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06-13-2015, 06:48 PM   #1
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Considering the K-50: Questions about Image Quality

I've been thinking about buying into Pentax for a while now because of the weather sealing and excellent features/options, but there are a few things holding me back.

ISO PERFORMANCE:
I looked up the K-30 (which many keep saying is nearly identical to the K-30) on imaging-resource and in their ISO performance test shots the image quality is far worse than a camera like the D3300. I especially notice that nearly all of the detail in their red cloth square is lost at ISO 3200 and above.
Another website, popular photography maybe, said that the ISO performance above the lowest levels was "unacceptable".
A lot of people around here say that high ISO performance is great. Is it really great or is that local Pentaxian bias? Please be honest.

KIT LENS:
I've been looking at the Microcenter deal that comes with 2 WR lenses, a flash, a bag, and an Eye-fi Mobi card. Are the lenses in that kit worth having? Most people around here keep saying that the 18-135mm is far superior. Dollars are dollars though.

06-13-2015, 07:28 PM   #2
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Honestly, with real life use I have never noticed any problems with red fabric at higher isos. I saw the red swatch on imaging resource you mentioned a while back and actually dug out some red fabric from my wife's stash and took photos of it at high isos in my dark bedroom. The detail was still there, so that's when I stopped caring about that test. I shoot in RAW and perhaps the image resource images are in jpeg, which may not be as good as the competition, but I never use jpeg so I can't really comment there.

As far as the 18-55mm WR kit lens goes, my review is the third one down on this page:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DA-18-55mm-F3.5-5.6-WR-We...Zoom-Lens.html

Last edited by stillshot2; 06-14-2015 at 04:18 PM.
06-13-2015, 07:41 PM   #3
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Greetings, Comrade!

Unfortunately, Imaging-Resource tests with JPEG files, and (IMO) Pentax has never done a great job with that. However, most enthusiasts shoot RAW, and the company DXO measures and compares sensors via RAW data, and their measurements shows the K-50 and Nikon D3300 have close noise performance.

Last edited by luftfluss; 06-08-2016 at 08:23 AM.
06-13-2015, 08:38 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ComradeTao Quote
I've been thinking about buying into Pentax for a while now because of the weather sealing and excellent features/options, but there are a few things holding me back.

ISO PERFORMANCE:
I looked up the K-30 (which many keep saying is nearly identical to the K-30) on imaging-resource and in their ISO performance test shots the image quality is far worse than a camera like the D3300. I especially notice that nearly all of the detail in their red cloth square is lost at ISO 3200 and above.
Another website, popular photography maybe, said that the ISO performance above the lowest levels was "unacceptable".
A lot of people around here say that high ISO performance is great. Is it really great or is that local Pentaxian bias? Please be honest.

KIT LENS:
I've been looking at the Microcenter deal that comes with 2 WR lenses, a flash, a bag, and an Eye-fi Mobi card. Are the lenses in that kit worth having? Most people around here keep saying that the 18-135mm is far superior. Dollars are dollars though.

now that the K-50 has dropped to $295 at B&H, it's almost a steal just by itself....

as far as quality of the kit lenses; this was shot with the DA L 50-200mm kit lense - no PP, grey day, just a slight crop:



06-13-2015, 10:28 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ComradeTao Quote
I've been thinking about buying into Pentax for a while now because of the weather sealing and excellent features/options, but there are a few things holding me back.

ISO PERFORMANCE:
I looked up the K-30 (which many keep saying is nearly identical to the K-30) on imaging-resource and in their ISO performance test shots the image quality is far worse than a camera like the D3300. I especially notice that nearly all of the detail in their red cloth square is lost at ISO 3200 and above.
Another website, popular photography maybe, said that the ISO performance above the lowest levels was "unacceptable".
A lot of people around here say that high ISO performance is great. Is it really great or is that local Pentaxian bias? Please be honest.

KIT LENS:
I've been looking at the Microcenter deal that comes with 2 WR lenses, a flash, a bag, and an Eye-fi Mobi card. Are the lenses in that kit worth having? Most people around here keep saying that the 18-135mm is far superior. Dollars are dollars though.
The ISO performance of the K-50 isn't the best in JPEG mode with noise reduction on (noise reduction blurs away details), but it's quite good in RAW. Also, the K-50 is packed with many features that even the D5500 lacks.

With that said, Nikon's JPEG noise reduction algorithms are way ahead of Pentax's, and their latest models do have industry-leading image quality.

If you're really picky when it comes to image quality, opt for the K-3. Most beginners and intermediate users will be more than satisfied with what the K-50 offers, though. Plus, it's got a super-comfortable grip.

