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06-30-2011, 08:43 AM   #1
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Pentax K10D vs K5 image quality

The heading says K10D, but I have the Samsung version of this model and am considering an upgrade to the K5. There is no doubt that the K5 is a far superior camera, but it has a lot of features that are unlikely to be of that much use to me.

I seldom shoot in low light requiring high ISOs, don't need video and hardly ever need very high shutter speeds of above 1/1000. I shoot architecture, some nature, including flower close-ups etc. I have used medium format extensively over the years, as well as Leica rangefinders more recently for B&W (unbeatable for street pix IMHO)

I shoot RAW, so am quite happy post processing, so don't need top quality JPEGs straight out of the camera. I have a number of K & M mount lenses, plus a very sharp Sigma zoom as a walkabout.

What I am really looking for is a quantum leap up in IQ - resolution of very fine detail, colour rendition etc. The best way to describe this would be to say that I am looking for near medium format quality, as opposed to 35mm!

Can any forum member help with some meaningful comparisons (hopefully with some images) between the K10D and K5 - and, perhaps, K-5 against some 120 film.

Thanks, if you can help.

Ray

06-30-2011, 09:05 AM   #2
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I think this belongs more in PENTAX DSLRS than GENERAL TROUBLE. Look to get moved.

So it's pictures you want? Sorry. From reading reviews/comments, I gather that you will see a quantum leap, where a quantum is the *least* possible change of state. (That's physics.) No, you won't see a major increase in IQ, no leap to MF standards. For 645 resolution you'd need a 645D. Reasons for going to a K5 would have more to do with newer ISO, AF, size -- and you would give up tethering. But the temptation to have 50% more megapickles is strong, I know. Whereas a 645D gives, what, 300% more mpx? THAT is a major leap.
06-30-2011, 09:46 AM   #3
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I concur. Having made the K10 to K5 jump, the low-ISO images aren't much different. However, I can push the f-stop higher at higher shutter speeds with better sensitivity getting shots which would have been questionable with the K10.

Autofocus is better, for sure. I have yet to play with catch-in-focus, but will experiment this weekend with some manual lenses.
06-30-2011, 09:55 AM   #4
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This isn't a troubleshooting question- please remember to check your forum category prior to posting! Thread moved to DSLR discussion.

The K-5's IQ should be significantly better than that of the K10, especially in terms of high-ISO performance (you have access to a broader ISO range as well). Another key difference is that the K-5 has a much more responsive and intuitive interface.


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06-30-2011, 11:23 AM   #5
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I can pull a lot more information from dark/shadowed areas with the K-5. I'm not saying the low-ISO images of the K10 are better, but that's not where the K5 shines in comparison.

I do miss the dedicated SR switch, but being able to shoot at higher shutter speeds means it doesn't need to be on as often.
06-30-2011, 12:02 PM   #6
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The K10 is still VERY strong around base iso, if that is what you shoot then the K5 will not give you much extra. The K5 has more dynamic range, but if you are not hitting that limit with the K10 then I doubt you will see any difference.
06-30-2011, 02:27 PM   #7
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Pulling detail out of the shadows is a GREAT advantage of the K-5 over the K20D; I can only presume it's at least as much better than the K10D. To get the same shadow detail with the K20D, you have to shoot a three image bracket and HDR it.

That said, if you really want to expand your image quality/detail, get a good stitching program and learn to stitch image.s. It's easy, fast (nowadays) and can exceed the IQ of medium format images, particularly when combined with the DR of the K-5.
06-30-2011, 04:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gimbal Quote
The K10 is still VERY strong around base iso, if that is what you shoot then the K5 will not give you much extra. The K5 has more dynamic range, but if you are not hitting that limit with the K10 then I doubt you will see any difference.
If you stay at 100 iso with the k10 I have rescued some shots that were almost 4 stops under and still got great results.
I am sure anything higher then 400 the k5 would really be in a class of it's own.

cheers

06-30-2011, 04:38 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rayhf1485 Quote
What I am really looking for is a quantum leap up in IQ - resolution of very fine detail, colour rendition etc.
You are more likely to get a significant improvement in resolution of fine detail from a newer lens than from a newer camera. If you don't have a macro lens already, look into one as the next investment.

