Review of the Off Road Hiker 30 Backpack by Manfrotto

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Jun 16, 2017

Some of the advantages of Pentax DSLRs are their ruggedness, weather resistance and generally compact size. Partly because of this, the brand draws quite a following among hikers, campers and the like.

Carrying photo equipment when on a trail is not a simple as on a city street. Luckily, many bag manufacturers have recently begun catering to the needs of outdoors photographers. Bags and backpacks for hiking remain a frequent topic in our Accessories forum and every user has a different opinion. In the near future, we will present reviews of some of the most interesting proposals on the market.

Today we present our first test with the Manfrotto Off Road Hiker 30. Manfrotto is a well-regarded brand in the camera industry, and their backpack offers some interesting and unique features. How does it perform on a trail?

Read the full review to find out!

The Amazing High-ISO Video Performance of the Pentax KP

Sample video footage at various sensitivity settings

By Albert Siegel in Hands-On Tests on May 18, 2017

When it comes to video, the new Pentax KP may not seem like a major update at first look, let alone cutting edge, as the specifications hardly seem any different than the K-3 II. You need to look beyond the spec sheet to get an idea of why I consider this to be the best Pentax camera so far.

Yes, I realize compared to the K-3 II it's still a 24 megapixel sensor, the autofocus points have not been increased, the maximum mechanical shutter speed is a bit slower, but in reality the KP is a vast improvement in these areas and more. The still images from the new KP sensor are already cleaner than full-frame from just a couple of generations ago. The shutter speed is also faster if you use the electronic shutter. But the area where the KP really shines is video quality.

The Pentax KP is by far the very best Pentax camera for video and one that compares quite well with the competition. The high ISO performance in video is just incredible and reason enough to buy the KP no matter which Pentax body you own, except perhaps the K-1 which carries an inherent advantage due to the sensor size.

Previous crop models struggled at anything near their maximum ISO of 3200, but the KP gives clean video up to 6400, very good at 12800, and usable if a little noisy at the upper limit of 25600. This is the first Pentax camera that I can say with complete confidence that truly is excellent for video.  Pentax owners no longer need to look over the fence with envy (unless you really want/need 4K) for great DSLR video.  This improvement can in part be attributed to the newer sensor and noise reduction hardware that's in the KP.

But describing video quality without seeing it is like listening to a wall to hear what color it is, so with that in mind, please take a look at the following video to see for yourself.

Yes, electronic stabilization is still the only option, but Ricoh has hinted that mechanical video SR will make a return in the KP and K-1 through an upcoming firmware update.

Please post any questions or comments and I'll do my best to answer them. And before you ask, yes, I will find out about clean HDMI output out as soon as I get a cable.  Unlike other Pentax cameras with an HDMI port, the KP requires a special SlimPort USB adapter for video output.

You'll also be able to learn more about the Pentax KP in our upcoming in-depth review!

Pentax HD D FA 15-30mm F2.8 Review Posted

Full-frame ultra wide zoom lens

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Apr 18, 2017

To conclude our coverage of the trinity of three fast-aperture, professional lenses for Pentax full frame, we are happy to present our review of the HD Pentax-D FA 15-30mm F2.8 ED SDM WR.

15-30mmThis lens is currently the widest full frame lens available new for Pentax DSLRs. With a constant F2.8 aperture, an ultra-wide focal length, it is a specialized lens that can serve for many tasks, from landscapes to interior photography. It completes a trio of fast zooms with the D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 and D FA 24-70mm. Read our review to find out how this new lens fared in our tests!

Read our Pentax-D FA 15-30mm F2.8 In-Depth Review

Review of the Everyday Sling Bag by Peak Design

By bdery in Hands-On Tests on Mar 28, 2017

Pentax has long been known for comparatively small camera bodies and lenses. Along with weather sealing, it is one of the highlights of the brand. Cameras like the K-3 and K-S2, in particular, are the smallest of their category.

With the advent of the Pentax K-1 and its lineup of large, fast zooms, things have changed a bit. The K-1 is still relatively small, hardly bigger than the older K20D for instance, but coupled with a 24-70mm or 70-200mm it does take up a lot of room.

Carrying larger equipment presents new challenges with no clear-cut solution. Camera bags are one of the most discussed topic in our Accessories forum, and everyone has an opinion on what is the perfect camera bag.

Today we take a look at Peak Design’s Everyday Sling, a diminutive bag which can still accommodate a surprising amount of gear. How well can it fit a full frame camera and its lenses? 

Read the full review to find out!

A Few Days with a Pentax KP Pre-production Camera

How does the KP fare in actual use?

By Albert Siegel in Hands-On Tests on Feb 22, 2017


The new Pentax KP is just hitting the market, but Ricoh was kind enough to provide me with a pre-production unit a few days ago.  Building upon my initial impressions from last week (link), I want to talk about my time using the camera for casual shooting.

The interface of the camera is very well-thought-out and the options are extensive.  I dare to say this camera offers far more than I expected considering it's not a "pro" model.  Personally, with the exception of maximum shutter speed in viewfinder mode and lack of a top LCD, I feel this camera offers so much more than what a top-end professional DSLR did less than a decade ago.  I guess some might say a that's a long time, but if you're like me, you tend to keep your gear as long as it can get the job done. Heck, I still use my original K-5 as my main body.

 I'm thrilled with the multiple customizable buttons, dials and quick menu.  This is by far the most customizable camera I've used.  And while it may seem intimidating at first, once you have everything set to your preferences, it truly becomes a personal camera.

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