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06-01-2016, 08:39 AM - 1 Like   #1
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An outsiderís amateur initial impression of the K-1.

Let’s get some disclaimers out of the way.
  • I’m a hobbyist. Not a professional. Take everything I say with the dead sea’s worth of salt. It’s very likely I’m wrong or something I say is an issue can easily be corrected.
  • This is my first pentax camera. I won’t touch on many of the gripes people have about moved buttons because the whole layout is new to me.
  • Most of these notes are ill thought out, semi-stream of consciousness impressions. They’ll be rambling, incoherent and contradictory.
  • I’m comparing the K-1 to the Nikon D40x. It’s not a fair comparison but since this is the transition I’m making, these are my thoughts.
  • I didn’t get to play with the K-1 until after 10pm last night so this is strictly handling impressions only.

It’s big. It dwarfs my D40x. It’s heavy. I’ve obsessed over the numbers but until you get it in your had it’s hard to fully appreciate the weight. I spent most of the night with the FA 43 ltd on the K-1. The grip is deep. I have small hands and the grip is too deep for my personal preferences. YMMV. I don’t like how my ring and pinky fingers jut out more because the grip tapers out a little. On my D40x my pinky would rest under the hand grip (the grip and camera body are tiny) and support it. I always felt the D40x grip was too small but the K-1 goes too far the other way (for my hand size). It’s likely something I’ll get used to and will be a non issue but right now...I don’t want to say it’s a bothersome but it’s conspicuous.

The other thing I noticed is that in part because of the larger grip it’s hard to do thing with my right hand without also supporting the camera with my left.

Despite all this griping about the grip it’s easier to hold than my D40x. Specifically it’s easier to hold while my arm hangs down at my side. This is in part because the thumb grip has a nice rubber and more pronounced protrusion.. Even though the K-1 is double the weight of my D40x, the K-1 feels more secure. The D40x’s thumb grip was relatively shallow and didn’t have any rubber. It was slick and not confidence inspiring. I rarely walked around with it in my hand. It was either out for a shot or slung over my shoulder with a strap.

In my excitement I quickly attached the Sigma 85mm lens…and promptly marked my K-1 (d’oh!). C’est la vie. Combined, they’re an anvil. Seriously, total weight is not to be underestimated. I can now full appreciate why people wouldn’t want to carry that around. I’m keeping the sigma but on dog walks where a lot of one handed pictures will be taken, I’m going with the FA43.

The shutter button: This is one thing I genuinely don’t like about the K-1. The D40x (and all Nikons I’ve used) have a very distinct tactile click at the half press and full press actuation points. Even after 8 years of use, my D40x’s shutter button still feels crisp. The K-1 feels mushy. The best way I can describe the feel is like comparing one of those rollup water proof keyboards to a cherry MX blue mechanical keyboard. It's hard to feel were the half actuation point is. Already I’ve accidentally taken multiple pictures trying to only get it the half way actuation point. Without the audio beep for focus lock, I wouldn't know. And I want to turn off that beep. Given this will be the most used button I wish it had more tactile feedback.

On that note I wish the power on/off ring protruded vertically more. It's pretty stiff.

The function dial and setting dial are also really stiff. I’m sure it’ll break in with time but at present it’s not a one handed operation.

I find that when I try to adjust a AF point I keep hitting the D-pad first and bringing up one of those functions instead of moving the AF point. Something to get used to.

The AE-L is WAAAY easier to use on the K-1 than the D40x. The AE-L/AF-L on the D40x is a tiny button right next to the screen and near the eye piece. It was hard to press without hitting the molding around the screen. It usually required contorting your hand to press while also pressing the shutter button.

I really like the articulating screen. I wish it had just a little more movement to the sides and facing down. But as is, it’s great.

I've looked at that top info screen once. The D40x doesn't have one. I'm not sure if it's because I'm just not used to looking for it or what, but I found myself looking at main screen for the camera info. The top info screen just seems small and cramped.

I know that sounds like a lot of complaining but I am genuinely giddy to get out and use it.

EDIT: This doesn't come across well in text but most of my "complaints" basically boil down to, "I'm just not used this or that and with time I'll have completely forgotten about it". My only real complaint is the shutter button feel.


Last edited by serothis; 06-01-2016 at 09:09 AM.
06-01-2016, 08:50 AM   #2
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D40x is a toy by comparison. The camera is bound to be heavy as it's metal, weather sealed, and intended for professional use.

It's bit like getting in a Ferrari and fussing over the fact the break pedal is heavy - because it has to be to stop a such a powerful car.

