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12-17-2016, 07:24 PM   #1
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Upgrade path from K30 to K1: Worth the cost?

Hello everyone,

Am a hobby photographer and currently own Pentax k30 for last three years. Am happy with the camera and currently bought Sigma 35mm 1.4 art lens to add to my arsenal. I still have not explored much with that lens but the quality indoors is quite comparable as my Pentax 50mm DA 1.8 lens. One major difference is the focus improvement in the sigma in low light conditions. I always wanted to own a full frame camera even though there is a debate that the upgrade from APC to full frame is negligible when compared to medium format etc...

Am not too keen in getting higher megapixel or more focus point but wanted to know if I would be getting better IQ from Pentax K1 when compared to K30. I do understand that the person behind the camera plays the major role and also the lens, but still my instinct was leaning towards an upgrade if it offers a better image quality than shooting with K30 if using same lens.

Any pointers will really help me in my decision since the investment is quite large for the K1. The K1 costs roughly around AU$2900 (body alone) in Sydney.

Regards,
Matt

12-17-2016, 08:59 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Pentax Forums!

In terms of pure performance, the K-1 will capture more detail for the same composition than your K-30. It also has better auto-focus and more sophisticated exposure metering. That being said, "Better IQ" is difficult to assess and is at least partially dependent on lens, operator skill, and subject. In regards to the difference between APS-C and 35mm FF being negligible, I winced a little when I read the phrase. The difference in formats is significant and immediately obvious in use.* OTOH, it is possible to get essentially equivalent results from either format for most subjects.

My general comment continues to be that if your "pain points" in your shooting are not specifically format-related, your pocketbook may be happier if you improve your skills using your APS-C camera.


Steve

* At least it is for me. I shoot a full range from the tiny sensor in my phone through to APS-C, 35mm, 127, 6x6, 6x7, and 4x5. Each has its strengths and weaknesses and none is more "professional" than the others.

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-17-2016 at 09:06 PM.
12-17-2016, 09:13 PM   #3
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It's one thing to want it, but do you "need" it enough to drop a pretty pennie for it? It is a significant jump from the k30 (entry level apsc) to the k1 (high end ff). I would say wait & use what you have until the day you know for certain that you need to go ff.
12-17-2016, 09:17 PM   #4
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The main difference of either staying with aps-c or using the full frame capability is the distance associated with telephoto that can be achieved with the aps-c versus not having that distance with the full frame. If you want more detail and overall image quality for less of a telephoto distance than the aps-c can give you, the K-1 would be a nice choice. It would give you performance and features that would be outstanding for shooting in full frame mode, and if you had to resort to the 16 mp aps-c mode on it, I really doubt it would disappoint you. It really depends on the type of shooting you plan on doing most effectively.


Last edited by C_Jones; 12-17-2016 at 09:23 PM.
12-17-2016, 09:47 PM   #5
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I wonder, and I think it would be related, is what affect format has on lens quality.

Assuming I have all FF lenses, is it possible that a lens would seem of lower quality on FF? For instance, is it possible for a lens on APSC may be sharp across the full frame, but the corners might not be on FF? Does this happen, especially enough to make people unhappy with a lens?

I have some older M series lenses that are wonderful on my K 3, but I wonder if they would still be on a K 1. It isn't like they were the best lenses originally, and I suspect the reverence they get now is due to cropping off the corners with an APSC camera.
12-17-2016, 09:52 PM   #6
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If you do decide on the K-1, Ted's have it for $100 off at the moment. I also got an email discount code XMAS20 for another $20 off for orders over $200.
12-17-2016, 10:24 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
I wonder, and I think it would be related, is what affect format has on lens quality.

Assuming I have all FF lenses, is it possible that a lens would seem of lower quality on FF? For instance, is it possible for a lens on APSC may be sharp across the full frame, but the corners might not be on FF? Does this happen, especially enough to make people unhappy with a lens?

I have some older M series lenses that are wonderful on my K 3, but I wonder if they would still be on a K 1. It isn't like they were the best lenses originally, and I suspect the reverence they get now is due to cropping off the corners with an APSC camera.
I guess it is safe to assume that you have have limited experience shooting those lenses on 35mm film. The reverence those lenses get is based on their performance on 35mm film and is historic in nature.

Very few lenses are sharp, corner-to-corner on the format for which they were designed. Shooting a FF lens on APS-C allows the center "sweet spot" to fill more of the frame. That is the full extent of the magic and comes with the penalty that the frame requires greater magnification to get the same size final print. As for your M-series lenses on FF, I can assure you that very few M-series primes are a disappointment on the format for which they were designed. The same is true for Pentax/Asahi 24x36 (FF) format primes in general. User experience on this site with "film era" FF primes on the K-1 has been uniformly positive.


