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11-02-2014, 09:29 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Initial Thoughts about the K-S1 & Photos

This camera is perfect for me. It provides me exactly what I want - a light-weight camera that will take awesome pictures.

Some background on me, so you can put my comments and pictures in perspective: I'm strictly a photography "hobbiest" as I call it. I'm definitely not a pro, I take snaps and occasionally really work at thinking through what I want. But there's huge gaps in my knowledge about photography in general, and composition specifically. Some day I hope to take a photography class, but until then I'll just play with my equipment, experimenting and trying new things. For almost a year I've had some health issues, including nerve damage in my arm. It's been painful to shoot with the K3, and even when it doesn't hurt, I struggle with the weight, doesn't matter which lens I have on it. It's rather taken the pleasure I've always had in taking pictures and I'll often just not bother taking the camera along, or not bother taking pictures when I do. It was so much fun to take the K100 out for the first time in a couple of years, that I decided to put the K3 aside for the time being.

For those who haven't read my other thread about the K-S1 colors, Wednesday I was feeling very proud of myself for deciding to wait until Black Friday before ordering the camera. All of the pictures I saw here made me want it now, but I thought I would be careful with my budget and wait. Imagine my surprise when I got home and checked my email, only to see a message from Amazon saying "Thank you for your order" - I had NOT ordered the camera, I had only checked the price of it. But while fumbling to shut the iPad down when someone came into my office, I must have accidentally hit the 1-click buy button, and it was too late to cancel the order. Rather than send it back, I've kept it.

The body is definitely plastic. That's fine with me, it kept the weight down. It's also small, another thing that's fine with me since I'm only 5'1" and have small hands, even for my size. It felt as "liberating" in my hands as the K100 did earlier in the week.

Some comments about the features/interface: I'm going to miss the level. But on the other hand, I never quite get things straight anyway so not having the level will get me to really think about shooting square. That's going to be better for me in the long run. I'm also going to miss having 5 shots for exposure bracketing. I don't shoot sets for HDR all that often, but I do use that feature. I was taking pictures at lunch today and found that the 3 exposures weren't enough to deal with the huge dynamic range. Not a big deal, but something for me to think about. I'm also going to miss the optical preview on the power switch - I was using a K lens and would have liked to use it today.

Today I spent about an hour wandering around Harvey House in Barstow on my way home. It's about the half-way point and an interesting place to stop for a break. I got there around noon - the light was very strong and the air very clear, really lousy conditions for taking pictures. These photos have had minimal processing - they were taken RAW, converted using Lightroom and resized or cropped using CS6. I adjusted exposure/levels/contrast but not much else. Normally I use Topaz Labs Detail for a bit of sharpening after I resize, but the settings I use routinely with the K3 are too heavy for the K-S1 so most (but not all) have no sharpening applied. They are more or less snaps that I took of things that caught my eye. I'll leave most of the comparison stuff to someone else, I find such things frustrating and I never get it right.



A bit about Harvey House:



If Zenfolio hasn't changed, you should be able to follow this link and then on the left side of the frame, there should be a link to download the original, full sized (not cropped or resized) version of the picture: Zenfolio | Mtngal's Photos | 2014 Photo Diary - I thought text would give you a good idea of the quality/detail the camera can capture. Let me know if the link doesn't work for you. If you look at the EXIF you will notice that it was shot with a 24mm K or A lens - it was taken with a Pentax SMC 24mm f2.8 lens I bought originally in 1980 or 1981. I didn't understand wide-angle at the time, so I never used it on my film camera, it's in excellent condition. The K-S1 had no problem setting the exposure using the green button.

This next picture was taken through a window. I was surprised by the quality of this picture - the SR works really, really well. This was taken with a 1/13 sec shutter speed at 77mm - something unheard of for me.



And just to prove that it wasn't a one-off thing, here's a shot taken at 1/15 sec. The picture is soft, but the lens was stopped down to f22 - the smallest the lens can do. I wanted to see if I could show that the train station is not abandoned, it's an active railway yard still.



Besides being an active rail yard and Amtrak station, there's two museums, one about Route 66 and one about railroads. They have a few rail carriages, engines, etc. on display.



