Monday, August 31, 2009

Comparing Pentax K20D with Sigma SD14/DP1/DP2

I have a Cokin filter holder and ND grad filter #4 I can use with the Sigma 15-30mm EX DG lens on the Pentax K20D. So I've taken the K20D on several of our walks... the holder shows at anything wider than about 24mm. So back to Penn Camera to look for a different holder for wide-angle lenses. The 15-30mm EX DG is a big heavy lens for me, with an 82mm thread .. and I don't have that large filters nor can you use a regular screw-on filter with the 82mm 15-30mmEX. Thus the Cokin.

I also wish to set up the 10-20mm EX DC (77mm thread) and 17-35mm EX DG (77mm thread) lenses I have for the Sigma SD14 to use the Cokin holder with the ND grad filter.

We're off on a trip to the Seattle area in October (N's reunion group) and so I need to decide whether to take the K20D, which lenses, and what it's good for on outdoor situations which will be most of my 'photo opps' around Seattle. Generally I use the K20D as my indoor-museum camera as it's definitely easier to get decent ISO800 results indoors with dance and performance programs with it (with the Pentax 100mm F2.8 lens) than with the SD14/DP2. The DP1 is just too wide for stage shots. The DP2 can do them with its F2.8 if we're close enough (ref lots of Folklife Festival stage shots with DP2).

I can see using the Pentax K20D in deep-woods situations ... but will be have those at Mt. Rainier National Park? Or will there be a lot of what I call big sky shots? So I've been taking the K20D out to experiment with evening light big sky shots.

My reaction to using the K20D recently is that the K20D doesn't have the dynamic range as large as the SD14/DP1/DP2 for big skies + green foreground situations. This is what I do a LOT of on our evening walks and have tons of photos in the SD14 and DP1 and DP2 sets on The Sigma cameras handle the skies + ground situations beautifully without blowing out the skies or underexposing the foreground.

But the Pentax K20D does very nicely with the ISO400-800 dark area foliage shots... as long as there isn't the sky throwing off the dynamic range. See the latest Pentax photos on flickr .. from IMGP2367 to IMGP2400. No ND filter or anything else on the 15-30mm EX DG.. just the lens hood. I had a lot of badly exposed shots.. these were the best.

More comments and photos will follow. I'm using this blog as my 'notes to self' on upcoming experiments.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Summer with Sigma DP2, SD14, DP1

I ordered the Sigma DP2 from Amazon in June 2009 and have been using it extensively around the northern Virginia and Washington, DC, area this summer in combination with the Sigma SD14. My DP1 has been rather neglected... as has the Pentax K20D.

In late June and early July I 'covered' the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall for the initial week, met many of the Welsh performers and took extensive photo. I gave some prints and URL links to the performers. Some photos I think have found their way into publications in Wales! The full set is on under the Folklife Festival set icon on the right.

The DP2 and/or DP1 goes on all our walks... sooo much easier to carry than the SD14 for which I always then take along too many lenses. Meadowlark Gardens, Green Spring Gardens are my usual haunts for floral and nature photos. We've recently 'discovered' Great Falls park .... of course we've been there before ...and late evening (hot, humid!) found the Matildaville ruins and more extensive canal and lock ruins from the 19th c on the park grounds. Excellent place for capturing coming fall 'color.'