Steve
12-17-2016, 10:28 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
The main difference of either staying with aps-c or using the full frame capability is the distance associated with telephoto that can be achieved with the aps-c versus not having that distance with the full frame. If you want more detail and overall image quality for less of a telephoto distance than the aps-c can give you, the K-1 would be a nice choice. It would give you performance and features that would be outstanding for shooting in full frame mode, and if you had to resort to the 16 mp aps-c mode on it, I really doubt it would disappoint you. It really depends on the type of shooting you plan on doing most effectively.
Considering the crop factor for telephoto for me is a non-issue. For normal use, 16 Mpx is way more than enough. 10 is good enough for a magazine cover sized print no matter how closely to examine it. Yes I have and use a 400 + 1.7x on occasion. If I am careful with the 400 (and I need to be just as careful when using it as a 680) I can crop it to 680 equivalent an still retain 24/1.7 = 14+ megapixels.

If I crop a 300mm image to 600mm equivalent, I get 12 Mpx. Still good enough for anything but 1:1 peeping.

What is an change with the switch is that your 28mm lens (assuming it covers the full frame) is now truly a wide angle. Your 24mm on FF has the same field of view as 16mm on APS-C. On my MZ-S my walk around lens was the FA 24-90. On my K10 and now K-3 the walk around lens is 16-50, same field of view as 24-75 on the 36x24mm frame. You will pick up a lot better wide angle shots with the 36mm sensor simply because you a a bit further back, and the distortion at the edges is reduced.

12-17-2016, 10:37 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
I wonder, and I think it would be related, is what affect format has on lens quality.
To address this question directly, there is an effect. Despite being targeted at professionals, medium and large format lenses often disappoint when shot on on smaller formats. While adapters are available for Pentax 6x7 and 645 lenses to K-mount, I am unaware of any group of forum users that are obsessed with that approach, even those users who shoot both systems. The crop magnifies whatever deficiencies my be present.


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12-17-2016, 10:44 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by C_Jones Quote
and if you had to resort to the 16 mp aps-c mode on it
Crop mode on the K-1 is actually 15 Mpx, but close enough to that of the K-30/K-50 that most users on this site consider them to be equivalent. The main difference is the bit depth for image capture with the K-1 at 14-bit vs. 12-bit on the K-30/K-50.


Steve
12-17-2016, 10:48 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
What is an change with the switch is that your 28mm lens (assuming it covers the full frame) is now truly a wide angle.
New FF users are consistently amazed that such a "long" lens is sooooo wide on the larger format and presents a focusing challenge commensurate with the FOV. It is definitely a Brave New World for APS-C users moving to the larger format.


Steve
12-17-2016, 10:58 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
New FF users are consistently amazed that such a "long" lens is sooooo wide on the larger format and presents a focusing challenge commensurate with the FOV. It is definitely a Brave New World for APS-C users moving to the larger format.


Steve
I at least had the forethought to order my K10 in a kit with a 12-24 (I always wanted a 20) and the 16-50 because my go to lens on film was the FA 24-90, as mentioned above. My problem was the opposite direction: 28 was was a wide normal! Lots of us used 35mm for normal walkabouts in the old days, and now that becomes a 52.5 FOV. My head is still screwed up with the numbers after 9 years shooting DSLRs.
12-17-2016, 11:26 PM   #13
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I'm guessing from your question that you haven't shot fullframe digital. The question of whether the image quality will be an improvement over crop depends very much on you, the images you shoot and how you present them. If, for example, you shoot mostly in good light and show your work as web images, there will be next to no improvement in image quality from the K-1 or other full frame camera. If you're shooting in low light and printing 20x30, you will see a substantial difference.

Finally, there are other costs involved with the K-1: Buying fullframe lenses of reasonable quality costs more, and you may pay either in money or in time in front of the screen if your computer isn't fast enough to process 36meg files quickly. Also that K-1 and lenses weigh quite a bit more than crop cameras and lenses.

The best way for you to make an informed decision is to rent a K-1 for a week and try it out.
12-17-2016, 11:48 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone for your assistance. Glad to be part of this wonderful group.

I used spend lot of time in post processing since I like to have the pictures more dramatic appearance. May be the 14 bit format can help in this when compared to 12 bit. But again, am not too sure on this.

Right now, am just shooting my 9 weeks old daughter and that is the main reason I bought my Sigma 1.4 art lens even though I have Pentax 50mm f1.8. So far the results are good in both the lens.

So right now, I can either go for Pentax K1 if it would make much of a difference on the image quality or I can add a nice telephoto lens to my existing arsenal and try to run with it until I hit a dead end with my K30. The Pentax DA* 300 is kind of interesting

Regards,
Matt
12-18-2016, 12:16 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by bkpix Quote
I'm guessing from your question that you haven't shot fullframe digital. The question of whether the image quality will be an improvement over crop depends very much on you, the images you shoot and how you present them. If, for example, you shoot mostly in good light and show your work as web images, there will be next to no improvement in image quality from the K-1 or other full frame camera. If you're shooting in low light and printing 20x30, you will see a substantial difference.
QuoteOriginally posted by bkpix Quote
The best way for you to make an informed decision is to rent a K-1 for a week and try it out.
I'd say the same.
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