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09-02-2013, 02:41 PM - 2 Likes   #1
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Shooting the K5, Q and K100 at the Grand Canyon

The last 3 months have been very busy at work - so on Saturday, on a whim, at the last minute (literally 1.30 pm) I tossed everything in the truck and drove 3.5 hours up to the Grand Canyon to catch the sunset. It was a really nice drive, even through the heavy rain storm on the way up to Flagstaff. It has been raining, lots of clouds up there, and on the webcam the canyon was clear (90 miles of visibility) with some white puffy clouds, so I left - stopping for gas on the way. I got there at 5.30 pm - with a 6.55 pm sunset. Substantially cooler (60) than down in the valley (104 when I left), breezy and spitting rain.

Pulled out my tripod and head, selected my lenses, loaded by backpack and went out to the rim, setup and started shooting with my K5. In 50 shots (pretty much all bracketed) I had gone through all 3 of my K5 batteries. One I knew that I just recharged a week ago. So, I decided to go back to the truck and drive up to the next scenic view a couple of miles up the road. I pulled out my Q and tripod and went shooting. Then I remembered that I had brought the case with my K100 and I had new AA batteries along with it.

Swapped cameras - tried to move the L Bracket from the K5 on the K100 (the door was too large with the shutter release cable attached), so I just made due, with the base plate.

I wound up shooting all 3 bodies across 2 hours at sunset. The lighting conditions were constantly changing and the images represent this. However, in processing the shots last evening and this morning, several things stand out. The resolution and refined quality of the K5 is wonderful. The K100 even at 6MP - but with its CCD sensor captures a wonderful scene. I had not really shot with the K100 a lot over the last 4 or so years, and it is an excellent camera in its own right. It would be nice to shoot them side by side and see the difference - same view, same light, same lens - but that is too much like shooting a brick wall. This was done somewhat out of necessity since I ran out of charged batteries and both the Q and the K100 performed more than admirably.

So, at 5.30 with some pretty niche light, the K5 did what it does so well. Great definition and resolution, excellent color. The light was very muted and the sun was just starting to break out under the clouds. It was spitting rain with a breeze, and even with a lens hood, I kept having to wipe the rain drops off with a lens cloth. Then I ran out of juice.

Drove to the next scenic outlook and started shooting with the Q. The Q really surprised me with the 02 lens at telephoto end. This was the shot that I had always wanted - with the K5 - all the resolution and definition, using the the old glass that I have been acquiring. So, after checking the shot on the rear screen, I remembered that I had brought the K100 along and I always have a new pack of AA's with it.

So, I went back to the truck, selected the 150mm fumbled around a bit, trying to remember how to shoot with the K100 (single wheel), and found that the 150 was way too much lens, for what I wanted. Went back to the truck (20 feet - and still spitting rain) to get the 85, but the sun came out under the clouds and lit up the ridge behind me, so I popped on the Zeiss 25, scurried back to shoot this.

Somehow the bold vivid colors really suits the CCD sensor on the K100. The pixels are large, fat, low noise and just soak up the light. The Q on the other hand, with the relatively small sensor, did extremely well, but with loosing the light, it was probably at its limit. In post processing, the imaging noise was starting to come through, but I am extremely happy with what I was able to capture.

I had intended to pretty much shoot with only the K5, and now I am left wondering (till next time) what it would have been able to capture.

Going back to the batteries for a minute. The first two batteries, I shot a number of images and then came up with the "Battery Depleted" message. The third one, I slid in, closed the cover and turn on the camera - Battery depleted again. Upon getting home, I put them on the charger and saw that one of the batteries, immediately went to fully charged. So, I am now wondering - if I should have cycled the power again, and it probably would have come up fully charged. Live and learn.

Here are some additional shots.
  1. Here is the last set before leaving - in the dark. K100 3 bracketed and stacked - very little light.

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09-02-2013, 03:44 PM   #2
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Good information, and thanks for sharing. I don't have the Q, but do have K100dS and K-5. I'll have to take both on my next trip to Arizona (daughter goes to U of A in Tucson and we go there 3-4 times per year) to do some comparisons. In October 2012 I used the K100dS and got some really great vivid shots - a little bit of post processing on these.
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08-31-2014, 02:29 PM   #3
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There is the rest of the story component here. It turns out the why the K5 ate through 3 batteries in about 50 shots was that there was a problem with the K5's mirror motor and a circuit card. I dropped it by CRIS and two weeks later I had the K5 back and working just fine. That was a year ago - today, that I shot the Canyon. I need to go back up there - but probably not this Labor day weekend. I tossed the K100 and Q into the truck at the very last minute - thinking that it would be nice to have some comparisons, not thinking backup in the slightest. Fortunately, the Q's batteries were charged, and I stopped at the store to pick up some fresh AA's for the K100. No planning - just dumb luck....

Last edited by interested_observer; 08-31-2014 at 02:34 PM.

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