Shooting with the K-1 for a couple of weeks now and its proving to be a good workhorse camera. I really wanted to test the resolving power and sharpness of the sensor. I find that the Pentax seems to shoot slightly over exposed to what I am used to but that may be the nature of the beast.
The 500CM was introduced in 1957 and remained in production until 1970, my one is from the mid “60s and is very worn. I shot exclusively on Ilford Hp5 developed in Kodak D76 or ID11 (pretty much the same developers). For a camera this old it didn’t miss a beat, no light meter so I guestimated the exposures and mostly was pretty close. The Reciprocal Rule works like this-
The ISO equals the shutter speed at f16 on a bright sunny day. So for the 500cm with 400 ISO film it works out as: f16 at 1/500 sec.
Scanned on the Nikon LS9000 scanner using SilverFast, slow but the quality is amazing.
I worked around that, opening up in the shadows by a couple of stops as needed, usually works fine and is a hell of a lot quicker than stuffing around with light meters.
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.
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.
So now I am on the hunt for K mount glass and there seems to be a bit out there at really reasonable pricing.
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.
This thing is amazing, the design and build of it is just awe inspiring. Remember to watch the local fat policemen try to chase the rather fit and agile umbrella sellers- two fat guys squeezed into a Fiat 500.