Another thing that impressed me when I got home and started playing around with the pictures, the camera is better about recovering shadow detail without noise than the K3 is. Here's a shot that's straight out of the camera:



And here I used Lightroom to lighten the shadows and adjust the black point. I was quite pleased about this - it may be easier to part with the K5 than I had thought.



One last example of how much detail the camera captures - here's the full frame/resized picture:



The texture of whatever is on the cables (grease? preservative?). Here's a 100% crop for pixel peepers (yes, I can be one - I crop a lot so the cleaner/more detail the better).



I don't have words to say just how delighted I am right now about the camera. I'm glad that I made such a big mistake and accidentally ordered the white camera. At the moment it's my cute baby Panda bear (the 4 lenses I'm using on it are black - 3 Limited and the old 24). Later this week it will morph into a pretty unicorn when I get the silver DA40 Ltd - my accidental unicorn.

Perhaps there's too few photography enthusiasts who have some sort of physical limitation to make it worth spending money on marketing. But as far as I'm concerned, it's wonderful!

11-02-2014, 09:44 PM   #2
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Congrats on the new camera and thanks for the report. Will have to organize a meet up so we can check it out.
11-02-2014, 11:11 PM   #3
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Thank you for these samples. Good test pix.

Sometimes I think the smaller Pentax make a SLR, the better the images that get produced by it. I always felt that way with my film MX and my K-x. Now the K-S1 seems to be following the same path.
11-02-2014, 11:31 PM   #4
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Thanks for posting your thoughts on the K-S1. Your Zenfolio link works just fine.

Its good to hear that the K-S1 is not such an encumbrance to you... photography should be fun, not painful.

11-03-2014, 12:13 AM   #5
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thank you wrote very valuable information, it's great - when the camera is fully justified hopes
11-03-2014, 04:54 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Congrats on the new camera and thanks for the report. Will have to organize a meet up so we can check it out.
I'd be happy to get together and show it off. I'm actually planning on staying in town for the next 3 weekends, if there's anything interesting going on.
11-03-2014, 05:47 AM   #7
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Overall positive reviews of this camera distract me from my mission to get more (expensive) primes (and conquer the world...). I loved my K100DS much more for casual use than K5II, which I find rather heavy (another reason why I don't want K3). When this goes on fire sale, I might be tempted...
11-03-2014, 09:12 PM   #8
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More impressions - I played around with the camera some more today. It was a good thing it was quiet today because I spent a good part of the day quietly in my work area, taking pictures, ordering a spare battery and another card (when I discovered I had left the card in the computer, I wasn't happy. Until I remembered I had the Flu Card in the camera bag. Didn't try to control the camera with it, but it was nice to see that the camera recognized it).

I tried some fairly high ISO shots. I also tried to use Live View a couple of times. While that worked well, I didn't figure out how to adjust the focus spot, it didn't seem to work like how I had it set up on the K3. Need to read the owners manual! But when it chose the wrong spot to focus on, it was easy enough to change to manual focus and get the right spot in focus.

I've been shooting raw+ and today I set the jpg first to natural (liked that better than the bright, I've felt that way with all the Pentax cameras I've owned), then to b&w instead of the default bright. I still have the default settings for noise reduction turned on. Here's the jpb b&w version, straight out of the camera with no processing at all. Taken with the DA 35 Macro:



and the link to where you can download the full sized version of it: Zenfolio | Mtngal's Photos | 2014 Photo Diary . Here is the raw photo, I converted it using Lightroom. I did turn off the automatic sharpening that's part of LR's default settings as I find that introduces more noise than what is really there. My office has energy efficient cool white fluorescent bulbs and the camera was on multiple light source AWB. I thought it did reasonably well though it isn't completely corrected and I didn't try to correct it or sharpen it or do anything other than changing the LR sharpening to "0".



And the link to the full sized version: Zenfolio | Mtngal's Photos | 2014 Photo Diary . It was taken at ISO 6400. I tried up to 10000 and while I could use it in a pinch with a bit of noise reduction software, it isn't as high as I would want to go on a regular basis.

