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12-08-2016, 01:12 PM   #1

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K1 owners - Image Requests and input desired

I am pondering taking the K1 leap but before I do I have a certain logic in mind which may or may not be correct.

I currently shoot with a K3....the first one.

On my last trip I felt like I bumped into the capability limits of the camera.

Hear me's how.

First a new camera won't make a crappy picture a good picture. It won't make your content better. And it sure won't help with composition or anything else like that.

In my mind where I feel I could benefit would be in low light situations.

I shot a lot with a 16-85 but when the sun went down my results weren't as good. High iso relatively slow lens....

Hence my desire for a 24-70 and a k1. Also note I don't use flash. Pretty much I've never learned.

The first question is, is my thinking faulty in assuming a substantial improvement?

If not please show some shots specific to my question. If you can include iso and aperture.

If you could say imagine low light street photos with no flash as an example.

Will a k1 extend my drive time so to speak? If I pay the extra money that's going to be what it's for.

Just curious about opinions and experience.

12-08-2016, 01:28 PM   #2
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I don't own a K-1 (although I've tried one). My initial thoughts are:

- K-1 definitely has a high ISO advantage over the K-3... but it's not without limits...
- Faster glass - like a Sigma or Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 or Pentax DA*16-50 f/2.8 - would get you much more light, especially at the longer end (and the Sigma, I can say, is sharp enough at f/2.8 to be used there)
- Post-processing, whether using the K-1 or K-3 (or any other camera, for that matter) vastly improves results at higher ISOs. Using the right software, and knowing it in-depth so you can wring the best out of noise reduction and shadow / highlight recovery, will support shooting at higher ISOs than most people are comfortable with.

I know you would love the K-1... Heck, I would love the K-1. But if the K-3 works for you in every other way than high ISO performance, consider faster lenses and/or optimising your post-processing software and technique. Either (or, preferably, both) would be much cheaper than the K-1 + 24-70
12-08-2016, 01:52 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by alamo5000 Quote
Will a k1 extend my drive time so to speak? If I pay the extra money that's going to be what it's for.
Good question. Conventional wisdom would indicate improved high ISO performance over your K-3. That being said, it is difficult to predict if the difference under field conditions would translate to images that you would be satisfied with. You might want to browse one of the K-1 groups on Flickr with an eye to photos of subjects similar to those that have not worked well with your K-3.

Pentax K-1 | Flickr


Last edited by stevebrot; 12-08-2016 at 02:07 PM.
12-08-2016, 02:04 PM   #4
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One thing to consider is that low light is not always good light ..... A stronger high ISO performing camera cannot create better looking light, in terms of colour or quality ..... its flash that can allow the needed control over those aspects. Its true that the k1 will of course offer that good step up in Noise and DR performance at higher ISOs (assuming that's the right solution to choose to deal with low-light situations). My understanding is that in broad terms we are looking at around a 1.5 stop advantage over the equivalent performance of a K5 / K5II, and perhaps 1.5-2 stops over a K3 ..... (this is based on DxO tests I saw).

So this is a good step up if you need to shoot with higher ISOs. Just bear in mind that high ISO performance cannot solve problems of poor light, so its not the answer to every difficult situation.

12-08-2016, 02:53 PM - 9 Likes   #5
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My first K-1 images was taken Oct. 3, and I have 714 keepers in my library taken with the camera. The last one taken today has a shutter count of approximately 6,400 images.

I don't know whether to go positive or negative first... maybe just topics. If you missed the dynamic range of the K-5 when you moved to a K-3, you get it back plus another stop on top of that, almost 15 EV.

For images like this one, you can never have enough dynamic range. K-1 image

However, the K-3 wasn't all that bad, the thing is your display of DR is limited by your output device, so while the DR may add detail to your image it's unlikely the final image will look a lot different.

K-3 sunset..

The advantage is definitely with the K-1, how much it's worth to you to have 15 EV DR instead of 13, you may be disappointed.

The K-1 is good up to 3200 ISO, I really don't like the K-3 over 1000 ISO, IMHO it's more than a stop.

