Madaboutpix

Madaboutpix

Lives in Germany NW, Germany
Works as a teacher of English and Geography, secondary level
Has a website at 500px.com/marc_synwoldt
Joined on Apr 26, 2012
About me:

An amateur photographer and evolutionist Pentaxian. Marc picked up his first SLR at the age of fourteen, but without a darkroom he grew increasingly frustrated with the tribulations of analogue photography. It took him a while to fully appreciate digital, but then he embraced it wholeheartedly. The unprecedented level of control, the power to give images that finishing touch that would make them match his memory of a scene - it still seems like magic to him. Much of his work falls under travel photography (in its broadest sense), which is little wonder since he shoots a large portion of his images on walks and trips, but otherwise he will capture just about anything that compels him to grab his gear. Marc lives in the Lower Rhine region, near the Dutch border. To explore his photography, check out his profile on 500px (click on link above) or visit pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/Madaboutpix.

Comments

Total: 71, showing: 1 – 20
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On Photokina 2014: Ricoh stand report article (150 comments in total)
In reply to:

jimrpdx: " As you can see, there wasn't a long wait for the K-3."

Sorry - was that humour? True I see no people, but I don't think anyone climbing the waterfall would get to stay long - assuming you are serious. And if you're being funny it's rather sad. Why does Pentax continue to get a disproportionate number of dismissive throwaway lines from DPR staff?

@Anastigmat:

"The *ist D was the last time Pentax was competitive with the competition," you claim.

Sorry, but looking back on a whole sequence of highly competitive DSLRs in the mid- to expert-level departments alone (K10D, K20D, K-7, K-5, K-5 II/IIs, K-3) I beg to differ. At least, if competitiveness means anything beyond sheer AF speed.

There're (some) photographers who do value rugged construction, weather sealing, great ergonomics, accurate 100%-OVFs, compact yet capable lenses, in-body shake reduction (maybe a little less effective, but stabilizing pretty much *any* K-mount lens you may want to use), and highly usable, often gorgeous RAW output, and all that without breaking the bank.

Admittedly, these are boringly photography-related merits. And how do you argue with the following (just a selction):

"It's not what the guy behind the counter showed me."
"It's not what the pros use."
"It's not what my friends have."
"It doesn't say Canon or Nikon on the camera strap."
...

Direct link | Posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 22:27 UTC
On Cold War camera: 1950s Berlin in color (part 1) article (120 comments in total)

Thanks a lot, DPR, for posting these rare images. They may not constitute fine art nor distinguished photojournalism, but then they were never meant to. And viewed on their own terms, they provide great insights into a Berlin slowly recovering yet still ailing from the wounds of the war.

As a German "last-minute" baby boomer who lived through both the last phase of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, I felt privileged to be able to explore the vibrant cosmopolitan city Berlin is today when I first visited the place two years ago. Like any big city, it may have its uglier corners, but on the whole I was kind of exhilarated by what I saw.

Direct link | Posted on Sep 1, 2014 at 17:31 UTC as 23rd comment
In reply to:

StevenMajor: Nothing creative here. Would be nice to be able to zoom in very close and even circle an object to view it from different angles. I think current technology permits that...I've seen it used in advertising.
I'm surprised the thirst for war cannot be quenched by looking at the front page of any newspaper. Most people who have participated in war (and survive) spend the rest of their lives trying to forget it. Some of these images will trigger unpleasantness in many people.

Depicting weapons and other war-related subjects will always remain a sensitive issue requiring some tact. I count myself lucky in that I've never had to fight in a war, nor experienced it in any other direct way, well aware that it would have likely killed my soul. Yet, for a long time, I've been interested in what it was like and what it did to the generations of my parents (who were touched by it as small children) and grandparents (who lived through two world wars). Does this mean that I have a thirst for war, that I take an unsavoury interest in it, that I'm a sadist?

As far as I can see, the objects have been captured in what I would call a matter-of-fact way, similar to displays you would find in many museums. That may not strike you as overly creative, but as an artistic, or if you don't like that, simply photographic decision I can respect that because the photographer stuck with it. I can see no glorification of war here. Actually I find the series quite intriguing.

Direct link | Posted on Aug 23, 2014 at 14:47 UTC
On Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition article (165 comments in total)
In reply to:

Madaboutpix: Having shot my K-7 for nearly five years now (without a single malfunction), a couple of days ago I finally ordered a standard K-3 to replace it. Given that I passed by the K-5 and K-5 IIs, I'm fairly confident that I will see some improvement over my old camera. And I don't feel cheated now just because Ricoh has come up with this Prestige Edition. When I'm out and about shooting, I usually try to blend in, rather than draw attention to myself. After all, I want people to act naturally, almost as if I wasn't there.

