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Old Dec 3, 2012, 11:21 PM   #1
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Default K-5 IIs -- very early impressions. . .

Hi All,

Picked up the K-5IIs this morning. Since it takes the same battery as the K-7 and K-5, I had one charged and ready to go and a Transcend 16 GB class 10 SDHC card with its name on it. The first thing that I noticed was that the memory card door opens up past 90° -- it seems like all of the reviewers of the K-7 and K-5 found time to complain about how hard the card was to get out of the cameras, but I've not seen an mention of this modification on the K-5II -- at any rate, the card is no longer difficult to get out of the camera -- really a relatively minor problem and an easy one to work around. . .

I installed a spare Camdapter grip strap and set the camera up like the K-5, and while waiting for the rain to stop, I played around with a couple of lenses indoors. My F 50 f1.7 focuses dead on in artificial light and at levels where the K-5 tries but fails -- and any earlier models wouldn't have a chance. My DA* 50-135 is the same, and the shots from both are very comparable with shots from the K-5, which is fine with me.

The rain stopped, and I headed out to the Nature Center in the middle of the afternoon. It was partly cloudy, but 66° -- pretty much unheard of for Dec in Chicago, but who was I to complain?. . .

I mounted the FA* 300 + f1.7x AFA since this is my most commonly used setup, and looked around for some birds -- of course, the place was about as quiet as I've ever heard it. . . There were squirrels around, so I started with them. They were pretty much in shaded areas, so this was good for testing the AF sensitivity. The AF locks more surely -- without as many (or any) micro adjustments, so the IIs is a little faster on the draw for me. No conclusions otherwise at this time.

I took about 100 shots of the various squirrels, and was a bit disappointed because they all looked soft on the LCD. I then realized that I hadn't set SR for 510mm, and the camera was still set for 35mm -- so I was shooting 510mm handheld with SR set up for 35mm. . . I corrected this, and things got better, but it was became apparent that the lens combo was front focusing a bit. Once I realized this, I tried to compensate and have it lock on something slightly to the rear of my chosen subjects, then recompose to get them in focus properly, and this worked a bit -- but it was obviously something of a crap shoot.

Here are a few of those that came out pretty good. These are all uncropped, slightly sharpened to offset the effects of downsizing.

Grey squirrel

Black/grey squirrel -- These are melanistic grey squirrels -- there are two degrees -- some are pure black, and some are mixed black and grey. The pure black ones apparently have two black color genes, and the black/grey ones have only one. The black ones have apparently pushed out the grey cousins in some areas east of here, but they are a minority around here, so pretty cool. I've had no luck photographing them before. . .

White Breasted Nuthatch. These were about the only birds around, and this one hung around long enough for me to focus on tree above it, then recompose and get it in pretty good focus.

These last three are not good shots, but illustrate something that I noticed -- The K-5 IIs seems to exhibit less CA/PF than the K-5, or any other Pentax body that I've had. Shooting backlit birds is something that I've gotten used to -- and even with the best lenses, the CA/PF can get pretty wild. The FA* 300/4.5 is very good at controlling this, but add the AFA, and it gets magnified. Check these out -- purposefully shot to see test how much Ev comp I'll need to shoot in these conditions.

This one shows a little red/green CA on the branches. Normally, I'd expect this to be considerably worse, and I'd also expect PF around the beak and possibly along the edge of the tree trunk. I shot this at +2 Ev to expose the trunk correctly, then dropped the exposure and added some contrast in PP.

This one, I exposed with 0 Ev comp, then brought up the exposure in PP -- IMO the former example is the better method. I could get essentially the same results from this shot, but it would take more work in PP.

This last one was just an ID shot -- I saw a bird fly in out of the corner of my eye while I was concentrating on the Nuthatches. I twisted my body around while dialing in +2 Ev to see if I could get a good enough exposure to ID the bird. The setting sun was just out of frame to the left, and the bird was totally in silhouette to my eyes. I missed focus a bit, but got a good enough shot to ID the bird as a Mourning Dove -- which is pretty much my guess. . . This one was just resized for the web.

Anyway, the point of the last is that this would have normally been a mess of CA/PF, but it's pretty much only apparent if you look for it. On all of these, the aberrations are wider on the originals, but they are not as vibrantly bright and distracting as they would be with other bodies, in my experience. Others have noticed this also with the K-5 IIs. I've felt, since my experience with shooting the K10, then the K20 with the same lenses that the sensor was partly responsible for the amount of CA/PF, but was always told that it was totally an optical effect, so a lens thing. . . That's why I like to try things myself if I can, and not necessarily believe the "experts" on the Web. . .

In any case, I'm planning a trip to the zoo soon, so I should have some more samples -- hopefully with the lenses I use dialed in if needed. So far, no moire, despite trying to make it happen. . . I really don't think it's going to be a problem.

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Old Dec 4, 2012, 7:16 AM   #2
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I think it's a well known fact that some sensors are responsible for CA. Your observations with the CA/PF, with the low-light and with the speed of the AF, or great reduction in micro-adjusting (along with similar reports on these aspects on other forums), is enough to convince me to get the 5IIs to replace my K5.

Thanks for the write-up Scott.
Pentax : 15 Ltd, 77 Ltd, 43/1.9 Ltd, Cosina 55/1.2, DA*300/4, Contax Zeiss Distagon 28/2.8, Raynox 150/250, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.

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Old Dec 4, 2012, 12:00 PM   #3
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Thanks so much for this very good report. Really good to hear some first-hand experience with the K5 IIs. Really appreciate your report! Ned
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 4:02 PM   #4
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Very sharp photo of that Squirrel's head. Getting the Squirrel and the Nuthatch...is a testament to the AF response ... as both are very nervous, rapid moving, unpredictable animals in my experience.

Looking forward to more photo's and continued assessment of your 11s.

I'm glad they have addressed that SD card door. My K-5 is very difficult to access and pull out a card. I have large, clumsy fingers and after more than a year it's still difficult. In contrast my K10D has the best system...a small, well sealed door unlocks and springs open with alacrity...and I find I can remove and replace the SD card easily and quickly.

Thanks for posting.
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Old Dec 4, 2012, 9:03 PM   #5
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Thanks for the report! It sounds like this camera will work well for you, they've taken an excellent camera and made it better.

I know what you mean about the AFA adding some CA and PF, I've noticed it with the DA300, which is otherwise excellent in this regard. However, it isn't all that much and LR handles it without problem. Still, your results are really promising. Looking forward to more from you.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 4:55 PM   #6
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Looks like a great tool in some very capable hands! And very interesting information as well. I noticed the same decrease in CA & PF when "graduating" from K-M to K20D.

Will look forward to seeing more of your great photos with the new camera.
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Old Dec 8, 2012, 6:49 PM   #7
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Congratulations on the new camera. Looks good.

I've never seen a black squirrel before. Plenty of grey ones that live in our attic half of the year

We catch them with a have-a-heart trap and take them to a different town.

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Old Dec 10, 2012, 6:36 PM   #8
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Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts Scott. Please continue to keep us informed as things progress.
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Old Dec 13, 2012, 8:03 PM   #9
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How much faster/accurate is the AF of the K5II vs the K5 with the same lens combo?
How much better is AF in low light (if you've had a chance to test that)?
Also how is AF when shooting in burst mode (3fps or 7fps shooting 10 to 12 images) is the 2nd image softer than the first?

Also how much better do feel the K5II is over the K5 and what if any thing do you feel stands out as being way better than the K5 on the K5II.

Thanks in advnce for your time

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