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11-02-2010, 06:11 PM - 1 Like   #1
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K-5 Images and Impressions (new night images added 11/6)

I received my K-5 today, along with the 16-50mm f/2.8 and 50-135mm f/2.8. First, a couple of impressions from a Canon shooter (5D Mark II):

  • The K-5 and the Pentax lenses are light. In fact, compared to Canon and Nikon lenses, they are small and very light. This is very nice, as it will allow me to carry a few more lenses in my bag, while staying lighter than my Canon gear.
  • K-5 build quality is very good. As you may or may not know, the 5D Mark II, while a very nice camera, isn't the most robust camera, and doesn't fare as well in the dust/moisture department. The K-5 is built like a tank in comparison, while also being smaller/lighter.
  • Along with the lenses being smaller and lighter, the Pentax lenses are also a lot cheaper than their Canon/Nikon counterparts. That's a real advantage, as it means not having to break the bank when purchasing a new lens.
  • In-body stabilization is great!! It's nice knowing that every Pentax lens will automatically gain this functionality. Image stabilized lenses are much larger, heavier, and more expensive.
  • AF performance. The AF performance of the K-5 absolutely kills the AF performance in compared to my 5D Mark II. Using the two lenses in question, the AF is fast and accurate. It's also nice that I can make use of the outer focal points of the K-5, which is sometimes a problem with the 5D.
  • Low-light performance. Here, the 5D Mark II beats the K-5 pretty handily, which is to be expected, given that the 5D is a full-frame camera. However, the K-5 is no slouch. For a smaller sensor camera, it does a great job in low-light, and as long as you can nail the exposure correctly, noise isn't a big problem up to ISO 3200, and even ISO 6400 can produce a high-quality image with a little help from noise reduction software like Noiseware.
  • Color - Based on what I've seen, the rendition of color on the K-5 is more natural than on the Canon. The K-5 also handles reds and yellows much better. Shooting a red rose, even in cloudy conditions, on the 5D Mark II has a tendency to blow out the red channel. In the past, I've had to dial exposure compensation way down, and been very careful in how I shoot red and yellow flowers. Shooting the K-5 today, it was nice not to have to worry about this. The metering was pretty effective in most scenes, though it does seem to underexpose by about a third of a stop in some situations.
  • RAW - I like that you have the option to shoot in standard DNG format.
Those are my first impressions, which are very favorable as you can see. The K-5 is the first APS camera that I've used in a long time that I feel has excellent image quality without a lot of compromises. The last APS camera that I felt this way about was the Canon 40D, released way back in 2007. Pentax has done a nice job with the K-5.

Here are a few images I shot today, just to put the K-5 through some initial testing. I plan on getting out later in the week to shoot some more interesting subject matter, and am looking forward to seeing how it performs.











With this last shot, I wanted to see how the camera would do in a more low-light situation. I think it did pretty well.




Last edited by Feudal1; 11-06-2010 at 08:40 PM.
11-02-2010, 06:22 PM   #2
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Great post, I'm glad you are enjoying the K-5...

As a K-7 owner and 5DMKII admirer, I found your initial thoughts interesting indeed. Please let us know of any more thoughts you have, as you get to know the K-5.
11-02-2010, 06:44 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Feudal1 Quote
[*]AF performance. The AF performance of the K-5 absolutely kills the AF performance in compared to my 5D Mark II.
You know if you said this in some forums; you'd be CRUCIFIED, WELCOME to the forums.
11-02-2010, 06:45 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clicker Quote
You know if you said this in some forums; you'd be CRUCIFIED, WELCOME to the forums.
Oh, it's coming on this forum as well.... just wait... 3...2...1...

