The Updated Pentax K1 Mk II Improves on Image Quality First and Foremost

The new Pentax K1 Mk II is looking to improve where it matters the most.

I really liked the Pentax K1, and so when we found out about the new Pentax K1 Mk II I was very intrigued to see how the company would improve the camera. To date, I genuinely believe it and the Nikon D850 to be the best DSLR cameras in the industry–but the Pentax was starting to show its age. When it arrives next month in April, I’m also not sure many Pentaxians will necessarily want to or need to upgrade to it. Let’s take a look at the new Pentax K1 Mk II, right before WPPI.

At the heart of the new Pentax K1 Mk II is the same 36MP sensor as the original camera. This is a bit of a questionable decision. That sensor isn’t bad at all, but other cameras are really able to do quite a bit with more megapickles these days. (Yes, I wrote megapickles.) This sensor can shoot at up to ISO 819,200. It’s also adding in the new Pixel Shift Resolution II mode. Here’s the essential bit from the press release to explain this:

The camera also incorporates Pixel Shift Resolution System II. This new, PENTAX-developed technology uses the same in-camera shake-reduction (SR) mechanism and sensor-shift capabilities as the original Pixel Shift Resolution System found in the PENTAX K-1, which captures four images of the same scene, and then synthesizes them into a single, super-high-resolution composite image. With the Pixel Shift Resolution System II, the camera also obtains RGB color data, resulting in images with significantly finer details and truer colors than those produced by typical full-frame sensors.

A new feature in the Pixel Shift Resolution System II is Dynamic Pixel Shift Resolution mode. This mode allows photographers to produce crisp, ultra-high pixel shift resolution images without the need of a tripod, extending the camera’s use to a wider variety of subjects and scenes.

It seems like Pentax’s response to not going to an even higher resolution is the composite feature that they’ve got here. It still has weather sealing and a magnesium alloy body, and it still has that same controversial tilting LCD screen display. And when it comes out on the market, the new Pentax K1 Mk II will retail for $1,999.95.

Very personally speaking, I’m a bit confused about this one. Sure, it’s an upgrade. Sure, it’s looking really good–but I don’t feel like it’s bound to make photographers upgrade in a world where Sony and Fujifilm both exist. Pentax’s lenses are great, but I think a much stronger move for Pentax/Ricoh in this case would have been either a full frame GR series camera or a lower tier, medium format camera below the current Pentax 645 series DSLRs. I say this partially because I loved the Pentax K1, but what I love even more is the Pentax 67 SLR that I have sitting on my shelf in my living room. The feel of that thing and the viewfinder on it is unlike anything else out there. And if Pentax had given us a medium format camera around the price of the Sony a9 or Sony a7r III with that same sensor, I’m very confident no one would be able to keep them in stock.

Granted, I need to get my hands on this new Pentax K1 MK II. But here for your reading pleasure is the world’s longest spec sheet for a camera.

PENTAX K-1 Mark II Specifications

 

Model Description  
Type TTL autofocus, auto-exposure SLR digital-still camera
Lens Mount PENTAX KAF2 bayonet mount (AF coupler, lens information contacts, K-mount with power contacts)
Compatible Lens KAF4, KAF3, KAF2 (power zoom compatible), KAF, KA mount lens
Image capture unit  
Image Sensor Primary color filter, CMOS.   Size: 35.9 x 24.0 (mm)
Effective Pixels Approx. 36.40 megapixels
Total Pixels Approx. 36.77 megapixels
Dust Removal Image sensor cleaning using ultrasonic vibrations “DR II”
Sensitivity
(Standard output)
ISO AUTO/100 to 819200 (EV steps can be set to 1EV, 1/2EV or 1/3EV)
Image Stabilizer Sensor-shift shake reduction (SR II: Shake Reduction)(5-axis)
AA Filter Simulator Moiré reduction using SR unit.   OFF/Type1/Type2/ Bracketing(2 images)/ Bracketing (3 images)
File formats  
File format RAW (PEF/DNG), JPEG (Exif 2.3), DCF2.0 compliant
Recorded Pixels [35mm Full Frame] JPEG: L(36M:7360×4912), M(22M:5760×3840), S(12M:4224×2816), XS(2M:1920×1280)
RAW: (36M:7360×4912)[APS-C size] JPEG: L(15M:4800×3200), M(12M:4224×2816), S(8M:3456×2304), XS(2M:1920×1280)
RAW: (15M:4800×3200)
Quality Level RAW (14bit): PEF, DNG
JPEG: ★★★ (Best), ★★ (Better), ★ (Good), RAW + JPEG simultaneous capturing available
Color Space sRGB, AdobeRGB
Storage Medium SD, SDHC and SDXC Memory Card (Conforms to USH-I standards)
Dual SD slot Sequential Use, Save to Both, Separate RAW/JPEG, Image copy between slots possible
Storage Folder Folder Name: Date (100_1018,101_1019…) or User assigned folder name (Default “PENTX”)
Recording File File Name: “IMGP****” or User assigned file name
File name numbering: Sequential, Reset
Viewfinder  
Type Pentaprism Finder
Coverage (FOV) Approx. 100%
Magnification Approx. 0.70x (50mmF1.4 at infinity)
Eye-Relief Length Approx. 20.6mm (from the view window), Approx. 21.7mm (from the center of lens)
Diopter adjustment Approx. -3.5m to + 1.2m-1
Focusing Screen Fixed Natural-Bright-Matte III focusing screen
Viewfinder Overlay AF Points, Grid Display, Electronic Level, AF Frame, Spot Metering Frame, Crop
 

