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Old May 23, 2016, 2:28 PM   #1
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Default Been over two years. . .

Hi All,

. . .since I've started a thread here or posted pics because I've been pretty inactive photographically because of a number of health and mobility issues. I've managed to straighten out most of these, and with some added motivation from the purchase of a K1 about two weeks ago, I've been able to get out and shoot some birds and furred critters.

It may seem counterintuitive for me to go with the larger format as I've felt that APS-C is really the better alternative for me as a very long tele shooter, but after some reconsideration and being able to play with a K1 at my "local" B&M (70 miles away), I felt that the purchase was justified for me.

The most important factors involved in this decision were:

Faster and more decisive AF lock.

Noticeably improved lower light AF lock

A noticeable improvement in higher ISO image quality for my purposes (over both the K3 and surprisingly the K5 and K5II) -- the high ISO files also seem to allow for easier PP for better detail -- this is still a work in progress. I settled on ISO 1280 as my top "emergency" ISO for the K5/K5II, and 1000 for the K3. I've set up the K1 to go up to ISO 5000 for birds and 12,800 for indoor flashless candids (the same max ISO as I use with my Sony A7S -- the super low light wonder -- for the same purpose). I've only had it for two weeks, so this might change. . .

The wider FOV in the VF allows me to acquire target subjects quicker, so add faster AF lock, and this is distinct advantage, even when shooting in "crop" mode.

Some added versatility being able to instantly go from FF mode to crop mode is also a good thing in a limited percentage of shots since I shoot mostly primes. Being able to "back off" or "add reach" by a factor of 1.5x without having to "zoom with my feet" sometimes allows

These were really the only factors that I considered. The new hardware, features and the difference in size/weight really didn't count much to me. I don't usually shoot wide enough to really take advantage of the larger format's wider FOV, and most of my really wide lenses are APS-C ( DA 10-17, DA 12-24, and Sigma 17-70). My Tamron 28-75/2.8 that I've had for over 10 years becomes a wide angle again at the short end, and if that isn't wide enough, then I can shoot either the 10-17 or the 12-24 and get wider.

I've been shooting the K1 in crop mode for the most part, switching to FF mode when I get really close. This has been working really well for me.

I'll post some pics in answers to this post. I'm still getting used to the body and to shooting again in general. Also I'm still working on the PP workflow and how to get the most out of the files I've been getting.

Scott
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Old May 23, 2016, 2:47 PM   #2
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Default Some new birds for me. . .

I thought the new camera body would be enough motivation for me to get out shooting, but seeing two new (for me) species the first day out was very exciting, especially since they were both very spectacular birds.

The Red Headed Woodpecker sighting was a first for me, and the people at the Nature Center told me that these were some of the first sightings around the Center's buildings. I've spotted these guys a few more times, but got the best shots the first day. I've been shooting here regularly for quite a few years, and had never seen one before.

The Scarlet Tanager was another first for me. What a spectacular looking bird. I've never really experienced a lot of situations where I've blown out a color channel (for me, it's usually the Yellows in direct sunlight), but with these guys, there are some parts where the reds were blown out -- luckily they were relatively small areas, and the shots weren't really ruined.
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Old May 23, 2016, 3:07 PM   #3
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Default Some very small guys from pretty far away

I've always had trouble sighting very small birds in the trees with the narrow FOV of 500mm+ lenses. I use an FA* 300 + 1.7x AFA most of the time, and it's like looking through a straw, and I have to take my eye from the VF a number of times to reorient and try to find something distinctive that I can find with the camera up to my eye. With the wider FOV allowed by the larger format, I've found I have less trouble doing this. It's still difficult, but easier, and with the faster AF lock, I'm getting more opportunities to get the shots.

These are Yellow Rumped Warblers. Very small, and always moving from branch to branch, so hard to lock focus on. They were also pretty high up and a good distance away, so these are crops from the already cropped mode. The last is another first for me, a Blackpoll Warbler. AT first I thought it was just another Black Capped Chickadee when I caught sight of it in my peripheral vision, but when I got a good look, I had to hurry to get it anywhere in the VF, so this isn't the best shot, just what I could get. . .
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Old May 23, 2016, 3:20 PM   #4
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Default Some of the usual suspects. . .

Chipmunks were everywhere, and they are generally tough to shoot when in the shadows because AF has a hard time keeping up with them with the very narrow DOF of a 500mm lens at close range. AF lock, while slower in such low light, was still fast enough to get some good shots, and these were also at higher ISO (2000).

I don't usually shoot birds on feeders, but had to get one of the few Ruby Throated Hummers that showed up. All of these shots were hand held, and I definitely feel that I'm getting more feather detail with this lens combo than ever before, even in the 15 MP crop mode. I attribute this to higher shutter speeds (mostly @ 1/250, while with previous bodies, I had to shoot wide open and at closer to 1/125 much of the time). Some of the feather detail on this shot is lost due to the downsizing for posting, but there's a surprising amount left.

The Brown Headed Cowbird is not usually a very attractive bird to shoot, but catch one in the right light. . .

That's it for now. Please feel free to comment or ask questions.

Scott
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Old May 23, 2016, 4:20 PM   #5
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Nice to hear from you, Scott! Good to hear that your health issues are diminishing.
Your bird pictures with adjacent stories are always both beautiful and entertaining. Just keep'm comin'! As a bird nerd I'm also happy for the educational bit of it.
Those Scarlet Tanagers are really spectacular, to see something so colorful here in Sweden I have to look, well, into my own aviaries, but that doesn't count.

I've had the K-1 for a few weeks now, but still haven't had a good opportunity to dedicate time for serious shooting. Soon school's out for summer!

Kjell
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Old May 24, 2016, 3:26 AM   #6
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Hi Kjell,

Thanks for taking a look! I'm still in the process of relearning how to shoot these guys and then get the most out of PP to post at this size. With the new body, this is a work in progress, but I'm looking forward to getting more out of this camera, which first impressions say is a significant step forward for just about anything I might want to do photographically.

For about the same price I paid for my K5 (I was an early adopter), the K1 is very impressive in so many ways. I know I'll be shooting it differently than just about everyone else, and it's already giving me options that I hadn't expected.

I'm looking forward to seeing some of your results when your schedule permits some exploration of the K1's capabilities.

Scott
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Old May 24, 2016, 3:40 PM   #7
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Very nice! It's good to see your birds, I've always loved your work. I'm glad that your health issues are taking a back seat for a while.
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Old May 26, 2016, 3:35 PM   #8
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Hi Harriet,

Thanks for taking a look.

I've missed being able to shoot a lot, and hopefully this positive trend in my health issues will continue for a while. If things go well, I should be posting more in the future, and as I get used to the camera and the PP needed for posting, the results should get better.

Scott
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Old May 28, 2016, 7:41 AM   #9
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Great shots, I haven't been here often enough lately just due to changes in my situation you might say. Glad to hear that your health issues aren't stopping you from enjoying nature and a new Pentax.
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Old May 29, 2016, 9:15 AM   #10
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WOW nice shots Scott, glad to see you posting again. I hope things continue to work out well for you and your health. Looking forward to see more from you. I have also been missing from here but mostly because I am shooting multiple camera brands and this is a dedicated site. I have always enjoyed the people here and still look in. My Pentax shooting seems to be limited to wildlife and sports lately, and my travel and scenery is mostly done using Canon P&S and Panasonic M4/3. With you, Ira, and Harriett joining Mole I just might have to shoot that Pentax a little more.
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