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Reader Comment: Pentax K1 “Mission”

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

See also Pentax K1 Coverage and the previous reader comment.

I thought this note was really interesting in how it touched on all of the favorable aspects of the Pentax K1—the K1 scratches an itch that Pentax users have had for some time. My comments follow.

Alessandro V writes:

As many others, I am reading with great joy the announcement of the new Pentax K1. And I write to share a few thoughts on this new piece of gear.

I have used Nikon and Canon so far, but always heard of Pentax, usually with good opinions, also on some old SMC lenses. And this new K1, at least on paper, appears really nice, almost a medium format camera in a small DSRL package.

It does not look as a camera made for fast action (even if just 5 years ago people were raving about 30 points AF systems: since the physic that rules the world has not changed in the meanwhile, I am sure this K1 AF will also fit most normal needs), but instead as a camera for a careful, slow photography or outdoor/landscape/travel/night images. It looks more as a medium format idea put into a small, cheap, well-constructed DSLR body. A few considerations that come to my mind and speak for this approach.

- ergonomics. It looks like a nice body to hold, with a square construction like a brick and so many customization options and knobs to use according to one’s preference, good to handle in the cold with gloves! I also noticed it has 5 user preference settings!!! And finally a camera where both ISO and +/- exposure compensation can be set with knobs and not only buttons (> gloves and cold hands).

- tropicalization. I never tested this, but heard that with Pentax the “tropicalized” means a 99% tropicalization, vs the 90% of Nikon/Canon.

- price. Here in Europe it’s advertised at 2000 euro, which is 1000 euro less than a new D810 or 5Ds. It has the same sensor and more functions than a D810 at 2/3 the cost. Just this 1000 euro difference allow you to purchase a really good lens: some old Zeiss ZK, a Pentax limited, some Leica R (100mm 2.8 Apo, 80mm lux, 28mm 2.8 II version).

- sensor shift. I am looking at the image samples and there is such a difference with the sensor shift! I saw you also commented on the dead nature sample with the flowers. Some of the details are simply rendered so richly with this function. Wonder why other manufacturers don’t put this option. And what I really appreciated also is that the Pentax can output both its raw and tiff files and a 56bit DNG file for the sensor shift images. Kudos to Pentax for this! No more need to wait a few months to have Adobe release its update or forcing new users to go with the later release which come at a premium prices or otherwise use a different software, which has its drawbacks like learning curve, space taken in the PC, another workflow to implement, etc.

- sensor tilt? I am not sure if this is true, but some rumors say the sensor can actually tilt and shift besides the astro function. Something that can turn most lenses into a very limited TS/PC lens? And with optical stabilization too. Just another kudos to Pentax!

- lenses. Will you consider evaluating this camera with some lenses like Zeiss ZK, Voigtlander or a Leitax-converted Leica R? There are many discussions about the lack of choice for Pentax mount lenses vs Canon/Nikon (a few 10s vs about 170), but in reality, who is gonna buy and use all that lens choices? How many would use more than 3-4 lenses at a time?

- would you consider evaluating the viewfinder performance? The Ricoh pages mention a “Natural Bright Matte” focusing screen. Something similar to Canon matte screens? Considering the huge amount of legacy Pentax manual focus lenses vs the AF ones, I think this would be a key point of the camera, especially considering all the bonuses for landscape photography like sensor shift, astro tracer which likely are better used in manual focus.

DIGLLOYD: this note seems spot-on to me. An email from another reader called the K1 a “gift to Pentax lens owners”, which indeed it is, suddenly making all those old lenses directly usable again. But that same reader noted that substantial crossover from Canon and Nikon is unlikely, which I agree with.

I also agree that the K1 is very well thought out: it does not try to do everything, but it looks to do core camera functions really well, including the most core one of all, image quality and image resolution.

Regarding sensor tilt, as far as I know this is not an available function. I would also be concerned about planarity of the sensor to the lens mount when the sensor was in neutral tilt.

Lens evaluations: how much time I spend depends on the level of subscription interest (Pentax K1 coverage is in DAP), as that is the primary means by which I make my living, so much as I’d enjoy exploring old lenses and such, it comes down to ROI, a business decision.

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