Still, this is clever marketing on Ricoh's side: You get into the news, you may interest some more people for a serious camera who appreciate the good looks, and then may grow to love it for what it is capable of as a photographic tool. At this price point it cannot even be dismissed as rip-off, and I agree that the gunmetal-grey styling bespeaks some taste.

Well, when I get a new lens (maybe I shouldn't, but I buy them all new on principle), I do a few test shots to determine if I've picked a cola bottle, or if there are any front- or backfocus issues, and then ... I concentrate on the photography. And as far as I can tell, I've been lucky with *all* my Pentax purchases so far.

My birth certificate states Furth, Kreis Munich. But my first childhood memories start with Budel/Netherlands, where my dad served as a Bundeswehr officer. Since then I've lived in such various places as Bonn, Kleve, Rheine, Sankt Augustin, Maidstone/Kent, Sinzig/Rhineland-Palatinate, Sankt Augustin, Goch, Kleve, Goch. I guess, the Lower Rhine region comes the closest to what I would call home.

Actually, I've already looked at your Finnish episode, which reminded me of my own selective service with the Panzergrenadiers and Jägers (infantry). Found your Scotland stuff quite interesting, too, and noticed that you seem to have found a cute German companion ... ;)

Direct link | Posted on Aug 2, 2014 at 21:47 UTC
On Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition article (165 comments in total)
In reply to:

Madaboutpix: Having shot my K-7 for nearly five years now (without a single malfunction), a couple of days ago I finally ordered a standard K-3 to replace it. Given that I passed by the K-5 and K-5 IIs, I'm fairly confident that I will see some improvement over my old camera. And I don't feel cheated now just because Ricoh has come up with this Prestige Edition. When I'm out and about shooting, I usually try to blend in, rather than draw attention to myself. After all, I want people to act naturally, almost as if I wasn't there.

Still, this is clever marketing on Ricoh's side: You get into the news, you may interest some more people for a serious camera who appreciate the good looks, and then may grow to love it for what it is capable of as a photographic tool. At this price point it cannot even be dismissed as rip-off, and I agree that the gunmetal-grey styling bespeaks some taste.

Thanks for bothering to comment in such comprehensive manner. You are a true Pentax resource, Alex. Will sure check out your 18-135 comparison against the 18-55.

Reviews of the 18-135, apart from yours, have been a rather mixed bag though. I dig that Ricoh intends the 18-135 as a much more serious offering. Can't shake the feeling that Ricoh should follow Sigma's example and invest more in their QC. What use are the best specs and design if it remains a bit of a lottery game what kind of copy you will end up with? As a case in point, they just tested a HD 15mm F4 Limited in the German Color Foto magazine, and it got merely "ausreichend" ('satisfactory'). What ... ?

Boy, the smc version of that lens puts a smile on my face whenever I shoot it and look at the (among other things, remarkably distortion-free) results! Can't wait to see how it will perform on the K-3 ...

Direct link | Posted on Aug 1, 2014 at 23:08 UTC
On Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition article (165 comments in total)
In reply to:

fotopizza: Who said that only so called FF is professional equipment? I thought you choose your tools depending on the job. There are amazing (professional) photographers doing amazing work- even with APS C gear. Following that strange FF logic, professionals using digital medium format can not be able to do professional work- because there are no medium format backs with a 6x7 sensor... When the outcome of a K3 is not good enough, not professional enough, it's most likely the photographer's fault- don't blame it on the camera not having a FF sensor. I choose the tools depending on what the client wants to do with the pictures. A reportage needs to be shot in Bangladesh or Ecuador, with high quality prints in A3 size? Good, a K3 and Pentax's good APS C glass is absolutely up for it. An advertising campaign with prints up to 10 meters? I choose an IQ250 (not FF!) attached to a Silvestri Bicame and Rodenstock HR lenses. I think the demands on the final image is what decides what tool I choose.

I'm not a pro, nor do I know any (personally), but I'm beginning to get a feeling of what the K-3 can do with capable glass, and your point about choosing one's tools depending on the job makes perfect sense to me. And I do appreciate that I have to carry less weight than the average FF shooter, be it on hikes or exploring cities ...

