Pentax K-1 Performance


Timing and Performance

Mixed performance for a full-frame DSLR.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~1.2 seconds

Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.3 second

Time until first shot is captured.

The Pentax K-1's startup time was a little slow for a DSLR, but switching from Play to Record and taking a shot was quite fast.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Optical Viewfinder

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF
(Center AF point)

0.090 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture. (All AF timing measured with Pentax 55mm f/1.4 SDM lens).

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF
Flash enabled

N/A

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, Auto Flash enabled.

Manual focus

0.087 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

Prefocused

0.086 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Shutter Response (Lag Time), Live View mode

Prefocused
Live View

0.247 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Pentax K-1's full autofocus shutter lag when shooting the same target multiple times was very fast for a pro-level DSLR. The K-1 required only 0.090 second for full AF using the Pentax 55mm f/1.4 SDM DA* lens. Manual focus shutter lag was just a touch faster at 0.087 second. When prefocused, shutter lag dropped only slightly to 0.086 second, which is a little slower than average for a pro DSLR.

The Pentax K-1's prefocused shutter lag time in Live View mode was 0.247 second, noticeably slower than when using the optical viewfinder, but not bad for a DSLR. Note that we no longer test full AF lag in Live View mode for DSLRs, because the lens used makes such a huge difference that comparing is pointless. We'll try to comment on real-world Live View AF performance in our our field reports.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

 

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)

Single Shot mode
Large Best JPEG

< 0.3 second

Average time per shot.

Single Shot mode
DNG RAW + L/B JPEG

< 0.3 second

Average time per shot.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous H mode
Large Best JPEG

0.22 second (4.60 frames per second);
74 frames total;
48 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 74 frame buffer. Slows to an average of 0.67 second or 1.49 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H mode
DNG RAW

0.22 second (4.60 frames per second);
17 frames total;
31 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 17 frame buffer. Slows to an average of 1.54 second or 0.65 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H mode
DNG RAW + L/B
JPEG

0.22 second (4.60 frames per second);
13 frames total;
34 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 13 frame buffer. Slows to an average of 2.21 seconds or 0.45 fps when buffer is full.

Continuous H mode
PEF RAW + L/B
JPEG

0.22 second (4.60 frames per second);
13 frames total;
34 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 13 frame buffer. Slows to an average of 2.17 seconds or 0.46 fps when buffer is full.

Flash recycling

N/A

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC memory card. Slower cards will likely produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and other settings such as highlight/shadow corrections or NR can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle time in single-shot mode was so fast (under 0.3 second) that it was difficult to measure accurately. (Fast single-shot cycle times depend a lot on the tester's agility and rhythm, so your results may vary.) We no longer test just RAW files in single-shot mode, as it's usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG cycle time.

Continuous H mode speed tested a little faster than Pentax's 4.4 frames per second spec, measured at 4.6 fps no matter the file type. That's just a little below average for a full-frame DSLR, though. The K-1 also offers Continuous M and L modes rated at 3.0 and 0.7 fps respectively, as well as APS-C crop modes rated up to 6.5 fps, but we did not test those modes in the lab.

Buffer depth in Continuous H mode was excellent when shooting just JPEGs at 74 Large Best Quality JPEG frames, slightly exceeding Pentax's 70 frame spec. When shooting RAW files, buffer depths were much lower at 17 DNG RAW frames and 13 DNG RAW+JPEG frames before the camera slowed down. We also tested PEF format for RAW+JPEG, but got almost identical results.

Buffer clearing was quite slow, taking a glacial 48 seconds to clear a burst of 74 JPEGs, 31 seconds after a max-length burst of RAW files, and 34 seconds after a max-length RAW+JPEG burst, when tested with our 95MB/s SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I card. (Unfortunately, the Pentax K-1 is not UHS-II compliant.)


Bottom line, the Pentax K-1's performance was mixed in our tests, ranging from very fast autofocus and single-shot cycle times to sluggish startup, mediocre burst speeds and slow buffer clearing.

Battery

Battery Life
Below average battery life.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Optical Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
760
Live View LCD,
(CIPA standard)
Unknown

The Pentax K-1 uses a custom rechargeable D-LI90 lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a dedicated charger. CIPA-rated battery life when using the optical viewfinder is below average for a full-frame DSLR, especially when you consider the K-1 has no built-in flash which is normally fired every other shot during CIPA battery-life testing. Pentax does not specify battery life in Live View mode, but it will certainly be a lot lower. We strongly recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings, and consider purchasing the optional D-BG6 portrait grip which doubles battery life with a second D-LI90 battery installed.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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