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09-15-2016, 10:38 AM   #1
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Curiosity - Pentax Q Series vs Pentax *ist D Series

Sitting around with way to much time on my hands and I began thinking, which is always a dangerous activity for me.

Considering only the sensor's capability, would the 12 mp Q sensor or the 6 mp *ist D sensor provide the best native image quality. One obviously provides twice the number of megapixels but the sensor is far smaller. Certainly the processor would be a factor but would the CCD sensor technology be more effective than the processing ability of the backlit CMOS sensor technology. Even the lenses affect this since the larger K-Mount Lens may or may not provide a quality advantage over the smaller Q-Mount lenses.

I would expect the Q to have the upper hand here, simply because of the dramatic advances in technology since the *ist D Series was introduced. But I would be interested in the opinions of others.

You may of course feel that the question is completely off the wall; if so, feel free to let me know why.

09-15-2016, 11:06 AM   #2
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I asked myself this question a few times since I had a *istDL for many years and now own a Q and a Q7. I would say the Q line is better than the *ist for sensor performance. As I remember, my DL was barely usable above ISO400 but the Q is good enough up to 800 and the Q7 to 1600. The dynamic also seems better, blown highlights and clipped blacks being much less a problem on the Q/Q7 than they were on the DL.

But I may be wrong. This is not based on any objective measurements, just my feelings from processing files with these camera.
09-15-2016, 11:17 AM   #3
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I find myself using my old *ist DS more and more often lately. The camera itself is very light and ergonomically friendly, and I always loved the colors. Lately I am discovering that the improved post processing software is returning even better results from the old DS than I remembered.

Nowdays I use the Q quite a bit because of the size. I really don't intend to substitute one for the other but looking at post processed photos from both cameras made me start wondering. I guess I'll have to take both of them out and do a shoot off.
09-15-2016, 11:28 AM   #4
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Not to imply that theory won't provide an objective answer, and perhaps even be a fun discussion. Some time ago there was an interesting web discussion that employed various sized muffin baking pans to compare sensor size and pixel density -- made as much sense to me as anything I've seen since.

Given that it would be impracticable (impossible?) to eliminate all variables other than the sensors it would seem that this is a subjective matter rather than a technically or theoretically useful comparison.

In a pragmatic attempt to choose between the two systems I'd simply pick the lens of choice for the given subject, explore both in-camera and post processing options to achieve the most pleasing rendition considering the intended means of display and declare my favored image the "winner" after a blind comparison. Hmm, chocolate or blueberry . . . or both?

09-15-2016, 12:10 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by pacerr Quote
Some time ago there was an interesting web discussion that employed various sized muffin baking pans to compare sensor size and pixel density -- made as much sense to me as anything I've seen since.
So the MP in 24MP means "muffin pans" and not "mega-pixels"?!
09-15-2016, 12:33 PM - 1 Like   #6
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I love it. No more mega pickels, now it becomes muffin pans.
09-15-2016, 01:05 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pioneer Quote
. . . my old *ist DS . . .
Same here. My DS has adopted an M42 adapter and cohabited with my old Takumar ST primes for years. And I still have a coupl'a quarts of frozen blueberries left over from this spring an' a Q7 too, so maybe one'a these days we'll 'make muffins'!
09-15-2016, 01:19 PM   #8
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Muffin pans....love it!

09-15-2016, 01:32 PM   #9
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This is a very timely thread for me. I usually carry my Q or K01 with me to work everyday, but I'd been thinking about switching over to my wife's *istD since she's kinda lost interest in using a bigger camera and mostly uses her Q for everything these days. My thinking was that the trade-off of having a much bigger lens selection might offset having only half as many megapixels....or, er....muffin pans.
09-15-2016, 02:25 PM   #10
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I actually think that the two cameras systems are pretty comparable image wise. Of course the Q has much more technology built in so you do lose some of that and though it is small and light, the *ist D cannot compete with the Q for size. However, the sensor is a lot larger than even the Q7 sensor, and I am beginning to suspect that improved post processing may reveal that there is quite a bit more detail available in the *ist D raw image than could be accessed by the older software.

Of course, that is only my opinion and I have not tried testing it at all. I will however grab some photos with both cameras and then print them at large sizes to see if there is any clear difference between the two. I would imagine that photographs with more complexity would show an advantage on those sensors with more muffin pans, but I am going to try and see what happens. I can print at 13x19 but I my scanner can only scan something 8.5 by 11 inches. I'll have to cut the photo down for scanning. Since this really is not a lens test then the center 8x10 should be enough to provide some information if there is any difference at all.
09-15-2016, 03:24 PM   #11
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I'll be following this thread as well. It's something I've thought about now & then, as I shoot an *ist D quite a bit, along with a 12mpx Fuji X10. From my unscientific observations, the *ist D with a good lens outresolves the Fuji. The Fuji has an edge in DR however, and its lens is quite sharp. But if I'm using a high resolution lens like the M50/1.7 or SMC Takumar 55/1.8 I feel I can pull more detail from the *istD's RAW files. I'm not sure how the X10 sensor compares to the Q, but I would imagine its in the ballpark. It'll be interesting to see how this thread develops!
09-15-2016, 04:08 PM   #12
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I have to put this thread in context with the way I use those two camera systems . . . simply for fun and the pleasure of shooting the way I used to do with a Spotty. With the DS I often intentionally limit myself to 'Sunny Sixteen' procedures as well; just for practice.

I KNOW if I work at it I can do significantly better with anything from a K100/K200/K10 to my top end gear today . . . but I don't care. I'm just fillin' the ol' snapshot shoe box with 'em anyway. Brings on a smile every time I pick 'em up -- and as that credit card add says. "That's priceless".

I've gotta admit however, if I'd had the Q7-stuff I have today in the late '60's when I was toting a 'condensed' Oly Pen-F 1/2-frame 35mm system in SEA I might still be usin' it 'cause functionally it would have accomplished everything I've had to do since including for work $$.

Oh, it would'a saved a bunch of LBA/CBA $$ too.
09-15-2016, 05:22 PM   #13
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I have seen very nice Q shots from Heinrich that were made at ISO 3200. That is unthinkable for the *istD series or even the k100d super I have. However in good light, the larger pixels and the ccd might keep the playing field pretty level.

My LX7 Panasonic I took to Europe this year seems to have kept up with what I shot many years past using the K100d Super and 18-55/50-200 kit on a previous trip. The LX7 has a slightly smaller sensor than the q7 (same size but slight crop due to aspect ratio implementation). Overall it is likely the LX7 shots mainly benefitted from improvements in my technique and eye.
09-15-2016, 05:25 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I have seen very nice Q shots from Heinrich that were made at ISO 3200. That is unthinkable for the *istD series or even the k100d super I have. However in good light, the larger pixels and the ccd might keep the playing field pretty level.
His Lightroom skills are the main thing putting the "Q" in the game in the first place.
09-15-2016, 07:15 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
His Lightroom skills are the main thing putting the "Q" in the game in the first place.
Very true...
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