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Old Jan 5, 2014, 10:44 AM   #1
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Default Pentax K-3 Update/Review

Having had my Pentax K-3 now for 7 weeks here is my full updated review and thoughts on the camera Feel free to PM me or post comments or questions and I will do my best to reply

I have now owned my Pentax K-3 for 7 weeks. I am loving the camera, although I have run into a few issues with it that I have either looked past or fixed on my own.

First of all the camera is 5 or 6 leaps ahead of the Pentax K-5 which is the first D-SLR that really worked for me (I had some Sony bodies that failed on me in the past) and is 2 leaps ahead or twice as good as my Pentax K-5ii.

Second there is an issue that Pentax does not won up to with the frames availale counter on the menu screen when I use any memory card in my camera. It constantly tells me I have way less frames avaiable/space on my memory card than I really have. I will put in a 32GB SDHC card and it tells me I have 598 frames avaiable but at the end of a long photo outing I will have shot over 900 images that same card (and I have not changed any of those MP or quality settings). This happens in both RAW and jpg and happens across multi cards. The only time thr number is accure for me is when it says 10 frames or less then it is spot on.

The other issue with the camera is the images are not as good when studied at 100% as my K-5ii in terms of sharpness. I found out through a video on youtue that the problem is in how I set up the camera when I got it. I set the NR (Noise Reduction) to Auto and at ISO 100 - 800 it applied way too much sharpening and makes it look like the image i oversharp or not as shar as it should be. I played around with the settings an advice on the video and now have thew NR mode set to custom. I have no sharpening on ISO 100 - 400, 1 bar only on 800 and 1600 2 bars on 3200 adnd 6400 and cranked all the way up after that. My shots are MUCH MUCH clwaner now and look better out of the camera.

I love the fact that once I got these settings dialed in that my images look better than the K_5ii images and I can even crop in a little more and retain way more detail. When I need to apply the Moria (can't spell it) filter I find that when gcranked to setting 2 -- applied all the way the images are of quality like my K-5 which was not bad and on the medium setting like my K-5ii.

As far as memory cards go this is where you can greatly effect the efficiency of the camera. I have tested the camera with a class 6, class 10 and 45mb/s second cards. I would not use Class 6 cards unless all you need is one frame of a subject-scene and you can wait to gra the next shot. Class 6 cards are slow in this game. For any kind of burst mode or to take several single shots quickly without waiting on the camera a class 10 is the minimum you should use. Class 10 will not give you the best burst speed or buffer depth but it is much improved over the class 6 card. Where the camera shines is with a 45mb/s card (I use 2x 32GB Sandisc 45mb/s cards) and I can get in highest speed burst mode close to what Pentax says I will get in terms of number of shots either RAW or jpg (1 less frame per second of course than they claim you can get). In RAW you only have one setting/quality option and that is straight RAW so you can not effect the number of frames in urst but in jpg you can up the number of total frames by moving from 24MP to 14MP to 6MP. The lower your MP the more jpg frames in a urst ou can get before the camera slows down. I also have been in contact with one other person who has the camera ans acess to a sandisc 90mb/s 16GB card and they tell me the buffer when shooting in RAW will not get any more shots in a burst but recovers and gets bac to shooting images faster than their 30mb/s card they compared it to (they do not have any 45mb/s cards).

I am using my Pentax with a 17-70 Sigma f/2.8-4 and a Sigma 18-250mm. The 17-70 is slightly sharoer and slightly faster. I say slightly better maybe 2 to 4% and the images from the 18-250 look really nice. There is nothing wrong with either lens on this camera however the F/2.8-4 lens is faster to focus and my friend who also has a K-3 tells me the same deal using a low light Tamron and 2 Pentax primes on his camera. I also own a 500mm 1.4 Pentax lens but have not been using it as its focus length doesn't suit the way I shoot I am a zoom guy and primes to me are not my thing as I have move back and forth constantly to make them work, zoom lets me see and shoot and a prime like the 50mm makes me think too much about how I have to move, reframe etc and I sometimes loose the shot in the process if the shot is not a still shot.

The file sizes are bigger of course over the K-5ii and K-5 so carry a litle extra memory ad have more space on hard drive to handle them. The Raw files are anywhere from 28.5 to 31MB a piece. Yes I get a range like that depending on the shot. My normal post possessing work flow gets the images down to 3 to 4MB a piece when saved as a jpg through lightroom.

I still have the same hotshoe flash problems I have had since day 1 with both of my flashes when used with the K-3. One flash will only work in manual mode and the other just will keep firing until I rip it off the camera or rip out the batteries. I sent it back under warranty to have it looked at and they said it worked fine on their 3 test cameras. Pentax then told me the hot shoe flashes were not designed to work on my camera since they were not Pentax brand. Several other have told me simiar stories with their flashes also not working. So the hot shoe flash issue at least on my camera was not fixed Luckily I rarely need to use a speedlight/hot shoe.

Also their have been some battery issues reported on line and in some forms stating battery life is not as good with the K-3 as it was in the K-5 series (uses same battery). I have found after testing for 7 weeks I get about 50 to 70 shots less per battery which to me is not a big deal since I still get around 750 to 800 images per battery charge in single shot mode and surprisingly closer to 875 when I shoot a lot of bursts.

The camera is slightly heavier than the K-5ii and is easy to hand hold as the grip is easy to grip and fits well in my hand. The camera is well balanced with wither lens (no battery grip) when using my Black rapid starp and having the camera across my chest with camera hanging down on my right side.

My overall recommendations are if you are serious about shooting and have a K-5 it is a no brainier to upgrade to the K-3; if you have a K-5ii and you want to a.) crop images a lot then or b.) have a back up body then getting the K-3 is a smart move. When you get a K-3 if you do not already have another K-5 series camera get an extra battery. Also the K-5 series was known not to be able to use memory card speeds above class 10 cards (not take advantage of the extra speed) and the K-3 can use cards reportedly up to 90mb/s according to Pentax so get your self at least 1 decent size 45mb/s or 90 mb/s card to take advantage of the fps/burst mode and to clear the buffer faster. As for lenses if you are buying the camera can not speak to the kit lens offer with the camera when bought as a package as I have never used any of Pentax kit lenses but a fast lens will focus faster in high speed burst mode for you so try to get one very good piece of glass for this camera (meaning an f/2.8 or f/2.8-4 lens)

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