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07-05-2016, 10:13 AM - 5 Likes   #1
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My K-1 has arrived! Thoughts and comparison with the K-3

I honestly didn't think I was going to buy a full frame camera. The K-3 still serves me extremely well. However, in order to continue performing reviews for pentaxforums, a FF body was in order, so here it is!

The camera is much smaller than expected, although the weight is on par with my expectations.

I LOVE the new LCD overlay in the viewfinder, it's wonderful, feels very modern and is more useful than I would have thought. This in particular feels like a modern upgrade to the K-3's system. The red blinking (when AF is locked) gets some time getting used to however.

The pivoting screen is marvelous, feels natural and fluid in use. I see myself doing a lot of macro with that.

I dislike how the top monochrome LCD has shrunk however. It seems to me it should have been possible to place the quick access wheel on top of its jog dial to save on some real estate. That way, the useful information would have been accessible without relying on the back screen. I guess I'll have to adapt my workflow. Quick access to settings is nice so I like the IDEA of it, just not the space it takes.

I'm not sure the lock button will be used at all, but I don't mind that it's there.

Buttons placement is par for the course. Very natural coming from a K-3, with only a few adjustments needed. Typical Pentax, fluid and intuitive.

The small LEDs are a clever and useful idea. They could have illuminated the buttons themselves, but I assume that would have required cheaper rubber buttons, maybe not as easy to weatherseal. So the LEDs are a great way around that (plus the can illuminate other things too, and since they are on the screen itself, it it's raised they will direct the light down. Useful to read a piece of paper, look for your keys, etc). The lens mount light is brilliant, and the memory card slot's lights are also very clever.

ISO is just A-MA-ZING. ISO 12800 is better than the K-3 at ISO 4000. That's at least 1.5 stops better. At full resolution. At a lower res the improvement will be even more significant.

The field of view will take some time getting used to. I understand that people coming from film felt the same with APS-C, but since I never really used a film SLR, my reference point is with the crop factor. For the moment my only FF compatible lenses are the DA40 limited and the DFA 100 macro WR. We'll see about that, in APS-C crop mode the K-1 still delivers 16 MP, plenty for most tasks.

The lack of a flash is a significant hindrance for me, only balanced by the high ISO performance. I'll see how I manage.

This camera is a marvelous tool. I am honestly impressed. I've only had it for a short time so far, but I can already get a good feel of how I'll like it. It will certainly be fun to test lenses on this baby.

07-05-2016, 10:20 AM   #2
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Congratulations on your K-1! That's a very balanced, honest and useful summary of your initial findings. The more I hear everyone's feedback, the more it seems Ricoh / Pentax has a real hit on its hands. I think you have a lot of fun times ahead!!
07-05-2016, 10:34 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
However, in order to continue performing reviews for pentaxforums, a FF body was in order, so here it is!
It's nice to have people who are prepared to take a hit for the team. Very selfless of you.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
The camera is much smaller than expected,
I like this part.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
APS-C crop mode the K-1 still delivers 16 MP, plenty for most tasks.
It's going to be nice to be able to review both APS-C and full-frame lenses on the same body, isn't it? Perhaps a quick flick over to the K-3 for more megapickles if you really want to wring it out and get the utmost in performance, but I guess you'll see how that goes as time goes on.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
ISO is just A-MA-ZING. ISO 12800 is better than the K-3 at ISO 4000.
I can only imagine what difference this is going to make coming from a K-5...

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
The lack of a flash is a significant hindrance for me, only balanced by the high ISO performance. I'll see how I manage.
Now if you'd graduated up from a K-3(ii) you'd have been fully prepared! I have to admit, losing the flash is the ONLY thing I'm not looking forward to when I upgrade. OTOH, I'm plenty used to flashless cameras since I shoot film quite a bit these days. and I have one modern and two older (AF200Sa, AF280T) Pentax flashes that I can drop on top of a K-1 at a pinch.

Nice thumbnail sketch.
07-05-2016, 08:10 PM   #4
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The K3 was my favorite DSLR ever, and the only body I purchased twice, but only 24 hours with the K1, and I may have a new love on ergonomics alone. The size goes back to the K10d vicinity, which is a nice fit; the autofocus works the way I want the first time out of the chute, and the viewfinder is beautiful. The Wifi is an improvement, and I like the extra dial knob. The screw drive with the Tammy 70-200/2.8 is almost as quiet as SDM and very fast. Very nice.