Once you get used to the K1, it will all make perfect sense...
06-01-2016, 08:55 AM   #3
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I don't have a K-1 - so this is interesting to me primarily as a Pentax user but it is neat seeing the outsiders perspective. I have medium large ham hands so I suspect the grip size will not impact me but it is good to hear about the way it feels carried at your side. I tend to not use a strap these days and carry my K-3 that way and it is very comfortable but lighter - nice to know the K-1 is easy to carry that way.

Weight is a consideration for me - I'm also the owner of a Panasonic GX7 and in that system I'm going the opposite way - smaller. I could see myself ending up with FF and M43 at some point to differentiate the two a bit more than APSC/M43.

The shutter button comments are interesting. I came from film and my only autofocus experiences have been Pentax. Once in a while I have pressed too hard and taken a photo by mistake but rarely. I think your existing experience has given you some muscle memory that you will have to unlearn. As for the beep - I know you can control volume and I can't recall if you can turn that off and leave other sounds but I know you can silence it with volume controls.

As for the top screen. It is an acquired skill to use it. I had it on my first few Pentax AF bodies (film and digital had versions of it) and then lost it on the K-50 and got it back on the K-3. Having it means it is easier to turn OFF the rear LCD if you want. Most of the time that's what I do.

Thanks so much for the fresh perspective and good shooting to you!
06-01-2016, 09:02 AM   #4
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Thanks for your thoughts and I'm sure many of the niggles will go away once you become accustom to the camera. On the autofocus, I understand your frustration with the half-shutter autofocus. Can't tell you how many times I've done the same thing and I've been a Pentax shooter from the start. Right now I've disabled the feature and am training myself to use the rear AF button. I think once I get used to doing it this way I'll actually prefer it. You might consider the same.

06-01-2016, 09:08 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jrpower10 Quote
Thanks for your thoughts and I'm sure many of the niggles will go away once you become accustom to the camera. On the autofocus, I understand your frustration with the half-shutter autofocus. Can't tell you how many times I've done the same thing and I've been a Pentax shooter from the start. Right now I've disabled the feature and am training myself to use the rear AF button. I think once I get used to doing it this way I'll actually prefer it. You might consider the same.
I didn't think to recommend that. Back button autofocus is something I have never picked up but loads of folks love it. Essentially you assign a button on the back near your right thumb to control AF and you then turn it off on the shutter button. This allows you to control when you focus independent of when you turn on the metering etc.
06-01-2016, 09:16 AM   #6
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I'll add to the chorus for using back button AF. I discovered that with my K-5 and love being able to get AF.C by holding the back button, AF.S tapping the back button, and MF with quickshift lenses by not pressing the AF button, all without having to change the focusing mode.
06-01-2016, 09:18 AM   #7
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As UncleVanya said an advantage of the top LCD is, that you can check your settings without using the back LCD what saves energy and increases the battery service life.
With your problem of half pressing the shutter button you might consider back button focusing, this way you can focus with your thumb - recompose and take the picture with the shutter button without the need of half pressing it (this way you separate AF and shutter release onto 2 buttons / I prefer this method because I primarily use my center af point and no other af points on my K-3)

Regards Patrick
06-01-2016, 09:24 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jrpower10 Quote
Thanks for your thoughts and I'm sure many of the niggles will go away once you become accustom to the camera. On the autofocus, I understand your frustration with the half-shutter autofocus. Can't tell you how many times I've done the same thing and I've been a Pentax shooter from the start. Right now I've disabled the feature and am training myself to use the rear AF button. I think once I get used to doing it this way I'll actually prefer it. You might consider the same.
I'll give the back button AF a try (another thing I'll have to train myself to use) but I suspect that the basis of my complaint will remain. Reaching the full actuation point will be hard to tell. Currently what I do is press down to just before the actuation point; finish framing my shot; then press past the actuation point; I do this to minimize movement. Without a distinct actuation point, this will be harder to do.

I will have to unlearn a lot of habits.