I had planned on making sure the O-GPS works with the camera, but didn't - my bag wasn't big enough for both the O-GPS and my wallet, and my stomach took precedence. Maybe tomorrow - I have replenished my supply of cash.

11-04-2014, 12:55 AM   #9
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Live View this is a great feature, I also often use it.Noise on my camera I turned to her - and I disable this function does not prevent first, whether you use lightroom, then in this program without any problems, you can seriously reduce the noise in the image
11-04-2014, 02:43 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Good to hear you're having fun, Mtngal! The size means I'm carrying it in situations I wouldn't take my K-30, and being able to use good lenses means my Sony mirrorless is staying home more often, too.
11-04-2014, 02:53 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Thanks for sharing. For some reason this camera has really gotten my attention since it was announced. Aside from the naysayers, the people who have actually used the KS-1 seem to really like it. Looking at the photos being posted on this site, I am beginning to think that 20 megapixels may just be the perfect fit for the APS-c sensor size using current sensor technology.

I recently got an MX-1 for a very good price and that little camera has really impressed me too. Your photos seem to have a rich, "smooth" quality to them that I like a lot. Sharp too.
11-04-2014, 10:43 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gaweidert Quote
Thanks for sharing. For some reason this camera has really gotten my attention since it was announced. Aside from the naysayers, the people who have actually used the KS-1 seem to really like it. Looking at the photos being posted on this site, I am beginning to think that 20 megapixels may just be the perfect fit for the APS-c sensor size using current sensor technology.

I recently got an MX-1 for a very good price and that little camera has really impressed me too. Your photos seem to have a rich, "smooth" quality to them that I like a lot. Sharp too.
Thank you for the compliment - Pentax has done a good job with this sensor. Like the K3 there's a lot of detail captured but what noise there is can be easily removed without too much smearing. I think it's less than the K3, but I'm not going to go out of my way to take comparison shots. There's always some type of difference when I try that and all that happens is I have inconclusive pictures and end up frustrated. Lightroom doesn't have a problem with the DNG files, so processing them isn't any different than any of the other cameras I've owned. But somehow I'm getting pleasing (to me at least) results from this camera with minimal effort - it just suits me and my photography style.

One little thing I find annoying - on the K3 the review button is on the left more or less where the Live View button is on the K-S1. I keep pushing the wrong button when I don't think about it (minor annoyance and I'll get used to it quickly, the more I use the camera). Also, the switch for AF/MF is easy to change - I've accidentally switched it without realizing it.
11-05-2014, 12:12 PM   #13
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how is the hand grip without having much rubber on it? I am also a petite female and looking ro upgrade my KX
11-05-2014, 01:42 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pixxie Quote
how is the hand grip without having much rubber on it? I am also a petite female and looking ro upgrade my KX
One of my issues is that I struggle so much with big, heavy cameras. I tend to grip them almost completely with my right hand on the hand-grip, rather a death-grip and lousy for stability. I don't need to do that with this camera, it can rest lightly on my left hand and my right hand can lightly squeeze the shutter. It's very comfortable using the camera.

On the other hand, it is small so I wouldn't want to walk around holding it only by the grip. It feels less secure that way than the K3 does, but part of that may be my nerve problems. I don't like having my hands full so I don't use a wrist strap, only either a sling or a neck strap. I am currently using an old Op/Tech neck strap that's comfortable but I'm thinking of changing to the Op/Tech sling strap I have on the K-3. I've gotten used to a camera being tucked on my side instead of swinging on my neck.
11-05-2014, 03:15 PM   #15
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I'd gotten used to just a wrist strap made from a hunk of 550 paracord on my K-01, so that's what I've been using on the K-S1. Super-light, soft, hypo-allergenic, and strong enough to support MY weight, not just the camera. Last weekend, I meant to switch to a neck strap for a day at the zoo, but forgot, and ended up carrying the K-S1 with a 55-300 in one hand. It really wasn't bad at all. I'd usually just dangle the camera from a couple fingers (instead of 'gripping' it), or just hold onto the lens barrel if I was going to be walking for awhile.

You can see my strap on the K-S1 and K-01 in this shot:
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