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Forum: Pentax K-5 07-31-2018, 10:02 AM  
My initial impressions of the K-5 IIs
Posted By Jock Elliott
Replies: 18
Views: 1,858
Now, I know what you’re thinking: Whaaaat? Wasn’t the K-5 IIs breaking news like, five or six years ago?

Well, you’re right; this is my first look at an older camera. This is the cumulative result of several things happening in rapid succession here at El Rancho Elliott. First, I sold all of my M43 gear . . . every last scrap of it. I just wasn’t using it, and rather than wait until its value approached zero, I jettisoned the lot. Second, my Scottish thrift genes kicked in, and I decided to experiment with a strategy of adopting “trailing edge” technology. Why take a beating on new stuff when you can pick up some very nice gear for a fraction of the price when brand new? Third, while toodling around the Internet, I noticed that the Pentax K-5 IIs has been given a very high rating for dynamic range by DXOmark. Like most Pentax DSLRs, it is weather-resistant, which is a quality that I admire.

The conclusive factor was that KEH had a used K-5 IIs in nice condition for about 1/3 the price when new. I gave KEH magic numbers, and soon the camera and a couple of WR lenses were headed my way.

My very first impression of the K-5 IIs (hereafter: K5) was that it was heavy, but I quickly realized that wasn’t quite right. The K5 dense . . . ie, it is surprisingly heavy for the amount space it takes up. Almost immediately, I thought: this is too heavy, I’ll return it.

But then I actually shot with the K5, and two factors have me definitely leaning toward keeping it. The first is the quality of the images. They have a look and feel – and a sense of depth in the images -- that I really like.




The second is that I like using the K5. It feels very solidly built and great in my hands. Two days ago I needed to cover a small outdoor event, and it felt very comfortable in my hands. I didn’t spend any time thinking about how to operate the K5. Instead, it was “frame the shot and shoot.”

And that brings me to another key point: I had read online from some sources that maybe the autofocus speeds of Pentaxes as a brand were kinda slow. I have not found it to be so with the K5. With the 18-135 lens mounted, autofocus is virtually instantaneous and very, very positive. Just put the focus square over what you want to focus on, press the shutter down halfway, and – zip – subject snaps into focus, even in very low light. The 55-300 lens will sometimes hunt, and it makes more noise while focusing (a kind of zeet-zeet sound), but it is commendably quick the vast majority of the time. So I am very pleased with the overall performance of the K5. In addition, in actual use, I didn't notice the weight of the K5, so maybe that's a thing that you become accustomed to.

Another thing that is interesting and useful about the K5 is the overall operating scheme. It seems like the Pentax design engineers had a meeting one day and said “If it’s important, we’ll have a button to access it and a dial to adjust it. So there is a dial on the front of the pistol grip and one on the back of the camera near where you rest your thumb, and quick-access buttons all over the place. There are buttons for ISO and exposure compensation on the top plate; buttons for auto-exposure lock, white balance, exposure mode (bright, natural, etc.), flash and self-timer on the back of the camera. Basically, if there is something that you would likely adjust frequently, there is a button to access it, and a dial to change it. There is also a quick access panel, and a menu system that seems actually comprehensible. About the only aspect of the control system that I don’t like is that the photo view and delete buttons are at the upper left (to the left of the viewfinder) and the OK button for confirming deletions is on the right side of the camera in the middle of the four-way controller, so it is awkward to try to do everything is just one hand . . . but that is a minor quibble.

Overall, I find the K5 is robust, fun to use, and produces images that inspire me to hunt light and beauty.

Cheers, Jock
Forum: General Photography 08-05-2018, 02:06 AM  
My totally classless $2 crossbody slider strap . . .
Posted By Jock Elliott
Replies: 6
Views: 631
Hanging a heavy camera from my neck is uncomfortable. Slinging a camera or camera bag cross body seems the best way to go. There's no weight on the neck, no need for melon-sized deltoids or epaulets to keep the strap in place. During my initial research, the Internet kept tossing up ideas for camera straps of various sorts made of braided parachute cord.

