KP, ES or MS shutter?

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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Chris Mak Senior Member • Posts: 2,150
KP, ES or MS shutter?

Going from a K3 to the KP for use with the DA560 telelens, I have noticed that the AF is a bit faster and more decisive, and yet, the K3 was easier to get consistent sharp images with on particularly distant subjects. Well, if it is not the AF causing this, then what?

Since the KP offers good C-AF in live view, and offers an electronic shutter, I decided to do a bit of testing: shooting at 1/800s, F5.6 in T-AV mode. The options are of course: MS (mechanical shutter) in viewfinder mode, MS in live view mode, ES (electronic shutter) in viewfinder mode, ES in live view mode.

Doing so, I found that live view mode makes no important difference to viewfinder mode, so mirror slap is not an issue at 1/800, as you would expect. However, you would also expect for shutter shock to have no effect at 1/800, still here the KP seems to be a step back from the K3. SR on or off did not really change the consitent fact that with the mechanical shutter, many if not all shots suffered a slight to noticeable blur compared to exactly the same parameters with ES (which b.t.w. shuts off SR).

My conclusion is also, that SR with the DA560 is of very little use at shutters speeds of 1/500 to 1/800. So five axis SR may sound nice, but is of little value to my shooting. The better high iso is a big improvement, in that it allows for sharpening without side effects and makes noise reduction at iso 400-800 redundant. The shutter induced blur though, is concerning since I shoot a lot of distant birds. I am now trying to figure out if the ES can be of any use to me when shooting distant waders like avocets and snipes and godwits etc. They do not move fast, but I am not sure if handholding a 560mm lens allows for ES.

Below is an example that can be said to be representative for the KP shutter induced blur. Looking ahead I will be switching systems in one or two years for a few reasons: looking for a more portable super telelens option since I always cycle and hike, and the 3kg+ lenses are really for car users. Also I want a set-up that can do distant shooting as well as BIF. I am moving in the direction of a Canon 400mm f4 DO II with both extenders and a 7DIII when it comes. Poor DR has held me away from Canon, despite the stellar 400mm DO II, but the 7DIII should finally solve that issue to a large enough extent. But I am also keeping an eye on Sony because of the possible future global shutter camera. That would make a mechanical shutter redundant and with good stabilization in the lens would take away all causes of image blur.

Anyway, to an extent proper sharpening can counter the blur effect, but it is there. And of course, a high end camera should not cause this blur at 1/800s. Any thoughts on the root cause for the KP shutter blur at this shutter speed? Left is MS, right is ES. This was on some signs 70 yards away.

Below that is an image showing iso 400 performance without any form of noise reduction. Even on this closer shot, a slight blur is present from (fairly certain) the shutter. Using ES would further take away the need for sharpening. I guess on static shots like this ES is a viable option. I programmed U2 for quickly switching to ES.


 Chris Mak's gear list:Chris Mak's gear list
Pentax K-3 II Sony a7R II Pentax HD DA 560mm F5.6 ED AW HD Pentax DA AF 1.4X AW Rear Converter Zeiss Loxia 35 +2 more
Canon EF 400mm F4 DO IS II USM Pentax KP
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