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12-27-2018, 07:23 AM - 1 Like   #1
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A week with the K-1

I had a Borrowlenses.com gift card, and in another thread I solicited suggestions for what to do with it since they have a very limited selection of Pentax gear. I ended up renting a K-1 for Christmas week. Here's the thing... I could have used a clickbait title like "K-1 is not much better than a K-3" but that's just trolling. More seriously, there were times this past week where I wondered what all the fuss about full frame, pro-level cameras is.


I will acknowledge a few limitations I brought to this week, all of which probably impacted my ability to get the most out of the K-1:

1. I have a limited and idiosyncratic selection of full frame glass. It's an old Auto Chinon 50mm f/1.9, the 40mm limited (not actually FF, but does just fine), a sort of messed up Helios 44M, and the Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat. Mostly manual focus.

2. Over the past decade I've taken roughly 6 trillion shots around my house, and that's mostly where I was this week. So the inspiration is a little lacking.

So I've been using a 36 Mp full frame monster of a landscape camera to take Christmasy snapshots around my house with a small selection of sub-optimal lenses. I guess it's unsurprising that it's not immediately and clearly superior to my K-3ii. Please don't take this post as being overly critical of the K-1, I know I'm not stretching or even fully utilizing its capabilities.


There are some ways it impressed me. The lack of noise at ISO 1600 and 3200 was pretty nice. That's a clear step up from the K-3ii, although at normal viewing or printing sizes it's not massive. The extra dials are a nice thing to have, I did use the bracketing and ISO and exposure compensation functions. The flippy screen is pretty good, I played with it but I didn't have a situation where I used it functionally. It was nice to have the extra field of view FF brings, so that the 40mm, the Lomo, and the Helios were more suitable for indoor shots than on APS-C. The Helios and the Lomo are more swirly and funky on FF. It's really not that much bigger than the K-3ii. I only changed batteries once during the week, and that was with the one that came from Borrowlenses and it might not have been fully topped off.


A few less impressive things. The SD cards I had lying around must be really slow, because just taking a three-shot burst ended up locking up the camera for a noticeable number of seconds. I was surprised the flippy screen only goes about 30 degrees right or left, and about 45 degrees down. The level indicator in the viewfinder was often obscured by the background - I prefer the implementation on the K-3ii.


Any thoughts on what I should do with my last 24 hours with the K-1 to better exercise its capabilities? I'll just be around the house, off work, so no madcap trips to the Grand Canyon or something. Just mundane, standard issue Southern Maryland.

12-27-2018, 07:56 AM   #2
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Thanks for sharing.
I think that the body of your post suggests that you did find a tangible benefit from the K-1 over the K-3 in many aspects.
What you should do is seize the opportunity to capture some winter scenery and take advantage of the extra depth of field and resolution.
What speeds of SD cards do you have? I know I managed to seize my K-5IIs in video mode trying to capture HD video on a 30Mb/sec card (an old SanDisk Extreme).
If the limiting factor is your card, you'd be better off getting a 90Mb/sec UHC-I (at least) card.

Last edited by Ash; 12-27-2018 at 08:19 AM.
12-27-2018, 07:56 AM - 1 Like   #3
arv
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Introduce William Eggleston,
You might be inspired .
12-27-2018, 08:06 AM   #4
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When I feel the herd pulling me toward the K1 I think I'll just come and reread this post. Thanks.

12-27-2018, 08:30 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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Try some high contrast landscapes shot in RAW or RAW+ on a tripod. The amount of shadow detail you can recover is amazing with either the K-1 or K-1ii. The RAW files are very data rich.

