Yes, they’re both older hardware. But comparisons of top-end equipment are still useful.

The Sony A7RII was equipped with the G24-105/4. The K-1 with the 77/1.8 Limited. Two outstanding lenses.

Both of these pairs are crops from the same image (1 P, 1 S) to show both detail and DOF. Sony on the left with the orangish bricks. Pentax on the right with the more redish bricks.

Sony image at 98mm, f4, 1/100, iso 2000.

Pentax image at 77mm, f2.2, iso 400.

Neither sensor was accurate on the brick color. The Sony had too much yellow giving the orange appearance and the Pentax too much red, looking like something shot with old Kodacolor film. Reality was about half-way between the two. (I wonder what the digital version of the 77/1.8 would have done with the brick color.)

The 77 was, to be expected, better on edge sharpness, though the 24-105 is quite respectable for a zoom. (I understand that there is a next gen of the f4 zoom that is even better. Sony is doing a good job, though quite pricey. But not likely up to the 77’s level of sharpness) The difference shows up more in even closer crops. But in the end, and for all practical purposes, there’s really not that much difference. The wing veins are cripser on the Pentax image but the color saturation of the Sony image adds the appearance of better contrast, thus making it appear very similar. For instance, the two white spots on the back of the abdomen look better, because of color saturation contrast, on the Sony.


But don’t be too much of a pixel peeper. Both lenses produce a quality image. Spend more time on composition than brand loyalty. It is the image that you really want, isn’t it?)

Both lenses do render DOF quite nicely. Though this isn’t formally a “macro” shot, some lenses do exhibit too much curvature in close-up work. Both of these perform nicely. I would suggest that the 77 shows some pincushion, comparable to the 43/1.9 lenses I’ve used in the past and the Sony exhibits some barrel issues, as do most all zooms. No matter what the manufacturers say about their lenses and what tests show, the left Sony image shows the right side of the mail box edge curving down just a bit and the Pentax image on the right seems to display a little rise. But there is definitely less to a prime than to a zoom and the 77 is expectedly much closer to what a proper rendering is.

(I’m of the opinion that people are too used to lens distortion and tolerate it too much. Even professionals are satisfied with the corrections offered in PS. I’d personally rather that the lens do it right in the first place. Isn’t that why we spend good money on good glass?)

I don’t have a Pentax zoom that is the equivalent of the Sony or I would have used it. The 300/4.5 might have been a bit unwieldy.

The short of it is this, and it’s something we all know: Pentax holds its own. I state this because people sometimes need this type of reassurance.

Also … why do I have two bodies? I have two because the SLR works much better when shooting anything that might be in motion while a mirrorless body works better for streaming, recording, and informal gatherings (due to general compactness).

If you’re shopping for a digital camera …

All in all, as you shop for a digital camera, remember this: All the major brands are making good stuff. There’s really no bad equipment and lens choices. Instead of clinging to a brand, pick up a body and see which set of controls and viewing system is more comfortable for you. Then get that body. But do NOT get the kit lens. Some of them are good but many are cheap. Instead, buy one really good general purpose lens. You may spend as much on it as on the body. But you will never be dissatisfied with your pictures even if you later want or need to upgrade the body. Your good lens will always be a good lens. And that’s the whole point. Because the lens makes the picture. Then go out and enjoy the art and craft of it all.