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07-31-2019, 11:35 AM   #1
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K1 or Canon 5D Mark IV for a 645Z owner?

Hello friends,

It is closer to the date when I will be heading to the long-dreamed trip to Masai Mara. Just two weeks later :-)

Over the past few years, i invested myself body, mind, soul and money into the Pentax 645Z and associated lenses. I never for once thought I would ever venture into wildlife photography. Landscapes, portraits, studio....yes, but never wildlife.

But then I was introduced to this new genre of wildlife photography in the recent past and before I would know it, I booked a ticket to Masai Mara with a group of friends.

I wrote about my dilemma in another post

Pentax-FA 645 400mm F5.6 ED [IF] Lens Use for Wildlife Photography - PentaxForums.com

Now, after a lot of research and thinking hard, I have decided the following:-

1. I will take the 645Z with 28-45 mm DA f4.5 SR, 90 mm DFA f2.8 SR and 300 mm FA* f4. This kit will be used for landscapes. I also have the 400 mm f5.6, 150mm f3.5 (manual focus), 55mm f2.8 and 2X rear converter which will be left behind. I also have a 10 year old Canon 50D and two lenses - 50mm f1.8 and 10-22 mm EFS lens, which would be left behind.

2. I will buy either the Canon 5D Mark IV with 100-400 mm f4.5-5.6 L IS II lens OR the Pentax K1 with 150-450 mm f4.5-5.6 AW lens. This kit will be used only for wildlife photography now and most of the time in future.

The second part about the buying decision is getting devilishly confusing & frustrating. What do I do?

K1 is tempting because of the future possibilities of using 645 lenses on it through an AF Adaptor. But such a possibility may never become a reality. Another tempting aspect is the camera body layout of K1 is almost the same as 645Z thus helping me shoot seamlessly between MF and FF formats. Further, for hiking and especially high altitude trekking in India in future, if weight becomes a restriction (I am 51 years old), I could take the K1 with one of the 645 lenses & the K mount adapter or a nice lightweight K mount lens strictly only for landscape photography. Here the IBIS of K1 would be really useful even with vintage FA lenses. Landscapes would remain my first love.

5D is tempting because almost everyone is saying that for wildlife, the K1 with its 150-450 can never match the 50D with its 100-400 whether it is the AF speed, subject tracking, image stabilisation and touch LCD - factors which will substantially increase the numbers of keepers from the 5D than the K1. But then i will end up handling two different camera bodies and using them together could be disconcerting if not downright traumatic. This itself may make me lose good shots as i may fumble in using camera controls.

Another thing - landscapes of Africa are reportedly as photogenic as its wildlife. It is only here that i would be shooting landscapes and wildlife in equal measure. However, while the wildlife in India is great, the same cannot be said of the landscapes of the animal habitats in India as they are essentially deep forests. Point is, in India, when you shoot wildlife, you shoot only wildlife, and not really landscapes at the same time. So most of the time in India, I would be carrying only one of the two kits mentioned above but not both. In Africa, i will be carrying both the kits.

Another thing - K1 II is not yet available in India. So in case i decide to buy only Pentax K1 as the second kit, am i missing too much by settling for K1 and not buying the K1 II (strictly from the point of view of wildlife photography in future).

Options to rent lenses for the 50D or renting a camera & lens combo itself have been thought over and discarded. Unless I must buy K1 II in future (and not K1 which is available now), I won't like to rent for the Africa trip.

I bought a Pentax 645 to Canon EOS adapter to use the 645 lenses in MF mode. But that combination compromises on too many aspects. So I discarded that option too for the Masai Mara trip.

I thought of buying the 645 to K mount adapter. But that also imposes restrictions which I am not ready to live with as of now.

I am putting a lot of premium on this new experience in life even if it means splurging a bit of money.

So the immensely talented & experienced minds on this forum, what are your frank suggestions for me:

1. K1 or 50D?
2. K1 or K1 II ? (if K1 II as a long term investment, then I will rent a camera lens combo and wait for launch of K1 II in India).

