Photo Of The Day: “Baby Fresh”


For your Flashback Friday, here’s a shot from nine years in time, 2008. The gear used was a Pentax K10D and the awesome Pentax FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited prime lens.

At that time, I enjoyed greatly experimenting with flash and was using a portable softbox. Man, if you can see the detail on the original file you might be convinced 10 megapixels could be enough for anything! 🙂

I may be weird, but more than just photographing a cute photo of my baby daughter, I wanted my lenses (especially the sharp ones) to reveal every pore, every detail and the 77mm f/1.8 certainly did! I think the glamour models would stay away from me 🙂

This baby by the way is the same little girl two posts back that I shot with the Nikon D1, now nine years later. The Time Machine marches on!

The K10D is a great Pentax classic now and the prices have gotten super affordable. I did have some issues with it in low light or in high iso images, but this shot reminded me of why I loved it in the first place. And with today’s prices, heck it might be worthwhile seeking out another one! Happy Friday 😊


Happy Father’s Day 2017

Happy Father’s Day to all you great fathers out there! While Father’s Day is generally a celebration of you, Daddy, any photographer/dad out there knows the best aspect of being a father is to be able to take photos of your greatest accomplishment life which are your kids. They are what makes you a Father in the first place 🙂

In celebration of this, here’s some photos of my beloved. While I have tried to shift to other subjects in recent postings in order to not “bore” folks who may not like kiddie photos, it’s the photos of my babies that inspire me most so please allow me today to indulge a little. In fact, it’s my tribute to these hard working kids because they are the ones who allow me to create reviews for you by being the main subjects for my camera testing 🙂

Thank you and once again, Happy Father’s Day to all you happy Papas out there and I hope you get some nice cameras and/or lenses today!!


Any Father’s Day tribute should start with Dad! This is a shot of my late Dad with Baby Zoe from 2008. Pentax K10D, Pentax  SMCP-FA 35mm f/2 AL lens.



“Munchkin In The Tree” 2015. Canon EOS-1D Mark III, EF 135mm f/2L.


“Spring Fashion” 2013. Contax IIIa, 50mm f/2 Sonnar, Kodak Tri-X 400 deveoped in D76.


“Cheeri-O” 2016. Fuji Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic.


“Ho Hum Day” 2011. Nikon F100, Kodak Tri-X, 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX…yes, the APS-C digital lens!


“Sunday Girls” 2015. Konica Hexar AF, Ilford Delta 400 in D76.


“Nine Degrees Of Separation” 🙂 2016. Iphone 6s Plus.

Breaking News: The Pentax K-1 Full-Frame Digital


The K-1 full frame digital camera, the new “King Of Pentax.” Pictured with the HD Pentax-D 24-70mm f/2.8 SDM WR lens. Pure Pentax heaven! Picture courtesy of Ricoh/Pentax Corporation.

Ho! I thought I was on a week long sabbatical but this one is a must! Ricoh/Pentax has finally introduced their full-frame digital called, appropriately the K-1.

Just from looking at the specs, key features: 36.4mp CMOS sensor, no AA filter (better sharpness), built in 5-axis stabilization, ISO 204,800, 1080p 24/30fps HD video, rugged build and tilting screen. Of course, there’s a lot more to it.

All the cameras we have today are like super computers in many ways. They have like gazillion features and you know I’m not the kind of guy who wants to repeat all the technical specs. If you’re interest in the technicalities you can read them HERE.

I’m sure there will be a lot of Pentax fanatics who will be picking this thing up. In fact, I KNOW some fanatics who will be looking hard at this one 🙂


Everything seems right with this camera. Specs are great, however things seem familiar. 36.4 megapixels? Hmm, probably that Sony sensor we saw in the Nikon D800/D800E and Sony A7R. No AA filter? Cool, seems like everyone is doing away with that “wicked” AA filter that used to be so important for the first fifteen years of digital. ISO 204,800? Cool, but I never go anywhere near that ISO so I wouldn’t know.

I guess what I’m saying is…the specs are great, awesome even, but many of these things we have seen since 2012 so it’s not mind-blowing anymore (to me anyway). Nothing against Pentax, as I’ve said a few times before, it’s really hard for me to get excited about the latest and greatest these days. But I love the build and handling of the top Pentax cameras and this one looks to be the best of the best.


