Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses

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philzucker
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Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
7 months ago

Well, this comparison isn't scientific at all, but as I assembled a pano taken inside Cologne Cathedral today I found a quite comparable picture taken seven years ago, in July 2006 with my Ds. Back then I took three portrait oriented shots with my Ds and DA16-45@16mm at ISO 3.200, f4, shutter speed varying from 1/20s to 1/30s, and assembled them very clumsily and with glaring faults to a vertical pano.

Today I did almost the same scene, but with my Q and 01 prime, 1/60s, ISO ranging from 2.500 to 1000 (was set on auto), f1.9, using several more landscape oriented shots; also pano assembly was a bit more successful.

Have a look at the resulting panos, arranged more or less to the same size:

Of course the Q had the advantage of the f1.9 lens (vs. f4.0 for the Ds), but the Ds had an definitive advantage in sensor size (368.95 square mm against the Q's 28.46 - almost 13 times larger; for more figures see here: http://www.digicamdb.com/compare/pentax_q-vs-pentax_ist-ds/). Since the pictures are not scaled beyond the Ds sensor's resolution of 6MP here, I think the side by side comparison is - all taken into account - not too unfair. Especially since the shooting conditions were very similar.

My point here is: I was very happy with my Ds back then, and now - seven years later - I'm very pleased to have a system camera with comparable, in some situations even better qualities in my coat pocket.

So even if every modern APS-C Pentax like the K-01, K-30, K-5(xx)(-II)(s) and K-3 blows the Q away with their sensitivity and quality - the Q is definitely usable, as the Ds was back in 2006.

BTW: If you're interested in yet another rendition of that pano and some other very moody pictures inside and outside the cathedral - all taken with the fabulous, somewhat crazy, incredibly tiny 07 mount shield lens for the Q - take a look here: http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52687234.

Phil

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Sinnettc
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to philzucker, 7 months ago

Wow, that's pretty good considering the difference in sensors.  I'll have to see if I can find one of my old DL images and try a comparison shot with my Q10.

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Petroglyph
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to philzucker, 7 months ago

How many tiny system cameras have built in SR system?  They still want nearly 300$ for a used DS on auction sites.  One could probably get a new Q7 for close to that.  Definitely a worthwhile street camera IMO.

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ASR45
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to Sinnettc, 7 months ago

Nice demo.  

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miles green
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to philzucker, 7 months ago

Impressive little Q.

Mine keeps amazing me.

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waxwaine
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to philzucker, 7 months ago

I believe the most important development over the years are your learning abilities as a photographer. that´s why some takes fantastic shoot using "old" equipment than others with newer technology are not able to reproduce.

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MightyMike
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to philzucker, 7 months ago

Well Phil, its an neat comparison!

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philzucker
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Chris ...
In reply to Sinnettc, 7 months ago

Sinnettc wrote:

Wow, that's pretty good considering the difference in sensors. I'll have to see if I can find one of my old DL images and try a comparison shot with my Q10.

That sure would be interesting. Do so and share it here, Chris!

Phil

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philzucker
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Isn't it, Alan? :-) Thanks for looking! [nt]
In reply to ASR45, 7 months ago
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philzucker
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to Petroglyph, 7 months ago

Petroglyph wrote:

How many tiny system cameras have built in SR system? They still want nearly 300$ for a used DS on auction sites. One could probably get a new Q7 for close to that. Definitely a worthwhile street camera IMO.

Indeed it is. Though I wouldn't shell out 300$ for a Ds right now, it had and does have it's capabilities as a fine K-Mount camera. But I find it intriguing how sensor technology has advanced in the field of high ISO. The Ds wasn't up to today's standards in that respect (and of course couldn't be), and it's very nice to have even better capabilities in current street cameras like the Q-series.

Phil

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philzucker
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to miles green, 7 months ago

miles green wrote:

Impressive little Q.

Yeah!

Mine keeps amazing me.

Great - keep using it then!

Phil

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philzucker
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to waxwaine, 7 months ago

waxwaine wrote:

I believe the most important development over the years are your learning abilities as a photographer. that´s why some takes fantastic shoot using "old" equipment than others with newer technology are not able to reproduce.

You got a point there of course. Nothing beats experience and honed abilities.

All the same better technology opens up new possibilities. A few years back I often wisely abstained from taking hand held pictures with my *ist DS and later with my K-10D in certain low light situations. But starting with the K-20D and of course with the K-5/K5-II bodies I got much better results in comparable situations, so I expanded my low lights limits considerably.

That doesn't mean that everything newer is better. I did some nice pano work with my K-10D at base ISO (also low light stuff, but then the K-10D was on a tripod of course). And some say to this day that at base ISO it outperformed its successor - the K-20D. Could well be true IMO.

