Pentax Pentax KP

Aug 27, 2013
124
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
Taken with the DA 10-17mm fisheye mounted on my KP in limited available light. The lens has surprisingly decent close-up (semi-macro) capabilities. Like most Pentax DSLR's, the KP has TaV mode, allowing the user to specify aperture (in this case because of the macro which limits depth of field, I went for f/7.1), and shutter speed (a very hand-holdable 1/60), and adjusts the ISO accordingly (which wound up being ISO 4000). The last feature (auto-adjusting the ISO) seems particularly useful with the KP's high-ISO-capable sensor.

But when all is said and done...some people just seem to like a fisheye FOV, for no discernible rational reason ;)

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Aug 27, 2013
124
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
The other lens in the small trinity of Pentax lenses I currently own - the minuscule (calling it a pancake doesn't really give an idea of just how tiny this lens really is) DA 40mm Ltd - which, with a F.O.V. (Field of View) roughly equivalent to a 60mm lens, is close to the old classic 50mm length. Normally I tend to favor wider angles - 28mm or 35mm equivalents, sometimes even 24mm ultra-wides - as my walk-around lenses, but I've found myself using the DA 40 more and more lately. And for some undefinable reason, it seems to create images with 'character' (whatever that means). Like this one, taken a few days ago on a cold, foggy winter afternoon, in the small town where I live -

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I suspect it would have made equally fine images on my older and former Pentax, the K200D...but it seems to go really nicely with the KP. A good friend of mine has Pentax's mirrorless camera from a few years back, the K-01; the tiny DA40 was the standard 'kit' lens offered with that camera, and he's gotten some outstanding photographs with it on his K-01; so I suspect it may be more the glass than the camera that I like here. But, whatever, it works ;)
 
Aug 27, 2013
124
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
The tiny ultra-thin pancake DA 40 lens does double-duty both for wider landscape and general photography - and as a decent portrait lens for available light shooting. This was taken, at maximum aperture, at a local Tavern, where several fellow photogaphers gathered to kibbitz amongst ourselves about our latest lenses, cameras, and odds and ends.

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theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Jan 7, 2013
124
Cheshire, England
Martin Connolly
I rented a DA 20-40 once back when I had a K-30. It was good enough that I was tempted to buy one, but the K-30 really wasn't the right camera for me.
I had - and sold - a K-30 a couple of years ago. Since then I have also had and sold a K-S2. I much preferred the K-30! If I had the money I would probably get another K-30 and invest in a few Limited lenses, including the 20-40.
 

Biro

Super Moderator
Aug 7, 2011
124
Jersey Shore
Steve
I've been a Pentaxian for a long time. But my Pentax gear hasn't gotten much use in recent years, amid all of the excitement of mirrorless. I've felt a bit bad about my Limited lenses getting no use: The 20-40mm zoom and the 15, 21, 35, 40 and 70mm primes.

Frankly, as good as the full-frame K-1 is, I haven't really been tempted to buy in - not only because of the cost of the camera, but the need to purchase at least a semi-decent collection of full-frame glass for it.

But then, this Christmas, Ricoh Pentax put the KP on sale for $698 - directly from them. And I pulled the trigger. It's perfect for the Limited lenses I've listed above. And the best part is, I don't have to buy even one more lens.

And the KP has already reminded me of many of the things Pentax brings to the table: Extremely rugged build, weather resistance that may very well be the best out there, excellent viewfinders and tons of little features and design points that remind you the camera was designed for serious photographers.

Image quality is superb for an APS-C camera - probably equal to the Fuji X-T3 - with outstanding high ISO performance. The Pentax DA Limited primes, while optically excellent, are not known for being the fastest glass around. They run in the f/2.4, f/2.8, f/3.2 and f/4 range. This is where the KP's clean files even at higher ISO's really shine - making up the difference for slower lenses.

Battery life isn't anywhere near what you'll get on a K-1 or K-3. But, then again, it isn't any worse than you'll get on with most mirrorless cameras.

Many Pentaxians complain about continuous autofocus on most of the brand's modern cameras. But, again, it doesn't seem to be any worse than what you'll find on even the better mirrorless cameras - short of Sony's eye focus.

Overall, I'm pleased and mildly surprised, given some of the reviews and reaction to the KP when it first came out. To others, I say don't necessarily cross Pentax off your list if you're in the market.
 
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Aug 27, 2013
124
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
I've been a Pentaxian for a long time. But my Pentax gear hasn't gotten much use in recent years, amid all of the excitement of mirrorless. I've felt a bit bad about my Limited lenses getting no use: The 20-40mm zoom and the 15, 21, 35, 40 and 70mm primes.

Frankly, as good as the full-frame K-1 is, I haven't really been tempted to buy in - not only because of the cost of the camera, but the need to purchase at least a semi-decent collection of full-frame glass for it.