“Pentax Camera Art.” Before the K-1, we had a funky little thang called the K-01! Wow, what a close call with the names 🙂

Despite what I said about the specs, the main thing that we should remember is that while the rest of the world have seen these high specs before elsewhere, Pentax users have not had these specs till now so this is enough reason for Pentaxians to rejoice.

And heck, based the fact that all your Pentax lenses in the 35mm format can now be used as they were intended and even based on the specs as they are, this could probably be the only Pentax digital anyone could ever want or need! Here’s a cool and interesting video on the new K-1:

As I said in an article not too long ago, many have waited for this day since we heard about the Pentax MZ-D in 2000. The first full-frame Pentax digital that never was. Today, nearly sixteen years later they have officially announced the K-1. Whether it succeeds or fails this camera is bound to be a Camera Legend. All I can say is…Pentax, thank you.

Note: The Pentax K-1 was introduced with three new lenses. You can check out all the specs to the K-1 and see the new lenses HERE.


I didn’t put this in the headlines because I didn’t want to take anything away from the Pentax K-1, which many have waited so long for and is in a different league of cameras, but I’m sure many Canon fans will be happy to hear that there’s a new “enthusiast-class” body out, the EOS 80D.

Just quickly off the specs: new 24mp sensor, 45 point AF, updated dual-pixel AF, mirror vibration control.

I don’t really want to get too much into it, but I’m sure it’s going to be a killer little camera.

You can check out the specs HERE.

The Smallest Nikon: Nikon S01 Digital Camera


“Baby Nikon” The smallest Nikon camera, the S01 🙂

Probably not what you expected after going missing for a few days, but I’ve never really done what people expected of me 🙂

The Nikon S01 is a 10.1 megapixel point and shoot digital camera introduced by Nikon in 2012.

Though I can’t confirm it, it is probably the smallest Nikon camera ever made, film or digital.

I first saw the S01 at Best Buy some years back and thought it was a cool novelty and nothing more. In fact, the first time I saw it, I just walked past it.

Maybe a year later, I saw it again and I was intrigued enough to pick it up. I thought it was cool, but at nearly $100, it was a pass for me.

Somehow I ended up with one in 2014 as a gift. Now that I like!

Toy Camera?

“Toy Camera” 2014. The Pentax Q original shot by another “Mighty-Mini” the Nikon S01 🙂

As I said, I consider this camera a novelty so I’m not going in too deep with this one. It might be a “quick review” or “mini review” but not a full review. In fact, if anyone did a full review of this camera, I would say you’re nuttier that I am! 🙂

There are some cool features on it though, such as a touch screen, and some cool creative filters, but the S01 is pretty much an auto point and shoot digital with no manual controls.

The touch screen is something many of us have come to enjoy, after using smartphones and tablets all these years.

The good news is that it’s there on the S01. The bad news is that it’s clunky to use and not iPhone fast. Not the most refined touchscreen out there.

The camera comes with 7.3gb of built in flash memory and has no slot for SD card upgrades. It comes with no charger, only a USB cord to charge via your computer.

The picture quality is decent to good. Don’t expect too much out of it in that area. This camera is all about size and perhaps cuteness 🙂

Nikon S01 Soft Filter Effect

“Soft & Dreamy” 2015. Nikon S01 using the “SOFT” filter effect.

In fact, if you’re already walking around with a smartphone, which seems like 90 percent of the people out there, then the camera on your phone is probably better than the S01.

Again, you don’t get the S01 to use as your main or secondary or even your third camera. You get it if you love cameras, as I do, and if you get a good shot out of it, even better!

If seeking one for your collection, prices are trending at $25-75 on the used market. Nikon replaced this camera with the S02, which is technically a little bigger, but roughly the same small camera.

The Nikon S01 is cute, sweet, and fun. It may not be the greatest picture taker and it’s certainly not a Camera Legend, but it’s the smallest Nikon out there and I’m happy to have it in my collection 🙂

The Best Camera I Never Knew Part V: The Ricoh FF-3 AF SUPER


The Ricoh FF-3 AF SUPER. One of the great vintage Ricoh cameras that I’ve heard a lot about. One of the best cameras I never knew 🙂

The Ricoh FF-3 AF/FF-3 AF SUPER is a 35mm point and shoot camera introduced by Ricoh in 1982.

