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03-05-2021, 02:43 PM   #1
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KP on the way......any advice on setup

Very excited.....exactly 10 years after buying my kx I have now just hit the buy button on a kp and it's on its way. I can't wait.
I've been drooling after the kp for several years but could never easily justify the expense of a purchase while I had a working kx but the recent price drops and discontinued status finally made me act. I hope I don't regret it.

While I love my kx and am keeping it, it did with time bring some frustrations such as one control dial and the inability to easily see or the change the iso while shooting with the viewfinder and some focusing limitations (no red focus points, no focus peaking and rather dodgy focusing in low light and no focus tuning options). It's incompatibility with astrotracer and the new 55-300plm were also rather annoying as I want to try these at some point. That all said, I have had some great experiences with it and it's generated some great photos and will always have a fond place in my heart.

A lot of my most enjoyable shooting is actually with old manual primes, specifically the k24/2.8, m50/1.7, k55/1.8, m85/2 and k135/2.5 as I just love their build quality, optical results and the slow, deliberate picture taking process of using them. Their small size and weight I think should be well matched to the classic look of the kp. Can anyone comment on their experiences of using the two together? I'm hoping that the kp's pentaprism, larger viewfinder magnification and focus peaking and more sensitive central focal point and improved metering will all help.

Any further advice on setting up the kp for use with old primes beyond enabling aperture ring and the use of m mode? I believe that there's a custom setting on the kp's dial, but I'm not exactly sure what it does?
I will also have to experiment with grip size I guess.

I do have some AF lenses, like the sigma 10-20, dal 18-55 and da 50-200 and plan to add the da 55-300 plm soon. Will the quality of the 18-55 and 50-200 be sufficient for the 24MP of the kp ?

This will be my third pentax in 15 years, following a k100d and the kx so I'm expecting it to be a quite a big step forwards, I hope I wont be disappointed !

Oliver

03-05-2021, 03:52 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by on6702 Quote
Any further advice on setting up the kp for use with old primes beyond enabling aperture ring and the use of m mode? I believe that there's a custom setting on the kp's dial, but I'm not exactly sure what it does?

I do have some AF lenses, like the sigma 10-20, dal 18-55 and da 50-200 and plan to add the da 55-300 plm soon. Will the quality of the 18-55 and 50-200 be sufficient for the 24MP of the kp ?

This will be my third pentax in 15 years, following a k100d and the kx so I'm expecting it to be a quite a big step forwards, I hope I wont be disappointed !

Oliver
The default User mode "Manual Lens", if I remember correctly (I overwrote mine long ago), sets the camera up for use with manual lenses so that you do not have to dive into the menus to change various options and parameters. It would be a good place to start with a manual-focussing lens.

Regarding the quality of the 18-55 and the 50-200: the KP will likely show their optical limitations more than did the Kx.

You won't be disappointed with the KP. Rather, you will likely be astonished by the improved image quality and handling vis-a-vis the Kx.
03-05-2021, 04:16 PM   #3
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The Sigma 10-20mm (f/?) WA zoom lens should be very good on your KP. With the DA 55-300mm PLM upcoming, (a good choice), another good idea would be a quality all-around AF lens having WR construction. The DA 18-135mm is priced within reason and built above its price point- very well, while its compact dimensions are complementary to the KP's design concept. While the PLM lens is champ for fast AF, the DA 18-135mm is next-best. Fast, accurate,and quiet. Then you can sell off your DA-L 18-55mm and 50-200mm. Your old manual prime lenses can serve for low light use, etc. but of course such non- "A" lenses will not include access to the KP's advanced metering and a number of other features. Eventually, you might mull over which of the Limited prime lenses would best be most useful for your needs. They are especially nice with the KP.

This very fine camera will not be a disappointment, especially considering the experience you have acquired... as Ausable says above!!

If you like shooting high quality JPEG images, the KP's processor is exceptional for delivering fine results right out of the camera. The camera comes with the mode dial set to "Auto" so of course change that right away, as this disengages the KP's marvelous controls, as well as access to adjustments, etc. The mode dial set on "P" is the way to go for full automation (of course not available with "M" lenses). Then set up "Fine Sharpening" in the Custom Image menus, especially in the commonly-used "Bright" category by using the thumb dial. Access is via the info button, whereupon the 4 buttons around the "ok" button become functional for navigation.
03-05-2021, 05:29 PM   #4
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The in-depth review here at Pentax Forums includes a list of recommended settings. Those are a good place to start and will help provide familiarity with the menu system.