EDIT: There's a lot of love for the back AF button

06-01-2016, 09:31 AM   #9
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First, Welcome to the Pentax world. Sometimes it is a little quirky but that's what makes it fun.
QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
It’s big. It dwarfs my D40x. It’s heavy.
Difference between APS-C and FF. Brand won't matter here all the FF cameras will be bigger than APS-C.
QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
On my D40x my pinky would rest under the hand grip (the grip and camera body are tiny) and support it.
Oddly, I am now delighted that my pinky now fits on the grip instead lost underneath the camera. My biggest gripe on earlier cameras was the grip was too short. YMMV
QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
Even though the K-1 is double the weight of my D40x, the K-1 feels more secure.
Agree. Much heavier yet the grip really works to make it feel secure in the hand.
QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
have a very distinct tactile click at the half press and full press actuation points.
You might want to try back button focus. Then you don't have to worry about half press. Takes a little to get used to but once you use it you won't go back.
QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
The function dial and setting dial are also really stiff. I’m sure it’ll break in with time but at present it’s not a one handed operation.
Agree, a little too stiff, hope it wears in.
QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
I find that when I try to adjust a AF point I keep hitting the D-pad first and bringing up one of those functions instead of moving the AF point.
There is a setting in the options to reverse this so you have to press the button before using the d-pad as functions. So it defaults to AF point adjust
QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
I'm not sure if it's because I'm just not used to looking for it or what,
Most cameras I've owned have had a top lcd. And I've never used it on any of them. Others swear by them. YMMV.
06-01-2016, 09:36 AM   #10
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I'm 68 and not very strong anymore; I have not found the weight of the K1 to be an issue. Of course on my K3 I had the battery grip so the weights are similar to a non gripped K1. I just got back from a 2 mile walk with the K1 - I'm used to carrying a camera on that walk - I didn't notice the weight. Do I have lighter cameras? Yes, but none of them gets close to a K1 in terms of image quality.
06-01-2016, 09:51 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
First, Welcome to the Pentax world. Sometimes it is a little quirky but that's what makes it fun.

Difference between APS-C and FF. Brand won't matter here all the FF cameras will be bigger than APS-C.

Oddly, I am now delighted that my pinky now fits on the grip instead lost underneath the camera. My biggest gripe on earlier cameras was the grip was too short. YMMV
Talk to me in month and I'll probably love the K-1 Grip compared to the D40x.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Agree. Much heavier yet the grip really works to make it feel secure in the hand.

You might want to try back button focus. Then you don't have to worry about half press. Takes a little to get used to but once you use it you won't go back.
Well, I will go back. That's where the button is

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
There is a setting in the options to reverse this so you have to press the button before using the d-pad as functions. So it defaults to AF point adjust
Ah ha! Thank you. This is going to be task number one when I get off work.


QuoteOriginally posted by HoustonBob Quote
I'm 68 and not very strong anymore; I have not found the weight of the K1 to be an issue. Of course on my K3 I had the battery grip so the weights are similar to a non gripped K1. I just got back from a 2 mile walk with the K1 - I'm used to carrying a camera on that walk - I didn't notice the weight. Do I have lighter cameras? Yes, but none of them gets close to a K1 in terms of image quality.
The weight is one of things I will have to get used to. It's not really a problem. Just something I found very noticeable coming from a tiny aps-c camera
06-01-2016, 10:28 AM   #12
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I think if you give back button AF a chance, you will love it. It's an adjustment, but I would never go back now. The only time I don't use it is when I'm using catch in focus with an MF lens. I think using back button AF will really alleviate your issues with the shutter button. This shutter button does have a different feel than any other Pentax I've used. I have had the K-r, K-30, and K-3. I'm not fond of it, but BBF makes it not that big of a deal. I do notice it when I switch back to the K-3 which, to me, has a superior tactile feel.

Congrats on the K-1 and I look forward to seeing how you like it as you get comfortable with it!
06-01-2016, 10:29 AM   #13
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The top screen is smaller than on the K3. Much smaller. Also, if you REALLY want to try heavy stick the DFA 150-450 on the K1. It is a beastly combo.
06-01-2016, 10:47 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
I'll give the back button AF a try (another thing I'll have to train myself to use) but I suspect that the basis of my complaint will remain. Reaching the full actuation point will be hard to tell. Currently what I do is press down to just before the actuation point; finish framing my shot; then press past the actuation point; I do this to minimize movement. Without a distinct actuation point, this will be harder to do.

I will have to unlearn a lot of habits.

EDIT: There's a lot of love for the back AF button
I switched to the back button a few years ago and haven't looked back. I do appreciate your comments regarding the mushy feel to the shutter button. I have read other users have the same feeling that they wish it had the same feel as other Pentax bodies. Thanks for sharing your experience. Always good to hear from others.
06-01-2016, 10:52 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by serothis Quote
Well, I will go back. That's where the button is
Just to be clear "back button AF" uses a button on the back of the camera marked AF to focus with, then you press the shutter button to actually take the shot. This disconnects the focusing action from the shutter actuation. For a lot of photography this works really well as you do not want the camera to refocus between shots. Macro or product photography for example or landscape on a tripod.

It takes some practice to get used to but once it becomes automatic it works much better than using the shutter button to focus with.

Sorry if you already knew that, not sure if that feature was offered on your old camera.

---------- Post added 06-01-16 at 10:53 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by bobell69 Quote
I switched to the back button a few years ago and haven't looked back. I do appreciate your comments regarding the mushy feel to the shutter button. I have read other users have the same feeling that they wish it had the same feel as other Pentax bodies.
Honestly, I see no difference. But I use back button focus so that might be the difference. I'm not trying to find that "half-press" point, which seems to be the root of the complaints. Works just fine for me using back button focus.
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