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02-27-2021, 11:46 AM - 59 Likes   #1
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Tanaka san - Wakashiro san online seminar about K-3 III (CP+ 2021)

Last night I listened to the talk, which was very interesting. It was apparent that Tanaka san was very happy about the camera (he's been using the beta unit) but wasn't afraid to ask direct questions. The talk lasted for a bit more than an hour. I'm sure they'll publish it in the future, but here's something for you based on my quick and dirty memo, roughly in chronological order.

Disclaimer: Not everything is covered (I think I captured about 70% of the topics), this is not a transcript, might contain something that's not exactly they spoke/meant, yada yada yada.
  • Wakashiro san (or PENTAX?) is not thinking about making mirrorless.
  • Tanaka: "Were'nt you planning to name it K-2?" Wakashiro (laughter): "One of the candidates, yes." Tanaka: "Ah, you had to reserve that for something else, the next one?" Wakashiro (still laughing/smiling, but watch his face when the video is released): "Well, no comment."
  • K-3 III is a complete redesign almost from the ground up despite its K-3 name. The only parts that weren't redesigned might be the lens mount, hot shoe, battery and strap ring.
  • Why no tilt LCD? Tanaka san wasn't happy. Wakashiro san defended using usual Pentax philosophy, also mentioned thinner body.
    • Tanaka san admitted later that, as he kept using the camera, he found himself just relying on OVF more and more. Also very happy about eye sensor to automatically shut LCD off. In previous cameras, when changing anything (e.g. aperture) the LCD responds even if he's using OVF, and he'd see that out of the corner of his eye, which was a distraction. Not any more.
  • K-3III OVF has a condenser lens that works to correct distortion.
  • There was a comparison of K-3III VS KP OVF view, also VS K-1II OVF. K-3 III view looked about the same size as K-1 II. In the chat window, a few were saying K-1II VF seems to have some coloring.
  • They made the main mirror lighter, improved damper, and used better and more expensive coreless DC motors that start and stop very quickly for mirrors and the shutter. But Wakashiro san said that it wasn't bad in K-3 II to start with. What was essential to AF during fast bursting was the quick damping of the sub mirror assembly behind the main mirror for the AF sensor, you cannot AF while sub mirror is wobbling.
    • Tanaka san mentioned that blackout during burst is also better as the mirror moves more quickly, or something like that.
  • There's no electronic shutter except for Pixel Shift Resolution. Tanaka san was unhapy and asked if they can release it as a firmware update. Wakashiro san said he thinks they should.
    • There's no handheld Pixel Shift Resolution. (I don't use it, but one in the chat expressed disappointment.)
  • Tanaka san thought that the image quality is better than K-1 II, especially with high ISO. He showed comparison at ISO204800 side by side (night city), and pointed out that K-1 II showed strange horizontal line artifact in the sky, there was none in K-3 III. Both mentioned color fidelity. Black is pure black. Accurate colors. Tanaka san thought that the noise difference was about 1.5 stops (K-3 III is better). Lots of excited comments in the chat window.
  • There was also a comparison with KP at ISO409600. Color is strange on KP, lots of color noise, black doesn't look black. Wakashiro san said he used to think that color fidelity of KP was good even at high ISO, that PENTAX always paid attention for color fidelity regardless of ISO. Tanaka san made fun saying "but that was not the case", and Wakashiro san responded by saying that K-3 III is closer to PENTAX's ideal in that regard.
  • For in-camera jpeg, they used to have "Sharpness", "Fine sharpness" and "Extra sharpness". The latter two were combined into to one "Fine Sharpness II", and this will be the default for jpeg shooters. Some conversation about the differences that I wasn't able to write down.
  • Wider AF coverage -> larger AF sensor -> larger sub mirror -> had to move the main mirror position -> had to move the pentaprism position. Interesting to me to be told from an engineer how one feature affects everything.
  • OVF subject recognition works for human faces and eyes, birds and cars for now. Eye detection means just that, pupil isn't detected.
    • It's possible to feed lots of e.g. airplane pictures to train the deep learning algorithm, which could then be released as the new firmware. (Wakashiro san didn't say that that's what they'll do.)
    • Wakashiro san tested face and eye recognition using his daughter as the subject.
    • Subject recognition works with auto AF points and zone select.
  • Wakashiro: "Motion prediction algorithm is much better too" for AF.C or some such.Tanaka: "Old lenses are slow for tracking" or some such. Wakashiro: "You'll feel the difference using 300mm lens, I think."
    • (Not sure which 300mm, but most probably it's DA* 300mm.)
    • Tanaka san mentioned that AF was the subject of much trash talk and Wakashiro san agreed, but he seemed to be confident in the progress they've made.
  • Tanaka: UHS-II is great, makes so much difference. If you buy this camera, buy UHS-II cards.
  • Some jabs back and forth about the delay and release date, but in the end no date was mentioned. "We're in the final stretch, trying to finish it ASAP" or something. Repeated "20万円台後半" or "upper 200000 JPY range" about the price.
  • Wakashiro (in closing): This camera has no flashy function, but a fun camera to use. It's difficult to feel that without actually handling one, so I hope we can let you try the actual camera as soon as possible.
  • Tanaka san agreed that it's really a fun camera to use, and said that he was very happy, like "wow you can make such a good DSLR" happy as a DSLR fan.
That's it for now.


