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09-29-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
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My initial (detailed) observations...

I've never been a Pentax shooter. but I've been a long time dslr shooter working mainly with Canon EOS professionally and have tried other systems recently like the GXR/X100.

I find this camera has an incredible amount of customization that rivals my experience with the Ricoh GXR system in a body literally a fraction of the size/weight.

Some observations with my new white Pentax Q (Standard Prime 01) as to how I understand certain functions from other camera systems. Some of this is very detailed because I've grown so used to shooting my primary system.

O=Observation
E=Explanation

1.O. The quick dial lets you save custom image, smart effects, digital filters or aspect ratios. The only way to semi-combine settings is to use the user 1/2/3 in the smart effect group that combines (white balance, custom image and digital filters). Not sure why I can't combine all of the "memory" settings like iso speed/mode/aperture/etc. to user 1/2/3 so I can dial those settings in quickly.

2.O. I'm a back button dslr shooter. This means I set my green button to AF start. I would expect switching the mode dial to AUTO would default to all points AF, shutter button af/ae and auto-flash. This means if I'm having a nice dinner with a friend and want to pass the camera to the waiter/waitress to take a photo, they will have no clue whatsoever. Since I can't save a profile either using user 1/2/3, I have to dive into the menus and turn off center point and customize the green button first.

2.O.ii There is also a bit of a quirk, if you assign green button=af start, the shutter half press does nothing. It doesn't do a AE-L which is traditionally how DSLRS separate these functions. You have to hold the green button which also locks exposure (unless custom function 1 AE lock while AF lock is off) in which case there is no way to lock exposure.

3.O. Electronic shutter custom function is odd. If electronic shutter is used and the q compatible lens has a physical leaf shutter, it will still use the leaf shutter up until 1/2000, after that the shutter is completely quiet from 1/2500 to 1/8000 which is obviously the electronic shutter taking over. Electronic shutters are tremendously quiet since they don't make a sound at all, I'd like to capitalize on this feature even with the standard lenses and have essentially a silent camera.

4.O. There has been some cases (which I cannot reproduce), where the camera lost all settings after it randomly turned off. There was one other time I took a shot, and the camera turned off and when I turned it back on, the flash mode which I had changed prior to taking the shot was lost, reverting back to the state prior to the shutoff. Perhaps a firmware oddity?

5.O. The histogram overlay and over/under display significantly affects the refresh rate of the lcd and the camera feels less responsive when quickly trying to dial in aperture and shutter speeds. I have to leave it off when shooting unfortunately.

6.O. The movie mode is great and supports full manual focus and manual exposure for those wondering about that. As I do some video work from time to time, I imagine a camera this small would be great for shooting some POV clips supported off a manfrotto nano-arm/clamp combo aimed back at the subject.

7.O. Wow, linking ae to af point, release while charging (flash) and release priority (Even if no af lock). These are great custom functions borrowed from larger dslr methodology. Only weakness is these (along with other settings) cannot be saved to the user 1/2/3 slots!

8.O. The flash in Av mode has some unique observations. Once the flash is turned ON, the shutter speed will not go lower than 1/25 with regular flash modes. If the flash is off or in slow sync, the shutter speed will go much lower. 1/25 will yield some ghosting if shooting people. The only way to get around this is to shoot Tv or manual modes, which means switching the dial. A great custom function I use alot on Canon bodies is to limit shutter speed from 1/60 to 1/250 in Av mode or locked at 1/250 in Av mode. I'd like to have something similar here.

9.O. I'm confused about the 1/250 leaf sync speed and 1/13 elec. sync speed. I do a lot of outdoor lighting portrait work and a small scouting camera is always handy. I give kudos for pentax for adopting a standard hot-shoe, even though you have to set the camera to not-fire when retracted and flash off for my skyport/pw triggers to work. Does this mean if I adopt a non Q lens, I'm limited to a 1/13 sync speed? What about turning on the electronic shutter in the custom functions for the standard lens, does it also mean I'm limited to 1/13 or does it mean the leaf shutter will take over to 1/250? I'll have to do some tests when I get a chance in the next few days. I am hoping that in fact the electronic shutter can take me to somewhere in the range of a 1/2500 sync speed. It'll allow me to keep the aperture open when shooting off camera lighting and not have to stop down and introduce diffraction on such a small sensor. I have a quick outdoor fashion test shoot coming up soon, will def try to see if I can get some interesting stuff from this tiny camera.

