Pentax K-1

I have no desire to use the K-1 or any DSLR for that matter, I have moved on to mirrorless or medium format. The 5D kit sits unused, the L series lenses now mainly used on the video camera or the A7. Working for the local Pentax distributor means I have access to a K-1 and have been shooting the beastie for about four weeks.

My first impressions were that it was a capable and well put together camera with an over complicated menu system and more features than just about any other camera. To be fair on the menu system, it is better than the Sony but that is not hard and the features are many but for me most of them are left unused.

The proof that this camera has potential came firstly with some landscape shots I did on Lake George. I was shoot the H6D as well as the K-1 and on seeing the results in Lightroom was pleasantly surprised- nowhere near the latitude and  tonal range of the H6 but the detail and resolving power of the 36mp sensor and the Sigma 35mm Art was good, possibly exceptional for a DSLR.

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Lake George, Pentax K-1 & 35mm Sigma Art
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Cape Conran on the K-1 and the Sigma 35mm Art lens, excellent detail and tonal range for 35mm DSLR.

So I continued with the K-1 Sigma combo and found a great landscape camera but also a pretty neat street shooter as well but the real party trick for the K-1 is the ability to use ALL the old K mount lenses. I dug out my K1000 and whacked the 50mm 1.7 on it- works perfectly.

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K-1 with the Pentax 50mm f1.7 SMC, a lens from the 70’s working just as well in 2016. This was shot at f1.7 on a lens worth about $50 on Ebay.
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The 50mm f1.7 SMC at f8, sharp and the color rendered really nicely. Using older lenses you will need to add a little contrast and sharpening plus a good idea to add a bit of clarity as well. On the K-1 this can be done in camera or in post.

So now I am on the hunt for K mount glass and there seems to be a bit out there at really reasonable pricing.

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135mm f2.8- great portrait lens and you can pick them up for about $200.
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28mm f3.5, landscape and street lens usually about $100.
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The excellent 35mm f2, usually around $350 for a good one but worth it- one of the sharpest 35mm lenses out there.

If you are looking for exotic glass Cosina made K mount glass as Cosina, Voightlander and Zeiss that was excellent. Sigma and Tamron still make some K mount with the 35mm Art from Sigma a standout. I have tested some older zooms and they are best avoided, Pentax zooms were never that good so keep to fixed lenses.

The K-1 was a surprise and is turning out to be a lot of fun but also delivers excellent results and has so many features  that I keep discovering a new way to use it  every time I pick it up.

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