Phil

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philzucker
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Glad you like it, Mike! [nt]
In reply to MightyMike, 7 months ago
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DrugaRunda
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to philzucker, 7 months ago

Yes - lovely comparison, in my mind Q is about on par with K100D, which was great for me then, as is Q for me now.

I just wish that they make more primes for it, ideally with wide apertures, cost would not be an issue for me.

They actually need three - 24mm, 35mm, 85mm equivalent... ok + one more which is f1 or so 01 refresh.

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Peter Lacus
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to philzucker, 7 months ago

Quite the contrary to the common beliefs (small sensor is bad in low light), this is the area in which Q actually excels, i.e. providing deep DOF of a small sensor camera while enabling (hand holdable) available darkness shooting due to the fast glass and a very low noise sensor (for its size). Well done!

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JNR
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to philzucker, 7 months ago

Thanks, Phil, for confirming what my gut sense of it is compared to my *istD - without resorting to an actual comparison test. As I don't have a 01 Prime (just an 02 and 03), my best results in getting the most out of the Q sensor have been by using adapted fast primes to avoid diffusion softness.

So, at comparable ISOs I see the two sensors as fairly close to even in most shooting situations. In very good light with fast lenses, I do find the Q can yield sharper images than the *istD (keep in mind the Q is ISO 125 and 10mp vs. 200 on all the early 6mp bodies). In poor light - and high ISO - you tend to get a lot of smoothing and greater loss of detail from the Q sensor. Where the line crosses probably depends on the EV of the scene, and speed of lens used. All of these observations are based on RAW images - and I haven't taken into account the improvements in RAW converters (especially LR which was terrible in v.1-2, and very good since then).

I love the idea of taking the Q and a few adapted primes on mountain hikes - shooting wildlife at 275mm and 475mm equiv. at f-stops that can open to 1.4 - and toting under three pounds to accomplish the task.

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philzucker
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to DrugaRunda, 7 months ago

DrugaRunda wrote:

Yes - lovely comparison

Thanks.

, in my mind Q is about on par with K100D, which was great for me then, as is Q for me now.

Ah, got a K100D for my daughter, and she likes it very much - IIRC the first entry level one with shake reduction ...

I just wish that they make more primes for it, ideally with wide apertures, cost would not be an issue for me.

I agree wholeheartedly with the first half of your sentence!

They actually need three - 24mm, 35mm, 85mm equivalent... ok + one more which is f1 or so 01 refresh.

That would be really nice - second that.

Phil

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philzucker
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to Peter Lacus, 7 months ago

Peter Lacus wrote:

Quite the contrary to the common beliefs (small sensor is bad in low light), this is the area in which Q actually excels, i.e. providing deep DOF of a small sensor camera while enabling (hand holdable) available darkness shooting due to the fast glass and a very low noise sensor (for its size).

Interesting point you make there. The results speak for themselves, I think!

Well done!

Thanks, Peter!

Phil

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philzucker
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to JNR, 7 months ago

JNR wrote:

Thanks, Phil, for confirming what my gut sense of it is compared to my *istD - without resorting to an actual comparison test. As I don't have a 01 Prime (just an 02 and 03), my best results in getting the most out of the Q sensor have been by using adapted fast primes to avoid diffusion softness.

I haven't the 02, but get excellent results with the 01 (sharp wide open) and good enough with the 03 (needs some robust capture sharpening in my experience, but sharpens up nicely).

So, at comparable ISOs I see the two sensors as fairly close to even in most shooting situations. In very good light with fast lenses, I do find the Q can yield sharper images than the *istD (keep in mind the Q is ISO 125 and 10mp vs. 200 on all the early 6mp bodies).

Agree ...

In poor light - and high ISO - you tend to get a lot of smoothing and greater loss of detail from the Q sensor.

I also agree. But I find it tolerable up to ISO 2500 with the original Q - that's why I limit auto ISO to that value. YMMV.

Where the line crosses probably depends on the EV of the scene, and speed of lens used. All of these observations are based on RAW images - and I haven't taken into account the improvements in RAW converters (especially LR which was terrible in v.1-2, and very good since then).

Got a point there. Maybe I should take a look at those Ds RAWs from 2006 and give them a reprocessing try ...

I love the idea of taking the Q and a few adapted primes on mountain hikes - shooting wildlife at 275mm and 475mm equiv. at f-stops that can open to 1.4 - and toting under three pounds to accomplish the task.

Great, isn't it?

Thanks for looking!

Phil

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Jack Simpson
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Re: Pitching a Q against a Ds: How technology progresses
In reply to philzucker, 7 months ago

Vell done Herr Zucker  Excellent pics and the one thing I noticed, straight off, was the somewat cooler (more realistic) WB in the Q

Cheers,

Iack

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