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01-05-2013, 06:56 AM   #16
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Well today I went out with my sigma 100-300mm f/4 to capture some images of local wildlife - and bring some practical insights on how the pentax K5IIs handles these subjects.

Usually I take an AF540FGZ flash with me, because under ambient light often the subject is impossible for the camera to focus, or the ISO required would be so high that any attempt to photograph the subject it would be promptly thrown on the scrap heap. The quality of light found under the forest canopy isn't anything to write home about, the Pentax K5IIs does need the use of flash - there is no way of getting around it if you wish to make exhibition quality images of animals you will need to keep the ISO down so the quality goes up. But having said that the K5IIs does exceedingly well without flash and with a slow lens like the sigma 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG the camera has managed to put an impressive effort in holding onto detail at high ISO values. I was extremely impressed with the speed and the accuracy of the focusing system, with such a slow lens I was expecting it to be only marginally better than the K7 - but there have been some improvements made. However, that does not excuse the moron who designed the 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG - and not including a focus limiter: BAD design!. The autofocus on the K5IIs does hunt from time to time - especially in low contrast backlit situations which incidentally, is another issue with the sigma lens as it does not handle flare well at all. I haven't had much opportunity to work with the full7 FPS capability or the revised continuous AF, however I applaud pentax for giving us an option for release priority or focus priority - also the revised tracking focus point system looks interesting, I had a brief opportunity to work with it and to be honest it shows promise.


Pentax K5 IIs - Sigma 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG 1/250th f/5.6 ISO 6400


Pentax K5IIs - Sigma 100-300mm f/4 APO EX DG - 1/250th f/5.6 ISO 3200


Last edited by Digitalis; 01-05-2013 at 06:07 PM.
01-05-2013, 10:13 AM   #17
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Impressive shots indeed!
01-05-2013, 10:19 AM   #18
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Why didn't you use a flash?
01-05-2013, 10:21 AM   #19
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He said he usually does, as you need the flash for the lowest ISO. Then he proceeded to explain that the k-5IIs works well even without flash in focusing and image quality and gave us some no-flash samples to illustrate the point.

01-05-2013, 10:28 AM   #20
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The first photo shows the dynamic range of k5iis!
01-05-2013, 11:58 AM   #21
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Very cool photos.
01-05-2013, 06:26 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by tabl10s Quote
Why didn't you use a flash?
Really? I whittled my impressions down to a succinct paragraph and you are asking me that?

QuoteOriginally posted by bkpix Quote
There is no way to examine unedited RAW files except as a series of 0s and 1s
Actually, I do have access to programs that enable me to do precisely that and see the Bayer mosaic - but I don't use them, because although I admit to being a bit of a pixel peep, that is going to ridiculous extremes.
01-05-2013, 06:51 PM   #23
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Yes, really(didn't know Australians picked-up on American slang/cliches). A touch of low-level light may have enhanced the pics, but you did what you thought was best.

01-05-2013, 07:01 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by tabl10s Quote
Yes, really(didn't know Australians picked-up on American slang/cliches). A touch of low-level light may have enhanced the pics, but you did what you thought was best.
I have a few friends in America ( photographers and musicians) though if you want to hear slang you should hear me after spending a few weeks in London or Glasgow. But you are correct, some low level* flash illumination would have helped these images - but it would have utterly defeated the purpose of testing the High ISO capabilities of this particular camera. Ordinarily I use flash extensively for wildlife photography - I just wanted to see how going without the use of flash would hinder me - with the superlative noise handling of the K5IIs not much as it turns out.

*The Pentax AF540FGZ has 1/64th as its lowest manual power setting, at ISO 6400 1/64th would have been considerably more light than I would have needed.


Just an example of my use of wireless flash for wildlife photography....

Last edited by Digitalis; 01-05-2013 at 07:08 PM.
01-05-2013, 07:37 PM   #25
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I like this a lot. I just discovered that the Metz 58AF-2 goes down to 1/256 in 1/3 increments. I'd love to try in in your locale.
01-06-2013, 08:36 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
later this afternoon I was doing some Studio work with my Pentax FA*200mm f/4 ED Macro - ...
All images shot at f/11 1/180th @ ISO 100 - all images unsharpened 100% crops
I am sorry to say, but the images should have turned out sharper (from my experience).