The camera featured a fixed lens 35mm f/3.2 Rikenon lens, shutter speeds from 1/8 to 1/500th of a second. As indicated in its name, the FF-3 AF is an autofocus camera and runs on two AA batteries.


The camera looks retro cool, yet somewhat ugly, but not unlike many cameras from the late 70s and early 80s. Cameras from Nikon, Canon, and Minolta from this era also have a similar look.

It’s small, but not entirely pocketable unless you’re thinking of a coat pocket. As far as I can tell, it’s an autoexposure only camera as expected from most point and shoots of its day. The camera also does autowind and auto rewind.

The 35mm f/3.2 is supposedly very sharp with interesting character. Many wonderful images from this camera can be found on the internet, especially on Flickr.


Why? Why, pray tell, do you ask? Because the three of them I tried didn’t work or didn’t work properly 🙂

Two suffered from “aging motor” syndrome where the autowind motor is super slow or ceases to work at all. The other one had a corroded battery compartment that I couldn’t fix. To be fair, the battery compartment issue is not likely the camera’s fault, but rather the fault of users who left batteries inside the camera for prolonged (sometimes years) periods of time.


Before Ricoh struck gold in the 90s with the GR-1 film camera, before they won the hearts, minds, and eyes of a large and loving cult, they were making crap cameras like this 🙂

No, seriously, no offense. I’m as big a Ricoh fan as anyone, if not bigger. I’ve had more people tell me how I help trigger their purchase of the original 8.1mp GR Digital than any other camera from this GRD Review I put up a year ago. Ricoh is now a niche company that has a high degree of respect from a world-wide mass of camera lovers.

But there IS a reason why Ricoh and their Rikenon lenses were once thought of as one of the “low end” brands such as Chinon, Yashica, etc, etc. This camera is one of those reasons. I know Contax/Yashica made a lot of great cameras, so I’m not talking about that. The “regular” Yashica 35mm SLR’s were not known to be of the finest quality and had a history of reliability problems.

All that said, I’m perfectly willing to accept that I got three lemons and I’m currently looking for a usable one.

I don’t think the FF-3 AF has a reputation for a stellar lens or anything. I think most people buying these cameras just love old cameras like I do and perhaps there’s a bit of that cool nostalgia factor in there as well.

I imagined taking cool, vintage looking photos with the Ricoh FF-3 AF. I imagined that, simply out of my love for organic film photography, but knowing in my heart I’d get better pictures with an iPhone and Instagram filters than this camera.

Yet I persisted in getting three of these only to find none working properly and losing sleep trying to fix them, to no avail.

There is the FF-3 AF and a slightly updated one, the FF-3 AF SUPER. I know I have two SUPERS and one “regular” FF-3, but I can’t find it to tell you the differences, if any. There may be some very slight differences, but they’re pretty much the same crap cameras.

Again, there IS a reason why Ricoh was not all that well known or highly regarded before the GR-1. The FF-3 AF is probably one of those reasons and without a doubt…one of the Best Cameras I Never Knew 🙂


If seeking one of these cameras, and I’m not sure that’s a good idea, prices are trending at $5-30 so the low prices on these may be tempting too. I never spent more than $15 on these. So if you get a junker, you won’t be out all that much.

Your best source for the Ricoh FF-3 and FF-3 AF SUPER is obviously eBay. You can also find them once in a while HERE in the USED section.

Tuesday Titans: The Pentax MZ-S


The Pentax MZ-S of 2001. Perhaps the best 35mm SLR Pentax ever made.

The Pentax MZ-S was a high end 35mm autofocus SLR introduced in 2001 by Pentax Corporation.

The MZ-S was the last 35mm flagship film SLR from Pentax and was marketed as a professional camera.


The first thing about the MZ-S that you’ll notice right away is the somewhat odd and futuristic look to this camera. The MZ-S was apparently supposed to be the Pentax “MZ-D” which was to be the first Pentax full-frame digital SLR and at that time, it would’ve been the first Pentax DSLR full-frame or not. The prototype was shown in 2001, but never materialized in production.