Adam
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06-13-2015, 11:10 PM   #6
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I don't often shoot red cloth at high ISO, But what I do shoot is OK with both the K-30 and K-50.

K-50 at ISO 3200


K-30 at ISO 6400
06-14-2015, 12:32 AM   #7
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If Nikon is so much better, buy Nikon. Simple.
06-14-2015, 01:12 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If you're really picky when it comes to image quality, opt for the K-3. Most beginners and intermediate users will be more than satisfied with what the K-50 offers, though. Plus, it's got a super-comfortable grip.
"It's also interesting to note that at ISO 6400, the K-50 image is superior to that of the K-3, which was overwhelmed by noise."

From: Pentax 645Z Review - Detail and Moire | PentaxForums.com Reviews

I've been using a K-50 for the last 18 months.
The images aren't quite as robust as the 14-bit images from my K-5,
but the K-50 is unsurpassed as a lighter camera for general use.

06-14-2015, 02:32 AM   #9
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Out-of-the-box the K-50 is set to Bright image mode for the JPEG's, this pumps up contrast and can make red colours to bleed - especially at high ISO (Bright-mode functions best at lower ISO's). Set the image tone to Natural and problem is gone. Still, ISO 3200 and above is maybe not so common ISO's to use for everyday shooting. Most of my shots are done in the range ISO 100 - 800...

An option to the K-50 is the new K-S2. I just got the K-S2 myself, it's very nice...

As for the kit lens.. it's perfectly Ok for everyday photography, but yes spending more dollars will get you a better lens, but the kit lenses are not bad. The DA 18-135 is really nice, but the new DA 16-85 outperforms it (but at a price...)..
06-14-2015, 06:39 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
If Nikon is so much better, buy Nikon. Simple.
No need to be prickly. I don't believe he was trolling. I think he was asking a valid question. And he was given the correct answer. If he's going to shoot JPEG's straight out of the camera, then those sample images are relevant. But if he's going to be shooting RAW, like most advanced users, then those results are not representative of relative image quality.

Here's some observations and sample images I posted recently in a similar thread about the K-30's high-ISO performance. The picture of the toy soldier is particularly relevant, since he was wearing a red sequin top. You can also see the amazing dynamic range of the K-30 image sensor in that photo, since you can still see detail in the white areas, as well as the black areas on his pants:

__________________ My previous observations __________________

From what I've seen, you're not going to get much better high-ISO performance than the K-30 without spending thousands of dollars on a new FF camera specifically designed for high-ISO shooting (and priced for professionals). Comparing the K-30's high ISO performance to any other current APS-C cameras would be an exercise in splitting hairs.

Here are some pictures I shot at ISO 3200 with my K-30 at a performance of "The Nutcracker" this last December. I shot in RAW, applied a little noise reduction, and then down-sized them to a vertical resolution of 2160 pixels (the native resolution for 4K displays), so they're still fairly large image files. To me, they look very good when viewed at 100%. Lots of detail and not too much noise evident.

Click on each picture for the full-size version:







06-14-2015, 12:24 PM   #11
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Edgar, those are fantastic shots.
06-14-2015, 02:01 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
No need to be prickly. I don't believe he was trolling. I think he was asking a valid question.
I don't believe I asked you to judge my comment, Edgar?
Fact is I was neither being 'prickly' or implying he was trolling. I was a simple statement which from his opening post is the logical conclusion.
06-14-2015, 04:13 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
I don't believe I asked you to judge my comment, Edgar?
Fact is I was neither being 'prickly' or implying he was trolling. I was a simple statement which from his opening post is the logical conclusion.
Too bad Steve...I judged it anyway, so deal with it. It sounded to me like you were being sarcastic, when you said "If Nikon is so much better".

If you really believe Nikon is "so much better", then I would have to assume that you would shoot with Nikon instead of Pentax. But if you don't really believe Nikon is so much better, then you were just being facetious, and not helping answer his question. And then you followed it up with a condescending "Simple.", as if he should have been smart enough to figure out such a simple question himself.

And again, you're being prickly (in my judgement).

Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 06-14-2015 at 04:22 PM.
06-14-2015, 06:09 PM   #14
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Well, you're an argumentative and arrogant sod. You make your judgements, argue that you are right and then go on to judge further, ha! You don't know me at all.
Nice behind your keyboard is it? And telling me to "deal with it" is about as hostile as it gets..
For the record, I never once said Nikon was better, so everything you imagine is in your head buddy.
06-14-2015, 06:31 PM   #15
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You were being sarcastic and snarky in your first post (not to mention completely unhelpful), and then acted indignant when somebody casually pointed it out.
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