In this comparison I was interested in the differences when using the APS-C 55-300mm lens on the KP vs. the full frame K-1 II. The first image shows the result when using the lens on the K-1 in FF mode at a true 300mm focal length. You can see the vignetting, but I planned on cropping it out since I am only interested in zooming in closer when I use this lens. The second image is from the same lens on the APS-C KP camera at the 300mm setting which is an effective 450mm on this camera.
There is a difference in the image quality between the K-1 and the KP cameras. The K-1 image, the first one is more pleasing, but in this case I think the KP is the better camera to use the 55-300mm lens on since I am interested in getting “closer” and it gives me an effective 450mm focal length. It is harder to compare image quality since there is a difference in the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed chosen by each camera in their program modes. In addition, the difference between the number of pixels is not sufficient to warrant cropping the K-1. If I were to use the K-1 in the crop mode the compositions would be closer to the same on both cameras, but the K-1 would have far fewer pixels available for cropping.
The images below were made with the FF K-1 using the 55-300mm lens at 300mm when photographing through a window. The bottom line is that I can make the lens work on either camera but that if I’m planning on capturing a distant view, I would probably use the lens on the KP camera.
I tried a variety of photographs yesterday morning as I was experimenting with what I can do with the 55-300mm lens. It looks like I will be able to make most of my outdoor images with this lens, providing I find anything worth photographing. Since I am not photographing indoor activities at Homewood while we are locked down, it means that I can do all of my photography with my Pentax KP DSLR camera. It seems to have taken a major calamity to enable me to finally do everything with one camera, and not with a mirrorless camera at that. Since I’m not photographing close to people, I don’t need the silence of a mirrorless camera, and the Pentax DSLR system has smaller lighter lenses that cover the range from 18 – 300mm (effective 28 – 450mm with its APS size sensor).
Notice that I said I can do all of my photography with a Pentax DSLR. I like to have the flexibility to document whatever I see that might be of interest to the residents of Homewood. In addition, I can make images like those above with the same setup; but, a DSLR and a long zoom lens are not what I would prefer to use. If I could do what I prefer, I would be using a mirrorless rangefinder like camera with just an equivalent 35 or 50mm prime lens. If I were still traveling, I would like to use just a prime lens to photograph different country scenes as well as people in their daily environments … no zoom lenses, and no camera bag. I would like to use that setup to make long-form documentaries about issues of interest to me.
But, there is a wide gap between what subjects there are to photograph that I can make, and what I would like to do; but, I am OK with using my Pentax DSLR and documenting things around Homewood as well as making images similar to those above which are fun to process. I can, at times, even use my 35mm macro lens on the KP along with my zoom lenses and be happy with my Pentax camera. I don’t know yet, but maybe my “new normal” mode of photography after we get the virus under control will continue to be just using a Pentax setup; i.e., my one and only “back to the future” camera system.