In many ways, the MZ-S looks and feels like a modern digital SLR. Strong, sturdy, but feels somewhat lighter than a comparable film camera such as a Nikon F-100. If the MZ-S was indeed a digital camera, it’s my opinion that this would be the coolest looking Pentax DSLR ever!

With Ricoh/Pentax’s recent (actually a couple of years now) teasers on a full-frame 35mm digital and thinking back to the MZ-D, it does make you wonder nearly fifteen years later on now, will we ever see a full-frame Pentax DSLR?

Of course, we know they have the technology, but one has to wonder what’s taken them so long. Fifteen years and counting guys 🙂

Anyway, back to the MZ-S. The body is strong with a magnesium alloy chassis and to me it looks great, especially with the BG-10 battery grip attached. But I have heard differing opinions.

This is a story within itself, but aside from their classic M42 and K mount cameras, Pentax has not been known for making the prettiest looking cameras in the modern era. I’ve heard people say that Pentax AF cameras look “atrocious” and “horrific” to, on the other side of the coin, “fantastic” and “magnificent.”

There’s not much of a grey area when it comes to Pentax AF bodies. You either love them or you hate them.

The Pentax MZ-S with the BG-10 battery grip attached has a very aggressive look, not unlike the Canon EOS-1 I profiled earlier. In an odd way, it does look like a Pentax version of a Canon 1 Series camera.

Unlike the EOS-1, the MZ-S feels noticeably lighter. And with the grip off, it is a very nice and more portable body. While marketed as a pro body, the MZ-S actually feels closer to a semi-pro or advanced enthusiast class body such as the Nikon F-100 or Canon EOS-3, although I must say these two cameras do feel more rugged to me than the MZ-S. The MZ-S however looks more interesting than the other two 🙂

The MZ-S featured a 6 point AF system and has a shutter speed range of 30-1/6000s and a flash synch of 1/180s. The camera has mirror lock-up and can do auto-bracketing and multiple exposures.

The MZ-S without the battery grip runs on two lithium CR2 batteries. With the BG-10 attached, the camera will run on four AA batteries.


The MZ-S feels excellent in the hand. Solid, tight, but not too heavy. Controls are well laid out for the most part, but it’s an odd mix of good and confusing.

There are dedicated buttons and switches for AF, Drive, Metering, etc, etc. There is also a dedicated MF/AF switch near the lens mount. When you have clearly marked dedicated dials and buttons, it’s always a good thing.

The cool circular LCD actually has a dial around it that serves as your controller for changing shutter speeds, modes, etc. The funky looking dial on top left of the camera is actually two dials, for ISO, exposure compensation, auto-bracketing, and multiple exposures. This left dial is probably the most confusing part of the camera, but it all makes sense once you get to know it. The camera also has 19 custom functions. This is truly a pro spec’d camera!


The top deck of the MZ-S. A strange mix of good yet confusing controls, highlighted by that top LCD in a cool circular dial. That’s Pentax for you! Sorry for the dust. I could, if I tried, maybe take a nice studio type shot of this, but I live in the real world and in the real world, there’s dust 🙂

This camera offers quite a comprehensive feature set and I don’t feel like writing a manual on it. But if you want to figure out all the MZ-S can do, you will probably need a manual for this camera.

While you can figure out many things without an instruction manual, again I will say that I think you do need a manual to completely figure this camera out so it’s not the most intuitive camera I’ve ever used, but to be fair, most complex electronic cameras of the modern era fall in the came category.


imgMZSZoeSmile1051 copy (1)

“Sunday” 2010. A smile to transform an ordinary Sunday into something extraordinary 🙂 Pentax MZ-S, Pentax FA 35mm f/2 AL lens, Arista Premium 400 film.

The Pentax MZ-S performed very well in the several rolls I’ve shot with it. The camera was quick to focus, albeit a little noisy when focusing. It will sometimes hunt in low light and the noise can be a little disturbing. AF was for the most part accurate.


“Joe Young” 2010. Pentax MZ-S, Pentax SMCP-FA 77mm f/1.8, Arista Premium 400.

I’ve only used two AF lenses with this camera. The SMC Pentax-FA 35mm f/2 AL, which is an excellent lens, and the SMCP-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited, which is a superb performer by any standards.

The MZ-S offers six segment, multi-pattern, center-weighted, and spot metering. I usually leave it at the six segment setting where exposures are usually spot on.


