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03-22-2015, 12:02 PM   #1
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K-S2 JPG's versus K5ll JPG'S and K50 JPG's

Background:-

I am looking at the possibility of buying a K-S2 to replace my main camera which is currently a K5ll. It is lighter and smaller and I am beginning to need that in a camera. The K5ll is however a great piece of equipment, particularly for focusing in lowlight. I will almost certainly hang on to it for the time being for that reason. I shoot mainly JPG's. Raw has significant merits, I know, but JPG's provide all I currently need in image quality for my pictures.

I have considered jumping ship to a 2/3 mirrorless system camera to gain the lighter weight but Pentax is in my blood and has been for nearly 40 years. I also have a lot of good lenses which, cost of replacement apart, I am very loth to give up. I think if I ever was sufficiently decrepit to have to get something lighter it is likely to be a Bridge Camera or, if such a thing existed at the time, a Premium Compact with decent zoom lens and, from real life experiences, a useable viewfinder.

The figures:-

The K5ll is 16mp but gives maximum quality of "Premium" JPG's (****). The file size seems to vary between 11.0mp and12.5mp, depending on the subject matter (approximately half of the Raw equivalent). The K50 is 16mp but only gives a maximum quality of "Best" JPG's (***). The file size seems to vary between 6.5mp and 8.0mp, again depending on the subject matter. The K-S2 is 20mp but like the K50 only gives maximum quality of "Best" JPG's (***). With the K-S2 however the anti aliasing filter can also be turned off, for "sharper" pictures). Rough calculations (as do not have a K-S2.....yet) suggest that the K-S2 is likely to give a "Best" JPG file size of between 8.5mp and 10mp (depending on the algorithm used).

The question:-

Am I likely to notice any "pixel peeping" difference in quality between "Best" quality JPG's from a 20mp K-S2 with the anti aliasing filter off and "Premium" quality JPG's from my 16mp K5ll, at 100%?

Replies from any Pentax owner who has both a K5ll and a K-S2 would be particularly appreciated.

03-22-2015, 12:27 PM   #2
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Just my two cents here, but you could always shoot in RAW+JPEG and have the JPEG set to 2MP or something small, just to preview photos before deciding which to convert, if the JPEG quality is of any real concern. (Generally the leap from 90%-95% quality isn't massive, unless you're reallllly peeping, you won't see much degradation)
03-22-2015, 12:46 PM   #3
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I don't think the JPG quality setting makes much of a difference, but one new feature in the K-S2 that's kind of interesting is the clarity enhancement, which is essentially an in-camera auto levels. Vignetting correction has gotten an auto setting (in addition to low, medium, and high), and unlike the other two cameras, you also get diffraction correction, which gives a slight sharpness boost with modern Pentax lenses. On top of the higher resolution and built-in AA filter simulator, the K-S2 certainly gives you the most control over your JPGs.

With that said, all these new tools aren't a replacement for shooting in RAW in my opinion, or at least processing JPEGs, since post-processing software gives you more control. The in-camera clarity enhancement is great if you just want to share/print straight out of camera, but I've found it to oftentimes be a bit too aggressive on the shadows.

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03-22-2015, 01:50 PM   #4
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What are your priorities? For low light AF, ISO noise levels, overall sharpness, the K-5IIs is still hard to beat (with some tests indicating it is slightly better than K-3 when it comes to noise).
But if you want more resolution or the latest features, the K-S2 is tempting. And it has a sleek new look.

03-22-2015, 03:41 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
What are your priorities? For low light AF, ISO noise levels, overall sharpness, the K-5IIs is still hard to beat (with some tests indicating it is slightly better than K-3 when it comes to noise).
But if you want more resolution or the latest features, the K-S2 is tempting. And it has a sleek new look.
I agree with your points of view on low light AF, ISO noise levels and overall sharpness. What I am wanting to do is, at worst, maintain the resolution I get from the K5ll and if possible better it in a lighter body. The K-S2, in theory at any rate, seems likely to do this, all be it losing some low light capabilities, hence not wanting to get rid of it immediately, should I purchase one. Sleek new looks are not relevant but good handling is! I buy my cameras to use not to drool over their visual appearance.