Pentax KP Review - Recommended Settings | PentaxForums.com Reviews

Added: Having fielded a ton of help requests over the years here, I suggest not blindly using the pre-made settings for the five custom User modes (U1 through U5) until you have reviewed what they actually do, particularly in that they may override settings you have made for general shooting. You can review the actual functionality of each using: menu --> rec. mode 5 --> Save USER Mode --> Check Saved Settings.


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 03-05-2021 at 05:41 PM.
03-05-2021, 09:00 PM - 1 Like   #5
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First, congratulations on the KP! The 55-300 PLM lens will feel and perform like it was designed for the KP, you will never use that 50-200 again. As a companion zoom I would highly recommend the DA 20-40.

For your manual lenses, you will enjoy them with the KP, the better viewfinder will make manually focusing easier, but the read joy of manually focusing will happen when you are using a tripod. You can use live view with the wonderful tilting screen and focus peaking with magnification will allow you focus absolutely perfect. For non moving scenes you can use the electronic shutter. The KP cannot use the IR remotes, so use the 2 or 12 second delay on the tripod, it will also disable shake reduction just like remote shooting does.

Another major improvement over your Kx is the Multi Auto White Balance. It helps with multiple light sources, something that regular auto WB canít do, set it there and forget it most of the time.

I donít know if you have used back button autofocus, if not I would try it, I feel it improves your amount of autofocus keepers,
03-06-2021, 04:02 AM   #6
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I regularly use the K55 1.8 (plus A 28, 50 1.7 and 135 2.8) on my KP. They are all a joy to use, I use the medium grip, and focussing is remarkably reliable with both the red dot and focus confirmation beep to help you. I find the vintage metal lenses improve the already very satisfying shutter sound of the KP. One minor issue I've encountered when using a non A lens, is the protruding flash housing of the KP makes it tricky to see the stops on the aperture ring. First world problem...
03-06-2021, 09:56 AM   #7
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QuoteQuote:
… any advice on setup
From experience, the modern bodies are a little more "crowded" on the back than the earlier cameras, so, with bigger hands like mine, I find it useful to re-allocate the functioning of the 4-way controller on the back panel (p61 in the manual) so's I don't accidently change the Drive Mode or whatever … there's also a "Disabling Operation Controls" feature on p51 which provides more of the same … I find both features useful, especially with gloves on
Enjoy!

03-06-2021, 03:59 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Welcome to PF Oliver.

Sounds like you already know a bit about the KP and lenses, I'd just add a few points to what others have said:
1. Coming from a camera with only one control wheel, get used to using both front and back wheels - by default, back wheel for the aperture and front for the shutter speed. The wheels have lots of other functions according to the context - for example, when displaying images you have taken, the wheel on the back zooms in and out on the displayed image and the wheel on the front moves forward and back between images. The camera displays little symbols to remind you of what the controls do in the context.
2. The buttons, dials and even the screen are highly customisable. Take some time to work out what functions you would like to assign where. But ...
3. I would start by assigning the custom slots (C1, C2, C3) on the function dial. I have C1 set to control ISO. Then when the dial is set to C1, you can set the ISO with the third wheel. I find this very handy in any mode other than TAv.
4. My own favourite use for the function dial is AE, which toggles between spot, centre weighted and matrix metering. (This is probably a minority preference, but it's handy when shooting wildlife and landscapes, especially when in TAv mode, so that I don't need to control the ISO all the time.) Whichever you use most, it's very handy not having to dive into the info screen or menus.
5. A feature of the KP is its high-ISO performance. Test it with different ISO settings to see what level of noise you are comfortable with. (Of course if you are shooting on a tripod, you would generally just stick to 100 ISO, but in other situations the flexibility offered by high-ISO is invaluable.) Personally I find 3200 pretty safe most of the time and 6400 a viable option when required (e.g. for wildlife in low light). Even 12800 can be acceptable. (I shoot RAW and use software which cleans up noise really well, without losing detail. If you are shooting jpg, with in-camera NR, check whether the results are satisfactory for you.)
6. Battery life is not bad, but not great either. It pays always to carry a spare.
7. Good choice getting the DA 55-300 PLM. It's a great combination with the KP. It's only f6.3 at the long end, but it's excellent wide open. If you need f5.6, back off to about 260mm.
8. My preference for wildlife in AF-S mode is to select a single focus point rather let the camera choose the point. I used to use centre point and recompose, but I find AF point select much better. (The centre points and those immediately above and below it are more sensitive than those elsewhere.) You can move the selected AF point with your thumb on the 4-way controller without taking your eye from the viewfinder. (This is one reason why I have gone back to shutter button AF rather than back-button AF; the other is that I don't like the position of the rear AF button, compared to the K-3.)