Live view

 
Type TTL method using image sensor
Focusing Mechanism Contrast detection (Face detection, Tracking, Multiple AF points, Select, Spot)
Focus Peaking: ON/OFF
Display Field of View approx. 100%, Magnified view (up to 16x),
Grid Display (4×4 Grid, Golden Section, Scale display, Square 1, Square 2, Grid Color: Black/White ), Histogram, Bright area warning, Composition Adjustment
LCD monitor  
Type Wide viewing angle TFT color LCD, Air-gapless glass. Flexible-tilt.
Size 3.2 inch (aspect ratio 3:2)
Dots Approx. 1037K dots
Adjustment Brightness, Saturation and Colors adjustable
Outdoor View Setting Adjustable ±2 step
Night Vision LCD Display ON/OFF
White Balance  
Type Method using a combination of the image sensor and the light source detection sensor
White Balance AUTO WB, Multi Auto WB,
Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Fluorescent Light (D:Daylight Color, N:Daylight White, W:Cool White, L:Warm White), Tungsten Light, CTE,
Manual WB (up to 3 settings), Color Temperature Configuration (up to 3 settings), Copying the white balance setting of a captured image
Fine Adjustment Adjustable ±7 steps on A-B axis or G-M axis
Autofocus System  
Type TTL: Phase-matching autofocus
Focus Sensor SAFOX 12, 33 point (25 cross type focus points in the center)
Brightness Range EV-3 to 18 (ISO 100 / at normal temperature)
AF mode Single AF (AF.S), Continuous AF (AF.C)
AF Point Selection Spot, Select, Expanded Area (S, M, L), Zone select, Auto (33 AF points)
AF Assist Light Dedicated LED AF assist light
Metering  
Type TTL open aperture metering using 86K pixel RGB sensor, Multi-segment, Center-weighted and Spot metering
Metering Range EV-3 to 20 (ISO100 at 50mm F1.4)
Exposure Mode Scene Analyze Auto, Program, Sensitivity Priority, Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, Shutter & Aperture Priority, Manual, Bulb, Flash X-sync Speed, USER1, USER2, USER3, USER4, USER5
EV Compensation ±5EV (1/2EV steps or 1/3EV steps can be selected)
AE Lock Button type (timer type: two times the meter operating time set in Custom Setting);
Continuous as long as the shutter button is halfway pressed
 

 

