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09-06-2011, 07:51 PM   #1
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K5 arrived - a few day 1 questions

Hi all,

My K5 w/18-55 WR from Adorama showed up today, along with an excellent used smc-a 50mm f/1.7 i picked up on ebay.
As today was a work day, I didn't get too much playtime with it, but do have a few questions.
First off, I want to say the packing job from Adorama was quite good - air 'bags' completely encapsulating the Pentax box, plus the 'gifts' (bag, extra battery, 8GB Class 10 card, etc. - same price as the current body+18-55 is retailing for currently, so 'free') filling in the rest of the space. The Adorama slinger bag is decent at first glance, big enough for the K5 and multiple lenses. The 8gb flash is a Kingston Class 10 and thankfully not a no-name. The cleaning kit I added for $10 is pretty basic (tiny blower, no lens pen), but comes with an OK case, and surprisingly a pair of screen protectors, which I haven't yet decided if I'll be using or not. I'm not sure i would buy the extras kit for an 'extra' $110 or so, but it's probably worth $80 or so, and I'll gladly be using what came in it.

I was somewhat surprised to see the K5 with a low 393* serial number (1/24/11 date of manufacture), and with firmware 1.01 on it, but i guess it's the luck of the draw. I flashed it to the current v1.11, and in case anyone later reads this and is wondering, no you don't need to remove any/all images from the camera, just put the firmware file in the root folder on the flash, power the camera on holding the menu button, follow the prompts, then remember to delete the firmware file afterwards.

The menus changing depending on which mode you're in was somewhat confusing, as i went hunting for the 'allow aperature ring' setting, but resolved easily enough.
I wasn't able to immediately write to the SD card (pre-formatted) from my Mac, but could when connected through the camera - will have to sort that one later, may need to reformat the card from the Mac.

The random questions - is there a generally preferred mode with the A lenses? I'm going to assume most put it into A mode to let the aperature be controlled by the camera controls itself, in which case is there anything i should check in the images produced? The aperature ring is somewhat stiff on the lens, but all seems to be well there.. ?

For either Lightroom or Aperature use, should i prefer to shoot in DNG or PEF when using RAW mode(s)?
I saw mention in multiple places about lens/and or AF calibration - are these one and the same, or can/should I calibrate my A lens(es, one more on the way) as well?
I must be missing it, but regardless of mode selected, hold down button = single shot, and I see no option anywhere for burst mode nor anything > 1 click = one shot. I'm sure this one is obvious, but - where? I don't have any immediate need for it but I will in the future, someone please enlighten me.. ??

Lastly - with a relatively low SN, or just in general, is there anything i should do or check immediately? front/back focus, stain, other general maintenance/sorting?

Here's a quick hand-held shot with the smc-a 50mm, converted to B&W just for the heck of it, as my wife wanted a camera to do a lot of portrait/family pics and 'with that cool defocused background'.

Just some random first impressions on the K5, from the standpoint of a first time DSLR owner, but someone who has owned most things electronic and taken apart and fixed a lot of odd things..
1. It's heavier than I expected, surprisingly so. Not a bad thing, but dense for it's size certainly.
2. The out of box neckstrap - will be getting replaced. No clue with what, but likely with something longer and possibly with some dense foam around the neck.
3. Yep, the SD card is a tight fit. Goes in fine, pops out 'most of the way' easily enough, then makes you wonder if you're somehow doing it wrong. I'll be nail-filing the card later, not a big deal.
4. I absolutely *love* the seal and 'lock' on the battery holder. No fingernails required, and a solid twist/turn to lock and unlock, it's just mechanically great and confidence instilling about the seals and not worrying about the battery compartment *ever* opening on accident.
5. I wish the other compartments used a more solid latch mechanism like the battery compartment. The SD locking mechanism is 'ok', but the pin for the hinge somewhat thin/skimpy. The other seals seem OK.
6. I really like the jog wheels front and back - they're positioned great and are natural and solid feeling, i really dislike having to go into a menu system prior/while taking a shot, so the dual jog wheels are great...eventually I'll learn the rest of the buttons.

Lots to learn..

09-06-2011, 08:18 PM   #2
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You have a lot to learn...that is no understatement, not by a long shot! The good news is that you have a great camera that will be up to the task as you grow in both knowledge and confidence.

The best advice I can give is what I see here often...RTFM! Otis tells me this at least 3-4 times a week, and he is never wrong about it.
Shooting mode is controlled by the button just above the "OK" ...right of the LCD...Single mode, burst, etc......

I personally use Tav for almost all of my shooting, with the ISO set from 160 to 12,800. I can control the aperture and the speed and the K5 sets the proper ISO....for my particular needs this is a perfect setting that allows fast changing of speed and DOF. It is worth a try for anyone, it is so handy!

There are plenty of places on the Forums here to get help, and most everyone is willing to help, so you should be "up and running" pretty fast!

Otis sends his regards, and wishes you the best of luck with a great camera! He would personally greet you but I think he is on Letterman tonight plugging his new Magazine......


[IMG] [/IMG]
09-06-2011, 08:30 PM   #3
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There is lots to learn!

As far as PEF vs. DNG - you'll get people who have different opinions about this. I shot some comparison shots once (with the K20), and I didn't notice any difference between the two. Since then I shoot DNG since I often buy cameras early and the version of ACR doesn't always support the PEF. My K5 also has a low number, I think it has a manufacture date in February and that's the big thing. I haven't had any issues with it.