I'm not sure why they switched the live view and play buttons, but if I can switch them back, I will. With two K3 bodies as my long distance birding bodies which I use intuitively, I don't want to be learning new controls on my body for closer in. As I have said on past threads, I do prefer on camera flash as a controller, but I'm not there yet.

I don't normally buy at this expensive end of the product cycle, but I don't think I will regret having the K1 longer. Now for some photos past playing around.

07-05-2016, 08:36 PM   #5
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I moved from 4/3 to the K-1 and am all new to Pentax digital. Believe this is the best digital camera usage I have had since switching to digital from my Rolleiflex. Anyway, I tend to like to have a backup body (old one was a Graflex with a Grandagon).


Seems like I have seen several K-5's and K-3's (I or II) being sold by people who picked up the K-1. Will you be keeping your K-3(s) as a backup?


Keep in mind that I have been able to buy lenses rated for FF so I do not have DA lenses to unload. The ones I am buying now can still be used on the crop bodies.


Seems like both (II) models are pretty good cameras in their own right and worth having around so should I consider buying one for backup or just go the extra for a K-1?
07-06-2016, 05:48 AM   #6
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I am definitely keeping the K3. Having used a Sony FF body, it is clear to me that for birding, having 24mp in the crop zone is better than 16mp, especially since you end up cropping this area even more. Also, K3 shooting with the 50-135/2.8 is a much lighter and more compact proposition than the K1 with a 70-200/2.8.

Keeping an APS-C body adds capability.
07-07-2016, 07:03 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
The more I hear everyone's feedback, the more it seems Ricoh / Pentax has a real hit on its hands. I think you have a lot of fun times ahead!!
Indeed, it's a winner. An impressive one.

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
It's nice to have people who are prepared to take a hit for the team. Very selfless of you.
Well, aside from now owning a nice shiny new camera, I wouldn't have purchased it if not to perform reviews.

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
It's going to be nice to be able to review both APS-C and full-frame lenses on the same body, isn't it? Perhaps a quick flick over to the K-3 for more megapickles if you really want to wring it out and get the utmost in performance, but I guess you'll see how that goes as time goes on.
I tend, for casual shooting, to use the K-3 at 14 MP. So the crop mode of the K-1 being at 16 MP is a natural fit for me. when performing formal tests, shooting RAW, wanting to increase my reach and crop, use burst mode, the K-3 still is the better camera.

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I can only imagine what difference this is going to make coming from a K-5...
Actually, regarding per-pixel noise, the K-5 is slightly better than the K-3. Averaging the whole sensor the K-3 wins, but not by much (the 16 MP sensor was excellent).

QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
I have to admit, losing the flash is the ONLY thing I'm not looking forward to when I upgrade.
High ISO compensates in part, but I do use the built-in flash as a trigger from time to time.

Pentax might consider releasing a very small attachment (even smaller than the AF201) just to serve as a control for wireless TTL. Something with the strength of a built-in flash, no more, would be fine.

QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
the autofocus works the way I want
AF is impressive. So much so that I now find myself using "select 9 points" instead of "select 1 point" (with that point almost always int he center...)

QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
I like the extra dial knob
Love-hate for me. It takes away real estate for the top LCD.

QuoteOriginally posted by SteveD Quote
this is the best digital camera usage I have had since switching to digital
It's on par with other Pentax cameras. That company does have the knack to make well-designed tools.

QuoteOriginally posted by SteveD Quote
Seems like I have seen several K-5's and K-3's (I or II) being sold by people who picked up the K-1. Will you be keeping your K-3(s) as a backup?
For the time being, yes. The K-3 should remain my main camera.

Honestly didn't expect liking the K-1 so much. But the K-3 has the flash, the size, and my photography is mainly APS-C anyway.