Shutter  
Type Electronically controlled vertical-run focal plane shutter
* Electronic shutter when using Pixel Shift Resolution
Shutter Speed Auto:1/8000 to 30 sec., Manual:1/8000 to 30 sec. (1/3EV steps or 1/2EV steps), Bulb (Timed exposure setting possible from 10 sec. to 20min.)
LV Electronic Shutter ON/OFF
Drive modes  
Mode Selection Still Image:
Single Frame, Continuous (H, M, L), Self-timer (12s, 2s, Continuous), Remote Control (0s., 3s., Continuous), Bracketing (2, 3 or 5 frames), Mirror-up (Possible to use with Remote Control), Multi-Exposure (Possible to use with Continuous, Self-timer or Remote Control), Interval Shooting, Interval Composite, Interval Movie Record, Star StreamMovie:
Remote Control
* Bracketing, Interval Shooting, Interval Composite, Interval Movie Record and Star Stream are possible to use with Self-timer/Remote Control.
Continuous Shooting [35mm Full-Frame] Max. approx. 4.4 fps, JPEG ( L: ★★★ at Continuous H): up to approx. 70 frames, RAW: up to approx. 17 frames
Max. approx. 3.0 fps, JPEG L: ★★★ at Continuous M): up to approx. 100 frames, RAW: up to approx. 20 frames
Max. approx. 0.7 fps, JPEG ( L: ★★★ at Continuous L): up to approx. 100 frames, RAW: up to approx. 100 frames
[APS-C size] Max. approx. 6.4 fps, JPEG ( L: ★★★ at Continuous H): up to approx. 100 frames, RAW: up to approx. 50 frames
Max. approx. 3.0 fps, JPEG L: ★★★ at Continuous M): up to approx. 100 frames, RAW: up to approx. 70 frames
Max. approx. 1.0 fps, JPEG ( L: ★★★ at Continuous L): up to approx. 100 frames, RAW: up to approx. 100 frames*ISO100
Multi-Exposure Composite Mode(Additive/Average/Bright)
Number of Shots(2 to 2000 images)
Interval Shooting [Interval Shooting] Interval: 2s. to 24h./ Standby Interval: Min.・1s. to 24h., Number of shots: 2 to 2000 images, Start Interval: Now/Self-timer/Remote Control/Set Time [Interval Composite] Interval: 2s. to 24h./ Standby Interval: Min.・1s. to 24h., Number of shots: 2 to 2000 images, Start Interval: Now/Self-timer/Remote Control/Set Time, Composite Mode: Additive/Average/Bright, Save Process: On/Off [Interval Movie] Recorded Pixels: 4K/FullHD/HD, File Format: Motion JPEG (AVI), Interval:2s. to 24h./ Standby Interval: Min・1s. to 24h., Number of shots: 8 to 2000 images (8 to 500 images at 4K), Start Interval:Now/Self-timer/Remote Control/Set Time [Star Stream] Recorded Pixels: 4K/FullHD/HD, File Format: Motion JPEG (AVI), Interval: Min・1s. to 24h., Number of shots: 8 to 2000 images (8 to 500 images at 4K), Start Interval: Now/Self-timer/Remote Control/Set Time, Fade-out: Off/Low/Medium/High
 

 

 

External Flash

 
Flash Modes Auto Flash Discharge, Auto Flash + Red-eye Reduction, Flash On, Flash On + Red-eye Reduction, Slow-speed Sync, Slow-speed Sync + Red-eye, P-TTL, Contrast-control-sync, High-speed sync, Wireless sync
* Contrast-control-sync and High-speed sync requires 2 or more dedicated external flash
Sync Speed 1/200sec.
Flash Exposure Compensation -2.0~+1.0EV
Capture Settings  
Custom Image Auto Select, Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Radiant, Muted, Flat, Bleach Bypass, Reversal Film, Monochrome, Cross Processing
Cross Process Random, Preset 1-3, Favorite 1-3
Digital Filter Extract Color, Replace Color, Toy Camera, Retro, High Contrast, Shading, Invert Color, Unicolor Bold, Bold Monochrome
Clarity Adjustable ±4
Skin Tone Type1/Type2
HDR Auto, HDR1, HDR2, HDR3, Advanced HDR, Exposure bracket value adjustable, Automatic composition correction function
Pixel Shift Resolution Available, Motion Correction ON/OFF , Image Stabilization On
Lens Correction Distortion Correction, Peripheral Illumin. Correction, Lateral Chromatic Aberration Correction, Diffraction Correction
D-RANGE Compensation Highlight Correction, Shadow Correction
Noise Reduction Slow Shutter Speed NR, High-ISO NR
GPS GPS Logging (Logging Interval, Logging Duration, Memory Card Options), GPS Time Sync
Electronic Compass Available
Astrotracer Possible
Horizon Correction SR On: correction up to 1 degrees, SR Off: correction up to 2 degrees
Composition Adjustment Adjustment range of ±1.5mm up, down, left or right (1mm when rotated); Rotating range of 1 degree
Electronic Level Displayed in viewfinder (Horizontal and vertical); Displayed on LCD monitor (Horizontal and vertical)
Movie  
File Format MPEG-4 AVC/H.264(MOV)
Recorded Pixels Full HD(1920×1080, 60i/50i/30p/25p/24p)
HD (1280×720, 60p/50p)
Sound Built-in stereo microphone, external microphone (Stereo recording compatible)
Recording Sound Level adjustable, Wind Noise Reduction
Recording Time Up to 25 minutes or 4GB ; automatically stops recording if the internal temperature of the camera becomes high.
Custom Images Auto Select, Bright, Natural, Portrait, Landscape, Vibrant, Radiant, Muted, Flat, Bleach Bypass, Reversal Film, Monochrome, Cross Processing
Cross Processing Random, Preset 1-3, Favorite 1-3.
Digital Filter Extract Color, Replace Color, Toy Camera, Retro, High Contrast, Shading, Invert Color, Unicolor Bold, Bold Monochrome
 

