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12-31-2012, 05:38 AM   #1
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K-30 v. Canon 5DII in Iceland

My son and his girlfriend went to Iceland over Christmas and came back with some good landscape shots. My son moved from a Canon 20D to the K-30 and is happy so far, and likes the 21DA Ltd. which he used for most shots. His girlfriend takes more video and stays with Canon, and in Iceland she was using a 24-105 zoom. Photozone rated this 3/5 with "decent" resolution figures - very good but not excellent. I can't post any pics because I don't have them, but I can describe the difference,

The K-30+21DA excelled at fine detail, so grass and rocks were much better with a lot of interesting detail. Overall there was much more of a 3-D effect. Using a good prime lens scores here. Also the rendition was more towards cool+green which suited landscapes with grass and rocks. Skies and sunsets were less good - less gradation in the sky and shadows.

The 5DII excelled at sunset skies, which were quite wonderful. There were subtle gradations of tone and colour. The rendition was generally towards warm+pink and this applied to all shots. The shots of grass and rocks were flat and rather boring in relation to the Pentax combination which jumped out at you.

Conclusions - full frame scores for gradation of tone and colour, but you need to shoot with primes to make the detail look 3-D and jump out at you. I'm sure this is stating the obvious, but it was interesting to see it in action. Another point worth making is that my son felt the 21 DA was a really good length for these kind of landscapes.

The weak area with the K-30 was gradations in tone and colour, especially in contrasty scenes. He did experiment with HDR and this did seem promising. But using that hand-held did seem to lose some of the detail resolution. That was his first experiment with HDR.

I'm following this with interest - I use a 50D but I'm tempted by the K-30, and the cashback offer in the UK runs out in mid-January. Using some of the Ltd. primes is an attractive idea, and I don't want the body+lens size increases of full-frame. I'm attracted by image stabilisation in the body (cheaper lenses) and having video built in. Pentax has a lot going for it, particularly with the small-size primes which clearly perform well. Great for travel photography like this.


Last edited by les24preludes; 12-31-2012 at 05:46 AM.
12-31-2012, 06:18 AM   #2
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Was this all with in-cam JPGs? Not that there's much wrong with K-30 JPGs but there is more in there just waiting to be revealed by a bit of RAW developing.
12-31-2012, 06:19 AM   #3
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This was all shot in RAW. My son+girlfriend are both designers so pretty serious about their photography.
12-31-2012, 07:16 PM   #4
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I had a DA21 for my K5 for a while and found that it really couldn't keep up with my 5DII/24-105 as far as rendering fine details. Perhaps it needed an adjustment with my camera. I did prefer the color rendering and contrast of the 21 though. The size esp. with the K5 or K30 really makes it a good travel setup. The 24-105 is a monster next to that lens.

The K5/K30 certainly smoke the 5DII in dynamic range though....I'd need to be shooting HDRs with the 5D to keep up with the Exmor sensors. Sometimes you just don't have time to shoot in brackets with a tripod for HDRs (or setup ND filters).

Thanks for the writeup! Sounds like a fun trip.

12-31-2012, 07:50 PM   #5
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K-30 = 12 bit colour
K-5= 14 bit colour
Canon 5Dii= 14 bit

If you want to match the 5D colour gradations you're looking at the wrong camera. Look for a K-5 , not a K-30.
01-01-2013, 03:44 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
K-30 = 12 bit colour
K-5= 14 bit colour
Canon 5Dii= 14 bit

If you want to match the 5D colour gradations you're looking at the wrong camera. Look for a K-5 , not a K-30.
The K-5 should be better but the problem is you never view in 14 bits though, more likely 6 bits with some dithering ,8 bits if you're very lucky and 10 bits extremely unlikely. So perhaps there's other reasons.
01-01-2013, 03:50 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by SteveB Quote
The K-5 should be better but the problem is you never view in 14 bits though, more likely 6 bits with some dithering ,8 bits if you're very lucky and 10 bits extremely unlikely. So perhaps there's other reasons.
i agree
01-01-2013, 08:08 AM   #8
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The difference is not what you view in bits, it's what palette you have to choose from when creating your 8 bit. For shots like sunsets, where you may be rescuing shadow, in 8 bit you have 16 shades of gray, in 12 bit 512 with 14 bit over 2048 shades of black. Say I want to pull up some shadow detail. With 14 bit I have enough gradation in the Black area to pull realistic detail up into the mid range of my curve, and maintain a realistic looking image with gradation that makes full use of the 8 bit palette. With 12 bit you have a lot less latitude. Especially since every time you move your curve to the left you need more and more gradation to avoid banding.

If you nail your exposure bang on, and your the dynamic range of your subject which in daylight is probably 20,000/1 does not exceed the range of your camera, you could end up with a good image shooting in 8 bit (jpeg). The more depth you have, the more likely you are to be able to pull a realistic looking shot from a very contrasty image.