With regard to Raw, I only use it rarely as I take mainly sequences of pictures to be viewed normally by a relatively non-critical audience. I put a lot of effort into trying to get the composition and exposure right first time..... just like in the days of film. Duff pictures get deleted; well some of them do! Near duplicates are also considered for deletion but this depends on the subject matter. I can take a dozen plus pictures of one of my very young grandchildren, in very quick succession,and have a subtly different expression or pose in each. Ok, so they may not be brilliant but there is something unique and special about each picture taken. I want to minimise the time spent on processing so "out of the camera useability" for the majority is a "must". Future proofing for readability by non photographers is also important. (Pentax) JPG's suit these objectives just fine. (DNG Raw does have some form of future proofing but that is rather too dependent on Adobe and a knowledge of its software for my liking.)
03-22-2015, 04:09 PM   #6
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I sold my K-5 IIs (and K-01) shortly after buying a K-S1, because I preferred the images from the latter. The lesser size and weight is also a real advantage of course. With the added features of the K-S2 compared to my K-S1 I don't think you can possibly lose.

Mind you, I do still have a K-3 to fall back on....
03-22-2015, 05:51 PM   #7
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Regarding low light AF - the ks-2 is rated to -3EV just like the k5ii so that should be a wash. Would be interested to hear if this is confirmed by a person who has both....
03-23-2015, 04:46 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by vagrant10 Quote
Regarding low light AF - the ks-2 is rated to -3EV just like the k5ii so that should be a wash. Would be interested to hear if this is confirmed by a person who has both....
The above agrees with the UK Official Product Specifications for the K-S2 where the Brightness Range is stated as EV-3 to 18 (ISO 100 / at normal temperature) and the Operating Manual for the This is the same as that for the K5ll as stated in the Operating Manual.

Metering Ranges are however different. the K-S2 is rated as EV0 to 22 (ISO100 at 50mm F1.4) while the K5ll is rated as EV-3 to EV 18 (at Standard ISO 100/at normal temperature). Do you think this means, in theory at any rate, that the K-S2 can focus "correctly" in very low light levels, e.g. in the darkness of a dark night, but could have "problems" in giving a correct meter reading in the same conditions ? Is this likely to be problem in real life for other than serious nighttime photographers?

03-23-2015, 05:38 AM   #9
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The K-S2 should outperform the K-5II in autofocus overall. The AF sensors are the same as (or very similar to) the K-5II, but the screwdrive motor is more powerful, so screwdrive lenses should achieve focus faster, even if DC/SDM lenses don't. Also the CDAF in live view is miles better.

I'm not convinced you'll notice much difference in terms of weight with the K-S2 though. It's actually quite a chunky camera when you hold it and it weighs as much as the K-50, while having a smaller grip. The grip is bigger than the K-S1, but not big enough to feel good with bigger lenses. If you really want a lighter camera, I would consider the K-S1. You lose a control dial and WR, but the image quality is really good.

K-5IIs vs. K-S2 (82g/12% difference)
Compare camera dimensions side by side

K-5IIs vs. K-S1 (202g/36% difference)
Compare camera dimensions side by side

And by way of qualitative information, here is a thread from someone who chose the K-S1 because she wanted a lighter alternative to her K-3.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/184-pentax-k-s1-k-s2/280044-fun-k-s1.html
03-23-2015, 05:45 AM   #10
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For what it's worth, from comparing full sized samples in Jpeg Snoop, the compression used on the K-s2 *** matches the k5iis *** rating, but you're honestly not likely to notice the missing **** rating the k5iis had. They err on the side of very low compression, large file sizes, and high quality at any of the star ratings on all these camera. You have to look pretty close to notice the difference between **** and *** for the kiis, or even between **** and ** or *. It will depend on content and just how critical you are.

There are K-S2 sample images online if you want to do some comparing Pentax K-S2 Review: First Shots - Samples. With your stated end use of a non-critical audience, from an image quality standpoint either camera is probably overkill. More interesting will be first hand accounts of low light focusing, metering, etc, I've no K-S2 so can't help you there. Best of luck deciding
03-24-2015, 04:31 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by BrianR Quote
For what it's worth, from comparing full sized samples in Jpeg Snoop, the compression used on the K-s2 *** matches the k5iis *** rating, but you're honestly not likely to notice the missing **** rating the k5iis had. They err on the side of very low compression, large file sizes, and high quality at any of the star ratings on all these camera. You have to look pretty close to notice the difference between **** and *** for the kiis, or even between **** and ** or *. It will depend on content and just how critical you are.

There are K-S2 sample images online if you want to do some comparing Pentax K-S2 Review: First Shots - Samples. With your stated end use of a non-critical audience, from an image quality standpoint either camera is probably overkill. More interesting will be first hand accounts of low light focusing, metering, etc, I've no K-S2 so can't help you there. Best of luck deciding
Thanks Brian.

