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07-19-2016, 09:53 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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What was it like to move to the K-1 ?

There's been a lot of (sometimes heated) discussion about the K-1 and quite how big a jump it is in some cases, so please don't debate this in this thread ... Perhaps just one response each to get a feel of the upgrade

To the question(s):

Most new K-1 owners will have experience with different digital Pentax models, so when the discussions have been about how good the K-1 is (and I'm sure it is), trying to get an understanding about how good it is requires a few things to be known so the comments can be properly understood. So:

# When you moved to the K-1, from which camera did you move.
# How did the K-1 perform compared with your previous Pentax SLR - for the same tasks. I accept different lenses may have to be considered, but in some cases compatible cropped and FF lenses will have been used.
# How close or distant did you find your older camera in it's handling, ergonomics etc.

I suppose some might have found that, say compared with a K-3ii, the conditions had to be 'extreme' to really notice any noticeable difference, especially when the shot is printed. Be honest ...

Maybe K-1s will be able to be hired in the UK sometime and then I'll be able to do my own tests. But until then, I'll continue to churn around trying to fathom whether I'd gain much for my style of shooting with an upgrade and all this entails. Hopefully, this thread will be helpful to me and others as I/we try and understand how the K-1 performs compared with our current kit and usage.

Many thanks

07-19-2016, 10:31 AM   #2
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I shall say the biggest difference I noticed on K1 was, all lenses became much wider . all suddenly 77 became a lens that can take full body portrait, or fit 2-3 people in the frame; 50mm became a lens that I can have it on camera and walk around and can see much more stuff in the VF; 31 became a wide lens, which I used to use it for multiple-people full body portrait, now I use 43 for this purpose. And now I use 135 or 200 a lot more.

Although many of us are from film era but APS cameras were the main camera we used in the past decade, and I have to say, I forgot how the lenses were originally supposed to be. Now I found I always start too far away from the objectives and have to move a few steps forward before press the shutter.

-sorry, I know I didn't answer your questions. but I really think IQ from K5 at good light condition is good enough for me, I bought K1 mainly for these lenses, and for low light.

One thing I noticed was, color of JPEG from K1 is not as good as from K5II.
07-19-2016, 10:35 AM   #3
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I moved up for the K5iis. I might have not upgraded if I had a K3, but with the K5 series, the "crop" mode in the K-1 is basically same MP as the K5, so no difference for me in that regards. The biggest thing I'm having issues getting used to is that the Play button and Live view buttons are reversed, so when ever I want to review a picture I've taken, I end up putting the camera into live view mode. Slowly adjusting, but it still throws me off.
07-19-2016, 10:36 AM   #4
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i have had mine for about two weeks now and so far i really like it. one of the first shots i took won my clubs monthly contest so that was a good start. still learning all the controls but so far they seem very easy to use and placed well. the only thing i cant seem to get used to is the new place for the review button. i used the K3 for 2.5 years and will continue to do so but the review button on the K3 is where the live view button is on the K1 so i will hit live view a lot when i want to review my shots. very minor issue. it looks sharper and better color so far. the focus even with an older screw drive Tamron 70-200 f2.8 seems a lot faster with no hunting.

07-19-2016, 11:36 AM   #5
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I switched from the K-3. As stated above, all the lenses became a lot wider, but that's really not what you're asking. Here's my take on the differences:


- I prefer the viewfinder display of the K-1. It's big, bright, and tweeked more to my liking (preferential)
- High iso shots are cleaner on the K-1. I can push the limits a fair bit more.
- Autofocus tracking is probably a bit better, but I haven't shot the K-1 enough yet to get a feel for how much
- Depth of field is shallower, so to get the same range in focus I'm stopping down more. Still getting used to this, but if you want shallow DoF it's great.
- The increased resolution for landscapes is nice if you're printing, but for web viewing it doesn't really matter
- The 36 mp doesn't help if you're cropping for things like birds and critters, although the cleaner high iso probably makes up for it
- Frame rate is slower and buffer fills up quicker on K-1 so that could be a negative for birders/action shooters
- I like the new dial. Some don't and would prefer a larger top lcd. It's preferential
- Still getting used to button layout. It's different and will take a little time but I don't see it as a plus or minus
- The flip out rear lcd is a big improvement and has saved me from having to lie on the ground more than a few times


