Sunday, March 06, 2011

Enter K-5

I am awfully behind in my blogging effort. One of the things that I don't manage to get to is to produce a blog entry comparing Sony A850 and Pentax K-7. Meanwhile, I finally decided to spring for Pentax K-5, which as it appears offers basically just one but extremely important advantage over its predecessor - the Sony 16 MP sensor.

It all started when Paul Stenquist of PDML published this picture (presented here with Paul's permission) comparing K-5 with K-7 at ISO 6400.

The frame from K-7 is above and that from K-5 is below. It is no wonder that K-7, being at its highest ISO setting cannot match performance of K-5, which still has 3 stops of ISO up its sleeve. But more importantly this picture illustrates the virtue of dynamic range and the way K-5 renders the shades gradually whereas K-7 is pretty abrupt.

Although as we would see if I hopefully produce the A850 vs K-7 writeup the difference between K-7 and A850 is not as dramatic as I initially thought it were, I finally succumbed to the temptation.

Presently I've shot about 1,000 frames with K-5 and the matching between me and this camera is pretty much done. The upgrade from K-7 is seamless and as smooth as it can be. Practically I couldn't really put K-5 to the situation where its sensor and meter would produce a picture that cannot be salvaged from tonality point of view. I did manage once, shooting under the bright sun into the interior of my car. The contrast was way too high even for mighty K-5.

So, in a nutshell, K-5 is K-7 with improved sensor. I don't have SDM lenses so I cannot really appreciate the improvements K-5 offers in AF department. I've noticed significant improvement in AF speed under live view but I need to try this under real life use conditions. Was the upgrade worth it - yes. Was it necessary - no. It certainly did not make my pictures any better. But it made my shooting more convenient and worry free.

More to come, time permitting...

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