Just what I was looking for.
03-24-2015, 09:51 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by LoneWolf Quote
Do you think this means, in theory at any rate, that the K-S2 can focus "correctly" in very low light levels, e.g. in the darkness of a dark night, but could have "problems" in giving a correct meter reading in the same conditions ?
Yes, that is what it means, sort of. The lower limit to meter linearity is 0 EV(100). When the light is below that point (e.g. -1 EV(100)) the display blinks indicating inadequate light. Pop up the flash and all is well.


Steve
03-26-2015, 04:40 PM   #13
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To be honest, if you start thinking too much of your Jpeg quality, there a problem and ultimately you should understand that using RAW will provide very visible improvement if well done while different JPEG quality is mostly placebo effect.

JPEG work well only if you don't change/developp/post process. So if you pushing shadows, restore highlight, change constrast/saturation/exposure or white balance using RAW is going to help. This is VERY visible in high isos when using RAW with a good software give you visibly better results at 6400 isos than the standard JPEG at 3200 isos.

I understand to prefer JPEG only but there kind of contradictory behavior to think JPEG is good enough and after try to get a tinny bit more of quality from different setting while the real quality difference is completely elsewhere.
03-27-2015, 04:54 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
To be honest, if you start thinking too much of your Jpeg quality, there a problem and ultimately you should understand that using RAW will provide very visible improvement if well done while different JPEG quality is mostly placebo effect.

JPEG work well only if you don't change/developp/post process. So if you pushing shadows, restore highlight, change constrast/saturation/exposure or white balance using RAW is going to help. This is VERY visible in high isos when using RAW with a good software give you visibly better results at 6400 isos than the standard JPEG at 3200 isos.

I understand to prefer JPEG only but there kind of contradictory behavior to think JPEG is good enough and after try to get a tinny bit more of quality from different setting while the real quality difference is completely elsewhere.
Hi Nicholas,

I accept your arguments. My award winning friends in my photographic society are surprised as you are at my lack of enthusiasm for Raw. However the uses I put my pictures to very rarely need that extra quality. Also, to be honest, after a life of maintaining mainframe computers and commercial applications running on them, via a PC front end, I prefer to avoid spending too much time on desktops and laptops. I would rather go for walk with my unnecessarily sophisticated Pentax DSLR camera or Canon (apologies for that word!) enthusiastic level compact, than do some serious editing. I suppose that basically I am just one of life's happy snappers with an inordinate love of well designed photographic equipment, past and present. Only lack of space and funding and fear of divorce proceedings prevents me from becoming a serious collector.

Sorry Nicholas!
03-27-2015, 11:20 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by LoneWolf Quote
Background:-

I am looking at the possibility of buying a K-S2 to replace my main camera which is currently a K5ll. It is lighter and smaller and I am beginning to need that in a camera. The K5ll is however a great piece of equipment, particularly for focusing in lowlight. I will almost certainly hang on to it for the time being for that reason. I shoot mainly JPG's. Raw has significant merits, I know, but JPG's provide all I currently need in image quality for my pictures.

I have considered jumping ship to a 2/3 mirrorless system camera to gain the lighter weight but Pentax is in my blood and has been for nearly 40 years. I also have a lot of good lenses which, cost of replacement apart, I am very loth to give up. I think if I ever was sufficiently decrepit to have to get something lighter it is likely to be a Bridge Camera or, if such a thing existed at the time, a Premium Compact with decent zoom lens and, from real life experiences, a useable viewfinder.

The figures:-

The K5ll is 16mp but gives maximum quality of "Premium" JPG's (****). The file size seems to vary between 11.0mp and12.5mp, depending on the subject matter (approximately half of the Raw equivalent). The K50 is 16mp but only gives a maximum quality of "Best" JPG's (***). The file size seems to vary between 6.5mp and 8.0mp, again depending on the subject matter. The K-S2 is 20mp but like the K50 only gives maximum quality of "Best" JPG's (***). With the K-S2 however the anti aliasing filter can also be turned off, for "sharper" pictures). Rough calculations (as do not have a K-S2.....yet) suggest that the K-S2 is likely to give a "Best" JPG file size of between 8.5mp and 10mp (depending on the algorithm used).

The question:-

Am I likely to notice any "pixel peeping" difference in quality between "Best" quality JPG's from a 20mp K-S2 with the anti aliasing filter off and "Premium" quality JPG's from my 16mp K5ll, at 100%?

Replies from any Pentax owner who has both a K5ll and a K-S2 would be particularly appreciated.
For practical purposes, you won't match the JPEG output of an Olympus or maybe Fujifilm camera by using a Pentax, no matter how much time you play with the in-camera settings. If that really is your primary goal then you might consider moving in that direction. OTOH, you won't match the very best Pentax can offer by moving to one of those other camera makers, either.
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