Pentax K-1 In The Deep Dark Woods...
Night time. Deep in the dark woods. Dank, dripping foliage. No moon. No stars. No lights from a lonely farmhouse. No car lights. No camping torch. A black stygian abyss, devoid of comfort. And what is the Pentax K-1 photographer doing?
Changing lenses. Easily.
Thank you Mr. Ricoh or Mr. Pentax for finally doing what needed to be done a long time ago - putting working lights on a camera. This is a blessing for all the people who have been out in the wet bush darkness or down the back of a theatre trying to change lenses or find the controls on a camera by the light reflected off a black cat.
The Pentax K-1 assist lights let you find the cable release socket, the lens release button - and the dot on the mount to align things to, and the memory card slot. You can feel the switch to turn the camera on and then the menu can light up and you are away.
It sounds corny and simplistic and crude, but it really is important in dark situations to be able to do the basic things that make a DSLR system work. And you can't change lenses while holding a torch with one hand, and two lenses and the body with the other - not and keep the inside of the blessed thing clean.
As Bob Lichfield pointed out at his talk on Thursday, the Pentax K-1 also has a feature called Astral Tracker. In combination with the GPS system built into the camera it allows the machine to recognise stars and where it is when it sees them and then use that information to allow the pixel shift mechanism to cope with the movement of this stats when the camera is set firmly on a tripod. It sounded both complex and simple as he described waving the camera around out in the dark but the result certainly showed resolution and artistry.
The other blessing for the nocturnal is the increased sensitivity of the sensor/ processing engine combination for this new camera. The computer engine is the new Prime IV and it will coax a sensitivity of 204,800 ISO out of the camera. For all practical purposes this means you can take a picture anywhere in the man-made dark and most places in Natural dark. It would make the glow-worm caves in new Zealand into a disco palace.
Focusing at this low light levels has also been taken care of as the camera will go to -3 EV with effective auto focus.
Final note: When you get to the other end of the illumination scale and you're out in the icky sunshine and you can't see the screen for light, there is a quick solution, Pentax have put a dedicated switch on the outside of the body to let you adjust the LCD screen brightness. Good thinking - if it was just a menu item you couldn't see the menu to adjust the screen because of the light.