K-5 will give you better high ISO performance which can be useful with long lenses, or even handheld closeup shots, not only in low light. Better DR as mentioned too. But you never mentioned finding those lacking into your K10D, so you probably don't need the K-5. I still use the K10D - it's a great camera still and produces great results when paired with good lenses.
06-30-2011, 05:53 PM   #10
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I don't have a K5 but I would guess there would be a significant improvement in dynamic range. When I try to bring up shadow detail in my K200 (or K100) images, the noise really limits how much that's possible. It could be that with better noise reduction software I could get better results, but probably not as good as having better dynamic range to start with.

Also I find that I'm often just one or one and a half stop away from holding detail in both the shadows and highlights, and need to resort to a split ND filter (with attendant reduction in image quality from sticking an uncoated plastic filter in the front of the lens) to avoid the blinkies. Just another stop or two in dynamic range would be an improvement for those pictures.

Paul
07-01-2011, 04:23 AM   #11
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Only downside is that if you are well used to the K10 button layout, you will be a little thrown off by the different layout...
After 2.5 years of K7/K5, I still have to pause and think just to find buttons, whereas during my one year with K10/K20 every control was just right where it should...

Now, you'll be blown away by the tremendous DR...
07-01-2011, 04:57 AM   #12
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It seems to me that the OP has defined away most of the K5 advantages as being of little interest. When finances permit, I will be getting a K5 because I do use the higher ISO of my K-x frequently, do need AF assist, and would like a more professional feature set for my high ISO machine.

However, as a long time K10d owner, I would have to say that its quality at low ISO, especially with controlled lighting, is unsurpassed by any of the higher resolution sensors I have used such as that of the K20d or K-x. I can't say I miss the pixels much between the K20d (getting close to the K5 in megapixels) and the K10d if I can expose for a true ISO 100. That is, however, a great big "if."
07-01-2011, 07:27 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
It seems to me that the OP has defined away most of the K5 advantages as being of little interest. When finances permit, I will be getting a K5 because I do use the higher ISO of my K-x frequently, do need AF assist, and would like a more professional feature set for my high ISO machine.

However, as a long time K10d owner, I would have to say that its quality at low ISO, especially with controlled lighting, is unsurpassed by any of the higher resolution sensors I have used such as that of the K20d or K-x. I can't say I miss the pixels much between the K20d (getting close to the K5 in megapixels) and the K10d if I can expose for a true ISO 100. That is, however, a great big "if."
It's important to note that even at base ISO - in fact, at EVERY ISO - the K-5 has significantly higher signal-to-noise ratio. It supersedes many previous generation FF sensors and comes close to current crop in many ways.

With my K20D, I didn't often touch that "fill light" slider in LR3. The K-5 makes it a regular friend. It's like one-shot HDR of the sort that doesn't 'look' HDR. Plus, the noise in the shadows, even when pushed massively, is much less obtrusive and much more attractive than the K20D/K10D produce. I've gone back a couple of times and played with landscapes I shot with the K20D, and there's no comparison.

But, like I said, if landscapes are your gig, you cannot beat stitching, and a good stitching program like Autopano for a couple hundred dollars might serve you better. This is a 40 mpixel image (well, it's a down-sampled jpeg from one). In the original image, you can count tree-tops. This could be printed at 300dpi more than 60 inches across:


07-01-2011, 07:51 AM   #14
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That is a lovely panorama, and, as I said, I plan on getting a K5 for many features, including its sensor. However, at low ISO, I find very few instances when I, personally, need more resolution than the K10d offers. I still enjoy medium format, but in terms of need, the vast majority of us are not making very many prints that require 100mp resolution.
07-01-2011, 08:43 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
That is a lovely panorama, and, as I said, I plan on getting a K5 for many features, including its sensor. However, at low ISO, I find very few instances when I, personally, need more resolution than the K10d offers. I still enjoy medium format, but in terms of need, the vast majority of us are not making very many prints that require 100mp resolution.
The OP wanted "near medium format" quality, though; Stitching will actually get him that even with the K10, really. With the right software, and proper judicious use of bracketing and HDR, he could EXCEED MF quality easily. So I figured I'd drop a demo

Thanks for the kind words. I wish I'd gotten more detail in the sky, but it was a really featureless haze that not even HDR would pull detail out of, and only brought a rusty brownish color.
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