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05-10-2018, 09:00 PM   #1
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More pixels or Bigger pixels - That is the question ...

Hey everyone,
I am a long time Pentaxian, currently shooting with a K-5. Overall I am happy with the K-5 compared to the K-7 that I had before. Now I am pondering about moving to the K-3 (I don't think I need the GPS function on the K-3II). In my research, I have identified the perks to moving up:
1. Dual SD card slots
2. Faster focusing
3. Better metering
4. More megapixels (benefit when cropping)

My dilemma is determining whether the 50% increase in Megapixels (16 to 24) is worth the detriment of having smaller pixels that individually hold less data since the sensor is physically almost the same size. Will the final images be noticeably better?

My rational "daytime accountant" brain says I would not be able to tell the difference so stick with the K-5. Also, just wait until the K-3 III comes out in 20XX, then the used prices will drop some more. On the other side my "Gear-head" brain says, "Go Bigger, newer, faster, ..."

Has anyone else worked through this decision process? Thanks for any comments.
Dave

05-10-2018, 09:08 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by R. Wethereyet Quote
Hey everyone,
I am a long time Pentaxian, currently shooting with a K-5. Overall I am happy with the K-5 compared to the K-7 that I had before. Now I am pondering about moving to the K-3 (I don't think I need the GPS function on the K-3II). In my research, I have identified the perks to moving up:
1. Dual SD card slots
2. Faster focusing
3. Better metering
4. More megapixels (benefit when cropping)

My dilemma is determining whether the 50% increase in Megapixels (16 to 24) is worth the detriment of having smaller pixels that individually hold less data since the sensor is physically almost the same size. Will the final images be noticeably better?

My rational "daytime accountant" brain says I would not be able to tell the difference so stick with the K-5. Also, just wait until the K-3 III comes out in 20XX, then the used prices will drop some more. On the other side my "Gear-head" brain says, "Go Bigger, newer, faster, ..."

Has anyone else worked through this decision process? Thanks for any comments.
Dave
The answer is that generally yes, the image quality will be better most of the time. Our in-depth review includes several comparisons:
Pentax K-3 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

If you want a camera that's better also at higher ISO settings, the KP (or K-70) do even better than the K-3, but you do lose that second card slot.

Adam
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05-10-2018, 09:11 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Add to that the removal of the anti-aliasing filter, and you will notice a big difference. The K5 was good, but the K3 was a revelation. AF is also much improved.

You do perhaps lose a little in high-ISO performance, though it's marginal, and the extra resolution allows you to be more aggressive with noise reduction.
05-10-2018, 09:48 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
The answer is that generally yes, the image quality will be better most of the time. Our in-depth review includes several comparisons:
Pentax K-3 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

If you want a camera that's better also at higher ISO settings, the KP (or K-70) do even better than the K-3, but you do lose that second card slot.
"The answer is that generally yes, the image quality will be better most of the time."

Thanks Adam - I appreciate the link as well

---------- Post added 05-10-2018 at 10:52 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
Add to that the removal of the anti-aliasing filter, and you will notice a big difference. The K5 was good, but the K3 was a revelation. AF is also much improved.

You do perhaps lose a little in high-ISO performance, though it's marginal, and the extra resolution allows you to be more aggressive with noise reduction.
Thanks Paul, I had forgotten about the lack of anti-aliasing - great point. I also recall that the K-3's more robust shutter is rated at 200K clicks vs 100K with the K5.

Regards,
Dave

05-10-2018, 10:31 PM - 1 Like   #5
dms
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On the other hand:
1. you will have larger files to process/store--which may have implications on your computer memory and storage
2. you run risk of moire patterns appearing, thus you may decide to use the "anti-moire" simulator anyway
3. the gain on AF may not mean much if you don't use AF in challenging situations**

Anyway for me and my application (theatre production photo's) , these are reasons not to upgrade.
____
** I don't use AF so this is conjectural on my part.

Last edited by dms; 05-10-2018 at 10:37 PM.
05-11-2018, 12:16 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I went from K-5 to K-3II, and the improvement was very clear. Not yet had a moiré issue nor a processing issue because of larger files. The GPS function has been great on trips; I use GeoPhoto (Win10) which does a fine job of visualising where photos were taken on a map.
05-11-2018, 05:50 AM - 3 Likes   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by R. Wethereyet Quote
More pixels or Bigger pixels - That is the question ...
higher pixels / area gives more image quality at base ISO thanks to total read noise in an image being lower with higher pixel count. At higher ISO that read noise advantage is lost relative to junction/thermal noise. That's why some camera such as A7s or D5 or 1Dx that are used for sports and long lenses (higher iso) don't have the highest pixel count. For example the 5DSr is great for landscape on tripod (base ISO), but quickly lose its edge as ISO increases. Something that no one talk about: 1 stop faster lens wins over 1 stop larger sensor, simply because the number of bits remaining to code color tones gets lower and lower when ISO increases. In equivalent shooting condition (without tripod) a apsc camera with f1.4 lens wins over a FF camera with f2.8 lens. And a FF camera with a f2 lens wins over a medium format with a f2.8 lens, simply because increasing sensor area doesn't increase the number of bits of color coding: 14 bits coding on apsc, or full frame or medium format will render the same, the advantage goes to the camera that shoot at the lower possible ISO which is more often doable with a faster lens.
05-11-2018, 05:56 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I went through a very different process, so my perspective may or may not help you at all.