Try pixel shift on a tripod with one of the better prime lenses. Once again, the amount of detail is impressive.
12-27-2018, 08:56 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThorSanchez Quote
Any thoughts on what I should do with my last 24 hours with the K-1 to better exercise its capabilities?
Full frame shows a significant difference over apsc when shooting people with a 85mm f1.4 between wide open and f2. It always wow me when I look at model photographs taken with full frame and fast glass, the same photos taken with apsc camera doesn't move me much. Even with the cheapo Samyang 85 1.4 I get the effect, also with the Samyang 135 f2, I never obtained similar images with the K3. In other case where equivalence can be set (aperture and focal length set on apsc to equate full frame settings), the difference only comes down to cropping capability and max resolution for print enlargement.
12-27-2018, 08:57 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThorSanchez Quote
I will acknowledge a few limitations I brought to this week, all of which probably impacted my ability to get the most out of the K-1:
1. I have a limited and idiosyncratic selection of full frame glass. It's an old Auto Chinon 50mm f/1.9, the 40mm limited (not actually FF, but does just fine), a sort of messed up Helios 44M, and the Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat. Mostly manual focus.
2. Over the past decade I've taken roughly 6 trillion shots around my house, and that's mostly where I was this week. So the inspiration is a little lacking.
I don't think you have to look past your own post to explain your lack luster results with a K-1. If you don't change those you're unlikely to change how you feel about it. I've had my K-1 II for a couple of months and like it more every time I take it out. Which unfortunately hasn't been much lately because of all the rain we've had. The fact is a camera is not going to tell you how to capture inspiring photographs. It's up to you to learn how to use this tool to the best of it's capabilities. That may take longer than a week. Or it may just be your initial expectations of a full frame camera were too high. The K-1 is not reinventing the wheel. It is a pretty big investment so you're smart to give it a test run before buying. Good luck with the last 24 hours.
12-27-2018, 08:58 AM   #8
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A bit like you I was initially underwhelmed by the K1 after the K3, but the differences (=improvements) did slowly become apparent. Initially I thought I'd made a mistake...

There are many threads etc., where the differences will be highlighted, but with your limited time I'd just focus on how much more scope you have with the K-1 to recover detail. The FF is much more forgiving, in my view. Get it right with the K-3 and it's impressive, but there's less latitude than with the k-1.

12-27-2018, 09:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
The FF is much more forgiving, in my view. Get it right with the K-3 and it's impressive, but there's less latitude than with the k-1.
I fully agree with that (sorry for replying to your comment that is aimed at responding to the OP).
12-27-2018, 09:13 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThorSanchez Quote
I was surprised the flippy screen only goes about 30 degrees right or left, and about 45 degrees down
The real advantage of the articulated screen is when you have the camera on a tripod say a foot off the ground.
12-27-2018, 09:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ThorSanchez Quote
I had a Borrowlenses.com gift card, and in another thread I solicited suggestions for what to do with it since they have a very limited selection of Pentax gear. I ended up renting a K-1 for Christmas week. . . .
thanks for sharing your experience
12-27-2018, 09:21 AM   #12
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I would try to drive out into the countryside and find old barns streams waterfalls in poorly lighted areas and do some landscapes. Alternately go to an urban area and shoot some street scenes. I'd also suggest some portraits.
12-27-2018, 09:27 AM   #13
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The K-1 excels as a landscape camera. Looks like you have a sunny day there, so if the weather is accommodating head to a nearby state park. After a quick glance at the map . . . is Pocomoke State Forest nearby?

Take only one lens so you aren't fiddling back and forth between options; that way you can focus on the camera. Personally I'd pick the 40mm lens. If that seems like "unfun", then the daguerreotype lens, but that may have too many distracting variables.

I hope you find something enjoyable for your last day with a remarkable camera.

Stephen
12-27-2018, 09:29 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
When I feel the herd pulling me toward the K1 I think I'll just come and reread this post
Just remember it's a herd of cats, though - that's imprerssive in itself
12-27-2018, 09:32 AM - 1 Like   #15
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Shoot at the limits. Get out fifteen minutes or half an hour earlier in the morning, later in the evening. When you use a camera body for a while you find the limits and stay within them. The K3 images turn to mud in certain conditions. Shoot them with the K1.

The range of photographs are like a bell curve. The vast majority are in the middle and can be taken with almost any camera body. As you move to the tails where low light, dynamic range are necessary to get a satisfying shot then the added capabilities allow you to get them.

The low light capabilities of the K1 mean that my K3 is left at home to gather dust.
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