WPPI 2018: Pentax Reveals Upgraded K-1 Mark II DSLR

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Pentax's first foray into the full-frame world was very well received, so it is only fitting that the K-1 Mark II takes care to refine many features and functions while retaining the qualities that make it appealing to landscape and nature photographers. Central to the K-1 Mark II's performance is an upgraded PRIME IV processor with an Accelerator Unit that will dramatically improve detail and color rendition in images captured with the high-resolution 36.4MP CMOS sensor. This results in sharper images and video at sensitivities up to ISO 819200 for stills and ISO 25600 for video. Another notable upgrade is Pixel Shift Resolution II, which uses the Shake Reduction II system to capture four images of the scene, with each shot shifted by a single pixel, allowing the capture of full color information in each pixel. It also offers Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution for shooting handheld with the benefits of added resolution.

Diving into some of the K-1 Mark II's most notable features, we should start with the Shake Reduction II five-axis in-body stabilization system. By being integrated into the body, this mechanism will help compensate for up to five stops of shutter speed with almost any lens. It also enables some Pentax-specific functions like Automatic Horizon Correction, a Selectable AA Filter Simulation, Composition Fine Adjustment, and the AstroTracer setting when the stabilizer is used in combination with the built-in GPS. Of course, the most significant feature is the previously mentioned Pixel Shift Resolution II for capturing highly detailed photographs, especially since there is a motion correction ability for using it handheld.

Making a return on the Mark II is the SAFOX 12 33-point phase-detect autofocus system with 25 cross-type points in the center and three f/2.8 sensors to work in low light down to -3 EV. Continuous shooting is also of decent speed with a 4.4 fps maximum at full resolution with a buffer that will hold about 17 raw frames. Another function of this full-frame camera is Full HD 1080p video at up to 30 fps for added versatility as a multimedia tool. Additionally, the camera has built-in Wi-Fi for connecting directly to a mobile device.

Where Pentax truly separates itself from the competition is with build quality; the K-1 is a camera that is designed to hold up in harsh weather. This design principle of Pentax makes them coveted tools for landscape and nature photographers who continually find themselves out in the elements. The body is sealed to protect against rain and dust and is freezeproof to 14°F. Also, it features two SD card slots for backup and overflow storage and a variety of dials and buttons for intuitive operation. Other benefits include a unique 3.2" cross-tilt LCD, which can be tilted into odd positions and LEDs that will help illuminate various controls on the body at night. Another advantage is the 0.7x optical viewfinder with a near 100% field of view for comfortable composition.

The K-1 Mark II will be available as a body only or as a kit with the 28-105mm lens. Also, it will work with the same battery and battery grip as its predecessor.

The K-1 Mark II is a nice upgrade for Pentax shooters, especially those looking to jump up to full-frame for the first time, as well as adventurous photographers. Is the K-1 Mark II an appealing option for you? Jump right in and let us know in the Comments section!

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Since I added a K1 II to my K5 and K3, I have had no issues whatsoever with any of these bodies.   I have been using the K1 II a fair bit but my APS-C bodies have been completely reliable, even when shooting up to 1,000 photos a day ( when on holidays ).  I did have my third replacement for SDMs on two DA* lenses and both were sent to Japan for repair at no cost to me so I would say that their service standards are not negligent.  Thankfully, the SDMs of the new HD DFA lenses seem to be much better and I have had no issues with 3 varieties of these.

The same service centre for Pentax in Ontario also services Nikons and Canons and their technicians say that the Pentax bodies are excellent products and very well made.  They reported no special issues for any Pentax bodies and in fact, inferred the opposite.  They also reported that all brands of cameras have issues from time to time.  They are very precise and small instruments, loaded with technology.  Irrespective, there will always be problems from time to time and the best we can hope for is that they occur within the warranty period.  In Canada, the warranty is 2 years if purchased from an authorized Canadian retailer.  I have both a K5 and a K3 and have had absolutely no issues whatsoever.  I use both regularly.

Does this new version K1 have a sensor that turns off the screen when you put your eye up to the viewfinder?

It did not seem to have one in our quick hands on time with the camera at WPPI.

Sounds great alright, but so did the Pentax K30 I purchased as an upgrade to my reliable Pentax *ist DL, until after just shy of 3000 shutter actuations, the aperture control motor failed. Turns out this is a common problem with the K30, as is readily evident from the numerous complaints from K30 owners you will be able to read if you search "K30 aperture control motor" on the web. I contacted Pentax explaining the issue, and my history with Pentax dating back to my K1000, and was told simply that "their records do not indicate a common or endemic problem with the K-30; as the manufacturer has not issued an advisory or recall of the product" and as my body was out of warranty, I should send it to a certain camera service centre in Ontario for repair. My reply to them likened their assertion of no common problem to Ford claiming their was no problem with their Pinto, but failed to garner any further reply. With customer service like that, I won't be lining up to spend my money on a new Pentax anytime soon, regardless of how glowing a review it receives. Buyer beware!

I can empathize with you, James H.; I've had products fail, too. But I think it's worth pointing out that the K30 isn't a flagship camera, and doesn't have the same build quality as the K-1. I've got a K-7 and a K-5, both of them with far more actuations than your K30, and I've never had a problem with them. The K-1ii will likely follow the pattern of the previous Pentax flagship bodies. That said, if what happened to you with your K30 and Pentax had happened to me, I'd probably be carrying a Fuji or Sony now. As it is, I've got lots of K and M series Pentax glass, and I'd love to mount those lenses on a K-1ii.

Yes, cameras break...and not only Pentax. I know how the bitterness feels; my Nikon D750 shutter failed after only 3000 shots. I was on a job site when it happened. It was a worst-case scenario, and I looked like a fool. Now I have two really nice Nikons, instead of one. The more important issue is the Customer Service. I wish they would have helped you out. That is a tough spot to be in, for both parties.