Pentax K-1 "Review" - July 8th, 2016

4:19 PM

Ok, so I've had the K-1 for more than a week now.  The comments I had about the good and bad still stand.  I do have to say that the battery life is still tremendous and doesn't seem to be any worse than the K-5iis.  Anyway, a lot of these pictures will be from the wedding of one of my ex-teacher colleagues.  I have had a lot of fun using my full-frame lenses and got to use the DA* 50-135mm f2.8 as well (it's actually barely usable at longer focal lengths!).

Finally, the FA 77mm Limited can shine! =)
Ok, let's face it, Pentax is probably one of the worst when it comes to focusing.  It's gotten to the point where I don't really trust it to either be accurate, fast enough, or both!  The extra focusing points and the more modern overlay in the viewfinder are welcomed additions, but I mainly stick to single point select.  Having said that, the accuracy seems to be there, straight out of the camera (whereas every single lens has some sort of an offset on the K5iis).  The speed is still not super fast, especially in low light and it hunts sluggishly.  I have been trying to get myself to use back-button focus, so I had it set on continuous.  But it managed to get some keepers at the wedding.  It definitely was not fast enough to keep up with kids running around in a dark-ish room though.




These were the toughest pics for the AF system

Dual Card Slot
While that seemed nice when the camera was announced, the slots don't actually add much functionality.  They are slow and cannot write to both cards at the same time.  Added to the fact that I have a 64gb card in slot 1 for the raws and a 32gb card in slot 2 for the jpeg backups/copies, it virtually doesn't matter if it's 1 card or 2 cards.  I really wish they had employed a UHS-II slot like the OM-D E-M5 Mark II or the newly announced Fuji XT-2.

Maybe it is because I never made the leap from the K5 to the K3, but I feel like the buttons are in worse places.  For example, the play button and the delete buttons are no longer next to each other, so it's kind of unnatural while you're reviewing and deleting to have to switch hands.  I am also missing some of the physical dials/buttons such as the one that switches continuous focus to single focus.  I know, there's an AF button and then you can use the back dial to change it...but it's not as direct/quick! The metering switch is also missing...but the ability to either lock or unlcok the mode dial is nice.  Overall, I prefer the K5's direct buttons over the K-1's scheme, but I guess I can learn to live with it and get used to it.  And I stand by what I said about the jog dial - almost useless unless your eyes are glued to the rear LCD screen.  The larger LCD on the K5 was definitely more useful (for me).

Sensor - Finally, Full Frame!
Well, this is what we have all been waiting for, right?  The sensor is actually pretty good and you can get quite a bit of details from the shadows, although it still cannot perform miracles and shadows in dark situations with high ISO will still look terrible.  There is no getting around that.  The option to use the full field of view for the FA Limited lenses is pretty nice.  Even though the bokeh doesn't teachnically change when you go from a K-1 to a K-5, the fact that you can step closer to your subject on the K-1 to get the "same" picture does help to accentuate the bokeh.

How's the Bokeh?
It was pretty dark in there
Crop Mode
My suggestion, if you don't mind cropping in post, is to just leave the crop mode on Full Frame (FF).  Some DA lenses may surprise you with their large-ish image circle, and some pictures may just come out to be ok even though it'll have some vignetting (that's what clients like, right?!).  Or maybe you won't have to crop as much as the camera automatically does.  It's always better to have control yourself anyway.  And when I had the crop mode in "auto," I noticed that the crop framing helper overlay would show up sometimes in the viewfinder even though I had a full frame lens on the body.  Go figure.

Straight Out of Camera, Vignette and All
Edited and Slight Cropped
For some reason, only one of my two phones was able to connect to the K-1 using the Ricoh Image Sync app.  You can change the network name and its password in the camera, if you want something easier to remember.  You can, however, save the info on your phone and not worry about it after you connect the first time.  But yeah, I could not get my Moto X Pure to even attempt to connect to the camera.  Not sure what's going on (since both phones are on Marshmallow, I don't know what else it could be).

Operational Speed
Like I have alluded to before, the camera is not super fast.  It shoots at 4.4 fps, which is probably due to the YUGE raw files that are 40-50 MB in size.  I found that the camera was accessing the card/buffer quite a lot, especially if you just took a burst and need to review the pics.  It would take even longer (like, WAY longer) if you managed to review the pics and try to delete one while it is trying to clear the buffer).  I guess Pentax cameras have never been speed demons, but I truly wish that they had done a better job here (maybe bigger buffer? Faster memory? I don't know).

Other Thoughts
It's amazing that Pentax has kept the same battery since the K-7!  Instead of having to buy more batteries, I can continue using the ones I have from the K-5 (I have a total of 4 now, so that's plenty).  Unfortunately, the battery grip, the D-BG6, is new and costs about $200, which is probably cheaper than comparable grips from other companies.  I would imagine that the eye cup and focusing screen are different (plus it has the overlay, so I don't know ify ou can even change the screen).

Features Not Tested (Yet)
Well, there will be a lot.  High-res mode (although I did try it on the Olympus), weather sealing (none of my full-frame lenses are sealed), and GPS/Astrotracer.  I do plan on using at lease these features, especially the astrotracer, but that's only assuming I will get off my lazy butt and go somewhere conducive to doing astrophotography.  I would love to try my hand at some Milky Way pics.

Videographer was right smack in the action (the WHOLE time!)

More Samples

Baby Portrait
Just messing with depth of field
More messing around

Honestly, I don't know if it's really a must to upgrade.  I feel like you're sacrificing quite a bit for that full frame sensor (plus the price is definitely going to be lower in a few months. It's a Pentax, after all).  My advice is to wait for substantial price drop (especially if you don't have a ton of full frame lenses) even though I guess it is a good value compared to other companies' offerings.

Apparently, I was quite wrong about the price.  It actually INCREASED!????????!!!  What!

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