11-02-2010, 07:08 PM   #5
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Chris,
thanks a lot for your initial report.

seems you picked up the spirit of Pentax cameras pretty well: the best you want to carry

welcome to the forum and keep posting your experience.


wrt your last image at dusk... try to make the black foreground visible. Eg by max. fill light or converting to 32bit and back in PS. If you still have the raw, this should be feasible. One of the nice things with the K-5 is that its dynamic range beats most other cameras, incl. the 5d2. Your after dusk shot should be the perfect sample to test it

Last edited by falconeye; 11-02-2010 at 07:19 PM.
11-02-2010, 07:09 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clicker Quote
You know if you said this in some forums; you'd be CRUCIFIED, WELCOME to the forums.
Thanks Clicker.

Hopefully, people won't take my comparisons with the 5D Mark II the wrong way. The 5D Mark II is an excellent camera, capable of generating incredible images. However, as with any camera, it has its flaws, including mediocre AF performance when dealing with subjects with low contrast, outer focus points, and in low light. The difference in AF performance (not just AF speed, but also accuracy and ability to lock focus in challenging conditions) is quite noticeable.

The bottom line is that Pentax developed a really nice piece of equipment, that is fun to use, and very capable.
11-02-2010, 07:13 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
Chris,
thanks a lot for your initial report.

seems you picked up the spirit of Pentax cameras pretty well: the best you want to carry

welcome to the forum and keep posting your experience.
Thanks Falk.

One of the biggest advantages I see with the K-5 is it's size and weight. It's a solidly built camera, without also being a monster in size and weight. When hiking and traveling, a light kit is something that can't be taken for granted. Hauling ten pounds of gear around works for some photographers, but when it really comes down to it, lighter is better in many situations.
11-02-2010, 07:21 PM   #8
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Thanks so much Chris for these observations!

11-02-2010, 07:34 PM   #9
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Many thanks, Chris, for an illuminating report. My only complaint is that it is making it harder for me to stick to my resolve to postpone replacing my beloved K-7 with a K-5 until the new year.
11-02-2010, 07:43 PM   #10
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One more shot I took from today, this one of a barn behind our neighborhood. The electronic level built in to the camera works really well, and is a nice little touch. A problem I've always had is that I think I get the photo level when I'm shooting, but once I'm home and am viewing it on screen, it never turns out that way. This shot required no tweaking to get it level.

11-02-2010, 07:44 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jva59 Quote
Many thanks, Chris, for an illuminating report. My only complaint is that it is making it harder for me to stick to my resolve to postpone replacing my beloved K-7 with a K-5 until the new year.
Everything I've read, and from the photos I've seen, the K-7 is an outstanding camera. I've seen some incredible images shot with it.
11-02-2010, 08:11 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Feudal1 Quote

With this last shot, I wanted to see how the camera would do in a more low-light situation. I think it did pretty well.
===============================

I was impressed with all BUT the last shot. DARK!

The others are bright, sharp, and clear.

Lens?
11-02-2010, 08:20 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rite Quote
===============================

I was impressed with all BUT the last shot. DARK!

The others are bright, sharp, and clear.

Lens?
You're just kidding aren't you? :P
11-02-2010, 08:20 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rite Quote
===============================

I was impressed with all BUT the last shot. DARK!

The others are bright, sharp, and clear.

Lens?
The foreground in the last shot is intentionally dark, by my own choice, for testing of noise and low-light performance. The sun was also about to completely drop below the horizon, so it was pretty dark already.

The 50-135mm f/2.8 was used for all but the last shot. For that one, I used the 16-50mm f/2.8.
11-02-2010, 09:13 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Feudal1 Quote
The foreground in the last shot is intentionally dark, by my own choice, for testing of noise and low-light performance. The sun was also about to completely drop below the horizon, so it was pretty dark already.

The 50-135mm f/2.8 was used for all but the last shot. For that one, I used the 16-50mm f/2.8.
That's exactly the sort of effect I would go for a "last light" shot.
If you try to expose for the fore ground, you would end up with an overexposed sky, and the lovely evening colours would be missing.

Of course, if you shot RAW, I dare say you can actually bring out a lot of detail from the deep shadows.
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