“Barbizon” 2010. A star in the making? 🙂 Pentax MZ-S, Pentax SMCP-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited, Arista Premium 400.


Pentax has always been a bit of an eccentric in camera world. They have always been the under-dog company that offered a much needed alternative to a world ruled by two or three big dogs.

They created a legacy that includes not only great 35mm cameras and lenses, but they have also been a force in the medium format world with iconic cameras such as the Pentax 6×7 and now in the digital era with the Pentax 645z, beloved by today’s pros. That’s something neither Canon nor Nikon has done. A true Camera Legend company, no doubt.

As far as camera collecting, the Pentax M42 mount cameras and lenses are hugely popular as well as K mount manual focus bodies and lenses. The Pentax AF 35mm film bodies, not so much.

But the MZ-S is different. It is a highly capable body and in my opinion, perhaps the only Pentax 35mm AF body worth collecting. I hope I’m not offending any Pentaxians out there, but cameras such as the ZX-5n and *ist film bodies, while very capable, are hardly what one would consider collectible.

In recent years, Pentax has had a resurgence of popularity, thanks in part to its merger with Ricoh and great cameras such as the Pentax K-5 of 2010.

The MZ-S may have been the most full-featured and capable film SLR that Pentax ever created. It is a well designed camera that can perform to a very high level and has almost everything you might need. And of course, it is capable of using the fantastic Pentax AF and manual focus lenses, one of the largest and most abundant collection of lenses available for any system.

The Pentax MZ-S may have started its life as the would-be Pentax full-frame digital that never materialized, but ended its life as the last great Pentax camera of the film era. It is without a doubt, a Camera Legend and one of the best cameras ever made by Pentax.


If looking for the MZ-S, prices are trending at $150-350, with average prices of around $250 or less. There was a time when these cameras commanded close to $400, but it seems the prices have fallen on these babies in recent years.

You can find them quite easily on eBay, where most of them are being sold from Japan.

KEH Camera has them from time to time, prices are usually a bit higher there, but you would probably get the best one for your money, plus a great warranty and return policy.

I got my first one there, sold it and missed it. Found my second one at Adorama in their used section for around $200 in EX+ when they were going for over $300 at the time. And you can sometimes find a good deal from sellers on Amazon.

Note: Sorry a little late with this post, but I got it in before Tuesday was done 🙂

Doing this blog is a labor of love, but these late nights were killing me and I really needed to get myself together. Thanks for your continued support my friends, appreciate it!



PhotoPlus Expo Show Report Part II: Canon, Nikon, Sony, Etc

The Leica SL (Typ 601) was the Big Daddy for me at this year’s PhotoPlus Expo, no doubt. I mean, after that, where do you go? 🙂


The Leica S and SL gallery of images.

Anyway, I know there’s a lot of other “fish in the ocean” so I’ll try to give you guys a rundown of other things I saw. This is Part II and my final show report for this year’s expo, but it is by no means a “complete” report of the show, it would take way too much time to do that and I’m sorry if I left out anything someone might have been interested in. I leave the complete reporting for sites like dpreview, etc, etc.


Canon had all their big guns out as well as their hot new lenses. Obviously, the cameras getting the most attention were the Canon 5DS and 5DS R, their 50 megapixel super DSLRs.

I tried the 5DSr and low and behold…it looks and feels like a 5D! I don’t know what else to tell ya! It feels good, it’s dependable, it’s a 5D series camera. Nothing super exciting, but you know it’s going to get the job done.


Trying out the new Canon 5DS R, 50.6 megapixel champion with the 24-70mm f/2.8 II. Nice combo!

The Canon rep did ask, to my surprise, if I wanted to put a card in there and try it out. Of course, I didn’t have a card on me! All these years I’ve gotten used to the idea that manufacturers won’t let you put a card in their demo cameras so I didn’t bring one.

But I don’t regret it. What will I get? Some boring pics of the crowd at the expo? All the samples I need, I can find on the web anyway.

Canon did have some really nice large prints showcasing the capabilities of these cameras.