But then, this Christmas, Ricoh Pentax put the KP on sale for $698 - directly from them. And I pulled the trigger. It's perfect for the Limited lenses I've listed above. And the best part is, I don't have to buy even one more lens.

And the KP has already reminded me of many of the things Pentax brings to the table: Extremely rugged build, weather resistance that may very well be the best out there, excellent viewfinders and tons of little features and design points that remind you the camera was designed for serious photographers.

Image quality is superb for an APS-C camera - probably equal to the Fuji X-T3 - with outstanding high ISO performance. The Pentax DA Limited primes, while optically excellent, are not known for being the fastest glass around. They run in the f/2.4, f/2.8, f/3.2 and f/4 range. This is where the KP's clean files even at higher ISO's really shine - making up the difference for slower lenses.

Battery life isn't anywhere near what you'll get on a K-1 or K-3. But, then again, it isn't any worse than you'll get on with most mirrorless cameras.

Many Pentaxians complain about continuous autofocus on most of the brand's modern cameras. But, again, it doesn't seem to be any worse than what you'll find on even the better mirrorless cameras - short of Sony's eye focus.

Overall, I'm pleased and mildly surprised, given some of the reviews and reaction to the KP when it first came out. To others, I say don't necessarily cross Pentax off your list if you're in the market.
I agree with all your points, Steve - especially the ones about the superb image quality. Most of my recent shooting with my own recently acquired KP has been done with two of the small Pentax DA Limited (Ltd) primes - the 21mm and the astoundingly tiny DA 40 - and the images I'm getting from them, coupled with the KP's underrated sensor, continue to surprise me.

Including this one, taken while strolling around the small town where I live, this morning -

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Aug 27, 2013
124
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
Tyler Monson, one of my favorite photographers, who has happened to use a number of Pentax cameras over the years, shot a lot of photos with the DA 21 - its 21mm lens having an equivalent F.O.V. or field of view to the classic 35mm lens. I looked at - and liked - so many of his photographs - that when I dipped back into the Pentaxian pond, the first lens I bought was a DA 21 (which incidentally is a compact pancake style lens, and seems to fit nicely on the KP's smaller body).

I've shot with ancient analog Takumar Pentax 35mm lenses, and the more modern (and unfairly maligned) 17mm pancake Lumix lens, but I think my current DA 21 may be the best among all the 35mm lenses I've used over the years.

This shot was taken with available light in our local southern Oregon small town coffee shop.

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Aug 27, 2013
124
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
A handful of shots taken with my new (to me) lightly used DA 70 - the equivalent of the 105mm Super Takumar which I used to shoot regularly on my analog Pentaxes. These days, I tend to shoot with wider angles, so the DA 70 almost feels like an extreme telephoto. The cool thing is though, it's a very compact (almost pancake) lens - and though the max aperture of f/2.4 may not seem like the quickest low-light lens, the KP's ultra-high ISO capabilities and generally smooth sensor seem to be a good match.

Here, in no particular order, are - a closeup of weird little Globe Gnome -

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A suburban landscape of sorts -

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My friend Bob's newly acquired poodle -

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And a monochrome treatment of the view from the local train tracks -

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The jury is still out on this lens....have to see what else it can do.
 

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Aug 27, 2013
124
Talent, Oregon (far from the madding crowd)
Miguel Tejada-Flores
The lens I keep coming back to, which surprises me, is the DA 40 Ltd - one of the tiniest modern 'pancake' lenses that Pentax has produced in recent years. The weird part is that, with a Field-of-View equivalent to a 60mm classic lens, it's a little more telephoto than the so-called normal (50mm equivalent) lenses I'm used to - but the more I use it, the more I like it.

Putting it on the KP makes the camera seem almost tiny (and, though the KP is slightly more compact than some traditional DSLR's, both Pentax and other brands, I wouldn't necessariliy call it the smallest camera in the world. But with the DA40, it almost seems svelte.

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Addendum: this lens shares the same FOV as the 30mm Sigma 'Art' lens I used to have (and love) on my micro-4/3 cameras - it kind of grows on a person.
 

gordo

Veteran
Jul 6, 2017
104
Arizona
Gordon
Nice combo there.

I happen to like 43mm and 58mm FOV better than 50mm. For me, the 50 FOV seems neither here nor there.
 
Jan 31, 2011
164
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
I'm still stuck between rocks and hard places with regard to my Pentax gear.. I keep wanting a KP but I have decided I don't like a tilt screen, I prefer variable angle so thats going to be a K70. Then, I realise that I still like what I have. So... no new purchase (except I would like some more recent WR lenses). My favourite FoVs seem to be 35 and 55. I had the FA43 and just didn't really bond with it.
 

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