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Pentax K1 Super Resolution File Format Details

See my Pentax K1 wish list at B&H Photo.

See the Pentax Super Resolution Mode discussion for an overview of the Pentax Super Resolution mode feature.

Pentax K1

The Pentax K1 (and K3 II) record all four shift-variant exposures into a single DNG files. Each exposure is 14 bits so each pixel has 56 bits of data: 14 bits for red, 14 bits (twice) for green, 14 bits for blue.

The images should be incredibly detailed, quite likely beyond even what a Canon 5DS R can deliver.

With 56-bit pixels (14 bit X 4), 14-bit raw files of data size of ~255MB megabytes should result, a bit larger with an embedded JPEG preview and metadata, perhaps 260MB.

Compression is used and appears to be lossless (waiting for confirmation). According to Alex Tutubalin of RawDigger:

According to DNG specs, lossy format is allowed only for 'linear /demosaiced/ 8-bit data' (so called Lightroom 'fast load proxy DNG' for faster editing in low res, than apply edits to full-res file).

So, I almost sure that Pentax K-1 DNGs will use lossless compression (no 4-shot K-1 samples on hands yet).

A 24-megapixel Pentax K3 II Super Resolution file should have a size of about 170MB. A sample file of size 129MB suggests a compression reduction of about 25%. Using that as a baseline, K1 Super Resolution raw files should come in around 50% larger, or 194MB. This will vary considerably if the compression is lossless, since it depends on the compressibility of the image.

36.4 megapixels X 14 bits per color X 4 colors per pixel
= 36.4 * 14/8 bytes * 4 = 255MB (uncompressed data size before compression)

The true color pixels in a full frame sensor will almost certainly make the Pentax K1 the finest black and white camera on the market. It should surpass the Leica M Monochrom with ease, delivering far more detail and far more tonal flexibility.

I’m excited at seeing what the K1 will deliver. I’ve wondered why Sony has not implemented this kind of feature in the A7R II, and of course CaNikon have nothing of the sort or even any in0-body image stabilization. Kudos to Pentax.

RawDigger info for a Pentax K3 II Super Resolution image is shown below. Observe that all four exposures are preserved (both green channels). Presumably this behavior will be the same in the K1.

RawDigger info for 129MB Super Resolution image from Pentax K3 II

As shown by the RawDigger histogram, observe how incredibly gap-free and smooth the very dark tones are (values 0..1024). This speaks to exceptional quality in dark tones due to the 4-frames taken together.

RawDigger histogram for 0..1024 for 129MB Super Resolution image from Pentax K3 II


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