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02-27-2015, 02:34 PM   #1
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First Pentax: K-50 or K-3?

I'm ready to purchase my first Pentax and start taking photography more seriously as a hobby. I'm also going to say first true DSLR, though my current camera I want to upgrade from is a Sony a33 (close enough, I guess). My photo interests are mainly family pictures and documenting travel adventures (landscapes, streets, people). Mostly for sharing online but want to start filling an album of small prints.

I had pretty much made up my mind I was going to buy a K-3 to have a camera to keep and grow with for a long time to come. I love the thought of having a top of the line tool that won't hold me back and not having to dive into menus to change settings. But small budgets are always looking for a possibly more value-oriented alternative solution.

Would picking up a K-50 instead be a smart(er) way to go? Financially, bundled with the 18-35mm lens, currently it's about a $400 difference looking at the best prices. That isn't a deal-breaking amount of money. But perhaps there are additionally other reasons to purposely choose a K-50 instead of a K-3? I'm open to all points of view. Thanks!

02-27-2015, 02:42 PM   #2
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If your main interest is sharing online, look at the K-S2, it has wi-fi. It also has an upgraded sensor compared to the K-50 - but not as good as the K-3 in terms of resolution and ISO noise - in which it also falls a bit behind the K-50 even if the image quality is a bit better. Other differences are a more stylish and compact body and a kit lens that is very compact - but we don't know how it performs in the real world yet, as the K-S2s started shipping today from what I heard!

The K-3 can also do tethering via the flu card, but that's usually extra unless you get it in a bundle.
02-27-2015, 02:57 PM   #3
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The k-3 is a more advanced camera but the question is whether you need those extra features.

For your stated purpose I would go with k-50 and save the money for a flash or another lens.

You will not see significant differences in image quality in most cases.
02-27-2015, 03:26 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
If your main interest is sharing online, look at the K-S2, it has wi-fi. It also has an upgraded sensor compared to the K-50 - but not as good as the K-3 in terms of resolution and ISO noise - in which it also falls a bit behind the K-50 even if the image quality is a bit better. Other differences are a more stylish and compact body and a kit lens that is very compact - but we don't know how it performs in the real world yet, as the K-S2s started shipping today from what I heard!

The K-3 can also do tethering via the flu card, but that's usually extra unless you get it in a bundle.
Thanks for the suggestion. Regarding wi-fi connectivity and ease of sharing, that is low on my priority list. I have a Panasonic LF-1 with so-so connectivity and honestly, it's been more of a headache then a convenient experience. Maybe the implementation with flu and eyefi cards or wi-fi in the K-S2 is miles better. Either way, I'd gladly give up wireless connectivity for IQ, better handling, low light performance, fast AF, etc.

Another issue is price. The K-S2 with kit lens is roughly the price of the K-3 body. Doesn't seem to fit with my saving money reason to not choose the K-3. Or am I missing something?

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
The k-3 is a more advanced camera but the question is whether you need those extra features.

For your stated purpose I would go with k-50 and save the money for a flash or another lens.

You will not see significant differences in image quality in most cases.
Those are good thoughts. If I'm not going to see a difference in image quality in most cases, or they will be marginal for my uses, then that is a good reason do as you say and go with the K-50 plus flash and more lenses. I certainly want a couple of primes.

Though the thought of giving up some convenient and latest technology features on the K-3 keeps me undecided. You are making a lot of sense though. The K-3 pictures I see blow me away, but the K-50 pictures definitely aren't disappointing and aren't too far behind (to my amateur eyes). Certainly as good if not lots better than my Sony a33 ever put out. And in the end, I just want something that takes me beyond where I am now without needing to soon upgrade again and spend more money. But I also don't like wasting money on things that don't make a difference (to me). Decisions, decisions!

02-27-2015, 03:38 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Zerv Quote
I'm ready to purchase my first Pentax and start taking photography more seriously as a hobby. I'm also going to say first true DSLR, though my current camera I want to upgrade from is a Sony a33 (close enough, I guess). My photo interests are mainly family pictures and documenting travel adventures (landscapes, streets, people). Mostly for sharing online but want to start filling an album of small prints.

I had pretty much made up my mind I was going to buy a K-3 to have a camera to keep and grow with for a long time to come. I love the thought of having a top of the line tool that won't hold me back and not having to dive into menus to change settings. But small budgets are always looking for a possibly more value-oriented alternative solution.