I agree with others that you will be wanting a better wide-normal AF zoom than the 18-55. Like Tom (@Ramseybuckeye) I love the DA 20-40 Limited, which feels as if it were made for the KP, with its retro styling and lovely construction and excellent balance. Images have that Limited look that Pentaxians love - rich colours, great microcontrast and beautiful bokeh. But there are plenty of alternatives to consider, including the f2.8 zooms (Sigma/Tamron 17-50 or Pentax DA*16-50 - revised model coming), Sigma 17-70 C f2.8-4, Pentax DA 16-85 or DA 18-135. They all have strengths and weaknesses, so you some research (a wealth of information in the reviews and other discussions here, and many sample photos) and work out which would suit you best.

If you haven't already done so, have a look at the threads here devoted to the KP, the 55-300 and other lenses you might be interested in.

Last edited by Des; 03-06-2021 at 04:09 PM.
03-07-2021, 09:03 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote
Welcome to PF Oliver.

Sounds like you already know a bit about the KP and lenses, I'd just add a few points to what others have said:
...
8. My preference for wildlife in AF-S mode is to select a single focus point rather let the camera choose the point. I used to use centre point and recompose, but I find AF point select much better. (The centre points and those immediately above and below it are more sensitive than those elsewhere.) You can move the selected AF point with your thumb on the 4-way controller without taking your eye from the viewfinder. (This is one reason why I have gone back to shutter button AF rather than back-button AF; the other is that I don't like the position of the rear AF button, compared to the K-3.)

...
Very close to my own experiences and advice except for one issue. At least in the brush/thickets around here I find spot metering for wildlife which has been my go to setting for years with the old K-50 and later K-70 doesn't work as well for some reason with my KP body using the same lenses (more points = greater specificity? or my technique/environment?) missing a good value to expose the subject more than I would like. I've switched over to center weighted.

I will amplify the kit lens note: The KP really does show their flaws up. Or maybe a better way to say it is the kit lenses simply don't extract the information the light is sending to the lens. You want some good lenses in the ranges you like best. For many KP users the choice becomes whether to get the 16-85 first or the 55-300 PLM. That said, the new 16-55 PLM might become an issue here soon, though likely at high cost. And of course the 18-135 enters in as well, but in my experience, the 16-85 performs better (though be careful with darker environments as it is not fast).

I would add that many swear by the Sigma 17-50 at the low end for the KP. Not WR, of course. While it is significantly faster at f2.8, I honestly swear AT mine for how it renders landscapes though it performs beatifully for everything else. Wrong pixie dust for me especially in the far distance, I guess. It just looks like pointillist mush. Definitely a me issue or lens issue as it occurrs on all 3 Pentax bodies I've tried it on (K-50, K-70, KP).

Last edited by jgnfld; 03-07-2021 at 09:20 AM.
03-07-2021, 12:42 PM   #10
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Congrats on the new KP !on6702

Im working on learning the KP setups , ins and out also. Thanks everyone for the good info. Especially the Recommended Settings.
03-07-2021, 05:07 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for the advice, some very useful comments there.