For walking around, there is nothing better than my K-3 with an 18-135 on it. There is no way you can avoid using two lenses for that range on a K-1. Not only that the 28-105 is about the same size as the 18-135, so you're going to be carrying a lot of extra weight for the same capability. And the 28-105 is the only modern DC motor type lens. If I have one big issue that's it. There simply is not enough "standard lens" type options. There should be a cheap kit lens sold as a throw away with the camera, a mid range like the 28-105, there should be at least two in that category, like the 16-85 and 18-135 on APS-c.

The other issue here is the weight. Long glass is prohibitive for the same capability.

For the same field of view and ƒ2.8, six pounds and massive compare to easily hand holdable. DA*200 on K-3, Tamron 300 2.8 on K-1.

Shooting my feeder denizens... for the birds I can walk up to, the K-1 gets me better images...

For the skittish birds where I have to stay in the blind, maintain some distance and where any noise will spook them, the K-3 is definitely better. And with K-3 and burst, buffer and AF being what it is, the K-3 is a joy to work with compared to a K-1 going after the same type of image.

There are some issues with the K-1. It's harder to get the images you want, but they are better when you get them.

I have shots like this, taken with the 50 macro @ 3200 ISO, in near darkness, and flash was truly not an option. I wouldn't even try this with a K-3.

So in essence, even with all the issues, the fact that the 2.8 glass for it is going to set you back 6k if you go for all of it, and there simply is nothing for it in less than 2.8 glass I still like it. The old FA 20-35 ƒ4, which is really what I'd like has become as rare as hen's teeth. No one is parting with theirs. And there's nothing coming on the lens map.

So the buy in to make all use of the K-1s capacities 2k for the Camera, $1600 for the 15-30, 2k for the 70-200, 1.2k for the 24-70, an no reasonable options to replace them. You're looking at $7000-$8000 without another 2k for the 150-450, to get you the capability you have with a 55-300. Just to have the same capability you have for your K-3, and probably a less than 2.5k investment. Now there's s source of frustration.

All that being said, my K-1 is my current "in the hand, walk around" camera. My K-3 is on the holster with the DA*200 with stacked TC in case I come across some wildlife.

Some recent images...

These are all marginally better than the K-3 images would be. It's twice the sensor area for twice the price, but it isn't twice the IQ. The maybe 33% extra resolution comes at a disproportionate price. And paying it means you have to carry heavier gear and work a lot harder to get what you want. Plus you'll take it places you shouldn't. Places the K-3 would actually be better, just because you like it. IMHO for the first little while until you get disciplined about taking the right camera for the job it's going to cost you IQ in some images where the K-3 would have been better. Once you get used to it and the "shiny new toy" thing is over, it's a wonderful tool. But unless you're rich, it's not going to be like APS-c where every lens I own is top of the line, for the purpose for which I bought it. There is going to be some gnashing of teeth, when you should have brought your K-3 and Sigma 8-16 and all you have is 28mm on a K-1 because you brought your "landscape" camera. In that case you will come home without the image you could have had. Instead of a possibly great image. Sure you can say, well bring your 8-16 and your K-3, but, on a given hike, I can only carry so much stuff.

Honestly for a guy like me where the ideal kit is two lenses, the K-1 is bad idea. But the allure of the images when you nail one is also exhilarating. It's like gambling, my odds are longer, but if I win I've got noticeably better. And also like gambling, it hurts when you lose.

On a lighter note, the tilt screen is really cool, and Pixel shift isn't worth paying for. Of the images i've done, where I compared PS images to a normal shot on the same tripod set with a 2 second delay, the PS images are better maybe 20% of the time, 80% of the time the non-PS image is better, and it's a lot of work for not much reward.

Last edited by normhead; 12-10-2016 at 10:07 AM.
12-08-2016, 03:01 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I had a first K-3, now I've got a first K-1, I never use flash either.

You will be astonished by the difference.

Obviously faster glass is better in these circumstances but it's all relative.

The image stabilization is much better too so you can shoot at slower speeds and get improved results in low light, I've shot stuff at 1/10s handheld and been amazed at the lack of motion blur.