Using f/11 is already severely reducing micro contrast. Use the FA* at F5.6 or F4.5 for best results. Esp. as macro will lower the effective f-stop further.

QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
No you don't. The point of the comparison is to show the cameras for what they are, if I sharpen the K7 output, to be fair I would have to sharpen the output from the K5IIs and K10D as well and the K5IIs will again take the lead in ultimate IQ.
Yes and no.
The output from ALL cameras need capture sharpening, but each camera needs different parameters (they could be calibrated such that MTF at 30lp/mm is the same). In the end, the K5IIs may take the lead, but in a more realistic and meaningful way. More about this in my blog.

QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
What I am showing is the RAW unedited output from each sensor, people can draw their own conclusions from there.
Many people can't.
01-06-2013, 09:12 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
Many people can't.
To emphasize that point, way back when , before I bought my *ist, I saw a comparison in a photo magazine that compared similar images taken with Pentax, Nikon , Sony and Canon offerings. The Pentax , straight off the camera looked to be the worst of the bunch , and was rated second from the bottom. What I saw was, more dynamic range, flatter less contrasty images, but something I could work with. The Canon and Nikon images were more "finished", but, both had blown highlights and higher contrast. To the casual user, not thinking about doing their own PP, they would have probably bought the Canon. Even a more experienced user might assume the more finished jpeg , being more "finished" would save them work.

It takes a certain mindet to look for not how good the image looks, but for how much detail you have to work with.

You only know what the raw images means, if you know what you can turn it into.

Last edited by normhead; 01-06-2013 at 09:27 AM.
01-06-2013, 09:38 AM   #28
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Well to me it looks like this K-5 IIs is working fine. So I can book it into my wishlist for 2013 unless there is a bigger surprise from Pentax for us in the near future.
01-06-2013, 04:49 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by falconeye Quote
I am sorry to say, but the images should have turned out sharper (from my experience). Using f/11 is already severely reducing micro contrast. Use the FA* at F5.6 or F4.5 for best results. Esp. as macro will lower the effective f-stop further.
Thank you for your input Falk, you do have a point that I agree with - but it is still interesting to note that despite this there are still differences to be seen. I wanted to see how the K5IIs would handle in the studio, but it doesn't really offer me anything that my D800E or 645D cannot. In the studio the weight of the equipment really isn't a factor, so you can get away with using ridiculously heavy camera bodies and lenses and be secure that you are going to be able to get the best image quality without being too concerned about technique.One thing I will mention about working with files from the K5IIs is that there is quite a bit of sharpening headroom - similar to what you get with a Phase one MFDB. Cameras like the Leica S2 oversharpen really quickly - the Leica digital M rangefinders are similar in this respect, I suspect that is because of the inherently high contrast of the lenses.

I have a few more studio shoots scheduled for today and one on-location shoot planned as well, I'll be comparing the Leica Monochrom to the M9 and S2, I might be able to sneak the K5IIs in there which could make things interesting, I nearly got excommunicated from Leicadom when I compared the Hexar RF to the Leica M7 and stated that the Hexar RF was ergonomically superior to the M7.

Last edited by Digitalis; 01-06-2013 at 05:34 PM.
01-07-2013, 12:01 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
One thing I will mention about working with files from the K5IIs is that there is quite a bit of sharpening headroom - similar to what you get with a Phase one MFDB. Cameras like the Leica S2 oversharpen really quickly
Rings a bell. If it isn't due to too small an aperture, then you may have a focus issue. Did you already AF finetune your lenses?
Sharpening headroom means nothing but MTF at Nyquist became small but still above 5%. That's what a small aperture or imprecise focus do (or a soft lens or Bayer-AA filter which shouldn't be an issue with the K5IIs+FA*200/4).
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