10.O. Retrieves and saves RAW data of this JPG image. Not sure I understand this concept. The Q creates a RAW from the JPEG, but not sure of what utility this feature may serve as.

It's only been a few days since I've had this camera, so some more experimentation is in order! So far, I like what I see.

09-29-2011, 02:48 PM   #2
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Congrats on your new Q. Sounds like you get to play with all the cool toys.
09-29-2011, 09:55 PM   #3
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Regarding #10, the RAW capture for the JPG image:
This just lets you save a RAW file for the last picture you took if you're shooting JPG. Let's say you took a picture in JPG and just *barely* clipped a highlight. Maybe if you saved the RAW file you could salvage it in post processing. I noticed this when I upgraded my K-x to a K-r. Glad to see it here too.
09-29-2011, 10:13 PM   #4
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Hmm, I just tried to use my external manual flash with no lens attached. I held a k-moun lens in front of the sensor to simulate the condition of using an adapter. And I could NOT get the external flash to fire at any shutter speed. I used the same setting of Flash OFF and also to disable the internal flash when retracted. This settings that will let me fire when the 01 prime lens is attached do NOT work when there's no lens attached.

However, if I use a PTTL flash, I can shoot with the lens detatched as fast as 1/13 sec with the external flash.

This is bad news because it means you can have an adapted lens or a manual flash, but not both at once.

09-30-2011, 07:15 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by devorama Quote
Regarding #10, the RAW capture for the JPG image:
This just lets you save a RAW file for the last picture you took if you're shooting JPG. Let's say you took a picture in JPG and just *barely* clipped a highlight. Maybe if you saved the RAW file you could salvage it in post processing. I noticed this when I upgraded my K-x to a K-r. Glad to see it here too.
And it is important to know that this is not based on jpg data. Raw sensor data is still in the memory and this function makes it possible to save it as a DNG file if your default file type is set to jpg.
09-30-2011, 07:23 AM   #6
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External Flash Behavior

QuoteQuote:
Hmm, I just tried to use my external manual flash with no lens attached. I held a k-moun lens in front of the sensor to simulate the condition of using an adapter. And I could NOT get the external flash to fire at any shutter speed. I used the same setting of Flash OFF and also to disable the internal flash when retracted. This settings that will let me fire when the 01 prime lens is attached do NOT work when there's no lens attached.
I came to the same conclusion yesterday. Regardless of the electronic shutter custom function, my skyports or pws would not fire at any speed beyond 1/250 with the standard prime 01. The camera itself turns off the external shoe beyond 1/250. I believe the 1/250 limit is an artificial limitation imposed via firmware as the standard prime's leaf shutter should easily sync beyond that.

I don't have PTTL flashes, so without a Q compatible lens mounted which would be the case if I adapted a lens, I get no triggering capability at all.

Did a quick triggering test yesterday at 1/250 @ f8 with nd filter on . This is the equivalent of a 1/250 @ f16.
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09-30-2011, 07:28 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by StigVidar Quote
And it is important to know that this is not based on jpg data. Raw sensor data is still in the memory and this function makes it possible to save it as a DNG file if your default file type is set to jpg.
I did not know that Pentax cameras had this feature. This is immensely useful as it is based on the RAW data in memory.

I was just about to comment about how taking JPEG data and converting it back to RAW as akin to taking a 32kbps mp3 and converting it back to a high quality lossless wave, but I'm glad I waited before replying, because I now know!
09-30-2011, 08:51 AM   #8
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Yes, regarding practicability, this "save RAW after" function is excellent when you don't want to over load your memory card.

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