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07-31-2017, 09:13 AM   #1
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Is there an alternative to the K-1?

Hello, everyone.

First of all: I'm aware I'm not the 1st one to ask. I tried the forum search but for some reason it returned no hits (might be my Firefox). Links are apprechiated.

As for my situation: I currently have a K-5 and while the image quality is still good enough, there are some things that annoy me too often.
- Even though I use AF-S in ~95% of time, it misses every now and then - even in bright light. AF-C is pretty much useless.
- I shoot concerts and lost places occasionally. Both are mostly dim. ISO 4500 is my limit in terms of noise.
- Pushing shadows only works up to 3EV at ISO 160. Afterwards, noise becomes too apparent. Higher exposure latitude and DR would be very welcome.
- PTT-L sucks. Metering with Metz 48 AF-1 is very inconsistent.
- I'm already using the viewfinder loupe O-ME 53, but I'm still wishing for a bigger viewfinder.

What's bugging me about the K-1 is its poor AF coverage, area-wise. So is there any camera with a FF-sized viewfinder, reliable and fast AF, that works down to -2 or 3EV, is robust, has great DR and offers access to a wide line of lenses (especially Sigma and Tamron)?
I'm really digging the Fuji system, but I guess that's more about its aesthetic appeal than the system itself. Apparently its AF system is rather slow and lens compability is limited to Fuji. DR seems to be mediocre. The Sony A7(II) offers the DR but very few affordable lenses. Which leaves the Nikon D750 or D800/D810.
What's true for every system switch is the need to rebuy everything, which brings me to the 2nd part of my question.

Which of these lenses would be good enough for a (36mp) FF camera?
Lenses being:
Sigma 28mm 1:1.8 EX DG Macro
Sigma 50mm 1:1.4 DG HSM
Sigma 105mm 1:2.8 DG Macro (no doubt about this one)
Sigma 70-200mm 1:2.8 II Macro HSM

I also have the DA* 16-50mm and the Samyang 8mm 1:3.5, both of which will have to get replaced.
Cost is of course an issue. It's the biggest one. I think I know the answer to my 1st question, I'm mostly seeking assurance here.

Thanks.

07-31-2017, 09:20 AM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Egg Salad Quote
Which leaves the Nikon D750 or D800/D810.
Those are very similar in that the AF points are all within the APS-C image area, just like on the K-1. There are more points on the 800's, though, and focusing is faster with longer lenses.

BTW, I wouldn't skip over the KP, as its low-light performance is greatly improved over the K-5. It's really close to the K-1 until you start cranking the ISO up high. Also, Pentax AF performance has been significantly improved since the K-5 (the K-5 II brought better accuracy, the K-3 II/K-1 brought improved tracking speed).

I have both the D810 and the K-1 and I've debated selling the former several times now, as I don't really shoot sports so there's little reason not to use the K-1. Maybe keep an eye on the upcoming D850?

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07-31-2017, 09:32 AM   #3
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Oh, I wasn't aware AF points on Nikon bodies aren't spread wider.
I'm sure I'd love the D850, but as I said, cost is an issue. The reason why I included both Nikons is that they're available used and hence cheaper than the K-1. Otherwise they are way out of my scope.

I expected someone to mention the KP. I just don't like its design. I know that if I were to buy the KP I'd always feel like I should have just gotten the K-1.
I didn't mention that I don't need FF, but I realllly want it.
Let me rephrase my question: what would I gain getting the Nikon D750/D8X0 over the K-1 apart from AF capability and lens accessability?
07-31-2017, 10:42 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Egg Salad Quote
Oh, I wasn't aware AF points on Nikon bodies aren't spread wider.
I'm sure I'd love the D850, but as I said, cost is an issue. The reason why I included both Nikons is that they're available used and hence cheaper than the K-1. Otherwise they are way out of my scope.

