Pentax K1 sample images have been released showing off the Pixel Shift Resolution

Mar 4, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Pentax K1 sample images have been released showing off the Pixel Shift Resolution

Mar 4, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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pentax_k1_sample_images

Ricoh have today released a set of sample images for the recently announced full frame Pentax K1 DSLR.

I have to admit, I was a little underwhelmed with the images, until I saw what the Pixel Shift Resolution feature can do.

Having thought about things for a little while, I might have been a little harsh in my initial assessment, after all, the only people who really look at images at 100% are photographers themselves, and usually for no reason other than to see how sharp it is at 100%.

Given that the Pentax K1 offers 36 megapixels – which translates out as 7360×4912 pixels, or 24.5″ x 16.4″ @ 300PPI – the level of detail is likely going to be enough for most purposes, especially if the majority of your images only end up on the web.

But let’s have a look at a couple of the samples in detail, and you can see why I wasn’t all that impressed.

ex-pic01_670

This looks to be a rather nice image.  There’s some detail in the shadows, and the highlights have been retained, which goes to show how good the dynamic range of this camera appears to be.

But let’s take a closer look.  This is a 100% crop from the buildings.

ex-pic01_crop

It doesn’t look all that terrible, and certainly good enough for making an 18×12 print, but we’ve seen a lot sharper from cameras like the Nikon D810 which offer the same resolution.  Of course, there’s a significant difference in price between the two, so maybe you get what you pay for.

When we start heading out to the edge of the frame, things look even less impressive, and the difference is noticeable.  Of course, this is likely primarily due to the lens used, and not the camera itself.

ex-pic01_crop2

One thing to note here, is that these images were shot with the Pentax K1’s Pixel Shift Resolution feature turned off.

The way that the Pixel Shift Resolution system functions, in simple terms, is that it takes four shots, moving the sensor ever so slightly between each, and then composites them together automatically to create a single image, which in theory offers a lot more detail.

YouTube video

Scaled down for the web, or possibly even in prints as large as 18×12, you probably won’t even  notice the difference.  See for yourself.

With Pixel Shift Resolution turned off.
With Pixel Shift Resolution turned off.
With Pixel Shift Resolution turned on.
With Pixel Shift Resolution turned on.

Can you spot the difference when they’re scaled down for the web?  I sure can’t.

Jumping in again to some 100% crops, this time the difference becomes immediately apparent.

It’s a noticeable increase in sharpness in the very finer details, which will allow you to go expand your images and print much larger than you would with this feature turned off, but it does come at the cost of speed, as you can see demonstrated in this video of the Pentax K3II.

YouTube video

But if working at a slower pace with still lifes and landscapes are your thing, this might be something you find yourself using often.

If, however, you’re more of a sports/action type of shooter, especially if you like to print big, this may not be the camera for you.

You can see the full Pentax K1 sample gallery here.

A lot of folks seemed initially excited that Pentax had finally announced a full frame body.  Having now seen what it produces, what do you think?

Are you still going to jump in and get one, or are you reconsidering your options?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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12 responses to “Pentax K1 sample images have been released showing off the Pixel Shift Resolution”

  1. John Aldred Avatar
    John Aldred

    What do you think, Duncan? You are, to use your own words, “one of those Pentax muppets”. ;)

    1. Duncan Knifton Avatar
      Duncan Knifton

      hahaha…
      I’m loving the look of it mate…but as with all new camera’s, I will leave it for a few months for all the bugs to be sorted…
      Then I’ll trade in one of my bodies to help pay for this beast.

  2. Pablo Ferrufino Avatar
    Pablo Ferrufino

    John, your comparison of DR is based on the DxOMark results of the Pentax K-01, a 16 mp. APS-C, mirrorless camera from 2012

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Oops! My mistake. Thanks for noticing.

      Will sort that. :)

  3. Riccardo Maria Mantero Avatar
    Riccardo Maria Mantero

    prodigious!

  4. Plop Avatar
    Plop

    As Pablo Ferrufino mentioned, you are mistaking K1 full frame (not tested by dxomarks yet) with old mirrorless K-01, which was Pentax first try at mirrorless, a long time ago.

    Therefore it is a bit early to make any assessment on the DR…

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Noted, thank you :)

  5. Frédéric Schneider Avatar
    Frédéric Schneider

    K-01 is not K-1 ;)

  6. willdmo Avatar
    willdmo

    judging resolution in center and corner from one picture and have no comparable picture of a different company is very daring. Pentax has a history in having real advertising pictures and not overly produced like Sony, Canon, Nikon. The only usable image to compare something is Pixelshift on/off. But comparing that speed to a k3II with completely different Shake reduction system isnt fair either.

    I guess the Ricoh Pentax K-1 isn’t aimed to sports photographers, they have their Nikon D5 with an MRSP of €6,989.00 or the Canon 1dx II with the same pricetag. for that you can get 2 K-1 cameras and some nice lenses like the Fa Limiteds

  7. Anoniempje_123 Avatar
    Anoniempje_123

    I love landscapes and slow down a lot… but how the fook will this work … it most likely has the same fooked up problems that HDR has… THINGS MOVE IN NATURE !

    So this is yet another worthless innovation which CAN create super sharpness under ideal conditions that are almost never present in nature …

    NEXT !

    1. Michael Andrew Broughton Avatar
      Michael Andrew Broughton

      clearly you haven’t spent even 5 seconds looking up how it handles moving subjects. the k-1 can even do pixel shift handheld.

  8. Stinky Man Avatar
    Stinky Man

    It’s not a camera for sports that about the valid point this article makes. Little early to make the statements about how sharp an image the camera can acquire give the lenses that were used.