I've used an example of each set of DSLR's Pentax have produced, starting with a *istD, then a K10D, a K20D, a K7, all versions of the K5 and now a K3 (my K3II's not had an outing yet). I've used them all at one site in particular, Stourhead Gardens on the Wilts Dorset border at very similar times of the season and this has built up to library of a touch under 2500 images. The *istD was shot using TIF (WB set to Auto, colour to natural), the others all in RAW. Not all lighting conditions were as good as the others, but enough of the shoots over the years were to give a reasonable comparison between sensors and sensor types. Most of the images from 2008 onwards have been shot with the DA* 16-50 and 50-135 lenses; the 2007 images with the *istD used the DA 16-45.
So to my point. I think that whilst I am very happy the modern sensors and processing Pentax use gives a good and true rendition of the colours I saw on the day, the *istD using TIF, over which I have less ability to adjust the final image, actually generated more 'punchy' results when viewed on screen.
- Member / f1.4
Sounds like a great library of images there Steve. I suppose it depends on whether you like punchy colours. personally i would stick with raw and make them punchy through post-processing, then your record will continue to be closer to what you see. (I hope that makes sense.)
The processors have changed from CCD in the *istD thru to the K10D, then CMOS. I've shot RAW with all bar the *istD (although I had the option of PEF I note) and used Lightroom in all cases to process my images. What I see on screen when reviewing examples of the *istD TiFF files and then more recent RAW files taken with more advanced bodies and processors (where the light quality is reasonable comparable) is that to the casual observer, the *istD output is 'punchier'. So is this perceptible difference down to the CCD sensor or Pentax's method processing of the data to create the basic TIFF file or a combination of both?
- Site Administrator
Possibly both, but personally I think mostly it's the CDD (vs CMOS). Take the K-200D (CCD) versus K-20D (CMOS). Not a huge difference in development age, but big difference in colour. Many people (used to?) keep a K-200D for just that reason. I remember @cardiff_gareth getting all excited about a K-200D he bought as a 2nd body well after he'd upgraded his K-20D to a K-5, expressly for the CDD 'look'.
I prefer the 'punch' you get from a Pentax CCD without any effort, but low pixel count and low ISO almost inevitably meant CMOS would 'win' eventually.
My Own Personal Web Page on PENTAXslr.eu <-- you can have one too
I didn't shoot my K10D and K20D side by side for very long - two visit to Stourhead in Oct and Nov 2008 (when the conditions fine and not so good respectively) being the only instance I can find. The CCD punch isn't quite so obvious in those albums, possibly because I wasn't shooting similar scenes with each body, making comparison harder. I do recall some conflicts of interest being expressed when the K20D came out with it's CMOS sensor - extra stop on the ISO range (2 if you had a K10D) but lesser image impact (in jpeg). Looking back it's hard to remember we didn't get an ISO above 6400 until the K5 which came in at 51,200 (though as always with Pentax, the last stop isn't very usable except in extremist (and if you're prepared to do a lot of work in Lightroom to get a worthwhile image).
The Fuji FinePix S9500 I had had similar punch to the istD (Fuji jpeg versus Pentax TIFF)
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