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 appreciate digital, but then he embraced it wholeheartedly. The unknown sense of hassle-free control, the power to give images just the finishing touch that would make them match his memory of a scene - it still seems like magic to him. Which hasn't changed his conviction that there is merit in getting things right in camera, rather than posterizing images to death. In a sense, much of his work falls under travel photography, as long as you don't take this to mean fancy exotic locations. It's more a matter of how he will approach his subjects, always trying to explore them with the fresh curiosity of a traveller who sets eyes on them for the very first time. Marc lives in the Lower Rhine region, near the Dutch border. To experience his photography, check out his profile on 500px (click on link above) or visit pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/Madaboutpix.

Comments

Total: 75, showing: 1 – 20
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Yep, awesome resolution even at F1.4. Not so impressed by its colour rendition though, especially by the way it seems to mute blues and greens, if this should be what the lens typically does (and not a function of the shooting conditions). Forcing the light through fourteen elements may come at a price. BTW, in oder to be meaningfully called an "art lens", apart from Sigma's moniker that is, it would need a little more, well, character? But maybe that's just me.

Link | Posted on Nov 20, 2016 at 12:32 UTC as 32nd comment | 1 reply
On article Shaking up the market: Pentax K-70 Review (333 comments in total)
In reply to:

GarysInSoCal: SAD... four of the things I find MAJORLY important in my next DSLR camera purchase are 4 of the things this camera FAILED so miserably at... ELEVEN focus points (ridiculous when the competition has anywhere from 39 to 153)... battery life (400 shots/more ridiculous)... NO touchscreen (a option that I would have found majorly convenient to have)... and weight (substancially heavier than the competition... LOVE the price thou. SO PENTAX... back to the drawing board... come out with a K-80 that fixes all the problems listed above... at ALMOST the same cost... and bring your lens prices down somewhere close to Earth PLEASE!

Sigh (of exasperation): Another ardent measurebating believer in DxOMark's unfathomable wisdom. "Nikon and Sony are whoopin your [Pentax's] tail" with regard to high-ISO performance and dynamic range, you rant. At what price point? Are we talking RAW image quality? Real-world shooting?

Go live on in your supposedly superior SoNikon bubble, then. Reading this kind of offhand remarks reminds me of why I'm spending much less time on this website than I used to. Leaves me more time for meaningfully engaging with photography, really.

Link | Posted on Nov 20, 2016 at 11:43 UTC

As a stills photographer who has learnt to live with the quirks of the good old DA55-300 and arguably has some experience of using it to its advantage, this latest addition to the K mount line-up doesn't fill me with particular gear lust.

Hopefully, the retractable design has been implemented less fiddly than on the recent HD18-50. Who needs these retractable designs with their added chances of mechanical failure anyway? The regular versions aren't that big and clunky lenses to begin with, are they? And has IQ been improved or at least kept on par with the standard HD55-300?

The closer minimal focus distance is a nice touch, though, at least if it hasn't been bought with focus breathing. But, hey, as a sign that Ricoh remains committed to its APS-C line, I am still kind of grateful for this announcement.

Link | Posted on Jun 18, 2016 at 21:14 UTC as 2nd comment

Fun to watch Ricoh adding another great-bang-for-the-buck option to its already attractive Pentax DSLR line-up. At least on paper, it looks to be a powerful and enjoyable photography tool.

Link | Posted on Jun 10, 2016 at 16:46 UTC as 16th comment

Sounds quite promising. Great job, Ricoh. And a reminder of how much Pentax is about real-life image quality at comparatively affordable prices. Dismiss this as fanboy talk, if you must, but actually I'm talking about photography.

Link | Posted on May 9, 2016 at 19:01 UTC as 69th comment
In reply to:

Michael H: A modest upgrade from the existing lens. Differences include:
-10g heavier;
-one more diaphragm blade;
-a few changes to the external design of the lens (looks more like the 50mm); and
-different coatings on the glass.

Overall not much difference. Perhaps tests will reveal better optics.

"I suspect that if Pentax had really upgraded the lens for the much higher demands of a 51 MP, 44x33mm sensor, compared to 645 film, there would be more elements and groups, and a much higher price."

Regardless of how much they changed the lens, what ultimately counts is whether it delivers the goods in IQ, isn't it? What is so wrong about keeping both the optical element count and the price reasonably low?

High-element-count designs may produce great sharpness but may actually, well, suck when it comes to flare control, microcontrast, and colour rendition.

Link | Posted on Nov 16, 2015 at 19:58 UTC
In reply to:

AbrasiveReducer: Maybe the idea is to demonstrate some cool features and then sell the whole package to somebody else.

Of course you're entitled to speculate, but what makes you think so remains a moot point. From what I can see, Ricoh has already invested more in the Pentax brand than Hoya ever intended to. I don't just mean the numbers, it also seems to me that they're more interested in photography, which would make kind of sense for a company that seems to regard imaging as an integral part of its identity.

Link | Posted on Oct 26, 2015 at 22:05 UTC

Maybe it's just me, but I've had way more fun with my DSLRs than any time while I was shooting film SLRs, which I started as a 14-year-old. Instant review, total control, high ISO I would have never dreamt of - and no more being short of film, hit-or-miss metering, scratches on slides/negatives, the list goes on.