Direct link | Posted on Aug 1, 2014 at 18:27 UTC
On Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition article (165 comments in total)
In reply to:

Madaboutpix: Having shot my K-7 for nearly five years now (without a single malfunction), a couple of days ago I finally ordered a standard K-3 to replace it. Given that I passed by the K-5 and K-5 IIs, I'm fairly confident that I will see some improvement over my old camera. And I don't feel cheated now just because Ricoh has come up with this Prestige Edition. When I'm out and about shooting, I usually try to blend in, rather than draw attention to myself. After all, I want people to act naturally, almost as if I wasn't there.

Still, this is clever marketing on Ricoh's side: You get into the news, you may interest some more people for a serious camera who appreciate the good looks, and then may grow to love it for what it is capable of as a photographic tool. At this price point it cannot even be dismissed as rip-off, and I agree that the gunmetal-grey styling bespeaks some taste.

When electronics manufacturers do include 3.0 cables, they tend to be ridiculously flimsy anyway, it would seem.

I ordered the K-3 with DA-L 18-55 WR kit, because it cost the same as the body *alone*, and because I thought it might be easier to sell my K-7 with at least some sort of lens (so that a beginner looking for a serious DSLR would have a lens to start with). I'm reluctant to part with the DA 18-55 WR that came with my K-7, because IQ-wise I've always found it one of the better kit lenses (no chance to outresolve K-7 but decent, with a usable wide-angle setting), and because it is the only WR lens in my kit. Of course, sample variation aside, the DA-L cousin should be optically identical, but lenses with metal mounts, proper scales, and a hood are so much nicer.

Will try your AWB setting. What I like about this shadow/highlight stuff is that Pentax gives you so many options (it may incur some noise, but is applicable to RAW files, too, and now even auto, when K-3 thinks fit).

Direct link | Posted on Aug 1, 2014 at 16:59 UTC
On Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition article (165 comments in total)
In reply to:

Madaboutpix: Having shot my K-7 for nearly five years now (without a single malfunction), a couple of days ago I finally ordered a standard K-3 to replace it. Given that I passed by the K-5 and K-5 IIs, I'm fairly confident that I will see some improvement over my old camera. And I don't feel cheated now just because Ricoh has come up with this Prestige Edition. When I'm out and about shooting, I usually try to blend in, rather than draw attention to myself. After all, I want people to act naturally, almost as if I wasn't there.

Still, this is clever marketing on Ricoh's side: You get into the news, you may interest some more people for a serious camera who appreciate the good looks, and then may grow to love it for what it is capable of as a photographic tool. At this price point it cannot even be dismissed as rip-off, and I agree that the gunmetal-grey styling bespeaks some taste.

As I'm habitually ranting about the points you're adding, I was taking them for granted, I guess. ;)

BTW, my K-3 finally showed up yesterday. While unboxing was a mixed experience - what with the missing USB 3.0 cable (OK, they need to cut corners), the distinctly uncomfortable camera strap, and the kit lens without distance markings, really? - the joy about what the K-3 will mean for photography is only beginning to hit me.

I knew that the shutter sound would be quieter than my K-7 (which never was a loud camera), but with the K-3 this is so ... gentle! Then I took two quick-and-dirty DNGs of my keyboard with the DA35 Macro to check the camera was functional. They happened to be at ISOs 1600 and 3200, look perfectly usable to me, and with their textbook histograms they hardly needed any adjustment in LR! These are only (very) first impressions, but the improved metering and shadow/highlight compensation (ever heard of this as an auto function?) alone kind of wowed me ...

Direct link | Posted on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:35 UTC
On Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition article (165 comments in total)
In reply to:

Madaboutpix: Having shot my K-7 for nearly five years now (without a single malfunction), a couple of days ago I finally ordered a standard K-3 to replace it. Given that I passed by the K-5 and K-5 IIs, I'm fairly confident that I will see some improvement over my old camera. And I don't feel cheated now just because Ricoh has come up with this Prestige Edition. When I'm out and about shooting, I usually try to blend in, rather than draw attention to myself. After all, I want people to act naturally, almost as if I wasn't there.

Still, this is clever marketing on Ricoh's side: You get into the news, you may interest some more people for a serious camera who appreciate the good looks, and then may grow to love it for what it is capable of as a photographic tool. At this price point it cannot even be dismissed as rip-off, and I agree that the gunmetal-grey styling bespeaks some taste.

@Heie2: This is one of the reasons why it remains so satisfying to count oneself a Pentaxian. Ricoh/Pentax cameras may currently have a worldwide sales share in the single digits, but their following tends to be
- unusually brand-loyal
- remarkably passionate about photography (rather than gear)
- genuinely interested in and sympathetic to fellow Pentaxians' work and sensitivities

I've never met you in person, Alex, but I cherish the companionship we Pentaxians seem to share wherever we happen to shoot these unique photographic tools ...