QuoteQuote:
The 5DII excelled at sunset skies, which were quite wonderful. There were subtle gradations of tone and colour. The rendition was generally towards warm+pink and this applied to all shots.
So what's your version of why the 5DII did better than the k-30. According to my view of the world, that's what you'd expect. According to the the theory above, there should be no difference becasue you're only viewing in 8 bits.

A few sunsets from this summer.







We are not experiencing difficulty producing rich colours in sunsets with a K-5. SO what's your take on why they can't do it on a K-30? If not the colour depth, then what?

01-01-2013, 10:26 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
We are not experiencing difficulty producing rich colours in sunsets with a K-5. SO what's your take on why they can't do it on a K-30? If not the colour depth, then what?
Who knows? Perhaps it is the colour depth, but why do these cameras have different colour depths, that's the question. Also, it could just be Adobe or whoever haven't taken as much care optimising the RAW conversion process for a cheaper camera. I haven't seen any colour depth issues using Silkypix Pro 5, but there again we don't get sunsets round here hardly ever so perhaps I wouldn't notice. It could be a cheaper less accurate D/A converter in the K-30 and nothing much to do with the no. of bits as such. The last couple of bits are usually inaccurate anyway, worse for cheaper ICs. Good D/A converters cost more.
01-01-2013, 12:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by les24preludes Quote
The K-30+21DA excelled at fine detail, so grass and rocks were much better with a lot of interesting detail. Overall there was much more of a 3-D effect.

The 5DII excelled at sunset skies, which were quite wonderful. There were subtle gradations of tone and colour. The rendition was generally towards warm+pink and this applied to all shots. The shots of grass and rocks were flat and rather boring in relation to the Pentax combination which jumped out at you.

Conclusions - full frame scores for gradation of tone and colour, but you need to shoot with primes to make the detail look 3-D and jump out at you. I'm sure this is stating the obvious, but it was interesting to see it in action. Another point worth making is that my son felt the 21 DA was a really good length for these kind of landscapes.
It seems to me the conclusion should be the Pentax K30 (Pentax's entry level APS-C format camera which retails for around $750) outperforms the Canon 5Dii (one of Canon's top-of-the-line 135 format cameras which retails for around $2,200) in some areas and is nearly as good in other areas.

But I have neither of those cameras, so maybe I'm misinterpreting your description/comparison.
01-01-2013, 08:39 PM   #11
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I took this yesterday with the K30. There is nothing to say that it is lacking in colour depth or smooth graduation of colours. Processed raw in Lightroom 3.

It is either a problem with that particular unit or i can't imagine anything else. Post exapmles so we can see what the problem is
01-01-2013, 08:41 PM   #12
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sorry, didn't attach first time
Attached Images
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PENTAX K-30  Photo 
01-01-2013, 08:50 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
The difference is not what you view in bits, it's what palette you have to choose from when creating your 8 bit. For shots like sunsets, where you may be rescuing shadow, in 8 bit you have 16 shades of gray, in 12 bit 512 with 14 bit over 2048 shades of black. Say I want to pull up some shadow detail. With 14 bit I have enough gradation in the Black area to pull realistic detail up into the mid range of my curve, and maintain a realistic looking image with gradation that makes full use of the 8 bit palette. With 12 bit you have a lot less latitude. Especially since every time you move your curve to the left you need more and more gradation to avoid banding.

If you nail your exposure bang on, and your the dynamic range of your subject which in daylight is probably 20,000/1 does not exceed the range of your camera, you could end up with a good image shooting in 8 bit (jpeg). The more depth you have, the more likely you are to be able to pull a realistic looking shot from a very contrasty image.



So what's your version of why the 5DII did better than the k-30. According to my view of the world, that's what you'd expect. According to the the theory above, there should be no difference becasue you're only viewing in 8 bits.

A few sunsets from this summer.







We are not experiencing difficulty producing rich colours in sunsets with a K-5. SO what's your take on why they can't do it on a K-30? If not the colour depth, then what?
I am not sure you are right with your interpretation of bit depth is. It seems that you are talking about dynamic range when you say pulling out shadows and shades of grey. They are not the same thing. The bit depth is ONLY supposed to be related to colour and gradation. Either way, when the OP is saying that the colour gradation is not good on the k30, with 12 vs 14 bit, you couldn't tell on a computer screen as screens have a lower bit depth than cameras are capable of. The same for JPEG's.

You will only ever see it when you do major retouching and you have something with the exact same image at the exact same time from 2 different cameras.

You would be unlikely to "just happen to notice the difference" without having the exact same image from another camera with a different bit depth.
01-01-2013, 08:57 PM   #14
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the problem could be more to do with camera profiling for the raw converter.
Lowering contrast will flatten an image out and create much more subtle changes in colour. Considering how you explained that the rocks looked, that could be your best bet.


I have used the 5dmkii for a model shoot and the only thing that i liked about it was the field of view.
01-01-2013, 09:37 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Man, I was able to make colors scream with my K-x, so I can't imagine the K-30 being any worse.
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