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10-26-2015, 04:09 PM   #1
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K-S1 First Impressions

My main system is Samsung NX, I have two cameras, NX20 and NX30 and 5 lenses. I also have Pentax K-01 bought under influence by my favourite photo blogger Kirk Tuck and MX-1 point & shoot.

Recently my eyesight got worse and I have to wear glasses now. Unfortunately, my Samsungs aren't friendly to eyeglass wearers, and I can only see about 70-80% of the viewfinder. So I decided to buy a new walkaround camera with good viewfinder, excellent image quality, small, light and inexpensive. Since I like the K-01 image quality and have a couple of Pentax lenses, the K-S1 naturally caught my attention. When the price dropped to reasonable $320 + tax, I bought it online from the Camera Store, Calgary the very same guys who declared it "the worst camera of 2014". Now that they have to sell it cheap, they have nobody to blame but themselves for bad advertisement .

I think Blue or Denim versions look sexier, but only black was available as body only. The camera is very plasticy, small, light and looks pretty cool. I like the illuminated buttons and mode dial.

First of all, the image quality is excellent! It's a solid upgrade from the K-01 and has less noise and more dynamic range than the Samsung sensor which is also 20 MP.

The viewfinder is big and bright, I can see the whole thing except maybe the extreme corners.

The autofocus is fast and reliable though noisy.

Having read many not so favourable reviews, I expected to dislike the user interface, but it is surprisingly good. I have no problem with the rear mode dial and buttons and have yet to accidentally bump the AF/MF switch. The much maligned grip is OK with lighter lenses and tolerable with a one pound lens. In fact I found the grip of the K-S2 less comfortable. I can live without weather sealing and second control dial. A flip-out screen would be nice but my Samsungs have one.

Overall the K-S1 is a pretty good camera, however it has one big flaw. The mirror/shutter mechanism is very loud making discreet shooting impossible. It is about 3 times louder than that of full frame cameras Nikon D800 and Canon 5DIII. Moreover, it introduces vibration that degrades image quality. Blurring or doubling often occurs at shutter speeds from 1/80 to 1/160s. This is very annoying as the camera likes those shutter speeds. I have to avoid them and often shoot in Tv or TAv mode. This is why I cannot say it's an excellent camera, but I still like and will keep it.

Here are some shots taken with the K-S1: Alex Gridenko Studio | Pentax K-S1 Full size downloads available for pixel peeping. Enjoy!

I included a few shots taken with Mamiya 645 lenses to show how good the sensor is with a good glass. Neither kit lens nor plastic-fantastic 35/2.4 are up to the task. I'm planning to replace the kit lens with Sigma 17-70.

12-24-2015, 07:21 AM   #2
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Hi, Alex!
did you notice the same blur due to the "resonance" of the body with the movement of the mirror/shutter also using heavier optics?

The k7 has a similar problem, partially solved by increasing of weight with the BG.
12-27-2015, 10:51 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by giuseppesavo Quote
Hi, Alex!
did you notice the same blur due to the "resonance" of the body with the movement of the mirror/shutter also using heavier optics?

The k7 has a similar problem, partially solved by increasing of weight with the BG.
The blur depends on the lens but not on weight only. With the heavy Sigma 17-70, the blur is noticeable but much less than with the kit lens. However it almost never happens with the light 50/1.8.
12-28-2015, 03:03 AM   #4
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LumoLabs -- Shutter-induced blur for Pentax K-7

I'll try at home with various lenses I have.

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