(End of rant)

Direct link | Posted on Jul 27, 2014 at 22:37 UTC
On Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition article (165 comments in total)
In reply to:

Madaboutpix: Having shot my K-7 for nearly five years now (without a single malfunction), a couple of days ago I finally ordered a standard K-3 to replace it. Given that I passed by the K-5 and K-5 IIs, I'm fairly confident that I will see some improvement over my old camera. And I don't feel cheated now just because Ricoh has come up with this Prestige Edition. When I'm out and about shooting, I usually try to blend in, rather than draw attention to myself. After all, I want people to act naturally, almost as if I wasn't there.

Still, this is clever marketing on Ricoh's side: You get into the news, you may interest some more people for a serious camera who appreciate the good looks, and then may grow to love it for what it is capable of as a photographic tool. At this price point it cannot even be dismissed as rip-off, and I agree that the gunmetal-grey styling bespeaks some taste.

Hey, you two are whetting my appetite even further. LR5 is already installed and configured, and I can't wait to see the DNGs that the K-3 will deliver.

Perhaps more importantly, I'm getting increasingly nervous since I sent in my K-7 for valuation a couple of days ago. You see, in order to be able to afford a K-3, I will have to trade in my K-7, and now, for the first time in nearly five years, I'm without a single camera I can shoot (bar my wife's old Optio S10), and that feels kind of funny ... ;)

Direct link | Posted on Jul 27, 2014 at 10:12 UTC
On Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition article (165 comments in total)

Having shot my K-7 for nearly five years now (without a single malfunction), a couple of days ago I finally ordered a standard K-3 to replace it. Given that I passed by the K-5 and K-5 IIs, I'm fairly confident that I will see some improvement over my old camera. And I don't feel cheated now just because Ricoh has come up with this Prestige Edition. When I'm out and about shooting, I usually try to blend in, rather than draw attention to myself. After all, I want people to act naturally, almost as if I wasn't there.

Still, this is clever marketing on Ricoh's side: You get into the news, you may interest some more people for a serious camera who appreciate the good looks, and then may grow to love it for what it is capable of as a photographic tool. At this price point it cannot even be dismissed as rip-off, and I agree that the gunmetal-grey styling bespeaks some taste.

Direct link | Posted on Jul 24, 2014 at 21:59 UTC as 11th comment | 14 replies
On Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Lab Test Review preview (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

nerd2: Funny fact: you can just use DX version of 35mm 1.8G lens that costs less than 1/3. Yes you'll get bad corners (with non-removable vignetting) though.

@Just another Canon shooter: Granted, you found an exception to the rule. That's why I added the cautionary "usually".

I suppose that, in order to achieve the equivalent angle, the 35/1.8 for APS-C needs a more complicated (retrofocal) design than its 50/1.8 FF cousin.

Witty riposte, though. ;)

Direct link | Posted on Jun 16, 2014 at 04:50 UTC
On Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Lab Test Review preview (79 comments in total)
In reply to:

nerd2: Funny fact: you can just use DX version of 35mm 1.8G lens that costs less than 1/3. Yes you'll get bad corners (with non-removable vignetting) though.

For specific aplications or subjects where the main interest is in the centre and vignetting welcome, such DX-on-FX experiments may be viable. However, for general shooting, it just doesn't make an awful lot of sense. There're reasons behind different lens designs for APS-C and FF, and they're to do with physics (not exclusively with making money, as the conspiracy therorists will be quick to argue).

It's actually quite simple. If you really think you need FF for your photography, and you may have your reasons, you should be willing to pay the price: more size, more weight, higher investment (usually).

I'm not saying that you mustn't and shouldn't experiment. My point is just that some experiments make more sense than others - at least, where IQ matters ...

Direct link | Posted on Jun 15, 2014 at 10:13 UTC
In reply to:

pictureAngst: Some useful reminders - particularly the one about keeping your gear in a sealed bag when moving between different temperatures and/or humidities, I always remember that one just after my lens has completely fogged up.

The whole lens caps thing will be lost on the 90% of owners who buy an SLR with a single megazoom lens.

BTW when using a lens cleaning solution, does anyone else get residual 'rainbow' smearing that then itself needs to be cleaned off?

As for lens cleaning solutions, after several tries, including a product offered by a major filter manufacturer, I have grown weary of using them. Can't shake the feeling that they indeed tend to create more problems than they solve (what you so aptly call 'rainbow' smearing certainly rings a bell).