I replaced my neckstrap with one made by Op/Tech and it's far more comfortable (I bought their Reporter strap because it allows me to carry two cameras, which I hardly ever do any more since I got the K5).

For some of your questions:

I recommend using the A setting on the lens - it's much more convenient to control the aperture from the camera.

Fine tuning focus has to do with auto focus - since A lenses are manual focus, you don't really have to fine-tune the auto focus mechanism. You might have to change the dioper adjustment on the viewfinder to fit your eyes, though.

For continuous shooting, push the up arrow. That gives you access to single shot, continuous shooting, exposure bracketing, mirror lock-up, delayed shooting, wireless remote shooting. Very handy.

P.S. Rupert and I must have been typing at the same time, he posted first though.
09-06-2011, 09:12 PM   #4
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Hi rtpguy

There are some very nice Pentax original "fashion straps" available in Japan.
I have the denim one, which is the same length as the one supplied with the camera, but it's better quality and the Pentax logo looks a bit like the Levi style red tab, rather than giant PENTAX lettering, so more suitable for street photography.
I bought mine from forum member tom1803, using his ebay shop. I'm happy to recommend him as he responded to all emails and posted quickly too.

This is the denim item on Pentax's website:
Denim Strap

There's also a longer strap that is adjustable length:
O-ST842 Strap

All the designs...
Pentax Straps

09-06-2011, 10:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by rtpguy Quote
2. The out of box neckstrap - will be getting replaced. No clue with what, but likely with something longer and possibly with some dense foam around the neck.
I use the "Upstrap" which I find does not come off your shoulder which has always been my main complaint with other straps.
Camera Strap Professional Non Slip Camera Straps - UPstrap

09-06-2011, 10:23 PM   #6
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Welcome to the club. Here is how mine is currently set up for general shooting.

1. For Tv or Av, the control is on the rear dial (record menu 5 E dial programming) and the exposure compensation is on the front dial.
2. I use RAW+JPG but if you're version of lightroom is older, it may not support the K5 PEF files. So set it for DNG
3. The Level On/Off is set to activate with the RAW/FX button
4. Catch In Focus enabled (Custom menu 25)
5. Spot meter
6. AWB
7. ISO is pegged at 80 unless there is some need to let it go auto (in Tv and Av press the ISO button followed by the green button).
8. Preview is set for Optical.
9. Blinkies and Histogram are turned off (I don't use them, you may choose to).
10. Center point AF, AF-S for AF mode.
11. Remember menu location (custom menu 24)

Have fun!

09-06-2011, 10:24 PM   #7
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Original Poster
Thanks, guys.
Rupert, I'll see if I can find a 'friend' for your Otis one of these days.
The shooting mode - OK, NOW I've got it, thanks. I know I'd been in there, but was only seeing options for single frame, remote control and timer at the time, which made me think - I have to enable it somewhere else first, or it's somewhere amazingly simple and I'm just missing it.

RE: AF fine-tuning. I do have the 18-55 WR lens as well, which of course is auto-focus.
Is there other calibration that can be checked and/or performed, either per lens or for the body, like front vs back-focus, etc. ? (Going to have to download the PDF for search capabilities, that book is just too thick for a bathroom read, and isn't light late-night reading. )
For -A but non AF lenses, is there any reason to *not* let the body control the aperature? I can't think of any, but ??

I'm looking more for comfort/functionality over colors and designs, something like the Op/Tech looks more in line with what I was looking for - I can see kind of liking the denim, but the strap at the back of the neck remains quite thin and un-padded. The Op-Tech has an interesting customer pic of it fallen apart after a year - how has yours held up? Besides the possible quality issue, that's exactly what I'm looking for - simple and non-descript, solid color, with some padding/comfort for the neck.
09-06-2011, 10:48 PM   #8
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I think DNG would be easier to use if you were using Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom for post-processing; since it is an adobe file format.

I switched my neck strap with one of these:

Industry Disgrace

By far the most comfortable thing around the neck. I've been to disneyland for an entire day with it and a DA 50-135mm attached, hardly felt strain.

09-06-2011, 11:45 PM   #9
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G'day Rtpguy, congrats on your new toy. You have received some good advice above.

For what its worth, I have taken the camera straps off my K-5 (and K-7) and use a Black Rapid R-strap for those times when I want to have it/them hanging off me. Most of the time I just carry the camera by the ever so comfortable and snug fitting grip. I think the battery grip makes a big difference in this regard and would highly recommend getting one. I have both the original Pentax made grip, and also an ebay knock off. There is not a lot of difference to report between the two, but I don't think I'd trust the cheaper knock off in the rain. I think for around $70 I got a grip and a couple of spare batteries. I have not had any trouble with the knock off grip, or the batteries in either camera.
09-07-2011, 12:50 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eagle_Friends Quote
By far the most comfortable thing around the neck
No doubt it is comfortable, in cool climates! Used to have a similar one to the "Disgrace" but found when used in tropical climates very sweaty and not very comfortable from that point of view. Just thought I ought to make you aware of this.

09-07-2011, 03:37 AM   #11
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On the strap decision... For everyday activities, I use a Domke "Gripper". It's perfect for me and works great!


Also, the K-5 has a learning curve. Expect 6-8 months of daily use before you are able to predict the correct settings and produce consistent high quality results. You'll get some great shots and dismal failures during the learning period, but most of those will be due to luck, not design.


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