It’s clear that the Pentax K-1 is out to impress and if the sharpness increase with its Pixel Shift technology weren’t enough for you already, the dynamic range boost it provides will definitely do the trick.
DPReview have had the K-1 for a little while now, running it through a battery of tests, and in the current round they put the dynamic range to task, reporting that it challenges that of medium format cameras.
Typically, when faced with a high dynamic range scene, we shoot to preserve the highlight detail and let the shadows fall where they may, knowing that we can bump them in post to compensate and even out the exposure. Brightening up those shadows, however, leads to an increase in the level of noise.
The dynamic range of the K-1 is already pretty impressive, easily keeping up with and perhaps even surpassing the very respectable Nikon D810 when in “Standard shutter” mode , but when you turn on Pixel Shift the camera just shines, drastically reducing that noise, and creating a much cleaner final result.
Pushed 6 stops and with the D810 dropped all the way down to ISO64, the K-1’s ISO100 image clearly shows a huge difference when it comes to noise levels in boosted shadows.
DPR’s report states that the Pentax K1 offers “one of the best Raw dynamic range results we’ve ever seen”, and the examples they present are difficult to dispute, with Pixel Shift’s multiple sampling offering what essentially amounts to a 2EV boost in dynamic range. This result nudges it ahead of it’s own big brother, the Pentax 645Z, at around a quarter of the price.
While many may not be ready to jump ship to Pentax just yet, it will definitely be giving other manufacturers something to think about, which can only be better for all of us.
Read the full report on DPReview, and compare samples for yourself.