Overall I'm happy with the switch and glad I did it. YMMV
07-19-2016, 12:03 PM   #6
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Having had K5/K3, upgrade to K1 and kept the K3:

1) first days of handling: comfortable to hold grip, rather compact camera body, playing a bit with the interface = rather happy

2) two weeks of real use in the field: hate the user interface and especially the badly placed (too close to 4 way button) memory card selection button above the 4 way controller (same little button used for changing from AF point selection to drive mode), K3 more straightforward to use in the field without needing to think.

3) week #3, investigating the K1 user manual and user interface, thinking about how what functions I want to have direct access to, discovered how to customizing the menu

4) after one month of use in the field; got used to the interface; found some work around to avoid using tiny memory selection / af selection button

5) after two month of use in different lighting conditions, feeling of robust camera

FF mode:
a/ effective SR / shutter speed requirement: in similar situation I can half the shutter speed on the K1 compared to K3, so I can shoot at even lower ISO
b/ more room for ISO latitude such that in most lighting situation, I can let the ISO increase and do have to worry about image quality
c/ the compound effect of a) and b) is that the K1 imaging capability is way more robust than the K3
d/ I can crop badly framed images and still get high resolution images

APSC mode: FF burst rate is slow, I can switch to APSC on the fly and get the burst rate of a K5, the AF coverage of a K3 and the buffer depth of the K1 (I can limit the resolution to acceptably good and shot 80 JPEGs uninterrupted).

6) realized that I won't use the K3 anymore; sold off all apsc gear in exchange of complete DFA lens lineup

K1 is robust with regard to shooting capability, I have the feeling I can use that camera forever. K3 is not forgiving, very sensitive to lens sharpness and camera motion, and noise shows up pretty quickly as soon as ISO gets higher than 800. Can't see any use of APSC anymore except if it was the size of a pocket-able compact camera. It's not that FF image quality is much better than APSC, it's the fact that full frame shooting is so much more tolerant to lower light, high contrast, camera shake, lens sharpness and incorrect framing.

In short: practical difference between K3 and K1 = robustness to shooting conditions.

Last edited by biz-engineer; 07-19-2016 at 12:19 PM.
07-19-2016, 12:22 PM   #7
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I moved from the K20D.

I have a toddler and basically stopped using my K20D because the AF was so slow and inaccurate, and low light performance so poor, that I could never get a half decent shot. Now 95% of my shots are keepers and most of them mind blowingly amazing!

I did not find it difficult to adjust to the different ergonomics/button layout (although no physical SR switch did lead me to turn it off and forget it was off a few times).

I kind of wish the K-1 had a built in pop up flash, but I don't really need it honestly, it's more of a safety net.

I don't miss the crop factor for telephoto because I can crop a 36mp image down to 10mp and it'll still look better than the K20D did at a full 15mp.

Faster AF + low noise + higher dynamic range made this a no brainer upgrade for me. If the K-1 didn't exist, would I be happy with a K-3II? Probably... but all my primes are already FF and overall I've been very happy with the decision to upgrade to a K-1. I used to cringe if I had to shoot higher than ISO 400 on the K20D but now I don't even notice the ISO setting on the K-1 unless it's over 3200.
07-19-2016, 01:11 PM   #8
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This is my first Pentax other than an old K1000. I moved from the Olympus EM1, which now feels very small after using the K1 for a month or so. I prefer using the K1. It fits my hands better and I like the viewfinder more than an EVF. In terms of size, weight and overall feel it's quite like my old Olympus E5. I don't think I'll buy any pro zooms as the package just gets too heavy, so I'm investing in primes. Next goal is the 31 limited, I think.