It's as if with digital, I who could never afford my own darkroom can finally reap the rewards of all that learning about photography and honing my skills. Seriously, what could be more fun than that? Those who start out today have so much more capable cameras to choose from than we had in the analogue days.

Yes, there's still a learning curve to it. Could it be that people just can't deal with delayed gratification anymore? That's why many people no longer know the joys coming from finishing a hefty 600-page novel, nor from really learning photography. And I say this as someone who is quite well aware of the countless distractions, stresses, and frustrations of modern life.

Link | Posted on Aug 30, 2015 at 21:39 UTC as 57th comment
In reply to:

Mike FL: Marketing is already running away from Pentax after Ricoh puts hands on Pentax.

You must be such fun at parties, Mike FL.

Any more substance to your oh-so-assured predictions of doom than a 3D-printed mock-up that is a mere reference exhibit and never was intended to be anything else?

Link | Posted on Feb 14, 2015 at 10:25 UTC

I, for one, like the hints on its design, even if the final product should look somewhat different. It is a distinct Pentax design, given the nod to the brand's legendary 6x7 film MF, and the way it is informed by current K-3 design. Which means that anyone upgrading from or supplementing a K-3 will feel immediately at home with the new FF. I made the same experience when I had a brief hands-on with the 645Z at Photokina, which despite its bulk handled basically like an oversized K-3, which is sheer joy to use.

Though I may not be able to afford it, I don't doubt it will be a competent photography tool and a source of joy to its owners. It makes me kind of proud to see Ricoh's commitment to the Pentax brand. They may be lacking the resources of the bigger players, but slowly, step by step, they're evolving a system that can only enrich the industry with its unique character ...

Link | Posted on Feb 12, 2015 at 22:32 UTC as 63rd comment | 2 replies
In reply to:

Madaboutpix: Dpr used to be a fun place and reliable source for solid, thorough technical reviews, even of Pentax products. Back in 2009, it was dpr's review, along with competing reviews of it on Imaging Resource and PopPhoto, that piqued my interest in the K-7.

What we seem to be getting recently about Pentax is, subjectively, a belated review of an APS-C flagship (K-3, even though, in fairness, it did receive a deserved gold award), a shooting experience reviewer who somehow, for no particular reason, finds it near-impossible to pull an appealing shot from a MF dream camera (645Z), snarky allusions to historical prototypes that had to be abandoned (K-1) and to blinking LEDs on an entry model that is clearly targetting a younger generation of potential DSLR shooters (K-S1), ... duh.

As far as I can tell, Ricoh has been doing an amazing job of saving and evolving a line of highly competent photography tools that continue to inspire a small but passionate base of discerning photographers.

While you're listing some areas where there is certainly room for improvement (AF-C, flash sophistication), others seem a bit odd (kit lenses, colour rendering).

Whereas my old K-7 was not exactly a colour accuracy/separation demon, my K-3 still amazes me with its natural and differentiated colours (shooting in RAW and with Custom Image set to Natural). In my experience, Pentax-branded glass tends to have a consistently satisfying colour rendering, often better than third-party options. When it comes to kit lenses, even my DA 18-55 WR does a fairly decent job, at least as good as its other-branded competition, even in the wideangle. And they have just announced that new collapsible 18-50. Looking at your sample 18-55 WR image posted on the forums leads me to suspect a decentered lens, which would be a shame, but QC issues are not unheard of with other brands either.

Link | Posted on Feb 11, 2015 at 20:09 UTC

Dpr used to be a fun place and reliable source for solid, thorough technical reviews, even of Pentax products. Back in 2009, it was dpr's review, along with competing reviews of it on Imaging Resource and PopPhoto, that piqued my interest in the K-7.

What we seem to be getting recently about Pentax is, subjectively, a belated review of an APS-C flagship (K-3, even though, in fairness, it did receive a deserved gold award), a shooting experience reviewer who somehow, for no particular reason, finds it near-impossible to pull an appealing shot from a MF dream camera (645Z), snarky allusions to historical prototypes that had to be abandoned (K-1) and to blinking LEDs on an entry model that is clearly targetting a younger generation of potential DSLR shooters (K-S1), ... duh.

As far as I can tell, Ricoh has been doing an amazing job of saving and evolving a line of highly competent photography tools that continue to inspire a small but passionate base of discerning photographers.

Link | Posted on Feb 11, 2015 at 19:04 UTC as 7th comment | 5 replies
On article Photokina 2014: Ricoh stand report (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."
...

Link | Posted on Sep 21, 2014 at 22:27 UTC
On article Cold War camera: 1950s Berlin in color (part 1) (122 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.

Link | Posted on Sep 1, 2014 at 17:31 UTC as 24th 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.

Link | Posted on Aug 23, 2014 at 14:47 UTC
On article Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition (166 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 ... ;)

Link | Posted on Aug 2, 2014 at 21:47 UTC
On article Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition (166 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 ...

Link | Posted on Aug 1, 2014 at 23:08 UTC
On article Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition (166 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 ...

Link | Posted on Aug 1, 2014 at 18:27 UTC
On article Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition (166 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).

Link | Posted on Aug 1, 2014 at 16:59 UTC
On article Ricoh announces Pentax K-3 Prestige Edition (166 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 ...

Link | Posted on Jul 31, 2014 at 11:35 UTC
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