Prints from the Canon 5DS and 5DS R. I walked right up to the print and saw hairs on the model’s nose. That’s resolution for you! 🙂

They looked gorgeous, superb, but not mind-blowing. I’m not taking anything away from these incredible 50mp cameras, but I didn’t think the prints were anything that you couldn’t do with today’s crop of 20+ megapixel cameras. It’s really a new day in photography when one has a hard time being impressed with 50mp prints!

I did ask the Canon representative if there was a 1DX replacement coming any time soon. The 1DX is nearly five years old now and seems due for an upgrade. The answer was that they do not know. Are you surprised? 🙂

Canon also had all their new lenses out, and I had a good time looking at them, although it’s not like I’m going to be getting any new lenses any time soon.


Nikon had their usual DSLR lineup at the show. Of course, the D4s was there, the Df, and surprisingly the very old D3X was also on hand.


“I AM GENERATION IMAGE.” Nikon’s new cool slogan 🙂

All their big daddy lenses out for all to drool and fool around with. Nothing new as far as I can see.

Actually the coolest thing I saw at the Nikon booth was the retro looking black and silver J5 mirrorless camera 🙂


Coolest Nikon at the show! The retro looking Nikon J5 mirrorless.

UPDATE 11/01/15: Just want to pass along some info for our Nikon fans out there that I have been informed of HUGE instant rebates going on for a limited time. You can check out all the Nikon deals HERE. From what I can see some of the instant savings are up to as high as $1100!! on certain Nikon camera/lens combos. If you’re looking to buy new Nikon stuff, this is the time to do it!

You may also find the Nikon deals HERE. While browsing/dreaming, I was amazed at the deals and wish I had the funds! For example, you can now get a new Nikon D7100 for close to the price of a USED D7000. This is a screamin’ deal for some of Nikon’s hottest cameras and lenses.


I had a good time checking out the new Sony A7RII and A7SII, I couldn’t get my hands on the RX1R II due to lack of time.

The new cameras felt great, but to tell you the truth, since getting my A7R last year I have very little interest in spending any more to ‘upgrade’ a camera that works well for my needs.

I’m finally at a point, thank God, where I really am not interested in the latest and greatest!

Note: Still editing pics, I have some from the Sony booth that I may post. Maybe, maybe not 🙂


Fuji had a hot booth showcasing their latest cameras and lenses. I was impressed with the prints from the X-T1. If my old X-Pro 1 had focused anywhere as good as the new Fujis, I would’ve never given up on the X system.


The ever popular Fujifilm spot.

Fuji also had a very cool “retro” area showcasing their popular line of Instax cameras. I give Fuji a lot of credit for being one of the very few manufacturers still dedicated to making instant cameras and instant film.


Fuji posted some wonderful pics, mostly from their X-T1 cameras.


Aside from the Leica SL (Typ 601), the only other camera I really wanted to see at the show as the fabled Ricoh/Pentax full-frame. Apparently, they had a near complete mock-up that was shown early on in the show, but it was no longer there when I went on Saturday.

My thoughts on this? Ricoh/Pentax…guys, enough of this hide and seek! If it’s that hard and if it’s going to take you that long to bring out a full-frame DSLR, don’t worry about it! It may be a showcase product, but it’s not like you’ll be selling a boatload of these vs Canon, Nikon, or Sony.


“Imagine. Change.” Ricoh/Pentax’s lineup. Always a very capable system and a great alternative to the Big Boys.

I’m a huge Ricoh/Pentax fan, but they’ve taken way too long with this thing. I’m all for “getting it right” and maybe that’s what they’re doing, but the longer they take, the more likely the tech inside the camera will be outdated.

They did have the awesome 645Z there and the images I’ve seen from this camera at its best eclipses almost anything else out there. At $6995, you can get this 51mp digital Medium Format camera for less than the new Leica SL! Wow!! 🙂


“You Know You Want It.” Ricoh/Pentax rep and customer debating on the hot Pentax 645Z camera system 🙂

Zeiss was on hand with all their HOT lenses! However, I don’t see myself being able to afford one of these any time soon 🙂


Hot lenses!! Who doesn’t love Zeiss? I don’t even know one photographer who doesn’t 🙂


The PhotoPlus Expo is always a lot of fun, especially if you’ve never been there. But every year, the cameras and lenses have gotten better to the point where I feel it’s no longer all that exciting…for me, anyway.

