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11-05-2013, 06:21 AM   #16
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The last sample image really shows it for me. There's nothing worse than trying to focus on your subject while it's between limbs/branches and having the camera focus on everything else BUT the subject. Man I wish I had the money for a K-3!

11-05-2013, 06:50 AM   #17
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Excellent post Derek..
11-05-2013, 07:08 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by dane.dawg Quote
Excellent post Derek..
Does it describe your experience?
11-05-2013, 07:47 AM   #19
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Thanks, Derek. This is very encouraging. I must admit that my first experiences with the K-3 have been a little disappointing. I think part of the problem is that I'm still relatively new to photography and was using a NEX before, so I'm adapting to a much larger camera as well as a new system. I had been hoping for better image quality in lower light than my NEX and to be honest, it seems like the K-3 is noisier at ISO 800-1600 (which I often use), but somewhat better at 6400 than my NEX.

But that's not the main reason I bought the K-3. I wanted a camera that had lenses with more reach than a NEX so that I could get further into wildlife photography. And your image tests remind me that I should be focusing on more than ISO when I'm evaluating performance and that the K-3 has features that may improve my ability to capture sharp images of tiny, moving critters. Obviously, I need to experiment and practise a lot more to figure out how to maximize the features of this new camera, and your post gives me some good ideas to pursue.

11-05-2013, 08:15 AM - 1 Like   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
Thanks, Derek. This is very encouraging. I must admit that my first experiences with the K-3 have been a little disappointing. I think part of the problem is that I'm still relatively new to photography and was using a NEX before, so I'm adapting to a much larger camera as well as a new system. I had been hoping for better image quality in lower light than my NEX and to be honest, it seems like the K-3 is noisier at ISO 800-1600 (which I often use), but somewhat better at 6400 than my NEX.

But that's not the main reason I bought the K-3. I wanted a camera that had lenses with more reach than a NEX so that I could get further into wildlife photography. And your image tests remind me that I should be focusing on more than ISO when I'm evaluating performance and that the K-3 has features that may improve my ability to capture sharp images of tiny, moving critters. Obviously, I need to experiment and practise a lot more to figure out how to maximize the features of this new camera, and your post gives me some good ideas to pursue.
Not to toot my horn, but wildlife shooting is hard. The light, the subjects, the time available to compose and get a shot are all challenging, and you will be working at the edge of the capabilities of the equipment. Don't despair, enjoy the learning curve. A few suggestions:

Get and learn a good post processing computer program. The noise you get at 1600 iso should clean up very well. I limit my camera to 3200 and unless the subject is close in, at that level they usually are not any good. If you can fill the whole sensor frame at that iso, you can get something decent. Wildlife shooters crop substantially.

Practice. And take hundreds of shots. You will find that in a given situation there are settings that give you a better shot than others, but that there are tradeoffs as well. There is often a knife edge between a terrible shot and a good one. And nothing beats being close in. I got a shot last friday at the end of the day; it was starting to get dark, F4, iso 2000 1/40th shutter speed and about 12 feet away got a very nice shot of a pileated woodpecker.

I have found the challenge one of the most satisfying things I have done. I'm happy that I don't have to buy film and develop it to know that it needs throwing away.
11-05-2013, 09:54 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
This is my experience, not some lab report. I shoot mainly long lenses, and have been shooting with the K-5 with a variety of manual focus and autofocus lenses for a couple of years. I have been using the DA*300 for the most part, excepting the bright summer days when I use a Sigma 150-500 OS. I have had great success with these combinations, but have also run into situations where the limits of the equipment either cause frustration, make it difficult to get a sharp photo, or don't even bother because I don't want to waste time. I can get birds in flight with my manual focus lens, but not very many. The conditions that I shoot in range from perfect to utterly miserable. If I wait for the perfect day, I would shoot maybe half a dozen days a year. This isn't lab or studio conditions, but real conditions that I shoot in, and if I may, get some very nice shots from time to time.

.
Thank you for taking thte time to put your thoughts together and posting - very helpful - I have the same two lenses with the Sigma 500 on a wish list
11-05-2013, 10:31 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
Not to toot my horn, but wildlife shooting is hard. The light, the subjects, the time available to compose and get a shot are all challenging, and you will be working at the edge of the capabilities of the equipment. Don't despair, enjoy the learning curve. A few suggestions:

Get and learn a good post processing computer program. The noise you get at 1600 iso should clean up very well. I limit my camera to 3200 and unless the subject is close in, at that level they usually are not any good. If you can fill the whole sensor frame at that iso, you can get something decent. Wildlife shooters crop substantially.

Practice. And take hundreds of shots. You will find that in a given situation there are settings that give you a better shot than others, but that there are tradeoffs as well. There is often a knife edge between a terrible shot and a good one. And nothing beats being close in. I got a shot last friday at the end of the day; it was starting to get dark, F4, iso 2000 1/40th shutter speed and about 12 feet away got a very nice shot of a pileated woodpecker.

