K5 due on Wednesday !

Started Oct 11, 2011 | Discussions thread
ellarsee Senior Member • Posts: 2,059
Re: Been playing with it for a while now

Simon Holzman wrote:

I got the K5 and the Lenses a week or so back and have been playing since. Have to give credit to Adorama for the bundle they offer at the same price as the kit... includes a Memory Card, spare Battery and a Bag and I expected the memory card (and bag) to be cheap and cheerful ones but got a 8GB SanDisk ExtremePro UHS1 SDHC and a really nice bag - so nice when the freebies are good quality.

The Lens Hood for the 50-135 had some of the threading broken so I'll be getting a replacement - trying to avoid sending the whole lens back, but may have to. It seems to have broken because the front of the lens was resting on it in the box, but the lens seems undamaged and the hood probably still attaches if needed, but for a thousand buck lens, I'd like it to have all the bits arrive undamaged !

Definitely get that replaced.

Anyway, the learning curve from Film is expectedly huge... I am not all that keen on the K5's auto AF and have found that I tend to prefer spot mode and reframing rather than relying on the auto option. I've decided to stick with auto exposure for the moment, but with -1 EV so I have more shadow to work with. I have tried playing with the various modes, but am not fast enough remembering which knob changes what, so the tweaking would be counterproductive and I'm mostly sticking with the default settings.

I find that with autofocus, that often works the best. In select mode if you hold the OK button down it will switch between the buttons being flash, WB, etc, and the buttons moving the focus point.

If you use manual focus, set up a focusing target and check the calibration of your focusing screen. My K20 came with two shims under the focusing screen.

Having to swap from AF-S to AF-C missed me a couple of shots of kids running around, but got plenty of others.

I set my AF button up to disable AF, so I'll prefocus with half a press then hit the AF button so I get instant shutter response.

Despite the sound of griping, I love the camera and both lenses. The kit lens is fine for most purposes and, funnily enough, my main gripe is that it was too cheap to justify getting a top quality protective filter for the front element. I will get a polarizer though since I'll probably use it for more landscapes. The 50-135 is fast and very quiet. It will get the protective filter ! I know that there are arguments that these are not needed, but I've had too many caps fall off in the bag to want to risk it.

Keep the UV filter on most of the time. When you're doing a shot that the tiny difference in IQ will make a difference, then take the UV filter off. By the way, the pentax kit lens is quite good. Which one do you have? There are about 3 versions. I don't remember if the WR version is the same formula as the ALII or the AL.

A few questions;

1. What should I use for Post-Processing ? The supplied software seems good for the basics, but seems a little limited. Is it just that I have not explored enough or would other software provide real value ?

I highly recommend Lightroom. You don't need photoshop, it has a lot of stuff you don't need, and lightroom has a lot of organizational stuff PS doesn't that are very handy for photographers. It also has the advantage of being the software that everyone knows.

By the way, I hear that there is a recent update for the supplied software.

2. How much difference is there really between say 100 ISO and 400 ISO ? I don't have the time, patience or equipment to do comparitive testing.

If you look at the graphs on DXOMark, you'll see what the differences are. The biggest one between 100 and 400 is dynamic range. One big difference between the K-5 and film is that you can easily use ISO 1600 or even 6400 without things looking too noisy. Also, even when the K-5 is noisy, the quality of the noise is not objectionable. I've blown more shots by not pushing the ISO hard enough and using too slow a shutter speed than I have by pushing the ISO too hard.

3. Is my approach of spot AF and auto exposure with -1 EV reasonable ?

SPOT AF yes. -1 EV no.

Shoot in RAW. You don't throw away your negatives and make copies from 4x6 prints do you? Read up on Expose to the Right, and how that improves the signal to noise ratio (as long as you don't clip in any critical areas).

Also, learn how to use the custom white balance, even when shooting raw. That can be a big help.


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Realizing that you are the weakest link in your photographic system is almost always the hardest on your ego, the easiest on your pocketbook, and the way to make the biggest improvement in the quality of your photos.


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