The eyebrows have it

The eyebrows have it, originally uploaded by john m flores.
I've done some work for non-profits, and I was just asked to shoot a big fundraising dinner for one of them again. Last year, I had sold my Pentax K20d and replaced it with a Panasonic GH2. I didn't have a flash for the GH2, so I borrowed my wife's Pentax K-x, mounted my Metz 58 AF-1 and hit the road.

It was a challenging night. In the dimness of the cocktail hour, the K-x struggled to find focus. The Metz has an AF assist light, yet the K-x still struggled. I got good shots but never wanted to struggle like that again.

Enter the Pentax K-5, or so I thought. I haven't used it much with the flash, but those times I have used it the performance has been inconsistent. It's still a work in progress.

Enter the Pentax K-01. I could mount the DA*16-50mm F2.8 and Metz flash to it for the cocktail hour and use the DA* 50-135mm F2.8 on the K-5 for the flash-free speaches during dinner. Not only that, but the K-01 has Face Detection AF. And the cherry on top is the rear LCD - keeping the camera away from my face will enable me to have some eye-to-eye contact with subjects. Could the K-01 actually be a killer event camera?

To test, I sat in a dark room with the above-listed setup and used the only subject available at the time, moi. One of the results is here. It's pretty cool that the K-01 identified my face and locked focus nearly every single time. In complete darkness. Let me say that again - IN COMPLETE DARKNESS. What's also cool is that Flash metering is very accurate, and just as importantly, consistent. This setup may do the trick quite nicely.

The only nit to pick is that when you view the files at 100%, the focal plane is the eyebrows, not the eyes. So on this tight crop shot at F2.8 you can count every single hair on my brows if you are so inclined, and if you have time left over you can count my eyelashes. The actual pupils, however, are a touch soft. Just a tiny hair though. Can be sharpened in post if needed. So close to awesome though....

Follow-Up: The K-01 Goes to Events
Samples: K-01 Shoots Events

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