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02-28-2021, 08:38 PM - 8 Likes   #1
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Pentax K-1 reputation for "bulky and heavy" - is it deserved vs. competing cameras?

I recently read several reviews of the Pentax K-1 Mark II on the web and I noticed something I found interesting. The reviewers usually make several negative comments in the reviews about the large size and heavy weight of the Pentax camera. Yet, they don’t make similar comments about the competing Nikon, Canon, or Sony models – even though those other models, with comparable lenses attached, are often heavier. For example, these are some phrases regarding size or weight used to describe the K-1 Mark II in the camera review appearing in dpreview: “chunky grip; built like a tank – and as heavy; big, comfortable grip; camera is on the heavy side; still quite heavy; large and obtrusive; camera is quite heavy and bulky.” On the other hand, these are terms related to size and weight used by dpreview to describe the Nikon D850: “slimmed down, deepened grip; very comfortable to hold despite its relative heft; impressive feel of solidity; confidence in the cameras build.” Now the D850 with battery weighs 1005 grams, only 5 grams less than the K-1 with battery (1010 grams). And when you add the weights of comparable 24-70mm F2.8 lenses, the D850 with lens weighs 2075 grams, or 278 grams more than the Pentax with lens (1797 grams). The Pentax often weighs less than the competing cameras when you add the weight of comparable lenses, since the competing cameras often have stabilization built into the lenses, rather than built into the body as in the K-1. In the above example, the Nikon 24-70 VR lens weighs 1070 grams, while the Pentax 24-70 weighs only 787 grams. For some reason, a little extra weight adds “solidity” and “confidence” that you have a well-built camera if it is a Nikon, but the same weight on a Pentax makes it “heavy and bulky.” The Nikon D850 body is also 10% larger in volume (146 x 124 x 79 mm) than the K-1 (137 x 110 x 86 mm), and the Nikon 24-70 zoom is 45mm longer than the Pentax lens (155mm vs 110mm) so I’m not sure why the Pentax strikes the reviewers as notably “bulky” while the Nikon does not. The other interesting factor is the cost. The Nikon D850 with that lens costs $4954, or 70% more than the Pentax combination ($2921).

02-28-2021, 09:03 PM - 4 Likes   #2
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Once you take account of DPReview's anti-Pentax bias and pro-Nikon and pro-Canon view then it's all pretty obvious where they come from. FWIW I've only handled the K-1 out of the camera's you mentioned and I find it really-well balanced in the hand and a delight to use.
02-28-2021, 09:11 PM - 6 Likes   #3
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If you are referring to reviews at say...DPreview...then remembe this is the site that one year compared different FF cameras and left out the K1. Why? It was not expensive enough. And no I did not make that up.
02-28-2021, 09:12 PM - 5 Likes   #4
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I think the opinions on size and weight are a product of the context and time frame in which the review is written.

The original K-1 (2016) was not described as being "bulky and heavy" by DPR. The K-1 II (2018) is.
The Nikon D850 (2017) is not. The D500 (2016) is described as "big, heavy" probably because it is APS-C.
The Canon 1D X Mk III (2020) is described as "big and heavy".
The Olympus OM-D E-M1x (2019) is described as "...almost comically large given the sensor size".

So no, I don't think there is any particular Pentax-specific bias from DPR in that regard.

02-28-2021, 09:33 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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The only logic I can suggest is that the k-1 is very dense. The d850 being larger makes this density cause the Pentax to feel heavier when it is actually quite similar in weight. My own feeling having handled a k-1 for about a month is that compared to my k-3 it felt enormous and bulky. Compared to the KP it’s even bulkier. The Sony A7rII I have is more svelte but as others have said the weight advantage is dwarfed in some combinations.
02-28-2021, 10:27 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The only logic I can suggest is that the k-1 is very dense. The d850 being larger makes this density cause the Pentax to feel heavier
I think this is part of it.

That said it feels like reviewers largely give a free pass on weight when it comes to the Panasonic S1 or the Fuji Medium Format system.
02-28-2021, 10:52 PM - 1 Like   #7
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The K1 (II) is bulky and heavy. Others are heavy or bulky or heavy & bulky. All these cameras do their job quite well. Reviews are subjective and you should handle a camera before you buy it.
03-01-2021, 12:43 AM - 4 Likes   #8
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I think a lot of it is a sort of memetic 'wisdom' passed on between people ho have little love for or experience of Pentax and part of the pro-MILC agenda which we all know are superior in every way to DSLRs

03-01-2021, 01:49 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by OldChE Quote
I recently read several reviews
I guess you just read subjective user opinions with strong personal bias, not serious reviews.


Any robust approach to judging "weight" would want to be consistent and therefore define in gramms what is "light", "ok" and "heavy". This is super easy to do. E.g. Light = < 500 g; Heavy >1,000 g.
Anything between that is one level of okish.


Applying the exact same publicly defined standards to all objects is the basis for any semi scientific / robust approach.

The same applies to size.

I personally judge size like this:
Small: Camera and lens fit into my shirt chest pocket.
Large: Camera and one standard zoom lens do not fit anymore into one compartment of my very small and light daypack.

Between that: okish.


All this still is subjective (as is any judgement) but it would be applied uniformly and fair to all items.
03-01-2021, 02:29 AM   #10
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Sadly this is all too common. Ricoh Pentax for some reason is perennially dismissed. Maybe its down to the lack of products, but then there aren't that many leicas or hasselblads either. The camera store reviewers always mock Pentax but then when they get into the actual review, Chris Nichols loves the camera, OK, he didn't like the kp grip but the K1, K3 & K70 did very well. Likewise, when they are extolling the virtues of a camera they treat things as innovative despite Pentax having it for ten years. That's just where we are. We are in a mirror less world where bodies are smaller!
03-01-2021, 02:46 AM - 4 Likes   #11
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Best advice: Avoid DPReview.
03-01-2021, 02:55 AM - 3 Likes   #12
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The K-1 is smaller than most other FF cameras, but it's also one of the heaviest (up there with the D850/Panny S1 and below 1D/D5).
It is also very chunky front-to-back, particularly compared with how "short" it is in the other dimensions, which also makes it feel brick-like.

Since it's so dense, it actually feels great in hand because unless you have a monster tele the weight is centered on the body, not on the front of the lens.
03-01-2021, 03:33 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I have no idea why reviewers decide to emphasize what they do. In the case of the K-1, you could describe it as big and heavy or you could describe it as "incredibly solid and well built."

As to whether that is a detriment, I would say that if you use heavier lenses like the f2.8 lenses or DFA * primes, then the weight is not harmful and helps balance the camera better. My wife shoots weddings (or did before COVID) and would use a K-1/K-1 II with grips and with DFA 24-70 and DFA *70-200 on them for a 10 hour day. She isn't a body builder but much preferred them to the K-3, even though it is a lighter camera.
03-01-2021, 06:14 AM - 3 Likes   #14
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DPR's huge, glaring fault is that the reviews are not subjected to a final editorial review by a disinterested group of "peer" reviewers, which they could easily compile from volunteers at the site, just as they have moderators of the individual forums. These sorts of sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander errors would be wiped out instantly.


Pentax is not the only one that has suffered over the years. I know for a fact both Oly and Sony (early on) have had the same sort of issues in the reviews, Oly going back to Phil Askey and the infamous "solution looking for a problem" comment he made about Oly's innovation of live view. So, the the blindness is baked into their dna.
03-01-2021, 06:32 AM - 9 Likes   #15
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That is ONE of the reasons I choose Pentax, Doesn't feel like a damn plastic toy.
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