I expected someone to mention the KP. I just don't like its design. I know that if I were to buy the KP I'd always feel like I should have just gotten the K-1.
I didn't mention that I don't need FF, but I realllly want it.
Let me rephrase my question: what would I gain getting the Nikon D750/D8X0 over the K-1 apart from AF capability and lens accessability?
The short answer would be that Nikon or Canon can offer a much more refined system. The 810 is a better camera in many ways. Its also over $1000 more expensive and if you don't need all those "other ways" its money wasted. The D750 is a good camera but its 24MP and aside from its AF its simply not as good as the K1. But Nikon has a better flash ecosystem, better assortment of Nikon and third party lenses, better support in software (Photoshop for example), much more support in terms of books, advice, websites, software. Nikon has better resale generally as well; there are more buyers. Nikon and Canon between them have a good 80% or more of the FF market. A niche player like Pentax will never have the wide range of after market options available.
However consider that comparing the K1 to a D750 or D810 simply repeats the mistakes of just about every forum advice. IMHO you would be far better asking yourself if the Pentax K1 matches your needs first. If it does, buy it, its money well spent. If it doesn't meet your needs it won't matter how much you save. For most people a K1 with the 15-30, 24-70 and 70-200 handle just about anything you'd encounter. If you want the really long reach there is the 150-450. Primes are very good particularly the 31mm, 43, 77 and the 35 and 50 aren't that bad either. If you want a sports camera with excellent tracking and high speed frame rate with big buffer you're in the wrong place. If money is no object and you want a camera for sports or to capture fast moving objects buy a Sony A9 - there isn't anything better, no manufacturers in the same ball park much less the same time zone.

07-31-2017, 11:03 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Egg Salad Quote
what would I gain getting the Nikon D750/D8X0 over the K-1 apart from AF capability and lens accessability?
Nikon Logo? Really the advantage of the D8x0 is somewhat better tracking auto-focus. Video might also be better but that is not an issue from your post. Both D8x0 and K-1 are amazing cameras. Personally I have handled both and much prefer the K-1 as far as ergonomics, grip, button placement and so. But image quality will be similar, really beyond most people's ability anyway. So that leaves budget, and if you can buy a D810 and lenses used cheaper than a K-1 then I guess you have your answer.

You might consider renting the Nikon first just to see how you get along with it.

Also, there is no comparison between the K-5 and more modern Pentax bodies. The improvement in AF is easily noticeable. Another thought for you would be to look at a used K-3 or K-3II, much improved AF and you retain the use of your current lenses.
07-31-2017, 11:04 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Egg Salad Quote
I shoot concerts
@kenspo is a forum member here who does a LOT of professional concert work with the K-1. He is the man to ask what the ups and downs of the K-1 for that are.

You need to enlarge on what you mean by "lost places" - abandoned buildings? Those are static targets in which any AF deficiencies the K-1 has are minimal. Pentax's long-standing AF issue lies with tracking moving targets; in locking on fixed targets, it is AFAIK as good as any other if not better.

QuoteQuote:
PTT-L sucks. Metering with Metz 48 AF-1 is very inconsistent.
I found out long after the fact that the K-5 particularly has an issue in this regard; it's one of the few weaknesses of a camera that has otherwise aged very well.
07-31-2017, 11:25 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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It is really hard to select a camera these days. Pentax is doomed, Nikon is in trouble and they recall D750 for shutter problems (after the oil on sensors), and Canon cameras are big, expensive and sensors have noise in shadows, Sony overheat and eat stars. And Fuji make apsc cameras for 2 grands and medium format for 7 grands and nothing for the medium rich fotog.
07-31-2017, 11:26 AM   #8
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Agree with Jatrax that there's no comparison to older Pentax bodies and the K1.

The K1 continues to really impress me with its low light performance and ergonomics/usability. AF is great - significantly improved over my K3 and K20D before that (as long as you don't set 'AF Hold' too high and assume it's rubbish like I did at the start!!). I find that AF locks on in virtually any light and I can push the ISO without worrying. With 'any lens' SR too, you can always get something usable.