07-19-2016, 01:18 PM   #9
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I upgraded from the K3II and have had other APSC bodies such as K3, K5II (still have it), K5, K10D, etc. While FF was not in my plans, when I looked at features it seemed to be the ideal landscape machine for me, so I sold off almost all APSC lenses and made the switch. My findings are as follows:

-K1 allows the FF lenses like FA 77, FA 50 .14,etc to shine
-K1 is 2 bodies in one with the Crop Mode; for wildlife, I tend to put in crop mode and this provides equivalent reach to APSC (only 15 MP);
-Handling is great once you get used it;
-Swivel screen and new viewfinder are great.
-IQ is amazing (especially DR) which is the main reason for the switch.
07-19-2016, 01:22 PM   #10
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# When you moved to the K-1, from which camera did you move.

Came directly from a K-3. Before that, I had/have a K-5, K-7, K-20D, K100D, K10D, *istDS, and my original, a film MX and K1000.

# How did the K-1 perform compared with your previous Pentax SLR - for the same tasks.

The excellent high-ISO capabilities are unsurpassed by anything Pentax previously manufactured. That's the most important to me and for my applications.

# How close or distant did you find your older camera in it's handling, ergonomics etc.

Of course, the smaller, less heavy cameras are easier to handle. Ergonomics are very similar.

Right now, I can't envision what else Pentax can come up with that would spur me to purchase a new body.
07-19-2016, 02:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Having had K5/K3, upgrade to K1 and kept the K3.... K1 imaging capability is way more robust than the K3... realized that I won't use the K3 anymore; sold off all apsc gear in exchange of complete DFA lens lineup.
Haven't sold my APS-C gear yet, due to some strange emotional attachment, but honestly probably will never put another SD card in the K3 again. My 50-150 and 17-50 will sit in the safe, lonely and all but forgotten.

K1 images have more power than K3 images will ever have. There's more headroom, legroom and horsepower in each RAW, allowing more creative post processing if needed, but even the basics seem to bring out a picture with more sensory impact.

It's not resolution, or DoF, or maybe even some other engineer-speak measurable, but on my 4k monitor, I can instantly tell a K1 image from a K3 image because it has tangible visual aesthetic.

Even B&W photos seem to have a crisper, cleaner feel to them.

The K3 was a decent camera, but as mentioned, it's finicky, finicky in a way that required YOU to adapt to IT. Shooting was less intuitive. You had to be more cognizant of diffraction, dynamic range and exposure values.

I guess one could argue that a K3 would separate the men from the boys, but even when you had a workflow rehearsed and perfected, a variable you couldn't control would pop up and blow up your whole shoot. I did get some very good images with my K3, and a few are hanging on people's walls, but the first time I pointed a K1 at a sunset and saw the results on my monitor, I realized it was a different level of camera.

It has its imperfections, the buffer being one of them, about 18 less AF points being another, but from a landscape shooter's perspective, I can do so much more with available light than I could with the K3. So much so, my PP workflow for standard processing is 2-3 steps LESS than it has been with ANY other Pentax DSLR.

I still find myself hitting presets and realizing I'm now overseasoning.

I'm also not afraid of iso 3200 any more. For fast moving subjects, that extra stop of iso is awesome.
07-19-2016, 10:29 PM   #12
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I have the K3 and tried out the Sony A7R/A7II and sold away the Sony body and bought the K1. The K3 is now with my son.

Having used the K1 since the beginning of May, I used it with the 3 princesses, K50/1.4, Sears 135/2.8, K85/1.8, Chinon 50/1.4, F85/2.8 Soft and the Sigma 70-200/2.8.

I love the colours that the K! produces and having tried portraiture with the 43, 77 and 85, I find that the K85 is soft wide open but the 43, 77 and 85 are very good for shooting portraits at wide open. Depending if you want soft or sharp portraits.