Would picking up a K-50 instead be a smart(er) way to go? Financially, bundled with the 18-35mm lens, currently it's about a $400 difference looking at the best prices. That isn't a deal-breaking amount of money. But perhaps there are additionally other reasons to purposely choose a K-50 instead of a K-3? I'm open to all points of view. Thanks!
If you're willing to spend the extra money, go for the K-3 IMO. Even alongside Pentax's latest K-S2, the K-3 is cutting-edge in all areas except for the built-in wireless. You'll love the build quality, burst speed, and image quality that it delivers

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02-27-2015, 03:57 PM   #6
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There are a lot of little things that are just better in the Pentax flagship cameras compared to the lower-end models - even if by looking at the specs they might seem very similar or the same.
I'm still holding on to my K-5 IIs , but if I were to buy a new camera right now it would be the K-3, especially given the current price.
02-27-2015, 04:24 PM   #7
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The only thing the K50 has over the K3 is that it is a bit smaller and lighter than the K3. I currently shoot a K30 which is basically a K50 in a different wrapper, and if money was no object I would own a K3 right now.
02-27-2015, 05:03 PM   #8
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We haven't really talked about lenses. The lens makes as much difference to image quality as the camera - often more. (The skill of the photographer matters more than either of course.)

The K-50 (and its near-twins, the K-30 and K-500) and the K-3 are fine cameras. As a more recent model, and the current flagship, the K-3 has a number of extra features, much improved autofocus, and no AA-filter. The higher-resolution 24mp sensor (v 16mp on the K-50) is an advantage if you are likely to crop photos a lot (e.g. in photographing wildlife), at the price of a little more noise. The K-3 is a little bulkier and heavier. For the average user who is looking mainly to share photos on the web or with family, and to print at moderate sizes, the practical differences in image quality would be fairly small. I'm saying you couldn't go wrong with either.

Camera bodies come and go (and depreciate quickly) but good lenses remain good lenses (the best ones hold their value or even increase in value over time). A premium lens on a K-50 (e.g. Pentax FA 77, recently voted by PF members the best Pentax lens ever) will produce appreciably better images than you could get from a mediocre lens (like the kit 18-55) on a K-3.

So if you are thinking about future-proofing your purchase keep a decent proportion of your budget for a good lens or two. (What is the most suitable lens is a whole other discussion. It will depend on your budget, whether you shoot indoors or outdoors, whether you shoot in low light, whether you want a prime or a zoom, how much weight matters, whether you want WR, whether you are happy to buy used, and whether manual focus is OK for you.)

Bang-for-buck, I would say save money on the camera body and devote more to a good lens or two. If you could get a K-50, with DA 18-135 WR, DA 35 f2.4 and/or DA 50 f1.8 for the price of a K-3 with a kit lens or body only, I know which I would choose.

02-27-2015, 05:48 PM   #9
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With all the trouble being experienced by first-timers with the more demanding nature of the K-3, I can't in good conscience recommend it as a first DSLR. An inexperienced photographer will almost certainly get better and more consistent results with the K-50.
02-27-2015, 06:08 PM   #10
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What about the k-5II or the k-5IIs prices a pretty low and is between the k50 and the k-3? And still gives u room to grow before u feel that u pushing the envelop...
02-27-2015, 06:15 PM   #11
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what are the things you're looking to improve from the a33?
02-27-2015, 06:29 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Des Quote


Bang-for-buck, I would say save money on the camera body and devote more to a good lens or two. If you could get a K-50, with DA 18-135 WR, DA 35 f2.4 and/or DA 50 f1.8 for the price of a K-3 with a kit lens or body only, I know which I would choose.
Absolutely agree with what he said!
02-27-2015, 06:41 PM   #13
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I would normally agree with the lens theory, but the K3 (if picked up at the right price) is a bargain ...... and it's already had a big depreciation hit. I'd get the K3 as long as I was prepared to put some initial effort into the learning curve with it.....

If you can stay immune to the "got to have the latest" crazy trend (that is taking us to the edge)....... the K3 could easily be a 10 year ownership experience. Plenty of time to get another lens or two to use with it if you so desire......

As you progress with life.....I find lifes major events fit nicely with getting an additional lens to enjoy as part of the experience....... ie a new child....a new portrait lens (easiest sell to spouse ever!)......a big holiday......a new landscape lens (more difficult sell) etc.....

Last edited by noelpolar; 02-27-2015 at 06:54 PM.
02-27-2015, 06:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by flaviopetrone Quote
Absolutely agree with what he said!
Add a HD 55-300 WR and 70 your laughing
02-27-2015, 07:08 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by abmj Quote
With all the trouble being experienced by first-timers with the more demanding nature of the K-3, I can't in good conscience recommend it as a first DSLR. An inexperienced photographer will almost certainly get better and more consistent results with the K-50.
This.
Spend your money on lenses and your time on honing your photography skills. After a short while, once you're comfortable and you are ready to go beyond, then do so. But the K-50 has more than enough capability and features to keep you busy for a long time. The K-3 can be imposing and doesn't have the tolerances for bad technique that the K-50 will allow you as you get acclimated.
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