Rarely end up with anything worse than a little dust, some raindrops, or the occasional fingerprint on lens surfaces anyway. And for that, given the quality of today's nano coatings, a clean (!) microfiber cloth and perhaps a little breath (or drop of tap water applied to the fabric) will do the trick for me most of the time. Lens brushes I find hard to keep 100 percent fat-free, and those which are not, will leave streaks on surfaces.

When dust starts to accumulate on my K-7/WR lens combo, I put Pentax's weather-sealing to the test and - dare I say it - simply rinse it with tap water. Then I carefully dry it with a microfiber cloth and have a squeaky-clean camera.

Direct link | Posted on Jun 13, 2014 at 22:18 UTC

I actually followed the link to Sony's award site, and despite the many negative comments, I think the picked series do represent easily more than average photojournalism.

What some of the detractors seem to overlook is that the foremost duty of a photojournalist is to tell intersting visual stories - stories with a strong impact, both viscerally and rationally, because they are touching, revealing, uplifting, funny, redemptive, poignant, thought-provoking, or whatever. Stories that need to be told because they help us to understand our times.

Taking in and appreciating these stories may take a little more time and effort than some of the harsh critics seem to be willing to invest. On the whole, I'd say, the awarded photographers have succeeded in doing just that, in telling relevant stories, and some have done so admirably.

Little surprise major newspapers are substituting smartphone reporters for their photojournalists - many of their readers won't see the difference anyway!

Direct link | Posted on May 4, 2014 at 16:24 UTC as 56th comment | 3 replies
On 1939: England in Color (part 1) article (221 comments in total)
In reply to:

papa natas: The pictures are ordinary.

As far as I can see, they clearly mark the photographer as someone who knew both their technical and compositional basics, and was capable of taking at least decent-quality photographs. As others have mentioned, obtaining proper focus and exposure required a little more skill than it does today (not to mention that colour slide film, with its less than comfortable exposure latitude, was a novelty back then). I'm not one to judge their "artistic" merit, which would be kind of goofy anyway, because these shots were obviously never intended as art, nor are they trumpeted on this site as such.

They do offer fairly rare impressions from an England long gone, at the brink of WWII, rare not least because they do so in colour. Even photographically, I find some of them fairly touching ...

Direct link | Posted on Apr 25, 2014 at 13:50 UTC
On 1939: England in Color (part 1) article (221 comments in total)

This is really intriguing stuff. Hopefully the flood of images our own age produces will hold up equally well - not just physically, but in capturing our lives and times for future generations.

There's a certain irony in the fact that these rather tranquil scenes on the brink of WWII were shot on German Agfacolor emulsion.

Thank you so much for sharing these, Barney. Looking forward to the London pics.

Just curious, how did you digitalize them?

Direct link | Posted on Apr 25, 2014 at 09:04 UTC as 150th comment
On Pentax K-3 Review preview (500 comments in total)
In reply to:

D1N0: K-3 now got the ipa award for best expert level dslr http://www.tipa.com/english/award-details.php?iId=3634&sAward=Best%20Digital+SLR++Expert

You lost your "T" ;) , but thanks for posting. It did, and deservedly so, I think. Of course, that doesn't affect anyone's day-to-day shooting. Yet, if it shows anything, it may be another signal that Ricoh/Pentax are back on the block, where they should be.

Would be kind of cool if they could supplement that one with the TIPA for Best Professional DSLR with the 645Z next time around ... :)

Direct link | Posted on Apr 23, 2014 at 11:36 UTC
On F1.4_13IMG_5162 photo in dpreview review samples's photo gallery (5 comments in total)
In reply to:

DStudio: The background (and even foreground) blur is a little distracting on this one. That makes this a good example - thanks for posting it.

Obviously a good lens, but not the ultimate one if this is your concern. Shouldn't be a problem in many scenes, however.

Interestingly, the new Nikon 58/1.4 (which overall falls short of what it should be, IMO) doesn't appear to suffer from this problem.

Question is, would the Nikkor fare better in this particular situation? It may just be the kind of fore- and background that makes for the slightly "busy" bokeh. That doesn't prove anything, and you could still be right. My point is just that it's hard to decide as long as we can't directly compare those lenses. Just my two bits.

Direct link | Posted on Apr 23, 2014 at 11:27 UTC
On F1.4_13IMG_5162 photo in dpreview review samples's photo gallery (5 comments in total)

@Just another Canon shooter:

Er, I got a theory what's missing here. It may well be critical focus. IMO, the closest thing to something in focus is the letter X lying on that book. And given the IQ the lens seems to be capable of, that detail shoul look a little crisper.

Direct link | Posted on Apr 21, 2014 at 09:11 UTC as 2nd comment
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