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06-14-2019, 04:40 AM - 8 Likes   #1
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My K-1 II arrived and I am back.

I just received my K-1 II today! It feels good to be back to Pentax after an extended affair with Nikon. I have fond memories of the K5 and my set of Limited lenses. The K-1 II does not disappoint so far...

I purchased it with a 43mm and 100/2.8 WR Macro. I intend to use the 43 for normal shooting and the 100 for my DSLR scanning rig. True to their reputation these lenses appear tack sharp, and IBIS is remarkable.

The AF seems better than my memory serves from testing the K-1 (Mrk 1). It just seems more confident, and it doesn't have much trouble in semi dim light. The area though is of course very narrow for this day and age, but the responsiveness feels no different from my D810. I'll be shooting an engagement session Saturday so we'll see how it does on the job.

I did some brief testing with pixel shift once I finally got it to tether to my iMac. The difference (at least on the Provia 100F 35mm frames) is certainly subtle, but no surprise the PS files are better. You really see the difference when you apply sharpening. The single capture files get noisier while the PS file remains clean, and shows more fine detail. Still at a glance, it's hard to see. However when it comes to fine art scanning and repro, small differences go a long way.

So far I'm delighted! Now I'm just trying to track down a film option. I've got my eye on a few LX or MZ-S bodies...

06-14-2019, 06:40 AM - 1 Like   #2
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The FA43 is wonderful on the K-1, I find. The new D FA* 50/1.4 is even more so, but for long days carrying the combination, I reckon the 43 would be preferable. Still, nice to have you back shooting Pentax gear.
06-14-2019, 09:26 AM   #3
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Good to hear. The 100mm WR is an excellent lens. One of the few with true edge-to-edge sharpness. Pixelshift is not only about sharpness but also about also about accurate color and reduced noise. I'm a big fan of this feature.

In my experience, scanning film photos with pixelshift obviously doesn't make the originals sharper but minimizes the loss of taking a picture of a picture. It retains more of the original details and color while adding less noise.
06-14-2019, 10:01 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Welcome back... it's always good to have a few guys around with experience on other systems.

06-14-2019, 11:24 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Welcome back... it's always good to have a few guys around with experience on other systems.
Yes, I too would be interested in open discussion about cameras from other manufacturers.


I own three Pentax film SLRs, and three Chinon K-mount SLRs, and I love them all. But I don't own a digital SLR yet and I am apprehensive about spending a lot of money on any of them. They all seem so damned complicated and therefore likely to fail. I am still using fifty year old film cameras and I can't imagine that any complex digital cameras will be working fifty years from now.


So....I am very interested in knowing which digital SLRs, Pentax or not, that are considered to be the most reliable.

Last edited by Pentaxis; 06-14-2019 at 11:25 AM. Reason: Spelling mistake.....
06-14-2019, 01:24 PM   #6
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This is an excellent overview of the Pixel Shift with some of the best examples I have seen. Just not all sharpness and color, but better resolution.
06-14-2019, 01:28 PM - 1 Like   #7
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I like hearing about people's experience with other systems because it might help me understand better what I am seeing when I am looking at photos taken with those systems, and how they were created. I haven't read or heard or seen anything yet to make me think I'd be better off using any of them

QuoteOriginally posted by Pentaxis Quote


So....I am very interested in knowing which digital SLRs, Pentax or not, that are considered to be the most reliable.
I've been pretty happy with my K5, well respected but acknowledged as an aging model now. One reason for going with Pentax was the similarity of the basic controls to those used on film cameras, the body shape, the ergonomic fit of those controls on the body, and the ease of access to those controls once you have configured your dials and buttons. Most of my lenses are old and focus manually, and once I had read the advice here on this forum, and found the relevant pages of the manual, and set the camera up, I was pretty happy sticking with the manual and aperture/time value priority modes. I hardly know how to use auto-focus or program modes. Two years down the track I'm becoming a bit more curious, consulting the manual to try things like multiple exposure or live view, but am still pretty ignorant on many of the digital features. I'm still wondering what that occasional flashing red light on the back of the camera means - I'll get round to looking it up one day . And learning more about auto-focus etc....

Purchasing a K5iis would be the only thing I would do differently if I was buying the camera again, for the advantage in detail I've read about in the absence of the AA filter. The cost would only be an extra $100 or so. I do use the Pentax magnifying eyepiece, and have put an aftermarket focussing screen in. Bodgied it doing it myself after reading instructions and watching you tube videos, but I'm clumsy and it was a learning experience - it is still quite workable.

PS - not sure how or what you would be using it for but count myself in the happy amateur ranks.

Last edited by rjbrett; 06-14-2019 at 01:43 PM.
06-14-2019, 01:49 PM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback!

06-14-2019, 02:50 PM   #9
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Welcome back!
Despite some reviewers criticisms of the FA43 limited, I find it a fantastic match to the K-1 and I have it on my camera most of the time at the moment. Also the 31 and 77 limiteds are wonderful matches too (except for the occasional bit of CA / fringing). Certainly I'm happy with my setup, with only one minor bit of LBA desire - a compact ultra wide prime. FA20s are hard to come by it would seem (pity Pentax never came out with a Limited UWA) and my current (second hand) UWAs I have are bit bulky and so so IQ.
06-14-2019, 06:35 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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Thanks all!