 

 

Playback

 
Playback View Single frame, Multi-image display (6,12, 20, 35, 80 segmentation), Display magnification (up to 16, 100% display and quick magnification available), Grid display (4×4 Grid, Golden Section, Scale display, Square 1, Square 2, Grid Color: Black/White ), Rotating, Histogram (Y histogram, RGB histogram), Bright area warning, Auto Image Rotation, Detailed information, Copyright Information (Photographer, Copyright holder), GPS information (latitude, longitude, altitude, Coordinated Universal Time) , Orientation, Folder Display, Calendar Filmstrip Display, Slide Show,
Delete Delete single image, delete all, select & delete, delete folder, delete instant review image
Digital Filter Base Parameter Adj, Extract Color, Replace Color, Toy Camera, Retro, High Contrast, Shading, Invert Color, Unicolor Bold, Bold Monochrome, Tone Expansion, Sketch, Water Color, Pastel, Posterization, Miniature, Soft, Starburst, Fish-eye, Slim, Monochrome
RAW Development RAW file select:
Select Single Image, Select Multiple Images, Select a folderRAW Development Parameter:
White Balance, Custom Image,   Sensitivity, Clarity, Skin Tone, Digital filter, HDR, Pixel Shift Resolution, Shadow Correction, High-ISO NR, Distortion Correction, Peripheral Illumin. Corr., Lateral Chromatic Aberration Correction, Diffraction Correction, Color Fringe Correction, File Format (JPEG/TIFF), Aspect Ratio, JPEG Recorded Pixels, JPEG Quality, Color Space
Edit Image Rotation, Color Moiré Correction, Resize, Cropping (Aspect ratio and Slant adjustment available),
Movie Edit (Divide or delete selected frames), Capturing a JPEG still picture from a movie, Saving RAW data in buffer memory, Image Copy
Customization  
USER Mode Up to 5 settings can be saved
Custom Functions 26 items
Mode Memory 17 items
Button Customization Fx1 Button, Fx2 Button (One Push File Format, Outdoor View Setting, Flash Mode, Pixel Shift Resolution, Shake Reduction, Horizon Correction, Electronic Level)
AF Button (AF1/ AF2/ Cancel AF)
Preview Dial (Optical Preview/Digital Preview)
Various settings for the action of the e-dials in each exposure mode can also be saved.
AF Customization AF.S: Focus-priority/ Release-priority
1st Frame Action in AF.C: Release-priority/Auto/Focus-priority
Action in AF.C Continuous: Focus-priority, Auto, FPS-priority
Hold AF Status: OFF, Low, Medium, High
AF in Interval Shooting: Locks focus at 1st exposure, Adjusts focus for each shot
AF with Remote Control: Off/On
Operation Control Lock Type1: E-Dial, EV Compensation, ISO, Green Button, AE Lock
Type2: 4-way controller, AF point change button, Change AF Point, OK Button, Menu Button
Text Size Standard, Large
World Time World Time settings for 75 cities (28 time zones)
Language English, French, Germany, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Greek, Russian, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Japanese
AF Fine Adjustment ±10 step, Uniform adjustment, Individual adjustment (up to 20 can be saved)
Illumination Settings LCD Panel (High/Low/Off), Backside Controls (High/Low/Off), Lens Mount (On/Off), Card Slot/Connector (On/Off)
Indicator Lamps Wi-Fi (High/Low/Off), GPS (High/Low/Off), Self-timer (On/Off), Remote Control (On/Off)
Copyright Information Names of “Photographer” and “Copyright Holder” are embedded to the image file.
Revision history can be checked using the provided software.
GPS/Electronic Compass
Satellites GPS, QZSS, SBAS(WAAS/EGNOS/GAGAN/MSAS)
Reception Frequency L1 1575.42MHz
Recorded Information Latitude, Longitude, Altitude, Time (UTC), Direction
Geodesics World Geodetic System (WGS84)
GPS Logging KML format, Logging Interval: 5/10/15/30sec. /1min., Logging Duration: 1-24hr. (Up to 9hours at Logging Interval 5sec. Up to 18hrs. at Logging Interval 10sec.)
Electronic Compass Azimuth calculation using   triaxial geomagnetic sensor and triaxial acceleration sensor, True north standard
Power supply  
Battery Type Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI90
AC Adapter AC Adapter Kit K-AC167 (Optional)
Battery Life Number of recordable images: Approx.: 670 images
Playback time: Approx. 340 minutes
* With a fully-recharged Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery. Tested in compliance with CIPA standard.
Actual results may vary depending on the shooting condition.
Interfaces  
Connection Port USB2.0 (micro B), External power supply terminal, External cable switch terminal, X-sync socket, HDMI output terminal (Type D) , Stereo microphone input terminal, Headphone terminal
USB Connection MSC/PTP
Wireless LAN
Standards IEEE 802.11b/g/n
Frequency (Center Frequency) 2412MHz~2462MHz (1ch~11ch)
Security Authentication: WPA2, Encryption: AES
Dimensions and Weight
Dimensions Approx. 136.5mm (W) x110mm (H) x 85.5mm (D) (excluding protrusions)
Weight Approx. 1010g (Including dedicated battery and SD Memory Card),
Approx. 925g (body only)
Operating Environment
Temperature -10°C~40°C (14°F~104°F)
Humidity 85% or less (no condensation)
Accessories  
Included Strap O-ST162, ME Viewfinder Cap, Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery D-LI90, Battery Charger D-BC90, AC plug cord, Software (CD-ROM) S-SW162 <Mounted to the camera> Eyecup FT, Hot shoe cover FK, Sync socket 2p cap, Body mount cap KII, Battery Grip terminal cover
Software Digital Camera Utility 5