Added later:

One thing which I remember is that many in the chat window were saying they wanted to see example photos at lower than ridiculously high ISO. I agree with them, I'd like to see if K-3 III at e.g. ISO12800 is better than KP at ISO6400.



Added on Mar 07 2021:
The video was released (no subtitles, though):



Last edited by kwb; 03-07-2021 at 09:58 PM.
02-27-2021, 11:59 AM   #2
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Great, thank you. Nice to hear that Mr. Tanaka was happy, and also that not all was sugarcoated. The more information we get the better this camera looks.
02-27-2021, 12:01 PM   #3
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Lots of good stuff here... thanks again for the coverage, kwb!
02-27-2021, 12:03 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Interesting stuff.....
For those of us with a DA*55-300 PLM even more interesting.
The PLM has shown me that my K-3 performance would have been better as opposed to many other Pentax's older lenses. You won't get faster AF with a slow focusing lens. The problem was the lens. Not the AF system. that is true all the way back to the K-5.

02-27-2021, 12:09 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kwb Quote
here's something for you based on my quick and dirty memo, roughly in chronological order.
@kwb, again thank you very much for providing such a useful report of the seminar. There are a lot of interesting points.

- Craig
02-27-2021, 12:11 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kwb Quote
Last night I listened to the talk, which was very interesting.
Thank you again for taking the time to do this for us all kwb. I also found your notes of the conversation very interesting. Appreciated.

Ross
02-27-2021, 12:37 PM   #7
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Many thanks for this great feedback, kwb, it’s making me salivate! Really looking forward to first impressions on this site when it’s released.
02-27-2021, 12:40 PM   #8
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Quite interesting.

02-27-2021, 01:24 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Interesting stuff.....
For those of us with a DA*55-300 PLM even more interesting.
The PLM has shown me that my K-3 performance would have been better as opposed to many other Pentax's older lenses. You won't get faster AF with a slow focusing lens. The problem was the lens. Not the AF system. that is true all the way back to the K-5.
Yeah, I suspect Pentax has long focused on accuracy in AF-S for the lenses. So it will require a refresh on the lenses to get the most out improved AF performance on the camera. So I hope they will make a major jump in AF preformance on the upcoming DA* lens replacements. And that it will not take too long before they are out.
02-27-2021, 02:23 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Fogel70 Quote
Yeah, I suspect Pentax has long focused on accuracy in AF-S for the lenses. So it will require a refresh on the lenses to get the most out improved AF performance on the camera. So I hope they will make a major jump in AF preformance on the upcoming DA* lens replacements. And that it will not take too long before they are out.
My takeaway is that you'll find a noticeable improvement with even the existing DA lenses, the DA*300 specifically mentioned for instance.
02-27-2021, 02:37 PM   #11
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All sounds great. I'm looking forward to the new body when it is released!!
02-27-2021, 02:38 PM   #12
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What is excellen is that they really did not have any skeletons in the closet(other than that K-2 and MILC). So they have been listening and they have been working to make this thing work. Not perfect yet as for what goals are, but they are getting there. very good and encouraging.
02-27-2021, 02:41 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I like this interview/conversation ... good and to the point.

For me, wanting to have a camera with great results at high ISO, for instance "birding" in deep woods where the light is more often than not - poor, this would be the camera of choice.
Of course, I'd have to sell all my lenses !! So, what's the point, right? (joke)

Thanks for sharing!
02-27-2021, 02:52 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by gatorguy Quote
My takeaway is that you'll find a noticeable improvement with even the existing DA lenses, the DA*300 specifically mentioned for instance.
At least, lenses having in-lens AF motors.
Hopefully, remaining screw-drive lenses will be upgraded to appropriate in-lens motors.
02-27-2021, 03:04 PM - 2 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
At least, lenses having in-lens AF motors.
Hopefully, remaining screw-drive lenses will be upgraded to appropriate in-lens motors.
That is a very long way off. The refreshed FA Limiteds attest to that. Especially with the smaller lenses, I have no gripe with screw-drive.
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