I go there to check out the latest gear, yes, but I also go to hook up with good friends who I haven’t seen in a while. Sadly this year I wasn’t able to go on the day when the “Dream Team” was attending and they know who I’m talking about! Sorry about that, and hope to hook up in the near future 🙂

Let me say this; if you have a modern Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, etc, you probably have a camera that’s “good enough” for your needs. We are very lucky to live in an age where cameras can do what they can do, I love it! That said, the better these cameras get, the more film I shoot 🙂


“Film Buddies.” With my analog brother, Mr. Louis Mendes, NYC street photography icon. The Master Blaster has always been good to me and I consider him a friend and an inspiration.

I apologize to anyone who found this report lacking. I know there are a lot of Canon, Nikon, and Sony fans who probably wanted a little more.

I’m not a reporter. I’m a fan. I went to the show as a fan of these manufacturers and their products, and I am relaying what I saw, what I experienced.


The Pentax Q Original


The Pentax Q. Not just a toy camera! 🙂

The Pentax Q is a 12.4 megapixel, interchangeable lens, mirrorless digital camera first introduced by Pentax in 2011. It was and still is currently the smallest interchangeable lens camera in the world.

Since its introduction nearly five years ago, Pentax has introduced several different versions of the Q. To be clear, I am only talking about the original Q as it is the only one I have any experience with.

The Q uses a 1/2.3″ sensor and has a crop factor of 5.6x which means for an example, a 50mm lens would become a 280mm telephoto. Shallow depth of field or bokeh is hard to come by on such a small sensor. On the other hand, it’s easier to get everything in sharp focus with a small sensor so you might lose one thing, but you gain another. Only you can decide if the Q fits your shooting style.


I must admit, when I first saw the Q I instantaneously fell in love with it! Such an adorable looking camera. But the more I read about it, the less I wanted it. People were trashing Pentax for having released an interchangeable lens camera with such a small sensor. “What’s the point?” was what a lot of people said.

So I kept it out of my mind for a while until some time in late 2012 when they were having some really good Christmas deals on the Q.

So I finally got my hands on one and right away I was impressed with the solid build quality! It felt more solid than I expected for such a small camera. The body is made of high grade magnesium alloy and it feels like it.

Ergonomically, it’s excellent. With the power button, mode dial, shutter release and control wheel on the top right. The play button is on the top left of the camera, which is not typical for a digital camera, but you get used to it after a while.

The menu and dedicated buttons for ISO, flash, drive, and white balance are on the back right near the LCD. There is no optical viewfinder, no electronic viewfinder and no add on for an EVF.

The flash has a dedicated switch on the top left of the camera and pops up like a jack in the box. You won’t be blocking the flash on this tiny camera 🙂

The thing that impressed me most about the Q’s build is that they were able to build a separate SD card slot on the camera’s right side! I prefer this over the usual SD card/battery chamber that you see in most digital cameras.

The only bad thing about such a small camera as far as handling is concerned is that it might be too small. The camera feels great, but I can definitely see dropping this thing. I would probably recommend a hand strap, even though I am not currently using one. I’m still waiting to drop it 🙂

Anyway, to me the supplied strap is a bit overkill for a camera this small. It’s really pocketable, which is what I do. I did have a hand strap on it for a while, but even that felt like it took away from the camera’s unique and tiny proportions.


The camera offers very good AF performance, quite snappy, fast if not super fast, but accurate, even in dim light using the center spot.

Even though I’m not a fan of novelty, there are some cool effects you can use to accentuate your pics including toy camera, miniature, fish-eye and quite a few more. There’s even a mode that tries to create some bokeh for you because it’s not easy to get bokeh with this camera. I have tried it and it is cool, but it doesn’t work all the time and it doesn’t substitute “real” bokeh from a fast lens and a larger sensor. Still, it’s pretty cool that they thought of this and put this effect in the camera.


“Madam Z” 2013. Pentax Q, 8.5mm f/1.9 Standard Prime. An example of the in-camera bokeh effect. As you can see, it’s not quite natural, but it looks quite nice in its own way, and it’s a good option to have on such a small sensor camera.

The Pentax Q takes very good to excellent images, especially in daylight. It is very good for what it is. Don’t take that as a back handed complement. In fact, I think it speaks very highly about the Q. For a camera with such a small sensor, it provides nice looking images. It matches or exceeds what I see from most phone cameras, but there are some phone cameras today that might do better in image quality.