Yeah as much as I loved the K-5, I shoot A LOT of film. (Actually I own a film lab here in Maine called Northeast Photogrpahic). Crop cameras were just not going to work for me. When it seemed like Pentax was not going to embrace full frame I switched to Nikon, which was my first brand anyways. Nikon obviously makes some of the best cameras and lenses out there, but with a few exceptions they can be a little bit boring. I have an F6 which I LOVE, but nothing about the system is 'charming' so to speak. The Limited line up has 'use me appeal'. I hope Pentax can still embrace that design ethos, but even if they don't they already make everything I need.

Re Pixel Shift scanning, yes full pixel color readout is important when it comes to large large prints. It seems counter intuitive, but CMOS sensors do have some noise present even at low ISOs which really reveals itself when doing this kind of work. Every scan needs some post production work, and some sharpening, all of which can increase noise. A pixel shifted scan greatly improves my ability to fine tune a scan. CCD line scanners, Imacons...'normal' scanners all use full pixel readout to achieve their effective resolutions. In theory, the K-1 should be achieving full sensor resolution. This means you're meeting or exceeding a Coolscan 5000, or even Imacon. But to know for sure I have to do more tests.
06-17-2019, 08:06 AM - 2 Likes   #11
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First engagement session with the K-1 II and the 43mm done! I was using a Hold Fast camera harness so I had the D810 with a 50/1.4G and the K-1 with the 43mm available to me on either shoulder.

I really love the images with the 43mm. The contrast and character of the old Limited lens really stands out. The 50/1.4 was obviously able to produce blur the background more and was a little better for tighter shots, but when I was working a middle distances with the 43 it really shined. I think I prefer the 43 to my usual 35 because it doesn't really distort the subjects in the same way, and I can be ever so slightly further from the subjects.

The Pentax definitely has preferable out of the camera color and contrast. It seemed so render a bit more low-key than the Nikon so it's somewhat of a difference between 'light and airy' and 'moody'. However I was shooting at dusk so my perspective is that the K-1 more accurately represented the feeling of the light at that time. YMMV with this because no-image-goes-unprocessed. Ultimately I will tweak these images so they have a consistent look, and I have often argued that out of the camera color is essentially a non-issue in the age of presets and profiles. Raw is raw. But the DNGs the Pentax created are very lovely raws.

The AF did not keep up with the Nikon. This is a surprise to absolutely no one! I would describe it as slightly better than I expected however. It was able to modestly track my subjects during walking shots, though this resulted in more out of focus images than my Nikon would when using AF-C 'Group' mode. On the Pentax I would use AF-C and the mode where about 9 boxes are highlighted, and move that target around as needed. The actual AF reach didn't bother me so much. The points were within compositional norms. I wish it was slightly better when my subjects were not moving however. It did not miss much, but it did from time to time and that was frustrating. My Nikon would never miss in those situations.

The 43mm is not a soft lens, but the AF misses will make you think it is. It's plenty sharp even at 1.9! Throw a modest amount of sharpening on there and it's razor sharp. Stop down to 2.5 or 2.8 and there is nothing holding you back.

I tried a hand held pixel shift on a landscape before my clients arrived. It works! I don't know why the reviews Poo-Poo this mode, as I see a significant increase in resolution, especially on distant objects in a landscape. However as I experienced with the HDR mode, the in camera processing slow down is egregious. So I won't try HDR again during a portrait session haha!

---------- Post added 06-17-19 at 03:32 PM ----------

Here are some samples that are not final edits, but tweaked quickly for the purposes of this post.







06-25-2019, 03:47 AM   #12
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Can you post something from the d810, so we can compare the iq?
06-25-2019, 09:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sperdynamite Quote
It was able to modestly track my subjects during walking shots, though this resulted in more out of focus images than my Nikon would when using AF-C 'Group' mode. On the Pentax I would use AF-C and the mode where about 9 boxes are highlighted, and move that target around as needed. The actual AF reach didn't bother me so much. The points were within compositional norms. I wish it was slightly better when my subjects were not moving however. It did not miss much, but it did from time to time and that was frustrating. My Nikon would never miss in those situations.
I find that AF.S centre-point is consistently fast and accurate - focus and recompose, or focus and crop. For eye in focus and everything else fuzzy, the K1 and DFA*50 can perform very well. Agreed that moving targets are more difficult - the Pentax focusing doesn't cope well with Z axis motion. However, I still find AF.S better than AF.C in that situation.
07-02-2019, 11:03 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I do trail running photography with K1 II and DFA 28-105/3.5-4.5, with subjects running towards camera and the success ration is remarkably high (>75%). I use AF-continuous with preselected zone area, and tracking is a big improvement over K1 with the same lens. The 28-105/3.5-4.5 is twice as fast than any other lens I tried.
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