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How Good is the Resolving Power of the Pentax K-1 Mark II versus a 100-Megapixel Medium Format Camera

See my Pentax wishlist.

I’ve begun shooting the Pentax K-1 II along with the Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW. I am way behind on processing and presenting my findings, but it is coming (ditto for more Hasselblad H6D-100C material).

The Pentax K-1 Mark II offers an improved pixel shift mode (really fast capture), which under the right conditions (no movement) delivers absolutely stunning images. Four exposures in a pixel shift image means 4X the light gathered, for ultra low noise and effectively a true color sensor. Color aliasing and moiré are banished, noise is cut in half and color accuracy rises. It all adds up to in image quality which cannot be stated simply as megapixels.

I rate the megapixels equivalent from the 36-megapixel sensor in the Pentax K-1 Mark II in pixel shift mode at an absolute minimum of 45 megapixels, and as high as 72 megapixels when the total image quality sum is considered. That is, it does not out-resolve the 45-megapixel Nikon D850, but it looks to the eye as if it does due to superior acutance. So the best term is perhaps “Bayer matrix megapixels equivalent” which takes into account resolution, dynamic range and noise, textural and fine detail accuracy, etc. It is the same principle of Sigma DP Merrill cameras, which can out-print many a Bayer matrix camera of far higher resolution.

Judge for yourself—the first example on this page includes the image upscaled to 11600 pixels wide (89 megapixels), the same width of the 100 megapixels Hasselblad H6D-100C.

Pentax K-1 Mark II Examples: Resolving Power with Pixel Shift

I would love to see Nikon implement this high-grade pixel shift on the Nikon Z7—dang.

Rusted Old Car
f11 @ 4.0 sec PixelShift, ISO 100; 2018-11-27 16:52:03
[location “Laws Railroad Museum”, altitude 4100 ft / 1250 m, 45°F / 7°C, LACA corrected, diffraction mitigating sharpening]
PENTAX K-1 Mark II + Pentax HD FA 50mm f/1.4 SDM AW

[low-res image for bot]


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