K-1 hands-on experience in the Netherlands

Started Mar 17, 2016 | Discussions thread
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joostdh Forum Member • Posts: 50
K-1 hands-on experience in the Netherlands

There was a photography trade fair in the Netherlands last weekend where Ricoh had a quite a large floor space booked. I went to have a look at the K-1 and I thought I would share my experience.

Firstly the stand was reasonably attended in the hour that I was there. I know from the Dutch Pentax forums that a lot of members went to have a hands-on with the camera during one of the three days the fair was on. But I spoke to a few people that did not currently shoot with Pentax but where very interested, usually because they had good memories from the film days.

The camera is very familiar when you first pick it up. Most buttons are exactly where you expect them. The screen is unique, as we have already seen on the photos, but it seems to work well. I am sure it will come in handy for macro work and over-head shots, it’s one of those things that if the option is there you will use it.

The function dial and third wheel work well, I’m sure that will get a lot of use too. I did notice that while you using the dial you cannot see from the top of camera what you are doing for all settings. For example if you want to see what crop mode you are setting it too (on, auto or off) you have to look at the back screen. Side note: there is no way to accidentally leave the crop mode on, the overlay in the viewfinder is not to be missed. The various buttons feel like we expect from Pentax: tactile, clickey and confident.

There were loads of K-1s on display, it wouldn’t surprise me if they had ten at the stand. Most were fitted with the D-FA 24–70mm and if you first experience is picking up that combo then it does feel usually heavy. It is doable but in a different league of weight than a K-3 with DA* 16–50mm. At one point a DA* 60–250mm was put on the counter and that used to be one of the big guys, now with the 15–30, 24–70 and 70–200 it had been relegated to the second division.

I had bought along two of my own lenses that I wanted to fit on the K-1. That was no problem at all, it was even encouraged. Side-note: using your own SD card was not allowed though I have read one report of a person hearing otherwise and going home with him card filled with K-1 photos.

I had bought along my FA 43mm. It is one of my favourite lenses to use and on FF it had my most used FOV. It worked as expected but did look almost lost on the camera.

I also took my FA* 85mm and joked it was singing when I mounted it on the FF. I believe that beautiful lenses from back then are still beautiful lenses now and that is certainly the case for the 85. I met a chap that has the A* version that he had bought new in the eighties for his LX. He wondered if it would still work so I explained and let him have a go with my version on the K-1. I took this photo.

Pentax K-1 mounted with FA* 85mm f/1.4, in use

Before that I chatted with Mike Muizebelt, he is a professional nature photographer and Pentax “ambassadeur” and is often present at Pentax stands in the Netherlands. As ambassadeur he had the opportunity to try the K-1 about which he wrote on his blog (I recommend this if you haven’t seen it yet, gorgeous photos). He was very friendly, knowledgable and sincerely enthusiastic, not only about the camera but how Penatx/Ricoh are putting it in the market. He expects great reviews when the camera is released.

My eye, shot with a K-1 with FA* 85mm by a nature photographer, on the screen of a K-1, shot on an iPhone with Hipstamatic by me (you follow?)

Mike was interested to have a look with the 85mm. As I understand it he has a nice collection of Pentax lenses but this is not one he has. He took a photo of me and zoomed in on my eye. We both concluded there was nothing wrong with the sharpness.

AF is certainly faster, also with the screwdriver lenses, so I assume the motor is stronger. It felt confident and seemed to be very accurate, as the above photo demonstrates. In the viewfinder all the in focusAF points light up, which is very clear and useful.

Back to the lenses, I also had a HD Pentax DA 35mm Macro Limited with me as it was mounted on my K-01 (what a difference a ‘0’ can make). I had assumed it would not work wel on FF, from vjacesslav’s photos taken with film but as I was there anyway: why not try it out? Judging solely from the rear screen the 35mm seemed to work very well indeed with only the lightest vignetting. I did not check to see if in-camera lens correction was turned on but regardless the lens seemed to work, even the sharpness outside of the APS-C area seemed excellent. So this lens was a total pleasant surprise.

To be honest the K-1 is a really, really, nice camera. It is obvious that Pentax did not release a K-3 with a larger sensor. They have redesigned every aspect of the camera and it shows. AF seemed quick and accurate, the camera was very zippy in use reviewing and zooming, they have added new buttons and dials to enhance functionality and both the viewfinder and screen are completely new. It is a very desirable camera if size and weight are not an issue. Personally I will keep my K-01 for those times that I want to travel light and compact. I will certainly have to get used to the idea of spending more than three times what I have paid for my previous cameras. But leaving the Pentax stand I had already drawn my conclusion: my next camera is going to be a K-1.

 joostdh's gear list:joostdh's gear list
Pentax K-01 Pentax K-1 Pentax smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited Pentax smc FA 43mm F1.9 Limited Pentax smc D-FA 100mm F2.8 Macro WR +5 more
Pentax K-1
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