I had a K-5, loved it, broke it, replaced it with a K-3, and I love that every bit as much. Later, I bought a K-1. Compared to the revelation that was the K-1, the differences from K-5 to K-3 seem miniscule. The K-5 struggled with PDAF in tungsten light, but had marginally better dynamic range than the K-3.

Had I not broken my K-5, I don't think I ever would have bought a K-3.

As a second camera to complement the K-1, I prefer the K-3 because it's different. The pixel pitch is tighter, which is nice for telephoto use, and the frame rate is higher. From what I can remember, the K-5 performs almost exactly like a K-1 in crop mode in terms of speed and image quality.

I know your question is about the K-3, but in my opinion, the K-1 is a steal and is the real upgrade. (Your lens collection may say otherwise; mine was mostly already FF compatible.)

Sorry for being that guy...

05-11-2018, 06:02 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jens Lyn IV Quote
I know your question is about the K-3, but in my opinion, the K-1 is a steal and is the real upgrade.
I agree with that. K1 (with same aperture lenses) definitely shoot a significant step above all previous K5 and K3, except in crop mode where the K3 is preferred.
05-11-2018, 08:19 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by R. Wethereyet Quote
Will the final images be noticeably better?
What types of photography do you do? For wildlife the K-3 is a good upgrade over the K-5 because of better AF and increased pixel density. For landscapes and night scenes, the K-5 [arguably] remains superior because of dynamic range and noise behavior.

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If you want a camera that's better also at higher ISO settings, the KP (or K-70) do even better than the K-3, but you do lose that second card slot.
Yes! The K-70 is a good bargain. It's an image quality improvement over the K-3 and K-5 for all types of photography. The K-70 is in a smaller body which some people with big hands might not like. The shell isn't as sturdy as the K-3 and K-5 but it's still weather-resistant.
05-11-2018, 06:08 PM - 1 Like   #11
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I suggest you stick with the K5 until you can go to FF with the current or next generation K1. Spend some money on high quality FF glass instead.

Cheers
Frank.
05-11-2018, 08:34 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dms Quote
On the other hand:
1. you will have larger files to process/store--which may have implications on your computer memory and storage
2. you run risk of moire patterns appearing, thus you may decide to use the "anti-moire" simulator anyway
3. the gain on AF may not mean much if you don't use AF in challenging situations**

Anyway for me and my application (theatre production photo's) , these are reasons not to upgrade.
____
** I don't use AF so this is conjectural on my part.
dms - Thanks for your great points. I have plenty of storage so the file size will not be an issue for some time to come. Not sure if moire would be a problem with the type of shots I take, but as you mention there is always the software solution within the camera. I do shoot in some challenging AF situations such as racing (motorcycles, drag racing) and some equestrian events so I think there will be a benefit from the improved AF system in the K-3. Thanks again for your input!

---------- Post added 05-11-2018 at 09:47 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I agree with that. K1 (with same aperture lenses) definitely shoot a significant step above all previous K5 and K3, except in crop mode where the K3 is preferred.
Hi Jens & Biz,
Jens - It's okay to be that guy - I am always looking for comments that I may not have considered.

Biz - I agree that there is a big quality jump with the K-1 due to a number of factors. I am not at the point of investing that much in my camera body. As FreeSpirits comments, my money may be better invested in higher quality glass - which I have begun to move towards slowly.

At this point, I have an opportunity to move to the K-3 with a relatively painless incremental cost. I wanted to get feedback on whether the change was enough to make it worthwhile. As I read the comments and read more reviews/comparisons, I think it would be a wise choice to move up to the K-3.
05-11-2018, 09:37 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
What types of photography do you do? For wildlife the K-3 is a good upgrade over the K-5 because of better AF and increased pixel density. For landscapes and night scenes, the K-5 [arguably] remains superior because of dynamic range and noise behavior.



Yes! The K-70 is a good bargain. It's an image quality improvement over the K-3 and K-5 for all types of photography. The K-70 is in a smaller body which some people with big hands might not like. The shell isn't as sturdy as the K-3 and K-5 but it's still weather-resistant.
Hi DeadJohn, I am somewhat of a "Jack of all Trades" regarding photography :-) I enjoy landscape, travel, architectural, head shots, and event photography - that is what drove my original question about the quantity vs quality of pixels. I think you comment highlights the impact of that difference between the K-5 & K-3. I appreciate your comments.

Regarding the idea of the KP/K-70 option ... I've come to appreciate the mini-tank feel of the K-7/K-5/K-3 so I think I would get the impression that I was using a toy camera (no offense to K-70 users) otherwise it seems like a strong compromise for the budget conscious Pentaxians. I also am not a real fan of the new KP styling. I think I will stick with the K-5 vs K-3 options.
06-06-2018, 10:49 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I have a K5 and K5-IIs, K3, K1 and K1-II. I still prefer my K5's for low light performance over all my other Pentax DSLR's. Just my preference. The K3 is a definite step up from the K5's. More accurate focus performance and the larger files do provide more detail. Low light performance is not as good. I still own my K3 and it complements my K1's.


When I got my K1 in June 2016, it blew me away. It was the first DSLR that I owned that made me forget about film. My K1-II has performed well too. A lot of pixel peepers are condemning the camera for the way it handles high ISO situations, but mine delivers great images. The added features and upgrades perform as advertised.
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