I agree that the P-TTL flash doesn't seem quite as trustworthy as the Canon gear I used to use for weddings, but does get it right most of the time and, frankly, I still believe manual is the way to go for completely predictable flash anyway

I don't do sport so can't comment on the AF tracking, but the consensus seems to be that Canikon has the edge on Pentax here.

Eight months in the K1 doesn't disappoint - it's just so usable in any situation. Great camera.

07-31-2017, 11:58 AM - 1 Like   #9
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Let me get the old fuddy-duddy out of the way first: "back in my day" I used to shoot with manual focus everything, meterless bodies, and manual flash, and all those skills work as well better today than they did back then. It's a skill, but there's something to be said for not depending on technology.

With that out of the way, I used to shoot weddings in pretty low light with a Nikon F5 and it nailed focus 90%-95% of the time. It was focus and recompose (just like with the Leica M I moved to), but it worked fine. What was amazing was Nikon's TTL flash system, and that's gotten better with time. The flash could tell that a wedding dress or cake was supposed to be very reflective, and it just nailed exposure all the time. If you need great flash without thinking about it, I doubt you can do a whole lot better than Nikon.

I can't help with noisy images - I'm still of the opinion that 35mm Tri-X looks great, and that's probably an intolerable amount of noise to folks who never processed their own film, and/or whose standards were set here in the digital age. (And yes, Tri-X did look better in 6x6, even though it was generally Tri-X Pro.)

I suppose my advice would be this:

As a general rule, seeking technological solutions to photographic problems is expensive and not as effective as finding other solutions. Technology is required, but camera makers have been promising that the smarts in their latest cameras will solve all your problems automatically for decades, and it's still not true. Changing systems is a huge decision, and it's not something to make lightly. A decade ago I was active in a community of wedding photographers. I had accepted the failings of my Fuji S5 Pro system and was doing my thing, but there were a number of folks who were hopping from Nikon to Canon to Nikon over a 2-3 year period. This was great for the camera makers, but it's bad for the bottom line. I still believe for the most part that it's worth finding the lenses you like, committing to that system, and making do with the rest.

If you're shooting in low light and can't nail focus with your current body, how about focusing manually? You don't need the old split-image thingie we used to have in the middle of the focusing screen - you don't even need a traditional focusing screen - just focus manually with your subject wherever it is in the finder and shoot. You'll probably want to practice until it feels natural and fast, and you'll want to use a reasonably fast lens, but this still works. It's not sexy though, unless you're buying those dreamy Zeiss lenses and converting them, in which case you're an eccentric with high standards as far as image quality. Expect your hit rate will be lower than you like at first and improve over time, so shoot a LOT to compensate at first.

Manual flash is something that pretty much always just works too. I am not a master of mult-flash techniques, but I'm amazed by what skilled practitioners can do, and for the most part they shoot by setting flash power manually. They might set those flashes remotely, but they're still set manually.

Image noise is either an issue of managing expectations, or finding a way to process the "noisy" images that is aesthetically pleasing and meets the technical specifications you're shooting for. Is a Nikon D810 going to have lower noise than a K1? I doubt it pretty seriously.

Fuji? Nope. I love the Fuji X cameras but the K1 I just picked up is more capable in just about every way. The Fuji is perfect for a small, light, portable kit you can carry over your shoulder for 18 hours per day and not get back pain while producing great looking photos. But it's not as flexible as a DSLR.

But the advantages of moving to Nikon are as listed above by other posters: more capable (but pricy) flash solutions, big lens selection, big market, more training and support. Will that help you enough to justify the switch?

I can't say. Will your photos be better as a result? Probably not meaningfully better, but you might be happier and more content and that's worth a lot too.

Sorry I can't comment on the D750 directly.
07-31-2017, 12:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Egg Salad Quote
Hello, everyone.