I have used ISO up to 6400 and there is minimal noise which is very good.

I am now using the K1 with the FA*28-70/2.8 who was a recent purchase from a good buddy and am loving the lens and K1 combo.
07-20-2016, 02:32 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
# When you moved to the K-1, from which camera did you move.
# How did the K-1 perform compared with your previous Pentax SLR - for the same tasks. I accept different lenses may have to be considered, but in some cases compatible cropped and FF lenses will have been used.
# How close or distant did you find your older camera in it's handling, ergonomics etc.
1) I moved from a K-5. I had originally intended to upgrade to a K-3 II, figuring that the new Full Frame body would be too far out of my price range, but then Pentax pulled a blinder by actually making it affordable! The decision (and convincing the wife!) was made simpler when the screw drive on my K-5 failed and a new camera became a need rather than a want!

2) I have had my K-1 for less than a week so I have not had chance to use it much. However, one thing I used the K-5 for a lot was airshow photography and I have had chance to put the K-1 through the same task and, as it happens, using the same lens. It performed very well, producing some very good images and being comfortable and easy to use - more so than the K-5 in some ways as the larger, heavier body provided a useful counter to the big Sigma 150-500mm lens on the front leading to a more balanced feel. I was successfully able to lower the shutter speed I was shooting at and achieve better tracking shots than I ever could with the K-5, which resulted in very pleasing motion blur on things like propellers. At no point did I feel limited by the either the cameras supposedly low RAW burst rate or buffer size and any shots I missed were due to unfamiliarity with the interface and layout rather than a technical flaw with the camera itself.

For more general photography tasks, the limited tests I have done with it reveal superb image quality and really excellent depth of field. Both of these are, in my opinion, far superior to what I could have achieved with the K-5.

3) The handling and ergonomics of the K-1 compared to the K-5 are similar enough that you can go from the latter to the former and immediately know what you're doing, yet different enough that you still need to pay attention. Some buttons and features have been changed or moved (e.g. the Green Button on the K-1 is now where the AF button on the K-5 was. This has led me to press the wrong thing and wonder why nothing was happening on several occasions!) but nothing feels like it is completely in the wrong place. One thing I do miss is being able to switch between AF-S and AF-C via a switch rather than a menu item but this is not a deal breaker and I'm sure I'll get used to it. The new mode dial is a great idea and very intuitive and easy to pick for things that would have had you rooting through menus on the K-5.

In the hand the K-1 feels weightier and more substantial than the K-5 without being either too heavy or too large (at least for someone with hands the size of mine). The hand grip is well sized and well moulded and all the necessary controls on the back of the body are easily within thumb reach. The rear LCD is bright and much easier to view than the equivalent on the K-5, and the articulation is a very nice touch that adds extra versatility and ease of use for awkward angled shots.
07-20-2016, 02:59 AM - 1 Like   #14
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There are some very thoughtful, considered views in response to my questions. Hopefully, it is giving others a little more information from which they can plan a possible upgrade. For me it is looking increasingly like an expensive migration sometime soon(ish), maybe, possibly ...

Thanks to all. Keep 'em coming ...
07-20-2016, 03:39 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
There are some very thoughtful, considered views in response to my questions. Hopefully, it is giving others a little more information from which they can plan a possible upgrade. For me it is looking increasingly like an expensive migration sometime soon(ish), maybe, possibly ...

Thanks to all. Keep 'em coming ...
One other thing that I should have mentioned in my response: lenses.

This is potentially a big stumbling block for people converting from APS-C to FF. Yes, Pentax have very cleverly included an APS-C mode so you can use a wider range of lenses, but why buy and FF body if you're only going to shoot in APS-C? The good news is that it seems rather a lot of nominally APS-C lenses are either actually FF compatible or close enough to be usable with some caveats (usually stopping down a bit).
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