 

System Requirements

<Windows>
OS Windows 10(FCU/CU) (32bit/64bit)/Windows 8.1 (32bit/64bit)/ Windows 8 (32bit/64bit)/ Windows 7 (32bit/64bit)
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo or higher
RAM 4GB or more
Free Disk Space Program installation and start-up: 100 MB or more of available space
Image file saving: Approximately 15 MB per file (JPEG) / approximately 50MB (RAW)
Monitor 1280 x 1024 dots, 24 bit full-color or more
<Macintosh>
OS macOS v10.13 High Sierra / macOS v10.12 Sierra / OS X v10.11 El Capitan / OS X v10.10 Yosemite
CPU Intel Core 2 Duo or higher
RAM 4GB or more
Free Disk Space Program installation and start-up: 100 MB or more of available space
Image file saving: Approximately 15 MB per file (JPEG) / approximately 50MB (RAW)
Monitor 1280 x 1024 pixels, 24 bit full-color or more

 

But Also… Limited Time Pentax K-1 Upgrade Option!

In addition to the brand new Pentax K1 Mark II that was announced above, Pentax has also announced a special Pentax K1 service upgrade current K-1 owners can do to get the new features announced in the K-1 Mark II without having to buy the new camera.

Obviously, as you should expect, a service upgrade like this one comes with a pricetag, but it is a significant savings over the price of buying a brand new K-1 Mark II! Significantly cheaper actually, only $550 USD. The service upgrade will be available starting on May 21 2018, but it will also end on September 30 2018; so if you want to upgrade your K-1, make sure to get that set up before the September cutoff date.

Pentax says the upgrade will involve upgrading the main circuit board in your K-1, and they will also change the name badge on your K-1 to the K-1 Mark II logo – so for all intents and purposes, for $550 you can upgrade to a K-1 Mark II. Now that is a pretty sweet deal, and Pentax has said further details will be available in the weeks to come.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.