First of all: I'm aware I'm not the 1st one to ask. I tried the forum search but for some reason it returned no hits (might be my Firefox). Links are apprechiated.

As for my situation: I currently have a K-5 and while the image quality is still good enough, there are some things that annoy me too often.
- Even though I use AF-S in ~95% of time, it misses every now and then - even in bright light. AF-C is pretty much useless.
- I shoot concerts and lost places occasionally. Both are mostly dim. ISO 4500 is my limit in terms of noise.
- Pushing shadows only works up to 3EV at ISO 160. Afterwards, noise becomes too apparent. Higher exposure latitude and DR would be very welcome.
- PTT-L sucks. Metering with Metz 48 AF-1 is very inconsistent.
- I'm already using the viewfinder loupe O-ME 53, but I'm still wishing for a bigger viewfinder.

What's bugging me about the K-1 is its poor AF coverage, area-wise. So is there any camera with a FF-sized viewfinder, reliable and fast AF, that works down to -2 or 3EV, is robust, has great DR and offers access to a wide line of lenses (especially Sigma and Tamron)?
I'm really digging the Fuji system, but I guess that's more about its aesthetic appeal than the system itself. Apparently its AF system is rather slow and lens compability is limited to Fuji. DR seems to be mediocre. The Sony A7(II) offers the DR but very few affordable lenses. Which leaves the Nikon D750 or D800/D810.
What's true for every system switch is the need to rebuy everything, which brings me to the 2nd part of my question.

Which of these lenses would be good enough for a (36mp) FF camera?
Lenses being:
Sigma 28mm 1:1.8 EX DG Macro
Sigma 50mm 1:1.4 DG HSM
Sigma 105mm 1:2.8 DG Macro (no doubt about this one)
Sigma 70-200mm 1:2.8 II Macro HSM

I also have the DA* 16-50mm and the Samyang 8mm 1:3.5, both of which will have to get replaced.
Cost is of course an issue. It's the biggest one. I think I know the answer to my 1st question, I'm mostly seeking assurance here.

Thanks.
Why not Sony A7 line then? A7II has darn good specs, is a bit cheaper than K-1, has AF points all across the frame (I believe), and you can adapt a ton of glass (with AF) via different third party adapters. Won't even have to sell your glass collection)

That being said, I don't think i'd switch back to mirorrless for a while, K-1 is all I need
07-31-2017, 12:25 PM   #11
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Fauxton:
You are right. I don't need all those other ways.
A more capable flash metering system sure would be nice, too. But for now, I could work around it using manual mode. This isn't top priority.
I will look out for a Nikon D810 anyways. If I find one that's considerably cheaper, then it shall be a Nikon. But I doubt it.

jatrax and HippyHippo:
(Better) AF-tracking would be nice, but there were only a few times were I wished I had it. I did shoot sports only a very few times in the last years. Most of what I do is rather static.
The video mode on my K-5 is really weak, and having all those features Nikon or Canon offer would help, but video mode isn't that important to me. Maybe that will change, but for now a higher framerate and better video controls would be sth. I can work with.
Of course I thought about buying a K-3II. It's easily 1000$/ cheaper but I know that it wouldn't satisfy me. I forgot what it was, but I've read a lot since the K-1 came out (and before). And there were reasons why the K-3II just didn't convince me as an upgrade.
I'll try to get my hands on a Nikon for testing.

pathdoc:
Thanks for the tip.
Yes, I wasn't clear on that. Abondoned buildings mostly. Often including cellars. AF hasn't let me down in these situations. I should have been more precide. The misfocusing mostly happens on the 50mm, with the 28 and 105 following. With the 50 the camera locks focus but is way off what I wanted to hit. Same occasionally happens with the 28mm. With the 105, I sometimes get no focus confirmation and all. It just hunts. Even when there is plenty of light and lots of contrast. The 16-50 and 70-200 are reliable in this respect. I have no idea why.
Reading that the K-5 is particularly bad in flash metering accuarcy is somewhat soothing.

biz-engineer
Pentax is doomed! I'm essentially investing in a corpse. The question here is: is the Pentax community necrophilic?