Thank you.

07-31-2019, 12:12 PM   #2
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For wildlife at long rang, why not look at a APS-C camera? Much cheaper and lighter than a FF! And just as good if not better for long range shot.
07-31-2019, 12:28 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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Here is somewhat of a comparison...

07-31-2019, 12:29 PM   #4
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Well, i think the FF will give much better dynamic range, has better resolution and will allow me to print bigger sizes in future.

Is there a K1 ii equivalent camera in APS-C format? Just asking, but i am rather sure i would like to stick to FF.

---------- Post added 07-31-19 at 12:30 PM ----------

Thank you. Will see the videos :-)

---------- Post added 07-31-19 at 12:48 PM ----------

BTW, birds in flight aren't what I am much interested in. I am more interested in showing animals in habitat, their interactions, their emotions etc.

07-31-2019, 01:18 PM   #5
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Let's take a look at your kit.

645Z with 400mm lens......that compared to fullframe and 500mm lens.....When cropping to a fullframe size.

So the K-1 and 150-450mm lens will not give you more reach. The Canon option will give you faster af and some advantages, but then how many good images do you need?

So I would suggest to take a KP with the 150-450mm lens that will give you a much longer reach compared to the 645Z and your longest lens. And you can leave the longest lens for 645Z at home.

Or take a look at this bay if you want to carry the weight.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-MINT-IN-CASE-SMC-PENTAX-A-645-600mm-F-5-6-ED-I...9762553?_ul=NL

Last edited by RonHendriks1966; 07-31-2019 at 01:24 PM.
07-31-2019, 02:02 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonine Quote
Well, i think the FF will give much better dynamic range, has better resolution and will allow me to print bigger sizes in future.

Is there a K1 ii equivalent camera in APS-C format? Just asking, but i am rather sure i would like to stick to FF.

---------- Post added 07-31-19 at 12:30 PM ----------



Thank you. Will see the videos :-)

---------- Post added 07-31-19 at 12:48 PM ----------

BTW, birds in flight aren't what I am much interested in. I am more interested in showing animals in habitat, their interactions, their emotions etc.
There are not really a large sampling of Pentax examples available on the web. I thought these were appropriate in terms of focusing and tracking. If you can catch an owl in flight, you should pretty much be able to catch just about anything moving, regardless the target, environment and setting. Yes, there is a difference in FPS, but again if you are judicious in shooting, you should be good.

The K70 and KP are reasonably close to the K1 in terms of dynamic range (especially with the Accelerator chip). The K70 and KP would provider higher FPS too.The APS-c will certainly get you closer, plus the 1.4x TC will work very well with both the bodies and the lenses.
_____

The 645z, K1 and K5 all have pretty much the similar pixel pitch. The K70 and KP each have a finer pixel pitch, and thus will provide a slightly better resolution across the sensor.

07-31-2019, 02:16 PM   #7
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The K-1 with a 450 mm lens has more reach than the 645Z with 400mm. Just as the KP will have even more reach with the 450mm.

The difference between the K-1 and the K-1 II is marginal. I myself prefer the K-1 "classic" - for one thing the battery lasts longer.

The 36MP resolution allows for tight cropping if needed.

Avoid shutter speeds with the K-1 or K-1 II in the range 1/90s - 1/180s due to blur introduced by shutter vibration. Most/all FF camreas of any brand seems to suffer from this. An APS-C body doesn't exhibit this issue (at least it isn't at a noticable level).
07-31-2019, 02:48 PM   #8
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I think if I had the money and was purely using the system for wildlife, I'd have to go for the Canon - the 645Z can do everything else beautifully, but focusing speed and tracking can make or break a wildlife shot - and I'd probably throw in a 1.4x converter as well - Canon converters seem to be very good. That's from a lifelong Pentax user, but you have to be realistic.

