option was unavailable.

So off I went to the search engines, seeking bargain alternatives.  I found a mystery auction dealer that sold one-fits-all Pentax screens for under $20 and ordered a split screen fresnel collared screen.  It took a while to get here but i jumped in when it reached me.

only to find it didn't fit!
The screen was labeled for K-7 only but I was pretty sure it was not so exclusive.  The K-r swap was new to me though, and clearly it wasn't working - so I sought to return the screen for a refund.

only I never sent it back!
So here's where you came in: today I remembered it had not left my shelf.  I still have several manual focus lenses.. but now a K-s1 body makes use of them.  Could it be possible that the old cheap screen would fit the new camera?

yes it can.
So now the K-s1 has focus peaking And a more precise focus screen.  Test images show that it aligns just fine.
Overkill perhaps, but the screen is here anyway.. so why not?

19 September 2015

tech difficulties

How many screens does one family need?

We've been messing with phones a lot recently, but they are not the only stand-alone screens around here.  My Asus HD 7" is beginning to show some age as it needs to reboot a lot.  I wiped its memory and it was happy for a while, but reboots are coming back.  I picked up a bargain Transformer 10" detachable-kbd Windows tablet (now running Win 10) but it's challenging to use as a tablet; its back is quite slick & needs some grippiness if it wishes to be the HD7 replacement.  For some reason T100 gel covers are nonexistent so it's either go with strips of electrical tape or a get a near-fit case plus an Xacto knife to make the buttons align with the openings!  Bizarre. *

clockwise: 5" and 4.5" Droids 4.4.2, iPhone 4s, HD7 tablet, T100 WinX tablet (keyboard not shown)
And oh yes, the phones.  My wife decided an iPhone would be her best option and I figured I'd help her out by joining her, so two quite new Android 4.4 models (top two in this image) were swapped out for iPhone 4s - mine black with minimal memory, hers white and with enough to replace her iPod Classic.  After about a month I feel I've learned a few things about Apple, Android and myself.

No denying that Apple has the phone game down, even with these older bodies.  I've heard that newer ones are faster and smarter, but the hardbody 4s is one solid chunk of telephone.  It pretty much does what I need - except play music, ironically.  I've had no end of trouble getting that part working!   While I had heard the Apple camera was a fine one that killed the compact market by itself, I find it just as poor as the Droids I have owned; apparently the camera stories began with the model 5?

On the other hand, group chat is effortless with my siblings now, and most Google items are politely tucked into the iOS system (we're both on 8.4-something).  No massive complaints operationally.
And yet...

My many forms of electronic gear had solidified around the micro-USB connector.  Tablets, phones, even my K-s1 dSLR used the same cable.  (No mourning the passing of micro-D camera cables here!)  The mUSB are ubiquitous and we own a car charger for it.  Suddenly the wide (pre-Lightning) Apple port  is required in several places to keep phones charging.  And they need that a lot; perhaps iOS9 fixes that, but the 4.5" Droid I had acquired definitely did better there (the 5" Droids are daily chargers like the 4s).  We have two i-cradles which are nice for almost drop-and-go charging - but of course my new protective case would be too thick to allow the cradle to accommodate it.  Silly me, thinking it was up to others to keep things simple.

I also miss widgets.  The iPhone is two clicks away from most data sources,  but I can power up the Android and have weather, phone status and a few other status reports all on one screen.  I grew accustomed to that and I miss it.

for now I'm planning to return to the smaller Android and see what I think.  Maybe in a week it will drive me a different kind of crazy, we'll see.

* Later: I found a 2-piece shell that owners suggest does improve the grip.  I shall just use the tablet cover & leave the keyboard as is, since some owners say it interferes with full screen tilt..

12 September 2015

as always, just one little kit problem

While taking photos of my staircase project I could see the SMC 24mm contrast was poor.  It turned out to be a small corner of the image was showing a piece of the cloudy-bright sky, and that was enough to produce veiling flare across the image.  I re-shot with my arm covering the bright area, only to find I had too much image shake for the SR to overcome.  I learned later that I had SR set for a 180mm lens, so it was working for a telephoto lens not a wide angle.  Oopz.

All of this points to the down side of classic glass.  SR does not set itself for them, the 40-year-old SMC coating isn't the best option for modern digital sensors, and relative to other options it's easy to make silly mistakes!

On the one hand a DA21 would cure the problem nicely - but it does leave a larger gap between 21 and 50mm (return of the DA35/2.4?).  On the other hand the Sigma 18-50 covers the range with modern optics and coatings and is silent to focus unlike the DA21 (and DFA 50 for that matter).  A bit more bulk for sure, but at 21mm it just straddles the f/2.8-3.2 maximim so the DA21 is no faster.  And the zoom is already in hand - so no further expense.  The age-old conundrum of carrying a few great primes vs. a convenient zoom reappears, especially when one of the few primes is not quite "great"!  Must check the 100/2.8 for veiling flare in similar circumstances now . .

DA15, K24, DFA50, M100, DAL55-300 on K-s1; Sigma 18-50 above.

While updating the group photo I noticed another new thing: not only does the K-s1 not come in the Pentax 'stormtrooper/panda' White and Black trim (it has grey trim), its white is not in fact white!  I know this because I put my broken white DAL 18-55 next to the camera and it's clearly not a good match - the lens is more intensely white than the body.  That saves me some effort, as I have a black DAL with a good mount which I could use to repair the white lens' cracked mount.  Now that I know the colors would look really wrong it saves me the effort.  To spare the fashion-conscious I left the hideous, clashing lens out of the photo.