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10-27-2014, 08:28 PM - 6 Likes   #1
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K-S1 First Impressions

I just unboxed my K-S1!

The metallic blue is satin, not glossy. The color is quite a bit lighter than the Crystal Blue K-30 or Navy K-x. The silver panel on the side is actually darker than it appears in photos, more of a "steel" or "gunmetal" color. The satin finish makes it feel a little more warm or perhaps "plasticky" to the touch, but the overall feeling is solid. You know, like a Pentax.

The much-discussed LEDs: It took almost exactly the same amount of time to get bored with them and turn them off as it did for the blue power LED on my K-x. It might have been better if the front/back/top LEDs had separate settings, but ALL- bright/dim/off is fine. Not a big deal at all. The timer countdown consists of eight flashes of all five, then each one going out 5-4-3-2-1.

(Deleted - remarks about DPR's first impressions of the grip and and rear control wheel. Let's just say I don't agree.)

It takes a little effort to turn the mode wheel with just a thumb or finger, but it's easy to turn with thumb AND finger. The dished shape of the mode wheel makes pushing the 4-way buttons... not harder, just different from previous bodies. The slightly rough texture of the edge of the mode wheel actually makes it work as part of the thumb rest. The impression I get is that they designed this new control layout with preventing accidental changes in mind. The "regular" thumb wheel feels a lot like the K-01, but is "clickier". The AF/MF switch is easier to change than any body I own - it might be TOO easy to switch. At least it is easy to check by touch. The other button locations will be familiar to any K-30 owner.

The weight is very like a K-01, lighter than a K-x or K-30. With smaller lenses, I could see dispensing with the neck strap and just using a wrist cord. The grip shape... to be honest, the K-01 is more comfortable to me, especially one-handed, but I won't claim to be typical. I would have preferred the front edge and rear lower corner to be a little more rounded. With heavier lenses, that rear corner digs into the heel of the thumb. It is possible to hold the K-S1 thumb-on-shutter, similar to the K-01.

The shutter noise is very like a K-30 or K-x in volume and character. Maybe slightly lower in tone. I'll work on recording some samples later. The screwdrive seems a little loud on long focus throws, but it does feel quicker.

It's interesting no one has said anything about the SD card slot being in the bottom, in the battery compartment. It's not a big deal to me, but that used to be a common nit-pick on compacts (did people even use point-n-shoots on tripods that much?)

Mentioning the battery compartment, not only is the battery smaller than the K-01, but they actually moved it towards the back a little. That means they REALLY squeezed the main circuit board. I'm not surprised they left off features like the electronic level (which they also left off the K-01, but I've come to accept that one of my legs must be shorter than the other, and have invested in some hotshoe bubble levels).

The menus and controls are very familiar. Someone used to the K-x/r/30/50/500 would be able to pick it up and start shooting immediately. Someone used only to the K-7/5/3 might have to do a little more familiarization, but that would be true with any of the "plastic" bodies.

All in all, it's another solid little Pentax. It may be this weekend before we can go out and play, but I'll get some shots up sooner or later.

Edit: Link to my K-S1 album on flickr - samples, crops, comparison shots, probably some lensporn eventually
https://www.flickr.com/photos/thoog/sets/72157649063263895


Last edited by THoog; 11-04-2014 at 05:34 AM. Reason: Added link to flickr set
10-28-2014, 01:42 AM   #2
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Nice, enjoy it. The wackwheel gets easier when used a bit. The grip will grow on you as did the K-01. Looking forward to some nice images. Make them your best work ever, or at least an attempt to that
10-28-2014, 01:59 AM   #3
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Have fun, Thoog. I used mine at the weekend, but it's stayed in the slingbag and my K-30 is still at home with a body cap on it ... hmmm ...
10-28-2014, 12:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
It's interesting no one has said anything about the SD card slot being in the bottom, in the battery compartment. It's not a big deal to me, but that used to be a common nit-pick on compacts (did people even use point-n-shoots on tripods that much?).
I use the MX-1 on a monopod sometimes and yes, it's a right pita to have to remove the head mount plate each time you want to remove the card.
If they can put the slot on the side of the Q then I reckon they can do it with any body size. Sharing the battery door on the K-S1 would be a major annoyance for me, I use my K-01 and K-50 on tripods often. But then, I have never considered the K-S1 is a camera I'd like.

Thanks for the report THoog, and shoot some video then let us know your thoughts - eg; is there any improvement over the K-01?

10-28-2014, 12:45 PM   #5
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Thanks for the report - I'm looking forward to your sample pictures.
10-29-2014, 07:48 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I got a couple quick sound comparisons done of the K-S1 with the K-30 and K-x: The shutter is almost identical to the K-30/50/500. The screwdrive is a little more shrill, but I think it's faster.



The lens used for the comparison is the 35/2.4 "Plastic Fantastic", which is pretty noisy. I wanted a worst case scenario. Limiteds are quieter, of course.

10-29-2014, 08:38 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
If they can put the slot on the side of the Q then I reckon they can do it with any body size
If you read the interview, that is precisely contrary to what the lead product engineer said.
10-29-2014, 10:25 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
I just unboxed my K-S1!

[snip]
This was very valuable feedback - thanks for posting that. I look forward to your pictures and also how you found the K-S1 to use when taking them.

10-29-2014, 10:28 AM   #9
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Thanks, THoog, I look forward to your review of this camera...
10-29-2014, 11:24 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
If you read the interview, that is precisely contrary to what the lead product engineer said.
The more I handle the K-S1, the more I think the 'S' stands for 'small' or 'squeezed', and not so much 'stylish', as the marketing would have you believe. I also think the statement in the interview that leaving off weather sealing was a "truly painful decision" sounds genuine.

The K-S1 really gives me a K-x vibe, as in a small, very capable camera, with some compromises to achieve that small size.

You guys need to be nice to me, because Pentax apparently was listening when I said "they need to make a successor to the K-x". Or when, in a "more big lenses" versus "more small lenses" debate, I joked that they needed "more medium lenses" - and the next day, the 16-85 was unveiled.

Last edited by THoog; 10-29-2014 at 11:35 AM.
10-29-2014, 11:44 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
You guys need to be nice to me, because Pentax apparently was listening when I said "they need to make a successor to the K-x". Or when, in a "more big lenses" versus "more small lenses" debate, I joked that they needed "more medium lenses" - and the next day, the 16-85 was unveiled.
Could you set up a candle for aps-h?
10-29-2014, 12:41 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
Could you set up a candle for aps-h?
I'll see what I can do, Ron - but I'm not a miracle worker!

(Does anyone make an APS-H sensor with built-in Phase Detect?)
10-29-2014, 01:10 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
If you read the interview, that is precisely contrary to what the lead product engineer said.
Which interview?
10-29-2014, 01:36 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
I'll see what I can do, Ron - but I'm not a miracle worker!

(Does anyone make an APS-H sensor with built-in Phase Detect?)
Make that two candles.
10-29-2014, 03:17 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve.Ledger Quote
Which interview?
EDIT: DC Watch interview and Ricoh Product Story linked on p.2 of this thread with the lead product engineer. Linked on the other K-S1 thread.
"For the battery insertion direction, we changed to a horizontal orientation from the vertical orientation used on the K-30 and other models. Just changing from vertical to horizontal might seem like an easy thing, but it was, in fact, a very difficult task since we had to pretty much redesign the power supply circuit. We also combined the card slot and the battery cover and made various other changes as part of our detail-level rethinking of component positioning, and in the end we realized a significant reduction in size for the K-S1."

Last edited by monochrome; 10-29-2014 at 03:36 PM.
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