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10-13-2013, 10:32 AM   #1
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K-3 w FA 31 vs Sigma DP2M

As things stand, my Sigma DP2M with it's 30mm lens and Merrill sensor blows my K-5 with the 31 away. This will be my first real test of the K-3 when it arrives in a few weeks. It would be great if it was even close to parity as I now always carry the Sigma since it gives me such clarity at low ISO. It is limited to ISO 200. it would be nice to use the K-3 plus FA 31 and have the full range of ISOs available and know I am not sacrificing possible resolution with the combo. I will post my results the moment I get the camera since I won't even need to wait for the battery to charge.

10-13-2013, 11:48 AM   #2
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Sounds like a good comparison to make.
10-13-2013, 12:57 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by djc737 Quote
As things stand, my Sigma DP2M with it's 30mm lens and Merrill sensor blows my K-5 with the 31 away. This will be my first real test of the K-3... I will post my results the moment I get the camera since I won't even need to wait for the battery to charge.
Thank you for the early warning. I only wish others tempted to be like you would be so kind.

Please resist posting your K-3 "results" ONLY AFTER you know it as well as the Sigma. The K-3 is as complex as the Sigma is simple, so waiting until you know each in the same way seems only fair, right? I figure it will take even the most experienced in our community at least six months of steady use under a variety of conditions before they can offer observations remotely trustworthy (moderators excepted, of course). The Q and K-01 are examples of a good cameras that suffered from "dufus dumping" by eager-beaver early "testers". It would be a shame for your efforts to render results that mislead others in a similar way. You will only be wasting your time. I doubt any thinking K-3 candidates will use your instant analysis in any way that's remotely meaningful... I know it will be ignored by me...

Again, thank you for the early warning.

Cheers... M

Last edited by Michaelina2; 10-14-2013 at 03:42 AM.
10-13-2013, 01:12 PM   #4
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Well, considering that the Merrill is considered to produce detail and colors almost as a fullframe sensor and that image quality always is considered to be the main pro, with a bunch of quirky cons, for that camera I'm not surprise if it beats all other APS-C out there.

10-13-2013, 10:52 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by djc737 Quote
As things stand, my Sigma DP2M with it's 30mm lens and Merrill sensor blows my K-5 with the 31 away. This will be my first real test of the K-3 when it arrives in a few weeks. It would be great if it was even close to parity as I now always carry the Sigma since it gives me such clarity at low ISO. It is limited to ISO 200. it would be nice to use the K-3 plus FA 31 and have the full range of ISOs available and know I am not sacrificing possible resolution with the combo. I will post my results the moment I get the camera since I won't even need to wait for the battery to charge.
Should be interesting either way - I expect the DP2M to win at low ISO, though I'm sure the K-3 will win past ISO 800. Still, perhaps a B&W comparison at ISO 1600 would be fun!

On a side note, I'm considering a DP1M as a wide-angle sidekick to my K-5iis; since I see you have the DP1M as well, have you ever compared it against your K-5 plus a 21ltd or similar? Thanks!
10-13-2013, 11:43 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by djc737 Quote
As things stand, my Sigma DP2M with it's 30mm lens and Merrill sensor blows my K-5 with the 31 away. This will be my first real test of the K-3 when it arrives in a few weeks. It would be great if it was even close to parity as I now always carry the Sigma since it gives me such clarity at low ISO. It is limited to ISO 200. it would be nice to use the K-3 plus FA 31 and have the full range of ISOs available and know I am not sacrificing possible resolution with the combo. I will post my results the moment I get the camera since I won't even need to wait for the battery to charge.
Would love to see your comparison - can you share your k-5/DP2M comparison. While I have no experience with D2PM but having used Sigma 30/2.8 for NEX, I can imagine a great combination. However, personally I prefer wider aperture at 30mm compared to f2.8 most of the time.
10-14-2013, 04:21 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote
Should be interesting either way - I expect the DP2M to win at low ISO, though I'm sure the K-3 will win past ISO 800. Still, perhaps a B&W comparison at ISO 1600 would be fun!

On a side note, I'm considering a DP1M as a wide-angle sidekick to my K-5iis; since I see you have the DP1M as well, have you ever compared it against your K-5 plus a 21ltd or similar? Thanks!
The X3 sensor produce images that are very detailed and seem to reproduce luster very well.
To come close my DP1m, I'd need a 2-3 pano stitch image from my K30+DA15ltd and then down sized to 16mp.

From fooling around with the K3 (sample#1), I think its really good but DP1m is better for IQ.
I used the word 'fool around' as that's what it is atm w/o actual raw files and 1vs1 shots.
The lack of AA filter already allows the K3 to capture fine details on the leaves and moss, which often a AA-filtered camera will smudge.

But in the end, DP1m is only ever going to be 28mm eq.
Its not going to be as versatile (far from it)
Above ISO200 and its advantage goes away.
Shadows can't be pulled much.
13s per file write (but buffer allows about 7 shots)
Totally not the same AF speed.

So comparing the two, well....I don't know if its that fruitful.
One gets a good shot all the time.
The other gets very good shots when used right when the situation is controllable.
Specialist vs generalist.
My few cents.