07-31-2019, 04:55 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by leonine Quote
Well, i think the FF will give much better dynamic range, has better resolution and will allow me to print bigger sizes in future.

Is there a K1 ii equivalent camera in APS-C format? Just asking, but i am rather sure i would like to stick to FF.
Having tried wildlife, I would get the longest lens possible. If it is Pentax, K1 and 150-450 combo is not long enough. I would go with the Pentax KP and the 150-450. the KP crop factor would give you the extra reach. If it is Canon, I would get either the Sigma or the Tamron 150-600 and an APS-c Canon body. Those are the lenses you need for a safari type shooting. I tired a 400mm focal length and a full frame body and the lens was waaaaaaaay too short for wildlife. You need 600mm+ focal length.
07-31-2019, 05:05 PM   #10
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Leonine, check the 300mm plus Lens Club right here in this forum for superb Pentax wildlife photography.
07-31-2019, 08:37 PM   #11
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I shot a lot of wildlife with the 150-450 and a Pentax 600mm f5.6 A. I have the K1, K3 and K5iis and usually go with the K3 for the crop factor. Remember if you crop a FF you are effectively getting fewer pixels than a APS image of the same view.

That said, if what you want to do is in flight birds, IMHO I would be looking into Sony, Nikon, or Canon. They just have better focusing systems that Pentax, I'm sorry to say. My wife has a Canon 7D and with the right lens it will catch more images of moving birds (no camera is perfect). With large birds I have no trouble catching them with the K3 and the 150-450, but small ones it is no contest.

---------- Post added 07-31-2019 at 11:39 PM ----------

PS If it IS landscapes, hands down, the K1 is the best body out there, hands down.
07-31-2019, 09:02 PM - 3 Likes   #12
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I would also suggest that the KP might be better suited for your wildlife needs. It's smaller, cheaper, and provides more "reach" for a given focal length. Although I have a K-1 as well, I have found the DFA 150-450 to be a very capable and responsive combination on the KP - the AF worked fine tracking birds in flight in Antarctica, as well as other assorted wildlife on the trip.









I was very comfortable with its weather sealing too

08-01-2019, 02:24 AM   #13
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I have shot wildlife with Pentax and Canon and overall Canon is the way to go. But for a African safari most of your shots will be of slow moving larger mammals the K1 will do just fine, if you are lucky enough to see a lion or cheetah chasing something then you will want the Canon.

If you think you will be shooting more wildlife in the future Canons lens lineup is so far ahead of Pentax, Pentax has just given up on the long lens and Sigma and Tamron don't offer their new big zooms in K mount.
08-01-2019, 03:17 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I think the K-1 will work. For some reason everyone on this thread is gravitating to birds in flight although you expressly said that wasn't your interest, but showing animals in their natural habitat. For that, the K-1 and 150-450 would work nicely, but I would get a 28-105 too, or some sealed lens that covers at least a moderate wide angle.

Don't get me wrong, the 5D IV is going to be better for auto focus, I just think the K-1 and K-1 II are more than adequate for the things you would be shooting.
08-01-2019, 04:53 AM   #15
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I'd go with my K-3. The 8 FPS and 23 shot buffer are what I use. That and a 150-450 would be fine. Many of my own wildlife images are taken with my 60-250.
The 5D IV isa going to be better for tracking, but even shooting wildlife, I rarely find tracking is necessary.

The 5D is also better for clearing the buffer, buffer size etc., many many advantages.
If money is no object the 5D IV is the better choice.

The frustration of using a K-1 waiting for the buffer to clear is often excruciating for my style of shooting. The K-3 isn't a lot better, it just has a bigger buffer.

Over the years, I've been satires with my K-3 images....
Wildlife | Flickr
Wild-Birds | Flickr

But with money to burn, I might give a 5D a try. After all, buying one and selling it won't be a problem if you don't mind losing a bit of money and you decide it's not for you.
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