In general:
This is less of a question which system is better for me - since both Pentax and Nikon offer what I want - but rather which one can be had for less. Even though Pentax has catched up in terms of pricing (upwards), As far as I know every other system is more expensive. But things are a little different on the used market. I guess I'm already in too deep the Pentax system with my 6 lenses and 2 flashes to rebuy them for another system. Do you agree?

Ok, assuming that I've made my choice and pick the K-1: what about my lenses? Pixel pitch isn't that much of an issue but there are always the corners.

---------- Post added 07-31-2017 at 09:46 PM ----------

Derek Zeanah:
Funnily I use focus and recompose in more than 90% of the time. Since my first camera which was the GX-20 I've been focusing with a split focusing screen. Focus and recompose is the most natural way to use it. Besides, the off-center focus points work slower on my K-5 (only the center one offers f/2.8 metering as far as I remember) so there is no real benefit to using them.
So despite my younger age, I'm familiar with these techniques. And I have already checked if there are screens for the K-1 available. I have owned some full manual lenses but replaced them over time. Except for the SMC 50 1.4.
As I said I'm pretty sure I only like the Fuji system because it looks so nice. It can't keep up with the K-1...
I neither need support nor training. I only care about the lens selection and flash system, with the flash system being a nice-to-have.
I'd prefer not to switch but it's a matter of cost.


awscreo:
I've read a lot about the A7 and the possibility to adapt lenses. And from what I've read, this would be the worst choice. Even if there was an adapter that allowed for Pentax lenses to use AF, it would be painfully slow. For Pentax users, using their lenses on Sony bodies only makles sense when it's full manual lenses.
Things are different for adapted Canon or Nikon lenses. But apart from the great AF coverage there is no reason to not just get a Canon or Nikon, then.
07-31-2017, 01:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Egg Salad Quote
Fauxton:
awscreo:
I've read a lot about the A7 and the possibility to adapt lenses. And from what I've read, this would be the worst choice. Even if there was an adapter that allowed for Pentax lenses to use AF, it would be painfully slow. For Pentax users, using their lenses on Sony bodies only makles sense when it's full manual lenses.
Things are different for adapted Canon or Nikon lenses. But apart from the great AF coverage there is no reason to not just get a Canon or Nikon, then.
You mentioned access to a wide variety of lenses, so Sony system could be an option for that, since you're basically gaining access to the best Nikkor and Canon mount lenses, plus modern Zeiss glass, as well as their excellent G master lens line up. Pentax glass would still be usable in manual, as well as any vintage lens out there. You can even get an adapter that turns Leica glass to AF lenses which is pretty cool. Plus you'd keep IBIS on A7 II and higher.
07-31-2017, 01:05 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by awscreo Quote
Why not Sony A7 line then? A7II has darn good specs, is a bit cheaper than K-1, has AF points all across the frame (I believe), and you can adapt a ton of glass (with AF) via different third party adapters
Are the A7 cameras able to focus well in low light? My previous Sony mirrorless cameras, the RX100 II and the FF RX1, were both pretty abysmal at focusing in low light.
07-31-2017, 01:10 PM   #14
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Cameras directly comparable to the K1? Yes, but body wise they will be more expensive (around $900 and up), but each brand has something that's as good/better in certain areas and not as good/worse in others. As far as "name brand" lenses, Sony, Canon & Nikon's cost more (especially Sony's), so 3rd party would be a better choice if looking to save money.
07-31-2017, 01:12 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
Are the A7 cameras able to focus well in low light? My previous Sony cameras, the RX100 II and the FF RX1, were both pretty abysmal at focusing in low light.
I guess it won't be at top DSLR level in low light, but I believe the newer Sony bodies focus quite well in any light conditions (a7r2, a99II). I mentioned Sony just because of wide access to lenses.
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