“HoneyTone” 2015. Pentax Q, 8.5mm f/1.9 Standard Prime. ISO 3200. Straight out of camera and only resized. The Q retained nice tone and detail, despite the noise present. Only you can decide whether this level of noise is objectionable to you.

It will not and cannot reproduce what you can do with a fast lens and larger sensor, but it was not designed to do that.


So if you have an interchangeable lens system with a sensor so small that it matches or just exceeds most phone cameras, you may be asking as I mentioned earlier…what’s the point?

To be honest with you, I’m still asking myself that today! On one hand you can change lenses, but even with the fastest lens they offer, the 8.5mm f/1.9 which is equivalent to a 47mm lens, and the DOF is increased substantially due to the 5.6x crop factor, so while I can’t figure the math off the top of my head, what I can say is that you’re not getting the same shallow DOF as you would with a 47mm f/1.9 on a full frame sensor, not even close.

But you can always use the good old trick of getting in real close to your subject and coax some bokeh out that way.

I think the Pentax Q is better suited to street, environmental, and static subjects where shallow DOF is not entirely necessary, where as portraits with that “creamy bokeh” look is better suited to larger sensor cameras.

While there might not seem to be much point to it as an image maker, I think the real point of the Pentax Q is what it is…a truly small, well built, and pocketable camera that you can take anywhere and get the shots. They may not be the best technical shots, but because the Q is so small, you can always take it with you and you could get shots that you might have missed by not taking your larger systems.

Not like you couldn’t do that with your cell phone these days, but none are built like the Q, none feels like the Q and none have the charm of the Pentax Q.

Prices for these are trending from $100-250, depending on body/lens configuration. Remember, I am only talking about the original Q. More than its picture taking abilities, I think this camera belongs in any collector or gadgeteer’s collection.


I think that just by virtue of how unique it is, the build quality, and the overall very good image quality, the Pentax Q will become a Camera Legend. In fact, I personally think it’s one of those rare cameras that could be considered an instant Camera Legend the moment it came out.

I love the Pentax Q, I really do. In fact, I loved it so much I gave it to my kids 🙂

The Pentax Q is certainly not a toy camera, but…it could be! One thing for sure, it’s a lot of fun 🙂

The Pentax Auto 110


Pentax Auto 110 and Pentax 18mm f/2.8 for the Pentax System 10.

The Pentax Auto 110, introduced in 1978, is a truly iconic “little” camera. Part of the Pentax 10 system, including the Pentax Auto 110 Super, they were among the smallest interchangeable lens SLR’s ever made.

I still have memories of my Mom’s first camera which was a long, odd looking Kodak 110 camera.

Believe it or not, you can still get 110 film these days from companies like Lomography. Developing the film however, is another story! You’ll probably have to send it out to various online vendors who can develop the film for you.

As a young boy, I was fascinated by the ads I saw for the Auto 110 in the old photography magazines. When I finally saw it in real life, I could not believe it was a real camera!

There were 5 prime lenses, the 18mm f/2.8, the 24mm f/2.8, the 50mm f/2.8, the 18mm “Pan Focus,” the 70mm f/2.8 telephoto and one zoom, the 20-40mm f/2.8. Just like today’s micro 4/3’s or other small sensor interchangeable lens cameras, you have to convert the lenses to their 35mm counterparts to get the true focal length. For example, the 18mm lens would actually be a 35mm in focal length if it were a full-frame 35mm slr.

Because 110 film is pretty much dead or at best, a novelty today, you can get the Pentax Auto 110 and a few lenses pretty cheaply. Some of the lenses though, such as the 70mm f/2.8 or the 20-40mm zoom can be hard to find.

The Pentax 10 film series is no doubt the inspiration for the Pentax Q system of today and they remain a marvel of the amazing camera engineering of days gone by.

Note: Shot this a few years ago using a Speed Graphic 4×5 large format camera on Tri-X film.

Now why would anyone want to do this when you could just use your phone or digital point and shoot? I don’t know, I like to make life hard I guess 🙂

No, actually I want an easy life, as easy as possible! However, the Speed Graphic 4×5, or any large format camera requires a lot of practice to master and I was practicing the craft, so to speak.