Then it occurred to me: why not simply extend the factory camera strap with a bit of parachute cord? It would sling cross-body and slide, but not too easily, and it wouldn't have any metal that could make noise or potentially bump into the camera body.

So here is the result (yes, I realize that is not a Pentax below, but I tried it for my K-5 IIs, and it works just fine, even with the 55-300 attached):




It stays in place but it slides when needed. It doesn't rotate, so the camera stays in the same orientation.

Nobody is going to approach you on the street and ask, "Where did you get that beautiful camera strap?" (So your carefully prepared story -- these straps are made by direct descendants of Norgay Tenzing above 15,000 feet in Tibet -- will have to wait for another day.)

If you find the ragged ends of the parachute cord distressing, you can up your game by melting the terminus of the cord, like so (do this outside and don't breath in the fumes):


Of course, at Classless Camera Research Laboratories, we charge extra for that.

Cheers, Jock
PS A hank (about 18 feet) of parachute cord can be had in various colors at a big box store for about $2US.
Forum: Pentax K-5 08-01-2018, 07:29 AM  
My initial impressions of the K-5 IIs
Posted By Jock Elliott
Replies: 18
Views: 1,858
Well, I think I may have solved it. I did a "reset all" on the camera on the theory that some combination of software selects is causing misbehavior in the auto-ISO function.

After the reset, I can see the camera changing ISO as I move from dark areas to light areas . . . and it wasn't doing that before.

Cheers, Jock
Forum: Pentax K-5 07-31-2018, 02:10 PM  
My initial impressions of the K-5 IIs
Posted By Jock Elliott
Replies: 18
Views: 1,858
Now, where did I leave that epoxy?

Cheers, Jock
Forum: Pentax K-5 07-31-2018, 01:52 PM  
My initial impressions of the K-5 IIs
Posted By Jock Elliott
Replies: 18
Views: 1,858
Well, now that you mention it, I have been having one issue with the K-5 IIs: when I use the auto-iso, it seems to always go to the highest ISO, no matter what.

What I would like, if I have my preference, is that the camera would maintain lower ISOs automatically and then increase the ISO when it was really needed.

Any advice or counsel to offer?

Cheers, Jock
PS -- Thanks for the feedback!
Forum: Pentax K-5 07-31-2018, 11:54 AM  
My initial impressions of the K-5 IIs
Posted By Jock Elliott
Replies: 18
Views: 1,858
A few more photos? Well ... twist my arm!


Cheers, Jock
Forum: General Photography 04-10-2018, 10:39 AM  
Mind game: mission-critical camera
Posted By Jock Elliott
Replies: 35
Views: 1,774
That's actually an intriguing suggestion. Of course, channeling my inner (intelligent buttocks), I immediately thought:

1. That would only work in Australia

2. But all the pictures would be inverted! :D

Cheers, Jock
Forum: General Photography 04-10-2018, 08:25 AM  
Mind game: mission-critical camera
Posted By Jock Elliott
Replies: 35
Views: 1,774
I agree entirely in principle with you, and I already own a rugged camera, and it has all the wonderful properties you outlined. BUT with the light at the right angle, the viewfinder becomes unusable. This isn't theoretical . . . the first time I took my rugged camera kayaking, I found myself having to put the camera on full wide, pointing in the general direction of the subject, and pressing the shutter . . . because I couldn't see the screen.

I have written to Olympus and begged them to make a rugged camera with a viewfinder, even one of those not-so-excellent optical tunnel viewfinders that you could find on the Canon G12, etc.

Cheers, Jock
Forum: Welcomes and Introductions 03-06-2014, 08:36 AM  
From faraway, exotic upstate New York
Posted By Jock Elliott
Replies: 13
Views: 675
Roger that!

Cheers, Jock
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