The only thing I miss about my K-3 is the 8 fps.

By the way, my current favourite lens is the K30/2.8, it's brilliant on the K-1 and you can pick one up for 300ish.

iso 800 1/160s

iso 12800 1/60s

12-08-2016, 03:16 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
One thing to consider is that low light is not always good light...
This is an excellent point. Low light usually carries with it spectral deficiency and inherent low contrast. Good S/N ratio (the essence of high ISO performance) makes little difference when there is little signal in the high value regions in the frame and no detectable signal in the rest.

Careful attention to how exposure is placed is probably as good a predictor of low light success as high ISO performance. The brighter areas of the frame when doing street scenes at night or club work are often within the reach of relatively low ISO (i.e. 800 - 1600). Intelligent use of spot metering and M mode will often yield better results than matrix metering.* I usually have to remind myself that I routinely shot low light with Tri-X pushed one stop to ISO(ASA) 800 back in the day and was quite happy with the results despite the grain.


* I have to admit, however, that matrix metering on my K-3 does an incredible job of ignoring the shadows under those difficult situations.
12-08-2016, 03:20 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Honestly for a guy like me where the ideal kit is two lenses, the K-1 is bad idea. But the allure of the images when you nail one is also exhilarating. It's like gambling, my odds are longer, but if I win I've got noticeably better. And also like gambling, it hurts when you lose.
Great post, Norm. Really excellent. Cuts through the "shiny new toy" and "owners pride" (both of which I can understand completely) and gives one man's balanced view of the pros and cons.

12-08-2016, 03:34 PM   #9

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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
gambling, my odds are longer, but if I win I've got noticeably better. And also like gambling, it hurts when you lose. Great post
Yes, a great summation.
12-08-2016, 06:31 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
It's harder to get the images you want, but they are better when you get them.
This sums it up nicely. Your entire post was fantastic normhead. I bought the K1 in August, fully intending to sell the K3 and apsc lenses to fund the indulgence. I've guiltily held onto the APSC gear because it simply does certain things better. There's also the faint hope that I can share it with a friend who may be interested in learning to shoot. Thats a different story though.

Thus far my favourite use case for the K1 has been portraits and landscapes. I feel like I have a lot more room to recover DR / correct my mistakes. As I can't see well, tracking is not something I've ever done, but even prefocusing and spraying was much more successful on the K3. I also found it difficult in some situations to adapt to the thinner DOF. Heres a series of recent images with the K1... some of them have a high ISO. I also had to underexpose for the owls to keep the shutter speed up. I am much happier with the ISO on the K1.

Not sure if the EXIF works.. first time using the albums on the site. Most of the photos were shot using the DFA 28-105. A few with the Sigma 100-300 F4.. and there may be a F100 2.8 in there. Not sure. Notice the dogs are out of focus. (Edit: Now that I look at it again, I'm not sure if anything is in focous.. probably slow shutter speed and some panning involved here.) For action, sports, birds, etc. I prefocus on a spot where I hope the subject will be. On the K3 I had a lot more success with this method. Again, I can't track with any camera. That requires functional eyesight. On the K1 I can't even see the focus confirmation .

The graduation shot is at 300mm from the back of a very dark auditorium. ISO 6400, a little cropping for better composition.

Last edited by wissink; 12-08-2016 at 06:52 PM.
12-08-2016, 06:51 PM   #11
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I own both k1 and k3

I pick the K1 over the K3 when: shots are wide or super-wide angle, I might print the image up huge, and when the quality of the bokeh is critical.
12-08-2016, 07:18 PM   #12
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We all shoot different things, and I'll concur with Norm. The K3 is an excellent body. The K1 is different in many ways. This is what I've noticed. I shoot either with 500 f4.5 Sigma, 100 macro, or 43 limited.

Low light is much better. The ceiling on the K3 was where I always was, meaning I missed shots keeping the iso low enough but the shutter speed low as well. I'm almost always stopped down with the K1, which gives me better iq.

Focus is better. Enough that I"m attempting shots that I didn't bother lifting the K3 for. And getting them.

