Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Q-code

Hi there, sorry for the misleading title, this post is not about amateur radio, this still is about my photography adventures.

Coming from SLRs, I had severe doubts about the use of mirror-less system cameras. Yep, past tense, since the purchase of my first digital system camera, the Canon EOS-M my appreciation for mirror-less digital cameras changed. What triggered my initial interest was that the EOS-M employs an APS-C size sensor and no mirror to flip up and shake the camera. ("Haha", I here you thinking, "mirror, no mirror, what is this guy all about"). The initial plan was to mount the EOS-M behind a decent telescope, for astro-photography (makes sense now?). Whatever the EOS-M's reputation is, this is a very good camera, not only for video, but also for stills, despite the slow auto-focus.

From there, I moved down in sensor size (MFT aka m4/3), by getting an Olympus PM-2, which I love a lot.

Now my interest for mirror-less cameras was ignited.
Following the scene, it did not take long and I was intrigued by Pentax's Q system. Sooooo small! Well, also the sensor. Hence, I had my doubts, and stayed away from the Q.

And now, it struck me, the Q has got no mechanical shutter in the body, the sensor is back-lit, the firmware has got a built-in intervalometer and there are plenty of adapters available (including T2).
For astro-photography, the Q system might just be the thing!
Also, the Q-system sports in-body "shake reduction" by sensor shifting, allowing for manual/old lenses to be used with image stabilization.

So, I got one.

Now, out and about, I learned to love the Quirky little camera. Small enough to fit in any of my coats, including a wide arsenal of lenses.
Concerning which, I presently own the following genuine lenses:

  • 01 - standard prime (8.5mm f/1.9)
  • 02 - standard zoom (5-15mm f/2.8-4.5)
  • 04 - wide toy lens (6.3mm f/7.1)
  • 05 - toy tele-lens (18mm f/8)
  • 06 - tele zoom (15-45mm f/2.8)
  • Holga lens for Pentax Q (10mm f/8)
Some of the genuine lenses are supplied with a lens internal leaf shutter and a neutral density filter. Of course you know what that means... using strobes or speedlights at very fast shutter speeds.
When using lenses not equipped with a shutter, e.g. legacy glass of the toy lenses, shooting is entirely quiet, due to the electronic shutter. On the downside, the electronic shutter can be used up to 2s only,

By now, I also own a Q7 body. Despite the Q and the Q7 bodies have the most recent firmware, there are remarkable differences.
While the Q seems to handle a lot more easily, the Q7 got some feature I really miss on the Q.

Advantages of the Q
  • metal body, creating a very balance experience
  • intuitive dial customization
  • stereo audio in video recording

Advantages of the Q7
  • bigger sensor
  • records RAW when using smart filters or effects
  • slightly elevated buttons
There are probably more differences, but those are the ones that struck me most.
To me, it is impossible to pick a winner between the Q and the Q7. Although, the Q gets out a lot more often, probably because of the balanced feel of the metal body camera.

Another thought about the Q-system: C-mount lenses, which will fit the sensor just fine and can be really inexpensive.

Should you get a Q or a Q7? Well, I don't know! Just don't get a Q10, which is just a Q in a plastic body.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Like Chinese Food?

Here are your free processing trays!
No joking here... honestly. I do like Chinese take-away food, and the particular restaurant provides me with free paper negative processing trays.
Right... let's talk about size. Size matters, doesn't it?
My next step in photography was supposed to be large format and it was. I obtained a LF studio camera for a decent (still high) price. For further adventure, I decided to also get a more portable view camera. Ebay-fate decided that my portable camera would be a Ihagee-Photoklapp Patent-Duplex. Anyway, talking about size, we need to consider 12x9cm. Although this size is considered "large format", it still feels somewhat small, in particular when having the developed paper negatives in hand.
Speaking of paper negatives, they look real good, however, the paper I used shows a lot of structure and even maker's marks and is therefore not suitable for contact prints.

left to right: caffenol - water stop - fix - wash
Yep, what you see are paper negatives in the fix and the wash baths.

The paper negatives scanned:
f/11 - 1s @ ISO 6
f/4.5 - s/4 @ ISO 6
The light leak on the bottom of both exposures is due to me having pulled the dark-slide out too far, thereby allowing light to leak into the cassette.

For you technical guys out there, I was using grade 4 matte paper.

OK, I owe you digital photos of the scenes, which I took with my Pentax Q and the 01 standard prime.

Pentax Q, 8.5mm f/8

Pentax Q, 8.5mm f/1.9

You will notice, there is much more drama in the large format photos.