QuoteOriginally posted by SteveD Quote
Seems like both (II) models are pretty good cameras in their own right and worth having around so should I consider buying one for backup or just go the extra for a K-1?
It depends. The K-3 is much less expensive, so as a backup it makes sense. It's not full frame, so swapping from one to the other might confuse things. But used in parallel with different lenses they make a great combo.
07-07-2016, 08:13 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Actually, regarding per-pixel noise, the K-5 is slightly better than the K-3. Averaging the whole sensor the K-3 wins, but not by much (the 16 MP sensor was excellent).
Yeah, I've heard - that one was rather special, and I'll be sorry to lose it when it finally packs in.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
when performing formal tests, shooting RAW, wanting to increase my reach and crop, use burst mode, the K-3 still is the better camera.
To each their own according to need and the K-3 certainly meets yours, but my K-5 is kicking along just fine right now, and with the K-1 now an actuality in the hands of appreciative users, the K-3 is sort of redundant for me. If the K-1 had flopped or been somewhere north of $2500 US, I could never have defended it as an enthusiast's camera in my personal context & would be considering the K-3 vs K-3ii question against the death or loss of my K-5. But with all that it offers (and it offers a lot of advances for me), at the price it's going for, and given the glowing reviews it's gotten, the K-1 is the more logical step up for me and I'm no longer automatically going to wait until my K-5 dies.

I quite agree with you on one thing - if I were the current owner of a brand new K-3 or K3-ii, I would not be as enthusiastic about the idea of trading up to the K-1 as I am.

07-07-2016, 09:41 AM   #9
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I'm keeping the K-3 as a backup, primarily for the DA* 16-50 and DA* 50-135. Not as fanatic for my other DA lenses, but these two are real jewels. I went ahead and gave my K-5 to my lady friend and took back the K-20 I gave her earlier.
07-08-2016, 12:00 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I honestly didn't think I was going to buy a full frame camera. The K-3 still serves me extremely well
...
This camera is a marvelous tool. I am honestly impressed. I've only had it for a short time so far, but I can already get a good feel of how I'll like it. It will certainly be fun to test lenses on this baby.

My short experience so far overlaps your points completely. One addition, the rapid adjustment of the rear screen brightness is a hit. I'm not going to use the crop mode at all. It's going to be great fun.
I'm definitely going to keep the K-3 in the bag (not just as a backup). The S-type focusing screen I switched to in that body is superior to anything Pentax has produced so far.
07-08-2016, 02:12 PM   #11
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I got my K1 a little over a month ago. I look at my K3 and K1 as complementing each other not as one being a backup to the other. Either one is useful in most situations and each one shines in particular situations. Tools to get the job done.

If people do not want to get a K1 I have no problem with that. Just never ever handle one. They are coated with some sort of mind altering instantly addicting compound that make you want to purchase it right then and there. Me, being a superior being, or maybe just so old that everything is slowing down, was able to resist the impulse for almost 5 minutes.
07-14-2016, 01:05 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gaweidert Quote
If people do not want to get a K1 I have no problem with that. Just never ever handle one. They are coated with some sort of mind altering instantly addicting compound that make you want to purchase it right then and there. Me, being a superior being, or maybe just so old that everything is slowing down, was able to resist the impulse for almost 5 minutes.
The more I use it, the more I agree!

QuoteOriginally posted by Bengan Quote
One addition, the rapid adjustment of the rear screen brightness is a hit.
Yes, except that I moved it to the shortcut button on the side. I still want flash controls on the back like I have on the K-3. Just more natural for me.

QuoteOriginally posted by Bengan Quote
I'm not going to use the crop mode at all.
You only have FF lenses?

QuoteOriginally posted by Bengan Quote
The S-type focusing screen I switched to in that body is superior to anything Pentax has produced so far.
Which are you talking about? The K-1's?

For the curious among us, here are a few side-bi-side shots of the K-3 and K-1:







I've played with high ISO and am truthfully impressed. Nothing very memorable so far, but I can share if anyone is interested.
07-15-2016, 12:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
You only have FF lenses?

No, I have a number of APS-C lenses as well, but for those rare occasions when I will use them on the K-1 I will crop in PP. I often use two bodies so naturally the K-3 will be the "crop mode".



QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
Which are you talking about? The K-1's?

All of them regardless of body. What I have seen so far the focusing screen in the K-1 isn't really much of an improvement when it comes to manual focus. I thought the original screen in the K-3 was very good until I tried the S-type. The difference is huge.
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