Last edited by pinholecam; 10-14-2013 at 05:16 AM.
10-14-2013, 05:07 AM   #8
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Yes, I did compare it to both the DA15 and DA21. Notice, I have neither lens now although I was never enamored by either lens, poor copies maybe. My DP1M unlike many reviewers, is a resolution maniac from edge to edge at f8. I like it better than the DP2M as I can actually get a decent action shot with it in bright light even at ISO 200. It is wide enough, also, that I can get a good scenic hand held. Kind of like shooting with Fuji Provia 100 again, that a slide film for all you young folks ;-). Since it has a fairly wide lens, 19mm, with it very high resolution, cropping is a breeze. I almost always carry one or the other with me regardless of where I am going.

QuoteOriginally posted by jeffshaddix Quote
Should be interesting either way - I expect the DP2M to win at low ISO, though I'm sure the K-3 will win past ISO 800. Still, perhaps a B&W comparison at ISO 1600 would be fun!

On a side note, I'm considering a DP1M as a wide-angle sidekick to my K-5iis; since I see you have the DP1M as well, have you ever compared it against your K-5 plus a 21ltd or similar? Thanks!



Last edited by djc737; 10-14-2013 at 05:13 AM.
10-14-2013, 05:40 AM   #9
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The Sigma will beat it.....without breaking sweat. But there's a LOT more to a great camera that mind blowing resolution. The Sigma is a one trick pony.....and that trick is pretty freaking awesome. But I'll use my Sigma 10% of the time and my K-3 90% of the time.
10-14-2013, 07:04 AM   #10
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Even before trying, I would most likely agree. It would however be nice if they were close. I also have the Fuji X-E1 with a few lenses and every time I go out, it is a head scratcher to bring along the hopefully right combination of bodies and lenses. At the recent Chinese dragon festival in Philadelphia's Chinatown, my best shot was with the DP1M. I found the only spot where the action would be in front of me and the 10 AM sun directly behind me. Otherwise all the dancing and such was in morning shade, a no go for the Sigma. It was a beautifully colored and detailed image of the dragon dancers with fire crackers going off like crazy. I hope that the K-3 with a few select lenses comes close to the same resolution. Maybe it and the Sigma 18-35. Then I have the best of both worlds in one body, one lens. I can hope, can't I....
10-14-2013, 08:11 AM   #11
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Just a tough comparison. The Sigma is a great performer under the right circumstances, whereas the Pentax K3 will be more a master of trades, but maybe not quite as good at iso 200. I guess the thing is, if you have a stop faster lens on the K3, then that will tend to even things up. That Sigma 18-35 lens looks like a winner by any standard.
10-14-2013, 08:31 AM   #12
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My prediction is that the Sigma will win, but it's slowness and narrow range of use will mean you'll need a dslr regardless.
10-15-2013, 07:05 AM   #13
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Thank you @djc737 and @pinholecam for your replies. I realize the Sigma camera shortfalls - I was in line to buy a Sigma SD15 several years ago, then backed out based on poor reviews of the SD15 and finding a new mysterious monster - the Pentax K-7. I've enjoyed the Pentax kit since, and still think it's the best enthusiast system on the market.

The one area I've never been impressed with on APS-C DSLRs is ultra wide angle. Either the lenses are dismal at the edges, or utterly massive in size (and expensive). I had a Spiratone 20mm 2.8 that was a blast for it's bokeh, but it was worse than my kit lens for landscape resolution (and that's not saying much about the kit lens). I think I read once that wide angles were difficult to get right due to the K-mount registration distance, and that mirrorless or matched lens/sensor pairs should perform better (with a lot less glass at least). This was back in the day when we were pontificating on a wide angle XS lens for the K-01, but that didn't happen...

Anyway, it seems the DP1M, with it's matched lens/sensor, could fit that nitch nicely, and the new screw-on Ricoh GW-3 will allow it to serve as an extreme wide angle lens as well. Sure it won't do color well past ISO 400 or so, but for a focal length this wide, I'd expect to use it at base ISO for landscapes, up to ISO 400 on the street, and as a B&W cam for indoor shots. The only real qualm I have is focusing without a through-the-lens viewfinder, but with the DOF given on a 19mm lens, I expect that won't be too rough.

One compelling alternative is the new Sigma 18-35 1.8, though it's size and weight are a drawback, it's price is much nicer than the Zeiss 21. If it really does get released in Pentax mount by the end of the year, I'll have a hard decision on my hands.

But I digress, sorry for thread-jacking, looking forward to your comparison!
10-15-2013, 07:27 AM   #14
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K-3 to me is the essential wildlife/action camera. My DP2, is a landscape camera. The limitations of dynamic range and iso make it not terribly useful for even a lot of landscape... but when you find a picture that fits within that relatively small set of parameters it takes a picture you can't get with a k-5, and probably not with a k-3. My expectation is that it will still be in my bag.


It's so sharp even when I turn all sharpening off in post I get artifacts when I don't view the image at full size. It looks worse reduced in size than it does 1:1.
10-15-2013, 04:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
K-3 to me is the essential wildlife/action camera. My DP2, is a landscape camera. The limitations of dynamic range and iso make it not terribly useful for even a lot of landscape... but when you find a picture that fits within that relatively small set of parameters it takes a picture you can't get with a k-5, and probably not with a k-3. My expectation is that it will still be in my bag.


It's so sharp even when I turn all sharpening off in post I get artifacts when I don't view the image at full size. It looks worse reduced in size than it does 1:1.
Have you tried multi-exposure HDR in post to get around the low DR on the DP2M? Seems like it would be beastly good at that. Just export to TIFF from SPP and combine with any of the HDR tools. Clearly not as convenient as the K-5 (or K-3), but that's not Sigma's nitch.
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