I thought the cropped detail would fall off but it is the opposite.

The metering feels different from the K3, especiailly in very low light. The electronic shutter has given me long low light shots that I wouldn't have attempted with the K3.

Worth the money? For me yes.
12-08-2016, 08:32 PM   #13
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Excellent summary of the important issues by Norm.
12-11-2016, 04:29 PM - 3 Likes   #14

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Thank you all for the posts. I've finally gotten the chance to read through most of the responses.

Here are some of my initial thoughts. I guess I'm weird but I don't shoot with long lenses. I just don't. When I first started shooting photos about 4 years ago I was completely hell bent to get the biggest, longest, coolest looking lenses that I could find. After buying, selling, buying more, trading more lenses I guess I have simply made an evolution as a photographer and really what my niche is. Keep in mind I am only taking photos for fun so the only money on this is what I spend on gear and hopefully trips abroad.

I've tried to shoot macro (and have some decent shots by the way) but it's not my thing. I've tried nature and while I live in the middle of a giant national forest that aspect of photography really hasn't floated my boat for some reason. I am not knocking those things by any stretch. I love seeing those photos when I see them. A good photo is a good photo. My last trip that I took was quite eye opening photography wise. The stuff that really makes me go 'oooh' and kind of lights my fire so to speak is capturing people. It's not just about people though. It's about the story of the people. I find myself fascinated with cultural or otherwise fun 'street' or travel photography.

I like capturing people and life and in an editorial sense of the word capturing who they are. I want to tell their story. Nothing contrived. Nothing planned. No studios.

I had a bevy of long lenses and didn't use any of them so I sold them all off. Before I was a die hard prime user. I still love my primes but I have definitely learned to appreciate a good zoom. While I was on my trip probably 95% of all my shots were taken with a 16-85 and almost none of those were taken at the long end of that. Maybe a few but not as much. Long story short I think I could go on another around the world trip with a 24-70 (16-50 equivalent) and have a one lens kit and be just fine. Of course I would take my primes too

In all honesty I was kind of hoping for a WIDER lens at times. But 95% of the time the focal range was just fine.

Where I ran into my 'problem' so to speak was when I was in dim lighting (and yes low light doesn't mean good light or bad light) but I think having those extra stops and a little extra speed would allow me to take some extra eye catching shots that ISO 3200 and a f5.6 lens wouldn't allow on the K3.

I am glad you guys listed out some pros and cons because that really got me thinking. The burst rate thing that would have an impact but it would be minimal in the big picture. The extra speed on the lens and the extra ISO stops though would allow me a lot more lattitude for what I like to do. So on balance I just need to come up with $3000 bucks to get what I want In an ideal world I would like a good 20mm FF prime but aside from that I think I can make due easily with a one lens set up. It sounds odd but yeah....

I have put up some of these pics before but honestly I haven't taken a single photo in 5 or 6 months and I have a ton that still aren't post processed from before. But
here are a couple of samples that may or may not have been posted up before.

(This is one where I could have used a lot better speed lens and a lot better ISO)

Last edited by alamo5000; 12-11-2016 at 07:36 PM.
12-12-2016, 04:39 PM   #15
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I just got a K1 as an upgrade to my Canon 6D just last week. Really pleased so far, one of my driving forces behind the purchase was the low light capabilites.
I'm still getting to grips with the camera, but I'm really happy with what I've managed so far.
Here are a selection of bad photos, as I'm just playing around with capabilities.

Here is an awful photo I took of my cat, but I was just seeing just how poor the lighting could be before I got blue from a slow shutter or ISO noise was painful.
It was so dim I was struggling to see

Another shot (Handheld I'll add) where I just pointed the camera at the black sky and turned out it wasn't that black. Not fantasic quality this one, by any stretch, but again I couldn't have dreamt of something even as useable as that before. Behind able ot do that handheld is a huge boon to me too.

This is a quick one I took (handheld!) with a 1.6 second exposure, not only is the sensor great, but the stabilisation works fantastic too. Light trails handheld!

and a crop to see just how little blur there is

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