Wow, what a fantastic little camera this truly. is I'm simply amazed by the advances in quality and convenience over my kx. The ability for iso, shutter speed and aperture to each have their own dial is brilliant especially combined with the hyper program or hyper manual mode and the green button.
The AF-S focusing is sure foot footed and definitely more reliable and accurate than my kx which really struggled in low light and the wifi is also great for transferring a few jpegs to a phone. The extract focus peaking is also great for focusing old manual lenses as well. I also greatly enjoy seeing much more info in the viewfinder.

The grip and position of buttons -- especially the green button and exp. comp button -- are going to take some getting used to as they are in quite different places from the kx and my muscle memory is well established for that for many years but I'm sure I'll get there. With the large grip and a hold technique akin to a film camera I find it pretty comfortable.

Have only found a few tiny omissions so far -- no compare image function in playback like there was in the kx, no dust test image showing the location of any sensor dust and the battery does seem to run down pretty quickly especially if you use wifi or live view at all. Some more batteries will be ordered urgently! It's also a shame that pixel shift is not compatible with flash, but nevermind.

I'm pleasantly surprized by how small and light the kp is, especially with a small prime. I can see it would be a perfectly marriage with some limiteds.
For me I suspect the ideal set-up would be to sell the 18-55 and 50-200 and acquire the 20-40 and 55-300 but that may take some saving up.
In the meantime I will enjoy my fa 35, which I forgot to mention earlier but sits nicely on the kp, the sigma 10-40 and my old manual primes. I think they will work well with the kp and hopefully be up to the task.

Here's are four first light pics from the fa 35, SOOC jpegs from my fun today with a Japanese theme -- 5 types of homemade miso, a Hina doll and some flowers.

KP test images | Flickr

Oliver
03-07-2021, 11:05 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by on6702 Quote
sell the 18-55 and 50-200 and acquire the 20-40 and 55-300
That would be worth doing! You also seem to like doing closeups. The excellent DA 100mm f/2.8 WR macro might also be somewhere in your future. Your KP's pull-out rear screen can be very useful for down low closeups, and for other tripod work as well.
03-08-2021, 02:04 AM   #13
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Hi Mike, yes would love to have a dedicated macro and I've heard great things about the pentax 100mm. Do you have it?

I'm now having to take an increasing number of food photos to support a new business venture of my wife, so I think macro and close up stuff could become a significant part of what I do going forward. In the meantime, I am making do with combining my m50/1.7 with the vivitar macro focusing teleconverter or extension tubes or my longer lenses with a raynox 150. Not terribly convenient but I find the macro is a slow and manual process anyway and the quality is actually pretty good.

The one thing I would really love as a new feature for a future pentax camera would be a focus stacking feature where the camera somehow automates the process of collecting images with different focal depths and registers and combines them together. Not sure how feasible this is but would be great for landscapes with a close foreground or macro work.
03-08-2021, 02:52 AM   #14
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I have a few macros for my KP: The M100/4macro that can be had affordably, the slightly more expensive Sigma 70macro and the rare Sigma180macro.
In addition i have a few close focus lenses (not really macro) like the F35-70 and F35-135. Handy as a walk around lens when you suddenly need to take close photos of something.

The real gem is my bellows that I use mainly with my M50/1.7

Seb, who recently also upgraded to the KP.
03-08-2021, 02:14 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by on6702 Quote
would love to have a dedicated macro and I've heard great things about the pentax 100mm. Do you have it?
I do. It's a wonderful lens. Not just for macro but for general use. It's brilliant for stitching landscapes.


But if you don't need WR, the older Pentax 100 macros or the Tamron 90 (various versions) or Sigma 105 are also highly regarded. It is said that there are no bad macros. A dedicated macro will be a lot simpler to use than extension tubes and better quality than the Raynox (although many people get good results from these).
QuoteOriginally posted by on6702 Quote
I'm now having to take an increasing number of food photos to support a new business venture of my wife, so I think macro and close up stuff could become a significant part of what I do going forward.
That raises a different question. I wonder whether a shorter focal length might be more suitable. I have the FA 50mm f2.8 macro, which is just as sharp as the DFA 100, but was quite cheap. You might not even need a true 1:1 macro for this - one of the older 1:2 macros might be quite sufficient. Or - dare I say it - the DA 35 Limited macro.

For food and other product photography, I suspect that the setup and the lighting are actually the hardest parts.
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