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11-11-2012, 08:32 AM - 1 Like   #1
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First Impression with K-5IIs, and Quick Comparison with K-30

I've got a K-5IIs to play for a couple of days now, but only used it briefly. Since there is a pretty comprehensive review here at pentaxforums, I won't go for a detailed review. Just some first impression and a quick comparison with K-30 (sorry I don't have any K-5 with me, can't compare them directly).

Here is the camera, pretty much the same as K-5:


The LCD screen on the back is slightly different though, basically a K-5's screen w/o the out-cover (glass?):


As reviewed at pentaxforums, the major changes in K-5IIs over K-5 is the removal of AA filter and a more advanced AF sensor. The result of removing the AA filter would be potentially sharper results w/ higher solution, while the new AF module would improve AF accuracy and capability under low light (which has been something Pentax cameras are lagging for ages). Are these really true? And how are the results anyway?


1. Low light AF improvement

Well, if you've read the review at pentaxforums, and some videos on youtube, you probably already know that the new AF module indeed improved AF accuracy for K-5II/K-5IIs under low light, the new cameras can focus properly even under -EV3 (that's pretty dark, almost as dark as your eyes can see properly). I tested K-5IIs indoor at night, it indeed can focus very well even when it's too dark for K-30 to even lock focus. And most important, the AF is mostly spot on if it can lock focus, not like K-5 which sometimes either gives up or focuses on the wrong points.

When the light is really dark, AF assistant light comes on briefly as quick flashing when the camera is trying to focus. Previous Pentax cameras would light up the AF assistant light first, then the cameras start to focus, it's like there is a brief delay from the light-up till the AF motor starts to turn, and the AF assistant light would be on all the time during AF process. For K-5IIs (and K-5II I guess), the AF assistant light would light up (when needed) as soon as the AF motor starts to move, and it only does a couple of quick flashing to help the camera to focus. The overall process feels much faster and AF is more decisive.

Overall I feel the new camera's AF indeed improved a lot when the light gets dark. For those who like to shoot under low light (indoor events, concert, weddings and etc), this would definitely be a big plus.

As to AF in good light, it's pretty much the same as K-5. I didn't have any problem w/ my K-5 before, and I don't have any problem with the new camera either.


2. Higher Resolution Due to Lack of AA Filter

K-5IIs is properly the very first APSC dSLR camera without an AA filter. There are some APSC EVIL cameras which don't have AA filters (Fujifilm X-Pro1, X-100, X-E1, Ricoh GXR and etc), but for dSLR cameras, K-5IIs is probably the very first one in APSC category? I won't talk about the pros/cons of removing AA filters here, there are plenty of talks about this which you can find on the Internet.

Anyway, Pentax is giving us the options to either go for a camera with weak AA filter (K-5II) or w/o an AA filter at all (K-5IIs). From sample photos on DPReview and Pentaxforums, we can see that K-5IIs indeed produces resutls with slightly higher resolution than K-5II or K-5.

I did a quick comparison between K-5IIs and K-30 (both cameras kept w/ the same settings). The resolution difference isn't big, but pretty obvious if looking at the results at 100% or higher magnification. Here is a quick comparison result:

The testing scene:


100% crop on the center - K-5IIs:


100% crop on the center - K-30:


100% crop on the side - K-5IIs:


100% crop on the side - K-30:


You can see resolution from K-5IIs result indeed looks a bit higher than that from K-30.

Another thing I noticed is that I always apply some curves on the final results from my K-5 due to lack of contrast. But I feel I don't need to do this as much now w/ the new camera. I guess the results are contrast enough, they look pretty good even w/o applying curves.


3. Moire?

Just like some of you guys, I was a bit worried about the moire problem on the new K-5IIs due to its lack of AA filter. Well, I am surprised that it isn't as bad as I expected during normal use. I've taken about 300 photos in the past 2 days w/ the new camera, so far I haven't even seen one photo w/ bad moire problem. I even purposely took some testing shots on pattens like this:



I can't see any moire at all even when looking at the results in full size:


This is from K-30, which also shows no moire problem:


But my G3 produces pretty obvious moire patterns on the same subject (the following photo was taken quite a while ago w/ G3+25/1.4 lens):


I also looked at all the other 300+ photos I took, I couldn't see any problem at all. So I guess this won't be an issue to most of us at all.


Okay, that's what I have so far. Here are some quick street photos I took w/ the new camera and DA40XS lens:





























I'll try to take some landscapes and macros in the next week or two and see how the new camera perform against the previous cameras.


Last edited by frank; 11-11-2012 at 05:09 PM.
11-11-2012, 08:40 AM   #2
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Keep us posted - this kind of information is very useful. Thanks!
11-11-2012, 08:40 AM   #3
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Thanks for this FANTASTIC post. I didn't see much difference between the k-5IIs and the k-30 shots, but the focus review is everything I want and more. I really take a lot of indoor/dim/hey-i-can't-see-in-my-viewfinder pictures, so that's good to hear.
11-11-2012, 08:40 AM   #4
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nice shots...thanks for sharing

BTW: how do you get that red screen. Can you change it in settings?


Last edited by hansenn; 11-11-2012 at 08:49 AM.
11-11-2012, 08:51 AM   #5
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Very nice!
Were these shot in RAW?
And if so... what developer did you use?
11-11-2012, 09:15 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by hansenn Quote
nice shots...thanks for sharing

BTW: how do you get that red screen. Can you change it in settings?
:-) Haven't you noticed? Yes, it's changeable.
11-11-2012, 12:30 PM   #7
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Good information and pictures. Thanks for posting.
11-11-2012, 01:01 PM   #8
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This exactly what I'm looking for. With Adams review and others, we are able to make an informed decision. Either way, we can't loose.

11-11-2012, 02:20 PM   #9
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Always great shots from Frank.

His images must have helped Pentax sell so many cameras by now. I recall that his shots with the K-x, especially some of the night scenes he did, helped persuade me to get one.
11-11-2012, 08:57 PM   #10
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
Thanks for this FANTASTIC post. I didn't see much difference between the k-5IIs and the k-30 shots, but the focus review is everything I want and more. I really take a lot of indoor/dim/hey-i-can't-see-in-my-viewfinder pictures, so that's good to hear.
Yes, the difference isn't very obvious here, but when looking at the results at 200%, the difference is even more obvious.


QuoteOriginally posted by hansenn Quote
nice shots...thanks for sharing

BTW: how do you get that red screen. Can you change it in settings?
Thanks. Yes, the screen display color can be changed. Not as flexible as the ones on K01 or K30, but still can be tuned a bit to your like.


QuoteOriginally posted by JohnBee Quote
Very nice!
Were these shot in RAW?
And if so... what developer did you use?
Yes, all photos were taken in RAW (DNG), then converted w/ CS5 RAW converter (my PC was reinstalled a couple of weeks back, but I forgot to upgrade the RAW converter. It's the bundled one w/ CS5 package).

QuoteOriginally posted by sanjeevdas Quote
Good information and pictures. Thanks for posting.
You are welcome

QuoteOriginally posted by john5100 Quote
This exactly what I'm looking for. With Adams review and others, we are able to make an informed decision. Either way, we can't loose.
Yes, given the choice, I'd choose K5IIs over K5, worth the price difference IMO.

QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Always great shots from Frank.

His images must have helped Pentax sell so many cameras by now. I recall that his shots with the K-x, especially some of the night scenes he did, helped persuade me to get one.
Thanks, your words are too generous But I'm glad I can be of some help as always.
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