En­thu­si­ast Dig­i­tal SLR


There may have been no con­test here, but the K-1 Mark II has the po­ten­tial to take on any chal­lenger given it rep­re­sents the peak of D-SLR tech­nol­ogy as we know it now. Just what par­ent com­pany Ri­coh has planned for Pen­tax down the track isn’t im­me­di­ately clear, but the K-1 II ad­mirably holds its own against the pre­vi­ous win­ners of this cat­e­gory that are still cur­rently avail­able. Let’s hope some­thing in­ter­est­ing in mir­ror­less cam­eras is com­ing from this ven­er­a­ble brand in the not too dis­tant fu­ture.

While the Mark II model rep­re­sents a fairly mod­est up­grade on its pre­de­ces­sor, it’s a very in­ter­est­ing pack­age over­all, start­ing with the ad­vances made to its pixel shift­ing ca­pa­bil­ity. Pen­tax was an ear­lier adopter of this tech­nique for cre­at­ing higher res­o­lu­tion im­ages by com­bin­ing mul­ti­ple im­ages cap­tured via four sin­gle-pixel shifts of the sen­sor (i.e. left, right, up and down). Pen­tax pri­mar­ily uses the tech­nique to en­hance colour re­pro­duc­tion (as each pixel point ends up with a red, blue and two green com­po­nents), but there are also en­hance­ments to res­o­lu­tion and sharp­ness, plus re­duced noise and the elim­i­na­tion of the colour arte­facts caused by con­ven­tional in­ter­po­la­tion. Nor­mally, it’s nec­es­sary to use a tri­pod as multi-frame cap­ture is in­volved, but Pen­tax’s ‘Dy­namic Pixel Shift Res­o­lu­tion’ now al­lows for hand­held shoot­ing… which is quite a step for­ward in shift­ing’s use­abil­ity. This mode uses an ad­di­tional pro­ces­sor to an­a­lyse the way the cam­era is be­ing held and ap­plies se­lec­tive shifts ac­cord­ingly… which is pretty clever stuff.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the sen­si­tiv­ity range is pushed fur­ther to the equiv­a­lent of ISO 819,200 and the fo­cus track­ing’s speed and re­li­a­bil­ity are im­proved via a new al­go­rithm. The nifty ‘AA Fil­ter Sim­u­la­tor’ from the pre­vi­ous model is re­tained and al­lows the de­gree of moiré cor­rec­tion to be bal­anced with op­ti­mis­ing res­o­lu­tion. It re­mains the best thought-out so­lu­tion to deal­ing with moiré pat­terns.

Add these fea­tures to the K-1 II’s weather-sealed and in­su­lated metal bodyshell, 36.77 megapix­els ful­l35mm sen­sor, 33-point AF, 86,000 pix­els RGB me­ter­ing, five-axis IBIS, and 300,000 cy­cles FP shut­ter; and you have what is ar­guably the most ca­pa­ble ILC (of any type) on the mar­ket. Plus there’s some re­ally clever lit­tle de­sign touches such as the four strate­gi­cally po­si­tioned ‘Op­er­a­tion As­sist’ lights, the in­ge­nious flex­i­ble tilt LCD mon­i­tor (so it can even be set at an an­gle) and the sin­gle-ac­tion func­tion dial which make this cam­era some­thing quite spe­cial. It’s a bit of a mys­tery why it hasn’t at­tracted much more at­ten­tion… some­thing we hope this award might help rec­tify.

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