I have found the challenge one of the most satisfying things I have done. I'm happy that I don't have to buy film and develop it to know that it needs throwing away.
Well put. I definitely need the practice. One of my main areas of interest is photographing animals, but to date this has mostly involved pets (I volunteer for an animal shelter and also photograph my cats and friends' pets for fun). Usually, I can get close and they're not as skittish as wildlife. But my husband and I have a big trip to Borneo planned for early 2014, and I need to improve my skills a lot and get comfortable with this camera before then. Luckily, Central Park in NYC is a great place to practise bird photography - and I can also do some work up close at the Wild Bird Fund (a rehab centre where I also volunteer), so I can learn more about bird behavior (which will help me anticipate movement).

I have learned the basics of Photoshop and Lightroom 5, but need to improve here as well - especially fine-tuning noise reduction and sharpening. I'm wondering if there is a better program out there for noise reduction.
11-05-2013, 11:53 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote

I have learned the basics of Photoshop and Lightroom 5, but need to improve here as well - especially fine-tuning noise reduction and sharpening. I'm wondering if there is a better program out there for noise reduction.
Get a NR program with a Photoshop or Lightroom plugin. Noiseware and Topaz come to mind.

11-05-2013, 02:45 PM - 1 Like   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by SteveB Quote
Get a NR program with a Photoshop or Lightroom plugin. Noiseware and Topaz come to mind.
I'd suggest one step at a time...

IMHO, with LR, the in-built noise reduction tools have become very capable. It's probably a good idea to learn how to get the most out of them, instead of simply handing the task off to yet another program (which may come with a learning curve of its own).

Within LR, just learning simple techniques like balancing sharpening and noise reduction via masking, and using the adjustment brush to selectively apply NR only to areas that need it, will get you a long way to producing great output without the need for extra NR tools.

I have Topaz DeNoise, for example, but almost never use it. It's tedious to work with, and has quirks of it's own, like a tendency to smudge colours in weird ways.
11-05-2013, 07:27 PM   #25
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Thanks for the real-world review. I shoot wildlife with K-7 and DA*300 with reasonable success. I've missed plenty of shots in the situations you describe, so the improvements you're getting with the K-3 should help me out a lot. I skipped over the K-5 series but I believe a K-3 is in my near future.
11-05-2013, 09:08 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by civano Quote
Thanks for the well-written summary of your experiences so far. It really is appreciated.
Plus one.
11-06-2013, 12:00 AM   #27
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Thanks for sharing your experiences. It answered a lot of questions that I had for K-3's AF. I'll likely get one soon. =)
11-08-2013, 03:31 PM   #28
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Thanks for sharing !

I never used multi-point focus (I dont know how it works )
I am always using center unique focus point in my K-5... I should read the manual, before the k-3 arrives...
so many things to learn!
11-08-2013, 03:46 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
I'd suggest one step at a time...

IMHO, with LR, the in-built noise reduction tools have become very capable. It's probably a good idea to learn how to get the most out of them, instead of simply handing the task off to yet another program (which may come with a learning curve of its own).

Within LR, just learning simple techniques like balancing sharpening and noise reduction via masking, and using the adjustment brush to selectively apply NR only to areas that need it, will get you a long way to producing great output without the need for extra NR tools.

I have Topaz DeNoise, for example, but almost never use it. It's tedious to work with, and has quirks of it's own, like a tendency to smudge colours in weird ways.
I agree. I've tried a few of the more recent plug-ins and feel like LR5 is plenty capable and easy to use.
11-08-2013, 08:11 PM   #30
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A few more impressions of this camera. I have the af set up as follows:

AF.C
C3 menus:
15 AF.S focus priority
16 AF.C first frame focus priority
17 Action AF.C focus priority
18 Hold AF Status Off.

For focus area,
Expanded AF (S). with center point selected.

What I've noticed so far is that if the subject is large enough to fill the center focus point, it will follow it reasonably well into the other points. If it is smaller, ie. a bird far away, it takes a bit of work to get it to focus. You have to center it on the subject, and press half shutter. It will lose it sometimes, so release, line up, and half shutter to re acquire. It takes practice to focus and hold a subject in focus as it moves about; the camera helps but practice allows you to help it out.

For subjects close in, I ran into trouble when I let it get outside the 9 point array. I'm thinking I will try the 27 point to see how it works. For example there were curious gulls who would fly in and hover over top of me. The body and lens were on a monopod, so it was difficult to track accurately. I got quite a few shots in focus, but some not when the subject went out of the array.

I like the expanded area. The initial focus is in the middle where you want it, or whichever point you want initially. So when you want spot, it works like that, but with a bit of slop. I've noticed that it is easy to inadvertently press the bottom right button that selects the focus point, and the indications are not going to catch your attention unless the info screen with that information is selected. My next tweaking is setting up User modes so that it can be reset easily.

Some shots. The detail is amazing. The first is uncropped, the second cropped.



These little guys are fun to shoot. This is iso 3200, and cropped. Denoise in post processing.
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