Monday, January 28, 2013

Pentax Q auto hdr mode merge

The Pentax Q with zoom lens arrived today. The lens is designated 02 standard Zoom and it covers from  5-15mm - f2.8-4.5, when multiplied by the small sensor's crop factor translates to a 35mm equivalent range of 28-85mm (approx.). I've been using the 01 Prime lens which is about a 50mm and wanted a zoom to extend the camera's working range. I like the prime and it takes a great shots but for some things it's lacking. The past couple of days have been cloudy and I've been using fisheye and merged wide angle shots to capture the stormy clouds which have been rolling through from the south. It's unseasonably warm and humid today. 70 degrees and that must be the dew point too because everything is wet. Because there isn't much sun most shots are fairly dull, lacking definition good light can provide. Of course a sunny day provides problems too and most photographers love dawn and dusk for dramatic shots with saturated colors and interesting shadows. But you take what you have sometimes.

What follows are a series of shots taken today with the new Q. I do like the auto hdr mode. Of course the camera doesn't offer bracketing to do your own hdr [not true, see end of paragraph]*, so you must use this mode or get a tripod and alter the exposures yourself, manually and take three manual shots. That's doable but if the auto hdr works fairly well, it saves a lot of time and effort. *[Note: I sold two Qs and then purchased a third and have it now. I was wrong about the auto exposure bracketing, you can, indeed set the camera to take three bracketed exposure shots and set the + and - as you like, in thirds of a stop all the way up to + or - 3 stops of exposure. The setting isn't in the Main Menu, it's in the Drive menu, brought up by pressing the right arrow key, showing the clock symbol, which is where you set various drive options and quite logical. Sorry for the confusion]

Here then are three auto hdr (in camera) shots taken at 28mm and f3.5 which were combined in Photoshop. The hdr effect is pretty decent, I'd say.
 Next it's cropped so it can be rectangular. Unlike the fisheye, the horizon isn't smiling for us, it is straight, as you would expect it to be.
 Finally, a high key boost was provided by Topaz tools to brighten it up. I guess my favorite is the uncropped original paste up. You get a better sense of the drama of the clouds and you get some interesting areas that are left out in the cropped version.

The Q is an interesting camera.
I don't have a filter for the zoom lens yet. We'll see how the photos the Qs take compare. Looking at the detail from the DP1 and the Samsung NX, I'd say not very well. But they are smaller and quicker (a lot quicker than the DP1, which is glacial). Certainly the Prime lens is better than the zoom and some close up low light shots from the prime are really quite good. The zoom at distance, less so. We'll see if the trade off and the fun factor keep me reaching for the Q or they get boxed up and move along.

I eventually sold both Qs and was Q-less for a few months and then saw a cheap one on ebay with a prime and re-purchased it. I like the camera the most with the 01, standard prime. If I manage to get a fisheye cheaply enough, I'll throw up some more shots. I am shooting with 1.3 firmware, which was made available recently here:

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